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Want Some Great News?
 

It’s been a number of years since I taught a Bible study but I recently started one for Skeptic’s. I have some friends who were agnostics who have had to acknowledge God’s reality because of dramatic experiences they have had with Him. I wanted to give them an opportunity to explore the scriptures with some fellow seekers and ask any questions they might have.

 We’ve been studying John’s good news. The word gospel means good news, but the way so many Christians present the ‘gospel’ it sounds like anything BUT good news. I prefer to call the gospels, those four New Testament books written by Jesus first disciples, ‘Good News’ instead. This keeps me looking for good news in each passage teach so they can see practical ways that the Bible overflows with wonderful new things to help their lives.

 When I started this study, I thought maybe I could cover a chapter a night. We’ve now met for four weeks and finally gotten a quarter of the way through the first chapter! There’s so much good news we barely make it through 3-4 verses at each class. I want to share some great news I taught last week from John that you may never have heard anywhere else - things that can make a profound difference in your life.

 This week we explored John 1:11-13. It discusses how Jesus was rejected by those He came to save even though He did nothing but help them. Because of that, He can help us when we are unjustly rejected.

 A few years ago, I realized I still have a hot button reaction whenever I encounter rejection. My internal response is still very strong after years of trying to handle it better. Every hot button reflects unhealed. To resolve this, I wrote down all the times I was rejected so I could better forgive those who hurt me. I filled two pages!  

 From playground encounters as a child to times when people in churches I pastored accused me of doing things I hadn’t done, to girls I liked who suddenly decided they liked someone else better, I found numerous stings and barbs of rejection. I experienced another one recently when I was asked to share with my men’s group about my healing retreats. I told them how reluctant I was to pursue healing work when the Lord called me into it because so many Christians have been taught that spiritual gifts are not for today and they are suspicious of healing. Sure enough, within a week, I was told that the retreat they had contracted with me was canceled indefinitely. Too many people had problems with that whole ‘healing thing.’

 Jesus encountered problems like that too. When he healed a woman who had wasted all her resources and most of her adult life going in vain to doctors, the religious leaders rebuked Jesus for healing on the Sabbath. Jesus knew the issue wasn’t the Sabbath, it was the fact that He could do miraculous things they couldn’t and it threatened the heaven out of them!

 As we examined John’s good news Sunday night, we saw that Jesus gave everyone who received Him the power and authority to become children of God, to all who believe in His name. I explained why His name was crucial. Jesus was superior to all major religious figures because of what He said and did. Shortly before he died Buddha said he was looking for truth. Jesus said he IS the Truth. Confucius never healed anyone let alone raised anyone including himself from the dead. Mohammed set up a religion so void of benefits the only way they can keep people faithful to it is to strictly forbid any other religion from being discussed around it. If Muslims tolerated religious freedom, no one would want to be a Muslim. Hindu reincarnation pales in comparison to eternal life, both here and in the next life.

 However, the reason Jesus’ name is the only name that can enable you to receive the power and authority to become joint heirs of our Heavenly Father’s Kingdom is wrapped up in its meaning. Biblical names are pregnant with poignant implications, none more so than Jesus Christ.                                 

 He was named Jesus because He would save us from our sins (Matthew 1:21). Jesus is the same name as Joshua in the Old Testament and Joshua led God’s people into the Promised Land. Jesus offers us even more. He extends to us the good news of eternal life and inheriting God’s Kingdom. He didn’t just offer us pie in the sky when we die, He enables us to become princes and princesses in the Kingdom of our Heavenly father, to receive an abundant life (John 10:10), to help us experience eternal life -- the quality of life that God lived when He walked the earth in the person of His only begotten Son. Too many Christians act as if we only get retirement benefits when we die!

 It’s wonderful news that he can save us not only from the penalty for our sins but also from their power. Ask anyone who has conquered drug, alcohol, food or sex addiction if they are glad these potent compulsions no longer rule their lives. Jesus can do this because of the Holy Spirit. It enabled Him not only to live a sinless life but also made it so that even death couldn’t stop Him. Sin causes death, it’s our spiritually fatal disease. But because Jesus never sinned, the grave couldn’t keep Him! He thus became our antidote to death. The same Spirit that raised up Christ from the dead will gladly come dwell within us if we receive Jesus and give Him our allegiance. That’s part of the good news John tells us.

 You see, original sin isn’t just a doctrine it’s a reality. Anyone who doesn’t believe so must have never raised children. Rebellion is rooted in our spiritual genetics. Our first ancestors contracted the terminal disease of sin and passed it on to all succeeding generations. This isn’t a matter of fairness it’s just the sad reality of humanity after the Fall of man in the garden of Eden. “In Adam’s fall, we sinned all.” We’re all like crack cocaine babies who did nothing to deserve their addiction but simply caught it from mom.

 Only Jesus has the antibodies we need to escape death, because he, as the Second Adam, lived a sinless life. The Holy Spirit enabled Him to do this and because He rose from the dead and ascended to Heaven, the Father can now send that very same Spirit to live and work in us – to make us His very children, born of His Spirit. But God is a Gentleman. He only comes where He’s invited. If we welcome Him into our heart, He comes, and in doing so, “inoculates” us against the terminal disease of sin.

 It is perhaps the ultimate heresy to say that we can’t live like Jesus or do the works He did and greater, as He said all who believed Him could do (John 14:12). Satan would love to convince us that the Spirit is not powerful enough to overcome our sin or enable us to do miraculous things. It’s exactly what old ‘slew foot’ would do to keep the church and God’s people impotent and restrain God’s love, compassion and power from impacting a hurting and dying world.

 But Jesus also has another name as well and sadly, and fully 95% of the Christians I’ve asked don’t know what Christ means. Next newsletter I’ll discuss that. It’s especially relevant to freedom and need for healing.

 


Ken Unger is President of OnlyGodsFinest.com and founder of TransformationIncorporated.com, where you can learn more about him and his transformative ministry. click here ,
 "Ken's new book, The Ultimate Breakthrough, goes beyond self help to self healing. You can preview it at The Ultimate Breakthrough "

 

 

 
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