Midweek Musing 10-27-21 - Sharing Good News
1st Peter 2:1-17a
Rid yourselves, therefore, of all malice, and all guile, insincerity, envy, and all slander. Like newborn infants, long for the pure, spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow into salvation— if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is good.
Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For it stands in scripture:
“See, I am laying in Zion a stone,
a cornerstone chosen and precious;
and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.”
To you then who believe, he is precious; but for those who do not believe,
“The stone that the builders rejected
has become the very head of the corner,”
“A stone that makes them stumble,
and a rock that makes them fall.”
They stumble because they disobey the word, as they were destined to do.
But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty acts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
Once you were not a people,
but now you are God’s people;
once you had not received mercy,
but now you have received mercy.
Beloved, I urge you as aliens and exiles to abstain from the desires of the flesh that wage war against the soul. Conduct yourselves honorably among the Gentiles, so that, though they malign you as evildoers, they may see your honorable deeds and glorify God when he comes to judge.
For the Lord’s sake accept the authority of every human institution, whether of the emperor as supreme, or of governors, as sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to praise those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing right you should silence the ignorance of the foolish. As servants of God, live as free people, yet do not use your freedom as a pretext for evil. Honor everyone.
The grass withers and the flowers fade but the word of our God shall stand forever.
A story is told that Francis of Assisi once invited a young monk to join him on a trip to preach in a nearby town. The monk was honored to even be asked and readily accepted the invitation.
All day the two monks walked through the streets and alleys of the town and even ventured into the suburbs. They rubbed shoulders with hundreds of people. At the end of the day the two headed back home. The young monk was puzzled that Francis had not even once addressed a crowd, nor had he talked to anyone about the gospel. Greatly disappointed, his young companion finally said to Francis, “I thought we were going into town to preach.”
Francis responded, “My son, we have preached. We were preaching while we were walking. Many saw us and our behavior was closely watched. It is of no use to walk anywhere to preach unless we preach everywhere as we walk!”
Once upon a time and not too long ago the church was sending out missionaries with the only direction to share the gospel with the thought that one day every knee would bow down and proclaim Jesus as Lord. While the success or failure of this program can be debated, the truth is that it was both hugely successful and also an unmitigated disaster; however, that analysis is not the purpose of this musing.
What is clear is that despite the efforts and resources of many, there will never be a day when the whole world will be Christian. As one Christian scholar I read recently noted, “It seems obvious that God has created a world in which a diversity of faiths will always exist.”
However, that reality does not free us from sharing the good news, or as our spiritual elders said as part of what is known as The Great Ends of the Church, the church exists in part for proclamation of the gospel for the salvation of humankind.
In fact, I think that this call of the church is even more difficult today than it was when we thought all we needed to do was send out missionaries and support them with our financial resources and call it a day. Instead, if I understand both the Biblical texts and our current context, our call as disciples of Jesus Christ in church is not to make all the world Christian; rather, we are called to be Christian to the world.
And one of the biggest pieces of doing that is understanding that we need to live as gospel people.
The Greek word for Gospel is Ευαγγέλιο. Ευαγγέλιο also translates to “good news.” The first purpose of the church is to be a people who proclaim good news.
Friends, I don’t know anyone who doesn’t need some good news.
Additionally, the word salvation is from the Hebrew word salvation, yasa [;v"y] whose meanings include to save, help in distress, rescue, deliver, and/or set free.
Folks I wonder if you know anyone who needs some good news in order to be set free some distress.
If so, then be an evangelist—someone who shares good news in order to set folks free from the stress of life, so they might experience hope and peace and grace and love found through Christ.
And this evangelism can be done without words. In fact, perhaps it is done best without words. All it takes is to simply be a Christian to others. Yes, it is that easy. And yes, it is that hard. And who knows…this preaching may end up making those who see your life decide they want to come and see the Lord as well.
Today, my friends, both you and I can preach where we walk and shop and play and work. Will we do it? That’s the question of the day!
In the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit.