Summary: Sharing the Good News of Jesus...Results in Changed Lives, Can Bring Trouble, Results in Freedom, Requires Personal Sacrifice
Sharing Heaven’s Good News
Intro: In Luke 2:10-11, God sent angels to give a message to some Jewish shepherds. The message went like this: “I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” Why was that good news to these blue collar, hardworking men who were taking care of livestock? Well, this was something that all Jews had been waiting hundreds of years for. They were hoping that God’s Messiah would one day come & save them. God was finally sending them a savior, a deliverer, a preserver, who would restore them to God’s favor.
-Now, 20 some years later in the book of Acts, the followers of Jesus are seriously engaged in sharing this same good news with everyone they can. They are telling both Jews and Gentiles that God has sent His Messiah to this earth, and that everyone who puts their trust in Him can be forgiven of sin, and delivered from the power of the devil. The good news they shared was that God loves people and wants to help them.
-That same good news is the message we believe today! We all need a Savior, who can remove the load of sin we carry around and give us true freedom. That leads us to the main point of today’s message:
Prop: All who receive God’s message of forgiveness should help share it with others.
Interrogative: Why and how should we go about doing that?
TS: Let’s look at 4 effects of sharing the good news that I hope will help us share it more frequently and more effectively.
I. Sharing the Good News Results in Changed Lives (Acts 16:12-15)
12 From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days. 13 On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. 14 One of those listening was a woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. 15 When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. "If you consider me a believer in the Lord," she said, "come and stay at my house." And she persuaded us.
-We don’t find anything negative about this woman Lydia that would require a major life-change. We don’t read about her being involved in evil or immorality or dishonest behavior of any kind. In fact, v. 14 says she was a worshiper of God. In other words, she had apparently adopted the Jewish God as the One true God whom she worshiped and aligned her life with. However, Paul’s message gave her the rest of the story – the promised Messiah had come and provided everything that was needed for people to know God and be in good favor with Him.
-It was not enough for her just to believe in God! She needed to believe in Jesus, the Son of God, who had taken her sins in His own body on the cross, when He died on her behalf.
-It was not enough for her to be a good person who followed good moral guidelines from the Bible. She was still lost without Jesus!
-So, after Lydia heard the good news about Jesus, v.14 says the Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. This is an awesome thing that happens when God opens people’s hearts. It is something I prayed for before this message, that every person here would have their heart opened and respond to the good news about Jesus. I sure can’t make it happen. It has to be God, stirring something up within that shows how much we need Him! I am nothing, but I sure hope that you will hear this word and ask the Lord to open your heart to it.
-Lydia listened to the Lord and received Jesus as her forgiver and leader. She became a changed person after that. How do I know that?
-2 Corinthians 5:17 says, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!” I know she became a new person after believing on Jesus because it also happened to me, when I believed on Jesus. I prayed to God when I was 7 or 8 years old, and I asked Him to forgive all the bad things I’d done and take me to heaven with Him when the time came. And I’d like to tell you that I became the perfect child after that, but I’d be lying. However, God put something inside of me that began to change me. I didn’t always cooperate with what He was trying to do in my life. In fact there were times that I completely ignored Him and tried to do what I wanted to do. I don’t recommend it!