I am getting ready to teach during #VBS2015 next week. All the action begins on Monday, June 1. I am working with the pastors of our church to teach through this VBS. I get to kick off the festivities with the first lesson. VBS this year is called Journey off the map. The focus of this week’s study is going to be the life of Daniel. The first lesson introduces us to the only person who can enable us to be like Daniel. That person is Jesus Christ.
In order to understand who Jesus is and what He is able to do to us and for us, we need to read the following passages.
I. Jesus came at the right time
In Galatians, Paul, a man who was taught directly by Jesus Christ after His resurrection, teaches us that God sent His Son, in the fulness of time. If you read through the Old Testament, and take a look at human history, you will see that God played a vital part in history to bring about the birth of Jesus Christ. He laid out the sacrificial system at a place called “God will provide”. This system was in place for roughly 1,600 years. During that time, God continued to trace the lineage of the “seed” who was to come and save mankind. Along the way, He brought the Greeks into power in the Mediterranean world, a people who brought a common language that people from all over the known world could understand. Then, He raised up the Romans, a people described in Daniel 2 and Daniel 7, many years before they came into power. The Romans provided the roads to transport missionaries to carry the message of the Gospel in the common language that everyone could understand. This is the fulness of time that Paul is writing to the church in Galatia about in his epistle. Do you realize all that God has done in order to get the message of salvation to you? He did not wait for you to find Him. He came to you. He prepared the way for the coming of Christ, He sent Christ, and then He opened the way for the message of the Gospel to get to you in a language that you can understand. Jesus came with a purpose, to pay for your sins and present you to God as an adopted child. Because of what God has done, you can become a child of God.
II. Jesus proclaimed the Gospel
According to Matthew, Jesus preached the good news of the Gospel when He walked this earth. Jesus shared the Gospel in two ways. One thing that He did was enter into synagogues (places where people were seeking to worship God) and teach them from the Scriptures. They were searching for God. They had the Scriptures so Jesus made the connection between man and God in the Scriptures. As we know, the Scriptures pointed to Him as the mediator between God and man. Outside of the synagogues, Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of the kingdom of heaven to all who would listen. He would meet their physical needs in order to open the door for the main need that all people have, their spiritual need. Once Jesus had their attention, He would then explain the Gospel. News about Him spread and people from all over were coming to Him. He used these opportunities to continue proclaiming the message of the kingdom of heaven.
III. The Gospel proclaims Jesus
The message of the Gospel comes full circle in that Jesus proclaimed the Gospel and the Gospel proclaims Jesus. In I Corinthians, Paul explains to us what the Gospel teaches us about Jesus Christ. This message is of first importance. If you do not learn anything else in this world, but learn the message of the Gospel, then you will be okay. The Scriptures (Gospel) teach us that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins. We are all sinners and have to pay the price for our actions. The only way to pay that price is by death. Jesus stepped in to pay the price for us. He was able to pay the price because He was sinless and took that sinless body of flesh to the cross in our place. The Scriptures also teach us that Jesus was buried. This is important because it signifies that Jesus really did die. He did not appear to be dead. He was dead and buried for 3 days. On the 3rd day, He rose from the dead. This is important because His resurrection sets us free from sin’s power. His death pays the price. His resurrection breaks sin’s death grip over us. We are now able to be obedient to God. We are now able to say no to temptation and sin. We are now able to say yes to God. The Gospel is salvation for our past, our present, and our future. Have you heard and believed the Gospel according to the Scriptures? Have you trusted Christ’s sacrifice to pay the price for your sins? Have you trusted Christ’s resurrection to set you free from your sin nature?
IV. Jesus, Lord and Savior
Our sin nature loves to take us to extremes. On one hand, there is a teaching that Jesus can be Savior without being Lord. In other words, I want the benefits of salvation but I do not want the responsibilities of a servant. There is another extreme that teaches that you must make Jesus Lord by obeying Him and working your way to salvation. The Scriptures are clear, we cannot earn our salvation. In the Gospel according to Luke, a medical doctor who used his education and training to research all that he could about the life of Christ and then write about it, Luke tells us that Jesus was born to be our Savior and Lord. We cannot separate Him. If you want the benefits of salvation, you must bow your knee to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. This is what faith is, being convinced of the Truth based on the evidence. The evidence is that Jesus is Lord and Savior and He has invited you to receive His salvation based on what He has done for you. Receiving it means bowing your knee to His authority. If you are basing your salvation on faith in Jesus just as Savior but not as Lord, according to James, you may have faith but it is dead faith and it is useless.
This is the Gospel. This is Jesus Christ, the Lord and Savior of all who believe. Are you a believer? Have you heard the message of the Gospel? Do you believe what is written? Have you bowed your knee to Jesus as Lord in order to receive the gift of salvation? I pray that these things will motivate you to examine your heart and your life to see if you are a genuine believer or not. May the Lord bless you to bow your knee to Him as Lord and Savior.