A variety of viewpoints are presented from our religious, political, and economic spectrums, but only the absolute truth of the gospel of Christ has the message that ultimately answers the most pressing questions and serious concerns of the human soul. The book is concerned with encouraging and helping church leaders bring spiritual renewal to their people through the biblical gospel.
The Rev. Dr. Reid Hensarling

What is the Gospel? Part 11

The pre-eminent authority of the Scriptures must be defined in order to take seriously what was written and thereby act confidently and obediently upon it. Erickson defines the authority of Scripture: "By the authority of the Bible we mean that the Bible, as the expression of God's will to us, possesses the right supremely to define what we are to believe and how we are to conduct ourselves." The Bible bears the stamp of divine authority and has the power to inform and guide our actions and form our beliefs. The Word of God is the final arbiter and norm for our conduct, faith and all doctrinal beliefs. Confessions, creeds, and liturgical documents must submit to its scrutiny and authority. "And we also thank God constantly for this, that when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as the word of men but as what it really is, the word of God, which is at work in you believers" ( Thessalonians 2:13). The authority of the Bible resides with the one living and true God who is the source and fountain of all truth and not man or the Church (Isaiah 46:9 ). He has absolute authority over his creation and is subject to no one. He is the source, intrinsic author, and the presenter of his word to all who have ears to hear. God divinely spoke through the inspired text, which established his authority. John Stott writes: "Authority is the power of weight which Scripture possesses because of what it is, namely a divine revelation given by divine inspiration. If it is a word from God, it has authority over men. God's Word carries God's authority. It is because of who he is that we should believe what he has said."
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The Rev. Dr. Reid Hensarling

What is the Gospel? Part 10

The theological and biblical doctrine of inerrancy explains that the Scriptures claim to be true because God always speaks the truth and does not lie (Psalm 190:160 ; John 17:17 ). The Scriptures themselves and a variety of scholars tell us that the Scriptures do not and cannot err, deceive, or speak falsely and are a dependable and reliable source of God's revelation. They bear the stamp and imprimatur of truth and lead us into truth. The Scriptures are without error in what they affirm regarding the will and purposes of God and are the only infallible guide to living. Their primary content is the living Word, Jesus Christ, and the gospel proclaimed by him and his disciples (Mark 1:14-15 ; Acts 2:37-39 ). No greater truths exist. 

The inherent, transcendent truths of the Scriptures are normally not readily received, but only understood by the illumination and guidance of the Holy Spirit (John 8:47 ). Donald Bloesch defines illumination as "the inward awakening of the believer to the truth that is revealed." Unfortunately, man is particularly susceptible to his sinful nature and swayed by lies, untruths, and heresies. Without the Holy Scirptures in our lives and a proper understanding of the gospel, we have a tendencey to embrace error and wrong thinking. FitzSimons Allison astutely observes: "We are susceptible to heretical teachings because, in one form or another, they nurture and reflect the way we would have it be rather than the way God has provided, which is infinitely better for us. As they lead us into the blind alleys of self-indulgence and escape from life, heresies pander to the most unworthy tendencies of the human heart." Because the Scriptuees are inerrant and true, when they are correctly interpreted, they can be relied upon in their teaching and instruction and are a sure and trustworthy authority.  

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The Rev. Dr. Reid Hensarling

What is the Gospel? Part 9

The authors of the Bible did not invent their material, since the origin of the Scriptures is from God and not from the imagination of men. The Scriptures are the living words of God through the words of human beings and are divinely inspired (II Peter 1:20-21). The Holy Spirit supernaturally led and guided the human writers, but did not cancel their personalities (Acts 1:16 ). God's words were theirs and their words were God's; so what was actually written was the word of God. The only way this could have been successfully produced is that the faculties and wills of man were acted upon by the Holy Spirit to express the very words of God (Luke 1:70 ; Acts 28:25 ). Paradoxically, the Holy Spirit and the Word of God belong and work inseparably together in unision. Donald Bloesch says that "The Word is animated by the Spirit, and the Spirit always directs us to the Word." By the grace of God, the Spirit makes the true and dependable words of Scripture intelligible and understandable to the believer and efficacious for their life. 

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The Rev. Dr. Reid Hensarling

What is the Gospel? Part 8

In order for us to believe and act upon the Word of God, we have to trust its witness as the Word of God and know "that what the Bible says is just what God would say if he were to speak directly" (Erickson). How could an infinite God and finite human writers produce an inspired, inerrant text? Stott says, "Theologically we may say revelation has come to us through the means of inspiration." God spoke his divine word from his mouth and guided the human authors to write what he wanted written; therefore, the scriptural witness is reliable and sure (II Timothy 3:16-17). Richard France notes: "It is not that its authors were merely passive channels for a divine revelation independent of their own thoughts; the stamp of the writers' personalities on their books is clear. But the classic Christian belief is that what they wrote in their own language, and in their own historical setting, was directed by God so that the result was no less his word than theirs."

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The Rev. Dr. Reid Hensarling

Pleasing God

One of the great blessings of following Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior is pleasing Him on a daily basis. The following are several excellent verses on pleasing the Lord. Enjoy!

"Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God" (Romans 8:8 ). Let us be controlled by the power and grace of the Holy Spirit. Do not submit to the power of the flesh. 

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is - his good, pleasing and perfect will" (Romans 12:1-2 ). Following God's will is so much better than following the desires and aspirations of our sinful hearts. 

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The Rev. Dr. Reid Hensarling

What is the Gospel? Part 7

God speaks and acts through revelation, most particularly through Jesus Christ, the incarnate Word (John 1:1 , 14) and the Scriptures, the written Word of God. God has uniquely chosen to disclose himself through these two means. The truth of the gospel is found in God's self-revelation which finds its fulfillment in Christ (Acts 4:12 ) who proclaimed and taught the gospel faithfully and who was crucified, buried, and resurected to save us from our sins, restore our relationship with God, and give us eternal life. 

Unfortunately, our sin blinds us to the truths of the gospel and prevents God's revelation from being understood properly, but the Holy Spirit has the power to illuminate our minds and open our hearts so that the believer can understand the Word of God and the gospel promises. The Holy Spirit communicates and directs the divine word to our sinful minds and hearts in ways that help the Scriptures become alive and meaningful. He enlightens our finite minds and motivates our stubborn wills to the reality and truth of the gospel message. There is no benefit unless the Holy Spirit shines his light upon the text and brings life and power to the Word of God (II Corinthians 3:6). The Holy Spirit, being the author of the text, is absolutely required to bear witness to and authenticate the veracity of the Holy Scriptures. He penetrates our hearts and minds and persuades us that the Scriptures are the Word of God. 

J.I. Packer explains: The mark of this understanding is that Scripture now appears coherent: To the man enlightened by the Spirit, Scripture is no longer a bewildering jumble of isolated items, as it may well have seemed to him before, but under the benefit of this assistance all the parts of the Scripture, in their harmony and correspondency, all the truths of it in their power and necessity, come in together to give evidence one to another, and all of them to the whole.

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The Rev. Dr. Reid Hensarling

What is the Gospel? Part 6

Griffith Thomas defines revelation as the unfolding of the character of God, the supernatural communication from God to man of truth which the human mind unaided could not discover, and of grace for life which human power alone could not provide. This unfolding occurs best in the Holy Scriptures as the meaning of the text shines through the llight of divine revelation. Because of man's sinful nature and separation from God, man's attempts to discern the will of God are ultimately fruitless and futile (See Isaiah 55:9 ; Jeremiah 2:13 ). "God's ways and thoughts are sovereignly efficacious, in that they accomplish all that they are designed to accomplish" (Edward J. Young). Man simply dos not have the capacity and aiblity to know and discern the mind of God (I Corinthians 2:11b); therefore, God must always take the inititative and come and speak truthfully to him about what he is like and what he is to believe (Proverbs 30:5 ). 

Unless God makes himself known to us, we cannot know him. Providentially and graciously, God desires to reveal himself to us and for us to communicate with him through the divine words and supernatural acts of God found in Holy Scripture. He calls us to follow and love him intimately so that a personal relationship is formed and nurtured for a lifetime. The Lord has fashioned us in such a way as to give us the ability and desire to hear his voice and discern his ways. 


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The Rev. Dr. Reid Hensarling

What is the Gospel? Part 5

Since the Scriptures are the foundation of gospel understanding and witness, it is imperative that the truths contained in the Bible are properly discerned and interpreted. Through the reading and study of the written Word, we come to know the living Word, Jesus Christ. Blaise Pascal noted: "Without the Scripture, which has only Jesus Christ as its object, we know nothing, and see only darkness and confusion in the nature of God and in nature herself." The Old and New Testaments contain rich and valuable historical and theological truths which point us to a proper understanding of the gospel and the Holy Spirit's inworking and outworking in our lives which leads to spiritual renewal and growth. 

It is imperative that one must realize and incorporate a sufficient understanding of the Scriptures so that the gospel may take effect and become rooted in one's heart and soul. John Frame says that "God's word is his powerful, authoritative self-expression." The objective reality is that the Bible contains the very Word of God. Donald Bloesch writes: "When we say that the Bible is the Word of God we mean two things: that all the words are selected by the Spirit of God through his guidance of the human authors; and that the truth of God is enshrined in and mediated through these words. The Bible is the Word of God in all that it teaches, though this teaching is not immediately self-evident but must be unveiled by the Spirit."

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The Rev. Dr. Reid Hensarling

What is the Gospel? Part 4

The gospel is normative for Christian faith, affects everything we say and do, and is the greatest need for both believers and non-believers because it brings us reconciled and renewed fellowship with God, eternal life and union with Jesus Christ, and the transforming joy, teaching, and pwoer through the Holy Spirit (I Timothy 1:11; II Corinthians 5:20; Colossians 3:4 ; Galatians 5:25 ). Tim Keller writes: "The gospel is something that has been done for us and that we must respond to. The gospel is what we must believe to have our relationship with God put right and to be saved." The gospel changes our lives to be like Christ's life so that our hearts and minds are transformed and molded into his will and purpose for us (John 3:3 ). 

Unfortunately and tragically, "the reality of present-day Christendom is that most professing Christians actually know very little of the gospel, let alone understand its implications for their day-to-day lives. My perception is that most of them know just enough gospel to get inside the door of the kingdom. They know nothing of the unsearchable riches of Christ" (Jerry Bridges). What all persons need to know is that the gospel is about Jesus and is richer and greater than anything anyone can possibly imagine and has the power and energy to change our minds and hearts, and ultimately our lives. Tim Keller concurs: "The gospel transforms our hearts and thinking and approaches to absolutely everything."

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The Rev. Dr. Reid Hensarling

What is the Gospel? Part 3

The gospel leads us to repentance and those who put their faith in Christ and acknowledge him as Savior and Lord have eternal life and a new status before God. Our relationship with God is restored and reestablished through Christ's perfect work. The good news is that believers reap the undeserved and life-changing promises of a loving and merciful God: forgiven, redeemed, a new creation, child of God, adopted, justified, holy, and righteous (John 1:12 ; II Corinthians 5:17; Galatians 2:16 ; Colossians 1:22 ; I John 1:23 ). We also have been given a new heart (Psalm 51:10 ; Ezekiel 11:19 , 36:26; Romans 6:6-7 ) and new hope (Colossians 1:23 ), an inheritance in Christ "that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you" (I Peter 1:3-4). Only the gospel brings us faith, hope, and love (I Corinthians 13:13). One day we will finally be delivered from the temptation and power of sin and God will make all things new (Revelation 21:1-5 ), but in the meantime we are comforted, taught, and empowered by the Holy Spirit to know, love, and follow Jesus all the days of our lives (John 14:26 , 16:13; Acts 2:8 ). 

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The Rev. Dr. Reid Hensarling

What is the Gospel? Part 2

The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ ultimately solved the problem of man's separation and alienation with God because of sin by removing it (Psalm 51:5 ; Romans 3:10-12 , 23; 5:12). Man is guilty before a holy God for breaking his divine law and justly deserves death (James 2:10 ; I Peter 1:16). Additionally, man's heart and the world in which he lives are corrupted and infiltrated by sin (Jeremiah 17:9 ; Mark 7:21-23 ; I John 2:16 ). Man tries to find happinesss, meaning, and purpose in life apart from God, but this is impossible for those who sin shall die (Ezekiel 18:4 , 20). Since man cannot save himself (Romans 3:20 ; Ephesians 2:1-3 ), God must do so through Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior (Romans 6:23 ). The gospel is the good news that the sinless and perfect man Jesus Christ sacrificed himself for us, taking upon himself our sins, "so that in him we might become the righteousness of God" ( II Corinthians 5:21). We could have never satisfied God's wrath for our sin and kept God's perfect laws ourselves, so Jesus did this for us (propitiation) by redeeming us from the curse of the law (Galatians 3:13 ).

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The Rev. Dr. Reid Hensarling

What is the Gospel? Part I

"A critical question to ask is, 'What is the Gospel?' The gospel is the good news of Jesus Christ and the power of the gospel is Jesus Christ. Tim Keller defines the gospel: 'Through the person and work of Jesus Christ on our behalf, God saves sinners by grace, rescuing them from judgment for their sin into fellowship with him now in the church and ultimately in the new heavens and new earth. To receive this salvation, we must repent and believe this gospel.' The pre-existent Son of God (John 1:1 , 14), Jesus Christ, who took on human flesh and was born of the Virgin Mary (Luke 1:31 ; 2:7), lived a sinless life (Hebrews 4:15 ), began his earthly ministry at thirty years old, and became a servant of God who boldly and obediently proclaimed the gospel (Mark 1:14-15 ). At the hands of those who hated him, he willingly died on the cross for our sins and paid its full penalty, exchanged his life for our life, cancelled our debt, and defeated the power of evil once and for all time (Isaiah 53:4-6 ; Mark 10:45 ; Colossians 2:13-15 ; I Peter 3:18; I John 2:2 ). He was buried and on the third day was raised from the dead for our sins (I Corinthians 15:3-6). God's justice and wrath were duly served with Christ's death on the cross and subsequent resurrection from the dead so that those who by the grace and mercy of God repent of their sins and put their trust and faith in Christ are justified in his sight (Acts 2:38 ; Romans 3:24-26 ; Galatians 3:26 ; Ephesians 2:8-9 )." 

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The Rev. Dr. Reid Hensarling

Read the Bible

“The divinely inspired Scriptures are Christianity’s final and supreme authority and the only inerrant and ultimately sufficient and necessary rule and guide for faith and practice. Because God has graciously taken the initiative and revealed himself by clearly speaking to us in Holy Scripture, biblical truths can be learned and incorporated into daily living.

Additionally, the Scriptures are unsurpassed in their clarity and witness to the biblical gospel of Jesus Christ. The Old and New Testaments are dynamic and eternal written records of the words and actions of God and man’s corresponding reaction to God’s revealed word, displayed in myriad and varied acts of obedience and disobedience. Examination of the biblical accounts in the Old and New Testaments point to the significance and impact of the gospel to bring spiritual renewal to their people.

God addressed his people through his words in concrete situations and historical events” (My doctoral dissertation).  

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