THE GOOD NEWS AND THE BAD NEWS

  

   Everyone wants to hear good news. Its good news when you get a fresh bill of health from the doctor, or have no cavities when visiting the dreaded dentist. Its even better to get money back from Uncle Sam, or news that you are going to be a parent, or a grandparent.

   Another term for good news is "gospel," and in America the gospel is often synonymous with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. This good news refers to the fact that Almighty God, the Creator of heaven and earth, has sent His Son, Jesus, to die for our sins, that those who believe in Him would live forever in heaven. Heaven - talk about good news! The Bible says that for those who go to heaven, God will wipe every tear from their eyes,  and there will be no more death, or mourning, or crying, or pain. Does that sound like a good deal or what?

   Bad news is something no one wants to get. Like when you get the call from your wife that the car engine just blew up, or the principal from your child's school just called. Or even worse, a friend has a serious accident or a loved one is ill or has passed away. Unfortunately, bad news is inevitable. All of us will have to endure some things we would very much like to avoid, but God's Word clearly says that He wants very much for everyone to come with Him to heaven so that He can dry their tears and take away their pain and suffering forever.

   The good news is that you can know for sure that you are going to heaven. Its your choice, up or down, yes or no. But the bad news is that those who refuse to repent and believe in Christ, and follow Him, will be separated from God forever, and sent to hell.

   Probably the most often-quoted verse in the Bible is John 3:16, - "For God loved the world so much that He sent His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life." This verse does not say that whoever walks into a church occasionally will have eternal life. Nor does it say that whoever is a good person, or whoever gives a lot of money, or whoever doesn't cheat on his income taxes will have eternal life - although all of these things are good things to do. What it does say is - whoever repents and believes. This is an up or down choice, yes or no. Have you repented? Do you believe?

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO REPENT?

   Repentance is not a word most of society uses very often. It simply means to be sorry about something and to decide to make a change. We can never hope to be accepted by God if we continue in our sins. Christ died to save us from our sins, so we must lay all of our known sins at the foot of His cross and leave them there.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BELIEVE?

   Believing in Christ means more than just saying, "Sure, I believe that Jesus came and died and rose again and all that." A believer in Christ is someone who has decided to accept Christ's sacrifice on the cross as payment for his own sin, and commit himself to follow Christ every day, because he has become convinced in his heart by the Spirit of God that the gospel is true. The question is not, as many people have tried to make it, a question of whether or not I am a good person. The Bible clearly teaches that "no one" is good, and that "we all have fallen short of the glory of God." The question is, are you following Jesus - in other words, is it your daily habit to seek the will of God in everything you do and honor God with all your life? Yes or no?

   God sent Jesus to save everyone because everyone is a sinner who needs to be saved. But we must remember what Jesus told His disciples to do when they went to a city that would not listen to their message. He told them that when they left that city, to wipe the dust from their feet as a testimony to them. He also said that on judgment day, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah than for that city. Do you remember what happened to Sodom and Gomorrah? These were the ancient cities that were destroyed by God with fire. Our nation has been extremely blessed to have had the good news of salvation through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ preached for many years, and in many ways. But this good news is only good for those who have received it by accepting it and following Christ.

   The good news is that Christ has come to set us free from our sins. You can receive that freedom today, by placing your faith in Him. But -- the bad news is that those who say "no thanks," as well as those who insist that they don't need such forgiveness or can make it into heaven on their own merit, will be excluded and shut out of God's kingdom.

   How long do we have to make our decision? Only God knows. There are no guarantees in this life. Our next breath might very well be our last. That is why we are told, in second Corinthians 6:2, that "Now is the day of salvation," and "Today, if you hear his voice, do not harden your hearts." (Hebrews 3:7)

   Repeatedly the Scriptures tell us that God wants "everyone" to be saved - "Everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved." (Romans 10:13, Acts 2:21) Also, First Timothy 2:3,4 says, "God wants all men to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth." Do you hear God's Spirit speaking to your heart today? If so, please don't turn away from His voice. Instead, turn to Him completely. He has been looking for you, and watching - hoping that you will return to Him. He is your Creator, and desires to be the Savior of your soul! Say yes to the good news today, and follow Jesus the rest of your life, by the power of the Holy Spirit.

  

"Today is the day of salvation." II Corinthians 6:2

  

"Whoever calls upon the name of the Lord will be saved."         Romans 10:13; Acts 2:21

 

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