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The Gospel Must Be Accepted

February 19th, 2009

“Behold now is the favorable time; behold now is the day of salvation”

(2 Cor. 6:2)

The gospel was meant to be accepted (2 Cor. 11:4).  The gospel must be accepted because it was meant to be accepted; meant by the Lord to be received by men (Acts 11:1; 1 Thess. 2:13).  The appeal of the gospel always has urgency and expectancy within its message (2 Cor. 6:2).

1. Accepting the gospel is an individual affair.  Notice the emphasis upon “each one” in 2 Corinthians 5:10, and throughout the New Testament.  Individual responsibility is clearly meant.

2.Accepting the gospel entails ownership. Ownership also infers responsibility-a right of possession.  2 Peter 1:1,3,4,8,12, etc.  indicate ownership by verbs such as-“have obtained,” “granted to us,” and “you have.”

3. Accepting the gospel means accepting the consequences of following Christ (1 Pet. 4:12-19).

My son has a personal web site which displays the Sphinx of Egypt; the Eiffel Tower of Paris; and the Tower of Pisa.  All of these are places which he has visited in person.  They are not mere hopes nor dreams; but for him they are realities, facts, moments of his life.  Is the gospel such a reality for you?   Have you owned it yet?

Robert M. Housby

Gospel Preaching: Meant to Evoke A Response

March 9th, 2008

“And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, Save yourselves from this crooked generation. So those who received his word were baptized…”

(Acts 2:40,41)

The Book of Acts documents that the early gospel preachers, including the original apostles, consistently offered the gospel invitation—an opportunity to respond to the gospel message (2:40-41; 11:19-21; 17:30-34; 18:8). There were other types of responses to the gospel as well:

1. Restoration (see Acts 8:14-24). Here we see that Simon needed restoration due to his heart not being right before God (8:21). Simon was directed to repent (8:22a) and pray (8:22b) for forgiveness (8:22c).
2. Placed Membership (9:26).
3. Edification (16:5; 20:32-38).
4. Rejection (17:5-6), and,
5. Conversion, of course (18:8).

The Gospel Invitation is based upon the old Jewish heritage where the Man of God calls upon the people to decide in favor of the true and living God (see Jeremiah 10:10): Moses before the Israelites (Ex. 32:26); Joshua before the Promised Land (Josh 24:15); and Ezra before the exiles (Ezra 10:10-11); and, of course, Jesus (Matt. 23:27-39; 11:28-30).

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: Acts, Bible, gospel, New Testament, response Tags:

A Return to the Original Gospel

February 10th, 2008

“Hold the pattern of sound words”

(2 Timothy 1:13, ASV)

When it comes to religion, many operate along the lines of truth as: (1) what works, pragmatism (2) one’s individual opinion, existentialism (3) what is culturally normative, relativism (4) what is scientifically verifiable, positivism (5) any combination of the above four options, eclecticism. A sixth option (despite its being invalid by reason of its self-refuting claim) is, that there are no absolutely true claims available to finite minds, agnosticism. No wonder Pilate asked Jesus, “What is truth?” (John 18:38).

Into this world, then, of religious options, is the gospel; not any gospel being touted on the boulevard, but the original gospel, as written in Scripture (1 Corinthians 15:1-4). This gospel is not strictly pragmatic; existential; relativistic; positivistic; eclectic; nor pluralistic—but, rather, absolute and exclusive (Jude 3).

Walter Scott wrote in The Gospel Restored (1836, reprinted by College Press Publishing Co.: Joplin, MO, 1986, vi): regarding the restoration of the gospel “(1) The Bible was adopted as our sole authority (2) The apostolic order contained in that Bible was proposed as the method of restoration, and (3) The true gospel arising from these, then, became the message.” Wherever men may find themselves today, a return to the original gospel is always desirable. Have you made it your message?

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: 2 Timothy, Bible, gospel, New Testament Tags:

Have You Obeyed the Gospel?

July 1st, 2007

“…what will be the outcome for those who do not obey the gospel of God?”

(1 Peter 4:17)

We have come across some information that, while we have known as much, the impact of the stats are staggering. According to the research of Dr. John Palmer—

19 out of every 20 who become a Christian do so before age 25.

After 25, only 1 in 10,000 respond
After 35, only 1 in 50,000 respond
After 45, only 1 in 200,000 respond
After 55, only 1 in 300,000 respon
After 65, only 1 in 500,000 respond
Afyter 75, only 1 in 700,000 respond
After 85, only 1 in a million.

Dr. Palmer goes on to say, “It is evident that the time to make Christians is when the mind is still plastic, and the habits are not yet fixed, and when sin has not yet fastened its death grip upon that life” (Dictionary of Prophetic Terms, Signs & Symbols, Star Bible Publications, p. 75). This data is based upon a 6 billion world-wide population (2000).

To obey the gospel is to become a Christian at the point of Christian baptism (Romans 6:3-5; 6:17). Do you know of a loved one who has put off this act of submission to the Lord Jesus? Perhaps they will realize that it won’t be long for most, and can’t be very long for any. Have you obeyed the gospel yet?

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: 1 Peter, Bible, gospel, New Testament Tags:

Stable and Steadfast

October 15th, 2006

(Colossians 1:21-23)

“…if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast,
not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard…”

(Colossians 1:23, ESV)

When George Ricker Berry translated Colossians 1:23, in his literal rendering, directly from the Greek New Testament, he chose the wording: “founded and firm” (Interlinear Greek-English New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1978), 522). The English Standard Version reads: “stable and steadfast;” while the King James Version has—“grounded and settled.”

Colossians 1:23 describes Christian development in several key ways:

1. Col. 1:21,22 speaks of what God has done, and is doing for the believer. Note the past and present references of benefit here.

2. Although set up as a condition, this conditional sentence, “if” (1:23) expresses Paul’s confidence that the condition will be met with stable and steadfast living.

3. The caution against shifting away from the original gospel and being carried away with another gospel is stressed. Likely, the falsification here meant unnecessary supplementing of the gospel (see 2:6-15).

According to Colossians 1:21-23, Christian development means: (1) Realizing what God has done and is doing for us (2) Accepting the conditional nature of the faith; while having apostolic confidence that one can well continue (3) That the original gospel will be preferred and kept.

– Robert M. Housby

Why You Should Revisit the Tomb

September 24th, 2006

“Come see the place where the Lord lay”

(Matt.28: 6)

The term, “tomb” (mnemeion, Matt. 27:60) can be appreciated by the Christian on several levels. Although the concepts of the Lord’s death and resurrection are not new to us, when these two fundamental themes of the gospel are viewed in relation to the tomb of Christ, we find that both are represented. In other words, the tomb goes both ways, as Paul’s speech at Antioch of Pisidia indicates – “…they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead” (Acts 13: 29, 30). The tomb (mnemion) embraces Christ’s death and resurrection—it is a virtual sanctuary for the great themes of the Gospel.

But, is a return to the tomb really necessary? We think that it is a warranted action on the part of all Christians, novices and veterans alike. We say this in lieu of the sporadic hijacking of many Judeo-Christian concepts today: success through the Proverbs of Solomon; stable family values; money-matters; and relationships in general. But, to take all of these valuable Biblical concepts and sell them without regard to the power of the Gospel is certainly a terrible blunder of omission.

So, why should you return to the tomb?

1. It is the central sanctuary of Christian faith (2Cor. 5:15; 1Thess. 4:14; etc.).
2. It points out the futility of trying to achieve the good-life, without the good news (1Cor. 15: 1-4).
3. It asserts the historical-factual nature of the Gospel (Acts 13: 29-31).
4. It reaffirms how baptism is the watery-grave—and, such it is (Rom. 6:3-5).

– Robert M. Housby

New Testament Salvation

September 17th, 2006

[A list of references of the causes of salvation. This list refutes and exposes those groups which subjectively select one cause over another. See Acts 20:27; Ps. 119:160. It is a given that God is the ultimate author of salvation –Tit. 2:13; 3:4; Heb. 5:9]

1. Grace (Ephesians 2:8)
“For by grace you have been saved through faith…”

2. Mercy (Titus 3:5)
“…according to his mercy he saved us”

3. The Gospel (1 Corinthians 15:1-2)
“Now I make known unto you, brethren, the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye received, wherein also ye stand, by which also ye are saved”

4. Jesus’ Name (Acts 4:12)
“And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved”

5. Hope (Romans 8:24)
“For in this hope we were saved”

6. Preaching (1 Corinthians 1:18)
“…but to us who are being saved it [“the word of the cross”] is the power of God”

7. Confession of faith (Romans 10:10)
“…with the mouth one confesses and is saved”

8. Obedience (Hebrews 5:9)
“…he became the source of eternal salvation to all who obey”

9. Love of the truth (2 Thessalonians 2:10)
“…because they refused to love the truth and so be saved”

10. Ourselves (Philippians 2:12)
“…work out your own salvation with fear and trembling”

11. Baptism (1 Peter 3:21)
“…Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you”

-Robert M. Housby

The Romantic Tradition of Gospel Preaching

January 8th, 2006

“…so that we may preach the gospel…”

(2 Corinthians 10:16)

 

With so much happening within the local church on any given occasion, the congregation may unconsciously lose sight of the fact that the church is God’s chosen body to proclaim the gospel message (Matthew 28:18-20; Ephesians 3: 10,11; 1 Timothy 3:15). We are surely grateful for the intense work of all full-time and faithful gospel preachers who labor among “the churches of Christ.” But, we are also aware that the churches of Christ are his body on earth (Ephesians 1:22-23). And, as such, his body is to reach out; not just preachers, per se, but every member in support of gospel preaching (see Acts 8:1-4; 11:19-21).

The romantic tradition of gospel preaching was the message of the early church. Such passionate proclamation entails three essential characteristics:

1. Gospel preaching is Bible-based preaching (Acts 2:16,23,25; 3:21).
2.
Gospel preaching is salvation focused (Acts 2:37-38; Rom. 1:15-16).
3.
Gospel preaching is always relevant (Acts 2:39).

A definition of gospel preaching, which we have used for years, is that from the pen of the late Jesse P. Sewell—“Gospel preaching is a man redeemed by grace, through faith, standing in Christ’s stead, by his authority, and under his command, proclaiming his gospel; illustrating, making plain and strong and urgent, the word of God, in such a manner that responsible people can understand and accept it unto life or reject it unto death” (8th Annual Abilene Christian College Lectures On Preaching, 1958).

-Robert M. Housby

The Gospel Makes An Appeal

November 13th, 2005

“Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently”

(Acts 26:3)

Most people today have little understanding of the Bible. They may be fluent and conversant in The Da Vinci Code, Harry Potter, or, pop psychology, but they definitely lack an accurate knowledge of the gospel. One such area where the gospel is surely misunderstood regards the fact that it makes an appeal: it asks something from those who hear it.

In Acts 26, Paul makes his defense before King Agrippa. It is in 26:3 where we find an appeal; an appeal to listen with patience to the message of the gospel. If 26:2,3 was all the information we had of Paul’s appeal, we might think that he was only interested in vindicating his own name. However, a perusal of the rest of his speech shows the substance of his appeal (see 26:6,8,9,18,23).

1. 26:3 – “I beg you [Agrippa]”
2. 26:20 – “that they [Damascus/Jerusalem/Judea/Gentiles]”
3. 26:29 – all that hear me this day might become as I am”

The older English has the word “beseech” to convey this appeal. Surely, the gospel has been found amusing by those who reject its appeal. But, the gospel makes an appeal; and this appeal has never been repealed.

-Robert M. Housby

Categories: Acts, Bible, gospel, New Testament Tags:

Blessed by the Gospel

November 7th, 2004

“We gather together to ask the Lord’s blessing;
He chastens and hastens His will to make known;
The wicked oppressing now cease from distressing:
Sing praises to His name, He forgets not his own!”

(We Gather Together, Valerius’s Collection, 1626)

 

The term “gospel” is defined in modern English as, “good news.” The gospel derives itself historically from the ancient prophecy of Isaiah 52:7: “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him who brings good news, who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness, who publishes salvation…” The apostle Paul quotes this Isaiah passage in Romans 10:15.

We frequently use the term gospel and its meaning of good news to express what God has rendered to mankind through the preaching of Jesus Christ (Romans 16:25). In this brief expose, we shall consider how Luke’s Gospel shows the gospel to be a resource of blessing:

1. Luke begins and ends with a theme of “blessing” (1:28,42,45,48,68; 2:28, 34; 24:50,51). Although Luke begins his gospel with a historical format, we can see a theological theme of blessing merge and continue through the gospel.
2. Luke shows how “blessing” is a mutual activity (6:20,21,22; 7:23; 9:16;
10:23; 11:27,28; 12:37,38; 23:29).
3. The ending of Luke clarifies that the gospel is especially meant to
“bless”
(24:50-53; Genesis 12:3).

He blesses and blesses. Have we understood these things?

–Robert M. Housby

Categories: Bible, gospel, New Testament, Romans Tags: