Summary: "For it (the GOSPEL) is the Power of God unto Salvation!"

The Gospel: What is it REALLY?

Text: Romans 1-8

Objective: Every person needs to understand the true essence of salvation and can do so by understanding 2 facts found in Scripture.

I went back to work about three weeks ago after a 2 month lay off.

Many of you know that I am a truck driver by trade.

While I am at driving, I have a lot of time to listen to Christian radio, pray, think, ponder, and so on.

For a couple of weeks now, I have been listening to some really great preaching as well as some teaching that has me very concerned.

Beyond what I have been hearing on the radio, I also like to watch preachers on TV.

I have to say that I am very concerned with the direction that many of my colleagues are heading.

Many preachers these days are, quite simply, preaching a false gospel.

I want you to know that men and women alike are preaching a bloodless, Christ-less, non-repentant gospel these days that I believe is leading countless millions to an eternity of destruction and separation from God.

I hear preachers telling millions that they can accept Jesus into their hearts and they will be saved…

I hear televangelists convincing people that God will heal them from whatever problem they have…

I even heard a so-called faith healer the other night take a request for a resurrection…

A lady came up on stage weeping about a praise and worship leader who had just died 45 minutes ago and was asking for prayer to resurrect this friend.

At that request, the televangelist shouted, “We’ve got a fresh one!” and proceeded to rally the thousands in attendance to pray for this person to be raised from the dead.

Friends, I know that false teachers have always existed, and they always will.

But, I am convinced that we have reached a new low when it comes to peddling a false Gospel.

It seems: gone are the days when prophetic preaching consisted of one man anointed by God declaring that evil sinful people must turn from their wicked ways…

Gone are the days when anointed men of God would stand up in the face of a culture’s sin and call it what it was…

Gone are the days when anointed men of God would proclaim the marvelous Grace of God that is accessed by repentance.

Now we have prophetic preaching that likens Jesus Christ to some kind of civil rights activist who fought against “the man”.

Now we have men and women who embrace the culture with all of its atrocities against God in the name of political correctness…

Now we have men sent by satan himself who deny the Grace of God and so cheapen it by never talking about repentance, and righteousness, and God-given fruit of His Spirit.

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is a bloody gospel…

One that required the death, burial, and resurrection of a perfect man – Jesus Christ…and by the way, that is His name…not allah, not muhommed, not joseph smith, not any other name- Jesus Christ is the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.

I want to explain for you what the Biblical Gospel really is.

This could very well be the most important message you’ll ever hear.

I hope that you have come expecting to hear from heaven today, and I expect, due to the nature of this sermon, many distractions…

Satan does not want you to hear what I am about to talk about.

Please turn in your Bibles to Romans 1:18 and listen to the two aspects of the true gospel.

I. The Plight of Condemnation

(Romans 1:1 – 3:19)

If we were to continue reading through chapter 3 of Romans, we would readily see that Paul has revealed the absolute and utter helplessness of man-kind.

Acting as a prosecuting attorney, Paul takes the entire human race before the supreme Judge of the universe.

Paul noted (READ 1:21-22)

Three times Paul will indicate that because of man’s rebellion, God “gave them up”.

The gravity and eternal consequence of this single phrase “gave them up” cannot be overstated.

We are told that God gave them up to “uncleanness” (1:24)

“vile affections” (1:26)

“reprobate mind” (1:28)

When God turns men loose to follow their own sinful desires, it is as bad as it can get.

Look at our world these days…

Every place we turn we see people who have followed their sinful desires.

We see people justifying sinful pleasure because it feels good…

We see men turning into women and women turning into men…

We see people devising new ways all the time to exploit one another for filthy gain.

Many have been turned over to their own sinful lusts and desires.

In the verses that follow, Paul makes it uniquely clear that both Jew and Gentile have “come short of the Glory of God” (3:23)

He makes the case that there is “none righteous, no not one” (3:10)

And, as a result of this guilty verdict, “every mouth is stopped, and the entire world is found guilty before God” (3:19)

If a man pleads His case before the Supreme Justice of the universe by saying “I lived a moral life, I’m not as bad as my neighbor; I did some good things, I’m spiritual by nature”, there comes the divine response:

“Silence. Keep Quiet. Be Still.”

And every mouth is stopped; and all the world is guilty before God.

Unsaved men and women are living under the plight of condemnation.

This condemnation is not only a future prospect, but it is an ever present reality.

And if a person dies in that condition, their destiny is sealed forever.

Someone has wisely said that it is not difficult to get a man saved.

The difficulty is getting him to believe that he is lost first.

It is only when a person realizes that he is lost and hopeless that he becomes interested in the righteousness that God has provided for him.

You see, the first aspect of the true Gospel is this:

You are lost without Jesus Christ saving you.

You are walking through life under the plight of condemnation with no hope, no escape, no future…

The Bible teaches that any person who is not saved by Jesus Christ will be forever separated from the presence of God in a real and literal place called hell.

We cannot possible fathom the torment that will be experienced in place that is void of God’s presence.

Biblical writers have described it as being a place where the fire is never quenched and the smoke never ceases to rise…

It is a place where pain and sickness rule…

There will be no light and no end to the torment and fear and pain…

This is not a place that men have dreamed up in order to keep people in line morally…

This is not a place that religious rulers have concocted to try and get people to accept their teachings…

This is a place that is real and will be your future if Jesus Christ does not rescue you from going there!

We must understand that we are lost w/o Jesus Christ.

He is the only way to be saved from this horrible place that we all deserve.

Thankfully, in explaining the Gospel, Paul did not end the lesson there.

What a horrible thing it would be to even be born if Hell were the inevitable destiny for everybody.

But, thank God, there is Hope!

II. The Position of Justification

(Romans 3:20 – 5:21)

Paul begins the second section of Romans with the glorious declaration:

“But now, a righteousness from God apart from the law” (3:21a)

Paul continues to demonstrate that justification is a gracious act by God whereby a sinner is perfectly accepted IN CHRIST.

Justification is a legal declaration made in the highest of courts in the universe and it rests upon the finished work of Jesus Christ.

Paul used Abraham to illustrate this idea of justification by faith.

“Abraham believed God, and it (his faith) was counted unto him for righteousness.” (4:3)

Get this – since justification is a legal declaration made in the highest court in the universe – it is a position.

Justification has nothing to do with feelings.

It is a legal rendering by God himself.

The Son’s atoning work at Calvary allows the Father to remain righteous and declare a sinful man justified!

Saved men and women rejoice in the position of justification by grace through faith.

Think about it!

The Holy God of the universe poured out His wrath that was due to me on His Son Jesus Christ.

Since He poured out my punishment on Jesus, God remains Holy and Just, and through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ can declare a nobody like me to be justified!

The question that hangs in the balance though is this:

How can I be justified?

And this is the point in my sermon that I need every eye focused and every ear wide open –

This is where my introduction about all of the false teachers becomes relevant.

Many preachers today are telling you that you can be saved by praying a simple prayer that they will recite at the end of every broadcast…

Others are telling us “come to Jesus and your life will get better”

Some are telling you how badly God needs your money and if you’ll only send in your first-fruits offering God will bless you financially.

Listen – none of that has anything at all to do with justification and salvation!!!!!

Turn with me to Luke 15:11-32

(attitude of repentance)

This is the attitude of repentance that John the Baptist proclaimed…

This is the attitude of repentance that Jesus talked about when he said that we must become like little children in order to inherit the Kingdom of God (humility)

This is the attitude of repentance that Paul and Silas saw in the Philippian jailor when in desperation he cried out ‘what must I do to be saved”

And, this is the attitude of repentance that Jesus saw in the eyes of the thief crucified on the cross next to him when he begged, “remember me”.

Repentance was at the heart of the man who beat his chest and cried out “God have mercy on me, a sinner!”

The Gospel message of Jesus Christ is a shallow empty promise without the reality of preaching repentance!

The true message is that we are desperately lost without Christ – but we must come to him in the same way that the prodigal son came to his father –

He came saying – I have sinned against heaven and against you…I am not worthy to even be one of your slaves!

Please take me back. I have nothing to offer you. I am empty, hopeless, I have squandered all that you have given me.

I have tried to satisfy my own desires, and I have failed miserably.

Father, I don’t deserve it, but please, take me back.

And as sure as the father celebrated the home coming of his lost son, God and all of heaven celebrate when you humbly, in repentance come to him asking, begging for Him to take you back.

That is what justification is all about.

David understood repentance when he prayed for God’s forgiveness in Psalm 51. (read)

That is what so many so-called preachers are hiding from you on their radio and tv broadcasts.

And I want you to know that God will accept you, too, if you will repent from your sin and humbly ask Him to take you back.

Oh how you must understand repentance!

God is willing and able to save any and all who truly believe on Jesus Christ as savior and Lord, but that belief is not just a static statement of fact but a dynamic trust that is evidenced by faith!

The Bible declares that even the demons believe in Jesus and shudder – they are not saved!

Believing on Jesus for salvation involves much more than a mere statement of belief.

And I ask you today – have you come to Jesus in repentance and faith…

Or have you come to Jesus with the attitude that says:

O.K., I accept you – I’ll give you the privilege of joining my life…

Friends, that is not salvation…

We need not worry about accepting Jesus as much as we need to worry about whether He accepts us!

I know most of you have heard this same old message hundreds of times, but I cannot tell you how heart broken I am over the reality that so many people believe that they are saved because of some lie that they bought into!

Being justified, being saved is a gift of God that is opened through repentance.

And I ask you today, will you continue to walk in the plight of condemnation, or will you repent and walk in the justification that only Jesus can offer?

If God were willing to give you a sign to show you just how much He loved you, would you repent, and believe on Jesus Christ then?

I mean, if God were willing to give up something that he valued above everything else in this universe just so that you could be saved from your sin, would that convince you that He loves you?

Listen to Romans 8:31-39.

Alter call.