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A Summary of Our Gospel

Sunday, May 17th, 1992

Isaiah 8:19-20

And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep, and that mutter: should not a people seek unto their God? for the living to the dead? To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.


I would like very much for you to pull up a chair and pay special attention to this message that I am going to bring you today.  I am going to talk to you about some very serious matters.  If you have your Bible, I want you to open it to Isaiah Chapter 8: verses 19 and 20. 


Here is the title of the message: “A Summary of Our Gospel.”  As you are listening to the message, remember that it is available to you on cassette tape.  You can play it for someone else or listen to it again for your own instruction and edification.  “A Summary of Our Gospel” is what I will be speaking about today.


Isaiah the prophet wrote many, many, years ago in Chapter 8: 19, “When they shall say to you seek ye, them that have familiar spirits”(the prophets, the preachers).  In other words, if you want to know something about God and spiritual matters, and life eternal, go to the prophets who have familiar spirits.  They will say this to you,  “Go to those people who claim to have special unusual powers.”  They will claim to have powers to heal and powers to cast out devils.  They will claim to have powers of divine vision, revelations and dreams.  They may say this to you, “Seek ye the wizards that peep and mutter.”  They speak in low muttering tones.  Go to the preachers that have charm and charisma who sing like birds and peep like birds.  They mutter in pleasant tones.  If you go to these people, they will mislead you. 


He asked this question, “Should not a people seek their God?”  People will tell you to go to these folks that have familiar spirits.  Go to these that peep and mutter.  “Should not a people seek their God?”  Shouldn’t we go to God?  Shouldn’t we go to God’s Word?  Shall we seek the living God by listening to dead men?


Notice the next verse:  Isaiah said, “Go to the law and to the testimony.”  Go to the Word of God and to the scriptures.  Search the scriptures and if those prophets and those preachers to whom you listen, if they do not speak according to the Word of God, “according to the law and the testimony; it is because there is no light in them.”  There is no dawning or no truth. 


Now, this is what Paul says to the church at Corinth.  It is the same thing that Isaiah said in the Old Testament, “Don’t go to those with familiar spirits.”  Don’t go to those that claim special powers, visions and special revelations.  Don’t go hear a man because he speaks with charm or charisma.  Go to the Word of God!  Don’t seek the living God among the dead; go to the Word of God.  Whomever you may be listening to, if they do not speak according to the scriptures, it is because there is no truth or no light in them.


Paul says this to the church at Corinth.  Paul was in Corinth a year and a half preaching in this church to these people.  In First Corinthians Two, he said, “Brethren, when I came to you, (when I came to minister to you), I didn’t come with excellency of speech, and I didn’t depend on oratory.  I didn’t depend upon the power of words.  I didn’t come to you with the wisdom of words and intellectualism, but rather declaring unto you the testimony of God.


Wisdom and intellectualism was not my method!  That was not my way.  “I determined when I was among you to know nothing but Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”  He said, “I was with you in fear, in weakness and in trembling.”  My speech and my preaching were not with philosophy.  It was not with enticing, entertaining words of man’s wisdom, but I preached unto you the Word of God, the truth of the scriptures.  I preached to you not depending on entertainment and charisma, emotionalism and enticing words of men’s wisdom.  “I preached to you in the demonstration of the Holy Spirit and the power of God.”


Why?  “That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, (in the logic of men, and in the reasoning of men).  Your faith must not stand in the wisdom of men.  Your faith must stand in the power or in the Word of God.


You see, my friends, the Lord did not send His preachers to entertain.  He didn’t send His preachers to entice people and to rob people.  In the Book of Ephesians it says, “He sent His prophets, His apostles, and His missionaries.”  Today, we are called pastors and teachers.  Those two words go together.  He sent them to preach and to teach His Word to all who will hear.  God’s preacher comes preaching God’s Word, “Thus saith the Lord. What saith the scriptures?”  That is his platform, that is his foundation, and that is his ministry, to teach you the Word of God that you might be mature in the things of Christ. 


Listen to me now, I have been on this station for 18 years preaching the gospel and teaching the Word of God.  As I have warned you before, I warn you again, concerning these religious entertainers.  Watch out for these religious entertainers, and these religious showmen.  They will have their orchestras, bands and extravagant theater productions.  You see them and they are on TV all the time.  I’m warning you about these people.


Don’t go to those with “familiar spirits.”  Don’t go to the “wizards that peep,” go to the Word of God.  I’ve warned you about preachers that beg for money.  I have warned you time and time again on this program.  They beg for money in the name of God Almighty.  They carry on telethons in the name of God Almighty to raise money.  They sell trinkets, they sell idols, and they sell religious paraphernalia for the soul purpose of raising money.  They raise money for themselves and for their programs.


I say to you, (with a heavy heart), God did not send them.  What God Almighty purposes, God provides.  Do you understand that?  What God purposes, God provides.  When God sends a man to preach His Word, He supplies his need.  God does!  He supplies it miraculously, and sovereignly, according to His riches in glory through Christ Jesus.


The preacher who is sent of God does not have to beg for money, raise money or pressure people to send money.  He doesn’t have to sell trinkets or paraphernalia in the name of God to keep him going, which he claims is of God.  If it is of God, God will provide.  I say this unto you and I warn you. That is what Isaiah was warning the people about hundreds of years ago. 


God’s preachers are plain men.  They are humble men.  They are not philosophers and they are not showmen.  They are not entertainers and they don’t live in million dollar houses.  They don’t wear expensive clothing and jewelry.  God’s preachers don’t do these things.  They are plain men.  I’m telling you!  Go through the scriptures.  Study the men of God.  Study about Paul, Peter, James, John, John the Baptist, and Isaiah.  All of these men were plain men who came not to entertain people.  They were not enticing them or using them to accomplish their vainglory and purposes.  God’s preachers come preaching God’s Word.


Is that not true?  You know that it is true.  God’s preachers are not dishonest men.  They do not steal, they do not beg, and they do not borrow beyond their means.  They do not bring reproach on the kingdom of God or the gospel of Jesus Christ.  They are not popular men.


They are God’s men and they are preaching God’s Word.  They do not depend on the flesh and the world.  They simply preach and they come preaching the Word of God, teaching the Word of God and depend on the power of that Word to accomplish the will of God Almighty.  That’s what I am trying to do on this program.


I beg of you, listen to me, and hear me!  Don’t be taken in with men by this promotion today, in the name of religion, entertainment and emotionalism.  “Christ is the same, yesterday, today and forever.”  Read the scriptures and see who He is.  See what He says and “Search the scriptures to see if these things be so.” 


I want to repeat to you a few points in this message today, which I entitled, “The Summary of Our Gospel.”  It is true!  It is the Word of God.  That is what I try to do.  I try to give you a point, read it in the scriptures and illustrate that point.


Now, listen to this.  If you have a pencil or paper, jot down these five points.


Here is the first one:  Everything spiritual and everything of eternal value is in Jesus Christ. I’m talking about things of eternal value (not things that fade away, that are here today and gone tomorrow). I’m talking about things that last, that are spiritual and eternal.  Everything spiritual and eternal that a living and Holy God has for you and for me (sinners, sons of Adam) is in Jesus Christ our Lord.


Now, that is so!  Remember that, (everything spiritual).  It is not in the church, it is in Christ.  It is not in an experience, it is in Christ.  It is not in a doctrine, it is in Christ.  Everything spiritual, eternal or of any value that God has for a sinner that will last, is in Christ Jesus.


You can’t add to that statement.  You can’t take away from it and you can’t improve on it.  Listen to Ephesians One and see if this is not what it is saying in verse three:  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.”  That is “all spiritual blessings.” 


I’m not talking about a new car in your garage, financial improvement or a healing for your sore back.  I am talking about something that is going to last.  I’m talking about something of great value.  I am talking about something that is eternal.  I am talking about justification.  I’m talking about forgiveness, redemption, sanctification, and fellowship with God.  These are spiritual blessings and these are all in Christ Jesus.


We were chosen in Christ.  We are accepted in Christ.  In Christ we have redemption.  In Christ we have the forgiveness of sins.  In Christ we have an inheritance, reserved in heaven for us.  It is all in Him! 


 I’m not trying to excite you and stir you up emotionally and get you to turn flip-flops behind your television, I am trying to get you to listen.  Faith is a heart work.  It is a heart understanding of what God has written.  Don’t go to the “wizards that peep.”  Don’t go to those who claim special and “familiar spirits;” go to the Word of God. “All flesh is grass and all the glory of man is the flower of the field.  The grass withereth and the flower fadeth, but the Word of God endureth forever.”  Listen to Colossians 2:3, “In Christ are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”  Where is wisdom and where is knowledge?  It is in Christ Jesus.


In Colossians 2: 9-10, “In Christ dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily and you are complete in Him.”  All spiritual blessings are in Him.  It says in First Corinthians 1:30, “But of God are you in Christ who of God is made unto us, wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption, that no flesh should glory in His presence.” 


It is not in the preacher.  It is not in my philosophy or my wisdom or my cheerleading powers to keep you stirred up.  All this wisdom, righteousness, sanctification and redemption are in His Son and are revealed in His Word.  John 3:35-36, listen to this, “The Father loveth the Son and hath given all things into His hands.  He that believeth on the Son hath life.  He that believeth not the Son, shall not see life but the wrath of God abideth on him.”


Did I make that plain?  We didn’t jump over the pulpit and I didn’t scream at you and assault you or berate you, I just told you. What God Almighty, the Holy living God has for you and me, as sinners, is in Christ Jesus.


Here is the second point:  Those spiritual blessings in Christ become ours.  They become ours by a living and personal union with Christ.  God has put everything in His Son.  For me to have anything of that everything, I have to be where it is.  I have to be where God put it.  I’ve got to be in the Son.  Do you see what I am saying?  Eternal life does not just believe that there is a God; it does not just believe in God.  It is not learning the correct doctrine.  It is not just having an emotional experience; eternal life is to know God and to have the nature of God, regenerated in you.  It is to know God and to have the nature of God.


Listen to this scripture:  John 17: verses 2 and 3.  This is Christ Jesus Himself, praying the Priestly Prayer.  In John 17:2, he says, “Father, Thou hast given Me, power, (the authority) over all flesh that I should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given me and this is life eternal that they might know Thee. This is life eternal that they might know Thee, the only true God and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.”  That is eternal life.  It is to know God.  It is to have the nature of God.


Listen to First John 5:20:   “We know that the Son of God hath come and hath given us an understanding that we may know Him that is true and that we are in Him that is true.  Even in Him, this is the true God and this is eternal life. Even in His Son, Jesus Christ.”  God’s Son has come and given us an understanding that we may know Him and that we may be in Him. 


Paul said, “It pleased God, to reveal His Son in Me.”  God revealed His Son in Me.  “Salvation is of the Lord.”  It is a birth from above.  “Christ in you; that is the hope of glory.”  It is not Christ in a book, it is not Christ in a creed, it is not Christ at an altar; it is Christ in you.  Paul said to the church at Galatia, “I travail, until Christ be formed in you.”  God has put all things, spiritual blessings, in Christ.  Those blessings become ours by a union with Him.  We partake of and participate in those mercies and blessings in Christ. 


Christ illustrates it several ways, He says, “I’m the Vine and you are the branches.  The branch cannot bear fruit of itself except it abide in the vine.  Neither can you, except you abide in me.  Without Me you can do nothing.”  I am the Vine, the Life, and you are a branch.  You are in Christ participating of the life of the Vine.


He illustrates it this way:  Christ is the head of the church and the church is His body.  The head is where the power and the life is.  I can live without an arm, but not without a head.  I can live without a leg, but not without a head.  There are several organs and parts of this body, which I can live without.  I cannot live without my head and I cannot live without Christ.  Life is in Him.


Take a husband and wife.  They are one flesh.  Christ said, “This is a picture of Christ and His church.”  So, He’s the Heir.  “We are joint-heirs with Him.”  Is that clear?  I’ve tried to make that clear to you.  That is what the scripture teaches.  “All spiritual blessings are in Christ.”  They are only ours by a union with Christ.


This is the third point: How is this union with Christ accomplished?   This union with Christ is the gift of God.  There is no question about that.  It is the work of God and is accomplished by the power of God.  It is affected through faith. 


 In Hebrews 11:6 “Without faith it is impossible to please God.  He that cometh to God must believe that God is and that God is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.”


In First John 5:  “He that believeth on the Son, hath life.  He that believeth not the Son, shall not see life.  He that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life and shall not come into condemnation, but is passed from death unto life.”  You have to have faith to believe God.


I call that great chapter (Hebrews 11) the “Hall of Faith.”  It is the history of those great men of days gone by.  Believers like: Abel, Noah, Enoch, Abraham, and Moses.  What does it say about those men?  In Hebrews 11:4, it says, “By faith, Abel offered a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.”  It was by faith!  “By faith, Enoch walked with God and was translated that He should not see death and had this testimony that he pleased God.”  How?  It was by faith that he pleased God.  “Without faith it is impossible to please God.  By faith Noah being warned of God of things not seen, moved with fear and prepared an Ark to the salvation of his house.” In Hebrews 11:8, it says, “By faith, Abraham went out not knowing where he was going.”  God called him and he went out. 


 In John chapter seven (I will tell you this), there were three days of celebrations, ceremonies, sacrifices and teaching. On that last great day of the feast, when it was over, the people had nothing. The people went away empty as when they came.  The water had been poured upon the sacrifice.  In that last great day of the feast, our Lord Jesus stood in the midst of the people and said, “If any man thirst, let him come to Me and drink.  Out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water.” 


Can you come to Christ by faith?  That is where the blessings are.  Come to the fountain; that is where the water is.  Come to the Rock, (the foundation, Christ).


Out of my bondage

My sorrow and night

Jesus I come, Jesus I come

Into Thy freedom

Gladness and light

Jesus I come to Thee.


Out of my sickness

Into thy health

Out of my want

Into thy wealth

Out of my sin

Into Thyself

Jesus I come to Thee.


That is faith! “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”


So, I’ve given you three things.  Do you understand what I’m trying to say here?  Everything is in Christ.  Everything is ours by a union with Christ.  That union with Christ is affected by faith.  Have faith in God and believe God.  “Sirs, what must I do to be saved, the jailor asked?”  Paul said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.”


The fourth thing:  This saving faith in Christ comes by hearing the Word of truth.  It comes by hearing the gospel of your salvation.  It is not going to come by listening to someone speaking gibberish and carrying on with the entertaining programs.  It is not going to come by begging money and selling gimmicks and paraphernalia.  It is not going to come by all of this emotionalism, screaming and yelling at the same time.  It is going to come by hearing the word of truth. 


In Ephesians 1:13 says, “In whom you trusted after you heard the Word of truth, the gospel of your salvation.”  Isn’t that what First Corinthians 1:21 says, “It pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. In Romans 1:16, “I’m not ashamed of the gospel, it is the power of God to everyone that believeth, to the Jew first, also to the Greek, for therein, that gospel is the righteousness of God revealed from one degree of faith to the other, for the just shall live by faith.”


My friends, Paul dealt with this in Romans 10.  That is the reason that we preachers need to speak calmly, we need to speak simply, and we need to speak so that other people can understand what we are saying.  We don’t need to speak like a fellow that has lost his breath, and screaming at people.  We need to communicate with the hearts of people.  Paul said, “Whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved, but how are they going to call on Him in whom they have not believed? How are they going to believe in Him of whom they have not heard, and how are they going to hear without a preacher?  How are they going to preach unless they be sent?  Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the Word of God.” 


I hear other people say, “Don’t preach to me.”  Well, I know what you are saying.  I know exactly what you are saying.  You are saying, “Don’t pressure me.”  I’m not going to.  Some say, “Don’t nag me.”  I’m not going to.  Some say, “Don’t scold me.”  I’m not going to.  You are flesh and “God knows our frame, he knows we are flesh and dust.”  I know what you are, because I know myself.  I must preach the gospel.  How can you believe if you don’t hear?  How can you hear if I don’t preach? 


Most people aren’t preaching the gospel.  It is the gospel that saves.  It is the Word of God that saves, hear it, believe it and receive it.  It is the gospel of God.  Oh, I wish I could make that plain to you.  Don’t leave the simplicity of Christ; preach the Word of God and wait on God.


 Quit trying to talk people into professions.  Quit trying to talk people into heaven.  You can’t talk a person into faith; God has to reveal it to him.  It has to be revealed to his heart from the Word.  If he ever sees it from the Word and God reveals it, he will confess Christ.


Last of all, the Holy Spirit must make that gospel effectual.  It’s not by might; it’s not by power.  It’s not by entertainment.  It’s not by pressure.  It’s not by coursing.  It’s not by this, that and the other.  It is by the Spirit of God.  That is where it is! “It is the Spirit that quickeneth, the flesh profiteth nothing.”  The Holy Spirit doesn’t speak of Himself, either.  He doesn’t brag on Himself.  He comes to glorify Christ and to speak of Christ.  Oh, that He might speak to you and to me from this Word and settle us in Christ.