"After John was put in prison, Jesus went into Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God. “The time has come,” He said. “The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!" Mark 1:14 -15 (NIV)
This message asks us to reignite the passion we have for the gospel. It is important to remind ourselves that it is not simply a story which we know, but that it is something that we truly believe in. The gospel is the good news. It is so important that God calls us all to be ambassadors. In all our different roles and different cultures, we see that the gospel needs to be brought in many different ways, so we all need to be ambassadors for Jesus.
Knowing vs. Believing the Gospel
“Believe good news”. Jesus is speaking to a Jewish audience who knew only the Old Testament . They were well aware that a Messiah was coming. They would have heard about John the Baptist or even gone to meet him, probably wondering if John might be the Messiah. However, through this statement Jesus is saying despite the knowledge, ritual, and religion, they didn’t really believe the good news - that the Messiah was here - when they heard it.
This can happen in our lives too. After a while, time passes, circumstances change, things happen. When we hear the gospel message now, the way it was burning and alive is just a distant memory. Today, we have the full revelation of the gospel message. The New Testament tells us all the good news that it brings. We need to be asking ourselves, if we believe the gospel message. There’s nothing more important than really believing the gospel message, not just knowing it.
There are Three Truths of the Gospel:
1. It’s a message of joy
The Greek word for the gospel (Euaggelion) actually means ‘good news’. It was used when a messenger was coming to declare victory in battle or to your town to bring other good news. The effect of that news was joy. The good news of the gospel should infect us with joy. Yes, the gospel is confronting because it illuminates things that we need to change in ourselves (sin), but the gospel says that all of us have been brought into God’s family through Jesus (Ephesians 1:4-5). This is joyful, good news!
2. It sets us free and gives us new life
We all have sinned and fallen short (Romans 3:23-24), however, there are misconceptions of what sin is and how it impacts our lives. We think there is freedom in sin but, we’re actually enslaved to sin. Similar to credit card debt that ensnares with enormous interest rates, the price of sin is more than we can afford (death). We never take the time to read the fine print of sin. Sin is a debt we can never repay, yet Jesus paid it for us on the cross. God’s goodness even goes further: God paid the debt for our sins and clothes us in holiness (Romans 6:22-23). Not only does He take away our sin, He makes us holy so we can be in a relationship with Him!
3. The gospel is alive and powerful
The gospel is not just a story about Jesus but it is alive and active and saves every person who believes it (Romans 1:16). T he only thing stagnant about the gospel is when you choose to not do anything with it. Every time we show or share the gospel in any way, the Holy Spirit is released into that situation, who can then set people free. Although we may feel we aren’t adequate to share the gospel, God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness. He confirms the gospel when we choose to share it: Confirmation follows proclamation. The gospel message is powerful and it is an honour to be trusted with it.
How do we Reawaken to the Truth of the Gospel?
When we read Mark 1:14-15, we see we need to:
1. Repent: come to God in sincerity and turnaround from where you were going.
2. Believe in God: Accept His forgiveness through faith.
God is always going to pour out forgiveness on us and fill us with the Holy Spirit when we ask (2 Corinthians 3:16-17). He remains faithful and He will awaken within us again.
Sometimes we become complacent with the gospel. When we picture the cross, we need to remember that it was the just punishment for sin: Death. As sinners, we could never get out from under that burden but Jesus willingly came and died in our place. Because of Jesus we are set free from sin and reunited with God. We are given purpose and filled with a message of hope. We need only believe.
SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT:
1. Have you ever felt insecure about sharing the gospel? What are some of the tools that can help (diagrams, tracts, Youtube clips)?
2. Have you had moments or seasons of becoming numb or complacent with the gospel? What has helped you to stay awake to the message of the gospel?
3. How and where do you see yourself as an ambassador of the gospel?