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What is the True Gospel?
AUTHOR: Camping, Harold
PUBLISHED ON: February 27, 2003
DOC SOURCE: CCN
PUBLISHED IN: Bible Studies

                    WHAT IS THE TRUE GOSPEL?

                        by Harold Camping

                        TABLE OF CONTENTS

Introduction

Chapter 1 – What Is the Authority That Sturctures and Determines
            the True Gospel?

Chapter 2 – What Is the Message of the True Gospel?

Chapter 3 – What Is the Mandate of the True Gospel?

                      —————–

Copyright 1987
Family Stations, Inc.
290 Hegenberger Road
Oakland, California  94621

Other Books by Harold Camping

Adam When?
Biblical Calendar of History, The
Feed My Sheep
Fig Tree, The
First Principles of Bible Study
God’s Magnificent Salvation Plan
Let the Oceans Speak
Seventy Weeks of Daniel Nine, The
What God Hath Joined Together
When Is the Rapture?

Other Bible Guides by Harold Camping are available in paper and cassette form.

Scripture Texts Are from the King James Version of the Bible

                    WHAT IS THE TRUE GOSPEL?

                          INTRODUCTION

.    What is  the true  Gospel?  There  is no  question that  is of greater 
importance facing  the world  today.  This  is so because only the true Gospel
will provide the answer that can save us from spending  eternity under the
wrath of  God.  Therefore, as we seek to identify  the true Gospel, we will
endeavor to discover answers to the following questions:  What is the
authority that structures and determines the true  Gospel?  What is the
message  of the true Gospel?  What is the mandate of the true Gospel?
.    We  hear sermons of various kinds;  we read the Bible here and there; we 
generally hear a  lot of good  things about the Gospel.  We hear about how  we
are to walk  as Christians; we see  rules in the Bible that God has given to
us for the  good of mankind.  But, we begin to wonder, what is  the essential
structure of the Gospel of  the Lord Jesus Christ?  Can  we strip away the
peripherals and get  right  down  to  the  very  substance,  the inner core of
the Gospel?

                            Chapter 1

.    In order to know what the Gospel actually is, we must first of all
determine the authority that structures and determines what it is.  This  is
necessary because  the nature of  the true Gospel is defined  and  established 
by  its  divine authority. In fact, the nature  of  every  religion,  gospel, 
and  ideological  system is defined and established by its recognized
authority.
.    A Mohammedan, for example, may wish  to know how to live as  a good 
Mohammedan.  So he  carefully consults the  Koran, a book in which Mohammedans 
believe God has spoken.  The Koran, therefore, is the written  authority that
establishes the  Mohammedan gospel, that is, the Mohammedan religion.  An
orthodox Jew has a different authority. It includes what we  call our Old
Testament, along with the  writing  of  the  church  fathers  that  are
considered to be divinely  inspired.  That  is the  authority that 
establishes the nature and character of the Jewish religion.  On the other
hand, a Mormon  has as  his divine  authority the  Bible, plus the Book of
Mormon,  which is believed  to be divinely  inspired.  Because the Book of
Mormon came later than the  Bible, it has become  a shadow that lies over the
Bible.  That is, someone who follows the Mormon gospel examines everything  he
reads in the Bible  in the light of what is found in the Book of Mormon.
.    Similary,  the  Roman  Catholics  follow still another gospel.  The
authority that structures  and determines their gospel  begins with the Bible. 
But the  Apocrypha books are also a part  of that authority,  as  are  the 
visions  of  Joan of Arc, the visions of Fatima, and the infallible 
utterances of the Pope.  All  of these are looked upon as divine, and together
they make up the authority that establishes the character of the Roman
Catholic gospel.
.    Likewise,  the  charismatic  gospel  has  its  authority.  It believes
that the Bible is  the Word of God, but it  also believes in divine 
revelation through  visions, voices,  or tongues, which expands  their
authority beyond  the Bible.  Therefore,  it has as its authority  the Bible, 
plus the  messages presumably  received from  God  through  dreams,  visions, 
and  tongues.  This widened authority  structures  and  determines  the 
character  of  the charismatic gospel.
.    Bear in mind that every time we have a different authority, we also  have 
a  different  kind  of  gospel.  In other words, every gospel is  structured
and determined by its authority. So when the authorities differ, the gospels
themselves differ.
.    But what  is the  true Gospel  of Jesus  Christ, who alone can save men
and women from their sins?  What is the Divine Authority by  which it is
structured and  determined?  These are some of the most  insistent questions
facing the  church today, because we are living in  a day when  gospels are
proliferating.  Every place we turn we find different  kinds of gospels. 
Indeed, we  wonder, how can I really know I am following the true Gospel?
.    One  definition sometimes offered to  describe the true Gospel is set
forth in I John 4:2.  There we read that if we confess that Christ has come in
the  flesh, then we are of God.  Yet as we read in Luke 4:34, the  demons also
admit that Jesus Christ has come in the  flesh,  and  they  are  still  under 
God’s  wrath.  So that particular definition standing alone may not be 
adequate in every case.  We have to know more about what defines and
establishes the Gospel.  We  must, therefore,  discover the  divine authority
that structures  and determines  the character  and nature  of the true
Gospel.
.    The  Bible indicates that it alone  and in its entirety is the authority 
that establishes the  Gospel of the  Lord Jesus Christ.  Revelation 22:18-19
says it best.

    For  I testify unto  every man that  heareth the words of
    the prophecy  of this  book, if  any man  shall add  unto
    these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are
    written in  this book:  And if  any man  shall take away
    from the  words of the  book of this  prophecy, God shall
    take away his part  out of the book  of life, and out  of
    the  holy city, and from the  things which are written in
    this book.

.    By that statement God  established the parameters of  the true Gospel. 
It is circumscribed by the Bible alone.
.    The Bible, therefore, is the true divine authority.  It is the only 
complete authority that  established the Gospel  of our Lord Jesus Christ. 
Because  it is the divine authority,  because it is from  God, it  is to  be
entirely  authoritative in our lives.  We must eagerly  read it;  we must 
eagerly study  it with  a view to being obedient to it.  And if we discover in
our lives any kind of practice, or any kind of doctrine that is contrary  to
the Word of God,  then as children of God, there will be  within us an earnest
desire to  change that practice  or that doctrine  so that we will become more
faithful to the Word of God.
.    If  we follow an authority that  is narrower or wider than the Bible
alone  and in its entirety, we  are not following the Gospel of the Bible. 
Regardless of how holy it  may appear to be, such a gospel will not lead to
salvation. 

                            Chapter 2

.    But now  that we  know that  the Bible  is the  authority that
establishes the true Gospel, we wonder what the central message of the true 
Gospel is.  We could  say that the Gospel  is God’s love letter to mankind 
whereby we can become righteous,  know the love of God,  come into  the more 
abundant life,  or learn  to live to God’s  glory.  We can think  of a lot of 
verses in the Bible that describe and  perhaps even crystallize the essential
nature of the Gospel.
.    Actually, however, I think we  can find summed up in John 3:16 the core
meaning of the Gospel.  This verse strips away everything else and gets right
down to the essential message.  There we read:  “For  God so loved the world,
that  he gave his only begotten Son, that  whosoever  believeth  in  him 
should  not  perish, but have everlasting life.”
.    Ordinarily theologians  focus on the first  part of the verse:  “For  God
so  loved the  world…”  And  that is a glorious phrase that  introduces  us 
to  the  amazing  truth  that  God  in  His magnificent love  has provided
salvation to all who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.  But the love of God
and  the salvation He has so generously provided cannot  be fully understood
unless  we also understand the meaning of the  word “perish” found later on in
the verse.  Only  too seldom  do we  hear a  sermon on that statement,
“…shall  not perish…”  But the phrase, “shall  not perish,” is also an
integral part of the Gospel.
.    When we search the Scriptures, we find that the word “perish,” as it is
used  in John 3:16, does not mean  “annihilation.” In our English language
when we say, “I will perish,” we think of  dying, of  ceasing  to  exist. 
But  in  the Bible the word “perish” has another definition.  The  Bible tells
us that the  wages of sin is death (cf.  Romans 6:23).  And the  living death 
that God has in view  is  to  exist  throughout  eternity  in  hell.  That is
the predicament  of  rebellious  mankind.  That  is  what it means to perish.
.    The  terrible  problem  of  mankind  is  that  we are sinners.  Remember
Romans 3:10-11:  “There is none righteous,  no, not one:  There is none that
understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.”  The heart  of man  by
nature  is desperately wicked, as we read in Jeremiah 17:9.
.    Because we sin – even a single sin – we will  perish.  Because we  have 
been  created  in  His  image,  God holds each one of us completely 
accountable to Himself  for the conduct  of our lives.  God has appointed a
day at the end of the world  when we are to be judged.  The Bible says in
Hebrews 9:27,  “…it is appointed unto men once to die, but after  this the
judgment…”  And because all of us  are sinners without  the Gospel, we  are
all on  our way to hell.
.    This  terrible  truth  cannot  be  seen with our physical eyes because we
cannot look into the future.  But  what we see with our physical  eyes is  not
the  whole story.  In fact,  it is  a very shallow and incidental part  of
the whole story.  For  example, we may have  had a friend  who died.  We  have
seen him  as a man who lived out his life well regarded  by his fellow man. 
But then  he died.  He was eulogized at his funeral as one of the greatest,
and then  we  all  went  about  our  business and forgot about Brother Jones. 
But if  Brother Jones  died without  the Gospel, that is, without being saved,
the next thing he will be aware of is that he is  standing  before  the 
Judgment  Throne  of God, where he must answer  for  every  sin  he  ever 
committed;  and  these  will be multitudinous.  Any one of these sins could
condemn him to eternal damnation.  For him there  is no escape; there is  no
reprieve, no parole.  There is no way out.
.    Every  day  approximately  200,000  people  die  all over this earth. 
When we  realize that  most of  these 200,000  people die unsaved and that 
the next conscious thing they  will know is that they  are standing before 
the Judgment Throne  of God, subject to eternal  damnation,  then  we  become 
aware  of a horror story of magnificent proportions.
.    We  sometimes hear about an earthquake in  which 50,000 people are
killed.  We hear about wars in which 700,000 or 800,000 people are killed.  We
hear about man’s inhumanity to man.  We hear about famines that kill many
thousands.  But none of these hold a candle to the  most dreadful tragedy  of
all, the  dreadful, daily trauma that faces mankind.
.    The horrors of man’s inhumanity to man, the horrors of famine, of war, or
of  whatever the trauma, result only in physical death.  But physical death in
itself  is not the horror story.  The horror story  is that after  death there
is  the judgment.  God’s perfect justice demands eternal damnation as payment
for sins.
.    Unfortunately we do  not hear this part of the Gospel preached too
frequently.  It is so reprehensible, so sorry, so serious.  It is so terrible
that we  want to forget about it.  We  would rather just talk about the love
of God.  We would rather talk about moral living.  We would prefer to talk
about all kinds of things rather than this very important teaching of the
Gospel.
.    Wonderfully, the truth that hell is waiting for the human race is not 
the whole story.  If  God had written the  Bible simply to tell us that we are
going  to hell, we could still praise God that at least He warned  us.  But
that knowledge  would not do us  much good, because we  are all sinners. 
Because of  our sins, we would still end up in hell.  But woven into the 
fabric of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus  Christ, like a  golden thread running 
through the entire Bible, is the  message of hope.  It is the  message that we
can know the love of  God by trusting in the Lord  Jesus Christ as our 
Savior.  That  is  the  other  side  of the Gospel coin, the central  part of
the  Gospel presentation:  “For  God so loved the world,  that  he  gave  his 
only  begotten  Son,  that  whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but
have everlasting life.”
.    Now why  is it  that if  we believe  in Him  we will not go to hell?  The
Bible tells us that it is because Christ became sin for us!  We read in II
Corinthians  5:21:  “For he hath made him to be sin  for  us,  who  knew  no 
sin;  that  we  might  be  made  the righteousness of  God in him.”  Or, as
Isaiah  53:6 puts it, “the Lord hath laid  on him the iniquity  of us all”
(that  is, all who will hang their lives on Him).
.    That  is the central message of the Gospel.  There is no other news that 
can compare to this.  It begins with the terrible truth that  mankind is
sinful and heading for hell.  But additionally it is the wonderful news that
all of us who cry out to the Lord Jesus Christ for mercy  and hang our lives
on Him  can know freedom from hell because  He became sin for  us.  Laden with
our  sins, as our substitute,  He stood  before the  Judgment Throne  of God
when He stood before Pontius  Pilate.  He was  found guilty for  our sins, and
God poured out His condemnation upon Him to the degree that is was the 
equivalent of every  one of us  who would believe  on Him spending an eternity
in Hell.  In this way  He paid for all of our sins.  He  satisfied God’s 
perfect justice  that demands  eternal damnation as  punishment for sin. 
Since our sins  have been paid for, hell no longer threatens us.  We are no
longer under the law that  decrees that we are to go  to hell.  We are now
under grace.  By God’s  grace we have become children of  God.  We have left
the dominion of Satan (which we were in before we  were saved), and we have
become citizens of the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ.
.    The  pathetic fact,  however, is  that to  a high  degree, the church of
today is no longer aware of this message.  This has been true  to some  degree
throughout  history, but  it is particularly true today.  Obviously, there
are exceptions.  Praise God for the exceptions!  But  to  a  high  degree, 
the  church  has lost its sensitivity  to  the  central  nature  of  the 
Gospel.  Too  many preachers  no longer  talk about  hell.  In  fact, I  once
heard a theologian  from  a  reputable  seminary  publicly say the hell is
“like  being in  an airplane  and just  going round  and round and round.” In 
other words,  he was  ridiculing hell.  He had better read  Deuteronomy  28 
again.  He  had  better read Revelation 14 again, where  it says  “the smoke 
of their  torment ascendeth  up forever and ever” (verse 11).  He had better
read Matthew 13, Mark 9, and  Matthew 25  again where  Jesus says  things
like,  ” there shall  be  wailing  and  gnashing  of  teeth” (Matthew 13:42),
and “their worm dieth not” (Mark 9:44), and where He speaks of eternal
damnation  (cf. Matthew  25:46).  The  only reason  that we do not often read
those passages is because they are so frightening.  But we had better be
frightened  if we are not saved, because  hell is real.
.    But  you see,  if someone  does not  want to  face the central message of
the Bible because he does not  want to talk about hell, then what is  he going
to  do with the  Gospel?  Unfortunately, we find that theologians begin to
change the message of the Gospel to satisfy  their  own  desires.  They 
begin  to  make  the  Gospel political.  They say,  for example, “Christianity 
has to do  with being free from political oppression.”  Or, they begin to
teach an economic gospel by saying  that Christianity has to do with having
enough food to eat and having economic security.  Or, they make it a physical
well-being gospel by saying that the goal of the gospel is good health and
happy lives here on this earth.
.    These  three  aspirations  –  political  freedom,  economic security,
and good health – are  sought by every man.  All mankind seeks  for these in 
one way or  another.  We do  not have to call ourselves Christians to have
these kinds of goals. But the fact is that none of these aspirations has any
direct relationship  to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus  Christ, that is, to the 
true, spiritual Gospel.  Let us see why this is so.
.    In  Luke  16  God  gives  us  the  parable of the rich man and Lazarus. 
Perhaps you are familiar  with that parable.  The Bible reveals that the rich
man had all that money could buy.  Certainly we would assume  that, because he
had all that money, he must have had a lot of  political freedom.  Also, he
had at  his command the finest doctors and the finest nutritionists so that he
could enjoy maximum good health.  Without a doubt,  he had economic  security
and  everything that  goes along  with it.  If anyone appeared to have no
need for the message of  the Gospel, it was this rich man.  He apparently had
everything going for him.
.    On  the  other  hand,  God  talks  about Lazarus.  Lazarus had nothing; 
he was a beggar.  He had no economic security.  He could not afford a doctor, 
even though he greatly needed  one.  Perhaps he slept out on the  streets and
was getting insufficient  food or the wrong  kind of  food.  In  any case,  hs
body  was laden  with sores.  He had  very poor bodily  health.  Certainly, as 
a beggar who would be kicked by everyone who walked by, he had no political
security.  He was considered to be riffraff.  He was  nothing.  If anyone  had 
a  need  for  an  earthly  gospel, it would have been Lazarus.  As the story 
continues, we learn  that both Lazarus and the rich man died.
.    Suddenly  God  strips  away  the  curtain  and  gives the true picture 
of these two men as they are to live throughout eternity.  What  do  we  find?
We  find  that  Lazarus, who had none of the essential  desires  of  mankind, 
is  resting forever in Abraham’s bosom.  This figure of speech indicates that
he is in the place of the highest good, the highest  blessing.  It is a
picture of being saved and being forever in the Kingdom of the Lord Jesus
Christ.
.    On the other hand, where do we find this rich man who on earth had 
everything a man could  want? In this parable,  we see him in hell, piteously 
crying out  to Father  Abraham to  “send Lazarus, that  he  may  dip  the  tip 
of  his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for  I am tormented  in this
flame”  (verse 24).  It  is a picture  of the utterly terrible nature of hell,
and this rich man is to be there forever.
.    Which  of these  two men  really needed  the Gospel?  Which of these men
was really in need?
.    If you had come to Lazarus with a political gospel or a social gospel, 
trying  to  give  him  medicine and offering him economic security,  would
that  have changed  his position  in Heaven?  The answer is no.  He  had no
need insofar as the true, eternal Gospel is  concerned.  Surely,  as a  human
being,  he could have stood a little  food.  As  a  human  being,  he could
have stood a little compassion. But insofar as his relationship to God was
concerned – that is the real need of mankind – he himself had no need.
.    Identifying  the Gospel  message with  political, economic, or cultural 
aspirations  has  caused  the  “Christian  Gospel” to be especially
reprehensible to the leaders  of many nations.  When we send a message forth,
tailored after the desires of mankind, which has  nothing to do  with the
Gospel  of the Lord  Jesus Christ, we enter into areas of activity that
threaten political rulers.  I am sorry to say  that in the past (and it  is
still happening today), missionaries  often  went  to  China  and  to many
other countries spreading  a  gospel  heavily  flavored  by their Western
culture.  Thus the gospel message they brought  became identified to a great
extent with physical prosperity or some kind of political freedom.  But that 
is not  the Gospel  of the  Bible.  These  missionaries, unfortunately, were
giving the wrong signals altogether.  They had begun  meddling in the  affairs
of the  nations to which they were sent, affairs in which they  had no
business and which had nothing to do with the true Gospel message.
.    The  fact is that  the Gospel is  unconcerned with the kind of rulers
that  a nation has.  It is unconcerned  with the political system under which
a people lives.  It does declare, however, that it is God who puts up and puts
down rulers.  It does warn that the citizens of any country are expected to be
obedient in all  things to those  who rule over them.  But it does not 
indicate that one kind of government is to be obeyed more than another.
.    The Bible  is not  concerned about  the economic  situation of those who
hear the  Gospel.  In the day that Jesus ministered, and as the  disciples
went  out, did  man’s inhumanity  to man  exist?  Indeed, it did.  There were
slaves who were  piteously beaten and mistreated.  Was there  economic
uncertainty?  Indeed,  there was.  It was a day when there were no mercy
ships.  Certainly there were people dying  of starvation.  Were there  people
who  desperately needed a healing who did not receive it?  Indeed, there were.
.    Some people  misunderstood Jesus’  mission when  He healed the sick. 
Christ  did  not  come  with  a  gospel that promises good health.  He simply
did those miracles of healing as proofs that He was God and  in order to give
us historical parables through which we can see the  spiritual nature of the
Gospel.  They were earthly stories with a  heavenly meaning.  Once  Christ
went to  the cross and  the apostles died,  we do not  find any further
statements in the  Bible regarding  physical healing.  The Gospel  is
concerned with spiritual healing:  “…by whose stripes ye were healed.  For
ye were  as sheep going astray…” (I  Peter 2:24-25).  The Gospel has to do
with the healing of our sin-sick souls.
.    So the message of the Gospel is that  mankind is on its way to hell, but
that anyone can know God’s love by trusting in Christ.
.    When  we become saved, we are  transferred out of the dominion of Satan, 
which encompasses all the unsaved  people of the world, wherever  they are 
found, in  whatever political  system they are found.  We  are  translated 
into  the  Kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ,  which  is  a  spiritual  nation 
made up of those who are born-again  believers,  regardless  of  political 
ideology,  or cultural  differences, or  whatever.  Salvation  has nothing to
do with political nations.
.    Many theologians fracture the  truths of the Bible  concerning the 
nature of  the  Gospel  when  they attempt to understand the meaning  of 
Christian  unity.  Ephesians  4:4-5 teaches us that:  “There is one body, 
and one Spirit, even as ye  are called in one hope of your  calling; One Lord,
one faith,  one baptism…”  What kind of unity does  God have in view?  Well-
meaning  but misguided theologians,  in attempting to  explain this unity, 
have tried to introduce  concepts into the Gospel that  are foreign to it. 
They effectively believe we  are one in  faith and one  baptism when we have
equal political freedom, or equal economic prosperity.
.    But the true Gospel has nothing to do with political activity. It has 
nothing to  do with  economic desires  or desires for good health.  It looks
far beyond all of  this.  When we have the true Gospel, whether we live in 
Russia, China, Germany, South America, the United States,  or any other 
country, there is  one Lord, one faith, one baptism.  It is spiritual unity. 
It is a faith wherein we understand that our sins  are washed away. 
Spiritually we have become  right  with  God.  Spiritually  we  know  that we
are not sentenced to  hell and that we have  eternal life.  Spiritually we
have become one body,  even though politically or  economically or cultrually
we have no relationship at all to each other.
.    We must not fall  into the snare that many fall  into.  In the Old 
Testament  they  read  about  all  the gold and the silver of Solomon, and 
they read  about the  riches of  Abraham, as well as many  other  statements 
about  great  physical  prosperity.  They conclude, “You see, that is what
happens when we become saved.  We are  to have similar physical  expectations
when we become saved.”  But they fail to realize that  God has set up types
and figures in the Bible.  Old Testament Israel was part  of an earthly story,
an historical picture pointing to  the spiritual meaning of  what the New
Testament church  was to be,  that is, what  it means to  be a child of God. 
The physical prosperity of Old Testament Israel was an earthly story  pointing
to the heavenly  meaning that believers in Christ become  spiritually
prosperous, copiously  feeding their souls on the Bread of Life, which is
Jesus Himself.  The wine vats that  were  filled  to  overflowing  in  the 
Old Testament were a dramatic earthly story  pointing to the  plenteous
flowing of  the blood of  Christ, for  the complete  payment for  all of our
sins.  Whatever  historical freedoms  ancient Israel had  represented the fact
that in Christ we are free from the bondage to sin and Satan.
.    The  problem is, however, that our sin-tainted minds prefer to go to
these historical antecedents  (which are meant by God  to be just  figures and 
types) and  make them  the very  essence of the Gospel.  That  caters to our
sensual nature.  That caters to what all  men  want:  political  freedom, 
economic  freedom, and good health.
.    But that is not the Gospel!  If we try to make the  Gospel fit the
physical characteristics of the Old Testament figures, then we must also offer 
the sacrifices that were to be offered by the Old Testament believers.  In
other  words, we are effectively  denying the fact  that Christ has  come!  In
the  New Testament we  do not find any references teaching political freedom,
economic security, or  good health.  The whole  essence of  the Gospel  is
spiritual freedom in  Christ.  Freedom  from what?  It is  freedom from the
wrath  of God!  It has  nothing to  do with  the politics of this world! 
Simply stated, we have been translated out of the dominion of Satan.  The law
no longer can  send us to hell.  We are free in Christ.  We have  eternal
life.  That is the nature of the Gospel.  That is the only message that we are
to proclaim.

                            Chapter 3

.    Now we have come to the third point that needs to be examined.  We  have 
already  looked  at  the  authority  that structures and determines  the
Gospel, and  we have looked  at the message of the Gospel.  Now we should
examine the mandate of the Gospel.
.    In  the  most  lucid  fashion,  God  has  decreed  that we are mandated 
to bring  the Gospel  message to  all the world:  “Go ye into all  the world, 
and preach  the gospel  to every  creature.” (Mark 16:15).  Jesus commanded
this;  it is not an option.  It is not something  we can do if  it is
convenient, or  if we feel like it.  It is an imperative  command of the
Bibble that we  are to go out  into  the  world  and  preach  the  Gospel. 
We are Christ’s ambassadors  to this sin-sick world – Christ, as it  were, 
making His appeal through us.
.    Remember,  Jesus said  that He came to  seek and  to save that which was
lost (cf.  Luke 19:10).  He has people in  China whom He has come to seek and
to save.  He has people in America who He has come to  seek and to save.  He
has people in Germany and in Russia and in every  nation of the world.  We do
not know  who they are, but we  know from the Bible that they  are people who
were already named in the  Lamb’s Book of Life from the  very foundation of
the world.  So we know  that God has  obligated Himself to save these people.
.    The true ambassadors for  Christ are the born-again believers.  They  are 
the  only  ones  who  understand the real nature of the Gospel.  They  have
come  face-to-face with  the reality  of hell, because they have learned to
trust the Bible implicitly.  They are the  ones  who  have  been  given  the 
marvelous task (which is a mandate as well as a fantastic privilege) to send
the  Gospel into the  world.  There are to be no alibis.  We must do it by
whatever means the Lord has made available to us.
.    But let us be very certain that we  are bringing the Gospel of the 
Bible, and  not the  gosepl of  Europe or  the gospel  of the United  States 
or  the  gospel  of  Mexico or any other perverted gospel.  As long as we
focus  on the basic fundamentals, the true Gospel  is  absolutely  common  to 
every  nation.  It  makes  no difference  what nation  we are  in.  We  all
have  the exact same spiritual need for the  exact same spiritual antidote. 
We need to be set free  from sin through  the blood of  Christ.  Once we  are
free from sin, knowing that Christ has endured hell for  us, then, even if we
must live out the rest of our lives in  a concentration camp, dying of
beatings and starvation,  we still have everything.  Whether we are to merely
exist like  Lazarus as a beggar with only the dogs to lick  our sores, or
whether  we live in a  palace with all the blessings  of this world,  it makes
no  difference.  If we are saved,  we know that we  have the greatest good 
that we could ever have.
.    The  Bible  also  says  that  we  are  to love our neighbor as ourselves 
(Luke  10:27).  But  what  does  it  mean  to love our neighbor  as 
ourselves?  In  John  13:34  Jesus  said,  “A  new commandment I give  unto
you, That ye love one  another; as I have loved you, that  ye also love one
another.”  That establishes the nature of the love we  are to have for
others.  We are to love our fellow man as Christ has loved us.
.    What  was the nature of Christ’s love  for you and me?  Did He come to 
bring us economic  security or political  freedom or good health?  Did He do
any of those things for  Lazarus (cf. Luke 16)?  The  answer is no. 
Absolutely no.  In  His love for  us, He laid down  His life.  He endured 
the wrath  of God, the equivalent of spending an eternity in hell, in order
that  we might have eternal life and not go to hell ourselves.
.    Jesus exhorted, “…love one another; as I have  loved you…” (John
13:34).  If  Christ has desired  eternal life for  me to the extent that He
went to the cross and endured the wrath of God that I might be saved, if that
desire was the focal  point of His love, then that desire must be the focal
point of my love  for others as well.
.    As we look at the world, the one thing we should see, the  one terrible
specter that should grip  our souls, is hell grasping out for  the lives of 
the unsaved of  the world.  Because most people die unsaved, at  a rate of
almost  200,000 a day, hell  is getting its due.  That is the truth that we
should see.  That is the truth that  Christ saw when He  went to the cross. 
In our love for our fellow man,  we want to warn them:  “Don’t you see it? 
Because of your  sins,  hell  is  coming  and  hell  is real.  But there is a
wonderful way of escape through the Lord Jesus Christ.  In my love for you, I
want the  very best for you.  Sure, I  could spend some money to  help you  in
many  ways.  But  if you  die unsaved, even though  your life  may have  been
extended  because you were given some antibiotics, or whatever, what
difference does it  make?  You are still going to die, and after death comes
the judgment.  Can’t you see  it?  If you will  only become a believer  in
Christ, then your  physical  situation,  your  political situation, your
health situation, is altogether unimportant.  You are like Lazarus.  You can 
still  have  the  very  highest  good.  You,  too,  can have salvation.”  To
desire this for others is true love.
.    Notice that Jesus said, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  But how do  I
love  myself?  What  is the  highest good  that I  could possibly desire for
myself?  Is it that I might have more physical prosperity?  Is that the
highest good for me?  Not in any sense at all.  In fact, it may even tempt me
away from serving the Lord the way I ought. Well then, is it to be famous?  Is
it to have a name?  Is it any of the things to which the world aspires?  The
answer is no.  None of those things are the highest good.  The highest good
for me is  what I should desire  for others.  So what  is it?  the one thing I
need  to be sure of  is that I have  been saved.  That is, I must be sure that
my sins have been paid for, so there is no possibility of going to hell when I
die.
.    Can anyone living on the face of the earth possibly think that they are
going  to escape death?  This world has  been around for 13,000  years and, 
with only  two  exceptions (Enoch and Elijah), every human being that has 
ever walked the face of the  earth has died – everyone.  No one has  escaped. 
This is in accordance with the Biblical rule  that it is appointed  unto men
once to  die and then comes the  judgment (Hebrews 9:27).  So this  means that
that is  going to  happen to  me –  unless, of  course, the  Lord comes first.
Therefore,  if  I  truly  love  myself, I am not going to aspire for more of
this  world’s goods.  I am not going  to aspire to have  a little  better
place  in this  world.  Because,  in the measure  that I desire those things,
I am going away from the path that is the  very best for me.  My first and
all-important concern must be that  I am absolutely  certain that I  am a
child  of God, that I am saved.  Only then will I  realize that all these 
other things are  unimportant.  It really  does not make  any difference how
many clothes I have,  what kind of car I drive, whether I even own  a car,  or
what  kind of  situation I  live in.  These things really do not have any kind
of lasting value at all.
.    As  a matter of fact, God  declares in Romans 12:l, “I beseech you 
therefore, brethren, by  the mercies of  God, that ye present your bodies a 
living sacrifice, holy, acceptable  unto God, which is your reasonable
service.”  In the  Old Testament the Israelites were  commanded to  tithe,
that  is, give  10 percent of all their income.  That is the way the priestly
offices were supported.  But in  the  New  Testament  God  wants everything. 
The Old Testament tithe was  just an  example to  us pointing  to the  fact
that God wants everything.  God is  simply saying, “I want all  of you, all of
your  possessions, all  of your  money, all  of your energy, in order that
your task as ambassadors of Christ may  be done.”  That task is  to present
this  precious Gospel of  salvation to a world that is headed for hell.
.    Can we begin to see the truth more clearly?  The golden thread that runs
through the Bible is the message of salvation.  Any time we get off that
thread, or focus, we can be sure we no longer have the  Gospel of  the Bible. 
We will  have a  gospel that has been designed in the minds of men, and we are
going to get into trouble as we try  to bring it  to other nations  of the
world.  A gospel that wrongly  talks about  economics or  politics is  going
to  be resisted, particularly  by political authorities  who rightly feel
their rule is being threatened by political or social gospels.
.    Obviously,  the  true  Gospel  will  also  be resisted.  It is
reprehensible to man.  Mankind does not like to be told that he is going to
hell.  No one wants to hear that.  It is reprehensible to the mind of natural
man to hear that there is nothing he can do to save himself.  Such resistance
can only be changed in the heart of those who become saved by crying  out to
God:  “O God, have  mercy on me, a sinner!”  It  involves having a child-like
trust in Jesus Christ, who  walked the  face of  the earth  a couple  of
thousand years  ago.  It  means my  ego must  be shattered.  It shatters my
self-respect.  It shatters everything that I am.
.    But  that  is  the  only  reason  the  Gospel  should  be
reprehensible.  May  it never  be that  the gospel  we present  is resisted by
the political authorities because we are preaching the culture and politics of
a political  nation.  Such a gospel cannot be the Gospel of the Bible.
.    When we have become children of God, we have come to know that the
highest good in our lives is  that we are saved from the wrath of God; hell
can  no longer clutch at  us.  We are never  going to have to stand before the
Judgment Throne of God and answer for our sins.  Christ has paid it all.  We
are covered by Him.  We read in John 5:24 that those who believe on Him do not
come into judgment, but  have  passed  from  death  into  life.  And, in our
love for others,  that is  the good  we should  earnestly desire  for them. 
That is the message God has mandated us to faithfully bring to the whole
world.
.    As we live out our lives as believers,  faithfully obeying the command to
bring the  Gospel to the world, the  Bible insists that we are to walk very
humbly.  Our example is the Lord Jesus Christ; we read of Him that He was 
meek and lowly.  So  it is that nobody should be  ready to  be reviled 
without reviling  back again,  be ready  to take  whatever is  brought against 
us patiently, and be ready to  give credit to  anybody who wants  it.  Let
someone else have  the  worldly  honor.  The  child  of  God, who has become
a citizen of Christ’s Kingdom, is to walk humbly.
.    But why?  Why are we to walk so humbly?  First of all, because God has so 
commanded.  Jesus, who  came not only  as our example, but  also as our King,
was meek  and lowly.  He emptied Himself of all  His  heavenly  glory  and 
took  on  the form of man, sinful, rebellious  man.  then He became laden 
with our sins.  Nobody has ever  humiliated  himself  like  the  Lord  Jesus 
Christ,  as  He established His Kingdom by going to the cross.  We, who
believe in Him, are in His  Kingdom, and He is  our King, ruling over  us and
commanding  us to  walk honestly  and humbly.  We also  are to be ready to 
be humiliated.  We are  to be ready to  walk as the most humble people on
earth.
.    Besides  that, we walk  very humbly because we cannot take any credit for
our own  salvation.  It is nothing we  can boast about.  We cannot say, “Well,
you know, the real story is that God  saw me and  saw that I  was a little 
bit better than  somebody else, and therefore, He  decided to save  me.”  No
way!  As Ephesians 2:1-3 indicates,  we were  dead in  our sins.  We were 
followers after Satan and after the  lusts of the flesh like the  rest of
mankind.  It is only  God’s mercy, it is  only by God’s grace  that He saved
us.  So we live  out our Christian life  saying, “O my, how  is it possible 
that I can  be a child  of God, that  I can have eternal life, so that I fear
no man?  No matter what happens to me, I know that the moment  I die, I am
going into the heavenly palaces, into glory  with the Lord Jesus Christ, and I
have got everything going for me.  All  I want to do is live out  my life in
service to Him.  I really want to sacrifice my life, to lay it down on the
altar of sacrifice.  I am  consumed with passion that others might hear the
Gospel so that they,  too, can know the wonderful  salvation which God has so
richly provided.”
.    Don’t  we have a wonderful Savior?  Don’t we have a wonderful Gospel,
when we really see what the Gospel is?  We can  just stand amazed before  the
glory  of God  as He  glorifies Himself through this  kind of Gospel.  So 
let’s be sure that  we keep this Gospel message in the forefront of our
thinking and in our hearts.  If we find that at  any time the gospel  we bring
begins to  differ from the true Gospel, let us cry out to God, “O God, forgive
me that  I might  have had  something else  in my  head when  I was trying to
bring the Gospel, that I was trying to tailor it to my own lustful desires.” 
The  true  Gospel  is  this:  I  want  this  wonderful salvation for 
everybody else,  and because  I know  I have become saved, there is nothing
else in this world I need for myself.

                            THE END

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