Good News for Today

by Rodney Rathmann

0907searchscripture.jpgRegularly we interact with friends, neighbors, and relatives who are living unfulfilling and rebellious lives outside of God’s grace, with little or no understanding of God’s love and forgiveness in Christ Jesus.

Such was the condition of the woman Jesus met one day at a Samaritan well (John 4:1–40). As with that Samaritan woman, people today seem to have a great deal of interest in things spiritual, just as they did in the days of Jesus, and later, of the apostle Paul (Acts 17: 16–34). Though not necessarily relating to Christianity, spiritually frequently emerges as a popular topic of conversation around the table, during breaks at work, and over the talk-show airwaves.

As we think about those we meet daily at “the well” who remain firmly held in the grasp of sin and unbelief, God’s Word guides, equips, and encourages us. It prepares us as God’s people for the eclectic and even oppositional spiritual climate we often face.

What do all people have in common, regardless of age, race, condition, or circumstance?

Rom. 3:23
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Acts 4:12
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Freed and forgiven through the life, death, and resurrection of Christ, we are changed (2 Cor. 5:17). Empowered by God’s Spirit, we profess Christ (1 Cor. 12:3) and bring theGood News of His heart-changing, reconciling peace to others (2 Cor. 5:18–21). We are now Christ’s ambassadors!

What counsel and direction do the following verses provide as we think about our ambassadorship to a spiritually alien, ambivalent culture?

Ps. 51:12–13
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Col. 4:4–6
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Jer. 23:28
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1 Peter 3:15–16
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Acts 1:8
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Jesus met an unbelieving woman at a well and asked for a drink of water. They began talking about spiritual things. Jesus confronted the woman with her sin and announced Himself as the Messiah. Soon the woman and her neighbors were confessing faith in Him as their Savior (John 4:39–42). Paul once spoke to group of Athenians beginning with “I perceive that in every way you are very religious” (Acts 17:22). He went on to tell them about Jesus. Some came to believe.

But bringing people to faith is God’s work. We need never lose heart when our words of witness seem to go unheeded. At times, faith comes after a succession of contacts with God’s Word over long periods of time. Speaking of the coming to faith of the people at Corinth, Paul writes, “I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow” (1 Cor. 3:6 NIV).

When our philosophical, unbelieving friend says in conversation, “Aren’t all religions basically the same?” when a despondent coworker asks what we believe, or when our words about Jesus seem met with rebuff, we can take a deep breath, pray, and speak simply and naturally what God has told us in His Word, trusting that faith comes from hearing the message (Rom. 10:17). It is God who brings the miracle of faith according to His good time and plan. We need only to be faithful.

The Lutheran Witness — Providing Missouri Synod laypeople with stories and information that
complement congregational life, foster personal growth in faith, and help interpret the
contemporary world from a Lutheran Christian perspective.

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