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Good News Everyone
Scripture: Luke 4:17-21; Luke 4:43; Colossians 1:15...
Track 1 of 8 in the When Helping Hurts series
Running time: 1 hour, 08 minutes, 41 seconds.
My intention with this lesson series is to make it more than just a Sunday school lesson, I want this to be a dialog together as we explore and learn some fundamental truths about helping others, helping my neighbor, helping those who are poor and oppressed. What I discovered is the issue isnt about eliminating poverty (Jesus said the poor will always be with us), the issue is about the church and our role in helping those around us.

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Mike Nobis Speaker: Mike Nobis
Sunday School Teacher, Former Elder at Madison Park Christian Church. Mike is President of JK Creative Printers & Mailing in Quincy, IL. He is married to Pam and has three children, Tom, Tyler and Jennifer. Mike has three grandchildren: Ryne, Ivy and Alicia.

View all sermons by this speaker.

Good News Everyone!

I often wonder and ponder the question, am I doing enough good in the world around me. I always seem to come to the same conclusion, NO. I can’t necessarily put my finger on exactly what it is I am to be doing or who I should start helping but whenever this question comes up or I am confronted with helping others, guilt is close at hand in my heart. Guilt is a product of sin. I know deep inside me that I am not doing what needs to be done in reference to helping those around me. But when I do, often times my work and effort seems to cause more problems than good or the results I had hoped to see don’t materialize.

All over the Bible, especially in the Gospels we see a tremendous emphasis on helping those who need help, even our enemies deserve to be helped. That is a hard concept for many and I know it is hard for me also. I get confused and discouraged at times when I read what Jesus had to say about the poor, those who are less fortunate than me and those who are oppressed. I know I am to play a part in helping but I am not sure what is required.

I am by nature an “A” type person. The characteristics of my personality make it hard for me to sympathize or understand those who are poor. For me, it is just a matter of working harder, being smarter and doing what it takes to change my circumstances. When I enter into a relationship with someone I want to help, I come at solutions from my perspective and can’t understand why these people don’t get it. But I have learned over the course of time that what happens in my world is so much different than the world of the poor. What seems right can be totally wrong. My solutions could be problems for others.

My intention with this lesson series is to make it more than just a Sunday school lesson, I want this to be a dialog together as we explore and learn some fundamental truths about helping others, helping my neighbor, helping those who are poor and oppressed. What I discovered is the issue isn’t about eliminating poverty (Jesus said the poor will always be with us), the issue is about the church and our role in helping those around us.

I want to deal with three critical questions today:

Why did Jesus come to Earth?
What was the real reason why Israel went into captivity?
What is the primary task of the Church?

You might be asking yourself, what do these questions have to do with helping the poor. They have everything to do with the topic. As I looked at this topic, I ran across several principles that deal with helping others that I never really understood before. I hope this lesson series brings new meaning to you especially when and how we are to help others.

Why did Jesus come to Earth? (Notice the differences in the answers) The small differences can have dramatic consequences including how the church responds to the plight of the poor.

I think it is interesting to hear directly from Jesus himself as to why He came and what His mission was.

Luke 4:17-21 The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was handed to him. Unrolling it, he found the place where it is written: “The Spirit of the Lord is on me, because he has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” Then he rolled up the scroll, gave it back to the attendant and sat down. The eyes of everyone in the synagogue were fastened on him, and he began by saying to them, “Today this scripture is fulfilled in your hearing.”

Now this passage would have had tremendous impact on the listener. The Jews were under persecution and oppression by the Romans. They longed to get free from the yoke of Rome. The passage in Isaiah spoke about God’s people receiving justice, peace and righteousness. Could this be the Messiah they were looking for. Then Jesus said to them that all Isaiah spoke about was fulfilled in their hearing. In the same chapter Jesus summarizes His ministry as follows:

Luke 4:43 But he said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”

What was the Good News? That Jesus is the Messiah and he has come to fix everything sin has ruined.

I want to go back to the answers everyone gave concerning why Jesus came to this earth. Too often people give the answer that Jesus came to die on the cross and to save us from our sins. While that is true, it falls way short of why Jesus actually came. Look what Paul had to say about this:

Colossians 1:15-20 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.

According to Paul, why did Jesus come to Earth? Not only did Jesus die to save our souls, but he also came to reconcile, to make the wrong things right. Not just for the Jew, but for all mankind. Not just on this Earth, but throughout the cosmos.

Is Jesus really the Messiah? When someone asks you that, how do you respond? What is your answer? How do you convince someone that He really is the Messiah?

It was interesting that John the Baptist was haunted with the same question. He sent two of his disciples to ask Jesus that question. What is interesting is how Jesus answered it. John asked this question after seeing Jesus work and hearing from God himself that He was pleased with Jesus at His baptism. Yet, John still needed to ask the question. If hearing from God, as he did when Jesus was baptized, how pleased He was about Jesus didn’t convince John, then what would?

Luke 7:22-23 So he replied to the messengers, “Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”

In essence, Jesus said to John that he can be sure that the Messiah had come because Jesus was preaching the good news of the kingdom like Isaiah said he would but also he was showing the good news of the kingdom.

Would there be a difference if Jesus only used words and not deeds to declare the kingdom? Explain your answer. How would the following passage be different if Jesus only used words to preach the good news and not include deeds?

Luke 18:35-43 As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.

Who would have believed Jesus had he said that he was interested in saving the man’s soul but didn’t do anything about the man’s physical condition. Would they have believed that Jesus was the Messiah? Jesus deeds were essential to proving that He truly was the promised Messiah. Jesus preached the good news of the kingdom and he showed the good news of the kingdom.

What made Jesus’ news so good? What was it that he said that made him very popular, appealing, sought after, followed? Was it because he was good looking? Was he a great preacher? Was it because the 12 disciples were his choir so he could have great music in the background when he preached? What made him so successful?

What makes MPCC’s news so good? When People ask you, is Jesus really the Messiah, or is Jesus really real, how do you answer? Do we at MPCC not only preach the good news about the kingdom, do we also show the good news?

So why did the nation of Israel go into captivity? Why did God allow his nation to be conquered and carried off to foreign lands?

There is basically one reason; it is mentioned many times in the OT. Isaiah spoke of the problem often to the nation.

Isaiah 58:1-3’ 5-10 “Shout it aloud, do not hold back. Raise your voice like a trumpet. Declare to my people their rebellion and to the house of Jacob their sins. For day after day they seek me out; they seem eager to know my ways, as if they were a nation that does what is right and has not forsaken the commands of its God. They ask me for just decisions and seem eager for God to come near them. Why have we fasted,’ they say, and you have not seen it? Why have we humbled ourselves, and you have not noticed?’ “Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please and exploit all your workers. Is this the kind of fast I have chosen, only a day for a man to humble himself? Is it only for bowing one’s head like a reed and for lying on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD? “Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—when you see the naked, to clothe him, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood? Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness£ will go before you, and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard. Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I. “If you do away with the yoke of oppression, with the pointing finger and malicious talk, and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry and satisfy the needs of the oppressed, then your light will rise in the darkness, and your night will become like the noonday.

Why was Israel sent into captivity? To put the reason into modern terms, these people were faithfully going to church each Sunday, attending midweek meetings, going to church functions and singing contemporary praise music. But God was disgusted with them. Why, because they failed to care for the poor and the oppressed. He wanted them to do more than go to church on Sunday, he wanted them to clothe the naked and not just attend church meetings. He wanted them to spend themselves on behalf of the hungry.

Personal piety and formal worship are essential to the Christian life, but they must lead to lives that act justly and love mercy.

Do you realize that you and I are the fullness of Jesus Christ? What does that mean? When people see us, they see the church, his body, his bride. We are the very essence of the Messiah. When Quincy looks at us they should see the One who declared in both word and deed to the leper, to the lame and the poor, that his kingdom is bringing healing to every speck of the universe.

For those of you who voted, how many voted for candidates that you feel can bring hope and change? How many of your friends and neighbors are tired of all the politics as usual?

Why are so many putting their hope and trust into our government rather than believe the good news about the kingdom? Why do they trust the government to give them what they need? Because the Church preaches only the good news and doesn’t show the good news.

The government has filled the vacuum left by the church by not taking care of the things we are to take care of.

Luke 9:1-2 When Jesus had called the Twelve together, he gave them power and authority to drive out all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick.

Very early on Jesus taught his disciples a very basic fundamental truth, people will believe your message as you show them the message. This truth became a very important principle the early church lived by. It started first with taking care of each other and then they extended it to others they met. Their message had validity because they showed the world the good news of Jesus. It was easier to believe in Jesus when they could actually see him through their actions.

What was Jesus strategy for expanding the kingdom?

1 Corinthians 1:26-29 Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things—and the things that are not—to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him.

Jesus placed the poor at the center of his strategy for expanding the kingdom. In fact, the church first engaged with suffering people and shared the gospel with them. This relationship caused rapid growth. In the first century, there were huge masses of poor and oppressed. The church exploded when they first met the needs and then shared the gospel. Instead of fleeing from the desperate, horrible conditions of many groups of people, that was where the church found its niche. Self-sacrificial love for others over powered the pagan mindset. Those acts were revolutionary and attracted huge masses to Christianity.

So what is the primary task of MPCC? Do our actions as a church match up with our preaching? As we preach the good news, are we showing the good news? When poor people look at our church, do they see Jesus working?