February 24, 2017

Sharing good news

If ten people were asked the purpose of the church, there could be ten different answers, yet many will agree that the Body of Christ is to share the good news. My hubby like this quote: “At all times, preach the Gospel, and if necessary use words.”

Today’s devotional reading says that “the singular method of biblical evangelism is gospel preaching. When our Lord told us to go into all the world, he did not tell us to entertain the world, to change the world, to provide counseling for the world, to educate the world or to get control of political offices so that we could rule the world.”

Instead, Jesus said . . .

“Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation. Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned.” (Mark 16:15–16)

(Just to confirm, the rest of the New Testament is clear that baptism saves no one, but it is first step of obedience to the Lord and therefore a declaration that the person being baptized has been saved.)

Most people begin a letter with Dear . . . but Paul was so intent on preaching the Gospel that he began many of his letters/epistles by declaring or including elements of this grand truth. For example . . .

“Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, To all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (Romans 1:1–7)

Paul commended the church at Rome because they were fulfilling their purpose. He said, “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world.” (Romans 1:8) Very soon into his letter, he explained his own reason for proclaiming his faith . . .

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” (Romans 1:16–17)

Living by faith means talking about the One that I trust, yet also living in such a way that faith is demonstrated. That is, if troubles and trials come, faith keeps me from falling apart. How could I claim to believe in a sovereign God who has good purpose for my life if all may actions failed to affirm it?

Yet the Gospel message is not about me and the way I live. It is about the amazing life and death and resurrection of the Lord, of Jesus Christ and him crucified (1 Corinthians 1:30–2:5).

I love the quote in the devotional from Rowland Hill. He said, “Any message which does not contain the three ‘R’s’ [Ruin by the Fall, Redemption by the blood, and Regeneration by the Holy Spirit] ought never to have been preached.”

Jesus, You have given me a task to declare the good news, the Gospel, in a simple, clear way. I like those three ‘R’s’ that underscore the fact that God saves sinners through the merits of his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. You are blessed. Grant me grace and wisdom as I share with others all that You have done!

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