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The Cost of The Gospel

by Wayne Hobbs

Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program

 

The story goes that a man and his 10 year old son were fishing several miles away from their home. At the boy’s insistence they decided to attend a Sunday worship service in a small rural church. The Father forgot that he had no cash in his pockets so when the offering basket was passed he found only one dime in his pocket so he gave that to his son to contribute.

As they walked back to the car after the service the father complained that the service was long and the sermon was boring and that the singing was terrible.

The son replied, “I thought it was pretty good for just a dime.”

Of course, you do not buy the gospel message of Jesus Christ. The gospel is free to us, but the gospel is the most expensive blessing that you ever will or could receive. In reality there is nothing really free. It has to be paid by someone and that is true of the gospel as well.

If you went to a store and the store had a buy one get one free item, you certainly would only get the one that you get free if you bought the other one. You don’t get it without buying. You actually pay for both. Or if the sign says, “Free with purchase,” that means you bought it. Even if something is given away free, a price was paid by somebody somewhere for that to be received.

The gospel message and its implementation in our lives is truly free to us, which means that the payment was made on our behalf. We will talk about that price a little later on in the lesson, but first we need to explain just what is the gospel. Sometimes that gets misunderstood as well.

The gospel of Jesus Christ, let’s talk about it. Even though it was described in some ways in the Old Testament, the word “gospel” was not mentioned in the Old Testament at all. In my NIV Bible Matthew 24 verse 14 first uses the word and it tells about events that were yet to come at the end of the age. The word “gospel” itself is showing up in 19 of the New Testament books. And, as you already know, the first four books of the Bible, of the New Testament of the Bible, are called the gospels because they teach us about Jesus Christ. Matthew, Mark and Luke are called synoptic gospels because they are very similar in their sequence and their order of events. John was written much later and it approaches things a little bit differently. All four gospels teach about Jesus Christ and they make their own distinct portraits showing him to be the Son of God and the Savior of the world.

The term “gospel” is the joyous good news of salvation in Jesus. The Greek word means—and I don’t speak Greek—but it means reward for bringing good news or simply good news. Our simple definition for the gospel for today’s lesson is the good news of Jesus.

Isaiah 49 is a good example of how the good news was shared in the Old Testament when the word “gospel” was not used. In Isaiah it is proclaimed the good news that God would rescue his people from captivity even before they were taken captive. This is before the Babylonian captivity, but it was good news that they would be released. Throughout the world we find God taking care of his people. We find that in the New Testament with the gospel message that is shared.

The gospel isn’t a new plan of salvation that was thought of during the days when Jesus was on earth. It has always been God’s plan.

I can say that because God doesn’t think of new things. He already knows. God knows all that there is to know and it is in his plan and in his holy will to share the gospel with us.

His plan was promised early in Genesis. Remember what it says? That Satan would receive a head wound as the serpent would receive that. Early in the book of Genesis we find that. The plan was put into process in the days of Abraham. The plan was completed through Jesus and the plan is made known through the Church as the Church shares the great gospel message of Jesus Christ.

Paul in Romans chapter one verses 16 and 17 talks about the power of God for salvation as he says this.

“I am not ashamed of the gospel because it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, first for the Jews and then for the Gentiles. For in the gospel, a righteousness from God is revealed, a righteousness that is by faith from first to last just as it is written. The righteous will live by faith.”

 

There is a man named A. B. Simpson who was the founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. He was born in 1843 and he said this about the gospel: “The gospel tells rebellious men that God is reconciled, that justice is satisfied, that sin has been atoned for, that the judgment of the guilty may be revoked, that condemnation of the sinner is cancelled, the curse of the law is blotted out, the gates of hell closed, the portals of heaven opened wide and the power of sin is subdued, the guilty conscience healed, the broken heart comforted, the sorrow and the misery of the fall are undone.”

That is the power of the gospel that Jesus Christ preached in the Great Commission and he told us to preach the gospel. He told us to share that gospel and today we have ministers who are called ministers of the gospel. The gospel would not have been completed or available to us had it not been for Jesus Christ. By his death, burial and resurrection he paid the cost of that gospel.

Let’s look at the cost of the gospel today. In Acts chapter 20 verse 28 Paul was making a farewell address to the believers in Ephesus. He told the leadership to watch over the flock of the Lord which was bought with his own blood. That is the price of the gospel, the blood of Jesus Christ.

In 1 Corinthians 6:20 and again in 7:23 it says something like this. “You are not your own. You are bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body.” That price is Jesus Christ at Calvary as his blood was shed. This is nothing that we can buy on our own regardless of how much work we do or how much we contribute to a church. It is the free gift through Jesus Christ.

In Isaiah chapter 55 verse one it says this. “Come all you who are thirsty. Come to the waters, you who have no money. Come. Buy and eat. Come buy wine and milk without money, without cost.” There is no cost to us for the gospel of Jesus Christ. Isaiah knew that was going to happen and he shared that important information with us.

You know when we make a purchase if we don’t have any money we don’t get the product. Our Lord has taken care of that purchase and regardless of our degree of sin the guilt is paid in full. The suffering by Jesus Christ for our salvation is different from any other purchase that we can comprehend. Think about the difference. Jesus is both the buyer and the price. He paid for our sins, the price for our sins was his own blood shed at Calvary at the cross. So Jesus bought our sins at the cross and he bought them with his own blood. There is no greater love than this. He bought us as the song says, with his blood he purchased me. That is the price of the gospel.

God set a standard of behavior for man that was perfect, not pretty good, not sort of good or not really good, but perfect. No human being could ever meet that standard except Jesus Christ. The perfect Jesus came to be liable for our sins on our behalf so that we could take on and receive his perfection meeting God’s standard. That is the cost of the gospel.

A. J. Gordon was pastor of a church years ago in Boston and he met a young boy in front of the sanctuary and the boy was carrying an old rusty cage and he had caught some birds and he had them in there. The birds were flitting around nervously. So Gordon asked him, “Where did you get those birds?” The boy responded, “I trapped them in a field.” They boy said that he was going to play with the birds and then he was going to take them home and feed them to his cat. The minister offered to buy the birds from the boy. “Why do you want them? They can’t sing,” the boy replied. But the minister bought them for two dollars and the boy was happy with that. Then the minister walked around the back of the church building and released the birds and those frightened birds flew away.

The next week he brought along that cage and talked about it in his sermon. He was talking about the purchase of salvation though the precious blood of Jesus and he had that cage. And the minister said that he released the birds. He said they weren’t good song birds, but as they flew away, it is as though in their chirping he could hear them say, “Redeemed, redeemed, redeemed.” And they were redeemed by the man.

But as people accept the purchase of the redemption of Jesus Christ, we can sing along that we are redeemed, we are redeemed through the blood of Jesus Christ.

When we buy anything we surely must believe that the purchasing is worth the spending or we wouldn’t spend our money. Our God counted us to be worth all that Jesus paid and suffered in order for us to receive salvation. Sinners like you and me are bought with the blood of Jesus Christ. For God so loved the world this much. That is the cost of the gospel.

 

Let’s take a quick look at the suffering of Jesus who paid for our sins. His suffering did not begin at his arrest. His suffering did not begin when he was mistreated. His suffering began long before, even in heaven before the creation of the earth our Lord knew that he was going to suffer for us. He knew the cost of the gospel. He suffered as man even at his birth, leaving his position in heaven and becoming a man around sinful men. He knew full well what was going to happen and what a serious thing this is.

In Hebrews chapter five verses 7 through 10 it says this: During the days of Jesus’ life on earth he offered up prayers and petitions with loud cries and tears to the one who could save him from death and he was heard because of his reverent submission. Although he was the Son, he learned obedience from what he suffered. Once made perfect, he became the source of eternal salvation for all who obey him. He was designated by God to be the high priest after the order of Melchizedek.

We are told that Jesus learned obedience from what he suffered. I don’t really understand this very well, but I found some notes that will explain it a little better. It goes like this. There is a type of perfection that results from actually having suffered, a suffering that is different from any readiness to suffer. Such perfection carries out the purpose for which someone or something is designated. Jesus wrestling with the cost of obedience at Gethsemane, as well as the other experiences in his life, perfectly fitted him to be the Savior. The suffering is a part of the cost of the gospel of Jesus Christ.

1 Peter chapter two verse 21 says this: ‘To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you leaving an example that you should follow his steps’. We are to follow him because of what he did. We are to follow Jesus because of the blessings that he gave us as he suffered for us.

As we have come to point out some of the costs of the gospel, what are we to do because of this? We must first recognize that no one can provide salvation other than Jesus Christ. Regardless of how good we are or how hard we work, as we said before, we need Jesus. If you are a Christian you surely want to do all that you can to tell others about Jesus. We want other people to be saved as well. If we accept the price of salvation, we accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. We are reminded in 1 Corinthians that we are not our own. We were bought with a price, the blood of Jesus Christ.

This is not like playing store, shopping for the fun of it where we can take things back and do it over or play. This is the serious purchase of our salvation by the blood of Jesus. Would anyone ever want to take back salvation? Certainly not. This would mean that the punishment for our sins would be ours again. I don’t want that and you don’t want that. Jesus took that punishment.

There are people who say, “I am my own man.” Well, I am not. I want to be the one who is bought by the blood of Jesus. I don’t want to be my own man. I want to be God’s man because he made that purchase. And I think you do, as well. You actually do not do anything on your own except sin and the rest of it is given to us through Jesus Christ.

It is almost like we need to wear t-shirts and I don’t know that Paul would ever wear a t-shirt, but the t-shirt would say, “Property of Jesus Christ,” because, remember Paul said, “I am not ashamed of the gospel. It is the power of God for salvation.” Paul didn’t need a t-shirt. He wore it in his life. His faith and his hope were concentrated on Jesus just as ours should be, as sinful as we have been, the Lord considers us to be worth the price. It is hard to imagine from the worldly point of view such a purchase would never be made. It is only though the power of the Lord Jesus Christ, that wonderful transaction was made.

I recently saw a word picture which makes sense. Picture ourselves standing at the foot of the cross of Jesus Christ with that warm blood dripping down with us under the blood of Jesus. That is the cost of the gospel.

Let me share one more story before we close. This is a story of a young boy who bought a boat kit and he built this little boat. It is a beautiful sail boat capable of floating and sailing. So one day the boy took the boat to the lake and he put it in the water and watched it sail. Sure enough it sailed really well. It performed beautifully. And he ran along close to the bank and he watched the boat, but then the wind changed and the boat sailed away from him. Try as he would by wadding up and throwing string or hooks or whatever he could, he could not retrieve the boat and it was lost.

The empty handed boy went back home down hearted and when his mother asked about the boat he said it worked too well. It floated away.

A few days later at a second hand store he saw the boat. He announced to the store keeper, “That is my boat. It is mine. I own it.” The store keeper said, “No, you don’t own that boat. I bought it from someone and the only way that you can have that boat is to buy it from me.” The boy worked hard for a few days until he had enough money and he went back and bought the boat. As he walked out of that store with that boat, he said this to the boat, “You are my boat. You are twice my boat. First because I made you and now because I bought you.”

If you are not a Christian, please understand that the God who made you is the God who loves you. He is the God who loves you so much that he bought your sins though the blood of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. All you have to do in faith is to accept the deal that God has offered and obey him to become a Christian, to believe in Jesus Christ, to repent of sins, to confess Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord and be baptized into him.

How important it is for you to make that decision as we pray today. Lord, we thank you for the Lord Jesus Christ and the blood that purchased our sins. Thank you for your love and your blessing and your goodness to us and we pray that you will bless each who is a believer to follow you more strongly and we pray that you will bless all those who do not know Jesus to accept the blood of Jesus for the remission of sins in the name of Jesus Christ. Amen.

Wayne Hobbs lives in Sellersburg, IN. He is a retired educator and attends the Sellersburg Church of Christ.

 




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I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.

John 16:33