GOOD NEWS

Newsminer Article--Good News (Appeared February 7, 2020)
      Our world is full of bad news isn’t it?  U.S. Political conflict and the epidemic in China just to name a few.  In 2014, there was a virulent outbreak of the Ebola virus in several countries in Africa.  Ebola is almost always deadly and has claimed many lives.  A few courageous doctors and medical personal traveled to the epicenter of the outbreak and tried to help.   Some of them were infected while working and one soon died.  Two of the infected were American missionaries named Nancy Writebol and Dr. Kent Brantly.  Nine days after Brantly was infected, his condition deteriorated rapidly.  His breathing was a struggle and he knew he was dying.  Kent called his wife and children in the States to say good bye.  In that time of terrible desperation something remarkable happened.  An experimental serum was flown in by a small pharmaceutical company based in San Deigo; the serum had never been tested on humans.  He was snatched from the brink of death and within hours of administration the vaccine had completely reversed the course of the deadly disease that had been attacking Kent's body.  Wouldn't that have been fun to listen in when he called his family back with the good news?  Rescued from certain death, both Brantly and Writebol had been given a new chance at life.  From death to life--this is essentially the story of the Gospel.  (#Gospel, Daniel Rice, 19)
     The Bible contains bad news as well.  The bad news is that all of us have sinned.  In the words of R.C. Sproul all of us have “committed cosmic treason” against our Creator.  Our brokenness, pain, and distress in life is usually a result of our sin or someone else’s.  Visualize being wrapped in chains.  Thankfully, the Bible shares remarkable good news.  A summary is found in 1 Corinthians 15: 2-4, which states: 
2 By this gospel you are saved, if you hold firmly to the word I preached to you. Otherwise, you have believed in vain. 3 For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures (NIV).
     Gospel simply means good news.  Too many people simply look to the Bible as a place to find good advice.  It does contain the ultimate wisdom but it’s so much more.  It contains and proclaims good news—specifically that Jesus, the long-awaited Messiah, died for our sins and defeated death.  In this passage we see that through Jesus we can be saved.  The implications are massive.  We are saved from an eternity in hell.  We are saved from a here and now life of guilt and shame.  We are saved from hopelessness.  
     First, Jesus saves us from lasting guilt.  When Jesus was on the cross he cried out “It is finished.”  Which literally means paid in full.  Forgiveness simply means “to release.”  Imagine, slipping out of those chains of sin. My eternal sin debt is completely paid.  It’s like if I committed a crime and deserve a certain punishment and Jesus takes it for me.  In addition, I get the righteousness of Christ.  It’s like going to an event that requires a tuxedo and I borrow the tuxedo of Jesus to get in.
     Second, “Christ was raised on the third day.”  There is no greater enemy than death.  When I was in college I went through a season of doubting and investigating my Christian faith.  I seriously studied the evidence for the resurrection.  There were hundreds of eye witnesses!  Most compelling to me was the conversion of James, the half brother of Jesus and Saul of Taurus, the enemy of the church.  What would it take to get you to believe your brother was God?  Answer—a resurrection.  What would it take for Saul, the persecutor, to become Paul the Preacher?  Answer—a resurrection.  The historical fact of the resurrection of Jesus Christ makes our belief in heaven and eternal life more than wishful thinking.  It is a certainty that we can count on.
In a bad news world, the gospel that Jesus died for our sins and rose from the grave is good news indeed.  Embrace it, live it, and share it with others. 
Pastor Derek Dickinson
Journey Christian Church