[b]The Gospel [/b][i]by R.C. Sproul[/i]"There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the Gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think theyre preaching the Gospel to you when they tell you, 'you can have a purpose to your life', or that 'you can have meaning to your life', or that 'you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.' All of those things are true, and theyre all important, but they dont get to the heart of the Gospel. The Gospel is called the 'good news' because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and Im not. And at the end of my life, Im going to stand before a just and holy God, and Ill be judged. And Ill be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness or lack of it or the righteousness of another. The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldnt possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God. The great misconception in our day is this: that God isnt concerned to protect His own integrity. Hes a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the Gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christs life and death is by putting your trust in Him and in Him alone. You do that, youre declared just by God, youre adopted into His family, youre forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity."
_________________SI Moderator - Greg Gordon
another note from Dr. Sproul:
Does our evangelism introduce people to the wrong Jesus?Nearly half the population of the United States claims to be "born-again." Self-identified "evangelicals" are a voting bloc courted by our major political parties, and a large percentage of citizens attend church services at least once a week. Yet, as we look at the culture around us, an unmistakable erosion of the Judeo-Christian ethic has taken place. God is regularly blasphemed, professing believers often live no differently from non-Christians, and many churches are captive to the trends of this present age.Two factors explain this set of contradictory realities. First, the church has failed to preach the biblical Gospel. Instead of preaching about mankind's depravity and the truth that citizenship in the kingdom of God comes only by the imputation of Christ's righteousness, we hear about a powerless and insipid Creator and the cheap grace He lavishes upon all. Secondly, because the church has failed to preach the biblical Gospel, our evangelism has too often introduced people to the wrong Jesus. We are told that "Jesus can give us our best life now" or that "He wants to be our best friend," and not that He is our Savior from enslavement to sin and the righteous judgment of God. As such, He demands a life of costly discipleship (Luke 14:25-33).
The crux of the gospel is the work of the cross. The gospel is still the tried and true message of God's grace and mercy and His mighty power to deliver and save !! :-D
_________________Martin G. Smith