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089 The Good News – the Gospel

Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature’         Mark 16:15

Key Verse:

“That through his name whosoever  believeth in him shall receive remission of sins”   (Acts 10:43)

In our study in the book of the Gospel, we heard the Lord Jesus Christ, after He had risen, command His disciples, saying, 

“Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” (Mark 16:15)

After Jesus was taken up into heaven, a man by the name of Paul wrote: “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God (which he had promised before by his prophets in the holy scriptures) … for I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for

it is the power of God

unto salvation to everyone that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For in it is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, The just shall live by faith” (Rom. 1:1,2,16,17)

The good news,

the good news, the good news! What is this good news that the Word of God tells us about again and again? In this lesson, with the help of God, we would like to think about this Good News which is proclaimed in the Holy Scriptures. But before we think about the Good News, we need to consider the bad news.

What is the bad news?

You may recall that, in the beginning, after God created the heavens and the earth, God made Adam and Eve, placing them in the earthly garden of Eden. God created them so that they might know Him, love Him, obey Him and glorify Him forever. However, God said to Adam: “You can take from all the trees of the garden,

except

from the tree in the middle of the garden. You must not eat from it, for in the day you eat from it you will die!” The bad news is that

Adam and Eve listened to the serpent,

that is, the devil, who tempted them to eat fruit from the forbidden tree. Adam and Eve’s sin brought trouble and death into the world, contaminating them and all their offspring. As we often hear:

“An epidemic is not confined to the one from whom it originates!”

God’s Word tells us the bad news when it says: “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgement … to execute judgement upon all, and to convict all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him” (Heb. 9:27; Jude 15) Therefore, the bad news is that

we are all sinners

and we must face God’s righteous judgement!

However, the Good News is that right there in the garden of Eden, God, who is full of mercy, proclaimed that He would one day send into the world a Person who would be unstained by sin,

born of a virgin.

This holy Person, this righteous Redeemer, would offer Himself to be killed as a sacrifice to pay for the sins of Adam and his descendants. The punishment for sin which we deserve would fall on Him. That is the Good News which God announced on the day that Adam and Eve sinned.

God used many men to announce the coming of this Redeemer, also called the Messiah. Each of God’s prophets announced something about the Messiah, so that when He came, everyone could recognize that

He was the One whom God had appointed.

For example, the prophet Isaiah, who preceded the Messiah by about seven hundred years, prophesied how the Messiah would be born, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name

Immanuel,

which, being interpreted, is God with us” (Matthew 1:23; Isaiah. 7:14) Another prophet, named Micah, prophesied that the Messiah would come from heaven and be born upon earth in the village of Bethlehem. That is precisely where the Messiah was born. Yet when Micah prophesied this, it was still hundreds of years before the time of the Messiah.

But the prophets did not merely announce the Messiah’s birth. They also prophesied that

the Messiah would suffer and die

in the place of sinners. For example, the prophet David wrote that people would despise the Messiah, torture Him, pierce His hands and His feet, and kill Him. And David not only announced the death of the Messiah, he also predicted that God would raise the Messiah from the dead, thus proving that

He was the one and only Savior

sent to save the children of Adam from the penalty of sin.

Little argument exists over the birth of the Messiah, but many stumble over His death and resurrection. They do not understand how God could just stand by and watch as men humiliated the Messiah whom He had sent. But what most people fail to grasp is that God, who loves us, is the very One who purposed that the Messiah should suffer like that for our sins. That is what the prophets proclaim, saying: “Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise him” (Isa. 53:10)

Do we believe the prophets?

We say we believe them. If we really believe the prophets, we must also believe what they wrote. We must remember that the prophets did not speak their own ideas. God breathed in their hearts what they were to say. Therefore, if we refuse to believe those prophets, who are we really rejecting?

We are rejecting God

because He is the One who inspired the prophets to prophesy that the Messiah would die as a sacrifice to take away sin.

It is because

God loves the world

and does not want anyone to perish in sin that He planned the Messiah’s death. It was necessary that a righteous Person die for unrighteous people to save them from God’s judgement. That is what the offering of sacrifices of sheep and goats pictured in earlier times. Jesus Christ, who was born of a virgin,

by the power of God,

is the perfect and final sacrifice which God gave. You would not go to a shop and buy eggs when you have hens at home that lay an endless supply of fresh eggs. In the same way, since we now have a perfect and permanent sacrifice for sins, what value is there in continuing to offer imperfect sacrifice? Can you remember what the Lord Jesus said on the cross just before He died? (John 19:30)

“It is finished!”

He paid our debt of sin, once and for all time. The only thing that remains for us to do is believe it! As we already read, the Scripture says: The Good News of Jesus Christ’s death and resurrection “is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believeth!” (Romans 1:16)

Sadly,

many refuse to believe in Him,

saying that this whole thing about the death and resurrection of Jesus is just a made-up story. Yet when we study the Gospel, we discover that everything the prophets prophesied about the Messiah was fulfilled by Jesus Christ.

Everything! …

concerning His birth, His life, His death, His resurrection and His ascension. Thus, the Gospel declares that “Christ died for our sins

according to the scriptures;

and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures” (1 Cor. 15:3,4) Everything happened just as the prophets predicted. Those who hated Jesus mocked Him, tortured Him and killed Him, and those who loved Him buried Him. But

death could not keep Him in the grave.

We saw that, on the third day after His crucifixion, some women got up at dawn and went to the tomb where Jesus was buried, and discovered that it was open and empty! After Jesus died and rose again, He showed Himself to His disciples over a period of forty days. Over five hundred people saw Him after His resurrection. It was true! The Messiah had conquered death, one of man’s greatest enemies! And Jesus’ resurrection proved that God has accepted His sacrifice as a full payment for the sins of the children of Adam, so that whoever believes in Him might share in the eternal life that He brought.

That is the Good News.

The Lord Jesus Christ died to take away your sins, and He came out of the grave on the third day to give you eternal life. The purpose of this Good News is to save all those who believe it. Therefore, the question that you must answer is:

Do you believe it?

The Word of God says: “Today is the day of salvation! If you hear the Good News, do not harden your heart! Believe!” Salvation is not a result of the works that we do, because no one can do enough works to earn Heaven. God will never sell you His great salvation;

He wants to give it to you!

Good deeds, prayers and fasting may give you a good feeling inside, but

they do not satisfy God’s righteousness!

There is only one way for you to enter God’s Home.

1) You must first recognize that you are a sinner and that you have no strength to please God.

2) Then you must believe that Jesus Christ is the Savior that God sent to die on the cross for you to take away your sins and to rise from the dead to give you eternal life.

If you believe this Good News,

you can be sure that you will be taken to Heaven after you die, because God Himself has promised us in His Word that we can know that we have eternal life, if we believe on the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ. (1 John  5:9-13)

{The following is someone’s personal testimony.} Let me to tell you how I became a believer in Jesus Christ. As a young man I was faithful to pray five times a day and to observe the yearly fast, but I did not know where I would go after I died. I asked all around, but didn’t receive a clear answer. But when I studied the Gospel, I discovered that

I could know

where I would go after I died, because Jesus the Messiah Himself says in the Gospel: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me,

hath everlasting life,

and shall not come into judgement, but is passed from death to life.” (John 5:24) He also said: “I am the resurrection,

and the life;

He that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live” (John 11:25) Thus, I repented of my own efforts to save myself and believed in the Messiah of whom all the prophets prophesied, saying, “That through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins (Acts 10:43) I took all my hope and hung it upon the Lord Jesus Christ. And from that time until now

God has brought peace to my spirit.

I no longer have a troubled conscience. My future is wonderfully bright because of the work of Jesus on the cross. In my life as a disciple of Christ, sometimes I face trouble and affliction because my faith does not line up with the opinions of my relatives and friends, but

I have peace.

The peace of God fills my heart and my mind. And Jesus who has given it to me says: “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you … Peace I leave with you,

my peace I give unto you;

not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not our hearts be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 15:18; 14:27) And friends, what the Lord has done for me and in me, He can do for each of you. He asks one thing from you: That you give Him your whole heart.

He will do the rest.

For the Lord Jesus Himself has said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matthew 11:28,29).

Are you weary and burdened because of your sins?

Would you like to find rest for your soul? If you believe the Good News that the Messiah died for you and rose again for you, God will forgive you of your sins, judge you as righteous and write your name in the book of Life. If you believe this Good News,

God will mark you as His own

and send the Holy Spirit into your heart. The Holy Spirit, who lives in you, will change your heart, your life and your way of living, because the Scripture says: “Therefore, if any man be in Christ,

he is a new creation;

old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Cor. 5:17)

Friend, wherever you are, whatever your situation, whether you are a man or a woman, old or young, the Lord Jesus Christ can give you a new life–if you believe in Him. He died for you so that you might live with God forever.

Do you believe this Good News?

May God bless you. We finish with two verses from Scripture that speak about the wonderful assurance God gives to all who place their hope in God’s Good News of salvation. The Scripture says: (God) who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, but is now made manifest by the appearing of our Saviour, Jesus Christ, who hath abolished death, and hath brought life and immortality to light through the gospel” (2 Tim. 1:9,10) Amen.

We would invite you to answer the questions attached and send them together with any questions that you might have