What is "the Gospel"?
Creekside Bible Fellowship preaches and teaches the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The term “Gospel” literally means “good news”. It is called good news because it deals with the most serious problem each of us have as human beings: God is holy, just, and perfect… and we are not!
The Bad News
The Bible says that someday we will all stand before God and be judged by Him (2 Tim 4:1; 1 Peter 4:5; Rev 20:11-15). We will either be judged based on our own righteousness, or on the righteousness of another. If you think you are righteous, compare yourself against the ten commandments (do not lie, do not steal, do not covet, honor your parents, etc.), and you will quickly see that you are a sinner who has violated God’s moral law. God doesn’t grade on a curve; the Bible says that if you are guilty of only one sin, you are guilty of violating the entire law of God (James 2:10) – and the punishment for violating God’s law is eternal damnation (Rev 21:8). This is the bad news.
The Good News
The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus Christ lived a perfect, righteous and sinless life (Heb 4:15), was crucified on a cross, died, was buried, and then rose again after three days. On the cross He willingly offered Himself as a sacrifice, paying for the sins of everyone who will repent and place their faith and trust in Him as Lord and Savior. You see, the Bible makes it very clear that we cannot be justified by our own works or efforts, but only by the grace (unmerited favor) of God through faith (Eph 2:8-9). The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is through faith: putting your trust in Christ (Romans 10:9-10) – and in Him alone (John 14:6).
What must I do to be saved?
The question of what one must do to be saved was asked long ago by the Philippian jailer in Acts 16:30. Paul and Silas answered him and said “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household.” As a result of the jailer's conversion, his entire house also believed and was saved.
In Ephesians 2:8-10, the apostle Paul declares “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast." Paul also states in Romans 10 that "if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord, and believe in your heart God raised Him from the dead, then you will be saved."
So - in order to be saved, you must believe certain things and you must do certain things.
What you must believe:
- You must believe Jesus is Lord - that He is God incarnate. (Romans 10:9)
- You must believe that Jesus was born of a virgin and lived a perfect, sinless life (Isaiah 7:14; 1 Peter 2:22)
- You must believe that Jesus died on the cross for sinners, and that He was raised to life after three days (1 Cor 15:3-6)
- You must believe that you are a sinner. Because of this (outside of Christ) you are under God's wrath and condemned to eternal damnation (Romans 1:18; Romans 6:23)
- You must believe there are no works, nor any good deeds you can do to earn earn salvation (Eph 2:8-9)
What you must do*:
- Confess your sin. Confession simply means to agree with God about your sin - "to say the same thing" to God about your sin that He already says about it (Psalm 32:3-5; 1 John 1:9).
- Repent from your sin. Repentance literally means a "change of mind" - 1) to see yourself as God sees you: a sinner guilty and condemned under His law and before His court of justice (Psalm 40:12; Psalm 51:8-9; Luke 18:13-14; Romans 3:19-20; Romans 7:9-12; Galatians 2:19) and, 2) to see God as He really is (Holy - meaning absolutely pure, altogether separate from sin and sinners! Genesis 17:1-3; Exodus 3:4-6; Leviticus 9:24; Joshua 5:14; Judges 13:20; 1 Kings 18:38-39; Psalm 50:21; Isaiah 6:5; Ezekiel 1:28; Daniel 8:17-18; Matthew 17:1-6). When this change of mind is brought about by the Holy Spirit in the sinner's life, he begins a lifelong pattern of turning away from self (his former desires, his ambitions, his pursuit of selfish interest, his sins) and turns towards the true and living God to pursue holiness of life in thought, word and deed. Your attitude toward sin will change (from loving it to hating it), your attitude toward righteousness and holiness will also change (from hating it to loving it), and your life will start to reflect that you no longer practice sin (Luke 13:3; Mark 1:15; 1 John 3:4-9) because you are not your own anymore; you've been bought with a price (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) and now you follow Christ as Lord and Savior (Matthew 16:24).
- Trust in Jesus alone. Believe who He is, and cast yourself upon Him in faith (Romans 5:1). Do not rely on your own righteousness to save you, but on the righteousness of Christ alone.
* NOTE: We cannot make ourselves be born again (John 1:13). This is the work of the Holy Spirit. God saves you by causing you to be born again through the power of the Holy Spirit (John 3:1-8). What one *must do* is what one who has been born again *will do* as an evidence that they have new life in Christ. These fruits of ongoing confession, repentance and trust in Jesus alone become the defining pattern of life for the true Christian.
If you have repented of your sins and trusted in Jesus for salvation, there are a few things you must do to cultivate spiritual growth:
- Get a Bible and read it daily. This is how the Lord fills you continually with His Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-19; Col. 3:16), enabling you to "walk according to the Spirit" (Romans 8:4) and not according to the flesh. This is absolutely necessary to starve the flesh. You must put the flesh to death; that is, the sin that still dwells in you (Colossians 3:5) or it will kill you! (Romans 13:14)
- Join a local, Biblically-based church fellowship (Matthew 18:20; Acts 2:41-42; Acts 5:12; Acts 14:27; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 14:26; Ephesians 4:11-13).
- Be baptized as a testimony of your identification with the death, burial and resurrection of Christ to new life (Mark 16:16; Acts 10:44-48).
- Serve and give to the Body of Christ with the unique gifts you've been given (Romans 12:3-8; 1 Corinthians 12; 1 Corinthians 14:1-5; Ephesians 4:7-16; 2 Corinthians 9:7).
- Spend time every day talking to God in prayer. Over time, you will find this becomes like breathing (natural) as you immerse yourself in God's word. He speaks to us in His word; we speak His word back to Him in prayer throughout the day (Philippians 4:6; 1 Thessalonians 5:17).
- Be in fellowship regularly and as often as possible with other believers who will hold you accountable. The Lord grows us most when we're in community with each other, bearing each other's burdens (Galatians 6:1-2), working through offenses to promote the unity of the Body (Matthew 18:15-17; Colossians 3:13), and lifting each other up to the Lord. Your brothers and sisters need your prayers for their sanctification and you need theirs (Romans 1:11-12; Hebrews 10:24-25; Ephesians 6:18; Colossians 4:2).