Expanded short Gospel

Inspired by the Holy Spirit Paul wrote, 

‘Remember Jesus Christ, raised from the dead, descended from David….’  2 Timothy 2:8

This is a very short Gospel.  

A more expanded version: 

  • God the Creator planted a Garden in the east, in Eden. 
  • God was there with the man and his wife.  They were right with God.
  • The evil one deceived them, they disobeyed God and were expelled from the Garden.  Genesis 2-3
  • Outside of Eden man was not right with God.  The following explains it: 
    • Cain murdered his brother.  Genesis 4:1-12
    • The generation of Noah went wild. Genesis 6-8
    • The builders of the Tower of Babel wanted to protect themselves. Genesis 11:1-9
  • God called Abraham and created His nation Israel.  Five books of Moses. 
  • God gave the nation His righteous laws – the Old Covenant. 
  • If they kept those laws, the nation would be right with God, 

‘And if we are careful to obey all this law before the Lord our God, as He commanded us, that will be our righteousness.’  Deuteronomy 6:25

  • The nation failed, were exiled, brought back, but still failed.  The nation was not right with God.   See the last book of the Old Testament, Malachi.
  • God promised a New Covenant in Jesus.  Jesus gave His life as the sinless Sacrifice, so man can be right with God.  
  • To be right with God through Jesus, is available to all people who are willing.   

Conclusion  

‘But now a righteousness from God, apart from the law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify.’  Romans 3:21

This righteousness is by grace and faith.  Praise the Lord!  See Ephesians 2:8

Does God love all people?

One often hears that God loves all people.  Yet that belief is based on a wrong interpretation of one specific verse: ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.’  John 3:16  

#  Why is it not advisable to say that God loves all people?  

It is because it results in questions, like: 

  • Why is the world then in such a mess? 
  • Why doesn’t God do something about the mess?
  • Why are people then in hell?   

Our human race associates God’s love with pleasure, happiness, an easy life and no judgment for wrong doing.

#  The context of John 3:16

David Pawson (You Tube, What about John 3:16?) explains that the verses before John 3:16 explain the context.  They refer to Numbers 21:4-9 where the Israelites complained and spoke against God and Moses.  So God sent poisonous snakes that bit them and many died.  They confessed their rebellion and asked Moses to pray to God to take the snakes away.  God did not take the snakes away, but told Moses to make a bronze snake and put it on a pole.  When anyone was bitten he/she could look at it and be saved from death.  

#  John 3:16 boils down to the following:

The bronze snake on the pole is a shadow of Jesus hanging on the Cross.  All people are born as rebels against God and it will cause us to die spiritually.  But God provided Jesus on the Cross as our only hope.  If we put our faith in Him, He forgives us and we are saved from the eternal consequences of our disobedience and rebellion.

#  The Bible’s emphasis is not on God’s love for all people.

  • Pawson says that of the 35,000 verses in the Bible, only 35 speak about God’s love.  That is about 0.01%.  God says He loves His people, the elect, those who can appreciate His love. 
  • The Bible’s emphasis is on righteousness (=morally right in God’s opinion) and none of us can make the grade.  It is Jesus’ death on the Cross where He suffered, shed His blood and died for our sins, that enables God to completely forgive us and make us righteous in His sight.  

#  At this point I can almost hear you thinking, that is simple! 

If Jesus is like the ‘bronze snake on the pole’ (the Sacrificial Lamb of God) all I need to do is look up at the Cross and ask for forgiveness of sins.  Then everything is fine.  I am righteous and ready for heaven!  Sorry to disappoint you, it isn’t quite that simple.  It is here that people run into trouble.   

#  God’s Kingdom is perfect.  

God will never accept anyone with a criminal record  (= all the sins we committed against the holy God).  Yet no-one was ever born sinless, except Jesus, the Son of God.  There is no-one who can claim he or she never offended God.  That means all people have a ‘police record’ that has to be cleared.  Only Jesus can do it.  Each person applies personally to Jesus for  forgiveness of his or her offences.  Jesus has no problem to do it, but you need to follow a certain procedure.  

#  David Pawson explains the essential procedure.

  • Repentance.  It means to acknowledge that you are on the wrong way, the broad way.  Jesus’ way is narrow, but leads straight to His eternal Kingdom. 
  • Believe.  It means to believe that Jesus died for your sins and you are forgiven. 
  • Baptism.  It means you are baptised in water as a public declaration that you died with Christ and you come out of the water raised into a new life. 
  • Receive the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit is the Counsellor, the Personal Life Coach if you will.  He will teach and enable you to change your old ways and prepare to live now as a citizen of God’s Kingdom.  

#  The emphasis is on how to live as a Kingdom citizen ‘now,’ not ‘then.’  

It is not as someone said, ‘My sins are forgiven, my ticket is stamped to heaven, now I can live as I want and when I die I am in Jesus’ arms.’  No, it isn’t like that at all.  God is too clever for that.  He will only allow those who are willing to serve and love Him, no matter what. 

Conclusion 

God repeatedly tests our willingness to obey the Holy Spirit.  The reason is that the Holy Spirit will be in us eternally.  That is why we ‘practice’ now to trust and obey Him.  We learn to ask His advice about our lives, jobs, decisions, et cetera.  He is God the Holy Spirit who knows all things and can help us.  So when a follower of Jesus dies, the Holy Spirit remains with him/her.  In the Revelation 21-22 phase, the Holy Spirit still works in us to honour God and Jesus in love and loyalty.

Lot’s righteousness

The men of Sodom did not touch Lot or his daughters, because his uncle saved them from slavery.

There is an extremely strange verse in the Bible.  It is about Abraham’s nephew, Lot, ‘…and if He rescued Lot, a righteous man, who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men….’ 1  How can a  man be righteous when he offered his two virgin daughters to the wild lot of Sodom?

#  Imagine the scene

The sex crazy mob bang on the door of Lot’s house.  They want to have sexual relations with the two men who sleep over in Lot’s house.  Lot opens the door and pleads with them to leave the men alone.  Why did they not grab Lot, kill him, push him aside or enter his house?  Lot just shut the door on them and did not even lock it.

#  Behind Lot was someone the people of Sodom were wary about.

In Genesis 14 four kings wage war against Sodom and some other cities and carry off the people and all their possessions.  Lot’s uncle, Abram, saves them all from slavery and brings them back.  When Abram arrives, “The king of Sodom said to Abram,’Give me the people and keep the goods for yourself.'”  2   Abram refused to take anything.  The people knew that they owed not only their lives, but also their freedom and their possessions to Abram.  They were aware of his prowess as a warrior.

#  What were the chances they would dare to make Abram cross?

None, unless they were stupid.  So they did not dare to touch his relative Lot, his wife or his daughters.  But the two visitors were outside Lot’s family circle.  So Lot had that security, amplified by the fact that he was an important man who sat at the city gate, a kind of city councillor.

#  Still, why does the Bible call Lot righteous?

  • Lot must have recognised that the angels were special people.  He knew what would happen to them if they stayed in the square for the night.  So he pleaded with them to stay with him.  Lot prepared the food for the two men himself, while Abram asked Sara to help him. 3
  • Jesus recommended hospitality.  “….Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink?  When did we see you a stranger and invite you in…?  …The King will reply, I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.'” 4  That is what Lot did and God recommended him
  • Lot was grieved about the sin around him. ‘Lot…who was distressed by the filthy lives of lawless men (for that righteous man, living among them day after day, was tormented in his righteous soul by the lawless deeds he saw and heard)….’ 5  Nevertheless Lot was not a good evangelist, since his future sons-in-law only laughed when he urged them to leave, because God was going to destroy the city. 6  It is possible that he did the least he could, namely pray.  The Bible often gives very limited detail on some one’s personal life.

Conclusion 

It is obvious that hasty conclusions lead to incorrect insights.  For the unbeliever, the easiest is to accuse God of everything that happens on the face of the world.  To carefully investigate and study is too much bother.

References

  1. 2 Peter 2:7
  2. Genesis 14:21
  3. Genesis 18:1-8;  Genesis 19:3
  4. Matthew 25:37
  5. 2 Peter 2:8
  6. Genesis 19:14
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