Just the good news

If you watch the news, you’ll know that negative news leads. In fact, the negative news might be all you see. This is not a political statement, as this has been the case regardless of who is in power. Certainly, there is enough negative news to go around today, but the reason that negative news dominates is because it gets ratings. The people want to hear the bad stuff.

It is an interesting contrast then that on Sundays, many of these same folks demand only good news. Many do not want to hear of sin, punishment, or the wrath of God. They do not want to hear about the need for repentance or the command to live holy lives.

When the word of God came to John “he went into all the region around the Jordan, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Luke 3:3). John’s mission was to “prepare the way of the Lord” (Luke 3:4), so that “all flesh” could see the “salvation of God” (Luke 3:6).

But the message John proclaimed was more than just positive news. He called the Pharisees and Sadducees “brood of vipers” (Luke 3:7; Matthew 3:7), and told them “the axe is laid to the root of the trees. Every tree therefore that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire” (Luke 3:9). Furthermore, John said Jesus would baptize them with fire (a reference to judgment), and burn the chaff with “unquenchable fire” (Luke 3:16, 17).

Luke summarizes John’s ministry in this way, “So with many other exhortations he preached good news to the people” (Luke 3:18).

The good news, the gospel message, includes both the salvation that God offers through Jesus, and the judgment that awaits those who reject him.

God’s justice is proclaimed when the good news is spoken. God “considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us” (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10).

When we preach God’s love, his mercy, his patience, and his grace, we preach the good news. When we preach judgment, repentance, and eternal punishment, we preach the good news.

Yes preach the good news. All of it.

Good news is also in having The Right Kind of Christianity, and not a watered-down version of it.

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