When the Gospel Becomes Good News

Daily Spirit & Word: 787: When The Gospel Becomes Good News.

The Grinding Power of Sin.

Slaves Set Free:

Romans 6:19-22 (NIV)
19  I put this in human terms because you are weak in your natural selves. Just as you used to offer the parts of your body in slavery to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer them in slavery to righteousness leading to holiness.
20  When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness.
21  What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death!
22  But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves to God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life.

Good morning my friends, it was a good night of witnessing on the Streets of West Norwood last night. We gave out a few tracts, but after just a couple of minutes were were into a wonderful Gospel conversation with a lovely young couple from Madeira (Portugal). Last night I teamed up with Judy (Ben’s wife) and we just got chatting by given the couple a Million Pound Note (One of our little Gospel Tracts). I asked the young man, “If it was real, what would you do with it?” He answered, “I’d return to Portugal”. And the woman said, “I’d return to Madeira”. I said, “WOW, that’s really interesting, why Madeira?” They said, “Life in Madeira compared to London is like heaven”. I said, “Here’s what we’re about tonight, do you believe in Heaven?” They both said, “Not really, we don’t think about Heaven as a place”… I said, “Do you believe in God?” They answered “No, not really”… I was intrigued and asked a few more questions about their beliefs. It turns out, they both had to attend religious education in Madeira until they were twelve, that was the tradition in Madeira. They attended church, but as soon as they were twelve years old they were free from the burdens of religious observance.

So I opened up the ‘Spiritual’ conversation again with, “Madeira is reputed to have some of the oldest people on the planet, some people live to well into their hundreds.” The woman, Tatiana, knew a woman who’d died at 119 years old. I continued, “If you live to 120 years, then you die, if Heaven is real, where will you go? Heaven or Hell?” They both stated, “Well I’m a good person, so if heaven is real, I’ll definitely go there”. It’s amazing, because we know from experience that most people believe what Tatiana and Pedro do, that ‘good people’ go to heaven and bad people go to hell. Also, that most people believe they are the good ones, and if Heaven is real they will be good enough.

I asked, “We’ve got a little test that shows you immediately if you’d be good enough for Heaven” I gave them both one of our Ten Commandment Coins. They took it and said, “WOW this is nice”… I said, “You can keep it, it’s yours. Now the Ten Commandments are like a mirror, they show a person the condition of their soul on the inside.” They both remembered the Ten Commandments from their childhood teachings. I asked both of them, “The Commandments say, ‘Don’t tell lies’, Have you ever told a lie?” They both admitted readily that they’d told lies. We got into a conversation about lying, and agreed that almost everybody has told at least one lie, even me and Judy 🙂 But they didn’t see the seriousness of lying. I asked, “How many lies do I have to tell to become a Liar?” They said, “Just one”. “That’s right” I said, “It only takes one lie to make a person a liar, but did you know that just one lie will keep you out of heaven for all eternity?” They said, “Then nobody is going to be in Heaven”… (Isn’t that sobering? The fact that nobody will go to heaven if they died in their sins?”)

Here’s the next one; “Have you ever stolen anything?” They both said, “When we were kids”, but then went onto admit they’d also taken things that didn’t belong to them as adults. Pedro had nicked from his mother’s purse. Tatiana had stolen music on the internet. However, neither of them saw the seriousness of their crime before God, yet 🙂  I said, “Are you aware the Bible teaches that no thief can enter into the Kingdom of God?”

Here’s the next one; “Pedro and Tatiana, you’ve both been really honest so far, but have you always honoured your mum and dad?” Family honour is very important in Portugal, they both said, “We’d never dishonour our mum and dad, but I took them back over the commands they’d already admitted and said, “Stealing and lying to your mum and dad, that’s dishonourable don’t you think?” They both nodded in shame. But the Bible teaches that when we dishonour our mum and dad, we’re cut off from the Kingdom forever.

So I asked, “That’s just three of the commandments, if God were to Judge you by that standard, would you go to Heaven or Hell?” They said, “Hell”… Then we got into a conversation about the after-life again and what they really believed. I brought it back after a few minutes, “but suppose it is real, Heaven and Hell, wouldn’t you want to make sure you’d be on your way to Heaven? You see Pedro and Tatiana, God doesn’t want to send a single soul to Hell forever, He did something 2000 years ago to give people the chance of going to Heaven, do you know what that was?”. They didn’t know, so I asked, “Have you heard about Jesus?” They both clicked, “Jesus was God come down to Earth to show us how to live a good life”… Then I asked, “How did Jesus die?” It was like turning a light on in a dark room. Pedro and Tatiana said, “He died for our sins”… “It’s not enough to know that Jesus died for sins” I explained, “To get forgiven and cleansed from our sins so that we’ll be fit for heaven, we’ll need to do something, do you know what that is?” They both said, “Repent and ask for forgiveness”… I said, “Yes that’s right, but there’s more. Everyone need to believe and trust in Jesus Christ, receive Him as Lord (Boss of their life), and ask for forgiveness, trusting that Jesus died for their own sins. Does that make sense to you?”

I asked them, (they both work in the Catering industry), if you took a delivery of chicken and one piece of chicken was rotten, would you put it in the fridge beside the good chicken?” They both said, “No, we’d throw it out,” I asked, “Why? Why would you throw out that rotten piece of chicken?” They said, “Because it would contaminate the rest of the chicken”. I explained, “That’s exactly why God will not let anyone who dies in their sins; lying, stealing etc into His Holy Heaven, because our sins would contaminate His Holy Heaven”… They both said, “Then nobody is going to Heaven”… I said, “That’s right, unless they repent and turn in faith to the Lord Jesus Christ, who died for their sins on the Cross and receive Him as their Lord and Saviour”…

PRAYER:

You know my friends, Pedro and Tatiana both thanked us last night. We encouraged them to read the Bible and see if what we were telling them was the truth. We asked them to come to church. We said we’d be prepared to meet-up with them again and pray and read the Bible over a coffee. But I encouraged them, “Don’t leave it too long before you turn to Jesus”… They walked away chatting together.

It’s not enough to just proclaim the Gospel, we’ve got to try and help people to understand it, that takes time, love, care, gentleness, humour, but above all boldness to bring the conversation back to the most important topic, their eternal destiny. I thank the Lord for Pedro and Tatiana, will you pray for them, that they’ll both come to the point of receiving Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour? We had a good laugh, but always got back to the seriousness of their spiritual condition. It’s amazing, but once people understand the Gospel, they are either thankful or disturbed. Pedro and Tatiana had never heard the Gospel explained or why Jesus died on the Cross like that before. Can you see the desperate need there is, to take time with folks and love them enough to share Jesus’ message of Good News?

Now, their God given Conscience will go to work, it will do it’s job of showing them their sins again (How? Because the Law of God brings light to the soul, it awakens the Conscience ), the Holy Spirit will use the Gospel to draw them to faith and trust in Jesus Christ.

WHY USE THE TEN COMMANDMENTS?

Some people ask us, “Why don’t you just talk about the love of God and Grace? Why do you keep going on about the Commandments?” Well, if I was to just tell someone they are a sinner without explaining why, they’d be offended. It’s offensive to just say, “We’ve all sinned and fall short of the glory of God” because most people don’t think they have, most people don’t know the seriousness of their sins. We’ve found that about 90% of people think they a good enough for Heaven. So we need to show a person just how serious sin is, before they’ll even consider listening to the Good News. The good news only makes sense when we see the seriousness of our condition without a Saviour.

Here’s the reason why we use the LAW (Ten Commandments) when sharing the Gospel with folks: It awakens the Conscience: “we become conscious of sin”… In other words, we see the seriousness of our sinful condition by opening up God’s law.

Romans 3:19-20 (NIV)
19  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. 20  Therefore no-one will be declared righteous in his sight by observing the law; rather, through the law we become conscious of sin.

Charles Spurgeon said: Concerning The Law (Ten Commandments).

  1. The first use of the law is to manifest to man his guilt.

When God intends to save a man, the first thing he does with him is to send the law to him, to show him how guilty, how vile, how ruined he is, and in how dangerous a position. You see that man lying there on the edge of the precipice; he is sound asleep, and just on the perilous verge of the cliff. One single movement, and he will roll over and be broken in pieces on the jagged rocks beneath, and nothing more shall be heard of him. How is he to be saved? What shall be done for him—what shall be done! It is our position; we, too, are lying on the brink of ruin, but we are insensible of it. God, when he begins to save us from such an imminent danger, sendeth his law, which, with a stout kick, rouses us up, makes us open our eyes, we look down on our terrible danger, discover our miseries, and then it is we are in a right position to cry out for salvation, and our salvation comes to us. The law acts with man as the physician does when he takes the film from the eye of the blind. Self-righteous men are blind men, though they think themselves good and excellent. The law takes that film away, and lets them discover how vile they are, and how utterly ruined and condemned if they are to abide under the sentence of the law.

Instead, however, of treating this doctrinally, I shall treat it practically, and come home to each of your consciences. My, hearer, does not the law of God convince you of sin this morning? Under the hand of God’s Spirit does it not make you feel that you have been guilty, that you deserve to be lost, that you have incurred the fierce anger of God? Look ye here, have ye not broken these ten commandments; even in the letter have ye not broken them? Who is there among you who hath always honored his father and mother? Who is there among us who hath always spoken the truth? Have we not sometimes borne false witness against our neighbor? Is there one person here who has not made unto himself another God, and loved himself, or his business, or his friends, more than he has Jehovah, the God of the whole earth? Which of you hath not coveted your neighbour’s house, or his man-servant, or his ox, or his ass? We are all guilty with regard to every letter of the law; we have all of us transgressed the commandments. And if we really understood these commandments, and felt that they condemned us, they would have this useful influence on us of showing us our danger, and so of leading us to fly to Christ. But, my hearers, does not this law condemn you, because even if you should say you have not broken the letter of it, yet you have violated the spirit of it. What, though you have never killed, yet we are told, he that is angry with his brother is a murderer. As a negro said once, “Sir, I thought me no kill—me innocent there; but when I heard that he that hateth his brother is a murderer, then me cry guilty, for me have killed twenty men before breakfast very often, for I have been angry with many of them very often.” This law does not only mean what it says in words, but it has deep things hidden in its bowels. It says, “Thou shalt not commit adultery,” but it means, as Jesus has it, “He that looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” It says, “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain,” it meaneth that we should reverence God in every place, and have his fear before our eyes, and should always pay respect unto his ordinances and evermore walk in his fear and love. Ay, my brethren, surely there is not one here so fool-hardy in self-righteousness as to say, “I am innocent.” The spirit of the law condemns us. And this is its useful property; it humbles us, makes us know we are guilty, and so are we led to receive the Saviour.

http://www.romans45.org/spurgeon/sermons/0128.htm

We saw that this is exactly right, it happened last night, when we opened up the law with Pedro and Tatiana, they soon stopped trying to justify themselves and wanted to know what they could do to be saved from the consequences of the law.

The Grinding Power Of Sin: Samson was in PRISON:

Judges 16:20-22 (NIV)
20  Then she called, “Samson, the Philistines are upon you!” He awoke from his sleep and thought, “I’ll go out as before and shake myself free.” But he did not know that the LORD had left him.
21  Then the Philistines seized him, gouged out his eyes and took him down to Gaza. Binding him with bronze shackles, they set him to grinding in the prison.
22  But the hair on his head began to grow again after it had been shaved.

He was blinded, bound and made to grind the corn for God’s enemies.

That’s the condition of everyone who lives with sin in their life, until they are set free by the LORD Jesus Christ. Sin blinds, it binds and it makes us grind. Life is worth living to the full, but life like Samson’s is; darkness, slavery and drudgery. Until we’re set free by the LORD Jesus Christ.

The prison is a place of blinding, binding and grinding!

Grinding was considered to be woman’s work, this added to Samson’s humiliation.

Here is the point; Samson was born to be a liberator. He was raised up by God to lead the people of God out of bondage. He was given power so that he might use his energy for the glory of the Lord. But, here is the mighty judge of Israel, blinded, bound and grinding corn for the enemies of God. (Note: That is the power of sin! It will rob you of your power and leave you with nothing with which to serve God. There will be no time, no energy and no interest in the things of God. Your life will be dominated by the grinding power of sin.)

My friends, share the Gospel with the folks you love.

Get full of God’s love and you’ll want to set others free.

Their condition, as Charles Spurgeon has so eloquently put it, is perilous. They are on the cliff-edge, in danger of God’s judgement and hell. If anyone dies in their sins, they’ll receive God’s wrath against sin. Let’s set as many free by going, by showing, by loving them into God’s Kingdom family. Amen!

Be blessed today and stay close to Jesus in the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen!

Don.

 

You can read or listen to Hell’s Best Kept Secret by Ray Comfort.

or even watch it below: