Tag Archive | good news

Mark 4:26-27 ” He also said, ‘This is what the kingdom of God is like. A man scatters seed on the ground. Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.’ “

A man of folk-lore and legend in the Midwest is John Chapman, better known as Johnny Appleseed.  During the 1800’s he wandered the country-side of large parts of Pennsylvania, Ontario, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, and West Virginia planting apple orchards…some of which still stand today.  This American pioneer nurseryman spent his lifetime scattering seed in hopes of a harvest someday.  In these verses, Jesus is likening the kingdom of God to the mystery of germination and growth and what man’s responsibility is in it all.  We are told to plant or scatter seed…the Good News of the Gospel Message, and then to allow God to do the rest.  For God’s kingdom grows in His time, in His way…always moving forward. So just like Johnny Appleseed, we are to be sowers of hope and leave the progress up to God.

Luke 2:14 ” Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests.”

God’s glory came to earth…His transcendent and infinite greatness, the sum of His perfection took the shape of a tiny baby born in Bethlehem.  God’s peace came to earth…the gift of reconciliation with our Creator came to us in the form of the Gospel Message, the Good News of salvation.  God’s favor came to earth…His Good Will was lavished on us while we were yet far from Him, His Good Pleasure not to see any lost.   Isaiah best sums it up, “For to us a child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders.  And He  will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)

Matthew 9:17 ” Neither do men pour new wine into old wine-skins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wine-skins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wine-skins, and both are preserved.”

Old wine-skins were hard, rigid, stiff, and unyielding.  Does that sound like you or someone you know?  On the other hand, new wine-skins are flexible and malleable…able to receive the newly pressed wine.  They change as the fermentation process happens…they expand as the wine ferments…finally stopping when the wine is perfect inside.   As Believers we must never stop growing until the God-given purpose inside us is perfected.  At the wedding feast in Cana what did the Master of the Banquet tell the Bridegroom after tasting the water Jesus had turned into wine?  “You have saved the best for last!”   I originally wrote this back in 2008…but it still remains pertinent today.  Just as you don’t pour new wine into old wine-skins, you don’t sew a new patch on an old garment, (Mark 2:21)…or both will be destroyed.  The journey of a Christian is a pathway of newness…new covenant, new hearts, new minds, new selves…of the process of constantly putting off the old and putting on the new.   For when we stop growing in the Lord, we become stagnant and unusable.  The Lord is looking for new vessels to contain His new works.  The question is, are you willing to be that new wine-skin?

I Corinthians 15: 13-14 ” If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.”

The foundation of Christian faith is this, “We believe that Jesus died and rose again…” (I Thessalonians 4:14)  But stop and think about this for a minute.  How absurd does this really sound?  You actually believe that Jesus was crucified, died on a cross, was buried…but 3 days later rose from that grave alive?   How delusional can you be?  And if you do truly believe this “fairy-tale”, you must be living in a fantasy-world!   But this is exactly how the world views the Gospel Message…some far-fetched implausible story.  Except, within this story is something that all of mankind is constantly searching for… peace, hope, and freedom from guilt and shame.  For the resurrection of Christ is the basis of our hope as Believers, and it is only by our faith that we are set free from the penalty of sin and death.

II Corinthians 5:19 ” …that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men’s sins against them.”

The chasm between God and man was too wide, so He sent His only Son to atone for our sins… in order that we may be reconciled.  And so , “We rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.” (Romans 5:11)   But there’s also responsibility attached to this reconciliation, for II Corinthians 5:18 tells us, “All this is from God, Who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”  So as Believers, we are called to serve others with compassion, and share with them a message of hope – The Good News of the Gospel- that they too may repent and believe…and be reconciled.

Colossians 4: 5-6 ” Be wise in the way you act towards outsiders; make the most of every opportunity. Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt so you may know how to answer everyone.”

In this verse it tells us how we should approach evangelism and share the Good News of Jesus with others.  It’s about being encouraging not convicting…listening not preaching…and having conversations not sermonizing.  It’s also about not having an “us versus them” mindset, but rather thinking “we” as a group.  Finally, it’s about living with integrity but also being vulnerable and transparent about our own struggles.  For none of us is a perfect Christian without faults and flaws.  And when we can show this side of us…we become more believable.

I Corinthians 15:1 ” Now, brothers, I want to remind you of the gospel I preached to you, which you received and on which you have taken your stand.”

The Apostle Paul was telling the Church in Corinth to focus on the Gospel Message, not on the person that had presented it. There was disunity and infighting in the Church depending on who they had heard the Gospel from…Paul or Apollos.  Paul wanted them to move on from that and rather center their minds on the Good News of Jesus…not on man.  For too many times we can get caught up by a dynamic, charismatic personality and end up following the person… not Jesus.  For if you think about it,  the Gospel Message doesn’t need theatrics or drama for it to be powerful and life-changing.  All it needs is an obedient soul sharing its story.