The Good News
Mark 1:9-15 Princeton Christian Church 23 January 2022
John the Baptist had come to prepare the way for Jesus to come. Each of them, Jesus and John had his own time and place. John came preaching repentance. Jesus comes into Galilee now as the anointed servant of God, preaching and personifying the Good News of the Kingdom of God.
Mark brings out the joy present every time he mentions the Good News of the Gospel. It is Jesus, however, who writes the music for this theme. The Good News is timely. It is available. It is decisive and assuring.
Let’s look at the timeliness of the Gospel.
Time is one of the most important resources of God and of man.
God’s use of time effectively fulfills His purpose.
Man’s use of time often is wasteful or ignored.
There is urgency in Jesus’ saying, “The time has come,”
If we reject the Gospel and put off accepting it, we are taking time into our own hands.
The preaching of the end time is not something out of the past It is present. It must be dealt with now.
The time is now. Jesus Christ has come. Through Him, all of our weaknesses and needs can be satisfied. Jesus comes as our ever-present hope.
Now, let’s look at the availability of the Good News – The Gospel.
The kingdom of God is near. In the Gospel we see the coming together of the judgment power of God with the grace of His Son. The kingdom of God is now within our reach through Jesus Christ.
The kingdom of God had always been far distant and impersonal. The Jews were taught by the Pharisees, who taught and spread their legalism rather than freedom in knowing God. The kingdom of God is for sinners who reach out to Jesus.
Because of Jesus’ coming and the cross, we live in His kingdom until He returns to gather His people together in His Kingdom.
The Good News is Decisive.
Jesus calls us to repentance. In fact, He echoes John’s message of repentance. Our confession of sin is all-important. Jesus and John the Baptist preached repentance. And they expected a response from the people to repent. They called for a decision.
All too often today the preaching which tickles the ears of listeners leaves out the need for repentance. But acceptance fully in Jesus Christ as Lord, repentance, deciding to turn from sin, is absolutely essential. Repentance comes from sorrow which cuts through to the quick of the sinner’s heart.
A prominent preacher once walked out on a sermon in which another preacher said that accepting the Gospel included repentance. He was bothered because he believed that people today need a message of hope, not fear. He was, of course, half right. We do need messages of hope. And we need to understand that our hope is in Jesus Christ and none other. But the consequences of rejecting Christ’s Gospel must be made known as well.
When Jesus preaches repentance, He calls out the recognition of guilt. He calls on us to hate sin, to purge it from our lives. Repentance is still the path to hope.
The Good News is assuring
Repentance is a decision to reverse direction. The Good News assures us that we can turn away from our former life of sin.
Elton Trueblood said, “To be a Christian is to bet your life that Jesus Christ is right.”
This believing with assurance also brings us rest. Jesus says trust is the basis of spiritual help, not legalistic religion.
We can be assured that all the grace and mercy of God is available to us when we repent and turn away from sin. That assurance causes us to live in full obedience to Jesus’ example and command. And, of course, that example and command includes baptism into Christ, so that we may walk in that new life.
Jesus proposes a four-way test – not a human ethic achieved by human effort, but a divine word of hope given by the grace of God.
Jesus asks if His Good News is: Timely? Available? Decisive? Assuring?
If it is – and it is all He says it is – we certainly have Good News.
If it is not, we have something less than the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
But we can answer all these with a positive exuberant YES because we do have Good News, which is timely, available to all, it requires a decision on our part, and we can be fully assured that we can walk in this life with Jesus as our Guide, our Helper, our Lord and Savior.
What is your response to the Good News of Jesus Christ?