we love the gospel message. it is the message of hope, of love, faith, and truth. it brings freedom. it brings peace. it gives us new life and a eternal future with our Lord! for us to love the gospel, it can only be because of Jesus. because of what He has done for you and I, also what He is doing and will do in our lives. but the good news is really good news only if we have faced the truth about the “why” of the good news.
scriptures tell the story..... and there are two reasons why I preach this to you today. well, three. it is His word, it is what we have to share with others if we want them to see the need and good news of the gospel......and for us, to continue with conviction in us as we live this life out..... we have to deal face to face with the truth, with sin.
Therefore, just as sin came into the world through one man, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men because all sinned—
this is the beginning. where it starts. when we become conscious of our own sin. I have dealt with many a person who tell me that they don’t sin. it is preposterous. it is a slap in the face of God. the bible is clear that all have sinned.
I often reference a book written quite a while back but still relevant to our walk today. I encourage you to read it or get the audiobook. you can get it free and it is well worth the price! serious though, I like a book that connects with my spiritual walk and this one does. it is called Pilgrams Progress. It starts with a man from a town that finds a burden on his back that he cannot take off himself. he tries, but cannot. he does know that it needs to come off. the town he lives in doesn’t seem to understand about his burden, so he goes on a journey to get rid of this burden. the burden is sin, and those who have it but don’t know it are in complete darkness. sin brings darkness. a darkness so great that when people are in that darkness, they cannot even see themselves clearly. scripture says it like this.....
They are darkened in their understanding, alienated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them, due to their hardness of heart. They have become callous and have given themselves up to sensuality, greedy to practice every kind of impurity.
this verse isn’t about Christians, but Gentile unbelievers.... that were in darkness.....but before we go too far in looking at others in this place and are tempted to look from the lit room at those in the outer darkness..... we must remember, you, me, we were there...... each and every one of us were there! we were in that thick darkness....lost!
and if we are saved, if we are sitting in here or listening online right now saved, it is because we were shown by the almighty God that we were in darkness and on our way to hell. God shined a light and revealed the depths of our sin and the darkness in our minds and hearts. we were a wreck! we couldn’t get the burden off our backs....
why? because the flesh will always be against the Spirit.
For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do.
catch that last line.....So, even when we wanted to do good, sin was there with us.....we were in the place of continual sin. in agreement with the flesh and fighting the Spirit, the very God that was bringing salvation to the world, we rebelled from. Just like others are today!
may you and I have so much Godly compassion for them that we pour out Jesus when we are around them...... and we must remember as we are around them, that they may not like us sharing God with them.... scripture confirms it.
For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.
the word hostile, may sound like just a struggle, like a child not that isn’t happy with the decisions of their parents and fighting it. but actually, this word hostile means being in opposition because of hatred! hatred! did I actually hate God? Did I hate His Laws? at one time, yes. but not anymore.
People hate God because why? it comes down to the law of God, since God is the one law maker. in our flesh we fight rules. we fight laws. so mankind is the lawbreaker. Just like Satan was.
get this next verse......God, in His infinite wisdom, in His all knowing power, still experienced this!
The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart.
God felt regret. He knows all things and felt regret and grief. God experiences emotions because He has a relationship to us...... and when people turn from Him, the very people He made to be in relationship with Him, He feels it. Yes, people can hurt our God. we can grieve our God.
And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
back in the story about Pilgrim, he went on another path for a while, a path that looked ok, maybe easy, or easier than the one that he was on...... but it eventually led to a place where despair lived. and the pilgrim, now called Christian, almost lost his life.
When we walk in our own way, when it is not God’s way, He is grieved. especially because in the believer is where the Holy Spirit resides. scripture even tells us that Jesus and the Father will come make their home in us.
Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.
look at the closeness. look at the relationship. a loving, close, connection. So much different than the fight and struggle of people living for themselves.
We sang a song, bless the Lord oh my soul..... worship His holy name....sing like never before, oh my soul.
we can only sing like that and mean it when we have come face to face with our sin, and seeing Jesus, seeing the willingness of our Lord, to take on the vile and rebellion, for you and I.
We find the depths of God’s love for us in the transfer of our sin onto Jesus. we were hopeless, He made us hopeful. it was impossible for us, He made it possible!
tell me, is there anyone else that can do what Jesus did for you? anyone?
there are many out there that need what you have. give… give them the gospel. give them the whole truth.