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Sharing the Gospel - Answering Questions about Christ and Redemption Print E-mail
Sharing the Gospel

Sunday Evening, May 7, 2006

Introduction:
When we get to this third heading of our presentation of the gospel, we have already made the dilemma clear: how can a holy God love rebellious humanity?  We talked last week of our desperate state because of sin.  Thus, we come to the point this week of offering the solution for the sin problem, namely the life, death, and resurrection Jesus Christ.  The work of Christ is the focal point of the Bible, the focal point of all history, and should be the focal point of our presentation of the gospel.  If we communicate anything to a lost world, we want to tell them of the hope we have because of Jesus Christ.

II.  A Brief Summary of Christ and Redemption:
Following our four headings, we have covered God and Creation, Man and the Fall, and now we come to Christ and Redemption.  Listen to what we have under this heading:

The dilemma is not answered until the pages of the New Testament.  In the opening chapters of Matthew (the first book of the New Testament) we are told of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and the Son of Man, who has come to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21).  Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John teach us that Christ came and lived a perfect life.  He was perfectly obedient in every way to the Father.  The Bible also teaches us that Christ died on the cross for the sins of the world.  In other words, even though He was perfect and did nothing wrong, He was willing to die on the cross and face the judgment that every sinner deserved, namely the wrath of Almighty God.  Thus, Christ took my place on the cross and took the judgment that I deserved in my place.  And we know that the Father accepted this sacrifice for sins because three days later He raised Christ from the dead.  This is the glorious good news of the gospel.  Christ has defeated all my enemies: sin, Satan, and death.  Not only that, but Christ, by dying on the cross and being raised on the third day, has made it possible for God to justly forgive people of their sins and have a relationship with them (Romans 3:21-26).  Through Christ, the dilemma has been solved.

In this short paragraph we are trying to summarize the life and ministry of Christ, along with His death and resurrection.  Obviously, we cannot recite the entire Gospels, but we can summarize what they teach us about Christ.  We want to make it clear that Christ was both God and man, or who He was and is.  We also want to emphasize the fact that He was perfectly obedient to the Father and never sinned.  This explains why His sacrifice for our sins was acceptable, which is confirmed by the resurrection.  He was not just a man, no, He was God.  Yet, as a man, He lived without sinning.  He was crucified on the cross and rose again three days later.  In this way, we can summarize what the gospels teach us about Christ.
 
We also want to emphasize again why Christ died.  This, in part, is what we are doing when we are talking about God and Creation and Man and the Fall, but we want to return to it as we speak of the work of Christ.  We made the statement last week that we could never save ourselves, but rather needed a salvation that was beyond us.  Such a salvation has been secured through Christ.  Through His death He has defeated our sin, defeated Satan, and defeated death itself.  All of this answers the great dilemma of the Bible by showing us that God can justly forgive those who place their faith in Christ, who died in their place on the cross.  Some other passages in the New Testament that speak of the importance of Christ’s death include: Acts 2:14-41, Romans 5:6-11, Galatians 3:10-14, 1 John 4:10. 

III.  Possible Questions concerning Christ and Redemption:
A.  Why is it necessary that I believe in Christ?  Obviously, if a person asks such a question, then a passage like John 14:6 is a good place to start.  The Scriptures identify only one way to be reconciled to God.  If it is true that God created us and it is true that we have rebelled against us, then we can only hope that the Bible also reveals a way for us to be forgiven of our sins.  The good news is that the Bible does in fact reveal such a way: through faith in Christ.  Yet, not only does the Bible reveal a way, it reveals the only way.  Many will perhaps call this arrogant or intolerant or something else, but if we hold that the Bible is the Word of God, then we must not try to be wiser than God.  God has made it clear in His Word that the only way to be reconciled with Him is through faith in the finished work of Christ.

I think we have mentioned this in the past, but another way to approach this question is to consider Jesus’ prayer in the garden.  Look at Matthew 26:36-46.  Jesus prayed in the garden three times asking the Father if there was another way besides the cross and bearing the wrath of God.  He agonized over the thought of suffering under the Father’s mighty wrath.  Yet, nevertheless, He was obedient to the Father’s will.  To claim that there is another way is to claim that Jesus suffered under the wrath of God for no real reason.  It is to claim that the Father poured His wrath upon His Son unnecessarily.  This is indeed heresy.  If tolerance means denying the necessity of the work of Christ, then label me intolerant.  Despite what our culture may claim, it is unloving and hateful to not claim Christ as the only way to be reconciled to God.  Thus, we must communicate to a person who questions why they should believe in Christ that belief in Christ is the only way to be reconciled to God.

B.  What about other religions that seem to be good?  This question is very similar to the first, only coming at the issue from a different angle.  Many want to look at other religions and claim that there are many ways to heaven, or many ways to be right with God.  This error is called pluralism, for it teaches that there are plural ways to God or heaven.  If we are honest, such a thought may seem nice or considerate, after all, we do not want to be prideful or haughty in our beliefs.  Yet, we must recognize the dangerous error in such a thought.  There will be ‘good’ Muslims or ‘good’ Mormons or just ‘good’ people at times who seem to surely be in a right relationship with God.  Yet, according to the Bible, unless they have repented of their sins and placed their faith in Jesus Christ then they still have a serious sin problem and the wrath of God still abides on them (see Romans 2:1-6).  We must not mistake ‘goodness’ with what the Bible calls ‘righteousness.’  Without righteousness, which can only be received through faith in Christ, no one will enter heaven or be right with God.  All of the other religions may at times have participants who are indeed ‘good’ people, but only Christianity offers a solution for the sin problem.  There will be many ‘good’ people in hell.  Our only hope, and their only hope, is faith in Christ.

IV.  Conclusion:
When you get to this point in your presentation of the gospel, it is important to take time and make sure that the person understands what you believe about Christ.  Again, the life, death, and resurrection of Christ should be the focus point of our presentation of the gospel.  Creation shows that man is accountable.  The Fall shows that man is guilty.  Christ’s work of redemption shows that there is hope for lost humanity and it rests solely in the finished work of Christ.  Thus, may we be clear in communicating what we believe about Christ our Savior.  Amen.

~ William Marshall ~

Last Updated ( Sunday, 07 May 2006 )

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