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)
The theme for today’s sermon is “sent to preach the good news”. The good news is about the grace of God, God’s undeserved favour, as a result of the death of Christ on the cross, His burial and His resurrection. The good news is that Christ has delivered us from the kingdom of darkness to give us eternal life and fill us with the light of His presence. God created man in His own image and likeness and clothed him with glory and honour. Sin cost Adam God’s glory, life, authority and dominion and in Adam “all have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23). It took the grace of God to restore life and bring light into the world through Jesus Christ. John the Baptist proclaimed Him to be “the lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world”. Jesus Christ was crucified, buried and rose from the dead for our justification to make us partakers of His divine nature. Our justification is necessary to enter the Kingdom of God and every believer is sent to preach the good news of God’s grace.
Step One: The Good News of God’s grace
a) God loved us while we were yet sinners
The good news is about the cross of Christ that made God’s grace possible. We did not deserve His love yet He loved us enough to die for us “while we were yet sinners”. (Rom. 5:8)
b) Christ has paid the penalty for sin
“The wages of sin is death” so Christ bore the full judgement of God on sin in our place and shed His blood “so that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life”. (John 3:16).
c) We are saved by grace
We are saved “By grace through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God”. (Eph. 2:8) The good news is that we did not do anything to deserve eternal life but received it by grace through faith. The blood of Christ has not only paid the penalty for sin but has also imputed to us the righteousness of Christ.
We are saved by grace through faith. The grace of God has made provision to meet all our needs. Unfortunately, instead of taking hold of the provisions of God’s grace by faith as we did for our salvation, we often believe that the Christian life depends on our own works. We justify this by quoting words that are not found anywhere in the Scriptures such as “God helps those who help themselves”. Various surveys around the world show little difference in the behaviour of so called “Christians” and unbelievers. There is just as much stealing and dishonesty among both groups. The reason is that instead of taking hold of the provisions of God’s grace by faith we rather decide to earn them by every possible means. This is also the reason for the divisions and quarrels among believers. Instead of focusing on Christ whose death on the cross gave them eternal life and made provision to meet their needs, they focus on people who have no power to change their lives and put their trust in their abilities. Many leaders today have put themselves in the place of Christ and the result is deception, control, divisions and quarrels within the body of so called “Christians”.
The grace of God has the power to transform our lives and as believers we should keep our focus on Christ and the cross. It gives us the right motives for living. We give because God gave us all He had, His Son Jesus Christ, we forgive because God in Christ has forgiven us, and we love because Christ loved us and gave His life for us.
Step Two: The Good News is to all people
a) Its acceptance leads to salvation
The good news is to all people and all nations and its acceptance leads to salvation. It is too precious to be kept to ourselves. Its acceptance births spiritual life, leads to spiritual discernment and belief in the truth of God’s Word.
b) Its acceptance leads to the gift of the Holy Spirit
The acceptance of the good news leads to the gift of the Holy Spirit who comes to indwell, empower, teach and guide the believer.
c) Its acceptance leads to belief in God’s word
The acceptance of the good news leads to belief in God’s word and the certainty of His promises. The spiritual certainties of God are the realities that affect our lives since what happens in the physical realm is only a manifestation of what has happened in the spiritual realm.
The good news is to be preached to all people. There was a time when missionaries will leave the comfort of their families, homes and lands and go to places where there is darkness and evil to preach the good news to deliver those in darkness and translate them into the kingdom of light. Darkness and evil go with poverty and lack and many people today resist going to the places where there is much evil and darkness because they are concerned about their personal comfort. Jesus went to the most evil and dark places of His day in Israel. He went and ministered in Galilee as prophesied by Isaiah because there was much evil and darkness there. The declaration of the good news bringing light in the midst of darkness and evil had priority over everything else in His life. It had priority over His relationship with His loved ones, over His needs and even over His life.