THE GOSPEL OF GOD'S
MERCY, GRACE & LOVE
By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
Amazing is the GRACE of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, "Who for the joy that was set before Him endured the Cross, despising the shame and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Heb.12: 2)
Marvellous is the LOVE of God the Father, "Who gave His only begotten Son" to die on the Cross as His Pascal Lamb by shedding His pure and holy blood for the sins of the world. (John 1: 29; 3: 16; 1 Cor.15: 1-4)
Glorious is the FELLOWSHIP of the blessed Holy Spirit, "the Promise of the Father", Who was given to the Church by our Lord Jesus Christ on the Day of Pentecost! (Acts 1: 8; 2: 4, 33)
The WONDER of it all leaves us almost speechless trying to verbalize or articulate in a meaningful fashion the incomprehensive, unexplainable and irresistible Gospel of the mercy, grace and love of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, toward a fallen race!
It is no wonder that St. Paul cried out: "O Death where is thy sting? O Grave where is thy victory? The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. (1 Cor.15: 55-57)
What a VICTORY for us because Christ's Victory is our victory for time and eternity! How could anyone deny the gift of Eternal Life which He has given freely to a world of sinning men? Why would anyone reject God's offer of freedom from the fear, agony and pain of a lost eternity? What could motivate any thinking person to squander such a magnificent gift, purchased by our Lord Himself through His vicarious death on Golgotha?
The Holy Bible says: "But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour; that He by the grace of God should TASTE DEATH for every man." (Heb.2: 9).
Christ’s death and resurrection destroyed the power of death, Hell and the grave, therefore St. Paul could say: “Death is swallowed up in Victory and "precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." (Psalms 116: 15)
WHEN YOU GET WHAT YOU DESERVE!
Justice is when you get what you deserve. Mercy is when you don’t get what you deserve. Grace is when you get what you don’t deserve! We were all guilty; sinners by birth, nature and choice.
The penalty for sinning is guilt, fear, condemnation and death. Jesus Christ - God’s Son - was incarnated (God in human flesh) so that He could die in our place thereby paying our penalty, by shedding His pure and sinless BLOOD on the cross at Golgotha and rise again in power. (Heb.9: 11-14; 1 John 1: 7)
Today, He sits on His Father’s right hand in the Holy of Holies pleading for us to repent of our sins and receive His pardon and become His children by faith in His blood! Will you receive Him today as your personal Saviour? He waits for you, my friend! (Matt.11: 28; John 3: 16, 17, 36; Rev.3: 20). Amen.
GOSPEL MEANS GOOD NEWS!
Jesus said: "Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
"And these signs shall follow them that believe; in My name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover." (Mark 16:15-18)
The word GOSPEL means the Good News that LIGHT has come into a world of Darkness. It is the Glad Tidings that PEACE has come into a world of Turmoil and HEALING has entered a world of Sickness. It is the Reality that LOVE has invaded a world of Hate, FORGIVENESS has impacted a world of Sin and LIFE has conquered a world of Death.
It means that FREEDOM has opened the Prison doors of Bondage and that Slaves to sin, fear, sickness and spiritual darkness can be LIBERATED though the SACRIFICE of God's Son. It means that through the vicarious death and glorious resurrection of Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, we are emancipated from the power of EVIL and servitude to Satan and translated into the Kingdom of God!
The Gospel means that Light, Peace, Healing, Love, Forgiveness, Life, Freedom, Liberty and Eternal Life is available to the sons of men through Jesus Christ the Eternal Son of God, Who is True God and Eternal Life!
Here is Jesus' High Priestly prayer: "As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him. And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only True God, and Jesus Christ Whom Thou hast sent." (John 17: 3)
JESUS: SAVIOUR, LORD AND GOD!
Jesus' Name in Hebrew is Yeshua which means, ‘the salvation of God”. The salvation of God is forgiveness of sins, healing of wounded spirits, tormented minds and broken bodies. IT IS ETERNAL LIFE!
Isaiah prophesied the all-atoning death of Jesus Christ, God's Pascal Lamb, seven hundred years before His crucifixion on Golgotha's Hill: “He was wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and with His stripes we are healed.” (Isaiah 53: 4, 5)
When we speak in the name of Jesus, we actually say: “In the Name of the God who Saves, Heals, Protects, Delivers and Makes Well, receive God’s blessing!”
In 1882 Louisa Stead penned the words of this beloved hymn:
'Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus; Just to take Him at His Word
Just to rest upon His promise; And to know, "Thus saith the Lord!
Jesus, Jesus, how I trust Him! How I've proved Him o'er and o'er;
Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus! Oh, for grace to love Him more!
Oh, how sweet to trust in Jesus; Just to trust His cleansing blood;
And in simple faith to plunge me; 'Neath the healing, cleansing flood!
Yes, 'tis sweet to trust in Jesus; Just from sin and self to cease;
Just from Jesus taking, Life and rest, and joy and peace.
I'm so glad I learned to trust Thee; Precious Jesus, Saviour, Friend'
And I know that Thou art with me; Wilt be with me to the end.
CHRIST AT CENTRE STAGE!
There is no-one who loves us like Jesus! There is no-one who cares for us like Jesus! There is no-one who knows us like Jesus. Why is this? He is the ONLY ONE who shed His precious blood for us on the cross of shame outside Jerusalem’s city walls nearly 2,000 years ago!
St. Paul stated: “O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and the knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgements, and His ways past finding out! For of Him, and through Him, and to Him, are all things: to Whom be glory forever and ever." (Rom.11: 33, 36)
What a powerful short commentary on our Lord and Saviour: For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things! A Gospel song stated that we are all "wrapped up, bundled up and tied up" in Jesus, and an old saying exulted, 'If you have Jesus, you have everything; If you have Christ, you have it all'.
The reason, of course, is that He is all in all and He is all you need!
* IN HIM WAS LIFE: "In Him was Life and the Life was the light of men." (John 1: 4). Jesus Christ is the Creator of the worlds and all life. He is the upholder of all things! (Heb.1: 10-12)
He is the light of men because He keeps us alive and is the giver of life and light. If Jesus was removed from the equation, there would no life on Planet Earth and there would be no worlds! (Col.1: 16,17)
* HE HATH LIFE IN HIMSELF: "For as the Father hath life in Himself, so hath He given to the Son to have life in Himself. And hath given Him authority to execute judgement also, because He is the Son of man." (John 5: 26, 27)
Jesus Christ is True God and True Man; True God from Eternity because He has always existed, and true Man because He was incarnated, born of the Virgin Mary, without a human father. He is God the Son together with God the Father and God the Holy Spirit. The Son has life in Himself because He is the "only begotten Son of God" and has always been in the "Bosom of the Father". (John 3: 16; 1: 18)
* HE IS THE BREAD OF LIFE: "Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from Heaven, but My Father giveth you the True Bread from Heaven. For the Bread of God is He which cometh down from Heaven.
"For the Bread of God is He which cometh down from Heaven, and giveth life unto the world. And Jesus said unto them, I am the Bread of Life: he that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst." (John 6: 35)
The MANNA was a type of Jesus Who is the Bread of Life. He stated: "Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you. Whosoever eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood hath eternal life; and I will raise Him up at the last day.
"For My flesh is meat indeed, and My blood is drink indeed. He that eateth My flesh and drinketh My blood, DWELLETH in Me, and I in him. As the Living Father hath sent Me, and I live by the Father: so he that eateth Me, even he shall live by Me.
"It is the SPIRIT that quickenth; the FLESH profited nothing. The words that I speak unto you are spirit and they are life." (John 6: 53-63)
A MYSTERY: CHRIST IN US & WE IN HIM!
Jesus demands total dedication from those who would be His disciples; to those who would inherit eternal life! He is saying: "You must identify with Me completely if you want to follow Me." He introduces the life of total consecration necessary to receive His power and blessing. He enters into us and we enter into Him by faith in His blood! The life we receive is through His broken body and shed blood which Jesus gave for us. We receive His Life through the Holy Spirit and become one with Him and the Father.
The Bible states: "That at that time (unsaved state) ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise having no hope, and without God in the world:
"But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the BLOOD OF CHRIST. For He is our peace, Who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us. And that He might reconcile both unto God in one body by the cross, having slain the enmity thereby.
"And came and preached PEACE to you which were a far off, and to them that were nigh. For through Him (Christ) we both (Jews and Gentiles) have access by one Spirit (Holy Spirit) unto the Father." (Eph.2: 12-18)
St. Paul declares: "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself for me." (Gal 2: 20)
* HE IS THE GOOD SHEPHERD: "I am the Good Shepherd: the good shepherd layeth His life down for the sheep. I am the good shepherd, and know My sheep, and am known of Mine. As the Father knoweth Me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down My life for the sheep." (John 10:11, 14, 15)
The Bible says: "Grace be to you and peace from God the Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, Who gave Himself for our sins, that He might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God our Father: To Whom be glory forever and ever. Amen." (Gal. 1: 3-5)
As the Good Shepherd, our Lord Jesus Christ leads us, feeds us, heals us and protects us from the Evil One and his satanic attacks of lust, greed, hatred, fear, disease and death!
We know His voice and He knows us. We do not listen to the voice of a stranger and therefore we are not led astray by lying demons who seek to bring about our destruction!
* HE IS THE RESURRECTION & THE LIFE: "Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection and the life: he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live: And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.” (John 11: 25)
According to Jewish Scholars, the Messiah would perform four miracles as a sign that He was God’s Chosen One. Raising someone from the dead after being deceased for four days was one of those miracles.
Some believed that a dead person’s spirit may linger nearby for three days, and knowing that superstition Jesus waited until Lazarus had been dead for four days before raising him from the dead!
Jesus of Nazareth made this astonishing statement just before raising Lazarus from the dead. He knew WHO He was and WHY He had come to this earth. His Mission was clear and His power was unlimited. He would voluntarily die on the cross for the sins of the world and be raised from the dead to fulfill God’s plan of Salvation!
Earlier He had promised ETERNAL LIFE and the HOLY SPIRIT BAPTISM to those who embraced Him as the Promised Messiah: “Then cried Jesus in the temple as He taught, saying, ye both know me, and ye know whence I am: And I am not come of Myself but He that sent me is True, Whom ye know not. But I know Him: for I am from Him, and He hath sent Me.
“In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on Me, as the Scripture has said: Out of His belly shall flow rivers of living water. But this He spake of the Spirit, which they that believe on Him should receive: for the Holy Ghost was not yet given, because that Jesus was not yet glorified.” (John 7: 28, 29,37-39)
* HE IS THE WAY, THE TRUTH & THE LIFE: " Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth and the life: no man cometh unto the Father but by Me." (John 14: 6)
Jesus clearly articulated that He was King Messiah: “And He said unto them, Ye are from beneath; I am from Above: Ye are of this word; I am not of this world. I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins. Then said they unto Him, WHO art Thou? And Jesus saith unto them, Even the same that I said unto you from the beginning.
“…When ye have lifted up the Son of Man, then shall ye know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father hath taught Me, I speak these things. And He that sent Me is with Me. The Father hath not left Me alone, for I do always those things that please Him.” (8: 23-29)
* HE IS THE PRINCE OF LIFE: "...The God of our fathers hath glorified His Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go.
“But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; and killed ye Prince of Life, Whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.
"And His name through faith in His name hath made this man strong, whom ye see and know: yea, the faith which is by Him, hath given Him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all." (Acts 3: 13-16)
St. Peter called Jesus of Nazareth the Prince of Life and that is Who He is. He created man in the Garden of Eden and blew into him the breath of Life and Adam became a living soul. He is the Life Giver!
* IN HIM WE LIVE, MOVE & HAVE OUR BEING: "For in Him we live, and move, and have our being..." (Acts 17: 28). Speaking to the philosophers on Mars Hill in Athens, St. Paul referred to the Unknown God. Knowing the history of the plague that had been stopped six centuries earlier by Epimenides of Crete in the name of the UNKNOWN GOD, he declared that Jesus Christ was the God who had stopped the plague and the One Whom they ignorantly worshipped.
He explained that the Unknown God was not far away from them but had worked in their midst earlier. The Unknown God (Theos) whom they ignorantly worshipped was the Crucified and Risen Lord Jesus Christ in “Whom we live, and move and have our being”.
* WE ARE SAVED BY HIS LIFE: "For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
"Much more then, being now justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more being reconciled by His Life." (Rom.6: 6-10)
If He could love us enough to die for us while we were sinners, how much more will He now do for us since we believe in Him and are His children! Surely, now that Jesus Christ has purchased our salvation through His pure and holy blood, He will do much more through His life while He sits on His Father’s right hand!
St. Paul made this very clear: “He that spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also, freely give us all things?” (Rom. 8:32)
* THIS TREASURE IN US; THE LIFE OF JESUS: "But we have this Treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us. We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;
"Always bearing about in the body, the dying of the Lord Jesus that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh." (2 Cor.4: 10,11)
“Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be Partakers
of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated unto the Kingdom of His dear Son, in Whom we have REDEMPTION through His BLOOD, even the forgiveness of sins.” (Col.1: 12-14)
The great MYSTERY which St. Paul wrote about so eloquently in his epistles was exactly that: Christ taking up residence within our mortal bodies in our spirit man; God living within us and us in Him!
“Even the Mystery which hath been hid from ages and from generations, but now is made manifest to His saints: To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of Glory.” (Col.1: 27, 28)
* THE CHURCH IS THE BODY OF CHRIST: "And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the Body of Christ:
"Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ." (Eph.4:11-13)
St. Paul compared Christ to the Church as a man to his wife: “Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and He is the Saviour of the body. Therefore as the church is subject to Christ, so let the wives be to their husbands in everything.
“Husbands, love your wives as Christ loved the church and gave Himself for it. That He might sanctify and cleanse it by the washing of water by the Word, That He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.” (Eph.5: 22-27)
* WE ARE BONE OF HIS BONE: "For we are members of His Body, of His Flesh and of His Bone." (Eph.5: 30) Jesus is very interested in His children which He has purchased with His own precious blood! He is in us and we are in God.
The Bible states that we are members in particular of His body, of His flesh and of His bones! He has no cancer in His body, nor should we! He has no multiple sclerosis in His body, nor should we! He has no arthritis is His body, nor should we! He has no sin in His spirit, nor should we!
If we are born of God and He lives within us, then we should be as He is, by the power of the Holy Spirit and the Blood of the Everlasting Covenant!
“And the very God of Peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the Coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.” (1 Thes.5: 23); “Now the Lord of Peace HIMSELF give you peace always by all means. The Lord be with you all.” (2 Thes.3: 10);
“Now the God of Peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant make you perfect in every good work to do His will, working in you that which is well pleasing in His sight through Jesus Christ; To Whom be glory forever and ever.” (Heb. 13: 20, 21).
* OUR LIFE IS HID WITH CHRIST IN GOD: "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
"For ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God When Christ, Who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with Him in glory." (Col.3: 1-4)
* HE IS THE CHURCH’S ONE FOUNDATION: Jesus Christ is the Church’s one and only foundation! St Paul stated: “For we are labourers together with God. Ye are God’s husbandry, ye are God’s building.
“According to the grace of God which is given to me as a wise Master Builder, I have laid the foundation and another buildeth thereon. But let everyman take heed how he buildeth thereupon. For other foundation can no man lay than that which has been laid, which is Jesus Christ.” (1 Cor.4:9-11)
St. Peter declared: “If so be ye have tasted the Lord is gracious. To
Whom coming, as unto a LIVING STONE disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
“Wherefore also it is contained in the Scripture, Behold I lay in Sion a CHIEF CORNERSTONE elect, precious; and he that believeth on Him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe He is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the STONE which the builders disallowed, the SAME is made the Head of the Corner
“And a STONE of stumbling, and a ROCK of offence, even to them which stumble at the Word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.” (1 Peter 2: 3-8)
* WHEN HE SHALL APPEAR WE SHALL BE LIKE HIM: "Behold, what manner of LOVE the Father hath bestowed upon us that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not, because it knew Him not.
"Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as He is." (1 John 3: 1-3)
Make no mistake, my friend, Christ will return as He promised. Make absolutely sure that you are ready for His Coming and that lamp is burning brightly for Him!
* THAT WE MIGHT LIVE THROUGH HIM: "He that loveth not, knoweth not God; for God is love. In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.
"Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us, and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4: 8-10)
NOTE: To be continued soon! m.s.