We are living in a post-Christian age. An age where a very large proportion of society finds Christianity to be irrelevant. The Good News is not irrelevant. The Good News really is the answer to the world’s problems. So why doesn’t the world respond positively to the Good News?
Because we Christians are sharing it badly.
What is the Good News?
Jesus said the Good News is that the Kingdom of God is near (Mark 1:15).
Jesus was talking to Jews in 1st century Palestine. They knew about the Kingdom of God and the coming of the Messiah. They were expecting it, hoping for it, praying for it and Jesus came along and said it was near. But he made it clear that the Kingdom of God wasn’t the kind of earthly kingdom that his listeners were expecting. Not at all. He said:
“The kingdom of God is not coming with things that can be observed; no one will say, ‘Look, here it is!’ or ‘There it is!’ For, in fact, the kingdom of God is inside you.” (Luke 17:20-21)
“My kingship is not of this world; if my kingship were of this world, my servants would fight… but my kingship is not from here.” (John 18:36)
Jesus wasn’t talking about the sort of kingdom that his listeners understood. His kingdom is a different sort of kingdom. But it is a kingdom and God is the King.
If you enter a kingdom you accept the King’s authority. You accept the King’s rules and you obey them. But the rules of the Kingdom of God are not like the rules in an earthly kingdom. Not at all. The rules of the Kingdom of God are positive. The rules in an earthly kingdom are usually a long list of what subjects are not allowed to do. The rules in the Kingdom of God are a relatively short list of what subjects are commanded to do. “Love the Lord your God”, “Love your neighbour”, “Treat others the way you like to be treated”, “Be merciful”, “Love your enemies”. Even those few rules that are phrased as negatives are positive in practice: “Don’t judge others”, “Don’t worry”, “Don’t trust earthly treasures”.*
These are the rules. This is how the King wants his subjects to behave.
This is Good News.
All the rules of the Kingdom of God can, of course, be summed up in one word:
In the context of the Kingdom of God, love is not a mushy word. It is a command. It is a rule. If you become a subject in the Kingdom of God and accept the King’s authority you must love. Being a subject in the Kingdom of God means living in a love relationship with the King and it means living in love relationships with His other subjects. This is how God wants us to live. This is how God has always wanted us to live. This is the Good News that we are to share with the world.
What makes us share the Good News badly? Traditions, doctrines, rituals and jargon.
What we need to do is live it and, when we get the opportunity, talk about it.
One last point. Jesus said:
“The harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few; therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest.” (Matthew 9:37-38)
Consider Jesus’ words carefully. This is not a call to evangelism – it is a call to prayer. Let’s pray that God will send out the laborers that he chooses for this work. And let’s pray that he will enable them to share the Good News well.
Jesus is Lord.
*A list of Jesus’ commands can be found on the homepage of this website. http://followtheteachingsofjesus.com