Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Nearly two hundred years ago the war of 1812 came to a close. A treaty was signed, ending the war, in Belgium on Christmas Eve, 1814. But the news traveled slowly by ship and was not delivered to New York City until a Saturday afternoon in February. No sooner had some men heard the news than they rushed in breathless haste into the city to repeat it to their friends, shouting as they ran through the streets, “Peace, Peace, Peace!” Everyone who heard the news repeated it. From house to house, from street to street, the news spread. Men bearing lighted torches ran to and fro shouting “Peace, Peace, Peace!” Only one thought occupied the minds of citizens that night. In the days that followed, every person became a herald of the news and soon every man, woman, and child in the entire city was evangelized with the message. Those New Yorkers excitedly and readily shared a message of peace achieved that Christmas Eve, a peace that had reconciled two great nations. Good news is meant to be shared with a sense of urgency.

Two thousand years ago an angel brought a message of good news to shepherds: “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people, for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10-11). God was pleased to reveal that glorious truth to lowly shepherds. The angel instructed them to go and witness, for themselves, the birth of the Savior. They traveled “in haste and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as he lay in the manger” (Luke 2:16). Those ordinary men who had shepherded thousands of ordinary lambs were privileged to behold the “lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29). The shepherds returned to their family and friends and shared what they had seen and heard: “They made known the statement which had been told them about this Child” (Luke 1:17). The term translated “made known” means “to publish abroad, make known thoroughly.” The King James translates it “they made known abroad.” They literally told anybody and everybody who would listen.

The good news of Christmas is good news worth telling. The message of Christmas is that “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Timothy 1:15). It is a “word of reconciliation” regarding the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ through which rebel sinners can be reconciled to God (2 Corinthians 5:19, “Namely, that God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them.”). The end of hostilities is realized for anyone who trusts in Him—sin is forgiven, true peace is realized, salvation is assured. Every born again believer has experienced this “end of hostilities” and has been enlisted in this “ministry of reconciliation.”

As ambassadors for Christ we are to share the message with a sense of urgency. Peter and John were warned to stop speaking of Jesus. Their response? “We cannot stop speaking what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:20). Paul likewise proclaimed “Woe is me if I do not preach the gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:16). Paul once shared the gospel with a man named Epaphras—he believed. His response? He returned to his home town and shared that same message with others, and the church in Colossae was born. The “treasure” we hold in our earthen vessels was never meant to be kept to ourselves. It is an “indescribable gift” that fills the heart with wonder and overflows with testimony to the grace of God (2 Corinthians 9:15.

Nate Saint left home and family burdened to share the good news with a people group that had never heard—the Auca Indians of Ecuador. He wrote in his diary: “If God would grant us a vision, the word ‘sacrifice’ would disappear from our lips and thoughts; we would hate the things that now seem so dear to us; our lives would suddenly be too short; we would despise time-robbing distractions and charge the enemy with all our energies in the name of Christ. May God help us to judge ourselves by the eternities that separate the Aucas from the comprehension of Christmas, and Him, who, though He was rich, yet for our sakes became poor so that we might, through His poverty, be made rich. Lord God, speak to my own heart and give me to know Thy holy will and joy of walking in it. Amen.” Nate Saint wrote prophetically, later making the ultimate sacrifice in taking the gospel to the Auca Indians. Good news is worth telling no matter the cost.

This sin-darkened world is filled with those “having no hope and without God.” God has made the hope-bearing truth known to us. We’ve bear witness to the saving power of the gospel message (Romans 1:16). Christmas is good news and the good news is worthy telling--“Go tell it on the mountains, over the hills and everywhere; go tell it on the mountains that Jesus Christ is born!”

Pastor Jerry

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