Sharing the good news - Week 2 Menu
The following questions need reflection and should, ideally, be spread over a few days. You might find it useful to read, and mull over, the first couple of chapters of Acts.
1. Matthew 4:23 Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom. Mark 1:1 The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
I Corinthians 15:1-6 Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you—unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures, and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve. How would you explain the gospel, the good news, to a non-Christian?
2. What is the best news you have ever given someone? Can you remember your demeanour, tone of voice and emotion? Do you feel that passionate about the gospel? If not, how can you regain that love and joy?
3. Which aspect of the good news has most impacted your life?
4. If you believed in something so hard you were prepared to die for it, don’t you think you’d talk about it to your friends? Unfortunately, when I wrote that down, I forgot to write down who said it, but it is interesting, is it not, that Christianity is spreading in those countries where people are prepared to die for their faith, and to share the good news they have received. From your conversation and way of life, would people know you are a Christian, and would it encourage them to want to know more about Christianity?
5. As a church what do you think we could do better to share the good news?
For a clearer vision of the work you have set before us and for a better understanding of your gospel, Lord, direct us.
For a deeper commitment in your service and a greater love for all your children, Lord, direct us.
For a fresh understanding of the task before us and for a sense of urgency in our proclamation, Lord, direct us.
For a greater respect and acceptance among Christians of different traditions and for a common goal in evangelism, Lord, direct us. Amen
Preaching is a conversation, not a lecture. We need your feedback, ideas, and questions if we are to have a vision of the way ahead. It is also really important that, if you haven’t understood something, you let us know. Please speak to those who are preaching, or leave a note at the back of church - it can be anonymous if you wish.
There is a closed group on facebook, a sort of virtual life-group, where those whose lifestyle precludes them from joining a real life group, can ask questions, or debate, and have fellowship, you can find my facebook page under Susie Greenslade, and I can link you up from there– Susie
Some practical advice on how to share the good news.
Believe it is really good news. Sometimes our love of God and our belief in the Kingdom of God, can grow stale. Christ’s great commission was that we make disciples – not converts or believers – a disciple is one who follows and keeps on learning of Christ and his ways and teaching. There is an element of discipline in being a disciple, making it a daily habit to spend time with him in prayer and learning from him. But along side that discipline needs to be a genuine love and a desire to know more. If your love for God the Father or Son has grown cold, then spend time reflecting on why, what you might do about it, and recalling God’s grace, forgiveness, mercy and love for you. If you do not believe the Gospel is good news, how can you hope to share it with others?
Practice noticing the good things you can see God doing and sharing it with the person, or people, you find easiest to talk to about Kingdom things. Once we have become used to talking to someone close about God’s blessings – how prayer has been answered etc. – it becomes easier then to be open with those we don’t know so well.
Don’t be put off sharing the good news by thinking you have to either preach a long sermon, or go door to door live the Jehovah’s witnesses. The odd comment, or offer of prayer, to a friend, family member, or neighbour, is far more effective. The Barna Trust discovered that 87% of people in Britain report knowing a Christian or church goer. Of those who started going to church – having never been before- the majority reported that it was either because the Christian they knew offered to pray for them when they were going through a crisis, or because they noticed a difference in the other person that intrigued them and caused them to ask why – usually a sense of peace and joy even when the Christian seemed to be going through challenging circumstances.
Make a decision that you want to share the good news. If you heard some other good news – say to do with health or wealth matters - wouldn’t you naturally want to share it with others? Quite often at morning prayer we pray that God will prepare the day before us and give us the opportunity to minister to, or to share the good news, with those in despair or need. And good day prepare the way, giving us opportunities, prompting us to go and see someone or someone to literally cross our paths, but also providing us with the words they need to hear.
Learn more through prayer, reading the Bible, and reading Christian books. We have far more confidence when we feel informed on a subject. And hearing all that God has done, and is doing, and who He is, is inspiring.
Have one or two friends, if not a life group, who can encourage you. It’s far easier doing something when you know someone else is doing it too, and when you can each offer advice and support.
Ask for the Holy Spirit to guide, strengthen, counsel and equip you. Our homes would not run without electricity. Our Christian lives do not run without the power of the Holy Spirit.
Consider supporting Open Doors (if you are not already doing so) or similar charities, as they make Bibles available in closed countries. They need finance, but they also need prayer, those smuggling Bibles in face imprisonment and often death, as do those in possession of Bibles.