The Special of the Day… From the Orange Moon Cafe
"The Sequence of the Gospel"
Proper communication of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ begins not with our need for the Savior, but rather with God's supply of the Lord Jesus Christ as our hope for forgiveness and newness of life.
"The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" (Revelation 13:8).
In the heart and mind of our Heavenly Father, the sacrifice of Christ was an accomplished fact before human beings even existed (and thus, before we sinned). Of course, this does not preclude the necessity of the Lord Jesus' atoning work fulfilled by His death, resurrection, and ascension. He had to die and rise again in space/time history in order to fulfill the justice and mercy of God. Moreover, He had to fulfill God's redeeming purposes as a human being who so perfectly identified with us that He could bear our sins, and even more, to "be sin" for us (II Corinthians 5:21). It nevertheless remains that the Lord Jesus' death and its provision for forgiveness has always been the basis for God's provision of grace to needy sinners. Mercy has always flowed on the current of Christ's blood, whether in its limited display to Old Testament saints who trusted in the Savior to come, or the full bestowal known by New Testament saints who rest in the finished work of the Lord Jesus.
Again, this means that bearing witness to God's truth involves the proper sequence. If an unbeliever could physically sit down with God and ask Him to explain the Gospel, the Lord would not first address the questioner's sinfulness. He would rather proclaim His Son's redeeming work of Calvary, the empty tomb, and the occupied Heavenly throne. "My Son died and rose again for your sins," the Lord would say. "I have sent forth My Spirit to bear witness of such grace. There is a Savior, and before you had need, I made supply." Certainly, the issue of the sinner's sin would then be addressed, along with the need for repentance and faith. This is clearly the order in which Scripture communicates salvation, and the order in which we must bear witness and testimony of a grace that precedes our need. "Before they call, I will answer" (Isaiah 65:24).
Upon the establishment of the church, the first two sermons clearly follow the sequence of truth we consider (Acts 2:14-39; 3:11-26). The New Testament epistles also declare the provision of Christ before addressing the lostness of sinners. We do well to remember such truth, and to communicate the Gospel accordingly. Moreover, when sharing with wayward believers, the sequence applies. The Savior first. Then, the matter of sin. Who is the Lord Jesus? What has He done and what is He doing as God's provision of grace to needy human hearts? Why do we need a Savior? Affirming the answers to these questions in the proper sequence places the focus of discussion where it belongs - on the Lord Jesus - which then leads to considering our need in its proper context…
"In Thy light shall we see light."
Weekly Memory Verse
"Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of His might."