Monday, May 18, 2015

“Telling the Good News” (Acts 8:34-35)

S-1495 5SOE/3B 5/3/2015 Hymns: (O)#3; (S) # 497; (C) #50

Texts: Acts 8:26-40; 1 John 4:1-11; John 15:1-8

Theme: “Telling the Good News” (Acts 8:34-35)

Question: “How do we tell the Good News?” Observing Main Street Living Sunday (MSL)

Faithful followers of the Savior, Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia! The text for MSLS is from Acts: “And the eunuch said to Philip, “About whom, I ask you, does the prophet say this, about himself or about someone else?” Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus

People of the resurrection we have good news to share with our broken world. The good news is life-changing and eternal. Remember beloved we are still in the Easter season. Many have forgotten this wonderful news. This is because of the horrible influence of pietism. This movement has robbed us of the joy of Easter and the victory Christ has won for us through His death and resurrection.

Lent is a 40 day season of reflecting and meditating on the suffering of Christ which is good and salutary. But Easter…is the glorious and blessed season of Christ’s greatest accomplishments of destroying Satan, sin and death.

However the Easter season is 50 days long. It is 10 days longer than Lent. Yet, it has been reduced to one day. In spite of its length we don’t observe the Easter season. We celebrate a big celebration on the Sunday of Easter and rob ourselves of the joy of the resurrection. We forget that every Sunday is its own Easter celebration.

As people of the resurrection we have good news that the Savior has given us to share. We have glorious news—the best news the world needs to hear, but sadly it is not known all over the world. Neither do many people even know this good news. As our church sign outside states: “Tired of hearing bad news? Come in and hear the Redeemer’s good news.”

In this house of worship as the Holy Spirit gathers us often at our Easter celebration we are blessed to hear the glorious good news of our salvation. Here we hear the Words of hope that our redemption is guaranteed. Our salvation is sure and our forgiveness is real. PAUSE.

In his book “Thirty Years A Watch Tower Slave” W. J. Schnell writes: “My father, who while dying said to me, ‘Son, have we been wrong in our religion?’” What a heart-breaking question this dying man asked his son: “Are we wrong about our religion?” Yes, the Jehovah Witnesses are wrong because they don’t know Jesus. They don’t believe in the Divinity of Jesus. They don’t believe in Jesus or His saving work on the cross of Calvary.

But thanks be to God for His mercy, who through His Word reveals to us the truth of His good news of saving us from the wrath of God and hell’s furry. Praise be to Jesus for His marvelous redemptive work for us through His suffering, death and glorious resurrection.

That is what we have in the first reading for this 5th Sunday of Easter. Dr. Luke tells us that the evangelist Philip is called upon by the Holy Spirit to go on the road that leads out of Jerusalem heading south to Gaza. He was sent to clarify to the Ethiopian eunuch what he was reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip beginning with this Scripture told him the good news about Jesus. Philip used all of the Scripture that was available to him then—only the O.T., to share the good news that from front to finish is about Jesus the ONLY Lord and Savior for all people everywhere. The good news is the gospel of Christ earning our redemption and salvation through His ultimate sacrifice. PAUSE.

People of the resurrection, on this Sunday, we South Dakotans are so richly blessed to be part of a great ministry called Main St. Living. A program that has been in existence since 2001 for the sole purpose of allowing the Good News to be shared and spread to many people not only in this house of worship; but especially to those who are no longer able to be in church and who are un-churched.

Today, we thank the Lord for the ministry of MSL by joining our voices and opening our pockets so that others might hear the Good News about Jesus. What is the Good News you may ask? The Good News of salvation earned through Christ’s death and resurrection as Isaiah shares it in the Lamb who was led to the slaughter without opening His mouth.

As God’s people living in Armour, SD, we have a glorious opportunity to open our mouth and wallets, speak and give of our time and treasures so that not only one eunuch may hear; but all of God’s people everywhere may hear the grand and glorious news that Christ is Risen!

Sometimes we are reluctant to share the good news because we are afraid of what others think of us. We even think that we don’t know what to say or how to say it. We buy into the devil’s schemes of saying, “You are not fit to bring good news to people!” PAUSE.

But what if you had some of your words recorded for all time in history. What would you like it to be? In Acts 12, Luke mentions the name of a servant girl—Rhoda. Rhoda had gone to the door when Peter knocked. Answering the door was part of her job as a servant girl. Yet rather than opening the gate and welcoming the apostle Peter, she forgot about him and ran back to tell the others. Might Rhoda have felt a little awkward, considering that of all the things she did in her life, this was the one that the Lord saw fit to include in His Holy Scripture.

I hope not. Let’s not allow Rhoda’s surprised reaction to overshadow her extreme Joy. She was so excited that God has rescued Peter that she had to tell people about it. She was so happy about the new life that God had given to Peter that she had to let others know right away. She was willing to put her everyday responsibilities on hold for something so important: exclaiming the good news of the rescue and freedom that our living God gives.

This is the freedom that we have in Jesus our resurrected Lord. Because Jesus rose from the dead, we know that we are free from God’s righteous wrath against our wrongs. Because Jesus rose from the dead, we know that we are free from the clutches of a cold casket. Because Jesus rose from the dead, we know we are free from the evil one’s accusations. Set free by Jesus’ sacrifice! Set free to exclaim this good news to all people especially the people God puts in our lives daily!

The Apostle Paul in Romans 1:16 says: “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.” Yes, we shouldn’t be ashamed to share the good news. We shouldn’t be ashamed of our Bridegroom—Jesus Christ.

We shouldn’t be ashamed to speak about the persecuted Christians and stand with them. We know that Christians are being persecuted everywhere—the baker who was fined $135,000 for not baking a cake to a gay couple, likewise the Chick-Fil-A; and Hobby Lobby.

Are we willing to stand with the Nazarene? Are we willing to support the ministry of this congregation and MSL? Are we willing to be well prepared to fight the devil who comes into our midst and destroys our confidence and take our hopes away from us?

You should know that the devil came into the midst of us in the 70’s by abortion. Now he is coming into the lives of fathers, mothers and children. Reformation is not something that took place 500 years ago. It is needed today to tell the world of the good news of Jesus.

People of the Resurrection: The good news we have been blessed to receive and hear every Sunday, is not only for the saints of this congregation. But it is for the abused mother, the widows and widowers, the unemployed, the hurting, the addicted to alcohol, pornography, gambling and every other addition.

A dying man once asked his son, “Are we wrong about our religion?” And they were. After 30 years of slavery J. W. Schnell left the false religion and worship Christ the giver of good news. You and I know the truth that has set us free to hear and receive the good news of our salvation.

As followers of Jesus, in this place we are privileged and honored to hear His Word and preach the good news of the Gospel for the sake of souls who don’t know Jesus as Savior and Lord. We preach the good news on MSLTV and in LCMS pulpits so that we can reach the ends of the earth with the message that changes lives one soul at a time—forever.

Praise be to Jesus who tells His Father of the good news that we are His baptized and blood-bought children for time and eternity. Amen.

Now the peace…


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