Charles Stanley – Good News!

Charles Stanley

 In Mark 16:15, Jesus commanded His disciples to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.” But what exactly is the gospel? Even believers can’t always give a clear definition for this word. Let’s take a closer look at what this biblical term means.

1. The gospel is good news.

The word for “gospel” in Greek originally meant “reward for doing good.” Eventually it came to mean “good news.”

  • How would you define the gospel in your own words?
  • Briefly summarize the gospel, according to 1 Corinthians 15:1-4.

2. The gospel also has some bad news.

In order for the gospel to be good news, each person must first realize that there was bad news. The problem is that without Christ, each of us is hopelessly headed for eternal separation from God.

  • The prophet Isaiah wrote that “all of us like sheep have gone astray” (Is. 53:6). What characteristics of sheep do you think Isaiah had in mind?
  • The price of sin is high. Romans 6:23 says that “the wages of sin is death.”  What do you think the apostle Paul meant by that phrase?
  • In what ways do people reap the “wages of sin”?

3. The gospel expresses God’s grace.

  • Thankfully Romans 6:23 doesn’t end with our wrongdoings. What does the rest of this verse say about eternal life?
  • Why is it important that salvation is by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9)?
  • What reasons do non-believers give to justify their acceptance into heaven?
  • Why aren’t these reasons sufficient (Rom. 3:21-28)?

4. The gospel is for everyone.

God desires that all people accept the free gift of eternal life (John 3:16; 1 Tim. 2:3-4).
How do people learn of God’s offer for eternal life? The Lord uses believers to share the gospel with others through relationships, local outreaches to the poor, missions support, or service abroad. Opportunities to spread the good news are limitless.

  • In what ways do you currently share the gospel?
  • Ask God what He would have you do to take the good news to others this week.

5. The gospel is unique.

In John 14:6, Jesus said, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.” A popular idea today is that every road leads to God. By this, people mean all religions are equally valid paths to heaven. But Jesus boldly proclaimed that He is the only way to the Father.

  • Why do you think people prefer to believe there are more than one path to God, when the way of the cross is so simple?

Closing: The Father, in His infinite wisdom, has only one requirement for salvation—that we place faith in His Son. In terms of eternal life, it makes no difference how virtuous or sinful a person has been. Humanity’s helpless, hopeless condition has only one answer: trusting in Jesus Christ and His atoning death on the cross.

Prayer: Father, thank You for sending Your Son to die so that I could be forgiven of all my sins. Please empower me to share this good news with my family, neighbors, and friends, both near and far. I surrender my will to be used by You, and I look forward to the work You will accomplish through me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Adapted from The Power of the Gospel, by Charles Stanley. 2003.

 

Related Resources

Related Video

The Reason For Our Boldness

Once we become Christians, we have a responsibility to share the truth of salvation with others. But oftentimes, we are not bold in sharing our faith because we have questions and doubts about exactly what the gospel is. (Watch The Reason For Our Boldness.)

 

 

Our Daily Bread — God Waiting

Our Daily Bread

John 14:1-6

The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, . . . but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. —2 Peter 3:9

During the Christmas season we wait. We wait in traffic. We wait in checkout lines to purchase gifts. We wait for family to arrive. We wait to gather around a table filled with our favorite foods. We wait to open presents lovingly chosen.

All of this waiting can be a reminder to Christians that Christmas is a celebration of waiting for something much more important than holiday traditions. Like the ancient Israelites, we too are waiting for Jesus. Although He already came as the long-awaited Messiah, He has not yet come as ruler over all the earth. So today we wait for Christ’s second coming.

Christmas reminds us that God also waits . . . He waits for people to see His glory, to admit that they are lost without Him, to say yes to His love, to receive His forgiveness, to turn away from sin. While we wait for His second coming, He waits for repentance. What seems to us like God’s slowness in coming is instead His patience in waiting (2 Peter 3:9).

The Lord is waiting to have a relationship with those He loves. He made the first move when He came as baby Jesus and the sacrificial Lamb. Now He waits for us to welcome Him into our lives as Savior and Lord. —Julie Ackerman Link

God is waiting in the silence

As the world goes rushing by;

Will not someone stop and listen,

Answer quickly, “Here am I”?

—Oswald Smith © 1939 The Rodeheaver Company

God patiently keeps His promises.

Bible in a year: Ezekiel 40-41; 2 Peter 3

 

Alistair Begg – Winter in the Soul

Alistair Begg

You have made summer and winter.

Psalms 74:17

My soul, begin this wintry month with God. The cold snows and the piercing winds all remind you that He keeps His covenant with day and night and serve to assure you that He will also keep that glorious covenant that He has made with you in the person of Christ Jesus. He who is true to His Word in the revolutions of the seasons of this poor sin-polluted world will not prove unfaithful in His dealings with His own well-beloved Son.

Winter in the soul is by no means a comfortable season, and if it is upon you just now, it will be very painful to you: But there is this comfort, namely, that the Lord makes it. He sends the sharp blasts of adversity to nip the buds of expectation. He scatters the frozen dew like ashes over the once fresh green meadows of our joy. He dispenses His icy morsels, freezing the streams of our delight.

He does it all; He is the great Winter King and rules in the realms of frost, and therefore you cannot murmur. Losses, crosses, heaviness, sickness, poverty, and a thousand other ills are of the Lord’s sending and come to us with wise design. Frosts kill harmful insects and restrain raging diseases; they break up the clods and sweeten the soul. O that such good results would always follow our winters of affliction!

How we prize the fire just now! How pleasant is its cheerful glow! Let us in the same manner prize our Lord, who is the constant source of warmth and comfort in every time of trouble. Let us draw near to Him, and in Him find joy and peace in believing. Let us wrap ourselves in the warm garments of His promises, and keep working, unlike the lazy man who refuses to plow because it is too cold; in the summer he will have nothing and will be forced to beg for bread.

 

Charles Spurgeon – Free-will—a slave

CharlesSpurgeon

“And ye will not come unto me, that ye might have life.” John 5:40

Suggested Further Reading: John 6:60-65

It is certain that men will not come unto Christ, that they might have life. We might prove this from many texts of Scripture, but we will take one parable. You remember the parable where a certain king had a feast for his son, and invited a great number to come; the oxen and fatlings were killed, and he sent his messengers inviting many to the supper. Did they go to the feast? No; but they all, with one accord, began to make excuse. One said he had married a wife, and therefore he could not come, whereas he might have brought her with him. Another had bought a yoke of oxen, and went to prove them; but the feast was in the night-time and he could not prove his oxen in the dark. Another had bought a piece of land, and wanted to see it; but I should not think he went to see it with a lantern. So they all made excuses and would not come. Well the king was determined to have the feast; so he said, “Go into the highways and hedges,” and invite them—stop! Not invite—“compel them to come in;” for even the ragged fellows in the hedges would never have come unless they were compelled. Take another parable; a certain man had a vineyard; at the appointed season he sent one of his servants for his rent. What did they do to him? They beat that servant. He sent another; and they stoned him. He sent another and they killed him. And, at last, he said “I will send them my son, they will reverence him.” But what did they do? They said, “This is the heir, let us kill him, and cast him out of the vineyard.” So they did. It is the same with all men by nature. The Son of God came, yet men rejected him.

For meditation: When you thank God for your salvation, do you give him all the credit for your conversion as well (John 15:16)?

Sermon no. 52

1 December (Preached 2 December 1855)

 

 

 

John MacArthur – Christ is superior to everyone and everything.

John MacArthur

“God . . . has spoken to us in His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the world. And He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of His power. When He had made purification of sins, He sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high” (Heb. 1:1-3).

The book of Hebrews was addressed to an audience composed of Jewish Christians, Jewish non-Christians who were intellectually convinced about Jesus but hadn’t yet committed themselves to Him, and Jewish non-Christians who didn’t believe the gospel at all.

The author’s goal was to demonstrate Christ’s superiority over everyone and everything that had preceded Him, whether Old Testament persons, institutions, rituals, or sacrifices. He specifically contrasted Christ with angels, Moses, Joshua, Aaron and his priesthood, the Old Covenant, and the sacrificial system.

The Jewish believers needed this focus on Christ’s superiority because most of them were suffering some form of persecution because of their Christian testimony. Some were in danger of confusing the gospel with Jewish ceremonies and legalism, and drifting back into their former practices.

Those who were intellectually convinced but spiritually uncommitted needed to be warned not to stop at that point, but to go all the way to saving faith. They were in danger of committing the greatest sin any person can commit: rejecting Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

Those who didn’t believe in Christ as all needed to see that Jesus was in fact who He claimed to be. To such people the author explains the unique priesthood of Christ, and the urgency of turning to Him in faith.

Within your circle of friends and associates, you probably have Christians who are weak of faith and need your encouragement and instruction. Be available to minister to them whenever possible.

 

Undoubtedly you also know people who are intellectually convinced that Jesus is who He claimed to be, but aren’t willing to embrace Him as their Lord. Don’t be shy about urging them to move on to salvation.

To those who reject Christ outright, boldly proclaim the gospel and trust the Holy Spirit to convict their hearts.

Suggestion for Prayer:

Praise Christ for His preeminence and surpassing grace.

For Further Study:

Read Hebrews 1-2. To whom does the writer compare Christ? Be specific.

 

Joyce Meyer – Exercising Authority

Joyce meyer

For it is disgraceful for a woman to talk in church [for her to usurp and exercise authority over men in the church].

—1 Corinthians 14:35

Part of the problem in Corinth was that women may have been usurping authority over men, which is a wrong attitude that some women who teach or preach can develop. They may think their position allows them to exercise authority over people. I cannot be responsible for what other women do, but as for me, I can honestly say that when I teach God’s Word, I don’t see myself exercising authority over men or women.

I use the gift of communication that God has given me to fulfill the call on my life to teach. I want to help people understand God’s Word so they can easily apply it to their daily lives. When I hold a public meeting, I believe I have authority over that meeting and that I am responsible to keep order, but I have never felt that I was taking authority over people. It is difficult to know exactly what was going on when Paul wrote this letter, but we cannot take this verse to mean that women were forever forbidden to speak in church. We must look at all of the other Scriptures that clearly indicate that God regularly used women.

Lord, I am not interested in having authority over any other person, but I do want the confidence that comes from having the authority of Your Word working in and through my life. Amen.

 

Campus Crusade for Christ; Bill Bright – Strength and Peace

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“He will give His people strength. He will bless them with peace” (Psalm 29:11).

Scott, a professing atheist with the morals of an alley cat, insisted that he had peace in his heart. Though rare, it is possible for people to harden their hearts so much that God ceases to draw them to Himself, and they experience a counterfeit peace.

The psalmist, of course, is talking about a different kind of peace. Ocean voyagers in the storm are at peace because they know the ship is sound and the pilot is skillful. In the same way, we as believers are at peace because we serve God who gives His people strength and blesses them with peace.

“His people,” of course, refers to those who have placed their trust and faith in His Son, Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior. None other may claim such a wonderful promise.

Significantly, “strength” comes before “peace.” This is God’s strength: “Who would certainly fail without it. Then this very same strength results in peace, God’s peace “that passes all understanding.”

God’s strength enables us to contend with the powers of darkness, within the world and within our own natural depravity.

Peace, the great blessing of the gospel is two-fold:

Peace with God through Christ, and

Peace of mind.

Strength and peace to live the abundant, supernatural life is available to all His people. You may claim your share today by faith.

Bible Reading: Psalm 71:9-16

TODAY’S ACTION POINT:> Those two great blessings, strength and peace, will be mine today in direct proportion to my faith and trust in Him, who is my peace.

 

Presidential Prayer Team; P.G. – Beyond Measure

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Setting her giant bowl before her, Grandma reached into the flour sack and took out handfuls of whiteness. She then added a couple scoops of sugar, salt poured from the hollow of her palm, and numerous shakes from the cinnamon can – ingredients never measured, but combined in just the right amounts. When her snickerdoodles emerged fresh, soft and thick from the oven, they seldom had the chance to cool before being snagged by eager hands.

And from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.

John 1:16

The Bible says God measures out His grace: “But grace was given to each one of us according to the measure of Christ’s gift.” (Ephesians 4:7) Romans 12:3 reads, “For by the grace given…each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.” Does the Lord dole out His grace to you by holy handfuls? Or does He carefully measure: this for you, that for another? He’s likely more like Grandma….reaching into His own immeasurable fullness and lavishing you with grace and more grace. Favor. Blessings. Goodness. Love.

In this season of cookie baking and gift giving, remember the greatest of all gifts – the grace given to you by God’s only Son Jesus. Reflect on America’s need to again accept that immeasurable grace, one person at a time…starting with the nation’s leaders.

Recommended Reading: Romans 8:28-39