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Watch 2022 online sermons » Dr. Charles Stanley » Charles Stanley - The Reason For Our Boldness

Charles Stanley - The Reason For Our Boldness

Charles Stanley - The Reason For Our Boldness
Charles Stanley - The Reason For Our Boldness
TOPICS: Boldness, Gospel

When you hear the word gospel, what do you think? Do you think Jesus, cross, John 3:16, the Bible? What do you think when you hear about the cross? And you hear about the gospel, primarily? Well, people think different things. And one of the reasons I think many people do not understand what the Christian life is all about and they do not witness, they do not share their faith, is because here's one of those words they've been hearing all of their life. And they say they've trusted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, but they couldn't even tell you what the gospel is. If someone should ask you, "Now, what's the gospel"? What would you say? If they said to you, "Well, explain the gospel to me". What would you say to them.

And what happens is because we're not confident, we're not bold. Because we're not sure, we're not bold. And because we have questions and doubts about the things we believe, we're not bold. And we let people sometimes intimidate us for the simple reason we think they know better than we do. And they think we think that they know more than we do. And oftentimes we think that what they have to say is more important than what we have to say. Nothing could be further from the truth if you understand the gospel.

Now, if you don't understand it, you could get intimated by somebody. But I want us to think about what this gospel is all about. And the fact that boldness, confidence is what every single believer needs in this day and time, as in every day. Because we're confronted with so much rubbish, so many philosophies, so many ideas that is so totally unscriptural. It's amazing, oftentimes, how little someone is willing to believe about something they don't know anything about, but just something different, just so it's different. Are you a Christian? No, no, no, that Christian stuff don't work. You read the Bible? No, no, I don't read the Bible. In other words, if they told you why they really couldn't tell you why. They don't know what they believe but they're willing to argue with you about what you believe.

So what I want us to understand before you leave here today, and for all you who're watching and listening. What is the gospel? And I want us to begin by looking at the place of the gospel in the life of Jesus. For example, if you'll remember when Jesus started in His ministry, He said in that fourth chapter of Luke. He said, "The spirit of God is upon me because He has anointed me to preach the gospel". That is, He had empowered him and commissioned him and called him to preach the gospel.

And, of course, Jesus began to go through the cities and towns of Galilee and other places and preaching and teaching. And everywhere He went, He was talking about the kingdom, and the kingdom of God, and the gospel of the kingdom of God. And also, when He went back to Nazareth, his home town, He mentioned the fact that a prophet's usually not accepted in his own town. So He began to preach in the synagogue. And as a result, they were just astounded and amazed and just complimenting Him and just couldn't be greater. Where'd this man get all this authority? And then, He gave an illustration in His message, and the next thing you knew, they stood up and the Bible says they were in agony against Him and drove Him out of the synagogue, said we're going to kill Him, push Him off the mountain. But He just walked away. The gospel has different effects on people.

And then, of course, Jesus spent His time talking to His disciples about the gospel explaining to them how to explain it to other people. He sent them out, He said, to make disciples. He said, for example, in the sixteenth chapter of Mark, He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation". And in the twenty-fourth chapter of Matthew part of which, most of which has to do with the tribulation period. He said, "This gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world and then the end will come". So Jesus spent His three years preaching the gospel, preaching the truth, sharing the truth with those who were His most intimate friends, the disciples, plus everybody else.

Now, He healed and multiplied fish and did all kind of things. It was the gospel. And so He said to them, "As you go, make disciples of all nations". That is, you teach them what I've taught you. He says teaching them all things that I've taught you. And what He was saying is I want you to spread this message of the gospel all over the world. And He commissioned them to do it. And He said now, before you go, I want you to be filled with the spirit of God, wait in the city of Jerusalem until the Holy Spirit has come upon you. Then you'll be ready. Then you'll be equipped to take on the whole world. So that was the gospel as far as Jesus was concerned. But look at it as far as the apostle Paul now. The place of the gospel and the life of the apostle Paul.

So, I want you to turn to Romans, chapter one. And let's look at this passage. And the book of Romans is the theology book of the whole Bible because there's so much of it here. And so, Paul writing to the Romans, first chapter, verse one, watch what he says, "Paul, a bond-servant of Christ Jesus, called as an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God". He calls it the gospel of God here. In Thessalonians, the second chapter, He says it three times, the gospel of God. Which He promised beforehand through His prophets and the Holy Scriptures, "Concerning His Son, who was born of a descendent of David according to the flesh," so he says, "This gospel concerns Jesus, who was declared the son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead, according to the spirit of holiness, Jesus Christ our Lord". So he gives you a big mouthful to start with. "Through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles for His name's sake, among whom you also are the called of Jesus Christ; to all who are beloved of God in Rome, called as saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ".

Now, I want you to go to verse fourteen. Then He says, "I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it," that is, in the gospel, "the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, but the righteous man shall live by faith".

Now, the apostle Paul understood the truth of the gospel. Where did it begin with him? On the Damascus road when he was on his way to persecute Christians, the Scripture says that God revealed Himself to him, and blinded, and finally God gave him his sight back. But in those moments he was transformed. He said, "Who art thou, Lord"? And God revealed to him Himself, that is Jesus Christ. He had this awesome transform experience, went into the desert for some time, and studied and listened because, remember, he was a Pharisee and he knew all about Hebrew history. He knew all about the past. But here was something dramatic that had happened to him that changed his life. He was, he was out to destroy the very Christ that met him on the road to Damascus.

So when you look at the apostle Paul, I want you to see the place of the gospel in his life and to explain some things so that when you walk out of here today, or wherever you are, you'll understand what the gospel is. And you will also understand your responsibility, your accountability to God, to share the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ with those around you. So let's think for just a moment, and here's what he said in this first verse. He said he was Paul who was set apart for the gospel of God. That is, God set him apart as an apostle, a preacher, a missionary of the gospel of Christ. He says in First Corinthians, he says he was called, he was called to be an apostle. And in Galatians, chapter two, verse seven he says it was entrusted to him.

Now, watch this. Remember that God called Paul primarily to preach first of all to the Gentiles And so when he says here in this passage, he was entrusted with the gospel, in Galatians he makes a big explanation of that. That to be entrusted with something means it's been given to you for a specific reason and entrusted, you're accountable. Paul says, "I am accountable for the truth of the gospel which has been given to me". And so he saw himself as a steward of the gospel. God had entrusted him with things that He'd entrusted no one else with till that point. And the truth is, the apostle Paul had the most accurate, clearest vision, understanding of who Jesus was of anybody of his time.

And so, he says, I've been entrusted the gospel. He felt the weight of that, that it was his responsibility to get the truth out there. Because as the others before him had shared with him what Jesus said, for example, "Go unto all the world and preach the gospel to every creature". And so the apostle Paul took that personally and he said God called him and that God had entrusted him with the gospel. And that he had also appointed him for the defense of the gospel in Philippians, chapter one. What's happening is that he's in jail and he's writing to the Philippian Christians and he's talking about people criticizing him and so forth. But, he said, you know, he said God had entrusted him with this gospel. And he also had worked in his life in such a way that he intended for him to be in defense of the gospel. He was to defend the gospel.

And, of course, God gave him lots of opportunities. Because when he was in Athens for example, he's up on Mars Hill talking to all these philosophers and so called intelligentsia of his day. And he knew exactly how to handle that because he understood what the gospel was all about. He understood the truth. And the problem is today, most people don't know the truth. If they knew the truth, they wouldn't live the way they're living. If they knew the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ, they would be willing to share what they know. Entrusted with it, listen, the day you got saved you had an experience with Jesus Christ. And at that moment you were entrusted with the knowledge of who Jesus was, of his death and his resurrection, and your experience of faith in Him. You not only experienced the gospel, you were entrusted to share it. And I wonder if you feel any of that responsibility.

In other words, you don't just get saved and sit down and think, thank God I'm on my way to heaven. You've been entrusted with the most awesome, incomparable, powerful message the world could ever hear. There is nothing to equal the gospel. You can go through all the religions that exist. They have nothing that even begins to compare with the gospel of Jesus Christ. They don't. You can ask any of them, well, tell me what you believe. And they'll tell you what they believe. They don't, they don't have any peace. They don't have any real joy. They have, they have no eternal security. There's no promise of going to heaven. And everything in every religion is based on is the works of the people you're talking to. If I'm good enough; if I do enough; if I fast enough; if I deprive myself. But it's all works, works, works, works, works.

And the reason they don't have any real security is because you never know how much works, how many works, you never know how long you've got to work. It's absolutely, totally incomplete. There's no satisfaction and no assurance in any other message in the world except the gospel. And to be entrusted with that is a treasure. And if I should ask you if you're a wealthy person you'd probably say, well, no, I'm not wealthy. If you have the gospel, you are. You have the most precious message there is in the world. The only message that will get you from this earth to heaven is the gospel of Jesus Christ. So Paul says, "I'm appointed for the defense of it". That's why he was always in arguments with people in defending the truth of the gospel. And remember this, he had this, this experience on the Damascus road, that is, his salvation was his foundation for everything else he taught. You have a foundation.

You see, here's the problem. Many people think they don't have any testimony. That's why they don't witness. Well, I don't have a testimony. And here's the way the devil's trapped us. People today think, well, to have a testimony you either have to have been on drugs, alcohol, abortion, three marriages, robbed a bank. In other words, you've got to have had this terrible, terrible testimony before anyone's going to be excited. And so I was talking to someone this week. And when I said to them about their testimony, the person said, "I don't have a testimony". I said, "Wait a minute now. You don't have a testimony? Have you been saved"? "Yes".

So I asked a number of questions and every answer got a yes. I said, "Well, look, here's what you're thinking. You're thinking the way the world thinks. Because you didn't have a bad background, everything was terrible, and you've been poor, and they treated you this way. And then you got saved and things got better and look at this testimony". I said, "Let me tell you a better testimony than that". And I said to this person, "You have a wonderful testimony because you grew up in a Christian home. You got saved," I happen to know about this person, "at the age of five. You were in Sunday School early. We prayed at your house. And, read the Bible," and just went through all these things and how God had worked in that person's life. And by the time I got through, smiling, "Well, I guess I do have a testimony". Well, I said, "Here's the problem. You think because it isn't bad that it's not dramatic".

Let me tell you how much better it is. It's a whole lot better if you get started early and get taught to live a godly life and be in the Word of God and following God's will and purpose and plan for your life. That's a whole lot, listen, that's not dramatic as far as the world is concerned. You know why it's not dramatic? They don't understand it. And so, when people say, "When so-and-so's coming to give their testimony. Well, what did they do"? That's not the question. That's not the question. It's who are they? How did God work in their life? And I want to say to you, You've been saved; you've got a testimony. You just stop and think what God's done in your life. You have a testimony. So Paul was ready and willing to defend the gospel because of the testimony he had. Then he spoke of being anointed as a preacher and apostle.

So I want you to look at this passage in Second Timothy for a moment because it's pretty explanatory. And I just want you to see, in this first chapter of Second Timothy and let's begin reading, verse six. Timothy, for example, was rather timid and, so Paul had to encourage him a little bit along the way. And so in verse six, "For this reason I remind you to kindle afresh the gift of God which is in you to the laying on of my hands. For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, or fear but of power and love and discipline. Therefore," listen to what he said, because of what God has done for you in your life, "do not be ashamed of the testimony of our Lord or of me His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God," listen, "the gospel according to the power of God, who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace which was granted to us in Christ Jesus from all eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel, for which I was appointed a preacher and an apostle and a teacher. For this reason I suffer these things, but I am not ashamed".

If you and I would think about how God's worked in our life, we have no reason to be ashamed of the gospel. So when somebody confronts you and says, well, you know, I don't understand all that, and that doesn't work for me. It won't work unless you trust the Lord. But Paul saw himself as a preacher, as a teacher, as an apostle, set apart, called by God, and appointed for the defense of the gospel. Now, in this fourteenth, fifteenth, sixteenth verses here in Romans, I want you to notice what he says. He says in verse fourteen, watch this, this is what motivated him. He said, "I am obligated both to Greeks and to barbarians". And that was the way of his saying, to the Greeks who were supposed to be the most knowledgeable, and they were in many ways. Their civilization's probably never been, never really, totally surpassed. But he says, "I'm obligated both to Greeks," the most educated and refined, "and to barbarians," the lowest part of the earth, "both to the wise and to the foolish. So, for my part, I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome. For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it's the power of God to salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also Greek".

So I'll ask you a question. He says, "I am obligated to preach the truth". Let me ask you a question. Do you feel obligated to share the gospel with anybody? Obligation speaks of a responsibility. Do you feel obligated? And if you, if a person feels obligated to share the gospel, where should they start? In their family. In other words, every father who is a believer is obligated to teach his children the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ very early in life. Every mother is responsible to teach those children the truth of the gospel very early in life and the live it out before them. We all have an obligation. You have friends who are not Christians. You have the truth of the gospel, listen, the only message that can get that person from earth to heaven, you've got it; you're obligated. Jesus said, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature".

You say, "I'm not a preacher". You don't have to be a preacher. You just have to have the message. You have to have an experience with Christ, have the message, you're obligated to share it with people who do not have the message. You say, "Well, suppose they don't listen". Well, ask the apostle Paul what he did. He just kept on talking. He said I'm not ashamed of the gospel, no matter what they say, no matter whether they believe it or not. We're obligated. Every father in here feels obligated to take care of his family. You should, financially, and every other way. What about the gospel? Obligated to teach them, obligated to live before them a godly life. He said, "I'm not only obligated," he said, "but something else I want to tell you". He says, "I'm not only obligated, but I'm eager to do it". He said, there's something within me, there's a burning within me, there's a desire within me to get the truth of the gospel. He said, "I'm eager to do it".

So I ask you another question. Is there anybody that you can say, I am eager to tell them about Christ? I'm eager to share my testimony with them. I am eager to see that that person gets saved. I'm eager to pour out my heart. I'm eager to do whatever's necessary that they would hear the gospel. Now, people are eager to get a job. They're eager to have a new car, eager to have been able either to keep their home or buy a new one. They're eager to be dressed right, and we're eager about a lot of things. Are we eager about the most important thing in existence is the gospel of Jesus Christ? There's no message like it. No message like it. There's no message that can do for you what the gospel can do for you. Is there anybody you're eager to tell? When I go to a restaurant I am eager to find out something.

And so I'm going to ask a few questions. And if it's a lady or a man, doesn't make any difference. I'm going to say, well, you certainly have a pleasing personality. You know what's happening? As soon as I say that, light up. Because they've probably ignored and probably didn't get a good tip last time or whatever it might be. So they light up. Then I oftentimes say, "Where're you from"? They'll tell me. Then I can just go on from there. People, listen, people are interested in people who are interested in them. I can go sit down and ignore the person, whoever it might be. But that's not who I am. In other words, when you have an eagerness in your heart, your antennas are out. And somebody will say something or maybe somebody says, in fact, I was somewhere eating at this place and I knew by this person's expression and by her countenance something was wrong. So I just said, "Are you having a bad day"? She looked at me. I was sitting there with a friend of mine. She said, "How did you know"? I said, "Well, you just didn't look like you were very happy". I said, "Do you have any peace in your life"?

Now, we're right in the restaurant. She said, "No, I don't". Listen, when God stirs your heart, you're going to have an eagerness to tell it. Listen, how could you not tell it? It's the most powerful message in the world. You can challenge anybody in the world. Give me your message verses the message of the gospel. They don't have anything. And Paul said, "Listen, not only am I, not only do I feel obligated, I'm eager to tell it. And besides that, I'm not ashamed of it". I wonder how many of you are ashamed of the gospel and don't know it. Why don't you tell it? You work around people who are lost? You say, we're not allowed to talk about Jesus on my job. Well, go to lunch. When you're out of the building, you're on your own. Listen, you and I live around people. And when you work in the workplace like you do, you work around, you're living around people, listen who are desperately hungry for something, they don't know what it is and you do. And you're under obligation, you've been entrusted with the truth.

Week after week after week you're entrusted with truth. You have a responsibility. And Paul said, "I'm eager to tell it because," listen, he said, "I'm obligated to, I'm eager to tell it because there's no message to match it". Listen, when you understand the gospel, I'm going to explain what that is in a few moments, but I'm working up to it. When you understand what the gospel is and how simple it is to explain it to somebody, you're going to want to tell it. You live around people every day. They're hungry, they don't know, they don't know what they're looking for. And if you start talking about church, they'll say, "That church business". Don't start with church. Here's where you start: with where they're hurting. Most people are hurting over something. Just start where they are. And if they're one of those cocky, prideful, egotistical persons whose got it all together and this and that, that's just the cover-up. So you just watch for the cover-up. Then you watch for the people who are willing to admit that they're hurting. And you just ask God, Lord I want you to open the door for me.

You say, "Well, how do I know He's going to open the door"? Here's what's going to happen. When you're eager to tell it, He's going to open a door and you're going to know immediately this is my opportunity. And then, if you say, "Oh, but suppose they say that," it doesn't make any difference what they say. When you express genuine interest in somebody, they start letting down. And if they're living in sin, your very presence may be a real hindrance to them because they know that you're living a godly life and they're not and so they don't want to talk to you. Then you say, "Okay". Just start praying for them, "God make them so miserable, make them so miserable, Lord, they'll ask me about it". You don't think He'll answer that prayer? Yes, He will. Because, listen, Jesus said, "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature". And He wasn't just talking to a bunch of disciples. All of us, we all have our world. Some people's world's bigger than others, but that's not the issue. I'm only responsible for the world that I have an opportunity to touch. And all of us have a big world, an opportunity to touch. So Paul said, "I'm obligated, I'm eager to do it. And besides that, I'm unashamed".

Now, I want you to turn to First Corinthians, chapter nine, for a moment. Because He says something else here, chapter nine, that I think is so very, very important. Chapter nine, First Corinthians. Look if you will in verse sixteen, "For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion". I am compelled to do it. Something within me just moves me in that direction. I am compelled. Then he says, "For woe is me if I do not preach the gospel".

Now I want you to turn back, if you will to coming back to that, to the twentieth chapter of Jeremiah, twentieth chapter of Jeremiah. Paul said, "Woe is me if I don't preach the gospel". Well, what do you mean by that? Well, Jeremiah the prophet, in fact, he's sort of arguing with God here because he's going through some real suffering and persecution. In verse seven it says, "O LORD, You have deceived me and I was deceived; You have overcome me and prevailed. I have become a laughingstock all day long; Everyone mocks me. For each time I speak, I cry aloud; I proclaim violence and destruction". And what he was saying was that the message that God had given him was a message of warning to Israel that the Babylonians are coming and they're going to destroy the nation, and you need to wake up and get right with God. They didn't want to hear that. Just like people don't want to hear it today. Then he says, "I proclaim violence and destruction, Because for me the Word of the LORD has resulted in reproach and derision all day long".

What are you saying is, God I'm preaching the gospel, I'm telling what you want me to know, and all they're doing is persecuting me. But then, look, watch this, "But if I say, 'I will not remember Him or speak anymore in His name,' then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire shut up in my bones; and I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot endure it.'" That's what woe is all about. And I wonder when you meet somebody or you know somebody who's lost, you know they're not, if they were to get killed today, they wouldn't go to heaven. They'd be separated from God forever. We don't like to talk about hell and separation from God. That's what he was saying. They couldn't stand what he was saying, and what he said happened. The Babylonians came, destroyed the nation to some, to a great degree.

So, what is this woe? In other words, here's what it is. It's this feeling within him that was so horrible if he thought he could not speak the truth of the gospel. He said, "Woe is me". I can't even imagine what it would be like, Paul said, not to preach it. And what he was saying, it's like a fire burning on the inside of him. And I would ask you, do you have a son or a daughter who's living in sin? And is so, do you feel obligated, are you eager, do you have something burning on the inside of you? Are you unashamed to confront them in love with the gospel of Jesus Christ? "Oh, I may drive them away". They're already driven. They're driven by the devil. You need to reach out with the gospel of truth and of love and of forgiveness, and draw them to Christ as best you know how. We are obligated. You have the message. You would say, for example, let's say that if I were to fall off here and break my leg and there's a doctor sitting on the second row.

Suppose he said, "Well, somebody ought to help him". Would you not feel with his oath to be a doctor that he's have an obligation to step up here and help me right then? Amen? Well, what about all these people on their way to hell? What about all these people that are separated from God who are miserably lost? They don't like being lost. They just don't know what's going on. We have the truth. Listen, you are to the lost person what that physician would be to me. I'm in trouble; I've broken my leg; I'm in terrible pain; and you can help me. And you're working around and living around people and, listen, in your family. There are people who won't even talk to each other about Jesus in their family. "Well, they'll just be critical". So what? They crucified Paul in every way possible. Finally, it cost him his life. They beheaded him in Rome. But he never ceased to preach the gospel. Why? Because he felt obligated. He had an eagerness. He was unashamed. He was willing. He said it's the gospel of God. It's the gospel of Jesus Christ. And he says, I'm going to tell it no matter what. And so, what we find here, as Paul's saying that he was obligated, and he had to tell it.

Now, let's look at the nature of the gospel for a moment, because I haven't even defined it. I've been talking about it, but I'm leading up to that. And the source of it. And I've said to you several times, Paul said, for example, in Galatians, chapter one, that the gospel's not of him, it's not of man, it's of God. That's where it comes from. It's called the gospel of God three times in First Thessalonians, chapter two. And Paul called it the Word of truth. Now, the word gospel is a Greek word; euangelion is the word. It's a big, long word. But it's the word for gospel. And so, what does euangelion mean? It means "good news". The very word gospel means "good news". But I want you to get this definition down. Because when somebody says, "What's the gospel"? Here's what it is. It's the good news of Jesus Christ and His offer of salvation through his death, burial, and resurrection to be received by faith. That is the gospel.

I want you to jot it down. Then I want you to turn to First Corinthians fifteen, because where'd I get this? Right out of the Bible in the fifteenth chapter of First Corinthians. First Corinthians fifteen is all about the resurrection. He begins this passage with these words. Listen to what he says in the first few verses, "Now I make known to you, brethren, the gospel," listen, "I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you," so he's gettin' ready to tell them what it is. He says, "I make known to you, brethren, the gospel which I preached to you which also you received, in which also you stand, and by which also you are saved," make it very clear about the gospel. "If you hold fast the word which I preached to you," you really believed and truly believed that, "unless you believed in vain".

Here's the gospel, verse three. "For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received, that," here's the gospel, "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures". That is the gospel itself. It becomes the truth that transforms my life when I put faith to it. That is, when I believe it. So, when somebody says, "What's the gospel"? Put that put that back up there again. I want to be sure everybody's got it. It's the good news. We said euangelion means, "Good news". It is the good news of the gospel about Jesus Christ and his offer of salvation. By faith you believe that He died and paid our sin-debt in full. That is, not just died, but it’s the Son the God who died and in the process of doing so, He paid our sin-debt in full. And therefore, we put our trust in Him. That is the gospel and we’re saved. Everybody gets saved the same way. They may not have the same experience. But if a person, if a person does not believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God or He was just a good man, that won’t cut it. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, came into this world, sent by the Father, for the purpose of dying on the cross to pay for our sin-debt, buried, risen, and in the process of doing so, gives us the gift of salvation by faith.

That is the gospel. That is the message that every person on the face of this earth needs to hear and understand. Now, you say, "Well, what do you have to do, how much explanation is there"? Well, here’s a whole bunch of it right here. In other words, God’s bigger than a couple verses. What I want you to see is this. Any person who says, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, that He died on the cross for my sins, was buried and rose again for my salvation. I accept Him by faith as my Savior and Lord and trust Him to be just what He promised and to do what He promised to be my Savior. That’s all a person has to know. But they have to believe it.

You say, "Well, what about all this back in the Old Testament"? All that’s God’s preparation for the coming of Messiah. You and I have the message. And so, when you walk out of here today or when you turn off the television or the radio, you're under obligation to deal with this message of salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and His death in Calvary. You're under obligation. When you hear it, you're obligated to believe it. When you believe and your life is transformed, you're obligated to share it. That's what the Great Commission was all about. That's what Jesus was saying. Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature.

You say, "Well, I can't go into all the world". You have a world. In other words, your world may be this big or that big, but you and I are under obligation. We ought to be eager. We ought to be unashamed and absolutely committed and willing to defend the gospel whenever it's necessary. You say, "Well, I don't know what to say". Let me tell you the best thing you can say. Let me tell you what happened to me the day I placed my life in the hands of God and trusted Him as my Savior. And so, you and I have a message. And that message is crystal clear. And so, when I think about how the apostle Paul said it, and I think about how could he have said it any better than that? Now think about this. It can also be bad news. If I think that in order to be saved, to be forgiven of my sins, that I've got to work for it and do certain things for it, that's bad news. And I'll tell you why. Because you can't ever figure out how long you have to work and what you have to do and, in other words, that's salvation by works is absolutely, totally unscriptural. It's the idea that most people have.

You can ask most people well, why do think God's going to accept you? And they're going to say, "Well, I'm not so bad. I do this and I do that and I do the other". There's no security in that and there's no real finality to it. "I've got to work and one of these days if I've been good enough I'll be saved". If. That's not a message. What makes it good news is this, "For by grace are you saved through faith, that not of yourselves, not of works lest any person should boast". It's crystal clear, you cannot get to heaven by works. But you ask anybody you work around. Well, why do you think? They're going to tell you how good they are. Well listen, if I could pick a few people and I could be around and I'd be a holy saint compared to them. So I'd look pretty good, comparatively. That's what people do. They say, "Well, I don't do this and I don't do that. Or I'm not so bad, and I've never been to prison, and I've done all, never done all these things". They pick these bizarre things.

The truth is, it's the grace of God. And the grace of God, listen, the grace of God is His undeserved favor. We'll never deserve it. That's why it's not works. The gospel is the grace of God given to mankind. And as a result of his death, burial, and resurrection, and our faith in the power of his death, burial, and resurrection, we're saved. It's all a matter of grace. In fact, what is it about salvation that we can't boast of? Not anything. God is the one who reveals it. He sent the Savior. He paid the price. He reveals the truth. And what do we do? By faith, we accept it. You're saved by faith, that not of yourselves, it is a gift of God, he says, "lest any person should boast". And this is why Paul was so adamant about it. And he says, there's something burning within me. He knew in the Greco-Roman world in which He lived, it was all about other gods and all about emptiness and loneliness and, they had no answers. Look around today. People who are not Christians, they don't have any answers. They have a front. And they say, "Well, I'm this is my religion and I believe in it and it satisfies me".

Well, where's it going to take you? In other words, when it comes to death, then what? And it's all going to be on a matter of works. Well, how much works? Well, what did you do? The gospel, the good news of the grace of God, provided as the result of the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, this is a matchless message. In fact, it's not only good news, it's the best news. It's breathtaking news to think that God would love us that much. And then, when I think about that message, I think about, it's the only message that's adequate enough to know the will of God, to have the power in us to live out the will of God, to have God's promise of peace and protection and care and provision. There's no message like it. None.

So, listen, the next time you start witnessing to somebody or sharing your faith with them and they start giving you a lot of stuff, just say, "Well, what assurance do you have? What’s going to happen when you die"? "Well, I don’t want to talk about that". Well, one of these days you’re going to want to talk about it. Now, I want to give you something, I want to give you a list of words. Because when you, listen, now watch this carefully. Remember, it's good news. It's the good news of the saving power of God through Christ that comes into your life when you trust Him as your personal Savior. Now, you say, "Well, what happens when He saves me"? I want to give you a list of words. Here's the first one. When you trust Him as your Savior, the Bible says, crystal clear, the Bible says that you are redeemed, First Peter. You're redeemed by the blood of Jesus. That means that Christ paid the price for your sin and purchased you, so to speak, and now you belong to God.

Secondly, you are forgiven. In the process of redeeming you, He forgives you of all your sin, which means He does not hold it against you any longer. The third word is justification. Because Jesus paid the price for your sins, and even though He said, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die," and we've sinned, since He paid our price, He now declares us no longer guilty and one of His children. That's what justification means. He declares us no longer guilty. Have I been guilty? Yes. How can He declare me no longer guilty? Because Jesus paid my sin-debt. Then, the next word is reconciliation. That is, in my sinfulness I was away from God, separated by sin. I am reconciled now to Him. That is, I'm brought back into fellowship with Him. I have a personal relationship with Him now. That's what reconciliation's all about.

And then, I am sanctified. That means that when you trusted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, He comes in and changes your life and does what? Sets you apart as one of His children. Listen, He sets you apart as one of His children for Himself for His glory and honor and for your good. And the last word is glorification. You say, what in the world does that mean? Listen, thank God it's the last step. And glorification means when He calls our name and He calls us home, we take our last step on this earth and we step into our reward and in the glory and all that God has for us in heaven.

Now, let me ask you a question. Who has a message that matches that? Nobody. Who's got a message to match that? That Almighty God redeems us and forgives us and justifies us. Listen, when I think about justifying me, reconciling me, bringing me into a relationship with Himself, sanctifying me, setting me on the right direction. And in that sanctification is the Holy Spirit working in our lives for the rest of your life. And then one day, what happens? You take the last step into glory. There's not anybody, anywhere, no religion, no philosophy, no idea to match that. That is the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Now, let me ask you a question. That being true, give me one reason why you should ever be ashamed to share it. Anybody? Nobody. Why? Because there's no reason to be ashamed of the best news, listen, it's not only good news, it's the best news. And nobody's ever come up with a better news than that. If you've never trusted Him as your Savior, it is my plea to you to stop and think about what you've heard. I've just told you what God says, not my opinion. I've just quoted you some scriptures and told you what God said.

If you've never trusted Him as your Savior, listen, you don't have any security. You have no hope of eternal life, no assurance of eternal life. Because the Bible is so crystal clear that your works will not get you to heaven. Because if they would, God the Father made a horrible mistake in sending Jesus to the cross and dying. And God doesn't make any mistakes. I am pleading with you to think about what you've heard and ask the Lord Jesus Christ to forgive you of your sins, believing that He is the Son of God, that He did come to die on the cross, that He did shed His blood and pay your sin-debt in full, and in the process of doing so transform you, make you a child of God, seal you with the Holy Spirit, and sanctify you unto Himself that all the days of your life He'll be there in you, with you, and enabling you to become the person He wants you to be.

There's no message to match it. You know that's true. Wherever you are, whoever you are, when this is over, whether it's your television, your radio, whether you're sitting here, why don't you just bow your head and say:

God, I've made a mess of my life, he's right, I don't have any assurance about anything. I'm asking you to forgive me of my sins based on what I've heard today that Jesus paid my sin-debt in full at the cross. I do believe He's the Son of God; I do believe He died for me. I do believe that He rose from the dead. And I do believe now as I accept Him as my Savior. Transform your life, not for a day, but, hallelujah, forever.

That's what'll happen to you. And, let's say that you are saved and you've been a Christian for a long time. Maybe before you walk out of here today, you need to confess to God that you've been ashamed, you've been embarrassed, you've been intimidated, you've been afraid. You haven't given a testimony in like you ought to. But beginning today, since you know that you have the best message there is, the only message that can transform a person's life and get them to heaven, that you will start being, listen, sensitive to opportunities and eager to take advantage of them. Amen?

Father, how grateful we are this morning. That little word, gospel, is awesome news. Not just good news, it's breathtaking news. It's the best news. And I pray the Holy Spirit would stir every one of us to have an eagerness within us to share it, not just a desire, but an eagerness to share it. Because it is the best news anybody could ever hear. And we pray that in Jesus's name. Amen.

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