Sermonette for Saturday

For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. Romans 1:16

I remember the first time I saw an actual dynamite explosion. My father had offered to help Freeman Murdock get rid of a huge rock that was in one of his fields. About the size (but not the shape) of a large car, the rock was half buried in the ground, making it difficult for Freeman to operate farm machinery there. My father dug a hole down one side of the rock, prepared two sticks of dynamite with a blasting cap in one of them, tossed them into the hole, packed the soil back into the hole, and ran his wires to a nearby bridge where he would be safe from flying rocks. Freeman went some distance up the road to make sure no vehicles came along, and I went the other way, taking my position on a hill, where I had an ideal view of the rock. When we were all ready, Dad activated the blasting cap. I can still see those chunks of rock flying high into the air and in all directions. It was a great introduction to the wonderful power of dynamite. Swedish inventor Alfred Nobel patented his invention of dynamite in 1867. But a much greater explosive power has been available for much longer than that. It is called the Gospel.

We know what the explosive power of dynamite can do; we have seen how it can transform rocks into rubble almost instantly. And we have also seen the explosive power of the Gospel, how it can transform sinners into saints instantly. Our text describes it as ‘the power of God unto salvation’. Just as you and I are unable to break huge rocks apart with our bare hands, so we are also unable to produce salvation – for ourselves or anyone else – by our own efforts. Not of ourselves, Ephesians 2:8 tells us. It took the power of the Gospel to blast us out of the quarry of sin and to place us on the solid Rock of Christ. Since Pentecost, preachers of the Gospel and faithful witnesses of our Lord have seen this great power in action. We have seen lives changed and destinies altered in ways that go far beyond what anything this world can invent.

I am sure my father did not understand exactly how dynamite did its work. But he did understand exactly how to use it, and he did great work with it. In the same way, you and I do not understand exactly how the power of the Gospel does its great work. But God has given us clear directions in His Word how to use it. And we see great results. Just like misusing dynamite could have disastrous results, so the misuse of the Gospel could have tragic consequences. Remember, the Gospel is so simple that we need help to misunderstand it. The devil is skillful in making sure there is plenty of help to misunderstand the Gospel. All sorts of religious groups point us to everywhere but the Bible to promote the fake instructions of good works, religious activity, community service, and generous giving to accomplish salvation. None of them work, of course, producing nothing but false professions and empty hopes. None of them are according to the Scriptures. Only by using the Word of God can we safely and powerfully employ God’s great dynamite of the Gospel.

The Gospel’s great achievement is salvation. It achieved it in us. And it can achieve it in others with whom we share this great message. -Jim MacIntosh

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