Godspell ... God's Good News
Fourth, the Gospel is a summons to faith and repentance. The really good news is that God's gift of forgiveness and eternal life is available to all who will accept it. Here's how to do this:
- We need to believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that he died in our place to pay the penalty for all our sins. "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved"7 states the Word of God.
- We need to confess our sins to God and ask for his forgiveness. God's Word also says, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."8
- We need to repent. That is, we need to turn from sinful and selfish ways to follow God and his ways. Jesus said, "The Kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news."9 That is, we need to turn from sinful and selfish ways and make a commitment of the will, with God's help, to follow God and his ways.
- We need to receive Jesus as our Savior. God's Word says, "To all who received him [Christ], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God."10 God's Word also said, "That if you confess with your mouth, 'Jesus is Lord,' and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved."11
Admitting and confessing our sins, believing that Jesus died to pay the just penalty for all our sins, inviting him into our lives as Lord and Savior, accepting God's forgiveness and turning from our sinful ways to live God's way is what makes us a real Christian. This is what Godspell—God's good news is all about!
Could you imagine seeing a used car salesman give a compelling presentation regarding a particular car you were interested in, had you convinced that this was the perfect car for you and had you ready to sign the purchasing contract when he turned and walked away—and left you standing there aghast without ever closing the sale! That kind of salesman would be fired on the spot if his manager saw what he did.
It isn't enough just to believe in our
head that Jesus is the Son of God and that
he died on the cross for our sins.
Sad to say, I believe some preachers are like this. They give a good presentation of God's message but never give listeners the opportunity to make a commitment to accept Jesus as their Savior. I believe there are many church members who understand the gospel and are ready to accept Jesus but have never been invited to do so. I say this because it is my understanding that so many of the people who have made this commitment to Jesus at a Billy Graham crusade are church members.
It isn't enough just to believe in our head that Jesus is the Son of God and that he died on the cross for our sins. The devil knows and believes that. True, we need to believe this but we also need to accept God's offer of forgiveness and gift of salvation (eternal life) by confessing our sins to him, asking for his forgiveness, and inviting Jesus Christ into our heart and life as Savior and Lord. It also involves making a commitment of our will to follow Jesus. It may not be the best way to put it, but in "salesman terminology" making a commitment to Christ is "closing the sale."
Jesus said, "Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door [of his/her heart and life], I will come in and eat with him, and he with me."12
If you have never invited Jesus into your heart and life, asked for God's forgiveness, and made a commitment of your life to him, I would like to give you that opportunity today. The following prayer will help you to do this:
"Dear God, I confess that I am a sinner and am sorry for all the wrongs that I have done. I believe that your Son, Jesus Christ, died on the cross to pay the penalty for my sins. Please forgive me for all my sins. I invite you, Jesus, to come into my heart and life as Lord and Savior. I commit and trust my life and will to you. Please give me the desire to be what you want me to be and to do what you want me to do. Thank you for dying for my sins, for your free pardon, for your gift of eternal life, and for hearing and answering my prayer. Gratefully in Jesus name, Amen."
For further help read "God's Invitation" at: http://tinyurl.com/6k49w and/or "How to Be Sure You're a Real Christian" at: http://tinyurl.com/8glq9
1. Romans 1:16 (NIV). 2. Romans 1:16 (TLB). 3. John 3:16 (NIV). 4. John 10:10 (TLB). 5. Romans 3:23. 6. Romans 6:23. 7. Acts 16:31 (NIV). 8. 1 John 1:9 (NIV). 9. Mark 1:15 (NIV). 10. John 1:12 (NIV). 11. Romans 19:9-10 (NIV). 12. Revelation 3:20 (NIV).
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