Good News

This section deals with the basic meaning of God's Good News to us--the Gospel. Although it is rich and deep and all-encompassing, it can also be summed up in few words, and Jesus was able to communicate his "Good News" in understandable ways, both to the simple and the wise.

The Bottom Line is this:

All people must Repent and have Faith in Jesus Christ as both Savior and Lord.

"Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit." Apostle Peter at Pentecost, Acts 2:38

Here's what that means:

  • Repentance — Admitting to your Sin before God, and turning from it.
  • Faith in Jesus Christ — Trusting in the Truth of what Jesus said & did — casting your hopes upon Him.
  • Taking Christ as your Savior — Trusting what He did on the Cross, receiving the benefits of His death for you.
  • Taking Christ as your Lord — Taking Jesus as the new master in your life — a master who loves you!
    (It's like falling in love and then wanting to be committed by marriage vows.)
  • Living by Grace alone — When you receive God's Spirit in your life, He gives you the power and desire to live a life pleasing to Him.
  • Eternity — This good story never ends — so it's called the "Gospel": Good News!

Yes, there's lots more to this. You can Go Back and Get More!.

But all you really need to know is this — YOUR NEED, AND GOD'S PROVISION.
You don't need to be a theologian to be saved, but you do need this:

"Jesus loves me, this I know. For the Bible tells me so!"

Jesus said we need to become "like children" to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. It may seem childish, foolish, giddy or risky. It is a leap of faith, but if we come simply and expectantly, we will receive. That's not our promise. That's the promise of God.

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Sadly, one of the things Christians do most poorly is to explain the Gospel message. The impression is often given that "the Gospel" is a set of outmoded beliefs written on a page, or a spiel to be sold to unwitting customers.

But Christians have found it to be truly Good News -- for themselves and for society.

What's it all about? 

We have found through personal experience that the Gospel is not only Good News (that's the meaning of the word "Gospel"), but it is truly relevant:

  • Encounter with the living PERSON of Jesus Christ
  • The dynamic for Life as originally intended
  • Grace and Mercy — not just a list of Do's & Don'ts or man-made Laws

     "The Law was given through Moses, but Grace and Truth came through Jesus Christ" (John 1:17).

Yes, the Gospel truly has content, and it calls urgently for your Repentance and Faith, just as preached in many  Evangelical churches. But don't lose sight of the fact that what God offers is truly GOOD, and good for you.

Click here to make it clearer:  [see the Content of the Gospel]

But the Bottom Line is this:
All people must Repent and have Faith in Jesus Christ as both Savior and Lord.
Here's what that means:
  • Repentance — Admitting to your Sin before God, and turning from it.
  • Faith in Jesus Christ — Trusting in the Truth of what Jesus said & did — casting your hopes upon Him.
  • Taking Christ as your Savior — Trusting what He did on the Cross, receiving the benefits of His death for you.
  • Taking Christ as your Lord — Taking Jesus as the new master in your life — a master who loves you! It's like falling in love and wanting to get married.

Yes, there's lots of theology in all of this. But all you really need to know is this — 

                  YOUR NEED and GOD'S PROVISION.

For further study: click on "Study of God" at left to go deeper.
    We and our church adhere to the Reformed faith, as expressed in the historic Westminster Confession of Faith (1648). But we do so because we have found it to be the best expression we can find of that doctrine and life presented in the Scriptures. The Scriptures are the only infallible rule of faith and practice. But the Confession and Catechisms are GREAT tools for studying Scripture, full of references you can look up and study for yourself.

"Study, that you may be approved of God, a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth."

THE GOSPEL CONTENT


The Gospel has CONTENT

The Gospel necessarily involves good things such as comfort and healing, but it has actual content which can be taught.

"So they set out and went from village to village,preaching the gospel and healing people everywhere." (Luke 9:6)

The word Gospel means "Good News".
In Greek, it is euangellion which is eu (good) + angellion (message).

But WHAT Good News?

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What the GOSPEL is about:

    1. The Gospel has to do with the historical PERSON of Jesus Christ.

"The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God." (Mark 1:1)

Without the reality of His Person and the facts of His life, Christianity is trite, ridiculous, unbelievable.

The Apostle Paul writes in I Corinthians 15:
"Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures... But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith." (I Cor 15:1-3,12-14)

    1. The Gospel has to do with the Divinity of Christ.

Jesus' Good works showed the Divine character of his Person and teaching. A member of the Sanhedrin, Rabbi Nicodemus, came to Jesus and said, "Rabbi, we know you are a teacher who has come from God. For no-one could perform the miraculous signs you are doing if God were not with him." (John 3:2)

    1. The Gospel has to do with the WORK of Christ.

Luke writes about his own Gospel of Luke:

"In my former book, Theophilus, I wrote about all that Jesus began to do and to teach." (Acts 1:1)

Jesus' Good works showed the Divine character of his Person and teaching.
"The Jews gathered round him, saying, 'How long will you keep us in suspense? If you are the Christ, {Or Messiah} tell us plainly.' Jesus answered, 'I did tell you, but you do not believe. The miracles I do in my Father's name speak for me.'" (John 10:24,25)

In probing the motives of the rich young ruler, Jesus asked,
"Why do you call me good? ...No-one is good — except God alone." (Mark 10:18)

Jesus said,
"I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the very work that the Father has given me to finish, and which I am doing, testifies that the Father has sent me." (John 5:36)

    1. There is only one Gospel, the same for all nations, not permitting differences of race, nationality, or social divisions:

"And the gospel must first be preached to all nations." (Mark 13:10)

"And [you] have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all." (Col 3:10,11)

Many religions claim to have their own gospel. But there is only One Gospel — the same one taught by Jesus and Paul and the early Christian Church.
"I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you by the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — which is really no gospel at all. Evidently some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!" (Galatians 1:6-8)

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THE GOSPEL IN PLAIN SPEECH:

You may think I'm going to tell you something trite, that all you have to do is "believe". Well, yes and no. It is not a magic formula.

Strangely enough, this GOOD News involves a bit of BAD news, first: Every human being is a creature of God and personally responsible to God, but we are also members of the Human Race, which is a race GUILTY of sinning against God.

We have three things against us:

    1. Sin coming from our society, from our Human race, from within. (It is commonly called "original sin".)

It doesn't matter how you cut it — whether you think Adam existed or not, (we do), whether you think sin is handed down from your parents biologically or judicially whether you think guilt is only a word or a feeling... because we ALL wrestle within ourselves about sin's origin, and there are times when we ALL know that somehow "I'm guilty!" Guilt is a real problem for us all.

The GOOD NEWS is that there is a solution!!! TELL ME THE BOTTOM LINE

    1. Your own sinful acts in the past (and who among us is without sin?)!

The only way we'll ever deal with our sin is to admit it.
"If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (I John 1:8,9)

The GOOD NEWS is that there is a solution!!! TELL ME THE BOTTOM LINE

    1. Our own sinful nature, which continues to sin, even when we don't WANT to!

Even the Apostle Paul had this problem: "So I find this law at work: When I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God's law; but I see another law at work in the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within my members. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death?" (Romans 7:21-24)

The GOOD NEWS is that there is a solution!!! TELL ME THE BOTTOM LINE
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BELIEVE & BE SAVED?

What does it mean to believe? There are many meanings of "faith", but what the Bible means is Total Commitment to that which is proved True. God Himself gives us evidence in the Bible which is solid ground for such commitment. We're asked to make a leap of commitment, and not a blind, illogical "leap of faith".

Actually, the Bible does say "He who believes will be saved." But what that means is a well-founded, heartfelt, total commitment. Sometimes it takes some research to get to that place where mind, heart & will coincide. But God Himself promises to get you to that point if you will seek:

"Ye shall seek me and ye shall find Me if ye seek for Me with all your heart." (Jeremiah 29:13)
"Seek, and ye shall find." (Matthew 7:7)

I don't mean you have to go off on a quest for a holy grail or seek a monk in the Himalayas, as a friend of mine did. Seeking means simply to be honest and to be open to God Himself. Most people who talk about being "open" are really open to anything EXCEPT the simple truth God has placed clearly before us. Are you open to THAT? Really? Are you ready to ACT on the truth you find — even if it means a personal commitment to God, on HIS OWN terms? Ah, there's the rub.

My friend went to the Himalayas and found his monk. Discouraged not to find his answers there, he sat by the Ganges River. An Indian Christian handed him the Gospel of John, and he began to read — "For God so loved the world, that He gave his only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him might not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) He ended his quest there. He found what he was seeking.


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Such a faith is NOT TRITE!

 

In this faith, what God does is not trite:

    1. Faith is based on a death pact in which Jesus promised His Father that He would pay the price for those He loved. (The Covenant)
    2. Faith is based on a solemn Promise of God to Abraham, and repeated to David and many others: "I will be your God and you will be my people."
    3. Faith is based on a real payment for this Blood Pact — paid for on the Cross by none other than the Perfect Son of God — the only one who did NOT deserve to die.
    4. Faith is rooted in the Greatest Love you could ever hope to find: not your love for God, but God's love for His people!
    5. Faith is attested to by God in the greatest of facts: when God raised Christ from the Dead, the Father showed that the payment made by His Son was sufficient! We could go on and on... Faith is not trite, but profound.
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It is not trite in what we do:

  1. Faith alone saves. That's not trite. It REVERSES the effects of everything bad in life. And IT WORKS! Try it!
  2. Although Faith alone saves, it is ALWAYS accompanied by Good Works. ("Faith without works in dead." — James 2) This is not a Boy Scout "good deed per day", but a whole life full of living with a good purpose — a life worth living.
  3. Faith produces within us a love for God which motivates us.
  4. Anything that cost the death of the Son of God must certainly be worth the effort!
  5. "Without faith it is impossible to please Him." (Hebrews 11:6)
  6. Faith transforms us!

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The LIFE of Faith

Faith deals with our three problems above: the guilt of our original sin, our sinful past, and our inner nature of sin!

But it is not just oriented to the past and future. It is a fulfilling Way of LIFE for today.
But some people still feel uncomfortable with faith, and that's OK. "Seek, and ye shall find."

  • Some ask: "I don't want to be weird. What does real Faith look like? I'm not the religious type."
    Whoever said anything about being religious? Jesus hung out with REAL PEOPLE like fishermen, not with the priests. We're talking about LIFE! Yes, worship is a part of life, but life is a part of worship! We believe in "the Reformed world and life view", which means an integrated life. There is a place in a God-honoring life for all the wonderful things He has created: music, mathematics, sex, friendships, family, pets, dancing, etc. "To everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven". Real Faith means a real life. Jesus said, "I am come that they might have life, and have it abundantly." (John 10:10)
  • Others ask: "But what about all the LAWS? Aren't there a lot of Do's & Don'ts?"
    True Christianity centers around one topic — GRACE. It has to do with what God has done for us, not what we can do for Him. After all, He's God — what does He need from us? Yes, God has demands, and His Law is there, and it is constant. But Why? Because the Law reflects God's own character. Sound ominous? It's not, really. Because the Law, properly understood, is LIFE. When God first gave Israel the Law, he said, "Look what I have set before you this day — LIFE!" The Law is good. It's like a driver's manual for a car, showing how the machine works. Wouldn't we all like to live in a place where all the other people think, "I want to keep the Golden Rule and care for my neighbor. I don't want to rob him or cheat him. I want to think the best of him and look out after his stuff." That's just what the law says.

    No, the real focus of the Bible is not on the Law, although there's so much of it there. The focus is on the LOVE that God Himself has for us, and how the Father SHARES that love, sending it into our hearts by the work of Christ and the Holy Spirit. This changes us, making us STOP DESIRING what we should not desire, and making us LOVE what is Good and HATE what is Evil. All the Law then becomes an aid to us in understanding how to apply God's love in real-life situations. "Oh, how I love thy Law. It is my meditation all day long." — King David

    But Do's and Don'ts? We insist on nothing that is not insisted on by God Himself in the Scriptures. And this is the sum:
    "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart and all thy might and all they soul and all they strength. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like unto it: Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. On these two hang all the Law and the Prophets." — Jesus

The Gospel is Good News, from start to finish:
It's Good News that I don't have to make God happy on my own strength! "Amazing Grace! How sweet the sound!"
It's Good News that I can be freed from the power of sins and weaknesses in my life!
It's Good News that I can be freed from the guilt of my past failures!
It's Good News that my character can be changed into something beautiful that copies the glorious character of Christ Jesus!


Won't you accept God's Good News today? REMEMBER THE BOTTOM LINE. Have you done it?

Have you given up hope in your own self-sufficiency to receive God's gift of nobility, faith, and strength?
This could really be Good News for you — the best thing ever for you, your family, and your society.

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