What is the Gospel? According to 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, the Gospel is embodied in these words: “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.”
1 Corinthians 2:2 says, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.”
Dr. Walter A. Elwell, editor of the Tyndale Bible Dictionary, explains the gospel as the message of God’s grace: “The coming of the Kingdom is not the effect or the reward of human effort but God’s answer to the human predicament — the gift of His favor. Correspondingly, the explanation for the Salvation of the poor lies nowhere but in God’s own character. As the prodigal himself recognized, he hardly deserved to be his father’s servant, much less his son. Nothing he did, not even his repentance, accounted for the father’s love. In the parable of Matthew 20:1-16, it is owing entirely to the goodness of the employer that the last workers to be hired receive a full day’s wages. The first debtor in the story of Matthew 18:23-35 earned nothing but the right to be sold into slavery; instead, the king canceled his enormous debt.”
TEXT: Matthew 5:33-37:
33 Again, ye have heard that it hath been said by them of old time, Thou shalt not forswear thyself, but shalt perform unto the Lord thine oaths:
34 But I say unto you, Swear not at all; neither by heaven; for it is God’s throne:
35 Nor by the earth; for it is his footstool: neither by Jerusalem; for it is the city of the great King.
36 Neither shalt thou swear by thy head, because thou canst not make one hair white or black.
37 But let your communication be, Yea, yea; Nay, nay: for whatsoever is more than these cometh of evil.
By way of introduction, John Walvoord & Roy Zuck said, “The matter of making oaths was next addressed by the Lord. The Pharisees were notorious for their oaths, which were made on the least provocation. Yet they made allowances for mental reservations within their oaths. If they wanted to be relieved of oaths they had made by heaven, by the earth, by Jerusalem, or by one’s own head, they could argue that since God Himself had not been involved their oaths were not binding. But Jesus said oaths should not even be necessary. The fact that oaths were used at all emphasized the wickedness of man’s heart. Furthermore, swearing ‘by heaven,’ ‘by the earth,’ or ‘by Jerusalem’ is binding, since they are God’s throne, footstool, and city, respectively. Even the color of the hair on their heads was determined by God. However, Jesus later in His life responded to an oath, as did Paul. The Lord was saying one’s life should be sufficient to back up one’s words. A yes always ought to mean yes, and a no should mean no. James seems to have picked up these words of the Lord in his epistle.”
A. W. Pink said, “An honest heart seeks to please God in all things and offend Him in none.”
In this passage, Jesus takes issue with the Jewish religious leaders’ teachings on making oaths and taking the Lord’s name in vain. The bottom line of his message is that it is not wise for one to swear by that which he has no control over, and that falsely swearing by anything in nature is no less of a sin than swearing by God himself. But, most importantly, God commands that all people speak truthfully and keep their promises. Not doing what you say you will do is a sin whether you swear to do it or not.
Commenting on this, Warren Wiersbe writes, “Forswearing is not the sin of ‘cursing,’ but the sin of using oaths to affirm that what is said is true. The Pharisees used all kinds of tricks to sidestep the truth, and oaths were among them. They would avoid using the holy name of God, but they would come close by using the city of Jerusalem, heaven, earth, or some part of the body. Jesus taught that our conversation should be so honest, and our character so true, that we would not need ‘crutches’ to get people to believe us. Words depend on character, and oaths cannot compensate for a poor character. The more words a man uses to convince us, the more suspicious we should be.”
Jesus says, “But I say unto you, Swear not at all.” If you feel you have to swear to convince others that you are telling the truth, then you know there is something wrong with your character and reputation. If you live an honest life, always doing what you say you will do, and telling the truth when you are unable to fulfill a promise, then you have no need to swear by a higher element. Instead of regulating dishonesty as the Jewish religious teachers did, Jesus commands us to let our “yea be yea; and our nay, nay.” He calls us to live in such a way that when we speak, people know that we mean what we say.
Now, if you are with us today and you do not know Jesus Christ as your Savior, allow me to show you how you can place your faith and trust in Him for Salvation from sin and Hell.
First, accept the fact that you are a sinner, and that you have broken God’s law. The Bible says in Romans 3:23: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.”
Second, accept the fact that there is a penalty for sin. The Bible states in Romans 6:23: “For the wages of sin is death…”
Third, accept the fact that you are on the road to hell. Jesus Christ said in Matthew 10:28: “And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” Also, the Bible states in Revelation 21:8: “But the fearful, and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burneth with fire and brimstone: which is the second death.”
Now that is bad news, but here’s the good news. Jesus Christ said in John 3:16: “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” Just believe in your heart that Jesus Christ died for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead by the power of God for you so that you can live eternally with Him. Pray and ask Him to come into your heart today, and He will.
Romans 10:9 & 13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved… For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
If you believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross for your sins, was buried, and rose from the dead, and you want to trust Him for your Salvation today, please pray with me this simple prayer: Holy Father God, I realize that I am a sinner and that I have done some bad things in my life. I am sorry for my sins, and today I choose to turn from my sins. For Jesus Christ sake, please forgive me of my sins. I believe with all of my heart that Jesus Christ died for me, was buried, and rose again. I trust Jesus Christ as my Savior and I choose to follow Him as Lord from this day forward. Lord Jesus, please come into my heart and save my soul and change my life today. Amen.
If you believed in your heart that Jesus Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again, allow me to say, congratulations on doing the most important thing in life and that is accepting Jesus Christ as your Lord and Saviour! For more information to help you grow in your newfound faith in Christ, go to Gospel Light Society.com and read “What To Do After You Enter Through the Door”. Jesus Christ said in John 10:9, “I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.”
If you accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior today, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know. There is some free material that we want to send you. If you have a prayer request, please e-mail that to us as well, and we will pray for you until you tell us to stop.
God loves you. We love you. And may God bless you.
Daniel Whyte III has spoken in meetings across the United States and in over twenty-five foreign countries. He is the author of over forty books including the Essence Magazine, Dallas Morning News, and Amazon.com national bestseller, Letters to Young Black Men. He is also the president of Gospel Light Society International, a worldwide evangelistic ministry that reaches thousands with the Gospel each week, as well as president of Torch Ministries International, a Christian literature ministry.
He is heard by thousands each week on his radio broadcasts/podcasts, which include: The Prayer Motivator Devotional, The Prayer Motivator Minute, as well as Gospel Light Minute X, the Gospel Light Minute, the Sunday Evening Evangelistic Message, the Prophet Daniel’s Report, the Second Coming Watch Update and the Soul-Winning Motivator, among others.
He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Theology from Bethany Divinity College, a Bachelor’s degree in Religion from Texas Wesleyan University, a Master’s degree in Religion, a Master of Divinity degree, and a Master of Theology degree from Liberty University’s Rawlings School of Divinity (formerly Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary). He is currently a candidate for the Doctor of Ministry degree.
He has been married to the former Meriqua Althea Dixon, of Christiana, Jamaica since 1987. God has blessed their union with seven children.