THE EVERLASTING GOSPEL<?xml:namespace prefix = o ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:office" />
"And I saw another angel fly in the midst of heaven, having the Everlasting Gospel to preach unto them that dwell on the earth, and to every nation, and kindred, and tongue, and people."
Many people in America and around the world have raised great concerns regarding the United States' economy and economies of the Euro Zone Nations. America's debt has now passed $15 trillion dollars and exceeds our entire gross domestic product! While Greece, Italy, Turkey, and Spain are all in worse shape, the fact of the matter is that no nation can survive, humanly speaking, if it does not get its financial house in order. This is not a political problem! Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people (Proverbs 14:34). Our nation and many others have abandoned Godliness and are pursuing sinfulness. In the name of choice, we have murdered an estimated sixty million (60,000,000) babies! The astonishing thing is there is virtually no national shame regarding this outrage. We have so called church and national leaders promoting homosexual rights. RIGHTS? "Thou shalt not lie with mankind as with womankind: It is an abomination" (Leviticus 18:22). An abomination! We have movies, television programs, and even advertisements promoting immorality of all kinds. The promotion of heterosexual immorality is as equally ungodly as the promotion of homosexual activity. What is the result to be expected where there is such widespread pursuit of all sorts of ungodly activity? God's Word says:
"Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: For in all of these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you. And the land is defiled. Therefore, I visit the iniquity thereof upon it and the land itself vomits out her inhabitants. You shall therefore keep my statutes . . . and shall not commit any of these abominations; neither any of your own nation nor any stranger that sojourns among you . . . that the land not spew you out also. . . ." (Leviticus 18: 24-28)
Perhaps the most grievous abomination is the many pastors and church leaders who are preaching "another gospel," rather than the one true Gospel delivered to the saints, The Everlasting Gospel. For those who are preaching anything other than Christ crucified, let them fall on their knees in repentance or be anathema. The Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes it, both Jew and Gentile. It is a "stumbling block" to one and "foolishness" to the other, but unto them which are called, both Jew and Gentile, Christ is the power and wisdom of God.
I. It is Everlasting
Jesus, the Word of God, is the "same yesterday, today, and forever." He never changes, and His story never changes. It is always the same, and, in Hebrews Chapter 1, we see that it does not grow old. The Apostle Peter talks about this unchanging, Everlasting Gospel in the 1st Chapter of I Peter. This Gospel of Christ, which is preached to you "by the Holy Spirit," is something which "angels desire to look into."
"Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not conforming yourselves to the former lusts, as in your ignorance; but as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, 'be holy, for I am holy.'
And, if you call on the Father, who without partiality judges according to each one's work, conduct yourselves throughout the time of your stay here in fear; knowing that you were not redeemed with corruptible things, like silver or gold, from your aimless conduct received by tradition from your fathers, but with the precious blood of Jesus, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who through Him, believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.
Since you have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit in sincere love of the brethren, love one another fervently with a pure heart, having been born again, not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, by the Word of God which liveth and abideth forever. . . ." (I Peter 1:13-23)
The Great Expository Preacher of the 20th Century, Dr. D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones, said in approximately 1960, that the "greatest need in the world tonight" is for people to know the Everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ. While it seems popular for many pastors today to attempt to be "relevant" by coming up with innovative ideas and great marketing techniques, Dr. Lloyd-Jones, on one occasion when asked directly what is the business of the church, responded:
"The business of the church and of preaching is not to present us with new and interesting ideas. It is rather to go on reminding us of certain fundamental and eternal truths."
Many people want to discuss theories and philosophies. Theories and philosophies change and come and go. But the Word of God "liveth and abideth forever." It is the Everlasting Gospel. In November 2005, Pastor Alistair Begg of Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, described the continuing, ongoing problem in the church. He quoted Emil Bruner as follows:
"At every period in the history of the church, the greatest sin of the church, or the one that causes the greatest distress, is that she withholds the Gospel from the world and from herself. She does not know the reason for her own existence, and, consequently, has no real message for the present situation."
Is not this failure to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that is, the content of the Gospel, the antithesis of "earnestly contending for the faith, delivered once to the saints," which we see in Jude? Is this not what is going on in church circles today? Many pastors are full of marketing ideas and philosophies, and are busily turning their church into social centers. Some even proclaim that the purpose of evangelism is to "change society." Ravi Zacharias once said that the real purpose of evangelism is as follows: "Is not to make bad men good. The purpose of the Everlasting Gospel is and has been to make dead men live." We have been called unto Christ to be made "holy and without blame" before the Living God. As men grow in the grace and knowledge of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and seek to live as becomes the gospel of Jesus Christ, and to grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, they do change society.
Alistair Begg, on one occasion, quoted J.I. Packer that:
"If one preaches the Bible biblically, one cannot help preaching the Gospel all the time. And every sermon will at least, by implication, be evangelistic."
When one preaches the Everlasting Gospel, we immediately become aware of several things.
(a) It's not a story that somebody could have conjured up. It is the result of revelation. It comes from God. In Hebrews, we see the following:
"God, who at sundry times and in divers manners, spoke in times past to the fathers by the prophets has, in these last days, spoken unto us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, and by whom He has made the worlds. Who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the Word of His power, when He had, by Himself, purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on High." Thus we see that God's last word to mankind is spoken in the language of Son.
(b) We are told how a person can be right with God. Jesus, who is God's plan from before the foundation of the world, in the fullness of time, came into the world to seek and to save those who were/are lost. Through the Lord Jesus Christ, God blessed us with all spiritual blessing in heavenly places from before the foundation of the world. God alone answers the fundamental question: "How can a man be justified with God?" Jesus is the Lamb slain from before the foundation of the world. He is the propitiation for our sins and not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world. Isaiah tells us in Chapter 53 that "all we like sheep have gone astray. Each one has turned to his own way, and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all." Jesus is the completed work. He says in John 17 that He has finished the work which the Father has given Him to do. He is the Everlasting Gospel, and His work never changes. In Him alone we are made right with God. He is the only mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus.
II. Hear Him
It does no good and accomplishes no purpose for so called ministers of the Gospel of Christ to profess that they are "doctors," "ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ," "pastor teachers," or any other label which they may choose to apply to themselves, but never preach the Everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ. Indeed, some of them have never heard the Everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ. Because of this fact, the problems that we see in the world exist, and confusion, disputations, and economic calamities are rampant. If we do not listen to the Everlasting Gospel or if "we are not willing to come unto Jesus that we might have life," then the Everlasting Gospel becomes either a stumbling block or foolishness to us. Jesus has all authority in heaven and on earth. Hear Him!
When Moses received the law on Mt. Sinai, he received it by revelation. There was no question in Moses' mind that God's Holy Law was authoritative. Subsequently, Moses was told the exact pattern for the construction of the temple and all of the furnishings and utensils to be used in the temple. God told Moses, "See that you make all things according to the pattern." He said these things because the temple in the wilderness was to be the dwelling place of God among men. Today, those who have been born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible by the Word of God, by the Everlasting Gospel, are the temple of the Holy Spirit." We who know the Lord Jesus Christ, or, rather, are known by Him, are the temple of the Holy Spirit and have become the dwelling place of God among men.
In Matthew Chapter 17, Jesus takes the disciples up the mount, and there is transfigured before their very eyes. At that time (Matthew 17: 5), they heard the voice of God saying:
"This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. Here ye Him!"
Therefore, you see, the pattern in the mount of transfiguration is the same as the pattern was for Moses on Mt. Sinai. Make all things according to the pattern. Make disciples according to the pattern. Preach Christ crucified according to the pattern. Pastors do not have to worry about:
(1) Trying to speak to the people in the vernacular; or,
(2) Trying to determine all the needs of the people.
For the message is not about men. It is not about politicians, political parties, poets, or philosophers. The message is to preach Christ crucified. The Everlasting Gospel. For sure, the message will be rejected by many. Not just a few, but many. "Strive to enter in the gate that is straight," said Jesus. "For straight is the gate and narrow is the way that leads to eternal life, and few there be that find it." "But wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction. And many there be that enter in thereat." So there will not be many who hear Him. There will not be many who will receive the Everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ. It actually becomes a matter of whether or not one actually trusts the pattern, or whether one trusts his or her own pattern? The reason why men and women are in trouble, the reason why the world is in the trouble that it is in, is that men and women generally trust their own pattern. They "will not come unto [Jesus] that they might have eternal life." The age-old question of why men go to hell is answered, "They earn it." The wages of sin is death. Why do men go to heaven is answered, "They receive it as a sheer gift." The free gift of God is life eternal through Jesus Christ our Lord.
C. Content and Contact
Paul told Timothy, "Remember that Jesus Christ of the seed of David was raised from the dead." So we understand that even long-time Christians need to be reminded of who Jesus is and what He had done. In order to evangelize, we must first know the content of the Everlasting Gospel. Second, we must make contact with people who need to hear the content. A concise summary of the content is found in I Corinthians 15: 1-11:
"Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cé-phas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time. For I am the least of the apostles, that am not meet to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God. But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I labored more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me. Therefore whether it were I or they, so we preach, and so ye believed."
If you wonder whether or not you really know God, or if you wonder whether or not you really have been saved, and if you want to know Him, you can. God gives us the desires of our heart. Hear Him. Hear the Everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ. See that you make all things according to the pattern shown you on the mount, and trust Jesus for your salvation. Repent from your sin. Trust God's pattern, not your own, and it will be the most blessed Christmas you have ever encountered.
May God grant unto you ears that hear and eyes that see, that you may hear Him, that you may receive the Lord Jesus Christ. Receive the Everlasting Gospel of Jesus Christ in your heart and begin to live as becomes the Gospel of Christ.
Now, unto Him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we even ask or think according to the power which works in us in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end, Amen.
Your friend and brother in Christ,
Worldview Weekend Foundation
PO BOX 1690
Collierville, TN, 38027 USA