Forgotten Good News
Do you ever have times when you walk out the door, and you’ve realized you’ve forgotten your keys? Or have you gone on a vacation and remember only after you’ve gotten to your destination that you forgot sunscreen? And bug spray? And your toothbrush? Now, these are somewhat silly things to forget. But in the Bible, there were often times when prophets, apostles, and disciples had to remind the people of God about very important truths in God’s Word because humans can be forgetful. Our attention gets taken by many things, or we continually take in so much information that we forget the important truths that we have already been told. And the truth is that the church internationally has forgotten something important: We have forgotten that the Gospel is, in fact, GOOD NEWS!
The Gospel is the love of God shown through what Jesus did on the cross for our sins. And the love story begins all the way back in the Garden of Eden. The whole Bible shares of the Father’s deep love for humanity as well as His desire that all would hear the Gospel and trust in Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. But nowadays, the church acts like the Gospel isn’t important to share. Christians everywhere fear confrontation or sharing the very Good News that has changed their lives. Why is this? Why have we forgotten about the Good News of the Gospel? We need to examine two things to really understand why we do not share the Gospel as Good News: the enemy’s lies and what we truly think about the Gospel.
THE ENEMY’S LIES
The enemy has done a fantastic job of coming alongside our own forgetfulness by convincing us that no one wants to hear the Gospel. We have images in our head of people screaming at us or rejecting us for sharing this Good News with them. Well, dear reader—let me encourage you with this today. I have shared the Gospel worldwide to people of all different backgrounds, cultures, and ages. Very rarely have I gotten anyone confrontational. More times than not, the person I share with thanks me for taking the time to share what I believe.
In fact, I have a sobering testimony for you…when I lived in Nebraska, my neighbor and I were very close. Our families would often get together for gatherings. We were good friends! But one year, his wife asked him for a divorce. I saw what he was going through and how much his heart was hurting. One evening, I saw him sitting on his porch, head in his hands. I told my wife, Ann, that I needed to go and talk with him. After sitting down beside him and striking up a conversation, I told him, “Bill, I gave my life to Jesus, and it has completely changed my life. Trusting in Jesus is the most important decision I have ever made. And He can do impossible things—even healing broken marriages.” Bill looked at me and said, “Either you’re lying to me, or you hate me.” I was really taken aback. What did he mean? Well, he continued, “If Jesus really changed your life and can change mine, then you must hate me because you haven’t told me about it at all. It’s either that, or you are lying to me.” I paused for a moment as what he said sunk in and then begged him for his forgiveness—which he graciously gave. After that, he asked me to share more about Jesus; and that night, my neighbor gave his heart to Christ. And yes, his wife came to know Jesus soon after. And down the road, their marriage was healed. But I walked away from this encounter changed—how could I keep this incredible news of what Jesus has done to myself? If I do, it means I either don’t believe it’s Good News or I don’t care about other people enough to share it with them. That conversation with Bill convinced me that I had to start sharing the Gospel with more people!
Let’s not buy into the enemy’s lie that no one wants to hear the Good News. The Gospel is powerful and essential. And if we believe it but are not sharing it, those who are close to us will come to the conclusion that it must not be great news after all. Because if it is, why would we keep it to ourselves?
OUR OWN THOUGHTS ON THE GOSPEL
How we think about the Gospel impacts firsthand if we share it or not. Do we really view it as Good News? What does the Gospel mean to us?
When Jesus came back to Nazareth during His ministry, he visited the synagogue, where they handed Him the scroll of Isaiah. Jesus then fulfilled the very prophecy he read: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to proclaim Good News to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to set the oppressed free.” When we acknowledge that the Gospel is the way to heal our lands, bring freedom to captives, and give a treasure of matchless worth to the poor, our actions change quite dramatically. And unfortunately, in our churches across the world (but especially in post-modern places like America), it is a common belief that we do not need to share the Good News of the Gospel. And many Christians (and pastors!) go their whole lives without doing so. Many churches are not discipling their congregations or raising up evangelists to do the work God has called His church to do.
Matthew records Jesus’ own thoughts on this:
“Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Good News of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matthew 9:35-38).
Let’s be followers of Jesus that think of the Good News the same way He does. Let’s make it a priority to bring it to the poor, sick, and hurting world around us. The Gospel is the answer. And it is Good News for all who hear it! Let’s not just live out the Gospel—let’s also open our mouths and communicate it to others. “And the Good News about the Kingdom will be preached throughout the whole world, so that all nations will hear it; and then the end will come” (Matthew 24:14). I don’t know about you, dear reader—but I can’t wait for that day when Jesus comes back. Let’s be a part of the saints bringing this Good News to the end of the world. Let’s obey our Savior who has commissioned us to go and tell others the Gospel. And finally, let’s love our neighbors by not believing the lie of the enemy and telling them about salvation through Jesus alone. The Good News is just that—GOOD NEWS! Let’s shout it from the rooftops!
John Sorensen (Doctorate of Divinity, Knox Theological Seminary & Doctor of Humane Letters, Montreat College) is the president of Evangelism Explosion International (www.evangelismexplosion.org) and host of Share Life Today (www.sharelife.today). Sorensen has authored the books Well Done and Your Story Counts and travels the globe for Evangelism Explosion. This past year Evangelism Explosion International equipped just under 2 million Christians worldwide to be witnesses for Christ, and saw, by the grace of God, 17.3 million people make a profession of faith in Jesus. He lives in Asheville, North Carolina, with his wife, Ann, and he has four adult children and six grandchildren.