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January 16, 2022 | Doug Sauder
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“This same Good News that came to you is going out all over the world. It is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives, just as it changed your lives from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God’s wonderful grace.”— Colossians 1:6 (NLT)
According to a 2010 sociological experiment, good news travels faster than bad news. Dr. Jonah Berger, a world-renowned expert on word of mouth, viral marketing, and social influence, summarized the findings of this extensive study by stating, "If I've just read this story that changes the way I understand the world and myself, I want to talk to others about what it means."
Isn’t that amazing, and also somewhat surprising? Many people would have you believe that bad news travels way faster than good, but that does not seem to be the case. I suppose it’s like the old expression, “You catch more flies with honey than vinegar.” Why am I sharing this with you today? Well, as we have spent the last few weeks talking about sharing the gospel and discipleship, I want to explore the manner in which some endeavor to share the gospel.
Sadly, I have found there are a great many believers who take the gospel out of the gospel. The gospel (Greek: εὐαγγέλιον) literally means “God's good news.” In fact, it’s the best news in the history of the world. There is no news that should travel faster than the good news that God has made a way for us sinners to be restored to a right relationship with Him, redeemed of our sins, and received into His family as children.
And yet, somehow, we often find ways to cover up the glory and goodness of the gospel with legalistic, judgmental, and merciless attitudes and messages towards non-believers. But here’s the thing . . . shouts of “You’re going to hell, sinner” or “Your lifestyle is an abomination to God” are not going to save people. Scare tactics, “Bible thumping,” and reigning down fire and brimstone is akin to bad news traveling or using vinegar.
In today’s verse, we learn that it’s God’s wonderful grace that changes lives, not the fear of hell. Yes, hell is a reality, and those who don’t receive the gift of salvation will go there, but the bad news is not as impactful as the good news that God loves us with an everlasting love, that He desires a relationship with us, and that He sent His only Son to pay the price for our sins so that we could become His children and live forever with Him in heaven. So, let’s make sure we spread the good news with our words, actions, attitudes, and relationships, and that we take it to the ends of the earth!
DIG: Why does good news travel faster than bad news?
DISCOVER: When was the last time you heard good news and bad news? Which were you more inclined to share? Why?
DO: Spend some time today considering the manner in which you share the gospel. Are you staying true to what the word gospel means and truly sharing the good news or do you hammer people over the head with the bad news. Consider an approach that acknowledges the bad news but blows it away with the overwhelming amazingness of the good news!
Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.