Developing a Passion for the Good News (Mark 1:14-15)

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Developing a Passion for the Good News

Mark 1:14-15–The Message of Christ


How are you as a communicator—are you direct, or subtle?  Are you interesting or dull?  Are you gracious or harsh?

One husband really lacked tact–he just couldn’t say anything graciously.  So while his wife was gone on a trip, leaving him at home alone with the dog she adored and his mother-in-law, she called and asked her husband, “How are things, Honey?”  The first thing out of his mouth was, “The dog’s dead!”  She was devastated.

After collecting her emotions, she asked her man again, “Honey, why can’t you be more tactful?”  He humbly replied, “I’m sorry dear–how could I have said that differently?”

“Well,” she said, “You could say when I called, ‘The dog is on the roof.’  Then the next time I called you could say, ‘The dog fell off the roof and had to go to the vet.’  Then when I called again you could say, ‘The dog is not doing well.’  Then finally, when I called again you could say, ‘Honey, brace yourself–our wonderful dog has died.’”  He responded with, “Oh, okay, Honey–I will try!”

So the wife then asked her man, “By the way, how’s my mother?”  And the husband said, “She’s on the roof.”

Communication is a difficult task, but it is one God excels at.  God communicates to us primarily through His Word, and He has communicated to us through His Son, Jesus Christ.  As Mark has begun His gospel of go, he’s been proving to you that Jesus is sent from God to provide the only way you can be right with God.  Jesus brings you good news.  And so far in Mark, we have seen that Christ’s coming was planned before the foundation of the world, announced by the forerunner, affirmed by God the Father, empowered by the Spirit and victorious over sin and evil, defeating the devil in the wilderness.

Now as Mark continues his description of Jesus, the God man, in verses 14 to 15, he tells us what Christ preached, what He taught, what Jesus was known for communicating to the crowds.  What was the message of Jesus Christ?

Open your Bibles to Mark 1:14 and follow along in your outline, and embrace the passion of Christ for the message of good news, and be prepared to be offended.

He is about to share with you good news, but it’s not, easy news.  The good news doesn’t say you are good, but the Gospel starts with, you’re bad–far worse than you can imagine.  The good news describes you as an evil rebel, sinful to the core.  You don’t merely do bad things, you are sickening in your vileness.

Can you recall a person you met who really made you mad, sick, or disgusted?  I remember becoming disdained by a beggar in Jerusalem.  I would see him almost every trip I made into the old city.  He was dirty, with ragged clothes, smelly, ugly and “in your face.”  What made me disdain him was his hypocrisy–I was around enough that I could observe him talking to friends, laughing it up, looking just like a normal guy.  Then when he saw tourists arriving, he’d mess himself up more, hunch over, turn his head, put his hand out, widen his puppy dog eyes and beg–it was all fake, a game.

Yet the Gospel says you are just as bad as that beggar.  The way you talk to friends, make yourself look like the victim, talk about others, the greed, jealousy, anger and lust in your heart make you just as sinful and just as guilty before a holy God.  And what is equally sad about sin is we can’t fix ourselves up, we can’t repair ourselves or take care of our evil motives at all.

Oh, we may be able to alter our outward behavior, but just like a leopard can’t change his spots, none of us can transform our hearts, fix our motives or clean up our thoughts.  There are many who try through religion, but sadly religion is the story of what a sinful man tried to do for a holy God.  But Jesus brings us the Gospel, which is the good news of what a holy God has done for sinful man.

The Gospel is not a human plan for reaching up to God, but a divine plan for reaching down to man.  The Bible is blunt–because you are a sinner, you are dead, poor, blind, naked, condemned and so guilty, God is completely just to throw you into the eternal, conscious, burning torture of hell.

This is why we need God to rescue us.  We need good news.  And this is what Jesus is proclaiming in verses 14 to 15.  As you read it with me aloud, notice the mention of good news two times.  “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, 15 and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’”

The message of good news is the Messenger Himself–God is the good news.  The Gospel is the message of the work of Christ for His own.  And this message is the most important truth, you’ll ever know.  And this message is the most powerful truth you’ll ever embrace.  Think about it—J.C. Ryle said, There are no incurable cases under the gospel.  Any sinner may be healed, if he will only come to Christ.”

But beware–there are many attenders who don’t know Christ—they’re churchgoers who have a “Christianity” without Jesus.  There are people in our church who’ve prayed a prayer, walked an aisle, made a decision once, but still are not regenerate.  To fully embrace the Gospel, you must understand it, be crushed by it, then transformed by it.  So, to help the church-going “lost”, from your kids to your friends, you must hear what Mark is saying in verses 14 and 15.

#1  The Timing of Christ’s Proclaiming Good News

Read verse 14, “Now after John was arrested . . . “–in your Bibles, between verses 13 and 14, write “one year later.”  For Mark’s purposes, most of Jesus’s first year, called the year of obscurity, is left out.  During this first year of public ministry, Jesus traveled between Galilee in the north, where he did some of his miracles, and Judea in the south, where He did his earliest teaching.  We would not know about this early period except for The Gospel of John, who informs us this first year is when Jesus first meets his disciples, attends the wedding at Cana, interacts with Nicodemus, and impacts the woman at the well.  Now nearly a year has passed since those events–so verse 14 says, “Now after John was arrested.”

John, the immersing one–John the Baptist was taken into custody for his scathing comment against Herod for taking His brother’s wife.  Nothing more is said at this point, though later Mark 6 will give us more clarification about John’s arrest and beheading by Herod.

But now, John was arrested, meaning taken into custody–the Greek word arrested has the idea of handing someone over, just like our Lord would be handed over.  But unlike Jesus, instead of six immediate unjust trials overnight, leading to His crucifixion on a cross at 9 am the next morning, John would be placed in a deep, deep, dark terrible prison hole, in the fortress of Machaerus on the southeast border of Israel, and be held there for ten long and lonely months.

Amazing, isn’t it?  The last Old Testament prophet, a mighty man of God is now in jail for speaking the truth.  The Gospel does not always result in comfort–life is not always easier when we follow Christ, but life is always better–not easier, but better, joyful, restful.

But to simply view John’s arrest and ultimate beheading as the cruel scheme of a wicked man and his spiteful wife is to distort what God is teaching here.  The verb arrested, put in prison, is passive, implying God’s sovereign purpose was being acted out in John’s arrest.  Think about it.

But now verse 14 says John has done his job, John has prepared the people of Israel for the coming of their Savior.  And once John’s mission is complete, Jesus moves from semi-obscurity to the public eye.  From this point, everyone will know who Jesus is.  Once John is arrested, the ministry of Jesus was fully activated.  The good news is going to be spread like never before–the author and content of the good news is going to be known.  After “the soft opening” of the first year, here is “the grand opening,” the spreading of the Gospel like never before.  And where will it begin?

#2  The Location of Christ’s Proclaiming Good News

Verse 14, “Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God.”  This is it–Mark says Jesus came to Galilee.  He has been here before, but now He comes to spread the message–Galilee was His home region.  There were three major regions of Israel in New Testament times–Judea in the south, Samaria in the middle, and Galilee in the north, and Christ focused most of his ministry here.  Galilee was the most fruitful, and had the largest population.  But there is more to Christ’s focus on Galilee.

Mark moves directly from the temptation in verse 13, to Galilee in verse 14—but only John and Matthew tell us Christ’s reason for leaving Judea after His first year of semi-obscure public ministry.  John 4:1, “Now when Jesus learned that the Pharisees had heard, ‘Jesus is making and baptizing more disciples than John.’”  Verse 2 —although it was not Jesus himself but his disciples who baptized, verse 3–he left Judea and started back to Galilee.

Jesus went to Galilee because it was not as priest-ridden and Pharisee-dominated as Judea, and would offer a freer environment to proclaim a non-religious, no works, humble path to salvation.  The priests and Pharisees taught a path of human achievement, but Jesus was teaching a path of divine accomplishment.  Jesus was announcing that God Himself had provided a way for people to be cleansed and forgiven of their sins–good news.

At the end of verse 14, Jesus was proclaiming the good news of God.  Proclaiming is preaching, to announce or publically proclaim.  It is what a herald did, and heralds were those in Greek culture that were the voice of their king, known for their strong voice.  These men were the ancient microphones of rulers, who would cry out loud, shouting to make something known–like giving directions, presiding over competitions, announcing awards, and making kingly proclamations and edicts.  And the Greek word “proclaiming” remained in use during New Testament times to give us the same sense, to be the voice of the kind–to proclaim His will and communicate the king’s word.

And now in Galilee, the verb “proclaiming” tells us Jesus is continually preaching–every place He goes and at every time, Jesus is announcing the message.  The King’s Word is being made known.  And what is that message?  Verse 14, “the good news of God.”  Good news is euangelion in Greek and combines angelos, the word for one announcing news, and the prefix eu, which means joyful.  Gospel means news that brings joy.

The word “Gospel” had currency when Mark used it, but it wasn’t religious currency.  It meant history-making, life-shaping news, as opposed to merely the daily news.  Tim Keller writes of an ancient Roman inscription from about the same time as Jesus, which starts, “The beginning of the gospel of Caesar Augustus,” which is the story of the birth and coronation of the Roman Emperor.  A gospel was news of some event that changed things in a meaningful way.

When the people of Greece were delivered from the cruel invading Persian army, heralds or evangelists were sent to every Greek city with the message of freedom from slavery.  Had the Greeks lost, every citizen would have lost his freedom, he’d have lost his family to slavery, and many would have lost their lives.  But now they had been delivered by a victory–that was gospel.

A gospel is an announcement of something that happened in history–something that’s been done for you that changes your status forever.  That is a major difference between Christianity and all other religions, including no religion.  The essence of religion is advice.  But Christianity is essentially news.  Religion says, “This is what you do in order to connect to God–this is how you have to live in order to earn your way to God.”  But the gospel says, “This is what has been done in history–this is how Jesus lived and died to earn the way to God for you.”

Christianity is completely different–it is joyful news.  Some of you do not feel the difference, but you should.  How do you feel when you’re given good advice on how to live?  Here is a hero, a teacher, a principle to follow–and this is how you ought to live, or the way you can love.  Maybe you feel inspired, but you don’t feel the way the Greek listeners who heard those heralds felt when their victory was announced and they would no longer watch their wives be ravaged, or their children made into slaves.  Can you imagine the relief of that news–the burden lifted?

The Gospel of Christ is that kind of news–your burdens fall away and you are not a slave anymore.  The Gospel is the news that God connects to you, not on the basis of what you’ve done or haven’t done, but on the basis of what Jesus has done in history for you.  And that makes it absolutely different from every religion or philosophy.

So Jesus is in Galilee proclaiming the good news of God.  It literally is the good news FROM God, BY God, FOR God–ABOUT God.  This joyful news is so unique, instead of the normal religious message of accusation, it’s a message of hope, mercy and grace.  Because the Gospel of God is the message from God to people, this message is declaring the work of God on your behalf.  On the basis of Christ’s life, death and resurrection for you, you can have full life now and life eternal with God.

This good news is overwhelming for it is God Himself seeking to save.  Our Lord continually preached this Gospel, as He was the Gospel–Jesus is both the subject and object of the good news.

And Jesus’s Gospel message was the same message as John the Baptist, and it’s the same message the apostles preached.  As we move from the gospels to the epistles, the Early Church continued to proclaim this same good news.  Romans 1:1, “Paul, . . . set apart for the gospel of God,” Romans 15:16, “to be a minister of Christ Jesus . . . in . . . service of the gospel of God,” 2 Corinthians 11:7, “I proclaimed God’s good news to you free of charge?

The Gospel is the same message all healthy churches today live and proclaim.  And it is this commitment to this Gospel that’s the dividing line between what a true church is and what is not.  Jesus didn’t preach pop psychology–this is the good news of God.  God has the authority to forgive sins, heal the sick and defeat demonic forces.  Jesus was not driven by tradition, personality, finances, family, programs, buildings, events, food or feeling good.

Though Jesus taught on almost every topic at some level, He didn’t focus on fun series about sex, money, family or relationships, but Christ was driven to share and live this good news.  Why?  Because unless people understand this good news, they can’t be saved, they can’t know forgiveness, they can’t know God, they can’t go to heaven, and they can’t be right with God.

Ask yourself, what good does it ultimately do if people support biblical marriage, believe in a godly morality, want small government, stop feeling entitled, know desire to help the poor, and think Ronald Regan was a great president?  What good does it do if they spend eternity separated from God in hell forever?  That is why Jesus was driven to proclaim the good news.  In fact, Mark tells us Christ was determined to share this news.

#3  The Urgency of Christ’s Proclaiming Good News

Look at verse 15, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near.”  Notice the first two words of verse 15.  Jesus is saying, Jesus is continually uttering definitive words.  Jesus is continually putting this message before the Galileans.  You can’t stop Jesus. For now, instead of a world in rebellion to God’s perfect rule, now Christ announces a message that can restore people and this planet to its intended design under God.

Jesus says, “The time is fulfilled.”  Fulfilled is emphatic—literally, “fulfilled is the time–we are ready.  It has begun–here we go!”  The Greek word “fulfilled” is in a tense telling us, the time God had appointed for the Messiah’s arrival has now fully come.  And the Greek word “time” is actually favorable season, the appropriate time, the golden time, the door is open, it is the opportune moment for the world to meet God in the flesh, and for the establishment of His kingdom.  This is the season–the time is right, and everything is set.

All the Old Testament prophecies and promises are going to begin to be fulfilled.  What’s coming?  The kingdom of God has come near.  The Jews hearing this were very familiar with these terms, and were expecting a future messianic kingdom to be established.

Mark 11:10, “Blessed is the coming kingdom of our ancestor David!  Hosanna in the highest heaven!”

Mark 15:43, “Joseph of Arimathea, a respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God.”

Luke 1:31 to 33, ”And now, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

The Jews in Galilee were aware that the Scriptures teach the Lord is King, who in Exodus 15:8 will reign forever and ever.  And as the Creator of the world, our God is exalted above the heavens and all its creatures.  He reigns in splendor.  This reign was manifested to Israel, but it would be supremely seen in the coming Messiah, who would usher in the reign of God.

What is the kingdom of God?  The kingdom of God is God’s sovereign, kingly reign over a people and a realm.  It is seen today in the hearts and lives of believers, and will one day be seen on this planet as God’s realm.  The kingdom of God has two facets to it.

First  The kingdom of God is a present reality–now

Jesus said in verse 15, “the kingdom of God has come near”–it’s at hand.  We know the kingdom is a present reality from what Jesus taught us in:

Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 12:28, “But if it is by the Spirit of God that I cast out demons, then the kingdom of God has come to you.”

Mark 10:14, “Let the little children come to me; do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs.”

Mark 12:34, “Jesus said to him, ‘You are not far from the kingdom of God.’”

Luke 17:20 and 21, Jesus was asked . . . “when the kingdom of God was coming, He answered them and said, ‘The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; 21 nor will they say, “Look, here it is!” or “There it is!” For, in fact, the kingdom of God is among you.’”

Romans 14:17, “For the kingdom of God is not food and drink but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.”

The kingdom is taught as a present reality in the Scripture, and it is seen as God’s rule is manifested in the hearts of His children.  Do you live as one who appears to live under the rule of Christ?  Do you do what He says?  But the Bible also promises Israel and all God’s children that . . .

Second  The kingdom of God is a future promise—not yet

God is a God of His word.  He does not lie.  He promised He would physically come to rule this planet–He would rule in Israel, and God keeps His promises.  Just as God promised Christ would come in His first coming, and all the details of that promise were literally fulfilled.  So Christ will come again and set up His physical, literal kingdom, and all those details will be fulfilled literally.

Ezekiel 36:26 and 28, “A new heart I will give you, and a new spirit I will put within you; 28 Then you shall live in the land that I gave to your ancestors; and you shall be my people, and I will be your God.”

Ezekiel 37:21, “I will take the people of Israel from the nations among which they have gone, and will gather them from every quarter, and bring them to their own land.”

Daniel 7:27, “The kingship and dominion and the greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven shall be given to the people of the holy ones of the Most High; their kingdom shall be an everlasting kingdom, and all dominions shall serve and obey them.”

Zechariah 14:9, “And the Lord will become king over all the earth.”

And this coming literal, physical kingdom is also promised in the New Testament.  At the last supper, our Lord said in Luke 22:18, “I will not drink of the fruit of the vine until the kingdom of God comes.”

Matthew 6:10, “Your kingdom come. Your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.”

Matthew 8:11, “I tell you, many will come from east and west and will eat with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 25:34, “Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world.”

Acts 1:6 to 7, “’Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?’ 7 He replied, ‘It is not for you to know the times or periods that the Father has set by his own authority.’”  Christ did not deny a literal coming kingdom, but only that they would not know the time.

Revelation 20:4 to 5, “They came to life and reigned with Christ a thousand years. 5 The rest of the dead did not come to life until the thousand years were ended.”  The kingdom of God is the rule of God in the hearts of believers, and it is also the coming literal thousand year rule of Christ on a restored planet earth.  The kingdom is now, and it’s not yet.

And this kingdom is verse 15, “Of God”–it belongs to Him, it’s His rule, it is the kingdom He establishes and rules over.  It is a kingdom God gives, and not something men build.  And this coming kingdom is perfect–glorified saints live forever, children rarely die at 100 years, animals all get along again, and the land returns to an Eden-like state.

And Jesus is calling for an urgent response to this Gospel, since God’s rule is currently taking place in people’s hearts and will one day take place on this planet, beginning with only believers.  Only those who have responded to the good news of Christ are now a part of God’s kingdom, and will later rule with Him in His literal, physical 1,000 year reign on earth.

So Jesus is continually saying, “The time is fulfilled,” and “The kingdom is at hand, the Kingdom has come near.”  In other words, this anticipated kingdom is now so near that the King of God’s kingdom is now present among you.  Therefore, the hearers of Christ’s preaching, then and now, are urged to enter into God’s kingdom by responding now with two crucial conditions.

#4  The required response to Christ’s good news

Verse 15 ends with two strong commands—“repent”, and “believe in the good news.”  There’re people in this community who say, “to call sinners to repent is heresy.”  They say “it adds works to the Gospel of grace.  They teach an easy-believism and a shallow gospel, that results in phony self-deceived believers and a weak church.

Let me ask you again, one more time–what makes a great church?  Not a building, not a great preacher, not a snappy program, not cool ministry leaders or happening worship music–what makes a great church is genuine Christians.  And what’s killing the Church today–it’s loaded with make-believers.  Friends, all genuine Christians have, verse 15 “repented and believed.”

Make-believers have bought into a cheap, easy gospel message–one that does not call for genuine faith and true repentance.  They believe The Ryrie Study Bible, which says, “repentance is a false addition to faith when it is made a condition for salvation.  Others alter the meaning of repentance to merely be a change of mind about who Christ is, making repentance only a mental affirmation.

But true, biblical repentance is totally different–what is it?  When you have saving faith in Christ, it means you believe, trust, and obey Jesus.  You can’t turn to Jesus unless you turn away from sin.  Turning from sin is the negative aspect of repentance–faith and obedience are the positive aspects of repentance.  But if there is no turning from sin, then there is no repentance and there is no saving faith.

Repentance and belief are two sides of the same coin.  They go together.  In fact, they are used together in Acts 20:21, “Testifying to both Jews and Greeks of repentance toward God and faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.”

The Bible teaches that repentance is a sovereign gift of God.  Acts 11:18, “God has granted to the Gentiles also the repentance that leads to life.”  And 2 Timothy 2:25, “Perhaps God may grant them repentance leading to the knowledge of the truth.”  So repentance is a gift of God, but it is also a command to obey.  Mark 6:12, “They went out and preached that men should repent.”  Acts 17:30, “God is now declaring to men that all people everywhere should repent.”

So what is repentance?  The Greek word is metanoia—meta is “after”, and noeo “to understand”.  Literally it means change of mind, in a decisive, life-changing manner.  Repentance is not merely an idea change, it is a direction change.  Repentance, always results in a change of lifestyle, a turning from sin to the pursuit of Christ-likeness.

Prove it.  Okay, I will.  Acts 26:20, “kept declaring . . . even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.”  Repentance results in a different lifestyle–deeds are changed.  When you are truly repentant, you don’t keep sinning the same way.  Berkoff, in his Systematic Theology describes three elements of repentance.

1  There is an intellectual element to repentance

You recognize your own sin, and “own” your personal guilt, defilement and helplessness.  You become aware of sin, grow sick of sin, and in your sickness, realize you need a physician.  You’re undone in the presence of Christ.  Like the prodigal, “who came to himself” and saw his own sin, or David who said, “Against you, you alone I have sinned.”  You’re not merely sad for sin, but realize you’ve offended God.

2  There is also an emotional element to repentance

You are emotionally broken over what you’ve done.  Instead of the Pharisee who prayed, “God, I think you that I am not like other people,” you pray like the tax gatherer, “God be merciful to me the sinner,” in Luke 18.  True repentance is much more than a fear of punishment, or sadness you were caught in sin.  It is deep contrition, where you’d say with David, “There is no health in my bones because of my sin,” in Psalm 38.  It is a “sorrow according to the will of God which leads to salvation,” in 2 Corinthians 7–it’s a sadness that always leads to obedience.

3  The volitional element to repentance

There is a turning away from sin through a life-altering determination.  Like Luke  19:8, “Zaccheus said, ‘Lord, Lord, half of my possessions I will give to the poor, and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will give back four times as much.’”  Or like the prodigal in Luke 15:18 to 21, “I will get up and go to my father, and will say to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven, and in your sight; 19 I am no longer worthy to be called your son; make me as one of your hired men.’ . . . 21 And the son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and in your sight.’”

Often in the New Testament, the Greek word repentance is linked with the Greek word epistrepho, which means to turn around, to return.  Like in Acts 3:19, “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”  Or Acts 11:21, “The hand of the Lord was with them, and a large number who believed, turned to the Lord.”  Or Acts 26:20, “Declaring . . .  they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds appropriate to repentance.”  Repentance leads to lifestyle change–disobedience is terminated.

Kittle, in his dictionary, defined repentance as a radical conversion, a transformation of nature, a definitive turning from evil, a resolute turning to God in total obedience.  Repentance affects the inner man, which leads to an observable change in thoughts, words and deeds, from sin toward obedience.

All three elements are a necessary part of true repentance.  You can see them clearly in 2 Corinthians 7:10-11, “For the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation, 11 for behold what earnestness this very thing, this godly sorrow, has produced in you: what vindication of yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what avenging of wrong!  In everything you demonstrated yourselves to be innocent in the matter.”

Foundational to your salvation and your Christian life now is genuine repentance.  Are you genuinely saved?  Have you repented?  Do you live genuine repentance?  When Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenberg door, sparking the Reformation, the very first point of the 95 was this, “When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’, He willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.”

Mark tells us, as Jesus preached, He urgently proclaimed repentance and belief.  Verse 15, “Repent and believe in the good news.”  Believe is to trust, to depend, to rely upon, have confidence in.  Instead of depending on yourself, or relying on some religion, you totally depend on God’s Person to save you.  You depend on God’s path as the only way.  You trust your life to God’s provision.  You commit your life and eternal future to the good news that God has made a way for you to be forgiven now and forever.

Repentance is to change directions–you turn from sin to follow Christ alone.  Belief or trust or faith in the New Testament is a change of dependence–you stop trusting in yourself and others, and you depend on Christ alone.  Have you?  Do you have a passion for God’s good news?  To embrace good news, you first have to admit you’re really bad.  Have you actually been given the gift of repentance?  Are you a part of His kingdom now, and will you be in the future?  Do you follow God’s Word alone?

Or are you following your own form of casual Christianity, which is a false religion, where you serve if you feel like it, give only if it’s not a sacrifice or you’re not in debt (which you always are), love others only when it makes you feel good, attend church only if you can get up on time, and think preaching is good only when it warms your heart.

Or have you really surrendered your life to Jesus Christ in salvation, where He is your first love–you want to please Him in everything, you are willing to do anything He asks you to do, and your worship is as a living sacrifice to Christ, who sacrificed all for you.  And you live repentantly, always seriously turning from sin, and trustingly always seeking to depend on God’s Word alone.

About Chris Mueller

Chris is the teaching pastor at Faith Bible Church - Murrieta.

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