part 4
"The News"

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 daily.

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 news.

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.

  1. 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.
    1. 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 everywhere.
      • 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 Caesarea.
      • 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."
    2. What are we taking about when we talk about the gospel?
      1. We are talking about the news of God's rule--the good news.
      2. The Greek word translated "gospel" is "euanggelion."
      3. So the Greek word "euanggelion" equals the English word "gospel."
      4. Most of you have long understood that "gospel" means "good news."
      5. So "euanggelion" equal "gospel," and "gospel" equals "good news."
    3. May I ask this simple question: what is the news?
      1. 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 those terms.
      2. "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."
      3. Are you certain within your own understanding that you know what the news is and what the news is about?
        1. I think most of us would quickly say within ourselves, "Yes, I basically understand what this "news" is and what it is about.
        2. Then basically what is it and what is it about?
          1. 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.
          2. 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.
          3. 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.
        3. 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.
          1. Forgiveness in Christ is different and superior to forgiveness in the Old Testament, but the concept of forgiveness was not new.
          2. Sanctification in Christ is different and superior to sanctification in the Old Testament, but the concept of sanctification was not new.
          3. The same can be said for purification, redemption, or righteousness.
          4. 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."
    4. Then what was the "news" that was so "good" it was to be understood in the fact that God's rule came?
      1. 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?
      2. 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 all sinned.
        • 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 come.
        • 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.
      3. So what is the news?
        1. This is the news: sin produced death and death destroyed God's rule in His creation, but now through Jesus' sacrifice and resurrection God conquered death.
        2. 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.
      4. What are the benefits of being under God's rule in the awareness that God conquered death?
        1. We do not have to continue as slaves to the fear of death.
        2. We have the opportunity to be God's new creatures under His rule.
        3. We can receive continuing forgiveness.
        4. We can receive continuing redemption.
        5. We can receive continuing purification and sanctification.
        6. We can live governed by God's righteousness instead of evil's rebellion.
        7. We can boldly come to God's throne of grace expecting, anticipating help when we need it most.
        8. We can have the resurrected Jesus Christ as our continual mediator and intercessor before God.
      5. What we need to realize is this: these things are the benefits of the news, not the news.

  2. One of the massive failures we have imposed on Christianity is this: we make Christianity about us, not about God.
    1. 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.
      1. We focus on our benefits, not on the news.
      2. Consider this chart.
      3. In the "good news" we focus on what we regard "good."
        1. Forgiveness and the destruction of guilt and accountability for past evil.
        2. Sanctification by Christ so we can stand as pure before God.
        3. Redemption so we can be free.
        4. Being made righteous before God through Jesus Christ
        5. The right to come to God.
        6. The right for Jesus to represent us.
        7. Please remember my emphasis: these are benefits made possible because of the news; these are not the news.
    2. Now consider this chart.
      1. The benefits affirm the fact that the news is good news.
      2. God through Jesus defeated death.
      3. Because God defeated death, we can receive the benefits of God's rule.
      4. 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!

David Chadwell

West-Ark Church of Christ, Fort Smith, AR
Evening Sermon, 9 May 2004

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