Sunday, April 10, 2005

Bearer of good news: Is 40:9-10

"Get yourself up on a high mountain, O Zion, bearer of good news, lift up your voice mightily, O Jerusalem, bearer of good news; lift it up, do not fear. Say to the cities of Judah, 'Here is your God!' Behold, the Lord GOD will come with might, with His arm ruling for Him. Behold, His reward is with Him and His recompense before Him." (Isaiah 40:9-10)
I have meat many Christians who seem to believe that God has called them to be the bearers of bad news. They are not happy themselves and they seem to feel that no one else should be happy as well. When they speak to someone about the "gospel", it is always in an effort to show them their faults; how they have sinned and offended God. To them, the "gospel" is that we are "Bad, Bad, Bad!" And even when someone does get saved, they are always right there to remind them that they aren't praying hard enough, there not reading their Bibles long enough, and there not witnessing to the lost enough. Yes, you too can spot them in your own church, they are the ones who confess that they have the joy of the Lord, but their faces look like they have been sucking on lemons far too long. Where is the "good news" of the gospel today?

Jesus didn't live His life this way. Jesus was a man who constantly was offering the good news of the Father to everyone around Him. In fact, one of the greatest criticism levied against Him by the religious elite was that He was a "friend of sinners." People enjoyed being around Jesus. And, when it came to their sin, Jesus was quick to forgive them. Conceder the case of the lame man who sat by the pool of Bethesda. After healing the man, Jesus said unto him, "Behold, you have become well; do not sin anymore, so that nothing worse happens to you." (John 5:14) Notice that Jesus didn't stand there and berate the man for his sins. He didn't lecture the man about all his evil ways, He just forgave him. There was, however, one group of people that Jesus did confront concerning their sins; the self righteous. The Pharisees questioned Jesus about their supposed sins, " 'We are not blind too, are we?'Jesus said to them, 'If you were blind, you would have no sin ; but since you say, "We see," your sin remains.' " (John 9:40-41) Jesus, loved by sinners and hated by the religious.

I've come to find that most people know their a sinner. Remember that when Peter say his first miracle, his response to Jesus was, "Go away from me Lord, for I am a sinful man, O Lord!" (Luke 5:8) When confronted with the glory of God, Peter instinctively knew with in him self of his own sins. Most people know about their sin, but what they don't know about is the provision that God has made for their sin. That's the good news. Not that we have sinned, we know that already, but that God has paid the price for the forgiveness of our sins. We are sinners, but we can be forgiven. That is really good news.

I find it interesting that we tend to be much more charitable towards those inside the church than those outside. We are quite willing to overlook each others sins, even to accommodate the sins of other church members. While at the same time, ever eager to expose the sins of those outside the church. I think that if Jesus were here, His response would be just the opposite. Judgment must first begin in the house of God. We are the ones who must move beyond self righteousness to find true righteousness; the righteousness that comes by faith. And once we come to understand the free gift of forgiveness that comes from the Father, then we will once again understand the good news that needs to be shared with the lost.

David Robison

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