The GOOD News – Jesus is your CEO
Mark 1:1; 14-15
Welcome to 2019. There is something fresh about a new year, isn’t there?
Did you make any new year’s resolutions? What do you intend to do differently that will make a huge impact on life this year?
- Lose weight, exercise more
- Reach new vocational goals
- Travel to new places
- Spend more time with people you love
But what would it look like for Jesus to be in charge of your new year? That’s what we want to talk about today.
We are beginning a new series in the Gospel of Mark, which is a record of the life and teachings of Jesus.
This Gospel was written by a man by the name of John Mark between 60-70 AD; thirty years after the life of Jesus. Mark was an eye witness to much of what he writes about. He was especially close to the Apostle Peter and probably recorded much of what we read through Peter as his source. The important early church Fathers, those that lived in the second and third generation after Jesus, mention Mark as the author of this Gospel. We are thus on sure footing, knowing that this account of Jesus’ life and teachings are authentic.
When we use the word “gospel” we need to be aware that it can be used in both a plural and a singular manner. The plural form is the Gospels, which means the Gospel accounts as written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The Gospels also represent a new genre of literature. They are not textbooks, nor are they novels, nor are they poetry. They are something new – they are Gospels. The word “Gospel” means good news. Thus, the Gospels as literature mean they are proclamatory in their nature. They announce something new and special. When we read any of the Gospels, we need to be keen to key in on what is being announced.
And then there is the gospel in singular form: THE Gospel of Jesus Christ. The definite article makes the Gospel singular in its content and in its importance. All the four Gospels write about the one Gospel in singular form.
We will focus on what the Gospels focus on – THE Gospel about Jesus Christ.
We will look at what the Gospel is, what it is not, and what implications it has for our lives this year. Please follow along in your notes and take notes of important thoughts.
(Read the text)
1. What is the Gospel?
A. The gospel is a person – Jesus
We read that Jesus went into Galilee announcing the God news of God or the Kingdom of God. He was talking about the Good News in the third person, but what he really meant was Himself in the first person. Jesus was the content of his teaching. The Gospel is not something. It is someone. And the Someone of the Gospel is Jesus.
Jesus was the name given to Mary and Joseph by the angel before his birth. Children were usually given names by their fathers that corresponded to a name in the family. No one in Joseph’s lineage was named Jesus. That’s because Joseph was not his real father. God was the father of Jesus. Thus, God gives him his name: Jesus.
Jesus means “Yahweh saves”. Jesus’s name therefore corresponded to his profession. My name is “Schindler”, but I do not manufacture roofing tiles, nor to I put shingles on roofs. But what Jesus came to do – to save – was who he was – Savior.
B. This person has a title – the Christ (CEO)
“The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God.” The word “Christ” is not a name. It is a title. Christ is the Greek word that translates the word Anointed One, or (Heb) Messiah. There is in the OT a rich tradition of anointing Kings and Priests for their service. Anointing a leader with oil meant essentially three things: that person was chosen by God for the task that he was to perform, it meant that the person anointed was consecrated or given over to God, and it was a sign of empowerment.
This is the ideal King spoken of by the prophet Daniel in Daniel 9: 25-26. When we hear in Handels Messiah that the government shall be upon his shoulders, the reference is to Daniel chapter nine, and it refers to the ideal king; anointed and empowered by God to deliver his people and to establish his righteous kingdom. Jesus is this Anointed One.
In today’s business vocabulary me might say, Jesus the Christ is our CEO. He embodies the vision, brains, heart, power of not a company, but a kingdom, the kingdom of God.
C. The gospel is divine (Son of God)
“The beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God”. The term Son of God is another way of saying Jesus was God. It is biological and ontological. Son of God means two things: Jesus origin is God Himself, and that He is equal with the Father.
In ancient days a King would often have one of his sons to reign with him. We call this co-regency. Both Son and Father had the exact same authority but wielded it together.
D. The gospel announces accessibility to both Christ and his kingdom
So, this Gospel, this good news, was who Jesus was and what he announced. It is what the prophets in the OT announced. It is what John the Baptist, acting like a royal herald, announced. And now Jesus is announcing the God news of Himself as the Savior, the Anointed One, divine.
Jesus announced that the “kingdom of God is near”. What he meant by “near” was “here”! The king of the kingdom of God was here – right in front of them. He then goes on to demonstrate his Kingliness by driving out demons, healing the sick and infirm.
The good news is that the kingdom of God is HERE! Jesus was announcing the present availability to everyone of a life in the kingdom of God. The rule of God is now accessible to all of us. It is among us. He is among us. We could reformulate it like this: “Review your plans and new year’s resolutions and base your life on this remarkable new opportunity. Jesus, the king, your CEO, is here, right now. So adjust your life in the light of his presence.”
E. The gospel is an invitation
Thus, the gospel is an invitation given to us by Jesus to enter the realm of the kingdom of God. It is the actualization of what we pray: “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done”. Where does his kingdom come first? To us individually, and then to us collectively as Journey Church.
This amazing invitation to live in the gospel is laid hold of when we do two things: First, we repent. Repentance means to turn away from. What do we turn away from? From a self-centered life, from a life lived out of our small ambitions. We do not invite Jesus into our planning. Rather we allow our planning to be influenced by his will and kingdom.
Second, we believe. What is belief? Belief is actively entrusting oneself to One stronger more beautiful; to God in Jesus Christ. To believe means Jesus becomes our confidence, our source of truth. Notice that the imperative “believe” is in the present tense. Jesus is commanding us to entrust ourselves to him ongoingly. The same with repentance. We do not just repent once or believe once, but all the time.
This is the Good News, the gospel. Isn’t it beautiful! Isn’t it strong!
But that leads to consider what the gospel is not.
2. What the gospel is not
A. Inviting Jesus into my life
Nowhere in the NT do we read of asking Jesus to come into our lives. We do not initiate the relationship. He does. He commands us to enter a life with him.
B. Sin management
Many people have reduced Christianity to a better garbage collection. “Jesus, here is the sin, the filth, the shame of my life that I have produced. I need you to take it away.”
But doesn’t Jesus take away my sin? Yes, he does. But living in the gospel is much more than sin management. It is that we are managed by God in Christ.
C. My lucky charm
Sometimes people believe in Jesus to have a form of insurance in their lives. It is like Jesus becomes their rabbits’ foot, or horse shoe. He then is degregated to the role of making my life work well for me.
D. An appendage
And then sometimes people consider Jesus to be an appendage or an accessory to their lives. Like a designer handbag, it makes them look good, but does not define who they are.
So, now we know what the Good News is and is not– a person not a thing, a savior not a garbage collector, a king that I get to daily live under not my lucky charm, we need to flesh out the implications of Jesus being our CEO on daily basis.
3. Implications of Jesus as my CEO (the Christ)
The question we are asking is this: What does it imply in my daily living that Jesus is in charge, my CEO? Four “Ps”. Fill in the blanks
A. Primary “______ takes the driver’s seat”
First, Jesus becomes our first and last regard. He is primary. Jesus takes the driver’s seat”. He is no longer my co-pilot. He is the pilot.
B. Purpose “I now have a reason to _______”
In living the Good News do you know what we discover? We discover our reason for living. “We now have a reason to live”. We live for Him and as we live for Him, we discover our identity – to lovingly relate to him and to others around us as he would do.
C. Permeation “Jesus is not a part of my life, he ____________ all of my life”
Living the Good News means that we are freed up from living the compartmentalized life. What is the compartmentalized life? It is having Jesus to be in only one or two compartments of my life – my devotional life, or family life. No. Jesus permeates all the areas of my life. He is the CEO of my finances, my time, my relationships, my values, my loves. “Jesus is not a part of my life, he is all of my life.”
D. Partnership “Life is what we do _____________ to ____________ Him daily”
Remember the term co-regency? Well that is what it looks like when we live the Good News daily. It becomes a partnership with the living God. “Life is what we do together to honor Him daily”.
Many years ago, a conference was convened in England that dealt with world religions. The question that scholars were wresting with was the uniqueness of Christianity; what makes Christianity different from other religions. The great Oxford Don, C.S. Lewis happened to walk by the auditorium. He asked someone what the conference was all about. When he was told it was about the unique contribution of Christianity, Lewis responded. “Oh, that’s easy”, was his reply. “What Christianity has that other religions don’t have is grace.”
Think about how true his observation was. We can divide all religions into two categories. Most religions are self-salvation religions; one must do things that earn favor with God. But Christianity is the opposite. It is salvation that is freely given to us on the merits of Jesus the Christ, who did the heavy lifting for you and for me.
You and I need more that fresh New Year’s resolutions. We need Jesus the Christ to be the King of our lives daily. We need to live in the reality of the reign of God and thereby experience His power and beauty. Are you with me? More importantly, are you with Him?