the gospel of God gospel of God promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures. the just shall live by faith.

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1 Snapshots of Jesus Romans 1:1 4 (ESV) 1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord. This Christmas season we will look at snapshots of Jesus. These are verses in the Bible where the writers summarize the life of Jesus into a sentence or two. They connect the treetops of his life. The first snapshot is given by the apostle Paul in Romans 1:1-4. Romans 1:1 4 (ESV) 1 Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, 2 which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord. Paul was set apart for the gospel of God. What is the gospel of God? The gospel of God is Jesus Christ. Do you need good news? This past week we heard of a homicide in Augusta, a Russian jet shot down in Turkey, and random shootings around the country. Are you ready for some good news?

2 The word gospel means Good news. I have received a lot of good news in my life. When my wife said yes to the question of marriage, that was good news! When our children and grandchildren were born, that was good news! We have heard many answers to prayer. All answers to prayer are good news. Jesus Christ is the good news of God. Jesus is the gospel. The good news that God gives us, what Paul calls the gospel of God, is Jesus Christ. Jesus is good news! Verse 2 says that the gospel of God was promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures. When we read the Old Testament we find in Habakkuk that the just shall live by faith. When we read the Old Testament we find Joel writing in Joel 2:32 that everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved. When we read the Old Testament, Isaiah says Isaiah 53:5 (ESV) 5 But he was pierced for our transgressions; he was crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace, and with his wounds we are healed. Paul tells us in this snapshot of Jesus that the gospel was promised in the Old Testament. He zeros in, however on one aspect of the gospel. 3 concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh. Paul repeat this in 2 Timothy 2:8 (ESV) 8 Remember Jesus Christ, risen from the dead, the offspring of David, as preached in my gospel The Old Testament is full of prophecies concerning the Son. God promised David that his son would always sit on the throne of Israel.

3 It is in the birth of Jesus that we see Jesus s descent from David. Both the genealogies in Matthew and Luke go through David down to Jesus. The reason that he is descended from David according to the flesh is because Joseph accepts his stepson as his own son. God was Jesus father. Jesus was God s Son. 4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus did not become the Son of God when he rose from the dead. He became the Son of God in power when he was raised from the death. He was born as a weak baby. He walked this earth in humility. He hungered and thirst. The wounds of the whips and crown of thorns hurt. He died a relatively quick death on the cross. Jesus was neither a dignitary nor a particularly strong person. We sing the song that our God is mighty to save. Israel knew that through the crossing of the Red Sea. We know that through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. Paul identified the Son of God. Jesus Christ our Lord Jesus is the one spoken of by the Old Testament prophets. Jesus is the one who descended from David. Jesus is the one who rose from the dead. Jesus is the gospel, the good news. A family gathers around the table and mom says, I have good news for you. Dad is coming home from Iraq. The good news is that Dad is coming home. Each member of the family is joined by this good news. But the good news that Dad is coming home means different things to different family members.

4 The mom knows its good news that the children s father is coming home. She loves him and misses him. She also will be glad to have the help that only a father can give to his children. The brother knows its good news that his father is coming home. He loves him and has missed him. But now he is excited that his Dad will be home to see him in the biggest football game of the year. The sister knows its good news that her father is coming home. She loves and misses him. He had made her a promise before he left that he would come back. She had heard all the news reports and was deeply worried that he would never come home. Now he is coming home she is overjoyed that he kept his promise to her. This is the same good news, the same gospel. It just hits different people in different ways. John tells us that God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son John was the disciple that Jesus loved. He is overjoyed that Jesus came. In the time Jesus was there and in his death on the cross, he knew he was loved. God so loved the world John emphasizes God s love. Paul tells us that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus Paul had treated Jesus and his followers horribly. He had killed and imprisoned Christians. He had fought against the church. That all changed when he met Jesus. He found mercy and grace that he did not deserve. The gospel for Paul was Jesus. Jesus was the good news. Jesus was especially good news for sinners. Jesus died for sin and brought sinners back to God. Paul was one and he wanted every sinner to find that God wanted him or her to come back to Him. This could be done! The good news was that it could be done through Jesus Christ. Paul emphasizes God s mercy and grace.

5 The good news is not a doctrine or a formula. The good news is that the Father sent the Son to be the Savior of the World. The Son came into this world and fulfilled every Old Testament prophecy. The Son descended from David. The Son s power was revealed in his resurrection from the dead. The Son was Jesus Christ. Jesus Christ is our Lord. When the angel met the shepherds he said, Luke 2:10 11 (ESV) 10 And the angel said to them, Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. The good news is the same word that Paul uses for gospel. The good news is Jesus! The good news is that if you have Jesus, you have life. If you don t have Jesus, you don t have life. John 3:36 (ESV) 36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him. I have good news for you. Jesus is the good news. He is the Son of God. Trust him and he will give you life. You ve tried other things. You ve tried to do what your parents taught you and it isn t working. You ve tried drugs or alcohol and they fall far short. You ve tried entering into various relationships hoping that you would find life in them. But you haven t. You have tried to do it your own way. That doesn t work. God says, I have good news for you. At the cross Jesus forgave your sins. I have a new life, a resurrection life for you. In order to enter in, you need to put your trust in my Son, Jesus. Religion is not good news. Religion has done a lot of wrong in the world. Look at how much violence is done in the name of religion. Religion is not good news.

6 What we mean is that doing things, like going to church, praying, reading your Bible, though good in itself, are not necessarily going to help you. Jesus is the one who can help you. The shepherds didn t go to church on that Christmas evening. They went to Jesus. The Magi didn t go and burn incense in some temple. They came to Jesus. Simeon and Anna met Jesus in the temple. But they had come to the temple several times before and never met Jesus. Jesus is the gospel, the good news.

7 If someone were to ask you, What is there about Jesus that make you trust him, what would your answer be? What is the good news that Jesus has that touches you? I know that some of you would really identify with John. You know yourself and what you are like. You may not like what you see. Yet, God sent Jesus to save you from our sin out of his unconditional love for you. You don t know anyone else who loves you the way Jesus loves you. That is your good news! I know that some of you feel bad about your past. You still hurt from the hurt you have caused yourself and others. Your sins have caused all sorts of problems in your life, your relationships and your mind. No one has to tell you that you messed up, you think about it all the time. That is, until Jesus came into your life. You stand with Paul, knowing that in the good news of Jesus there is no condemnation. You know that when Jesus came in you passed from death to life. You know that your past is past and you are a new creation, created in Christ Jesus unto good works. The best news you ever heard was of the mercy and grace of God toward you in the person of Jesus Christ. All around us are people who are looking for good news. The good news will not be the political events, the stock market or the sports teams. The good news will be when we bring in the name of Jesus and tell others what he has done for us. Jesus is good news. So go and tell it on the mountain. Over the hills and everywhere. Go tell it on the mountain. That Jesus Christ is born.

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