The Good News Proclaimed From Heaven
How much the suffering church needed, and still needs, this encouragement. After the terrible scenes in Revelation chapter 13 of the tidal wave of evil which will engulf the world in its attempt to demolish the church, Revelation 14:1-5 shows the scene in heaven - full of praise for the amazing redemption work of Jesus Christ. While the earth will be shaken, nothing can disturb the eternal purposes of God. The angel messenger announces that despite particularly intense opposition, the gospel – God’s good news of salvation, forgiveness and new birth - must still be proclaimed.
The gospel is described in five ways. Firstly, the gospel is eternal. It was God's plan before the world was created and then spoiled by sin (Matthew 25:34). The effect of Christ's sacrifice will continue for eternity as redeemed souls live and reign with Him for ever (1 Corinthians 9:25). Secondly, the gospel is not a mystery: since the Holy Spirit first came to the church, it is an open secret to be proclaimed. It is the task of God's people to announce Christ's salvation to the world - how will they know unless a believer tells them (Romans 10:14). Thirdly, the gospel is not exclusive: it is for everybody, irrespective of their nationality and religious culture, language, gender or position in society (Revelation 5:9-10).
Fourthly, the gospel calls for action based upon a decision. All who honour the Lord will be honoured by Him, but those who dishonour Him will be rejected by Him (1 Samuel 2:30). As a single coin has two sides, the other side to salvation is judgement for those who refuse to receive His saving grace (2 Thessalonians 2:10). Fifthly, the gospel comes with the powerful authority of God whose creative acts are plain for all to see, so that nobody will have any excuse when they stand before the Lord on the Final Day (Romans 1:18-20).
The gospel is God's powerful message, bringing salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16), and damnation to all who refuse to receive Jesus (John 3:18). And yet many believers do not say they love Jesus, nor do they share the reason for their eternal hope (1 Peter 3:15). Why? Many are afraid of losing friendship or family relationships, their good job and income, or prestige. Others fear direct persecution. But Jesus said, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?” No family, job or personal pride can outweigh the reward of an eternity with God. The gospel is like precious capital to be invested; it may, and should, comfort our souls … but its primary purpose is to bring salvation to many other people. Gospel proclamation by ordinary people like us, is God's chosen method of saving many who would otherwise perish in their sins. Prayer is important, provided that it is not a substitute for sharing the gospel. Paul asked for prayer that he would be a faithful and fearless gospel-proclaimer (Ephesians 6:19). So, pray like that for your believing friends, that they and you will dare to open your mouths … trusting the Lord for the gospel opportunity (Colossians 4:3) and gospel words (Luke 12:11-12).
© Dr Paul Adams