The Fullness of the Gospel, pt.1
(This lesson was taught at North Christian Church on 11/22/15, as part of a wonderful series on "The Gospel, Salvation, and Sanctification". For more information please visit www.nccdighton.org)
Regarding the gospel of Jesus Christ, it cannot fully be encapsulated by one verse, but is expressed in various ways throughout the scriptures…
Even the most popular scriptures do not contain all the facts about the gospel. (Joh 3:16 , Acts 16:31, 1Co 15:3-4, etc.)
I want to share with you just two examples of the gospel being given to people. And I believe it’s different ways of giving the same good news message, and it's according to the Spirit’s guidance for the person/people listening.
Turn to Acts 2…
This was immediately after the apostles received the power of the Holy Spirit. Clearly in context, they were filled with the Holy Spirit when they gave the gospel in these ways.
Here we see Peter giving the full gospel to the Jews.
Acts 2:36-41 "Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ — this Jesus whom you crucified." 37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Brethren, what shall we do?" 38 Peter said to them, "Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 "For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself." 40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation!" 41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.
Notice, Peter went into greater detail in vs. 40, who knows how long his message went on to them?
But in his gospel offering here, does anyone see the word ‘believe’ used?
So should we say this was a poor way to present the gospel?! Or should we say this was the way the Spirit led Peter with these people before him?
We know it’s by faith in Christ that a person is saved, but the WAY that he led them to faith here was by leading them to into repentance, and baptism.
Those things were acts which expressed saving faith, but faith is not directly mentioned here. hmmm.
Peter speaks to another group in Act 3, and uses a different approach.
Acts 3:17-21 "And now, brethren, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your rulers did also. 18 "But the things which God announced beforehand by the mouth of all the prophets, that His Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. 19 "Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord; and that He may send Jesus, the Christ appointed for you, 21 whom heaven must receive until the period of restoration of all things about which God spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from ancient time.
There we see another way the Spirit inspired giving the Gospel : "Repent and return".
Act 3:26-4:4 "For you first, God raised up His Servant and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you from your wicked ways." 4:1 As they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, 2 being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. 3 And they laid hands on them and put them in jail until the next day, for it was already evening. 4 But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.
So here again we see a different gospel presentation that led people to saving faith in Christ.
And so, God may use us to give a variety of presentations of the Gospel, through His Word and Spirit in us.
Really, the fullness of the gospel is like telling the story of Christ.
These are all different calls to trusting faith, and the Spirit knows whatever is best to lead someone to saving faith in Christ.
So, we are talking about the Fullness of the Gospel.
Something that has hit me lately, regarding giving the full gospel of Jesus Christ, is that people don’t understand, and are not told by the average Christian, the magnitude of the gap between them and a holy God.
The Magnitude of the Gap.
Notice in Peter’s two gospel messages, in Acts 2 and 3, he elaborated on their guilt, and their rejection of the Holy One from God. He elaborated on their sinfulness, and the great gap between them and God.
And Peter even said Jesus came to turn man from his evil ways, and that includes "religious man" trying to sanctify himself; that his own ways can save him and preserve him.
The difference between a man’s self-righteousness and God’s righteousness is as high as the heavens are above the earth. Isa 55:8-9, 64:6
People think they're close to being good enough for God, but they're infinitely far from God.
Isa 55:8-9 "For My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways My ways," declares the Lord. 9 "For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways And My thoughts than your thoughts.
Isa 64:6 "For all of us have become like one who is unclean, And all our righteous deeds are like a filthy garment.
This is what we battle in this geographical location, due to a large denomination in this area, that many of us grew up in.
And many of us have first battled this in our own souls, thinking we will go to heaven because we are a good person, and we also battle it when sharing the gospel with others who think they are “self-righteous”.
In today’s age, people think they are good enough to get to heaven if they live fairly moral lives, and/or they think God is one to overlook their sin, out of love.
People don’t realize the magnitude of the situation, and they need to be told that as part of the gospel of Jesus Christ, just as Peter confronted the Jews and laid it on the line before them.
People may reject it, but they need to understand the dire situation they are in before they will turn to Christ for salvation.
Hopefully people we witness to will also say : "Brethren, what shall we do?"
Another unfortunate reality I’ve been reading about is this…
The Gospel message today is often made about the individual and their comfort, not about the need to satisfy the Lord and His majesty and righteousness.
Some well-meaning Christians dilute the gospel into something that bandages someone’s wounds, for selfish reasons, not for peace with the Lord God Almighty.
Often, the deep sinful nature of a person’s selfishness is never addressed. The deeper need of reconciliation with a holy, righteous God, on His terms of unconditional surrender, is never addressed.
A man must realize his helplessness and turn to Christ.
This is one reason Jesus said a man must deny himself and follow Him. It's because “Self” is the god of every man and woman, without Christ.
It's a picture of turning away from self and turning to Christ for salvation. It's a picture of saving faith.
Remember Pastor Collin's blog on “Selfism”?
Saving faith is a surrender of the heart to God, which means repenting from self-sufficiency or self-sanctification, and trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ, instead.
Saving faith is giving up self and surrendering to Him!
As Jesus said in the first words of His public ministry in Mark 1:15; ‘repent and believe’.
In other words, turn away from self/sin, and turn to Him.
So again, the gospel should not be about man’s discomforts in life.
Man’s legitimate desires can become idols (i.e. to be loved, to be healthy, to be accepted by others…), and this can water down the Gospel, making it about them, not about the Lord.
Really, we're back to the need for "fear of the Lord". It's about the Lord and His sovereignty. It's not about us and our comfort.
It’s not “believe in Jesus and all your problems will go away”.
That’s a subtle wrong motivation, leading people to believe in Him for what they can get.
When we share the gospel of Jesus Christ, we need to direct people to take their eyes off themselves and their personal desires, and take a look at GOD and His righteous demands, and then His indescribable love. Eph 2:1-10
The fullness of the Gospel begins with God’s Justice, and then it flows to His love.
Eph 2 is a good example of this full presentation of the gospel...
Eph 2:1-10 "And you were dead in your trespasses and sins, 2in which you formerly walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience. 3Among them we too all formerly lived in the lusts of our flesh, indulging the desires of the flesh and of the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, even as the rest. 4But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, 5even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), 6and raised us up with Him, and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, 7so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. 8For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them."
Again, the fullness of the Gospel starts with God’s Justice, and then flows to His love.
People need to be told about the PERSON of the Lord, Jesus Christ.
A Person came to save you, Who is God Himself.
And what did He come to save you from? Your sinfulness and guilt before a holy and righteous God.
(and if they don’t believe they are sinners, just point them to the 10 commandments, one at a time.)
The humble person will see pretty quickly they are insufficient, and they fall short of God's righteous demands. Rom 3
The Gospel is not about believing in the message itself, but believing in the Person Himself; the One who did something amazingly sacrificial for us.
Jesus gave up His own life for us, even though He was innocent.
God didn’t just send a salvation tract, He sent His Son, personally.
God didn’t send the OT prophets to tell people the facts alone, He sent them to tell people HE was coming, and that HE Himself would suffer for their sins, and HE would forgive them.
It should be about the Person of Jesus Christ, because it is very personal.
(There are situations where salvation tracts might be the only way to pass on the good news to someone, but that shouldn’t be our main way of sharing the gospel with others. People need to hear the full story about the PERSON of our God and Savior, Jesus Christ.)
In witnessing to others, we let the light of Christ shine, by our words and actions. And that doesn’t take our ability, but simply our humility; our willingness to be used by Him. Then we watch Him go to work through us.
And instead of worrying about the wording of our Gospel presentation (which is really relying on human effort/wisdom), we should be focused on building a RELATIONSHIP with others, and even being a friend to them, whether they immediately accept the Gospel or not.
If we relate to people by His love, they will see it.
As the scripture says, “don’t worry about what you are going to say”, the Spirit will fill your mouth. Luk 12:11-12
Focus on the relationship, not a preconceived presentation.
Look at the Lord’s instructions!
Luke 12:11-12 "When they bring you before the synagogues and the rulers and the authorities, do not worry about how or what you are to speak in your defense, or what you are to say; 12 for the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say."
Remember that at large gatherings. Relax. If your heart is right, the Spirit will lead you in what to say, at the right time.
So back to witnessing, and even forming a friendship...
A friend loves at all times, right? Prov 17:17. It’s that type of friendship (loving at all times) that might eventually lead one to accept Christ, because they see, over time, His love flowing through you.
They see that you love and care about them, and that's a love that the world doesn’t know.
You may even get the opportunity to act as a friend towards an enemy, and that light of Jesus Christ will be so glaring in the darkness, it must be stared upon in awe.
Luke 6:27-36 (do not read this with familiarity! Look what the Lord is telling us to do, if we will hear!)
27 "But I say to you who hear, love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, 28 bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. 29 "Whoever hits you on the cheek, offer him the other also; and whoever takes away your coat, do not withhold your shirt from him either. 30 "Give to everyone who asks of you, and whoever takes away what is yours, do not demand it back. 31 "Treat others the same way you want them to treat you. 32 "If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners love those who love them.
33 "If you do good to those who do good to you, what credit is that to you? For even sinners do the same. 34 "If you lend to those from whom you expect to receive, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners in order to receive back the same amount. (wow Lord, spending a lot of time on these examples huh? Are you saying “stop thinking you’re spiritual because you love those who love you?”)
35 "But love your enemies, and do good, and lend, expecting nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High; for He Himself is kind to ungrateful and evil men. 36 "Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.
We are acting like God Himself, when we are kind to ungrateful and evil men. (of course, we need to have the right heart, not just be a robot)
We need to read that passage over and over, to glean more of what the Lord is saying, on how far He desires us to go for our enemies. And we can't take credit for that. That's HIS supernatural light shining forth from us.
That may end up being the greatest witness of all.
So back to being a friend, and allowing that friendship to create fertile soil for the gospel.
It’s not about giving the gospel with our predetermined words and walking away, although there will be times and situations for us to just walk away after saying only a few words.
It’s not only what we say, it’s the heart behind what we say (i.e. - are we speaking out of love, as a friend?), and then, once we have the right heart, it’s in allowing the Spirit to fill our mouths.
How much have we been learning about God looking at the heart?!
As pastor’s been saying, salvation is a PROCESS for many people, and as we plant seeds, the Spirit is convicting people of their sinfulness, and of their need to be reconciled to God.
And so, we should reach out to enter into a relationship with others, even asking for their help at times, as part of building a good relationship.
We need to learn to be human, and real, and give others a chance to enter our lives; not just be robotic Christians who give the gospel and run.
This is all part of the fullness of the Gospel, with the Lord Jesus Himself as our example.
In John 4, Jesus asked the Samaritan woman at the well for some water. Why?
He certainly didn’t need her to do that for Him.
Maybe it was to create some normal human interaction, or to create a bond of some kind.
And it was then that He offered her ‘living water’.
Again, the point we are noting:
We need to learn to be human, and real, and give others a chance to enter our lives; not just be robotic Christians who give the gospel and run.
We are to be witnesses of His Person, and if we represent Him, we should act like Him, passing on His care and love to others.
And if you have a difficult time with this, may I suggest you reassess all that He saved YOU from! (make it personal, because it is!)
Have trouble loving your enemies? The Lord didn't have trouble loving YOU, when YOU were His enemy! Rom 5:10, Col 1:21
Remember what He did for YOU?
He who is forgiven much, loves much, Luk 7:47. It will be EASY for you to love others who don’t deserve it, even your enemies, when you remember how much He forgave YOU of.
And then we tell of His marvelous deeds, done on our behalf.
In Luke’s version of the Great Commission, we are told this is our objective, to witness of His Person. Luke 24:45-48
Luke 24:45-48 "Then He opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and He said to them, "Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem. 48 "You are witnesses of these things.
We are to tell about HIS deeds. We are to tell of repentance for forgiveness of sins in HIS Name.
And in Act 1:8, Christ’s last words command the disciples to witness about Him, a Person.
Acts 1:8 "but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."
We are to make an issue out of the Lord Himself; His Person. It’s personal.
Jesus Christ loved every person, individually, and offers them full forgiveness of their sins.
I’ll often say to people when sharing the gospel, “do you realize who Jesus Christ really is?”.
He's not just a man, or just a prophet, but He's the Son of God!
We are to testify that Christ is who He says He is, and that includes the reality that He is LORD, of all people, and that must be recognized as part of the fullness of the gospel.
People need to know that they need to adjust to the Justice of God, and thus the need for “repentance for forgiveness of sins” being proclaimed in His Name. Luk 24:47
When a person repents of his sinfulness and guilt, he is adjusting to the Justice of God. He is agreeing with God’s thinking.
And let's remember, even repentance is a grace gift from God, and it is only granted to the humble heart, to the willing person.
Acts 5:31 "He is the one whom God exalted to His right hand as a Prince and a Savior, to grant repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
So, man cannot take any credit for repenting. He was granted a gift by the Spirit of God.
Acts 11:18 "When they heard this, they quieted down and glorified God, saying, "Well then, God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life."
Rom 2:4 "Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?" (this is done supernaturally)
It is God's grace that leads man to repentance.
People need to know that they need to adjust to the Justice of God, and thus the need for “repentance for forgiveness of sins” being proclaimed in His Name. Luk 24:47
Part of the full gospel is calling people to repentance; to admitting they are wrong and sinful, and they can’t save themselves!
Understanding the magnitude of that reality makes fertile soil; it makes someone ready to trust in Christ to save their lives.
Another way to put it is this:
The fullness of the Gospel must include an emphasis on our need for reconciliation with a perfect, holy God.
Our need for peace with a perfect, holy God.
As the Spirit mentioned earlier, it’s first about God and His majesty, not about man and his needs.
The content of our message is Christ and God, not our personal journey to faith, although the Spirit might use that too, at times.
But a message had been committed to us; a word of reconciliation to the entire world. 2Co 5:19
2 Cor 5:18-20 "Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, 19 namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.
So, we should make an issue of the need for reconciliation with God, when sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ.
People everywhere want peace, I believe that’s the reason for the “coexist” bumper stickers.
And many “good” people, relatively speaking, think they have peace with God based on their attempts at goodness. But that's not true.
In fact in the end times, people will be saying “peace peace”, as in 1Thess 5:3, but they are deceiving themselves, and then destruction comes.
1 Thess 5:1-6 "Now as to the times and the epochs, brethren, you have no need of anything to be written to you. 2 For you yourselves know full well that the day of the Lord will come just like a thief in the night. 3 While they are saying, "Peace and safety!" (coexist!) then destruction will come upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a woman with child, and they will not escape. 4 But you, brethren, are not in darkness, that the day would overtake you like a thief; 5 for you are all sons of light and sons of day. We are not of night nor of darkness; 6 so then let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.
Unbelievers can often think everything is good, when it's not.
Those who are spiritually sleeping in this world (without Christ) need to be made aware that as sinners, they DO NOT have peace with God, and they CAN’T have peace with God on their own merits!
They need to be made aware of the need to repent, admitting the guilt of their sinfulness, and submitting in humility before a holy and righteous God.
Who did Jesus come for? Sinners. And what did He lead them to? Repentance.
Luke 5:29-32 "And Levi gave a big reception for Him in his house; and there was a great crowd of tax collectors and other people who were reclining at the table with them. 30 The Pharisees and their scribes began grumbling at His disciples, saying, "Why do you eat and drink with the tax collectors and sinners?" 31 And Jesus answered and said to them, "It is not those who are well who need a physician, but those who are sick. 32 "I have not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance."
I imagine Jesus having a loving, truthful talk with all of US sinners at the dinner table.
He wasn’t just eating with the prostitutes and tax-collectors and condoning their sin. He was gently leading them to repentance, a change of heart, and to follow Him as the Way to true life.
Repentance is a reality that the sinner is called to. And as we’ve been seeing, that’s part of the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
It's good news for one to admit he can't do it on his own. It's an unbearable load off his shoulders. And the humble person will embrace that reality, and be set free!
People first need to realize that as sinners they NEED reconciliation with a Holy God, and then the Good News that Someone has paid their debt.
Again, The fullness of the Gospel starts with God’s Justice, and then flows to His love.
As we’ve been learning, if there is nothing to repent and be saved from, then there is no need to turn to Christ and trust in Him.
The Fullness of the Gospel.
This is why Jesus would say “deny yourself” and “follow Me”, Mat 16:24, Luk 9:23. "Self" is in the way of salvation. One must turn away from self-reliance (repent), BEFORE they can trust in Christ for salvation (by believing in Him).
That's a picture of coming to saving faith! In a person's soul, they need to deny themselves, and instead follow Him.
As Jesus said in Mar 1:15c, "repent and believe in the gospel."
Deny yourself and follow Christ.
Here’s another test for us as witnesses of the Person of Christ:
Is your Gospel presentation more about yourself or about Him?
When you are in love with someone, you can’t help but talk about THEM. They are always on your mind, and you love to boast about them.
That's how it should be, in our hearts first of all, and in our gospel presentation.
A Christ-centered gospel will reveal your love for Christ to others. After all, it is all about HIM.
It's amazing: when we just keep our eyes on Christ, everything else just falls into place.
In a book by Will Metzger, called “Tell The Truth”, he reminds us of the following:
“Understanding that God, not us, is the Evangelizer (the One who brings results) is wonderfully liberating. This makes witnessing an adventure in which we merely ride along with God as He moves out.”
We are just messengers.
If this is our attitude, we are bold and transparent, like the apostles were throughout the book of Acts.
The apostles simply boasted about Christ, and His Person, and they also explained about the righteousness and love of God.
They told about His works, His sacrifice, His resurrection, and His forgiveness.
And how’s this for fun?
Food for Thought.
The Spirit will lead us into a different gospel presentation each and every time! God doesn’t need to repeat Himself in the exact same way, ever. And each soul has its own needs to hear.
Think about that dynamic.
If you read the Word of God daily, you WILL know what to say. You all know the general good news of the gospel, and because you read the Word, the Spirit has a lot in your soul to work with. :)
Remember Joh 4:24, we must worship God in Spirit and Truth.
We should only be concerned that we have the right heart, and sharing our love and admiration for Christ, and the Holy Spirit will give us the right words for each person at each time.
That should set us free, because it doesn't depend upon our intelligence, it depends upon the Spirit of God!
And what if you are dealing with someone that says they are a new believer in Christ?
Instead of explaining more of the gospel, maybe ask them “what’s it like?” or "how has He changed you?", and let them talk about their faith.
In other words, avoid prematurely telling them they are "saved" (after all, how do we know their heart? only God does).
Let that realization come from the Spirit Himself, and the Spirit gives assurances as they see the fruits of a changed heart. 1Jo 3&4
We’ve been learning lately about mere profession of faith, vs. a real possession of the faith.
How can we avoid misleading someone into a false sense of security of salvation, when maybe they haven't surrendered to Him yet?
We know that is someone has truly believed, then they are saved, and have eternal security. Joh 10:22-30
Who are we to do that, possibly giving a professing believer a vote of confidence when they don’t actually possess Christ?
That’s why I am not one for "altar calls", as in some churches they call people up to the stage as a sign of their faith. Where do we see that example in the scriptures? Is that in the book of Acts, in the activities of the early church? (honestly let me know if you find that)
What if someone comes up front, just to look good in front of others?
And might that give a professing believer a false sense of security?
And where do we see a person leading another in a salvation prayer; saying “repeat these words after me and you’ll be saved”??
Really? Is that fair to say to someone? What if their heart’s not ready, but they just repeat your words to please you? And then, in your excitement, you tell them they are saved, but is their heart still far from God?
Salvation is between them and the Lord, isn't it?
What we see in the book of Acts is the apostles declaring the truth about Christ, sometimes to individuals and sometimes to groups, and then those who believed the message followed them. That’s it. That's what we see in the scriptures.
Do we see the disciples trying to convince people in the early church? Do we see any type of human coercion?
Do we see the apostles telling people “you are now saved”? (I’m not talking about when Paul would write a letter to a church, but about how the apostles gave the gospel to unbelieving crowds throughout the book of Acts)
We're talking about the actual giving of the Gospel.
Or in the book of Acts, do we see the disciples helping people understand the clear gospel, throwing out the offer of salvation like water, and encouraging people to accept the message and to continue in the Word?
I looked up in a concordance the phrase “you are saved”, to see how many times that may have been said to a potential new believer.
Here’s the only verse that came up:
1 Cor 15:2 NIV "By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain."
Here we see caution in pronouncing someone to be saved, not assumption.
I think that's a good example that we shouldn't assume people are saved, especially new people who might not fully understand the gospel yet.
And there is a big “if” statement here too. The genuine believer will follow Christ and His Word in his life, at least to some degree.
The genuine believer will “hold firmly to the word”, because they have true saving faith/trust in the Lord.
If their heart has been changed by Christ, there is a corresponding change in their life in some ways.
Let's think about this... how many times have we assumed a new person to be saved, possibly giving them a false sense of security, when they may not have surrendered to Christ yet?
God only knows, and I think the point of the Spirit is that we don’t need to do that. HE WILL DO THAT, FOR EACH BELIEVER.
If our heart does not condemn us, that is the Spirit's conviction to us.
1Jo 3:21 "Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God;"
One of the times Jesus DID confirm a person was saved was with the woman with the alabaster vial. And maybe, it was because there was clear evidence of her saving faith, before He made such a clear conclusion about her salvation. (not to mention Jesus had all knowledge! J)
Luke 7:44-50 "Turning toward the woman, He said to Simon, "Do you see this woman? I entered your house; you gave Me no water for My feet, but she has wet My feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 "You gave Me no kiss; but she, since the time I came in, has not ceased to kiss My feet. 46 "You did not anoint My head with oil, but she anointed My feet with perfume. 47 "For this reason I say to you, her sins, which are many, have been forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little." 48 Then He said to her, "Your sins have been forgiven." 49 Those who were reclining at the table with Him began to say to themselves, "Who is this man who even forgives sins?" 50 And He said to the woman, "Your faith has saved you; go in peace."
Because of all the evidence of her changed heart, Jesus declared her saved.
The fruit of His love was so obvious in this woman, the Lord reassured her of her salvation without hesitation.
I hope you see the point, that we are not the judges.
We don't have the ability or wisdom to say another is saved for sure.
And the scriptures tell us to be concerned with our own salvation. It's between each person and God.
So we share the Gospel, and its fullness, and rely on the Holy Spirit to convict people of their need for a Savior, and to change their hearts.
Let's close in prayer:
"Dear Heavenly Father, we thank you for another wonderful day together as your family, fellowshipping in your Word.
And if anyone if listening right now who has never trusted in the Lord Jesus for their salvation, we ask that You graciously help them turn to your Son.
You are a sinner, as we all are, and you need a Savior. Repent, turn from your self-reliance, and bow down to Christ as your Lord and Savior. He is there right now, with loving open arms, waiting for you to surrender. Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved.
Father, we thank you for anyone who has believed today for the first time. We welcome them to your family, as your children, adopted by Your grace.
Please bless us as we go, and help us continue in your Word. We praise You, Father.
In Christ's precious Name we pray, amen.