Discerning the Spirit of the Good News – A Conversation with a Student

I received a question from a student today regarding a Spurgeon quote and what it means to share the “good news”. Here is our online conversation (one of the many ways to continue discipling in the current era).

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STUDENT:

Hope you are doing well professor!
Check this out and let me know your thought on this!!!

This is a great Quote by Spurgeon that will help make more clear why we shouldn’t just tell people Jesus loves them in isolation!
We need to give them the full Gospel!!! We must mention sin equals death somewhere in our conversation! (ROM.6:23) Then give them the good news, they will appreciate knowing there is a cure and that’s the work of Jesus Christ dying on the Cross, and rising from the dead!

“You are too delicate to tell the man that he is ill. You hope to heal the sick without their knowing it. You therefore flatter them. And what happens? They laugh at you. They dance upon their own graves and at last they die. Your delicacy is cruelty, your flatteries are poisons; you are a murderer. Shall we keep men in a fool’s paradise? Shall we lull them into soft slumber from which they will awake in hell? Are we to become helpers of their damnation by our smooth speeches? In the name of God we will not.”
C.H. Spurgeon

MY RESPONSE:

It can sometimes be taken too far (I’m thinking of The Way of the Master series) if we think to make people confess they are sinners first. However, it is imperative that we not justify sinners in their sinfulness, but point them to God’s justifying them in the life, death, and resurrection of the Christ.

There are times in which some have tried to so emphasize the “bad news” that it is actually no longer really “good news”. The poor, blind, lame, imprisoned, do not often need told they are in need of rescue, healing, redemption. While the “righteous” continue on as if all is well. They will stand condemned if they do not likewise come to see all their righteousness as filthy rags, but we miss the goodness of the good news when we overemphasize the bad news.

It can become more about trying to manipulate people into confessing. Rather than proclaiming the good news and allowing those with ears to hear and eyes to see to receive it. And those who will not see to continue to not see…and not hear…to continue to not hear.

STUDENT RESPONSE:

Yes agreed! So would it be right to share the bad news and the good news in balance, because my thinking is if I just shared to good news without mentioning sin, they may receive it but did I just create a false convert if they don’t know what they are saved from?

MY RESPONSE:

I don’t think it is about “balance”. I think it is about discerning what the Spirit is saying in each occasion. To some we speak forgiveness of God. To others his judgment. To all, his love. It is seeking to speak as the Spirit is speaking. He convinces of sin, righteousness and judgment. He makes Jesus known. To sinners (who know they are sinners) he becomes a friend. To the righteous, who believe themselves righteous, he becomes a stone of stumbling. He did not come to crush the broken-hearted, but to heal. He did come to crush those with hearts hardened.

STUDENT RESPONSE:

That’s good! So it is so important that we are lead by his Spirit to speak what He says! Reminds me of Ezekiel 3:17-21

MY RESPONSE:

Yes! I think what we tend to want is a method or rule to follow. Rather than an ever discerning ear and heart for obedience to the Living Word.

STUDENT RESPONSE:

Yes, at the same time I get away from methods, I end up coming up with another one!!! 🤦‍♂️ Oh that we would just stay at his feet and only speak when he says to open our mouths!!!!

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