Monday, October 29, 2012

Spreading the Word

Acts 5:27-42
The Messiah, by the Jews, was predicted, expected, anticipated, BUT overlooked (missed)
Because - they misunderstood the primary role - Luke 19:10  Matt. 1:21 - overlooked that He would be the sacrifice for sins.

BUT, after the resurrection (Pentecost) His followers got it!!!

So:  #1.  They accepted, embraced, began to follow this Messiah who saves, forgives, redeems.
Who reveals God, expresses the love of the Father, Reconciles!
Who lives..... is ever present and ever caring!!!  AND IS LORD!!

#2.  They began to tell others.  -
Book of Acts - Historical account of the early church.
           Pentecost - Acts 2:41 - Holy Spirit fell upon the Apostles - birth of the church in a big way.
          Apostles in the temple outer courts/before the Sanhedrin - Acts 4:11-12
          Birth of the church/growth of "The Way"  Acts 6:7
          Beginning of persecutions - Acts 8:1-4 0 heavy for the next 300 years - scattered believers out of Jerusalem and the word spread even more.
         Conversion of Saul - Acts 9:20-22
Until this time, this was a Jewish Messiah, Jews were being converted.
        Conversion and acceptance of Gentiles!!   Acts chapters 10 & 11
        Peter's Report - Acts 11:18

So....... Acts 11:21 - etc.

Book of Acts closes about A.D. 60  with Paul in prison in Rome.
Question?  How have we done since then??

YEAR               Ration Non-Christians to Christians in the world (people who claim Christianity as their
                                                                                                    religion by their description)

100                        360 to 1
1000                      220 to 1
1500                        69 to 1
1900                        27 to 1
1950                        21 to 1
1980                        11 to 1
1992                       6.8 to 1
2012                          2 to 1

33% of the world's population are self-described Christians.  (Islam = 20%, Hindu = 13%)

BUT....Are we losing ground today?!!  No - still growing.    The 2012 population of the USA is around 312 million.  Since 2005 the number of Christians increased by more than 300 million!!
Though Christianity is decreasing in Europe, it is increasing in Asia and Africa.
Example:  in the continent of Africa in 1900 = 8.7 million Christians - today = 390 million.  Estimates for 2025 = 600 million.

Objection:  Islam is growing faster!!!
A.  only slightly  (Christians = 1.36%/year.  Islam = 1.9%/year)
B.  mostly due to birthrates - more born to Muslim families
But, this is due to converge by 2015 - as Muslim birthrates are decreasing and Christian birthrates are increasing.
C.  Adult conversion fate for Christianity??? = twice the number of converts from all other religions (in the world) combined!!

So, on one hand, the growth/spread/work of Christians is remarkable.  social transformation, personal transformation.
But, there is still a huge task before us.

From a different perspective:
On one hand:  the ratio is 2 non-Christians to every Christian.  That translates to 2 billion plus Christians!!
On the other hand:  That also translates to 4 billion plus non-Christians!!
And of the 2 billion plus Christians, safe to say 1/2 of those are notional Christians! - no real adherence to Christ, and the Christian religion, so, still 5 billion souls who don't follow Christ.

POINT:   Much accomplished.... much to accomplish!!!

We've been given......

1.  A charge/a command to do it - Matt. 28:18-20
The need has not changed one bit - identical to what it was 2000 years ago.

2.  A Commission - ie. a charge to do it w/authority behind it.  2 Cor. 5:18-30 

3.  A promise - "go & I'll go with you" - Acts 1:1 - work did not cease after Christ ascended into heaven
Therefore:  no distinction made between what the disciples accomplished and what the Lord accomplished.


1.  This is part of God's will for you.
You are A) saved to go
             B) summoned to go - call is clear in the Scriptures.  Requires no other summons.
             C) gifted to go.  Eph. 2:10

2.  When God's people go, it makes a difference.
Past/History = numbers, individual transformation, social transformation
Future = eternal Kingdom!!

3.  When you go , it makes a difference.
      A.  In the world, society, the Kingdom
      B.  in You!!  Philemon 6 - won't grow without sharing faith

Question:  Are we obligated to go?  Answer = yes and no
On one hand:   not obligated because you're saved by grace alone!!
On the other hand:   are obligated because you're saved by grace alone! - it's a free gift!
Rom. 1:14-15  "debt" - owed to Christ, payable to mankind.

Rom. 1:16
So........ the challenge is:  1.  come to Christ - receive Him
                                       2.  go and make disciples - tell what He's done.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Surprising Messiah

We've seen Messiah - defined, predicted, expected, anticipated....
Today  we see Messiah overlooked, misunderstood, misinterpreted, missed!!!

Isa. 52:13-53:12  - Who is the suffering servant? Nation of Israel??  Isaiah????
The Jews didn't equate this with Messiah - didn't fit their concept of Messiah.

Answer:  Luke 24:25-27, 45-47  (Christ = Messiah) - this part of the Messiahship was missed before the resurrection.  BUT, after the resurrection and the 40 days following, they began to see.

So....... for example, Phillip - Acts 8:26-35

If there is a summary statement of "Surprising Messiah" - it is Luke 19:10 - "to seek and to save" (surprising to these people)
On one hand, not His only role as Messiah (leader, guide, ruler, King, warrior...)
However, if all subjects of the Kingdom are lost? (hell-bound), then where is the Kingdom?  A Kingdom is made of people.

Focus 1st. on "save". - without this role, the other roles are unimportant or not existent.

Save From??? - Matt. 1:21 - sin/sins
Sin --> separation --> destruction & damnation!!  And the bad news is, can't cure this situation.

Save To???  Restoration of life, Reconciliation/Right-standing with God

Save How????

What's needed??

#1.  Propitiation = to appease, satisfy the demands of holiness and justice ... in order to regain favor/standing.
On one hand it is forgiveness, But with the proper payment!!

#2.  Expiation - verb = erase the guilt, remove the sin.
ie:  forgiveness accompanied by removal/cleansing...

#3.  Substitution - We're not good enough to pay the price/remove sins
Example - the two goats from Lev. 16) - one as sacrifice for sins, one to bear the sins and carry them away from the people.

#4.  Incarnation   Heb. 10:5-7  (John 1:29) - God in the flesh coming here.

#5.  Execution/crucifixion (He had to die/give His lifeblood) - 1 Pet. 2:24
Remember?  Suffering servant?  Messiah? - the Jewish Messiah was seen as keeper of Law, defender/promoter/teacher/advocate.....
BUT not seen as fulfillment of Law!  Completion of Law!! - the Jews missed this.

#6.  Resurrection - because not only paid for sin, He conquered sin.  (greatest enemy)
Christ didn't come just to die for our sins, but to conquer it, and He will raise us victorious over sin as well.

One more step:
#7.  Imputation = ascribe to/credit to... 1/2 of imputation = our sin TO Christ ... therefore,  2 Cor. 5:21 - other 1/2 = He  gives me His righteousness.

Question????  Is all this necessary?  Heb. 7:26-27 - only thing we NEED is reconciliation with the Father.  He came to meet our needs, not our wants.

Question???  Was there any other way???  Mk. 14:35-36   If there was, God chose not to use it.  This is not my way, or the church way, or the Christian way --- it is God's way. 
People will say it is arrogant to say there is only one way.
The arrogance is saying I know more than Peter, Jesus, God..........

NOTE:  This is God's work - it is all from God.  His gift to us.
2 Cor. 5:18-19 (a)  (John 19:30)

It was completed under God's initiative.....
He took the initiative in.....
Designing Redemption
Sending Messiah
Drawing you.
Luke 19:10 - "seek and save"
(you don't respond because you're good .... but because He is!!)

AND, it requires your response.

1)  examine the claims - not the invention of man
2)  consider His drawing (Holy Spirit wooing)
3)  decide
If you agree:
4)  A - B - C  admit (your need, your separation), believe (Christ died for your sins), confess (Jesus as your Lord)   Rom. 10:9-10
5)  follow - Him (student, disciple)
6)  promote Him  ("we are Christ's ambassadors")
7) anticipate (Him, next coming, His other roles)!!   Matt. 25:31-34


Monday, October 15, 2012

The Unfinished Work of Messiah

On the road to Emmaus.  Luke 24:13-27, 44-48 - Vs. 19 - now referred to as "Jesus of Nazareth" - they thought He was dead, and therefore, not the Christ.

After the Resurrection (and appearances - during the 40 days following - showed Himself repeatedly to the disciples), the Disciples were CONVINCED once and for all!!

1.  Jesus was (is) Messiah!!

2.  He had fulfilled Messianic roles that had been overlooked or misunderstood.
Examples:  Savior from sins), Redeemer from Separation from God, the Substitutionary Sacrifice for sins, Eternal High Priest, etc.  He was a Messiah for all people!!

BUT, they were also convinced....
3.  Jesus' Messianic duties were not completed!  
Still prophesies to fulfill, roles to play.
Examples:  Isa.2:1-4, 9:6-7, 11:1-9

Therefore: (with this new understanding... they (the disciples)....
A.  Re-searched the scripture - Old Testament prophesies, and
B. Re-viewed Jesus' teachings - missed the most fundamental teachings.

AND they concluded....
1.  The Kingdom is here with us, but not yet, not fully!!
2.  The King is with us but still to come!!!

So.... Peter:  Acts 3:17-21 - work of Messiah not complete at the cross
         Paul:  1 Thess. 4:13-18 - He's coming back
                   2 Tim. 4:1   Tit.2:13  Heb. 9:28 - He will appear a Second Time
"classic" - 2 Pet. 3:3-4, 8-13

Point:  He will return to complete what He's begun!   Rev. 1:8

Concerning His Return....
When it'll happen
What it'll look like
Exactly what will transpire
Christians have speculated broadly about these things for 2,000 years.

1).  Earliest idea:  Christ will return soon - few years at the most.
2)  the idea that the Millennium (1,000 year, literal, earthly reign of Christ) began with the Resurrection.

3)  Millennium would start with Jesus' return
(Justin Martyr 100-165 AD - 1st. pre-millennial writing.)

4)  "Christ can't return before the rise of anti-Christ", with the focus on 'watch for anti-Christ'. 
Anti-Christs rose by the hoards after this time.

5)  Early 3rd. Century - Hippolytus of Rome - predicted the Millennium would begin 496 AD
(from Daniel's 70 weeks and 6,000 years after creation)

6)  303 AD - The Great Persecution (under Diocletian)  Many were convinced 'the Great Tribulation' had begun - (Rev. 13)

7)  312 Constantine - won the Empire in battle - became a Christian - halted the persecution - Many declared "the Millennium has begun".
8)  the A-millennials - said the Millennium was not literal but symbolic, and therefore No way to measure or predict (Just watch and wait)

So.......... on and on.......... until today!

Question??  Is there Any Common Consensus?? (concerning the Return)
AnswerYes .. on primary issues, all agree.......

#1.  Christ will return - clearly, visibly, bodily, in power, glory, victory - Rev. 19:11-16

#2.  There will be a Resurrection - of all people who have died (one?  two?)  1 Thess. 4, 1 Cor. 15

#3.  There will be Judgment (part of the Messianic work that's not completed) - how many?  exactly when?

#4.  Christ will usher in Eternity (new era, new age)

#5.  There will be Restoration - not sure exactly what this entails.
     Rev. 21:1-5 (a)

#6.  Jesus Christ will Rule (over all peoples, powers, things)
#7.  These things are Certain and True - Rev. 21:5

So........ Our part in this???? 
Simple Summary:
 Be Ready (Watch) - Mark 13:32-37 - No one know the day or hour.
Be Faithful- John 21:20-22 - be about His businessBe Encouraged - Rev. 1:17-19 - He is Messiah.  His work is not done!

Rev. 22:20-21

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Jesus Messiah

Acts 5:29, 33-40 - these made claims that God was with them in their revolt - Judas Messiah (the Galilean - referred to last week)?  Theudas (name given to several would be messiahs) Messiah?  Jesus Messiah?

I.  The Title (Messiah or Christ) - New Testament = Jesus Christ, not Jesus Messiah - Christ - transliterated to English from the Greek.  In the Old Testament - the word Messiah is transliterated into English from Hebrew
A.  the words are interchangeable
B.  this is a title, not a name.  (Jesus bar Joseph, Jesus of Nazareth)
John 1:41

II.  The Office (of Messiah .... who?  what?)
(the concept of many First century Jews)
 Who?? - a man, foretold, anointed, of David's lineage
What?? to deliver (from Roman oppression), to lead, to rule (as King), to restore (people, kingdom, etc)

(Jesus will ADD MANY new dimensions to this concept.)

III.  The origin of this doctrine (this concept of Messiah??)
Prophetic revelation and Intertestamental examination - looking back at ancient sources.
During the 400 year Intertestamental period, the idea of Messiah got stronger and stronger.

Post exile - Mal. 3:1, Zech. 9:9-10, Hag. 2:6-7 - believed Messiah would come during the time of the 2nd. temple

In exile - Dan. 7:13-14 - son of man - Messianic term - only used in the New Testament of Jesus, or by Jesus about Himself.

Pre- exile - Jer. 23:5-6 - vs. 6 - LORD=Yahweh,  Isa. 9:1-2,6-7  Mic. 5:2

Moses - Deut. 18:15 - at the right time

Jacob - Gen. 49:10 - KJV - Shiloh - another name for Messiah

The beginning - Gen. 3:14-15 - one is coming who will crush the head of Satan

So.... John 1:45

NOTE:  After the resurrection, the Apostles examine scripture in new light....... and see - (examples:)  Virgin birth, suffering servant, stone rejected, etc.   Luke 24:25-27
Note:  all these prophesies, promises STILL STAND!!!

IV.  How do we know He was/Is Messiah???
Ask the Apostles - what convinced them??
His claims?  teachings? miracles?  fulfilled prophecy?  witness of the Holy Spirit?
Answer:  YES - until - His death!!  because there were a lot of would-be messiahs who died, and nobody follows a dead messiah.
Final convincing proof?????  The Resurrection!!!  - John 20:28   This Messiah also overcame death.  Then they were absolutely, positively convinced.!!!!

V.  Do we still need a Messiah?
on one hand, as the 1st. century Jewish leaders saw Messiah?  - No........
However, as post-resurrection Apostles saw Messiah???? - ABSOLUTELY!!

Matt. 1:21  John 8:24   1 Tim. 1:15    John 20:31

VI.  What about all the unfulfilled prophecy (of Messiah)??
Answer: - next week

But today:  Acts 2:36-39 - coming of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost.  Promises are for  us - they are not over.  We need Him!!

The Messianic Hope

Last week - wrapped up Old Testament with the Intertestamental Period.

Now, the First 70 years - birth of a new millennium, Birth of Christ.

Short overview:
538 BC - Return from Exile (under Persian rule)
330 BC - Alexander the Great conquers Persia (under Greek rule)
326 BC - Alexander dies - his kingdom divides into 4 parts - we looked at the Ptolomies (Egypt) and the Selucids (Syria and Palestine)
175 BC - Antiochus Epiphanes rules - hated the Jews - forced Hellenization on them, desecrated the temple by sacrificing a pig on the altar in the Holy of Holies to Zues
164 BC - the Maccabean Revolt - guerrilla warfare - Jews had limited self rule - religious freedom - cleansed and rededicated the temple, etc.
63 BC - Pompey takes Jerusalem and conquered Syria and Palestine (Rome)
40 BC - Herod becomes King (appointed by the Roman Senate) - half Jew (from Edom, Idumea, considered himself Jewish) - practiced the religion but without the lifestyle
 BUT - since he was not of pure bloodline and did not practice a Jewish lifestyle, he was tolerated, but hated by the people.

NOTE:  "under the rule of...."  non-Jewish pagan nations

Jesus is born.
Herod dies - just after Jesus' birth

Herod's son, Archelaus, takes the throne.  Immediately clashes with the Jews, sends in troops, kills 3,000 at Passover at the temple!!
More uproar results - Roman troops dispatched - they capture & crucify 2,000 insurrectionists.

6 AD - Archelaus is replaced by a Roman Governor
NOW, 1)  Judea is ruled DIRECTLY by Rome with a governor - no more Jewish King
            2)  the people pay taxes DIRECTLY to Caesar (tribute) - goes against the Jews who say they give tribute to no one except God.

Enter:  Judas the Galilean - Luke 20:22 - introduced the philosophy of the Zealots - saying wrong to pay taxes to Caesar.

Next 60 years - tension, conflict, uprisings, revolts ............  AND, then it gets worse!!!!

54 AD - Nero becomes Emperor which leads to the final 4 - Felix, Festus, Albinus, Florus (who was the worst).  Nero hates Christians, and hates Jews

66 AD - Florus forcefully takes money from the temple treasury which causes a riot which brings in the troops to the Market area - they randomly slay, capture, crucify 3600 men, women, children.
66 AD - Beginning of the Jewish Revolt - lasts 4 years.
70 AD - Jerusalem falls under Roman general Titus - the temple is destroyed down to its foundation

During this time develops ........... The Messianic Hope

Messiah = an anointed leader who would arise and deliver
Hope = EXPECTATION!!  Based on the word, the prophets - all the way back to the Garden of Eden

Who Messiah would be:  1).  a man - (human, Jew)
                                       2)  foretold = predicted, promised, expected
                                       3)  anointed = chosen, gifted, empowered
                                       4)  of David's lineage - "tribe of Judah, house of David"

What Messiah would do:   1) deliver - from oppression, oppressors
                                          2)  lead - the people in the effort
                                          3)  rule - the nation - KING
                                          4)  restore - the Kingdom to Israel, to former glory of Solomon

into this atmosphere comes ............ Jesus of Nazareth
with marvelous teachings, incredible miracles, preceded by John the Baptist (first prophet in 400 years), preaching the Kingdom (of God), common man with a heart for the common people.

Question??  What are the people going to do??
Answer:  press Him to be Messiah!!!
PROBLEM!! - (absurdity) "riding a donkey colt?" - military victors don't ride donkey colts.  He's accepting their praise and admitting He's the Messiah, but not the Messiah they wanted - He's God's Messiah

Why??  Because He's NOT the people's Messiah - He's the LORD's Messiah!! - so He will deliver, lead, rule, restore
BUT, according to God's  plan, wisdom, timetable, will - not according to the people

So... (few days later) - Mark 15:6-15 - they chose the insurrectionist, rejected the Messiah - because they wanted a Messiah who would deliver them from Rome, not their sins.

Question:   how much different are we?  you?   Is yours the Lord's Messiah, or your custom-made Messiah?

The Problem:  I (tend to) project ONTO Christ - my views
                                                                        - my morals
                                                                        - my rationale
                                                                        - my politics
                                                                        - my conclusions

Objection:  I've accepted Christ......

Compare:  Matt. 16:13-18 - Peter's confession, Jesus' confirmation and praise....

                 Matt. 16:21 -25 - don't have in mind things of God, but the things of men

Matt. 16:24-25 - must follow HIM as He is, not what I want Him to be.