Sunday February 14, 2016 | Greg Boyd
If we are “out of our mind,” as some say, it is for God; if we are in our right mind, it is for you. For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again.
So from now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God. God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
The first in our new sermon series about evangelism, Greg takes a look at the message itself. He looks at the most frequent (and often cringe-worthy) ways the “good news” is often presented, and then helps us see the really good news that we should be sharing.
Just about everyone has some experience which “loads” the word “evangelism” for us — and for many of us it is a negative association, bringing to mind words like cheesy, obnoxious, awkward or even manipulative. Greg himself used to be the source of some of this obnoxious evangelism, which is why now he has swung the other way and almost never addresses this important topic. Today’s sermon marks the beginning of a reframe on this subject.
Why is it that we so often groan when we think of this topic? Unfortunately it’s because the news that is being shared is anything but good. We are warned about sin, damnation and hell and made to feel like we are bad people and doomed unless we let Jesus into our lives. This is the opposite of what the good news actually is!
First lets understand some basic definitions: “News” is some new information about something that happened, which modifies your expectations of the future (good news does so in a good way).
Take a look at what Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians took place on the cross and why it is good news. Now let’s unpack this.
What is the new information that Paul says took place?
1) Jesus died and in him, some (sinful, ugly, rebellious) part of all of us died.
2) God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God. By doing this, he disarmed Satan. (see Col 2:14-15)
3) By doing this, “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sin against them.” He has erased our debt.
How does this information affect our expectations of the future?
1) “From now on we regard no one from a worldly point of view”. We are now free to look at the world and people in light of the reconciliation of the cross. These are New Terms.
2) “God has given to us the ministry of reconciliation” — This is the crux of our message: God is not counting your sins against you! You’re free! Now all you have to do is simply go to Him. This is great news!!
It’s fun to give good news, it’s as natural as giving driving directions to help another. This is how we should be thinking of evangelism. But it all starts with getting our message straight.
Who in your life could use this good news? Greg suggests we first pray about it, and then (if you haven’t already) start by building a relationship with that person so that sharing this news feels natural.