The Spreading of Good News on the Cumberland Plateau
“For I am not ashamed of the gospel…” – Romans 1:16
January 7, 2001 was a Sunday. I remember that clearly because it was the day after my wife and I were united in marriage. On that particular day, we were en route to our honeymoon destination of Gatlinburg, Tennessee. As we were traveling on the interstate, we decided to stop in whatever town we were in around the time local church services would be meeting. We wanted to start the marriage off right by gathering with other believers on the Lord’s Day. The particular town we came to was Cookeville, Tennessee. Not knowing the area very well, we did not know where to begin our search for a church. But as we rounded a curve, we saw the top of a steeple in the distance. By using the steeple as our guide, we located the church, and pulled into the parking lot and went in to the sanctuary and found a seat. This friendly, bible believing church welcomed us with open arms. Instantly, our spirit connected with these fellow believers in the faith. As we spoke with the people, I was eager to share the good news about our marriage from just the day before. Before you know it, word had spread rapidly throughout the congregation about this young west Tennessee couple heading eastward on the way to their honeymoon. Even the pastor of the church heard about our presence and asked my wife and I to stand up during the “meet and greet” portion of the worship service. Before we knew it, we had a congregation of about five hundred people congratulating us. We were surprised all the more to later find out that the services of this particular church were broadcasted live on television across the Cumberland Plateau and Middle Tennessee region.
The good news had been sent out. There was no way that I could keep such exhilarating news all to myself. I was not ashamed of the fact that I had been united in marriage to my precious Sarah, and I eagerly wanted everyone to know about what had recently happened in my life. And as people received the word, they chose to share it with others as well.
This rapidly unfolding event from the early memoirs of my marriage reminds me of the aggressive spreading of the good news of the gospel that took place in the early life of the church recorded in the book of Acts. People eagerly shared the good news, and word spread rapidly throughout the region (Acts 13:49).
I pose a question; pertaining to the good news of salvation, do you eagerly announce to others your union with Christ, or do you refrain from sharing? In our passage above, we see that the apostle Paul wrote to the early church in Rome and eagerly proclaimed that he was in no way ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ. This willingness to share the good news of the gospel exemplified by Paul is a birthmark of a genuine believer. You see, the word “gospel” means good news, and we are to be heralds or announcers of the gospel. And as you share with others about your union with Christ, you will receive and inexpressible joy and overflowing fulfillment. So remember that good news of the gospel is intended to be shared with others. Get the word out, and make it known. Salvation is such a wonderful gift. It is unimaginable to me how anyone could keep the greatest life changing event to themselves. In my case, there was no way that I could walk into that local church and keep the good news of my marriage to myself; for I was busting at the seams to tell others. I encourage you to be busting at the seams as well, and make known to others your union with Jesus Christ.
– Pastor Eric