Last week that phrase popped into my head and, straightway, out my mouth. I thought it and said it in the context of a conversation with the other two pastors and our Chairman, Barry Lockwood. We were discussing that the core message and ministry of the Church never changes – it has always been and forever will be about God seeking fallen people, in love, to forgive them and restore them in Jesus Christ. This has been our message for 2000 years. It will be our message for however long the church remains on this earth. And yet we are called and equipped by God’s own Spirit to find ways to incarnate this message afresh, so that people living here and now can understand and respond to it.
That’s when the phrase popped: ancient but never old. The good news is not some new-fangled hot-off-the-press thing. It is deeply ancient – rooted, enduring, venerable. Its antiquity, far from diminishing its value, heightens it. Just as rare coins increase in value with each passing year, so the gospel’s beauty and worth becomes all the more apparent as it is held alongside the trivialities and banalities, the frantic emptiness, of our own age.
This truth is ancient. But it’s never old. It’s never stale. It’s never tired. It’s never out-of-date, obsolete, or old-fashioned. The good news is still news – an attention-grabbing event happening right now as we speak. From culture to culture the whole world over, the gospel is still breaking into sin-blighted hearts and transforming them. The ancient but never old news from the Middle East – Christ died for sinners, of which I am the worst – is fresher than the latest news from the Middle East – Gadhafi’s fall, or whatever. Fresher than any news anywhere anytime.
God has entrusted us with the only news that stays new no matter how old it gets – indeed, that stays new precisely because it is ancient, not some swiftly fading fad.
Ask God to fill you again with humble gratitude that his ancient but never old truth swept down into your life. And ask God to fill you anew with a sense of the enormous privilege that he has called you to be a herald of this truth.