2) Saving Faith - The Gospel
- So far we have said that God is great and that God is full of love, but that leaves us with a question - ìWhy then is there evil in this world?î Why do we experience pain, heartache, get sick and even die.
- To answer this have to go back and see how God created everything because way back in the beginning there was no evil.
- Story of Creation
- But on the sixth day God did something very special and different from everything else.
- Creation of man (could get a volunteer)
- Placed him in the garden, beautiful place with no pain or suffering, man could walk with God
- God did notice something was wrong, man was alone, made a women.
- And they were in the garden together, and naked and felt no shame b/c nothing to be ashamed of
- One thing could not do. Eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil. But why would He put it there?
- Did not want a bunch of robots. Freedom to choose to follow God or go own way.
- Devil entered. God is holding back on you. Make you feel good and wonderful. Have you ever had those kinds of temptations
- And they ate it. And all of a sudden they had shame because there was something to be shameful from.
- Hide from God, because knew had done something wrong.
- If I were to draw for you a picture. Before walking together in Garden, no pain or suffering.
- But God gave man freewill and mankind chose to say ìNo God, I will do it myself, I will live my life the way I want toî
- And a huge divide separated the two, it was not caused by God but by manís choice to walk away.
- If we have a picture of castle on one side, kingdom of God
- Man wants to get as far away as can, set up camp of rebellion over here, even though God still owns this land, I will try to hide
- Emphasis on this side is on the self, the person, rebellious, raising the arm against God and saying, ìI will be without youî
- This brought hell into the world because hell is seperation from God and since we walked away from God we walked away from the source of all that is good and wonderful and there began to be sickness and pain and death. These are not the fault of God but of humanity because the more we push God away as a society the more evil our world becomes.
- Gen 3:8-19
- And although we thought that rejecting God would bring freedom and we could be the boss what really happens is that our castle is really just a cardboard cutout and we are in chains and the real boss of our life is sin. So here we are lost in the camp of rebels and everything we have built is hanging over a cliff ready to crack and fall away.
- We are slaves. The Bible says, ìDonít you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey ñ whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?î (Rom 6:16)
- And so we try to free ourselves, try to do good works to cross the gap
- But it is not a scale where have to balance the good and the bad but not one bad thing can enter Heaven.
- That is why we have so many religions in the world, because they felt the emptiness within and tried to make a system of works to make it right again.
- ìFor the wages of sin is deathî - Rom 6:23
- And so not only do we have hell on Earth but worse, we fall into this great abyss on this picture which represents hell, and hell is ultimate seperation from God, and thus ultimate separation from that which is good. And worse than the fire is the eternal anguish that the reason a person is there is because they have chosen to walk away from God and to spend forever asking ëWhy did I do that?í
- But God hates hell. He says that He want no one to perish but for everyone to come into repentance. ( 2 Peter 3:9 )
- So what He has done is absolutely amazing. God Himself came to Earth and walked amongst us and began to drive out the forces of hell. Driving out the demons and the sickness and the pain and the suffering that people were facing.
- But greatest of all is He was willing to take the punishment of sin upon Himself.
- Crucifixion of Jesus
- Paid the Death penalty for me and for you
- And so the cross bridges the gap from one side to the other so we can return to God
- ìBut the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesusî (Rom 6:23)
- And a gift is something that must be recieved
- And it is recieved by faith.
- Faith is simply taking God at His word.
- Yes, I believe you can set me free, I believe that what you have done is enough and so I stop trying to save myself and ask You to save me.
- And so what Jesus does is He breaks our chains and we get onto His back, trusting He will carry us over and trust He will not drop us
- But notice that when you cross over you are being saved from something. You are being saved from that old kingdom of rebellion, from a life that does what it want, you are leaving it behind
- Now you have been carried over and are free to live a life for God, all that sin is washed away, you are clean.
- But you can see that in order to come over it means to things. The first is faith which is looking toward God. And the second is repentance, which is looking away from sin.
- You might struggle and fall and we will talk about that in future sessions
- And the question we ask ourselves is ìWhere are we in this picture?î
- In the kingdom of rebellion
- Standing on the edge, ìWondering if we should let Jesus carry us, wondering if it will
- Or are we carried over, and if carried over and if carried over, have you left old life
- Can receive Him by saying a simple prayers that says ìyesî
- And if you mean that prayer then you are saved and you can go on and live in an awesome relationship restored with God
- And one day we will see the fullness of our salvation where there is no more evil, suffering or pain.
- Till then we live in a world that is struggling against God and will need to encourage them to follow God and see the world transformed.