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PROCLAIM THE GOOD NEWS OF SALVATION THROUGH JESUS CHRIST

A SERMON ORIGINALLY DELIVERED AT
THE FEDERATED CHURCH OF ATHENS

4 DECEMBER 1994

By Frank L. Hoffman, Pastor

SCRIPTURAL REFERENCES:

Jeremiah 34:12-17
Luke 12:3
John 3:16-21
1 John 1:1-4

What is the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ?

We find the answer in one of the most famous verses in the Bible, and a few of the verses that follow: John 3:16-21.

16. "For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life.

We probably all know this verse, and many people limit their understanding of belief to a verse such as this one.

Many of them even proclaim this good news with their mouth, but unfortunately it ends there.

They fail to proclaim this good news with their lives, for they fail to understand the verses that follow John 3:16:

17. "For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him.

18. "He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

And even up to this point many may still say, "I believe, therefore I'm not judged."

There is still more to salvation than this, for many of them fail to understand the judgment.

19. "And this is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil.

20. "For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.

It is here that the Lord separates the true believers from the ones who only profess to believe.

21. "But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."

True believers separate themselves from the evilness of the world around them.

They do not participate in the dominating and cruel practices that destroy our environment and cause emended pain and suffering to humans and animals.

They seek to bring peace, and compassion to the world around them.

They do this because of the love that is in their hearts.

They come into the light and proclaim the salvation of Jesus Christ.

"Jesus Christ has been born in my heart, and I'm no longer the same. I've been set free from the evilness of this world and the death to come."

This is what John was proclaiming in the beginning of his first epistle (1 John 1:1-4).

1. What was from the beginning, what we have heard, what we have seen with our eyes, what we beheld and our hands handled, concerning the Word of Life--

This is the way all our faith should be.

Have we ourselves not heard the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ?

Have you not seen the changes brought about in your own life, and in the lives of other true believers?

Have you beheld the presence of the Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ, as if you can reach out your hand and feel His presence?

Have you handled His presence and held it close to your heart?

This is what should happen when we are born again.

This is what should happen when Jesus Christ, the Word of Life, enters our life.

2. and the life was manifested, and we have seen and bear witness and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was manifested to us--

3. what we have seen and heard we proclaim to you also, that you also may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ.

4. And these things we write, so that our joy may be made complete.

Perhaps here, in these verses, is the answer to why so many Christians don't seem to have this complete joy.

Sure, there is joy when we know we have been saved, but our salvation comes only once, and thus our joy seems to fade with time.

But if we proclaim this good news to others, then, as John exclaims, then our joy may be made complete.

For when we proclaim what Jesus has done in our own life, we renew and enhance our original joy.

And the more we do this, the greater our joy.

Remember also, that this proclamation is not just with words, but also with deeds.

Our entire life, no matter where we are, must be a continual proclamation of Christ in us.

Sometimes people fake their belief, but their actions speak louder than their words.

In the beginning, they may even fake their actions, but all will come to light and be made known, as we are told in Luke 12:3.

3."Accordingly, whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in the inner rooms shall be proclaimed upon the housetops.

There can be no joy in this.

This same kind of hypocrisy was seen in the lives of many in Jerusalem in the days of Jeremiah (34:12-17).

12. Then the word of the Lord came to Jeremiah from the Lord, saying,

13. "Thus says the Lord God of Israel, I made a covenant with your forefathers in the day that I brought them out of the land of Egypt, from the house of bondage, saying,

14. "At the end of seven years each of you shall set free his Hebrew brother, who has been sold to you and has served you six years, you shall send him out free from you; but your forefathers did not obey Me, or incline their ear to Me.

15. "Although recently you had turned and done what is right in My sight, each man proclaiming release to his neighbor, and you had made a covenant before Me in the house which is called by My name.

16. "Yet you turned and profaned My name, and each man took back his male servant and each man his female servant, whom you had set free according to their desire, and you brought them into subjection to be your male servants and female servants.

17. "Therefore thus says the Lord, 'You have not obeyed Me in proclaiming release each man to his brother, and each man to his neighbor. Behold, I am proclaiming a release to you,' declares the Lord, 'to the sword, to the pestilence, and to the famine; and I will make you a terror to all the kingdoms of the earth.

People act this way because they don't live in a state of love.

And without love, we can proclaim anything, and then feel free to change our minds whenever we like, because we don't really mean what we say.

But in love, we could never say or do anything that would take advantage of anyone (whether human or animal), or hurt them, or hurt God.

For it is in this, and only this state of Godly love, that we can truly proclaim the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ our Lord, and have it be believable.

Just as the evilness of the Israelites proclaimed their own destruction, because of their lack of love, I am more and more beginning to believe that God is allowing the peoples of the world to destroy themselves today through their ethnic fighting, and the way we brutalize animals.

True Christians, wake up!

Shout for joy!

For the God of all glory has set us free to love unconditionally.

We have the ability to rise above all the fear and hatred in the world, and be filled with joy.

Proclaim the good news of salvation through Jesus Christ.

Proclaim it from the highest mountain and from the lowest valley.

Proclaim it from your rooftops.

But even more importantly, proclaim it through your life.

Let others see and hear the change and love that is now in your life.

Jesus Christ has come!

He will come again!

Believe it!

Proclaim it!

Let others know!

It's true!

Amen.

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