One of my favorite shows growing up was HEE HAW. It was a good show with humor and country music. One of the characters, Archie Campbell, acted as a barber who told stories. One of those stories was a good news / bad news joke. It was hilarious. This is how it goes…
“Hey I guess you heard about my terrible misfortune.” “No, what happened?” “Yeah, my great uncle died.” “Oh that’s bad!” “No that’s good!” “How’s come?” “Well, when he died, he left me 50,000 dollars.” “Oh that’s good!” “No that’s bad!” “How come?” “When the Internal Revenue got through with it, all I had left was 25,000 dollars.” “Oh that’s bad.” “No that’s good.” “How come?” “Well, it was enough that I bought me an airplane and learned to fly.” “Well that’s good.” “No that’s bad. I was flying upside down the other day and I fell out of the thing.” “Well that’s bad.” “No that’s good. When I looked down under me and there was a great big old haystack.” “Well that’s good.” “No that’s bad. I got a little closer and I saw a pitchfork aimed right at me.” “Well that’s bad.” “No that’s good. I missed the pitchfork.” “Well that’s good.” ”No that’s bad.” “How come?” “I missed the haystack too.”
That’s not the whole skit, but I’ll stop there.
Doesn’t life have good news and bad news? King Solomon wisely noticed that there is a season for everything He tells us there is a “time to be born and a time to die.. a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to keep silence and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). Life has its ups and downs.
The Gospel is good news. But there is also bad news. This past Sunday I will talked about the ultimate good news and bad news. Did you know that the word “Gospel” actually means ‘good news’? It’s the best news because it explains how a person can have eternal life.
Let’s start with the good news.
“… the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” – Romans 6:23
“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast.” – Ephesians 2:8,9
God has prepared a place, Heaven, that is beyond your wildest dreams. Everything good – nothing bad. But it is a gift. You cannot give anything to pay for it or do anything to deserve it.
“For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” – Romans 3:10
We have all said, done and thought wrong things. We’re all guilty. I’m a sinner. I just turned 60 last Monday. Even if I only messed up once a day throughout my lifetime, on my 60th birthday I committed my 21,914 sin.
But sin is not just doing wrong. The Bible tells us that sin is also when we know to do right, but don’t. “Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.” (James 4:17).
Because of sin we cannot go to Heaven. Heaven is perfect and if sin were permitted it would not be perfect anymore.
There is nothing you can do to eliminate your sin. You can’t do enough good to remove the bad. Even if you could stop doing anything wrong from now on, you cannot undo the wrong things of the past. This is really bad news for all of us.
“…God is love” – 1 John 4:8
“I have loved you with an everlasting love” – Jeremiah 31:3
The good news is that God is love and He loves you. I suppose that is the one characteristic we all love about God. He loves us. That’s great news. Our sin hasn’t stopped Him from loving us. He knows all the wrong we have done and He sill loves us. Since He loves us, He wants to spend forever with us. He does not want to punish us. That’s real good news.
“I will be no means clear the guilty.” – Exodus 34:7
“the wages of sin is death” – Romans 6:23
The bad news that in spite of how much God loves us, He must punish our sin. He is holy and just and will always do right. Some people think because God is good that He will not punish sin. He’s a good God, isn’t He? But it’s exactly because God is good that He must punish sin. If a judge let a criminal go free just because he loves him, he would be a bad judge. If he is a good judge, he will condemn a criminal, regardless of His personal feelings for him. God will punish us because of our sin. The punishment for sin against an eternal God is eternal punishment. That’s really, really bad news.
“All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.” – Isaiah 53:6
“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8
The good news is that you do not have to pay for your own sin. Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, lived a perfect life and took the punishment for your sin on the cross. You didn’t deserve it. But He did it anyway because He loves you. Jesus paid for your sin and has provided a place for you in Heaven. Heaven is not a reward for something you do. It is a gift given for something that Jesus has already done.
So what must a person do to receive this gift? Faith is the key.
Faith is more than head knowledge and it’s more than temporary faith. Faith is resting on Christ alone and what He did for you on the cross. The Bible tells us “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31).
- Admit you are a sinner and need God’s forgiveness. To admit you are a sinner is to acknowledge that you cannot save yourself.
- Believe that Jesus died and rose from the dead to pay the penalty for your sin and be your Savior.
- Commit your life to Jesus by turning from your sin and following Jesus.
You can go to God in prayer right where you are. You can receive His gift of eternal life through Jesus Christ right now. No matter how much bad news you have heard, your life can be turned around right now by the good news of the Gospel.