Sunday, June 26, 2016

Changing Times, Eternal Message

"Christ came into the world to save sinners"
   Awhile back, TV ads declared that orange juice was "simply unfooled around with". Today, I'm going to simply unfool around with the Gospel message and give it to ya the way we used to! Like we preached it back in our street-witnessing days along the New Haven Green, around about  the Yale  campus and up & down Captain Thomas Boulevard in West Haven CT! In case you never heard it like I heard it!
   First of all, who or what is a "sinner" ? A sinner is anyone and everyone who knowingly or unwittingly disobeys God's rules. We're not singling out one group here folks, as the Good Book puts it, "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God."  We all missed the mark of God's standards.
 OK, so what is Christ come to save us sinners from? Going to Hell for the rest of forever? Well YEAH! (Hell is a place or dimension where peope who don't want anything to do with God, and don't want Him telling them what they can't or shouldn't do, go to find out how damned stupid they are.) But more than this, Christ came to save you  from whatever is beating you up right now in this life!
"The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed  { or empowered} Me to preach the gospel to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord."  (Luke 4:18)
   That is, Jesus' mission on this planet is to set people like you and me free from bondages of addictions, fears, guilt, depression, torment and suffering, and feelings of worthlessness, defeat, rejection and failure.  This isn't just a feel-good warm/fuzzy gospel, but real change in your life: from victim to victor. He's not just an emotional crutch, but a whole new set of legs.
   The simple Gospel is that Christ died for our sins, the Just for the unjust. Even as notable thief, murderer, terrorist, and all-around scumbag Barabbas was let go and Christ crucified, so it is with us when we accept God's offer of amnesty. Our Father God will not only delete all the negative stuff from your account with Him, He'll actually credit  His Son's perfect score to your account. 
   And what is He asking of you? Only believe. Believe that God sent His only Son to die on that cross for you and raised Him again from the dead. Don't I gotta clean up my act first?  Really as soon as you realize and admit  you need to clean up your life, He'll clean you up in ways you yourself never could.
   "Therefore if the Son of God shall make you free, you shall be free indeed."  Jesus said. As one who's been emancipated myself, I can tell you it's not hype, not a cliche', and not a sales pitch. I'm not trying to get you to join a church, denomination, nor religion; just letting you know what God is putting on the table.
   Now I know many believe in reincarnation and working out your own karma. But even if that were so, (and the Bible says it's not)  are you gonna turn Christ down when He offers you a GET OUT OF JAIL, FREE card? "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death" the Scripture tells us. There's a way off that downward spiral, that crazy merry-go-'round.
  It may not be fashionable these days to proclaim The wages of sin is death, but that's the way it is. (I never was a fashion follower.) Of course the second part of that quote (Romans 6:23) goes, "but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."  And that's what we're talking about (or should be). God is offering you the gift of eternal life with Him,  " remission of sins", that is, dropping the charges against you, and supernatural power to turn you loose from whatever things have got a hold of you now. And He's just waiting for you to say, "Let's do this".
   Why am I taking the time to express this? I'm not sure modern preachers are telling you the story straight. There's been some dumbing down, watering down, and softening up over the years. Some churches wanna be "seeker friendly"  and not offend anybody.  But the Gospel doesn't need any updating, and it sure doesn't need any sugar-coating.
   I just want to make sure you hear it the way I heard it many years ago. A million, million things have changed since back then, but God never changes.  His offer still stands: come to Christ and live.
'til next time, Peace.

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