Monday, March 28, 2016

The Resurrection

What Happened???   Event of the Resurrection.
in short - Acts 3:15
       you killed
      God raised - literally, bodily
      we witnessed
This is the message throughout Acts.

But - the disciples experienced more than the miracle of the Resurrection.
They also experienced dramatic, personal TRANSFORMATION!
All were willing to go and follow this Jesus.  THEN He died, and everything was shattered.

After the CROSS = scattered, scared, confused
After the RESURRECTION = they are different people:  bold, confident, unmoving - even in face of death!!

Why the change?
Answer = They came to trust Jesus FULLY

Before the cross they trusted who they believed Him to be, what they expected and desired of Him.
After the resurrection they came to trust HIM and who He IS!!!

They were still confused, still didn't understand it all --- BUT they came to trust HIM fully - in spite of the mystery, confusion, unanswered questions!!

The Resurrection + 40 days more of teaching + the ascension + Pentecost solidified their faith!!!  They became fully confident of  Him, no matter what!!!

We can have these same things if we trust Him as they came to do.

They became Fully confident in:

(1)  His Authority
before the cross - they had seen His authority over:   walk on water, raise dead, heal sick, turn water into wine, etc.
BUT Then ---- arrest, trial, crucifixion ???
Example:  Resurrection + 40 days ==> Matt. 28:18 - His authority even exceeded death!!
(2) His Ability - all Authority leads to all Power!!  - Omnipotence = all power (omni-potent)

(3)  His Omniscience (all knowledge = No Surprises!!)

(4)  His Goodness - (ie:  His righteousness, commitment to what is good, righteous, just)

(5)  His Concern - (for them, us, people, individuals) - Rom. 8:31-32, 35,37-39

(6)  His Presence - example:  last words = Matt. 28:20, Heb. 13:5-6 - omnipresent - always with us.

(7)  His Involvement - Rom. 8:28  Phil. 1:6 - doesn't mean all things are good

(8)  His Return - (His coronation, His final victory)

Therefore:  Phil. 4:10-13 - vs. 12 -  secret  = trust Him

On one hand, none of this answered, satisfied all their questions, concerns
However, they (and millions since) have found it sufficient - until the answers come!!!

Sunday, March 20, 2016

The Lord's Supper

  (Animation from

Question:  What about before the bridge?  void?  temporary, partial bridge?  or - in place and not recognized?

Whatever is the answer, the Old Testament Sacrificial System - designed to enable man to (partly?) approach (in some way) an un-approachable God.

(1)  animal/blood for sin, trespass, burnt, peace (fellowship)
(2)  grain - cereal, drink offerings
(3)  daily offerings - (morning & evening)
(4)  festival offerings - Passover, Atonement
(5) priesthood to stand between - a go between - to offer, facilitate, plead your case
(6) barriers - stop gates, boundaries for safety!  - to keep sinful man out of immediate presence of sinless, Holy God.

AFTER the resurrection - Apostles came to recognize these as
           (1)  Picture Prophecies - acted out - instead of spoken
           (2)  fulfilled in Christ - His life, work, death, resurrection, etc.
All fulfilled the sacrificial system.

Words used by Christ (Himself), later the Apostles, later yet - Theologians - to describe the work done by Christ on the Cross.

#1.  Ransom = purchase freedom - example:  kidnapped - Mark 10:45

#2.  Redemption = buy back as in a pawn shop.  BUT - WE sold ourselves!!!  - 1 Pet. 1:18-19

#3.  Substitution = in our place, stead - 2 Cor. 5:21 - swapped my sin for His righteousness
The punishment should have fallen on me.

#4.  Propitiation = to appease (satisfy) wrath, anger - 1 John 2:1-2 (KJV)  - God's wrath turned toward sinfulness

#5.  Justification = act by which declared "not guilty" OR "no longer guilty" (because we know we all have been guilty) - therefore, in right standing - Rom. 5:9, 4:25

#6.  Remission  and #7.  Forgiveness = a debt absolved, pardoned, excused, satisfied - wrote off, even though not paid for

#8.  Expiation - is more than forgiven = Removed!!  Example:  OT Scapegoat - removal of sin = taking away!

#9.  Salvation = A) to deliver from   (judgment, punishment)
                         B) to preserve into (security) - our saved state

#10.  Reconciliation = a relationship restored - 2 Cor.5: 17-19

#11.  Sanctification = separated, set apart - apart from    apart unto  Therefore, act like it!!

#12.  Glorification = the eventual and final state of the believer

All these a result of His sacrifice!

Two more words:

1)  Voluntary - He did it of His own accord - did not have to do it.

2)  Efficacious = having the power to produce the (desired) effects.  (fulfill what was meant to happen)

So ..... the Bridge is Built - by the works of Christ
What remains = is to cross the Bridge - (accept, receive what's offered, available)

Tonight we celebrate His work, death - the Cross.  with the Lord's Supper - 1 Cor. 11:23-26
"do this"  "in remembrance"  and so "declare, show"

Monday, March 14, 2016

Acceptance of the Gentiles

Today's sermon = Major Even in Acts, in Christianity
The Acceptance of the Gentiles into the church.

Definition and background of Gentile:
Gentile = a person of non-Jewish origin, ancestry - no Hebrew background of any kind
In Greek the word is ETHNOS (from which we get Ethnic).  This word sometimes translated "foreigner".

Often translated 'nation'(s)
BUT the focus = race/origin (social, cultural, racial background)  not government or country - a "People Group" - example:  Roma - ie: gypsy. Recognized as a distinct people group.

Jews recognized 2 people groups:  (2 ethnos)
   1)  descendants of Abraham, Issac, & Jacob
    2)  everybody else (non-Jews) => Gentiles

How that came about:
#1.  God's desire is to draw all men to Himself - 1 Tim. 2:4, 2 Pet. 3:9

#2.  He chose (selected) a particular people group (Ethnos) Through Whom He would  (a) Reveal Himself and (b) Bless all people

Gen. 12:1-3   Ex. 19:3-6 - holy nation (separate)

The Plan was NOT "YOU will be my people and no one else"
The Plan was "you will be my people and through you I'll Reveal and Bless" - Ex. 34:10

PROBLEM = the Jews not only separated themselves, BUT isolated themselves!!! - separation to an extreme.  They were to stand out, not stand apart!

So.... New Testament Clarification -- Mark 11:17, Matt. 28:19, and with Paul - Gal. 3:14

Up until this time, the church has accepted  (1) Jews   (2) Samaritans  (3)  Gentile proselytes (converts to Judaism) - example:  Ethiopian Eunuch

BUT - what about those people groups who accept Jesus as the Christ (Messiah), BUT are WITHOUT any previous ties to, adherence, acceptance of the Jewish Race??  or the Jewish FAITH??

Historically, this was very monumental.

TEXT:  Acts 10:1-48, 11:1-4, 11:15-18

THREE Relevant Questions:

#1.  Does God (therefore) accept and receive all people?
Acts 10:34-35
Answer = He accepts all who:  WILL come   TO Him  THROUGH Jesus Christ

On one hand:  Rev. 22:17   However, James 2:19
Universalism says Jesus Christ came and died for all our sins, therefore all are saved and going to heaven.

The gospel says Jesus Christ paid the penalty for sin on the cross and we are saved by believing and trusting Him.  We come with a C A T - Content   Assent   Trust

#2.  Is God through with the Jews?  (as revealers, conduit)
Are 2 views:  no consensus - wait and see

#3.  Has God chosen another people group?
Answer:  one sentence summary FROM Peter!!  1 Pet. 2:9

#1. "you are .... a chosen (elected) race, a holy people group
#2.  "so that... you may declare - reveal, bless

ADD:  1 Pet. 2:10 - The baton has been passed to the church!

Final Application:
(1)  Are you one of the people? - C A T
(2)  are you functioning as one of the People?  - Conduit - Are you striving to reveal God to other people

Monday, March 7, 2016

The Call of Saul (Paul)

Acts 9:1-31 - Saul/Paul probably in mid thirties, very influential, zealous supporter of Judaism, approving of Stephen's death.
Voice from heaven - others heard the voice (noise), didn't understand the words.  Personal message FOR Saul - he understood the words.  Question:  why are you persecuting me?  Was Saul persecuting God?  No, was persecuting the new believers (church).  But, Jesus equates Christians with Himself.

Acts 9:9 - Saul/Paul likely fasting and praying.  After all, he just met God on the Damascus road.

Compare above verses with Acts Chapter 22 and Chapter 26 where Saul, Paul now, retells the Damascus Road story - before the Jews and Roman Tribune, and then again before Festus and King Agrippa.

I.  Paul's call - (Not unlike yours and mine)
is a call to  1)  acknowledge Jesus as Messiah - the Christ, the Promised One.
                 2) serve Jesus as LORD
Paul's call was dramatic, incredible, even miraculous - but Paul was called to extreme ministry.

#1.  Acknowledge Jesus as Messiah
Paul had content - already but didn't accept it/
God gave a dramatic experience to move him
This is typical conversion, except the scope of the experience!!

So, in evangelism - 1.  offer content of the gospel - Rom. 10:14
                              2.  pray for (Holy Spirit) experience - to show truth of the gospel

#2.  Serve Jesus as Lord - (same as you and I except perhaps in different capacity!!)
Note:  Acts 8:16

On one hand, not called to suffer but to serve.  However, service = labor and sacrifice - therefore can lead to some degree of suffering!!

So, we are called to serve.  If it entails suffering, do it well - 1 Pet. 2:20-21

II.  Paul's Choice   Was he free to choose?  refuse?
Pastor's view - can always refuse or choose,
Definition:  Impunity = exemption from punishment, harm, loss
Pastor:  immunity to consequence(s) - negative effects

Remember:  we live in a Cause and Effect world.
Example:  Paul's quote:  Gal. 6:7

III.  Paul's Commentary    - 1 Tim. 1:12-16
his commentary = 1) I acted in ignorance and unbelief
                            2) God made me aware of my sinfulness
                            3) now I'm a poster child for God's grace and forgiveness.

Issue here is not how much light you've received, as compared to Paul).  That = God's choice.
The issue = what you do with the light you have received.

IV.  Paul's Conclusion - 1 Tim. 1:17