I Got Good News & I Got Bad News

Whadaya Want First?

by Pastor John Hamel


“I’ve got good news and I’ve got bad news.  What do you want first?”  Has anyone ever asked you that question?  Whenever I’m asked that question, I usually respond, “Give me the bad news first.  The good news will make me feel better.”


Well, I’ve got good news and bad news for you today.  I’m going to give you the bad news first because it’s pretty bad.  However, the good news will make you feel better.  It’s pretty good.


The bad news is that you are a sinner.  You know, someone who has committed sin.  Most people don’t want to hear that.  


Someone always becomes offended and says, “I’m as good as anybody else.”  


I tell them, “Exactly.  You’re only as good as everybody else.  That’s not good.  That makes you a pretty good sinner, just like everybody else.”


In the Bible the word “sin” means, “to miss the mark.”  


When we lie, gossip, cheat, etc., we have missed the standard which Holy God has set for us all.  That’s called “missing the mark.”


Suppose someone set up a target on the North Pole.  Now suppose that you and I stood on the Equator with high-powered rifles, firing at the target.  Your bullet may shoot farther than mine, but neither of us is going to hit the target.  We’re both going to fall far short of it. 


This is what the Bible is illustrating when it says, “All have sinned and fall short of God’s Glory (target).” (Romans 3:23)  


Everyone has fallen short of God’s target of perfection in thought, word and deed.  That’s pretty bad.  But it gets even worse. 


Most people work jobs.  Their pay is called wages.  It’s what they have earned.  It’s what they deserve.  By sinning, we have all earned and deserve the wage called “death.” 


“The wages of sin is death …” (Romans 6:23


“Death” means “to be separated from God’s love forever.”  Because of our sin there is simply no way for us to ever come to God.  Ever.  I told you it was pretty bad. 


I think you’ve gotten the message.  So, let’s just move right on to the good news.    The good news is that God has come to us, in spite of our sin and in spite of our inability to ever come to Him. 


Romans 5:8 says, “God demonstrates His love towards us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” 


Now let’s suppose that you’re dying of an incurable disease.  I walk in to the hospital and say to you, “I’m the solution to your problem.  I’m going to take a syringe and remove those disease cells from your body.  Once I get them all out, I’m going to inject myself with them.  That way you can live because I’m going to do your dying for you.”


If that were possible, I would be dying in your place.  I would be dying FOR you.  This is what the Bible means by “…Christ died FOR us.”  He died in our place.  Christ came to us because our sins kept us from coming to His Father Who loves us and wants us.  Christ took the penalty for our sins - death, placing it upon Himself and dying in our place. 


Three days later, He rose from the dead.  This was to prove that both sin and its penalty – death, had been overwhelmingly conquered. (Hebrews 2:14)  It also proved that His claims to being God’s only Begotten Son were indeed true. 


Remember how the bad news got even worse?  Well, the good news gets even better.  Let’s read it.


“… It's a wonder God didn't lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.” (Ephesians 2:3-6, Message Bible)


Not only has Christ died in our place, He also made it possible for us to be right with God again.  When we accept Christ’s death in our place, God embraces us.  He shows us mercy and love.  He even gives us a place in Heaven next to Jesus


I don’t know about you, but that’s the best news I could ever hear.  I was only as good as everybody else and that was no good at all.  Something needed to be done and God did it through Jesus! 


Do you believe what you just read?  Do you trust in what Christ has done for you?  You must trust in Him and Him alone to clean up the sin mess that exists between you and God. 


You might say, “I go to Church.  I’m pretty religious.  I help the poor.”  Those are all good things.  But good things won’t clean up the sin mess that exists between you and God.  Only Jesus’ sacrificial death can clean up that sin mess for you.  You must trust only in what Jesus has done, not what you can do. 


In the same way you trust a chair to hold you up with no help from you, you must trust Jesus to hold you up before God with no help from you.  He’s the only One Who can get you home to Heaven safely.


If you do believe what you just read, pray this simple little prayer.  The prayer won’t save you, but releasing faith in Jesus’ sacrificial death will.


“God, I see it.  I am as good as anyone else, which only makes me as bad as everyone else.  I have sinned.  I’ve earned the death wage and I deserve it.  Christ died in my place and I’m not going to let Him die for nothing.  Jesus, You’re my choice.  I embrace You for embracing me.  Look out Heaven here I come.  I’m not trusting myself.  I’m trusting God’s Son.”


Now you can call God “Father” and talk to Him about everything. (Matthew 6:6)  He’ll hear you and He’ll help you. (John 16:23)


Click on Bible Study Tools at our tuition free JHM Online Bible Training Centre to read the Bible for at least a few minutes every day.  There are lots of Bible translations over there.  Choose "The Message Bible."  You'll really like that one.  Begin with the Book called “Philippians.”   That'll help you to get a good grip on what God has really done for you.


Whenever God gives you an open door, tell others, “I got some good news and I’ve got some bad news.  Whadaya want first?” 


Always give them the bad news first.  The Good News of Jesus Christ will help them to feel a whole lot better.  


If they tell you, “It’s not my fault that I’m a sinner, I was born this way.”  


Tell them, “You’re right.  It’s not your fault.  But it will be your fault if you don’t do something about it.”


“Work hard for sin your whole life and your pension is death.  But God's gift is real life, eternal life, delivered by Jesus, our Master.” (Romans 6:23, Message Bible)


Be Blessed … John and Barbara Hamel



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