Euaggelion … Sharing Good News

Euaggelion … Sharing Good News

by Ken Russell

Good news is hard to find. Bad news sells more newspapers and increases television ratings. Hope, courage and optimism seem to be diminishing in our society all because people tend to feast on a steady diet of negativity. Broadcasters like Anderson Cooper, Sean Hannity and Wendy Mesley convey reports of natural disaster, mass shootings, threats to world war and political scandals. In the midst of these perilous times, Christ-followers have been commissioned to proclaim the good news. The word gospel (or good news) occurs 76 times in the Bible and is used exclusively in the New Testament narrative. The word euaggelion is used in the original language and is the root word from which we get our English words evangelist, evangel and evangelical. The good news can be interpreted as the whole narrative of creation, transgression and redemption; however, most evangelicals would focus on the good news of Christ’s incarnation, death, burial and resurrection.

Mark 16:15 says, “And then [Jesus] told them, ‘Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone’” (NLT). The Apostle Paul also encourages followers of Christ to proclaim and animate (live out) the Gospel: “And we also thank God continually because, when you received the word of God, which you heard from us, you accepted it not as a human word, but as it actually is, the word of God, which is indeed at work in you who believe” (1 Thessalonians 2:13, NLT ). The gospel is a living narrative of Jesus Christ’s plan of redemption for all mankind. The gospel describes God’s precious gift of eternal life through a substitutionary death of His Son, Jesus, for the atonement of mankind’s sin and transgression. By faith, those who accept Christ’s lordship exchange the penalty of eternal death for the gift of eternal life. This is good news! It is very good news for those who understand the prophetic realities of our world today. The proclamation of the good news requires credible messengers, clear communication and contextualization.

Credible Messengers:
People usually observe a Christian’s lifestyle long before they hear them speak and usually prior to believing what they say. When people observe behaviour which is inconsistent to the “gospel” message that is being proclaimed, they usually discount both the message and the messenger as being non-credible. No one respects an imposter, and no one pays any attention to people who have double standards in life. According to the Cambridge dictionary, the word credible means “the fact that someone can be believed or trusted.” The power and purity of the gospel must be proclaimed by messengers who are believable and trustworthy. We know the power of the gospel is not limited by human ability, but that the proclamation of it requires human credibility. Philippians 1:27 says, “Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ. Then, whether I come and see you again or only hear about you, I will know that you are standing together with one spirit and one purpose, fighting together for the faith, which is the Good News.” Paul also appeals to Christ-followers in Ephesians 5:15-17: “So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.”

“The gospel describes God’s precious gift of eternal life through a substitutionary death of His Son, Jesus, for the atonement of mankind’s sin and transgression. By faith, those who accept Christ’s lordship exchange the penalty of eternal death for the gift of eternal life.”

Clear Communication:
About five years ago, I began wearing eye glasses on a full-time basis. With age and the pursuit of a graduate degree, my eyesight was becoming more and more challenging. I can remember the day of my eye examination so clearly. I was asked to read an eye-chart on the wall about eight feet away while the optometrist placed several corrective lenses in front of my eyes. At some point during this process, she placed the right combination of lenses in front of my eyes and the chart became crystal clear; I no longer had to squint or strain my pupils in order to see things clearly. Gospel proclamation should be like corrective lenses for spiritually unfocused eyes. When followers of Christ share the good news, people should see the splendour of holiness and the depravity of sin in sharp contrast and with high definition. People should be able to visualize the grace of God, perceive the forgiveness of Christ and recognize the power of God’s Holy Spirit to transform, without squinting or straining. Ambiguity seems to prevail throughout our culture today. But the gospel is not obscure, fuzzy or vague. The gospel is flawlessly crystal clear. Let’s keep the gospel message simple, clear and unblemished by the rhetoric of religion.

Contextualization:
One of the most remarkable aspects of Christ’s very own preaching ministry was his ability to contextualize the good news. In other words, when Jesus spoke to fishermen, he spoke about boats, nets and catching fish. When Jesus spoke to farmers, he spoke about seed, soil and harvest. When Jesus spoke to the Pharisees, he spoke about the Jewish law and God’s grace. Credible, clear proclamation of the gospel demands contextualization. The good news of Jesus Christ must be shared appropriately within the context of those who hear it, lest they misunderstand or misappropriate the most powerful spiritual principles known to mankind. Effective proclamation of the gospel occurs when credible messengers deliver clear messages which make deep connections with their audiences.

As we begin a new year, let me encourage you, my friends, to proclaim the gospel (good news) always, using missiology that is relevant and contextualized for your community. The most accurate version of the Bible that people will ever read is translated by your daily actions and loving words.

 

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This editorial appeared in the December 2017 edition of BCYD Network News. Read the full newsletter here. Ken Russell is the BC & Yukon District Superintendent of The Pentecostal Assemblies of Canada. Ken was born in Karachi, Pakistan, and when he was 10 years old, immigrated to Canada with his family and settled in Powell River, B.C. He and his wife, Brenda, have been married for 34 years and have two daughters and two sons-in-law. Photo © istockphoto.com.

[1] All Scriptures are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Wheaton, Illinois 60189. All rights reserved.

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