“Fake news” is a newish term that’s in circulation today.
Fake news is a type of journalism that consists of deliberate misinformation or hoaxes.
Fake news is written and published with the intent to mislead in order to gain financially or politically. Often with sensationalist, exaggerated, or patently false statements.
Many people think that the gospel about Jesus is fake news.
Those who believe the gospel are considered at best naïve, or at worst: extremists. The gospel about Jesus is considered to be a fabrication intended to deceive.
Are Christians propagators of fake news?
The New Testament book of 2 Thessalonians says, “no”.
1. The gospel we proclaim is a gospel from God
The church in Thessalonica was in danger of being led astray by false teachers who were propagating fake news. The false teachers were like the many religious teachers back then, and today, who claim to be have special revelation and instructions from God.
There was a forged, or fake, letter doing the rounds promoting false teaching – saying that the day of Jesus’ return had already happened. (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:2-3) I’m not sure how people could have believed that, but maybe the forged letter was saying that all the future blessings of heaven, should be ours now.
False teaching and fake news isn’t new. We, like the Thessalonians, are told by the Apostle Paul not to be alarmed or confused by teaching purported to be from God, but rather stick to what the true Apostle wrote.
For us that means sticking to the Bible.
The gospel about Jesus we proclaim is a Gospel from God. It’s not from false teachers or a church committee. God is the initiator and author and giver of the gospel we proclaim.
2. The gospel we proclaim is about the Lord Jesus Christ
Chapter 1 verse 8 calls it the gospel of our Lord Jesus.
The gospel centers around the coming and the future revealing (1v7) of the Lord Jesus Christ.
The gospel is not about you, me, the church, how to be rich, how to be good or how to improve your life. It’s all about the Lord Jesus Christ.
Christ: promised King of God who would rule over the universe
Lord: giver of Life, the one who rules from heaven, God himself.
Jesus was not simply a good man, a prophet, a wise man or a great example. He was and is the Lord Jesus Christ.
Many religions have no problem with Jesus as a man, or a prophet, or a great example. Only Christianity worships him for who he truly is: Lord and Christ.
3. The gospel we proclaim involves grace and peace
Chapter 1 verse 2 says,
“Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.”
We deserve death and eternal separation from God, but God has acted in grace, or undeserved kindness, and has made a way for us in Jesus. Jesus thus makes peace with God for us, a reality.
In Islam, there is a yearning for peace with Allah. Unfortunately, you are never quite sure if you have peace with Allah. You’re never sure if you’ve been devoted enough, or have done enough good works.
However, through faith in Jesus, we have a certain peace with God.
4. We gospel we proclaim saves
But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. (1 Thessalonians 2:13)
The world is full of news and fake news. But there is only one piece of news that can save.
The gospel we proclaim is a supernatural, powerful gospel. It doesn’t heal spiritually sick people, it saves spiritually dead people and gives them new life forever.
No other religion, philosophy or spirituality can do that, only the gospel we proclaim.
5. The gospel we proclaim transforms people
The gospel we proclaim changes people.
If you believe our gospel, God works in you by his Spirit and power to transform you.
The Thessalonians were growing in their faith, loving people more and enduring steadfastly in their trust in Jesus, despite persecution.
Only the gospel can do this.
6. The gospel we proclaim is a gospel about God’s justice
6 …since indeed God considers it just to repay with affliction those who afflict you, 7 and to grant relief to you who are afflicted as well as to us, when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with his mighty angels 8 in flaming fire, inflicting vengeance on those who do not know God and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus. 9 They will suffer the punishment of eternal destruction, away from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his might, 10 when he comes on that day to be glorified in his saints, and to be marveled at among all who have believed… (2 Thessalonians 1:6-10)
Those that disobey the gospel remain guilty of an infinite offense against an infinite God and will endure infinite, eternal judgement.
If you refuse Jesus in this life, God will grant you your wish for all eternity. But for those who do obey the gospel, the contrary is true.
Jesus will be glorified in Christians, we will share in Jesus glory, for all eternity. This is the great Christian hope: Life forever, with Jesus, and each other, in the world to come.
Our confidence and what we rely on is not justice in this world, but God’s justice in the world to come when Jesus is unveiled.
7. The gospel we proclaim needs to be prayed for to speed ahead
Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honoured, as happened among you… (2 Thessalonians 3:1)
The Apostle Paul said to the church that they should pray that the gospel may speed ahead and be honoured. He pictures the gospel as a runner.
The gospel had run into Thessalonica and many had honoured it by obeying it. Now Paul says to pray that it may run to other cities, countries and people also. How?
The gospel does not have legs, but you and I have legs.
The gospel speeds ahead as Christians pray for gospel ministry and speak the gospel to others.
The gospel we proclaim is not fake news. It is true, supernatural and powerful.