February 18, 2024


Good News Needs Telling

Good News Needs Telling
Trinity Lutheran Church, Greeley, Colorado
Good News Needs Telling

Feb 18 2024 | 00:20:49


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[00:00:00] Our text is from Mark, chapter one, verses twelve to 15. I read it from my version immediately the spirit cast him into the desert. He was in the desert 40 days, being tempted by Satan. He was with the beasts. The angels were serving him. [00:00:21] After the giving over of John to Herod, Jesus us went into Galilee proclaiming the good news and saying, the time has been fulfilled. The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe in the good news. [00:00:38] God's grace, mercy and peace be with you from our lord and savior Jesus Christ. [00:00:45] Good news needs telling this past weekend you could tell that there was good news coming, at least for those in Kansas City. [00:00:55] It was all over the facebook and so on. The chiefs had won again, narrowly defeating the 49 ers in overtime. [00:01:05] Now those who were from San Francisco were supporting them were very quiet. [00:01:12] Good news spreads like wildfire when it happens because people are so excited about it. [00:01:19] Being born in Topeka, Kansas, an hour from Kansas City, I was in the one group those bits of good news that happen to us personally also get spread quickly to our neighbors, friends and relatives. [00:01:36] Be it the announcement of an engagement or a pregnancy. The good news spreads rapidly from those who are excited about the good news. [00:01:48] We who have good news to tell, want to tell and share that good news with others so that hopefully they can experience the same happiness we are feeling with us. [00:02:03] Suppose that you had just found out you had won a big award from some contest you entered, maybe a million dollars. [00:02:11] Would you sit on that news and not tell anyone? [00:02:16] Or would you immediately want to share that news with your spouse or your children right away? [00:02:23] Would you wait until the next family reunion to tell your more distant relatives, like your brothers and sisters or your cousins? [00:02:34] Or would you tell them as soon as you felt you could? [00:02:39] So you see what I mean? [00:02:42] Good news needs telling. [00:02:45] It is a part of our human nature to want to share good news with those we love, and perhaps even with others who aren't as close. [00:02:55] Our happiness wants to not be contained within us, but to seek expression by sharing the good news with others. [00:03:05] And yet, we are often reluctant to tell the best good news of all with those we know. [00:03:12] You see, we have won a prize greater than all the prizes that have ever been awarded in history. [00:03:20] The prize that we have won as christians will give us more joy than the biggest mansion, the best family vacation, and the most beautiful car all rolled up in one. [00:03:33] This prize will be presented to us by someone who is even more well known and popular than Taylor Swift. [00:03:44] Indeed, this prize, which we have won through the blood of Jesus Christ will be presented to us by God himself. [00:03:53] The grand prize we will win is an eternity in heaven. And the good news is that every believer in Christ will win the grand prize. [00:04:06] Now, that sounds like pretty good news, doesn't it? [00:04:10] Well, if it is such great news, it needs telling. [00:04:17] Don't you want to just share that news with just about everyone? [00:04:22] And yet, so often we don't. [00:04:25] We aren't like Jesus in our text, who effectively withstood the temptations of Satan. [00:04:32] No. When Satan whispers in your ears, don't tell them about Jesus. You don't want them to think you're a religious freak. Or he convinces us that if we told some friend or neighbor or acquaintance about Jesus, we might jeopardize our relationship with that individual. [00:04:52] We often succumb to the temptation and don't share with others the best thing that has ever happened to us, namely, that Jesus has given us eternal life by his death on the cross to take away the sins that prevent us from being friends with God. [00:05:16] And that is why we need lent. [00:05:19] We are sinners. [00:05:21] During these 40 days, we can look over our lives and see where we need to repent of our sins. To repent in the good news, we know that Christ died for our sins so that nothing would separate us from the God who is love. [00:05:40] Yet we can be sorry that that sacrifice had to be made for our sake. [00:05:47] While Jesus, in order to fast from the world's pleasures, refused to turn stones into bread, we are willing and happy to be tempted to blow our resources on pleasures far beyond what we need, and sometimes more than we can afford. [00:06:07] While Jesus would not accept Satan's offers to give him control over the nations of the world, but rather said he wanted to worship God and be his servant. [00:06:19] We admire those, and maybe we envy them, those who get great power and can pretty well just say and do what they want in the world. [00:06:30] And we look upon our politicians sometimes as those having this great power, especially in America, the most powerful nation in the world. And we maybe look upon these leaders to save us from all our problems, whether our own or society at large. [00:06:50] And what is worse, we sometimes believe them that they can solve all these problems that they promise they will. [00:07:01] This past week, on Wednesday, when I found out I would be preaching, I got a phone call from someone that turned out to be a scammer. Of course, they weren't presenting themselves like that. They were all excited. And they said that the congressional Republican Committee had just voted to endorse Donald Trump, and that was false. I checked it out later. But as she went through her spiel, very excited, she said, and, you know, donald Trump will save the world. [00:07:35] And I said, no, Jesus Christ is the only one who will save the world. [00:07:42] So I witnessed to her when the tempter encouraged Jesus to jump from the roof of the temple in Jerusalem to test whether God would actually send angels to protect him as promised in psalm 91, he responds with the scripture that says that one should not test God's love and care. Unnecessarily, Jesus remained focused on his mission. He didn't let other things stand in the way. He wasn't going to take the time to test God's care and love. He wasn't going to take a brief sojourn and get all the power in the world. He wasn't going to turn bread into wine when he was trying to fast. As a part of his preparation for his mission. [00:08:30] His mission was to bring people to repentance and to belief in the good news. [00:08:35] He doesn't make excuses to avoid telling the good news. [00:08:40] In our text, it says that John the Baptist was arrested by Herod. [00:08:45] What had John been doing? [00:08:47] He had been preaching that people repent and be baptized to have their sins forgiven according to John or Mark one. [00:08:57] Of course, in King Herod's case, this included preaching that Herod should repent of his sin, of having stolen his brother's wife from him. [00:09:09] Because of his preaching, John was put into prison and eventually beheaded. [00:09:16] But what does jesus do once he hears that John is imprisoned? [00:09:22] He starts preaching. The time has been fulfilled. The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news, even though, like John, it meant he might be risking his life. And he was. [00:09:39] Because of Jesus'proclamation of this good news of the kingdom, Jesus also was eventually captured, tried and executed. [00:09:49] So we may find that we are unwilling to tell the good news to even close friends out of fear of creating an awkward situation. [00:09:59] When Jesus was even willing to lay his life on the line in order to proclaim the good news. [00:10:08] But then, due to our fallen nature, we often don't do a very good job of resisting temptation. While Jesus, on the other hand, was perfect and was able to face Satan head on and not succumb to temptation, Jesus, though, was perfect in every way. [00:10:29] In the desert, he fasted for 40 days, even though it was within his power to turn rocks into raspberries had he so desired. [00:10:39] We, though can't even resist passing by a refrigerator door without opening it. Sometimes Jesus resisted the devil's offer to give him governance over all the nations of the world if he would just bow down and worship him. [00:10:56] While we humans are oftentimes willing to sell our soul's salvation for a little sinful fun, Jesus refused to test God's love for him by throwing himself down from the roof of the temple. [00:11:13] But we test God's love every day, his patience every day with our sinful and foolish behavior. [00:11:22] We should have been the ones on the cross, but instead, Jesus was. [00:11:29] When the fullness of time came, Jesus died the sacrificial death that the prophets had foretold. The innocent lamb, pure and without spot, died for the dirty swine. [00:11:44] But by the shedding of his blood, we are cleansed through the Holy Spirit that becomes ours. We are transformed from being dirty swine into being pure and perfect lambs because we are recreated in the image of God through Jesus Christ, and we bear that image of the lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world by his resurrection. We know that God approved of that sacrifice of the lamb by his ascension. We are assured that the kingdom of God is ours, for our savior is reigning over heaven and earth. [00:12:27] So we should take Jesus'proclamation seriously when he says, repent and believe in the good news. We should realize that he was not just preaching to the Jews of his age, but he was speaking to us as well. [00:12:48] We should repent and turn back in the good news. [00:12:52] The good news is that there is an escape from the way that leads to eternal death. [00:12:58] We can repent, turn back, and not go down that path to eternal death. God can forgive every sin of everyone who realizes that in him, eternal death is not a foregone conclusion. We can turn around. That's what repentance means. [00:13:18] He will forgive our greediness, our pride, our silence when we should be witnessing. So turn around in the good news. It frees you from Satan's lures. [00:13:31] Lint is a kind of reenactment in our lives of Jesus's 40 days in the wilderness, where he endures temptations and gave up regular meals to fast. During that time, Lint probably did not become a regular church season until the 300s AD. [00:13:51] In the past, Christians often gave up something for Lent. [00:13:57] Did you ever give up anything for Lent? Did you give up anything for this lent? If you did, raise your hand, okay, a few did not. Me either. [00:14:10] That practice has largely died out and even become something to joke about. [00:14:16] When one of my sons was in college, a woman who was later to become his wife asked him if he was giving up anything for Lent. [00:14:24] My son replied, underpants. [00:14:30] This daughter in law said that one of the reasons she married him was because of his sense of humor. [00:14:36] Perhaps a lot of women marry the man they do, so they have something to laugh at. [00:14:43] Also believe in the good news as well. Believe in Christ as your savior and Lord put your life in his hands, knowing that he was able to even conquer death. [00:14:56] Indeed, the very fact that you do repent and believe in the good news shows that you are saved, for it is proof that God has called you and set you apart to be his own. If you are sorry for your sins and believe in the good news, you are a part of that kingdom of God that is near, and indeed that kingdom of God is in you. [00:15:21] If you have been to our worship services the last few weeks, you have heard Pastor Vanderheide talk about how the 40 days of Lent do not include Sundays, as Sundays are not really days of repentance, but of joy because of Christ's resurrection from the dead. [00:15:41] You see, that Sunday thing came before Lent, because even in the New Testament, in acts 20, verse seven, one corinthians 16, verse two, and revelation 110, it appears that from the time of the apostles, the Hebrew Sabbath on Saturday had been replaced by what was of more importance to the Christian the first day of the week. Sunday. As Christ rose on that first day of the week, that was that good news that was most important for the christians. [00:16:18] That Christ is risen is very good news, and good news needs telling. [00:16:25] Personally, we can tell what God has done for us in Christ, to our family, our friends and our acquaintances. [00:16:33] We can look for ways to witness to our faith through tracks, through looking for opportunities to serve through Facebook or other social media as God gives us the time, gift and opportunity. [00:16:47] Now, today, Pastor Hasi is with us and if you want to get some ideas about how to do evangelism, he's a good one to ask to share about how to various ways in which you can share the gospel using different means of doing so. And I know that I am happy to see some of you who are my Facebook friends share christian messages with those through that website. [00:17:16] And there are so many other ways we can join with others to proclaim the good news of Christ. [00:17:23] I have been happy to see that we have put ads in the newspaper recently about our school and spatial services. [00:17:31] We also sponsor the Lutheran Hour on KFKA radio station that is broadcast on Sunday mornings as a part of the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, we send missionaries to foreign countries throughout the world to tell the good news in places where it has never been heard, and to communities here in America where the good news is not sufficiently proclaimed. [00:17:57] And there are many other lutheran mission groups. We have one represented here by a couple groups of the Lutheran Women's Missionary league that raise money and support various lutheran missions as decided by their groups. [00:18:12] We have also the lutheran hour ministries, which not only does the radio program here in the US and other means of evangelism, but does so throughout the world. [00:18:25] There are other good mission groups like the Lutheran indian ministries group that bring the good news to American Indians, elutes and Eskimos, Lutheran Bible translators that learns the languages of ethnic groups so they can translate the scriptures into something they are able to understand, and the Lutheran association of Missionaries and pilots that brings the good news to Eskimos, Indians and elute people in Canada. [00:18:53] One thing you who attended Ash Wednesday services last week may have participated in was the drawing of the cross on your forehead with ashes. [00:19:05] The cross is a testimony of one's commitment as a Christian to repent and believe in the good news. I have one here today. [00:19:14] Those who were here for the service on Ash Wednesday night probably went home right away and washed the ashes off. [00:19:23] But those in the morning service, the service hopefully kept those ashes on their foreheads all day because they serve as a testimony, a witness to one's commitment to repent and believe in the good news. I remember, especially as a younger man, that those of my classmates, other students, would come with the ashes on their head to school all day because the Catholics had an early service where they did that, and those were to be a testimony to their repentance and belief in the good news. [00:20:04] Yes, good news needs telling. [00:20:07] Whether it is the news of the birth of a baby or about a new job, good news needs telling. [00:20:15] But the most important news that needs telling is about the wonderful prize that is ours because of Christ, because he died for us. We have eternal life in Christ in heaven. This good news transcends all the best news the world can give us. [00:20:36] Tell it. [00:20:38] Amen. [00:20:39] And now may the peace that surpasses all human understanding stand guard of your hearts and minds through faith in Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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