Chosen To Share The Gospel
We have a responsibility to God in sharing the gospel. We are responsible to know what the gospel is.
Alright, thank you very much, and hello again, my dear radio friend. How in the world are you? Are you doing alright? Well, I’m glad to be back with you and to invest a few moments into something that will still be meaningful a million years from now. You know, many of the things we do really don’t matter after all. You won’t catalog them and remember them in eternity. But the time you spend (and I like to use the word invest, because it brings returns) will still be meaningful a million years from now, after time has been abolished and the calendars are all burned up, and the clocks have stopped. The Bible says time shall be no more; you’ll be living in eternity. What you and I think about relating to God’s eternal Word will still be meaningful. Forever, O Lord, Thy Word is settled in Heaven. “Heaven and Earth shall pass away, but My Word shall never pass away,” God says. You think of that when you read your Bible and I tell you, it’ll take all the drudgery out of it to realize that you are doing something that will project its meaningfulness right straight on into eternity. Hallelujah!
Isn’t it good of God to give us something that’s tied to more than this mortal coil (as Shakespeare called it)? Aren’t you glad God has given you a chance to be connected with Him? Oh yes.
Well, now, we’re looking at 1 Thessalonians, chapter 2, and we came, you and I, to verse 4 the last time we came together: “We were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel.” That means there’s a responsibility involved, something more than just hoping to get to heaven. Had you thought of the responsibility we have toward God in this matter of the good news of the gospel? Well, it’s there, whether or not we wish it. That idea of being responsible is there.
Now, first of all (and this is review, of course; yesterday we talked about it) it is an unspeakably precious privilege to have anything to do with an eternal message: We who are sinners by nature and by choice, needing God’s redemption and receiving it freely by His grace…it is a holy privilege to have anything to do with the good news of the gospel. We were allowed; God trusted us. That’s what it means. He trusted us with the gospel. This precious, wonderful, life-giving, hope-bringing message: He trusted us with it. It’s a profound concept and it will rock you to the very depths of your soul when you stop to think about the fact that the God who built the universe and who runs it, the God who planned redemption and performed it on Calvary, the God who sought you and me personally and saved us by His grace has taken the most precious message in all of the universe and said, “Here, I’m going to put it in your hands,” what happens depends upon what you do with it.
While I was President of the National Religious Broadcasters I tried to tell them repeatedly that the issue is not whether or not my broadcast or my telecast survives; the issue is, “Are people hearing the Word of God effectively?” That is what God has put into our hands. We’re not here to promote a program or an institution. God has put us here and has trusted us with the precious message of salvation. When you walk out of your door today, beloved, do you say to yourself, “In my hands is the gospel for somebody?”
Now leave to your Lord the setting-up of the transmission. He can arrange for you to meet people whose hearts are ready. He can arrange for you to have a phone call from somebody who needs that Word of God that you can drop in. I don’t mean just quoting a Scripture. I mean the truth of God as you pass it along by your own heartfelt compassion and insight as well as the eternal Word of God that you use. Let God set it up for you. He will.
The only time I ever got lost around Chicago, I got lost once. Now this is for sure, because I knew Chicago pretty well in the old days and still do. I can get around there. It’s a sensible town; the streets run north and south and east and west and diagonally. Now you can’t beat that. There’s Ogden Avenue and Archer Avenue and Clyburn Street and so on, you know. So, there was one time many years ago now, while I was still a pastor at La Salle, IL. Those precious people in the Illinois River Valley, how I loved them and still do. I was pastoring there, but I had been in Chicago for some reason or other, perhaps to give a message on the radio station of the Moody Bible Institute, it could well have been. I don’t remember what the occasion was, but I was now on my way back and all of a sudden, I became confused. I really didn’t know which way to go. Can you imagine? And so, I pulled off the road and consulted a map that I had in the glove compartment of this car I was driving. And while I was looking at the map to try to orient myself, I heard the sound of running footsteps and saw behind the car a young man with a battered suitcase running up toward me. And he came and opened the door on the passenger side and said, “Sir, would you by any chance be going near Mendota? Well, I said, “Yes, I can go that way. It’s a little out of the way but I can go to Mendota. Because I could just take a different road and go right straight to Mendota and then go south to LaSalle, and so I said, “Yes, I can do that.” And he got in, very grateful for a ride.
Well, as we drove on, I shared the gospel with him and it wasn’t too long before we paused again to pray and he gave his heart to the Lord Jesus Christ. That young man went on to be a very fine Christian worker and pastor and evangelist and people clear around the world know his name and thank God for him. God set it up. The point I’m making is that you can trust your Lord to set up the contacts if you realize that He has placed in your hands the precious message of the eternal gospel of Christ. Do you follow me there? When you go out of the door today, you just whisper a prayer and say, “Lord, you set it up, and I’ll pass out the Word of God, the Bread of Life, to hungry hearts.” We were put in trust but it says, “We were allowed of God.”
Now, to be put in trust means I’m responsible. For what am I responsible? That’s the question we’ll ask now. For what am I responsible? Number one, you’re responsible to know the gospel. It’s amazing to me and yet it’s true, I find it everywhere, professing Christians know very little about the content of the Word of God and the real heart of the gospel. It would help you if you would memorize, as I did many years ago, a string of verses that illustrate the truth of the gospel. I borrowed one such string of verses from the Navigators, this wonderful group of people who have their headquarters out at Colorado Springs. They specialize in developing Christians on the 1 Timothy 2:2 basis: “The things which thou has heard, the same commit thou to faithful men who shall be able to teach others also.” So it was Paul to Timothy to faithful men to many others, and it’s you to your Timothy to someone else and so on. That’s the system they use and it’s based on the Word of God. They have a topical memory system that they recommend.
Well, I got this years ago and began to memorize numbers of these verses under topics. Many of them I knew from a child because my father and my sister had encouraged me to learn Bible verses while I was still a very young child and they stuck with me, so it was largely a matter of review for some of them. But the sequence was there.
Here’s one of them. I oftentimes share it with people. First of all is listed under “The fact of sin.” Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” The second is listed under “The penalty of sin.” Romans 6:23, “The wages of sin is death.” The third is listed under the heading, “The penalty must be paid,” and that’s Hebrews 9:27, “And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment.” You do your best, but you fail, and you keep on failing and you’re going to have to meet God with all your sins on you. The penalty for sin must be paid. The fourth verse is listed under the heading, “Christ paid the penalty.” Romans 5:8 is the verse: “But God commended His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” The penalty for sin is death, but Christ died for us. He paid the penalty.
The next verse is under the heading, “Salvation is a free gift.” And the verses there are Ephesians 2:8-9, “For by grace,” which means free, for nothing, Christ’s expense, “are you saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God, not of works, lest any man should boast. And then the final verse is listed under the heading, “You must receive the gift, and that’s John 1:12, “But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God even to them that believe on His name.” Two things God asks you to do: First, to receive Christ as a person, and Second, to trust Him to do what His name means. His name is Jesus, and it means Savior. Do you receive Him as a wonderful person into your life and trust Him to save you from your sins? He does it. That’s the gospel.
You can find another description of the gospel message in 1 Corinthians 15: “I deliver unto you first of that which I received Thou that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures and that He was buried and that He rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures and that He was seen by this one and that one, and then five hundred brethren at once, and last of all, me too.” That’s Paul’s description of the gospel.
In any case, to be put in trust with the gospel, my beloved friend, means first of all I have to know it. Now if you don’t really know the gospel in terms of the Scripture that presents it, get busy on that this very day. Memorize some of these blessed verses so that you’ll be able to share them with others. That’s the first thing in meeting your stewardship concerning the gospel. We’ll get at some more of this the next time we get together.
Dear Father today, make us good stewards of the gospel, I ask in Jesus’ name, Amen.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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