The Hard Line of the Gospel

Blog / Produced by The High Calling
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Last year, I retired from a college where I taught many years and moved to Kansas City. I joined a large Methodist church where there are many chances to serve. Even my book club at the church has a project of cleaning apartments and houses of people who cannot. My Sunday school class goes once a month to the inner city to feed the poor. Last Sunday, we fed 180. We buy, cook, and bring the food ourselves. People in the church have gone to New Orleans to help with clean-up and rebuilding. They come back with heartbreaking photos of people who have lost everything. They also take lunches to other projects such as Habitat for Humanity.

There is a long list of opportunities for doing good works—whether you are serving others through your church or in your profession. We live in a needy world.

I moved to Kansas City because my daughter has three young children. I wanted to help her. I also have three relatives, ages 94, 93, and 86 in nursing homes here. I consider taking care of family, tithing, and attending church faithfully to be good works, though they seem so ordinary.

I realize the ultimate good work was done on the cross. There is nothing I can do to earn salvation. Jesus took my sins upon himself, died with them, and was resurrected in newness of life. All I can do is accept what he has done.

I think standing up for that message also is a good work, though no action is involved. You may have watched the PBS program, Bill Moyers on Faith & Reason, this summer. Many of the installments seemed to attack Christianity. In one interview, Anne Provoost said she had to find a new God because the God of the Bible let people, children, and animals perish in the flood. Many of Moyer's guests said something to the effect that we have to get rid of outmoded systems of belief, meaning the Bible.

Our culture has trouble accepting polar oppositions such as good and bad, heaven and hell. Moyers seemed more interested in reason than faith.

Recently in Sunday school, we've had some interesting discussions. There are some in our class who do not think that people will go to hell. When it was my turn to lead the class, I returned to the hard line of the gospel.

There is no other name under heaven given among men, whereby we might be saved. Acts 4:12

If you will confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and shall believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. Romans 10:9

Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10:13

We also read the story of the rich man and the beggar in Luke 16:19-31 that indicates a place of torment and a place of comfort in the afterlife.

The ultimate commandment is that we love one another. Possibly the ultimate good work is to proclaim that central message of the Bible—whether we are serving in our churches, our homes, or our professions.
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