Summary: In today's culture, the media, academics, liberal theologians all work to confuse an understanding fo the gospel. The Bible on the other hand is extremely clear as to the terms of the gospel - salvation through faith in the sacrificial death of Jesus Chri
MAKING THE GOSPEL CLEAR
This Sunday we are observing what is often called “Palm Sunday.” This name comes from the fact that on the Sunday of the “passion week” Jesus entered into Jerusalem under a cacophony of cheers and praise. In Luke 19, the Bible recounts the story of how Jesus rode on a donkey over the Mount of Olives, down the hill, and then up the hill and into the city. As He rode, people lined the road with their coats and palm branches as a sign of their adulation and honor. They gave Him this honor because they mistakenly believed that He had come to overthrow the yoke of Roman rule and restore the “throne of David” to Israel.
In today’s Jerusalem you can still walk along a modern version of that same road. It is easy to get chills by picturing yourself standing on the side of the road as Jesus road by on a donkey. You also can grasp what it must have looked like for Jesus that day as He crested the hill and took in a panoramic view of the city with the Temple looming in the midst of His view.
Standing there on that road today, you can also understand why Luke described the event this way: “Now as He drew near, He saw the city and wept over it.” (v. 41). The view is awe-inspiring still today. Jesus sees the entire city in panorama knowing that He has come specifically to fulfill God’s promise of the Christ – the anointed sacrifice for the sins of His people. He also knows in hearing their chants of Hosanna that they have totally missed the point of His arrival. He laments in that moment, “if you had known, even you, especially in this your day, the things that make for your peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.” (v. 42)
In our day, people are just as blinded. We live in a culture today where there are more misconceptions about Jesus than understanding. The Gospel today is misunderstood, misconstrued, lied about, and ignored. The academic culture has ridiculed the gospel. Liberal theologians have obfuscated the Gospel by altering it. Multi-culturalism has relegated the Gospel to simply one of a garden variety ways to define “spirituality.”
It is time for the church to speak with clarity and explain the Gospel. It is time to make certain that the Gospel is clearly defined in Scripture. One may choose to agree or disagree, but there is no room to change it, interpret it, or edit it. You cannot relegate it to one of many – that is to change it.
The Bible makes abundantly clear exactly what the Gospel is. It is the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ to fulfill the judgment for sins. I Corinthians 15 states clearly the Gospel. “I declare to you the gospel … by which you are saved: 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.”
We must make it clear that this is the gospel. It is not anymore or less. It is not, by the Bible’s own statements, open to alteration. We must loudly and often proclaim the gospel. It is true that we must show our love as motivation for sharing the gospel. We should back up our explanation of the gospel with loving actions. But it is not loving to fail to share the truth. It is incumbent on us as believers to state with clarity the inherent clarity of the gospel itself.
1. There is only one gospel – Jesus’ sacrifice for our sins.
There is only one gospel. That means that there is only one way to know God and be in His presence. That means there is only way to have eternal life and live in heaven. That means that there is only one way to avoid living for eternity separated from the presence of God as judgment for our sins. It means that all dogs do NOT go to heaven. It means that all roads do not lead to heaven.
The Bible does not leave room for that opinion. The Bible states clearly there is only one way to heaven. You may choose to reject that claim, but you cannot edit that claim. The scriptures do not allow for any other choice but to accept or reject. Jesus said this Himself: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6.
It is stated clearly again in Philippians 2: 5-11. It is stated again clearly as the message of the church in Acts 4: 8-12. “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” That is unequivocal and clear.