They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and signs were being performed through the apostles. Now all the believers were together and held all things in common. They sold their possessions and property and distributed the proceeds to all, as any had need. Every day they devoted themselves to meeting together in the temple, and broke bread from house to house. They ate their food with joyful and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. Every day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
The Disciplines that Shape the Church for Mission
Being with the Least of These
The Lord’s Table
Today we are going to discuss the discipline of “Proclaiming the Gospel”
The Gospel is a Word we Use But Often Misunderstand.
It means “Good News”
Our world can use some “Good News”
We are told daily:
few can escape poverty because our socioeconomic circumstances dictate our future.
Psychologists tell us that people don’t change.
Addictions will never go away; they can only be managed.
Problems can only be manipulated by science, but never transcended.
Social problems can only be changed through government, and we all know the government is corrupt.
We no longer live like we believe in the supernatural, including the church.
Our society has been convinced that medications are the only answer to struggles with depression, yet the depression never seems to go away. So we are told we must learn to manage it.
Our world needs some Good News! Our world needs the Gospel!
But what is the Gospel?
For I passed on to you as most important what I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures,
The typical definition of the Gospel.
The apostle Paul defines it, the gospel is the announcement that God has fulfilled the promise of Scripture to make the world right in Jesus Christ. Christ died for our sins. By his death and resurrection, he has defeated the effects of our sins, including death itself. He now sits at the right hand of the Father ruling over the world.
If you believe in this Good News and repent, making Jesus your Lord then you have been reconciled to God, forgiven of your sins and will spend eternity with God in heaven. We call this salvation.
This is the Gospel, the good news that we preach. And it is the Gospel, but I think we miss something........because to many today this doesn’t sound like the most amazing news they have ever heard.
We Have Made the Good News All About Personal Salvation, and our future destination of Heaven.
It is bigger then personal salvation. Bigger then going to heaven in the future.
Good News to me needs to be good news now, not something that I am waiting for.
Personal salvation and eternity in heaven are just a small piece of the Gospel message. The Good News that Jesus preached is actually good news for today!
After John was arrested, Jesus went to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God: “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!”
Jesus Preached About Supernatural Change.
The Good News is that a new kingdom has arrived, God’s kingdom.
This new kingdom is different, it’s supernatural, none of your self defeating beliefs are true in this new kingdom.
Jesus would tell a blind man that he can see, or a crippled man that he can walk. And they would. This is the kingdom that Jesus preached, a kingdom where everything changes.
But some people would say, that was when Jesus was here, but that stuff doesn’t happen anymore. Now we live a life saved by God, and we wait for the future return of Jesus so we can live with him forever in heaven.
Jesus never spoke this way, it was never a future thing for Jesus, it was always a right now hope that Jesus would provide. This right now hope is what would change people through the power of the Gospel.
2. The disciples followed Jesus before his death in a similar way that some today do. But it misses the point.
a. The disciples saw the kingdom of God as a future kingdom that was being brought in by the messiah. A kingdom that would have the Jews as the rulers over the world. And the messiah would be their king.
b. It was a future thing, yet Jesus kept showing them and teaching them that the kingdom of God was near.
3. In Acts 2 the disciples finally get what Jesus meant by a supernatural kingdom.
a. The holy spirit comes and reveals to them what Jesus had already been teaching.
b. Peter his disciple who denied Jesus three times when the going got tough, now becomes a bold preacher who will take part in changing the world.
Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice, and proclaimed to them: “Fellow Jews and all you residents of Jerusalem, let me explain this to you and pay attention to my words. For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it’s only nine in the morning. On the contrary, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: And it will be in the last days, says God, that I will pour out my Spirit on all people; then your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. I will even pour out my Spirit on my servants in those days, both men and women and they will prophesy. I will display wonders in the heaven above and signs on the earth below: blood and fire and a cloud of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the great and glorious day of the Lord comes. Then everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. “Fellow Israelites, listen to these words: This Jesus of Nazareth was a man attested to you by God with miracles, wonders, and signs that God did among you through him, just as you yourselves know. Though he was delivered up according to God’s determined plan and foreknowledge, you used lawless people to nail him to a cross and kill him. God raised him up, ending the pains of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by death. For David says of him: I saw the Lord ever before me; because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices. Moreover, my flesh will rest in hope, because you will not abandon me in Hades or allow your holy one to see decay. You have revealed the paths of life to me; you will fill me with gladness in your presence. “Brothers and sisters, I can confidently speak to you about the patriarch David: He is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Since he was a prophet, he knew that God had sworn an oath to him to seat one of his descendants on his throne. Seeing what was to come, he spoke concerning the resurrection of the Messiah: He was not abandoned in Hades, and his flesh did not experience decay. “God has raised this Jesus; we are all witnesses of this. Therefore, since he has been exalted to the right hand of God and has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, he has poured out what you both see and hear. For it was not David who ascended into the heavens, but he himself says: The Lord declared to my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.’ “Therefore let all the house of Israel know with certainty that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.” When they heard this, they were pierced to the heart and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles: “Brothers, what should we do?” Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, each of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children, and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” With many other words he testified and strongly urged them, saying, “Be saved from this corrupt generation!” So those who accepted his message were baptized, and that day about three thousand people were added to them.
Peter proclaims the Gospel in two ways.
He teaches it to the people by telling them that there is a new way of living, a new way of doing things, a new option for life.
He shows them that God can change people through the power of the Gospel. He shows them by getting up, preaching this message and living it. Not talking about striving to live it, but actually living his life dedicated to the Gospel message. The kingdom of God.
Peter was transformed, and empowered. This transformation proclaims the Gospel.
The Gospel means we are free from sin, that we no longer need to strive to follow God, we are free and can live our lives supernaturally.
When I talk to someone who struggles from addiction, I tell them that God wants to free you, not teach you to manage it, but literally free you from your addictions.
This freedom is the kingdom that Jesus preached, that Peter tells us about in his sermons in Acts.
If I told you that you could be free from all your sins, delivered and transformed into a new person, would you say that’s good news?
What if I told you that all the work has been done for you, all you need to do is place your trust in one person, Jesus Christ? So you receive the freedom from everything for free!
The Gospel is that God has come in Christ, who has been made Lord, and a whole new world (the kingdom of God) has begun. In Christ, God has begun to make all things right!
Big Idea: Stop believing the lie that the Gospel is for the future and you need to strive to live your life for Jesus. We don’t strive, we submit and choose to live in the kingdom of God, rather then the world. We are given the power to live with this kind of freedom.
Then proclaim this power in everything you do, because it truly is “Good News”