Sharing The Good News
It is written: “How Beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” Romans 10:15
Today we use email and cell phones to communicate with people in the next room or on the other side of the world. And ancient times, however messages were carried the old-fashioned way: by couriers. They braved rugged terrain, blistering heat, and threats of thieves to take news, good or bad across the land. Our communication tools are computers and phones; their tools were the sandals on their feet.
In his letter to the Romans, Paul uses a quote from Isaiah 52:7, when messengers brought news to exiles in Babylon that they were now freed from captivity. After seventy years of torture and humiliation, the captives were free! In the same way, we who take the message of Christ’s forgiveness to others bring great news of stunning freedom. In this case, it’s not freedom from political oppression, but freedom from sin and death.
Think of the best news you’ve ever heard, and remember the utter thrill of hearing it for the first time. We have the wonderful role of taking the best news ever told to people who desperately need to hear it. In the ancient world, thankful, thrilled people who say to those who brought good news, “ your feet are beautiful!” When we take the good news of Christ’s forgiveness to guilt ridden people, our feet are beautiful too.
“ This generation of Christians is responsible for this generation of souls on the earth!”
What an incredible privilege we have been given to be chosen by God as the ones to carry His message to the people around us. How sad that many Christians see this privilege of sharing the story of Jesus as one for only a select few- evangelists or pastors. The invitation is for every believer who had had the wonderful experience of being told the story of Jesus themselves. From the inception of the church, every person who has come to Christ has heard the story told to them by someone.
It has always been the plan of God for the Good News to be spread by word of mouth, from person to person. We have been done a great disservice when we have looked to professionals and programs and organizations to do the work that we have been called to do. I think that one day when we stand before Christ one of our regrets will be over the missed opportunities we had to tell others about such a wonderful Savior.
We as the people of God have made telling the story of Jesus so complicated that only the well trained dare to take it on. Think about any other experience you’ve had that was so incredible that you felt compelled to share it with those you care for, multiply that by tens of thousands and you will come close to the feeling you will have when you get the opportunity to tell someone about Jesus and watch as their lives change after they receive Him as Savior. It’s addictive.
Many of us spend a lot of time with church related activities without ever enjoying the blessing of sharing the story of Jesus with broken and hurting people.
It a selfish thing to have been given the opportunity to know Christ because someone else cared enough about us to tell us about Him and then to keep that wonderful news to ourselves. We have come up with all kinds of justification why we don’t tell the story of Jesus. Some will say that they don’t want to be offensive. Others say that it’s enough just to live the Christ life as an example. Some will say they don’t know enough about the Bible or they haven’t had proper training and they’re afraid they’ll get the story wrong. Others say that’s what preachers are for. Still others say that we meet every week and if someone is interested they’ll come to one of our gatherings on their own. Statistics say that 70-80% of those who come to church do so because a friend or family member influenced them to do so. But everyone who comes to know Christ does so because somebody cares enough about them to tell them the story of Jesus.
Our question as believers has to be whether we have ourselves experienced the incredible moment when Christ came into our hearts. Far too many people have a church religion- they attend the services, serve in positions, do the work- but the only way we get into the eternity of heaven is though and by a personal relationship with Christ ourselves.
Jesus was clear that the only way one could enter into the kingdom of God was through Him. Hear His words:
Jesus said to him, “I am the [only] Way [to God] and the [real] Truth and the [real] Life; no one comes to the Father but through Me.
I assure you and most solemnly say to you, he who does not enter by the door into the sheepfold, but climbs up from some other place [on the stone wall], that one is a thief and a robber. But he who enters by the door is the shepherd of the sheep [the protector and provider]. The doorkeeper opens [the gate] for this man, and the sheep hear his voice and pay attention to it. And [knowing that they listen] he calls his own sheep by name and leads them out [to pasture]. When he has brought all his own sheep outside, he walks on ahead of them, and the sheep follow him because they know his voice and recognize his call. They will never follow a stranger, but will run away from him, because they do not know the voice of strangers.” Jesus used this figure of speech with them, but they did not understand what He was talking about. So Jesus said again, “I assure you and most solemnly say to you, I am the Door for the sheep [leading to life]. All who came before Me [as false messiahs and self-appointed leaders] are thieves and robbers, but the [true] sheep did not hear them. I am the Door; anyone who enters through Me will be saved [and will live forever], and will go in and out [freely], and find pasture (spiritual security). I am the Good Shepherd, and I know [without any doubt those who are] My own and My own know Me [and have a deep, personal relationship with Me]— even as the Father knows Me and I know the Father—and I lay down My [very own] life [sacrificing it] for the benefit of the sheep.
Let’s stop kidding ourselves. We can blame the decline of churches and the number of those who identify as Christian on the times, the influence of the world, the work of the devil, the busyness of life, or that the current generations aren’t interested or are bored with church. None of these things are new. What we must confess is the sinfulness of abandoning the Great Commission as the center focus and direct mission of the church and the privilege of every Christian.
I ask us for self-examination. First do we ourselves know the privilege of being born again and becoming “new creatures in Christ Jesus?” If that’s not the case, let us not linger; let us “taste and see that the Lord is good.” If we have experienced that great privilege let us ask forgiveness of our selfishness that has kept the story of Jesus hidden from those around us. Let us pray for boldness to speak the truth that Christ Jesus is the only means of salvation and every other way or religion leads to death and destruction. I say this unapologetically without any malice toward those who may practice some other religion. Some have said that love is acceptance but I declare that if you see some practicing something that leads to destruction and eternal death and remain silent you really don’t love that one.
The very God who loved the whole world gave His Son for our redemption and it is a mistake to believe that He will accept some other way. If we take a moment and consider the extreme price God paid through His Son, we would feel the urgency to give everyone we can the opportunity to experience the privilege of knowing Christ.
Dr. John Thompson