Summary: “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God” 1 Cor. 1:18.
Theme: The gospel, the power of God
Text: Psalm 15; 1 Cor. 1:18-31; Matt. 5:1-12
The gospel means good news and everyone in the world wants to hear some good news. Men and women are tired of always hearing bad news broadcast over the airwaves on a daily basis. They are tired of hearing about the disastrous effects of climate change, floods, earthquakes, tsunamis, erupting volcanoes and wars. They are tired of hearing about poverty, famine, suffering, sickness and death. They are tired of hearing about destroyed lives as people try to find a solution to their problems in alcohol, drugs, gambling and sex. They are tired of hearing about rape, armed robbery, currency depreciation, rise in interest rates and economic difficulties. There is so much bad news that what we often consider anything good, even when it is only short lived and temporary, to be good news. What is the good news when after you have built a beautiful house with many rooms you find it difficult to sleep? What is the good news when you can afford to go to the most expensive restaurants but are not allowed to eat most of the delicacies on the menu? What is the good news when you are a billionaire but dying of a terminal disease? The gospel, however, is truly good news. There can be no better news as it meets all our needs and its benefits extend beyond time into eternity. The good news, the gospel, gives us access to the presence and power of God.
The gospel reveals God’s requirements that enable us come into His presence. God is in the words of the Psalmist “a righteous judge”. (Psalm 7:11) Therefore the only one who can come into His presence is a righteous person. Psalm 15 confirms that only an upright and righteous person has access to God’s presence. No unrighteous person can come before His holy presence. Psalm 15 describes some of the attributes of God that must be manifested in those who come before His presence. God is not only righteous, He is also holy and only a righteous and holy person has access to His presence. A holy person relates to others in a just and holy way. He speaks to them using kind and comforting words and treats them with respect. A holy and just person will not hurt others through gossip and unfriendly acts. A very important attribute of God is love. God is love and to gain access to His presence one must love as much as God loves us. Christ says “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another”. (John 13:34)
The gospel is God’s appointed way to His presence, provisions and blessings. Adam and Eve before the fall enjoyed the presence, provisions and blessings of God. God made sure that there was nothing lacking or missing in their lives. When Adam and Eve sinned they lost the image and likeness of God and could no longer come before His presence. God made man “a little lower than the heavenly beings and crowned him with glory and honour”. (Psalm 8:5) Sin robbed them of their glory and honour and they hid from God’s presence since they could not appear before Him naked. They no longer had access to the source of their provision and blessing. God however, promised to restore His provisions and blessings to man at His appointed time and in His appointed way. At God’s appointed time Jesus Christ came to restore God’s glory and honour to enable man come before God’s presence and to partake of His abundant supply. We can only avail ourselves of God’s abundant blessings and provisions when we believe in Christ and yield to Him as our Saviour and Lord.
The gospel not only reveals God’s requirements to enter His presence but also meets His requirements. The Scriptures declare, “The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23). We can only meet God’s condition to come into His presence by accepting that the death, burial and resurrection of Christ was for our redemption. We must believe that Christ took our sin and gave us His righteousness. Christ not only shed His blood for our redemption He also shed His blood for our justification. We become just as if we had never sinned because God has chosen not to remember our sin. The Lord declared, “I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more”. (Jer. 31:34) Christ also shed His blood for our sanctification. He shed His blood to make us holy and set apart to God. We have access to His presence so “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need”. (Heb. 4:16)