June 21, 2020
We could all use some good news right now and the book of Philippians is full of good news. The term Good News is mentioned 10 times in this short, 4-chapter book. As Paul penned this letter from prison to his beloved church in Philippi, he gives us an example to follow. The book of Philippians teaches us how the Good News has the power to shape our everyday life and live it out with peace, joy and contentment. Ryan Bramlett • Good News! • Philippians 1
Series: Good News!
Message: How Good?
Pastor: Ryan Bramlett
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Study Guide (PDF)
To all of the father’s out there, Happy Father’s Day—hoping today is a great day for you that you get to be celebrated. I want you to know that I am here for you and I’m with you. I’m praying for you in fatherhood, and I hope that you do the same for me.
Well, as far as today goes, we’re starting our summer series of messages titled Good News. And maybe it’s just the skeptic in me, but when I hear good news, I think, “How good?” Like how good are we talking? Because I’ve got three little kids at home and they tell me they have good news all of the time. Turns out, most of the time it’s really not that good. Like, “I’ve got good news. Today I spun around in a circle 17 times.” I don’t know what world that is good in. So, what kind of good news are we talking about? Is this like Progressive’s good news? Like, “Hey, congratulations you saved 10 dollars by switching your car insurance?” No. The Good News that we are talking about in this series and over the summer isn’t just good news that helps for a little bit or makes us feel a little bit better, but it’s life changing good news. And I think that from one time to another, we’ve actually experienced good news like this. It was good in the moment, but immediately you thought, “This changes everything moving forward. This will shape how I live my life from here on out.”
For example, all of the fathers watching right now. You can remember having that conversation when you got the good news that you were going to be a father. Or maybe when your baby was born and you got to hold him for the first time, you thought, “This is really good news. But, wow, I have to change a lot. I can no longer do the dumb stuff that I’ve been doing up until this point.” This is good news, but it’s so good that it actually shapes what comes next. Maybe for you it was as you were graduating middle school, going on to high school. You’re like, “Nope, this is my time. I’m going to start taking things seriously.” It changed.Or maybe it’s when you graduated from college. It was good news, your name got mentioned, you got to walk across the stage and do that handshake, grab the diploma thing where no one knows who’s going first. But then as you were standing there before the hat could hit the ground, you were thinking, “This is really good, but now everything is going to be different.”
This is the Good News that we’re going to be studying this summer. And the thing that… How we’re going to do that is by looking at a book in the Bible called Philippians. And we call it a book, but it’s really a letter written from a guy named Paul to this church in Philippi. And it’s a super short letter. It’s four chapters. Maybe three pages. You could sit down and read it this week, and I would you, I’m going to encourage you to do that as we get ready for the summer.But the thing about this book is that it is short, but it’s packed. It is jam-packed with gold. With good news for me and for you. I’m telling you, it’s like only three or four pages, but the lines—the lines that are there, they’re what fill the sides of our coffee mugs, they are what fill our Instagram bios, because they are that good of news.Take a look at this. These are just a few of the highlights that we’re going to be studying this summer. It says: “For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.” To live is Christ, to die is gain. To die! Death is the thing that humanity is fearing more than anything but, in this letter, Paul says that it’s actually good news to die. That is absurd. It goes on and says, “For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” Anyone looking for some contentment? Content even when things don’t go your way. Content even when your neighbor gets what you really wanted, but you just can’t get it in this season. Content when that person that is nowhere near as qualified got the job and you didn’t. Content in all situations—that’s good news. Look at this. “I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” I mean we are in a season right now where some strength is needed. We wish we had a little bit more strength to move forward and to press on. He says that he has strength to do anything and everything.And then the final one here, “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” To live with the confidence of knowing my God is going to meet every single need that I have—this is good news. This is a good life.So when we look at this, these kinds of big lines here, that this is the life that is available for us… I don’t think most of us are questioning like if that is something that we want, I think the question becomes, “How?” Like, “How do we get a life like that? How can we live where those things are true? How can we get to this point where all of those things are true about me and the way that I live?”And, the important thing for us to see here is that Paul, the guy who writes this letter, he not only wrote about these things. He lived them. He experienced these things. These things were true about him. And the question is: How? How did that come to be? And the truth is that Paul got really, really Good News that shaped his life. Paul got news that was so good that he walked away from a life of power, of respect, of authority. He handed it all down because of this Good News. This Good News shaped him in a way that nothing else ever could or would. And this Good News is what he spent his life sharing with people. Before we can live with the benefits of the good life that God promises, we have to understand this Good News. And Paul talks about it in Philippians 1 as he’s kind of kicking off this letter. Look at what he says. He says, “Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now.”Here it is. The good life the Bible promises is only possible in light of this Good News. I think that’s the big question. Like, “Tell us what it is.” And I think a lot of us kind of know, or maybe have a little part of it. But the word that is used for good news, the word that we see in the Bible for it is:gospel.Gospel—and maybe you’re watching right now and thinking, “Yeah, I think I know what that word means. I think I understand.” But I’m with you on that because gospel is so complex that it’s been taken and kind of used for a lot of different things. We see it come up over and over again. Gospel is a genre of music that we sing. Gospel in return is when we are talking about salvation, meaning the gospel is what saves us. Or then you could even go and say that there are these gospels—the first four letters of the New Testament: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are referred to as the gospels. So is it four different gospels? What does it mean for the…? How is it the gospel of salvation? How is this the gospel that we sing about? It’s because it’s so big and so grand that it is used in a lot of different ways. But just a side note, just to take with us as we move forward, those gospels, the way that we refer to them, those first four books, it’s really the gospel. It’s the gospel according to Matthew. It’s the gospel according to John. It’s the same gospel, it’s the same Good News that everyone is sharing. It’s the same Good News that we sing about in gospel music. It is the same Good News that is a part of our salvation. But it’s bigger than that.So no matter where you are today or what experience you have with the gospel, today is about getting the full picture of it so that we can understand about how good this Good News really is.So, let’s just start there. The gospel, it literally translates as good spell or good story or good news. It’s a really good translation for it, but it’s important to understand the context of when we would see the word gospel. Usually you would see the word gospel as referring to very specific things, like kings being announced. Kingdoms. Of war victories. There would be a gospel, alright? Think of The Lion King. Rafiki holding up Simba—there’s a new king that has come. Everyone loses their mind. This is really, really good news as it pertains to a king and a kingdom.Well, in the Bible the gospel, this Good News, is actually central to the whole thing. It’s the central message that we see from cover to cover. And here’s the Good News. That God will come near. That God will be the King of his people and God will establish his kingdom. That is this big announcement. That is the gospel. And a lot of Scripture points to this—references it from one point to the next. But I think Isaiah probably captures it the best, it kind of brings it all together to show how this Good News is central to everything. So we’re going to look at this in Isaiah, chapter 40. Isaiah is a prophet. And all that means is that God picked him to tell the people what he was saying. Isaiah would share the Good News of God with all of the people. So what we’re going to read is what God gave this guy, Isaiah, to say referring to the Good News. Isaiah, chapter 40, verse 9. It says, “O Zion, messenger of good news, shout from the mountaintops! Shout it louder, O Jerusalem. Shout, and do not be afraid. Tell the towns of Judah, ‘Your God is coming!’ Yes, the Sovereign Lord is coming in power. He will rule with a powerful arm.” Like the celebration would have been cooking at this point. I’m talking like after the game, in the locker room, kissing the gold trophy, Champagne in your eyes, everyone is losing their mind. This is Good News. God is drawing near. His strong arm is going to come, whatever that means, but it sounds really cool. This is going to be great. When? And what is it going to look like when he comes? That’s what people are waiting for. God is coming. What’s he going to look like? And maybe as you’re hearing that you could picture if this God of creation, the God who created everything, was going to come near, what would that look like? How powerful would that be? We can picture it. They could probably have pictured it too. But then Isaiah goes on to share that God gives him exactly what it’s going to look like when he draws near. And no one would have seen this coming. But this is the Good News. Isaiah 53 says, “He was oppressed and treated harshly, yet he never said a word. He was led like a lamb to the slaughter. And as a sheep is silent before the shearers, he did not open his mouth. Unjustly condemned, he was led away. No one cared that he died without descendants, that his life was cut short in midstream. But he was struck down for the rebellion of my people. He had done no wrong and had never deceived anyone. But he was buried like a criminal; he was put in a rich man’s grave.” And if you could picture this moment, as Isaiah is sharing this, God is coming near, the strong arm of the Lord is coming. Everyone is celebrating. They are shouting it from the roof tops. Everyone is just clapping, losing their minds. And then Isaiah comes back out and says, “Hey, this is what it’s going to look like. He’s going to be oppressed, and he’s going to be condemned, and he’s going to be struck down, and he’s going to be buried like a criminal.” And you can just see the claps like slowly dying down, everyone looking around like, “I thought this was good news. I thought this was about God coming near. This does not sound good. This doesn’t even sound like God is actually winning. What are you talking about? How is this good news for me? How is this good news for us?”And God says, “I know that it doesn’t sound like it, I know that it probably doesn’t even feel like it or you may not understand it exactly, but trust me. This is what it’s going to look like when I come, and it is going to be Good News. It’s going to be the best news when I draw near, even if it doesn’t sound good to you.”And I want to finish up in Isaiah 61, because it goes on and what is said in Isaiah 61 is really the bridge that connects everything and shows that this Good News is central, this Good News is what starts from the beginning and goes all the through the life of Jesus. Look at this. Isaiah 61. It says, “The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is upon me, for the Lord has anointed me to bring,” what? “…to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to comfort the brokenhearted and to proclaim that captives will be released and prisoners will be freed.” What this is, what God has been doing the whole time is giving a very detailed, filled with details, account of what this is going to look like when I come near, of what it will look like when I show up, what I’m going to go through and then what I’m going to do and what that means when I get there. He lays it all out there. This is the Good News. Your God is coming near.They get this message and then they get silence. It wasn’t like they got this good news message and then the next day they were met with this King who was coming, who was going to set the captives free. No, it was silence for years and years and generations and generations and generations—silence. When is this King coming? When is going to draw near? And then we see Jesus. Jesus steps on the scene. And to make it painfully clear that he is the one that God is talking about, look at how he kicks off his ministry in Luke, chapter 4, verse 16. This is Jesus.It says, “When he,” Jesus, “came to the village of Nazareth, his boyhood home, he went as usual to the synagogue on the Sabbath and stood up to read the Scriptures. The scroll of Isaiah the prophet,” what we just read, “was handed to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where this was written: ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, for he has anointed me to bring Good News to the poor.“‘He has sent me to proclaim that captives will be released, that the blind will see, that the oppressed will be set free, and that the time of the Lord’s favor has come.’ He rolled up the scroll, handed it back to the attendant, and sat down. All eyes in the synagogue looked at him intently. Then he began to speak to them. ‘The Scripture you’ve just heard has been fulfilled this very day!’”What Jesus did in this moment—he said, “That Good News that you have been waiting for, that Good News that we’ve always been talking about, that Good News of God drawing near, I am God drawing near. This is what it looks like. I’m the one who has come to bring Good News to the poor, to the spiritually poor, to those who are distant from God.” Jesus said, “Yeah, that is me.” Jesus said, “I’m here so that the captives can be released, so that the blind can see. I’m here to bring all the promises of God to life. I’m the one who is going to bring flesh to this.” Can we celebrate Jesus in this moment? Can celebrate who God is? What he came to do? That he would stand in this place, in this synagogue and say, “Hey, Look. I am the Good News. I’m the one who is going to come in and shape everything. I’m going to be the one who sets you free.”Jesus is the one who does it all. Can we celebrate him right now? This is Jesus and this is the gospel. They are one and the same. This is the gospel. The Good News is the life, the death, the resurrection, and Kingship of Jesus. And there is no better news because there is no better King. This is what Jesus came to bring. This Good News is what he left heaven to bring to us to fulfil… Because God said this would happen. Jesus came and moved from good news is coming to Good News is here. This is why we have our Bibles. This is why we have the four accounts of the gospel. It’s all pointing to this Good News, that Jesus has come to tell us all of the things that he would do so that we could believe and so that we could have the life that he wants for us. That’s why they are written. John makes it overly clear. This is why he wrote the account of Jesus’ life. He says, “These are written,” these accounts, “…so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and by believing you may have life in his name.”You see, our faith is formed, our faith begins and ends with this Good News. What’s the Good News? That’s what we have to hear. Hearing is how we get it. Hearing is what brings it to life.Romans 10: 17 says, “…faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.” So what is it? What is this Good News? The Good News is how Jesus did what God promised he would do in Isaiah. It’s how he would set the captives and the prisoners free. It’s how he would heal the broken hearted. It’s how he would bring the Good News to the poor. And there was only one way to make this possible. There was only one way to bring this Good News and make it true for me and you. And Romans 1, verses 3 and 4 lay out what that looked like, for God to do this, to bring this Good News. It says, “The Good News is about his Son. In his earthly life he was born into King David’s family line, and he was shown to be the Son of God when he was raised from the dead by the power of the Holy Spirit. He is Jesus Christ our Lord.”This is the Good News. This is what Jesus came to bring. That God would bring himself here through the line of David, meaning he would become a man, that he would wrap himself in skin and bones. That’s the way that he could come to set us free, the way that he would draw near is to become like us, to experience everything. But where we fell short, where we sinned, where we didn’t hit the mark, Jesus would live perfectly. And with that perfect life, he would take it to the cross and he would offer it as a sacrifice, he would take our place, he would take the death that we deserved, and he would carry that. He would take all of our sin with him and he would go to a Roman cross and be murdered for us. And when he was taken off of that cross, just like God said in Isaiah, he would be buried in a rich man’s tomb. That is where Jesus was put for three days, until, by the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus rose. The Good News, the gospel is here. Jesus rose, defeating death showing that’s why that you don’t have to be afraid of anything. Showing that is why we can have strength in anything that we face, because he is not only King over this world, he’s King over heaven, he’s King over everything. And he came back on this side to say that the grave was borrowed, death has been defeated, this is the Good News. Now, take it and share it with everyone you ever meet, because this is what changes everything. This Good News, this gospel that Jesus died to give us it brings us to a decision. Before we can have any of the benefits of his kingdom, we have to accept him as King and his way of life as the One who we are chasing. And if you’re watching today and you want to respond to that, if you believe that Jesus is who he said he is, if you believe that everything that you feel that is missing is because God isn’t there, you believe that he went to a cross for you and you believe that he paid the penalty for your sins, you can respond to this Good News and experience the life that he has for you today. You can go to tpcc.org/prayer. Someone from our team will follow-up with you and talk about what it looks like to accept this Good News and to live like it’s true.And for all of us, as we jump into this series, because I know that there are so many people right now who are experiencing new emotions, people who are losing faith, people who are letting the Good News of Jesus kind of fall down and be something that is in the distance, and there are all kinds of things that are coming up, just pain, and hatred, and anger and all of these things. And the Good News is getting lower and lower and lower.So, what I want to give us is just a few questions—a few questions for how we can respond moving forward, because this Good News is so good. Good News does change everything, and because of that, we have to live accordingly, we are no longer the kings of our life, we are no longer the queens of our life—but if God is who he says he is, then this gospel means that he’s King and he’s come to establish his kingdom—let’s live like that is true. So, I just have a few questions for us to kind of talk about this week in groups or with your friends and with your family. And here they are: Where are you getting your news?Where are you getting your news? There is no shortage of news. It is 24-7. It’s on Facebook. It’s on Twitter. It’s on every news station. It is constantly being put in front of us—where are you getting your news? Because, like Romans says, faith comes from hearing. So what we hear is what we will believe. It’s what we will begin to trust and it’s what we will take as truth. What are you hearing? What is it that you are taking in? So what I want to say is to just be informed, but whatever news that you allow to bring in, make sure that your identity is being by formed by the Good News of Jesus. Where are you getting your news? Because God has made it clear that the way that we hear from him is to read his word. That’s why it is written. It’s sharing his Good News. It’s showing what it is. It’s being reminded of it. And it’s showing that now, because of that, these things can be true, that we can experience all of this.But we have to be hearing about his Good News daily. I mean, Brockett is an incredible preacher, but if we are living off of the Good News that he shares for 30 minutes on a Sunday, we are going to come up short every single day and other news is going to take over.We get the opportunity, because of all that Jesus has done, because of what God has given us in his word, that we can wake up with these new mercies every single day. Where are you getting your news? And the second thing, that as you’re going into God’s word, maybe you’re studying for the first time or you’ve been studying it for a while, I just want to ask this question:Am I approaching God’s word as news or advice?Am I approaching God’s word as news or advice? And I think what we’ve seen here is that God’s word is primarily news. This is what it is. The problem with going to it for advice is that that’s not the option we get. What we get is, “Hey, the King has come, the kingdom is here, you are invited to be a citizen of this kingdom and then here is what it looks like to live here.” This is the news that shapes our lives. It’s not something that we can just go to or google whenever we want a tip here on how to process or how to navigate this thing, but to completely put ourselves under it and say, “Because it’s true, because this Good News is true, I’m going to let that be what I align my life to.I mean, think about it like this. The news has a weather section, right? The weather is news. Now, the weather forecast does not give us advice. The weather just tells us, “This is the news. This is what it is here. This is the reality where you are. This is the temperature. This is if it’s going to rain or not.” And then from there we shape how we live. From that news we say, “Okay, I’m going to wear this, I’m not going to wear this. I’m going to plan an outdoor workout, or an indoor workout. I’m going to bring an umbrella,” or,” I’m not going to bring an umbrella.” This news shapes how we live. That is the way that we need to come to God’s word—to allow it to shape us as the news that it is, not the advice that we can pick and choose.And, finally, I want to send us out with how Paul starts the letter. That if you notice that when he talks about the Good News with them, he mentions them as partners in spreading the Good News about Christ. You see, when we talk about understanding this Good News and we talk about living as if it’s true, what we see from every single account is that it is so good that it has to be shared—it’s so good that it has to be what I talk about. It’s so good and I want it for you so badly that it’s going to come out. So, what I want to ask us is that, as we go into this summer season, let’s be partners in spreading the Good News about Jesus. And I know that you are saying, “I don’t even know all of the things, I just got rolling,” But now you know enough. You know what the Good News is. That it’s about Jesus’ life, death, resurrection, and Kingship. And you know how Jesus has intersected with you, how that Good News has changed your life—share that. That is what means to partner with the Good News. That is what it means to share it. It’s not about just inviting someone to come check out a service—that’s great. But to bring that up in conversation and to be able to share this Good News. That’s why it’s here; to be able to bring it to the people we are surrounded with, to have conversations. Let’s partner in this.And I just want to ask you to come back. Today was all about the Good News that comes from Jesus, how it’s the story of the Bible, and how it’s been unfolded in Jesus, how our King is here, how we have everything that we will ever need, that he will give us strength, that he will give us contentment—everything that he has for us is on the other side of this Good News. And that’s what we’re going to be studying this summer in the book of Philippians. I just want to encourage you to come back next week as we dive deeper into this book.But what I want to do right now is just pray for all of us. Pray that we could hear the Good News, pray that we could hear who Jesus is and that that would change everything about us how we move forward. Would you pray with me?God, we thank you for today. God, we thank you for the Good News that you would draw near. God, we thank you—even though it looked way different than what we thought it would, it was the only way. And, God, we thank you. It’s the best news! God, thank you. Thank you for dealing with our sins, thank you for paying our debts, thank you for releasing us and freeing us. Thank you for coming. God, I pray that this Good News shapes us. I pray that we learn to live as citizens of heaven on earth. Today—not one day when we die, but right now to live is Christ, to live is to live for you, to live is to share your gospel. So, God, we pray, we pray that this Good News could be heard. God, we pray that as we go about our weeks that we would just start with your word and we would hear from you. That that would be what forms us. That is where our identity comes from, we don’t let anything else tell us who we are or where we’re going or what we should do. We are formed by your word and we follow you. Jesus, we love you. It’s in your perfect name that we pray. Amen.
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