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R.C. Sproul on What is The Most Serious of all Questions?

(The Gospel in a Nutshell) What Is the Gospel?

There is no greater message to be heard than that which we call the Gospel. But as important as that is, it is often given to massive distortions or over simplifications. People think they’re preaching the Gospel to you when they tell you, ‘you can have a purpose to your life’, or that ‘you can have meaning to your life’, or that ‘you can have a personal relationship with Jesus.’ All of those things are true, and they’re all important, but they don’t get to the heart of the Gospel.

The Gospel is called the ‘good news’ because it addresses the most serious problem that you and I have as human beings, and that problem is simply this: God is holy and He is just, and I’m not. And at the end of my life, I’m going to stand before a just and holy God, and I’ll be judged. And I’ll be judged either on the basis of my own righteousness – or lack of it – or the righteousness of another. The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God, not for His own well-being but for His people. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. But not only has He lived that life of perfect obedience, He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice to satisfy the justice and the righteousness of God.

The great misconception in our day is this: that God isn’t concerned to protect His own integrity. He’s a kind of wishy-washy deity, who just waves a wand of forgiveness over everybody. No. For God to forgive you is a very costly matter. It cost the sacrifice of His own Son. So valuable was that sacrifice that God pronounced it valuable by raising Him from the dead – so that Christ died for us, He was raised for our justification. So the Gospel is something objective. It is the message of who Jesus is and what He did. And it also has a subjective dimension. How are the benefits of Jesus subjectively appropriated to us? How do I get it? The Bible makes it clear that we are justified not by our works, not by our efforts, not by our deeds, but by faith – and by faith alone. The only way you can receive the benefit of Christ’s life and death is by putting your trust in Him – and in Him alone. You do that, you’re declared just by God, you’re adopted into His family, you’re forgiven of all of your sins, and you have begun your pilgrimage for eternity.

*Article adapted from Tabletalk Magazine April 10, 2010 http://www.ligonier.org/blog/what-gospel/

 About Dr. Sproul

Dr. Robert Charles Sproul (born 1939 in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) is an American, Calvinist theologian, and pastor. He is the founder and chairman of Ligonier Ministries (named after the Ligonier Valley just outside of Pittsburgh, where the ministry started as a study center for college and seminary students) and can be heard daily on the Renewing Your Mind radio broadcast in the United States and throughout 60 countries. Ligonier hosts several theological conferences each year, including the main conference held each year in Orlando, Florida, at which Sproul is one of the primary speakers. Sproul holds degrees from Westminster College, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary, the Free University of Amsterdam, and Whitefield Theological Seminary, and he has taught at numerous colleges and seminaries, including Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando and Knox Theological Seminary in Ft. Lauderdale. Currently, he is Senior Minister of Preaching and Teaching at Saint Andrew’s Chapel in Sanford, Florida, where he began preaching in 1997. Sproul has been an ardent advocate of Calvinism in his many books and audio and video publications, and he is also known for his advocacy of the Thomistic approach to Christian apologetics and his rejection of both evidentialism and presuppositionalism.

R. C. Sproul was ordained to the gospel ministry by the Pittsburgh Presbytery (UPUSA) on July 18, 1965. From 1965 to 1966 he served as Instructor in Philosophy and Theology at Westminster College. From 1966 to 1968 he served as Assistant Professor of Theological Studies at Gordon College. From 1968 to 1969 he served as Assistant Professor of Philosophical Theology at Conwell School of Theology. From 1969 to 1971 he served as Minister of Theology at College Hill United Presbyterian Church. From 1971 to 1981 he served at Gordon Conwell Theological Seminary as Visiting Professor of Apologetics. Also, starting in 1971, he served as Director for The Coalition for Christian Outreach, Inc. until 1976. 1971 was also the year that Ligonier Ministries was founded, and he has served as Chairman of that ministry from that time through the present. Starting in 1977, he was an executive committee member of the International Council on Biblical Inerrancy, until 1983. He also served as Director of Prison Fellowship, Inc. from 1979 through 1984 and Director of Evangelism Explosion III, International from 1980 through 1981. From 1980 to 1995 he served as Professor of Systematic Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary. During this time at Reformed Theological Seminary, he held the John Dyer Trimble, Sr. Chair of Systematic Theology from 1987 to 1995. He also served as Director of the Foundation for Reformation from 1990 through 1999 and from 1982 through the present has served as Director of Serve International, Inc. From 1995 to 2004 he served as Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology and Apologetics at Knox Theological Seminary.

R. C. Sproul is married to Vesta Ann of Pittsburgh, PA. They have two grown children – a daughter, Sherrie Sproul Dick, and a son, R. C. Sproul, Jr. Dr. R. C. Sproul, Jr., is a theologian and a strong supporter of homeschooling, traditional family roles, and limited government. He founded the Highlands Study Center in Meadowview, Virginia. R. C. Sproul, Sr. and his wife currently reside in Orlando, Florida. In addition to being an excellent Theologian and Author, Sproul also enjoys reading, golf, sketching and painting, music (piano and violin), and hunting. He has a keen interest in a modern Christian Reformation. May God grant that we would have such a Reformation.

Sources – Ligonier Ministries and Wikipedia. Much thanks to John Cobb and Toni Roth of Ligonier Ministries for their provision of Dr. Sproul’s biographical and bibliographical information.

Publications Sproul is a prolific author who has written more than 60 books and many articles for evangelical publications. He signed the 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, which affirmed the traditional view of Biblical inerrancy, and he wrote a commentary on that document titled Explaining Inerrancy. He also served as the editor of the Reformation Study Bible which has appeared in several editions and was also known as the New Geneva Study Bible.Sproul’s work The Holiness of God is considered a modern classic on the subject of God’s character, and his book Not a Chance: The Myth of Chance in Modern Science and Cosmology was highly praised by those who reject the materialism advocated by some in the scientific community. Other works include:

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Book Review: The Explicit Gospel by Matt Chandler

The Antidote to Gospel Inoculation

When Saint Augustine was living a life of licentiousness many generations ago he was hearing some children playing near where he was seated, playing a game with the refrain “Take up and read, take up and read.” He picked up his Bible and opened it to the book of Romans and proceeded to read about his sin and his desperate need of the provision of Christ’s imputed righteousness by faith in his death, burial, and resurrection in exchange for his sin. He was convicted of his sin and powerfully drawn by the work of the Holy Spirit toward faith and repentance in the person and work of Christ.

Whether you are a rebel, or someone who has heard the gospel (or what may pass for the gospel today) – you are well advised to take up this book and read it. In the past men like Augustine, Luther, and Calvin understood with passion and clarity our need to comprehend the richness and depth of the gospel, and proclaim it with passionate urgency – because souls are hanging in the balance. In this book Chandler definitively understands and articulates the power of the gospel and the desperate need we all have to understand the depth of our sin before a Holy God, and the just requirements He has that we have failed to meet, and thus our desperate need for what Christ came to save us from and unto.

In three parts Chandler clearly articulates the gospel essentials (God, Man, Christ, and our response); the gospel’s theological underpinnings (Creation, Fall, Reconciliation, and Consummation); and lastly its implications and applications for all of the aspects of our lives. The author is to be commended for writing a book that is passionate about the gospel; clearly articulates the gospel; calls for a response to the gospel; and demonstrates how to communicate and live out the gospel.

I highly recommend this book especially for preachers who proclaim the word of God week in and week out. He will inspire you to NOT compromise the gospel and to rest in the work of the Holy Spirit in applying it’s power in the lives of your people. My hope and prayer is that in reading this book your passion will be stirred to unflinchingly proclaim the gospel powerfully in truth and love – resulting in the saving of many lives. I think that the Apostle Paul would wholeheartedly agree with all that Chandler articulates in this book and would add, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel (as conveyed in this book), for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16).

Matt Chandler is the lead pastor of The Village Church, a multi-campus church in the Dallas metroplex of over 10,000 people. He has recently taken the post as President of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network. His sermons are among the top selling (free) podcasts on itunes and he speaks at conferences worldwide. Prior to accepting the pastorate at The Village, Matt had a vibrant itinerant ministry for over ten years where he spoke to hundreds of thousands of people in America and abroad about the glory of God and beauty of Jesus. He lives in Texas with his wife, Lauren, and their three children: Audrey, Reid and Norah.

 

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