Sunday, August 26, 2012

A Clear Gospel Message

The following message is from Pastor Zac Poonen as he deals with explaining the gospel of salvation.  What does it mean to be born again or to be "saved"?
  • We live in a world where the standards of Christianity have been tremendously degraded.
  • Believing in Jesus does not bring salvation if there is no repentance.
  • Being born again is like laying the foundation of a building.
  • Nicodemus was a ruler of the Jews who led a very upright life, but he was not born again.  It is not enough to be "good" (John 3:3).
  • To be born again is to be born of the Holy Spirit.
  • Those who love darkness like to hide things.  If you want to be born again, you must come out of the darkness.  Come to God and be open with Him about everything.
  • We are not only to come to the light, but to walk in the light.
  • It is like coming into a house with many dirty rooms.  Our progress from being born again to growing up into Christ is like someone going and cleaning each dirty room one at a time until the whole house is clean.
  • God chose the Apostle Paul to preach the Gospel widely in the 1st Century.  He said that he preached the same message to all people: 1) Repentance towards God; and 2) Faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 20:20).
  • Repent & believe are the two things all people need to hear if they are to be saved.
  • Man is always trying to separate what God has joined together, so now the churchworld is just left with a message to "believe", which does not lead to the new birth.
  • All religions do not lead to God.  We cannot go to God except through Jesus Christ unless Jesus was a liar, deceiver, or deceived (John 14:6).
  • Truth is always very narrow-minded because it is absolute.  People in the world like to be broad-minded only in the area of faith. 
  • You cannot say that Jesus was a "good man" or "prophet" when you do not believe His words for you make Him out to be a liar.  Jesus was God Almighty.
  • Jesus didn't come for religious people, but for sinners; and all have sinned.
  • Even though God is our Father, He cannot simply overlook sin because He is also a Just Judge.  Forgiveness of a crime can only come if the debt is paid.  God not only passes a just judgment, but He also pays the price for our sin Himself; only He could because He alone is the Judge.
  • This is why Jehovah's Witnesses and other cults are wrong in saying that Jesus is not God.  No created being can die for your sin, but God Himself can die for our sin because He is the Judge. 
  • Further, if God was only one person and not three (as some other cults teach), then how could God come to earth and become a man yet still be God up in Heaven to whom Jesus prayed.  Denial of the Trinity is the spirit of Anti-Christ (I John 2:22).
  • Hell is not primarily a geographical location, but is a God-forsaken place.
  • Jesus' rising from the dead is the proof that all He said on the earth was truth.  No other religion even claims that someone died for the sins of the world and rose from the dead except for Christianity.
  • The foundation of Christianity is not to do good, be kind, and don't hurt others.  It is that Christ died for your sins and rose from the dead.  Without those two points, Christianity becomes like every other religion in the world.
  • Just as Jesus came to the earth, He sent the Holy Spirit to earth after He rose from the dead.  The Holy Spirit is not a force, He is a person.  However unlike Jesus, the Holy Spirit came without a human body...but in search of a human body: yours!
  • It is a wonderful thing that the Holy Spirit can come into this human body and - if I respond to Him - do in this body what He did in Jesus' body.  That is why we can walk like Jesus walked, because of the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit will make you like Jesus.
  •  The Holy Spirit may have even come in you at one time, but have since left because you didn't respond to Him.  The Holy Spirit does not stay where He is not wanted.
  • The message of the Gospel is that we can turn from sin, receive Jesus Christ through His Spirit, and your body can now be the house of God.
  • We must be careful how we treat out bodies for they are the house of God.
  • We don't reach perfection in a day; it is like a marathon race.  Being born again is like coming to the starting line, but we must go on from there to the finishing line.
  • To be born again you must: 1) Acknowledge that you are a sinner; 2) Acknowledge that the righteous judgment for your sin - even 1 sin - is Hell; 3) Hate sin because you understand that it is your sin which led to Jesus' death; 4) Ask to be born of God's Spirit as you recognize that Jesus rose from the dead to send His Spirit to men.
  • Faith means committing yourself to God, not just believing in Him.  Just like in a wedding where the minister may ask the woman whether she is willing to give herself to her groom.  She agrees to change her name to reflect the groom's name.  She agrees to follow her groom wherever he leads, including away from the only home she may have known with her parents.  She no longer lives for herself, but her desire is to her husband.  You cannot be a Christian without being totally committed to Christ.
  • You can be sure you are born again because the Holy Spirit will bear witness with your spirit that you are a child of God.
  • Most Christians do not live like this.  Look for the few who do, and model them.

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