Today we hear of the wonderful truth of justification through faith alone, not by works. Justification is that verdict of innocence, declared by God himself, on all who believe in Jesus Christ and what he has done and is completely separate from works. This means that whoever hears the gospel, and believes in Jesus Christ, is forever viewed by God as innocent and so transformed by a union with Jesus Christ that continues forever. What good news! This is enshrined in the 39 Articles of the Church of England in articles 11 and 12 which have been foundational for the last 500 years since the Reformation. They are printed over leaf. But of course, to believe such things transforms us to be those who long for others to hear and believe the good news, so that if they believe, they too will be saved from eternal death for eternal life. So, Paul urges the Roman church, “How will they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, how beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Romans 10:14-15. So, this Christmas we want our efforts to be truly beautiful in bringing the good news to those who have not heard it. We long for people to hear the good news. This can happen in three main ways: 1. Pray that God empowers the preaching of his word and draws people not only to hear it but to have the spiritual illumination by the Holy Spirit, to believe in Jesus Christ. 2. Invite people to come to our services where the gospel will be preached. Our invites are now available. Do take a bundle if you are able to deliver it. Better still, do deliver them during the day (preferably the weekends) and personally invite people to our services. Best of all, whilst doing this you could initiate conversation so that you may be able to explain why you are a Christian or leave them with the gospel in tract form. In other words, it is a great privilege that I can preach at these services, but we are all able to evangelise, to speak because we believe. There is great joy in the Spirit in being able to share this, even with strangers. 3. Thirdly we can invite people to those things where they are most likely to be able to hear the gospel message over a significant period of time. This may be by reading the Bible 1:1, it may be by people attending Christianity Explored or by coming to the “grill the vicar” event on 18 January at the Cricketers pub.
May we all be beautiful in spreading good news!