The Effect of the GospelBro. David Chancellor
10/13/2002 6:00 PM
Difficulty gives us opportunity to grow.
Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judaea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and his brother Philip tetrarch of Ituraea and of the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias the tetrarch of Abilene, Annas and Caiaphas being the high priests, the word of God came unto John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness. And he came into all the country about Jordan, preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins; As it is written in the book of the words of Esaias the prophet, saying, The voice of one crying in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord, make his paths straight. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low; and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways shall be made smooth; And all flesh shall see the salvation of God. Then said he to the multitude that came forth to be baptized of him, O generation of vipers, who hath warned you to flee from the wrath to come? Bring forth therefore fruits worthy of repentance, and begin not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, That God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: every tree therefore which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. And the people asked him, saying, What shall we do then? He answereth and saith unto them, He that hath two coats, let him impart to him that hath none; and he that hath meat, let him do likewise. Then came also publicans to be baptized, and said unto him, Master, what shall we do? And he said unto them, Exact no more than that which is appointed you. And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.
This begins to describe the ministry of John the Baptist, and the beginning of the gospel day. John was preaching the baptism of repentance for the remission of sins. Theres preparation to be made if God would be able to work among mankind. Things need to be made straight and smooth and level. Hes not talking about making a road that is easy to travel on, but hes talking about the adjustments made by God in the hearts of men. That which is high is brought down, and that which is low is lifted up. All flesh shall see the salvation of God. The gospel brought a great change where the relationship of the souls of men and God were concerned. There werent some with advantage over others. Everyone needs the same work if we will stand right before him. God has mercy on us. The people wanted to know, What shall we do then? The gospel should prompt this response. The jailer asked Paul and Silas, What should I do to be saved? The gospel should help us to recognize our need of a Savior. John began to show them what the gospel should produce in their lives. It will work on our attitudes toward each other. We should want to help out others, and be a benefit and a blessing to them. Class warfare is unchristian. The gospel wont turn the rich against the poor. The rich have more of an opportunity to be blessed, according to Paul, because he says, Its more blessed to give than to receive. The gospel addresses the issues of human relations. It deals with how we should get along. John told these tax collectors not to take advantage of people. The child of God wont take advantage of anyone. Gods children ought to be the best people to do business with. They should be concerned with fair dealings. You can treat people right and still prosper. Theres nothing wrong with making a profit, but there is a problem with taking advantage of people. Each one was examining their situation and asking, What should I do? John was addressing the interaction of people with others. We dont experience soldiers roaming the streets here, but in some countries, they do, and they act more like gangs than government entities. The Roman soldiers could threaten people. John was preaching the gospel straight. It got down to where people lived. It should still be this way. Jesus came and continued what John started; teaching us about our attitudes and our relationships with others. Our relationship to God wont be right if our relationship with our fellowman isnt right. Love causes us to treat people right. Because of love, we wont take advantage of others. The love of God in our hearts will change our outlook towards others. The gospel will cause us to see the unsaved ones as potential brothers and sisters in Christ. Be careful not to build a wall between them and God. The gospel should make us think about what we do and how we live. The standard of the gospel is not like the one of the law. If the question youre asking is, What shall we do then? start seeking in Gods word. Souls changed by the gospel will not be willingly ignorant, or unwilling to find out what the word of God says. Our study of the Bible should help us in our daily living. Our desire for the gospel should grow. Its only natural for a saved soul to seek God saying, What shall I do?
Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. Thou hast made known to me the ways of life; thou shalt make me full of joy with thy countenance. Men and brethren, let me freely speak unto you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his sepulchre is with us unto this day. Therefore being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne; He seeing this before spake of the resurrection of Christ, that his soul was not left in hell, neither his flesh did see corruption. This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear. For David is not ascended into the heavens: but he saith himself, The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit thou on my right hand, Until I make thy foes thy footstool. Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made the same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ. Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do? Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.
The gospel was preached, and it pricked peoples hearts. The gospel shouldnt leave you unmoved. The promise is for you. Gods Holy Spirit is promised to you. God offers a change of heart and a change of direction. We need to gladly receive the word. When something comes that would draw us closer to God, we should be glad to receive it. It helps us know how to please God, and how to be right with him. We dont need to worry about what others do. The gospel needs to be personal. Our thoughts should be turned to seek our place and our part. God can help us to know what to do. The gospel should go forth in this way, even today. We need to be ready to tell others. We want to live close enough to God to be able to lead a soul to Jesus. These wanted to know how to live. Be ready to point others to Jesus. The gospel isnt complicated. Peter encouraged the faith of these. He told them to take him at his word. The Spirit of God helps us to do the work. We need to be willing to do our part. Pray and carry the gospel. Have a concern for souls. Something has to happen or souls will die lost.