Kojak, our pet schnauzer was sick with stomach issues for about three days in row. You know sometimes you think, in a day or two, it will pass. But when it happened the third day, we went looking more closely for the source of the problem. What we found was that a bird had died and was decaying in our little pond in the backyard. Kojak, being the frisky dog that he is would drink out of that pond. He was getting sick because he was drinking contaminated water. Kojak had done nothing wrong. He was just being a dog. There was nothing wrong with his effort. There was nothing wrong with his desire. The only thing that was wrong was that he was drinking water from a contaminated source.
Many times this illustration is like people in the church world. Often there is nothing wrong with people’s desire for God. As you scope across planet earth, you can see people are going to church and trying to live for God, the best they know how. The problem is that many believers are drinking from a contaminated gospel.
· So when you look at the church world in general,
o Understand that believer’s problems is like this thing with Kojak
§ It is not necessarily desire.
§ The problem is not lack of effort.
· The problem is drinking from a contaminated gospel.
· We are going to describe some ‘Big Bible Words’ that primary describe what the gospel of Jesus Christ is.
· Understanding these words will help clear the water of contaminating doctrine that pollute believer’s minds.
· Let’s start with what the gospel is and what it isn’t.
What the Gospel Is and What it Isn’t
· What the Gospel Is
§ The most famous definition – the one everybody knows is…
o Good news
§ What kind of good news?
§ God is a good God
§ A good God has a good plan for your life
§ The days of inferiority are over forever when you understand the gospel – there is no need for you to feel as if you’re a second class citizen
· Because God knew exactly what He was getting when He came to get you.
· God knew everything about you BEFORE HAND.
· He knew all about your mistakes, your hang ups – your up’s, your down’s your sideways.
· But, the good news of the gospel is that even though He knew all of that He came and got you anyway.
· The miracle of the new birth allows this statement to be true
§ Here is more good news!
· It takes a good man to do a good plan.
· If God is going to get anything done, He is going to have to use you.
· That means you are useable material so get over yourself.
What other good news is there?
§ God loves you (that’s good news)
· God gave up His very best in the person of Jesus Christ for your benefit.
§ God is not an angry with you
§ God is for you
· That means He is with you and in you
· He wants to be with you
· His desire to be with you is seen all throughout the scriptures
· He wants to spend eternity showing you the riches of His grace.
Ephesians 2:7 (ESV)
7 so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus.
No discussion of what the gospel is could be complete unless you talk about…
§ The gospel as the restoration of family
· It’s about the sons of God being manifest
· It is about a broken family being restored
· The family of God was busted up by sin
· The family was restored by the righteous removal of sin by the sacrifice of Jesus
· It is absolutely all a legal thing
· It is the most accurate ruling in the courts of the universe
· There isn’t a more accurate ruling anywhere.
· Men have always, in their solutions to problems, left things short. When the Congress passes a law, it never covers every case. Look at this health care law. It helps some people and messes a bunch of other people up.
· The sacrifice of Jesus covers every case!
o And every scenario
· John Calvin (one of Christianity’s famous Theologians in the 16th century – Presbyterians are major followers of Calvin or Calvinism) said it this way…
o “The Son of God became the Son of Man so that the sons of men can become sons of God.”
o That is one of the best definitions of the gospel in one sentence.
o Throughout the busyness of life, we must constantly remind ourselves that every day you live on planet earth is a day of good news.
o One of the sad things though is that people can know the Bible from cover to cover and not know what the gospel is.
· What the Gospel Is Not
o The gospel is not…
§ The gospel is trying to preach people into hell
§ The gospel is not Matthew, Mark, Luke and John
· Those 4 books are not the gospel
· Those 4 books showcase the ministry of Jesus and there is a tremendous amount that you can learn but you will not learn by only reading these 4 books.
o That is, Jesus preaching, teaching, and operating under the Old Covenant law
o If you only had in your possession these 4 books of the Bible, you would have no idea what the gospel is.
o You think you have you would but that’s because you have heard preaching or read and or studied the rest of the New Testament – and you have read that understanding back into those 4 books.
§ The gospel is not the ‘red letter’ sayings of Jesus
· Jesus couldn’t preach the gospel, because the gospel did not come into being until after He died, rose again and ascended on high.
· Jesus teaching ministry was on the short side of the cross.
o It was under the Old Covenant – it was under the law
o The law is not the gospel
· Gospel means ‘good news’
o The law is legalism and legalism is not good news
o Legalism is gospel contamination and there some believers that are sick with it.
· Here is an example of what you get into when examine teachings on both sides of the cross.
Matthew 19:9 (ESV)
9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, except for sexual immorality, and marries another, commits adultery.”
· For the sake of clarity – let’s rearrange these words and reread the verse. (it will say the same thing…)
Matthew 19:9 (ESV)
9 And I say to you: whoever divorces his wife, and marries another, commits adultery, (except for sexual immorality).”
· Let’s qualify something at this point.
o Our goal is to look at teachings before Calvary and after Calvary. This is not a complete teaching on divorce.
o Look at this statement that Jesus taught.
§ He said this flat out
o Notice that Jesus said ‘whoever’…
o Whole denominations take this verse and think they are preaching the gospel when they put this out – when they make it part of their by-laws and excommunicate or exclude people that have been divorced.
o It’s amazing but we have more compassion on murderers then we have on divorcees because we simply did not understand what the gospel is and is not.
o Here is Paul on the same issue.
1 Corinthians 7:12–13 (ESV)
12 To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever, and she consents to live with him, he should not divorce her. 13 If any woman has a husband who is an unbeliever, and he consents to live with her, she should not divorce him.
o Sounds like the same thing that Jesus is saying, right?
o No, keep reading…
1 Corinthians 7:15 (AMP)
15 But if the unbelieving partner [actually] leaves, let him do so; in such [cases the remaining] brother or sister is not morally bound. But God has called us to peace.
o Not morally bound??? – bound to what? – the law of marriage!
o So here is a scenario that is different than what Jesus said.
§ Jesus said ‘whoever’ in Matthew
§ Paul said ‘well no, if the unbeliever goes the believing partner can remarry.’
· There is a contradiction or is there?
o So, here is the million dollar question.
§ QUESTION: Who is right Paul or Jesus?
§ ANSWER: both of them!!!
· Look at again closely…
1 Corinthians 7:12 (ESV)
12 To the rest I say (I, not the Lord) that if any brother has a wife who is an unbeliever,
1 Corinthians 7:10 (KJV 1900)
10 And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:
o You will find out as you read that Paul is laying out different type of marriage scenarios.
§ Saved people being married.
§ Saved and unsaved being married.
· There was a lot of these mixed marriages.
o This saved and unsaved was peculiar to the gospel starting up.
o Before Jesus breathed on his disciples and said ‘Receive the Holy Spirit’ no one was saved in the New Testament sense.
o All Israel was not saved in the New Testament – so the 120 come out of the Upper Room – preaching the gospel.
§ And so the husband gets saved and the wife wasn’t at the meeting.
§ Or the wife gets saved and the husband is dragging behind and so you had a lot of saved and unsaved dynamic in the households of Israel when the gospel first broke out.
§ Paul addresses it this way
· To the saved couple – 1Cor. 12:10 – they should not divorce – I am not saying it – the Lord is saying it
· To the mixed couple – 1Cor.12:12 –
o If the unbeliever goes the remaining saved partner is not bound to the law of marriage but Paul says –
§ The Lord is not saying that… I am!
o So here’s a question, ‘How could Paul say that?’
§ How could he say, “The Lord is not saying this, I am?”
§ Because it is involves one of the “Big Bible Words” that is distinctive to the gospel.
Word One – Love/Loved
· What Paul is saying is simply this,
o “I do not have a commandment from God on this scenario – an unsaved person married to a saved one.
o So love will dictate what one should do.
Romans 13:10 (ESV)
10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
o The gospel is not just about your performance in walking in love.
– It’s about His performance loving you!
o It is coming to a realization that the God of the universe really really really loves you.
· How Great is God’s Love for you?
o Greater than the mountains
Isaiah 54:10 (ESV)
10 For the mountains may depart and the hills be removed, but my steadfast love shall not depart from you, and my covenant of peace shall not be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.
– Think about what He is saying (put up a picture of a big mountain) here
– Every large mountain will be removed, every small hill will be removed before His love will be removed from you!
– QUESTION: How much of the earth’s surface is covered by mountains?
– ANSWER: 25%
o Greater than your walls
Isaiah 49:14-16 (ESV)
14 But Zion said, “The Lord has forsaken me; my Lord has forgotten me.” 15 “Can a woman forget her nursing child, that she should have no compassion on the son of her womb? Even these may forget, yet I will not forget you. 16 Behold, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are continually before me.
o Greater than time
Jeremiah 31:3 (ESV)
3 the LORD appeared to him from far away. I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you.
Jeremiah 31:3 (The Message)
3 … GOD told them, “I’ve never quit loving you and never will. Expect love, love, and more love!
o Greater than your condition
Romans 5:8 (The Message)
8 But God put his love on the line for us by offering his Son in sacrificial death while we were of no use whatever to him.
o Greater than your performance
§ The choice of every successful son or daughter of God is to choose to be okay with the idea that God really really loves you.
§ And it’s a choice. You are going to have to choose to do it.
§ Here is your target. Here is your goal to shoot at. If you can are bold enough to believe it and reach for it – you know that you have gotten concept of the fact that you are loved by God when you can say…
o You are God’s favorite child!
§ You would have to be for God to remove every mountain before He removed His love from you
§ You would have to be in order for Him to engrave you on the palms of His hands.
§ You would have to be in order for Him to love you everlastingly.
§ I am going to in conclusion leave you with this verse.
1 John 4:16 (ESV)
16 So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.