22-4 Preaching The Good News
We labour and strive in the preaching of the Gospel “because we have
our hope set on the living God, who is the Saviour of all men”(1 Tim.
4:10 RV). The certainty of our hope is the basis of our witness. “The
witness is this, that God gave unto us eternal life…he that believeth
on the Son of God hath the witness in himself” (1 Jn. 5:10,11 RV). We
will witness from a sense welling up within us, that we have in prospect
been given eternal life. If we have ourselves believed that the good news
of the Gospel really is good news, we will inevitably share that message.
Good news can’t be kept to oneself. News of engagement, marriage, child
birth…is spread somehow and yet urgently by those affected by the events.
Even the most retiring of people can find a way to communicate the good
news of their first child or grandchild. Sometimes I find my e-mail clogged
up with big attachments of baby photos- from people I scarcely know! But
their sense of good news compelled them to make contact with me. And so
it will be with us in the round of encounters and conversations which
make up our daily lives. We will get the word out, somehow. We will break
barriers and boundaries in order to engage people in conversation about
the one thing that really and essentially matters to us. And, believe
me, passively, beneath the show of casual indifference, people are
interested. And Bill Hybels claims from surveys that “about 25% of the
adults in the US would go to church if a friend would just invite them”
And so I appeal to us all, to make a special effort to get out there
with the message. Leave leaflets around wherever you go [we will be pleased
to arrange for you to receive supplies]. Turn conversations around. We
are the salt of the earth- and one of the uses of salt is to create thirst
and appetite. We must create interest, open up opportunities in our conversations.
Take the standard Monday morning workplace greeting: “Hi! How’s it going?”.
“Oh, fine, thanks”. Get right in there with something like: “Yeah but
tell me, how is it really going…?”. Around Christmas and Easter,
ask people: “Do you really buy all this stuff about the baby in the manger,
Jesus being God’s Son? For me, I really struggle with what they say about
Him being God Himself and all that…I was reading this guy who shows that
Jesus wasn’t even born on December 25th…”.
Here are a few suggestions for talking to people:
- Talk to them one to one, without the pressure of others’ presence.
- Provoke their interest- just as Jesus did with the woman at the well.
He spoke in a way that piqued her curiosity and then went on from there
to make a direct appeal.
- Seize split second opportunities that arise when spiritual themes
are alluded to. Take a deep breath and with a quick prayer, with love
in your heart for the person, make your point, share your faith and
- In what you say, separate yourself from all the Mickey Mouse ‘Christian’
preaching that has gotten religious / Christian people such a bad name.
Admit that a lot of people out there are giving two cent answers to
million dollar questions (and of course, don’t give those sort of trite
answers either). Treat people as your fellow struggling humans, as persons,
whom God passionately cares for… not as objects.
- Tell them something about yourself and what the Truth means for you
practically. Everyone likes hearing other peoples’ stories…remember
how popular those dumb soap operas are.
- Remember that you have the keys of eternal life for those with whom
you live and work. You have been placed amongst them for the very purpose
of giving them the chance of eternity.
And so, my dear friends. We will be there. The fact that the Father
and Son right now accept us should strengthen against the pain of
rejection both from the world we preach to, and from our brethren.
Thus in Ps. 38:11-15 David laments at how rejected he is by all,
and yet takes strength from God’s acceptance of him. Our conviction
that we are accepted of Him should enable us to overcome the waves
of rejection that inevitably accompany the preaching of the Gospel,
and which discourage so many would-be preachers. We simply must
believe that we will be there. David so often looks forward to the
day of judgment with eagerness. David's enthusiasm for the coming
of judgment reflected his understanding that it will be a day of
the display of Divine mercy. Is. 16:5 speaks of it as "a throne
shall be established in mercy, and one [the Lord Jesus] shall sit
thereon judging in truth". It will be the ultimate moment of
truth, and yet it will be established in mercy. One of the most
disturbing conversations of my life was with a sister who had worked
for many years in a Christian old folks home. She had become specialized
in being with elderly brethren and sisters as they faced the moment
of their death. She admitted that the majority of them expressed
huge fear and even a strong conviction that they would not be in
the Kingdom. They could not meet their death with integrity; they
made comments like “Well I’ve never been much of a student…”. Yet
these were by all accounts brethren and sisters of good standing
in the long course of their ecclesial lives. And yet in the final
analysis of death, they confessed that they did not believe they
would be in the Kingdom. Others, of course, could calmly face death
with confidence of the resurrection and the life eternal; but they,
apparently, were in the minority. This ought to profoundly disturb
us as a community. For the very essence of the good
news is that we will be there.
The fact that Yahweh really did redeem His people from Egypt is connected
and associated with the command to have no other Gods apart from Him (Dt.
5:6,7). The more we believe that we really have been redeemed, the more
evident it becomes that this Saviour God demands our whole and total devotion.
Let us take heed to the exhortation of Heb. 2:1,3: If we “neglect so great
salvation”, we will have ‘drifted away’ (RV) from the solid assurances
which are in the Gospel we first heard. Clearly, it is a temptation
to drift away from those assurances, even if we ‘hold’ to the doctrinal
propositions of the Gospel in theory. The wonderful reality of it all
for us can so easily drift away. But; we will be there! We will be like
the weak old labourers in the parable who walk away from judgment day
clutching their ‘penny’ [of salvation], thinking " I really shouldn't
have this. I didn't work for a day, and this…this coin…this is a day's
pay" . But we will be there. You and me. For all our doubts and fears,
our chronic lack of self worth, for all the inward, unspoken struggles
to believe and understand, that nobody knows nor even notices. We will
be there. This is grace, and this will be grace. Truly there is all joy
and peace through believing these things, “that ye may abound in hope”
“If upon divine testimony in the word, a
man believes that Jesus of Nazareth was the suffering and risen Christ
and Son of God, he then and only then, believes the apostolic Gospel…the
only way to become a Christian is by being buried in water into the
similitude of his death for the remission of sins. Unless a man is pardoned
thus, there is no remission for him in this or the world to come. He
is entitled to his wages- death. But if he no longer works sin, that
very instant he becomes entitled to everlasting life through Jesus.
But he may forfeit that title, and therefore lose his life”.
Bro. John Thomas
(1) Bill Hybels, Becoming A Contagious
Christian, p. 129.
Appendix: The Certainty Of Salvation
Just consider the huge amount of assurance in the New Testament that
we will be there. This is the repeated assumption of the inspired writers.
These assurances are there on almost every page of the New Testament.
“Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our
Lord Jesus Christ: By whom also we have access by faith into this grace
wherein we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God” (Rom. 5:1,2).
“For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the
ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure
for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commendeth his love
toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much
more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath
through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by
the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by
his life. And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus
Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement” (Rom. 5:6-11).
“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience
of one shall many be made righteous. Moreover the law entered, that the
offence might abound. But where sin abounded, grace did much more abound”
“For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death, we
shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection…Now if we be dead with
Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him: Knowing that Christ
being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion
over him. For in that he died, he died unto sin once: but in that he liveth,
he liveth unto God. Likewise reckon ye also yourselves to be dead indeed
unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord. Let not sin
therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts
thereof. Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness
unto sin: but yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from
the dead, and your members as instruments of righteousness unto God” (Rom.
“But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in
you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal
bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you... For ye have not received
the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of
adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness
with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then
heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer
with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the
sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the
glory which shall be revealed in us…But if we hope for that we see not,
then do we with patience wait for it…What shall we then say to these things?
If God be for us, who can be against us? He that spared not his own Son,
but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely
give us all things? Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect?
It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that
died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of
God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the
love of Christ?” (Rom. 8:11,15-18,25,31-35).
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt
believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt
be saved” (Rom. 10:9).
“…knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for
now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. The night is far spent,
the day is at hand” (Rom. 13:11,12).
“Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that
ye may abound in hope” (Rom. 15:13)
“In hope of eternal life, which God, who cannot lie, promised…” (Tit.
“The grace of God hath appeared, bringing salvation to all men, instructing
us to the intent that, denying ungodliness…” (Tit. 2:11)
“The promise of life which is in Christ…who hath saved us, and called
us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to
his own purpose and grace…hath brought life and immortality to light through
the Gospel” (2 Tim. 1:1,9,10)
“If we be dead with him, we shall also live with him” (2 Tim. 2:11)
“In hope of eternal life, which God, that cannot lie, promised” (Tit.
“The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared” (Tit. 2:11)
“Hold fast the confidence and the rejoicing of the hope firm unto the
end” (Heb. 3:6)
“We are made partakers with Christ, if we hold fast the beginning of
our confidence firm unto the end” (Heb. 3:14)
“We which have believed do enter into that rest” (Heb. 4:3)
“Beloved, we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany
salvation” (Heb. 6:9)
“We desire that each one of you may shew…the full assurance of hope unto
the end” (Heb. 6:11)
“He is able to save to the utmost those who come unto God through him”
(Heb. 7:25). The achievement of the cross is such that the Lord’s blood
can “purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God…that
they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance”
(Heb. 9:14,15). “By one offering hath he perfected for ever them that
are sanctified…having therefore, brethren, boldness to enter into the
holiest by the blood of Jesus…” (Heb. 10:10,14,19)
“Let us hold fast the confession of our hope, that it waver not; for
he is faithful that promised” (Heb. 10:23). Any wavering of hope is surely
a lack of faith in God’s supreme faithfulness.
“Knowing that ye have a better possession and an abiding one. Cast not
away therefore your boldness, which hath great recompense of reward…we
are not of them that shrink back unto perdition; but of them that
believe to the saving of the soul” (Heb. 10:34,35,39)
“Heirs of the kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him” (James
“The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his
abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection
of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled,
and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by
the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in
the last time…though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with
joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even
the salvation of your souls” (1 Pet. 1:3-5,8,9)
“Hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the
revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Pet. 1:13)
“Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar
people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you
out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not
a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy,
but now have obtained mercy” (1 Pet. 2:9,10)
“Hereunto were ye called, that ye should inherit a blessing” (1 Pet.
“And when the chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of
glory that fadeth not away…But the God of all grace, who hath called us
unto his eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after that ye have suffered a
while, make you perfect, stablish, strengthen, settle you” (1 Pet. 5:4,10)
The Lord “is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish,
but that all should come to repentance” (2 Pet. 3:9)
“This is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life” (1
“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we
should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knoweth us not,
because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth
not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear,
we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is” (1 Jn. 3:1,2)
“And we have known and believed the love that God hath to us. God is
love; and he that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God, and God in him. Herein
is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment:
because as he is, so are we in this world” (1 Jn. 4:16,17)
“He that believeth on the Son of God hath the witness in himself: he
that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not
the record that God gave of his Son. And this is the record, that God
hath given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He that hath
the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life…And
we know that the Son of God is come, and hath given us an understanding,
that we may know him that is true, and we are in him that is true, even
in his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and eternal life“ (1 Jn.