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GOOD NEWS!. The Challenge of Accepting God’s Grace and Mercy. Introduction. The Good News Series – Fall 2012 Last week: Having Trouble Accepting Good News? - Mark 1:9-15 The time has come The Kingdom of God is near Repent Believe the Good News
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GOOD NEWS! The Challenge of Accepting God’s Grace and Mercy
Introduction • The Good News Series – Fall 2012 • Last week: Having Trouble Accepting Good News? - Mark 1:9-15 • The time has come • The Kingdom of God is near • Repent • Believe the Good News • Satan makes sure we are inundated with bad news, and he knows we have a fleshly hunger for it!
Ultimately, all of that bad news is intended to accuse us, threaten us, intimidate us, and cause us to give up. It is intended to defeat us and make losers out of us. • Just think for a minute all the negative effects bad news has on us. • It affects our moods and brings pessimism and even depression. • It affects our health, stressing our bodies, lowering our immunity, and exposing it to disease. • It affects our relationships, making us guarded. • It threatens and lower sense of value and well-being.
Satan has a vested interest in us being inundated with bad news—both real and supposed! • Jesus, concerning Satan: “The thief comes only to kill and steal and destroy” (John 10:10). • Peter, concerning Satan: “Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour” (1 Pet. 5:8). • Satan wants you to believe bad news and NOT believe the Good News! • Jesus, concerning Himself: “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10).
What bad news are you focused on? • What happened to you growing up? Bad family, abuse, mistakes of you or others, disadvantaged • What happened recently? Illness of you or another, divorce, personal failure(s), job or job loss, economic issues, relationship issues • What’s going on around you? Locally or nationally, politics, the economy, • Where you are now? Your personal living situation, your sense of security, your social situation, how you feel about yourself, your life goals, etc.
Paul, concerning us, Rom. 8: 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. • Jesus said, Mark 1:15: “The time has come,” he said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” BELIEVE GOOD NEWS!
Jesus Turns Maslow Upside Down! Self Actualization Self Esteem Social Needs Safety Needs Biological Needs
Biological Needs Safety Needs Social Needs Self Esteem Self Actualization
The Challenge • Accepting myself for who I am • Accepting God for who He is • Accepting God’s gift of mercy
1. Accepting myself for who I am • YOU are loved! – John 3 – 16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. • YOU are important! – Matt 6:26 – Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
You are worth more than the whole world! – Luke 9:25 – What good is it for a man to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit his very self? • You can be Jesus’ friend! – John 15:15 – I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. • God LOVES YOU! – Rom. 5 – 6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous man, though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die. 8But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
However, apart from God you are worthless – Rom. 3:10-12 – There is no one righteous, not even one; there is no one who understands, no one who seeks God. All have turned away, they have together become worthless there is no one who does good, not even one. • Apart from Christ you deserve only to be thrown away – John 15:6 – If anyone does not remain in me, he is like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned.
Your sin separates you from God so he doesn’t hear you – Isa. 59:1-2 – Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear. • Your good deeds become as filthy rags to God – Isa. 64:6 – All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthyrags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.
So… • In Christ the news is VERY GOOD! -- You are valuable, priceless in fact, you are God’s friend, he hears you, and you are saved. • Outside of Christ the news is very bad. – You are worthless, you are not God’s friend, he doesn’t hear you, and you are lost. • And it’s a free gift, it’s about what God does, and it’s about you believing it!
Amazing grace, John Newton, ~1860 Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)That saved a wretch like me!I once was lost, but now am found,Was blind, but now I see.
2. Accepting God for who He is • Paul (Acts 9) – Who are you Lord? Lord – I am Jesus • John 14:9 – If you’ve seen me you have seen the Father • Heb. 1:3 – Jesus is the exact representation of God’s being. • John 20:28 – Thomas – My Lord and my God!
Who is God? • Creator • Jehovah = I am • Sustainer of the universe • King of all kings; Lord of all Lords – he has NO rivals, but only an arch enemy • Savior of the world
What is He like? • All powerful – omnipotent • All knowing – omniscient • Ever present – omnipresent • Loving – God is love • Just – He is fair • Merciful – He lavishes grace on us • Meek and lowly in heart – He is everything he calls us to be!
The over-arching requirement is not that you be good, it is that you BELIEVE that he is that good!! You are beautiful beyond description, too marvelous for words, too wonderful for comprehension, like nothing ever seen or heard. Who can grasp your infinite wisdom; who can fathom the depths of your love? You are beautiful beyond description, majesty enthroned above! And I stand, I stand in awe of you…Holy God to whom all praise is due, I stand in awe of you!
3. Accepting God’s gift of mercy • Mark 1:15 – “The time has come,” Jesus said. “The kingdom of God is near. Repent and believe the good news!” • 2 Cor. 5:14, 15, 21 – For Christ’s love compels us, because we are convinced that one died for all, and therefore all died. 15 And he died for all, that those who live should no longer live for themselves but for him who died for them and was raised again…God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.
2 Cor. 6:1-2 – As God’s fellow workers we urge you not to receive God’s grace in vain. 2 For he says, “In the time of my favor I heard you, and in the day of salvation I helped you.” I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.
Receiving gifts can be hard, especially when we know we deserve quite the opposite! • Receiving gifts can be hard, especially when we don’t trust the one giving them! • Receiving gifts can be hard, especially when we have somehow been corrupted to believe the giver is not good or trustworthy. • Receiving gifts can be hard, especially when we know we have double-crossed the giver of them. • Receiving such good news is hard, because we have to GIVE UP CONTROL of our broken lives!
But it comes down to this… • Accepting myself for who I am • Accepting God for who He is • Accepting God’s gift of mercy