Good Evening Everyone- There's Good News Tonight!
Gabriel Heatter (September 17, 1890 - March 30, 1972), the son of Jewish immigrants from Austria, was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. He went to work for WOR, radio station as a reporter and commentator. His audience expanded when in 1934, WOR became the flagship station of the newest network, Mutual Broadcasting.
Heatter gained a reputation for trying to find uplifting but absolutely true stories to feed his commentaries. In April 1939 he gave the first national broadcast exposure to the burgeoning self-help group Alcoholics Anonymous.
During World War II, American forces sank a Japanese destroyer. That night, Heatter opened his nightly radio commentary accordingly: "Good evening, everyone—there is good news tonight." The phrase sparked a small flurry of letters and calls, almost all in his favor. From that night forward, Heatter's sign-on, "There's good news tonight", became both his catchphrase and his caricature."
At this juncture in American history, such an opening statement as Heatter's would be meet with outright incredulity and scorn. No news broadcast ever opens with such "fantasy-world" optimism. Even if they attempted such, their ratings would be too low to measure, because the many sensational and tragic happenings around the world habituate and titillate our taste for more of the same.
Based on the incessant "horrible", "tragic", "sorrowful", "doom and gloom", 24 hour news services available today, anyone believing that there is actually an abundance of "good news" to be heard and seen is considered to be out of touch with reality.
A few years ago, while I was ministering in an African nation, one of the young men from a remote village engaged me in conversation. Having never been very far outside his own village, and getting all of his information concerning life in my country formed by mass media, he asked me if I was fearful of living in the USA. And then what he said next really surprised me, as he emphatically said, "I would never want to live in America!"
Briefly stunned, amazed, and intrigued by such a statement, I inquired why he felt that way.
He said, "It would be far too dangerous for me and my family." He went on to say, "Everyone seems to be shooting, beating, looting, burning, and protesting all the time."
After some reflection, I realized his opinion of America was a logical conclusion based upon the only type news he had ever gotten concerning my beloved country.
As of late, I, too, have found myself sinking into fear and despair over what is happening at home and abroad based primarily on the constant "bad news" I am getting -- even when something good has happened.
Couple this with the discouraging words I hear from so many of my Christian friends who take the "bad to worse" news reports as only further fulfillment of signs that have been inevitably prophesied in the Bible. Adding to the discouragement and trepidation, they remind me that we haven't seen anything yet. The worst "bad news" is still ahead. "The end of the world, the coming of anti-Christ and his forced one world government, the wholesale slaughter of Christians, concluding with the Second Coming of Christ, should be obvious to every true Christian," they confidently expostulate.
Beginning tonight, I am repenting of a diminishing confidence in the promises of God and the power of the gospel, I am turning back to the truly "Good News" of the gospel of the kingdom of God.
I am reaffirming the words of missionary/evangelist Paul Washer as he declared: "The world and the church’s needs are greater than ever, and so are the opportunities. The stage is set for possibly the greatest advancement in missions the church has ever known. Political upheavals have opened the door to countries that were previously closed, and all the great “ism’s” of secular man have fallen under the weight of their own error. Humanism has left our world disillusioned and cynical. Secular thought has left it soulless and empty. Materialism has left both the “haves” and the “have not’s” miserable and constantly at war. Sexual libertarianism has raped the individual of human dignity, exiled beauty, and driven a knife through the heart of innocence. Finally, the current revival of paganism has left men praying to rocks, hugging trees, and killing babies. The enlightenment of the twentieth century, which was to bring peace and prosperity has spawned more ignorance, poverty, immorality, and violence then any scholar could have predicted or any prophet could have foretold. It is a day to do great things."
I say "yes and amen" to the words of Puritan James Renwick, made during one of the most dark-filled times in English history: "There have been great and glorious days of the gospel in this land; but they have been small in comparison of what shall be."
"I summons my soul to "hope thou in God" for I have been born again to a living hope and have Christ, the Person of all hope living in me.
In spite of no longer affirming as public policy what our coinage once declared -- "In God We Trust" -- we are not getting the real good news of what millions of followers of King Jesus are doing here and around the world. The Church of the Lord Jesus Christ will not end as an apostate whore, but as the beautifully big and wide, "Bride of Christ."
I declare the good news in unison with Pastor Doug Wilson: "In unbelief we look around at the world instead of looking to the Word. The conquest of the world and the overthrow of the devil happened definitively at the cross, and this is progressively and increasingly manifested as the greatness of the great commission is made apparent.
"The sun has risen, but is not yet at its zenith (Mal. 4:2). The mustard seed has been planted, but the tree is not yet full-grown (Matt. 13:31-32). The leaven of the kingdom is in the loaf, but the loaf is not yet fully risen (Matt. 13:33). The rock has struck the pagan statue on the feet, but the rock is not yet a mountain that fills the earth (Dan. 2:44). The trickle of living water has cleared the threshold of the temple, but has not yet become the river which cannot be crossed (Ez. 47:1-5).
"The Lord is seated at the right hand of the Father, but His enemies are not yet His footstool (Ps. 110:1). The root of Jesse has been raised as an ensign for the people, but the stream of Gentiles coming to Him is so great that we can honestly say that after many millions of converts, it has barely started (Is. 11:10). The Child has been given to us, but the increase of His government will have no end (Is. 9:7). In short, the Scriptures teach that the taking of this dark world will be as slow and methodical as it is sure and glorious. Christ is our prince. He reigns in both heaven and earth, and the processes He set in motion are inexorable. All authority in heaven and on earth is His, and on the basis of this authority He tells us to disciple the nations (Matt. 28:18-20). He has been raised from the dead, and therefore God has given Him the name that is above every name (Phil. 2:9-11). He has ascended on high, into the throne room of the Ancient of Days, and at His coronation He was given dominion, glory, and a kingdom, that all peoples, nations, and languages should serve Him (Dan. 7:13-14).
"The earth will be as full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. The kingdoms of men are shaken down so that what cannot be shaken may remain. And we are solemnly charged to take this gospel from the river to the ends of the earth. Such triumphalism frightens us. The task frightens us, and so we feel the need to get away from what the Bible says. But unlike liberals, modern evangelicals do not feel the freedom to reject the words of the Bible . . . at least overtly. And so we prod and squeeze, and exegete, and lop off, and hermeneut, and shape, and form, and publish journals, and tell one another what the Greek word for this is, and figure out what already/not yet is supposed to mean, and settle into our eschatologies. Boiled down, our problem is that we are slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken."
It is time we stopped being "protestors" and started being "proclaimers."
It is time we recover being "heralds" of the gospel of the kingdom of God, announcing a salvation for the world that has already been accomplished, instead of being "campaigners" hitting the trail to try and get people to vote for Jesus as their Lord and Savior. He is Lord, none can do what His Father has already done -- Crown Him the Lord of All!
God has already anointed and appointed His victorious Son as Lord of all -- both in heaven and on earth, and He will not be disappointed (Psalm 2:6-9; Mt. 28:18).
So what if the "the nations rage and the peoples plot in vain; the kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers take counsel together, against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying, 'Let us burst their bonds apart and cast away their cords from us,'" King Jesus is large and in charge -- now!
The gospel of Jesus Christ will NOT fail. Christianity WILL BE successful in its worldwide task. Christ’s Great Commission to disciple the nations WILL BE carried out. Satan and the forces of anti-Christ WILL NOT prevail in history, overcoming the Church and virtually wiping it out – until Christ returns at the last moment to rescue the ragged little band of survivors.
"Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross, lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer loss. From victory unto victory, His army shall He lead, till every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed!" (George Duffield).
Good evening everyone! There is Good News -- tonight and tomorrow and everyday -- Jesus Christ is Lord!
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