Have You Heard The Good News?
Have you ever heard the gospel of Jesus Christ? The word gospel simply means "good news" or "good tidings." Everybody can use some good news today!
Paul declares the gospel for us in
1 Cor. 15:3-4, "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 ..." Lets see what Paul is teaching.
First, it teaches us that Christ died for our sins. We need to realize that we are born in sin, given to us from Adam, Romans 5:12. We do not have a choice in the matter! We do not sin to become a sinner; we sin because we are sinners! Romans 3:23 says "For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God ..."
The Bible also tells us that there is a penalty for sin in Romans 6:23. It begins by stating, "For the wages of sin is death ..." Certainly this includes physical death, as "... it is appointed unto man once to die, but after this the judgment," Heb. 9:27. But the penalty also includes eternal death, or the second death, according to Rev. 20:14-15.
Death can be defined as separation. At physical death, the body is separated from the soul, but the second death means that mankind will be separated from God. The eternal place of separation is called hell, also known as the Lake of Fire, Rev. 20:14-15; Luke 12:5.
Maybe you have heard that hell is not real. Many people deny it today, and the warning of it is stifled. Yet the Bible says a great deal about it! It is a literal place of eternal torment for those who have rejected Jesus Christ as Savior. I cannot quote all of the verses here, but Matthew 13:41-42; 25:46; Mark 9:43-48; Rev. 14:10; 20:14-15; 21:8 teach it is real! If we allow the Bible to speak for itself, neither hell, its eternality or its horrors can be denied!
When Christ shed His blood and died on the cross, He experienced the death that we deserved. Our verse says "Christ died for our sins ..." He bore our punishment, physical and spiritual death, so we can have our sins forgiven and obtain deliverance from the second death, Heb. 2:9. He accepted the punishment we deserve.
Second, our verse teaches us about the resurrection. " ... and that he rose again the third day ..." Jesus Christ didnt remain in the grave. He rose again! (Note that His resurrection is based on fact. It is stated twice that the resurrection of Christ is " ... according to the Scriptures ..." and are as certain as God's inspired Word which is settled in heaven forever, and cannot be broken, Psalm 119:89; John 10:35).
The resurrection of Jesus Christ accomplished several important feats, including the demonstration of His Deity (Romans 1:4), the defeat of the devil (Col. 1:15; Heb. 2:14), guarantee of the Father's acceptance of His sacrifice on the cross (Acts 2:22-36), and the effectiveness for our salvation (Rom. 4:25). Paul wrote that if the resurrection is not certain, our faith is in vain, cf. 1 Cor. 15:14-17.
But we must ask a question. "Does the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ automatically bring salvation to every person?" The answer is no! The Bible says that one must accept the Lord Jesus Christ as Savior in order for His work to be effective.
This includes believing He is the Son of God, and that He died for you! Romans 10:9-10 says, "That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, (His Deity) and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him (His resurrection) from the dead (His sacrifice), thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation."
Do you sincerely believe that Jesus Christ is God? Do you believe that He died for your sins, and rose again? By belief, the Bible is not speaking merely of mental ascent, but a heartfelt faith in Jesus Christ. Have you asked Him to forgive you for your sins, and be your Savior?
All that the Lord requires of a person for salvation is faith in the Person and work of Jesus Christ. Have you trusted Him as your Savior?
The following is an example of a prayer that you can say. However, you must understand that it is not a "magical formula" that will allow you into Heaven. You must believe what you are praying with all of your heart.
"Heavenly Father, I realize that I am a sinner, and that I cannot save myself. I believe that Jesus Christ, God the Son, died on the cross for my sins. I believe that He rose again, and I now ask Him to forgive me for my sins, and become my Savior. In His Name I pray, amen."
The decision to accept Jesus Christ is the most important decision you will ever make, as it will result in your eternal dwelling place. If you have not trusted Jesus Christ as Savior, please read this brochure again. Dont tell yourself that you will do it tomorrow or next week - your soul is too important, and you dont know if you will have another opportunity. 2 Cor. 6:2 says, "... behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation." Read the verses referenced throughout this brochure. Realize right now, "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved," Rom. 10:13.
If you have accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, please contact the First Baptist Church, and they will give you additional information about your new life in Christ.
R. C. Rogers