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ARTICLE 1: GOOD NEWS

October 8, 2017

Due to the kindness of my congregation at FBC Zeeland, I am on sabbatical studying the New Testament.  God, grant me stamina and refreshment in Your Word! I have chosen to read the Bible chronologically, so I will begin with the gospels.  I am excited.  Thanks for following along with me.
 
Wasn’t it painful to wake up Monday and hear that the largest shooting massacre ever to occur on US soil transpired overnight?  I felt the closeness of evil.  The curse of sin is the reason we have bad news.  Sin hates, sin kills, sin destroys the glory God intends. We live in a broken world, and some days, like Monday, remind us with severity.  I watched the news, first with shock, then with sadness, then with anger.  I admit I am still angry.  Senseless murder violates the conscience, and it should.  I am angry because I, like you, am made in the image of God, and the human body and soul are sacred to God.  God means good for His creation, and I see sin tearing it apart.  Let us get one thing straight.  The world, as it was on a Friday on a hill called Golgotha nearly 2000 years ago, is desperate for good news.
 
How refreshing to open God’s Word, and find in each gospel a declaration of good news.  In Matthew, we hear that God will be with us miraculously (Matthew 1:23).  Immanuel has come.  Through a line of both kings and prolific sinners, comes a Sinless One- Jesus, whose humanity and sinless life are recorded.  Jesus is rooted in history and humanity. God is with us.  That’s good news.
 
In Luke 1, angels offer the good news, first to Elizabeth, and then to Mary.  What do they share?  That God’s favor has come.  Another barren woman, just like Sarah in Genesis 15:4 “You very own son will be your heir”, Elizabeth (aged and barren), will give birth to the forerunner of Christ, John.  Months later, Mary will be visited, and will be so highly favored that the Holy Spirit will come upon her and she will give birth to a Savior.  Elizabeth is at first afraid.  And angelic visit often means judgment.  Yet, the angel says, “fear not.”  Mary is so awed by her privilege that she sings a song of wondrous praise (Luke 1:46-55) .  How wonder-filled is the gospel, that saves us from sin, that delivers us from God’s wrath?  That’s good news.
 
In Mark 1:15- we hear the first words of Jesus’ public ministry- “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”  How was time fulfilled?  The world had waited for a Savior, who would in the very course of human history, come and save us from sin.  Galatians 4:4 tells: “But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law.”  Yes!  The time has come and still is!  We live in days of redemption, where Jesus can still redeem in this age of grace.  That’s good news.  Yes, the murderous can be redeemed.  Pray that God pours his grace out upon the broken, the hell-bound, the dying, the next sin-bound yet to be set free scoundrel that you and I once were. 
 
John 1:1-14 brings good news with rich theology.  “But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13).  The gospel brings us into a new kingdom, and which we are the very children of God!  “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son” (Colossians 1:13).  That’s good news.
 
Are you resting in the good news?  Do you have the secure heart of one who has received favor, become God’s child, been delivered from a kingdom of darkness, and can experience God’s Presence with you daily?  Let the good news of God guide you.  From a secure heart, continue to overcome evil by doing good (Romans 12: 21).  God brought Jesus to our world.  Let us bring the world to Jesus, one heart at a time.  Let us share the good news.
 
Prayer- “Father, fill me with a faith that lives out good news.  I want to bring encouragement and peace to a discouraged, hostile world.  I accept and believe that I am highly favored by your grace, that I am delivered by Jesus, and that I am no longer living in the domain of darkness.  Hallelujah! Praise the Lord. May I have good news to share each day.”

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