To bring the good news of Jesus Christ to the nation of Australia: This mission statement by a Christian organisation I have long supported is essentially the mission imperative of every Australian Christian and church.
What is the good news of Jesus Christ, and why is it important to share it with the people of our nation?
The good news, the gospel, concerns what Jesus has done to save us and what we must do in response.
As for Jesus’ actions, the good news is this: Jesus has done every-thing that needed to be done to remove our sins by dying on the cross and rising from the grave. This is the gospel: “that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
As for our response, the good news is this: Everything Jesus has done for us is ours for the asking. This is the gospel: “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (Romans 10:13).
The two halves of the gospel—Jesus’ sacrificial work to deal with our sin and our faith response to appropriate his work—are concisely expressed in John 3:16: “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”
There are two main reasons why we should share this good news with other Australians.
The first is that our Lord commands us to do so. He said, “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation” (Mark 16:15).
The second is that our neighbours need us to do so: Jesus also said, “Whoever believes and is baptised will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:16). The eternal welfare of our neighbours is at stake. But “how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them?” (Romans 10:14). In truth, they cannot believe in the Lord Jesus unless they hear about him, and they will not hear about him unless we tell them.
We are Jesus’ witnesses (Acts 1:8). We are his ambassadors (2 Corinthians 5:20). He proclaims the good news through us and he draws people to himself through that proclamation. Our witness is, literally, the means by which he calls the lost out of darkness into his marvellous light.
This fact is both exhilarating and intimidating. We are awed by the privilege and overawed by the responsibility. How fabulous that God should entrust us with the message of reconciliation! How onerous that our part in proclaiming the message is essential for the eternal well-being of those around us! Happily, Jesus himself accompanies and supports us in our gospel mission. He promised as much when he first commissioned his followers: “go and make disciples … And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age” (Matthew 28:18-20).