bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, Faith, Jesus Follower, Uncategorized

Vessels of Good News

As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it 
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish, 
so that it yields seed for 
the sower and bread for the eater, 
so is my word that goes out from 
my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire 
and achieve the purpose for 
which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:10-11

The Gospel is good news. Plain and simple. The actual word “gospel” is translated to mean “good story” or “good news” in Greek. But the question is – if the Gospel truly is good news, why is it so hard for us to talk about it? 

I’ll rewind a bit and start from the very beginning. For those who have always heard the word Gospel, but never heard the story of the Gospel, here it is:

1. God created us for his glory (Creation). 

2. Therefore, every human should live for God’s glory.

3. Nevertheless, we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory (the Fall). 

4. Therefore, we all deserve eternal punishment (Hell). 

5. Yet, in his great mercy, God sent his only Son Jesus Christ into the world to provide for sinners the way of eternal life (the Cross). 

6. Therefore, eternal life is a free gift to all who will trust in Christ as Lord and Savior and supreme Treasure of their lives (Salvation). 

John Piper

All that to say, the Gospel is indeed good news. It means eternal intimacy in the presence of God, forgiveness of sins and citizenship in Heaven where there will be no more sorrow or pain – ever. For those of us who have been saved by grace through faith and are living testimonies of the power of the Gospel, we are all vessels of this good news. 

As Isaiah writes in chapter 55, God is proclaiming and promising that the good news he has sent down to earth (salvation through his Son Jesus), will indeed be fulfilled and carried from nation to nation until Jesus returns again. 

As described in verse 10, God sent down Jesus like rain, to water a dry and barren earth. God has promised us that this rain would not leave the earth dry and barren, but that it would be fully watered until it is returned to its original perfect creation. Right now, we are still in the watering phase of God’s plan for creation. The land is still thirsty and in need of the living water, and thankfully, we as Christians know just where to find it. 

Those in Christ are not just blessed with knowing the truth of the Gospel, we are called to share it. As the Jesus’ Great Commission states in Matthew 28: 

Go therefore and make disciples of 
all nations,baptizing them in the 
name of the Father and of the Son 
and of the Holy Spirit, teaching 
them to observe all that I have commanded 
you. And behold, I am with you always, 
to the end of the age.
Matthew 28:19-20

We are vessels of good news and have the refreshing drink our thirsty world is gasping for. Sharing the Gospel may not always be easy, but it is always God’s will for us to share the good news of Jesus Christ. We are a part of God’s redemption story for this world. He uses us, ordinary people, to return to Creation what was robbed by sin. 

I challenge you today to change your perspective from one of fear and hesitation towards sharing the Gospel, to one of joy and anxious anticipation for sharing the good news of salvation. As believers, we exist to serve God – not the other way around. Start today by remembering that God is using you as a divine vessel of good news, created and saved to play an important role in His plan for our world. 

Relish in that promise today. 

bible study, Christian, Christian Church, christian encouragement, Faith, Jesus Follower, Uncategorized

His Promises Are A Covenant

The path of the righteous is level; you, the Upright One, make the way of the righteous smooth.”

Isaiah 26:7

My BSGs (Bible Study girls) are currently doing an advent study.  In it we are reminded of the many promises of God through Jesus Christ.  These are the promises that so many Christians are most familiar – hope, peace, love and joy through trusting in the Lord.  And even though I’ve been a Christian for some time now, being reminded of the Peace of God through righteousness is so necessary in this broken world. 

Rejoice always, pray continually, give 
thanks in all circumstances; for this is 
God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 
Do not quench the Spirit.  
1 Thessalonians 5:16-19

We humans need constant communication with God, constant reminders of His promises, constant reminders of the reason why He sent us His son, Christ Jesus.  Why? Because we are constantly bombarded with opposite messages.  The chaos of this world desires to bring us to our knees in fear and worry.  It never stops.  But God’s peace, love and joy are solid promises.  

I’ve been led to call this process of constant communication, “holding the line.”  We have a narrow path which God wants us to walk with Him.  For some of us it means constantly looking down at that line and grasping tightly to His promises.  For others the line is a gentle garden path in which they easily stay within the boundaries.  In discovering the many promises of God, we can grasp them tightly as we work our way through those bombshells thrown at us by this broken world.

"Suddenly a great company of the  
heavenly host appeared with the angel,  
praising God and saying, 
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, 
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”  
Luke 2:13-14 

Notice the very last line of this glorious verse?  “To whom His favor rests.”  When I read this recently, I realized that last part is frequently left off.  “Peace on Earth.”  Taking this out of context changes the meaning of this promise.  Yes, God has promised to never leave us, but so many of His promises are actually a covenant.  

Covenant:

“a written agreement or promise usually under seal between two or more parties especially for the performance of some action”

“Between two or more parties.”  That means God promises and we promise back.  An agreement.  Throughout the Book of Isaiah we read of two worlds – the broken agreements and the renewed ones.  God’s promises can only come to completion when we do our part – when we grab hold of that line and follow Him. 

I’ve heard there are more than 5,400 of those promises in the Old and New Testament.  In this new series I want to remind us of just 25 of them and help to bring to the forefront our role in our heavenly handshake.

God is doing 10,000 things in your life and you may only be aware of 3 of them.

John Piper

Join me, along with my guest writer, Todd Shetter, in Isaiah, these next few weeks as we learn how to “Hold The Line” and prepare to celebrate the gift of God’s greatest covenant with us – the gift and promise of Jesus Christ.