LESSON 5                             29/12/2013

TIME TO SPREAD THE GOOD TIDINGS

Suggested Hymns: G.H.B. 150, 152

Devotional Reading: 1 COR 9:13-23

Topic For Adults

DON’T BE COMPLACENT

Topic For Youths

RESCUE THE PERISHING

Scripture Lesson

ISA. 40:1-11; JN. 20:19-23

 

Memory Verse:    “O Zion, you who bring good tidings, get up into the high mountain; O Jerusalem, you who bring good tidings, lift up your voice with strength, lift it up, be not afraid; say to the cities of Judah, “Behold your God” (Isa. 40:9) NKJV

 

DAILY BIBLE READING

Authorised To Preach By Jesus

Jn. 20:19-23

When Jesus appeared to the disciples after His resurrection, He commissioned them to be His representatives, even as He had been the Father’s representative here on earth. Jesus again identified Himself with the Father. He asked the disciples, by whose authority He did His work. Then He authorised the disciples and gave them the task of spreading the gospel message around the world. They were sent with authority from God to preach, teach and do miracles so as to continue across the world what Jesus had begun in Palestine. Remember, you have nothing to fear when you preach the gospel for Jesus, God and the Holy spirit are ever ready to back you up and to stand by you. Therefore, preach the gospel, don’t be unfaithful disciples.

Point of Emphasis:          Only dependable disciples will carry out Jesus’ great commission.

Prayer Point:                                     Lord, help me not to disappoint You in the task of spreading the gospel message to people.

BACKGROUND

       Last week we learnt that the birth of Jesus, the Saviour of the world,
brought good tidings of joy and peace to all men. When Jesus was on earth, He did the work of salvation, both spiritual and physical, to the extent of laying down His life. Know that half of people in the world have not received the message of good tidings.  God has committed the work of spreading good tidings into the hands of all His faithful children. This week’s lesson tells us about the contents and the commission of the good tidings.

 

NOTES ON THE TEXT

(A)  THE GOOD TIDINGS – ISA. 40:1-11.

The book of Isaiah is divided into three parts, though some argued for two sections. These include the proto (first) Isaiah, chapters 1-39; the Deutero – Isaiah (second), chapter 40-55, and the Trito (third) Isaiah, chapters 56-66. but those who argued for 2 sections combined the chapters in Deutero and Trito Isaiah together to form one long section. Whereas the first portion of the book of Isaiah (chapters 1-39) is filled with messages of judgment, this second portion (beginning with chapter 40) emphasizes restoration and deliverance. When Isaiah wrote these prophecies of restoration, Judah still had over 100 years of difficulty ahead of her before she fell to Babylon. Anticipating the future captivity and God’s restoration, Isaiah wrote to encourage the Judahites to live righteously in the present, despite forthcoming difficult circumstances.

Isaiah starts his prophecy with the word comfort (verse 1). We must know that the glad tidings always give comfort to those who hear and believe it. All sinners are in the slave market of sins, being oppressed by their task master, the devil. Some are looking for the way of escape, some have totally resigned to fate that they could no longer be delivered, but when the gospel of Christ is preached to them and they are saved, their iniquities are forgiven, they are pardoned and God blesses them. For this salvation to be received, someone must spread the message around. We saw about three week’s ago how John the Baptist fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah 40:3 by preaching baptism of repentance to people and preparing their hearts for Christ.

In verse 6, a voice said “cry” and there was a response, “what shall I cry”? All Christians are to know that the good tidings centres and revolves around Jesus. Let the people know that they are like grass which is today and is no more tomorrow. It is only God who lives forever. This is one of the facts that sinners must know while spreading the message of good tidings to them. They don’t hold their lives, they must, therefore, not postpone the day of their salvation.

In the Bible, Zion is a metaphor for all children of God and Jerusalem is the city of God. Both are asked to go to all nooks and crannies of Judah and proclaim to them “behold your God” (verse 9). The good tidings is to show God to sinners, to reconcile the fallen humanity back to God, to tell them that God has prepared a way of deliverance for them through Jesus, He has come and shed His blood for the remission of sins for humanity, sinners only need to believe in Jesus and put their faith in Him to be saved from their sins. This is the message of the good tidings that believers are to take to the sinners on their streets and everywhere they go.

Verses 10-11 describe God as the sovereign Lord who is a powerful, conquering king (verse 10). God is also pictured as a tender shepherd, who carefully carries and leads the weak and helpless members of His flocks. Part of the good tidings is that God is our shepherd we shall not want, Jesus is our Good Shepherd, He will not allow marauders to steal or destroy us from His hand.

 

(B)  THE MESSENGERS OF THE GOOD TIDINGS – JOHN 20:19-23

Unlike in the synoptic gospels (Matthew, Mark and Luke where Jesus gave the commission of spreading the  good tidings to the disciples before He bled and died on the cross, the commissioning in the gospel of John is recorded as a post-resurrection event. When the disciples locked themselves in as a result of fear when they heard that Jesus had resurrected, Jesus appeared to them and pronounce peace to them (verse 19). Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord (verse 20).

Therefore, Jesus said to them “peace to you! As the Father has sent Me, I also send you” (verse 21), Jesus sent the disciples as His representatives, as the Father had sent Him (cf Jn. 17:18). They were sent with His authority to preach, teach, and do miraculous signs (Matt. 28:16-20; Lk. 24:47-49). For their new commission, they needed spiritual power. So He breathed on them and said, “receive the Holy Spirit”. This reception of the Holy Spirit was in anticipation of the day of Pentecost and should be seen as a limited gift of knowledge, understanding and empowerment until Pentecost, 50 days later.

Forgiveness of sins is one of the major benefits of the death of Jesus and is the core of the good tidings. It is the essence of the New covenant (cf Matt. 26:28; Jer. 31:31-34). In verse 23, Jesus was giving the apostle, and by extention, the church, the privilege of announcing heaven’s terms on how a person can receive forgiveness. If one believes in Jesus, then a Christian has right to announce his forgiveness. This is why every proclamation of good tidings must be geared towards the recipients being led to making decision for Christ.

CONCLUSION

The Bible says how can they preach except they are sent (Rom. 10:14-15). Believers should know that they have been authorized by Jesus to preach, teach and spread the gospel to unbelievers. The work is not for the ordained ministers or evangelists only, it is for every genuinely born again Christian. So be enlisted among those who are really doing the work of soul-winning today.

 

QUESTIONS

(1)   Mention the three parts that the book of Isaiah was divided into.

(2)   What was the spiritual state of Israel/Judah when Isaiah gave his prophecy?

(3)   What is the core contents of the  good tidings?

(4)   Jesus said as the Father has sent Him, so sent He the disciples. How was Jesus sent and for what purpose?

(5)   What are the disciples expected to do in their commission by Jesus?

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