I have previously offered two blog posts on something that has been on my heart. First, I gave an overview of the different ways the Gospel is presented in the Bible. Second, I talked about some of the reasons why we may be ashamed of the Gospel.
But given the pressing issues of the results and the current election, there is obviously alot of people that are without hope and living in dis pare. I am convinced that Christians (and of course all apologists), need to make the Gospel the center of everything. In other words, proclaim it, share it, and please don’t be ashamed of it. Why do say this? If you haven’t noticed, the evidence for fallen humanity is all around us. Just turn on the news for an hour or so. Hence, the world hasn’t changed much since the days of Jesus.
In the synagogue at Nazareth, Jesus reads from Isaiah 61: “the Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor” ( Luke 4:18-19 ). So according to Jesus, the prophecy is fulfilled in Jesus’ own ministry ( 4:21 ) since He has come to free the physically infirm, such as the blind ( 4:18 ) and the leprous ( 4:27 ; cf. 7:21 ; 9:6 ). (1)
Therefore, Jesus helps the materially poor, like the widow in Elijah’s day ( 4:25-26 ; cf. Luke 6:20-25 Luke 6:30-38 ). Yet the spiritually poor are primarily in view people broken and grieved by misery and poverty, oppression and injustice, suffering and death, national apostasy and personal sin, who in their extremity cry out to God to bring forth justice, bestow his mercy, and establish his kingdom ( Matt 5:3-10 ). Jesus has come to usher in the kingdom, to rescue the lost, to liberate the enslaved, to cure the afflicted, and to forgive the guilty ( Mark 2:5 Mark 2:10 Mark 2:17 ; 10:45 ; Luke 7:48-49 ; 19:10 ). (2)
Notice Jesus came to liberate the captives and people that are enslaved. Yes, people were held captive to demonic oppression in that day and they were enslaved to various sins. But when I look around, I see all kinds of people enslaved to many things. Let me point out the most current one:
Of course we probably know we are a very politically divided country. Once again, many people are looking to governmental leaders to be the Savior of humanity. Only the Good News can set people free from political idolatry. As Tim Keller says:
“One of the signs that an object is functioning as an idol is that fear becomes one of the chief characteristics of life. When we center our lives on the idol, we become dependent on it. If our counterfeit god is threatened in any way, our response is complete panic. We do not say, “What a shame, how difficult,” but rather “This is the end! There’s no hope!” This may be a reason why so many people now respond to U.S. political trends in such an extreme way. When either party wins an election, a certain percentage of the losing side talks openly about leaving the country. They become agitated and fearful for the future. They have put the kind of hope in their political leaders and policies that once was reserved for God and the work of the gospel. When their political leaders are out of power, they experience a death. They believe that if their policies and people are not in power, everything will falll apart.”- Tim Keller, Counterfeit Gods
In looking at Keller’s comments, with all the millions of people that seem to be without hope and so fearful, to my fellow Brothers and Sisters, you have the message of hope (truth as well). Perhaps we could redouble our efforts to truly share the Good News. We have the message to break people out of putting all their hope in a fallen system and fallen political candidates. If such a time as this doesn’t motivate you to share the message of hope and reconciliation, what will? Look around you. The opportunities are everywhere to share the message about the true King (2 Sam 7:14; Ps 2:2, 7; 89:19-21, 26-27; Psalms of Solomon 17.32; Romans 1:1-5). All people have true knowledge of God through creation and innate knowledge of God through reason and conscience, but that knowledge is suppressed and distorted (Rom 1:18–20). Once humanity’s knowledge is severed from God’s lordship, “their thinking became nonsense, and their senseless minds were darkened” (Rom 1:21). Now people seek to create substitutes for the true God, Worship is acceptable to the Lord only if it is based on true knowledge of the Lord and according to His will. A substitute can’t possibly meet all the needs of humanity. You have the opportunity to give people the ‘knowledge’ they need to break them out of these substitutes they have turned to (in this case a political substitute).
I could go on and on. But the point is that the evidence for fallen humanity is staring at us right in the face. Do we view people as being held captive and enslaved to things that are going to destroy them and others? Will you renew your commitment to preach the Gospel to people all around you? Please go the Lord in prayer and ask him to grant you he boldness you need to share the message that can set people free!
1. J. Knox Chamblin “Gospel” featured in Walter Elwell, Bakers Evangelical Dictionary of Theology (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House Company, 1996), 305-308.