“The people who sat in darkness have seen a great light, And upon those who sat in the… shadow of death, Light has dawned” (Matt 4:16)
“Freely you have received…”
Yes, dear friend, as the Evangelist assures us, a light has dawned on this sin-darkened world. It is the “light of the Gospel” (2 Cor 4:4) – the glorious Gospel of Salvation through Christ Jesus, Who is the “true Light which gives light to every man” (John 1:9).
This Salvation is God’s free gift -to you, to me, and to anyone anywhere in the world who will accept it. It is given so that all who sit in the darkness of sin -and the “shadow of death,” the penalty for sin – may have instead “the light of life” (John 8:12) and “eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Rom 6:23).
“…freely give!” (Matt 10:8)
In order to be saved, they must believe on Christ for salvation. But first people must understand their need for salvation; that they are lost in their sins, doomed to an eternity in hell if Christ is not their personal Savior. They must be told that God offers them salvation in Christ, and they must be shown what salvation will do for them. Finally, they must be encouraged – and trained – to tell others about salvation.
You, dear church leader, have received this priceless gift of salvation. It is our fervent prayer that this issue of ACTS Magazine will remind you of what salvation has done for you, and then inspire you -and equip you – to do for others what someone once did for you when you were still “sitting in darkness“: Our prayer is that you will share the Good News of salvation with those who have not yet heard it, and thereby play a vital role in shining “the light of the Gospel ” into all the world.
INTRODUCTION: GOD’S PLAN OF SALVATION – PLANNED BEFORE THE WORLD BEGAN
Do you know how precious you are to God?
You are so precious that your heavenly Father planned your salvation even before He created the heavens and the earth!
God chose you “before the foundation of the world” (Eph 1:4).
He wrote your name in the Book of Life before the foundation of the world (Rev 17:8).
The Lamb of God, Jesus Christ, was “slain” (in other words, God planned His sacrificial death for the payment of your sins) “from the foundation of the world” (Rev 13:8).
Even before He said, “Let there be light” (Gen 1:3), God planned for the day when the light of the Gospel would dawn in your heart.
RESERVED FOR YOU…
You are so precious to God that He has revealed to you, in the pages of the Bible, what He has not fully revealed to the prophets of the Old Testament or even the angels. God partially revealed His plan of salvation through the prophets and angels to mankind. And the prophets and angels have longed to know what you already know if you have diligently studied what the Bible says about God’s plan of salvation: