Mark 16:15-18 (NLT)
And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”
Each Sunday night, I load up the car with kids then head out to a youth service in the county adjoining our own. It is a little church in the woods. You might drive right past it missing the drive as it does not boast a large well-lit sign. The praise team are a bunch of kids. The chairs are not padded. With a basic sound system, the Good News is preached. We are members of a church in town. It has the lighted sign, big building, high tech sound system and the works. But there is something to experience in that little place that is nothing less than miraculous. Week after week teenagers gather there, the leaders bring the gospel without the usual bells and whistles. It is Good News. It is all about Christ. It demands a choice. I have been for several weeks now. I cannot explain the Presence of God in that place and wonder sometimes why the door is not blown off with His Arrival.
In the media-driven society we live in, there is much to be said for entertainment. It has made its way into the church. Announcements on a big screen. Padded seats and temperature-controlled sanctuaries to make the experience more comfortable. Pastors bringing flamboyant and creative messages to woo others to Jesus Christ. The music is nothing less than professional and the place an organized event. I wonder if we somehow lose the point of the message in the mayhem. This is not a call to burn down fancy churches and resurrect tent revivals. No this is a plowing of the human heart. Has our message become about man and not the Messiah? How could I say such a thing? Well, last night a young man preached a five-minute sermon about connecting with God. It was simply based on John 15:5. His voice shook, his palms were sweaty as he paced back and forth. His vernacular laced with a Southern drawl and lots of y’alls. He had prayed. Sought the Lord. Allowed this Word to penetrate his own heart before he dared to share it. It showed. At the end of his “sermon” if you will, he invited the room full of teenagers to take some time to pray and ask the Lord for a deeper connection. He didn’t beg. He didn’t warn them about hell. He shared the Word that the Lord gave Him – nothing more or less. Without a moment’s hesitation the entire room fell to their knees in prayer, some rocking back and forth with intensity others openly weeping before God. I haven’t seen that kind of response in teens or adults for that matter in a very long time. I could do nothing but weep with them.
Matthew 4:23-24 (NLT)
Jesus traveled throughout the region of Galilee, teaching in the synagogues and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. And he healed every kind of disease and illness. News about him spread as far as Syria, and people soon began bringing to him all who were sick. And whatever their sickness or disease, or if they were demon possessed or epileptic or paralyzed—he healed them all.
Before Jesus became our Savior, He was a Messenger. He traveled throughout Galilee, teaching and announcing the Good News about the Kingdom. The Gospel was good before we partook of it. Nothing in us makes the Word of God any better but rather proves it to be true. The Good Work in us is all because of God’s Plan and the Gift of Salvation offered through Jesus Christ. I wonder if somehow we forget that sometimes in the midst of religion. Anything that I do to support the Gospel of Jesus Christ is nothing more than sharing the message that Jesus saves. His Holy Spirit produces the good fruit in my life from a sacrificed heart and surrendered spirit. When I sacrifice my life to become a messenger, the message does not change just the one baring the Good News.
Why would I say this or imply such a thing? Humility, my friend, it is the mark of a true messenger who carefully takes the Word they are given to share it with those it is intended for. When the message is added to or something taken away, it is no longer from the One who sent it. You cannot add to the Word or take away from it without convoluting or perverting it. When Jesus traveled and announced the Good News, what happened? People were healed and delivered. Signs and wonders followed this messenger. It should be the same today. This only happens when the messenger is true to his or her word. When what they preach or teach is from a broken and surrendered heart, not a haughty source of pride.
Mark 8:34-36 (NLT)
Then, calling the crowd to join his disciples, he said, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me. If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul?
To be a true messenger requires a real sacrifice. We cannot walk and talk for ourselves and deliver God’s Word. It is impossible. When Jesus called others to become a disciple, he was very clear. If you want to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways. Without a turning, there is no repentance. You cannot have grace if you still want sin more than God. Harsh words but genuine. To demand grace yet love the darkness is a conflict of interest. To preach the Word but live your own way sends a mixed message. Where are the signs, wonders and miracles? They are inside the messenger that surrenders their own life to be a part of His Kingdom. They humbly come before the Lord each day asking for His Word to fill them and take the place of any harsh communication. They ask the Holy Spirit to lead, guide and direct them to those who need Him the most. But first, before a word is spoken or act carried out, they humble themselves before the Cross laying all they are down to take on Who He called them to be. These are the messengers who will deliver the Good News. These are the Ones who carry the Good News to others and see their lives changed. My words may offer temporary encouragement but it is the Word of God that makes the difference. I have to believe what I am saying, giving up my own life to save my soul, to carry a message worth hearing to anyone else. Obedience is a sign that there is a change. Twenty teenagers falling to their knees without hesitation is definitely a sign that the one who has spoken was anointed by God. How is the world responding to your message?
Romans 1:2-5; 16-17 (NLT)
(2-5) God promised this Good News long ago through his prophets in the Holy Scriptures. The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord. Through Christ, God has given us the privilege and authority as apostles to tell Gentiles everywhere what God has done for them, so that they will believe and obey him, bringing glory to his name.
(16-17)For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile. This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.”
Are you ashamed of the Good News about Christ? It is the power of God at work in us and saving all who believe. Faith accomplishes the Work of the Word. If we do not have faith in Jesus Christ, real and genuine love and trust. The words that we attempt to share with others will fall on deaf ears void of any power. To be an effective messenger requires knowing the Word of God and applying it to our life first. We must believe. To be absolutely convinced that what we are speaking is the Truth, the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth will impact our testimony of God’s Love and Power to save, heal and deliver. It will be convincing and convicting.
The Good News is God’s Plan for our life. It is completed predestined and prerecorded. It existed before you and will continue after your life on earth has ended. It cannot and will not return void. It must do what it set out to do. Our response is to humbly and completely accept our place in this miraculous love story. He is Good all by Himself. He is worth having without our seal of approval. To know this and live this allows us to share His Validity unashamedly with the world. It doesn’t matter if we are the only one who believes because we know without a doubt that His Love is real. The Good News is Jesus. He is the Word wrapped in flesh – nothing more and nothing less.
Romans 10:13-17 (NLT)
For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.” But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in him if they have never heard about him? And how can they hear about him unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news!” But not everyone welcomes the Good News, for Isaiah the prophet said, “Lord, who has believed our message?” So faith comes from hearing that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.
We are God’s Messengers to His People today. Anyone who has chosen to be a disciple of Christ is tasked with sharing the Good News with everyone who they come in contact with. He is not asking you to preach a sermon or even teach a single scripture. What the Lord is asking is for you to share the Good News about Christ with other people. An authentic message pouring from a broken and humble heart will yield Kingdom results. Hands willing to help. Ears willing to hear the cries of those in need. Voices willing to speak a message the world does not always want to hear… at first. Hearts filled with compassion rather than bitter judgment. A sacrificed life produces an undeniable message to this world. It is followed by signs, wonders and miracles that those around us will want to experience. The Holy Spirit takes the Word of God we choose to invest in our life and produces fruits that feed thousands. Where are the messengers today? I, for one, have found them in a tiny building in the middle of the woods on Sunday nights when most churches have closed down for the night. Open hearts and open mouths declaring the Word of the Lord from broken hearts and ravaged souls overtaken by His Love. That’s good news. I want to be that kind of messenger.
Isaiah 61:1-3 (NLT)
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed. He has sent me to tell those who mourn that the time of the Lord’s favor has come, and with it, the day of God’s anger against their enemies. To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory.