You notice the sermon title, Good News Is Always Good News, and if you have your choice between good news and bad news, which one you going to pick, if you're smart? Good news! Good news! And so we look at that in Ephesians 4:32, that scripture there is a powerful scripture for us as Christians. Now you might get away with it if you're not a Christian. But if you wear the title of a Christian you're committed to Jesus Christ. This text becomes very important to us because we are representatives of Jesus Christ. How would He treat and relate to people, and He's our master model in that.
So we look at this. It talks about before that some things we need to put away, but then it says in that verse that was just read there, “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted.” Don’t you like the sound of that? Tenderhearted. Has a good sound to it. You try it, you know, sometimes. Tenderhearted. “Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another just as God in Jesus Christ forgave us.” Be kind to one another. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is the ultimate in good news. It can't get any better than that. That is good news at its very best, the Gospel of Jesus Christ. But as committed Christians to Christ our Savior, we have a sphere of influence, you knew that, didn't you? We have a sphere of influence as we mingle with people and an obligation to make a sincere effort to share the good news of Jesus’ love, here it is, as well as the good news of kindness, speaking encouraging words and doing acts of kindness for family, friends and neighbors. And that's good news too, kindness.
In bringing happiness to others, when Jesus was on earth, in bringing happiness to others, Jesus demonstrated how much could be done with very little in way of material things. He had very little of the goods of this world. You know some people say, “If I had a million dollars I would really make a difference in evangelism. If I had a million dollars I’d put a bunch of kids through church school.” But because we don't have a million dollars, does that mean we can't do anything to be a help? Jesus had very little and He did a lot.
You know, just to get the picture, if you look in Matthew, chapter 8, verse 19 and 20, of what Jesus said about what He had of this world's goods. Matthew 8:19 and 20, it mentions down there in verse 19, it says, “And a certain scribe.” Now scribes were people that were well-educated, quite wealthy in most cases, and he came and said to Jesus, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” Now if you read in some of the commentaries in different places they really doubted whether that was a real deep sincere thing or kind of a rash thing of the moment. I'll follow You wherever You go, and then Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes for their house.” They live in the ground in holes, “and birds of the air, they have nests to live in, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay His head.” In the material things of this world, Jesus didn't have much and He shared that with His disciples, those that were following. But notwithstanding His meager earthly possessions, Jesus brought joy and happiness to all who came under His influence.
You know, sometimes, sometimes we’re prone to think that everything Jesus did was in terms of miracles. That in supernatural ways He ministered to the people, and it is true, on many occasions He did bring happiness to those who mourn by raising the dead or those who were sick by bringing miracle healing. Did that. But much of His time was spent in doing the little, everyday things that cheer people on. Now when we get into that area, the little everyday ministries that cheer people on, we can do that. As Jesus’ representatives, as Jesus’ witnesses, we can do that. The little ministries that cheer people on.
It may be a letter that you write to somebody that you know, could use a letter. Might be a phone call. Could be an email, in the day in which we are living, of some kind words, encouraging words to cheer people on. Perhaps a word of appreciation. Now, we don't overdo this in our society. We don't overdo the thing of appreciating people. We've still got a little ways to go on that and people kind of like that. Did you ever notice? People kind of like little words of appreciation that come to them. A word spoken at the right time may turn defeat into victory for some struggling soul. My wife saw this quotation on a church sign. Keep kindness in mind with this. This is really for husbands. This is really speaking to husbands so you need to this listen to this. “Treat your wife like a thoroughbred and she'll never be a nag.” It was the famous evangelist Billy Sunday, who said, “Cast your bread upon the waters and it will come back to you buttered,” and I add, maybe even peanut buttered.
Human beings created in God's image may not always respond positively to the offer to sit down with you for an hour a week in a formal Bible study. Some people would refuse to do that. They wouldn't do that. About maybe, where people go when they die or why we like a diet of wham versus ham and all that. But the good news of a warm smile and a hearty handshake and a bag of fully ripe tomatoes or some juicy peaches, most people will cordially open to you in a positive response. You try it and see if it doesn't work. Tomatoes are going to be coming on, pretty soon. You take some of those vine ripe tomatoes and you share those with somebody as a representative of Jesus, as a kind act, and see how they respond to that. Try it on me if you have a question. It’ll work.
I want to share with you a quotation that is taken from Desire Of Ages about Jesus when He was on the earth. It’s so many beautiful little things that we see. “His life was as leavening working amid the elements of society.” Now Jesus mingled with the people. Now I want you to look at the classes of people that Jesus mingled among. Sometimes we have a narrow circle of people we mingle with. Look at the classes of people that Jesus mingled with. He said, “Harmless and undefiled He walked among the thoughtless, the rude, the uncourteous. Amid the unjust publicans, the reckless prodigals, the unrighteous Samaritans. You mingle around with any of those people? Our circle’s a little more narrow than that, isn’t it? “The heathen soldiers, the rough peasants and the mixed multitude.” What did He do when He was mingling around with all those people? Look what He did. “He spoke a word of sympathy here and a word of sympathy there. As He saw men weary yet compelled to bear heavy burdens, He shared their burdens.” Now look what, here is something that's astounding. I appreciate that. Here is something that's astounding. As He mingled around with the people. He learned something from nature, and He used those lessons in mingling with the people.
Now have many of you have been Pathfinders and how many love nature? I think probably we all do. Have you learned some lessons from nature? Probably have. But here's what Jesus learned from nature that He was sharing. It says, “He shared their burdens and repeated to them lessons He had learned from nature.” Here's what He learned. “From nature of the love, the kindness and the goodness of God.” Is that amazing? When He looked into nature that's what He saw, and then He shared it with the people. Good news. Jesus shared the good news, and good news is always good news. The good news of kindness, the good news of the Gospel. It's all good news and Jesus shared it all.
Now you’ve got to turn to Proverbs, Proverbs chapter 16. Proverbs, chapter 16 and verse 24. When we talk about the good news, the good news of kindness, which is always good news. Now I want you to, you know in our scripture this morning it said, “and be kind to one another, tenderhearted.” Look at this. Proverbs 16:24. “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb.” Now what do we know about a honeycomb? What does a honeycomb taste like? Sweet! Yes, it is sweet and the next little phrase says that. “Pleasant words are like a honeycomb. Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones.” Did you know that? You got anybody around you that's got sick bones. You know how to help them get better? I mean according to the scripture? Pleasant words. Pleasant words are like a honeycomb. Sweetness to the soul and health to the bones. Makes a person feel good deep down with pleasant, kind, sympathetic, tender words, through and through the whole body.
The medical people tell us that it's hard to feel good and be really healthy unless the bones are healthy. And here we've got the wise man saying, if you want to help people be healthy way down to the bone, you use pleasant, kind words. “’Ye are My witnesses,’ saith the Lord,” and so that's what we can do. Now those are the little ministries that we can do as Christ's representatives.
In Guidepost Magazine, everybody ever heard of that? There's a story here that to me is a classic. I thought when I first saw that that it happened, because it called Bacon Station post office, I thought it happened in New York City, that sounds like a New York, Bacon Station post office, but it happened to be in Indianapolis and the lady that wrote it was from Indianapolis. And here it is. Now I want you to keep in mind, “and be kind to one another.”
Mr. G., a regular, approached my window at the Bacon Station post office. Other clerks usually slowed down their transaction or closed their windows looking for any excuse to duck him. This morning I was ready for him. “Give me a book of stamps,” Mr. G. snapped at me. He slammed down his money and said, “Hurry up about it.” I gave that man a look he'll never forget, and I took my sweet time handing him those stamps, too. I'd had it with nasty customers. I wished I had my old job back at the main post office sorting flat mail. It was monotonous work, but at least I didn't get any lip from the public. Just that morning over coffee, a newspaper editorial had caught my eye. ‘Bacon Station has the rudest clerks in town,’ it charged. “No,” I corrected, “Bacon Station has the rudest customers anywhere.” I was rude to people because they were rude to me. Mr. G. had asked for that look I’d given him. What goes around comes around. And then it dawned on me. If I answered rudeness with rudeness, how would others respond if I treated them with courtesy?
After my lunch break, I imagined that my window was a mirror and the person on the other side reflected my demeanor. “Lord, I'm going to need your help to make this work,” I said. My first customer looked gloomy. While digging in her purse for her wallet, she mumbled her order. I felt awkward, but when she looked up I forced a smile. One side of her mouth curled up slightly. “She's trying too,” I thought.
For the rest of the week I concentrated on getting to know my customers, addressing them by name when I could and thinking of them as people just like me with problems and worries and a little good news. By Friday, the smile on my face had become genuine, I felt better.
And then I saw Mr. G. in line, a true test. He walked up to my window and barked his order. While handling the transaction I said, “How's business, Mr. G.?” He looked startled. “Terrible,” he growled. I placed his order on the counter. “It’ll get better,” I said, smiling. He grumbled and walked away, but I saw him glance back over his shoulder.
Slowly Mr. G. began to change and so did the clerks. A new mood of cheerfulness seemed to pervade Bacon Station, and Mr. G. became one of our favorite customers. In trying our best to live the Golden Rule on the job, I learned it's not only the customers who are being better served.
Isn't that amazing? Biblical principles. She was kind and courteous to other people, and she said, “by Friday, I felt,” what? “Better.” I felt better. It comes back. The blessing comes back to us when we share that good news and be kind. Kindness is good news, and it's always good news. You know, it's never out of season. Never out of season. People like it. People like kindness, dogs like kindness, everybody likes kindness.
Now I want to go back to the Desire Of Ages, back to Jesus, who, we see how He dealt with situations on the earth. And we are His witnesses to share the good news. “Jesus was the healer of body as well as the soul. To every sufferer He brought relief.” Now I want you to catch this. “Jesus was healer of body as well as of the soul. To every sufferer He brought relief.” Did Jesus, do we have the account that Jesus worked miracles on everyone that was suffering and healed them. Don't think we do, but I think we have a picture of it when we see this. He was a Healer. Note how He did it. Note how He healed body and soul. Here it is. “His kind words.” You didn't miss that did you? “His kind words had a soothing balm. None could say that He worked a miracle.” “Naw,” they said, “He didn’t work a miracle here,” but His kind words seemed to work a miracle. “But virtue, the healing power of love, went out from Him to the sick and distressed.” Love went out from Him to the distressed through kind words that He spoke. “Thus in an unobtrusive way He worked for the people from His very childhood.” Now catch this. “And this is why after His public ministry began so many heard Him gladly.” Jesus was kind to people. Jesus was courteous to people, and we are His representatives.
Now, how many of you have used the word ‘unobtrusive’ lately? Is that something that just pops out, you use that word often? I don't think I've used it lately. I don't think I've ever used it, that I know of, but I wondered exactly what it was. “Jesus worked,” it said. He did his work, here, it said “in an unobtrusive way.” Now I think, I mean I kind of had an idea of what I thought that was, but I looked it up. Went to Google, looked it up. High-tech definition, and it said ‘unobtrusive’, and this is the way Jesus worked, ‘not showy, not a showy way, in a quiet way, restrained way, subdued way, keeping a low profile.’ And here's one I like best. ‘Tasteful.’ Tasteful. The way He went about relating to people.
I guess there's a time to be pushy with people. Push your diet on them. Push your exercise on them. All that. But Jesus did it in a very kind, kind way. Unobtrusive way. And then it says that is why. You're going to have some evangelistic meetings here, and we have an opportunity to invite some people, you know, to come to that. Now if you have a neighbor or somebody, business person, that you just had a big argument with, chances are they won't come if you invite them, unless the Holy Spirit really gets on them strong. But the one that you’ve just taken the vine ripe tomatoes to, you might go back and say, “Boy, I've got something going on there. I'd like to invite you to come.” They might think about it at least, you know. They probably won't just turn you down.
You know, there's another Christ’s method. Christ’s method of soul winning, dealing with people. And you know, when we’re kind to people, that’s soul winning. Did you ever think, you think sometimes, well you have to be giving a Bible study to be soul winning. No, if you’re kind to people like Jesus was, with pleasant words that heal their bones and all that, you know, that's Jesus’ method. In fact, it says, “Christ.” Here it is. Ministry of Healing, 143 “Christ’s method alone will give true success in reaching the people. The Savior mingled with men as One who desired their good. He showed His sympathy.”
“And be kind to one another, tenderhearted.” You know what another definition for tenderhearted is? Sympathy! Jesus, the Scripture says, he looked upon the multitude and He had what toward them? Sympathy. Compassion for them. “As One who desired their good He showed His sympathy for them, ministered to their needs and won their confidence. Then He bade them, ‘Follow Me.’” That's Jesus. That's the way He operated, and we are His witnesses of the good news. The good news of kindness, good news of the gospel of Jesus, and all that good news is always good news. Never, never out of season.
Now let me ask you a question. Do you think being kind and gentle to people the way that Jesus did works today? Would it work today? Do people like to hear kind words and be treated gently? How do you feel about that? Does it make you angry and upset when people are kind and gentle to you? That doesn't bother you too much, does it? You know, it makes people feel good. Still, still does.
Jesus went about doing good. Isaiah 54:40 said, “My kindness shall not depart from you.” God's kindness will not depart from us. Now here is one. Here’s one that's called the Golden Rule. Matthew 7:12. Now that is part of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. The Golden Rule, without looking it up, what basically does it mean? What does it say? Anybody want to just say? What's the Golden Rule that we, what is it? Okay. Be kind to one another. Treat other people the way you'd like them to treat you. Now that was good way back in Jesus Day. People liked it. They related to that. Is it still Golden? Is that still a Golden Rule in 2008. Do you like it when people apply the Golden Rule that Jesus gave to you. Most people do.
If you were going to just rewrite that Golden Rule, be kind to one another, treat other people the way you'd like them to treat you, how would you rewrite it or redefine it in one word? Anybody brave enough to tell me what a one-word? What? You have an apple or something you’ll give that person? Kindness. Yeah, kindness. That's the Golden Rule. If you’re kind to people. That's the way you treat them. That's the way we like to be treated. With kindness.
Now I'm going to close with the really good news. It's John, the 14th chapter. The Gospel of John, chapter 14. You know, I like the way, I’ll tell you, we have all that to memory, I know. But when you look at this, words of Jesus. Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled.” You know, kindness alleviates some of that. Kindness and gentleness helps people’s heart not to be as troubled. Now it may be a little out of the context of what He was saying, but Jesus said, “Let not your heart be troubled. Ye believe in God, believe also in Me.” And then He said, “In my Father's house are many mansions. If it were not, so, I would've told you. I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will,” do what? “Come again.” Is that good news? That is the ultimate in good news, in Jesus. “I will come again and receive you to Myself that where I am there you may be also.”
You know, as much as we try I don't think we have, can get the idea of the grandeur and the full impact of that promise. Jesus is building a mansion for us. He's coming back again for us! He's coming back again for us! That is really good news, and it is always good news. Always! I want to be there, don't you? I want to live in the house. We can all be there. Praise the name of Jesus who paid the price and made it possible that not a one of us need miss being a part of heaven, when He comes.
213 is our closing hymn, Jesus Is Coming Again.
Hymn of Praise: #240, Fairest Lord Jesus Scripture: Ephesians 4:32 Hymn of Response: #213, Jesus is Coming Again
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Sermon at McDonald Road transcribed by Steve Foster 6/13/08