Lord's Day Evening Meditations July
The A B C of the Gospel
We are living in a day of remarkable advances in
all the branches of science and knowledge. It is the accomplishment
of the prophecy of Daniel: "Many shall run to and fro,
and knowledge shall be increased." Dan. 12:4. Our grandparents
didn't even dream of space travel, heart transplants, or computers,
but today they are things that we take for granted. However, as
knowledge in all the branches of science increases, the knowledge
of the Word of God is decreasing. It used to be that children
were all given some instruction and training in the basics of
Christianity, but it is no longer so. A large portion of the present
generation of children growing up, are growing up as heathens,
with no knowledge whatever of even the most basic and elementary
truths of the gospel. With this thought in mind, I'm going to
speak about the gospel tonight in its very simplest form - the
A B C of the gospel.
A "All have sinned, and
come short of the glory of God." Rom. 3:23. This is
a basic and most important truth. I am a sinner; you are a sinner;
everyone has sinned (except the Lord Jesus). The idea of sin is
considered old fashioned and outdated, but if man has changed
his outlook, God hasn't changed His. We have come short of God's
glory, and cannot enter there. How many sins caused Adam to be
put out of the garden? One. And it wasn't murder or some great
glaring fault. It was a simple act of disobedience to the will
of God; that is sin. It wrecked the first creation - "As
by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin."
Not one sin will enter God's glory above, and you and I are guilty
before God. "He that believeth not is condemned already."
John 3:18. The sentence has been pronounced, though not yet put
into effect, on those who do not believe.
B "Believe on the Lord
Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." Acts 16:31.
Because we are sinners and are shut out of heaven, there is only
one alternative - to be sent to the lake of fire for eternity.
This is a frightening prospect, but there is good news for sinners.
That is what the word "gospel" means - good news,
and the good news is that God does not want anyone to perish;
He has made a way so that all can be saved. That way is basically
two things: 1) "Believe," which is faith,
and 2) "on the Lord Jesus Christ," which is
a person. The Lord Jesus said, "I am the
door." There are many entrances to hell, but only one
to heaven, and that is the Lord Jesus Christ.
C "Come unto Me, all ye
that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."
Matt. 11:28. This is an invitation. Have you accepted it? There
is only one way to heaven, but it is open to all, because the
invitation is to all. The Lord invites all to come to Him
to receive from Him the richest of all blessings. Why won't people
come? In the parable of the marriage feast, those invited "began
to make excuse." They didn't want to go, and so they
made excuses. One of the reasons why people don't accept the Lord's
invitation is because they have believed Satan's lie. From the
very beginning Satan has spread a lie about God. He made out that
God was evil, wanting to hurt His creature, and that he, Satan,
was man's best friend. People still believe that today and blame
God for all their troubles, whereas Satan is the cause, and God
is holding out a loving offer of salvation and blessing.
Another reason why people reject the Lord's invitation
is that they know their lives are full of sin; they know that
the Lord wants to take them out of their sin, but they prefer
their sin to the Lord! Well, those who choose their sins
rather than the Lord will spend eternity with those sins and their
consequences. Think of the word "come" this way:
C - children come
O - old folks come
M - middle-aged folks come
E - everybody come!
D "Depart from Me, ye cursed,
into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels."
Matt. 25:41. These words will be spoken by the same One Who has
said, "Come unto Me," and I sincerely hope
that no one here tonight will ever hear those words. The context
of those words is the future judgment of the living nations, but
it will be the same Judge Who will judge all of the lost. Notice
that the "everlasting fire" was not prepared
for man; it was made "for the devil and his angels,"
but man, in his stubbornness, and deceived by Satan, chooses to
go there. It is not considered polite to scare people by talking
about hell, but it is a truth in the Bible.
"Depart from Me" - that is
to be shut out from God for all eternity. Nobody knows what it
is to be entirely without God. "Every good gift and every
perfect gift is from above." James 1:17. Paul preached
to those who had never heard of the true God that "He
left not Himself without witness, in that He did good, and gave
us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts
with food and gladness." Acts 14:17. All good things
come from Him. What will it be to be entirely without Him for
eternity! Today He still calls, "Come unto Me."
E "Even so, come, Lord
Jesus." Rev. 22:20. One of these days, what is described
in 1 Thess. 4:16 - 17 will take place. All who have recognized
that they were sinners, and who have come to the Lord Jesus for
salvation, will hear the call, will be changed, and will meet
the Lord in the air, to be taken home for ever. That will be a
most wonderful moment! But suppose that it were to happen here
tonight and there was one unsaved person here. That one person
would be left alone, and the door of heaven would be closed to
them for ever. All those who have heard the invitation, and refused
it, after the Lord has come, will no longer have any opportunity
to be saved. For those who are saved, that wonderful moment will
mean the end of all problems, trials, and pain, etc., and the
beginning of endless joy and bliss.
F "For the wages of sin
is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ
our Lord." Rom. 6:23. If we serve sin, then we receive
what we have earned, what we deserve - not only the death of the
body, but eternal banishment from the presence of God. However,
God has a wonderful gift to give: "eternal life through
Jesus Christ our Lord." This stresses a most important
truth which Satan has so successfully denied: salvation
is a gift! It cannot be earned nor deserved. It must be
received freely as a gift "through Jesus Christ our Lord,"
or it will not be received at all.
G "God so loved the world
that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in
Him should not perish, but have everlasting life."
John 3:16. This is probably the best known verse in the Bible.
It contains all the basic truths of the gospel in a few simple
words: the love of God, the gift of God, the offer to "whosoever,"
the need of faith, the warning of judgment, and the result of
believing - "everlasting life." If you have
not already memorized this verse, I recommend that you do so.
H "How shall we escape,
if we neglect so great salvation?" Heb. 2:3. Do you
know the answer to this question? There is no answer, because
there is no escape! When we spoke of the letter
C and the Lord's invitation "Come,"
we mentioned how most people reject that invitation for various
reasons. But in this verse there is another word: "neglect."
Some people know that this is all true and that they need to come
to the Lord, but they put it off. You know how it is with things
that we should do and sincerely mean to do - they get put off
until tomorrow, or next week, or next time. We mean to do them,
but . . . With things of this life, it may not be too important,
but don't do that with the matter of your soul's salvation. If
you neglect it until it is too late, then there will be
no escape. A young boy said to his mother, "Mom, tomorrow
I'll be good." The mother replied, "Child, I understand
what you are saying. Tomorrow, means never." "Behold,
now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation."
2 Cor. 6:2. S.L.