Good news is always welcome in a world that is awash with the depressing , the sad, the shocking, the catastrophic. Many news channels leave special items that can be classified as 'good news' for the final segment of the broadcast, just after the weather. Having been bombarded with the gloomy reports earlier, it is always something of a relief to see something lighter, refreshing, or amusing. Such a scenario is a telling indictment on the state of the world. The world we live in today is not a happy place, and the media, whether it be television, radio, or the press, is a constant testimony and reminder that we are surrounded on every side by unrelenting horror stories bringing disease, death, and destruction to both the innocent and not so innocent alike. It is a fact that we have seen so much bad news that we have become so inured by it that it takes major disasters to genuinely move most people to any semblance of emotional empathy with the suffering and dying. 'Lesser' forms of bad news are now so common that we have become quite blasé; the story of the Good Samaritan may have made the final segment, but the violent assault on the wayfarer would have barely rated a mention.
Which brings me to a particularly notable story that deserves to have its own segment on every news broadcast every day. The gospel, which word translated from the original Greek being ευαγγελιον (euaggelion) means literally 'glad tidings', that is, news worthy of celebrating. The gospel is the story of how God has made available to man an avenue of escape from a world that is dying under a weight of sin and woe. Since the time of Adam and Eve God has been doing everything possible to relieve man from the burden of guilt, anguish, suffering, and fear. Promised to the ancients, and faithfully handed down from father to son until it found written expression at the time of Moses, God's unconditional love for man and His utter willingness to forgive all who come to Him in repentance is the best news there is for anyone tired of this present world and desiring freedom from the bondage of sin, addictions, and the resulting emotional and physical pain. And 2000 years ago the gospel found physical expression in Jesus Christ, who being the eternal Son of the Father and Creator of all things, took the form of a man, humbled Himself to the point of death, taking upon Himself the curse of sin and its inevitable consequences, death, to provide man with an opportunity to be free from condemnation, and through the resurrection power Jesus offers all, can be changed into a completely new creation, a man or woman with divine power at his/her disposal to live an abundant life that brings contentment and peace and joy regardless of circumstances and the wickedness that assails us on all sides.
The problems that we daily cope with, or not, affect every area of life. To escape those problems we resort to drugs, alcohol, gambling, and innumerable other excessive behaviours all designed to distract us from reality. But reality is difficult to ignore. Sometimes it stares at us every morning from the mirror when we brush our teeth. It is all around us, and we are bombarded with the worst of it from every quarter. Newscasts are invariably portraying the worst examples of bad news. From disaster to crime, from death to the eccentric, the news is a constant reminder of the state of the world we all struggle with. We struggle to cope. We know that we were created for better than this. We know, in the depths of our hearts, that the current state of the world is not the way God created it; not the way He meant it to be. In a world becoming so corrupted by sin, disease, destruction, and death, it is becoming invariably more difficult to find some genuine good news.
In the midst of disasters, we do hear of miraculous survival stories that bring some relief from the many deaths that may have occurred. We do hear stories of joy from time to time. Stories of love, survival, the miraculous, the hopeful. But the gospel of Jesus Christ my friends is the ultimate in good news. It is the good news of unconditional self-sacrificial love. It is the good news that tells us
"that God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him would not perish, but have everlasting life". (John 3:16)
It is the good news of such unconditional love that
Romans 5:6 ¶ when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.
8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.
The wonderfully good news of the gospel is such that God doesn't desire that we have to improve our sin sick depressing sad lives to be acceptable to Him. He loves us right now, just as we are. The Bible is a constant reminder of God's unfailing unconditional love. From Genesis to Revelation, God is portrayed as faithful, merciful, gracious, kind, gentle, understanding, generous, and patient. God is constantly waiting for us to respond to His love. His whole focus of attention is upon this world that has wandered so far from His will. Sin has brought all under its bondage, but Jesus came to set us free. To set us free not only from its condemnation through forgiveness, but freedom from sin itself through the power of His Spirit operating in our lives. The promise of God is that He will recreate in us a new man, or woman. We can have a fresh beginning, be born again. Not a physical rebirth of course, but a spiritual rebirth that enables us to enter into a personal, vibrant, living and loving relationship with our Creator.And it is through this relationship with our Maker that we can start on on the road to healing form depression, from addictions, from selfishness, from fear, from guilt. Through our relationship with Jesus and through Him to His Father, God's promises of joy, peace, and contentment are made available.
2 Cor. 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.
John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
Revel.3:20 Behold, I stand at the door, and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.
12 Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you.
13 And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart.