Archives For Gospel

If you have questions about the relationship between God’s sovereignty and our sharing of the gospel, I highly recommend J.I.Packer’s classic, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God.

Below I have outlined J.I. Packer’s summary of the gospel message. Keep in mind, this is abridged. But it offers a basic outline of the Christian message. For more, read Packer’s Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God It’s only 126 pages long.

I. The gospel is a message about God. It tells us who He is, what His character is, what His Standards are, and what He requires of us, His creatures . . .

II. The gospel is a message about sin. It tells us how we have fallen short of God’s standard; how we have become guilty, filthy, and helpless in sin, and now stand under the wrath of God. . . Not till we have learned our need to get right with God, and our inability to do so by any effort of our own, can we come to know the Christ who saves from sin.

a. Conviction of sin is essentially an awareness of a wrong relationship with God: not just with one’s neighbour . . .

b. Conviction of sin always includes conviction of sins: a sense of guilt for particular wrongs done in the sight of God . . .

c. Conviction of sin always includes conviction of sinfulness: a sense of one’s complete corruption and perversity in God’s sight, and one’s consequent need of what Ezekiel called a ‘new heart’ . . .

III. The gospel is a message about Christ – Christ the Son of God incarnate; Christ the Lamb of God, dying for sin; Christ the risen Lord; Christ the perfect Saviour.

a. We must not present the Person of Christ apart from His saving work.

b. We must not present the saving work of Christ apart from His Person.

IV. The gospel is a summons to faith and repentance.

a. The demand is for faith as well as repentance.

b. The demand is for repentance as well as faith.

See also:

What Do Christians Mean When They Reference the Gospel or Good News

A Football Illustration: Ron Brown Shares the Gospel

Which column describes your approach to the Christian life: religion? or the Gospel? 

The below table taken from Tim Keller’s, Center Church: Doing Balanced, Gospel-Centered Ministry in Your City, page 65). 

If you have more questions about what is meant by “the Gospel” see this post: What Do Christians Mean When They Reference the Gospel or Good News? 

RELIGION

GOSPEL

“I obey; therefore I’m accepted.” “I’m accepted; therefore I obey.”
Motivation is based on fear and insecurity. Motivation is based on grateful joy.
I obey God in order to get things from God. I obey God to get God — to delight and resemble him.
When circumstances in my life go wrong, I am angry at God or myself, since I believe, like Job’s friends, that anyone who is good deserves a comfortable life. When circumstances in my life go wrong, I struggle, but I know that while God may allow this for my training, he will exercise his fatherly love within my trial.
When I am criticized, I am furious or devastated because it is essential for me to think of myself as a “good person.” Threats to that self-image must be destroyed at all costs. When I am criticized, I struggle, but it is not essential for me to think of myself as a “good person.” My identity is not built on my performance but on God’s love for me in Christ.
My prayer life consists largely of petition and only heats up when I am in need. My main purpose in prayer is to control circumstances. My prayer life consists of generous stretches of praise and adoration. My main purpose is fellowship with him.
My self-view swings between two poles. If and when I am living up to my standards, I feel confident, but then I am prone to be proud and unsympathetic to people who fail. If and when I am not living up to standards, I feel humble but not confident — I feel like a failure. My self-view is not based on a view of myself as a moral achiever. In Christ I am at once sinful and lost, yet accepted. I am so bad he had to die for me, and so loved he was glad to die for me. This leads me to deeper humility as well as deeper confidence, without either sniveling or swaggering.
My identity and self-worth are based mainly on how hard I work or how moral I am, so I must look down on those I perceive as lazy or immoral. I disdain and feel superior to others. My identity and self-worth are centered on the One who died for his enemies, including me.  Only by sheer grace am I what I am, so I can’t look down on those who believe or practice something different from me. I have no inner need to win arguments.
Since I look to my pedigree or performance for my spiritual acceptability, my heart manufactures idols — talents, moral record, personal discipline, social status, etc. I absolutely have to have them, so they are my main hope, meaning, happiness, security, and significance, whatever I say I believe about God. I have many good things in my life — family, work, etc., but none of these good things are ultimate things to me. I don’t absolutely have to have them, so there is a limit to how much anxiety, bitterness, and despair they can inflict on me when they are threatened and lost.

 

 

The Christian life is about a journey to the heavenly city.In our sermon this morning, I used “The Road” to picture the journey God’s people are making which will one day end in the Heavenly City. (You will be able to listen to the sermon online soon). So “The Road” references the story of how God will buy back or redeem his people from the pain and death of a fallen world.

We meditated on 5 aspects of “The Road.”

  1. Know where the Road started & where the Road ends. The story we are in began in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 1-3) and it will end in the Heavenly City on a New Earth.
  2. Recognize that the basic problem of the Road is personal. People – created in the image of God to love him and one another – broke their personal relationship with God. The consequence of brokenness is hell – separated from God for eternity. Revelation 21, that speaks of the heavenly city, also warns of the Lake of Fire or hell for those who do not follow Christ (Revelation 21:8).
  3. Understand that personal offenses require personal solutions. Only Christ can repair the Road. Christ did this by becoming human without ceasing to be deity – – living a perfect life – – going to the Cross to pay the penalty for sin – -and rising victoriously. In this sense, we might think of Christ as a “bridge” as much as a road. Through his atoning work, he made it possible for His people to spend eternity with Him.
  4. If you have not already, accept the invitation to follow Christ. We accept the invitation by believing in Jesus and following Him (Romans 6:23, John 3:16, Ephesians 2:8-9). So the Road is for those who choose to accept Christ as Lord and Savior.

[13] “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. [14] For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. Matthew 7:13-14

  1. The timetable on the road isn’t what we expect. On the Road, we encounter devastating delays when we least expect them. And the end will come much sooner than we can imagine (Revelation 22).

If you know that you need to make a decision to follow Christ – – that you haven’t been living in light of eternity at all – – then do not delay. Make a decision to follow Christ at once.

If you have questions, then talk to a mature Christian at once.

We are available to you at The Red Brick Church.

See also:

What Do Christians Mean When They Reference the Gospel or Good News

A Football Illustration: Ron Brown Shares the Gospel

JT shares:

The highlights of this conversation for me were the last two exchanges: Kevin DeYoung’s answer on gay marriage (41:30-46:12) and Jackie Hill’s answer on what is the gospel (46:14-51:15):

Panel Discussion: Kevin DeYoung, Justin Taylor, Jackie Hill Perry, and Josh Moody from Crossway on Vimeo.

The below video is by no means just for singles nor is it simply about the subject of being single. I’ll bet you will be encouraged by this if you take 15 minutes to watch it.

I heard Lizzette Beard at the  2014 ERLC National Conference on “The Gospel, Homosexuality, and the Future of Marriage.” I continue to reflect on what she had to say and there are a couple of specific ways that her talk influenced my direction as a leader for our church. And, for the record, her influence wasn’t in reference to how we do singles ministry!

Gospel Thoughts for High School GraduatesEarlier this week I posted a version of the letter I share each year with graduates. I asked for your input and it was such a great help that I made my most extensive revisions to the letter ever. It is a little longer, but it still fits on one page of a Word document with 1″ margins! Here is the 2014 version (with lots of links to follow).

Dear Graduate:

Congratulations on your accomplishment! We are so thankful for you.

For the last 20 years I have thought about what I would tell graduates on one page.  Each year I refine this letter a little more even as I refine our philosophy of youth ministry. Here is the 2014 version. It is my prayer for you.

  1. If you have not already, Give Your Life to Jesus Christ Who is the only King.  On the Cross He paid the penalty for His people.  Receive the gift of eternal life by believing in Him and your sins are forgiven.  The alternative is unthinkable (John 3:36). This is the Gospel (or the Good News of Christ) and it should shape every area of life. Christ is God– – He is not just a name we chant to help us cope. We must be His. It is not enough to be “moral” (Romans 3:23).
  2. Be sure you really are a Christian (2 Cor 13:5, James 2:17). Many think they are Christians and they are not. The worst words that will ever be heard in human history will be when a group of people stand before Christ thinking they are Christians and find out that they are not (Matt 7:21-23). What scares me most as a pastor is the thought that some of our people may be in that group. Be sure of your salvation! If you have any questions, talk to me, or someone who understands the Gospel, soon.
  3. Grow in wisdom (Philippians 1:9-11, Romans 12:1-2).  Wisdom is skill for living.  It is the saw we use to cut our way through life. We need a sharp saw to make quality decisions. We sharpen the saw by remembering that the fear of the LORD s the beginning of wisdom and by being in Word-centered local church. Don’t think you can simply put church on hold for the next few years. During that time, you will make decisions that affect the rest of your life.  Make wise decisions amid being involved in a good church and vitally connected to other committed Christians. If you move, or go to college, make it your first priority to find Christian fellowship. This is especially critical the first three weeks of college.
  4. Follow Christ and be super excited about a blessed or “happy” life.  For Christians, everything doesn’t always fit together as neatly as you would like in the short run. Our culture is increasingly hostile to Christianity. But Psalm 1 is true.  The person who walks with God and delights in God’s wonderful Word is the one who will be blessed.  Pursue the joy of Christian life. God promises that you won’t be disappointed (Hebrews 11:6). Christ is both right and best. Remember: there are two ways: a broad road or a narrow one. There is no third.
  5. Be warned: the way of the sinner is hard.  Please don’t be deceived.  Don’t buy the lie that you can make wrong choices and not reap the consequences (Galatians 6:7-8).  Choose to sin, choose to suffer (1 Corinthians 10:11). (Do not choose to suffer by dating unbelievers! Hate, hate, hate pornography!)
  6. Tell people about Jesus – Regardless of where God leads in life we are called to be Christ’s ambassadors (Matthew 28:18-20, 2 Cor 5:19-2). Jesus gave us the mission of making disciples.
  7. Be assured: the people of the Red Brick Church love you. When we get to the Heavenly City, we want to know you will be at our meeting spot: 5th tree, right side of the river, facing the throne. We will be there soon. In the mean time, I am a pastoral resource available to you!

In Him,

 

Pastor Chris Brauns

Screenshot 2014-02-04 14.13.18One of our goals as churches and families must be to equip our people to know important theological terms. A little girl in our church (see the above pic) recently took the time to make me a list of key terms. I especially liked the first one on her list. This year our church will  focus on  terms for Easter.

2014_02_04_14_05_08_001As a pastor, one of my greatest privileges is to have a relationship with the children of our church – – and thankfully we have a LOT of them.  I so enjoy their pictures.

I was especially thrilled a couple of weeks ago with a  set of notes Harleigh made for me.  She went through the Bible and identified key terms to know. You can see a picture of all four pages to the right.

Harleigh’s list of terms is a good one.  “Gosple” [sic] is first  that is a good place to begin. If you don’t know what “gospel” means then read this post – – which also features a picture of Harleigh!

In anticipation of Easter this year at the Red Brick Church, I will be publishing an Easter primer with a list of terms, places, and people that are essential for understanding Good Friday. My goal for the terms is that will be simple enough for children like Harleigh to understand  – – yet, comprehensive and deep enough to challenge our adults.
2014_02_04_14_05_22

2014_02_04_14_05_08_002The Red Brick Church values equipping the next generationIf you don’t have a church home – – then be our guest at the Red Brick Church. Last week, we began a Life Group for parents of young children, and it is off to a wonderful start — you can read more here.

But wherever you are at, be sure you know the meaning of terms like “amen”, “charity”, “faith.”

See also:

What does the little word “amen” express?

This week’s word: justification

What do Christians mean when they reference the gospel or good news?

 

 

We’re dreaming about seeing the Fellowship of Christian Athletes become a growing movement in Northern Illinois. You can find out more at our Facebook page.

Here’s how you can help:

(1) Let interested coaches know about our Coaches Huddle on 6:00 PM, August 4, 2013 at the Red Brick Church in Stillman Valley. It’s a low key, non-threatening, chance to be encouraged with other coaches.
(2) Like our FCA Facebook page and share it on the wall of those who might be interested.
(3) Encourage those who are interested to contact me (Chris Brauns). Facebook is a good place to connect or my email is cdbrauns (@ sign) gmail.com
(4) Pray for the opportunity to connect with young people through athletics!

In the mean time, take just a few minutes to watch this video from Colt McCoy when he was at Texas:

I am praying that our VBS will be centered on the King and His Good News!The word “gospel” means “good news.” It is from the Greek word from which we get “evangelical.” This is what the word looks like in Greek: εὐαγγέλιον. Even if it’s all Greek to you, you can make out the outline of the word, “evangelical”

So, what is the “good news” referenced? In the Bible, the good news is that the Triune God is rescuing his people and his creation from their rebellion against him. Were there no rescue, the only expectation for eternity would be judgment. But, God is gracious and merciful (Ephesians 2:4ff). He sent his only begotten Son to die on the Cross for the sins of those who put their faith and trust in him (John 3:16, 36). One day soon (Revelation 22:12, 20), Jesus will return, and those who have truly believed will spend eternity with Christ on a New Earth (Revelation 21:3-5).” This is the Gospel or the Good News.

Be aware of the sobering truth that for those who reject Christ, the news is not good. We are judged by God’s standard, not our friends and neighbors. All have sin and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).

The below thoughts on 1 Corinthians 15:1-8 provide further information about what is meant by the gospel.

* * *

Our understanding of the Gospel must be based on what the Bible says. First Corinthians 15:1-8 is a good place to begin.

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles. Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.(1 Co 15:1-8).”

In this passage, notice four aspects of the Gospel or Good News:

1. The Gospel was Planned. Paul said that Christ died for our sins, “according to the Scriptures.” Before the foundation of the world, God knew how he would rescue His people and His Creation from sin and destruction. Indeed, Isaiah talks about the good news of Christ 700 years prior to the time of Christ (Isaiah 52:7ff). After the resurrection, Jesus explained on the road to Emmaus how all the Scriptures pointed to his death burial and resurrection (Luke 24:27).

2. The Gospel is centered on the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures. He was buried. He rose again. And, many people saw him, touched him, talked with him, and ate with him after his resurrection. These things really happened. They are the reality on which the Good News is based.

3. The Gospel proclaims that Christ paid the penalty for the sins of his people. I mentioned earlier that all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. The only way that sinful people can justly spend eternity with God is if the penalty for their sin is paid. That’s why Paul stressed, “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures.”

Screenshot 2016-06-01 15.54.224. The Gospel requires that salvation must be received by saving faith. Notice Paul’s “if”:

. . . which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain.

Paul’s point is that true faith will be accompanied by a changed life. If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation (1 Corinthians 3:16-17). As surely as God made little green apples from little green apple trees, his grace will result in Christ-like fruit in the life of a believer (Matthew 7:16).

If you say that you have faith in Jesus – – but, you haven’t been changed, then you may not have saving faith. See 1 John 2:3-4, James 2:14-26. Or, as I often stress at our church:

Works or conduct has nothing to do with salvation, but conduct does have something to do with assurance of salvation.

Quacking doesn’t make you a duck. But, ducks do quack. Acting like a Christian, doesn’t make you a Christian. But, Christians act like it.

* * *

Many authors have summarized what Christians mean by the word, “gospel.” R.H. Mounce wrote:

The gospel is the joyous proclamation of God’s redemptive activity in Christ Jesus on behalf of man enslaved by sin.” R.H. Mounce. Evangelical Dictionary of Theology.

Before you criticize his spelling, know that it was in 1525, that William Tyndale penned:

Evangelion (that we call the gospell) is a Greek word; and signifieth good, merry, glad and joyful tidings, that maketh a man’s heart glad, and maketh him sing, dance, and leap for joy. William Tyndale, 1525, From The Prologue to the New Testament.”

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See also this post, what scares me most as a pastor in which I talk about the reality that there are some people who think they are Christians who are not. Or, read this post (click here) on assurance of salvation.

I would also recommend John Piper’s sermon, “How I Distinguish Between the Gospel and False Gospels.”

D.A. Carson’s summary of the Bible in 221 Words is also very helpful.

HT: Denny Burk