If you have ever said “excuse my language” after you said something offensive in my presence, many of you will remember that my response was always “it’s not me you need to worry about offending.” If I have never had the opportunity to explain what I mean, please allow me that opportunity now.
It really has everything to do with the gospel. The word gospel means “good news.” The problem with most Gospel explanations is that the “bad news” is never mentioned and without bad news they’re really can be no good news. Without a proper understanding of the bad news Jesus is at most a good moral example by which we can learn to be successful in life and at worst is reduced to a genie by which we try to accomplish our greatest dreams and goals.
The bad news is that God is good and God is love and God is just. A good, loving and just God cannot allow law breakers to go unpunished nor can He allow sinners to dwell in His presence. None of us claims to be perfect (well at least most of us LOL) but most of us are truly hoping God will grade on a curve – trusting that if our good deeds outweigh our bad then surely a good God will let us into heaven.
From Jesus’ brother James we learn that if we break God’s law at one point we have broken the entire law (James 2:10). Think about it, all it takes is for you to steal once to be a thief and murder once to be a murderer. So, who of us can say that we have kept all of God’s requirements perfectly? Certainly not me! Paul told the Galatians that the law is meant to be a tutor, instructing us in God’s holiness. It is to help us understand the gap between God’s perfection and our inability to live up to that standard. It’s goal is not to diminish our worth; its purpose is to help us begin to grasp the majesty and awesomeness of God.
So, who among us does not want to see justice done when there is a law broken? How loving would it be to a victim’s family to allow a murderer to freely practice his awful behavior? Who would not tremble at the thought of walking up to the judge in the court room and spitting in his face? The Bible clearly explains these are exactly the type of offenses that we carry out against a holy God every day when we choose to disobey His commandments.
Many of you will point to other people who claim to be “followers of Christ” but live lives in utter opposition to God’s Commands. We call these people hypocrites and they are the most frequent excuse for people to discount Christianity. This is extremely unfortunate and some faces have probably just come to your mind. Let me be clear, Christians are not perfect in this life. They will sin and break God’s Commandments; however God’s Word is also clear: true believers bear good fruit and are sorrowful over their sin. True children of God cannot consistently remain in their sin; they will feel the conviction of His Spirit and respond by turning from that sin and embracing the Law of Christ – that is repentance (2 Corinthians 7:10).
The Bible speaks of this fruit in terms of patterns in our lives. Do you see the habitual fruit of sin in your life or the fruit of God’s Spirit? In Paul’s letter to the Galatians we learn, “the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.”
People who claim Christ as their Lord yet continually wallow in the comfort of their sin unwilling to fight it prove themselves to be no such thing as a child of God. Sin is their master. In addition, even if you do not claim to be a Christian yet have never truly understood the depth of your offense to a holy God then you are equally a slave of your sin.
So, what’s the good news? Well, it’s Jesus. Without Him we would be facing the proposition of paying for our own sins for a real eternity in a real place called hell. The good news is that Jesus was sent of God to this earth to put on flesh and live as a man among men. This was necessary for the following reasons:
To begin with, it was necessary so that He could live among us experiencing the same joys and facing the same trials as we do. He had to be tempted in every way as we have been and yet never have sinned – ALWAYS making decisions, thinking thoughts, speaking with his mouth and actions in such a way that pleased God. This serves as a powerful example to us as how to walk as believers and live a life of Christ-likeness. It also allows Jesus to sympathize with us as he pleads our case before His Father in heaven (Hebrew 4:14-16). But most importantly, He’s perfect life proved Him to be the only sacrifice acceptable to cover sin once for all who believe. Unlike the foreshadowing sacrifices of the Old Testament that had to be repeated, this perfect Lamb of God was sufficient to pay for all the sins of his children – sins past, present and future! “As one trespass led to condemnation for all men…so by one Man’s obedience the many will be made righteous,” (Romans 5:18-19).
By placing your faith and trust in Jesus to have taken the place you deserved on the cross, He takes credit for all your sin and was willingly punished in your place! Even more amazingly, you get credited with His perfect righteousness and it is that righteousness that solves the worst news! It’s this gift that allows you to enter into the presence of the King of kings and the Lord of lords and live forever!
If, during my time at Leak Eliminators I had not had a chance to explain this bad news and good news to you personally I hope you will receive it now. If we had a conversation along these lines and you have never responded to this news, then I strongly urge you to consider doing so. It is by far the most important thing you could spend your time wrestling with. Please do not let your conscience make you hesitate or dream of getting into better shape prior to dealing with this news. In and of yourself it is completely impossible to improve your situation; only by His Spirit can you ever truly please your Creator. All the fitness that God requires He promises to provide if you will simply confess your hopeless situation and throw yourself on His mercy. Then you must find a local body of Bible-saturated believers and get into fellowship with them.
If you are a believer, let this be a reminder that you are to be about sharing this news (good & bad) with everyone in which you come in contact. Also, let this be an exhortation that you wear the Name above every name and your actions reflect His character – is it an accurate representation?!? You’re an ambassador of Jesus and His Kingdom!
So, to wrap this up, let me go back to the beginning. If you’ve ever been in my presence and said something offensive and apologized, first know that I am no better than anyone else. I have done nothing to deserve God’s grace and mercy toward me. If you noticed anything different about me, it is not me! It is 100% a work of God in my heart and the Spirit that He has given me to be my guide each and every day. Jesus said in Matthew 10, “do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.” The fact is, we will all stand before God one day. So, what you need to ask yourself is how will you answer Him on judgment day and he asks “on what basis should I let you dwell in my presence forever?” The only answer He will accept is, “I wear the righteousness of your Son…”
How do we know the Bible is true?
Did Jesus really rise from the dead?
Find a Bible-saturated church in…
Nicholasville & Lexington:
Providence Community Church
Boone’s Creek Baptist Church
Lawrenceberg & Frankfort:
Farmdale Baptist Church
The Point Community Church
Buck Run Baptist Church
Richmond & Berea:
Grace Community Church Madison