The Worst News Becomes the Best: Dangerous Mission

Editor’s Note: This is the final excerpt from a sermon on the book of Daniel, which was originally shared in January 2020, at the KL2020 Gospel Conference in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, just as news of the coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan was beginning to dominate the media. In the midst of an uncertain time, this sermon calls Chinese believers to follow God in the midst of chaos and danger. (Here are parts one, two, and three.)

This excerpt has been condensed and edited for both clarity and length.


The Gospel Is the Worst News

Do you truly understand what it means for the gospel to be the worst news – so it may become the best news of all? Before you have kids, your parents pressure you to hurry and have kids. But once you have children, your [traditional Chinese] parents will be disappointed if you gave girls, not boys. My wife and I tried three times, and we have three daughters. My parents were disappointed. “Look at your sister,” they said. “She has two sons. What about you?”

>
“I said, ‘Lord, I cannot lose her. I do not now how to live if I lose her. Do whatever you want, but don’t let me lose this daughter.’

All humans are like this. No one wants bad news; we want good news.

Two years ago, we found out one of my daughters had cancer. As a parent, I am biased; I like this third daughter of mine in every possible way. I said, “Lord, I cannot lose her. I do not now how to live if I lose her. Do whatever you want, but don’t let me lose this daughter.” I know every parent understands my heart.


Never miss a story

Sign up to receive our weekly email with our original articles.

Yet the doctors told us she had a very serious type of cancer. How can you face that? You begin to think about the worst outcome. I wonder how many more days and how many more seconds we have together on earth. Every time I leave this daughter, I feel I am losing time with her. I cherish the time we have together.

One day, I suddenly had a realization. As long as we are together, I have already been given the greatest blessing. As parents, we want our children to be number one in the world. We want them to succeed. But my wife and my biggest dream is merely to see our daughter. That is our greatest blessing, yet we cannot even control that.

Life went on like this, until one day, as I was pleading with the Lord, I had a realization. He said, “You are so afraid of losing your daughter, but I have already lost my child. What are you afraid of? Do you not understand? You cannot save your most beloved. Either your children will send you to the grave, or you will send them to the grave. This is life.”

The Gospel Becomes the Best News

I suddenly realized that, if worst comes to worst, we will all die. Yet that is not such a big deal. God says, “Death is in me, and life is in me.” Although I have been preaching the gospel for more than ten years, that moment was when I truly understood what the gospel really is. I understood what it meant to lose your son or daughter: to have everything is to lose everything. The gospel must first become the worst news in our lives, so that it can then become the best news of grace.

The gospel says that, even if we have the best vision, we must still realize that we are truly blind. The gospel shows us that, although we have hands and feet, we are crippled. The gospel makes us understand that, although we have a husband, we must see ourselves as widows. Even though we have children, we must live as though we are barren. Even though we have a billion dollars, we are penniless. Only the gospel can truly make us understand that not only will we one day have to die, but we actually deserve to die. Before the gospel becomes good news, it gives us the worst news of all.

>
“God says, ‘Let those who are hopeless in this life, live.’ This is the dangerous gospel I bring to each of you.

We cannot place our hope in this world. The gospel teaches that the blind can see, the lame can walk, widows are given husbands, and beggars become rich. Everyone knows the lion’s den was Daniel’s mark of grace. My daughter is my mark of grace. But every mark of grace points to Jesus Christ, to the worst and best of news. Most precious of all is that, before Jesus became the best, he descended to the worst.

Brothers and sisters: people of this world pursue what seems to be the best in the moment for themselves, only to be left with the worst things of all. The wisdom of the wise tells us that things do not have to be good right now – perhaps things are at their darkest moment – but in the end it will be the best. Amen!

Use your imagination as you consider this current pandemic. If this is a true pandemic, what will come next? Hunger? Riots? Lockdowns? The gospel teaches bad news to all who are living. The Bible tells those of us who are now alive that we must be crucified. Yet the gospel becomes comfort to those who are hopeless in this world and those who are prepared to die.

God says, “Let those who are hopeless in this life, live.” This is the dangerous gospel I bring to each of you.

Who Can Give Us True Hope?

Let us pray.

Heavenly Father,

>
“We again come before you, asking you to eradicate all hope in this world. Instead, give us the hope of resurrection.

We thank you. You first brought us to death, giving no choice and no way other than to repent. When we see our sins, we cry out, “O Lord, we need to repent, we must repent!” Who can give us true hope? No one in this world: not our nation, not our relatives, not our friends. Lord, you teach us that this world is a deadly world. The gospel teaches those who still hope in this world that they ought to be hopeless. Yet, Lord, give those who already realize that the world is hopeless the hope of the gospel, for it is the eternal hope of resurrection.

We again come before you, asking you to eradicate all hope in this world. Instead, give us the hope of resurrection. Let the grace of the resurrection of your Son and the grace of your love be with us always, so every one of us can firmly grasp the mark of your grace. When we think about this mark, we will think about the price you have paid for us, so that we might know that we are truly beloved.

Lord, I want to be with you. You are Immanuel. Thanks be to God.

We pray in the precious name of Jesus. Amen!


Simon Liu is a church planter and works with church planting networks.

 

FOR PRAYER AND REFLECTION

Pray for Chinese Christians to find their hope in God, not in this world.

Share This Story

Further Reading

yifei-wong-HfLKjg2ic64-unsplash
Nanjing: Bringing the Gospel Into Life
Read More
kenneth-yang-lJWJLkwIsng-unsplash(1)
Nanjing: A Welcoming City of Newcomers
Read More
lee-shuke-h3-ZEAAt_3s-unsplash
Nanjing: A Relational Gospel
Read More

LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA

With rising pressure and persecution in China, there are two challenges imperative for church leaders. The first challenge is for current leaders to love Christ above all else, and not to stray into legalism or love of the world. The second challenge is to raise up the next generation of leaders, who will humbly model Jesus even if current leaders are arrested.

WILL YOU JOIN US IN PRAYING FOR LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT IN CHINA? PRAY FOR:

  1. Current leaders to grow in their daily walks with Christ
  2. Current leaders to shepherd and raise up new leaders
  3. New leaders who love Christ and will model him to the world
  4. New leaders to love and care for the church

Videos

ABOUT LEADERSHIP DEVELOPMENT

About Shenyang

Shenyang is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Liaoning Province. It is known for its rich history and cultural heritage, including the Shenyang Imperial Palace, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Shenyang is also a hub for China’s heavy industry, with companies such as the China First Automobile Group and the Shenyang Aircraft Corporation having their headquarters in the city.

Videos

Stories from Shenyang

About Qingdao

Qingdao is a city located in eastern China and is famous for its beaches, beer, and seafood. The city is home to several landmarks, including the Zhanqiao Pier and the Badaguan Scenic Area. Qingdao is also a major port and has a thriving economy, with industries such as electronics, petrochemicals, and machinery.

Videos

Stories from Qingdao

About Xiamen

Xiamen is a city located in southeastern China and is a popular tourist destination known for its beautiful coastal scenery, including Gulangyu Island, which is a UNESCO World Heritage site. The city is also a hub for China’s high-tech industry, with companies such as Huawei and ZTE having research and development centers in Xiamen.

Videos

Stories from Xiamen

About Chongqing

Chongqing is a city located in southwestern China and is a major economic center in the region. The city is known for its spicy cuisine, especially its hot pot dishes, and is also famous for the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydroelectric dam. Chongqing is also home to several historic sites, including the Dazu Rock Carvings, which are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

Videos

Stories from Chongqing

About Nanjing

Nanjing is a city located in eastern China and is the capital of Jiangsu Province. It is one of China’s ancient capitals and has a rich cultural history, including the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum, the Nanjing City Wall, and the Confucius Temple. Nanjing is also a modern city with a thriving economy and is home to several universities, including Nanjing University and Southeast University.

Videos

Stories from Nanjing

About Changchun

Changchun is a city located in northeastern China and is the capital of Jilin Province. It is known for its rich cultural heritage and is home to several historical landmarks such as the Puppet Emperor’s Palace and the Jingyuetan National Forest Park. Changchun is also a hub for China’s automotive industry, with several major automobile manufacturers having their headquarters in the city.

Videos

Stories from Changchun

About Guangzhou

Guangzhou, also known as Canton, is a city located in southern China and is the capital of Guangdong Province. It is one of the country’s largest and most prosperous cities, serving as a major transportation and trading hub for the region. Guangzhou is renowned for its modern architecture, including the Canton Tower and the Guangzhou Opera House, as well as its Cantonese cuisine, which is famous for its variety and bold flavors. The city also has a rich history, with landmarks such as the Chen Clan Ancestral Hall, the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, and the Temple of the Six Banyan Trees. Additionally, Guangzhou hosts the annual Canton Fair, the largest trade fair in China.

Videos

Stories from Guangzhou

About Kunming

Kunming is a city located in southwest China and is the capital of Yunnan Province. Known as the “City of Eternal Spring” for its mild climate, Kunming is a popular tourist destination due to its natural beauty and cultural diversity. The city is home to several scenic spots, including the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Stone Forest, Dian Lake, and the Western Hills. Kunming is also famous for its unique cuisine, which features a mix of Han, Yi, and Bai ethnic flavors. The city has a rich cultural history, with ancient temples and shrines like the Yuantong Temple and the Golden Temple, and it’s also a hub for Yunnan’s ethnic minority cultures, such as the Yi and Bai peoples.

Videos

Stories from Kunming

About Shenzhen

Shenzhen is a city located in southeastern China and is one of the country’s fastest-growing metropolises. The city is renowned for its thriving tech industry, with companies such as Huawei, Tencent, and DJI having their headquarters in Shenzhen. The city also has a vibrant cultural scene, with numerous museums, art galleries, and parks. Shenzhen is also known for its modern architecture, such as the Ping An Finance Center and the Shenzhen Bay Sports Center. Despite its modernization, Shenzhen also has a rich history and cultural heritage, with landmarks such as the Dapeng Fortress and the Chiwan Tin Hau Temple.

Videos

Stories from Shenzhen

About Chengdu

Chengdu is a city located in the southwestern region of China, and the capital of Sichuan province. It has a population of over 18 million people, and it is famous for its spicy Sichuan cuisine, laid-back lifestyle, and its cute and cuddly residents – the giant pandas. Chengdu is home to the Chengdu Research Base of Giant Panda Breeding, where visitors can observe these adorable creatures in their natural habitat. The city also boasts a rich cultural heritage, with numerous temples, museums, and historical sites scattered throughout its boundaries. Chengdu is a city of contrasts, with ancient traditions coexisting alongside modern developments, making it an intriguing and fascinating destination for visitors to China. 

Videos

Stories from Chengdu

About Beijing

Beijing is the capital city of China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 21 million people. The city has a rich history that spans over 3,000 years, and it has served as the capital of various dynasties throughout China’s history. Beijing is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in China, including the Great Wall, the Forbidden City, and the Temple of Heaven. The city is also a hub for political, cultural, and educational activities, with numerous universities and research institutions located within its boundaries. Beijing is renowned for its traditional architecture, rich cuisine, and vibrant cultural scene, making it a must-visit destination for travelers to China.

Videos

Stories from Beijing

About Shanghai

Shanghai is a vibrant and dynamic city located on the eastern coast of China. It is the largest city in China and one of the most populous cities in the world, with a population of over 24 million people. Shanghai is a global financial hub and a major center for international trade, with a rich history and culture that spans over 1,000 years. The city is famous for its iconic skyline, which features towering skyscrapers such as the Oriental Pearl Tower and the Shanghai Tower. Shanghai is also home to a diverse culinary scene, world-class museums and art galleries, and numerous shopping districts. It is a city that is constantly evolving and reinventing itself, making it a fascinating destination for visitors from around the world.

Videos

Stories from Shanghai

give

A short message about partnering with us.