It’s that time of year, when children ask if you believe in ghosts. Do you? Do you believe in Dense Wave Divisional Multiplexing? Do you believe in harmonic syncretism? Do you believe in transubstantiation or consubstatiation or something else? Do you believe the gospel?
Most of you are scratching your heads saying, “I don’t know if I believe some of these things because I don’t know what they ARE!”
Unfortunately, a recent study showed that most church go-ers who claim to believe the gospel are not able to put into words exactly what the gospel is. In other words, they don’t know what it is, but they believe it!
So let’s define the gospel (the other stuff you can email me or Google it, if you’re really that curious.)
C. R. J. R.
Sea are junior. Bad grammar, but it will help you remember what this gospel is that we believe.
What is C? C is for CREATOR. Before there was time, God had an idea, a plan, and decided to create a universe. When I start on a project, it takes me multiple trips to the hardware store, and some new tools, and raw materials and a plan that I go over and over again, and still don’t get quite right. God on the other hand, decided to create and did it simply by speaking.
God’s spoken word formed everything we know today, and everything we have yet to discover. The energy of a billion suns instantly existed because God spoke, and it did not diminish God at all. He wasn’t worn out , he wasn’t tired, he was just getting started!
Think about God’s creation. Right now, just spend the next 5 minutes meditating on this amazingly complex, wonderful, beautiful creation that God the Creator simply spoke into existence.
So what? When you write a beautiful song or poem, you submit it and have it copyrighted. If you have a brilliant idea for a new product, you submit your idea and receive a patent. Your copyright or your patent is the proof that what you created belongs to you.
God created the universe. You are part of the universe. God created you, which means he has the patent on you and you belong to Him. If they ever perfect human cloning, and someone creates a perfect clone of you, they will have violated God’s patent on you.
Why did God create you? So you could know Him, have a relationship with Him, and worship Him.
Now what? Simply, because you are God’s and He desires time with you, you should spend time with him daily worshiping Him and talking to Him.
What is R? R is for RULER. God didn’t just create everything and walk away. He defined how things are supposed to work. Then he wrote them down and told them to people. The most famous are the 10 Commandments, but they are not the only rules.
God created the rules for a purpose. These rules are not to prevent us from enjoying life, but rather, to guide us in understanding how we were designed and what will bring us true inner and lasting joy, rather than just fleeting pleasure.
So what? God created laws and we break them. Too often, we think that God doesn’t understand the situation, that He is unaware of how complicated our lives are, and he doesn’t care whether we are happy or not. This is what we think, but those are all lies. God loves us. That’s why He created the rules. He understands the situation better than we ever will. Often our lives are complicated because of all the rules we have broken, but God sees how each decision we make impacts our futures, and the futures of everyone we interact with – now that’s complex! And God does want us to be happy, but not at the expense of forfeiting what is right and true and just and equitable.
Now what? Examine you life. Obey God in all the details.
What is J? J is for JUDGE. What point would there be in having rules if there were no consequences to breaking them. Kind of like the bully who says, give me your money or else… Or else what? If there’s no “or else” you keep your money and walk away. If there is a for else, you give the bully your money and walk away with your teeth intact. God knows our every action and keeps track of them. He knows our every word, our every thought. And He judges all of them. We will be held accountable for everything we’ve every done or said or thought.
Everyone below a 3 on this curve is in prison (or should be.) Below a 5, they probably spent time in jail. Most people are between 8 and 18. Then, there are the really amazingly nice people who are like 24 and 25. When you look at this graph, think of where you would place a vertical line, separating those who will go to heaven from those who will not. Now, where would you place yourself. (Be honest.)
God has decided where that separating line is. Unfortunately for us, it is off the chart of the previous drawing. So I’ve adjusted the horizontal scale below so you can see where God drew the line, which is in red.
(Actually, the red line is much further to the right, but I ran out of room.)
Unfortunately for us, only perfection is good enough to meet God’s standard so you can spend eternity with Him. Even the best people we know fall far, far short of God’s standard of perfection.
Now what? God will judge each person that ever has or ever will live on this planet. Everyone has fallen short of God’s expectations, and all of us are condemned to be separated from God for all of eternity. We need to be ashamed and to repent.
What is R? R is for REDEEMER. Redeem is not a word we use much anymore. If we do, it’s usually just for those little pieces of paper. But the history of the word redeem is powerful. When two cities went to war, eventually the sides would get to a point where they would want to exchange captives. When I was bought back out of bondage to my oppressors by my family, I was redeemed! We have been bought back by God from bondage to our ongoing sin and the punishment that comes with it.
God sent His Son, Jesus, to be the Redeemer. Jesus is the One who bought back all who would desire to return to God. The price? His life!
So what? We have hope! Without a Redeemer, we have no hope of pleasing God, of knowing Him, of living with him for eternity.
We are redeemed. Coupons, those little pieces of paper, have expiration dates. So do we. We don’t know our own expiration dates. But God does. We cannot be redeemed after our expiration date.
An unredeemed coupon is valueless. Have you been redeemed?
Now what? Rejoice and love God!
So, the gospel, in a nutshell is this: God created us and everything, which implies that He owns us. He also made rules that govern how things were intended to work, but we often fail to follow these rules. If we break the rules, God as judges demands that a penalty be paid – eternal separation from God. But because of God’s great love for us, He sent His own Son, Jesus, to be our Redeemer.
Each man, woman, boy and girl needs to decide if they will allow God to redeem them. If they do, then their full value as humans is realized and they will be filled with joy and peace and be restored to a right relationship with God the Creator.