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The Gospel For The World

by Dale Offutt

(Transcribed from the Words of Life Radio Program)

 

God has good news for the world. All people everywhere can be delivered from darkness, from bondage and have the fullness of life. Yes, all mankind can be set free because of Jesus Christ.

During the previous weeks our messages have been focused on Jesus and prophesy, the good news, Jesus on his mission. Today our study will bring to our attention the Christ who lived, the Christ who died and was buried and was raised from the dead, and the Christ who now lives is the Christ who can save us from our sin.

 

Have you ever stopped to consider why Jesus came to live and die? “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made. Without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.” That comes from the gospel of John chapter one verses one through five.

The darkness of evil will never overcome God’s light. Jesus Christ is the creator of life and his life brings light to mankind. When we follow Jesus the true light, we can avoid walking in darkness because we are walking in the light. Jesus is the light of the world.

The prophet Isaiah, some 700 years before Christ lived in the flesh, predicted his coming as incarnate God to man who was living in darkness. Jesus came to bring light to the world. The people walking in darkness have seen a great light. On those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned, Isaiah chapter nine verse two. The apostle John also referred to Jesus as the light. John’s gospel chapter one verse nine. Jesus referred to himself as the light of the world, John eight verse 12.

In the time of great darkness God promised to send a light to shine on everyone living in darkness. The message of hope was fulfilled in the birth of Christ. He came to deliver all people from the bondage of sin.

A story has been told of a couple who took their son, 11 years of age, and their daughter, seven years of age, to Carlsbad Caverns, here in the United States. As always when the tour reached the deepest point in the cavern the guide turned off all the lights to dramatize how completely dark and silent it is below the earth’s surface.

The little girl realizing utter darkness was frightened and began to cry. Immediately she heard the voice of her brother. Her big brother said, “Don’t cry. Somebody here knows how to turn on the lights.” In a real sense that is the message of the gospel. Light, the gospel is available even when darkness seems overwhelming. Those who are saved from sin and death through the person of Jesus Christ are children of light. How wonderful it is. We do not have to be afraid in a world of darkness if we are in Christ, the light of the world. Jesus lived and died so he could bring the gospel for the world. Hear his preaching.

To fulfill what was said through the prophet Isaiah Jesus declared, “Land of Zebulon, land of Naphtali, the way to the sea along the Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles. The people living in darkness have seen a great light. On those living in the land of the shadow of death light has dawned.”

From that time on Jesus began to preach, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near.” Such teaching from Jesus shows us how God’s purpose is to have the gospel for the whole world throughout all ages. The message is the same today as when Jesus and John gave it. Becoming a Christian means turning away from sin and receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.

Of course today those who have repented of sin, have been baptized into Christ for the forgiveness of sin know the joy of turning their lives over to Christ’s direction for their life now and for all eternity.

The prophet Isaiah made very clear God’s plan for the gospel. Will you share with us? We shall be reading from Isaiah the 53rd chapter verses 1 through 12. “Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows, yet we considered him stricken by God, smitten by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth. By oppression and judgment he was taken away. And who can speak of his descendants? For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was stricken. He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it was the LORD’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the LORD makes his life a guilt offering, he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand. After the suffering of his soul, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities. Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors”.

These few verses speak of Jesus the Messiah who would live to suffer and die for the sin of all people.

From a human point of view, we might ask: Who would ever believe that God would choose to save the world through the humble servant Jesus rather than provide a glorious king? The answer is given to us from the Word of God. “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have eternal life”, John three verse 16.

Of course, this provision, the gospel for the world, was made possible from God. God is love. Indeed, the idea is contrary to human pride and worldly ways. But God often works in ways we just do not expect. Children of God realize, however, that Jesus’ strength is seen in the Scriptures as one who was and is humble, willing to suffer and die for the world. The Christ who lived and died was not seen by others as beautiful or majestic, the physical appearance of Isaiah’s prophetic picture. Indeed, Israel would not consider the servant Jesus of importance. They would think of him as an ordinary man. But even though Jesus would not attract a large following based on his physical appearance, he would bring salvation. The Christ who lived and would die on the cross was rejected by those around him. He is still yet today despised and rejected. Isaiah spoke of Israel straying from God and compared them to wandering sheep. Yet God would send a Messiah to bring them back into the fold.

Even in the 21st century there are many who know about Jesus the Messiah, but they reject him as Savior and Lord. Perhaps we would do well to be reminded that if we can see all that Jesus did for the world by dying on the cross for our sins and reject him, our sin is much greater than that of ancient Israel who could not understand what we have heard and know. Isaiah pictured for us those who offered animals as sacrifices for their sins. But today we have Jesus, the sinless servant of the Lord who became sin for us. He is the Lamb offered of the sin of all people.

The words John the Baptist spoke. “Look, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”

John one verse 29.

Yes, God’s servant Jesus would be led to the slaughter like a lamb. The sins of the world can be removed from the world because Jesus died as the perfect sacrifice for all mankind. This is the way our sins can be forgiven, the sin of the world means everyone’s sin, the sin of each individual. Jesus paid the price of sin by his death. We are reminded of the words of Jesus before he ascended.

“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

Those were precious words from Jesus. Yes, Jesus lived and died, was raised from the dead. He lives. The power of the Holy Spirit, the resurrection power used to raise Jesus from the dead revitalizes us and enables us to express our new life from God in holy living. Jesus was preparing to leave his disciples, but he would remain with them. How was this to be? Through the Holy Spirit. But it was a puzzle to his disciples. He was going to die and yet live. Jesus told them that the Counselor, the Spirit of God himself would come after Jesus was gone to care and guide the disciples. The Holy Spirit is the very presence of God who is within us and in all Christians. He is helping us to live like God.

Even though we may die before Jesus comes for us, we look forward to the resurrection life in the event that we die, because our names are written in the book of life.

We understand that several years ago some monks found an old man lying helpless in a forest. They brought him to a monastery. He was a pitiable sight, ragged and dirty. Assuming that the old man would not understand what was said one of the younger monks spoke about him in Latin saying, “What shall we do with this worthless creature?” The old man did understand. In his earlier years he had been a scholar, but he had experienced misfortune. Arousing himself he exclaimed, “Do not call any man worthless for whom Christ died.”

Man possesses an undying soul and in God’s sight is of inestimable worth. The wealth of the world fades into worthlessness compared with the value of the soul.

But Jesus said something like the old man said. Jesus said, “For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?”

How true. How wonderful the plan of Jesus is for those who receive him as Savior and Lord.

Are you numbered in the world among those who have received Jesus Christ as your Savior? God’s salvation? When we do so, our sins are forgiven and we have a new life.

The apostle Paul declared: Therefore if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation. The old has gone. The new has come, 2 Corinthians 5:17. Remember, the gospel is for the world.

-Dale Offutt is a  retired  minister and  former  speaker on “Words of Life.” He  lives in Evansville, IN

 




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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 corinthians 1:3-4