COMING TO CHRIST
Do you frequently read the "newspaper"? Do you regularly read a "news"
magazine? Do you frequently listen to the "news" on the radio? Do you frequently
watch the world "news" on television?
I must confess I am pretty much a "news" nut. I examine a newspaper almost
daily. Even when I am on a trip I usually find a newspaper. I do not take a news
magazine, but if I happen to be in a waiting room with news magazines available, that
is usually what I read. I listen to the news on my truck radio most days. If I have the
choice, I watch both the local and national news on television. That happens almost
Some would say, "I never watch or listen to or read the news. That is by my
specific intention. I do not take a newspaper; I do not listen to news on the radio; I do
not watch the news on television."
If I asked "why," what explanation would you give? Would you say the news is
too depressing, so you choose not to listen to or read it? Would you say the news
does not tell us the news, that it just tells us what "they" want us to hear, that what
"they" say is biased and cannot be trusted? Would you say that most of the items
reported are bad news and you do not like to focus on bad news? Would you say the
news does not report what you want to hear, what you are interested in?
Let me ask you what is an interesting question to me. What do you consider to
be news? For example, gossip is news. It is usually depressing news. It is usually
slanted to someone else's views or opinions. It usually is not to be trusted because it is
biased and distorted. Most commonly it does not focus on anything good. Yet, it is
So ... what is news? "News" in its simplest consideration is merely a report of
recent or current events. Quite often, today's news is next year's history. All kinds of
news exist. There is good news, there is bad news, and there is news neither good nor
bad--it just happened. There is local news, there is national news, there is international
news, and there is world news (Europeans often hold our news in contempt because
we rarely devote more than five minutes to reporting anything happening in the rest of
the world that does not involve American concerns.) There is political news,
entertainment news, sports news, business news. There is news of what is happening
in families, news about what is happening in your workplace, and news about things of
personal special interest.
News is at the foundation of Christianity. This evening I want us to consider the
importance of news to the existence of faith in Jesus as the Christ.
- Most, if not all of us, here this evening have known for many,
many years that
Christianity exists, even today, through the sharing of the gospel.
- The word "gospel" is a prominent word in the New Testament.
- When the imprisoned John sent word to Jesus to inquire if
Jesus was the Expected
One, Jesus told John's disciples to take this message back to John: "the blind receive
sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised
up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them. And blessed is he who does not
take offense at Me." (Matthew 11:5,6)
- Mark begins his writing with these words: (Mark 1:1) The
beginning of the gospel of
Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
- Luke says of the limited commission of Jesus' twelve disciples: (Luke 9:6) Departing,
they began going throughout the villages, preaching the gospel and healing
- Acts 8:25 says of the work of the apostles Peter and John: So,
when they had solemnly
testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they started back to Jerusalem, and were
preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans.
- Acts 8:40 says of the work of Philip: But Philip found himself at
Azotus, and as he
passed through he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities until he came to
- Paul said in Romans 1:16,17: For I am not ashamed of the
gospel, for it is the power of
God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For
in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, "But the
righteous man shall live by faith."
- What are we taking about when we talk about the gospel?
- We are talking about the news of God's rule--the good news.
- The Greek word translated "gospel" is "euanggelion."
- So the Greek word "euanggelion" equals the English word "gospel."
- Most of you have long understood that "gospel" means "good news."
- So "euanggelion" equal "gospel," and "gospel" equals "good news."
- May I ask this simple question: what is the news?
- Let me state the obvious: this news is not local news, or national news, or
international news, or world news, or entertainment news, or sports news, or
business news, or family news, or work news as we commonly understand
- "Gospel" has to do with the rule of God, and it is about "good news," not "bad
news" or "factual news neither good or bad."
- Are you certain within your own understanding that you know what the news
is and what the news is about?
- I think most of us would quickly say within ourselves, "Yes, I basically
understand what this "news" is and what it is about.
- Then basically what is it and what is it about?
- If you say, "Forgiveness is the news; it is about forgiveness," I would
observe that forgiveness was not news to Israel, that God had
dispensed forgiveness for centuries.
- If you say, "Sanctification is the news; it is about sanctification," I
would observe that sanctification was not news to Israel, that God
dispensed sanctification for centuries.
- If you say purification, or redemption, or righteousness is the news, I
would make the same observation--none of these concepts were new,
none of the concepts are news.
- Yes, I understand that what God did in Jesus' death and resurrection was
permanent and superior in every way to the God-given system for Israel in
the Old Testament.
- Forgiveness in Christ is different and superior to forgiveness in the
Old Testament, but the concept of forgiveness was not new.
- Sanctification in Christ is different and superior to sanctification in the
Old Testament, but the concept of sanctification was not new.
- The same can be said for purification, redemption, or righteousness.
- Considerations like permanent and continuing forgiveness, permanent
and continuing sanctification, permanent and continuing purification,
permanent and continuing redemption, permanent and continuing
righteousness, etc. in Jesus Christ are benefits of the "good news,"
but not the "good news."
- Then what was the "news" that was so "good" it was to be understood in the fact
that God's rule came?
- Allow me to ask a question: what thing not from God's original "very good"
creation was injected into God's "very good" creation that perverted
everything God made?
- To answer that question, allow me to share some readings.
- Genesis 3:1-4 Now the serpent was more crafty than any
beast of the field which the
Lord God had made. And he said to the woman, "Indeed, has God said, 'You shall not
eat from any tree of the garden'?" The woman said to the serpent, "From the fruit of the
trees of the garden we may eat; but from the fruit of the tree which is in the middle of
the garden, God has said, 'You shall not eat from it or touch it, or you will die.' " The
serpent said to the woman, "You surely will not die!"
- Romans 5:10-12 For if while we were enemies we were
reconciled to God through the
death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through
whom we have now received the reconciliation. Therefore, just as through one man sin
entered into the world, and death through sin, and so death spread to all men, because
- Romans 5:14 Nevertheless death reigned from Adam until
Moses, even over those who
had not sinned in the likeness of the offense of Adam, who is a type of Him who was to
- Romans 6:20-23 For when you were slaves of sin, you were free
in regard to
righteousness. Therefore what benefit were you then deriving from the things of which
you are now ashamed? For the outcome of those things is death. But now having been
freed from sin and enslaved to God, you derive your benefit, resulting in sanctification,
and the outcome, eternal life. For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is
eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
- 1 Corinthians 15:20-22 But now Christ has been raised from the
dead, the first fruits of
those who are asleep. For since by a man came death, by a man also came the
resurrection of the dead. For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ all will be made alive.
- 1 Corinthians 15:42-45 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It
is sown a perishable
body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is
sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual
body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body. So also it is written, "The
first man, Adam, became a living soul." The last Adam became a life-giving spirit.
- 1 Corinthians 15:54-58 But when this perishable will have put on
the imperishable, and
this mortal will have put on immortality, then will come about the saying that is written,
"Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is your victory? O death, where is
your sting?" The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law; but thanks be to
God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my beloved
brethren, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing
that your toil is not in vain in the Lord.
- 2 Timothy 1:8-10 Therefore do not be ashamed of the testimony
of our Lord or of me
His prisoner, but join with me in suffering for the gospel according to the power of God,
who has saved us and called us with a holy calling, not according to our works, but
according to His own purpose and grace which was granted us in Christ Jesus from all
eternity, but now has been revealed by the appearing of our Savior Christ Jesus, who
abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel.
- Hebrews 2:14,15 Therefore, since the children share in flesh and
blood, He Himself
likewise also partook of the same, that through death He might render powerless him
who had the power of death, that is, the devil, and might free those who through fear of
death were subject to slavery all their lives.
- 1 Corinthians 15:23-28 But each in his own order: Christ the first
fruits, after that those
who are Christ's at His coming, then comes the end, when He hands over the kingdom
to the God and Father, when He has abolished all rule and all authority and power. For
He must reign until He has put all His enemies under His feet. The last enemy that will
be abolished is death. For He has put all things in subjection under His feet. But when
He says, "All things are put in subjection," it is evident that He is excepted who put all
things in subjection to Him. When all things are subjected to Him, then the Son Himself
also will be subjected to the One who subjected all things to Him, so that God may be
all in all.
- So what is the news?
- This is the news: sin produced death and death destroyed God's rule in
His creation, but now through Jesus' sacrifice and resurrection God
- Because of what God did through Jesus' sacrifice and resurrection, we
have the choice to be God's new creatures once under God's rule.
- What are the benefits of being under God's rule in the awareness that God
- We do not have to continue as slaves to the fear of death.
- We have the opportunity to be God's new creatures under His rule.
- We can receive continuing forgiveness.
- We can receive continuing redemption.
- We can receive continuing purification and sanctification.
- We can live governed by God's righteousness instead of evil's rebellion.
- We can boldly come to God's throne of grace expecting, anticipating help
when we need it most.
- We can have the resurrected Jesus Christ as our continual mediator and
intercessor before God.
- What we need to realize is this: these things are the benefits of the news, not
One of the massive failures we have imposed on Christianity is this: we
Christianity about us, not about God.
- We focus on the benefits to us, consequently we think much more about what
we expect rather than about God's place in our lives.
- We focus on our benefits, not on the news.
- Consider this chart.
- In the "good news" we focus on what we regard "good."
- Forgiveness and the destruction of guilt and accountability for past evil.
- Sanctification by Christ so we can stand as pure before God.
- Redemption so we can be free.
- Being made righteous before God through Jesus Christ
- The right to come to God.
- The right for Jesus to represent us.
- Please remember my emphasis: these are benefits made possible
because of the news; these are not the news.
- Now consider this chart.
- The benefits affirm the fact that the news is good news.
- God through Jesus defeated death.
- Because God defeated death, we can receive the benefits of God's rule.
- The benefits affirm the news of God's defeat of death resulting in God's rule
over His new creation.
"Can I be forgiven of my sins?" Yes! "Can I be redeemed?" Yes! "Can I stand
before God as one who is sanctified, pure?" Yes! "Can I live in the righteousness of
God?" Yes! "Can I confidently look to God for strength, guidance, and hope?" Yes!
"Can I trust Jesus to represent me well to God?" Yes!
Because God has defeated death and given me opportunity to let Him rule my
life! That is the good news!
West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 9 May 2004
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