The Power of the Gospel
Text: – “The reason the son of God was manifest was to undo, loosen and dissolve the works the devil has done”- “1 John: 3:8b”
It is a fact, and one we try in vain to avoid, that throughout the world whether it is East or West, North or South, and regardless of the culture that we find ourselves in, that there is a “common need and desire” to be bonded together with others.
Whether we are “Young or Old – Rich or Poor” there is an inner requirement for a fulfilled sense of belonging and unity with others. All are constantly seeking for a “Song to Sing, a Creed to Believe in and a Flag to Wave” and perhaps in the turmoils of the world in which we live, and the ever-changing circumstances we find ourselves with such political and financial fluidity this is manifesting itself to a greater degree.
People join political organisations, they give their allegiance to club’s and lodges, perhaps they even join religious organisations and participate in religious activities, all in the hope that from these things, their inner longing and need will be satisfied.
In general, however, it would be true to state that even the most zealous and enthusiastic soon discover that there is “just something missing,” which leaves them with an awareness of a void and feeling of emptiness. The reason why these very legitimate and natural things do this is that they are not getting to the real core of the problem, nor meeting the real area of need. They are dealing only with the symptoms not the disease.
The Bible gives to us the real answer to the problem, and it declares that in our standing and position before a holy creator God we are “Cut off by our sins, and without God we are without hope in this world.” It really does not matter how much enthusiasm or effort we put in to the everyday activities of life if we do not meet with the central need, of getting right with God, we will continue from day to day, until we reach the grave to live in abject failure and continue with a sense of emptiness, again the Bible tells us “Hope deferred makes the Heart Sick” and in another place “God has set an awareness of eternity into every human heart.”
An old Hymn writer once put it this way “I tried the broken cisterns Lord, but ah the waters failed, and even as I stooped to drink, they mocked me as I wailed.” There are countless millions of people who have discovered and are continuing to discover the reality and truth of this in their lives.
You may find yourself in this congregation today, as a visitor, or perhaps a regular attendee, and are feeling that your life is far from satisfactory. You may have a comfortable position in respect of your finances, feel secure in your employment, your family, children, and marriage may all look great on the outside, but inside again I use the phrase “there is just something missing.” Likewise, you may find yourself here today, and all or some of the areas I mentioned are totally turned around and you are filled with a sense of hopelessness – Well! let me tell you that today you are in the right place because either way we have the answer to your need.
Jesus put this sense of futility and emptiness this way when one day He was speaking to a Samaritan woman at a well He said, “All who drink of this water will be thirsty again” and He was absolutely right.
I mentioned earlier that there were those who involve themselves in religious activities in an attempt to meet the inner need they have, but even that is destined to failure. The Bible tells us that there are many who “Have a form of godliness, but do not know the real power of it” believing that they are building up “reward points” which will get them into Heaven. By going to Church and doing good works, appearing to be pillars of the community, but all that really accomplishes is a “covering up of the real need” it is like “papering over the cracks”, or “whitewashing the walls”, and if Jesus were here today He would lovingly declare that people like this are merely “painted tombs and full of dead men’s bones” in other words their lives are a sham and contain none of the real life of God.
Therefore, what is the answer, you might say, well it is a simple one and draws us back to the incident of Jesus at the well with the Samaritan women. Jesus went on to say to her “but whoever drinks of the water that I will give, shall never thirst again” and I want to ask you today, in the midst of your search, in the midst of your sense of hopelessness, in the midst of your longing for inner peace, do you want to be satisfied? If your answer is yes! Then listen on.
I want to concentrate your thoughts and attention for a short while on the way that Jesus provides for all the life giving and satisfying water, and the way in which it is started is through the “Gospel of Christ.” To meet with such phenomenal needs, there needs to be a supernatural interaction, and that is exactly what the Gospel is, it is “The Power of God to supply salvation to your need.”
In The Gospel of Christ is Revealed the Power of an Omnipotent God
As I have already declared in my opening text, The Gospel is the Power of God unto Salvation. There are many today who would try to tell us that the Gospel is a collection of cunningly devised fables and old wives’ tales. That these are put together to subjugate and control the masses of the world.
Disciples of Jesus, such as the Apostle Peter strongly refute and contest this opinion. Peter said in “2 Peter: 1:16” – “We have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.”
I wonder today if in this meeting time you are in need of some type of salvation experience. Perhaps you need God to intervene in your job situation or your marriage is on the rocks. Perhaps There are problems in your family life and maybe your children are going “off the rails.” Maybe, you sick in body today, and you just feel that your is just heading for a train wreck. If you are confused, broken, tired? Then I’m telling you that your need is about to be met.
I have come across many people who are enslaved by simple things such as tobacco, and more profound items such as addictions to drink, drugs, gambling and sex, they don’t know which way to turn or who to turn to, if that is or resembles your experience today then Jesus says to you “I Am the Way, the Truth and the Life” and again He says “Whosoever comes to me I will in not turn away.”
The Bible says, “Whom the Son sets free is free indeed” and freedom can be yours today, because Jesus died and rose again and He did so with you in mind and for your benefit, why because He loves you and intensely desires that your longings be met, and your frustrations cease.
The Bible in “Luke 5:15-28” gives to us the story of a lame man. In the account that is given we are told that Jesus did two things, and to the surprise of those watching He dealt not with the physical infirmity of the man first, i.e., his lameness but also his spiritual condition.
Jesus said to the man “What do you want me to do for you?” and then He healed him of his infirmity. Jesus is still saying the same today to you and doing the same today.
Christ has the desire to power to heal and the authority to forgive, and all we are required to do is to take a “small step of faith” and respond to His call. Jesus declares, “Come unto me all you who are weak and heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
Jesus has since His death at Calvary until this day through the simple gospel story been “Undoing the works of the devil” in fact it was especially for this reason that He came into the world.
In The Gospel of Christ, we see the Living Force of Jesus at work in Moral and Spiritual Conduct
To many people today the Gospel is simply an appendage or a softening hue, to bring acceptance of the religious letter of the law. So many religious people see everything in their lives measured against a set of Rules and Ordinances, and in doing so they totally miss the reality of the grace of God in their lives. The intent of God is not a set of religious rules, but a freedom walk.
These folks to utilise a Bible phrase “Strain at gnats and swallow camels” meaning that everything is such an enormous task and some of them go as far as “Penances and scourging” in order to give themselves a sense of acceptance. None I have to say has anything to do with the Gospel of Christ. His GOOD NEWS is freedom from religious ritual, and life in all its fullness “I Am come that they might have life and have life in abundance” is what He declared.
If we try to live outside of the life that Christ gives then we will live lives that are “empty husks,” mere “shells” and the grace of God will be prevented from creating anything of loveliness in us.
There is, however, something we must recognise, and that is that the Gospel of Christ is a living force, and it acts upon both the “Moral & Spiritual” sides of our lives.
In the area of the moral, it brings with it recognition that sin cannot continue in our lives, and that God’s morality is to be outworked in every single area of our lives, and these areas include – Thoughts, Sex, Physical Abuse, Careers etc. it touches everything about us.
The real LAW of GOD is written in the heart, and not on “Tablets of Stone” and when Jesus enters our lives, and He becomes our Saviour He gives to us a new heart.
In The Gospel of Christ is Revealed a Dividing Factor
You may recall that earlier on, I used the example of a Club, Lodge or Organisation to which people give their allegiance to, but one thing is very clear and that is that you are either a member or not a member. It is a bit like being pregnant, you are either pregnant or you are not, there is not a halfway line, a middle road a “nearly pregnant.”
If you are a club member you are entitled to enjoy all the benefits and privileges that membership brings, and your membership fees supply to you. In a similar manner, only Mothers can really experience completely the reality of motherhood, there is a clear line of division seen in both, and in the Christian life, it is no different.
In the text I have utilised at the beginning – “The reason the son of God was manifest was to undo, loosen and dissolve the works the devil has done”- “1 John: 3:8b” we are informed that the whole purpose of the manifestation of Jesus into this world and the purpose of the Father, was that He might be a Saviour and that all might be freed from the devil’s tyranny and bondage.
We rejoice in the fact of our experience of freedom and ownership of His Saviour hood, and yet how often do we find ourselves in need of the Lord to come afresh into our lives to liberate us. We find ourselves impoverished and bound and this ought not to be the case. That is not a criticism, because we are all “horribly human,” but it is a fact that He has set us free “Once and forever,” so what is the answer for our often slipping.
I believe the answer is being aware of the devil’s methods. In being aware, we are enabled to overcome his temptations. So let us look at what the Word of God reveals to us in order that we may truly be “More than Conquers.”
The question we are left with today as what I have said sinks in is – “What Will You Do with Jesus?”
You see we recognise that: –
- In The Gospel of Christ is Revealed the Power of an Omnipotent God.
- In The Gospel of Christ, we see the Living Force of Jesus at work in Moral and Spiritual Conduct
- In The Gospel of Christ is Revealed a Dividing Factor
But in the final analysis the truth is that whilst the Bible is very clear that “God sent Jesus into the World that whosoever believes in Him might be saved” it also say “Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.” And right now, the opportunity is before you to stand – Saved, Justified, Forgiven and Accepted by God – or to go away “Standing Under the Condemnation of God” because you reject Jesus Christ.
What will you do? I ask that question of you right now as you are here in this point of destiny in your life, this point of decision. What will you do with Jesus Christ?