Summary: “For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel, and not with words of eloquent wisdom, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.” (1Cor 1:17)
Theme: Apostles sent to preach the Good news
Text: Is. 9:1-4; 1 Cor. 1:10-18; Matt. 4:12-23
The meaning of the word apostle is one who is sent - a messenger or an ambassador. In the Christian sense, anyone sent by God on a mission is an apostle. John the Baptist was sent to proclaim the good news of the Messiah’s presence and the ushering in of a new dispensation of grace. This is indeed good news and sharing it has priority over everything else. When Jesus heard that John had been arrested, He immediately left the area and began His ministry of preaching the good news, teaching and healing the sick? The good news could not wait and Jesus made it a priority in His life. It had priority over His relationship with his mother and brothers, over His needs and even over His life. God has called us and sent us on a most important mission as apostles sent to preach the Good News.
The good news is all about Jesus Christ. It is about how much God loves us. He loved us enough to die for us for “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us”. (Rom. 5:8) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him”. (John 3:16-17) God loved us so much that He took our place and paid our penalty for sin. He bore the judgement for sin on our behalf so that we do not need to bear it. He died in our place to give us His life. We died with Christ, we were buried with Him and we rose from the dead with Him. Christ shed His blood for the justification of the sinner. It is just-as-if we had never sinned. The blood of Christ has not only paid the penalty for sin but has also imputed to us the righteousness of Christ.
Various surveys around the world have led to the conclusion that there is little difference in the behaviour of those who call themselves “Christians” and those who do not. There is just as much stealing and dishonesty in both groups. This unfortunately gives the impression that Christianity is not really life changing. The reason is that many “so called Christians” are still trying to fulfil the Law when the reality is that in Christ they have fulfilled the righteousness of the Law and have been made righteous. “There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus”. (Rom. 8:1) The penalty for sin has been paid in full and we have eternal redemption. We can rest in the finished work of Christ and come boldly before His presence, justified and righteous. This is indeed good news.
The good news is to all people. It is too precious to keep to ourselves and must be shared to open the eyes of unbelievers. “The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned”. (1 Cor. 2:14) The good news births spiritual life that leads to spiritual discernment and acceptance of the truth of God’s Word. The acceptance of the good news leads to a recreation of our spirits to accommodate the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. His presence constantly points out the certainties revealed in God’s Word to keep us from the doubts proclaimed by the flesh and the world. The spiritual certainties of God are the realities that affect our lives. What happens in the physical is only a manifestation of what has happened in the spiritual and this truth should lead us to walk in the spirit. A walk in the spirit testifies to what we really believe.
The good news is for everyone since we are all born with a sinful nature and live in a sinful world. Sin makes us believe we do not really need God and His Word. This was what happened to Adam in the Garden of Eden. Sin, however, left man with a yearning for God. It was a yearning that nothing else but God could fill. It was a yearning that Jesus Christ dealt with by reversing what the first Adam did. He died to pay the penalty for sin, create a new spirit in us for a dwelling place for the Holy Spirit. Christ died for you and me. We cannot change our behaviour by trying to fulfil the Law. We can only change our behaviour when we come under the Law of the Spirit and believe we are righteous in Christ. God loves you and you are justified and righteous because of the blood of Christ that was shed for you.