The Purpose for Preaching the Gospel

The Purpose for Preaching the Gospel

 

Elder Jeff Winfrey, Pastor

Dawson Springs Primitive Baptist Church

101 East Walnut Street

Dawson Springs, KY 42408

2Co 5:18  And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

2Co 5:19  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

2Co 5:20  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

2Co 5:21  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

 

 

Many declare that the gospel is the means to being born again, but is that what the scriptures really teach?  I submit the proposition that the gospel is not the means to the possession of eternal life, but the means to the possession of peace of mind concerning the possession of eternal life.  Instead of the gospel being the means to man’s existing in a state of regeneration, the gospel is the means to man’s awareness that he exists in this state. There is a difference between an individual existing in the state of having eternal salvation and the mind of the individual existing in the state of mind of knowing that he has eternal salvation. There is a difference in being eternally saved and having the peace of mind that comes from realizing that one is eternally saved.  There is a difference between having eternal life and having the assurance of knowing that one has eternal life.  Now the sole and only cause and basis of man having eternal life is Jesus Christ, but the means to man’s understanding that Jesus Christ is the cause and basis of these things is the gospel.  And this makes the gospel of extreme value to a child of God.

There is surely a peace that exists in the mind of the man who knows that the mind of God is at peace with him.  This peace of mind occurs when a man comes to know what God already knows about the eternal peace that Jesus brought between God and man.  When you can know that God knows in His mind that you are at peace with Him, then you can in your mind be at peace with God.  And if you have this peace with God in your mind, you have something that very few children of God have ever experienced.

Now it is important to know that God’s understanding is never dependent upon man’s understanding.  God knows what God knows, whether you know it or not.  Let’s try to turn that statement around by saying it this way, “Your not knowing what you don’t know cannot make God not know what He already knows.”  Maybe that will make sense as we go on.

Now God’s word says that God has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ.  So if God has put that statement in His word, then surely God knows that He has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ.  Thus God knows that He has done this, whether you know it or not.  Some think that man has to believe that Jesus did what He did in order for it to become real.  My friend, God has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, whether you believe it or not.  Furthermore, God knows that He has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, whether you know it or not.  This too can be turned around to say that if you have no knowledge that God has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, your lack of knowledge cannot make God not know what He already knows.  So God’s mind continues to know what it knows, in spite of your knowing or not knowing that God knows what He knows.  Yet if you do come to know what God already knows about having reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, then you can have a peace in your mind like the peace that is in God’s mind.

So the point is that there is a peace that comes to you when you know what God knows about peace.  Or to say it a little differently, there is a peace that comes to you when you know that God knows that you have been reconciled to Him.  When you come to know these things that God already knows, and when you come to know that God knows and is sure of these things, then you can have a contented peace of mind concerning your eternal acceptance with the Holy God.  Now if you do not know these things you will continue to have many doubts and fears in your mind, but if you know these things that God already knows, and if you know that God already knows these things, you can have a peace that few have ever experienced, even the peace of mind in the man that knows and is sure that God knows and is sure about the eternal peace that Jesus made.

Now the text says that God has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and since God is the one that did this reconciling, we can be assured that God knows that He has done it.  Surely from before time God knew that this reconciliation was going to occur.  As it occurred God watched all the details unfold just as He had planned.  Moreover God now surely knows what the Bible clearly proclaims, that Jesus has made peace between God and sinners.  In the mind of God there is no doubt as to what Jesus accomplished on the cross, and God knows for certain that the result of this peace is that all His children will be with Him forever in heaven.

But do you know these things that God knows so well?  Do you know that God has reconciled you to Himself by Jesus Christ?  Do you know that peace has been made?  God is satisfied with the finished work of Christ.  But are you satisfied with the finished work of Christ?  There is peace in God’s mind concerning what Jesus accomplished.  God is at peace with you.  Do you have peace of mind concerning the idea that you are at peace with God?  Is your mind reconciled to what the mind of God is reconciled to?  Do you really know that God is at peace with you?  There is a difference in having eternal life and having the assurance of knowing that you have eternal life.  There is a distinction in being eternally saved and having the peace that comes from realizing that you are eternally saved.  There is a differentiation in an individual existing in the state of having eternal salvation and the mind of the individual existing in the state of mind of knowing that he has eternal salvation.

Indeed, there is a great peace in being able to see that your salvation is of the Lord.  If you understand the gospel of salvation by grace, then you can be assured that God is totally satisfied with the finished work of Christ.  If you believe the gospel of salvation by grace and grace alone, then you, like God, can rest in the finished work of Christ.  If you have heard the gospel and know that you are saved by grace without adding any ifs, ands or buts to the plan, then you know that thanks to the finished work of Christ on the cross, God is at peace with you.  If you know these things about your salvation, then you know what God already knows.  If your mind knows these things, then you have been blessed by God to have the peace of mind of knowing that God’s mind is at peace toward you.  If you know without doubt and without disclaimer that Jesus has reconciled you to God, then you can have a peace of mind that even most of the Christian world does not have.

So we say again that God is satisfied with Christ, but are you?  Are you satisfied with the finished work of Jesus Christ?  You should be, but so many Christians are not.  Many people do not think Jesus finished what He said He finished.  Many feel that there is still something left to do.  What did Jesus come to do?  God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem(Galatians 4:4-5) [Emphasis added.]  These words say that Jesus came to redeem.  Do you believe that He redeemed?  Or do you think that He just made us redeemable if we do something to complete what He started?  The Bible says that He obtained eternal redemption.  Neither with the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us. (Hebrews 9:12)  Are you satisfied with the Bible truth that Jesus totally redeemed?  Do you believe that your debt to God has been completely paid?  Do you believe that Jesus paid the price in full or do you think you yet owe something to God in order for you to have peace with Him?  The Bible teaches that redemption has been eternally accomplished.  God is satisfied that this is the case.  In God’s mind you have been bought and paid for by the blood of Christ.  God is satisfied that you are without question His for eternity.  But is your mind satisfied concerning your redemption?

Do you think Jesus has saved you from your sins or do you believe you must still do something in addition to what He has done?  The angel proclaimed that Jesus came to save.  Thou shalt call his name JESUS:  for he shall save his people from their sins. (Matthew 1:21)  That is a proclamation of what Jesus came to do.  When Jesus had completed the task of salvation He proclaimed, “It is finished.” (John 19:30)  The angel said, “He shall save.”  Jesus said, “It is finished.”  And Paul said, “God who hath saved.” (2 Timothy 1:8-9)  The Bible says that He came to save, and after the fact, and in the past tense the Bible declares that He has saved.  Salvation is accomplished.  Jesus knows it is finished.  God knows it is finished.  But are you satisfied that salvation is finished?  God knows that Jesus came to save, and God knows that Jesus has saved.  But are you satisfied that Jesus has saved?

Do you believe God reconciled you to Himself by Jesus Christ?  Or do you think you must reconcile yourself to God by something you do?  Do you believe God made you accepted in His beloved Son?  Or do you perhaps believe that God will only accept you if you first accept Him?  The Bible declares that God in His grace reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ.  And the same Bible proclaims that God in His grace has made us accepted in the beloved:  To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved. (Ephesians 1:6)  By your God appointed position in the beloved Jesus Christ, God has made you accepted.  He has made a sinner like you and a criminal like me acceptable to Him.  I will not tell you some of the things I have done.  Nobody knows some of the things I have done in my life.  But Jesus knew all my wickedness and He marked every iniquity.  And though it seems that I would be so unacceptable, God now looks at me through the blood of Jesus, and I have God’s stamp of approval.  Jesus’ robe of righteousness covers my sin.  The blood of Jesus makes me acceptable.  Our acceptance with God is not based on our accepting God’s Son.  Our acceptance is based on our having already been made acceptable to God by that beloved Son.  God knows that He reconciled His children to Himself by Jesus Christ, and God knows that He made them accepted in the beloved.  But do you know these things?

Do you know that some day God will let you into heaven because Jesus hath perfected forever them that are sanctified? (Hebrews 10:14)  Like the ones before, this statement is in the past tense.  This too has already been accomplished.  In the judgment of God you have been perfected forever.  Does God love you?  He gave His Son for you.  Does God want you with Him in heaven?  He has always wanted you.  Before you were, He wanted you.  Will He have you with Him someday?  He has perfected you for that purpose.  Can anything stop God from having you in heaven with Him?  Jesus said nothing could stop God’s plan of salvation.  My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:  And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. (John 10:27-28)  No man can pluck you out of God’s hand.  Nothing can keep one of God’s children out of heaven.  Jesus will finally save all God’s children that were given to Him to save.  All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out.  For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me.  And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. (John 6:37-39)

I want you to be satisfied with Jesus and with the work of Jesus.  If you have assurance concerning the past-tense accomplishments of your salvation by Jesus, you are so very blessed.  If you understand the good news of the finished work of Christ in salvation, then you have the truth that will set you free.  If you are persuaded of these things, then you can enter into the sweet rest of blessed assurance that Paul knew.  For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:38-39)  Paul was persuaded that Jesus would complete the salvation He had started.  Do you have the rest and peace that comes in being persuaded of these truths?

You, like Paul, can have great peace of mind if you are satisfied that Jesus accomplished all that was necessary so that you would never be separated from the love of God.  If you know what Paul knew about God having reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, and more importantly if you know what God already knows about God having reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, then you, like God and Paul, can be satisfied with the eternal reconciliation that God accomplished by Jesus Christ.

Now God knows about reconciliation, but thankfully He did not keep these things that He knew to Himself.  Through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit He revealed these truths to Paul, and through the moving of the Holy Spirit Paul wrote these things in a letter that would eventually become a part of God’s Bible.  Let us read again these wonderful words of revelation about reconciliation.

2Co 5:18  And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation;

2Co 5:19  To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation.

2Co 5:20  Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.

2Co 5:21  For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

At the risk of being redundant let me remind you of some things we have already learned from this passage.  We have seen that the passage begins by proclaiming that God hath reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ.  This statement concerns the accomplishment of Jesus Christ and the peace that was made between sinful men and Holy God.  The statement is in the past tense.  It is something that has been accomplished.  The peace has been made, whether you know it or not.  It is a statement of what God already knows to be true.  God knows that peace has been made.  This truth does not hinge upon anybody knowing it to be the truth.  This accomplished reconciliation remains unchangeable truth, whether anybody knows it or not.  Truth is truth because it is truth, and not because it is believed to be truth.  Moreover accomplished reconciliation is the truth of the matter, whether you believe it or not.

But we can be thankful that God did not keep this accomplished reconciliation a secret.  God has called and continues to call ministers of the gospel and according to the passage He gives them a ministry of reconciliation.  He sends them out with a ministry to witness the message of accomplished reconciliation to the world.  The truth that God’s ministers are sent to testify is the truth that God has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ.  They are To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them.  To them is committed the gospel, even the word of reconciliation.  It is as if they are ambassadors for Christ beseeching God’s people with the entreaty, be ye reconciled to God.

Now we ask again, does God need His children to be satisfied with the work of Christ in order for Him to be satisfied with it?  No, God was satisfied with Christ’s work long before you ever thought about these things.  God remains satisfied that He has reconciled you to Himself by Jesus Christ no matter how you feel about it.  Yet for you to feel any peace of mind, your mind needs to be reconciled to the fact that God’s mind has been reconciled.  So by God’s grace He has given to ministers the word of reconciliation.  Through the message of the gospel of peace God’s children can come to know what God already knows.  God’s mind is satisfied.  God’s mind is reconciled.  Is your mind reconciled, as God’s mind is?  If you believe this accomplished reconciliation to be the truth, then you can in your mind be reconciled to God.  If you believe this to be true, and if you know this reconciliation to be a finished work, then you can be reconciled to what God is already reconciled to.  That is what is meant by the entreaty, be ye reconciled to God.

This statement is not asking you to do something so that God will reconcile you to Himself.  He has done that already.  Instead, it is a statement that encourages you to believe in what God has already done.  Moreover if you do believe in the finished work of Christ and the eternal peace that He accomplished, then you can have a mind that is reconciled to what the mind of God already knows.  If your mind is reconciled to God, then you have a peace about eternal things that will comfort you as you hope in those things that Christ has secured.  God reconciled you to Himself when He gave you your eternal life.  You are reconciled to God when you are assured that God has already reconciled you to Himself and has given you your eternal life.

There is a difference in God reconciling you to Himself by Jesus Christ and you being reconciled to God through the gospel message of peace.  God reconciling you to Himself by Jesus Christ gives you eternal life.  Your being reconciled to God through the message of peace gives you the assurance of eternal life.  The first satisfies God’s mind, while the second satisfies your mind.  The first makes you acceptable to God, while the second makes you know that you are acceptable to God.  The gospel does not give spiritual life.  It gives enlightenment to the one to whom God has already given spiritual life.  The message of reconciliation does not make you right with God.  Jesus made you right with God.  The message of reconciliation lets you come to know that you have been made right with God.

I will share with you a story that my mother has shared with me concerning her childhood fears about her salvation.  She grew up in a church where she was taught that her salvation depended on her good works.  In her mind her peace with God had to be achieved through satisfying God’s standards.  At some point in her growing up years her fears about her eternal destiny began to seriously haunt her.  She came to know that the standard was God’s word, and that the standard was unattainable.  She could read in God’s word that if she offended in one point of the law, then she was guilty of it all.  She could find that the Bible declares that there is none righteous, no not one.  She could know from the words of Jesus that she was held accountable, not only for sinful actions, but also for sinful thoughts.  So facing God’s standards and her own failures, she became convinced that the only way she could go to heaven was to die in her sleep.  She was clinging to the hope that if she asked forgiveness in her bedtime prayer, and died before awaking to sin again, that she might get to go to heaven.  Where is the peace in such a plan as that?  I declare to you that there is no peace in trying to make our peace with the Holy God.

My mother lived with this hopeless despair for a few years, until in desperation she and my dad began to go to various churches trying to find peace that would soothe troubled souls.  Eventually by God’s grace they ended up in a Primitive Baptist Church, where for the first time they heard the message of salvation by grace and grace alone.  It was a shock to them, in that they had never heard of such things as these.  When they left that first service one of them said to the other, “Those preachers seemed like intelligent men.  Surely they don’t really believe those things.”  But by God’s grace and through the patient teaching of faithful men who understood God’s plan of salvation, my parents in time came to believe and hold dear to their hearts the truths of the gospel of salvation only by grace.

Oh, when my parents came to know these truths, they finally knew what God had known all the way along.  God had forever known that He had reconciled them to Himself by Jesus Christ.  But when they became reconciled to God and His plan of salvation totally by grace, then they had come to the knowledge of what God already knew.  Those preachers of the gospel of peace in a sense said to my parents, we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.  And when my parents heard and believed the word of reconciliation, they could finally be reconciled to God in their own minds.  When they knew what God knew about their peace, they found a peace of mind they had never known.  When they believed in the finished salvation of Jesus Christ, they began to experience the peace that the gospel of grace gives to God’s children concerning their eternal salvation.

I recently read a book that masterfully spoke of the fallacy of trying to find peace in a man-made works system of salvation.  The author convincingly made the point that if we are depending on our good works for our eternal salvation, then we can never be sure whether we have met the mark.  He repeatedly asked the haunting question, “How much good is good enough?”  After his excellent reasoning he led the reader to the conclusion that if we are honest when we seriously examine ourselves against God’s word, we must admit that our chances of satisfying God by our works and getting to heaven by our goodness are very bleak.   The arguments were excellent.  The point was brilliantly made that there is no peace in trusting in our works to reconcile us to God.  But then in the last paragraphs the logic totally fell apart.  The writer’s final advice was that we should not trust in our works for our salvation.  Instead of trusting in our works he claimed that we should trust in our faith for our salvation.

The letdown was profound.  His logic had fallen apart.  His own arguments had already disproved his conclusion.  I could hardly believe what I was hearing him say.  I had never done it before, but I felt I had to write him a letter concerning his conclusion.  In my letter I complimented his superb logic in disproving the fallacy of salvation by works.  I assured him that he had convincingly proved that there was no peace in such a scheme.  But then I asked him where to find peace in trusting in my faith?

In the Apostles days Jesus often told them that they had little faith, or even at times that they had no faith.   If these men who walked so closely with Jesus had such little faith, can I trust in my faith to save me to heaven?  Jesus said that if we had the faith of a grain of mustard seed we could move mountains.  I must acknowledge that I have yet to move a mountain.  As a matter of confession I admit that most of the time my unbelief far exceeds my belief.  Regretfully, my faith is admittedly very weak.  So I can find no peace in trusting that my trust in Jesus will save me to heaven.  I fail to find any comfort in having faith that my faith will make the difference.  My conclusion is that my works fall far short, and that my faith is in the same category.  So the same haunting question, “How much good is good enough?” that the author had repeatedly asked concerning our works can be just as powerfully used concerning our faith.  “How much faith is faith enough?”  There is no peace in contemplating either question.

But there is peace of mind when a child of God understands salvation by grace.  I am thankful that God’s plan to save me does not hinge on my works.  Instead of being based on my works, God’s plan of salvation is totally based on the finished work of Jesus Christ.  There is a big difference between trying to find peace in thinking that my works must get me to heaven and experiencing the peace of knowing that the finished work of Jesus gets me to heaven.

Moreover, the plan of God to get me to heaven does not depend upon my believing in the plan.  If I believe in my belief to get me there, I have no peace.  If I put my trust in my trust, I find no comfort.  If I have faith in my faith to make the difference, then I fear I will burn in hell.  The Bible does not say that we are to have faith in our faith.  Instead it says to have faith in our Savior.  Some would say that there is no difference.  I say that there is a tremendous difference.  If I put my faith in my weak and fickle faith I have no real peace.  But if I can know God’s faultless, no-way-to-fail plan of salvation through Jesus Christ, then I can have a great peace of mind that is based in Him and not me.

God’s gift of faith was not given to me so that I might believe that my faith will save me.  God’s gift of faith was given to me so that I might believe that my Savior has saved me.  Jesus has saved His children, whether they believe it or not.  God has reconciled us to Himself by Jesus Christ, whether we know it or not.  But when we by faith believe what God already knows, then we have peace that assures our souls of our eternal destinies.  There is little peace in trying to do good enough, or in trusting in my trust, or in having faith in my faith.  But there is great peace in trusting in my Savior to have accomplished all that was necessary to get me to heaven.

Some men say, “Peace, peace when there is no peace.”   The teachings that interject man into God’s way of reconciling sinners unto Himself will give little, if any, peace.  You may find a little peace in works, but only if you die in your sleep.  You may find a little peace in trusting in your faith, until something happens to make you begin to doubt.  But real mind-settling peace can only be found in knowing what God already knows.  Real peace is found in knowing that God has already reconciled you to Himself by Jesus Christ.  If and when you come to know this, you can in your mind be reconciled to the God who is very much reconciled to you.

Some will ask, “Why do you even bother to preach if God has already saved us.”  I answer that question by saying that I want everybody to have the peace that comes from hearing and believing the gospel of peace.  I want God’s children to know that God has already saved them.  I don’t want God’s precious children to be like my mother was when she was a child.  I want them to be able to know what God has done for them.  If they can know that God has made peace, then they can have peace.  I have a ministry of peace to proclaim.   I have a message to witness to the four corners of the earth. I have a gospel to preach.  I have good news from a far country.  There is a word of reconciliation that needs to be announced to the world.  I want to tell anybody that will listen that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself by Jesus Christ.  God’s children need to know what God knows about them.  God’s people need to have the assurance in knowing that salvation has been accomplished for them.  God’s children need to know that God has reconciled them to Himself by Himself, so that they can in their minds be reconciled to God.  I want you to have the peace of mind that can only come by believing the gospel of grace.

 

Leave a Reply