Basic. It’s the place where you start. It is foundational.
But here’s the problem – who wants to go back to the basics?
Going on to the deeper things of God sounds much more intriguing and inviting. And the writer of Hebrews seems to concur. Here was his challenge.
“So let us stop going over the basic teachings about Christ again and again. Let us go on instead and become mature in our understanding. Surely we don’t need to start again with the fundamental importance of repenting from evil deeds and placing our faith in God” (Hebrews 6:1).
I agree. We do need to become mature in our understanding. But can we really mature if we don’t have the basics right?
Can we grow in our understanding and experience of the love of God if we don’t understand the cross, the place where God demonstrated His love for us?
Let me make a bold statement. If you don’t have the basics right, you will never grow and mature as a believer.
Of all the questions callers ask on the program, their deepest concerns are about forgiveness of sins and assurance of salvation. These two subjects rank one and two.
This may surprise you.
Doesn’t every believer know that Christ died to forgive their sins? Doesn’t every believer know they are eternally saved?
I was deeply concerned about the forgiveness of my sins and the assurance of my salvation. Bottom line, I was confused about the basic Gospel message. I didn’t know if I was forgiven or not; saved or not.
In my thirty plus years of ministry, I’ve met far too many Christians who are just as confused as I was. They know the words of the Gospel, but not the reality. Where does this confusion come from and why is it so prevalent within Christian circles?
Unfortunately, the confusion often comes from the top. I know in my experience, I never heard any real, clear teaching on the meaning of Christ’s death, burial and resurrection. I was hearing stuff, just not the right stuff.
As a result, many believers struggle to get the Christian life right. They are filled with frustration and disappointment. They listen to anything that might help, that just might put all the pieces together. They listen to stuff, just not the right stuff.
They know how to “be more”, “do more”, and “have more.” They know the side of the aisle to stand on politically and how to vote on key issues. They know lots of good information, but they don’t know the basic Gospel.
If they do hear a “Gospel” message, it’s delivered with all types of conditions attached to it. One of our radio listeners put it this way, “I have heard the Gospel a gillion times, but it has always had some sort of strings attached that effectually muted its clarity.” As Paul wrote in Galatians, “this is really no Gospel at all.”
And if it’s not the Gospel, it’s not good news.
Our parched hearts and weary souls need good news. Nothing else will meet our deepest needs, or anchor us to the foundation of God’s love and grace.
Such was the case for Mark. Driving to work one day, he happened upon our radio broadcast. What caught his ear was the simple, basic explanation of the Gospel. He wrote this encouraging note after listening for a while.
“I felt like I was being unshackled from a lifetime of trying and never feeling like I was adequate enough to ‘please’ God. I just didn’t understand how anyone could possibly live up to what I thought were the expectations of being a good Christian.
I realize now that our salvation hinges not on ‘works’ but on the gospel—the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus, and that He died for our sins… once and for all. How many times I must have read this in the Bible before; and for some reason I just never grasped these truths and realities.”
But what is the basic Gospel? What is in the name? Let me share two key passages to set the stage.
The first is 1 Corinthians 3:11: “For no one can lay any foundation other than the one already laid, which is Christ Jesus.” When we talk about the Gospel, we are really talking about Jesus. He is God’s good news to us. What we need in life is the good news about Jesus. His story brings great joy to our hearts.
The second passage is 1 Corinthians 15:1-4: “Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand. By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to Scriptures…”
The Gospel is Jesus—His death, His burial, His resurrection. He is of first importance to God and to you. And it is in His name that we have life, forgiveness and freedom. It’s the story that makes your life a good news story.
In Christ alone,
Get the Word Out
As you’ve read in this month’s letter, wonderful things are happening through Basic Gospel. Thank you for partnering with us to get the word out. This isn’t just any word, but The Gospel – Jesus. There is no better news, no better answer to the questions being asked by your family and friends every day.
Here are just a couple of things your gifts are making possible this year.
We are now broadcasting in Dallas-Fort Worth (KWRD, FM 100.7), after an absence of many years. This is one of the Top 100 markets in the United States with an outreach of 6.6 million listeners. We are encouraged by the great questions from the DFW audience!
We took a step of faith when this opportunity came along as the cost of this broadcast was not in our 2015 budget. God moved in the hearts of people like you and the broadcast is thriving.
In August we began a weekly eZine called Inside the Studio. Bob Davis recaps the previous week at Basic Gospel—both on the air and behind the scenes—to share with you the excitement of what God is doing through this ministry. He highlights particularly meaningful phone calls to the radio program, as well as letters and emails we receive. Check it out at basicgospel.net/inside
In a recent issue of Inside the Studio, Bob Davis announced that we have begun a weekend edition of the Basic Gospel program featuring the best questions and answers from the previous week’s broadcasts. Visit basicgospel.net/weekend for the latest edition.
Basic Gospel Weekend is the perfect complement to our daily program, and it will help extend the ministry reach into many new cities around the country.
All of this is possible because of your generous giving. Your support builds the platform to get the word out, and we all can celebrate when the Gospel connects with an individual. Your prayers and gifts are having an eternal impact!
God is moving powerfully around the world. The message of Jesus breaks down every wall and brings freedom to every person who will listen.
We can’t thank you enough for your generosity.
The offer, The Power of 8, associated with this letter has expired, however you may purchase it online here or request it by phone at 800.727.2828.