Trimming Your Sails (6)
Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. Acts 8.4
Come and hear, all you who fear God,
And I will declare what He has done for my soul. Psalm 66.16
Gossiping the Gospel
I can imagine that it would not have been very long into the voyage of the Golden City from Sydney to London that other passengers would have become aware that one of their number was tracing their journey on a daily basis.
They would have asked to see the map, of course. What traveler, like some child in a back seat, doesn’t want to know, “Are we almost there?” With our gentleman passenger’s help, his fellow sojourners could have kept up to date on their progress toward home. I can even believe it must have been a daily ritual to gather around the map, note the progress, get to know one another, and share their common experience, hopes, and aspirations.
Those gatherings must have sparked some interesting and exciting conversations, as the passengers talked about London and what they loved about it and looked forward to upon arrival. We can imagine many conversations that as the passengers expressed their visions of the journey’s end, brought excitement and encouragement to one another, and made their “here and now” life at sea rather more bearable, as together they kept their “then and there” in view. Their vision of home and loved ones would have grown clearer and stronger with each passing day, and I can imagine they were eager to talk about it, and to reinforce one another in their hope.
Michael Green wonderfully translates the phrase “preaching the word” in Acts 8.4 as “gossiping the Gospel” (Evangelism and the Early Church). You know how a gossip is. He cherishes every juicy tidbit of information that comes his way, and seizes every opportunity to pass it along to others. A literal translation of Acts 8.4 goes something like, “Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere ‘good newsing’ the Word.” The Good News, of course, is Jesus, and the Kingdom He has given to us His saints, both in its present form and in the form as it is to come fully when He returns.
The good news for those Golden City passengers was that each day brought them a little closer to London. And I can’t help but think that their conversations echoed their growing anticipation of being home sooner with each passing day.
The same prospect should excite us to talk about our Beloved and our homeland; and such conversations can serve as a second benchmark of progress in our journey with the Lord. As the sails of our soul continue to be filled with the Wind of God’s Spirit, we will be emboldened to “gossip the Gospel” as often as possible (Acts. 1.8).
Evangelizing one another
Who are the fellow voyagers in your life? Those who know the Lord, who know they’ll see Him face to face one day, and who look forward to that glorious City to Come? Here is the place to begin gossiping the Gospel, with and among those who already know the Lord, and with whom we are on a journey together unto His Kingdom and glory.
Opportunities abound to encourage our fellow travelers with the Good News of Jesus and His Kingdom. As we grow in our vision of Christ and our homeland, meditating on it faithfully, and setting it always before us, our excitement and joyous anticipation will grow. We should never want for some word of encouragement, or sharing, or prayer to help our fellow sojourners bear up under the struggles and challenges of our “here and now”, so that, increasingly, we know our “then and there” as a daily reality.
Don’t waste precious opportunities to “Good News” your fellow believers! Go out of your way to do so, by text, or email, or by sending a card or making a phone call. The best way to stimulate one another to love and good works – the final benchmark of our journey to the Lord (Heb. 10.24) – is through sharing, singing, praying, and chatting away gladly together about our beautiful Savior, Who is Lord of all nations, King of glory, Prince of peace, Upholder of the vast cosmos, and the One Who is making all things new.
You’ll know the sails of your soul are filled with the Wind of God, and that you are making real progress in your journey, when gossiping the Gospel with your Christian friends is something you look forward to and make the most of at every opportunity (Eph. 5.15-17; 1 Thess. 5.11).
Not only with our Christian friends, but everywhere our journey takes us, let us, having set the vision of Christ and our homeland firmly in our soul, be always ready to give a reason for the hope that is within us, to tell with joy about Jesus and His love, and to offer the Good News of forgiveness and life to whosoever may come.
We have become a generation of non-evangelistic evangelicals. We are known by the world as “evangelicals” not because we gossip the Good News of Jesus freely and joyfully, but because, while we claim to believe in Jesus and His Word, we demonstrate a kind of spiritual smugness, spilling over into hypocrisy, that those who are on the outside looking in associate with that epithet. In the world’s eyes, “evangelicals” are not those who are excited about Jesus; they are those who are angry and judgmental and intolerant and out-of-step with the times, and therefore, undeserving of any serious attention.
Let us recover our vision of Christ and the homeland; let us reinforce one another in this vision, and encourage one another day after day in the hope of glory; and let us take up our calling as witnesses to Christ, lights to the world, agents of grace and salvation, and proclaimers of Good News to a world that desperately needs to hear it.
As we do, we will know that the Spirit is filling us, and that we are on the same course as those believers in Acts 8 who went everywhere gossiping the Good News of Jesus.
1. Suppose someone ask you: “What is the Gospel?” What would you say?
2. What can you do to be more consistent in evangelizing your Christian friends?
3. How can you prepare for opportunities to share the Good News with any unbelievers God might send you to during the day?
Next steps – Preparation: Daily evangelize yourself by praying the Gospel back to the Lord. Ask God each day to give you someone with whom you can gossip the Good News of Jesus.
T. M. Moore
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.