Monday, 30 April 2012

What is the 'good news' of the Gospel? Part4


Why are we not all healed?
Do not be discouraged if your healing is not instant.  There are a number of potential blocks to being healed:

God sometimes has other plans, as He had for the man born blind in John 9:
Neither this man nor his parents sinned, but that the Works of God should be revealed in him.   John 9.3

Some conditions are very difficult, like the mute spirit:
His disciples asked Him privately, ‘Why could we not cast it out?’
He said to them, ‘This kind can come out by nothing but prayer and fasting.’   Mark 9.28-29

Remember that when you go into a dark room, turn on the light switch, and there is no light, the problem is likely to be the bulb, not the electricity supplier!

So, if you decide in your heart that the LORD has a purpose for you in your ‘wilderness’….which seems to you to be your unhappiness, your illness, and your broken heart from the damage and injury inflicted on you….then perhaps the time has come to follow the 8 steps of the Biblical route to wholeness and freedom:

Recognise the reality of your dysfunction…your unhappiness, your illness, and your broken heart
Isaiah 5.13 My people have gone into captivity, because they have no knowledge;

Take Responsibility for yourself
 Psalm 51.3-4  I acknowledge my transgressions, and my sin (dysfunction) is always  before me.
 Proverbs 28:13   He who covers his sins will not prosper, but whoever confesses and forsakes them will have mercy.

Repent before the LORD for participating in your dysfunction
1John 1.9  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins ……
  
Remember to forgive  1. ALL others  2. yourself and  3. the LORD
Matthew 6.14  If you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also  forgive you.
Hebrews 12.15 (Prevent) any root of bitterness springing up to cause trouble,….
Because bitterness leads into:
1.      unforgiveness to
2.      resentment to
3.      retaliation to
4.      anger to
5   .hatred to
6.   violence and to
7.   murder   

Make your dysfunction your enemy and Renounce it
Psalm 101.4  A perverse, twisted heart shall depart from me; I will not know wickedness (dysfunction)

Remove your dysfunction once and for all
Ezekiel 18.31  Cast away from you all the transgressions which you have committed,
Colossians 3:8 Now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy….
           
Resist it when it tries to come back
James 4.7  Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

Rejoice in the LORD for setting you free
Nehemiah 8.10  The joy of the LORD is your strength.
Psalm 28:7  The LORD is my strength and my shield; my heart trusted in Him, and I am helped;  therefore my heart greatly rejoices, and with my song I  will praise Him.
Isaiah 61:10  I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; ….

Enjoy the ‘good news’ of the Gospel!!.

Friday, 27 April 2012

What is the 'good news' of the Gospel? Part3


Is the challenge of the ‘good news’ of the Gospel too great, or is it easier to offer a lesser Gospel of salvation…?

Matthew 8.16-17:  When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demon–possessed. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying: "He Himself took our infirmities and bore our sicknesses."

The Gospel that He ‘preached to the poor’ lists a total of 9 positive, life enhancing, healing actions that restore people to a normal, functional life in society, including those who are:
broken hearted from the despair, grief, and pain of deprived love, tragedy, and rejection,
captive in a ‘prison’ of resentment, bitterness, and hatred, and
oppressed  by rage, frustration, and hopelessness.

The Hebrew word that is translated ‘grief’ in Isaiah 53.3 means the pain that we feel is like a bow drill in which the string of a bow is wrapped around a drill which drills a hole by moving the bow back and forth, and firmly pressing down.  This is a graphic description of the agony of the broken hearted, the captive, and the oppressed.

How does Jesus heal us from such pain.  The answer, from the Gospels, seems to be that when we come to Him, we need, ourselves, to contribute to the relationship, as the two blind men who ‘cried out’:

As we move onto the route to face the challenge of the ‘good news’ of the Gospel, it may be helpful to set the scene in your relationship with God, to set out where you are, and where He is.  I have translated part of Psalm 25 giving a fuller meaning to the Hebrew, and I have added four verses which summarise our agony:
             
To You, O LORD, I lift up  my soul. My God, I trust in You. Lead me in Your Truth and teach me, for You are the God of my salvation. Remember, O LORD, Your tender compassion and Your mercy. Do not remember the sins of my youth, nor my youthful rebellion. According to Your mercy remember me for good, O LORD. For Your Name’s sake, O LORD, forgive my guilt, for it is great. Turn Your face, the wholeness of Your Being towards me, and have mercy on me, for I am lonely and depressed. The wounds in my heart have widened; bring me out of my anguish! Look on my depression and my pain, and forgive all my sins. Protect and keep my soul; rescue me, for I put my trust in You.

I come to You now, Jesus, because I know that whoever comes to You will never be rejected.
You are a Man of sorrows, and acquainted with the grief that pierces my soul, the whole of my being.I give to You all my pain, my despair, and my weariness, and I ask You to give me Your rest. Accept my prayer from a willing heart, O LORD. Amen

It is important to declare to Him what you believe:
LORD Jesus, I believe that You are Messiah and the only way to God. I believe that Your sacrifice on the cross redeemed me from the power of sin so that I may be forgiven, and I believe that Your Resurrection destroyed death so that I may receive Eternal Life.

Next, we need to repent and to forgive.  These are two essential steps to declare before God will hear us, as we read in the Prophet Isaiah:
Your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden His face from you, so that He will not hear. Isaiah 59:2   

Therefore:
I renounce all pride, rebellion, and religious self righteousness, and I submit myself to You as my LORD. I confess all my sins before You holding nothing back. By a decision of my will I forgive, unreservedly, all those who have ever sinned against me intentionally or unintentionally, in thought, word, or deed. I turn from all bitterness, all resentment, and all hatred. I repent of all my sins, turn away from them, and turn to You, LORD, for mercy and forgiveness. I believe that because I confess my sins, ‘You are faithful and just to forgive my sins and to cleanse me from all unrighteousness’. I receive Your forgiveness for all my sins that have separated me from You.

By a decision of my will I forgive, unreservedly, all……. This is a vital, fundamental step. To continue to harbour unforgiveness is a self inflicted injury, a pointless waste of time and emotional energy, and a major contributory factor to our physical and emotional damage, dysfunction, and disease.

During World War 2 there was a Dutch Christian family, the ten Booms, who sheltered and concealed Jews from the Nazis. They were betrayed and imprisoned at Ravensbruck concentration camp where the father and one sister died. The surviving sister, Corrie ten Boom, frequently spoke in churches after the war. At the end of one service a man approached her, and she recognised him as one of the brutal Nazi guards at Ravensbruck. He said to her, ‘Will you forgive me?’.  For Corrie ten Boom there was only one answer.

There is only one answer for us.
Whilst turning to God in repentance and forgiveness is one essential step, it is also important to decisively turn away from the occult:

I sever and cut off all contact with the occult, with all false religion and idolatry, in my life or in the life of my ancestors. I ask You to release me from the consequences of my ancestor’s sins. I commit myself to get rid of all objects associated with the occult, false religion, and idolatry.

Next, we need to annul our vows.  Vows are permissible, but not advisable.  God permits them, but the problem is that we have to fulfill the vows that we make in our moment of weakness or pressure…..and when we have recovered from those moments, we usually forget the vows. God does not!
Therefore, we need to annul them before Him:
I repent of all vows, prohibitions, and oaths that I have vowed, sworn, or prohibited on myself during my past life, and by which I am bound. I pray that all vows, prohibitions, and oaths that I have vowed, sworn, or prohibited on myself during my past life, be deemed absolved, forgiven, annulled, void, and made of no effect from this moment. They shall not bind me, or have power over me. I ask this in the Name of Jesus my Messiah. 

This next prayer makes a declaration of trust and belief, followed by a specific request for both redemption from any curse, and deliverance from ‘evil spirits’:

LORD Jesus, I thank You that on the cross ‘You were made a curse’ so that I may be redeemed from every curse, and inherit God’s blessing. On that basis, I ask You to release me from every curse that is over my life,  and to set me free to receive the deliverance that I need. You know the spiritual forces that oppress me. You alone know what doors have been opened to the evil one in my life.
I believe that I am redeemed by the Blood of Jesus and Satan has no legal rights to my spirit, soul, mind or body, because ‘whoever calls upon the Name of the LORD shall be saved, and there shall be deliverance among whom the LORD calls’.
You have called me and redeemed me.  Therefore, I call upon You now to deliver me and to release me.
LORD Jesus, You are God over all dominions of falsehood and darkness. You are the Light of the World, Saviour, Redeemer, and Deliverer. 

Don’t forget to say thank you, as nine lepers did: one of them, when he saw that he was healed, returned, ... giving Him thanks...so Jesus said, ‘Were there not ten cleansed? But where are the nine?’  Luke 17.15-17:

I thank you, LORD, for delivering me and releasing me.
My body is a Temple for the Holy Spirit, redeemed, cleansed, and sanctified by the Blood of Jesus.’  
‘I overcome Satan by the Blood of the Lamb, and by the word of my testimony’.

While it is possible to pray these steps by yourself, it is often much more helpful to pray with a believing friend.  Remember that opposite sexes should not pray these steps alone together, unless they are husband and wife. Always make sure that there is a believing woman accompanying a man praying for a woman.  

These prayers are the necessary steps that we need to contribute to our relationship with the LORD.  But, if the route to healing is so comparatively easy (is it?), why are we not all healed?  Until the next blog…

Monday, 23 April 2012

What is the 'good news' of the Gospel? Part2



What is the 'good news' of the Gospel?  I have examined the first two options, and found that neither of them answers my question satisfactorily: 
1. Search the Internet by ‘googling’ ‘What is the Gospel’? 
2. Go to church on Sunday.

In order to find the answer to my question, What is the 'good news' of the Gospel?, I am only left with the third option: 

3. Read any one or all four of the Gospels in the New Testament

 

I have taken the third option and read all four Gospels. The first thing that I have found is that there is no mention, in any of the four Gospels, of the Gospel of Salvation.  The phrase does not exist in the Gospels.

Jesus describes in Matthew 11 and Luke 4 the Gospel that He preached to the ‘poor’.

Matthew 11.4-5:
Jesus said, ‘Go and tell John the things which you hear and see;
1.the blind see and
2.the lame walk;
3.the lepers are cleansed, and
4.the deaf hear;
5.the dead are raised up, and
                     …the poor have the Gospel preached to them’
                    
                     Luke 4.18-21:
‘The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He has sent Me
6. to heal the brokenhearted,
7. to proclaim liberty to the captives and…..
8. to set at liberty those who are oppressed;
to proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD.’…And He began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.’

This Gospel that He ‘preached to the poor’ has:
1.no mention of salvation,
2.no mention of saving us from God's righteous judgment upon sinners,
3.no mention of deliverance from damnation in the fires of hell, and
4.no mention of punishment for correction in order that others may become terrified and weaned away from the evils they would commit.

Rather, this Gospel that He ‘preached to the poor’ lists a total of 9 positive, life enhancing, healing actions that restore people to a normal, functional life in society.

When Jesus sent out His disciples to practice what He preached, it seems that they brought to people the same positive, life enhancing, healing actions that restore people to a normal, functional life in society:

Mark 3.14-15:
He appointed twelve, that they might be with Him and that He might send them out:
1.to preach, and
2.to have power to heal sicknesses and
3.to cast out demons

Luke 9.1-2:
He called His twelve disciples together and gave them
1.      power and authority over all demons, and
2.      to cure diseases.   He sent them:
3.      to preach the kingdom of God and
4.      to heal the sick.

Paul explains to the Corinthians that the Gospel that he preached was not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.  It seems that the evidence of the Gospel that Paul preached was the same positive, life enhancing, healing actions in the power of God that restore people to a normal, functional life in society:

1Corinthians 1.17-2.5:
Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the Gospel, not with wisdom of words, lest the cross of Christ should be made of no effect. …..When I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God.….  And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.

Is this the real Gospel; a demonstration of the Spirit and of the power of God in 9 positive, life enhancing, healing actions that restore people to a normal, functional life in society?
                
Is this why Jesus, His disciples, Paul….and all believers can answer these 7 questions from a ‘brokenhearted, oppressed captive’?:

1.To whom do I go when darkness engulfs my soul?
    Should the answer be to you and me?

2.Who can diagnose my case, my least apparent symptoms, and understand what I have resolved not to reveal?
    Should the answer be you and me?

3.Who can see into the depths behind the symptoms, and discern the extent of my pain that has to be revealed?
    Should the answer be you and me?

4.Who can explain to me that no amount of my anger, pain, or despair, is beyond the power of Jesus to heal?
   Should the answer be you and me?

5.Who can explain to me how Jesus saves and redeems me out of the shadow of death into His peace and rest?
   Should the answer be you and me?

6.Who can explain to me how God can illuminate His Being towards me bringing order to my fractured life?
   Should the answer be you and me?

7.Who can explain to me how God can provide me with what I need to be healed, whole, and complete in Him?
   Should the answer be you and me?

Surely, Jesus, His disciples, and Paul could all have answered every one of the 7 questions….from the evidence that I have quoted from Matthew 11 & Luke 4, Mark 3 & Luke 9, and 1Corinthians 1.

Are the answers to the 7 questions the 'good news' of the Gospel? They are certainly ‘good news’ for ALL people.

We read in Isaiah 53.3-6 that He was:
A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Yes, it is true and most important that:
1.      He was wounded for our transgressions,
2.      He was bruised for our iniquities; ….and
3.      the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.

Why did He do this? 
For at least one significant reason explained in 1John2.2:
He Himself is the atonement for our sins, and not only for ours, but also for the whole world. 

Is this why Jesus said in Luke 4.43?: 
‘I must preach the Kingdom of God to the other cities also, because for this purpose I have been sent.’   

What was the 'purpose for which He was sent' since we have seen that Salvation, Relationship with God, and Eternal Life were all already available, and had been available for centuries?

Before His Crucifixion and Resurrection, the only way that any person could receive salvation, a restored relationship with God, and Eternal Life, was through the sacrificial system administered in the Temple in Jerusalem.  It made no difference whether you lived in Jerusalem, Caesarea, London, Beijing, Mexico, or wherever...you had to go to the Temple in Jerusalem to go through the process of restoring your relationship with God through the sacrificial system. 
Therefore the Crucifixion of Jesus, His sacrifice for sin, made the sacrificial system redundant.....and, vitally, made the restoration of relationship with God available to ALL humanity, 'the whole world', without the necessity of travelling to Jerusalem. The fact of this change, and improved process, was confirmed by the destruction of the Temple by the Romans some 40 years later, in 70AD, which made the sacrificial system impossible to operate. 

This was, and is, a wonderful bonus for ALL humanity…not only the Gentiles of ‘the nations’, but also for the Jews who lived more than a few miles from Jerusalem!

BUT….there must be more than this to the Gospel. There must be more than the opening up of the opportunity of Salvation, Relationship, and Eternal Life to ALL humanity….rather than just to those who could get to Jerusalem….however great, wonderful, and life enhancing this change was.
                 
Perhaps the key is in Isaiah 53.3-4 because it is equally true and important that:
1.      He has borne our griefs and
2.      carried our sorrows; and 
3.   by His stripes we are healed.


If we only focus on Salvation, on the negatives of our sins, and the clear evidence in our lives that all we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; we will miss the positives which the Gospel brings that by His stripes we are healed.  

Is this, perhaps, what the 10 'googled' answers in Part 1 might have missed?  
Yes, Salvation from sin is fantastic, but the penalty from which we are saved is an awful long time in the future!  It is so far in the future that most people might, and do, decide not to bother. 

In contrast, the fact that He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; and by His stripes we are healed is for NOW!  This fact means that we are not waiting, and hoping that, because we are saved, we will inherit Eternal Life some time after we have died. 

Rather, it means that there is a practical, concrete reality that Jesus offers us....to be healed NOW of our  fear, anger, depression, grief, pain, despair, resentment, and bitterness.....and from all the physical, emotional, and neurological effects that have resulted in us from these problems.

I am tempted to return to McEnroe and say, ‘You can’t be serious!’.  Surely the Gospel is not suggesting that the ‘good news’ is that ALL people have the opportunity to be healed from all conditions? Now that really would be 'good news'!

The answer to this improbable suggestion is in the Gospels. In the following 9 references it seems that Jesus healed ALL who came to Him.  There is no evidence in any of the Gospels that He turned away any sick, or that He was unable to heal any condition.:

Matthew 4:24  Then His fame went throughout all Syria; and they brought to Him all sick people who were afflicted with various diseases and torments, and those who were demonised, epileptics, and paralytics; and He healed them.

Matthew 8:16  When evening had come, they brought to Him many who were demonised. And He cast out the spirits with a word, and healed all who were sick,

Matthew 12:15  But when Jesus knew it, He withdrew from there. And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them all.

Matthew 14:14  When Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.

Matthew 15:30  Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them.

Matthew 19:2  And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them there.

Luke 4:40  When the sun was setting, all those who had any that were sick with various diseases brought them to Him; and He laid His hands on every one of them and healed them.

Luke 6:19  And the whole multitude sought to touch Him, for power went out from Him and healed them all.


Luke 9:11  But when the multitudes knew it, they followed Him; and He received them and spoke to them about the Kingdom of God, and healed those who had need of healing. 

We must conclude that today Jesus does not heal all those who come to Him.  He heals some, occasionally, but the evidence is clear that He does not heal ALL those who come to Him.

Why not? The logical conclusion is that either He has changed His mind, and this 'good news' of the Gospel is no longer available...or that we are not following His instructions correctly in how to be healed.  It seems very unlikely that He has changed His mind given that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8  

Therefore, we must conclude that we are not following His instructions correctly in how to be healed.
             
Perhaps this is why the real 'good news' of the Gospel is not preached?  These 9 references present us with a real challenge, and a serious problem.  This obvious challenge is too great, and it is easier to offer a lesser Gospel of salvation…

But all is not lost. There is a route to follow which can face the challenge.  Until the next blog…

Friday, 20 April 2012

What is the 'good news' of the Gospel? Part1


What is the 'good news' of the Gospel?  How do I find out the answer to this question?  It seems that I have several options:

1. Search the Internet by ‘googling’ ‘What is the Gospel’?

2. Go to church on Sunday.

3. Read any one or all four of the Gospels in the New Testament


1. I have taken the first option and ‘googled’ ‘What is the Gospel?’.   
I have found a consistent set of answers, of which the following ten are a representative selection:

1.      The Gospel is the good news about what God has done to save us from the consequences of our sin.
2.      The Gospel is the singularly most important communication of God to man.  In Jesus, who is God the Son, we have the revelation of God’s love and sacrifice that saves us from God's righteous judgment upon sinners.
3.      The Christian message of good news relates to the saving acts of God, which is solely due to the work of Jesus on the cross and resurrection from the dead which bring reconciliation between people and God.
4.      The good news of the Gospel is that Jesus lived a life of perfect righteousness, of perfect obedience to God. He has done for me what I couldn’t possibly do for myself. He offered Himself as a perfect sacrifice for my sins to save me from the justice and the righteousness of God.
5.      What is the Gospel of Christ? There is not a more important subject to study than the Biblical plan of salvation. The salvation in the Gospel refers to deliverance from damnation in the fires of hell.
6.      ‘Gospel’ means ‘Good News’.  The central truth of the Gospel is that God has provided a way of salvation for men through the gift of His Son to the world. He suffered as a sacrifice for sin, overcame death, and now offers a share in His triumph to all who will accept it.
7.      The Gospel of Jesus Christ speaks of the good news of salvation that comes through the person and work of Jesus Christ who is the very Son of God in human flesh. This is the good news of deliverance from sin’s penalty, power and presence through the two advents of Christ.
8.      What is the Gospel? It is the message of the good news of salvation offered to mankind by grace through faith in the finished work of Christ on the cross. It is a message that encompasses the total plan of God to redeem people from the ravages of sin, death, Satan, and the curse that now covers the earth.
9.      The simple message of the Gospel is that Christ gave us salvation from our sins. He died, was buried, and was raised again the third day according to the Scriptures. Believing the message leads to relationship with God, repentance and baptism, followed by growth.
10.  Christ's Gospel was just that. Good news. Be saved from your sins, most of which dealt with how we treat others and care for each other, and to have faith in Christ and his message.

These 10 answers all state that the central, most important, essential piece of ‘good news’ for us is Salvation.  This Salvation is actually only triggered when God ultimately judges sinners at some time in the future, at the Last Judgment, because it is only at that future point in time that God will save us from   damnation in the fires of hell, which is the consequence of the justice and the righteousness of God on sin.

This Last Judgment has been graphically, and gruesomely portrayed in famous paintings by, amomg others, Michaelangelo, William Blake, and Hieronymus Bosch, and in many Medieval churches….in order to frighten people into becoming believers.
The Inquisition, which began in the 12th century, was described, according to the 1578 handbook for inquisitors, for punishment does not take place primarily and per se for the correction and good of the person punished, but for the public good in order that others may become terrified and weaned away from the evils they would commit.

One of the 10 listed definitions above includes the statement that the salvation in the Gospel refers to deliverance from damnation in the fires of hell. This statement is similarly designed, like the Medieval church paintings and the Inquisition, to make others become terrified.  It seems that not much has changed since the Inquisition…except, thankfully, that a refusal to believe is no longer followed by death from burning at the stake.

Surely, this ‘gospel’ of fear cannot be the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  If it is, then I want nothing to do with such a vengeful, violent, terrorist 'gospel'. I am reminded of John McEnroe’s comment to a line call at Wimbledon, ‘You can’t be serious!!’


2. Go to church on Sunday.

I have taken the second option and been to church on Sundays to find out What is the Gospel? 

In order to get a representative answer I have attended Roman Catholic, Anglican (AngloCatholic, Evangelical, and others), Methodist, Baptist, United Reform, and Pentecostal Sunday services.
I have received answers with variations on the theme of Salvation, with the  suggestions, from some, that I should give my life to Jesus, and believe that He died, was buried, and was raised again the third day according to the Scriptures. Believing this message leads to relationship with God, repentance and baptism, followed by growth.

The basic message is the same as those that I 'googled'; be saved from the consequences of my sin, and experience relationship with God now, and in Eternal Life after my death.

This message is an outworking, and expansion, of my ‘googled’ option, but leaves me thinking that there must be more to the Gospel than this. 

If this is the Gospel, what was such ‘good news’ for those who listened to Jesus in the first century?…. because this message is, and was, nothing new.

In the Old Testament, salvation from the consequences of my sin, and the experience of a relationship with God now, and in Eternal Life after my death, were all available before the arrival of Jesus. 

For example, the Psalmist is quite clear about his salvation in Psalm 18:
Psalm 18:2  The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer; My God, my strength, in whom I will trust; my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.
Psalm 18:35  You have also given me the shield of Your salvation; Your right hand has held me up,
Psalm 18:46  The LORD lives! Blessed be my Rock! Let the God of my salvation be exalted.

In addition, can we seriously suggest that Abraham, Moses, David, Elijah, Daniel, and many others in the Old Testament, were not saved.  Surely, we are back to McEnroe, ‘You can’t be serious!!’

Secondly, the evidence of Genesis 18 is clear that Abraham had a relationship with God:
The LORD said, ‘Shall I hide from Abraham what I am doing,… for I have known him…
Many others had a relationship with God…not least David, who works through his relationship with God in the Psalms, particularly his prayer in Psalm 51:
O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the multitude of Your tender mercies, blot out my transgressions.Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.

Thirdly, the hope of Eternal Life was more than a hope for Job; it was a fact:
I know that my Redeemer lives, and He shall stand at last on the earth; and after my skin is destroyed, this I know, that in my flesh I shall see God, Whom I shall see for myself, and my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!  Job 19.25-27

So after my visits to churches on Sundays, and listening to What is the Gospel?
….If that which is preached in the churches was nothing new for those in the first century who listened to Jesus….where do I go for my answer?

I am only left with the third option; 3. Read any one or all four of the Gospels in the New Testament. I will post the first results of this option in the next blog.