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What is the Gospel?
In the simplest terms, the Gospel is the redemptive message of
Jesus Christ and Him crucified. It is the chronicle of his life, death, and
resurrection in order set mankind free from the power of sin and death. To be a
Christian means to believe that he is, in fact, the Savior foretold in the Old
Testament of the Bible and that he died for the sins of all mankind. In his
death, he paid the penalty for all sin. In his resurrection, he forever
conquered death. As a result, his sacrifice makes the gift of salvation and
eternal life available to every believer. Following is an overview of the
Gospel, what it means to be a Christian, and how to become one.
THE BAD NEWS
In order to more fully understand the Gospel, or Good News, it is imperative to understand the bad news. The bad news is we all have a problem called sin (Rom. 3:23). Beginning with the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit, mankind has been plagued by sin. It is completely inescapable. Even those who consider themselves "good people" have not achieved God's perfect standard. Worse yet is that we will all face Judgement Day and be held accountable for our every thought, word, and action (II Cor. 5:10). The Bible says that we deserve death because of our sin (Rom. 6:23) and, despite our attempts, there is absolutely nothing we can do about it. Our "good" deeds will in no way outweigh or make-up for our bad ones. No sacrifice, ritual or lifestyle can save us. Attending church regularly, donating time or resources to charity, or simply being a "good" person cannot ensure our forgiveness or a place in heaven (Matthew 7:24).
THE GOOD NEWS
The only way to overcome sin and to inherit eternal life instead of death is through Jesus Christ (John 14:6). The Bible tells us that God loved us so much that he intervened and sent Jesus Christ, His only Son, as a ransom to suffer and die in our place (John 3:16). Jesus' sacrifice on the cross over 2000 years ago paid the price for our sin, no matter how large or how many, so that we can live without being enslaved to sin here on earth and to offer us life eternally. That is the Gospel - the GOOD NEWS!
Even better news is that the gift is free! (Ephesians 2:8) We must simply:
Accept the fact that we're sinners and that we need FORGIVENESS.
Believe that Jesus Christ is God's son, our SAVIOR, and that He died for our sins (Acts 2:36).
REPENT from our sins and sinful lifestyles (Acts 17:30).
Make Jesus LORD of our lives (Luke 6:46)
OK - so there is a catch. The truth of the matter is that becoming a Christian does not guarantee love, life, health, wealth, or happiness. It is not a magic potion or miracle pill that will make your problems disappear. The difference with Christ is this: you know that Christ is ultimately in control and He's going to get you through whatever comes your way (John 16:33). Your life will have purpose and meaning. You will have a hope, a future, a promise, and the miraculous gift of faith (Jeremiah 29:11). He grants peace beyond understanding and joy beyond measure regardless of our difficult circumstances (John 14:27). That is what makes the difference and marks us as His followers.
ACCEPTING GOD'S GIFT OF SALVATION
Accepting the gift of salvation takes nothing but a sincere prayer reflecting your desire for Christ to change your life and eternal destiny. You don't need fancy words - just a sincere heart. Your prayer to Jesus Christ should include the following:
1. I know that I'm sinner and deserve eternal death.
2. I accept your gift of dying on the cross for my sins so that I can be forgiven and live eternally.
3. I turn away from my old life and will now follow you as Lord.
Congratulations! Accepting Christ into your life is the beginning of your new life. You will now want to:
1. Begin a daily personal experience with God that includes studying the Bible and praying. As the Word of God and sole "life-guide," reading the Bible both strengthens our faith and renews our mind so that we may be conformed into the image of Christ. Prayer, on the other hand, is our way of both communicating our needs, desires, dreams, joys and sorrows to God and is also another means in which we can hear from Him.
2. Join a local church where you can worship and grow in your faith. Regularly connecting with other believers or Christians helps us learn and grow together spiritually. In addition, it allows us to encourage one another and helps keep us "on track." If no local church exists, start your own "church service" in your home, inviting others to share in what you've just learned.
3. Tell others about Him! Why keep this to yourself?
This is THE best news out there and everyone needs to hear it!
Gospel - literally means the "good news."
Jesus Christ - The son of God who was born of the virgin Mary, crucified, dead and buried, and resurrected three days later. He ascended into heaven where He is now seated at the right hand of the Father.
Christians - Followers of Jesus Christ who believe he is the Savior of mankind.
Bible - The Word of God; a collection of 66 books of poetry, history, love songs, biography and wisdom written by at least 40 different authors from all walks of life over a span of 1500 years and divided into the "Old" and "New" Testaments.
Old Testament - first 39 books of the Bible, consisting of historical, poetic, and prophetic writings that detail the creation and fall of man, the history of the nation of Israel, the law and the plan of salvation; also known as the Jewish Torah.
New Testament - the remaining 27 books of the Bible, including the Gospels, Epistles, and other books that detail the life, death and resurrection of Christ as well as the birth and growth of the Christian church.
Forgiveness - One of the constituent parts of justification. In pardoning sin, God absolves the sinner from the condemnation of the law, and that on account of the work of Christ, i.e., he removes the guilt of sin, or the sinner's actual liability to eternal wrath on account of it.
Savior - one who saves from any form or degree of evil.
Repent - to have a changing of the mind; to turn from sin to God.
Lord - one who has complete control and authority; a ruler or master.
Sin - any thought or behavior that is contrary to the glory or character of God; to commit an offense against God's law (Romans 3:9-20, 23).
Salvation - This word is used of the deliverance of the Israelites from the Egyptians (Ex 14:13), and of deliverance generally from evil or danger. In the New Testament it is specially used with reference to the great deliverance from the guilt and the pollution of sin wrought out by Jesus Christ, "the great salvation" (Heb 2:3).
Eternal Life - Living forever in heaven with the
God of Creation and His Son, Jesus Christ, free of tears, pain, and injustice
(John 3:15, Romans 6:23).
Romans 3:23 - "...for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."
II Corinthians 5:10 - "For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, that each one may receive what is due him for the things done while in the body, whether good or bad."
Romans 6:23 - "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Matthew 7:24 - "Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock."
John 14:6 - "Jesus answered, 'I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.'"
John 3:16 - "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."
Ephesians 2:8 - "For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith - and this not from ourselves, it is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast."
Acts 2:36 - "Therefore let all Israel be assured of this; God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ."
Acts 17:30 - "In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent."
Luke 6:46 - "Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say?"
John 16:33 - "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world."
Jeremiah 29:11 - "'For I know the plans I have for you,' declares the Lord, 'plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.'"
John 14:27 - "Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid."
Romans 3:9-20 - "What shall we conclude then? Are we any better? Not at all! We have already made the charge that Jews and Gentiles alike are all under sin. As it is written: 'There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless; there is no one who does good, not even one. Their throats are open graves; their tongues practice deceit. The poison of vipers is on their lips. Their mouths are full cursing and bitterness. Their feet are swift to shed blood; ruin and misery mark their ways, and the way of peace they do not know. There is no fear of God before their eyes.' Now we know that whatever the law says, it says to those who are under the law, so that every mouth may be silenced and the whole world held accountable to God. Therefore no one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin."
John 3:15 - "...so the Son of Man must be lifted up,
that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life.
Text Summary Above Provided: Courtesy of: Gospel Music Association (GospelMusic.Org).