Bad News and the Gospel (Good News)
As we are all aware, one day we will be leaving this life and be buried underneath the ground we now walk on. There is no escaping this stark reality. The Scriptures tell us that a certain portion of time is alloted to each of us:
"The days of our lives are seventy years; And if by reason of strength they are eighty years, Yet their boast is only labor and sorrow; For it is soon cut off, and we fly away."(1) And then the Bible writer concludes with this prayer : " So teach us to number our days, That we may gain a heart of wisdom."(2) The bottom line: We all will die. Some have a little longer to live than others.
As we gain the courage to face this certainty of an end, we are admonished with these wise words: " But if a man lives many years And rejoices in them all, Yet let him remember the days of darkness, For they will be many. All that is coming is vanity. Rejoice, O young man, in your youth, and let your heart cheer you in the days of your youth; Walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes; but know that for all these God will bring you into judgment." (3) There will be some good days - and there will be some bad ones. Therefore, enjoy each day that your Creator grants you - and be careful how you live on this rock.
We are again instructed by the wise man: "Don’t let the excitement of being young cause you to forget about your Creator. Honor him in your youth before the evil years come - when you’ll no longer enjoy living. It will be too late then to try to remember him when the sun and light and moon and stars are dim to your old eyes, and there is no silver lining left among your clouds.For there will come a time when your limbs will tremble with age, your strong legs will become weak, and your teeth will be too few to do their work, and there will be blindness too.
Then let your lips be tightly closed while eating when your teeth are gone! And you will waken at dawn with the first note of the birds; but you yourself will be deaf and tuneless, with quavering voice. You will be afraid of heights and of falling - a white-haired, withered old man, dragging himself along: without sexual desire, standing at death’s door, and nearing his everlasting home as the mourners go along the streets.
Yes, remember your Creator now while you are young-before the silver cord of life snaps and the gold bowl is broken; before the pitcher is broken at the fountain and the wheel is broken at the cistern; then the dust returns to the earth as it was, and the spirit returns to God who gave it. All is futile, says the Preacher; utterly futile." (4) It seems to me, that the picture of life given by the wise man here seems awfully dismal. Live long enough, and this will come to pass in your life (and death).
The B.I.B.L.E. (Basic Instructions before leaving Earth) gives you the truth - good and bad:
“For the living know that they will die; but the dead know nothing, and they have no more reward, For the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, their hatred, and their envy have now perished; never more will they have a share in anything done under the sun.
Go, eat your bread with joy, and drink your wine with a merry heart; for God has already accepted your works. Live joyfully with the wife whom you love all the days of your vain life which He has given you under the sun, all your days of vanity; for that is your portion in life, and in the labor which you perform under the sun.
Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might; for there is no work or device or knowledge or wisdom in the grave where you are going.”(5)
While you are yet cognitally able to understand your lot in life, pay attention to the details:
“The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, nor bread to the wise, nor riches to men of understanding, nor favor to men of skill; but time and chance happen to them all. For a man also does not know his time: like a fish taken in a cruel net, like birds caught in a snare - so the sons of men are snared in an evil time when it falls suddenly upon them." (6)
Each day we should walk in an awareness of this profound truth:
"A wise man's heart discerns both time and judgment, because for every matter there is a time and judgment, though the misery of man increases greatly. For he does not know what will happen; so who can tell him when it will occur? No one has power over the spirit to retain the spirit, and no one has power in the day of death. There is no release from that war, and wickedness will not deliver those who are given to it.” (7)
“I saw the wicked buried, who had come and gone from the place of holiness, and they were forgotten in the city where they had so done. Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. Though a sinner does evil a hundred times, and his days are prolonged, yet I surely know that it will be well with those who fear God, who fear before Him. But it will not be well with the wicked; nor will he prolong his days, which are as a shadow, because he does not fear before God.” (8)
Now - here is the real dilemma each of us must face:
“For there is not a just man on earth who does good and does not sin.” (9) The wages of sin are death. (10) Your iniquities have separated you from your God; and your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear." (11) Based on the truth of the wise man, we can determine some stark realities:
1) We have just a short time on this earth to find our way
2) We have a Creator over our life who set parameters for us to live in
3) We have not and can not measure up to God's Requirements
4) We have all sinned, and this has brought seperation with our Creator
5) The payday for sin is death
6) We will face a Day when we will be judged by God. The Bible is clear:
“And as it is appointed for men to die once, but after this the judgment.(12) “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His Commandments - for this is man's all; for God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.” (13)
I don't know about you, but this is bad news! Ready or not - it will come.
1) Psalm 90:9 2) Psalm 90:11 3) Ecclesiastes 11:8-9 4) Ecclesiastes 12: 1-8
5) Ecclesiastes 9:5,10 6) Ecclesiastes 9:11-12 7) Ecclesiastes 8:5-8 8) Eccl 8:10-13
9) Ecclesiastes 7:20 10) Romans 6:23 11) Isaiah 59:2 12) Hebrews 9:27
13) Ecclesiastes 12: 13-14
In Light of The Bad News: How about Good news?
Man's outlook about his short time on earth can be disconcerting. One Bible writer declares," For what is your life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away. Instead you ought to say, "If the Lord wills, we shall live and do this or that. 1 ) Because of man's sin - death will fall on all of us. Make no mistake. But this is not "the final answer". Here's where the "good news" comes in.
Our Loving Creator knew the consequences of giving man and woman the choice to love Him. He did not see any joy in creating robots to love Him without choosing to love. Consequently, because of Yahweh's Foreknowledge, He ultimately knew that the ones He created to love would make the wrong choice. And so - the plan was laid out "from the foundation of the world"2) for bringing man back into right standing with Himself. Man was broken - and God had already designed a " fix it" remedy to restore the ones He loved and created to Himself.
It is written: “For this is the way God loved the world: he gave his one and only Son that everyone who believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world should be saved through him.” 3) As broken as man became, “God demonstrated His own love for us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”4) Our Loving Creator took this into His Own Hands - having provided His Only Son to die - paying off the penalty of sin. Because of His love and grace, He has not left us without hope and a solution.
God SO loved you that He gave up His Most prized posession: His only Son. It was Jesus, “who being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. and being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.”5) Man's restoration could come only one way: “God made the One who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we would become the righteousness of God.”6)
Because God is Holy, He would only accept a sinless sacrifice. He gave up Jesus "who committed no sin, nor was deceit found in His mouth who - when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness--by whose stripes you were healed.”7)
Yes - Jesus came down from heaven on a mission. When He was ready to demonstrate God's Ultimate love to humanity, He declared,"Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one's life for his friends.” 8) On His own free will He came on His mission and exclaimed, “My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father." 9)
At the appointed time Jesus proclaimed, "Father, the hour has come. Glorify Your Son, that Your Son also may glorify You, as You have given Him authority over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as You have given Him; and this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent. I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do. And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.” 10)
It was at this “time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day.” 11) He also would declare,"The hour has come that the Son of Man should be glorified. Most assuredly, I say to you, unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies, it remains alone; but if it dies, it produces much grain.” 12) And this pronouncement, “Now is the judgment of this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out. and if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all people to Myself." This He said, signifying by what death He would die.” 13)
1) James 4:14-15 2) Revelation 13:8 3) John 3:16-17 4) Romans 5:8 5) Phillipians 2:6-8
6) 2 Corinthians 5:21 7) 1 Peter 2: 22-24 8) John 15:13 9) John 10: 17-18 10) John 17: 1-5
11) Matthew 16:21 12) John 12: 23-24 13) John 12: 31-32
Here's the Better News:
Yes - now had come the time to finish the work that He came to accomplish - to take on the sins and penalty of those with the ones whom He so loved. And all because of Jesus. Here's a word you can take to heart and depend on: Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners." 1) So - do we need saving?
Remember: "It wasn't so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn't know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It's a wonder God didn't lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, He embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us!" 2)
In order to restore His prized creation, He had to die and pay the penalty that was pronounced upon the first parents in the Garden. When Adam didn't go along with God's Order, he sinned and death was passed on to all of us who would live afterward; "For as in Adam all die," 3) . It was prophesied hundreds of years before Jesus came into this world that He would suffer man's penalty of sin upon Himself:
"But it was our sins that did that to him, that ripped and tore and crushed him - our sins! He took the punishment, and that made us whole. Through his bruises we get healed. He was beaten, he was tortured, but he didn't say a word. Like a lamb taken to be slaughtered and like a sheep being sheared, he took it all in silence. Justice miscarried, and he was led off - and did anyone really know what was happening?
He died without a thought for his own welfare, beaten bloody for the sins of my people. They buried him with the wicked, threw him in a grave with a rich man, Even though he'd never hurt a soul or said one word that wasn't true. Still, it's what God had in mind all along, to crush him with pain. The plan was that he give himself as an offering for sin so that he'd see life come from it - life, life, and more life.
Out of that terrible travail of soul, he'll see that it's worth it and be glad he did it. Through what he experienced, My Righteous One, My Servant, will make many "righteous ones," as he himself carries the burden of their sins. Therefore I'll reward him extravagantly - the best of everything, the highest honors - Because he looked death in the face and didn't flinch" 4)
In facing the hour in which He had came for, Jesus knew that - although deaf was imminent, He prophesied that He would conquer death. The Son of God declared: "The Son of Man must suffer many things, and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised the third day." 5) This is the only person in the history of humanity that ever predicted his death, burial, and resurrection.
Many centuries beforehand, the Prophet foretold of the excruciating death the Savior would suffer to redeem us from eternal death. Many centuries before it happened he fortells the agony of crucifixtion: "I am poured out like water, And all My bones are out of joint; My heart is like wax; It has melted within Me. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, And My tongue clings to My jaws; You have brought Me to the dust of death. For dogs have surrounded Me; The congregation of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet; I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me. They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots."6)
And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, "I thirst! So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His Spirit." 7)
As Jesus was condemned as a criminal - “Christ also suffered for us… who committed no sin, Nor was deceit found in His mouth; who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness--by whose stripes you were healed.” 8)
After taking the Precious Son of God off off the cross, and placing Him in a sealed Tomb, some of His Followers came back to the tomb later only to find the stone had been rolled away from his Burial site. The testimony of truth revealed:
"But they found the stone rolled away from the tomb. Then they went in and did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments. Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, "Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, BUT IS RISEN!" 9)
Just exactly how the Prophets declared through hundreds of prophecies - Jesus fulffilled every one of them. One eyewitness of history proclaims: "For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures." 10) This is just not the testimony off one witness here. Paul - one of the ones who saw the risen Savior proclaims:
"Jesus... “was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve; after that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep; after that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles; then last of all He was seen by me also." 11) In addition, the historian added Jesus was with them:
“until the day in which He was taken up, after He through the Holy Spirit had given commandments to the apostles whom He had chosen, to whom He also presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the kingdom of God.” 12)
Yes, according to the evidences: “Now, in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed Heir of all things, through whom also He Made the Worlds; who being the brightness of His Glory and the express Image of His Person, and upholding all things by the word of His Power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the Right Hand of the Majesty on high.” 13)
1) 1 Tim 1:15 2) Ephesians 2:1-5 3) 1 Corinthians 15:22 4) Isaiah 53: 7-10, 5, 11-12
5) Luke 9:22 6) Psalms 22:14,15 7) John 17-18; 28-30 8) 2 Peter 2: 22-24, 14-15
9) Luke 24: 2-6 10) 1 Corinthians 15: 3-4 11) 1 Corinthians 15:5-8 12) 2 Peter 1-3
13) Hebrews 1: 2-3
Here's the Best News:
Here is even better news to place deep in your heart. These words will bring you hope and abundant life not only here - but in the world to come!
Jesus promises: "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who hears My word and believes in Him who sent Me has everlasting life, and shall not come into judgment, but has passed from death into life. 1) For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. 2) I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly. 3) Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, For they shall be filled. 4) But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you." 5)
"Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you'll recover your life. I'll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me - watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won't lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you'll learn to live freely and lightly. 6) Let not your heart be troubled; you believe in God, believe also in Me. In My Father's house are many mansions; if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.' 7)
Following Jesus' Promise will bring great reward: "I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life. If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed. 8) You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me. 9) It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life." While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light." 10)
"For the bread of God is He who comes down from heaven and gives life to the world." I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and he who believes in Me shall never thirst. This is the bread which comes down from heaven, that one may eat of it and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever; and the bread that I shall give is My flesh, which I shall give for the life of the world. He who eats this bread will live forever." 11)
"If anyone thirsts, let him come to Me and drink. He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water." 12) "Hey there! All who are thirsty, come to the water! Are you penniless? Come anyway - buy and eat! Come, buy your drinks, buy wine and milk. Buy without money - everything's free! Why do you spend your money on junk food, your hard-earned cash on cotton candy? Listen to me, listen well: Eat only the best, fill yourself with only the finest. Pay attention, come close now, listen carefully to my life-giving, life-nourishing words. I'm making a lasting covenant commitment with you. 13) And the Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let him who hears say, "Come!" And let him who thirsts come. Whoever desires, let him take the water of life freely." 14)
"I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by My own. As the Father knows Me, even so I know the Father; and I lay down My life for the sheep. And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd. Therefore My Father loves Me, because I lay down My life that I may take it again. No one takes it from Me, but I lay it down of Myself. I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again. This command I have received from My Father." 15)
“The LORD is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness For His name's sake. Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil; For You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies; You anoint my head with oil; My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me All the days of my life; And I will dwell in the house of the LORD Forever.” 16)
Jesus said , "I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. 17) "Your dead shall live; Together with my dead body they shall arise. Awake and sing, you who dwell in dust; For your dew is like the dew of herbs, And the earth shall cast out the dead." 18) "Do not marvel at this; for the hour is coming in which all who are in the graves will hear His voice and come forth--those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of condemnation." 19)
“For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words.” 20) Blessed and holy is he who has part in the first resurrection. Over such the second death has no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with Him a thousand years." 21)
1) John 5:24 2) John 3:17 3) John 10:10 4) Matthew 5:6 5) Matthew 6:33 6) Matthew 11:28-30
7) John 14:1-3 8) John 8:12, 31-32, 36 9) John 5:39 10) John 6:63 ; 12:36 11) John 6:33-35, 50-51
12) John 7:37-38 13) Isaiah 55: 1-3 14) Revelation 22:17 15) John 10:14-18 16) Psalm 23: 1-6
17) John 11:25 18) Isaiah 26:19 19) John 5:28-29 20) 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17
21) Revelation 20:6
So - Are you facing bad News?
There is a remedy and a great hope! Now, let's take a look at how you willl know that you have secured Eternal Life:
You have to hear God's Voice from His Word:
"Look at me. I stand at the door. I knock. If you hear me call and open the door, I'll come right in and sit down to supper with you" Revelation 3:20
You will hear two voices everyday. It is important to hear from the Bible (God's Word). If you hear and recognize that you do not have the security and lifestyle which puts Him in your plans, open up the door of your heart and He will come in and share a feast with you! But remember, the doorknob is on the inside. He will not force an entry, you have to invite Him in.
"But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His Name" John 1:12
In order for you do become a child of the Creator of all things, You must Receive Him. Again, this means that you have to let Him become the Lord of your Life. A Lord means: "ruler over".
To believe means :
That he died to save you from your sin. Be honest with yourself and God - and He will forgive you if you ask him:
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us." 1 John 1:9-10
When you do this He is Faithful to deliver on His Promises:
"He has not dealt with us according to our sins, Nor punished us according to our iniquities. For as the heavens are high above the earth, So great is His mercy toward those who fear Him; As far as the east is from the west, So far has He removed our transgressions from us. As a father pities his children, So the LORD pities those who fear Him." Psalm 103:10-14
"Who is a God like You, Pardoning iniquity And passing over the transgression of the remnant of His heritage? He does not retain His anger forever, Because He delights in mercy. He will again have compassion on us, And will subdue our iniquities. You will cast all our sins Into the depths of the sea." Micah 7:18-19
When you by faith believe in your heart the truth - confess it:
"If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, "Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame." Romans 10:9-10
Why the resurrection is the most important truth in the world
April 15, 2017
The resurrection only makes sense if we first understand what the Christian “gospel” is. In the ancient world, the word “gospel” was a media term referring to the announcement of an important or happy event. Christians adapted the word to refer to a world event they consider the most important and joyful. What is the Christian gospel? It is the good news that, at a certain point in this world’s history, God became present to us in the man named Jesus, who we can know, love, and serve.
Through Jesus’ incarnation (“God taking on flesh”), life and ministry, death and resurrection, he defeated the worldly powers that oppress us, and made a way for we who are sinners to live in unbroken fellowship with God who is holy. The Christian gospel is a factual statement. You can believe it or not believe it. But as Christians, we believe that it is not merely true; it is the most important truth in the world.
It is one that we cannot relegate to the private dimensions of life; it radiates outward into our public speech and actions. It cannot be hidden within the four walls of our churches; we must make it known to the world. In fact, immediately after he rose from the grave, Jesus appeared to his followers and gave them a command that Christians call the “Great Commission.” In this commission, he reveals three powerful truths about the resurrection:
1. The resurrection reveals Jesus as the final authority in this world.
When Jesus appeared to his followers immediately after his resurrection, the first words out of his mouth were “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth” (Matthew 28:18). The resurrection was decisive proof of his divinity, of the fact that he was in fact present when heaven and earth were created, and that he retains sovereign authority over them.
2. The resurrection compels us to tell the world about Jesus.
The second thing Jesus told his disciples is that they should tell the whole world about his crucifixion and resurrection, and invite them to follow him, too (Matthew 28:19-20a). If it is true that Jesus is the world’s final authority, and that through the cross and resurrection he has overcome the evil powers that seek to control us, then for us to refrain from telling the world about Him would not only be a crime toward humanity but a collusion with the evil powers.
We must not collude. We must be witnesses of his resurrection. Our witness must be prophetic: a declaring to the world that Jesus is Lord and the world’s reigning powers are not.Our witness often will need to be sacrificial: just as Jesus ministered as a homeless itinerant teacher, we must be willing to witness from a position of cultural weakness rather than power, and in the face of disapproval instead of applause.
3. The resurrection reminds us that world history will end on a joyful note. (Matthew 28:20b)
The third and final thing Jesus told his followers is “I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20b). In effect he was saying, “I will walk alongside of you as you bear witness, and, always remember that at the end of the age, I will return to set the world aright. I will establish a world-wide kingdom in which justice will roll down like the waters, in which my authority will be recognized, and in which people from all nations, ethnic groups, and social classes will live together in peace, love, and unity.”
Christians celebrate the bodily resurrection of Jesus, because we are happy that, in the future, the “great Shadow” of death and sin will finally depart (Romans 8:18-25). Something momentous and good has “happened to the world,” which is why we invite the world to celebrate with us by embracing Jesus as the resurrected Savior.