WHAT IS THE GOSPEL?
WOULD YOU LIKE TO KNOW CHRIST PERSONALLY?
 
What does it take to begin a relationship with God?  Do you have to devote yourself to doing “good deeds” or religious things? Do you first have to become a good person so that God will love you?  You may be surprised to find that none of those things will restore us in a relationship with God.  God has made it very clear though in the Bible how we CAN know him!  Below are some things to know, as we walk together through God’s Word.
 
1.  GOD LOVES YOU AND OFFERS A PLAN FOR YOUR LIFE!
GOD’S LOVE
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
 
 
GOD’S PLAN
“…I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundant and full” (John 10:10)
Why is it then that most people aren’t experiencing this “abundant and full” life?  It’s because…
 
2.  ALL OF US SIN, AND OUR SIN HAS SEPARATED US FROM GOD.  
WE ARE SINFUL
“All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23)

We were created to have fellowship with God, but because of our self-will, we chose to go our own way, putting ourselves before God, and this broke our fellowship with God.  This self-will, characterized by an attitude of active rebellion or passive indifference, is what the Bible calls sin. 
 
WE ARE SEPARATED
“The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23) 
This death is spiritual separation from God.  This created a rift between God and His creation (humanity) showing God to be holy (perfect) and people to be sinful.  A great gulf separates us.  We continually strive to reach God and the abundant life through our own efforts, such as the “good life”, philosophies or even religions, but we inevitably always fail and fall short.  The only way to bridge this gulf…
3.  JESUS CHRIST IS GOD’S ONLY PROVISION FOR OUR SIN.  THROUGH HIM WE CAN KNOW AND EXPERIENCE GOD’S LOVE AND PLAN FOR OUR LIVES. 
HE DIED IN OUR PLACE
“God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8)
 
HE ROSE FROM THE DEAD
“Christ died for our sins…He was buried…He was raised on the third day, according to the Scriptures…He appeared to Peter, then to the twelve.  After that He appeared to more than five hundred.”  (1 Corinthians 15:3-6)
 
HE IS THE ONLY WAY TO GOD
“Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but through Me.'” (John 14:6)
 
God has bridged the gulf that separates us from Him by sending His Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross in our place to pay the penalty for our sins.  It is not enough to just know these truths though…
4.  WE MUST INDIVIDUALLY RECEIVE JESUS CHRIST AS SAVIOR AND LORD; THEN WE CAN KNOW AND EXPERIENCE GOD’S LOVE AND PLAN FOR OUR LIVES.
WE MUST RECEIVE CHRIST
“Yet to all who did receive Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God–.” (John 1:12)
 
WE RECEIVE CHRIST THROUGH FAITH
“By grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.” Ephesians 2:8-9)

WE RECEIVE CHRIST BY PERSONAL INVITATION
Jesus says, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any one hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him.”  (Revelation 3:20)
 
Receiving Christ involves turning to God from self and away from sin (repentance) and trusting Christ to come into our lives to forgive our sins and to make us what He wants us to be.  Just to agree intellectually that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and that He died on the cross for your sins is not enough, nor is it enough to simply have an emotional response or try to live better.  You receive Jesus Christ by faith, as an act of the will.  
YOU CAN RECEIVE CHRIST RIGHT NOW BY FAITH THROUGH PRAYER.
 
Prayer is talking to God, He already knows your heart and is not concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart (“The Lord does not look at the things people look at.  People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  (1 Samuel 16:7)
 
The following is just a suggested guideline for praying.  If this prayer closely expresses the desire of your heart, then you can pray this prayer right now and Christ will “come into” your life as He promised.
 
“Lord Jesus, I need You.  Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins.  I open the door of my life and receive You as my Savior and Lord.  Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life.  Take control of my life, rightfully on the throne as king of my heart.  Make me the kind of person you want me to be.”  

Does this prayer express the desire of your heart?  If so, share that good news with us!  We’d love to celebrate with you and we have some ways we’d like to continue to encourage you on to a growing relationship with Jesus!
 
1.  We want to encourage you to follow through on Jesus’ instructions to be baptized. This is a step of being obedient that the Lord wants us to do.  We read about confessing, and speaking the truth (Romans 10:9) and this is a way that Jesus has declared for us to proclaim we forever belong with Him!  If you haven’t already talked with someone  about a time when you can be baptized, you can speak with us when you have a moment.  You can call us at the church phone number, 704-847-9237. 
 
2.  Tell others what God has done for you by saving you. This is again part of confessing, professing or proclaiming that you have been saved!  We hope you’ll always remember when you came to Christ.  Jesus tells us to always be ready to go and tell others (Matthew 28:19-20), as that is our way of telling others about how much God loves them also. 
 
3.  Read your Bible and pray daily. The more you spend time with God, the more you’ll learn, and the more you learn, the more you’ll learn to love God! The more time you spend in God’s Word, the more you will understand how God works, you will see just how much He loves you, and we will be better prepared to tell others about Jesus. 
 
4.  If you have time, when reading your Bible, spend some time working through a workbook we would love to provide you with that will be a great partner to your Bible reading time. It’s called “I’m a Christian, Now What?”, and is a daily devotional to help you grow daily in your relationship with Jesus as you become a follower of Christ, and we can help you as you grow. That will be a great help to you as you spend time reading the Bible, and please know if you have any questions, we would encourage you to come talk with us.  We are here to help you in any way that we can!

 

If you have any questions, or would like to discuss further any decisions you may have made concerning your relationship with Christ, please feel free to let us know so we can celebrate with you!  You can reach us during regular weekday office hours at 704-847-9237, and we would love to help you in your spiritual journey, as we all are seeking to honor God and grow in our faith too!  You can also email the church office after hours at dsimono@pleasantplains.org and we will get back with you as soon as possible.  We’re looking forward to hearing from you!