The Gospel: A Message about Our Response
What is your Response?
1. The Gospel: A Message About God
“If you don't begin where the Gospel begins, you won't end where the Gospel ends.”
àGod created us to glorify and enjoy Him forever. He is our… --Shorter Westminster Catechism
Creator – Lord - Sustainer - Determiner - Judge
2. The Gospel: A Message About Sin
A conviction of …
• Our Broken relationship with God
• Our Sinfulness
• Our Specific sin-s
àThe tragic results of sin and our sinfulness should turn our attention to our fundamental problem.
3. The Gospel: A Message About Christ
àWho He is and What He has done.
“Jesus Christ, as the God-man, came to save and rescue sinful men
to portray Himself as the only Savior
so that others can come
to saving faith in Jesus Christ.”
We need a heartfelt turn from our sin against God
to faith in Christ and His redemptive work.
Men are justified on the simple and single ground of the shed blood of Christ and upon the simple and single condition of faith in Him who shed the blood, and are born again by the quickening, renewing, cleansing work of the Holy Spirit through the instrumentality of the Word of God. -- AoF
We teach that Salvation is freely offered to all.1 Those who turn to God in repentance from their sin2 and have faith in our Lord Jesus Christ3 will be saved. --WWT
I. The Pharisee and the Publican
The focus and point of this parable was to correct those who..
· Were confident (trusted) in themselves.
· Despised others.
ἐξουθενέω G1848 - exoutheneō:"to regard as nothing, to despise utterly, to treat with contempt."
1. Standing to pray was a common position.
2. Pharisees were from a strict, fundamentalist sect of Judaism that prided themselves in exacting observance of the Law.
3. Tax Collectors (publicans) were viewed as collaborators with the Romans, used their power to cheat people out of more money that they actually needed to pay, and were know for loose morals and attitudes about the laws and customs.
A. The Pharisee
I thank You that
I am not like other men
I fast twice a week;
I give tithes of all that I get.”
1. It was commendable that the Pharisee made time to pray.
It was commendable that he was serious about keeping the Law and more.
It was commendable that he did not extort, be unjust, or commit adultery.
2. It was good, but not enough.
Matthew 23:23 “Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have neglected the weightier matters of the law: justice and mercy and faith. These you ought to have done, without leaving the others undone.”
3. Note the grammatical emphasis of his “prayer.” He uses God as a noun of direct address at the beginning of his prayer, but every sentence and phrase has himself as the subject. It was about him.
‘He glances at God, but contemplates himself’ (Plummer). After his opening word he does not refer to God again, but he himself is never out of the picture.
4. His attitudes of pride and distain were actually more deadly than the sins of extortion, being unjust, or adultery.
Proverbs 3:34 “Surely He scorns the scornful, But gives grace to the humble.”
James 4.6 & 1 Peter 5.5 “God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble.”
2 I have stretched out My hands all day long to a rebellious people,
Who say, “Keep to yourself, …
5 Who say, “Do not come near me,
For I am holier than you!”
B. The Publican (tax collector)
God, (You) be merciful to me, the sinner.
1. Notice his humble demeanor as he prayed.
3 Isaiah 57.15
For thus says the High and Lofty One,
Who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy;
I dwell in the high and holy place,
With him who has a contrite and humble spirit,
2. The subject and focus of his prayer was God. His desire was for God to act and show mercy.
3. Notice the Gospel in his short prayer.
God—He acknowledged God as his Lord and by implication, judge.
Sin—He was full of remorse for his sinfulness and sins against God. The Greek literally says “Have mercy of me, the sinner” in the attitude of 1 Timothy 1.15 This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.
4. Response—A godly repentance. He knew Who he had sinned against and begged for and received mercy.
Responding to Christ involves more humility than theological knowledge.
“Whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will by no means enter it.”
· We need to be careful to not over intellectualize the Gospel.
· "A child of five, if properly instructed can as truly believe and be regenerated as an adult." --CH Spurgeon
II. The Thief on the Cross
· According to Matthew 27.44 & Mark 15.32 record that two criminals were crucified with Christ.
· Both proud, scornfull men joined the crowds, scribes, and priests to rail at and revil the Savior who was dying for their sins.
· Luke records a strange change of heart and transformation.
Luke 23:39-43 “39 Then one of the criminals who were hanged blasphemed Him, saying, “If You are the Christ, save Yourself and us.”
40 But the other, answering, rebuked him, saying, “Do you not even fear God, seeing you are under the same condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we receive the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done lnothing wrong.” 42 Then he said to Jesus, “Lord, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.”
Observe all the Gospel truth packed into that short exchange.
God—The fear of God acknowledges Him as Lord and Judge.
It is a wicked and dangerous thing to think we can do what we want with no response ever coming for God.
Sin—He acknowledged his wrong deeds that deserved the punishment he was receiving.
Christ—“This man has done nothing wrong.” We don’t know whether he understood implications of that statement,
but He acknowledged that Jesus was the King with a kingdom beyond this world.
Response—In faith he called out to Jesus to “remember him.”
Jesus acknowledged His saving faith with the promise that he would see Him in Paradise.
· The believing thief was never able to be baptized, demonstrate a reformed life, or make any restoration for his crimes.
· He was able to acknowledge the truth of Christ’s claims and call out to Him.
III. What saving faith?
A. Knowing about the facts of the Gospel is necessary, but not enough.
Romans 1:32 … Describing people who have rejected God and God has left them to their own devices.
32who, knowing the righteous judgment of God, that those who practice such things are deserving of death, not only do the same but also approve of those who practice them.
· “Knowledge of the facts of Jesus’ life, death, resurrection for us is not enough, for people can know the facts and rebel against them.” –Grudem’s Systematic Theology
B. Acknowledging the truth of Gospel facts is necessary, but not enough.
· In James chapter two he makes the point that just saying you have faith is not enough.
· He give the demons as examples of and emotional response to the Gospel that is not saving faith.
James 2:19 8 8But someone will say, "You have faith, and I have works." Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
19 You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe--and tremble!
20 But do you want to know, O foolish man, that faith without works is dead?
· The demons knew their fate, trembled in fear, and yet continue to be defiant and rebellious.
· There is an acceptance and commitment to the truths that is part of saving faith.
C. Jesus speaks of “coming to him” in several places. (Jn 6.35-37; 7:37; Matt. 11.28-30)
“In these passages we have the idea of coming to Christ and asking for acceptance, living water, and for rest and instruction.” –Grudem’s Systematic Theology
35 And Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. 36 But I said to you that you have seen Me and yet do not believe.
37 All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out.
D. Faith is spoken of in very personal terms of trust and relationships.
11 He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
· “Much as we would speak of receiving a guest into our homes, John speaks of receiving Christ.” –Grudem’s Systematic Theology
E. Faith is more that believing about something; it is believing in someone.
14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, 15 that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
· The Greek phrase pisteu0 eis auton could also be translated “believes into him” with the sense of trust or confidence that goes into and rests in Jesus as a person.” –Grudem’s Systematic Theology
The idea of “believing in Jesus and all that stuff” is foreign to the Scriptues
IV. Salvation involves two sides of one coin
· We need to avoid thinking of a list of two, three, or however many things to do in order to be saved.
· It is better to think of turning from sin to Christ as two sides of a coin.
· “Scripture puts repentance and faith together as different aspects of the one act of coming to Christ for salvation. It is not that a person first turns from sin and next trusts in Christ, or first trusts in Christ and then turns from sin. But rather that both occur as that same time.” –Grudem’s Systematic Theology
· “When we turn to Christ for salvation from our sins, we are simultaneously turning away from sins that we are asking Christ to save us from.” –Grudem’s Systematic Theology
D.L. Moody was one of the great evangelists of the 19th Century. The story is told when one night a drunken man approached Moody on a train. “Mr. Moody, I'm one of your converts,” said the drunken man.
Moody replied, "I'm afraid you are, because you're obviously not a convert of the Lord's."
We need a heartfelt turn from our sin against God
to faith in Christ and His redemptive work.
Believers should continually live
repenting of sins and
growing in their faith.
As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord so… Colossians 2.6
· The prophet Isaiah’s words call down through the centuries to one who has never turned to Christ.
6 Seek the Lord while He may be found,
Call upon Him while He is near.
7 Let the wicked forsake his way,
And the unrighteous man his thoughts;
Let him return to the Lord, And He will have mercy on him;
And to our God, For He will abundantly pardon.
Plummer Alfred Plummer, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to S. Luke, International Critical Commentary (T. and T. Clark, 1928).
 Leon Morris, Luke: An Introduction and Commentary, vol. 3, Tyndale New Testament Commentaries (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1988), 282.
l [2 Cor. 5:21; Heb. 7:26; 1 Pet. 2:21–24]
m [2 Cor. 12:4; Eph. 4:8–10; Rev. 2:7]
 The New King James Version (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1982), Lk 23:39–43.