Sharing Good News

THE PRAYER FOR ILLUMINATION

Through the stories of the Bible, God reveals His gift of love and guides us to deeper understanding. We seek the Holy Spirit to instruct us in God’s love, as we pray to the Lord.

 

O Gracious God we come aware of your presence in the written Word. The Holy Spirit falls upon all who hear Your Word to help us understand your grace and powerful love. Prepare our hearts to receive Your Spirit, Lord, for we truly need Your presence in our lives every day. We gratefully praise the Lord for the marvelous things done and the wonderful stories of faith revealed.  In Christ we pray. Amen.

 

THE FIRST SCRIPTURE READING         Acts 10:34-43            Gentiles Hear the Good News

Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. You know the message he sent to the people of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ—he is Lord of all. That message spread throughout Judea, beginning in Galilee after the baptism that John announced: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power; how he went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. We are witnesses to all that he did both in Judea and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree; but God raised him on the third day and allowed him to appear, not to all the people but to us who were chosen by God as witnesses, and who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. He commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one ordained by God as judge of the living and the dead. All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

 

May the Lord bless this Holy Word to our understanding.

 

A TIME WITH GOD’S CHILDREN#  “This is My Commandment”

 

THE SECOND SCRIPTURE                       1 John 5:1-12              Faith Conquers the World

Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God, and everyone who loves the parent loves the child. By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God and obey his commandments. For the love of God is this, that we obey his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome, for whatever is born of God conquers the world. And this is the victory that conquers the world, our faith. Who is it that conquers the world but the one who believes that Jesus is the Son of God?

 

This is the one who came by water and blood, Jesus Christ, not with the water only but with the water and the blood. And the Spirit is the one that testifies, for the Spirit is the truth. There are three that testify: the Spirit and the water and the blood, and these three agree. If we receive human testimony, the testimony of God is greater; for this is the testimony of God that he has testified to his Son. Those who believe in the Son of God have the testimony in their hearts. Those who do not believe in God have made him a liar by not believing in the testimony that God has given concerning his Son. And this is the testimony: God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.

 

THE SERMON           “Sharing Good News”

     

 

 

We don’t often hear good news on the morning or evening broadcast news.  It seems as through good news does not sell newspapers. We get bombarded with bad news, including explosions and earthquakes, Bridgegate and Bengahzi, suicide bombers and pilots, oil prices up while stocks go down, attacks and accidents,  just to name a few. The medical diagnosis appears bleak at best. Bad news surrounds us.

Sometimes, we hear Good News. We celebrate the birth of a child or grandchild. We rejoice in the accomplishments of someone we love. We win an office pool, or a door prize or an unexpected refund. We read a story of a person who does a heroic act in the face of tragedy. Rescuers pulled two survivors out of the rubble five days after the 7.8 earthquake in Kathmandu. The doctor declares our medical condition continues to improve. From time to time, we receive good news.

The Gentiles received Good News from Peter. Peter witnessed God’s gift of grace through the Holy Spirit to the Roman Centurion, Cornelius. Peter shared the Good News of Jesus Christ by retelling the story of God’s activity. He recounts Jesus’ life giving ministry, his death for the sins of the world, and his resurrection power.  God came to earth in the person of Jesus of Nazareth to bring us into a Holy relationship with our Creator. This is very Good News.

After Easter, Jesus sent the Disciples out to proclaim the Good News to the ends of the earth. They were to continue Christ’s ministry as witnesses to God’s love. The Apostles preached. They told the story of God’s love by helping others understand the power of God’s forgiveness of sins. They helped others see the Good News of Jesus and how the prophets testified to God’s promise and love. The Good News of God’s activity continues from the beginning of time and forever.

The Apostle John wrote to the early church to encourage the believers to live by faith. John describes God’s love as the love of a parent to a child. We are children of God and when we love Jesus, we love God the Father. We demonstrate our love by obeying God’s commandments. First, God’s people received the Ten Commandments, a guide of how to love God and neighbor. If we could follow these Commandments, we would demonstrate our love for God and live in harmony with our neighbors.

These Commandments had become burdensome as the Rabbi’s taught the multitude of restrictions to fulfill the laws. There were guidelines that hemmed in the Jewish believer and a series of rituals to follow. Jesus came not to abolish the law but to fulfill its ultimate intent. Jesus came to redirect the ritualistic religion into a faith freely followed. Faith comes when we believe God the Father sent Jesus the Son as Messiah to save the sinners through the water and the blood. 

Water reminds us of God’s cleansing through the waters of Baptism. We are linked to the foundations of the faith as God formed a people through the flood of Noah, the Exodus through the Red Sea, and the baptism of John.

The blood calls us to remember the cross of Jesus and his death at the hands of the Roman executioner. Jesus died and rose again. He appeared to the Disciples who could give human testimony to God’s activity. But even more important than the first-hand accounts by the Disciple’s, comes when we see God’s activity in our hearts. When we accept Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we discover a miraculous transformation in our own lives. We realize the gift of eternal life, life through Jesus Christ. We experience the Good News of our adoption by God. We realize that as Jesus is raised from the dead, we too will enter eternity. This is Good News for those who live by faith.

Like Peter and John, God calls us to give our human testimony. God will use our witness to our love of Jesus to work in the lives of others. We can share the Good News as we witness to God’s activity in our life. We can share what we believe about Jesus Christ and how our sins have been forgiven. We can give testimony to ways the Lord watched over us and walked with us through difficult times. We can share the Good News by giving Almighty God credit for our health, our successes, our financial stability, and our love.

I challenge you to recall your Good News. When, how, what, and why do you trust Jesus Christ? . When, how, what, and why have you seen the work of the Holy Spirit in your life? Then who can you share this Good News this week? Jesus came into the world to give us life, let us ask the Holy Spirit give us courage to share the Good News.  If we trust God, let us share the Good News with those we know and allow the Holy Spirit to make the greater work in their hearts. We can share with others the transforming love and power of Jesus to bring new life to others. We show our love for God and neighbor as we share the Good News. TGBTG. Amen.

  May 2017  
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