24 October 2011

The Gospel Truth




Col 2:11-15

One of the most widespread but unsound religious teachings of our day is that there are many roads to God. One person said this “There are many religions in the world and there are many ways to God. Some call God by the name ‘Allah’ and others by the name ‘Jehovah’ and others by many other names, but there is only ONE GOD, regardless of how He is addressed. All religions have the same goal, namely, to get to God, and it doesn’t so much matter what a person believes, as long as he is sincere and believes he is doing right in his heart. Eventually we will all end up in the same place.” So if men or women are sincere, we are told, it does not matter which path they travel—in the end they will all reach the same destination. Is that the Gospel truth? If so the next time someone tells you that it doesn’t matter what you believe about religion as long as you are sincere ask them these questions.....

• Does it matter if a sincere pharmacist puts the wrong pills in a bottle?
• Does it matter if a surgeon sincerely believed he removed a kidney when in fact he removed the liver?
• Does it matter if a woman eats a poisonous mushroom, even though she thought it would be quite nourishing?

Jesus couldn’t have said it any clearer......"I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6. It’s only though Christ alone...the finishing work of the cross.What is the Gospel truth? The supremacy of Christ in my death to sin, and in my resurrection to eternal. So I rejoice in the Gospel truth...... and we as a church should celebrate the Gospel truth. So I am here as Matt Chandler said “to celebrate my death this morning with you” Why? Because of the Gospel truth found in the only Begotten Son [Jesus Christ]. When I look at the finishing work of the cross I see my sin and my death being killed on the Son of God. And for that I celebrate my death to sin and I celebrate my new life in His resurrection. That’s what the gospel truth is! And this is what Paul is trying to remind the church about what our salvation truly means!

• It’s not’s mans effort or some form of ritual or tradition taught by man!
• We cannot attain Heaven though our good deeds or works
• We cannot get there by jumping though a certain set of hoops and customs to attain His sovereign grace found in the Gospel

We are saved by His sanctifying mercies found in Emmanuel’s veins and this is what Paul is trying to remind the church. The pagans and the Jewish legalist were trying to cause confusion in the body of Christ. Remember the small mishap with Peter and his thinking until Paul faced him and told him straight......Gal 2:11-16 “But when Cephas [Peter] came to Antioch, I opposed him to his face, because he stood condemned. For before certain men came from James, he was eating with the Gentiles; but when they came he drew back and separated himself, fearing the circumcision party. And the rest of the Jews acted hypocritically along with him, so that even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy. But when I saw that their conduct was not in step with the truth of the gospel, I said to Cephas before them all, "If you, though a Jew, live like a Gentile and not like a Jew, how can you force the Gentiles to live like Jews?" We ourselves are Jews by birth and not Gentile sinners; yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified. Paul reminded Peter that God had done away with the ceremonial laws regarding ritual washings and ritual uncleanliness. The Gospel made it acceptable for him to enter a Gentile home and eat at a Gentile table. The cross effected a reconciliation between these two groups by making them into one body — the Body of Christ. God's people are no longer just the Jews. Now God's people are made up of both the Jew and the Greek, both the bond and the free, both the male and the female. God's election has extended to people of every race and tongue and nation. But Sadly we still see this today in church....only in different ways.....

• Having people jump through hoops and formulas to get them saved.
• Sign the card to put in the back of your bible [like it’s some lucky rabbits foot]
• You must do this, this and that in order to find salvation.
• You must be a part of a church [building] in order to be saved.
• You said the sinner’s prayer [whatever that is] when you were 5 and never lived for Christ and your 50, that’s ok, as long as you meant back then. NO! THAT’S NOT OK!

That’s not the Gospel truth! The Gospel truth is this.........We are only fully saved through the transforming work found in His Son [Jesus Christ] “the fullness of Godhead bodily” through the Holy Spirit. We are completely full in Christ as we looked at last week “and you are complete in Him” (v10). I want to leave you with three simple Gospel truths that we can hold onto even when times get tough, when we have doubt, confused, or life seems unbearable. First one is remember.......

1. OUR SALVATION IS COMPETE THAT’S THE GOSPEL TRUTH (v11-v12)

Paul is not saying that people who are non-Jewish must become like the Jews in the ritual of circumcision [which was done of the 8th day after birth] in order to attain salvation. WHY? Because of this statement “The circumcision made without hands” no human agent has any part in your salvation. In the proclamation of the Gospel YES! In your decision and regeneration NO! The circumcision that Paul is talking about here is not covenant that God gave to Abraham when he was 99 years found in (Gen 17:11-6). The circumcision here was a symbol of our need to have our hearts cleansed and filth removed or cut off from our lives [which is sin]. It’s the same language Stephen used in front of the Sanhedrin....."You stiff-necked people, uncircumcised in heart and ears, you always resist the Holy Spirit. As your fathers did, so do you.” Acts 7:51. As circumcision removes the flesh the same thing must happen to the heart! As born again believers our “sinful nature” was cut away on the cross of Christ! Only Christ is able to do this....”made without hands”. The old self the person before conversion is killed and buried with Christ at His death. ....The new self is baptized in His resurrection 2Cor 5:17 “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Phil 3:3 “For we are the circumcision, who worship by the Spirit of God and glory in Christ Jesus and put no confidence in the flesh.” We have been freed from the bondage of sin that is made without hands! [Read Romans chapter 5-6]

• No human agent or formula can save you
• No preacher can save you
• No missionary can save you
• No church membership can save you
• No baptism can save you

Only the Gospel that was made without hands! His sovereign work and plan for fallen sinners. Our salvation is complete in Him that’s the Gospel truth! As Paul said in......Rom 6:6-14 “We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus. Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

2. WE ARE COMPLETELY FORGIVEN THAT’S THE GOSPEL TRUTH (v13-v14)

We all had or some of you still have a certificate of debt! It’s like a written document or contract that a debtor has in acknowledgement of his or her debt to a person in this case its GOD, the Creator of the universe! We have broken His law the 10 commandments, His moral standard! And what Paul is saying here is that it’s been removed... wiped clean.....Look what he says “cancelled the record of debt that stood against us...” (v14). This is like a teacher wiping away the words on a chalk board! This is what Christ has done for us on the Cross so that we could have eternal life.......What does this forgiveness feel or look like? There is a story about a young farm boy was having trouble behaving, as he should. His father gave him the project of putting a nail in the barn door every time he did something bad. He gave him a bag of nails and a hammer. For several weeks, the path from the house to the barn stayed well worn, as the boy obediently pounded a nail in the barn door each time he disobeyed. Soon he came to his father and said, "Dad, I am all out of nails! Now what do I do?" His father then told him to pull out one of the nails each time he obeyed. Sometime later, he again came to his father and said, "Dad, I have pulled all the nails, but…" "But what?" his dad asked. "Dad, the nails are gone, but there are holes all over the door, and it is ugly!" God pulls the nails through His forgiveness, but many times the holes are left as scars of the evil deeds and thoughts. He never erases our mind but He gives us sustaining grace to overcome them with joy not guilt...Because He has forgiven me from my sin. Micah wrote these words..... “Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression for the remnant of his inheritance? He does not retain his anger forever, because he delights in steadfast love. He will again have compassion on us; he will tread our iniquities underfoot. You will cast all our sins into the depths of the sea.” Micah 7:18-19. He nailed to the cross “not a trace of it remains to held against us...our forgiveness is complete in the fullness of Christ! That’s the Gospel truth!

3. WE HAVE COMPLETE VICTORY IN HIS RESURRECTION THAT’S THE GOSPEL TRUTH (V15)

“He had disarmed...” which literally means.....”stripped away” Jesus Christ singlehanded through His death and resurrection has stripped away the bondage of sin that once held us captive leading us to death and judgement.  And to show His victory! Paul writes that Jesus has made a public spectacle of His enemy. Which means!Though His victory over sin and death has made a mockery of Satan and his fallen angels. "O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 1 Cor 15:55-57. Paul asks this question with sarcasm “death where is you victory and sting? So basically! Christ’s victory on the cross has halted the demons and their feeble attempt to stop redemptive work and its stripped Satan of his so called power. It’s the same imagery that a Roman General would do after winning the BIG BATTLE. The Roman General would parade his defeated captives through the streets of Rome. This is what Christ has done in the Gospel! As the Hebrew writer said “Since therefore the children share in flesh and blood, he himself likewise partook of the same things, that through death he might destroy the one who has the power of death, that is, the devil,” Heb 2:14. That’s why Paul can so boldly and so can we.....Rom 8:37-39 “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

In the Gospel we find a complete.....Transformation in His salvation through His sacrificial death and resurrection. Pardon for sin in His grace of forgiveness [past, present and future]. Victory over death in the His finishing work on the cross [sealed and secured for all eternity by a sovereign Lord. As Paul Washer once said “God saved you for Himself; God saved you by Himself; God saved you from Himself.” So my question for you this week is....Have you truly embraced the Gospel found in His Son though brokenness found in repentance and faith in the Son of God? Or do you have religion with good intentions that lead to death and judgement? There is only.......

• one God in three persons
• one plan of redemption
• one salvation found in the Gospel
• one and only Saviour
• one body [the church made up of different people]
• one Spirit given to all who believe in the Son
• one Lord over all things [His name is Jesus Christ]

Because as Watchmen Nee said “Outside of Christ, I am only a sinner, but in Christ, I am saved. Outside of Christ, I am empty; in Christ, I am full. Outside of Christ, I am weak; in Christ, I am strong. Outside of Christ, I cannot; in Christ, I am more than able. Outside of Christ, I have been defeated; in Christ, I am already victorious. How meaningful are the words, "in Christ." And that’s the Gospel truth!


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