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The Gospel: Why it's Important

The Gospel: Our Lifeblood  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  58:46
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This series tackles foundational issues about the gospel and the Christian life. What is the gospel? Why is the gospel important? How do I know if I’m saved? How does a person go from being dead in sins to being a citizen of God’s kingdom? What is our identity in Christ? How should we live now that we are children of God? Regardless of whether you’re a mature follower of Christ or an unbeliever, these are truths that, for the sake of eternity, you can’t live without.

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The Danger of Spiritual Deception…

The Danger of Spiritual Deception…
Jesus is everything. He is the Alpha and Omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last. He is the bread of life, the chief cornerstone, the creator, our deliverer, our everlasting Father. He is God. He is the Good Shepherd, the Great High Priest, the Holy One, and the hope of glory. He is the great I AM. He is the image of the invisible God, the Judge of the living and the dead. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He is the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. He is the power of God. He is the resurrection and the life. He the way, the truth and the life, the very Word of God made flesh.
Jesus is all these things, and so many of us treat Him simply as the leader of a religion and act like He’s not the most important thing in our life. Do you realize you need Him for every breath. The only reason your heart is beating at this moment is because of Jesus.
We’re going to begin a new series that I believe is eternally important. I believe there are many people across this country today who are sitting much the way you are and believe that as long as they prayed that prayer or walked down the aisle and signed that card that their salvation is secured. It has been reduced to a religious rite or rite of initiation.
What I never want is any one of you to be under the sound of my preaching for years and one day stand before Jesus and He says to you, “Get away from me, I never knew you.” At the end of His sermon on the Mount Jesus gave a very clear picture of someone who thought they were right with Him, but were very mistaken. I want us all to make sure we get it right. It’s of eternal importance. Let’s listen to Jesus’ words...
Matthew 7:13–27 NKJV
13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it. 15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. 19 Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. 20 Therefore by their fruits you will know them. 21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’ 24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: 25 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock. 26 “But everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27 and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”
Matthew 7:13-27
This is how Jesus ends the Sermon on the Mount, with a picture of a house, symbolizing one’s life, falling with a great crash. What Jesus is telling us here is that it’s possible to deceive ourselves in the most important issue of this life. He is speaking of the devoutly religious people of His day who were deluded into thinking that they were on a road that leads to life, when in reality, most of them are on a road that leads to death. They have the rituals down pat, but don’t have the relationship.
Just because you’re here today and think you’re right with God, doesn’t mean you’re saved. I want us to make sure you know for real.
So I want us to very intentionally unpack these three pictures Jesus gives: Roads and trees and foundations. I want us to see what Jesus is telling us about the danger of spiritual deception. We’ll start with the first picture in verses 13 and 14.
Matthew 7:13–14 NKJV
13 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.
Warning number one from Jesus in the danger of spiritual deception...

We gravitate toward that which is easy and popular.

The wide gate, the broad road, is the easy road. Now don’t miss this: It’s the religious road that doesn’t require much of you. Remember, Jesus was talking to religious people. Contemporary picture…all that’s required on this road is a one-time decision for Jesus. A one-time decision to pray to Jesus, and after that, you don’t need to worry about the commands of Jesus, you don’t have to worry about anything else. You have a pass to heaven, and your sins will be tolerated along the way.
Now don’t misunderstand me, salvation doesn’t require anything but faith. But many…their faith is in a prayer or walking down the aisle and making a transaction with Jesus. They have no intention of surrendering their life to Him and acknowledging Him as Lord. They’ve taken the easy road. It’s like someone wanting to lose weight but not wanting to change their lifestyle. Just take a pill and lose weight while you sleep. It doesn’t work that way.
He says, “Enter by the narrow gate… narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life.” What’s really interesting is that He uses two different words that are often translated for narrow here in the original language of the NT. The first time you see it there in verse 13, the word literally means, “to groan as if you’re under pressure; to be pressed on all sides.” Narrow gate.
The second time he uses it, “narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life.” the word that’s used here is the verb form of the noun that’s used throughout the NT to talk about tribulation, most often persecution. What Jesus is saying when He talks about the narrow gate, He’s saying that...

The way of Christ is hard to follow.

We tend to gravitate toward that which is easy and popular, but the way of Christ is hard to follow. Jesus already set the stage for that earlier in His Sermon on the Mount when He said that following Him would bring persecution. “You follow Me, you will be persecuted.” This goes completely against what we expect. and second...

The way of Christ is hated by many.

Matthew 10:17 NKJV
17 But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues.
Because they hate the way of Jesus. Go down to verse 21...
Matthew 10:21 NKJV
21 “Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death.
Matthew 10:21–22 NKJV
21 “Now brother will deliver up brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 22 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
Now verse 37...
Matthew 10:37 NKJV
37 He who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me. And he who loves son or daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me.
How is that for hard to follow Jesus? Some of you may be thinking, “Isn’t that being a little extreme? Jesus is trying to get the point across that the danger of spiritual deception is that we gravitate toward that which is easy and popular. The second warning from Jesus...

We can profess publicly what we do not possess personally.

This is verses 15 through 23 back in where Jesus addresses false prophets, false professors of faith. He says, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing...” i.e., they look like they know Christ, they look like they have Christ, and they even speak to Christ like they know Him. That’s the picture in verses 21-23.
Matthew 7:21–23 NKJV
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22 Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ 23 And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’
They’re crying out to Jesus. “Lord, Lord!” There’s not just fervor but orthodoxy. They’re acknowledging the lordship of Jesus. They were even driving out demons and performing miracles. How could they do these things if they didn’t know Christ?

The way of Christ is always fruitful.

Don’t be misled. All throughout Scripture, we see God using those who are opposed to Him to accomplish His will. All throughout Scripture, we see Satan at work in deceptive ways. You think about it. God … Old Testament picture … He’s using Balaam … not just Balaam; He uses Balaam’s donkey. This is no saved donkey. This is a donkey that God uses. It’s Caiaphas in who prophesies. It’s the sons of Sceva in ; they’re driving out demons. It’s ; it’s false prophets and false christs who are performing signs and wonders. All of these extravagant things only deceiving the reality that they are professing publicly what they do not possess personally. Jesus looks at those who are crying out “Lord, Lord, did we not do these things in your name.” He quotes to them and says, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers.
So, how do we know if what we profess publicly, even here, what we’re singing … how do we know if what we’re professing publicly is something, someone, we possess personally? How do you know that? Jesus says two things. He says, number one,
David Platt, “The Gospel: Why It’s Important,” in David Platt Sermon Archive (Birmingham, AL: David Platt, 2008), 1264.

The way of Christ is always fruitful.

Matthew 7:16–18 NKJV
16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? 17 Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. 18 A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.
Matthew 7:16 NKJV
16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles?
Not by their extravagant things you see. If someone is following Christ, they bear the righteousness of Christ, the love of Christ, bear the fruit of Christ. What this means is, if you don’t see the righteousness of Christ, then Christ is probably not there. The way of Christ is always fruitful. ...
James 2:14–18 NKJV
14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. 18 But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without your works, and I will show you my faith by my works.
The way of Christ is always fruitful, and second...

The way of Christ is always faithful.

Listen to what Jesus said to these false professors in verse 21...
Matthew 7:21 NKJV
21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.
Did you hear that? The one who enters the kingdom of heaven is the one who does the will of the Father.

We assume salvation without biblical foundation.

Now, I want to be very, very, very careful here because it’s at this point that we can begin to twist the gospel into something that it is not. We’re not going to dive in-depth, tonight, into a picture of obedience, works in relation to salvation. However, hold on to this phrase: “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.” Jesus says, “My way is always fruitful, and it’s always faithful.” Ladies and gentlemen, if there is not fruitfulness or faithfulness springing from your relationship with Christ, then that relationship with Christ may not exist altogether. This haunts me as a pastor; this frightens me as a pastor. It brings me to my knees to think that we can profess publicly what we do not possess personally. The third danger of spiritual deception is...
David Platt, “The Gospel: Why It’s Important,” in David Platt Sermon Archive (Birmingham, AL: David Platt, 2008), 1265.

We assume salvation without biblical foundation.

These are the last two illustrations. It’s the picture of the builders, and the builders have some things in common. Both the builders hear the words of Christ. Both of the builders construct homes that, it’s implied here, are similar to each other, similar circumstances. From the outside, they probably even looked the same. They face the same storm, but the difference is in the foundation. One built on rock; one built on shifting, unstable sand.
No one builds a house knowing it’s going to collapse. They had good intentions. They just didn’t realize they were unknowingly building their house on sand.
Jesus says, “How do you know when your life, house is built on a rock and when it’s built on sand?” Two factors summed up in verse 24 and repeated in a different way in verse 26. He says..
Matthew 7:24 NKJV
24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:
Matthew 7:24
Two things. Number one: He’s saying...

The way of Christ is dependent on His Word.

Dependent on hearing His Word.
Don’t miss it: Jesus is not saying that the people who build their houses on sand don’t have a foundation. They have a foundation; it’s just a bad foundation. He’s not telling the religious folk in that they don’t have a foundation for their life. They have a foundation, but instead of being built on the Word of Christ, it’s built on external standards and opinions, thoughts, rules and regulations that they have constructed, they have packaged together to say, “If you do these things, your life will be valued by God. You will bring honor to God. If you do these things, you will be okay with God.” Certainly, there are threads of the Word all throughout there, but it’s heaped on by man’s traditions and opinions and thoughts and practices. He says, “This is an unstable foundation; it’s like sand.”

The way of Christ is obedient to His Word.

Biblical evangelism involves wrestling with the depth of the sinfulness of our soul and crying out to God, because we realize we have absolutely nowhere else to turn. Biblical evangelism sees Jesus, not as someone who is looking for an invitation, but Jesus is the one who is infinitely worthy of all glory, and demands immediate, total obedience; immediate and total surrender. Biblical evangelism knows nothing of praying a prayer and then going on and living your life like nothing has happened. Biblical evangelism demands radical obedience to Christ.
David Platt, “The Gospel: Why It’s Important,” in David Platt Sermon Archive (Birmingham, AL: David Platt, 2008), 1265.
Not just dependent on His Word, but...
David Platt, “The Gospel: Why It’s Important,” in David Platt Sermon Archive (Birmingham, AL: David Platt, 2008), 1266.

The way of Christ is obedient to His Word.

The way of Christ is obedient to His Word.

We’ve already talked about this with verse 21. We’ve kept putting it off and we’re going to keep putting it off. Just hold on to this in your minds that Jesus says, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice …” This is what differentiates the guy with the rock house and the guy with the sand house. They both heard the Word. The guy with the sand house did not put them into practice. He did not obey them.

Listen to your Savior.

We’ve already talked about this with verse 21. We’ve kept putting it off and we’re going to keep putting it off. Just hold on to this in your minds that Jesus says, “Everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice …” This is what differentiates the guy with the rock house and the guy with the sand house. They both heard the Word. The guy with the sand house did not put them into practice. He did not obey them.
Jesus is saying,
“You live your life, you build your house on the righteousness of Christ and the Word of Christ and obedience to the Word of Christ, and when the storm of God’s judgment comes, you will be standing because of the power of Christ, your rock. The power of His words and the foundation … His righteousness in your life. If you build your house on the words of man, even the words of the Christian culture you live in, you build your house on these things and do not hear my Word and put them into practice, then you have built your house on sand and when the storm of God’s judgment comes, it will fall. Your life will fall eternally in a great crash.” Have you assumed salvation without biblical foundation? The path to Spiritual Authenticity...
David Platt, “The Gospel: Why It’s Important,” in David Platt Sermon Archive (Birmingham, AL: David Platt, 2008), 1266.
David Platt, “The Gospel: Why It’s Important,” in David Platt Sermon Archive (Birmingham, AL: David Platt, 2008), 1266–1267.

Listen to your Savior.

Listen to the Word of Christ and Scripture. Here’s what I want to challenge us to do from the very beginning. I want to challenge us, in the days ahead, to test our traditions and our thoughts and our ideas with the words of Christ. I’m not saying in any way that we’ve missed everything, and we’re completely wrong, and we need to throw everything in our faith out the window. I’m not saying that. However, I am saying that we need to be very, very careful that we don’t do what Jesus warned against in , when He said, “You nullify the Word of God for the sake of your traditions.” We’ve got to be careful here.

Examine yourselves.

Listen to the Word of Christ and Scripture. Here’s what I want to challenge us to do from the very beginning. I want to challenge us, in the days ahead, to test our traditions and our thoughts and our ideas with the words of Christ. I’m not saying in any way that we’ve missed everything, and we’re completely wrong, and we need to throw everything in our faith out the window. I’m not saying that. However, I am saying that we need to be very, very careful that we don’t do what Jesus warned against in , when He said, “You nullify the Word of God for the sake of your traditions.” We’ve got to be careful here.
This is the danger of spiritual deception. We can heap on our traditions and think we’re okay because we’ve covered up the reality that is underneath. So, I want to invite you to listen to the words of Christ and to study the words of Christ on your own. So, you’re thinking, “I don’t know what he’s talking about: obedience and salvation.” Well, go study and find out what the Bible says about obedience and salvation. Get into the words of Christ and hear what Christ says. Listen to your Savior and let’s let Christ, by His Spirit, open our eyes to the truth of what He is saying.
David Platt, “The Gospel: Why It’s Important,” in David Platt Sermon Archive (Birmingham, AL: David Platt, 2008), 1267.

Examine yourselves.

I know that some of you are thinking that this is a little too “out there” for you, and this is kind of dangerous even. It’s dangerous to ask questions like this. It’s dangerous to question where you are in your faith. Listen to the words of . The Bible says to...

Pray for your souls.

I know that some of you are thinking that this is a little too “out there” for you, and this is kind of dangerous even. It’s dangerous to ask questions like this. It’s dangerous to question where you are in your faith. Heed the words of . The Bible says to
2 Corinthians 13:5 NKJV
5 Examine yourselves as to whether you are in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?—unless indeed you are disqualified.
David Platt, “The Gospel: Why It’s Important,” in David Platt Sermon Archive (Birmingham, AL: David Platt, 2008), 1267.
Isn’t that a great verse? It reminds us, “Here’s why this is a good path to go down. Here’s why this is good to go down, because if we truly know Christ, if we are sitting in here, and we truly know Christ, then in the weeks to come, we will realize more and more and more the beauty of who Christ is in us. We will realize more and more the beauty of the gospel that has saved us from our sins.” The gospel that is the foundation for every facet of our lives. The gospel, I pray, will come alive in new ways to us. That’s a good thing.

Pray for your souls.

Isn’t that a great verse? It reminds us, “Here’s why this is a good path to go down. Here’s why this is good to go down, because if we truly know Christ, if we are sitting in here, and we truly know Christ, then in the weeks to come, we will realize more and more and more the beauty of who Christ is in us. We will realize more and more the beauty of the gospel that has saved us from our sins.” The gospel that is the foundation for every facet of our lives. The gospel, I pray, will come alive in new ways to us. That’s a good thing.
Then, on the other hand, for those of us who are sitting in here who do not truly know Christ, who are spiritually deceived into thinking you’re on one road when the reality is, you’re on another road, it will be a very good thing that we’ve gone through this study. A very good thing. An eternally good thing.

Pray for your souls.

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