Matthew ends with the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ that has through the centuries changed the lives of millions of people. We are sure of the scripture’s promise that heaven will be filled with a vast number of people who will praise the name of our Lord forever and forever. Their salvation was made possible in only one way—the good news that Jesus came to earth, lived, died, was buried, and then arose from the grave. The sacrifice of our Saviour at Calvary satisfied every demand of God’s justice that was laid against the vile repentant sinner.
The gospel is good news; the best news any person can hear. It does indeed change many hell-bound sinners into heaven-bound saints. For this reason, it is strenuously resisted by Satan and his followers who do everything in their power to corrupt it. The gospel alone can save which means a perverted gospel cannot save. Unfortunately, for the unsuspecting, the means of corruption can be so subtle that many who promote Satan’s methods do not even realize they are helping him accomplish his goal of keeping people blinded to the truth.
Energetic soul-winners who are no doubt often sincere in their efforts to see people saved are often guilty of giving people false assurance by leading them through cheapened presentations of the gospel. When the gospel is reduced to a three to five-minute presentation in which repentance from sin is not mentioned and faith is presented as nothing more than intellectual assent, the ingredients of a false gospel are there. This is not the true gospel of Christ. The true gospel demands genuine sorrow for sin, a sense of self-loathing because of offenses against the holy God, a forsaking and turning from sin in deep contrition, then turning to Christ alone in faith as the only hope of salvation. It also includes the surrender of all we are to the Lordship of Christ over our lives.
Quick five-minute presentations will rarely bring a person to the understanding of these important truths. Enthusiastic soul-winners are lightning fast in their efforts to get people to pray the sinner’s prayer when they have not adequately dealt with the demands of Christ for repentance and faith. This method of soul-winning is never found in scripture. There is not one instance of it in the ministry of Jesus, the apostles, or any evangelist in the New Testament. None of them asked anyone to pray what we call the sinner’s prayer. None of them would have sanctioned this method as an indication of real conviction and turning to Christ in repentant faith. Does this mean we are not to call on the Lord in prayer for salvation? No, we must, but not before we have rejected all that we are and are ready to be humbly obedient to all the Lord commands.
I want you to see these truths. We do not want to sell the gospel short. Never let it be said we have wasted time because our converts never really understood the gospel. Jesus is Lord and Jesus saves! But, Jesus never saves with a false gospel. Repent of all your sins, place your faith in Christ with a faith that leads to obedience to His Lordship.
Pastor V. Mark Smith