IF YOU HAVE NEVER obeyed the gospel of Christ this lesson is for you.
If you have, may the message stir your mind by way of remembrance. The
gospel message is to be preached to you for your salvation. Jesus sent
it out into the whole world to be preached to "every creature" (Mark
16:16). The true gospel places upon you the responsibility of being
saved. Every time you heard a gospel sermon, true to the Scriptures, it
was YOUR opportunity to be saved. Furthermore, you know that no matter
when or where, morning, noon or night you can avail yourself of Jesus
invitation "come unto me... and I will give you rest" (Matthew 11:28).
It is stressed "behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day
of salvation" (2 Corinthians 6:2). The question remains, "Do you
believe, and have you obeyed the gospel?"
You may be one who has not obeyed the gospel. Did you notice, we didn't
say, "Get saved" or "Only believe" or "Have a personal experience" etc.
These, as well as many other sayings about being saved used by
denominations, are not from the Bible. We speak of a person's being
saved in terms we can find in the Scriptures. May we point out, if you
believe and obey the gospel you have the assurance that the Lord will
save you and will add you to His church (Acts 2:47). Men, with their
doctrines, cannot offer you something they do not have - SALVATION and
being added to THE LORD'S CHURCH.
In life you face many difficulties, troubles and trials. Without Christ
you are led into sin. Jesus is the only way of escape; He is the only
"way" to God the Father. Jesus said "I am the way, the truth, and the
life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me" (John 14:6). Salvation
is in and by Christ only. He is the "author of eternal salvation unto
to all them that obey him" (Hebrews 5:9). We must look to Him for the
way to Heaven. He said you must believe or be damned (Mark 16:16). He
said you must repent or perish (Luke 13:3). He said you must confess
Him before men (Matthew 10:32). He said you must be baptized for
salvation (Matthew 28:19; Mark 16:16). When you are saved, as we have
seen, He adds you to His church. The choice is Heaven or Hell!
Now we want to ask YOU do YOU believe "that Jesus Christ is the son of
God"? Have YOU "repented" of your past sins and turned to serve the
true and living God? Have YOU confessed Christ as did the nobleman in
Acts 8:37-39 when told by the preacher if he believed with all his
heart, he may be baptized? The man "answered and said, I believe that
Jesus Christ is the Son of God. And he commanded the chariot to stand
still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the
eunuch; and he baptized him. And when they were come up out of the
water... he went on his way rejoicing." Are you rejoicing in salvation
from YOUR sins? Are YOU forgiven and living for Christ? If not, why
JESUS' STORY ABOUT EXCUSES
Oh, you have an excuse, do you? Well, just remember Adam had an excuse
for not obeying God. He blamed Eve (Genesis 3:12), but he was still
guilty. Remember too, how Aaron blamed the people when he made a golden
calf for them to worship (Exodus 32:22-24), but God was still displeased
with him. People have always made excuses for not doing what they
should. In Luke 14:15-24 Jesus pictured entrance into His kingdom as a
great supper given by a King to which many were invited to come. In
this story Jesus says that they all began to make excuses. One "said
unto him, I have bought a piece of ground, and I must needs go and see
it: I pray thee have me excused. And another said, I have bought five
yoke of oxen, and I go to prove them: I pray thee have me excused. And
another said, I have married a wife, and therefore I cannot come." The
point of the story is that some men and women, boys and girls will
always have one excuse, or another, for not obeying the Lord.
WHAT'S YOUR EXCUSE?-
IS IT "I'M JUST TOO YOUNG?"
You may be reading this and are too young to obey the gospel of Christ,
but that is highly unlikely. When you understand and can distinguish
good from evil, sin from virtue, righteousness from unholy and immoral
living, when you know you have sinned and are blamed for it, it is time
to obey the gospel. Ecclesiastes says, "Remember now thy Creator in the
days of thy youth, while the evil days come not, nor the years draw
nigh, when thou shalt say, I have no pleasure in them" (12:1). You may
say, "I just don't know enough." Many people in the book of Acts obeyed
the gospel the very first time they heard it preached. You may have
heard the gospel preached several times and know a lot more than they
did. But what do you need to know? You need to believe that Jesus is
the son of God, and that He is the Savior. So you must be capable of
believing the gospel message. "So then faith cometh by hearing, and
hearing by the word of God" (Romans 10:17). Remember that a Christian
is supposed to GROW in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and
Saviour Jesus Christ" (2 Peter 3:18), so don't worry about what you
don't know. Just believe and obey. What about the old man or woman?
Some say they have lived too long in sin. Take courage, and remember
the parable of the owner of the vineyard who went out and hired those in
the market place at the eleventh hour (Matthew 20:6-9). The Lord
receives anyone who sincerely wants to serve him.
"LOOK AT THE HYPOCRITES!"
Some have said, "There are hypocrites in the church!" A hypocrite is
someone who pretends to be better than he is with no intention of
changing. There are possibly some in the Lord's church who are really
hypocrites, and some whom you think to be, who may just be struggling
with sin, but have a sincere desire to overcome it and go to Heaven. We
all know that there are hypocrites everywhere in life. But friend, so
far that hasn't stopped you from going to school, or maybe getting a
job, and socializing. You meet people who hypocritically pretend to be
something they are not every day. You may wish that they would do what
is right and stop pretending, but don't give them the excuse to remain a
sinner because you remain one too. It is sad that some pretend to be
Christians who are not. But wouldn't you rather spend a little time
here in the church with some who are hypocrites and then go to Heaven
than to never obey the gospel, die a sinner, and spend eternity in a
Devil's Hell with all the hypocrites? Who knows who all you may
encourage to do right by your good influence.
"CAN'T LIVE IT"
One man tried to excuse himself from becoming a Christian by saying, "I
just don't know if I can hold out." Some say they just aren't certain
about living a Christian life. Well, we never know if we can accomplish
any task until we do it. That's true of all parts of life, but we are
not held back by it. If you use that excuse for everything you will
never graduate from school, apply for a job, get married, etc. You see,
no one is guaranteed success in any of these areas, but that doesn't
stop us from trying. You say, "Well, I see others who are successful at
graduating, and working and marriage." Yes, you do, and you also see
others not only today who live Christian lives before you, but you also
have a "great cloud of witnesses" of the past who have "kept the faith"
and who serve as encouragement to us as we "run the race." Please read
Hebrews 11:1-12:3, and then the Lord promise, "I will never leave thee,
nor forsake thee" (Hebrews 13:1). The Lord never forsook any of these
faithful children of God and he will not forsake you. Take courage-when
you try to do right, God is on your side. When you are a Christian, you
can say with the apostle Paul, "I can do all things through Christ which
strengtheneth me" (Philippians 4:13).
"MY FAMILY WON'T LIKE IT"
Some say, "I'm afraid my mom won't approve." But YOU may be
instrumental in leading your mom or your dad to Christ, if you will only
take courage and come to Him. Many families are brought to the Lord by
one member fearlessly taking a stand for the TRUTH. Opposition is
sometimes hard to face. Maybe everyone is against your becoming a true
Christian. However, who knows what influence you may wield among your
family and friends. If you step out and become a Christian you may,
through the years, see many others obey the gospel of Christ. Your
responsibility is to God first, and to all others later. Do what you
know is right to do.
"I WANT TO HAVE A GOOD TIME."
Many have said or at least thought, "I want to wait to have 'a good
time' before I become a Christian." The folly of this thought is easily
seen when we take into account the uncertainty of life. The Bible asks,
"For what is your life? It is even a vapour, that appeareth for a little
time, and then vanisheth away" (James 4:14). Friend, coffins come in
all sizes. That may seem like a callous statement, but you must realize
you have no guarantee of future days. All you have is "now", and as we
have seen "today" is all we have to live in. Remember that you will
face an eternity in whatever condition you die. Solomon picturesquely
says, "If the tree fall toward the south, or toward the north, in the
place where the tree falleth, there it shall be" (Ecclesiastes 11:3).
And in Revelation 22:11,12 we read, "He that is unjust, let him be
unjust still: and he which is filthy, let him be filthy still: and he
that is righteous, let him be righteous still: and he that is holy, let
him be holy still. And, behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with
me, to give every man according as his work shall be." You can't die a
sinner and wake up a Christian. Since life is uncertain, judgment is
coming and we will spend an eternity in either Heaven or Hell depending
on the condition in which we die, it is of the greatest importance that
we yield to the call of the Master today.
"A CONVENIENT TIME"
We read of the apostle Paul, an imprisoned man, preaching to Felix the
governor in Acts 24:25, "And as he reasoned of righteousness,
temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy
way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for
thee." As far as we are able to discover Felix never found that
"convenient season" to obey the gospel. Paul's preaching to him was
about leaving wickedness and turning to holiness, replacing sinfulness
and indulgence for self-restraint. Felix said, "When I have a
convenient season..." In other words, "When it is just as easy to do
the things you teach as not do them, I'll call for you.... When it is
easy to quit sinning, I'll call for you." Pray tell us, when is it just
as easy to quit sinning as it is to sin? Never! If you are looking for
a convenient time to obey the Lord, there is none! You need to decide
to give up sinning and live for the Lord.
NO REASON TO WAIT
Friend, do you have any real reason why you have not rendered obedience
to the Savior or just an excuse? If you are honest with yourself, you
know you have no reason to wait -- there is none. You know you will have
to give an account to Him one day. No matter what the excuse might be,
it will not be good enough in the Day of Judgment.