What is the Gospel of Jesus?

Why do we seek to serve others?

Well, primarily it’s because we are motivated by the love of God both for ourselves and for all people, and because we feel He has called us to this work.

Love is a word easily used, but real love is perhaps not so easily recognized or understood. The Bible says, “By this we know love, because He has laid down His life for us.” (1 John 3:16) And again; “In this the love of God was shown to us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.” (1 John 4:9)

These statements are at the heart of the gospel (good news) of Jesus of Nazareth. It is the most important story of the ages, and gives the energy to all our work.


In the beginning ……

God has made human beings in His image. We are far more than just higher animals. He has designed us for a special level of interaction with Himself. These are hard thoughts to hold on to. As the psalmist says – “What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you show attention to him? You have made him a little lower than the angels. You have crowned him with glory and honour!” (Psalm 8:4-5)

But so often what we see around us is not honourable. We see violence, lying, theft and hatred, divisions, betrayals and so much that offends. Clearly this is no Eden we are living in. Anymore. There is real evil in the world and the bible explains it source.

Things made to be whole were broken. 

We were made with all the potential of free people with God given intelligence. But we were also made to live joined to the one who created the universe by His unlimited power and wisdom, and who knows His creation better than it knows itself. When people chose to ignore the council of God and turn to their own finite understanding – this was the origin of sin. But in reality as much as we might like to blame someone else, this choice is something that each of us have made, and do make continually. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) We declare ourselves sufficient, and God an unnecessary hindrance and an anachronism, and in so doing we condemn ourselves.

And here presents the insurmountable problem for all human beings; a problem that like Adam an Eve in the garden, we cannot overcome.

The Gap, and the consequence.

God is holy. Which means that although we are stained by our own sin and rebellion from Him, He remains unstained. And totally intolerant.

“This is the message that we have heard from Him and deliver to you, that God is Light and in Him is no darkness at all.” (1 John 1:5)

God is a just God. The concept of justice has its origins in Him and is only found in perfect form in Him. Therefore God can never look the other way, He can never ignore, and He can never pass over sin.

There are only two things that God can do with sin. He can either judge it, or He can forgive it. He can’t ignore it.

What is the just penalty for a human race that turns its back on its creator?

“The wages (the appropriate recompense) for sin, is death …” (Romans 6:23)

God has set in place both the start of time and its finish. And at the end of all things He will judge the world.

“For why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of Christ. For it is written; ‘As I live says the Lord, every knee shall bow to Me and every tongue shall confess to God.’ So then, each of us shall give account of himself to God.” (Romans 14:10-12)

“Many of those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt.” (Daniel 12:2)

Jesus Himself said the following. “When the Son of Man comes in His glory, and all the holy angels with Him, then will He sit on the throne of His glory. All the nations will be gathered before Him and He will separate them one from the other, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.” (Matt 25:31-32)

“ For we know Him who said, ‘Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,’ says the Lord. And again, ‘The Lord will judge His people.’ It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” (Hebrews 10:30-31)

“Then He will also say to those on His left hand, ‘Depart from Me you cursed into the everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.’” (Matt 25:41)

 The Bridge. 

BUT, although God is both holy and just, He is also merciful and loving. “God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9).

“I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked, but that the wicked turns from his ways and live” (Ezekiel 33:11)

So in His love, God in His wisdom found a way to bridge the divide between Himself and His fallen creation – a divide that we ourselves could not bridge. “God …. desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God and one Mediator between God and people – the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all…”             (1 Timothy 2:4-6)

Christ himself – the ransom for mankind. “We all like sheep have gone astray, but God has laid on Him, the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)

Who is this Christ (or Messiah)? He is he Eternal Son of God.

“For God so loved the world that he gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him, shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)

“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die … But God demonstrates His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:6-8)

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God.” (1 Peter 5:18)

“The wages of sin is death, BUT, the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 6:23)

What about you? 

So how then do you and I as fallen people, “access” this mercy of God? In short, how are we saved from our sins? How do we receive this “gift” from God.

  1. You come as you are – a sinner in need of the mercy of God.

Although you may spend so much of your time and energy on your ‘image’ in the eyes of people, God knows you as you are. He not only sees your actions, but he understands your thoughts and motivations. “For the Lord does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1Samuel 16:7)

“There is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.” (Hebrews 4:13)

Now, you may say, “But I consider myself a good person. I am certainly not like many evil people in the world.” It’s the nature of us as people to compare ourselves which each other. But God does not compare you to any standard like that. He compares you to the way He created you to be. He compares you to that perfect standard He sees in the life of His own Son. To Him, our attempts at living better than our peers fall far short. “But we are all like an unclean thing, and all our righteousness is like filthy rags.” (Isaiah 64:6)

Just imagine – if all of your hidden thoughts could be played up on a screen for all to see, how long would you hold to your claims of “goodness”? – but God does know all that there is to know about us. This is the miracle of His mercy – that He loves us enough to save us, despite knowing us utterly.

It is an uncomfortable and humbling thing to be fully known – to have it all laid bare. Nevertheless, this is the path to freedom. Human beings can’t be truly reformed. But they can be transformed by the grace of God. They can be made new. But the door to that change is a low one. The only way through is the way of humility. But to go through is to enter into something new.

“If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves and make Him to be a liar. But if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:8-9)

  1. Come by faith – just like a child.

Many modern people speak as if they have moved beyond the naïve world of “faith” into something nobler, more rational, and more reasonable.

But in truth, we all show much faith every day. You trust the seat to hold you up and not collapse, you expect the plane to fly and not crash, and you trust that your money in the bank will still be there tomorrow. In reality, faith is not in question. But is what you place your faith in worthy of that faith?

Who do you trust to order and to direct the path of your life? In most cases, people trust themselves to be the masters of their own destiny. And yet the truth is that we can control so very little of that destiny.

“Come now you who say, ‘Today or tomorrow we will go to such and such a city, spend a year there, buy and sell and make profit;’ whereas you do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is your life? It is a vapour that appears for a little while and then vanishes away.” (James 4:14-14)

God the Creator is the one who alone has both all wisdom to understand past, present and future, and all power to act as He sees fit within the ages of time. He commands you to come to Him, and receive mercy and blessing.

A child does not cease to have questions or cease to explore the universe. But a child does have implicit trust that someone higher can understand things that perhaps they themselves don’t understand and they will restfully bend their will to the will of those whose understanding is greater.

  1. You must allow Christ to be the Master (Lord) of your life. You must repent.

Repent is a word that is not used in any seriousness very often any more. It simply means “to change ones mind.” I go from a point of view to a different point of view.

But of course, any real, deep-seated change of view, will necessarily be borne out by change of actions. To repent of your sin means that you understand that running your own life is in fact rebelling against the one who made you. You come to Him, seek His mercy, and give your life back to Him to do with as He sees fit from that time onwards. He alone cherishes your life as it should be cherished. He alone sees the full potential of that life, and only He has the power to transform and direct it through to the finish.

There will be sins (the fruits of our fallen way of life) that are displeasing to Him. As you learn about them, confess these to Him, and look to His power to help you turn away from these things. He does not expect you to be able to change yourself anymore than the dead man can raise himself to life. But as you cry out to Him, He will faithfully change you into something new. “It is God who works in you, both to will (to want to do) and to act, according to His good pleasure.” (Phil 2:13)

Then you allow Him to lead you into the paths He has for you. God has not planned for you to live like some sort of “high” animal. He has intended you for much more. But, what the bible calls “the paths of righteousness,” are best known to Him. Your job is to seek Him and to obey Him in whatever He asks of you. “I know the thoughts I think towards you says the Lord. Thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.” (Jeremiah 29:11)


Is there any other way?


The cross where Christ was crucified is the meeting place for all humanity that seeks after God.

“Nor is there salvation in any other; for there is no other name under heaven, given among men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) God will accept no other offering. Not our best efforts, not all our good works.”

BUT – “To them who received Him, to those who believed on His name, to them He gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)

“For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith. This is not of your doing. It is the gift of God; not of works, so no-one can boast.” (Ephesians 2:8-9)


Finally –

“And this is the testimony (this is the gospel); that God had given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life. He who does not have the Son does not have life.”       (1 John 5:11-12)

“Everyone who thirsts, come to the waters. And you who have no money, come buy and eat. Yes come buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why do you spend your money for what is not bread, and your wages for what does not satisfy? Listen carefully to Me and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance. Incline your ear, and come to Me. Hear, and your soul shall live.” (Isaiah 55:1-3)

“Behold I stand at the door and knock. If anyone should hear My voice and open the door, I will come in and eat with Him and He with Me.” (Revelation 3:20)


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