TRU-24 - The Gospel by John's Most Amazing Description of Salvation

Each of us as followers of Christ, have been commissioned by Him to spend our lives going and sharing the Gospel. Some of us preach, some of us pray, some of us go to other lands, others of us serve in the nursery, adult, youth, or children’s ministry; but each of us are seeking to be a part of bringing others to Christ.

    I’ve spent the past 35 years of my life preaching the simple Gospel, because I believe that Jesus Christ can change every life He’s allowed to touch. 
    
    For most of us sitting in this clean, comfortable, well-lit church auditorium, surrounded by hundreds of believers, that sounds very reasonable.
    
    But, what would you think about being invited to share the Gospel with a group of hardened sinners? Would you really believe down-deep, that there was hope for them? Yes, we should because:
    
    The Power of the
    Gospel is Real
    
But would you feel as confident if you knew those hardened sinners in your audience were actually two-thousand antagonistic, gang members who:

•    All have killed in cold-blooded murder, with their own hands, at least one person (and then went on to eat the dead body);
•    All are presently, actively involved in some form of deep, black, Satanic witchcraft;
•    All have both a heavy drinking and drug addiction history; and
•    All are addicted to living in some form of sexual perversion; either incest, pedophilia, adultery, or fornication. 

Also added to the audience will be several hundred unwed mothers, plus countless divorced and unfaithful women, as well as some legions of hardened children who live in those broken homes.  

Next time you think anyone is too-far gone, too-hopelessly lost, too-far into sin, remember the power of God’s Gospel that takes spiritually dead sinners and change their hearts into His holy temple. 

That power is most beautifully displayed in John 8:11-47, please turn there with me. In a few moments we’ll read those words together, but before we do, back to the gang I was describing.

If you would even agree to such a meeting and teaching time, we still need to ponder, what message do we give to people when we are:

    Reaching Our Hopelessly
    Enslaved World

Add to this opportunity the question, what would you teach them if they asked you to stay in a camping tent, on the ground, in the middle of their village for a month and present more messages about Christ? 

The power of Christ's regenerating Word, even in that type of atmosphere, permeated by sin, means God’s grace allows anyone who will believe the power to say no to sin and yes to walking in His Spirit. Just like the pioneer missionaries found in ancient times, God can change lives even in cultures dominated for centuries by immense evil. 

    This Gang is not
    Hypothetical but Real
 
That crowd of thousands of incestuous, drunken, murderous cannibals, totally naked, living in alcohol and drug induced sexual frenzies, hating and hardened: is exactly the situation that faced one of the most well documented missionaries  of the past 100 years. 

Whenever it seems like the challenge of evangelizing and then discipling those steeped in sin, with the sanctifying work of the Spirit is too hard, I always remind myself of one of the heroes I have admired since childhood—a lone missionary who taught those hopelessly enslaved people the power of God to completely change them from the inside out. 

The year was 1910, the place Central Africa, and the man was Charles T. Studd. 

What was his plan? He started in the Gospels and preached to them the message of Jesus straight from God’s Word. The message of the new birth, of the new heart, and of a Savior who loves so much He will forgive any and all sins. That is:

    The Power of the Simple Gospel
    Jesus Taught in John 8

And what happened? That lone man witnessed one of the greatest workings of the Holy Spirit since Pentecost. Tens of thousands were completely changed from the inside out! 

And 21 years later in 1931, there were scores of local churches, pastored by converted pagans, training homes with married couples raising godly children! 

What is the secret to his incredible success? The simple Gospel Christ taught. 

Listen to that simple Gospel found in John 8:11-47 as we stand to hear what Jesus said.

John 8:11-47 (NKJV) She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”12 Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.”13 The Pharisees therefore said to Him, “You bear witness of Yourself; Your witness is not true.”14 Jesus answered and said to them, “Even if I bear witness of Myself, My witness is true, for I know where I came from and where I am going; but you do not know where I come from and where I am going. 15 You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one. 16 And yet if I do judge, My judgment is true; for I am not alone, but I am with the Father who sent Me. 17 It is also written in your law that the testimony of two men is true. 18 I am One who bears witness of Myself, and the Father who sent Me bears witness of Me.”19 Then they said to Him, “Where is Your Father?”Jesus answered, “You know neither Me nor My Father. If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also.”20 These words Jesus spoke in the treasury, as He taught in the temple; and no one laid hands on Him, for His hour had not yet come.21 Then Jesus said to them again, “I am going away, and you will seek Me, and will die in your sin. Where I go you cannot come.”22 So the Jews said, “Will He kill Himself, because He says, ‘Where I go you cannot come’?”23 And He said to them, “You are from beneath; I am from above. You are of this world; I am not of this world. 24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”25 Then they said to Him, “Who are You?”And Jesus said to them, “Just what I have been saying to you from the beginning. 26 I have many things to say and to judge concerning you, but He who sent Me is true; and I speak to the world those things which I heard from Him.”27 They did not understand that He spoke to them of the Father.28 Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. 29 And He who sent Me is with Me. The Father has not left Me alone, for I always do those things that please Him.” 30 As He spoke these words, many believed in Him.31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”33 They answered Him, “We are Abraham’s descendants, and have never been in bondage to anyone. How can You say, ‘You will be made free’?”34 Jesus answered them, “Most assuredly, I say to you, whoever commits sin is a slave of sin. 35 And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. 36 Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed.37 “I know that you are Abraham’s descendants, but you seek to kill Me, because My word has no place in you. 38 I speak what I have seen with My Father, and you do what you have seen with your father.”39 They answered and said to Him, “Abraham is our father.”Jesus said to them, “If you were Abraham’s children, you would do the works of Abraham. 40 But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. 41 You do the deeds of your father.”Then they said to Him, “We were not born of fornication; we have one Father—God.”42 Jesus said to them, “If God were your Father, you would love Me, for I proceeded forth and came from God; nor have I come of Myself, but He sent Me. 43 Why do you not understand My speech? Because you are not able to listen to My word. 44 You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 45 But because I tell the truth, you do not believe Me. 46 Which of you convicts Me of sin? And if I tell the truth, why do you not believe Me? 47 He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”

Pray

There is no heart God can’t change. 

There is no life, no past, no sin, no stain, no failure, and no habit that God can’t change if you will let Him. 

Are you letting the Lord change you? Are you responding? Is Jesus Christ controlling you more each day? He wants to.

Listen to this account from the memoirs of Missionary Studd:

A Testimony to the
Power of Christ's Word

In Africa when I began to invest in the natives in 1910 I arrived to villages of black skinned, naked cannibals who were totally given over to witchcraft. 

By night they spent their time with orgies to the demons, worshiping the gods of darkness in every impure act imaginable. To the pulsating beat of the drums, dancing by dim and flickering fires passion gave in to beast-like frenzy. 

Sometimes it was incest, sometimes it was adultery, sometimes it was murder, always it was hard, godless and cruel. 

By day there was hatred and guilt. Stealing other’s wives, sometimes murdering and eating even their own relatives. Think of a culture that was always hateful, always mean, always deceptive, always harsh and always cruel. Always enduring a mind tormented by lives of shame and filth. 

That was the picture at my arrival in 1910 to the northeast corner of the Belgian Congo, and to the 22 tribal settlement areas. What caused me to doubt anything would happen were these questions:

•    Is it possible to change the entire disposition of a murderous cannibal? 

•    Is it possible to see a lifetime of lust, filth, gross immorality and debauchery stop? 

•    Is it possible to see murderers become loving; cannibals to become tender; adulterers to become faithful; and the demonized to become holy? 

The power, of the Gospel of the Cross says yes, to all these and much more. 

Jesus Alone Changes
Hearts and Lives

In 21 years of constant labors CT and his team saw God totally transform each of those villages. By the hot, steamy summer of 1931 CT’s congregation had exploded in numbers. They sat for hours, listening to his Bible teaching, numbered in the thousands of former headhunters. 

But those final days in July of 1931 would be the last sight of his dear saintly converts Studd would get on earth. In Africa at his death there were 30,000 fellowshipping in the churches, born again, baptized and discipled saints whom C.T. found in 1910 as naked, murderous, grossly immoral cannibals butchering each other in the darkest jungles of Africa. Their bodies, formerly the habitation of dark, foul fiends from the pit—are temples of the Living God. That is:
    
    The Power of God’s Simple
    Plan of Salvation
    
    Remember, we got here because John captures Jesus describing in 24 different settings, those believers who will surround the Throne.
    
     We have seen that truly saved, born-again Christians are described in the Gospel According to Jesus, in the Book of John as: 
    
1.    A believer in the Gospel according to Jesus possesses Christ, and becomes God’s Child by a Supernatural event.   John 1:12-13
    
2.    A believer in the Gospel according to Jesus understands that salvation is only by trusting in One who took my place. John 1:29

3.    A believer in the Gospel according to Jesus is overwhelmed by the Spirit of God. John 1:33

4.    In John 2: A believer in the Gospel according to Jesus is saved only by hanging onto Christ alone. John 2:11Salvation is a person, and He is our substitute, and we cling to him!
    
5.    In John 3: A believer in the Gospel according to Jesus gets to start life over again, seeing Christ as their only hope to live the truth and love the light, and have God’s wrath removed forever. John 3:3,7,15-16,18,20-21,36.
    
6.    In John 4: A believer in the Gospel according to Jesus drinks Christ as the water of life, and finds Him the spring that never runs dry; and begins a life of worshipping Christ as our only hope. John 4:10,14,23-24,39,41-42.
    
7.    A believer in the Gospel according to Jesus takes Christ at His Word. John 4:50,53 

8.    In John 5: A believer in the Gospel according to Jesus is someone who hears, believes, crosses over, and does good. John 5:21, 24, 28-29
    
9.    In John 6: A believer in the Gospel according to Jesus is securely drawn to Christ, partakes of Him, and stays in Him, because salvation equals abiding in Christ. John 6:27,35,37,39-40,44,47,51,54,56.

10.    A believer in the Gospel according to Jesus is someone who has genuine spiritual life, because they are enabled by God. John 6:63,65,66 

11.    A believer in the Gospel according to Jesus is someone who chooses to do the will of God. John 7:17 

12.    A believer in the Gospel according to Jesus is someone whose life is overflowing with the Spirit of God. John 7:37-39 

Now we look at the most beautiful moments of Christ's ministry in John 8:1-11.

John Records the Most Amazing
Message of Salvation in John 8:11-47

In John 8 we find what may be the high-point of Christ's explanation of the “switches” God turns on inside true believers, the instant He saves them:    

13.    A believer in the Gospel according to Jesus is someone who leaves their life of sin, believes in Jesus, dies sinless, holding Christ's teachings, really following Christ, knowing truth, set free by truth, belonging to God, and hearing His voice. (John 8:11,24,30,31,32,44,47):

SAVED PEOPLE LEAVE THEIR LIFE OF SIN, v. 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

SAVED PEOPLE BELIEVE IN JESUS, v. 24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He, you will die in your sins.”

SAVED PEOPLE DIE SINLESS, v. 24 Therefore I said to you that you will die in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am He,you will die in your sins.”

SAVED PEOPLE PUT THEIR FAITH IN JESUS, v. 30 As He spoke these words, many believed in Him.

SAVED PEOPLE HOLD HIS TEACHINGS, v. 31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.

SAVED PEOPLE REALLY ARE CHRIST'S DISCIPLES, v. 31 Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed.

SAVED PEOPLE KNOW THE TRUTH, v. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

SAVED PEOPLE HAVE BEEN SET FREE, v. 32 And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.”

SAVED PEOPLE BELONG TO GOD, AND HEAR GOD,v. 44,47You are of your father the devil, and the desires of your father you want to do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaks a lie, he speaks from his own resources, for he is a liar and the father of it. 47 He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.”

Salvation is when we go from Sightlessness
To Seeing Christ (John 9:35-41)

14.    In John 9: A believer in the Gospel according to Jesus is someone who worships Christ as their sight-giver. 

John 9:35,38-39,41 Jesus heard that they had cast him out; and when He had found him, He said to him, “Do you believe in the Son of God?” 38 Then he said, “Lord, I believe!” And he worshiped Him.39 And Jesus said, “For judgment I have come into this world, that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may be made blind.” 41 Jesus said to them, “If you were blind, you would have no sin; but now you say, ‘We see.’ Therefore your sin remains. 

Next time as we open to John 10, we will see that:

True Sheep Hear the Voice of Jesus Christ as
Shepherd and Follow Him (John 10:1-14)

Please reach down and grab a hymnbook.

Join me in singing about the power that can change anyone. It is called the glorious grace of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Next time you think anyone is too-far gone, too-hopelessly lost, too-far into sin, remember the power of God’s Gospel that takes spiritually dead sinners and change their hearts into His holy temple. 

Remember what God did through just one man in the heart of Africa, and then ask God to use you to accomplish His purpose He has planned for you when He created you and me for good works in Christ Jesus.

Marvelous Grace # 201