The only real, lasting encouragement a sinner can have in this world is to be found in, through and by the glorious gospel of Christ Jesus our Lord and Savior. This gospel is the declaration that based upon the person and finished work of Christ; God will give grace and glory to all those in whose stead the Savior died and arose. It is not a message of stipulations man must meet in order for the grace of God to flow to the undeserving; rather, it is the announcement that God, for Christ’s sake, receives and saves a multitude of unworthy sinners. This is a salvation altogether of grace, conditioned only upon the blood and righteousness of the Son of God. 1. This message gives hope to sinners who merit the wrath of God. "When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6).
2. This message gives peace and assurance to those who believe on Him. "Fear not: for I have redeemed thee, I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine" (Isaiah 43:1).
3. This message motivates the children of God to praise, worship and faithfulness. "The love of Christ constraineth us" (2„ÄÄCorinthians 5:14).
4. This message encourages every preacher of the gospel because the Lord has promised that as His Word goes forth, "it shall not return unto Me void" (Isaiah 55:11).
--- Pastor Jim Byrd
THE INFLUENCE OF ATONING BLOOD
Has atoning blood so influenced our eyes that we see no true beauty apart from Christ crucified? Has atoning blood influenced our ears so that we can listen to no sound so sweet as that of Jesus’ precious name? Has atoning blood so influenced our hands that we are willing to labor for His sake? Has atoning blood so influenced our feet that we cannot safely take a single step without Him? If this is the case with us, then we are the servants of Jesus Christ, bought with His blood, born into His house and blessed with His bounty.
--- Thomas Bradbury
Speaking the Truth in Love
Paul is exhorting believers in unity and love. In Eph. 4:11-14, he says that God has ordained pastors and teachers for the edification of His people, that they might come to this unity and abound in Godly love. Pastors and teachers are to encourage God's people in the faith. They are not sent to rule as tyrants. They are not sent to ridicule and embarrass. They are not sent to be moral watch-dogs over people. They are sent to preach and teach God's Gospel, its particulars and implications, all aimed towards the glory of God in Christ, the salvation of sinners, and the edification and growth of God's people.
How can pastors and teachers attain this goal? They attain it by "speaking the truth in love." The greatest love we can show anyone is to tell them the truth in light of God's Gospel of eternal salvation and final glory based on the righteousness of Christ alone. The greatest love we can show to lost people is to tell them the truth of how they are lost and how their deeds are evil in light of the only way of salvation revealed in the Gospel. The greatest show of compassion is to expose their disease (the guilt and defilement of sin), and then show them the only remedy (Christ established a righteousness that demands the salvation and final glory of all for whom He lived, died, and arose). The greatest show of love we can give to saved sinners is to comfort them with the assurances of grace and salvation based on God's testimony.
Truth and love go together. The lost world will not recognize this love as they do not know us (1 John 3:1). Some have said that people will not listen to your doctrine until they see your love. Now we desire that people know that we love them, but such a statement is not true of God's people as they recognize the love in telling them the truth, and it is not true of lost people as they view the truth of the Gospel as unkind and mean because it exposes that they are lost and that their deeds are evil (John 3:19-20; 7:7; 16:1-3). One thing we know – there is no love in promoting any person in a false refuge by speaking peace to them when there is no peace based on God's Word. That is only self-love.