Summary: Second message in the Good News Series
Good News of the Kingdom
I hope you’ve been enjoying your “bad news break” over this past week! It’s amazing how much better you feel, and how your outlook begins to change when you do something as simple as taking a break from all the bad news about all the bad things that are in the world. All that bad news is unhealthy. It doesn’t help us, it only fascinates us and increases our anxiety. And, we’ve all probably had enough trouble in our own lives to never need to hear the bad news of the world ever again.
It’s not that it’s all untrue…it’s just that it’s so pervasive that you can’t seem to get away from it. There’s no respite, and frankly, most of our spiritual lives aren’t strong enough to deal with it. So, the constant bombardment coupled with our lack of rest and added to our spiritual inadequacy makes for a potent cocktail of despair.
That’s why I’m convinced that here at the beginning of 2015 you desperately need to hear some Good News! You need to know that there is still hope, and that you are still Christ’s! More than just a sixty second soundbyte, you need good news that can fill your heart & mind, and actually have a positive effect on your life. So, for the first few weeks in this New Year, that’s exactly what we’re doing. We’re going to be looking at the greatest source for the greatest news ever known; the Bible. And from it we’re going to acquaint ourselves with some incredibly life-changing, outlook-shifting, good news.
We’re going to stand now and read our text for today’s message, found in Matthew 4:23-25. It’s shown up here on the screen in the English Standard Version…why don’t you join me and let’s read this together. (Thanks!) Bro. Hughes, would you ask the Lord’s blessing on the ministry of the Word?
I. The Rules of Good News
As we begin to take a look at our first “good news” segment, I’d like to share a couple of fundamental “good news rules”. Good news rules? That’s right! There are a couple of basic characteristics that all true good news must have in order to really be…well…good news. ?
The first rule is that, “Good news must have real application in order to have real meaning.” Or more exactly, it must have particular application to your life in order for it to have significance…in order for it to truly be “good news.” Work through a simple illustration with me now…
Let’s imagine that you absolutely love Oreo Cookies. In your mind, that genius combination of two, perfectly crunchy, chocolate cookies, sandwiching a delightful little pad of vanilla filling, is just…is just…as close to manna from heaven as you’re ever going to get. Sadly…so sadly…as much as you love those little Nabisco delights, you have to deny yourself the enjoyment of them because you have developed, of all things, a gluten allergy. And you’re devastated. Not because you can’t eat bread, pasta, cereal, or anything containing wheat products…but simply because you’ve got to spend the rest of your life without Oreos.
But one morning over breakfast, after several years of Oreo longing, the TV news team delightedly announces the incredible news that Oreo cookies are now gluten free! Your heart leaps! They talk about the nature of the breakthrough, and you hang on every word! “Today,” you think excitedly, “on my home from work, I’m stopping at Market Basket and buying 10 packages of Oreos and five gallons of milk!” And just as you’re ready to launch out of the chair, the news anchor concludes with this; “But sadly, these gluten-free Oreos are only available in East Smorgavia...a tiny Baltic country just south of Lithuania…where all the people are allergic to gluten. There’s no word from Nabisco on when…or even if…they’ll be offered in the American market.”
Suddenly it’s not good news anymore. And it’s not good news for the simple reason that it has no application to your life. So, Good News Rule number one is that “Good news must have real application in order to have real meaning.”
The second rule is that, “The degree of good in ‘good news’ is determined by the degree of impact.” So you could say that there’s good news, there’s better news, and there’s the best news. And the degree of superlative is determined by the impact the news has on your life.
For example; Fighting and dying in war has, in the west, always been the business of young men. A war is declared or a conflict announced, and thousands of young men will enlist to serve their country and defend her interest. And, just as war has always been the business of young men, worry, grief, and loss have always been the business of their parents. So, imagine that war has come, and your son has enlisted, and been sent overseas to fight.