Have you ever had a time when everything you hear has a theme? Me too. My discipleship group is in the Book of Revelation; my Sunday School Class is reading in the Book of Daniel and even my Pastor is teaching about the Kingdom from Luke’s Gospel. It doesn’t help to see the things we’re seeing in the world today driving home an urgency to get the Good News out. We need to be active in spreading the Good News.
The urgency that I am feeling isn’t about the virus or about the economic downturn. Revelation teaches us that one day this world that we know will come to an end. Jesus spoke often about His Kingdom coming – but it wasn’t what the Jews had in mind. They thought He was coming to bring an end to the occupation of the Roman government. But the first coming of Jesus wasn’t about ending occupation, but bringing salvation to those who were lost.
Last year, I sat in a training session to teach us how to share the Gospel message – the Good News of Jesus. I have heard of many ways to share what I know about Jesus – about His life, His death and then His resurrection – the Good News. But this time it was about the three circles. Let me give you a snippet of what I learned, just in case you haven’t heard.
The first circle represents God. In the beginning, God made the heavens and the earth.
So God created mankind in his own image, in the image of God he created them; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27
God saw all that he had made, and it was very good. And there was evening, and there was morning—the sixth day. Genesis 1:31
God made everything perfectly. But then sin was introduced into His perfect world. “Lostness” is brokenness brought on by our sinful conditional. We are all broken with this sin problem. The problem isn’t really our brokenness in itself, but it has broken the relationship God wants to have with us. God cannot look upon sin. He is holy. When men have gotten a glimpse into heaven, they fall on their faces before Him – terrified because they know they are unworthy to be in God’s presence.
When Jesus was with Peter at the beginning of Jesus’ ministry, He performed a miracle in front of Peter by filling his nets with so many fish, the net began to break. Peter recognized he was in the presence of Someone amazing. Luke 5 gives the reaction of Peter: When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, “Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!” This should be our reaction in front of our Holy God. This is our lostness, our brokenness. This is the second circle.
Romans 3:23 tells us for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. No one is exempt from sin. If anyone has told a lie, it’s a sin. Any wrong doing in the eyes of God is sin. But brokenness, how is that defined? I read in a devotional this definition: “a growing awareness that no matter how hard we try, our ability to make life work gets worse instead of better. It’s a recognition of our need for God and His intervention in our lives.”
Everything we do to get our lives “right” or to fill that void or hole we are experiencing will just fall flat. There are many ways to fill up the hole: alcohol to numb the emptiness, a life of “sex, drugs and rock n roll” or just buying stuff to make oneself feel better. Nothing will satisfy that brokenness, unless we bring it to Jesus.
Finally, the last circle, as you can guess is Jesus. He is the Good News. We don’t have to live in that state of brokenness. God sent His Son to us. But that’s not the Good News… the Good News is that He came not to live but to die.
But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:8). But not only to die, but to be raised to life. In the Gospel of Luke (9:22), we are told this: And he said, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders, the chief priests and the teachers of the law, and he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.”
This is Good News. Death was defeated because of Jesus. Yes, we still die a physical death. But with Jesus we are given a new life – a spiritual birth by believing Jesus is who He says He is – God’s Son; we believe He did what He said He would do – die for our sins; and believe He was raised to life giving us a new life through Him.
With this recognition of Jesus’ Good News, we also, have to repent of our sins, which means we turn away from those things that lead to our brokenness. We agree with God that our brokenness keeps us from a relationship with Him and turn to Him for forgiveness. If we do this simple act of believing and repenting, we are given a new life in Him and we recover our relationship with God through Jesus.
I heard this analogy of what Jesus did for us in His death and resurrection: Jesus took off His clean, brilliantly white coat and put on our filthy, dirty rags and we put on His righteousness (brilliant, white coat) in exchange for our sins (rags). That’s a very uneven exchange, but He gladly did it for everyone ever born and would be born no matter what.
When I was reading through Revelation and the foreshadow that we witness in this season we’re in, I feel the urgency to point people to Jesus. The times will probably not get better. The labor pains have started to grow stronger. This is getting really real. I never believed I would see the things I am seeing today.
Revelation seemed like it was far into the future. I don’t think that anymore. Too much has happened on a global stage and the Pandora box has been opened to never close again. This is not a dooms day message, but a message of hope. God made a way for all people to have a relationship with Him. He sent His Son to earth to bring the Kingdom to us. One day Jesus will return and His followers will be with Him for eternity. Are you counted in that number? Do you know people who will not be with you in heaven? The urgency is real. Let’s enlarge heaven with everyone we know.