Good News and Bad News (Mission Georgia Part III)

How beautiful upon the mountains
    are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
    who publishes salvation,
    who says to Zion, “Your God reigns.”
The voice of your watchmen—they lift up their voice;
    together they sing for joy;
for eye to eye they see
    the return of the Lord to Zion.
Break forth together into singing,
    you waste places of Jerusalem,
for the Lord has comforted his people;
    he has redeemed Jerusalem.
10 The Lord has bared his holy arm
    before the eyes of all the nations,
and all the ends of the earth shall see
    the salvation of our God.     -Isaiah 52:7-10

September 20, 2015     |     text: Romans 10:5-17

Whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How many of us know John 3:16 by heart? Whosoever will… There is neither Jew nor Gentile (Romans 10), free or slave, black or white (or any other color), rich or poor, male or female, etc. etc. All have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.. (Rom 3:23) and every single one of those can believe in their heart, confess with their mouth and be saved! There is one Lord, one faith, and one baptism (Eph 4:5). We know these things. As far as I’m aware, every person in this congregation is a born-again believer and has been for a while. None of this is new information; Jesus Christ is the Way, the Truth and the Life (John 14:6). No one comes to the Father but by me saith the Lord. Keeping the Law given to Moses, the 5 pillars of Islam, nor anything system of legalism is capable of producing righteousness. You can’t buy it, you can’t earn it, the preacher can’t preach you into it. The path to salvation is exclusive but freely offered to any everyone willing to receive it.

Over 70% of the population in Georgia is lost. We are deep in the Bible belt. World famous civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. pastored Ebenezer Baptist Church just down the road from us in Atlanta. In Touch with Charles Stanley (pastor of First Baptist Atlanta since 1971) is currently broadcast on 500 radio stations, 300 television stations, and several satellite networks, and is translated into over 100 languages worldwide. Johnny Hunt is the pastor of Woodstock Baptist Church which has over 6,000 in attendance every Sunday on their main campus, with satellite locations in Jasper, Marietta and Panama City, FL. We live in the cushy illusion that everybody we know goes to church or grew up in church. We live in a “church culture” that does not equate to everyone hearing and responding to the Gospel. Out of 10 million people living in the state of Georgia, 7.1 million are lost. If you believe that people in Communist China or in rural mountain villages of India need to hear the Gospel but the people down the street from us or that we see at Walmart have already heard it – you’re half right. When Jesus said “the fields are white unto harvest” he was referring to the people he was looking at all around, not on the other side of the globe somewhere (look at Acts 1:8 again).

How can they believe except they hear? We are holding the keys to the Kingdom. Does it take money? Talent? Political power? The only thing required is the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Who has the knowledge? Every single believer that has been saved possesses the faith the comes by hearing.
On Wednesday night we’ve been watching the stories of Georgia Baptist missionaries. 7.1 million lost is the bad news; we’ve been listening to people tell about sharing Good News. Jim and Mary Allison are retirees that serve on disaster relief teams. Rebuilding homes, cooking meals, handing out water and blankets, all of these things meet people’s immediate physical needs. But when everything you have is swept away by fire or flood, when your neighborhood is suddenly gone and you are surrounded by loss of life, that’s when people realize their spiritual needs. After a man-made or natural disaster people have a tendency to consider, perhaps for the first time, what happens when this life ends. Losing everything causes people to re-evaluate what is and is not important, in this life and after. We’ve also met Penny Chesnut of Baptist Collegiate Ministry at Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College in Tifton, GA. There are 54 schools in Georgia with BCM and they work with students who are entering the adult world and making decisions that will affect the rest of their lives. We have two more weeks of meeting folks from the mission field right here in our home state. (Such as Broad St. Ministry in Augusta.)

What can we do? All this month we are studying missions together; learning about the need and those who address it. We are praying together – for those in need, for those who serve, for Baptist churches across the state and for the Mission Georgia offering that is being collected. And we are giving together. Our goal is $250, the state offering goal is 1.15 million. And every single one that has heard the Gospel message and received it with gladness can share it with another person. Plant Gospel seeds. Shine the light – right here where we live. You don’t have to look long and hard to find darkness.

How beautiful upon the mountains
    are the feet of him who brings good news,
who publishes peace, who brings good news of happiness,
    who publishes salvation… Isaiah 52:7 

About Clark Bunch

Clark Bunch is the pastor of Unity Baptist Church and author of God is Near. He and his wife Teresa have one child. In his spare time he enjoys blogging, playing guitar and riding his motorcycle. And coffee, he'd be nowhere without coffee.
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