Now let’s get to the good stuff, after all, “The Gospel of God” means “The Good News of God.” Mark 1:14 says,
“He came into Galilee preaching the Gospel of God saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is at hand.’”
Now we’re talking! Good News about THE KINGDOM OF GOD. Jesus has brought “The Kingdom of God” to us, and that is downright exciting. Let’s face it, this isn’t just any ole tin pot kingdom! There are no richer and abundant kingdoms than “The Kingdom of God.” Things are looking up! It is treasure-hunt time now, and let’s enjoy all of the “Kingdom Goodies” of “The Good News of the Kingdom.”
So then preacher, tell us about it. Let the good times roll! Let’s get on with the treasure hunt. I mean, after all, the Kingdom of God is here, and how long can it take to get to the TOOTSIE ROLL CENTER of the TOOTSIE POP KINGDOM?
GUT CHECK TIME
Whoa! If you are not sitting down, I would recommend that you take a seat right now. I am going to have to POP YOUR LAWRENCE WELK KINGDOM BUBBLE, and I am going to have to BLOCK YOUR FALSE GOSPEL GLUT. Buckle up your seat belt, and make sure that your seat is in an upright position, for I know that many are in for a bumpy ride that they did not count on.
Hear me now, it is not going to be about GOLD-FILLED TEETH and SILVER-FLECKED HAIR on TREASURE ISLAND. You’ve got it all confused with CAPTAIN MORGAN’S LOVE – LIFE – LOOT. God’s Kingdom is not of this world. (John 18:36) It exists within God’s children. (Luke 17:21) Even as our Kingdom weapons are not carnal but spiritual, so the treasures of God’s Spiritual Kingdom are not carnal but spiritual. As a matter of fact, when you hear what Jesus says is the DOOR TO THE GOSPEL, THE DOOR TO THE KINGDOM OF GOD, your gold may begin to tarnish, and your hair may turn gray and begin to fall out.
Hear the word of the Lord in Mark 1:14-15,
“And after John had been taken into custody, Jesus came into
Galilee preaching the Gospel of God,”
“and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the Kingdom of God is
at hand; REPENT AND BELIEVE IN THE GOSPEL.”
Whoops! I just heard something that I don’t like the sound of. Can’t we just skip the REPENTANCE BIT and get to BELIEVE IN THE GOSPEL – GOOD NEWS? I always thought that all you had to do was BELIEVE. That is what I and zillions are being told, and that if you BELIEVE STRONG ENOUGH, you can cash in on Heaven’s riches that make Publisher’s Clearing House look like a Bingo Game. I mean, the gospel that is being preached now is BELIEVE AND HIT THE JACKPOT. Yes I know, I know only too well.
What a drag! Now you tell us in capital letters that the first thing we must do is REPENT. I am not sure what that means, for it is not preached anymore. But to be honest with you, I really don’t like the sound of that word – REPENT. It awakens something hazy in me about the severe preaching style of many moons ago that hasn’t been in vogue now for some time. It is now extinct. Good riddance! I like the GRAVY GOODIES GOSPEL of today, and that is what I want to be a part of.
Sorry! Wrong number! Wrong gospel! Wrong kingdom! Wrong god!
THE PRIMACY OF REPENTANCE
As a matter of fact, neither you nor I nor anyone else can have FAITH IN THE GOOD NEWS unless we first REPENT. First things first! Believing is impossible without repenting! So then, let’s get in our REPENTANCE STARTING BLOCKS, lest we get off to a false start.
“IN THE GOSPEL OF GOD, AND IN THE KINGDOM OF GOD, FAITH IS NOT THE
PRIMARY THING, REPENTANCE IS THE PRIMARY THING.”
How is that for a soul shocker? Some of us now may have to get out of a false gospel and a fantasy kingdom, and come into THE GOSPEL OF GOD and into THE KINGDOM OF GOD for the very first time, having thought we were already there. We’ve got the GOODIES GOSPEL CART before THE GOSPEL HORSE, and without REPENTANCE, your horse is just horsing around going nowhere.
Listen to Jesus words again in Mark 1:15,
“REPENT and believe in the Gospel.”
1. The disciples of Christ picked up on this early, and their ministry was mightily blessed of the Lord. We read in Mark 6:12-13,
“And they went out and preached that men should REPENT.”
“And they were casting out many demons and were anointing
with oil many sick people, and healing them.”
They got off to the right start and therefore they were hard to stop. They put a big REPENTANCE HURT on the kingdom of Satan, what with demons being cast out of people all over the place, and sick people being make whole. REPENTANCE GOSPEL ACTION GALORE!
2. The Apostle Peter, in response to people being convicted by His Pentecost sermon and asking him what should be their next step, he said to them on the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2:38,
“REPENT, and let each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the
forgiveness of sins, and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”
Peter’s ministry was blessed of the Lord, as 3000 souls were saved that day. I have never seen 3000 souls saved in my crusades at one time. Not even 300 at one time. Perhaps 30 on an occasion or two! 3000! Instant MEGA REPENTANCE CHURCH! How many churches have you seen named “REPENTANCE TABERNACLE?”
“THIS IS GOD’S PLAN ‘A’ FOR THE SALVATION OF SINNERS, AND HE DOES
NOT HAVE A PLAN ‘B.’”
“IF IT ISN’T BROKE DON’T FIX IT.”
3. Jesus tells us that the man who repents is the very top celebration in Heaven. We read His words in Luke 15:7,
“I tell you that in the same way, there will be more joy in Heaven
over one sinner who REPENTS, than over ninety and nine
righteous persons who need no repentance.”
Jesus made that the essential point three times in the same chapter. First in the parable of the lost sheep, then in the parable of the lost coin, and finally in the parable of the lost son. Jesus did not say that the prime celebration in Heaven is about those who believe, but about those who REPENT.
THE MEANING OF REPENTANCE
Our English noun REPENTANCE in Mark 1:15 comes from the Greek noun METANOIA, made up of two Greek components – META and NOUS. META in the Greek means AGAIN, and NOUS in the Greek means MIND. So, putting it all together, the literal meaning of REPENTANCE is:
Or more precisely, REPENTANCE means:
“TO CHANGE YOUR MIND.”
You mean, it’s all in your mind? Yes, basically, that is the battlefield of life that God alone deserves to win and Satan wants to win. By nature, we all have a mind set on sin and against righteousness. Right there is where the REPENTANCE RUBBER HITS THE ROAD.
You see, all of us by nature have done what is stated in Isaiah 53:6,
“All of us like sheep have gone astray, each of us has
turned to his own way…”
When a sinner comes to REPENTANCE, he sees Isaiah 53:6 for the first time in his life as an exact description of himself. He realizes that his thinking and living were pro-Self – having his own way, and anti-God – not giving God His way. When the REPENTER comes to his senses, namely, that his mind and life were all wrong, and that God was totally right all along, he literally gets a whole new brain transplant from the Holy Spirit. He now knows that not only was he lost in sin, but that he had lost his mind.
There it is, for Repentance is a TOTAL CHANGE OF MIND AND HEART AND LIFE.
THE NECESSITY OF REPENTANCE
We are no different than our first parents – DAD ADAM and MOTHER EVE, who were really the parents of the human race. They were told by God a great big NO as to eating from a certain fruit tree in the Garden of Eden, but they did it anyway. They didn’t go His way, but they did go their own way.
Eve and Adam whipped out a great big fruit basket, and went on a fruit picking trip in Eden’s orchard. They could have picked from any number of trees which were all super-delicious in that perfect state, but they only wanted the one that was forbidden by God. They were all good for them, but they like us wanted only what was bad for them. Under the deception of the devil, the bad always seems to look and taste better than the good, at least at the beginning. It seems that we all have to learn the hard way!
Before they knew what hit them, they found themselves PARADISE EJECTS AND REJECTS. Not only that, but the way back into the Garden of Eden, or Paradise, was blocked. It wasn’t blocked by a couple of ORANGE HIGHWAY BARRELS OR RUBBER CONE LOOKING THINGS. No something far more aggressive than that! We read in Genesis 3:24,
“So He (God) drove the man out; and at the east of the Garden of Eden He
stationed the cherubim, and the flaming sword which turned in every
direction to guard the way to THE TREE OF LIFE.”
What a scene! Here are high-ranking angels known as CHERUBIM stationed by God at Eden’s entrance, like HEAVEN’S GLADIATORS, to prevent Adam and Eve from trying to sneak back into now PARADISE LOST. And those CHERUBIM were armed with a swooshing and flaming sword which swung in every direction, to discourage any attempt at illegal entry. To get back in was a matter of very careful timing which never availed itself to them. Too much flaming and too much swooshing! Just seeing the thing made you run away and not try to get back in.
And now note something:
“THE CHERUBIM WERE PUT ON DUTY BY GOD TO GUARD AND BLOCK THE WAY
TO THE TREE OF LIFE.”
Remember now, that there were all kinds of fruit trees in Eden’s Orchards. But two stood out – THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL which was a BIG NO NO! And THE TREE OF LIFE which was a BIG YES YES. They said YES YES to the BIG NO NO, and they said NO NO to the BIG YES YES. They said yes to death which they thought was life, and in so doing they said no to life and yes to death.
Adam and Eve were now totally cut off from GOD’S LIFE. They were now sin-poisoned, spiritually dead, and physically dying. Corruption had set into every vital part, spiritually and morally and physically, and they had become like their new father Satan, and no more like their Creator Father God. They had gone from HEAVEN ON EARTH to HELL ON EARTH in a single bite.
Now then, the CHERUBIM were God’s drastic action to guard an unspeakably powerful and fantastic treasure that could make people live forever. Eternal life, not eternal death, was the supernatural result of eating from this “SUPERNATURAL TREE OF LIFE.” Don’t lose sight of this TREE because of the orchard. I don’t know whether it required one eating, or daily eating from THE TREE OF LIFE, though seeing it was there heavily and heavenly fruited, I believe that it was their DAILY FRUIT UNTO ETERNAL LIFE, even as Jesus is our daily bread of life. If you will:
“EAT FROM THE TREE OF LIFE AND YOU AND SHALL LIVE, BUT EAT OF
TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL AND YOU SHALL DIE.”
So now, why was THE TREE OF LIFE BLOCKED to Adam and Eve in their now sin-filled state? Listen close:
“IF ADAM AND EVE HAD SNUCK BACK INTO THE GARDEN, AND EATEN FROM THE
TREE OF LIFE, THEY WOULD IN THEIR ROTTEN SINFUL STATE HAD ETERNAL
LIFE WITHOUT EVER ACKNOWLEDGING THEIR SINS OR TASTING
OF THE AWFUL BITTERNESS OF SIN AND DEATH.”
Now we are getting it, even though we had to take a walk around the orchard more than once to understand it. Sin would have been normalized forever without any bitter consequences – without the death principle – but only the life principle. Hear it:
“ADAM AND EVE EATING OF THE TREE OF LIFE WOULD BE LIKE US SINNERS
BEING SAVED WITHOUT HAVING TO BE BROUGHT TO REPENTANCE AND
TASTE THE AWFUL BITTERNESS OF OUR SINS.”
If you will:
“THEN LIKE ADAM AND EVE, WE WOULD ALWAYS THINK THAT SIN ISN’T
BAD BUT GOOD, AND WE CAN HAVE YOUR FORBIDDEN FRUIT
AND EAT IT TOO.”
I am reminded of the birthday card told to me by my good friend Pastor Rick Bosnack. On the front of the card is a beautiful gal named Edith. When you open the card, there is a great big birthday cake with the caption:
“YOU CAN’T HAVE YOUR CAKE AND EDITH TOO.”
You see, you thought that you could have the new life in Christ, and hang on to the old one too. You thought that you could eat from both trees. You have tried to keep both! You have tried to sneak back into the garden in your sinful state, but you have been burned by the sword again and again. You thought that you could be saved without repentance.
It is clear therefore:
“REPENTANCE MEANS NOT ONLY A TOTAL CHANGE OF MIND, BUT A
TOTAL CHANGE OF LIFE.”
If you will:
“THE PROOF OF GENUINE REPENTANCE IS IN THE FORSAKING OF SINS, AND
IN THE LIVING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS. REPENTANCE IS MUCH MORE THAN
A DIRGE, IT IS A PURGE WITH A BRAND NEW URGE.”
Listen now, and take heed:
“THE WEEPER THINKS THAT HIS TEARS VALIDATE HIS REPENTANCE, WHEN
IN FACT HIS TEARS BY THEMSELVES DO NOT CLEANSE HIS PATH
BUT INSTEAD TURN IT TO MUD.”
We must hear the words of John the Baptist in Matthew 3:8,
“Therefore bring forth fruit in keeping with REPENTANCE.”
WHAT REPENTANCE SOUNDS LIKE
What is it that we read in II Corinthians 7:10 KJV,
“For Godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation…”
God has to let us experience the full pain and sorrow and rot and deadliness of sin, so that we CHANGE OUR MIND about sin. I thought God that I could do it my way, a way that seemed right in my own eyes, but it is the way of death. God, I REPENT – I CHANGE MY SINFUL MIND, You are right and I am so terribly wrong. Please deliver me from this strong-minded, strong-willed, self-inflicted hell of drugs, booze, lust, sex, divorce, and self-destruction, and forgive my sins which I can now say I HATE MORE THAN ANYTHING I HAVE EVER HATED IN MY LIFE.
So it was that adulterous and murderous David cried to the Lord in Psalm 51:1-4, 10-13:
“Be gracious to me O God, according to Thy lovingkindness; according to the
greatness of Thy compassion blot out my transgressions.”
“Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.”
“For I KNOW MY TRANSGRESSIONS, and MY SIN IS EVER BEFORE ME.”
“Against Thee, Thee only I have sinned, and done what is evil in Thy sight,
so that Thou art justified when Thou dost speak, and blameless when
Thou dost judge.”
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast Spirit
“Do not cast me away from Thy presence, and do not take Thy Holy Spirit
“Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation, and sustain me with a
“Then I will teach transgressors Thy ways, and sinners will be
converted to Thee.”
THE COMMAND OF REPENTANCE
Jesus commands repentance in Mark 1:15,
“REPENT and believe in the Gospel.”
Repentance is not only PRIMARY, it is IMPERATIVE. It is never given as an option, or as a suggestion, or as applicable to some – the really bad guys – but not to others. In fact:
“REPENTANCE IS THE GREAT PRIMARY COMMAND THAT THE LORD HAS
ENTRUSTED TO HIS PREACHERS AND EVANGELISTS.”
The command to repent is given to individuals as we have here in Jesus’ first public sermon preached in Galilee.
The command to repent is given to entire churches along with severe consequences if they do not repent, such as we read in Revelation 2:5 spoken by the Lord to the church in Ephesus,
“Remember therefore from where you have fallen, and REPENT and do the deeds
you did at first; or else I am coming to you, and will remove your lampstand
out of its place – unless you REPENT.”
The command to repent is given to entire nations such as in Ezekiel 14:6 to the entire nation of Israel,
“Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God, REPENT and
turn away from your idols, and your faces away from
all your abominations.’”
In fact, the command to repent is given by God to the entire human race, as we read in Acts 17:30-31,
“Therefore having overlooked the times of ignorance, God is now declaring that
all men everywhere should REPENT,”
“because He has fixed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness
through a man whom He has appointed, having furnished proof to
all men by raising Him from the dead.”
America, its government, its schools and universities, its media, its courts, its entire society must hear ringing commands from God over the church and TV pulpits to repent of her wicked ways and ask Jesus for forgiveness, lest He destroy America.
On a recent weekend, NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” aired an extremely violent and gory segment mocking Jesus Christ…just for laughs. And, it’s available now online thanks to Kmart, Sears and J. C. Penney. The segment is a fake movie trailer depicting a Quentin Tarantino-style Jesus returning to get revenge. It’s called, “Djesus Uncrossed.” Thanks to the funding by mainstream advertisers, NBC is painting Jesus as a revengeful murderer bent on killing the Romans who crucified Him.
The trailer features Jesus and the Apostles gunning down scores of Romans. At one point the Jesus character slices a man’s head in half. “Critics are calling it a less violent “Passion of the Christ,'” the announcer said, “I never knew how much Jesus used the N-word.”
The mockery and degradation of God’s Holy One – The Messenger of the Covenant, will not stand, neither will NBC, and neither will America. The call to repentance-or-else must echo strong throughout the land. I can hear the voice of God:
“I DID NOT SUFFER MY HOLY ONE TO SEE CORRUPTION, AND I WILL NOT
ALLOW HIM TO SEE DEGRADATION.”
I recall how the Philistines in this connection had hijacked the famous ARK OF THE COVENANT, God’s holy golden box to which he attached His sacred presence, and in which He placed His Ten Commandments. Then the Philistines desecrated the Holy Ark by not only putting it in the shrine of the Philistine pagan god “Dagon,” but by sticking it lower than Dagon in the corner somewhere as God was made to be subservient to Dagon.
Those who know the story will recall that God toppled Dagon, knocking him to the ground while severing his head and arms. But God did much more than that. We read in I Samuel 5:6 KJV,
“But the hand of the Lord was heavy upon them at Ashdod, and He destroyed
them, and smote them with emerods-hemorrhoids, even Ashdod
and the coasts thereof.”
The Philistines at Ashdod, Philistia, not only had to dig mass graves, but those who survived had a huge problem in their pants. So the Ashdodites, sensing what was going on, and seeing this was before Preparation H, took the Holy Ark to other towns in Philistia called Gath and then Ekron, not Akron, but Ekron. They tried to unload GOD and the RROIDS.
Then we read in I Samuel 5:12,
“And the men that died not were smitten with hemorrhoids: and the cry of the
city went up to Heaven.”
God killed many of the Philistines, and those who remained alive wished they were dead.
Hear me America:
“REPENT OF YOUR BLASPHEMY NOW, FOR YOU HAVE BECOME A BURNING PAIN
IN THE BUTT TO ALL THAT IS SACRED AND HOLY.”
I can hear the Lord say:
“BECAUSE YOU HAVE SOUGHT TO BRING THE MOST HIGH GOD LOW, I HAVE
STRUCK YOU IN YOUR LOWEST PARTS WITH BURNING RROIDS.”
In fact, the pain was so bad, that we read in I Samuel 5:12,
“…and the cry of the city went up to Heaven.”
HEMORRHOIDAL HYSTERIA. God either BURIED THEM LOW or BURNED THEM LOW.
Hear me America:
“REPENT, LEST GOD BURN YOU IN YOUR FILTHIEST AND LOWEST STATE, AND
YOU PERISH IN YOUR WAYS.”
In the 70 percent of Texas public schools where a private curriculum has been installed, students are learning the “fact” that “Allah is the Almighty God,” charge critics of a new online curriculum that already is facing condemnation for its secrecy and restrictions on oversight.
The program, called CSCOPE, is a private venture operating under the umbrella of the Texas Education Service Center Curriculum Collaborative, whose incorporation documents state its independence from the State Board of Education of the Texas Education Agency.
The critics say the studies border on proselytizing. In one scenario, students are asked to study the tenets of Islam, and critics say the materials provided exceed impartial review of another faith, extending into requirements of conversion and moral imperatives.
A computer presentation utilized as part of a study of Islam includes information on how to convert, as well as verses denigrating other faiths. According to excerpts, under the heading, “Who Is Allah?” students are told:
“Allah is the Almighty God.” “Allah alone is the Creator. He alone deserves
our devout love and worship.”
Aaron brought a new god into the Israelite encampment, a GOLDEN CALF, worshipped it, and gave it praise mind you, as the god who had brought the children of Israel out of the land of Egypt. He alone deserved their love and worship. (Exodus 32:7-8)
The golden-calf god was burned up and ground into powder, and then the grindings were added to the water that the Israelites were forced to drink. God also ordered the execution of 1000’s of Israelite men, as we read in Exodus 32:27-28,
“And Moses said to them, ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, every man of you
put his sword on his thigh, and go back and forth from gate to gate
in the camp, and kill every man his brother, and every man his
friend, and every man his neighbor.”
“So the sons of Levi did as Moses instructed, and about three thousand men of
the people fell that day.”
The sons of the priestly tribe of Levi became God’s executioners that day. So much for ministers whose main goal it is to preach chummy sermons and be friends with everybody. So much for crowd pleasers whose main goal is to get at least four curtain calls after every sermon.
America, the Triune God – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit – alone is the Almighty God. He alone is the Creator. He alone deserves our devout love and worship. And remember, it was Jesus Christ who said in Luke 13:3,
“…unless you repent, you shall likewise perish.”
BELIEVE IN THE GOSPEL
Repentance is the hard part! Very hard! You see, we sinners have a horrible time being honest with ourselves about ourselves. We rationalize, make excuses, and point the finger at others closest to us, like our parents, our spouses, or someone else that we have chosen to be our dumping ground.
Then self-pity overflows, bitterness ferments, anger rages as all the while we resist the realization that not our dads, not our moms, not our husbands, not our wives, not our brothers, not our sisters are the problem. We are the problem, I am the problem, and only Jesus can solve the problem and save me from me.
That’s the hardest part of repentance, when the fake Dr. Jekyll-Me has to confront and own up to the real Mr. HYDE-ME. But when I acknowledge that the Mr. HYDE-ME is the real, ugly, sin-sick me, as painful as it is, now I am ready to BELIEVE IN THE GOSPEL.
“ONLY WHEN WE GET REAL ABOUT OURSELVES WILL THE SAVIOR MAKE
HIMSELF REAL TO US.”
Therefore, hear this too:
“ONLY WHEN REPENTANCE IS DEEP WILL FAITH BE STRONG.”
No more games. No more shuffling and jiving. And no more struggling to believe.
Now it is therefore that Jesus tells us in Mark 1:15,
“Believe in the Gospel.”
FIRST, the word for BELIEVE in the Greek is PISTEUO which means to TRUST. You see, the deep gut result of repentance is the realization of the misplaced trust in Satan, in the world, in our peers, in self, and above all in our own self-righteousness. Especially the last – self-trust! We read Proverbs 28:26,
“He who trusts in his own heart is a fool….”
The point of Proverbs 28:26 is this:
“THAT THE HEART OF MAN IS TO BE CONFIDED IN AND TRUSTED IN THE LEAST,
SIMPLY BECAUSE GOD TELLS US THAT TO TRUST ONE’S OWN HEART
MAKES THAT MAN A FOOL.”
I mean, it is shocking to read what Jesus states in Matthew 15:19,
“For OUT OF THE HEART come evil thoughts, murders, adulteries,
fornication, thefts, false witness, slanders.”
Get this firm in our minds:
“THE HUMAN HEART IS A WILDERNESS IN WHICH A MAN MAY WANDER
HIS WHOLE LIFE, A WILDERNESS THROUGH WHICH NONE
HAVE PASSED INTO THE PROMISED LAND.”
You see, in the western world there is a well-known maxim:
“TRUST NO ONE.”
What people don’t realize is that trusting no one includes not trusting in yourself either. Why?
“TO TRUST IN YOUR HEART IS TO MAKE IT YOUR BEST, SUREST, MOST
RELIABLE, AND UNFAILING FRIEND WHO WILL GIVE YOU GOOD
AND WISE COUNSEL ON ALL THE AFFAIRS OF YOUR LIFE.”
Huge problem! Great danger ahead! Why? Because of what we read in Jeremiah 17:9,
“The heart is more deceitful than all else and is desperately
wicked, who can understand it?”
No, no, don’t pass by that question of the prophet about the human heart:
“WHO CAN KNOW IT?”
He is asking a rhetorical question that contains this:
“WHO CAN DISCOVER ALL THE DECEITFUL WINDINGS, TURNINGS, DEPTHS,
HOLLOWNESSES, AND DARK CORNERS OF THE HUMAN HEART?”
To trust your heart or anyone’s heart is a totally lethal and misplaced trust. Why? Because:
“THE HUMAN HEART WILL PLAY WITH YOUR MIND, AND MAKE GREAT SINS
PASS FOR LITTLE SINS, AND LITTLE SINS PASS FOR NO SINS AT ALL.
IT WILL TELL YOU THAT YOU ARE NOT A SINNER AND THAT
YOU DO NOT NEED A SAVIOR.”
How often I have heard repentant sinners make the statements like:
“HOW COULD I HAVE BEEN SO STUPID? HOW COULD I HAVE BEEN SO
FOOLISH? HOW COULD I HAVE BEEN SO DUMB?”
Now you know! It must come to the point that the repentant sinner sees that there is no one to trust but the Lord of the Word and the Word of the Lord. To put your trust in anything or anyone but God is a failed trust. Hear it:
“GOD ALONE IS TRUSTWORTHY.”
So we read in Proverbs 3:5,
“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on
your own understanding.”
So then, BELIEVE IN THE GOSPEL means to transfer all of your trust from SELF TO THE SAVIOR JESUS CHRIST. Trusting in self is what got us in the mess of sin in the first place. We are the BAD NEWS. There is only one way out, and that is through the cross of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the Lord Jesus Christ of the cross. He is the GOOD NEWS.
SECOND, the word for GOSPEL in the Greek is EUAGGELION which means GOOD NEWS. To the true REPENTER, it seems too good to be true. It is not only GOOD NEWS, it is the BEST NEWS THAT A TRULY REPENTANT SINNER COULD EVER HEAR. ASTONISHING NEWS! ECSTATIC NEWS! EXULTANT NEWS!
The Apostle Paul expresses all of it – TRUE REPENTANCE – GOOD NEWS – TRUST in I Timothy 1:15,
“It is a TRUSTWORTHY (TRUST) statement, deserving FULL ACCEPTANCE that JESUS
CHRIST CAME INTO THE WORLD TO SAVE SINNERS (GOSPEL),
of whom I AM FOREMOST OF ALL (REPENTANCE).”
Shaunak’s life revolved around working and drinking. Only 18 years old, the quiet young man had earned the resentment of his family because of his addiction to alcohol. Shaunak had gravitated toward the destructive habit held by many other day laborers. Tired after long hours of working, he would spend his evenings drinking alcohol. It is common for thousands of workers around the world.
One day, as a Gospel for Asia pastor – Pastor Daiwik – was handing out Christian literature and sharing about Jesus’ love, he met Shaunak. Shaunak wanted to know what Daiwik was doing. So Daiwik gladly told him, and then gave him a booklet and encouraged him to read it.
After their meeting, Daiwik went home with a burden to intercede for Shaunak. He and his wife began praying and fasting for the young man, and they asked the believers in their congregation to pray for him too.
The next time Shaunak and Daiwik crossed paths it was obvious that God had been speaking to Shaunak. When he saw Daiwik talking to people one day, he approached the pastor and started asking him questions that had been burning in his heart since reading the booklet. He asked, “Will Jesus forgive someone like me?” And, “Will Jesus help me stop using alcohol?”
Pastor Daiwik told him, “If you put your full faith in the Lord, he will surely forgive all your sins, and you will be a new creation in Him.” The pastor then invited Shaunak to visit the local fellowship and assured him that God would transform his life. He said, “Your bad habits will change. God loves you so much that He has given His life for you.”
Encouraged to hear this, Shaunak agreed to visit his church. As he learned more about Jesus, he decided to make him Lord of his life. God indeed changed Shaunak’s life. Instead of drinking, Shaunak now reads God’s Word every day and faithfully participates in prayer meetings (fruits of repentance).
Pastor Daiwik continues to visit Shaunak and pray for him. Meanwhile, the changes in Shaunak’s life have also brought joy to his family members. Shaunak says, “Now they are talking to me, and I thank the Lord Jesus for that. He has saved and changed me!” (From HARVEST – GOSPEL FOR ASIA MINISTRY LETTER.)
What Jesus did for Shaunak, he will do for you. He loves you and died for you that you can be forgiven and free. Like Shaunak, become a repentant and believing child of God today.
Safe in the arms of Jesus, safe on His gentle breast;
There by His love o’ershaded, sweetly my soul shall rest.
Hark! ‘Tis the voice of angels, borne in a song to me,
Over the fields of glory, over the jasper sea.
Jesus, my heart’s dear Refuge, Jesus has died for me;
Firm on the Rock of Ages, ever my trust shall be.
Here let me wait with patience, wait till the night is o;er;
Wait till I see the morning, break on the golden shore.
Save in the arms of Jesus, safe on His gentle breast;
There by His love o’ershaded, sweetly my soul shall rest.