Sunday, August 8, 2010
He said to them, "Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation. Mark 16:15
Jesus said the above words to the eleven remaining disciples when he appeared to them after he had risen from the dead.
What is the "good news"?
People seem to have different ideas, especially in today's world.
To some pastors and teachers, the "good news" is that God wants you to prosper; He wants you to surround yourself with Godly, intelligent, successful people and make you a success. He wants you to think positive, be self-confident, and go after your dreams This isn't too far from the truth. Jeremiah 29:11 says, "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."
The problem is that this often very heavily waters down the Word of God. There is so much more to the message than being prosperous, especially being prosperous on this earth. In fact, this is kind of a selfish message as it focuses on ourselves more than anything.
On the other end of the extreme, some preachers and even individuals, seem to think that the "good news" is that God is coming soon, nonbelievers are going to hell, and everything about this world is of the devil. Once again, this is pretty much true. Mark 16:16 says, "Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned."
Though it is true that the Bible says those who don't believe will not spend eternity with Him, that is not the focus of the message. It's not the "good news." Though people should know the consequences of their actions (or inaction as the case may be), condemnation is not God's focus. Fear of eternity is not God's focus. In fact, John 3:16-17 says, "For God so loved the world that he gave His only begotten son........For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.
The good news is that God sent Jesus to save us. He wants us to have life and to have it more abundantly. He wants us to have heaven to look forward to. He wants us to come to Him out of love, not out of fear. He wants to reward us, not punish us. Doesn't that sound like good news to you?
Don't get me wrong. We still have to remember that there are always consequences for our actions. You touch a hot stove, you get burned. That kind of thing.
Ultimately, though, if we accept it, there is love and forgiveness.
Have you shared the good news today?