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The Best Possible News: God Offers Mercy

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Introduction
If you would like to follow along in your Bible, the first passage we will look at is in Romans 1.
This morning we are bringing our 5th Sunday Series, The Best Possible News, to a close. We have been taking a deeper look at the Gospel message that the Apostles preached.
Jesus came to this earth. He left his Father in glory to come here - to be like one of us. He displayed His power and authority during His ministry, and in HIs character He revealed the Father to his disciples.
Then Jesus gave His life for us. He showed such love for us in submitting Himself to one of the worst forms of death that man could create. He was beaten and then crucified as a sacrifice for our sins.
Then, three days later, he conquered sin and death. He was raised from His tomb and was seen by hundreds of witnesses, including those who He chose to preach the Gospel of the Kingdom throughout all the world.
The resurrection is the evidence that the Gospel provides to the fact that Jesus will one day return to this earth. He will raise all of mankind from their tombs, and will be their judge. For those who are the people of God, Jesus will take them, in their glorified bodies, into the presence of God forever.
This is the good news - the best possible news - that we have talked about during the year. This message gives such a great hope to all those who
the Gospel.
To bring our series to a close today, there is one more topic I would like us to consider - How we apply this great news to ourselves - how we can receive God’s mercy and receive salvation through what Jesus did for us.
To bring our series to a close today, there is one more topic I would like us to consider - How we apply this great news to ourselves - how we can receive God’s mercy and receive salvation through what Jesus did for us.
WE MUST SEE OUR NEED FOR MERCY
WE MUST SEE OUR NEED FOR MERCY
This is by far one of the most difficult facts to accept by those who have not obeyed the Gospel. People like to look at themselves as good moral people who are right with God because they do some good things or believe the same way as their parents or have always gone to worship services and Bible studies. No one likes to hear - you are not good - you cannot be right with God and make it to Heaven based on your own works and good deeds.
The Gospel message is not for those who think they are good and righteous and in no need of God’s mercy and forgiveness. The good news is only for those who are humble enough to see the truth - that without the work of Christ, they are without hope.
But this is the truth of the Gospel message. The fact that Jesus needed to die for our sins so that we can be forgiven by God and be in a relationship with Him implies that we did not have those things on our own! We were not right with God and deserving of Heaven without Jesus’ work. No matter how good we may think we or others may be, if we have not received the gift of God’s grace through the cross, we are hopelessly lost, dead in our sin.
This is by far one of the hardest th
This is the point that Paul drives home in the letter to the Romans in chapters 1-3. He shows that every man and woman, regardless of nationality and spiritual background, are lost and in need of God’s grace.
In chapter 1, he describes the Gentiles of his day, talking about the moral depravity that was present...
This is by far one of the most difficult facts for those hearing the Gospel message to accept. If Jesus had to die for our sins, that implies that we are not good enough on our own to be right with God. No matter how good one may think they are, Jesus needed to die for them so they could receive salvation.
This is what the New Testament shows us in many passages. For instance, in , the main emphasis of Paul is the need of Jew and Gentile alike for salvation. Chapter 1 talks about the Gentiles who were suppressing the truth by their sin. They were worshipping false gods and things that were created. Paul gives a long list of sins they were guilty of in verses 29-32.
29 They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 senseless, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful. 32 Although they know God’s just sentence—that those who practice such things deserve to die—they not only do them, but even applaud others who practice them.(, CSB)
29 They are filled with all unrighteousness, evil, greed, and wickedness. They are full of envy, murder, quarrels, deceit, and malice. They are gossips, 30 slanderers, God-haters, arrogant, proud, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, 31 senseless, untrustworthy, unloving, and unmerciful. 32 Although they know God’s just sentence—that those who practice such things deserve to die—they not only do them, but even applaud others who practice them.(, CSB)
As you read through this passage, it seems like Paul is talking about our culture today. Any one of these sins leave someone in need of the work of Christ.
Then in chapters 2-3, Paul shows that the Jews are in need of God’s mercy also. The fact that they were religious, had the law, circumcision, and were descendants of Abraham did not mean that they were right with God. Their unbelief, hypocrisy, and sin left them in the same condition as the Gentiles.
In 3:9-12, Paul says:
9 What then? Are we any better off? Not at all! For we have already charged that both Jews and Gentiles are all under sin, 10 as it is written: There is no one righteous, not even one. 11 There is no one who understands; there is no one who seeks God. 12 All have turned away; all alike have become worthless. There is no one who does what is good, not even one. (, CSB)
There is not one person who can say, “I am a good person. I deserve to go to Heaven on my own merits.” Everyone needs Jesus. No one is righteous without the mercy offered by God through the sacrifices of Christ.
No matter how bad we may think someone is a good person, if they have not obeyed the Gospel, they need to hear it so that they can receive God’s mercy. And an important part of the Gospel message is sharing with someone their need of forgiveness - to show them that without becoming a Christian, they are lost in their sins.
WE MUST, IN REPENTANT FAITH, OBEY THE GOSPEL
The person who understands that they need the mercy of God and feels the weight of their sin - what it has done to their relationship with God - must respond to the Gospel message. If someone truly understands these things and believes the great news of the mercy God offers through Jesus, the need to accept God’s gift of eternal life.
In , the Jews that Peter was preaching to believed what Peter preached and felt the weight of their sin and their need for God’s mercy, and when they asked what they needed to do, here is what Peter said:
38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. (, CSB)
Peter commanded two things to this group:
He tells them first to repent. Their allegiance needed to change. They needed to submit their lives and their will to Jesus. They needed to confess Jesus as their king - the ruler of their lives instead of themselves. They needed to turn away from their sin and seek God’s mercy in their lives.
Second, they needed to be baptized for the remission/forgiveness of their sins. It was at this point, when they were baptized with a believing and repentant heart, that the Spirit would renew them and wash away their sins.
If someone is willing to come to Jesus in repentance and faith, willing to submit to Jesus Christ - making Him their LORD - their Master and King, then they are ready to take the next step in order to receive God’s mercy and to become a disciple of Christ: to be baptized into Christ.
It is at the point of baptism that Paul says in that we enter into Christ. We are united with Him in His death and raised with him to walk in newness of life. We are crucified with Christ and raised out of the water a new creation - born again - no longer enslaved to and ruled by sin.
Now, we need to keep in mind that our faith, repentance, and baptism does not in any way merit our salvation. These are the conditions that God has given to accept His free gift of eternal life. We need to fulfill certain conditions to receive any gift. If we receive a check in the mail as a birthday gift, there are certain conditions that we need to meet in order to receive any benefit from that check. When we sign the back of the check and take it to the bank to cash it, do we in any way earn that gift? Of course not! It was graciously given to us and we just accepted the gift by cashing the check.
We need to fulfill certain conditions to receive any gift. If we receive a check in the mail as a birthday gift, there are certain conditions that we need to meet in order to receive any benefit from that check. When we sign the back of the check and take it to the bank to cash it, do we in any way earn that gift? Of course not!
When we do these things, we don’t save ourselves. We meet the conditions that He gives us to receive the amazing gift that He offers. He saves us by His glorious grace - we humbly submit to Him in repentant faith - calling on the LORD in baptism. It is at this point where He does what He promises in His word. His Spirit cleanses us and renews us.
When we do these things, we don’t save ourselves. We meet the conditions that He gives us to receive the amazing gift that He offers. He saves us by His glorious grace - we humbly submit to Him in repentant faith - calling on the LORD in baptism. It is at this point where He does what He promises in His word. His Spirit cleanses us and renews us.
This is what we must do to obey the Gospel and to receive God’s mercy.
But this is not all that obeying the Gospel entails.
WE MUST LIVE GOSPEL-CENTERED LIVES
WE MUST LIVE GOSPEL-CENTERED LIVES
Obeying the Gospel is not just something we do to become a Christian. It is the way of life for the Christian. Obeying the Gospel of Jesus Christ is something that the people of God do on a daily basis.
This is the main point that Paul is making in . In this chapter, he talks about baptism and repentance and faith, but he does this in the context of reminding the Roman Christians that they needed to continue to live lives that showed that they were slaves of Jesus and slaves of righteousness.
This is the main point that Paul makes in . In this chapter, he talks about baptism and repentance and faith, but he does this in the context of reminding the Roman Christians that they needed to continue to live lives that showed that they were slaves of Jesus and slaves of righteousness.
The fact that they received God’s mercy did not give them the freedom to go ahead and live in sin again. If they did that, they would be enslaved to sin all over again. Paul reminds them of their baptisms because their baptism should teach them how they were to live as Christians. When they were baptized into Christ, they died with Him and were raised to walk in a way that was different than they lived before they became Christians. They were renewed by Christ to live for Him. I like what Paul says in verse 19:
19 I am speaking in human terms, because of your natural limitations. For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.” (, ESV)
19 ...For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.(, ESV)
Do you see what Paul is saying here? He is telling them that they needed to show the same kind of passion for Jesus that they did in living for themselves before becoming Christians. Before they repented, they devoted themselves to sin and grew in the ungodliness they were practicing, to the point of being completely enslaved to it. This is the kind of effort they needed to show as Christians. They needed to submit themselves to righteousness - become enslaved to doing what is right. They needed to grow to become more and more like Christ instead of allowing sin to rule over them.
The Christian life is one of continual repentance and confession and growth. If we stop growing, we are probably dying. We do not ever get to the point where we no longer have sin to overcome. We are always in need of God’s mercy. The more time we spend in God’s word, the more we will see this fact.
We must continue to live gospel-centered lives - lives of sacrifice and devotion to Christ, showing our gratitude for what He has done for us.
CONCLUSION
To bring our lesson to a close, I would encourage you to apply this lesson to yourself by asking yourself a few questions:
First, Have you become a citizen of the kingdom of God?
Have you become a Christian? If not, why not? Remember that you will not be saved because your parents and family members are Christians. Each person must obey the Gospel for his or herself to receive salvation in Christ. Each person must believe the Gospel, submit their lives to Jesus Christ, and be immersed in water for the remission of their sins. This must be done if we want the Gospel message to be the best possible news for us.
First, Have you become a citizen of the kingdom of God?
Second, Are you living a Gospel-centered life?
Have you become a Christian? If not, why not? Remember that you will not be saved because your parents and family members are Christians. Each person must obey the Gospel for his or herself to receive salvation in Christ.
Are you living for Jesus? Are you seeking to grow as a disciple of Christ and to be more like your Lord? Are you still obeying the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
If you can’t say that you have Biblically become a Christian, or if your life as a Christian is not in line with the teaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, then my encouragement to you today is to not delay obeying the Gospel.
Today is the best time to receive the LORD’s forgiveness and to start a new life in Jesus Christ. If you truly believe the Gospel message, that Jesus died for your sins and was raised according to the scriptures, and that he will return at any moment to bring this world as we know it to an end, there is not a good reason to put off obeying the Gospel.
God has given us all the Best Possible News. He offers us all mercy through Jesus. Are you willing to accept it?
Second, Are you living a Gospel-centered life?
Are you living for Jesus? Are you seeking to grow as a disciple of Christ and to be more like your Lord?
If there is anything we can do for you today in order to help you obey the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, why don’t you make your need known as together we stand and sing?
And finally, What can we do for you today to help you get your life right with the Lord?
And finally, if you have not done these things, what can we do for you today to help you get your life right with the Lord?
Today is the best time to receive the LORD’s forgiveness. If you truly believe the Gospel message, that Jesus died for your sins and was raised according to the scriptures, and that he will return at any moment to bring this world as we know it to an end, there is not a good reason to put off obeying the Gospel.
Is there something you need to do today to make your life right with the LORD? God has given us all the Best Possible News. He offers us all mercy through Jesus. Are you willing to accept it?
If there is anything we can do for you today in order to help you obey the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ, why don’t you make your need known as together we stand and sing?
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