Video Transcript: Gospel Power

There's a story from the Old West that I love to tell. There was a man who was sentenced to  be hanged. And he was scheduled to be hanged the next day, he had 24 hours left to live. But many miles away in the capital of the territory, the governor had decided to pardon him.  There was just one difficulty. This was before the days of telephone and telegraph and instant  communication. And the Capitol was a long ways away from where the prisoner was  scheduled to be hanged. And so the governor's pardon had to be carried from the Capitol, to  the place where the prison was where he was to be hanged. And so the governor asked for  someone to volunteer to carry that pardon. And immediately somebody stepped forward and  said, I'll do it. And he took the governor's pardon. And he hopped on his horse, and he headed out, and he rode that horse, and he rode that horse on into the night, and on into the early  hours of the morning. And finally, his horse collapsed. So he went on on foot, and his feet  were blistered, and his lungs were heaving, but he kept on going, and he kept on going, and  he kept on going. And finally, he staggered up to the prison, and delivered the pardon. And  the prisoner was set free, instead of being killed. After the man had kind of recovered his  breath a bit, he was asked, now why did you go through all that for a condemned murderer?  were you are relative or something? And he says, No, I'm not related. I don't know him at all.  And they asked him, Why did you do that? And he said, Well, I also was condemned a  murderer who was saved by a pardon. That's why he had this enthusiasm and excitement, to  carry that pardon to others. And when we started our series on Romans on gospel power, we  we heard about the tremendous change in the apostle Paul, how he was a killer of Christians,  originally, how he tried to hunt them down and succeeded in some cases. And then the Lord  Jesus appeared to him and said, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me, and he called him to  become an apostle to carry the good news of pardon and to others. He was a man  condemned by Christ, but then pardoned and saved by Christ. And that's what made him  such a mighty missionary, his knowledge that he owed everything to the Lord Jesus Christ,  and to his his forgiveness, and to his pardon. So as we continue to read in the Gospel of  Romans, we're going to be getting to what is the theme of the whole book, and the theme of  the whole Bible for that matter. But he starts out in the past, we're going to read today after  telling a brief outline of who he is, and what the gospel is, he tells them why he's writing, and  just a little bit about himself and them He says, First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for  all of you, because your faith is being reported all over the world. God, whom I serve with my  whole heart, in preaching the gospel of his son, is my witness how constantly I remember you  in my prayers at all times. And I pray that now at last, by God's will, the way maybe opened  for me to come to you. He's never met the Christians in Rome before, he has not been there  to preach, but he really, really, really wants to get there. Rome was the capital of a great  empire that over the centuries kept getting bigger as the Roman armies conquered more and  more territory. And there were many different nations that were kind of under Rome's rule.  And in some ways, this was bad. Rome didn't always rule nicely, although sometimes they  ruled a bit more fairly than some of the other governments. But at any rate, this great empire  that had formed was not just doing so in its own power in God's own plan. While all this was  going on, while Rome was ruling, and centuries earlier, the people of Israel been scattered.  They were wrong. There were Jews in nearly every Roman colony. And the Jews had their own  settlements in there. And there you had people who believed in one God who believed in the  scriptures, and there were some Gentile non Jewish people who were hearing about the one  God and who would hang out with those people. So in every colony throughout the empire,  you had Jewish people who believed already in one God and in the scriptures. So when you  have a missionary who is himself Jewish, he kind of has a built in network everywhere. They  didn't all like him, but he knew he knew the Jewish colonies throughout the Roman Empire.  And he would every time go straight to the synagogue first, or to the god fearers those  Gentiles. Who knew. So he had a built in network. And with that network, he had this great  Roman Empire with all its roads. And so you could travel in a lot of different places very well.  And throughout this empire, which had previously a lot of it had been under the control of  Alexander the Great, just about everybody knew Greek. So you had one language, one  network of roads, and then sprinkled around that something that had been a terrible tragedy,  the scattering of the Jewish people. Some of them lived in Israel, but many were scattered 

elsewhere. But that tragic scattering also meant there was a built in network for spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ. And then you get a man who is born in a Roman colony of Tarsus, and  is a Roman citizen, who knows the Greek language very well, and who is himself Jewish, he's  ideally suited. Even though he was an enemy of the Gospel, Paul said, Well, God set me apart  before birth, to bring the gospel of his son. So God, God has His plans that are a lot bigger,  and that go back in time before we're ever born, before the world was even made, for that  matter. And so Paul, is itching to get to Rome. He's preached the gospel in some other places.  And now he wants to get there. And Rome was a great and impressive city. It was built of  marble and many beautiful things by that time, and was just a great and splendid city. But  that's not really the main reason why he wanted to go there. It wasn't to go there as a tourist  and say, wouldn't it be cool to go to Italy, wouldn't it be fantastic, see the nice buildings, he  wanted to see God's people there, and help more people to come to know the Lord, he says, I  longed to see you, so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to make you strong. That is  that you and I may be mutually encouraged by each other's faith, he may be said it too  strongly at first. So they said, Well, I want to get there, so I can help build you up. And I want  you to build me up too. So he had this sense, even though this he was this great apostles who had been to Heaven and back, who had seen the Lord Jesus Christ would have these fantastic  revelations, and was directly guided by the Holy Spirit. In many of his words, he still knew that he could benefit from other people who belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. I do not want you to  be unaware brothers, that I planned many times to come to you, but have been prevented  from doing so until now, in order that I might have a harvest among you, just as I have had  among the other Gentiles. He wants to get there. And he's wanted to for a long time, and he's tried to a number of times, and it just doesn't happen. We don't know what's prevented him.  Maybe it's just that there's always one more place he has to go and preach. That's not Rome.  Maybe there's other problems that arise. But he has these desires, and plans and even  prayers, and he can't get it done. Ever have that? Where you're wanting something, and you  keep kind of making plans, but then this, then that, then the other thing comes up, and you  just can't do it. And sometimes you can even get a little frustrated with God, because you  prayed for that too. And you wanted that too? Doesn't God know how much I want it and how  much good I could do if I could just get to the Capitol? Well, when we think about our wishes,  and God's plans, and our prayers, sometimes things are a little more complicated. The  Apostle couldn't get to Rome. So rats, he had to sit down and write a letter instead. What a  tragedy. It's maybe the greatest writing in the history of the world. So maybe it's a good thing  that he couldn't get there. Because instead of going there, he's hoping to get there in a while. And so he writes, This letter is kind of an introduction as well as an encouragement. And so  the great epistle to the Romans, the greatest of all of his letters, the greatest summary of the  gospel, an explanation of God's plan that you can find anywhere gets written because Paul  can't get what he wants. If you think of another great piece of literature, the second greatest  writing in the English language, the second best selling book in the English language after the Bible was written, because the guy got stuck in jail. John Bunyan was a street preacher, and  the government didn't like Street Preachers, so they locked him up. And while he's in jail, he  writes the Pilgrims Progress. Sometimes when we don't get what we want. God has something much greater in mind than what we wanted, and produces some amazing things. Another  thing is that when we do Finally get what we want. It may be in a rather different form than  we were planning on. Three years after writing this letter, Paul makes it to Rome, in chains  after writing on a ship that was blown in a storm for two weeks in the middle of nowhere, and  then shipwrecked on the beach, and and after having spent two years in prison before that.  So he gets there, all right, his prayers are answered. He gets almost torn apart by a mob in  Jerusalem spends two years in jail finally appeals to Caesar goes on this terrible voyage, and  lands up in Rome, in chains, so he got his wish. So again, life is full of twists and turns, and we can be thankful that God knows what he's doing. Because we certainly can't always anticipate what's going to happen. And our plans are often overridden in favor of a better plan. But  anyway, his desire to be there is that he can reap a harvest there for the gospel not so that he can just be a tourist. And when you think about that, he, he has this sense that he's just  driven always by the gospel, he says, I am obligated to Greeks and to non Greeks, to both to 

the wise and the foolish. That's why I'm so eager to preach the gospel also, to you who are at  Rome, I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of  everyone who believes, first for the Jew, then for the Gentile, for in the Gospel, our  righteousness from God is revealed a righteousness which is by faith from first to last, as it is  written, The righteous will live by faith. He says, I am not ashamed. I am obligated I'm a  debtor, he has this sense of being driven to bring the gospel because he he owes it when  you're a debtor, you owe somebody now, in what sense does he owe them? Well think a  minute again, to that prisoner who carried the pardon? Did he really owe anything to that  other condemned murderer? Well, in one sense, no. But in another sense, because he had  benefited so enormously, he did kind of owe it to others, when he had the opportunity to  share that benefit with them as well. Or let's say, somebody gives you $1,000 and says, Now,  I want you to hand this over to my friend, and bring it there, and you agree to do it. Well, now  you're a debter. Not because you owed that friend any money, but because you've been  entrusted with something, and you said, you'd deliver it. So now you have to, and the Apostle  Paul accepted Jesus' salvation, He accepted, Jesus called to be a missionary. And now he's a  debtor, to anybody to whom God sends him, and He says, I'm not ashamed. Now, how do you  feel about the gospel? Do you feel free and bold in telling others about the Lord Jesus Christ?  Or is it kind of something where you scuffed your toe, Paul says, I'm obligated, I'm not  ashamed. Sometimes we don't feel much obligation. And we are ashamed. He's not ashamed. And he had some reasons, if you're just thinking about the things that embarrass us, you  know, he would have had some reasons to be ashamed. We don't know for sure what Paul  looked like. But there's a writing that that came along now a while after the Apostle Paul lived, and it described him and we don't know for sure whether it was accurate or not, but it says  that he was kind of short. And bow legged, and bald with a rather long nose, and sometimes  he'd have the face of an angel. That's, that's the that's what it said. He wasn't much to look  at, but sometimes all of a sudden, he would have the face of an angel. And, and we know that he probably wasn't a very impressive person, because we read a review of some of his  preaching in Corinthians. People were saying, I've been well, his letters are pretty impressive.  But in person, he's unimpressive. And his speaking amounts to nothing. You know, that's not a very good sermon review. But at any rate, that's what that's the impression he made on some people. And he was not embarrassed, because he never really cared how impressed they  were with him. He was trying to impress them with the Lord Jesus Christ. And so he says, I'm  not ashamed. He's going to this city of great splendor, where the Emperor lives, where  everybody who is somebody runs the show, where the buildings are fantastic, and he's just a  tentmaker, where all the beautiful people live and he's bald bow legged, and got a long nose.  And he is not ashamed, because he knows Christ. And he knows that he's not just bringing  the opinion of kind of a homely little guy, but he's bringing the Power of God to bear in  people's lives. And that power of God is what is transforming and it had transformed him. And he knew what it could do in other people's lives. It would not be an exaggeration to say that  the little bald headed bow legged long nosed guy is the second most important person who  ever lived. In many respects, the apostle Paul has had a greater impact on the world than  anybody except his Master Jesus Christ, and because of his Master, Jesus Christ, and because  of the power of the gospel, at work in him, the apostle had this tremendous glorying in the  gospel, he was not ashamed of it, because what it is, what is the gospel? Well, he already said that in his earlier verses, it is the gospel of God about his son. It is the gospel of the maker of  the universe. He's the one who originated it. And it's about his eternal Son, the Lord Jesus  Christ, who became one of us, what's not to brag about? So he is thrilled that this is the good  news of God, it comes from God, it's about Jesus. And the word Gospel means good news. A  while back, I was preaching from the books of Kings, and you remember the story of  Jerusalem surrounded where they were so desperate, that they were eating donkey's head,  and bird manure, and babies. And then, the seige was broken when the enemy army heard  the sound of a army that wasn't there, and they all ran off and left all their supplies and food  behind. And some lepers who had been at the entrance to the city found that food. And they  were so excited. They just ate and ate, and ate, and ate, and ate, and they ate some more  and then while they were rubbing their tummies, and burping, they said, Well, this isn't it 

right? This is a day of good news. And we better tell all those people starving in that city that  there's food for everybody and the enemy's gone. And that's what Paul was doing too, there's  plenty for everybody. And the enemy is defeated. And I'm not ashamed because God has  displayed his power in the Gospel. What's the gospel? The apostle Paul said in another place,  that I want to remind you of the Gospel by this gospel, you are saved Christ died for our sins,  according to the Scriptures. He was buried. He was raised on the third day, according to the  Scriptures, that's the core of the Gospel, the announcement that Christ died for our sins, and  that Christ rose again. And so when you ask, what's the gospel, that's it. It's the good news  that Jesus died and rose again, and that he did it for us, and for our benefit. And it's the  gospel concerning His Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. I was at a meeting a couple of weeks ago,  where a man was ordained into the gospel ministry. His name is John Hoffmaster, he serves at a church called Beacon Light in Gary, Indiana in one of the toughest neighborhoods in Gary.  And he's the guy who I'd met earlier because he was a CLI student and studied with us for a  while. And John was explaining at this meeting, how he got how he got saved. And then later  on, explained how he got into the ministry, but he, he said that he grew up going to church  for a while. And he went to some classes when he was in his late teens, and he was confirmed in the church. And he said he had learned quite a few things, you know, in the in the process  of being confirmed, had been taught a number of different teachings. And he said, but  somehow, I missed Jesus. And so he ditched church after a while and did what he wanted, and not always good for a number of years, and found himself becoming more and more just  troubled. He said, his life was actually going pretty well, in some respects. He was starting to  succeed in his business endeavors and able to do some other things, but but he just felt like  he was really missing something in his heart. And he knew that there was a particular  problem that he had, that he just found himself unable to overcome, and being a pretty bright person. He started reading a lot and studying a lot of different things. And so he wanted a  really strong discipline of the mind. And he decided he also wanted to get into the discipline  of the body. So he got into martial arts and into Eastern thought as well, and as he was  studying martial arts and working on getting his mind sharper, and his body more disciplined.  He found that still, he wasn't free. And one day he was in the martial arts class and he said,  the Asian instructor said something in broken English. That just floored him. At the end of one  class, the Asian instructor just said, Jesus loves you. And that was the end of the class. And he was just hit by this, that Jesus loves me. And, and he got to thinking more and more about the great love of Jesus Christ. He got into the Bible again, he read the gospel of Mark three times  in one week, he said, just to hearing again, the parables of Jesus, the miracles of Jesus, what  Jesus did in dying and rising again. And this time he didn't miss it. This time it was Jesus. And  Christ took over his life. And he said, he knew at that moment that the bondage was broken.  He added, he said, It took about a year or more for it to just completely go away. But he knew  at that moment that it was already doomed that that Christ had triumphed in his life. And  then the Lord, he ended up becoming a black belt Taekwondo instructor himself. So  sometimes, you know, if people are converted, he has a strong appeal. Anyway, he became a  gospel minister. And it was because it's the gospel. The gospel is the gospel of Jesus. That's  why Paul wasn't ashamed. That's where the power comes from. It's the power of God for  salvation, because it is the gospel of Jesus, and you're not ashamed when you've experienced that kind of power. And when you've seen what it can do, in the lives of other people, it's the  power of God in particular for salvation. What's salvation? Well, when the Apostle Paul was  called the Lord Jesus Christ that I'm sending you to others, to turn them from darkness to  light. So Salvation means coming out of the darkness of confusion, and not knowing truth, the darkness of despair and discouragement, and brought into the light of knowing, and the light  of hope, and the light of joy. I've called you to bring them out of darkness to light. And he  said, Jesus called Paul from the power of Satan to God, people are under the power of Satan.  And they're under the power of evil spirits in this world that that tug at them that control  them, that dominate them, that ruin their lives, and I'm taking, I'm sending you to them to get them out of Satan's power and into God's power, so that they can be saved. And also  salvation is being saved, from from sin, to glory, and obedience is being saved from hell, and  everlasting Doom, and lostness and hopelessness and being saved to live forever in the 

presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. So, he's got this gospel of salvation. It's the power of God  for salvation, from darkness to light from Satan to God, from hell to heaven, what a gospel of  salvation that He has to bring. And he says that this gospel of salvation comes through faith  in Jesus Christ. He says that in chapter three of Romans, and again, this power of God, and  this particular book of Romans as a presentation of the gospel has a tremendous history. One  of the people who found the salvation in the book of Romans was Augustine. Augustine, lived  in the late three hundreds in the early four hundreds, after Jesus at Augustine was a brilliant  man. And as a as a young man, he had a bright career as a scholar, as a professor. He liked to live it up, he enjoyed having sex with a variety of people. And while he was involved in that  kind of lifestyle, there was something in him that was always searching and searching. And so he began and learned a little bit more about Christianity. And as he learned more about  Christianity, he felt that he needed to change but well, he didn't really want to change yet. So he says that at one point, he prayed this prayer, Lord, make me pure, but not yet. Well, that's  how he prayed, Lord, make me pure, but not yet. And that didn't work out so well for him. He  just became more and more miserable living in his wicked lifestyle. And one day, he heard the voice of a child say take and read, take and read, whether it was a child playing in the  neighborhood, or whether it was a voice that God sent into his mind. He heard this voice say  take and read. And so he said, I, I took up that gospel that had been laying there and  happened to be the book of Romans and he flopped it open. And when he flopped it open, he  read not in drunkenness and orgies, not in sexual immorality, but put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh and he says I didn't want to read any more,  and I didn't need to read any more. Because he said that the light of Christ came into his  heart. He said, instantly as the symptoms ended, there was infused in my heart, something  like the light of full certainty. And all the gloom of doubt vanished away. And he became one  of the greatest thinkers and, and leaders in the history of the church, the great St. Augustine,  but he was a man who was utterly lost. And it was reading just one sentence from the book of Romans. And he was a different man, that's the power of God for salvation. How does that  power work? Well, Paul says, I'm not ashamed of the gospel, because it's the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes. First for the Jew, then for the Gentile. So it comes  through faith. And it comes through faith in a particular manner, it comes, because in it a  righteousness from God is revealed a righteousness that's by faith from first to last, just as is  written, The righteous will live by faith, the righteousness of God. And that's a key key phrase  in the apostles writing a little later in chapter three of Romans, he says, that nobody can be  saved by keeping God's rules and God's law. Every mouth is silenced in the whole world held  accountable to God. But now he says, the righteousness from God apart from law has been  revealed, to which the law and the prophets testify this righteousness from God comes  through faith in Jesus Christ, to all who believe there's no difference for all have sinned and  fall short of the glory of God, and are freely justified or declared righteous. through the  redemption that came by Christ Jesus, God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement through faith in his blood. So it is the blood of Jesus Christ and faith in Jesus death, that brings this  righteousness from God. In II Corinthians chapter five, the apostle Paul says, If anyone is in  Christ, he is a new creation. And a little bit later, he says, God made Him who had no sin. That is Jesus, God made him have no sin to be sin for us, so that in him, we might become the  righteousness of God. In Christ, we become the righteousness of God. So God makes this  great exchange, this one who has no sin, He makes to be sin for us in Christ, in all of our sins.  And then he takes all the goodness of the Lord Jesus Christ, and credits it to us, so that we are considered the righteousness of God, the righteousness of God, His holy character, His  goodness, is transferred to us because Christ is perfectly righteous. And that's how the gospel saves is it brings this news that all of your sins can be taken away by the blood of Jesus, and  all of his goodness can be counted as yours. And this was, again to speak historically. This is  the gospel from the book of Romans that saved another great figure in history, Martin Luther,  Martin Luther was a young man who was walking down the road one day on kind of a dark  and stormy night, and lightning struck very close to him, and scared the daylights out of him.  And as the lightning storm continued, Luther cried out, Saint Ann save me I'll become a monk. Well, he became a monk. And it didn't help. He would starve himself. He would go through all 

kinds of rituals. Eventually the monk became a priest, and a brilliant priest. And yet when he  was there, right, offering the elements of a mass, he would have this terror of God, and even  a hatred of God. Because what he said, Whenever I thought of that phrase, the righteousness  

of God, it just terrified me, because I knew that God is righteous, and I wasn't. And so what  was I to do? And so Luther, he says, night and day I pondered, and he was thinking about this  verse in Romans, because he was a great Bible scholar, and he couldn't make heads or tails  out of it. But one night, as I pondered, until I saw the connection between the righteousness  of God and the statement, that the righteous lived by his faith. And so he saw that righteous  comes by faith from God. And it's not that we have to earn our own righteousness that  matches up to God's and he said that I grasped the righteousness of God is the righteousness  by which through grace and sheer mercy, God justifies us through faith, and Luther says, I felt myself to be reborn, and to have gone through open doors into paradise. The whole of  Scripture took on a new meaning. This passage became to me the gate to Heaven. These  words that we're reading right now we're the gate to heaven, for that desperate man. And  when the gate of heaven opened up to him, who had been in the church his whole life, he  began to preach that gospel to the rest of the church. And many, many found salvation  through the righteousness of Christ and not through their own righteousness. And it's by faith, everybody who believes he says, This righteousness comes to all who believe whether you  happen to be Jew, where they happen to be Gentile doesn't matter, you're going to be saved  by faith in Jesus Christ. And he makes it clear that it's not going to be our works, but by our  trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. Think of what happens, if somebody writes you a check, let's  say, let's say somebody writes you a check for $10,000. Now, you could say to yourself, well, I don't have $10,000 in my checking account, there's no way I can cash this thing. Because I  don't have 10k. Yeah, but that means you don't understand how this works. Because it  depends on the account of the person who wrote the check. Not on your account, you might  have $3, in your account, you might have $0, and owe 5,000, in overdraft. But if he's got  more than 10,000, in his account, and he gives it to you, then the check is good, because it  depends on his value, not yours. And faith then is simply taking it and believing that he can  cover the amount and endorsing the check. And suddenly you have $10,000 that you didn't  earn. And that was not in your account. But in his and in the same way, faith, depends on  what Jesus is worth, not what I'm worth, if my eternal future depends on what I'm worth, I am  in a world of hurt, I am lost. But thank God it doesn't it depends on what Jesus is worth. So  think of it again, as that check, don't worry, what you don't have, focus on what he does have, and what his blood is worth. He's the eternal Son of God, when He gives His blood, it's more  than enough to cover all the sins of the whole world, and it can certainly handle yours. And so then faith does nonetheless need to believe if somebody gives you a check, and they give you a check for $10,000. And they've got more than enough to cover it. And you don't believe it.  And you do nothing with that check. Then it does you zero good even though all that merit  and value is there for you. Faith receives what Christ has done, it doesn't just leave it out  there. Faith receives for myself and puts my name on what Jesus has done. So that I believe  that he did that for me, and I receive it for me. And this is the power of this gospel by faith. I'll just take another name again, another huge name from church history, saved by hearing the  message of the book of Romans. In this case, he's listening to somebody reading from a  preface to a commentary on Romans. John Wesley is at a meeting in 1738. And he is just very  troubled, he can't find peace with God. And he says that about a quarter before nine, while  the person reading that preface was describing the change, that God works in the heart  through faith in Christ, I felt my heart strangely warmed. I felt I did trust in Christ alone for my salvation. And an assurance was given to me that he had taken away my sins, even mine, and saved me. That's what happens when you understand the power of God and the  righteousness of God that comes to us through faith in Jesus. You may go through life, not  knowing how to be saved, not knowing what the Lord can do for you. And then you hear that  gospel. And you know, it's Jesus, not me. It's his value, not mine. I trust his death to take  away my sin. I trust His resurrection to give me eternal life. And I'm saved. My hope is built on nothing less than Jesus blood and righteousness. On Christ, the solid rock I stand all the  ground is sinking sand. Now we've heard of Paul's conversion, how he was a murderer of 

Christians and the risen Christ just came to him and changed his life around and saved him  and launched him into the mission. We've heard of how his letter to the Romans was used by  God, his explanation of the gospel to save the mighty Augustine, and Martin Luther and John  Wesley, the great preacher of the first Great Awakening in the United States, and in Britain.  The Lord has used that gospel in mighty ways and done it sometimes in just amazing, almost  instantaneous ways. I mentioned last week, another CLI student who a number of years ago  was just without God living a wicked life into alcohol and drugs, who, who, one day in his yard  had booze in one hand, and a vial of drugs in the other hand, and it was suddenly thrown to  his knees by the power of God and surrendered his life to Christ right on the spot, and never  touched any alcohol or drugs again, what a testimony to the power of God to save somebody  just like that. Now, I know somebody else where it didn't go like that. Her name, I'll leave out.  But she, she's a person whom, whom I've known for a lot of years. And when I first met her,  she was struggling, her life looked good. On the outside, she was a nurse and had two nice  kids and so on. But she was suicidal. She was addicted to alcohol and drugs. She had been  sexually abused when she was a kid. And she was just haunted by all sorts of things. And was  was involved in all sorts of wickedness for a lot of years in her own life. And when, when we  prayed together, and she committed her life to Christ, and our Whoa, you know, that's  wonderful. And then a month later, she's all messed up, and she's feeling suicidal again. And  then we talked together, and she'd feel better, and then back down again. And this would  happen over and over again, one time, I was called out of a meeting that I was having,  because I had to get out of there to rush over to the cemetery where she was out there with  razor blades, ready to slash her wrists. And this was after she had supposedly received Christ. And I believe she did receive Christ. But it was again and again, and again, it was just this,  there was just so much crud. And then I was thinking to myself oh man, this is just dragging,  she's wasting my time. And she's just stuck in a rut. But it was a spiral. And it was not a  downward one, ultimately. And eventually, she became one of the greatest resources for  other people who had been through alcohol addiction, and who had suffered sexual abuse,  because the Lord brought her through that my point here is that not everybody is just thrown  to your knees, and you're free of alcohol and drugs for some people, the Lord saves you, but  then it's still a pretty messy process, to move you along. And to help you to sort out one  horrible thing at a time from your past and to set you free from it. So if, if you're not one of  these who said, Oh, the heavens open to me, and all was well, and I was instantly saved, and  it was all put behind me. And you're instead one of these as well. You know, I believe in Jesus  as my Savior. But man, it sure didn't all get good right away. Well, God has different ways of  working with different people so take heart. I've seen him work in sudden and amazing ways.  I've seen him work in gradual let me I'll put it this way, frustrating ways for the pastor, who's  who's involved, as well as for the person who's involved, but his work, he, he gets you there.  And so in the meantime, you trust Him, the Gospel is the power of God, for salvation, once  that power gets hold of you, it will not let go. Once Christ gets hold of you, He will not let go.  The gospel is Jesus righteousness. I've told you before, I'll just tell you again, a little bit of my  own story. When I was a boy, I went through some struggles and just didn't know whether I  believed in God at all, didn't know whether I belong to God at all, you know, would go to bed  night after night just troubled in my spirit, not knowing what in the world was going on or who I was. And finally, I couldn't take it any longer. So I talked to my mom about it. And, and she  said, Well, you know, there's a verse in the Bible that says, Behold, I stand at the door and  knock if anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he  with me. And so I prayed that night, and I had a tremendous sense of God's love and peace,  and that I was right with Him and that Christ lived in me that I belonged to him. Two, two  nights after that I had a dream of heaven, that I will never forget. And I don't claim like the  apostle Paul to have been to the third heaven and back. And I don't claim to know things that  nobody is permitted to tell. But I know this The Gospel is the power of God for salvation, and it is all of Christ and none of us and when you have Christ in your life, his blood takes away  everything that's bad. His life shapes you and changes you more and more into his own  image. And at the end of it all, there is a beginning, life with Him forever. And so again, that's  why I'm not ashamed of the gospel. Don't you be ashamed of the gospel, you have a 

wonderful Savior. If you don't know him, Well, today's the day, his blood can wipe away  anything, his power can change anybody. So don't be shy. If you need to talk to me or  somebody else you do that. love to pray with any of you. Sometimes there will be a wonderful and instant deliverance. And sometimes you're going to be a pain in the neck. Okay? That's  part of my job. So if you're a pain in the neck, don't feel bad. You know, the Lord is very  patient, more patient and I, but the Gospel is the power of God for your salvation, and once it  has saved you, well, if you're a condemned sinner saved by a pardon, there's a lot of others  out there, to be ready to bring that good news to them, too. Let's pray together. Dear Lord we  do thank you for your great and everlasting love, and for not hiding it, but for showing it and  for not allowing anything to keep us from that love but for removing all the barriers by  washing away our sins by the blood of Jesus, by giving us the great promises of eternal life in  him and beginning that eternal life even now, as you come to live in our hearts help us Lord,  to live by that power and help Lord any here who don't know you who have not received that  amazing gospel of salvation through Jesus' merit alone, to put their faith in you today and and to know you and to trust in you forever and delight in you and then help Lord each of us as  the Apostle Paul was to feel like a debtor woe to us if we do not preach the gospel and also  Lord, to just be glad in bringing it because we're not ashamed. We know it's the power of God  for our salvation, and for the salvation of many others. And Lord, by whatever experience,  whether sensational or or very quiet, whether sudden or gradual with ups and downs,  however you choose to work in our lives, do that mighty work of salvation, that we may  belong to you, that we may have confidence and faith in you, and that we may shine for you.  For Jesus sake. Amen.

Last modified: Tuesday, December 21, 2021, 1:06 PM