Jesus Died for Sinners! And Rose again! So, What? Why do Christians still call that "good news"? How can it be "news" when it is nearly 2000 years old? And is there anyone who hasn't heard it?
Wait a minute! One question at a time, please.
"So, what?" Well, first off:"God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ." Ac 2:36 "Christ is not his last name: It means that He is the anointed one of whom all the Old Testament Prophecies were written. He, the man Jesus, is the central point of history. The "hinge of history" if you will - the pivotal point upon which all the rest rests, and from which it draws it's meaning and purpose. That's God's opinion of him, whether or not it is yours or mine. AND HE IS A MAN! But not only is that man the Christ, but God has also made him LORD! Now "Lord" means master! And we see no limits set upon his power as master. In fact his own interpretation was that his Lordship was without limit. He said: "All Power is given unto me in heaven and in earth...." This is the one who died for sinners - for me, and for you - THAT'S WHAT!
Now that's really bad news if you don't like it, or don't agree with it! Because it's true anyway. So: "Why do Christians still call that "good news"?" Well, that's a good question. It seems plain enough from the way most 'christians' live their lives that they do not believe that Jesus is Lord. Lord of elements, maybe; or Lord of nations, or even Lord of circumstances. But not "my Lord"! If he were "my Lord" then I would have to pay attention to what he says. Then I would have to begin to obey Him! Most of us are far too busy to be bothered with that! But He IS Lord, anyway! And though many 'christians' can't now remember, there was a time the story of his death and resurrection was indeed GOOD NEWS. For it IS good news to sinners. And for these near two thousand years, the joy of sin forgiven, and new life begun has inspired more songs, restored more homes, rebuilt more lives, established more friendships, and brought more joy than any other scrap of news ever has or could.
Christian: "...thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works..." Re 2:4&5
"Is there anyone who hasn't yet heard that Good News?" Sadly, the answer to that question is yes! In spite of the fact that christians call him Lord, they have not been (and still or not) very willing to obey him. His clear instruction - given several times in scripture - is to go to everyone in the world with this glorious good news, and proclaim to them the forgiveness and liberty that he has provided by his death and resurrection. In the Bible (Col. 1:6 & 23) we are told plainly that the first century christians did what He had commanded in their generation. We have not! Today the poorest American families have wealth that would make Solomon envious. Every sort of convenience at home or on the road. We American Christians have the printed page, Radio, Television, Cars, leisure, money in the bank, and yet there are multitudes of people who have never one time heard the gospel story!
I am not talking about you! If you who are reading these lines have never heard the Story, that is your own fault! You have had every opportunity. The gospel of Jesus Christ is thoroughly preached in every village and town in America on a daily basis. If you have not listened, who will you blame at the judgment? Rest assured that every knee shall bow to him, and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is Lord! Will you bow now? Or are you determined to wait until it is too late?
No I am talking about multitudes who cannot hear the good news! They cannot hear, because the gospel has not been preached within their reach. My wife and I are right now about 150 miles South of the US border in the interior of Mexico. Mexican churches are much like American churches, except that they speak Spanish. And Mexican cities are similar to American cities in that the gospel has been made available to everyone there - in Spanish. But there are in Mexico, (and I'm convinced in may other areas of the world beside) huge populations outside the cities, in isolated, poor villages, where the good news is not available. There are no "newspaper boys" to deliver it, no churches, no radio or television programs, no Bibles. And to complicate matters, many of these poorer villages couldn't understand the gospel in Spanish if they did hear it, because they speak one of more than 250 indian languages. Recent decades of economic "crisis" in Mexico have diminished the value of the peso and of the poor, driving them out of their homes to seek relief in the lowest paying jobs in the country, and some of them through this necessity have been driven even to the United States. They work for the lowest wages (here in Mexico from 3 to 6 dollars a day) in seasonal work, sometimes working six or seven 12 hour days a week. They are desperate, and their desperation leaves them open to alcohol, drugs, exploitation, etc. It also leaves them open to receive the message of Gods love in Christ.
We have the privilege to share the gospel with groups of them almost every almost every night, through Bible based movies, literature (for those who can read) and audio gospel cassettes in many different indian languages for those who can not understand the Good News in Spanish. And it is good news to thousands of them. Typically we see from 10% to %50% turnout from these migrant labor camps to see the gospel films, And 30% to 50% of those who do see the films respond to an invitation to receive Jesus as Lord! It is a source of continual amazement to me that American christians seem so completely oblivious to this huge need and opportunity that is thrust upon our very doorstep. But such oblivion plainly comes from not heeding the plain words of him whom we call "Lord", for he plainly said: "lift up your eyes and look on the fields ... white already to harvest....."
It is probable that there are such people in your neighborhood! A studied estimate in 1995 placed the number of Mixtec Indians (From Oaxaca and Guerrero Mexico) in the state of California at 300,000. And there are other groups, and they go to other places. Most of them never leave Mexico, but there are large migrant populations of them that go to such places as Oregon, Washington, Chicago, North Carolina, Florida, Georgia, etc. What can you do about it? Lots! If you are short on ideas, communicate with us. We'd be glad to help. Our Lord wouldn't have said to preach the gospel to "every creature" if that weren't possible. It is possible! "...For he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee. Heb 13:5
Yours for Him,
© Dave & Ella McMullen, 2001