Born to Preach the Good News | Luke 4:42-44


In this message, John Elmore shows what Jesus came to do and how he came to do it. Jesus came to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God.

John ElmoreDec 10, 2023Luke 4:42-44

In This Series (4)
Christmas Eve 2023 | Luke 2:10 - 11
John ElmoreDec 24, 2023
Born to Destroy the Works of the Devil | 1 John 2:28-3:10
Timothy "TA" AteekDec 17, 2023
Born to Preach the Good News | Luke 4:42-44
John ElmoreDec 10, 2023
Born to Seek and Save the Lost | Luke 19:1-10
Timothy "TA" AteekDec 3, 2023


Ever question life’s purpose? Does what you’re doing really matter? What’s the point? Why do petty things cause such distraction? In this message, John Elmore shows what Jesus came to do and how He came to do it. Jesus came to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God. It’s not good counsel or advice for what we should do. It’s good news because it’s an announcement of who Jesus is and what He has victoriously done for us and our salvation. It’s also good news because it’s about the kingdom of God, or God’s reign. For centuries God’s people had been ruled by terrible rulers (e.g., Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, sin), but King Jesus came to deliver His people from sin and bring them into God’s life-giving, blessed reign through trusting in Him. And He’s a good King, so we have a good and powerful message to proclaim.

Key Takeaways

  • Jesus was born to preach the gospel (Luke 4:43-44).
  • Jesus is the gospel (Luke 4:16-21).
  • We preach Jesus.

Discussing and Applying the Sermon

  • In your own words, what is the “good news of the kingdom of God?” Why is it good news for you? Learn More.
  • Why is Jesus’ perfect obedience good news? Are you trying to earn God’s approval? How does trusting in Jesus and His perfect obedience provide rest and freedom?
  • What “can do” things distract you from the “must do” thing of proclaiming the gospel to others?
  • Pray for God to give you boldness to proclaim the gospel to the three people you prayed for last week. What hinders you? How can your community group help? Practice succinctly sharing what God has done for you, “and how He has had mercy on you” (Mark 5:19). Would your community group consider partnering with us to equip pastors in South Asia with a year of training and four tangible tools that are most helpful in their local context?

Hey, everybody. Merry Christmas! My name is John. I'm one of the teaching pastors here. Welcome, brothers and sisters in Christ. If you're exploring the faith, special welcome to you. Thank you for trusting us with your time as we continue the Born series, this advent of looking to the coming of Jesus and why he came, why he left heaven to come to earth.

About a week and a half ago… My house is under construction because we had a pipe leak, so they've had to rip up the floors all the way down to the crawl space. Like, look down and see dirt. Not a good situation for our house. As they were doing that, another pipe started leaking. So, we already had water damage. Now there was another pipe. It was after hours, so we had these after-hour plumbers come to our house, two guys.

They called the emergency plumbers. They showed up at the house and fixed the leak. I was thanking them. We were walking out the back door, and I was like, "Dude, thank you guys so much. You're awesome. I really appreciate that. That could have been a whole lot worse." The one guy stopped. One guy kind of walked off into the distance, and the other guy stopped and was talking. He was like, "Hey, by the way, I really like these seating areas you have. That's pretty cool, man."

We have one in the side yard for family and neighborhood outdoor dinners. Then we have one in the backyard for Community Group, neighborhood gatherings, hospitality, whatever. He was like, "I really like your seating areas." I was like, "All right. I'm going to take yard furniture, and we're going to get to Jesus in about 10 words." So I went, "Thanks, man. It's all Jesus. I used to be a drunk." What was he going to do? Walk away? Like, "Okay." I was like, "Where are you going to go now, huh? I've got you. You're listening."

He was like, "What?" I was like, "Yeah, man. Like, drunk, gun to my head, doctors telling me I was dying of alcoholism, living on a couch, but Jesus saved me, man. I cried out to him. He changed everything. Now I have a wife and kids and seating areas. It never should have happened. I'm a pastor, man. I get to tell people about Jesus." I said, "Let me ask you something. Do you know what the Bible is about?" He was like, "I don't know."

I was like, "Look. Man has made a mess of religion. Let me tell you what it is. It's that God loves you; he made you; you're his creation, but our sin has separated us from… Have you ever done anything wrong in your life?" He was like, "Yeah, of course." I was like, "Well, that's why Jesus came to die for us and rose again from the dead. No other religion can say that. So if we place our faith in him, we can be saved."

I said, "Look. When you get at home at night, think about what I'm saying, think I'm crazy, all you have to do in the quiet of your room, staring up at the ceiling… Just pray. 'Jesus, I'm a sinner. Save me.'" He went, "Yeah, that and do good works." I was like, "No, no, no. Good works are good, but they won't do anything with your sin. It's just Jesus. That's it. Just receive the gift of salvation." He went, "That's what's up," dapped me out, and walked off.

I was like, "Oh! Oh well." The other guy truly was just standing in the background. He didn't say a word the whole time. I went back into the house. The kids were standing there. They were like, "Dad, what did you tell them? Did you tell them about Jesus?" I was like, "I did. I told them about Jesus. I told them what the story of the Bible is."

They were like, "What did they say?" I was like, "They said, 'That's what's up.'" They were like, "They didn't trust in Jesus?" I was like, "No, they didn't. I don't have any power to do that, but they've heard. They've heard. So now we can pray for them." They were like, "Okay. All right." So we went about our business.

Then my oldest son Hill was like, "Dad, the plumbers are here." I was like, "No, they just left." He was like, "No, they're here. The one plumber…he's back." I was like, "No. That's who I was talking to. They left." He was like, "Dad, the plumber is standing at the back door." I was like, "Oh! Okay." So I walked back to the back door. I was like, "Hey, man. You good? Did you leave a tool or something?" He had his hands like this and he was shaking.

He went, "Did you say you were a pastor?" This was the one who didn't talk the whole time. I went, "Yeah, I'm a pastor." He went, "Can you pray for me?" I said, "Sure. How can I pray for you?" He was like, "I've just had the worst year of my life." I was like, "Okay. Hey, before we pray, tell me about your faith. What do you believe?" He went, "Well, I prayed that prayer you said." I went, "What prayer?"

He went, "'Jesus, I'm a sinner. Save me.' And ever since I prayed that prayer, man, I can feel something." He said, "I don't even have the words to express it, but there was something on my shoulders that is gone." I was like, "Bro, that's the weight of sin that has fallen off of you. You've been born again. The Holy Spirit lives inside of you. That's what you feel. You're now saved. You crossed over from death to life." It's like I could literally show him what he was feeling. So we prayed and I got his number and all this.

Just this morning I was like, "Hey, I want to share that story in church. Do you want me to use your name or not?" He went, "Tell them my name or don't. I don't care. I just want everybody to know that God is real and if you believe in him he'll change everything." So, Peter the plumber is sharing the gospel with y'all today. Say a prayer for him because he just lost a family member this morning. That's why he's not here today.

So I walked inside. I was like, "Kids! Peter the plumber just trusted in Jesus." They were jumping up and down, like, "Yeah! That's amazing! That's incredible!" Y'all, our house is so ripped up, half of it ripped to shreds, and it has been so in my head, in my mind, frustrating me. I'm angsty about it. I'm looking at the timing of all of it. There's creeping, the expense is going up, things are not covered by insurance, and all this stuff.

In that moment it was like nothing mattered. All that matters is knowing God and making him known. When Peter trusted in Jesus, there was such clarity for me, for our family, for my kids. This is all that matters. All that matters is the immortality of a human soul that was bound for hell that is now securely safe in Christ and going to live with Jesus forever in heaven. That's it. Nothing else matters. My ripped-up house doesn't matter. A sick kid doesn't matter. Nothing else matters.

I think I'm not the only one. I think we get so tripped up by life's troubles, the drama, the stress, the hardship, and the suffering, and it all just causes us to turn inward. What you're going to see in the Scriptures today and from the Born series is Christ brings clarity. When he came to earth, face like flint, set to Jerusalem… "I came to ransom souls." One of the reasons he says he came is to preach the good news. We don't think about Jesus a lot as a preacher. We think of him as a healer, miracle worker, and parable teller.

He says by his own words, "I have come to preach the good news of the kingdom of God." Now here's what's interesting. By the way, sidenote: when you hear me say, "Jesus was born," that doesn't mean like a human baby that never existed before. Jesus is the eternally preexistent Son of God, fully God, who took on flesh to come for our place. So, if you're new to church and you're like, "So Jesus was born, so he previously didn't exist," that's a heresy. He has always existed. He took on flesh to come and save us.

So, in this Born series, last week TA taught that Jesus was born to seek and save the lost, and he does this. He came for Zacchaeus, a tax collector, a bad dude in a bad town (Jericho) doing bad things. Like, terminally bad, and Jesus is like, "I came for you. I came to seek and save the lost, and you are one of whom I've come for." Do you know what church history holds? In the Scriptures, that's the end of the story. Jesus leaves Jericho, and that's it.

Church history writes that Zacchaeus left tax collecting. He was like, "I'm done. I'm done defrauding people. If this is true, I'm going to tell everybody." He traveled with Peter, and Peter appointed him to be the bishop or pastor of Caesarea. So, the tax collector became a soul collector. And I don't mean like the Grim Reaper. I mean, like, "I'm going to tell everybody about Jesus." He became a pastor. That's incredible.

It's exactly what we were talking about last week and now talking about this week. Here's how Dave Bruskas, director of re:gen, put it. He was like, "Well, last week TA was talking about what he did. He came to seek and save the lost. This week, what you're talking about is how he did it…by preaching." What he did: seek and save Zacchaeus. Then how, the response: Zacchaeus now pastoring and preaching to everybody. It's an incredible thing.

Where we're going to be and the reason we're going to be there is in Jesus preaching the good news of the kingdom of God. It's important to us as we receive this, because listen to me. Just as Christ… You know, this Born series. If you're in Jesus, you also have been born again. That's what the Scripture says: he was born that you might be born again. Part of the reason you've been born again is to have a new life. You've been saved, but in being saved you're being sent out. Saved to be sent.

So, as Christ preached the good news of the kingdom of God, so also is that mantle now upon us. So, from Luke 4:42-43… Contextually, he was preaching in the synagogue in Nazareth. He had cast a demon out of a man. He had healed Peter's sick mother-in-law, and they're begging him to stay. Like, "Wow! You're doing these incredible works. We could really use a guy like you in our town."

Verse 42 says, "And when it was day, he departed and went into a desolate place. And the people sought him and came to him, and would have kept him from leaving them…" They're like, "Man! You healing people and casting out demons? This is awesome. You should stay." He says this: "…but he said to them, 'I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.'"

He's like, "This is why I was born. This is why I took on flesh. I can heal, I can cast out demons, but I must preach the good news." So must we also. So, here's where we're going to be today, these three points: Jesus was born to preach the gospel, Jesus is the gospel, so we proclaim Jesus. Jesus came to preach the good news, Jesus is the good news (the gospel), so we preach Jesus.

  1. Jesus was born to preach the gospel. "…he said to them, 'I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns as well; for I was sent for this purpose.'" He's saying, "Why was I born? Why did I take on flesh? Why have I come? That I would proclaim the good news of God." He says the word must. He says, "I must do this."

There are can-dos and there are must-dos. Can-dos would have fallen into the category of "Well, I can raise the dead. I can heal the sick. I can cast out demons. I can make wine from water. I can do all of these things. I must preach the good news, the gospel." Can-do versus must-do. The can-dos, the miracles, the signs, the wonders… All of those things were authenticating the message. It was a way of saying, "Hey…"

As he's proclaiming the gospel in Nazareth in the synagogue…he's talking about the good news…there's the authentication that comes with it. Like, "Hey, I'm not just saying this that you might ration with my words, but rather you're going to see it. I'm going to say it, and you're going to see it, but what I must do is proclaim the good news. It's for this reason I was sent."

He says of the kingdom of God… The kingdom of God is this unique change of human history where God breaks in. Certainly, God was working providentially and was sovereign over all up until this, but this is the culmination. It says in Galatians, "The fullness of time when Christ, born of a woman under the law…"

Christ has broken into human history of which we reset our calendars. He has been this definition point where everything else would change as the kingdom of God begins and is continuing, and one day at his coming the full culmination of it where he'll usher in the kingdom of God…new heaven, new earth, no tear, no sorrow, no pain. But he says the good news of the kingdom of God… It has begun. It has begun at his coming, him being born.

When they're saying, "Hey, we need you to stay. This is really helpful. You're healing people. You're casting out demons. You should stay here…" He was giving temporary healing and those signs being authenticators of his message. He was like, "I can do that. I can do temporary healings, but I must be about eternal healing. I know you're sick. I know demons are at work here, but I'm after something so much greater. I know you want me to deliver you from Rome. I'm going to deliver you from sin, death, and Satan. I have to do that. I must do this, the eternal healing."

We tell our kids, "Have-tos before want-tos." Like, when they're getting ready to go to bed… You know, the time rolls around in the evening, and we're like, "Hey, flush and brush, pajamas on. So, go to the bathroom, brush your teeth, and put on your pajamas." They're like, "Well, can we play a game? Can we go bounce on the trampoline?" I'm like, "Have-tos before want-tos." It's a phrase Laura… I don't know if she heard it from someone else, but that's a phrase in our house: "Have-tos before want-tos."

"Hey, can I go do this?"

"After you do your homework."

"Can I go do this?"

"After you eat your vegetables."

"Can I go do this?"

"After flush and brush."

Have-tos before want-tos. Here, Jesus is saying, "I can do this, but I must preach the gospel." I think what that gives us is clarity. There is a recalibration of life, just like when I was so upset about my house and there was Peter placing his faith in Jesus. It was like, "Oh. I've got a bunch of can-dos in my life, but this is a must-do. I must proclaim the good news just as Jesus did."

When we receive the good news, we enter into the kingdom of God, and we become ambassadors of that kingdom and of that King, that we're then sharing with others, not knowing where they stand with this King, where their soul will spend eternity, either in heaven or hell, that they also might trust in Jesus and come into the kingdom. Jesus was born to preach the gospel, to proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God.

  1. Jesus is the gospel. He is the good news incarnate. There is no other good news in this world, spiritually speaking, apart from him. So, Jesus was born to preach the gospel, and Jesus is the gospel. Here it is in Luke, chapter 4. You back up from our key verse where he says the purpose for which he was sent. In verse 14 it says, "And Jesus returned in the power of the Spirit to Galilee, and a report about him went out through all the surrounding country. And he taught in their synagogues, being glorified by all."

There it is before he even says it. He's preaching the good news of the kingdom of God. "And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written…" Listen carefully to these words. These words were written by Isaiah, prophesied about the coming of Christ, 700 years before the birth of Jesus.

"The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news…" When I said Jesus was born to preach the gospel and Jesus is the gospel… Here he says, "To proclaim the good news to the poor." The poor in spirit. "He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives…" Captive of what? Captive of Rome? No. Captive of sin and Satan. "…and recovering of sight to the blind…" Just the physically blind? The spiritually blind.

"…to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor." The proclamation the "year of the Lord's favor" is the inception of the kingdom of God. "And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down." That is the first mic drop recorded in human history. It's a scroll drop. "And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, 'Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.'" Boom!

They would have been like, "What? What did you say? Wait. That was written 700 years ago. Recovery of sight to the blind? Proclamation of the year of the Lord's favor? Setting at liberty those who are oppressed? What do you mean this has been fulfilled in our hearing? We've heard the rabbis read that. We've heard the scribes read it. We've heard it talked about. We know we've been longing for it. What do you mean it has been fulfilled?"

They literally said, "You're Joseph's son. You're the carpenter's boy. By the way, that harlot mom of yours who had an unwed child…" That's what they might have been thinking. Like, "Who are you? Fulfilled in you? No way." "And they said, 'Is not this Joseph's son?'" He literally says, "It's me. I'm the good news. I'm the sinless Lamb of God given to take away the sins of the world. I will be crucified, buried, and raised again that whoever believes in me will not perish but have eternal life."

He is the good news. He's the gospel, the good news that God loves you so much. He loves you. He made you. He loves us and desires to be reconciled back to us through Jesus. There's no other way because our sin has separated us. So, while we are altogether unworthy because of our sin, we are of great worth.

You know the value of something by what is given in order to attain it. In order to redeem the souls of men and women throughout history on the face of this earth, what God would give… Unworthy but of great worth. He would give the Son of God, God himself in flesh. He would give himself to rescue us, and there was no other way. There's no other way. How can we be right with God because of our sin?

Our home being under construction, there's something we have to give those who would want to get in. It's this right here: our house key. There's no other way into the house. They can't get in, but I give this to them because I want them in. This is the only means. Now, they might come to me and be like, "No, I don't need that. I've got a key. I've got this key. I've got that key. I've got keys. I don't need your key. I have a key."

I'd be like, "No, no. There's one key that will open our house. Now, I want you in, but you must use this key." So it is with all of us as we go out from these doors in this place and are interacting with our neighbors, coworkers, families, friends, and those we're going to see over the holiday break. We're just thinking, "Do they have the key?" Not a key, because they'll say, "Oh, I've got the key of reincarnation. I've got the key of manifestation.

I've got the key of nirvana and meditation. That's how I get near to God. I've got the key of my good works that'll get me to God and will somehow meet his justice within Islam. I've got the key of Jesus plus good works, of the cults. I've got keys." It's like, "No, no, no. There's one key that will get you into the kingdom." Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life, and no one enters into God's house…" No one gets to the Father except through the Son. Jesus is the key.

We talk about this Born series, and there are explicit statements where Jesus shares with us, "It's for this reason that I was born." Here's another one of them. It's found in Matthew 5:17. Jesus says, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them." He says right here in this Born series, "One of the reasons I have come is to fulfill the Law and the Prophets." It's like, "Well, why? For a nice party trick? Like, you can do what we can't?" He did it because we couldn't.

Every other religion and cult is like, "Hey, you need to be perfect. You need to do good works in order to get to God." Christianity alone is like, "You're never going to. I will be perfect because you can't be. I will be the perfect sacrifice. I will live the sinless life for all of your sinful life so you can be forgiven. I'm going to give my life in exchange for you. I'm going to take your place under the wrath of God that you might go free." That's why he came to fulfill the Law (perfect, sinless life) and the Prophets.

In Isaiah it also says that God alone knows the beginning from the end, that he's the one who can foretell. You can look in every other so-called holy book, and they will not give you prophecies of the future that have been fulfilled. Why? Because only God knows. So, here Jesus says, "I've fulfilled the Law, and I've fulfilled the Prophets. They wrote about me, and here I am…kingdom of God breaking forth. I am the good news, my life laid down for everyone who would believe that they would go free, and there is no other way."

Last week, as TA taught about seeking and saving the lost, he was talking about a savior who would come. This week…the kingdom of God…we're talking about a king who has come. I was talking to Oren Martin, our senior director of equipping, and he was like, "You know that in the ancient Near East the good news…" The euaggelion, the good aggelos (message or messenger), the good news.

That was sent out by a king with all of his different messengers, saying, "We have conquered the enemy. The land is now ours. Spread the news. We're no longer under threat or control or reign. There is a new king who has come in and broken forth." When Jesus says, "The good news of the kingdom of God," they would have heard that and been like, "Oh, you're the King. Not just a savior, a king, and your kingdom has come in." Jesus was born to preach the good news. Jesus is the good news.

  1. So we preach Jesus. Jesus was born to preach the good news. Jesus is the good news. We've been born again that we also might preach Jesus. Every time we leave the State Fair… And I never knew this. I went up to a fair employee. I'm a curious guy. I walked up to a fair employee. I mean, we're spending hundreds for our family of five. I'm like, "Where is all this money going? Clearly it's not going to the carnies. Who's getting this money?"

I was like, "Hey, can I ask you something? Where does this money go to?" The State Fair marketing person was like, "Oh, I'm so glad you asked. We're a nonprofit organization, so a lot of this goes to college scholarships for underprivileged people. So we give millions and millions every year for college scholarships." I was like, "Hold up. Did you say you were in marketing? You should really tell people that. Nobody knows that's where the money is going. Oh my goodness!"

I mean, it was painful to buy those tickets and the corn dogs and all that. It was so hard until I learned that. Then I was like, "Oh, we're going big. This goes to college scholarships? Tickets for everybody. Let's go. Let's ride rides. Yes, get the Texas Twister Taters or whatever they're called. Get it." Inevitably, at the end of the night, I'm looking through my pockets and Laura's purse. "Okay. Here's a ticket. Here are three tickets. Here are 10." But it's bedtime for us. I'm like, "It's done. No more rides. No more corn dogs. We're out."

We are always looking for a family who looks like they could use some extra tickets. We tell the kids… It's kind of a game. We're like, "Okay. Hey, who do we want to find to give the tickets to? Look for somebody." It was like, "That looks like a single mom. Let's go bless her." So we walked up and were like, "Hey, we're about to leave. We've got these extra tickets. Would you like these?" Do you know how many people have rejected our offer of free tickets every year at the Texas State Fair? Zero. They would be out of their mind to do so. It's like giving people cash.

They're like, "Wait. Are you serious?" They think it's a trick. They're looking around. "Are you filming me? Are you punking me? Are these…" I'm like, "No. Here. Here." Guys, do you know that's the only way to get into the State Fair and to ride rides? You can't come to them with your wadded-up high school football ticket and be like, "Can I use this?" They'd be like, "That ticket doesn't work here. Even if you have a Taylor Swift ticket, that doesn't work here. We take State Fair tickets. That's the only kind of ticket that works here."

Guys, we have the ticket. We have the ticket, limitless, to get into the kingdom of God, and there are eight billion people walking this earth who will spend eternity in heaven or hell. Do you know what the ticket is, how you share it? You just speak the name of Jesus. That's it. It's free. It doesn't cost anything to you or to them. Jesus paid the price. You just have to share it. You get to share it. Here's the kicker: you already know they have sin, like everybody. "All have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God." So you know they need a ticket.

You're like, "I know you need it. I know you look good. I know you do good. I know you need a ticket. I've got a ticket. Do you want to get in? Do you want to be free?" But we think, "Well, that's so awkward, because me saying Jesus died for sinners, I'm telling them they have sin." They know they have sin. It's just a reception of a free gift that we get to give. We get to give it in the name of Jesus. There is no other ticket.

So, be thinking, "How do I move this conversation with this person to spiritual things?" Once you start doing it, it's going to be kind of involuntary. I'm not pacing my house, like, "All right. We have emergency plumbers here. How do I…? Okay. Jesus is the living water. They're fixing my water. What are we going to do? How am I going to…?" He literally was like, "Man, I like your lawn furniture." I was like, "Whatever he says, I'm working it back to Jesus. I'm going to get my testimony in there somehow."

Just think… There are probably going to be 7,000 people who are going to hear this message just today, let alone online. Just think if we were like, "You know what? I'm going to do that too. I'm going to share Jesus with my coworker, with my neighbor, with my sports coach, with my [whoever]. Whoever God providentially drops in my path…my Uber driver…I'm just going to try to guide that conversation to spiritual things."

What would happen? Guys, what would happen is people who are out of the kingdom would receive a free ticket and get into the kingdom as we preached Jesus. That's what would happen. So, who preaches Jesus? You're like, "You. You preach Jesus. You're a teaching pastor. That's what you do. That's your job. I have a different job. That's your job. You do it. That's why we give twice a month to this church. That's your job. It's on your job description, not on mine."

Check out 2 Corinthians, chapter 5. In 2 Corinthians, chapter 5, it talks about… It's an incredible gospel verse where it says, "If anyone…" I don't care what you've done, what's in your past. "If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation." Not a better creation, not a new and improved you…new. Do you know how badly I wanted that as a drunk at the age of 30 living on a couch? I wanted to be new. I didn't dream it was even possible. I thought I'd have to pull my life up out of a ditch. Jesus makes you new.

"If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is gone; the new has come. All of this is from Christ." In verse 18 it says, "All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself…" There's the reconciliation. You've been separated from God because of your sin. Christ is the bridge that gets us back to God. He's the key that unlocks the door to the kingdom. He's the free ticket that the ticket taker is like, "Oh, you've got that? You're in. Blood of Jesus, forgiveness of sins… Welcome home. You're a new creation."

It's like, "Well, that's awesome," but I think we stop there. We're just content to be content. We're like, "Well, I'm glad I'm forgiven. Phew! That was close. Praise God. I'm reconciled to him." Jesus doesn't stop there. It says, "…who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us…" He's giving you something. God has given you salvation. Now he's giving you something else. "…the ministry of reconciliation…"

So, he just said that God through Christ reconciled us to himself. He brought us back together…reconciliation…father to a son to a daughter. You're always his. Nothing can separate you from the love of the Father. You're like, "Yes!" and he's like, "I want you to go tell others. I've saved you to send you. Yes, you got in with a ticket. Here's a roll of tickets. You go tell everybody you can this gift is free."

He has given us the ministry of reconciliation. He's going to unpack it for us. It says, "…that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation." So, it's a ministry of reconciliation. Now the message of reconciliation. He told us what the message was, that through Jesus… We preach Jesus, that God is not counting our sins against us.

Then it goes on and says, "Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us." Y'all, if you're in Jesus, your job description is a minister of reconciliation and an ambassador. If you think about US ambassadors… I thought about the movie 13 Hours where the ambassador is in Libya. He's kind of driving the Secret Service people, or whoever they are, the protection… He's driving them crazy because he keeps walking around and is out amongst the people.

They're like, "Stop it! You're in danger." He's like, "I don't care. I'm here for these people. My sovereign has sent me here, however dangerous it may be, to represent the king. I'm here to advocate on behalf of these people for my king to bring goodwill to them. What am I going to do? Stay shut up in the state house and swim in the pool and eat these lush meals? No! I'm here for these people, sent by my king. I'm an ambassador."

So, may we not be content to be content but be like, "God, you placed me here. You placed me in Dallas, in Richardson, in Garland, in Mesquite, in South Oak Cliff…" Wherever you are, God has got you there…not just where you live but where you work. He has you as an ambassador with the ministry of reconciliation with a roll of tickets. Give them out to everybody that they may be freely saved and loved.

Guys, it's Christmas. Right? Christ-mas. It's the time that the whole world… We still live in the Bible Belt, and there's some semblance of spirituality out there where there are Christmas trees and lights and holiday music and wassail, whatever that is. Everybody has Christmas on their minds.

You can just ask them, "Hey, do you have any plans on Christmas? Has anybody ever told you what Christmas is? I was always confused about it. Hey, if you could get anything for Christmas this year, what would it be?" Just start a spiritual conversation. They're not going to be offended. They're already thinking about Christmas anyway. "Hey, what do you celebrate during the holidays? Are you doing anything on Christmas Eve? We have five services. Take your pick." That's an amazing invitation if we would go out of here and preach Jesus.

When I say that we're to proclaim Jesus, I think about the Gerasene demoniac. He was delivered from 2,000 demons. They go into the pigs and rush into the sea. Crazy story. He's like, "Jesus, let me go with you," and Jesus says, "No, but go back to where you're from and tell everybody everything God has done for you," which was a statement of deity by Jesus. So he does. He goes and tells everyone everything Jesus had done for him, and it says all of the people were amazed.

When I say, "Preach Jesus," you might be like, "Oh, I don't know, man. That would be weird if I started preaching in my corporation." The Gerasene demoniac, when he goes and tells people about Jesus and they're all amazed… The word there is the same word Paul uses for preachkerusso. Paul says, "Preach."

The Gerasene demoniac preached, and I don't think he was… He was just proclaiming. They're like, "Wow! You're doing better for yourself. You're not lying naked, living among the tombs, and cutting yourself with stones. Wow!" He's like, "Oh, hey, this is all Jesus. I'm changed because of Jesus." That's all he has to do: proclaim Jesus. That's it. God does the rest. You just speak his name. God will do the rest.

I was walking out of a Community Group member's house the other night. Shane and I were hanging out, talking about ministry. Everybody was already in bed. I'm walking, and it stops me in my tracks because I see this. I'm like, "Wait. I mean, I know you guys have four kids, but, man, you only have two coffee drinkers in the house. What's up? Why do you have three coffee makers?"

He's like, "Oh, because Beth's neighborhood Bible study is tomorrow, so there will be about 40 women in here." I took that picture because I was like, "That's preaching Jesus." She has 40 women from the neighborhood who aren't part of churches who just come to their house. She pours coffee. They open the Bible. People are trusting in Christ. They're leaving cults. They're having spiritual conversations. They're being prayed for.

They didn't have a ticket before, and now they do because Beth is like, "I'm going to tell everybody. I'm going to tell my neighbors. This is where God has got me. He has got me right here on this road. I'm just going to invite my neighbors over. We're going to make some coffee. It started out as one pot. Now we're up to three." She has a straight-up coffee ministry.

I don't want you to think that every time I share faith it's like Peter the plumber, people falling on their knees, trusting in Jesus, weeping, like, "Lord, forgive me." A couple of weeks ago, I was in a restaurant. The guy brought us our lunch. I was like, "Hey, man. We always pray before the meal. Any way I can pray for you today? Anything you need that God could do for you?" He went, "Pfft! No!" and just walked away. I was like, "Oh. Well, I'm going to pray for you anyway because I think you just showed your cards." Like, "Wow! You really hate God and me."

But that's okay. My job is not to save anybody. I can't. I can't save myself. That's God's job. So there's freedom. I'm just going to speak the name of Jesus. I'm going to ask how I can pray. I'm going to have a spiritual conversation. He does the work. That's Romans 1:16 where it says, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…" I don't have the power. God has the power. I just speak the gospel, and God has the power to raise the dead.

Y'all, I shared with the plumbers, and he said, "That's what's up" and left. I was like, "Well, that didn't go well." Then I think the power of God was at work. They're walking back to the car, and the guy gets born again as he's getting into their big plumber tool van and is like, "I've got to go back." The power of God. We just speak. Some people are going to reject it, some people will accept it, but may we not be guilty of not proclaiming Jesus.

There are three things I want to put before you as we proclaim Jesus. It's to preach the name of Jesus. Just speak it. Just tell people. Have a spiritual conversation. Tell them about Jesus. That's preach. The second is pray for them. TA talked about it last week. Pray for three people by name. I'm inviting you now to share with them. Then the third would be to provide. Provide for others who are preaching Jesus.

Did you know this church, thanks to Jeff Ward, who is our external focus director… He has partnered with [audio cuts off], which is one of the greatest concentrations of unreached people in this entire world. There are close to one billion people living right in that area of India. For $1,800, you can send a church planter and pastor who will be given the supplies to go out and preach Jesus to people who have never heard his name who are following the false gods of Hinduism. Eighteen hundred bucks!

So, if God has given you means and ability, I'm asking you… Would you give $1,800 to send out a pastor? We're doing this all the way through Christmas Eve. If you're like, "Dude, $1,800? I can't do that," then do what our Community Group is doing. Each of the four families is giving $450 to pool our money together. Our Community Group will be responsible for sending out a church planter/pastor.

Do you know how good that makes me feel about spending my money wisely? In eternity to come, I'm not going to be like, "Man! I wish I would have had another $450. I could have bought a microwave." Instead, I'm going to be like, "Oh my goodness! You're the church planter/pastor. Did you reach anybody?" Then he's going to introduce me to people. What that money will be used…

If you're like, "Man, our Community Group doesn't have $450 each to give," then say, as a Community Group, "Hey, let's raise it together. Let's talk to our friends, our neighbors, our coworkers, our families. Let's say, 'Hey, what if we all joined together and were responsible for sending out a pastor/church planter?'"

Those pastors… Their goal is to plant five churches. Currently, this church has raised $70,000. That's 30 pastors who are already being sent. I think if we all were like, "Yeah, man. Our Community Group is in on that too," 800 pastor/church planters would be sent out to those one billion living in darkness. Now, if that doesn't say "Christmas" I don't know what does. That's the most Christmas thing you could do: give sacrificially that a church planter who's already ready…he just needs to be sponsored…would be sent out and go.

Then the last thing I want to share as we talk about preaching Jesus… I know it can be hard, awkward, and weird. The apostle Paul saw Jesus. He saw the resurrected Lord brighter than the sun at noonday. He heard him say, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting." Paul, as a theologian, church planter, pastor, and preacher…

When he told the church in Ephesus, "I've got a prayer request," I'm sure they were like, "Yeah, yeah. What is it, Paul? Do you need more money to plant churches? Are your eyes still bothering you? We'd love to help pray for healing. Yeah, Paul. We're listening. We love you. How can we pray for you?" He says in Ephesians, chapter 6, "Pray for me that I would speak the gospel boldly as I ought."

I think they might have been like, "Wait. Hold up. You've met Jesus. You need help preaching boldly? You need help sharing boldly about Jesus? You've literally met the resurrected Lord." When I hear that Paul was humble enough to ask for boldness in proclaiming the name of Jesus, that makes me feel a little better about me feeling awkward too. Like, "How am I going to bridge a spiritual conversation here?"

I think we don't share Jesus so much because we don't ask God to give us boldness. So I want to close in that way. Jesus came to preach the good news. Jesus is the good news, and we now preach Jesus. We proclaim him, and I think we do so not by our own effort or gumption or trying harder but by asking God to give us boldness, that when those providential moments happen, we just step into them and proclaim Jesus. Let's pray.

Father, thank you for sending Jesus to take on flesh, fully God, fully man, to save us from our sins, the free gift of salvation found in him alone. Now you've sent us out as ambassadors, ministers of reconciliation. Lord, we cannot do that on our own. There is no way we can be an ambassador on behalf of the King without the King's help, without his power. So, as Paul asked, we're asking for boldness. Not to bully, not to be a jerk, not to rub people's sin in their faces, but to boldly proclaim the free gift of salvation found in Jesus alone, especially in this season.

As you providentially cross our paths with people throughout these cities, at our work, in our neighborhoods, would you give us boldness to just step into those opportunities and speak the name of Jesus that they may be saved and enter into the kingdom of God, for it is for this reason Christ was born, so we want to go tell everyone Jesus Christ is born. Amen.

About 'Born'

Jesus was born to die so that we might live. Each week during Advent, we will look at what Scripture says about the significance of Jesus' birth and the purpose of his life, death, and resurrection.