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You Must Believe And Obey The Gospel - And No Excuses

You Must Believe And Obey The Gospel - And No Excuses

by Richard Nichols

Published in
The Christian Informer
February, 2001

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Last updated:
January 31, 2001.

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 not?


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.


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.


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.


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).


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.


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.


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.


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.