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People are getting into this or that, pursuing this new thing or listening to that person. But unnoticed, right under our noses, there is a process taking place that is of infinitely greater importance. For God is at work in the gospel, opening the eyes of the blind to the reality of Jesus, gathering to Himself a family here, a lonely soul there, opening hearts to Himself, bringing hope and encouragement to His people, setting free from slavery to sin, knitting people together in His love.

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And yet in reality it is more important than all the elections and all the terrorist attacks and all the championships and all the latest movies. But when the living God reaches down with His finger of grace and touches a human soul, that is something of true significance. If we miss this, we miss the main thing. The gospel is at the center of human history. The gospel is at the center of our relationships: with each other, with our families, with non-Christians.

The gospel is at the center of our worship. The gospel is at the center of our service of Christ. Sometimes other things get put in the center. Evil things can certainly take center stage: murder, hatred, immorality, abuse, oppression, etc. But things of beauty and importance can also be wrongly placed at the center, and a good thing becomes a heresy and idolatry when given a central role it does not deserve; the good becomes the enemy of the best. This includes things like keeping the rules, like human approval, like family, like doctrine, like order, like passion and zeal, like thrilling and sensational experiences.

It even includes the Church. Sure, the church upholds the gospel. But the gospel creates the church. The church without the gospel is nothing but a tomb. And it includes worship: the music, the order, the experience, the mood. It includes evangelism: the task can become the hub instead of the reality being the hub.

It includes love. Love in general is not the center, the love of Christ for sinners which compelled Him to come down and die for their salvation — that is the center. You may need to get gas in the car, bake a cake, go to grocery store to pick up ice cream for the cake, wrap presents. You may even need time for a nap so everyone is at their best — and not cranky — by the end of the day. Then afterward, there are dishes to do, and clean up of the house. But all the activities are related to and focused on the celebration of that child on his birthday.

There are three ways you could potentially get off track: 1- Doing bad things e.

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This is exactly what we do with the gospel. We forget that it is the central purpose of our lives. We forget that our role as parents is first to pass on the gospel. We forget that our role as neighbors at its core is to represent and promote the gospel in the lives of our neighbors.

We forget that our first role in the workplace is to live lives of love and hope and good works so that others might be drawn to the Christ of the gospel. We forget that our role in the church is at its core to serve the interests of the gospel in the lives of our brothers and sisters. We forget that the most important thing of every day is not to get our to do list done or to act in accordance with Biblical morality, but to remember the gospel and live in fresh awareness of our remarkable salvation and walk with our beloved Savior.

The Pharisees were all about living right. We live right as a result of the gospel and in service of the gospel. The right living God calls us to is right living that flows out of a heart captured by the gospel, and eager to promote the gospel among other sinners who need the same forgiveness we receive from Christ. There are many many details of the gospel, many questions and answers. And all that is good. But there is a tendency to get lost in the details and forget the big picture. We lose the forest for the trees. The older I get the more I realize what a tendency this has been in my life.

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I do things but I forget what the things are for. Satan loves to get us to latch onto something very true and important, which distracts us from the main thing. The main thing is keeping the main thing the main thing. This is our constant battle.

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At its core, the Christian religion is a story, a love story. Every one of us has transgressed the laws of God in our thoughts, words and deeds more times than we could ever imagine.

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I broke this commandment every minute of every day of my life for 27 years. I gave no thought to the true and living God but had a variety of gods that were more important to me, such as my first car and the cute girls I was dating. The problem of sin must be properly explained and not glossed over. Therefore, we need to explain to people that death is punishment from God on our sins. God did not create people with the idea that we would die. God, being righteous and just, cannot accept those who commit crimes against him, and that includes all of us.

The punishment is death. But there are three kinds of death: spiritual, physical and eternal. When Adam and Eve sinned by disobeying God, they did not die physically, but they died spiritually. God had created them as physical beings and placed them in a physical environment and gave them five physical senses through which they would take in data from the physical world and with their minds, compute the data and make appropriate decisions. God is not a physical being, but is a spirit being having no physical parts such as head, body, arms and legs John God is a pure spirit, and therefore God built into Adam and Eve a spirit sensor through which they were able to relate to God.

God told them that they would die if they disobeyed him, and therefore, when they did what God told them not to do, they immediately died in the spiritual realm.

They were dead to the spiritual realm and dead to God Ephesians Later on they died physically, and then, there is eternal death or eternal separation from God and all that is good 2 Thessalonians , Revelation As Jesus hung upon the cross, God the Father took every sin I have committed or will commit and put them on Jesus and punished him on my place. Jesus became my substitute, taking my sins on him and then the wrath of God my sins deserve. The substitutionary atonement is at the heart of the gospel.

This is where we see and understand the great love that God has for us, that the Son would allow the Father to place our sins on him and punish him in our place. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree , that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For Christ also suffered once for sins , the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit, 1 Peter The Old Testament animal sacrifices all pointed to Christ and the work he would do for us through his death. God punished Jesus so he can forgive us and not punish us. The resurrection is essential in the gospel presentation because it proves that Jesus has overcome sin and death.

Jesus would still be dead if just one sin was left in him, because the wages of sin is death. For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption. Psalm Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead , Jesus Christ our Lord, Romans Therefore, the gospel is the truth that we are all sinners or criminals before God, and under the sentence of eternal death or separation from God and all that is good.

In his love for us, God the Father sent God the Son to earth to become a man. Jesus was born without a sin nature, and lived a sinless life. He allowed himself to be crucified, and as he hung on the cross, God the Father took all of my sins, put them on Jesus and punished him in my place. Jesus took the wrath of God for me, and he died. His body was placed in a tomb, and on the third day he came back from the dead, never to die again. God in his love and grace has overcome our two enemies of sin and death, and those who acknowledge to Jesus that they are sinners, and trust him to save them from eternal condemnation are forgiven their sins and given the gift of life eternal with God.

Paul said, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Paul was not ashamed of the gospel, because he knew that God works his power through the gospel to take people from death to life. Support our work. Subscribe to CT and get one year free. Sign up for our free The Exchange newsletter: The Exchange newsletter is a weekly digest of coverage, research, and perspective from Ed Stetzer.

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1 Corinthians 15:1 to 19

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