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December 9, 2007 AM

ACTS 15:6-11

INTRO: Of certain propositions you might hear people say, "And that's law and gospel." Such propositions might be verbalized by someone who is not in the least religious ... and maybe far from religious. Just what do they mean by this expression? Well, having heard it and used it many times, I think it means that the proposition is inviolable, authoritative and true. Long before the word "gospel" had any religious significance it was a word in common use to refer to a message of good news, glad tidings. However, with the coming of Christ into the world this word took a very religious meaning and significance. In our text this morning we hear the apostle Peter referring to the "word of the gospel". Here is another way in which the word of God is known.

    1. Mt 4:23 - "the gospel of the kingdom"
      1. Matthew speaks of the gospel as good news of the kingdom of God
      2. in Jesus' time this was a much anticipated era ... the Messianic time
      3. true, the message was not generally understood in the terms of God's definition of the kingdom - and Jesus sought to reveal that truth in various ways
    2. Mk 1:1 - "the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ"
      1. Mark spent no time on genealogy, preparation, childhood and such
      2. he launched immediately into the earthly ministry of Jesus
      3. and in 1:14,15 Jesus begins preaching the "gospel of the kingdom of God" with the added explicit proclamation "the time is fulfilled ... at hand"
    3. Lk 2:10,11 - "good tidings of great joy"
      1. Luke's emphasis at the beginning is the birth of a Savior ... Christ, Lord
      2. remember, Luke is a Gentile writer - the "kingdom" idea may not have been a important to him as was the fact of joy "to all people" in the birth of a Savior
      3. but the gospel was something to be preached - to be made known
    1. Gal 3:8 - "preached before the gospel unto Abraham"
      1. here is a very interesting fact - different from typical understanding
      2. the gospel message? "in thee shall all nations be blessed"
      3. then, Gal 3:16 - "And to thy seed, which is Christ" - in retrospect, we are able to see how, then, the gospel was preached to Abraham!
    2. 1Cor 1:17 - "to preach the gospel..."
      1. the context gives us a good look at what the preached gospel was
      2. v. 18 - it was the preaching of the cross
      3. v. 23 - it was the preaching of Christ crucified
      4. v. 30 - it was the preaching of the "in Christ" relationship
    3. 1 Cor 15:1-4 - "I declare unto you the gospel..."
      1. preaching Jesus crucified was not all that the gospel meant to him
      2. here are three gospel facts: death, burial, resurrection
      3. from these facts there is a powerful message of salvation made possible
      4. but note Rom 6:3-5- in baptism we are united with the gospel facts!
    4. Rom 1:15-17 - "the power of God unto salvation..."
      1. remember, the gospel is indeed facts which are historical and real
      2. but it is the word of the gospel, the preaching of the gospel which has the power to bring people to obedience and salvation
      3. and it isn't just people out of Christ to whom the gospel has this power
      4. Romans is written to Christians ... and to them Paul desired to preach the gospel ... so, the gospel is for Christians and those out of Christ! (how sad when Christian people no longer rejoice in "gospel preaching")
    5. Gal 1:6-9 - "unto another gospel"
      1. notice that he refers to those who "pervert the gospel of Christ"
      2. at 2:4,5 he refers to the "truth of the gospel" - anything which differs from the truth of the gospel is perversion
      3. and we are living in an age of gospel perversions - from spurious ideas about Jesus to deviations in doctrine from the gospel truth
      4. we must be sure to compare what we see, what we hear, what we practice with what is written in the word of the gospel ... accept no substitutes!
    1. Acts 15:7 - "hear the word of the gospel, and believe..."
      1. the gospel must never become simply historical facts
      2. it must be proclaimed and believed for its saving effect in our lives
    2. Mk 16:15,16 - "he that believeth and is baptized shall be saved..."
      1. having believed and been baptized, there is the revealed "in Christ" life
      2. the gospel is all there is, all that is needed to bring us safely to heaven

CLOSE: Someone once wisely said the gospel is facts to be believed, commandments to be obeyed and promises to be enjoyed. If you believe the facts this morning, have you obeyed the commandments? In baptism (a form of doctrine to be obeyed (Rom 6:17) you receive the benefit of Jesus' death at Calvary. But have you obeyed the commandment? So, 2 Thes 1:8,8.

Cecil A. Hutson

02 December 2007

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)