Good News

Phil 2:4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.

Did Jesus says the words, “Go into the highways and byways and preach the Gospel”? 

No, he didn’t, because he didn’t speak English.

Did Jesus command us to go and “share our faith”?

Jesus never did it, the apostles never led with it, and it was not mentioned as the direct result of the fullness of the Spirit in the life of the believer.

Jesus’ command was to make disciples, and the fruit of the fullness of the Spirit in the life of the believer as mentioned in Acts 1:8 is witness.

But before we tackle these two ideas of witness and disciple making, let us return to our original question.  Technically, you could say that Jesus’ words could be translated to mean what our opening sentence says, provided you understand the word Gospel to mean News – Good News, and provided you understand the word preach to mean herald, get the word out, let people know what’s happening.  That’s the point.  News is about what’s happening now, not what happened far away and 2000 years ago.  Witness is about what we’re seeing, hearing and experiencing now.  Our faith is the reason for our current experience, but it is our current experience which is the ‘happening’ news.  And it’s good.

Those of us who feel awkward about “sharing our faith”, don’t seem to have any inhibitions in sharing helpful news when we have it.  We have to have a notion of what might my neighbor consider helpful.  Do I know what their world is like, and what information they would “tune” into?  A disciple is one who learns by following, or who follows in order to learn.  In other words, making disciples begins by giving them a reason to listen to you, and to learn from you.  What do they believe about their current circumstance, or what do they believe is their major challenge in life at the moment?  Is it their marriage, is it their health, is it the fact that they are simply not part of the local economy, is it the state of their business, is it a secret addiction, is it a general feeling of not being able to cope with life, is it mid-life crisis, is it a sense of being completely without significance or value?  What actually, according to Rom 10:10 [“for with the heart man believes]” is the state of their heart?   When I look at people, do I choose to see them, really, in other words to see their heart, to see what they believe about themselves and about their circumstances?  There are so many things that I enjoy as a matter of routine because of my relationship with God.  Some of those things Betty would die for, Sue would be envious of other things, John maybe something different, and you wouldn’t believe what James would be interested in, not only if I told him that I got this, but that the good news is that it’s actually available for him as well.

One of the gifts of the spirit is the “word of knowledge”  (1 Cor 12:8) that gives a little peek into the hearts of men – that is, what does this individual believe.  It’s a great help in making an initial connection, by bearing witness to good news that’s current, that gets someone’s attention, and that can lead to a sharing of faith and discipleship.

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