I have some very good news!
I received a call from a rather giddy family member just over a week ago, a person very eager to deliver some very good news. But, this person stipulated, the news was not yet to be broadcast to the stratosphere.
When I hung up the phone, my mind was already whirring, making a list of all the people I wanted to talk to IMMEDIATELY in order to tell them the good news. Keeping my lips zipped took tremendous willpower. I felt like I was about to pop. The next day and the day after that, I caught myself several times almost announcing the good news - at church, on Facebook, here at the blog, at the grocery store to the stranger standing in line behind me. Really, I just wanted to tell every single person that I passed, whether I knew them or not, my very exciting news.
In the adult Sunday school class at Grace, we are working through J.I. Packer's book, Evangelism and the Sovereignty of God. During last week's class (only hours after receiving my bit of very good news), we were talking about motives for evangelism. First, we desire to evangelize the lost because we love God and our obedience to God's command to "make disciples" honors Him and brings Him glory.
Second, we evangelize because we love our neighbor. Packer writes, "What greater good can we do to any man than to set before him the knowledge of Christ? Insofar as we really love our neighbor as ourselves, we shall of necessity want him to enjoy the salvation which is so precious to us."
Packer goes on to explain that if we "have known anything of the love of Christ for us, and if our hearts have felt any measure of gratitude for the grace that has saved us from death and hell, then this attitude of compassion and care for our spiritually needy fellow men ought come naturally and spontaneously to us...it is a wonderful thing to be able to tell others of the love of Christ, knowing that there is nothing that they need more urgently to know, and no knowledge in the world that can do them so much good...We should be glad and happy to do it."
In other words, I should be as eager, as excited, as impatient to tell my lost neighbor about Christ - as I was to tell everyone I met about the wonderful piece of good news I received last week. I say that I love God and that I love my neighbor. If this is true, then I should be actively looking for every possible opportunity to share the gospel. My mind should be frequently occupied with this thought: Who can I tell about Jesus today?!
I am a sinner. And, as a sinner, I am separated from God. I justly deserve God's wrath and condemnation.
Christ came to save sinners. Sinners just like me! In Christ, I stand forgiven. Covered with Jesus's righteousness, I no longer fear the judgement of God. On the contrary, I enjoy restored fellowship with my Creator, both here and now, and after this life, in Glory.
Are you a sinner like me? Are you painfully aware of your separation from God? That you have offended him, and truly deserve his wrath?
I have some very good news: Jesus saves sinners. That's the best news I have ever heard. Ever. The best news you will ever hear, too.
(And just in case you were wondering...two special someones are now officially engaged!)
2 days ago