The Gospel: Good News and Bad News
After Jesus sent out seventy disciples to prepare the cities before him, they reported back excited and on fire that they had performed miracles and cast out demons in his name. Jesus said, “I saw Satan fall from heaven like lightning… However rejoice not because the demons are subject to you through my name, but because your names are written in the book of life.”
What are you excited about? What sets your soul on fire? If you’re working on works to ignite your soul, then the fire will burn out quickly. According to the Oswald Chambers, the ultimate reality is the “rugged reality” of redemption. Most men do things out of duty to live the Christian life. They don’t eagerly run to their Lord Jesus Christ from a heart of love. The most difficult thing for a missionary is to keep his heart right with the Lord…to say, “here am I Lord, send me. My heart’s desire is to do thy will.”
If you come to the Word of God from duty and obligation, then you’re under law and not under grace. Under the law of obligation everything is a burden. However, Jesus said, “come unto me all ye who labor and are heavy laden and I will give you rest.” Ninety percent of evangelism and ministry is serving from a heart of love.
According to Oswald Chambers in his devotional for February 1, the life of a Christian is on display for his Lord Jesus Christ. There is no running and hiding from the spirit of the Lord. God intended us to be living epistles known and read of all men. For ye are the salt of the earth, ye shine as lights in a world of darkness.
The world will turn its back on righteousness. For that which is of the world is contrary to the spirit of life in Christ. For those who want to be like the world, there is a “Christ-less Christianity.” If the Word of God is not the center of the message in church, then it’s not about him, it’s about “entertainment.” In the church of the living God, we’re living for an audience of one…our worship is for Him alone.
The gospel message is about good news and bad news. The bad news is that we’re sinners and that the wages of sin is eternal death. For it is appointed for all men once to die and then comes the judgement. To come to the Lord, we must come to the point that without God we’re hopeless and helpless in a world of darkness.
After David sinned with Bathsheba and had her husband Uriah killed, David lived in sin for a season. God gave the prophet Nathan a story to tell David. Nathan told David about a man in his kingdom who had only one possession… a little ewe lamb whom he raised and loved like his own daughter. Then a rich man who had flocks of sheep entered the poor man’s house, stole his little lamb, killed it and served it to his rich guests. David was a Shepard so this story enraged David. He said, “the rich man deserves to die.” Then Nathan stuck his finger in David’s chest and said, “You are the man.” This story broke David’s heart. It brought David to the point of repentance.
There are times in every man’s life when God will allow someone to come along side and stick a finger in our chest. This is the prerequisite for repentance. In Psalm 51, David recorded his prayer of repentance…be gracious unto me O Lord, according to your loving kindness and tender mercies. Blot out my transgressions and create in me a new heart O Lord.” When we repent we understand that He loves us not because of what we’ve done, but because His nature is grace, mercy, and love.
The unforgiven heart is an unforgiving heart. Jesus Christ has given us grace. The good news of the gospel is that he who was without sin became the perfect sin sacrifice on our behalf that we may be made the righteousness of God in Him. Because we have been forgiven, we can give grace. We can give to others from a heart of love because he has created within us a new heart. The good news of the gospel is that we’ve been called as his living epistles known and read of all men. They may not hear what you say but they’ll read what you do.
An old hymn was written by John Wesley to teach his illiterate congregation the Christian doctrine. He wrote “O For a Thousand Tongues to Sing” to celebrate God’s salvation. This is the song of a heart on fire for the Lord as his living epistles.
Oh, for a thousand tongues to sing my great Redeemer’s praise, The glories of my God and King, The triumphs of His grace!
My gracious master and my God, Assist me to proclaim, To spread to all the earth abroad, The honors of thy name!
May this be our prayer and our anthem to ignite our hearts to share the gospel of the grace of God.
May God richly bless you!
Your brother in Christ,