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More than 40 years ago, I considered leaving the ministry. A friend who operated a counseling service in a nearby large city offered me a job.
The plan was for me to serve as a spiritual advisor to clients, while I received further education and experience in counseling.
I was honored by the job offer, and spent a couple of weeks praying and wondering if it was God’s will for me to accept the invitation.
In the middle of my deliberations the Holy Spirit communicated God’s will to me in a verse in the Book of Romans.
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel; it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who has faith, to the Jew first and also to the Greek” (Romans 1.16).
I gave my counselor friend a call, thanked him for the job offer, but told him that I was going to remain in the ministry.
The Truth of Romans 1.16
I have often thought of that time in my life, but most of all I have marveled at the truth of how the gospel is powerful. When we respond to it, we receive the best life now and heaven later.
What is the gospel? Gospel literally means “good news.” We have four books in the New Testament that are called Gospels, because they tell the good news of what Jesus has done for the world.
If you want a perfect picture of God’s good news, try reading Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Try reading one chapter a day until you have completed all four Gospels.
The good news message (Gospel) can be summarized like this.
(1) God loves you and has a wonderful plan for your life.
(2) Jesus is the Son of God, who came to the earth out of love for humanity. He lived a sinless life and died on a cross in Jerusalem to rescue people from their sins.
After Jesus was buried in a tomb, he was raised from the dead. In his resurrected body, he was seen by his close followers and by 500 people on one occasion.
(3) Because of what Jesus did for us, we can become personal friends with God.
(4) If people place their trust in Jesus, he will forgive their sins and open the way for a personal friendship-relationship with God.
(5) Friendship with God transforms the lives of humans and they experience the abundant life God has for them.
Stories of Power of the Gospel
I entered the ministry in 1968 and have been the pastor of five churches. Here is one story from each of the churches that highlights the truth of Romans 1.16.
When people hear the good news of Jesus and receive the message in faith, the power of God is released for their good.
(1) 1968-1971 – Perkins MO – I was a 19 year-old pastor and shared the good news of Jesus with two men, who were only a few years younger than me.
I was nervous and afraid of what their response might be. The three of us gathered outside the church by a propane tank. I told them what I knew about Jesus’ love and they both told Jesus that they wanted him to be their Lord and Savior.
Both men became very active in Christian service. One became a teacher and deacon in his church and the other became a popular gospel singer.
(2) 1971-1974 – VanCleave MS – I became friends with a retired and quite racist man who lived near the Pascagoula swamp. This man and his wife responded to the good news of God’s love and became friends with Jesus.
His relationship with Jesus was so real that he moved away to some degree from his racist views, which was testimony of the power of God’s love.
When I last heard from him, he was serving as a minister to several local nursing homes.
(3) 1974-1980 – DeRidder LA – Several sisters attended the church where I was pastor. One day they asked me if I would baptize their mother.
I asked a couple of questions about her and received this response. They said, “Mom thought she was going to die from cancer. She prayed and asked God to heal her. He did and she wants to get baptized.”
I was privileged to baptized the mother, who was a living picture of the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5.22-23). Our church ran a thrift store where everything was priced at 50 Cents. This wonderful lady served as the volunteer coordinator.
The Gospel is truly powerful and brings salvation to those who respond to it.
(4) 1980-1984 – Charleston MO – The first time I encountered someone going through the “delirium tremens” (the DTs), was when I visited a man in the hospital.
He had undergone cancer surgery and was experiencing withdrawal from alcohol. While we talked he kept trying to pick imaginary bugs out of the air.
His cancer was not cured, but on one glorious day, he and I prayed together in his mobile home. The power of the good news of Jesus Christ is available to everyone.
John 3.16 is a one-verse statement of the gospel. “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”
My friend in Charleston did not overcome cancer, but because the power of the good news of Jesus, he entered heaven the moment he ceased his life on earth.
(5) 1984-2019 – Independence MO – My experience in Independence is the most glorious experience of the truth of Romans 1.16. Over-and-over, people hear the gospel message, respond to it, and receive new life.
Here are a couple of many examples of God’s love.
— The man who came to church because we were serving biscuits and gravy that Sunday. He currently works an excellent Alcoholics Anonymous program, is faithful to Jesus, and is experiencing God’s abundant life on a daily basis.
— Several career criminals have experienced the power of the gospel. We sometimes joke that areas of the Kansas City should give us an award for cleaning up crime.
Actually, Jesus is the One who should receive the award. He has done it all!
— A woman was praying for health. Jesus gave her health and so much more. She and her husband are vibrant testimonies of the truth of Romans 1.16.
— There are businesses in Independence that are centered around the principles of Jesus Christ. Jesus has transformed people through the good news to own and operate those businesses.
— I am grateful for the care that Maywood people have for the homeless and vulnerable of society. Once again, this is a reflection of the power of the gospel.
New Study Begins Tomorrow
We will begin a new study with a new format tomorrow. The subject will be the Book of Isaiah. My hope is to provide a very understandable picture of Isaiah’s message.
Rudy Ross and I will have a daily conversation about Isaiah on video. This eight minute videos can be found on the Bob Spradling YouTube channel.
If you have a prayer request, please email me at email@example.com or private message me on Facebook. The Maywood prayer team will pray for you.