The Utter Success of the Gospel Ministry
The Lord knows those who are His (2 Tim 2:19). His promise is that nothing can separate those who belong to Him, from His love (Rom 8:35–39; 1 Cor 3:23). His love never fails (1 Cor 13:8). No one can pluck one of His own from His or the Father’s hand (Jn 10:28–29). Those to whom Jesus Christ gives eternal life, the Holy Spirit will raise them to life on the last day (Mt 24–25; Mk 13; Lk 21), when Christ returns for His church, His bride, whom He loves (Eph 5:25).
The Bible presents to us the perfect ending to a tumultuous drama. Every one of God’s elect, His chosen people (Rom 11:5; 1 Pet 2:9), His holy nation derived from every nation (Rev 5:9; 7:9), will be in glory, forever with the Lord. When we consider the end of the story, it is a glorious success. It ends well.
Politicians promise peace to the people, but there is no peace. Judges promise justice, if they are elected, but everyone is dissatisfied with the status quo. The world operates as it always has been, since the fall. The world will not change despite the self-help guru’s promotional video.
Christians revel in Jesus Christ because there is no one like our God. He is mighty to save, and He actually saves (Titus 3:5). God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit are perfect in all their works. If the Bible teaches us that salvation belongs to the Lord (Ps 3:8; Jon 2:9; Rev 19:1), then, it is a perfect salvation. God leaves nothing to humanity or to chance (Jn 1:12–13; Rom 9:16). His perfect plan is executed, perfectly, and the results are…you guessed it…perfect.
It is the devil’s work to twist the Gospel. He lies about the biblical truth of predestination and election. He falsely preaches a god of universal love and universal redemption. He has his disobedient women preachers prostitute the message (1 Tim 2:9–15), telling men they have a choice that will determine their eternal destiny. They believe they are the captains of their own souls.
False religions and Christian cults are legion. The devil, the ruler and the god of this world (Jn 12:31; 14:30; 16:11; 2 Cor 4:4), orchestrates a really big, big show. His circus rings are filled with diverse entertainers. Vanity Fair in Babylon has something for everyone. The zoo is filled with exotics of every kind, and then, there is the sheep pen.
Sheep and shepherds are unimpressive. They are ragamuffins on the outskirts of all that is cosmopolitan. They are despised and rejected of modern men. They are peculiar and so very vulnerable to persecution (Mt 5:10–12). The world zooms on by, only a bit perturbed that the church has not yet disappeared.
The church is an irritating reminder that the Day of God’s wrath is coming (Rom 2:5; Rev 6:17). The world does not want to hear about it. It is a myth or fairy tale to those who are perishing. It is foolishness to even listen to the Christian and his so called “hate speech.” When accused of such, Jesus said it this way, “I tell you the truth.”
The world boasts of its knowledge and achievements. Men take pride in their appearance and prowess. What must it sound like when the preacher calls them “sinners” (Rom 3:23; 5:12), who are appointed to die (Heb 9:27), and then appear before the judgment seat of King Jesus (2 Cor 5:10; Rev 20:11)? How do they process the news of their eternal home? The place of their eternal punishment is called “the lake of fire” (Mt 25:46; Jude 1:7; Rev 20:14–15).
Because they are not of God (Jn 8:47) and do not belong to Christ (Jn 10:26), they do not heed the voice of Christ, calling them to repent of their sins (Acts 17:30). Therefore, just as Jesus promised, they will die in their sins (Jn 8:24), and forever face the fierce fire of God’s just judgment (Is 66:16; Mt 25:46; Heb 10:27).
There are some who are lost in the darkness. The Father, long ago, chose them for adoption into His family (Rom 8:15, 23; 11:5; Eph 1:5). He gave these beloved ones to His eternal Son (Jn 6:37), who was sent by the Father (Jn 3:16), to save these people from their sins (Mt 1:21). Jesus bought them back from the slave market of sin (Rom 6:6; 1 Cor 6:20; 7:23). He redeemed them with His precious blood (1 Pet 1:19). He laid down His life for the ones He calls “My sheep” (Jn 10:11, 15).
Jesus’ death on the Roman cross was a success. It accomplished exactly what it was intended to do. God’s people, forgiven of their sins (Mt 1:21; 26:28), now have right standing before the Judge of all.
The task of gathering God’s elect, redeemed people was entrusted to the Holy Spirit, who was sent on a mission into the world (Jn 14:26; 15:26). The mission was to give life to the dead souls of God’s chosen ones, His saints (Jn 6:63; 1 Cor 15:45). In the predetermined plan of God (Acts 2:23), the Spirit finds every lost sheep from the house of Israel and brings him or her into the fold (local church).
The means employed by the Spirit of Christ is Gospel preaching (Rom 1:16; 1 Cor 1:23; 2:2, 4). The ministry of the Word is Spirit-powered (Jn 6:63; Acts 1:8), and the witnesses of Christ’s work are the living recipients of it. Those who have the indwelling Spirit in them are constrained to tell the old, old story of Jesus and His love for His people, given to Him by the Father (Jn 6:37).
The Word of God is proclaimed (2 Tim 4:2; 1 Pet 2:9). Ears are opened in some, not others. Faith is evidenced, as the Spirit and the Word have their powerful effect, on the heart and mind of every Christian (Rom 10:17; 12:2). Christ has promised to never leave nor forsake His own (Heb 13:5), nor will He ever cast one out of His church that belongs to Him (Jn 6:37). In the end, the full number of the saints will be resurrected to life, to live in glorified bodies in the presence of the Lord, forevermore (Jn 5:28–29; 1 Cor 15:42–44). That is God’s story of utter success.
Spokane Valley, Washington
December 28, 2022