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Good News…You’re Sick.

August 5, 2011
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I don’t like going to the doctor.  And listen…that’s a monumental understatement.  I know I’m not alone in this…it’s just one of those things.  Maybe it’s their complete inability to keep an appointment time, or the “sick room” that has all the coughing folks in it, or just the reality that every time the doctor walks back into the room…they might tell you there’s bad news.

 Take a few minutes and read through Acts 14…yep…the whole chapter.

 This chapter of Acts brings to completion the first missionary journey of the Apostle Paul.  In verse 26 it says they had “fulfilled” their work that God had laid out for them.  It is also in this chapter that, for the first time, we see Paul venture into a completely pagan culture.  In each of the previous cities, he followed a pattern of entering into the local synagogue and seeking opportunities to preach the message of redemption in Jesus Christ…a pattern that God used to bring many people to Himself.  Here in Lystra, a place that he had fled to in order to avoid catching a beating…a place where he ends up catching such a beating that the mob actually thinks he’s dead…it’s in this place that Paul unpacks the good news for the polytheistic culture…stepping outside of the first century Bible Belt, and into the pagan world. 

 He tells them in verse 15, “We bring you good news that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.”  If Paul was a doctor, he would have just walked back into the little room and said, “We’ve looked at the test results and I’ve got some good news…you’re sick.”  Look at it for yourself.  He’s just finished telling them that what they are doing is wrong…that they’re mistaken…and that the good news is that while it is true that they are sick…they don’t have to be.

 I don’t want to carry this analogy too far and begin to read into the text…but I think this is something that the church has lost a grip on.  The good news of the Gospel is not that you are okay…it’s that you’re sick…but you don’t have to be.  What many of us forget is that Jesus came for the sick.  He said in Mark 2:17, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick.  I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”  And again…this is good news for us because the Bible is clear in Romans 3:10 that “None is righteous, no, not one.”  So listen, nobody walks in for the well check-up and walks out with a clean bill of health.  We’re all messed up…all of us sick…all of us in need to saving.  And this is exactly what Paul is telling the people of Lysta.  Here’s the good news…you don’t have to be like that anymore.  You don’t have to worship creation…you can worship the Creator.  You don’t have to bow to the sinful…the One who knew no sin has made Himself known.  That’s why it’s good news.  We don’t have to walk in our ways that often lead to pain and further suffering…we can walk in the light of the good news of Jesus Christ, and the power of His resurrection.

 Where I’m from, we often forget that we’re sick…and in turn, we forget that we need a Savior.  Everybody’s “good people” and our sin is often left to grow unchecked…similar to what we can observe from the people of Lystra.  If we’re not careful, we’ll fall to the imaginations of our hearts.  We’ll think we’re somehow deserving of God’s grace because we’re so…well, good.  Well that’s not grace…that’s a false hope…a false gospel.  The good news is that we need a Savior…and there is One.  Selah.

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