Devotional: The Power of the Gospel in the Hands of Friends.

Well, I could not leave this topic alone. I have been listening to a lecture series by R. C. Sproul of Renewing Your Mind where he has been presenting an exposition on a recent document called The Gospel of Jesus Christ: An Evangelical Celebration. RC has really put it together regarding the essence of the Gospel and I have been thrilled to renew my own commitment to our Lord, Jesus Christ as my personal Savior.

Truly, a personal relationship with Jesus Christ as His disciple and as a sinner saved by grace is not merely the result of an intellectual assent to the truth of the Gospel. RC says (with "tongue in cheek") that assent to the truth regarding Jesus Christ and to the Gospel only qualifies one to be a demon (James 219) - certainly not as a disciple of Christ. Nor is it merely the result of an emotional response to an altar call during a dramatic presentation of the Gospel by a very persuasive preacher. No. A personal relationship with Christ comes from hearing the Gospel from anyone in whatever social or educational station in life who is a disciple of Christ and by responding to the power of the Gospel as we are convicted of our personal sins and our need of a Savior in the person of Jesus Christ. Period!

The Gospel stands on its own power. The attractiveness of the Person of Jesus Christ to the sinner who knows he is in need of salvation has been illustrated many times during our brief excursion through the Word of God. I think of Zacchaeus - that rich tax collector who knew that he was a sinner in need of the Savior. He climbed a tree just to get a glimpse of Jesus - may I suggest that his drastic action just to get a look at Jesus came out of times when he knew that he was a sinner and longed for a way out of his predicament. But as a publican, he was barred from normal worship of Jehovah - he had been written off by the religious leaders of his day as a hopeless, depraved sinner. There seemed to be no hope for Zacchaeus. But Jesus had a different opinion of Zacchaeus and his predicament after he had expressed faith in Jesus Christ:

Luke 19:9-10 "And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. [10] For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."

This is the power of the Gospel - this is the attractiveness of Jesus to the sinner who is thirsting for salvation. It is this Power and Person that you and I have come into personal contact with. It is in our hands to share the Gospel with our friends around us. It has never just been in the hands of the famous, the gifted in tongue, or the influential. No. Just ordinary people who love the Lord and have friendships around them who need the Savior have the Gospel in their hands. Please let us never leave the preaching - the sharing of the Gospel - the Good News to someone else whom we think is better qualified. It is our job - it is our privilege. The joy of leading someone - perhaps a friend of family member to Christ is the greatest joy of all and it is in our hands.
Last week we studied such friendships - friendships between Peter and Mark - Paul and Timothy. What wonderful fruit came out of those friendships. Not only were unnumbered sinners brought to a saving knowledge of Jesus Christ but significant portions of the New Testament scriptures came out of those friendships that were used by the Holy Spirit to speak to us today. We just do not know the power of friendships when these are brought into view of Jesus Christ and His Gospel.

You may view last week's lesson at:

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In loving service to the Master, Alan