What Good News?

For some time now, I have been wondering what I used to tell people in Gospel meetings as a worker, what the “Good News” of the Gospel really was.  And I’m not sure I ever did.  I preached in likely thousands of Gospel meetings and those meetings were supposed to be aimed at the “sinner” or the “outsider”.  (My last 5 years, however, I pretty much quit doing that and gave up any semblance of a “sermon-nette” and just talked about what the Lord and I were working on together and hoped it resonated with folks.  From what I could tell, it seemed to.)  I remember talking about why we needed Jesus but mostly took His parables and used them to help folks identify where they were at with God at that time in their lives.

Nothing wrong with those topics at all.  But now I wonder why I never had a 4 week or 10 week series on the Good News of the Gospel.  I know the reason why:  because at that point, I didn’t know what it truly was either.  How could that be?  Because I was teaching what I had been taught all my life about the Gospel, and that was, that Jesus was my Savior BUT there were still a number of things I had to do in order to truly secure my place in heaven because what He did wasn’t enough obviously.  Gives me chills to even write that now because it is so not true.  The Good News then was that Jesus was 100% human and 100% divine when He walked on this earth and that meant He understood our suffering and our feelings and longings.  And if we were ever going to become like Him, we had to strive very, very hard to not sin because, by golly, He never sinned and so we could at least try to not either.  (I literally saw two young men almost loose their minds trying to be “perfect” when they were young workers. It was tragic, the pressure they put on themselves, but that was what the “system” promoted.)

Having the desire not to sin is not a bad thing at all.  But the REASON for that desire is what was wrong.  Enter the Good News.  I’m going to share a quote from “The Imperfect Disciple” by Jared C. Wilson:

“We think we know what will do the job of making us holy:  us doing the job of making us holy.  And seeking holiness is integral to discipleship.  But more central to our discipleship is the news that actually makes Christianity Christianity:  we are holy not because of what we’ve done but because of what Jesus has done.  That is why the good news is so good!  The essential message of Christianity isn’t “do” but “done”.  The good news is NEWS, not instruction, and it announces to us not “get to work” but “it is finished”.  

That is TREMENDOUS news if you ask me!  It is a totally different mindset than what is taught in the meetings church.  Telling folks what Jesus did and still does is the Good News.  What we don’t have to do.  The Gospel of Grace is the Good News.  The Good News that is almost too good to be true but it is true.  The Good News that we don’t have to work to be saved or complete the check list the workers gave us subliminally.  Instead, we do good deeds out of a place of love and thankfulness; never obligation.  It just comes from a totally different place.

The Good News is that Jesus was God when He walked this earth.  How?  Who knows!  His ways are way past ours and even if He did give us a chapter or two on how the specifics of that worked, we still wouldn’t be able to wrap our minds around it.  But there are many, many verses that tell us He was God in the flesh when he was here.  The Good News in that is that because He was God, He couldn’t have sinned and that is why we will never be able to be perfect!  He doesn’t expect us to be.  He just wants us to keep looking at Him and finding Him in the Bible everywhere and in creation everywhere and by doing that and beholding His Glory, we will be changed into His image!

2 Cor 3: 17-18  “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate[a] the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

I’m on a roll now but I can see how there easily could have been a 10 week series on what the Good News really was and is!  But the fact that I didn’t know then what I know now explains why Gospel meetings were often so dry and flat (mine included).  Not always but often, they really were. I sat in alot of meetings that, at the time, were very inspiring and touching and I left those meetings, wanting more than anything, what they were talking about.

We (the workers, bless our hearts) were straining to find something to say and oh man, we worked HARD to prepare something for those Gospel meetings. Our messages evoked a feeling in the listeners of what could be, but sadly, seldom actually was. I remember feeling strongly about some things and desperately wanting the reality of it in my life but it never quite was.  Because even though we were given the formula for how to be the perfect professing person, the formula left Jesus out of most of it and so it couldn’t have worked.   But He is EVERYWHERE in the Scripture and the Good News is everywhere and messages about Him should have been a joy to give and not nearly as much work to prepare for.  It should have been bubbling out of us, truly.  Those angels announced the “glad tidings with great joy” to the shepherds and that should be how the Gospel is always presented.

Just writing this, I am in awe of what I/we have in Christ.  How life makes sense because of what the Word says.  And how much pressure is off of us because of believing in Jesus.  Life is hard, yes, but knowing what we know now sure helps.  A lot.  I can rest in Him now knowing that He sees everything and is always with me and He knows my sinful heart and has not given up on me.  Thank you, Jesus.  Thank you, Jesus.

 

 

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4 thoughts on “What Good News?

  1. Amen! It is so good to read your blog tonight as you express my experience (of sitting in the gospel meetings where the gospel was not preached) exactly.

    It has been difficult to express this to friends and family still going to meeting and to be met with blank looks – like I’m the only one present that heard a Jesus plus all that I need to do message all these years. So it was great to read, thank you!

    What I praise and thank God for though? Is for my deliverance and revelation that brought me into new and profound relationship with Him, and that my identity is in Christ. I’m always amazed anew when I read someone else’s experience and it lines up so closely with my own revelation…God is so good!

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  2. Thanks Darla for making your thoughts and writings public. It has been some time since I’ve looked on-line here, refreshing to read as well as encouragement to continue.

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  3. This is a cut & paste comment from Chris Schierman:

    “Yes and Amen”! Recently I had a phone conversation with a woman that is a wonderful person.We don’t keep in regular contact, but enjoy the times we can catch up. She has gone to meeting her whole life, loves it and believes it is the only true way to a right relationship with God. (Or at least, the best way) She loves what she knows and I am not criticizing or trying to change her thoughts. I know she cares about us. After some conversation about our (hers and mine) Bible studies and experiences of growing more intimately and personally in love with what Jesus has done for and in us. It hit a snag when I referred to where we go to church. The next parts of her conversation were questions about methods: do we met in a building, the ministry and other questions to measure if we met the meeting system standards/works for salvation. When some of my answers seemed hopeful, she asked if we would ever return to meeting. She thought maybe we had, a bad experience, so maybe if we tried meeting again, we could fit in again. I know she is worried we are not in safe in our relationship with God, outside meeting. I said, it would be going backwards for us, to return to meeting and give up what we now have, because every place we had lived in the past, the gospel (the workers preached) focused on Jesus, PLUS human effort to gain and keep salvation and acceptance within the group. We would be going back into a religious system where we would not measure up and be welcomed, (unless we re-professed to the system methods.) I could tell she was very sad to hear my response. I was sad too, for the separation between us because of that mindset.There is nothing like having an intimate encounter with Jesus,( born again), as we desire Him and then everything we do is directed from His Love, not our working for His love. They are two different heart positions.

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