THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST TO THE MODERN MAN
THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST TO THE MODERN MAN
By Kola S. Ajibola
Virtually in the world today, there is nothing important and valuable that had not been forged by modern man. However, it is incredible to note that modern man with all his knowledge, scientific breakthrough, super technology and his quintessential abilities still embraces that which is inferior, fake and of little or no value. It is sad to observe further that this is not limited to physical/material things but also to spiritual things; even matters of salvation of soul.
The Gospel as understood by the Modern Man
To the modern man, several gospel of Christ are in existence and acceptable to him. It leans towards several directions which can be broadly grouped into orthodox, Pentecostal, protestant, and the new millennium gospel. This classification is easy to identify if one is acquainted with the prevailing doctrines of a particular group/sect/division/denomination. What is confusing in the whole matter is that all of these groups do lay claim to the Bible as their source of authority. Despite the fact that the Bible did not contain any contradictory teaching, yet the modern man held on tightly to different and contradictory and sometimes conflicting doctrines; this is equally amazing and disturbing to a sincere seeker of the truth.
Today, the modern man accepts, embraces and teaches that Jesus Christ is not the end of the Law and wants to see it taught in Matthew 5:17-18. Meanwhile, the Bible clearly teaches that Jesus is the end of the Law. “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone that believeth.” (Romans 10:4; cf. Galatians 5:4; Ephesians 2:12-17). To the mind of the modern man, there are many mediators (prophets); yet the Holy Bible declared that there is just only one mediator, Jesus Christ (1 Timothy 2:5). In the opinions and views of the modern man, Jesus reconciles God to man which is contrary to the teachings of the Bible which says “Now all these things are from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation, namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation.” (2 Corinthians 5: 18, 19; NASV).
Modern man teaches that Jesus Christ would save anyone who profess faith (Luke 6:46) forgetting that this group will include devils because “… the devils also believe, and tremble.” (James 2:19). Contrary to this teaching of the modern man, the only book that contained the mind of God – the Bible says “…gospel … is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” (Romans 1:16). The modern man believes that God saves some from all churches (the denominations/sects), while the Bible teaches that Jesus Christ is the saviour of the body, the only true church (1 Corinthians 12:12; Ephesians 5:23) which is just one and has its authority in the Bible only (Matthew 16:16-18, Ephesians 4:4; Colossians 1:13, 18, 24).
The modern man understood the gospel of Christ as containing the doctrines of men as he teaches for doctrine the commandments of men (Matthew 15:8,9) which includes direct calling (against the only gospel call available today – 2 Thessalonians 2:14), vision telling (contrary to how God speaks to man today, through Lord Jesus Christ – Hebrews 1:1-2), celebration of feasts, festival which had no scriptural precedence (no Bible passage to support the practice – practices that were never engaged in by the first century Christians) such as Easter, Christmas, Bazaar, etc.
In the understanding of the modern man, one can be freed through praying (1 Peter 3:12), which is contrary to the teaching of Holy Spirit who said one is freed by his obedience to the gospel of Christ (form of doctrine) “But thanks be to our God that you were the slaves of sin, but you have obeyed from the heart that form of doctrine to which you were delivered. Then being made free from sin, you became the slaves of righteousness.” (Romans 6:17, 18). Men today still agree that ‘faith only’ saves contrary to what Bible teaches. The bible teaches that the gospel of Christ saves (Romans 1:16; 1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Ephesians 1:13) when obeyed (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). But the modern man says man has nothing to obey! Hence, the conclusion of the Holy writ: “But also if our gospel is hidden, it is hidden to those being lost, in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving ones, so that the light of the glorious gospel of Christ (who is the image of God) should not dawn on them.” (2 Corinthians 4:3,4).
The Gospel as Revealed in the Scriptures
The gospel of Christ as revealed in the scriptures is very simple, straightforward, it is neither burdensome nor wearisome, not confusing but convincing to those who are not lost (2 Corinthians 4:3); because the gospel is hidden only to them that are perishing; for the gospel “…is hidden to those being lost, in whom the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelieving ones, so that the light of the glorious gospel of Christ (who is the image of God) should not dawn on them.” (2 Corinthians 4:3,4).
Sin made God drove man out of the Garden of Eden. God has purpose and plan for mankind. He desires the very best for mankind and designed the Garden of Eden and put man there with this command: “…tend and keep it. And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, ‘of every tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.'” (Genesis 2:15-16).
But Satan came and deceived the first man (Adam) through his wife (Eve) (1 Timothy 2:13, 14) and both of them fell into transgression – sin. The sin brought pronouncement of God, full of curse upon them. God being just, reward all of them. To the serpent; God said “Because you have done this, you are cursed …” (Genesis 3:14-15), to the woman (Eve), He said: “I will greatly multiply your sorrow and conception; in pain you shall bring forth children; your desire shall be for husband, and he shall rule over you” (Genesis 3:16). To the man (Adam) God said: “cursed is the ground for your sake: in toil you shall eat of it … in sweat of your face you shall eat bread till you return to the ground, for out of it you were taken; for dust you are, and to dust you shall return.” (Genesis 3:17-19).
After these pronouncement, God drove the man out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken and “God placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life” (Genesis 3: 23, 24).
Love of God brought the Saviour. In love for mankind, God promised the Saviour: “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He will bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel” (Genesis 3:15). God chose a man by the name of Abraham through whose seed He would bring into the world the One who would be the Saviour of the world. God promised Abraham, “And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). From the time this promise was made around 2000 B.C. God had continually reminded His people that there was a “blessing” coming; who would bear the iniquities of the people (Isaiah 53). The promise was not only to the descendants of Abraham, the Jews, but to all families of the earth. It was God’s promise to all mankind (every tribe and tongue and people and nation). Peter explained this more clearly on the day of Pentecost that “You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant that God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed will all the families of the earth be blessed.’ For you first, God raised up His Servant Jesus and sent Him to bless you by turning every one of you away from your iniquities” (Acts 3:25,26).
The Seed of Abraham that would bless all mankind was JESUS! The blessing was that Jesus would turn us away from our sins. Paul wrote, “Now to Abraham and Blessing Of The Seed his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, ‘And to seeds,’ as to many, but as of one, ‘And to your Seed,’ who is Christ” (Galatians 3:16). So the Seed was Jesus Christ. He was the same Seed of woman that God promised would crush the head of Satan after Adam had sinned (Genesis 3:15). He would crush Satan by offering Himself as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. This was the great news of the gospel. “But God commends His love toward us in that while we were yet sinners Christ died for us … we shall be saved from wrath through Him … we shall be saved by His life” (Romans 5:8-11).
Jesus Died to bring man back to God from Satan
Jesus, the Son of God, was crucified on the cross of Calvary for the sins of all people (Hebrews 9:28; 1 John 3:5; cf. 1 Corinthians 5:21, 15:3; 1Peter 2:22). He “bore our sins in His own body on the tree, so that we, having died to sins, might live to righteousness – by whose stripes you were healed” (1 Peter 2:24). Jesus died for all of us! Through His sacrificial death, all men who are obedient to His will can have forgiveness of sins. By the death of Jesus Christ on the cross, he crushed the power of Satan so that people might have an escape route from sin and come back to God through Him. He shed His blood (Hebrews 9:22; 1 Peter 1:18,19. Cf. John 10:18). He was buried in a tomb in order to overcome mankind’s problem of physical death, only to be raised by God on the third day after His burial (1 Corinthians 15:4; Acts 2:32), He was raised on Sunday morning from the dead and came forth from the tomb (Mark 16:9).
If modern man would believe that Jesus was raised from the dead, then this belief becomes the foundation upon which the modern man’s faith stands that he (the modern man) will be raised in the end (1 Thessalonians 4:14). The fact is, at the return of Jesus, “all who are in graves will hear His voice and come forth …” (John 5:28, 29). However, only those who have believed on Jesus will be resurrected to life, for only “in Christ” is there hope of resurrection to an immortal state of being (1 Corinthians 15:22). Jesus’ resurrection, therefore, is God’s answer to the physical death problem of modern man.
Jesus thereafter ascended to heaven (Acts 1:9; Ephesians 1:20-22) to sit at the right hand of God: “who is seated at the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens” (Hebrews 8:1). Because Jesus is in heaven, Christians “have a Counsellor with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the whole world” (1 John 2:1,2). Jesus is at the right hand of God making intercession for His own – Christians (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 7:25). He is now King of kings and Lord of lords and has all authority over all things for the benefit of His believers – Christians (Matthew 28:18; 1 Timothy 6:15; Hebrews 1:3).
Jesus is coming again to finalize His victory over death by the resurrection of the righteous from the dead. This is great news for those who have given themselves to Jesus, the Christ. It is bad news, however, for those who have not submitted themselves to Jesus. The disobedient will be raised for destruction when Jesus comes again. Are you looking for the final coming of Jesus? Because of their faith, Christians (those who have obeyed the gospel of Christ without being a member of any denomination) are eagerly “looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God” (2 Peter 3:12). Are you among?
When God sent His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ to the world, He “did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved (John 3:17). By this, “the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men” (Titus 2:11; Ephesians 2:1-10). This being the truth, when Jesus first came, some people who considered themselves to be religious, did not receive Jesus Christ because they had already rejected the will of God (Mark 7:9). Many people today are best described likewise. Will you also be one of those religious people today to whom Jesus comes, but because of your religious traditions and bigotry reject Him? The grace of God is offered to those who do not know God as well as those who have known Him but had been trapped in the world of man-made (modern) religions. God is calling the modern man out of such vain religions in order to enjoy the freedom of His grace. “‘Come out from among them and be ye separate,’ says the Lord. ‘And do not touch what is unclean, and I will receive you'” (2 Corinthians 6:17). That is a command with promise!
What the Modern man should obey to enjoy the Grace of God?
In order for the modern man not to be punished by God on the judgment day, the Holy Spirit sounded the following to warn the modern man and counselled the modern man to “… rest with us when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power.” (2 Thessalonians 1:7-9). Two things are glaring in this passage: one, Jesus Christ is coming to take vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ (the unbelievers). Two, one must obey the gospel of Jesus Christ in order to escape the coming judgment of Jesus (1Peter 4:17).
The modern man is to believe and obey the gospel event (the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus the Christ) as recorded in the Bible and that the death of Jesus Christ is also for the sins of modern man (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; Mark 1:15) and not for the sins of Himself because He was without sin, He is sinless (1 Corinthians 5:21, 15:3; 1 Peter 2:22; Hebrews 4:15; cf. Hebrews 9:28).
When Peter and other eleven apostles were asked on the day of Pentecost, “men and brethren what shall we do?” Peter answered and said Repent and be baptised, every one of you and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts. 2:36-41; cf. Mark 16:15-16). It is important for the modern man to repent in order to be saved (Luke 13:3, 5). Jesus demanded that those that would be His followers must confess their faith with their mouth (Matthew 10:32, 33; Romans 10:8-10).
In the epistle to the Romans, Paul under the influence of the Holy Spirit wrote to Christians in Rome, and thus reviewed their past obedience to the gospel in chapter 6 beginning with verse 3. “Do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him by baptism into death, so that as Christ was raised up from the dead by the glory of the Father; even so we also should walk in newness of life. For if we have been joined together in the likeness of His death, we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection; knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve sin.” In baptism (immersion) we are coming into a spiritual union with Jesus. A covenant is being established. A personal relationship with God is beginning. Because of the seriousness of this teaching, Paul repeats the answer to the question of verse 3 again in verse 5. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, we will also be in the likeness of His resurrection. By Baptism (immersion) into Jesus one is united together in the likeness of Jesus’ death. As Jesus went to the tomb almost two thousand years ago, so we can also go to a tomb (grave) of water together with Him today. Subsequently, we are raised with Him in order to walk in newness of life. This is great (good)news!
In baptism (immersion), therefore, you are buried with Jesus. You are also raised with Jesus. In baptism (immersion) one obeys the gospel, which is the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus. It’s that simple. However, before one goes to the grave with Jesus, he or she must also go to the cross with Jesus. Paul explains this in verse 6. “knowing this, that our old man is crucified with Him in order that the body of sin might be destroyed, that from now on we should not serve sin.” Your old man of greed, selfishness, drunkenness, cheating, lying, spiritual fraud, religious sin, unscriptural worship and practices, innovations and modernisations foreign (strange) to the Bible etc. must die on a cross of self denial with Jesus. Paul wrote concerning his personal crucifixion, “I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me …” (Galatians 2:20). You also must be crucified with Jesus before you can be buried with Him in the waters of baptism. The Bible says, “Repent, and be immersed every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” (Acts 2:38).
What would the Modern man obtain if he should obey the Gospel?
It is mandatory for all to hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe the gospel, obey it by repentance, confession of faith, and being baptised in water. Having done all these, God would now fulfil His promises which He had promised those who believe. The promises to enjoy includes remission of sins (Acts 2:38); the gift of the Holy Spirit (Acts 2:38); eternal life (1 John 2:25; 2 Timothy 1:10; Revelation 2:10).
Where Does This Leads To?
Baptism (immersion) is the door that leads one to benefit from the promises of God. By it, one is put into one body – the church: “For also by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body, whether Jews or Greeks, whether bond or free, even all were made to drink into one Spirit.” (1 Corinthians 12:13). The body is the church: “And He is the Head of the body, the church, who is the Beginning, the First-born from the dead, that He may be pre-eminent in all things.” (Colossians 1:18, 24). This church is not another denomination or inter-denomination, but the true church, the New Testament church whose head is Jesus (Colossians 1:18, 24). It bears no proper name or human-given names but scriptural names which are descriptive such as: the church of God (1 Corinthians 1:2), the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22,23), the church of Christ (Romans 16:16), the house of God (1 Timothy 3:15), the flock of God (1 Peter 5:2,3), the bride of Christ (Romans 7:4; Revelation 21:9), the church of the Lord (God) (Acts 20:28), the household of God (Ephesians 2:19), the temple of God (1 Corinthians 3:16).
Individual members do not bear sectarian names such as “ABC Family”, “XYZ Communion” but few of the terms that are used in the New Testament to describe members of the body are: Disciples (Acts 11:26), Christians (Acts 11:26; 1 Peter 4:16, cf. Acts 26:28), Saints (Romans 1:7; Ephesians 1:1; Philippians 1:1), Children of God (Romans 8:16; Ephesians 5:8), Sons of God (Galatians 3:26; 1 John 3:1,2), Brethren (Philippians 4:21; 1 Peter 2:17), Servants (Romans 16:1,2), Priests (1 Peter 2:5,9; Revelations 1:6).
Those names that are used in the religious world by modern man that divide brethren (believers) should be discarded and disowned. Those who seek to establish unity among brethren will always give up traditional names in order to base unity among Christians on the principles of the Bible (Ephesians 4:4-6). We must always keep in mind that God did not intend to give a specific name to the church. We want to state humbly that it is wrong to wear names that denominate, as well as belonging to denomination. Denominationalism is sinful (1 Corinthians 1:10-13) and was never in the plan of God. Jesus prayed for the unity of believers (John 26:1-26); Paul scolded Corinthians for allowing the spirit of sectarianism (division, denominationalism); the Holy Spirit foretold division among Christians (Acts 20:28-30) of which we are witnesses. Christians must be united, all who are in division are should repent.
The New Testament church worships in truth and spirit (John 4:23-24) with the following items of worship:
- Bible study, teaching and proclamation: “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ” (Acts 5:42; 2:42; cf. Hebrews 1:1-2). They “went everywhere preaching the word” (Acts 8:4).
- Sing Praises To God And Admonish One Another: “speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord” (Ephesians 5:19; Colossians 3:16, cf. Acts 2:47). Note the use of the word ‘sing’. This is non-instrumental music, it is vocal music (Hebrews 13:15).
- Prayer and Fasting: “pray without ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5:17; Acts 2:42). Christians should not be “anxious for anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving” let their requests be made known to God (Philippians 4:6; John 14:13).
- Giving/Collection fir the saints and not tithe: I Corinthians 16:1-2; 8:12. This is done on every Lord’s Day – Sunday. Christians individually are expected to do good unto all men all days and should even be looking for the opportunity to do so (Galatians 6:9-10). Tithes paying and receiving was for Israelites (Deuteronomy 5:1-5, 14:22) and the law had been nailed to the cross of Christ, done away, and taken out of the way (Colossians 2:14-17; Hebrews 8:7-13; Galatians 3:10, 19, 23-25; 2 Corinthians 3:14-17). Christians are to follow the law of liberty, law of Christ in the New Testament (James 1:25, 2:12). Anyone that pay or receive tithes today is under a curse (Galatians 3:10; 5:4).
- Communion: This is also another item of worship that must be done on every Lord’s Day – Sunday (Acts 20:7; I Corinthians 11:23-26, Luke 22:16-20).
So, the modern man must believe the gospel of Christ and obey it in order to be saved and be counted among God’s own people whom Jesus is coming to take home at the end, worshipping God in truth and in spirit.
The modern man has wondered far away from the Lord despite his technology and science. You are the modern man. Would you risk another day? Please, do not turn your face away from God. He has sent this to you. He wants you to take a bold step of obeying the true gospel today. Kindly accept His grace, come to Jesus Christ in faith, confess your faith in Him, repent and be baptised for the remission of your sins into the body of Christ (church of Christ) and for receiving grace, peace and joy with eternal life as promised by Him. Why not obey Christ now!
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