It takes more than the gospel to save men today
Written by Jay Yeager
Monday, 26 September 2011 17:03

It takes more than the gospel to save

men today

(By Jay Yeager)

There is a reality connected to the title of this lesson. I know, few will come right out and say the gospel falls short, yet in their actions (whether knowingly or unknowingly), they have diminished the power of the gospel in the minds of men. The goal of this lesson is twofold: 1) To examine avenues that are being used to lead people into accepting the idea that more than the gospel is needed. 2) To prove that the gospel of Christ is all-sufficient to save the souls of men.  

How are people lead into accepting the idea that more than the gospel is needed, or even in some cases not needed at all? 

1. We must change to fit the times

There are those who argue that we need more than the gospel because we live in a visual society. The dire warning is sounded. Unless we adapt we will lose our young people. How do they suggest we adapt? Drama needs to be placed alongside scripture. We can act, sing and dance our way into your heart. We need to start replacing hearing with seeing, and doing with feeling. Words? Well, words alone will not do, we need more than words.

  1. Do you need more than that which produces faith (Romans 10:17)?
  2. Do you need more than the power of God (Romans 1:16)?
  3. Do you need more than the truth that can set you free (John 17:17; 8:32)?
  4. Do you need more than the seed which produces spiritual life (I Peter 1:23)?
  5. Do you need more than that which can save a soul (James 1:21)?
  6. Do you need more than that which can examine the hearts of men (Hebrews 4:12)?
  7. Do you need more than God demands the world to hear (Jeremiah 22:29)?
  8. Do you need more than the very thing that will judge you on the last day (John 12:48)?

Beloved, the word of God is a fire that can burn in the bones of men (Jeremiah 20:9), a hammer that can break down every barrier (Jeremiah 23:29). The word of God is quick and powerful, sharper than any two-edged sword, revealing the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12). Now, go ahead and act, sing and dance that!!! Drama? If you want drama go into any high school in our county, there is drama is in every classroom. But if you want to save the souls of men, then stand up and faithfully preach the gospel of Jesus Christ, that is the power of God unto salvation (Romans 1:16).


2. Give new meaning to Bible teaching

Then again, there are those who simply change the meaning of Bible teaching. For instance, there are those who suggest that prayer is listening. We hear something like this; “it was so liberating when I finally understood that prayer is not talking, but listening, you have to be patient and wait for God to speak to your heart”.


Now, I wonder what message that would be. An assurance of salvation? A promise of heaven? Would it be money, health or family? Just what would a person hear? I submit to you that they will hear whatever they want to hear, because “Listening” is not prayer!


The disciples ask Jesus to teach them to pray. In response, Jesus gave the model prayer which says in part the following; “And he said unto them, when ye pray, say, Our Father which art in heaven, Hallowed be thy name…” Luke 11:1-2). In Acts 16:25 Paul and Silas were in prison in Philippi, and there is this recorded. “And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them”. “Be careful in nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be made known unto God” (Philippians 4:6).


Prayer is progressive, Ask and it shall be given you; seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Matthew 7:7). Do you realize that John chapter seventeen (the real Lord’s Prayer) would be a blank chapter if Jesus listened instead of prayed? Prayer is listening??? Not hardly! Please understand, they may hear something, but it is not the voice of God they hear.


3. Man sets the standard

“I think I am alright”. Beloved, this is the deadliest and most widespread thinking in our country. The overwhelming majority in every community believes they are alright. It makes Sunday (the Lord’s Day) just another day, the Bible a book to dust, Jesus, a Lord to remember on Easter and Christmas.


Ask your neighbors, “Are you going to heaven?”… The answer is given without hesitation, “Sure, I think I’m a good person, hell is for really bad people”. The words “I think” mean this, the word of God does not determine who will occupy heaven or hell. The Bible teaches that human reasoning as the guide for spirituality is deadly. Understand, I am not saying that reasoning is not necessary. We are to reason out of the scriptures (Acts 17:2). What I am talking about is reasoning without the scriptures. That is condemned!


“There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 14:12). Do you know this warning is given again two chapters later with a slight variation?  “Which” is replaced with “that”. “There is a way that seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death” (Proverbs 16:25).


There is another verse that goes hand in hand with those two piercing passages, “O Lord, I know that the way of man is not in himself: it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps” (Jeremiah 10:23). The challenge we face is to bring them to the book. It may not make a difference, but our responsibility is to make known the manifold wisdom of God (Ephesians 3:10-11), not to decide for them (II Corinthians 2:15-17).


4. The Bible cannot touch the wise

This one is surprising, not only the source, but the sentiment. When members of the church say, “you will have a hard time with him, because he is really smart”, that means by implication, if you are a member of the church you are not very bright. Folks, I don’t mind smart people. It is the fool who gives me trouble (Psalms 14:1). Because this young man did not believe in the inspiration of the Bible, we began our study with information found in the Bible that no living person knew at the time. The following is a sample:

  1. The seed of a woman (Genesis 3:15).
  2. Life is in the blood (Leviticus 17:11).
  3. God hung the earth upon nothing (Job 26:7).
  4. Springs in the sea (Job 38:16).
  5. The circle of the earth (Isaiah 40:22).
  6. Air has weight (Job 28:25).
  7. Lighting and thunder are related (Job 38:25).

How did Job, Moses and Isaiah know these things? There is only one answer, God told them! Then we look at prophecies. For an example; I mention those that were fulfilled in a twenty-four hour period:

  1. His soul not be left in Hades nor would his body see corruption (Psalms 16:10).
  2. My God, My God, why hast thou forsaken me? (Psalms 22:1).
  3. They would mock him (Psalms 22:7-8).
  4. Pierced his hands and feet (Psalms 22:6).
  5. They would gamble for his garments (Psalms 22:18).
  6. He would commend his soul unto God (Psalms 31:5).
  7. Not a bone broken (Psalms 34:20).
  8. Betrayed by a friend (Psalms 41:9).

Beloved, do you know who penned those prophesies?  David, a Shepard boy who became a king a thousand years before the event, before crucifixion was ever practices as a means of capital punishment, so that you and I can know without a shadow of a doubt that the Bible is the inspired word of God! That smart young man? He became a Christian, proving once again that even the foolishness of God is wiser than man (I Corinthians 1:25).


The gospel of Christ is all-sufficient to save the souls of men

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (II Timothy 3:16-17).


The scriptures inspired of God include both Old Testament and New Testament; and to bring us where I want to go in this lesson there are some fundamentals we need to cover. Ephesians 2:12-16 contains a phrase “…the middle wall of partition…” that I want you to keep in mind, as we will come back to it shortly. Here is what Ephesians 2:12-16 says.


“That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who were sometimes afar off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us; Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace; And that he might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby”. 


Now, holding that phrase, “…the middle wall of partition…” follow me to another verse. “Wherefore then serveth the Law? It was added because of transgressions, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made…” (Galatians 3:19). Now just what transgressions would cause a law to be added? I’m sure there are more than I am going to discuss here, but I believe there is one particular transgression that is at the heart of this passage. To appreciate the significance I need to take you on a brief journey in history. To a promise that was made unto Abraham.


“And I will bless them that bless thee, and curse him that curseth thee: and in thee shall all families of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). “And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice” (Genesis 22:18).


God made a promise to Abraham that through his seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed. Twenty five years later Isaac is born and God repeats the promise to Isaac, “And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all nations of the earth be blessed” (Genesis 26:4).


Now, go back with me one chapter, in Genesis 25:20. Isaac was forty years old when he took Rebekah to wife, twenty years later Rebekah gave birth to twins, Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25:24-26). Then in Genesis 26:34-35 we find this; “And Esau was forty years old when he took to wife Judith the daughter of Beeri the Hittite, and Bashemath the daughter of Elon the Hittite: Which were a grief of mind unto Isaac and to Rebekah”. 

Do you know what Esau did? He married outside of the Abrahamic bloodline. Now, what would have happened if Jacob did the same thing? I think you know. The promise God made to Abraham back in Genesis 12:3; 22:18 would never have been fulfilled. God would not allow a thing like that to happen, so he put a middle wall of partition between the Jews and the rest of the world.


A law, if you please, that would segregate them from the rest of the world. God said don’t look over there, don’t associate over there, don’t marry over there (Deuteronomy 7:2-4). Therefore, the Law governed in every area of life: religiously, socially and governmental.


Now, for how long? Till. Folks that sets the end, till the seed should come to whom the promise was made. Nor are we left to wonder what seed that is, “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, and to seeds, as of many; but as of one, and to thy seed, which is Christ” (Galatians 3:16).


What have we seen? God made a promise, and when that promise was threatened, he put a middle wall of partition between the Jews and the rest of the world, until that promise was fulfilled. When Christ came he took the middle wall of partition out of the way, nailing it to the cross (Colossians 2:14), to this end, that he might reconcile both Jew and Gentile unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby. Removing one covenant he established another that would be for all men for all time (Hebrews 8:6-13; 9:16-17).


Two quick points:

  1. The Law of Moses was only addressed to the Jews (Deuteronomy 5:1-3; Malachi 4:4)
  2. The Law of Moses was never intended to be time ending, it was temporary in nature (Jeremiah 31:31-34; Hebrews 8:6-13).

 The gospel of Christ is all-sufficient to save the souls of men.

Everyone realizes that no person could, in a single lesson, cover every element of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. However, in somewhat of a capsule form, I offer the following to prove that the gospel is all-sufficient to the salvation of man.


The love of God for every person is told and demonstrated; “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins” (I John 4:9-10).


The sacrifice of Jesus Christ: Deity (John 1:1; Philippians 2:5-6) left the grandeur of heaven (II Corinthians 8:9) to take a human form in order to be a sacrifice for the sins of man (Philippians 2:7-8). John would utter these profound words as he saw Jesus coming to him “…Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).


Jesus would die for every person. Hebrews 9:15 coupled with Romans 3:25 shows that his blood went backward as well as forward. But listen to the words of Hebrews 2:9, “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that he by the grace of God should taste of death for every man”.


If I had to put the love of God and the sacrifice of Christ is just a few verses, the following would be my choice. “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Romans 5:6). “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). “For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son…” (Romans 5:10).


The gospel of Christ is the only seed that produces spiritual life, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (I Peter 1:23).


The gospel must be received in the hearts of men, “Wherefore lay apart all filthiness and superfluity of naughtiness, and receive with meekness the engrafted word, which is able to save your soul” (James 1:21).


The gospel of Christ must be obeyed, “Though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him” (Hebrews 5:8-9).


To become a Christian one must hear the word (Romans 10:17), believe with all his heart that Jesus is the Son of God (John 8:24; Acts 8:37), repent of past sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ before men (Romans 10:10), be baptized for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38; 22:16). Then, as a Christian, faithfully serve him until your time is no more (Revelation 2:10).


The gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation (Rom 1:16). It contains everything pertaining to life and godliness, “According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue” (II Peter 1:3).


The gospel of Christ will be the standard that will judge us in the last day, “He that rejecteth me, and receiveth not my words, hath one that judgeth him: the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day” (John 12:48). The gospel denies anyone the right to add to it, subtract from it, or modify it in any fashion (Galatians 1:8-9; II John 9-11; Revelation 22:18-19). Why does it deny anyone that right? Because it is all-sufficient to save the souls of men!