“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.
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:
“Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ Who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.
“To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the Gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven – things which angels desire to look into” (1 Pet 1:10-12; see also Ephesians 3:8-10). And you should desire even more to look into what the Scriptures reveal about the plan of salvation God has reserved for you….
…AND FOR ALL WHO WOULD BELIEVE!!
But how will they believe if they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher to tell them that they too are so precious to God that He has planned their salvation? (See Romans 10:14.)
This is where you fit into God’s plan of salvation: you are that preacher! Multitudes have not yet heard the Good News of Salvation in Christ Jesus. It is up to you to tell them, and to equip and inspire them to tell others (see 2 Timothy 2:2).
It’s true, dear Christian friend-you are so precious to God that “before time began”, He called you “with a holy calling” (2 Tim 1:9): to reveal His plan of salvation to those who have not yet heard it, to shine the light of the Gospel on a sin-darkened world.