I have Good News
Isaiah 9:1-7 / December 5, 2010 / Dr. Marty Baker
Good morning I am Marty Baker and I would like to welcome you to Stevens Creek Church! I am so excited to have you here today. We are beginning the new series, “Christmas with Hope.” The sermons and the drama sketches will work hand-in-hand to communicate the good news of Jesus Christ.
Speaking of that, what’s the best news that you’ve ever received? Think about it, when was a time in your life that you received some really good news? Hearing good news can make your day, and sometimes, if it’s the right news, it can even make your life.
Some of the best news I ever received came when I asked my wife Patty to marry me and she said, “Yes.”
Hopefully, I will never forget when our babies were born and the doctor said, “Mr. Baker, you have a son.” Or two years later, “You
have a daughter.” Or five years later, you have another son.” I told Patty last week that I cannot wait for grandchildren. She politely said, “Let’s get our kids married first.”
The Christmas story hinges on the words: I have some good news. The shepherds in the story belonged to a nation that was waiting for news. They were waiting for news that a promised Savior had come and delivered them from oppression and darkness.
And they’ve been waiting for a very long time – waiting and hoping for some good news in a world that was more often than not full of bad news. It was a world not so unlike the one we live in today.
Scan through the headlines of this past week and you will read news that will terrify and disappoint you. You will find news of violence and hopelessness that seems senseless and even out of control. You will find lots of news but you won’t find much good news.
But, today I want you to know that there IS good news. And it’s the sort of good news that will more than make your day, it’s good news that will make your life. You see a long time ago God made a promise that one day in the midst of darkness good news would come, that the darkness was only temporary, like fog, it wouldn’t last forever. Listen to the words of Isaiah:
2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of deep darkness a light has dawned.
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given…
That child, that son, would be the light of the world and the birth of that child would be the birth of good news for everyone. Christmas is the celebration that God’s promise was fulfilled. And that news came first to a bunch of shepherds who were literally sitting in the darkness, keeping watch and waiting when suddenly an angel appears and announces:
I’ve got good news.
The angels are declaring that God is at work, right now, right here. The One you’ve been waiting for, the One you’ve hoped for and longed for has come, tonight. The angel said that night to those shepherds, “I’ve got good news of great joy, news that will make your life. This good news is for everyone … every person who has ever waited, everyone who has ever hoped, everyone who has ever longed for good news.
Maybe that’s you this morning. Your week may have been filled with uncertainty, maybe filled with pain, maybe you are covered in fear. Whatever the case, whatever the situation, you need to know that this good news is for everyone and that includes you and me.
All of us love to hear some good news because we are surrounded by so much bad news and because at some time
or another all of us know what it is like to be waiting in darkness.
The fact that Christmas comes in the middle of winter, when the days are short, when there is more darkness than light makes sense to me. Because sometimes it’s in the contrast of night that we can best see God at work in our lives. Sometimes it’s in the midst of our waiting that we can best hear the good news that the angel proclaimed.
Maybe this Christmas Eve some of you are waiting for news. Maybe you’re even waiting in darkness, living with fear that the news won’t be good. I know this past year some of you’ve been waiting in hospital rooms and in doctor’s offices - waiting for a prognosis or for the test results to come in.
Some of you’ve been waiting to hear back from a job interview and you’re worried about how you are going to survive and provide for your family next year.
Some of you are waiting for someone to come home or waiting for a relationship to be restored.
Some of you are waiting for peace; peace in our world or peace in your home.
Maybe God has placed you in his waiting room.
Have you ever been in God’s waiting room? You have prayed and prayed and nothing seems to change. You read the Bible, come to church and it seems as though your life limps along. You feel as though you are stuck in God’s waiting room.
Did you know that Noah had to wait 120 years from the time that he started building the ark to the time that it started to rain?
Abraham had to wait 99 years for the time that he was born to the time that God said he would have a son which would be the heir to the nation Israel.
Moses had to wait 40 years in the desert before he could go back to Egypt. When he delivered the Hebrew people from slavery, he had to wait in the desert another 40 years before they made it to the Promised Land.
The Old Testament Joseph waited years in prison before he was made ruler ...
David was anointed by Samuel and he had to wait years before he became King of Israel.
Jesus had to wait 30 years in a Carpenter's shop before he began his public ministry.
None of us like to wait, there are times when God places us in his waiting so that we can learn to trust him and learn to be patient.
What is Patience? Patience is accepting a difficult situation without giving God a deadline to remove it.
The easy way out is not always the best way out. At times, we have to "suck-it up" and press on through difficulty.
This past week, we marked 23 years as a congregation. We started in a borrowed living room with 24 people. We have weathered some difficult storms along the way.
I will never forget the dark days of 1996. This church went from 275 people down to 140. It was tough and we prayed for God to change it. He did, but it did not happen overnight. It took us four years to recover. During those three years, God was building character in this congregation.
Today, there will be close to 1500 people here. We would not be where we are today if it had not been for the tough times.
Sometimes we are placed in God’s waiting room so that we can learn to accept life’s hard knocks without falling apart. When tough times comes your way, you don’t have to fall apart. You can rest in His strength and in His power.
You can go around screaming the sky is falling or you can face your circumstances with confidence that everything is going to work out okay because you are going to trust God.
If the truth be known, every one of us has been caught in circumstances that we did not choose. Every person has problems that he or she would rather not deal with. Life is not the Piccadilly where you can pick and choose what you want. It is like a school cafeteria where you have to eat what’s on your plate.
You can fall apart or fall on your knees. When you surrender your situation to God, He will give you the grace to handle what comes your way.
This Christmas we are waiting and hoping for so many things. I don’t know what exactly you are waiting for - I know that God does. I know, that no matter where you are waiting:
There IS good news….
… because a Savior has been born to you and to me.
A Savior who has promised to bring healing and comfort – a Savior to walk beside you no matter where you go.
A Savior who has promised to bring the ultimate healing of an eternal life with Him free from fear and free from pain and death.
And the government is on His shoulders and He is able to meet every need you might ever face. He has promised you a hope and a future and provides His grace to sustain you when you don’t have the strength to make it on your own.
Listen to what Isaiah said:
6 For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
7 Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end.
What we see in these verses is that He has the power to mend hearts and restore relationships. He is the Prince of Peace and He offers a peace that quiets troubled hearts and takes away all of our fears.
It does not matter where you are waiting or what you are waiting for, I have good news for you….a child is born, a Son is given, a Savior has come to you and to me.
He came to bring His light into your darkness. He came to show you the way. This Savior came to meet you right where you are …in all the places where you wait and hope.
Jesus came to connect you with your Heavenly Father. He’s the connection between all that we wait and long for – between all of our hopes and fears. Whatever the challenge may be, we can put our hope in Him.
Now let’s go back to the television station to see what this breaking news is all about.
Drama: Scene Two (Sorry, not included)
Wow…that was a little unexpected. I am sure that the character Hope never thought that her day would turn out like this.
How do you handle it when unexpected news comes your way? Listen to the words of the angel on that first Christmas Eve. Listen as if this message is for you.
10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
Don’t be afraid. Whatever you might be facing – you don’t have to be afraid. A Savior has been born – for you – and He is Christ the Lord.
Some of you are living in fear. You are afraid of the future … specifically that you are not going to be able for your family. Some of you are afraid of the past, you are afraid that you are going to be found out. Some are afraid of developing some sort of sickness or disease. Maybe you are struggling with phobias that haunt you like the fear of being in a crowd, or a fear of the dark. All of these fears are very real.
Listen to the words of the angel: Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy. Jesus is here right now.
So many times we think about Jesus in the past. We focus on his birth, his life or resurrection or maybe we look to the future and consider his second coming. But, you need to understand that the spirit of Jesus is here right now.
Jesus wants to talk to you right now. It does not matter the situation that you may be in. He promises to come to you wherever you are, in whatever condition you are in, and wherever you might be waiting.
He promises to come no matter how dark the night might seem. He comes to meet all of our hopes and take away all of our fears. That is good news of great joy for you and for me.
You need to take a step. Do what the shepherds did that first Christmas. See for yourself.
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.
I want you to see for yourself. I want you to receive the good news that has the power to change your life. You can be different.
God wants you to take a spiritual step towards him. For some of you, your next step involves inviting Jesus to lead and guide your life. Ask Him to forgive you of your sins and give you spiritual power to live a new life. Take that step. Open up your life.
For some of you, your next step is to come back next week. Start attending church. Join a life group when the new semester begins in a few weeks. Get a Bible and start reading God’s word.
For some of you it might mean offering yourself to be used by God in ways to bring His good news to others. You might have no idea what that might look like, but God does and if you make yourself available He will show you.
Here’s the point. This is more than a history lesson. God is calling you; He is prompting you to take a step towards Him. Are you willing?
Today is your day. Don’t put it off any longer. Today … not tomorrow… not next week, but today. Talk to the Lord. Take the step. Now is the time.
Closing Thoughts and Prayer