Hope in Jesus: The Really Great News of Christianity
Every day of our lives, we receive bad news: famine, climate change, wars, economic uncertainty, crime, and now a global pandemic. Bad news is everywhere.
GOD HAS COME TO OUR RESCUE WITH REALLY GREAT NEWS IN THE FINISHED WORK OF HIS SON JESUS.
Now think about that word “news”. That word typically means something that has happened that then gets reported by the media. The news is not something you and I are to do. you don't DO the news. You HEAR the news. That right there is why, what I'm about to tell you is good news.
God has done something really good for us, and we need to hear and receive what he has done. It's that simple. In fact, the apostle Paul said never lose the simplicity of this good news. Unfortunately, religion gets in the way.
RELIGION TAKES THE REALLY GOOD NEWS THAT GOD HAD ACCOMPLISHED FOR US AND MADE IT COMPLEX.
And when that becomes complex, it becomes bad news. The bad news is that religion took the focus off what Jesus has done and put it on us and what we need to do. In religion, there is always more to do more to do. And that's why religion is exhausting. Religion is a greedy monster.
I want to help you understand the simplicity of the gospel and why it's really good news.
Let's start with this: God. That's where we need to begin. The Bible says that God is holy, holy, holy. He's a big old positive. There is no evil in him at all. He is completely good, and he wanted to share his goodness, his life and his love. So, he created had two kids, Adam and Eve, and he made them in his image. He made them positives too. Now, how do positives live? Well, my friends, they live positively and that was what the garden of Eden was like - a completely positive existence. You and I have no context to understand that we cannot imagine a man and a woman living together in complete harmony and peace with no control issues, no manipulation, no critical spirit, no selfishness. You know, when we ponder the garden of Eden, it feels like we've entered the outer limits or the Twilight zone, but that's how it was.
God put a tree in the garden, and He said, "Don't eat from it. On the day you eat from that tree, you will die.” Now that was not a threat. It was simply a declaration of fact! God is the source of life for all people. If you choose anything other than Him Who is Life, you will experience death. But why was that tree there in the first place?
THE TREE WAS A PRACTICAL WAY FOR ADAM AND EVE TO CHOOSE TO LOVE GOD IN RETURN.
Love by nature is an issue of choice. God made a choice to love Adam and Eve, and they needed a way to choose to love God back in order to accomplish that. They had to have something to say no to, so they could say yes to Him as well. As you know, Adam and Eve made the choice to not love God. They ate from that tree. And just as God had told them, they died.
Adam and Eve left God as their source of life, and they became negatives. Now, how do negatives live? They live negatively - and that's called sin. Sin is selfishly meeting your legitimate needs in illegitimate ways. But look at this, they produced a lot of behavior that was positive. Guess what? That's sin too, because they were generating their own goodness. They were living out of the goodness of the wrong tree. Instead of out of the goodness of God, they couldn't live out of the goodness of God because they were negative and separated from God by their sin. We found ourselves in desperate need and God met that need in the person of his son Jesus.
What did Jesus do? He came to die for our sin to take away our sins once and for all.
Every single one of those sins removed - even those nasty sins that have made you feel so guilty and ashamed for years, they're all gone. Isn't that wonderful?! That is wonderful. But look at the picture. It's not wonderful enough in their personhood. They are still negative.
Here's what you need to know. The Bible says that Jesus is the great physician, which means he doesn't just treat the symptoms, our sins, he treats the disease, and the disease is us. How did Jesus treat the disease? Because we were wrong and negative. God put us on the cross with Jesus so that when Jesus died on the cross, we died with him. God took everything that was wrong about us and killed us on his cross. Then God buried us with Jesus so that when Jesus rose from the grave, we would rise with him as brand-new creations in Christ. We are no longer negative, but brand-new positives!
TO STATE IT SIMPLY: WE WERE WRONG, BUT GOD MADE US RIGHT.
Isn't that glorious. Now watch that visual because we were placed in union with Jesus, by faith, through what he did in his cross and resurrection, we have actually become the righteousness of God in, in Christ. Now that may sound too good to be true, but it is in the Bible in second Corinthians 5 21. And that is really good news, but there's still more when our God makes the headlines, he makes them really big. Why did he make us right? He did that in order for Him, the Ultimate Right One, to come and live inside of us so that we could share in and personally experience his right life in our lives. And then we could express his right life through our lives to others.
We now have his strength to overcome evil. REALLY GREAT NEWS!
We now have his mercy so we can be kind and gentle. REALLY GREAT NEWS!
We now have his love to be able to love others with the love, with which God himself has loved us. REALLY GREAT NEWS!
And it's all finished. It's done. There's nothing we need to do to make this happen other than to receive it by faith and then live every day in faith that this is true. Do you want to share in this good news? Do you want to be positive and live positively? Do you wanna be made right and live right?
Jesus, I see the really great news. You died for everything I did wrong. You took me, the wrong one, and did away with me on the cross, you buried me and then you resurrected me. I’m brand new and right, so that you, the right one could live in me and through me. I can live a brand-new life.
THAT IS REALLY GREAT NEWS.
I hope you see it. And I hope you believe him. He wants to be your life. He wants to be all that he is to whatever you need in the moment of faith. And that is really good news.