This News Will Change Your Life (1:6-8)
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ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast
ConnectUs Church Audio Podcast

Episode · 1 year ago

This News Will Change Your Life (1:6-8)

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

This news will change your life? What news is it? Do you believe it?

All right. Well, Hey, I am super excited to preach a message to you today. Are you ready for it? All right, I like it. You're ready. I need your help. I need your help to announce the title of the message. Okay, turn to that person next to you, maybe it's the other one that you forgot to look at last time, and tell them I've got news for you, and say this news will change your life. There you go, that's good. This news will change your life. Now you might be saying, pastor Kevin, what news exactly is that? Is there like an alien invasion that's coming, because that would definitely change my life, probably would. But no, that's not the news. Is there news that the government's going to do another fourteen days to slow the spread? Because the last time that that happened, that changed my life. You know, I'm not talking about that. I'm talking about the good news, the Good News of the gospel of Jesus, and this news will change your life. Now, I know you've been around the church for a minute and you're like the Gospel Man. I believe the Gospel. A long time ago, I grew up going to a church that shared the Gospel at the end of every sermon and at the end of the service, you know, people raise their hands and prayed some prayers and they came forward and you know I did that and that was years ago. Like, what else do you got for me, pastor? That was a long time ago. What else? What else is there? You know, I get it, but I think we're all in the same boat when it comes to this idea that the Gospel can and will change your life, no matter if you're a Christian or not a Christian, whether you're in church or never been in Church, the Gospel can change your life. Do you believe that the Gospel can change your life right now, in this moment, in this place? Regardless of what you believe, the Gospel can change your life. So sometimes the Gospel can be understood as like the diving board that you step up on and you jump off into the pool of Christianity. You know, once you get off the diving board into the pool, you start swimming around and there's a lot of other things to do, but you kind of leave the gospel behind. Well, let me tell you that the Gospel is the entire swimming pool experience. It's the fun and excitement of the diving board. And and you never leave the Gospel. You swim around and you see how it affects your life. Over here, the depth of it, over here this Nook, in this cranny, and how it all applies and how it all changes things every single day, every moment of your life. The Gospel is the entire thing,...

...the entire essence of Christianity is the Gospel. So let me explain a little bit about what I mean by using an illustration from a book called Gospel Fluency by a pastor named Jeff Vander stelt. He starts this book by sharing this this hypothetical situation. It might have been real for him at the moment, but it's, let's just call it a hypothetical situation for us. And he introduces us to a lady named Alison. Now Alison, she came to group one day and she was just sharing with her group that there was this crazy situation going on in her world. Her ex husband just canceled on her again for the hundred time of picking up the kids for the weekend and this situation just completely stressed her out, just so mad at him, so upset, and she knows she has to say something to him, she has to stand up to him, but she's scared. She doesn't want to. He intimidates her, he scares her and it worries her that if she was to make him even more upset that he would leave forever and stop paying financial support and she doesn't know how they would continue, how they would survive, how they would live. And so this whole situation just keeps her up at night, it stresses her out and it's worrying her so, so much. And you know, this whole situation started when she caught him, her ex husband, cheating on her with her best friend. And then, to make matters even worse, her house was destroyed in a fire just shortly after and lost everything. And so here she is in this group that's been with her friends for a while, sharing again this pain, this hurt, this this frustration, this situation. And so you can imagine somebody speaking up in the group and saying, Oh man, I'm gonna get this guy like. He can't be treating you that way. You deserve better than that. I'm gonna, I'M gonna go take care of him for you, and somebody else chiming in, you know, like you got to say something, you've got to Chiy, you gotta stand up to this guy. You know you got to. You gotta say something, you gotta stand up for yourself. You can't let him walk all over you like that. And so pastor Jeff is sitting in this group listening and hearing how things are going, and things are going on and on and on, and he is just thinking. You know, it's good to think about how we could fix the situation and what some good advice...

...that we could give her, but what she really needs in this moment more than anything else is Jesus, is the Gospel. And so pastor Jeff turns to Alison and says, you need Jesus to help you overcome your fear. You need Jesus to be your source of identity and security and love, and not your ex husband. In fact, you also need Jesus to enable you to forgive and to love your ex husband. See, she had allowed this man to become the center of her life. He had so much influence on her, over her, that he basically controlled her every move. It was almost as if this guy had become her God. And so was alison a Christian? Was She not a Christian? And does it even matter? Right the Gospel, Jesus in her life could change her life. So that's Alison. What about what about us? Maybe you've had a conversation like this, like me, where your loved one, your significant other, the someone that you really trust, has said to you, looked you in the face and said it to you. You know, you just need to fix some things in your life, that thing I've been reminding you about for so long. Yeah, that thing. Yeah, you still haven't gotten any better at that. And on the inside of you, on the other end of that conversation, the word that you think about, that you internalize, that identifies who you are, is failure. Just feel like a failure. Or you're trying to be a good parent. Anyone trying to be a good parent, a good Christian parent. You're like, I'm going to I'm gonna do a Bible study after dinner tonight with my kids. It's going to be amazing. I got my I got my notes together, I got it all laid out, I got I got what I want to do and I sit across the table and I pull out all this stuff and you're like, okay, here we go. We're going to talk about Jesus, we're going to pray together and and like a minute into it the kids are like up and left. They don't care, they're not listening and it's like man, I just feel like a bad parent, just feel like a bad mom, a bad dad. or or you've been around church a little bit and you've been around this church for a little bit. We talked about praying and caring and sharing and you you hear Shannon Vedine planning this block party and it's like, oh, that's so cool, you know, like I really want to do that, I really, I really, I really think it's good thing and I want to you know, I want to do that. And then you realize that like...

...the only neighbors that you know well, there aren't any, because you only know stories of failed attempts to meet them. And it's like, on the inside, right, you want to do these things, but on the inside you just feel like a hypocrite. And so for Alison, then for me and for you and for all of us, we need to know that Jesus will overcome our fear. And yes, it is good to get some budgeting advice, to get some relationship advice. It's even good to do good Christian things like read your Bible and to pray. But in the end the most important thing is that we need Jesus. And so pastor Jeff looks at Alison and says Jesus is the only man who will never let you down. Every other man will fail you, but he never will. God wants you to stop looking at your ex husband, or any other man for that matter, to be for you what only Jesus can be for you. He wants Jesus to be at the center of your heart, your affections and your hope. Jesus wants you to know that he loves you very much and wants to be your ultimate protector and provider, to which everyone's like yeah, that sounds good, I like that, that's that's that's what I need. That's what we all need, that's what we we want to live our life that way, and we all kind of say yes, yes, yes, but then Alison Responds to Pastor Jeff and says, okay, I like that, but how can I know for sure? Like, how can I know that all that good stuff? That seems helpful, that seems true, that seems right. How can I know for sure? And I wish I could just pause right now and force you to write the answer to that question on a piece of paper. How can you know for sure? Because there's just something about taking the thought and and putting it out into writing. How can you know for sure if you're watching online? I wish you could just pause the video and literally Paul it a pain and write down the answer, then restart it in a second or, if you're driving, pull on over, type it in your phone, write it out. Why? Why can she believe that? Why? Why is that true? Why can she be sure? Because the answer to that question, how you answer that question, shows where you put your hope and your trust in. Like, what are you building your life...

...on? Right? Like all of these things, they sound good, they're helpful, they're good, but how do you know? How do you know? Why can you trust it? Why can you build your life on it? Because I can't force you all to write it down, I'm going to tell you what I really do. Wish you'd write it down. I really do. When you get home, write it down. The answer to why, Alison, can really know for sure that all that good stuff that sounds good, that really does make a difference, is true, is because that God love the world so much that he gave his only son to die on the Cross, the pay the penalty for your sin. When you were when I was an enemy of God, when I could care less about God, God loved me so much and he died for me in my place. He was buried and he rose again the third day and everything that he said was true was proven true in that moment. And when we trust and believe in him, we have eternal life and we are set free from any power of sin in our life. That's how you know it's true. That's how you can be sure. Is because there was an event two thousand years ago that literally changed everything. And what's the most important thing and every single one of our lives, is that Jesus is at the center of our life and not an ex husband, not anybody else. That's the Gospel and that's the power of the Gospel to Change Your Life, your everyday, moment by moment life. Right now, even today, it's the news that will change your life. So we've been in this series through Colloshians, chapter one, verse six. Paul writes this same good news that came to you is going out all over the world. What good news. The Truth of the Gospel and this truth gives us the confidence that there will be a home in heaven for us one day and a new life to have right here and now. See, Paul, the writer of this letter, heard about the colloshians faith from a man named epaphorus, and he was celebrating their faith in Jesus and how it worked itself out in love for one another. And Paul was super thankful for that and he was praying for them, and that was versus three through five, and so Paul continues. This same good news that came to you is going out all over the world. It's bearing fruit everywhere by doing what, changing lives, just as it changed your life from the day you first heard and understood the truth about God's wonderful grace. You learned about the good news...

...from epaphorus, are beloved co worker. He is Christ faithful servant and he is helping us on your behalf. He has told you about the love for others that the Holy Spirit has given you. So it's this good news that is going out all over the world like it's good news for anyone and everyone everywhere. It's good news for your Muslim neighbor, it's good news for Your Mormon missionary that knocks on your door. It's good news for the atheist and it's good news for the agnostic. It is good news for every single person in every single place and it's bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives. Wherever you are, whether you're in Lancaster, Pennsylvania or whether you're somewhere else, whether you're in church or whether you're not in church, it changes your life. You could be living in Canada or Africa or India, and the same Gospel Changes Your Life. You could have never stepped into a Church building before and the Gospel can change your life. The Gospel is bearing fruit everywhere by changing lives. So my life was changed by the Gospel. When I was eight years old, I pray with my mom and received Jesus something like Lord, I know I'm a sinner, I know that you died for me. I asked you to come into my heart, into my life and to save me. I did that when I was a long time ago and I needed the Gospel then. And then fast forward about twelve years or so when I was twenty. I needed the Gospel when I was twenty because up until that point in my life, when I was about twenty, years old. I was a sophomore in college at Lebanon Valley College. There was something at the center of my life and it wasn't Jesus. It was sports. I was a big time sports guy and because I didn't get a division one scholarship to play football like I hoped, I decided that I'd go to a small division three school and play both football and baseball and figure that, hey, if I can't be good at one sport, I could just be the all star at two sports and that would be the consolation prize. What was my major going to be at Lebanon Valley College? I didn't really care. It was sports that I was therefore, they gave me a good recruiting trip. I liked it and the money worked out and whatever else. So that's where I ended up. And and you know what? I didn't wake up one day when...

I was twenty and my life, the center of my life, completely changed like it didn't happen in a moment, it didn't happen all of the sudden. It happened over time and with a process in colossoms seven, which will see in a second. Paul uses the word learned. It was a learning process this word is similar to disciple. It was a discipleship process. It was this is my life, this is what I'm doing, this is a process I'm following, I'm learning, I'm living it out, I'm experiencing it, and that was certainly what happened to me. But there was a moment that was very significant. I walked into the dining hall one day, as I sometimes did every morning, to have practiced, and there was sometimes on the mornings are football coaches would sit at this one table near the there the entrance to the dining hall, and I walked in one morning and my football coaches were sitting there at the table and I knew in my heart like something was wrong and I knew in that moment that my football career and my baseball career was over. And so my football coaches they see me and they're like hey, Kevin, it's good to see you. Yeah, where were you sleeping? I had never missed a football game, a football practice, of football anything my entire life. If you ever played sports, you know that sometimes the coaches give the speech like if you don't want to be here, then don't be here. You ever heard that speech before? That never applied to me. I thought that was the craziest speech in the entire world. Who in the world doesn't want to be here? This is what life is all about, this is what you wake up for, this is where it's at, this is come on like this is crazy. But in that moment I knew that that speech applied to me, and so everything was changing for me. And I knew in my mind, okay, that Jesus was enough. I was a believer. I believe in Jesus when I was eight years old. But I knew in my mind that Jesus was enough. I knew the Gospel. I knew that he'd loved me, even though I didn't put him first all the time. I knew that he had forgiven me for all my sin and my continued sin, and I knew that God had a plan and a purpose for me. That was surely to be a football and baseball star. But apparently that was I plan and it wasn't his. See,...

I knew, I knew the Gospel, I knew it, but in this moment I was given the opportunity to walk into it, to live it out, to open the door of faith and walk through it and say, God, this is different. I'm coming through. I believe you, I know it, I'm living it. Are you going to meet me on the other side? Are you going to be everything that I believe to be true about you? I'M gonna. I gotta trust you. I got to walk into it, I got US experience it. And guess what he did? He met me on the other side of that and he will meet you on the other side of that as well. See, I believe then, and I believe that my identity was in Christ alone. Like I wasn't lost trying to figure out what I was supposed to be doing. I knew what I was supposed to be doing. I knew he had a plan and a purpose for me. I knew he had given me a new heart, a new family to be a part of. I had a new mission to live for and it was all about Jesus and I was so thankful for that. And the Gospel changed my life when I was twenty years old and I thank God for that. And I want to now invite you to thank God with me by singing a song that is all about thanking God, and I want you to think about how you are thankful for how God, How the Gospel has changed your life, so you might want to stand for this one and Amen. Hey, you can have a seat. I thank God for how he changes lives, how he changed my life. It's a good one. Thank you, and it's so important to celebrate that, to remember that, because the facts of the Gospel being the thing, the news that changes your life, it gets attacked all of the time. There are so many other things that creep in to our mind and into our hearts. They come into our churches, they come into all the places and they say all the other things, and it's exactly what was happening at this church and Colossy, as Paul is writing this letter, epaphorus is noticing these other things that are coming into the church and so he comes to Paul, who was in prison, and he's telling Paul about all this stuff and Paul's like, okay, I'm going to answer you, I'm gonna share some stuff and I'm going to defend the Gospel. There's everything that's pushing against us, our sin nature, all these other kinds of teachings. They all come against and so Paul Defends The Gospel and he says number one that it bears fruit. The Gospel works like it is...

...changing lives. It's changed my life, it's changed your life, it's changed Allison's life. It's changing lives. It works. It works for everyone facing loss and pain. It works for everyone who is hurt, for everyone that's feeling disappointed, those that are dealing with frustration and hatred or bitterness. It works. The Gospel Works, it bears fruit, it produces something new, something different. And the other thing Paul says is that it is a universal message. It works everywhere. So it's the same message no matter where you are in this world where Paul's like. I could tell you story after story of this person in this place who speaks this language, who used to believe this thing, that the Gospel works for them too. And I could tell you. I could tell you about old lady who was probably in our late S. I was standing on her doorstep on a mission Strip to Utah back years ago and I was sharing the Gospel with her, doing this doortodoor thing, and she told me that she had never heard what I was telling her before. The Gospel works for her too. That's someone in our own country, who grew up in our country that it never heard the gospel before. I could tell you about a church in Guatemala where there are some strong believers that love each other, that love God, that just a precious church that's reaching out to their friends and community, that they're dealing with all different kinds of things and they're trust in God for their daily bread, like literally, like not knowing where their next meal was going to come from and believing that God was going to provide, to show up in that moment. But what Paul, I think, is doing here, and I think it's important for us, as we interpret the Bible, as we understand scripture, as we think about what God is teaching us and what is true, is to and I try and do this in my messages, is can what you say, can what you believe, can what the Bible say? Can What the Gospel mean? Can it be applied in every situation, for every person in every place? And if it can't for some reason, then that's probably not the Gospel. Now, of course there are specific things that are specific to believers in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, them in a movie theater right there are specific things that are for true about me and true about you, that are just for us here. But the essence, the core of the Gospel is true for anyone, everywhere, no matter what. And there are sometimes things that people throw into the Gospel that isn't true or can't be true about everyone and in every place, and in which case that's probably not the Gospel. And the Third Way that Paul Defends The truth of the Gospel, the fact that it's...

...changing lives, is that Paul was telling this church and colossy that they have a trusted source that is telling them this good news and this message. His name was epaphus. He's the he's the trusted guy. You know. Epaphirst comes and he's like, all these things are happening in my church and and we'll get to those things as we continue through the book of Collossians. Will See some of the specific challenges that we're facing the church, and let me just tell you, they don't relate it all to our culture today. So I don't know why we were going to talk about him. I'm just that sarcastic. I'm kidding. So there's things that are happening bright and so epaphirus comes and he goes to Paul and he and Paul sends this letter back and he's saying epaphras is with you. Okay, epaphras is the guy like you need to listen to him. He knows what he's talking about. And in our world today you can find any flavor of the Gospel you want right you go on Youtube, you can find anything you want to watch. You go on a Christian blog or this or that or the other thing, and you can find anything that you want to find. And I just challenge you. What is your source? Where does it come from? It's helpful to know what you're looking at. where? What? WHO INFLUENCE THEM? Where does their ideas come from? And if they just made it up, you know, then I don't know. You know, it's good to know where it comes from and to always check what you're learning, what you're hearing. Check my messages, fact check me, you know, against the Bible, because we want to know the truth and it's good to know where it came from. And so Paul talks a little bit about this Messenger and he tells him a couple things. He says that epaphras, he's a beloved co worker, He is Christ faithful servant and he's helping us. He's helpful. And Paul said that about epaphorus, and I'd wonder would Paul say that about you? Are you a beloved Co worker in the Gospel? Are You Christ faithful servant? Are You helpful to the Gospel? See, God wants to use you to connect people to God's next step for their life. He does. And you know, there's other things in our life that takes center stage, that take priority, and it's not like you're just going to wake up one day and be like, Oh, look, I'm completely changed. Right, I shared that with me earlier. Right, there's go from sports to more about Jesus, right, like you know, don't doesn't happen overnight and it won't necessarily happen overnight with you either. You know, maybe your ex husband in that illustration that we use with Alison earlier, is at the center of your life and we want it not to be that way. Life is better when it's not that way. Jesus needs to be at the center of your life and that is a process to get there. It is a step by step,...

...moment by moment, thing, day by day thing, and that is why the Gospel is for believers. It is for those who have put their faith in Jesus for years ago. We need the Gospel today because, if we're honest, we're not all believers fully all of the time. Like there's certain things in my life, there're certain areas of my life that it is a little hard to trust God's word and we don't really believe that what he accomplished for us was truly enough to deal with our past or with what we're doing right now or the things that we know that eventually will happen in the future, like we just don't believe it. We might know it, but we don't believe his word and we don't believe his word is true. We don't believe that his work is sufficient. So that's why we've got to preach the Gospel to ourself every single day, keep telling us this, reminding ourself of this, and eventually this truth will overflow from our life into our relationships with other people and eventually it'll just become who we are, and it's what we're talking about, is what we're doing. So it's incredibly good news that will change your life. The Gospel is good news that will change your life. We are a new creation in Christ we are no longer a sinner, but we are a saint we are no longer bad, but we are good and even righteous and holy, not because of anything you've done, but because of I heard one person Jesus. That's right. Yes, so. But for others of us, we know these things, we know that this news will change your life. We know it, but we don't really believe it, because if we did, our life would look a lot different. And so I challenge you to believe the Gospel right here today, and I want to invite you that, if you are believing the Gospel today, like right now, in this moment, you are believing the Gospel, I want to invite you to stand up as a way to just tell God that that's what you're believing, and then I want to pray for you. So I invite you to do that and let's pray God. I thank you for how the Good News of the Gospel Changes People's lives. For everyone standing here today, I pray that you would strengthen their faith in the Gospel that when we think of failure, and certainly there is more than enough ammunition that that and me has to call us failures, that we would see ourselves believe ourselves to be...

...saints because of you, Jesus, that we might mess up and sin, but you call us faithful, God and Lord. I just pray that if we see ourselves as bad for the things that we've done in our life, the things that we are proud of, the things that we wish we could hide, that because of you, Jesus, that we would see ourselves as forgiven right now, right in this place, that we would believe that you have paid the penalty for that. It's gone, it's no more. You've paid it for with the sin that we have Right now, in the sin that will commit in the future. We believe that and I pray that, as we close our time together today, that this wouldn't necessarily just be good, helpful, motivational, good sounding, positive words, but that we would know the answer to why they're true. Why, God, help us to get a deeper, more personal, more intimate, life changing experience of the Gospel. I ask this in Jesus name. Amen,.

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