Chardon church of Christ

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Problems In The Church

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Problems In The Church
Acts 6:1-14

INTRO: Good morning. I hope everyone has had a pleasant and safe Independence Day. The pandemic situation does put a damper on celebrations and sometimes you have to get a bit creative.

Speaking of that, I heard about a minister in a little church who had been having trouble with the collections.
One Sunday he announced, "Now, before we pass the collection plate, I would like to request that the person who stole the chickens from Brother Martin's hen house please refrain from giving any money to the Lord. The Lord doesn't want money from a thief!" The collection plate was passed around, and for the first time in months everybody gave.

We all know how difficult it is to raise funds, but we must always find a way around that difficulty when a brother or sister is in need.

We live in a society where many people get overlooked; both the young, the old, the homeless, the ill, the poor and those who are alone. One preacher I heard from who has been fostering children told me this; “We have been doing this for some time and we have had children in our care who have been terribly neglected.”

“Some are neglected physically and some emotionally. We’ve had children come to us with no clothes but what they had on and look they like have not had a bath in months.” “We’ve had children who didn’t know what a home cooked meal was like because they had lived on fast food most of their lives.” “Some have never been hugged or heard the words “I love you”.”

My point is that neglect of others is a universal problem and in our text today we are going learn about some widows who were being neglected.

I. We will start at verse 1 of Acts chapter 6. Acts 6:1 – “Now in those days, when the number of the disciples was multiplying, there arose a murmuring against the Hebrews by the Hellenists, because their widows were neglected in the daily distribution.” As the infant church was growing, the number of disciples increasing; the Grecian Jews among the disciples complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food.

A. If you remember from last time, Luke told Theophilus that various people sold some of their possessions and laid the money at the feet of the apostles. Then he further reported that the money was distributed among the brethren according to need.
B. What Luke reports next in Acts 6 is about a complaint from a group of Jewish Christians called Hellenists. They were likely to be Christians from among the Jews who had been scattered throughout the world and now spoke Greek and followed the customs of the Greeks. Both the Hebrews and Hellenists were Christians but some spoke Aramaic and some Greek. In the Jewish world as a whole there was some tension, and this survived between the two groups, even after they became Christians.

1. The Hellenists or Grecian Jews felt that their widows were not being cared for as well as the widows of the Hebrews, or those who spoke Aramaic, in the daily distribution, or serving of tables as it is sometimes translated.
2. We don’t know how the charge against them came about but that isn’t really important. What was important was the more serious issue of unity in the young church. This is also where some congregations today make a mess of it.
3. Some Christians are a bit like the little boy whose mother put brussel sprouts on his plate. They were his least favorite vegetable, but she told him to eat everything. He cleaned his plate... except for the brussel sprouts. She pointed out to him that if he had eaten the brussel sprouts first, he would have not been left with their taste in his mouth at the end of the meal. The young boy said, "I suppose I was trying to delay the inedible."

C. Whenever a problem or an issue arises, some people tend to ignore the problem or sweep it under the carpet and hope it goes away because they don’t want to face the inedible so to speak. That’s not going to solve the problem and it’s certainly not going to help the unity of the church. What we need to do is address those problems immediately and come up with a solution just like the apostles did.

II. Continuing now in Acts 6:2-4 – “Then the twelve summoned the multitude of the disciples and said, "It is not desirable that we should leave the word of God and serve tables. Therefore, brethren, seek out from among you seven men of good reputation, full of the Holy Spirit and wisdom, whom we may appoint over this business; but we will give ourselves continually to prayer and to the ministry of the word.''”

A. When the apostles said, “It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables”, they weren’t suggesting that serving tables was beneath them. What the apostles were proposing was to "continue" as they had already been doing, namely, devoting their total resources to the propagation of the truth. They would continue in the serving of or the ministry of... “the word of God.” The priority of the word and doctrine of Christ was over every other consideration, even that of the care of the poor. Notice that neither area of responsibility is to be neglected; but the first duty is that of ministering the word itself.

1. How were they going to solve this “widow neglect” problem? They directed the members of the congregation to look among their own number to find seven men qualified to carry out this important task.

a. Did they get someone else from a nearby congregation to deal with their problems? No!
b. Did they choose the most popular people within their own number to deal with the problems? No!
c. The church chose men from among themselves, men that they already knew. Men who knew what it meant to serve.

B. You know in many countries today, people have a choice about who they want to lead their country. They can vote for the person who they believe will make the most of their position in authority and make a difference in the lives of the people. In the US the leaders are voted into office by the American people because they believe that those office holders can make a difference and steer the country to a better future.

1. If you want someone to lead you, you at least want to know that they have some sort of qualifications and experience to be able to do the leading.
2. The apostles tell the congregation in Acts 6, “the men you chose from amongst yourselves need to meet certain criteria”. Luke tells us that these men had to be full of the Holy Spirit, which means their lives should be displaying the fruit of the Spirit.

C. What is the fruit of the Spirit? Galatians 5:22-26 – “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. And those who are Christ's have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another.”

1. The apostles were looking for seven men who displayed this in their everyday lives.
2. These men also needed to be full of wisdom. A man named Elbert Hubbard once said, “Every man is a fool for at least five minutes every day; wisdom consists of not exceeding the limit.”
3. Wisdom, is not only knowing right from wrong, but also doing what is right. Obviously there is no wisdom in just knowing right from wrong if you continuously choose the wrong direction. Wisdom is knowing and doing the right thing.

D. The men to be considered needed to know how best to deal with the distribution of food to the widows in question. In other words they needed skills in the management of affairs. The apostles planned to appoint the seven selected to attend to this important matter so that they could continue to focus on prayer and ministering to others with the word of God.

III. We are about to read as we continue in Acts 6:5-7 they chose well and everyone was pleased. “And the saying pleased the whole multitude. And they chose Stephen, a man full of faith and the Holy Spirit, and Philip, Prochorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas, a proselyte from Antioch, whom they set before the apostles; and when they had prayed, they laid hands on them. And the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.”

A. With the requirements of men full of the Spirit and wisdom, the whole multitude of believers set about the task of selecting men that were qualified. The seven were then brought before the apostles, who laid their hands on them.
B. I want you to notice an important event which took place before the apostles laid their hands on them. The text says, ‘they prayed first’. The apostles laid their hands on them AFTER going to God in prayer. Sometimes people try to deal with a problem first and then pray to God about the problem. We all need to get into the habit of praying first to God and asking for His guidance and approval before we move on.

1. It is an essential practice for all Christians to approach God about any matter they are about to undertake, especially when church problems are involved.
2. The apostles prayed first and then they laid their hands on the seven men chosen, and by doing so they signified their appointment to the task.

C. The laying on of hands is an interesting study in the Bible. It was done for a couple reasons.

1. The apostle Paul wrote a letter to a young man named Timothy, and Paul says to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:14, “Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.” That word ‘presbytery’ is another word for elders.
2. Notice the word Paul uses here. He uses the word, “with.” He uses the word “with” in the sense of signifying attending circumstances or accompanying action.
3. In other words Paul is telling us that God gave this gift "by means of prophecy". Strong defines “prophecy” as “a discourse emanating from divine inspiration and declaring the purposes of God”. Paul imparted this gift to Timothy but at the same time, the eldership laid their hands on Timothy “with” Paul to indicate their simultaneous support and accompanying commendation.
4. We see this in Acts 6. The apostles were showing their support and approval for the seven, but at the same time it seems the seven received miraculous gifts.

IV. Let me give you one quick example of that happening. Take Philip who is mentioned there in Acts 6 as being one of the seven. In Acts 8 after Saul had been persecuting the church, the church was scattered everywhere. Philip ended up in a city in Samaria.

A. He was preaching the gospel and performing many miracles. There was a man named Simon who was a sorcerer and he was so impressed with Philip’s gifts that he wanted that gift too.

1. We pick up the story in Acts 8:14-21 – “14. Now when the apostles who were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent Peter and John to them, 15. who, when they had come down, prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16. For as yet He had fallen upon none of them. They had only been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17. Then they laid hands on them, and they received the Holy Spirit. 18. Now when Simon saw that through the laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Spirit was given, he offered them money, 19. saying, "Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.'' 20. But Peter said to him, "Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money! 21. "You have neither part nor portion in this matter, for your heart is not right in the sight of God.”
2. Simon in his own wisdom wanted this gift so much that he was even willing to pay money for it. The text clearly tells us that the apostles Peter and John laid their hands on them. The text clearly tells us that Simon saw how the gift was given through the apostles’ laying on of their hands.
3. Simon says in verse 19; "Give me this power also, that anyone on whom I lay hands may receive the Holy Spirit.'' There’s no arguing with scripture here about how the Christians in Samaria received the miraculous gifts of the Holy Spirit.

B. Then thinking back we might say wait a minute, how did Philip get this gift? The text says that Philip had the ability to perform miraculous signs. In Acts 8:6 it says; “the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.”

1. Further down in verse 13 it says; “Then Simon himself also believed; and when he was baptized he continued with Philip, and was amazed, seeing the miracles and signs which were done.”
2. How did Philip receive this gift? His gift was given to him by the apostles! He got the gift through the laying on of the apostle’s hands.
3. Philip was one of the seven in our text in Acts 6.

C. Let’s look at the next verse, Acts 6:8 where it tells of another of the seven; “And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people.” The teaching appears to be that the apostles endowed the seven with miraculous powers.
D. The reason I mentioned this is because nowhere in the Bible does it say that anyone else had the capability to pass on these gifts. You know if I have a cold, I can pass it on to you and you can pass it on to your neighbor. We are acutely aware of how things can be passed on in these days of Covid-19.

1. The miraculous gifts in the New Testament didn’t work like that. Simon understood that. Did Simon ask Philip for the gift? No, he asked the apostles... and Peter answered him.
2. It’s common sense then to come to the only conclusion that is left. When the apostles died, there was no one else to pass on these gifts. When those who possessed these gifts through the laying on of the apostles’ hands died, all the miraculous capabilities of the first century church died with them.

E. Those who practice the laying on of hands today and those who claim tongue speaking and supernatural knowledge have got a big problem on their hands.

1. These gifts were never designed to last forever. They were designed to help the baby church grow into a mature church through the word of God.
2. 1 Corinthians 13:8-13 – “8. Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9. For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away. 11. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known. 13. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

V. Getting back to our text in Acts 6, do we see the difference when we handle a problem in the right manner? When people go about handling a problem behind closed doors with secret meetings or they chose to ignore the problem, all it is going to cause is division within the church.

A. Acts 6:5-7 shows us that because the problem was handled up front, with wisdom, and was Spirit guided, the result was further growth in the church through the spreading of the word of God.

1. In verse 7 “the word of God spread, and the number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem”. Luke told Theophilus that “a great many of the priests were obedient to the faith.”
2. When we deal with church problems using God’s wisdom instead of our own wisdom, God will bless our efforts and add to His number. Of course if we know anything about being a Christian, we know that people will oppose our efforts and our beliefs. Take courage folks.
3. Luke goes on to tell us about another man who faced just that, opposition.

B. Acts 6:8-10 – “And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. Then there arose some from what is called the Synagogue of the Freedmen (Cyrenians, Alexandrians, and those from Cilicia and Asia), disputing with Stephen. And they were not able to resist the wisdom and the Spirit by which he spoke.”

1. Remember what we looked at a moment ago. The miracles that Stephen performed could not be accomplished without the laying on of the apostles' hands.
2. The miracles that Stephen performed did exactly what they were designed to do. They attracted the attention of people, in this case it was the attention of a synagogue which was comprised of people from among the “Freedmen”, or freed slaves. People came from various cities to attend this synagogue.
3. Some of those who were in attendance confronted Stephen and began to debate with him concerning his teaching. Loved ones, when God is your guide, and His word is your wisdom, people can’t argue against such wisdom.
4. They argue with Stephen but did not prevail because his wisdom came from God, as Luke tells us in verse 10. There again is a lesson for the church today. Don’t waist your time trying to argue with people using the world’s wisdom. Proverbs 17:24 – “A discerning man keeps wisdom in view, but a fool's eyes wander to the ends of the earth.” [para]

C. Where do we look for wisdom? To the world? Or God and His word? All you have to do is ask, and God will give you as much wisdom as you need. James 1:5 – “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

1. Here is what happens when we share God’s wisdom with people.
2. Some people will listen and accept what you say as being wise.
3. Others will listen and not accept what you say as being wise.
4. Others will not listen at all but simply try to shout you down.
5. Then others will listen and twist what you say to suit their own personal agendas. That’s exactly what happened to Stephen.

D. Continue with me in Acts 6:11-14 – “Then they secretly induced men to say, "We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses and God.'' And they stirred up the people, the elders, and the scribes; and they came upon him, seized him, and brought him to the council. They also set up false witnesses who said, "This man does not cease to speak blasphemous words against this holy place and the law; for we have heard him say that this Jesus of Nazareth will destroy this place and change the customs which Moses delivered to us.''”

1. Luke tells us that certain men in the Synagogue bribed other men to accuse Stephen of blasphemy. This was accusing him of speaking against God's words as delivered by Moses.
2. Isn’t it amazing how some people never seem to change? All the way through Jesus’ earthly ministry the so called leaders were looking for ways to trap Jesus and persecute Him because He spoke the truth. We saw Peter and John thrown into jail and persecuted by the religious leaders in Acts 4 because they spoke the truth.
3. Here in Acts 6 we see Stephen being persecuted because he spoke the truth.

E. We understand why they were upset when we put ourselves in the mindset of the religious leaders. In the recent shutdown many people have lost their jobs, especially in small businesses. That loss affected their whole lives. I can only imagine how difficult that must be especially if you have been in the same place for many years. That job is all you know. It’s your life and your livelihood. You depend on that job to keep a roof over your head and to feed your family. We can imagine how those people must feel when someone comes along and says it’s closing down.

1. You see, one of the reasons they were so upset with Stephen even to the extent of bribing false witnesses, was because Stephen told them just that. Stephen told them that God, through the resurrected Christ, whom they had crucified not so long ago, has now provided a new sacrificial system.
2. Hebrews 7:26-27 – “ For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people's, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.”
3. What Stephen meant when he said that Jesus "will destroy" the temple, is that; just as Jesus took away the basis of the old system on the cross, so now He will go on to dismantle its practices until it is no more.
4. In other words, Stephen told them that the temple is done for. Jesus has removed the need for it and will destroy it to make it clear to all that He alone is the One and Only sacrifice for sins, the One and Only high priest to God, and the One and Only habitation of the fullness of the glory of God.
5. Stephen told them the time was coming when they are going to lose their jobs, and their livelihoods because the temple would soon be destroyed which we know happened in AD 70.

F. The truth of the matter is, if these leaders had read and understood the prophets, especially Jeremiah, they should have been welcoming the end of Jewish sacrificial system because God told them it was coming.

1. Jeremiah 31:31-34 – “"Behold, the days are coming,'' says the Lord, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah "not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them,'' says the Lord. "But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel: After those days, says the Lord, I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. "No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,'' says the Lord. "For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.''”
2. Jesus was so right about these people when He said in Matthew 13:14-15 – “And in them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: 'Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive; for the heart of this people has grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their heart and turn, so that I should heal them.'”
G. Even today people hear what I’m saying but still don’t understand. People see what the Bible says about Jesus and what He has done, yet can’t perceive it. We need to meditate on these scriptures to understand what Stephen’s words meant to those leaders and what it means for us today.

CONCLUSION: God sacrificed His one and only Son, Jesus Christ on Calvary’s cross and shed His blood once for all to pay for our sins.
His sacrifice and His blood could do something that no other blood or any other sacrificial system could ever do—cleanse our hearts and minds of sinfulness.
Hebrews 9:13-14 – “For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer, sprinkling the unclean, sanctifies for the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, purge your conscience from dead works to serve the living God?”

Folks, may we be full of the Spirit when we talk to others about the Scriptures. May we be full of wisdom as the Scriptures teach, especially when it comes to handling problems that arise.

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We learn from the New Testament how to be saved. We need to hear the word; believe in Jesus; repent of our sins; we must confess our belief that Jesus is the Son of God; and be baptized for the remission of our sins... If we follow these steps, the Lord adds us to His church.

Perhaps there is someone in the assembly today with the need to be buried with Christ in baptism. If you have never done these things, we urge you to do so today. If anyone has this need or desires the prayers of faithful Christians on their behalf, we encourage them to come forward while we stand and sing.

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Reference Sermon: Mike Glover

For This Reason I Kneel

Posted by Chardon in DefaultTag

FOR THIS REASON I KNEEL
Ephesians 3:14-21

A teacher asked a little boy, “Johnny, tell me honestly, do you say your prayers before you eat?”
Johnny replied, “I don't have to, my mom is a good cook!

A co-worker asked a friend why he got donuts if he is trying to diet. He said, “Well, I came around the corner where the donut shop was. I told God, if He wanted me to buy some donuts ...there would be an open parking spot in the front. On the eighth time around, there it was!”

And then there is the story of a man had a habit of grumbling at the food his wife placed before him at family meals. Then he would ask the blessing.
One day after his usual combination complaint-prayer, his little girl asked, “Daddy, does God hear us when we pray?”
“Why, of course,” he replied. “He hears us every time we pray.”
She paused on this a moment, and asked, “Does He hear everything we say the rest of the time?”
“Yes, dear, every word,” he replied, encouraged that he had inspired his daughter to be curious about spiritual matters. However, his pride was quickly turned to humility at his daughter’s next question.
“Then, which does God believe?”
There is really no need this morning to dwell upon the feelings of fear, anger, division & uncertainty that have surrounded our nation during the last few months. And the doubt about the impact of this pandemic is almost as bad as the pandemic itself.

A. What we must not forget is that we're not powerless. Our voices are heard in heaven!
We can & need to lift our voices in prayer; to ask God to intervene & give us guidance for ways we can respond to these feelings with the love of Christ.
In Ephesians 3:14-21 the apostle Paul is praying for the Christians in Ephesus, & he is also praying for us, for all those down through the ages who come to know Jesus as Savior & Lord.
He prays, “14 For this reason I kneel to the Father [a]of our Lord Jesus Christ, 15 from whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, 16 that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, 17 that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, 18 may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height— 19 to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.
20 Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

B. Sometimes our prayers seem to be more urgent when we’re in the midst of difficulties, struggling to understand & overcome the problems that weigh heavily upon us. If that is true, then we should be a praying people, earnestly beseeching God for His help in times like this.
Someone said, “I don’t feel like praying.”
His friend answered, “Well, why don’t you talk to God about it?” Prayer is simply talking to God. If you’re struggling with your prayer life, I want to assure you that God is still a prayer-hearing & a prayer-answering God.
You don't have to pray in any specific way, using holy words or repeating any religious phrases.
You don't have to pray in any specific place. Anyplace you spend time with the Lord is holy ground.
You don't need to pray a long prayer – what people have labeled as the Lord’s Prayer is rather short. You don't have to pray a flowery prayer – just speak from the heart. The important thing is that you take time to pray. And we're certainly living in a time for prayer!

ILL. In the humorous play, “Love and Death”, Napoleon walked by his lady's room & heard voices.
Suspicious of her faithfulness to him, he questioned her about it.
"I was praying," she explained.
"But I heard two voices," Napoleon said.
"I do both parts," she replied.

C. The reason we pray is not because we believe in the power of prayer. We pray because we believe in the power of God. We believe that He is the all-powerful God of the Bible, who has not put His power on hold.
Psalm 115:3 declares, "Our God is in heaven; He does whatever pleases Him." God does whatever He pleases, & He doesn't need our vote - nor does He wait for our veto.
Even King Nebuchadnezzar knew that the God of Israel had that kind of power, for he declared, "He does as He pleases with the powers of heaven & the peoples of the earth.
No one can hold back His hand or say to Him: ‘What have you done?’" (Daniel 4:35)
PROP. So if we're going to talk about prayer, the first thing we need is to realize the awesomeness of God. Some have been taught that the only reason to pray is to change ourselves. But that’s not the emphasis of the Bible at all.
Instead, the Bible teaches that prayer can make a difference in what God does, & that prayer can also have an effect on our circumstances.

I. PRAYER CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE IN WHAT GOD DOES

A. Do you respond when your kids make requests of you?
Of course you do. So does God.
He is the perfect parent as well as the powerful creator.
And the Bible teaches that prayer can make a difference in what God does.

ILL. For instance, remember when God brought His people out of Egypt by those great miracles? Then after seeing the sea open up before them, they traveled on to Mt. Sinai.
While Moses was up on the mountain having a long talk with God, & receiving the 10 commandments, the people got impatient. They took off their jewelry, melted it down, poured the liquid gold into a mold shaped like a calf - & guess what they got? A golden calf!
They worshiped that calf, sang hymns to it, brought offerings, & declared that the calf was the god who had brought them out of Egypt.
God was not pleased! He said to Moses, "I have seen these people...& they are a stiff-necked people." Then God gave Moses a command: "Now leave me alone so that my anger may burn against them & that I may destroy them. Then I will make you into a great nation." (Exodus 32:9-10)
Even though God told Moses to leave Him alone, Moses immediately began to beg God not to destroy His people. Deuteronomy 9:18 tells us that he kept pleading with God to spare the people.
In vs. 19 Moses said, “I feared the anger and wrath of the Lord, for He was angry enough with you to destroy you. But again the Lord listened to me.”
So what happened? Exodus 32:14 tells us, "The Lord relented & did not bring on His people the disaster He had threatened."
Isn't it wonderful that God listens to our prayers, & that prayer can make a difference in what God does? God listened to Moses & God changed His mind.

ILL. Then there was King Hezekiah. God told Hezekiah through the prophet Isaiah to get his affairs in order because he was going to die.
But Hezekiah prayed earnestly, & before Isaiah got out of the palace courtyard, God told him to go back & tell Hezekiah, "I have heard your prayer & seen your tears; I will heal you...I will add 15 years to your life." (2 Kings 20:5-6)
Some people say that God never changes His mind, but listen to what God says about that.
In Jeremiah 18:7-8 God says, "If at any time I announce that a nation or kingdom is to be uprooted, torn down & destroyed, & if that nation I warned repents of its evil, then I will relent & not inflict on it the disaster I had planned."

SUM. While God will never change His goal,
the redemption of mankind,
He will & can change some particulars in response to the prayers of His children.
He has that right, & He has demonstrated that many times in the Bible.

II. PRAYER CAN HAVE AN EFFECT ON OUR CIRCUMSTANCES
Not only can prayer affect God’s actions, prayer can also have an effect on our circumstances
because we're talking to the One who has all power - yesterday, today, & forever. In Gen. 18:14 we read, "Is anything too hard for the Lord?"
When God was going to fill a valley full of water without any rain or wind, the prophet Elisha was told, "This is an easy thing in the eyes of the Lord." (2 Kgs 3:18)
An angel who came directly from heaven to Mary brought this message: "Nothing is impossible with God" (Luke 1:37).
Jesus, who knows God the Father better than anyone, said, "With God all things are possible." (Matthew 19:26)
SUM. If God, angels, prophets, & Jesus proclaimed the awesome power of God, then we who are Christians ought to proclaim it, too.
The disciples once asked each other about Jesus, "Who is this? He commands even the winds & the water, & they obey Him" (Luke 8:25).

B. We human beings are the only part of creation that God has given the freedom to listen to His command & then decide whether to obey or not. That's the reason God could say to the Red Sea, "Open up," & the sea opened up.
When Jesus commanded the fig tree to dry up, it did not have a committee meeting with other fig trees to decide what to do. Any time God speaks to nature, nature has no option but to obey
Remember when Daniel was thrown into the lions’ den? The lions were hungry, but God closed their mouths.
Remember when Jonah was thrown overboard? The Bible says that God provided a great fish to swallow him. That fish had no option but to obey.
Jonah was in that fish for 3 days & 3 nights. I'm convinced he tried every way he could to get out - but nothing worked. Jonah finally realized that he was in a crisis & started to pray.
And as soon as Jonah finished praying, "The Lord ordered the fish to spit Jonah up onto the beach, & it did" (Jonah 2:10 TEV).

SUM. You see, prayer does have power to affect circumstances.

III. WHAT ABOUT TODAY?

A. But what about today? Does God really continue to hear our prayers & intervene in our lives? I'm convinced that He does.
When we pray, remember:

1. The love of God that wants the best for us.
2. The wisdom of God that knows what is best for us.
3. The power of God that can accomplish it.

B. That does not mean God will always answer "Yes" to our prayers. We have all experienced the "No" answers. We must be careful lest we start to believe that we can order God around with our prayers.
Our God listens carefully to our prayers, agonies, & heartaches. But He will not permit us to dictate to Him what He has to do.
So how do we understand it when we pray for someone to be healed & that person dies? It does not mean that God loves some more & some less, or that God respects some & not others.
Psalms 103:11 says, "As high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him."
With that great love He also declares, "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways...As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways & my thoughts than your thoughts" (Isaiah 55:8-9).
I believe we can trust in a God who is that big & has that much love for us.

C. When the answer does not come exactly the way we want or expect, our faith should hold hands with the faith of Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego, those 3 men thrown into the furnace of fire, who declared,
"If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, & He will rescue us from your hand...
But even if He does not, we want you to know...that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up." (Daniel 3:17-18)
Our trust in the power of God continues not because we always get our way, but because we believe in the way of God!
To pray is to tap into God's power. Non-Christians do not believe that God still has power today. If Christians don't believe it, who will?
Isn't it time for us to catch up with our forefathers & believe in, teach about, & pray to God?

I would like to conclude by going back to Ephesians 3 and rereading the last 2 verses of the text we started with this morning ...here is what Paul wrote:
"Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us,   To Him be glory in the church & in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever & ever! Amen" (Ephesians 3:20-21).

That's the power of prayer.
It is the power of God!
It is tapping into Him who “is able to do immeasurably more than all we can possibly ask or imagine.”
What a God & what a privilege - to be able to talk to Him,
& know that He listens to us & answers our prayers!

Sermon contributed by Melvin Newland

When God Has A Mission

Posted by Chardon in DefaultTag

When God Has A Mission 
Acts 5:17-42

INTRO: Good morning. We are going to continue our study in the book of Acts and I invite you to turn to the fifth chapter of that book from which we will take today’s lesson. Our text will be Acts 5:17-42. In general, I will use the NKJV or the KJV though I may paraphrase at times.

We saw the last time we were together that fear can be a good thing, especially if it turns us towards God and His ways.

But first, a story that I heard about when Johnny had signed up to a university class which he said was very difficult. He said that one of the highlights of being a first-year student in this biology class was the monthly feeding of a caged rattlesnake kept in the laboratory.
Johnny said that one time, the entire class gathered around the cage in complete silence, and watched as the feeding took place. The instructor said, "I'm jealous of the snake, I never get the class's undivided attention like this."
To which another student piped up, "You would if you would swallow a mouse."

I guess the point is that if you feel jealous of someone be careful where that jealousy takes you.

After the amazing and powerful events we learned about last week when Ananias and Saphira lied to God, a great fear came over the Lord’s church and also those who were not yet Christians. We read how God added to their number, and God through the apostles was getting peoples attention, not just in Jerusalem, but from afar.

It should be no surprise to us that other people are becoming jealous because of the attention the apostles were receiving. After all the religious leaders were jealous of the attention Jesus received.

Let’s start with Acts 5:17-18 – “Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation, and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison.”

We recall the apostles had been warned before not to preach in Jesus’ name. Despite that earlier warning, they continued preaching in the name of Jesus. Remember what they are preaching? They are preaching the story of Jesus and His resurrection.

We saw last week that this teaching was contrary to the teaching of the Sadducees because they didn’t believe in the resurrection. People always forget who God is and that when God has a plan and mission in mind, no one and no thing is going to keep God from completing what is to be done.

I. Continuing in Acts 5:19-21 – “But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, "Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.'' And when they heard that, they entered the temple early in the morning and taught. But the high priest and those with him came and called the council together, with all the elders of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.”

A. That’s a lesson for us. When God says ‘go’, He means ‘go’. In Matthew 28:18-20 – “Then Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

1. I wondered; what does He mean when He commands us to “go”?
2. Does He want us to go everywhere in the world?
3. Does He want us to leave our jobs, family, and friends and go preach the gospel?

B. When looking at Matthew 28:19 and Mark 16:15 we see that in these two texts different Greek words are used to describe who we are to reach with the gospel.

1. In Matthew, the word “nations” is “ethnos” meaning a multitude associated or living together, tribe, a group of people. We get our word ethnic from this. This doesn’t just refer to nations that are geographically distant from us; it also expresses the idea of different customs, cultures, and civilizations. The gospel is to be taken to people from every culture, custom, civilization, race, color, or ethnicity in the world. Today we do not need to go far from home to find these people.
2. In Mark Jesus uses a different word to tell us who we should carry the gospel message to. Here he uses the word “world” or kosmos meaning a harmonious arrangement, order, or government, an aggregate. This word carries the idea of a particular political system; a system of fashion; a system found in any part of society, such as a circle of friends; or any sphere where you live and have influence.
3. In other words, He wants us to preach the good news to our friends and family, those we work with, our neighbors, etc. He wants us to preach Jesus and His resurrection to the people we meet, be they in different ethnic groups, cultures, or civilizations. He expects us to invade every sphere where we have influence and to use our influence, and declare the Gospel to people who live, work, and function in those places, and to those people we meet or the people we are involved with, in our personal lives.

C. When God saw that His apostles were in prison again, He sent a messenger to release them and commanded them to go to the temple and preach the words which give eternal life. In other words, God is more powerful than any earthly authority.

1. The point I’m trying to make is that when God says ‘Go’ He means ‘Go’ but He will also give us the means to go. That’s why He sent an angel to the apostles to free them to preach in the temple.
2. That’s why He sent Jonah a great fish to get him to Nineveh.
3. God will give us the opportunities and we need to watch for them taking the gospel with us. And whether the door opens by a personal invite for dinner or a birthday party or by a funeral service of a friend, be ready to teach.

II. You might say the apostles have now played their God-sent get out of jail free card, and are preaching in the temple. At roughly the same time the high priest and his friends are coming together to discuss what to do with the apostles.

A. The high priest and the council with all the elders sent to the prison to have the apostles brought. Now in Acts 5:22-23 – “22. But when the officers came and did not find them in the prison, they returned and reported, 23. saying, "Indeed we found the prison shut securely, and the guards standing outside before the doors; but when we opened them, we found no one inside!''”

1. Luke tells us that officers went to get the apostles but discovered that they had gone even though guards were still there and the jail was still securely locked. They went back to those who had gathered and told them the apostles were gone. I wonder what was going on in the minds of those gathered there.
2. The apostles did not “escape” on their own or through some great feat of illusion. They were apostles of Christ, and God through the means of an angel set them free to continue their preaching about Christ and His resurrection.

B. Despite this clear sign that God was with the apostles; the high priest and those allied with him wondered what would happen. Acts 5:24 – “Now when the high priest, the captain of the temple, and the chief priests heard these things, they wondered what the outcome would be.” I find it interesting that there does not seem to be any doubt of how the apostles escaped, but rather a perplexity regarding the rapid spreading of the kingdom.
C. It must have been a shock for the council to learn that the men they had charged not to preach in the name of Jesus were... even as they met, preaching in the temple. These religious leaders now find themselves in a very awkward situation.

1. Acts 5:25-26 – “Then one came and told them, saying, "Look, the men whom you put in prison are standing in the temple and teaching the people!'' Then the captain went with the officers and brought them without violence, for they feared the people, lest they should be stoned.” The captain and his officers brought them back without violence because they feared that the common people, who sympathized with the apostles, would stone them.
2. Acts 5:27-28 – “ And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, saying, "Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man's blood on us!''” It amazes me that here in verse 28 the high priest says; “you are determined to make us guilty of this man's blood." Amazing, because it wasn’t all that long ago when Jesus was crucified, that these very people, along with a mob, were quite willing to have the blood of Jesus on their hands.
3. Recall what is said in Matthew 27:24-25 – “When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, "I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.'' And all the people answered and said, "His blood be on us and on our children.''”
4. I recall a story about a teacher who gave his class an assignment for a five-page paper using the theme of "Courage." Each student was to describe the best example of courage that he or she had ever witnessed. One student boldly turned in five blank pages. The professor gave that student an A.

D. Back in Acts, we see that the answer of Peter and the other apostles to the Sanhedrin carries profound implications for every generation of Christians. Acts 5:29 – “Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said: "We ought to obey God rather than men.”

1. No law was considered by the apostles to be above God's law. After all, the limit of the Sadducee’s authority could be seen in the fact that they had crucified Jesus and God had raised Him up from the grave. Who has the greater authority; God or man?
2. To further prove God’s authority Peter and the others go on to say in Acts 5:30-32 – “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him.” The apostles said God had now seated Jesus on the throne as Ruler and Savior. The Lord had been empowered by his Father to give repentance leading to the forgiveness of sins to all of Israel.
3. The twelve apostles stood as witnesses of God's working and the Holy Spirit confirmed the truthfulness of the events they related through the miracles He enabled them to perform.

III. So let me ask again; Who has the greater authority; God or man, and who should we obey?

A. Let me give you some possible examples.

1. Some of your friends ask you to stop off with them at a local bar after work for some small talk and a drink. What do you do? Do you obey God or obey your friends?
2. Maybe you are talking with some other Christians and they want your opinion about another Christian because they are looking for ways to put them down. What do you do? Do you obey God or obey them and gossip?

B. It takes courage to stand up and obey God. Courage to put God first and courage to say, ‘we’re prepared to be persecuted and treated like Jesus was. When we stand up and put God first, people are going to get upset and maybe even angry with us.

1. Just like we see in the next verse, Acts 5:33 – “When they heard this, they were furious and took counsel to kill them.” The Apostle’s words accusing the council of murdering Jesus enraged them to the point of being prepared to murder the apostles as well. See any irony there? However as angry as they were, they couldn’t take such action without the support of the Pharisaic members of the court. Remember the Pharisees were in the minority, but they commanded much more of the popular respect than the Sadducees.
2. Then Gamaliel, a highly respected teacher from among the Pharisees, rose to speak and asked for the apostles to be put outside, his words were instantly paid attention to.

C. Acts 5:35-37 – “Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while. And he said to them: "Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men. "For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing. After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed him were dispersed.”

1. Gamaliel warned the council against the actions they were thinking about taking on the apostles. He reminds them of two men, Theudas and Judas who both claimed to be someone special and led men in a rebellion. They had both been killed and those who followed them were scattered, and both rebellions came to nothing. For the moment at least these religious leaders are beginning to listen to wisdom.
2. Gamaliel goes on; Acts 5:38-39 – “And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it lest you even be found to fight against God.''” Gamaliel was saying when God has a plan, you will know what His plan is sooner or later.
3. If their actions were truly directed by God, the council could not stop them and they would be found in the un-envious position of opposing God Himself. Here is a man that recognizes that if God has a mission, no thing and no one could stop it from happening.

D. A woman was sorting through "treasured" stuff her daughter, Elizabeth, had accumulated over the years, when she came across a questionnaire Elizabeth had filled out while completing her master's degree. In response to the question "What was the most important advice you received from your mother?" Elizabeth had written, "Always rely on your good judgment." And to "What was the most important advice you received from your father?" Elizabeth answered, "Ask your mother." The world is full of advice and sometimes we take that advice and sometimes we choose to ignore it.
E. After hearing Gamaliel’s advice the council decided to take it. Acts 5:40 – “And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.” After being flogged, the religious leaders let them go with yet another warning not to preach in Jesus’ Name.

IV. Let’s look at their response after being flogged and sent off. Acts 5:41 – “So they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name.” The response of the apostles after being beaten and coming up against people who wanted to kill them is remarkable. Why would anyone rejoice after being beaten up? Why would anyone rejoice after coming so close to the possibility of death?

A. They rejoiced because they counted themselves worthy to suffer for Jesus’ name’s sake.
B. I wonder, in what ways are we going to suffer as a Christian today? Like those early Christians, we are a part of an unpopular cause. Those first believers turned to Christ with the full understanding that they were supporting an unpopular cause that could cost them everything.

1. Shortly after Pentecost, some were jailed, many lost all their earthly goods, a few were slain, hundreds were ‘scattered abroad.’ They could have escaped all this by simply denying their faith and turning back to the world. This they steadfastly refused to do.
2. When people are thinking about becoming a Christian today, the message is still the same. Paul will tell Timothy later in 2 Timothy 3:12 – “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution”. The cause of Christ is unpopular and people don’t like it.
3. In the US today there is not much chance at the moment of being thrown to the lions because of your faith. At the moment there’s not much chance you will be thrown into jail because of your faith.

C. I say at the moment because no-one knows what the US will be like in the years ahead.

1. For now, the extent of your persecution may be losing some friends or even family members because they don’t agree with your beliefs. You are likely to get talked about because of your faith. You might even lose your job because of your faith.
2. When we think about it and compare the persecution we might receive today with the way these early Christians were persecuted, I would say we’re very blessed.

D. The message is the same; we are out there trying to plant seed and water it when we get the chance. We are tempted to play down the difficulties and play up the peace of mind and worldly success enjoyed by those who accept Christ.

1. When we talk to others about the gospel we need to tell our listeners the blunt truth that, as members of a race of moral rebels, they are in a serious jam, and one they will not get out of easily. If they refuse to repent and believe on Christ, they will most surely perish; and if they do turn to Him, the same sort of enemies that crucified Jesus will try to crucify them.
2. We can count it as joy because just like the apostles, we know how much Jesus had suffered for us on Calvary. The apostles felt that this was a small thing to do in contrast to such a great act of love.

CONCLUSION:
I will wrap this up with a few more scriptures. I’ll paraphrase 1 Peter 4:14-16 – “If you are insulted because of the name of Christ, you are blessed, for the Spirit of glory and of God rests on you. If you suffer, it should not be as a murderer or thief or any other kind of criminal, or even as a meddler. However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.” It’s not only an honor to be persecuted for Christ but Peter tells us it is a blessing. Peter saw that the Spirit of God was with the one suffering and God's name would be glorified.

Jesus says in His very first sermon, in Matthew 5:10-12 – “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”

James 1:2 tells us; “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials”
We usually stop reading right there and don’t read on to find out why we should consider it pure joy. James 1:3-4 – “knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”
When we grasp that we will receive a blessing after we receive persecution, we will continue to grow in our faith. Persecution makes you stronger and it helps us to persevere.

You know the catchphrase “You can do it”. It’s a phrase that tries to encourage kids to keep going, to try their best and not give up. Folks, that’s not a new policy. That comes right out of God’s handbook for Christian growth. Perseverance means “You can do it”, don’t give up, try your best and keep at it.

When we keep at it, we keep on preaching the good news just like the apostles did.
Now to Acts 5:42 – “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.”

I heard about a new church building that had a sign outside its door next to some young trees. When they first opened the building people could see the sign clearly, it said, “We preach Christ crucified.” After a few years, the trees grew and the leaves covered part of the sign and all you could read was, “We preach Christ.” A little more time went by and the trees continued to grow then all you could read was, “We preach”.

The gospel that we proclaim is as simple as you want it to be.
When people hear nothing but bad news all day long, give them some good news. Tell them that Jesus is the Christ and He came to die by crucifixion so that He could give us life to the full, even unto eternity. When we preach we do not rely on our wisdom. We do not rely on our understanding. We do not try to be a philosopher.

We listen to Paul’s advice as he tells us in 1 Corinthians 1:20-25 – “20. Where is the wise? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world? 21. For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those who believe. 22. For Jews request a sign, and Greeks seek after wisdom; 23. but we preach Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, 24. but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. 25. Because the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.”

God had a mission for the apostles and He has a mission for each one of us.
That mission is to preach Christ crucified to those we find within our personal lives.

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We learn from the New Testament how to be saved. We need to hear the word; believe in Jesus; repent of our sins; we must confess our belief that Jesus is the Son of God, and be baptized for the remission of our sins... If we follow these steps, the Lord adds us to His church.

Perhaps there is someone in the assembly today with the need to be buried with Christ in baptism. If you have never done these things, we urge you to do so today. If anyone has this need or desires the prayers of faithful Christians on their behalf, we encourage them to come forward while we stand and sing.

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Reference Sermon: Mike Glover

Fear Is A Good Thing

Posted by Chardon in DefaultTag

Fear Is A Good Thing
Acts 4:32-5:16

INTRO: Good morning. This morning we will continue in our study of the Book of Acts. Our text this morning will be from Acts 4:32 through 5:16.

I would like to begin with a story. There was a woman who was at work when she received a phone call from her sitter that her daughter was very sick and had a fever.
She left her work and stopped by the pharmacy to get some medication for her daughter.

When she went back to her car, she found that she had locked her keys inside. She was in a hurry to get home to her sick daughter, and she didn't know what to do. She called her home and told the babysitter what had happened and that she did not know what to do. The babysitter told her that her daughter was getting worse.
She said, "You might find a coat hanger and use that to open the door". The woman looked around and found an old rusty coat hanger lying in the alley.
Then she looked at the hanger and said, "I don't know how to use this."

She bowed her head and asked God to send her some help. Within five minutes an old rusty car pulled up, with a dirty, greasy, bearded man who was wearing an old biker skull rag on his head.

The woman thought, "Great God, is this who you sent to help me?" She was desperate, so she was also very thankful. The man got out of his car and asked her if he could help. She said "Yes, my daughter is very sick, I stopped to get her some medication and I locked my keys in my car, I have to get home to her. Please, can you use this hanger to unlock my car?"

He said, "Sure". He walked over to the car, and in less than one minute the car was opened. She hugged the man and through her tears she said, "thank you so much, you are a very nice man." The man replied, "Lady, I am not a nice man. I just got out of prison this week.

I was in prison for car theft and have only been out for a couple days."
The woman hugged the man again and with sobbing tears cried out Loud, “Thank you, God, for sending me a professional"

I guess the point of the story is never underestimate the power of prayer, God will not always send us what we want or even what we expect, but what we need.

We saw last time that after being released from prison Peter and John met up with the other believers and they thanked God for everything He had done and was doing through His people.
We also saw them pray to God for strength and courage to keep going.

I. When God’s people, His church, pray together, things are going to happen. Let’s read Acts 4:32 – “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.”

A. Straight away Luke records that the church was united in heart and mind. They were beginning to experience a new kind of unity.

1. This new Christian unity was very evident in the way they readily shared what they had with their fellow believers.
2. I notice that this kind of sharing was voluntary and not forced upon them by some governmental or church order. These early Christians began to think differently about their possessions.
3. These young Christians started to understand what James was later to write in James 1:17 – “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”

B. Instead of keeping a tight hold of their possessions, each Christian thought of his blessings as gifts from God to be used to the benefit of all the brethren.

1. That attitude of generosity is going to have an impact on the people around them. Think of the impact that has on this assembly when we see the need of one of our brothers and sisters in Christ and help them.
2. Think of the impact on our brethren around the world when we send financial or material aid to help in a kingdom cause?
3. It not only gives us one heart and mind of generosity but it also has an impact to enhance the power of the preaching of those helped and those helping.

C. Acts 4:33 – “with great power the apostles gave witness to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And great grace was upon them all.”

1. When they shared, the apostles received strength and courage to continue to preach about the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
2. Please don’t misunderstand what’s happening here. The apostles were not in control of everyone’s property. This was individual, not corporate.

D. The church (the people) gave freely because they wanted to help as Luke is going tell us next. Acts 4:34-37 – “34. Nor was there anyone among them who lacked; for all who were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the proceeds of the things that were sold, 35. and laid them at the apostles' feet; and they distributed to each as anyone had need. 36. And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, 37. having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles' feet.”

1. Individual believers gave as they could. They didn’t sell everything they possessed that would be nonsense because that would mean that they would end up in need themselves.
2. Individual believers sold property and brought the money to the apostles to be distributed as needed among the family of God.
3. “to each as anyone had need.” This shows that only the needy received anything, and that those who were not needy were the givers. This was not a commune, or a socialistic club, as many interpreters have fancied. There was no uniform distribution of the property of all among the members; neither was the property of all held and administered by the apostles.
4. What was illustrated here shows that true Christian benevolence requires that we not let our brethren in the church suffer for need. It was not a matter of providing for the whole church, but of supplying the needs of those who lacked.
5. People of their own free will, from love for the brethren, would from their own property make provision for brethren in need. We read here of one of the people contributing named Joses, (or Joseph as some translations have it). He was so well known that he was nicknamed Barnabas or son of Encouragement. Throughout history people have had nicknames by which they were known and remembered.

a. For example have you ever heard of Megas Alexandros? He is better known as Alexander the Great who was one of the greatest military leaders of all time.
b. Have you ever heard of Ivan IV Vasilyevich? He is better known as Ivan the Terrible and for being the first ruler of Russia to assume the title of tsar.
c. How about Max von Sydow? You might remember him as Emperor Ming-the-Merciless in the Flash Gordon TV series.
d. Hear is an easy one perhaps, another one from fiction, John Reid? He was the lone survivor of a group of ambushed Texas Rangers and is better known as The Lone Ranger.

6. That makes me wonder, if people were to look at our lives as a Christian what nickname would they give each of us? The point is this;... people usually remember you by your actions.

II. Let me tell you about another couple who will be remembered in history for all the wrong reasons. They are going to be remembered in history for lying to the Holy Spirit. Acts 5:1-2 – “But a certain man named Ananias, with Sapphira his wife, sold a possession. And he kept back part of the proceeds, his wife also being aware of it, and brought a certain part and laid it at the apostles' feet.”

A. Ananias and his wife, Sapphira, who we will look at in a moment, sold some property but decided to only lay a portion of the proceeds at the feet of the apostles. We might be inclined to wonder what was so wrong with this; they sold property and gave the money to the apostles to help those in need.

1. Do you remember in Joshua 6 when the Israelites took Jericho? God said through Joshua to the Israelites in Joshua 6:17-19 – “17. "Now the city shall be doomed by the Lord to destruction, it and all who are in it. Only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all who are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent. 18. "And you, by all means keep yourselves from the accursed things lest you become accursed when you take of the accursed things, and make the camp of Israel a curse, and trouble it. 19. "But all the silver and gold, and vessels of bronze and iron, are consecrated to the Lord; they shall come into the treasury of the Lord.''”
2. If you read on in the same passage you will find that they took Jericho but a man named Achan stole some of the treasure for himself.
3. Then in Joshua 7:1 we find this action described. “But the children of Israel committed a trespass regarding the accursed things, for Achan the son of Carmi, the son of Zabdi, the son of Zerah, of the tribe of Judah, took of the accursed things; so the anger of the Lord burned against the children of Israel.”
4. In other words in both cases something was "kept back" for themselves. In both instances the problems arose because of putting self first. Achan disobeyed God’s command that was recorded in Joshua 6. Ananias wanted to raise his stature in the eyes of all by claiming he had given all. Achan coveted possessions and Ananias coveted position. Both placed themselves before God.
5. This is a strong lesson for all God’s people. How often, I wonder, do we place our own interests first and God’s commands second?

B. Peter, as we have already seen through the Book of Acts, was a man who didn’t mince his words. Acts 5:3-4 – “3. But Peter said, "Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? "While it remained, was it not your own? And after it was sold, was it not in your own control? Why have you conceived this thing in your heart? You have not lied to men but to God.''”

1. Peter didn’t soft peddle; he told Ananias that it was Satan who had filled his heart so he would lie to the Holy Spirit.
2. The apostles were inspired by the Holy Spirit, and pretending to give all the money from the sale of the land to the apostles was the equivalent to lying to the Spirit.
3. It’s interesting to me that Peter asks him this question in the later part of verse 4, “Why have you conceived this thing in your heart?”

C. I notice that the amount of the gift was not the problem, as Peter said, in the beginning of verse 4, “Didn't it belong to you before it was sold? And after it was sold, wasn't the money at your disposal?” In other words their land was theirs to do with as they pleased. This verse is the emphatic declaration that there was no compulsion whatever upon Ananias, either to sell his land or to give the money afterward.

1. The problem started when he tried to deceive the others and God, as to the size of the gift. It was a problem which was going to be fatal to Ananias and later to his wife Sapphira. Acts 5:5-6 – “When Ananias heard this, he fell down and died. And great fear seized all who heard what had happened. Then the young men came forward, wrapped up his body, and carried him out and buried him.”[NIV]
2. People seem to have trouble with this and it has been said; “we cannot imagine Christ acting toward sinners in this manner.” I wonder why not? Read with me Luke 19:27 – “But bring here those enemies of mine, who did not want me to reign over them, and slay them before me.” People simply do not like to think of God or Christ as a being whom they should fear; and such a narrative as this was designed to correct that inadequate conception of deity.

D. This was a story from many years back about a young boy who was placed inside a juvenile detention center awaiting a trial for stealing a Mars bar. He knew he was guilty. On the day of his trial the judge asked him if there was anything he would like to say before sentence was passed. The boy thought for a moment and said, "Judge have you ever stolen candy from a shop?" A painful silence came over the courtroom. Finally the judge blurted out, "No cross examination allowed! Case dismissed!” The point is mankind struggles at times with judgment. God will always judge righteously for He can see what is in the hearts of people.

III. We all have lied at some point in our lives, even in our Christian lives. You can lie to me, or your friends and family and we would be unaware of it, but you cannot lie to God and expect to get away with it.

A. Have you ever told someone you couldn’t come to church because you weren’t feeling well yet managed to go out and do some shopping?

1. Maybe you’ve said, I will be at Bible study but you know deep in your heart that you have no intention being there?
2. Maybe you’ve planned to visit a friend but can’t be bothered to go, so you phone them up with some lame excuse as to why you can’t go. When you lie to people, you are actually lying to God.
3. Ananias after hearing Peter's words fell down dead and this resulted in great fear coming upon all who heard about the incident. Some young men wrapped Ananias' body and took it out to be buried.

B. I’m not saying that if you lie to someone you’re going to die physically... but you will start to die spiritually. Unfortunately when people begin to die spiritually you can tell. They start to separate themselves from God.

1. Do you remember in the Garden of Eden after Adam and Eve lied to God? Genesis 3:23-24 – “therefore the Lord God sent him out of the garden of Eden to till the ground from which he was taken. So He drove out the man; and He placed cherubim at the east of the garden of Eden, and a flaming sword which turned every way, to guard the way to the tree of life.”[NKJV]
2. Adam and Eve died, not physically but spiritually.

C. All sin separates us from God but it doesn’t have to continue to separate us from God. “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness” which is the promise of 1 John 1:9.

1. People begin to die spiritually when they stop coming to church. People begin to die spiritually when they stop studying the Bible. People begin to die spiritually when they are so involved with the world and its pleasure.
2. They begin to die spiritually when they feel they need to lie to God and His people for whatever reasons they might have.

IV. Let’s continue. Ananias is dead and buried but his wife has no idea what has happened to him. She comes along three hours later and tells Peter the same lie.

A. Acts 5:7-11 – “Now it was about three hours later when his wife came in, not knowing what had happened. And Peter answered her, "Tell me whether you sold the land for so much?'' And she said, "Yes, for so much.'' Then Peter said to her, "How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord? Look, the feet of those who have buried your husband are at the door, and they will carry you out.'' Then immediately she fell down at his feet and breathed her last. And the young men came in and found her dead, and carrying her out, buried her by her husband. So great fear came upon all the church and upon all who heard these things.” [NKJV]

1. Peter asked her if they had sold the land for the amount Ananias had laid at the apostles' feet. When she said that the amount named was correct, Peter knew they had conspired to deceive or, as he said in verse 9, “How is it that you have agreed together to test the Spirit of the Lord?" Peter gave her opportunity to confess hers sins to God, that’s why he asked her why they had taken this action. Then he told her the men who had buried her husband's body would also bury her. She too fell down at Peter's feet, died and was carried out by the young men to be buried beside her husband.
2. Peter was not a mind reader; he was inspired by the Holy Spirit. In 2 Chronicles 6:30-31 – we read this plea; “Forgive, and deal with each man according to all he does, since you know his heart (for you alone know the hearts of men), so that they will fear you and walk in your ways all the time they live in the land you gave our fathers”.

B. This event with Ananias and Sapphira sent a strong message through the church and an even stronger message to those in the surrounding areas. The message was fear, not only because of the two deaths, but also because of God's ability to know the intents of the hearts of the conspiring couple.

1. That’s a sobering thought isn’t it? It ought to cause anyone to think twice before trying to deceive God.
2. Fear in the world’s eyes is always seen as a bad thing.

a. People fear terrorists attacking our cities.
b. They fear they might lose their jobs.
c. They fear they might fail a final exam.
d. They fear that they may lose a loved one.
e. They fear the pandemic that is sweeping the world.

C. I suggest to you that the fear we find in Acts 5 is a good fear. I would suggest that on this occasion it did four things—it united, divided, brought attention to Christ and brought new believers. Continue now with me in Acts 5:12-13 – “And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon's Porch. Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly.”

1. I recall from somewhere that it was said one of the most beautiful birds on the earth today is the peacock. What the male peafowl does when he is ready to mate is open up all his feathers and displays all their beautiful colors. Why does he do that? He's trying to get the females attention.
2. Why did God enable the apostles to perform many miraculous signs and wonders? God worked miracles through the inspired apostles and four things happened.

a. It united because the church continued to assemble on Solomon's porch.
b. It divided because although those outside of the church had been moved to fear, they did not dare to join the number of believers.
c. It brought attention because those outside the church held the Christians in high esteem and increasing numbers of those who believed on Jesus were added to the Lord.
d. Finally it brought new believers because Luke tells us in verse 14, “And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women,”

3. In other words the fear, signs, miracles and wonders were done to get people’s attention to the gospel.

CONCLUSION:
Let me bring your attention now to Hebrews 1:1-2 – “God, who at various times and in different ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds;” God doesn’t speak to us in the various ways like He did before. Today He speaks to us through His word. That’s why these things don’t happen today. We have the complete and final revelation from God in the form of His Word.

Jude 3 “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” We don’t live by sight. We live by faith.

Hebrews 11:1 – “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” During Biblical times they didn’t have the word of God as we have today—written conveniently in a Book. After they performed the miracles the apostles continued to preach about Jesus rising from the dead and look what happened. They got people’s attention and they are still getting people’s attention.

Let us continue in Acts 5:15-16 – “so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.”

People were so impressed with the way God worked through the apostles that they brought their sick out into the streets. There was no misunderstanding about what was going on in Jerusalem. Peter could see the people and stop to heal them as he passed by, or, at least, his shadow would fall on them. Whether they were actually healed by the shadow of Peter passing over them, one cannot tell from the text.

This is not what some of the religious world claim happens today, where you need faith first and a healthy bank account next. The apostles were not hoaxers. People came and they even came from surrounding towns bringing those who were sick or possessed by an evil spirit. All were healed by the power of God working through the apostles.

You see fear really is a good thing. In fact fearing God and keeping His commandments is all God wants from everyone. Ecclesiastes 12:13 – “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this is the whole duty of man.” Folks we have to fear God and do His will now while we still have life in these bodies.
The Hebrew writer warns us of another fear in Hebrews 10:26-27 – “For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.”

Fear will always be around us.
Fear will always be within us.
We have to choose what kind of fear we want to live with. Fear of things in the world is something we cannot control but fearing God is a decision you could make right now to control your future. You see fear really is a good thing. It all depends on cause of your fear.
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We learn from the New Testament how to be saved. We need to hear the word; believe in Jesus; repent of our sins; we must confess our belief that Jesus is the Son of God; and be baptized for the remission of our sins... If we follow these steps, the Lord adds us to His church.

Perhaps there is someone in the assembly today with the need to be buried with Christ in baptism. If you have never done these things, we urge you to do so today. If anyone has this need or desires the prayers of faithful Christians on their behalf, we encourage them to come forward while we stand and sing.

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Reference Sermon: Mike Glover

One Thing Leads to Another!

Posted by Chardon in DefaultTag

One Thing Leads to Another! 
Acts 4:1-31

INTRO: Today we will move on to chapter 4 in our look at the Book of Acts. I’m enjoying going through this Book and examining God’s word for what it can teach me. I hope you are enjoying this too.

We saw last time how the Apostles Peter and John were entering the temple and met a lame man by the Beautiful Gate, who they healed. What we are going to look at today stands as a warning to everyone who wants to confess to being a follower of Christ.
As the Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:12 – “Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution.”

I think I’ll start with a story and I hope no one minds because it does lean on stereotypes. This story I heard is about a couple who were on their way to get married when they had a tragic accident. The next thing they knew, they were standing arm-in-arm at the pearly gates.
They told Peter what had happened and then said, "We want to spend eternity as man and wife. Is there anyone here who can marry us before we go in?"
Peter thought for a minute and said, "This is an unusual request, but if you'll take a seat, I'll see what I can work out." The couple waited for three months before Peter finally came back with a minister to perform the ceremony.
The man said to Peter, "We've had some time to think about this. We know that marriage is difficult even under the limited term of 'till death us do part.' Since there is no death in heaven, I just want to make sure that if this marriage doesn't work out, can we get a divorce?"
Peter said, "Are you kidding? It took me three months just to find a preacher. What do you think your chances are of finding a lawyer?"

People have many expectations of heaven that are not biblical of course, but I guess the point of the story is there are some people we expect to see in heaven when we get there, Peter being one of them.

I. Let’s read Acts 4:1-3 – “Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening.”

A. While Peter and John were still preaching, a group of people came into the temple area and arrested them. Who were these men? Luke tells us there were priests, the captain of the temple and the Sadducees.

1. We know who the priests were. They were descendants of the tribe of Levi and they were assigned by God to serve God in the temple.
2. The Sadducees were proud, secular materialists who denied the existence of a spiritual world, holding that neither angels nor demons existed, denying any such thing as the resurrection, and rejecting the Oral Torah. They also refused the traditions of the elders except for the parts which had political usefulness.
3. Over time, through wealth and political power, they had gained control of the religious apparatus which ran the temple, the office of the high priest being regularly filled from this group.
4. Who was the captain of the temple guard? He belonged to one of the chief-priestly families of the Levites and in the temple; he ranked next to the high priest. In other words, he was the main man with authority in and around the temple area.

B. Well, one thing leads to another. Luke tells us the apostles were arrested because they taught the people and preached the resurrection by preaching about Jesus.

1. I wondered where the Pharisees were at this time. We can’t be certain where they were but perhaps they were absent because the apostles were teaching the resurrection. You see the Pharisees were the teachers of the law and they believed in the resurrection whereas the Sadducees did not.
2. What we will see as we go through the Book of Acts is that the Pharisees seem to be sympathetic toward the church and some of them even obeyed the gospel.
3. We see this in Acts 5 where a Pharisee named Gamaliel says to the Sanhedrin in Acts 5:38-40 – “And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; "but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it lest you even be found to fight against God.'' And they agreed with him, and when they had called for the apostles and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.”
4. We see this sympathetic attitude again in Acts 15:5 – “But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the Law of Moses.''”
5. The apostle Paul being a great debater argues his defense with the Pharisees and Sadducees in Acts 23:6-9 and says, “..., "Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!'' And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the assembly was divided. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection and no angel or spirit; but the Pharisees confess both. Then there arose a loud outcry. And the scribes who were of the Pharisees' party arose and protested, saying, "We find no evil in this man; but if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him, let us not fight against God.''”

C. At age three little Johnny tried to put his shoes on by himself. His mother noticed that the left shoe was on the right foot. She said, "Johnny, your shoes are on the wrong feet." He looked up at her with a raised brow and said, "That’s silly, Mommy. They're the only feet I've got."

1. Folks, we only have one pair of feet and there is only one faith and it’s the one faith we find within the Bible.
2. When you go back to the scriptures as your defense, you will leave other religious people arguing among themselves for many of their ideas are from men. Sometimes we can get into discussions with people about what they believe and we can end up arguing about what we believe. The way to end these discussions is simply by going back to the scriptures. Tell them what the Bible says, and if they read it for themselves and find they have a problem with what the scriptures teach then they need to take it up with God. In other words, let the Bible speak for itself...

II. Luke tells us that it was now evening. Peter and John having preached for nearly three hours find themselves in jail until the next day. I just want to raise an important point here. Do you remember when Jesus was on trial, what time of day it was?

A. In Matthew 26:47ff scripture tells us that it would have been around midnight when Jesus was arrested, and He was hurried to the house of Caiaphas, the high priest, where, in expectation of the capture, a company of chief priests, scribes and elders, members of the Sanhedrin were already assembled. The trial of Jesus was illegal because they were supposed to wait until the next day for trial. I guess if you have a hidden agenda and you don’t want to be reminded to do things right, you will always find a way around it.

B. The apostles had to wait until the next day to stand trial which was the right procedure. The point I’m trying to make here is simple. The religious leaders had a rule they did not apply to Jesus but they did for the apostles. This is a practice that mustn’t be allowed to govern in the Lord’s church. People cannot, must not, chop and change scripture to suit their agendas.

1. Let me give you a couple of examples. If several people have not attended the assembly for many months, you cannot write a letter to one of them telling them they are disfellowshipped knowing others are doing the same thing.
2. In the same way, you cannot rebuke a person for gossiping when you know others are gossiping.
3. You can’t have one set of rules for some Christians and another set of rules for other Christians. The church as a whole needs to be... must be, consistent and that consistency is found within the Scriptures.
4. We read in 1 Timothy 5:21 – “I charge you before God and the Lord Jesus Christ and the elect angels that you observe these things without prejudice, doing nothing with partiality.”

III. As we saw, the apostles healed the lame man then preached the resurrection of Christ, and then they were arrested. One thing does lead to another. Despite their arrest, God caused the preaching of the gospel to bring forth fruit. Luke tells us about this in Acts 4:4 – “However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.”

A. Now for Peter and John, their next day was about to begin in verse 5. Acts 4:5-7 – “And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes, as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem. And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, "By what power or by what name have you done this?''”

1. I don’t know if you have ever been to court but it is a very intimidating place, with a judge, defense and prosecution lawyers, and witnesses for civil court. If your crime is a serious one you would have to attend a criminal court, which is an even more intimidating place, with a judge, defense and prosecution lawyers, armed police, witnesses and the jury.
2. When Peter and John were brought before the Jewish Sanhedrin that was not a normal courtroom. It was a high court consisting of 70 members, plus the high priest, that oversaw matters concerning the temple and its worship. It was, in fact, the chief political force among the Jews.
3. The reason to explain who was in attendance is because this shows the incident in the temple where they healed the lame man was being taken very seriously. Notice this also, they never questioned whether or not the miracle took place. They were more concerned about under whose authority it was performed.

B. I wonder if at this point Peter remembers the Lord’s words that Mathew records in Matthew 10:17-20 – “But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues. And you will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles. But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak; for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.”

1. Luke tells us that very thing happened next. Acts 4:8-11 – “Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, "Rulers of the people and elders of Israel: If we this day are judged for a good deed done to the helpless man, by what means he has been made well, let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.'”
2. By inspiration, Peter's choice of the issue which he would defend, was truly marvelous. He said, in effect, "I suppose you wish to examine us regarding the good deed which has been done to the impotent man." There was not a thing which those hypocrites could say against it.
3. Have you ever had a conversation with someone who seems to go on and on? Maybe thirty minutes later you’re still waiting for them to get to the point? Well, Peter wasn’t like that. Peter was an in your face preacher who just got straight to the point.
4. Peter, filled with God’s Spirit tells them it was through Jesus, the very person they had rejected, and crucified and through Jesus’ name that the man was made well. Peter wanted the council and all of Israel to know that profound truth. To reinforce that truth upon these leaders he quotes from Psalm 118:22.
5. He wanted to show the Sanhedrin, that they, as the religious builders, had rejected the very stone which was chosen by God to be the head of the corner. I am in awe of how God set in order that they should first hear a full testimony to the truth in the temple, and then in the great council; to which the apostles could not have had access, had they not been brought before it as criminals.
6. What the Sanhedrin did not do is of epic significance. Remember they did deny the resurrection of Jesus Christ, a fact Peter had boldly affirmed in their presence. Then God through Peter places the resurrection of Christ in the same category as the healing of the impotent man before them. They could not deny it!

C. When these leaders were questioning Jesus about His authority, recall that He said to them in Matthew 21:42 – “Did you never read in the Scriptures: 'The stone which the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This was the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes'?”

1. Peter, when he’s trying to encourage some Christians to grow up, says in 1 Peter 2:4-6 – “Coming to Him as to a living stone, rejected indeed by men, but chosen by God and precious, you also, as living stones, are being built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. Therefore it is also contained in the Scripture, "Behold, I lay in Zion a chief cornerstone, elect, precious, and he who believes on Him will by no means be put to shame.''”
2. I heard of a Christian man who had heart surgery several years ago. While he was recovering he received letters and gifts from family and friends all across the country. He said that no other gifts affected him more than the one he revived on that December. It came with a Bible, and inside the Bible there was a message and it said, "Dear Thomas, I am so glad to hear that everything went well with your surgery, I want you to know that God was watching over you every minute and even though I know you question that, I also know that one day it will be revealed to you and my prayer is that you remain open and that God will touch your life as he has mine." The letter went on. "Once I was a disbeliever, when I could not fill my life with sports, I would substitute sex, drink or material things to feed my internal wants, and I was never satisfied." “But I finally realized who Jesus Christ was and now He lives in me. He will reveal His truth to you, Thomas, because he lives."
3. That’s what Peter’s point was when he said in Acts 4:12 – “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.” As I have said before, Hell is not afraid of my name or your name, but all of hell is very afraid of Jesus’ name.
4. It is only in Jesus’ name a person can receive spiritual healing or salvation. It is a truth that everyone on this planet has to accept or deny. It is only by speaking the truth in love that you will silence the worst critics.

D. Now Acts 4:13-15 – “Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus. And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it. But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,”

1. Here are a couple of apostles, not trained or well schooled by any rabbis or scribes, except the greatest teacher of all, Jesus. Yet they dared to interpret scripture with great boldness. Because of that boldness in their interpretation of Scripture, the council noted they had been with Jesus. Notice also the facts could not be denied. The council could not deny the miracle because the formerly lame man stood before them healed! In a state of panic, they order the apostles outside while they conferred.
2. What are they going to do? Are they going to kill the healed man and deny the whole thing? No, they couldn’t kill him and deny the miracle because reports of the healing were widespread.

E. Acts 4:16 – “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.”

1. They couldn’t disprove Peter's arguments for the resurrection of Jesus, but they needed to stop the preaching of Jesus before more of the people turned to follow Jesus. Luke tells us they ended up doing the only thing they could do—threaten them.
2. Acts 4:17-18 – “But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.'' And they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.”

IV. Folks, here a big lesson for the church today. We must not and cannot compromise the truth of the Scriptures for anything or anyone. I have read some books, ‘Traces of the Kingdom’ by brother Keith Sisman, ‘Historical survey of the churches of Christ in the British Isles’ written by brother Joe Nesbit and Frank Worgan, and ‘History of the Disciples in the Western Reserve, Ohio’ by A. S. Hayden. I strongly suggest that if you get the chance to read any of these books do so. Within their pages you read about the amazing struggles for unity over the New Testament church and every time you think the saints of old have settled into New Testament practices and doctrine, something happens. Along come those who want to be like other people around them. They want to compromise with denominational practices.

A. When we speak in Jesus name; we’re speaking with the authority of Christ Himself.

1. If people tell us to stop preaching from God’s word because they find it offensive, the church needs to stand up and say what those apostles said in Acts 4:19-20 – “... "Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

B. Have you ever argued with someone who just has to have the last word? Some couples have this difficulty when they are first married. They run into a rough spot and both of them try to say something to get the last word in.

1. These religious leaders ended up doing that very thing, Luke tells us Acts 4:21-22 – “So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done. For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.” Just like these religious leaders did in Jesus’ day, they continued to do with the apostles.
2. When Jesus was around they were always looking for an excuse to take Him and find some fault with Him. On one of these occasions, Jesus was sharing with the people the parable of the vineyard owner. The religious leaders knew He was talking about them but they couldn’t do anything because they were afraid of the people.
3. Mark 12:12 – “And they sought to lay hold of Him, but feared the multitude, for they knew He had spoken the parable against them. So they left Him and went away.”
4. Now again the religious leaders are indignant and not without reason. The great popularity of the gospel message threatened their political base, promised to hold them up before the people as murderers, ignoramuses concerning the Holy Scriptures, and deserving of contempt. To proud, arrogant men like themselves, the situation had become intolerable; and their venomous hatred overflowed against the apostles.

C. Peter and John made it clear to them that the Sanhedrin had no authority to revoke a command from God. They told them that they felt compelled, by the power of the things they had witnessed, to proclaim to everyone the good news concerning Jesus Christ.

1. Because this miracle was such common knowledge and had caused so many people to glorify God, the council had no other alternative but to let the apostles go without any further punishment. They added a few more threats and let them go rather than risk the people taking the apostles' side. After all, here was a man who had been lame forty years but was now walking.
2. If that were you or me, we would probably be glad we got out of there with our lives. I suspect that we may even just chill for a while until things settled down a bit.

D. Not Peter and John, instead of lying low waiting for the issue to settle, they kept the momentum going. Acts 4:23 – “And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.” I would probably be saying “wow, you were lucky to get out alive or you’re lucky you didn’t get a prison sentence”.

1. Folks, as I have already said, one thing does lead onto another and the entire group raised their voices in praise to the Almighty Creator. Acts 4:24-28 – “24. So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: "Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, 25. "who by the mouth of Your servant David have said: 'Why did the nations rage, and the people plot vain things? 26. the kings of the earth took their stand, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord and against His Christ.' 27. "For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28. "to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.”
2. They praised God for His work in the death of Jesus. Instead of going into hiding, they recognized that God was with them and no one and nothing was going to stop them doing what God wanted them to do.

CONCLUSION:
I wonder what I would do, I wonder about what we would do. What’s the first thing you do when God delivers you from a trial or situation? Do you come away feeling lucky and hope that you don’t have to face that trial again? Or do you come away thanking God for being with you through that trial? Do you thank Him and ask Him to give you the strength and courage to get through the next one? I freely admit that there were times in my life when I was delivered from a disaster that my response was the first. It was only later in reflecting on what had occurred that I realized where my deliverance came from and my response to that realization was to turn to God in thanksgiving and prayer.

Something I note here is that not only did the apostles praise God for what happened, they went on to ask God to help them do what He wants them to do. Acts 4:29-30 – “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.''”
They asked God to give them all the strength to preach the truth, despite the threats of the Sanhedrin. They wanted everyone to know that all authority belongs to Jesus Christ and no one else.

We recall that in Matthew 28:18 – “... All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.” He didn’t say some authority, but “All authority” and folks, “all” means all.
When you recognize and submit to His authority, you will be given what you need most at that moment. You will be given the strength and courage to go on.

Acts 4:31 – “And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.”

In the Book of Acts when God’s people are persecuted or put on trial, you will see them coming through those times even bolder than they first went in.

The question I want to leave you with this morning is this, when persecution comes what is it going to lead us to? Is it going to lead to us to compromising with the world to avoid criticism?
It is going to leave us without any fight left in us?
Or is it going to leave us thanking God for His presence and asking that He make us each a stronger and more courageous Christian because we want to please Him and not men?
God bless and thanks for taking the time to grow in your understanding of God’s Word.
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We learn from the New Testament how to be saved. We need to hear the word; believe in Jesus; repent of our sins; we must confess our belief that Jesus is the Son of God, and be baptized for the remission of our sins... If we follow these steps, the Lord adds us to His church.
Perhaps there is someone in the assembly today with the need to be buried with Christ in baptism. If you have never done these things, we urge you to do so today. If anyone has this need or desires the prayers of faithful Christians on their behalf, we encourage them to come forward while we stand and sing.
# ???
Reference Sermon: Mike Glover

Something Beautiful

Posted by Chardon in DefaultTag

Something Beautiful
Acts 3:1-26

INTRO: Good morning. We are going to continue our study in the book of Acts and I invite you to turn to the third chapter of that book from which we will take today’s lesson. In general I will use the NKJV though I may paraphrase at times.

Before we go on though, I heard about an Ohio woman who was driving from East Townsend to Monroeville. As she was driving through Norwalk she ran into a snowstorm and became very frightened. She peered ahead and saw a snowplow. “What luck!” She thought. She kept as close to the plow truck as she could while it removed the snow from the road.

At times the heavy snowfall almost cut off her view, but her faithful guide kept on leading the way. After some time, the plow stopped, and its driver got out and walked back to her car. "Lady, where are you going?" he asked. "I'm on my way to Monroeville," she replied. "Well”, he said, “You’ll never get there following me plowing this parking lot!" “Oh”, she said, “I guess I will just have to go shopping.”

I guess the point of the story is sometimes we can have a place in our minds to go to, but unforeseen circumstances can change our direction.

Let’s look at Acts chapter 3. Peter and John, who once had been partners in the fishing business, are depicted by Luke as going to the temple at 3 in the afternoon, which was one of the traditional hours of prayer. History tells us there were at least 2 hours of prayer during a given day. The first was at 9 a.m. and the second at 3 p.m. We are not told why the apostles went to the temple. Maybe they went at three in the afternoon to have an opportunity to speak to others about Jesus.

No matter what their purpose was, they had an encounter with a man who had been lame since his birth, and it gave them a great opportunity to preach the gospel.

I. Read with me now in Acts 3:1-2 – “Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple;” In every generation, there have always been people in need. You just have to walk around any city center to find people who panhandle, many not because they want to but because they have to. Have you ever noticed they often beg at a prominent spot?

A. They try to beg in a place where they are likely to catch the most people walking by. This lame man was no exception. He lay there every day at the temple gate because many people would walk in and out of the temple at different times of the day. It was a prime spot for begging.

1. He was begging for what ever charity he might receive from those coming in and out of the temple to pray, not because he wanted to but because he had to survive. He’s a disabled person.
2. He was not able to work or get a job. There’s no disability benefit like people receive today. He had to beg to survive.
3. We find him laying here at a gate called Beautiful. Why this temple gate was called beautiful I’m not sure, but one reference quotes Josephus describing the gate this way, "its height was fifty cubits, (84f) and its doors were forty cubits, (67f) and it was adorned after a most costly manner as having much richer and thicker plates of silver and gold upon it than the others." The other gates were all just 30 cubits, or 45' high.”

B. This might have been a beautiful gate to look at, but what is about to happen next is something even more beautiful. Acts 3:3-6 – “ who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, "Look at us.'' So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have

1. As Peter and John approached this guy, the lame man asked them for alms. Both apostles looked at him and Peter asked him to look at them. The beggar turned expecting to receive something, but Peter immediately informed him they did not have silver or gold.
2. I can imagine the disappointment the lame man must have felt when he heard those words. There’s nothing worse than building your hopes up to receive something and then being let down. However, that disappointing low was turned into an emotional high when Peter healed him under the authority of Jesus Christ of Nazareth. When Peter pulled him up by his right hand, the lame man felt strength come into his ankles and went walking, leaping and praising God into the temple.

C. Acts 3:6-8 – “ Then Peter said, "Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.'' And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them walking, leaping, and praising God.”

1. This person was healed in the Name of Jesus Christ. He responded to this by walking and leaping and praising God.
2. That led me to wonder, when was the last time I, or you, walked or jumped praising God for something He had done in our lives? Maybe we were healed from the sin of gossip. Maybe He healed us from some addiction. Maybe He healed us when we were sick.
3. When was the last time any of us just leaped for joy and praised God? I think I need to mention that the lame man expressed no faith in the apostles' ability to heal him. He only asked them for alms.
4. As Luke records it, the lame man didn’t even try to stand up, but was pulled to his feet.

D. Unlike the miraculous claims of some religious groups today, this miracle was undeniable. I think it ironic that many of today’s so-called faith healers need a big audience and they want money in advance to heal someone. I noticed some things in the text.

1. This man didn’t pray to be healed.
2. This man didn’t pay any money to be healed.
3. This man wasn’t told; wait a few days and you will be healed.
4. This man wasn’t some unknown person from the backstreets of Jerusalem, although he was lame, he was also well known. Everyone recognized this man as the lame man who had daily lain at the Beautiful Gate begging for alms.

E. A bit later we find that this is a man has probably been begging for help for most of his life. He was lame from his mother's womb and we see in Acts 4:22 – “For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.”

1. We don’t know exactly how long he’s been begging but we do know that he was well known. Acts 3:9-10 – “When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.”[para]
2. They were amazed that they now saw the formerly lame man standing before them.
3. I wonder if some within the audience thought of Isaiah 35, which refers to the future glory of Zion. Isaiah 35:6 – “Then the lame shall leap like a deer, and the tongue of the dumb sing. For waters shall burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert.”

II. Since the healed lame man is holding onto them, it was natural that a crowd would gather around Peter and John. Peter, empowered by the Holy Spirit to speak, seized the opportunity to preach about the great healer, Jesus. Acts 3:11-15 – “11. Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon's, greatly amazed. 12. So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: "Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13. "The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. 14. "But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15. "and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.”

A. Luke tells us that the crowd looked at them as if they had somehow worked this miracle, but Peter instantly turned their attention to "the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers," and the glorified Jesus, His Son.

1. I wonder about the expressions on their faces when Peter tells them that they had delivered, denied, and killed the "Prince of life" Some translations say “Author of life”. The Greek word we see here, archēgos, (är-khā-go's) has the meaning of a chief leader:—author, captain, prince. (Strong G747)
2. I believe their expressions would have been similar to when Peter first preached in Acts 2 and told them the same thing.

B. Peter doesn’t leave them with that thought. He told them that God, in His turn, had raised Jesus from the dead. A fact which Peter and John had personally witnessed as we remember.

1. The lame man had been healed by the authority of Jesus not because of his faith in the apostle’s but because of the apostles' complete faith in their Lord's ability to make men whole.
2. The recognition of that miracle by those Jews now gathered around Peter and John would have left them with no options but to recognize Jesus as King.

C. Acts 3:16 – “And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all.”

1. When Peter said these words, many would have readily understood they had crucified God's Anointed.
2. Why did they kill the Messiah?

a. Some killed Him because of political reasons.
b. Some killed Him because of jealousy and hatred.
c. Some because they were part of a crowd whipped into a frenzy.
d. Peter says they killed Him because they did not fully understand.

D. Then Peter tells them everything happened because it was part of God’s plan, a plan that God had laid out so long before the actual events took place. Acts 3:17-18 – “Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.”

E. In the film Terminator 1 Arnold Schwarzenegger plays the part of a bad guy from the future who’s trying to kill Sarah Conner, but in Terminator 2 Arnold comes back as a good guy trying to protect Sarah and her son John. He says to them something very significant and gives them a choice, he says, “If you want to live follow me.”

III. Based on the great miracle worked in the Jews’ midst and the undeniable fact of Christ's resurrection, Peter appealed to the multitude to turn from their sinful lives and be converted, or transformed. In other words he asks them, “If you want to live follow Jesus”.

A. Just like Peter says in Acts 2:38 – “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

1. We can see that conversion takes place in the waters of baptism. Not before, or just after, but in the waters of baptism. Since a person coming up out of the watery grave is made to walk in newness of life, it would certainly be reasonable to call the effects of baptism a conversion.
2. Romans 6:3-11 – “3. Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? 4. Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so, we also should walk in newness of life. 5. For if we have been united together in the likeness of His death, certainly we also shall be in the likeness of His resurrection, 6. knowing this, that our old man was crucified with Him, that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves of sin. 7. For he who has died has been freed from sin. 8. Now if we died with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with Him, 9. knowing that Christ, having been raised from the dead, dies no more. Death no longer has dominion over Him. 10. For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God. 11. Likewise you also, reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

B. A person is transformed from their old life to walk in a new life. The transformation comes in the form of the sins of the obedient person being erased.

1. That’s what Peter means when he says in Acts 3:19 – “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord,”
2. On Pentecost, Peter said that those following his instructions would receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Here he says the same thing but with different words. He describes it here as "times of refreshing," which would certainly be the result of receiving the Comforter.
3. On Pentecost (Acts 2:38), Peter had preached: (1) repent ye, (2) and be baptized, (3) for the remission of sins, and (4) ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. These same four factors are in view here: (1) repent, (2) be converted, (3) that sins may be blotted out, and (4) that refreshing from the Lord's presence would follow.
4. We know there are many that stumble at the comparing of “be converted” to “be baptized”. Even if we had known nothing at all concerning any of these things, the incidence of "be baptized" and "be converted" in exactly corresponding places in these sequences would prove that they mean the same thing.

a. The actual meaning of "be converted", as used by the inspired writers, is "complete whatever is lacking" to bring one into Christ. It is the part we are to “do” in obedience.
b. Example, in Acts 28:27 – “The heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them”. Here the people that should be converted were unbelievers.
c. Then In Matthew 18:1,3 – “At the same time came the disciples unto him, saying, Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. ... Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter the kingdom of heaven”. Here these were already believers.

IV. The Holy Spirit isn’t finished speaking through Peter yet, because Peter goes on to say that when Jesus' work in salvation was completed, then God would send Jesus again to reclaim his own. Acts 3:20-21 – “and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began.”

A. Until that time when salvation was fully accomplished, as the prophets had foretold, Peter said Jesus would remain in heaven. Again like we see with every sermon preached, some will listen and obey and some will listen and not obey.

1. We already know that those who obey will go on to live with Christ forever in heaven. We also need to be aware that those who don’t obey will not go to heaven; those who refuse God's saving grace will be punished as Moses said.
2. Peter partially quoting from Deuteronomy 18:15-19, says in Acts 3:22-25 – “22. "For Moses truly said to the fathers, 'The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. 23. 'And it shall come to pass that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.' 24. "Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days. 25. "You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, 'And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'”

B. As children of Israel, those in Peter's audience should have been aware of the numerous prophecies about the coming Messiah throughout the scriptures. In. 2 Samuel 7:12-16 – “12. "When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13. "He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14. "I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. 15. "But My mercy shall not depart from him as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16. "And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.''”

1. Nathan reported to David all the words of this entire revelation. The Jews had benefited from God's covenant with Abraham and should also have been familiar with the promise that one day the whole world was going to be blessed through the seed of Abraham.
2. Paul told the Galatian church this specifically referred to one son of Abraham, Jesus. Galatians 3:16 – “Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He does not say, "And to seeds,'' as of many, but as of one, "And to your Seed,'' who is Christ.”

C. Who was the gospel first preached to? Romans 1:16 – “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek.”

1. The Jews or sons of Abraham were the first to hear the gospel, just as Christ commanded. Luke 24:46-48 – “Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And you are witnesses of these things.”
2. The Jews there should have known that Jesus was the messiah. They had been told about the coming of the messiah, time and time again through the prophets.
3. It’s very obvious that they thought the messiah would come and establish a physical kingdom here on earth, but Jesus had come, not to restore a physical kingdom to Israel, but to establish a spiritual kingdom and bring salvation from sin to all people. Something far more important than mere earthly security.

D. As I read this I realize that the fact that the Jews were to be the first to hear the gospel implies others would also hear it later, in the future.

1. Acts 3:26 – “To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.” Peter left no doubts in these people’s minds as to whom and why Jesus came.
2. The Jews may have been there and killed the Messiah but we all need to understand that the sin of humankind is what killed the Messiah. In effect we were there as well.
3. It has been said, and I do not know if this is a fact, that in his painting the “Elevation of Christ”, Rembrandt depicts the cross being raised by men full of spite, malice and hate. Down in the left-hand corner in the dark shadows you can make out the face of Rembrandt himself. If this is so, perhaps Rembrandt understood that in a very real way, he was there too and his sins were as much responsible for the cross as the men who were there that day.

CONCLUSION:
The highest blessing that can be bestowed upon people is to be turned from sin. Sin is the source of all sadness, and if people are turned from that, they truly will be happy. Let’s be very clear here, Christ blesses no one in sin, or while loving sin, but He will bless people if they choose to turn from their sin.

Peter is saying to them and to us today that the Messiah had come, and that now they might look for happiness, pardon, and mercy through Him. Just as the Jews in Peter’s day had the option to turn from their sins, people today have the choice to turn from theirs.

Jesus still wants to bless all nations by the gospel which He had himself preached, and which the apostle’s preached and we still preach today. The question is, will you decide to accept it?

Consider, do you need some refreshing times? You see times of refreshing are only going to come when you choose to say no to the world and yes to Jesus. It’s only when you repent and turn to Jesus in obedience and submit to Him in the waters of baptism that those times of refreshing begin.

Maybe you’re already a Christian and you feel tired because of sin in your life. Whatever the reason is, those times of refreshing can return. Do you remember when you were baptized? Do you remember the joy in knowing that your sins were wiped out?

Folks, every time you confess your sins to God and ask for forgiveness that joy will return. That feeling of joy wasn’t just for your baptism but for every time you ask God to forgive you for your sins. 1 John 1:8-9 – “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

There is a contemporary song written by Morgan Cryar that goes like this:
It happened so long ago
And I cried out for mercy back then
I plead the blood of Jesus
Begged him to forgive my sin
But I still can't forget it
It just won't go away
So I wept again, "Lord wash my sin,"
But this is all He'd say

What sin, what sin?
That's as far away
As the east is from the west
What sin, what sin?
It was gone the very minute you confessed
Buried in the sea of forgetfulness

The heaviest thing you'll carry
Is a load of guilt and shame
You were never meant to bear them
So let them go in Jesus' name
Our God is slow to anger
Quick to forgive our sin
So let Him put them under the blood
Don't bring them up again
Cause He'll just say

What sin, what sin?
That's as far away
As the east is from the west
What sin, what sin?
It was gone the very minute you confessed
Buried in the sea of forgetfulness

Lord, please deliver me
From my accusing memory
Nothing makes me weep this way,
Then when I hear you say
What sin, what sin?
That's as far away
As the east is from the west
What sin, what sin?
It was gone the very minute you confessed
Buried in the sea of forgetfulness

Christian, the time of refreshing is only a confession away.
Psalm 97:10-12 – “You who love the Lord, hate evil! He preserves the souls of His saints; He delivers them out of the hand of the wicked. Light is sown for the righteous, And gladness for the upright in heart. Rejoice in the Lord, you righteous, And give thanks at the remembrance of His holy name.”
Maybe today would be a good day to start rejoicing in the Lord and praising His Name as we remember our salvation.
Those who are not yet Christians can turn to God at any time and begin to rejoice in the Lord and praise His Name.
You too like the lame man will receive something beautiful, the forgiveness of your sins.
You too will be able to leap for joy and praise His Name for the healing you receive.

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We learn from the New Testament how to be saved. We need to hear the word; believe in Jesus; repent of our sins; we must confess our belief that Jesus is the Son of God; and be baptized for the remission of our sins... If we follow these steps, the Lord adds us to His church.

Perhaps there is someone in the assembly today with the need to be buried with Christ in baptism. If you have never done these things, we urge you to do so today. If anyone has this need or desires the prayers of faithful Christians on their behalf, we encourage them to come forward while we stand and sing.

# ???

Reference Sermon: Mike Glover

What Must We Do To Be Saved?

Posted by Chardon in DefaultTag

What Must We Do To Be Saved?
Acts 2:37-47

INTRO: This morning we continue in our walk through the book of Acts. The last time we were together we saw how Peter gave powerful arguments concerning the Christ. He quoted from the prophets of old and showed them that they had been fulfilled in Jesus. In his sermon on that day, Peter convicts them of their role in killing the Messiah. Acts 2:36 – “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” I find it hard to imagine just how stunned some in Peter's audience must have been.

Before we get started—a story. A little girl was holding two apples in her hands. Her mother asked with a smile: “Would you give me one of your apples?” The girl looked up and suddenly took a bite out of one apple and then quickly took a bite out of the other.
Her mother felt the smile on her face freeze and she tried hard not to show her disappointment.
Then the little girl handed one of her bitten apples to her mom, and said; “Here mommy. This is the sweeter one.”

I guess the point of the story is just because you think you have something figured out, you can still be wrong.

The Jewish leaders thought that they had heard the last of this Jesus when He was crucified. They were probably thinking; that’s that with Him, the One who wants us to believe He was the Messiah has been dealt with. God had different plans though; God filled Peter with His Spirit and Peter laid it out for them. Think about it, this man whom the Jews recognized as a Galilean and likely viewed him as an uneducated person, had just presented a compelling argument in which he tells them that they murdered the Son of God.

I. Out of all the crimes one could commit, killing the Messiah had to be the worst. Peter’s presentation was so powerful not because he was an intellect, or because he had a good education, but because of the Holy Spirit.

A. The Holy Spirit used undeniable truths to show that Jesus was the Son of God despite the Jews accusations to the contrary. Jesus described the Spirit's work in John 16:8-11, He said, “"And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: "of sin, because they do not believe in Me; "of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; "of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged. "

1. Here are the two fundamentals of mankind’s spiritual condition and the two options, or alternatives, open to them. The Spirit convicts of sin, revealing a persons fallen estate and bondage to Satan, and showing their total helplessness to achieve through their own efforts any healing. The Spirit also convicts of righteousness by revealing the mystery of how a person may acquire a righteousness not their own, but the righteousness of Christ, available to all who receive and obey the gospel.
2. Sin ... righteousness ... judgment ..." Over against these three words stands three names: Adam, Christ, and Satan. Through Adam came sin; through Christ came righteousness; and upon Satan the penalty of ultimate judgment shall fall.
3. Calvary was intended by Christ's enemies to be their judgment of him; but God made it the judgment of His enemies, particularly of Satan. The cross indeed bruised the heel of the seed of woman, but it bruised the head of Satan.

a. Christ's death, burial, and resurrection condemned the value-judgments of men. Wicked men, living lives of conformity to the will of their prince (Satan) behold in Christ the rejection by Almighty God of their principles of judgment.
b. The way of Christ was declared by His resurrection to be the right way. The Spirit of God would never cease from Pentecost to convict the world of what righteousness really is. The world's traditional values were set aside by God's judgment at the cross; and the prince of this world has been summarily judged and condemned, and all who follow him shall partake of his destiny.

4. The evidence presented by Peter on Pentecost, as delivered to him by the Holy Spirit, truly convicted many in his audience. It was so powerful, Luke says in, Acts 2:37 - “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?''” What shall we do?
5. Do you remember in Matthew 16:19, what Jesus promised to Peter? Jesus told Peter, “And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven"
6. Remember Jesus’ words on the cross in Luke 23:34. Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do." Both these passages find the beginning of their fulfillment in Acts 2:38.

B. The Holy Spirit, through Peter, had already identified those in the crowd as those who had used lawless hands to crucify God's Son.

1. Talk about a reason to panic! I have no doubt that they were in great fear after they realized what they had done.
2. They may have expected one of God’s angels to come down and slay them.

C. It is then when some of them realized their situation and asked, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

1. Peter tells them what they must do be saved in Acts 2:38 - "... Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit."
2. Can we imagine the Jews response to that? Imagine what is going through their minds. They have just killed the Messiah, who was God in the flesh, and Peter is talking about forgiveness! They have just murdered the Creator of the Universe on a cross and He wants to give them a gift!
3. This reminds us of Paul in his letter to the Ephesians chapter 3 which I read in part; Ephesians 3:16-19 - “That He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with might through His Spirit in the inner man, that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the width and length and depth and height to know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.”

II. Back in Acts, Peter says there are two requirements to receive this forgiveness of sins and the first one is repentance. Repenting involves a change of will, or mind. Jesus says in Matthew 21:28-32 - "But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, 'Son, go, work today in my vineyard.' "He answered and said, 'I will not,' but afterward he regretted it and went. "Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, 'I go, sir,' but he did not go. "Which of the two did the will of his father?'' They said to Him, "The first.'' Jesus said to them, "Assuredly, I say to you that tax collectors and harlots enter the kingdom of God before you. For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him; but tax collectors and harlots believed him; and when you saw it, you did not afterward relent and believe him.”

A. You see, folks, repentance is more than feeling sorry for what you have done. It’s more than feeling sorry for yourself. That’s the way the world repents. They say, ‘oh I’m sorry I won’t do that again’ but then they go out and do it again.

1. That’s why our prisons are overflowing with prisoners who recommitted their crimes. As an aside, the statistics are that 56% of released prisoners are arrested again by the end of the first year, 67% in three years, and 76% in five years.
2. Repentance involves a deep sorrow for our actions. It involves deep sorrow when we realize that we have hurt God with our actions. 2 Corinthians 7:10 - “For godly sorrow produces repentance to salvation, not to be regretted; but the sorrow of the world produces death.”
3. When we genuinely repent of sin we don’t want to go out and commit that sin again because we know that God doesn’t like it and we don’t want to disappoint God. That does not mean we won’t sin again but we truly don’t want to.

B. Then Peter tells them the second requirement to receive forgiveness of sins. He commands them to be baptized. Unlike the baptism of the Holy Spirit which the apostles’ and Cornelius’ household received, they were to be baptized in water. This isn’t what some would call a christening. Baptism is a plunging, immersing, or overwhelming. The Jews had no problems in understanding what baptism was.

1. This is like a funeral service for our sinful being, baptism is a burial. Colossians 2:12 - “Buried with Him in baptism, in which you also were raised with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead.”
2. Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3, that baptism is the means of a person calling on God to cleanse them based upon the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus. 1 Peter 3:21 – and I paraphrase - “This water symbolizes baptism that now saves you -not the removal of dirt from the body but the pledge of a good conscience toward God. It saves you by the resurrection of Jesus Christ.”[para]

C. Notice also that repentance and baptism were to be done in the Name of Jesus. In other words, they were to be baptized resting on His name, submitting to His authority, depending on Him as Lord and Savior. Hell is not afraid of my name, hell is not afraid of your name, but all of Hell is afraid of the Name of Jesus.

1. Peter was going to remind even more listeners of that a little later in Acts 4. He says in Acts 4:12 - “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved."
2. The point being, repentance and baptism under the authority of Jesus is how we receive the forgiveness of sins.

III. Peter then follows on and says in Acts 2:38 - " Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.”

A. Adam and Eve were truly blessed to have God walking with them in the Garden of Eden. The Israelites were truly blessed to have God dwell in the tabernacle. They were truly blessed when He dwelt in Solomon’s temple. Folks, these early Christians were going to be blessed even more.
B. Peter says when a person repents and is then baptized for the forgiveness of their sins; they will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. In other words, God was not going to dwell in a tent or a temple anymore; He was going to dwell within the hearts of His people. Acts 2:39 - “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call. "
C. Folks, that promise is not just for the Jews and their children, it is for us and our children too. That was a lesson that Peter had yet to learn. Look in Acts 10 after the events that took place with Cornelius and his household.

1. Peter says in; Acts 10:34 - “In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him.”
2. The Spirit is ready to give life to anyone who will submit to God. Because when a person submits to the will of God through repentance and baptism, God comes to live in them in the form of the Spirit.

IV. It is then and only then that an individual's body is God’s temple. 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 - “Or do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, whom you have from God, and you are not your own? For you were bought at a price; therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's.” No repentance, no gift of the Holy Spirit. No baptism for the forgiveness of sins, no Holy Spirit.

A. Luke tells us in Acts 2:40-41 - “And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”

1. That warning and that plea stands just as strong today as when it was first heard from the lips of Peter around 2000 years ago. People need to save themselves from this wicked generation in which we live. We need to remember that when we preach and teach from the word of God we are preaching and teaching the very words of Christ.
2. On that day when Peter preached the very first gospel sermon, he was preaching the words given him by Jesus Himself. You see when 3000 souls accepted Peter’s words and were baptized; they were actually accepting Christ and His words.

B. Remember what Jesus says in; John 13:20 - “Most assuredly, I say to you, he who receives whomever I send receives Me; and he who receives Me receives Him who sent Me.”

V. Because they received the Lord's words, they were added to the kingdom. Let me just make a quick point about the kingdom or church. If I wanted to learn karate, I would get a membership and join a karate studio. If I wanted to play baseball, I would join a baseball team.

A. That’s not how it works with the Lord’s church. It does not work like that at all. The Bible says that you don’t join His church, the Bible says that the ‘Lord adds you to His church.’ Acts 2:41 - “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.” A few verses down Luke tells us in Acts 2:47 - “... the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved”.

1. You don’t join the Lord’s church, like it’s some sort of association or club. The Lord adds you to His church. You don’t buy a pew. It is so important to realize that the Lord is the one who is responsible for adding people to the church.
2. I’ve heard of many preachers and teachers, taking credit for growth in the church, but blaming others when there is no growth. Even the elders, the shepherds can make that mistake and blame the preacher when there is no growth.
3. I’m reminded of 1 Corinthians 3:6-7 - “I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase.”.

VI. Folks, what Luke records next, is important for us to understand and take note of. These baby Christians, just a few hours old, began to do something which would influence the rest of their Christian lives.

A. Jesus said to His disciples in Matthew 28:18-20 - "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, ( the baptizing has been completed, then He says) "teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.''

B. What we see happening next in Acts 2 is that very thing, the apostles began to teach Jesus’ disciples. Acts 2:42 - “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' teaching and fellowship, in the breaking of bread and the prayers.” [ASV]

C. Luke tells us in his letter 5 things dominate the life of Christian.

1. We need to sit at the feet of the church’s teachers and learn.
2. We need to be around other Christians as much as we can, not just on Sundays.
3. We need to come together with other saints to partake of the Lord’s Supper every week.
4. We need to be praying.
5. We need to learn to give, and I’m not just talking of money here I’m talking of ourselves, our offering to God of the fruit of our lips, and our service to Him.

D. What was the first fundamental truth they taught them? The apostles taught them the importance of meeting together to learn from God’s word. You start as you mean to go on.

1. I heard of a 17-year-old student at one of the best public schools in the nation saying he knows it's wrong to cheat, but he does it anyway. So do most of his classmates. He explained that he will go to any length to gain an edge, even using an advanced programmable calculator as a cheat sheet. His goal is to get accepted into an Ivy League school. He said, "Grades are so important. I don't want to mess up and be in a hole."
2. Folks, his goal is laudable, but his method is not. We as Christians should have a goal too, not to cheat but to make Christ’s teaching our priority. We can’t just baptize someone and then leave them on their own, we need to teach them. Baptize them and then continue teaching them. Teach them the importance of obeying God’s word.

E. We need to share with them that they can’t be a strong Christian on their own. They need to be around other Christians to give encouragement and to receive encouragement. We also need to let them know that our memories may be pretty poor, but we must never forget what Christ has done for us, by partaking of the Lord’s Supper every first day of the week. We need to demonstrate how important communication with the Father is.

VII. 1 Thessalonians 5:17 - says, “pray without ceasing.” That attitude should be the pattern for the rest of our Christian lives. Because when that is our pattern, we are going to love and enjoy being around those people who share in that same pattern.

A. To you and me these things which are happening here may not be a big deal, but put yourself in the place of these Jews. They had the custom of giving a blessing, breaking bread and drinking wine with the Sabbath meal, but had never been involved in the breaking of the bread before in relation to the Lord's Supper.
B. Think about their past prayer life. In Judaism, and indeed in some other religious practices, prayers were offered at stated times of the day. These first Christians offered prayers at any and all times, and in any and all places. Because of this holy example of living,... together with the miracles worked by the apostles, this caused the surrounding community to be in awe.
C. Acts 2:43-45 - “And fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and they sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all, according as any man had need.” [ASV]
D. Notice another important lesson the apostle’s taught them. They enjoyed each other's company and gladly shared their material possessions with anyone who had need. The apostles showed them the importance of giving. Jesus says in Acts 20:35 - “... It is more blessed to give than to receive."
E. I know these days we can not be physically together but thank the Lord, we can be together due to technology, worship together, see our wonderful brothers and sisters and share in praising God.

VIII. Folks, we should be a giving people, I know we are, not just of our lives to God, but also of our riches. It’s not so much the amount we give, but the attitude within our hearts when we do give. Paul says in 1 Corinthians 16:2 - “On the first day of the week let each one of you lay something aside, storing up as he may prosper, that there be no collections when I come.”

A. Paul says I want you to set aside a sum of money within your income. A little later in 2 Corinthians 9:7 - he says, “So let each one give as he purposes in his heart, not grudgingly or of necessity; for God loves a cheerful giver.” We mention those words sometimes when we are taking up the collection. We may depend on the assembly to distribute alms to the saints and while a good thing, is not the only way we can give. We are personally called to care about those around us.

1. We know God doesn’t want us giving so much that we can’t pay our bills and we end up starving ourselves, but at the same time, if He has blessed us with an income, He does expect us to give to His work.
2. As you go through life you are going to be presented with many opportunities to help others through gifts of money,... or time... or resources. Yes, we are to be a good steward with the blessings that God has given us, and taking that lesson, we need to realize that sharing our blessings is how those blessings grow.

B. Unlike the world today where we all live miles away from each other and we have such busy schedules, these first converts were in the temple daily. They also spent time together on a daily basis, as "breaking bread from house to house" would seem to indicate. Their daily getting together and sharing of food was done out of hearts filled with "extreme joy."

CONCLUSION:
We don’t get together daily like these people did, and in these times we can not, but folks, that’s what should happen when we meet together, physically or virtually, for worship and study. When we get together the result should be the same as those early Christians, extreme joy.

Acts 2:46-47 - “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, praising God and having favor with all the people...”

When those early Christians praised God for the forgiveness of sins and the community of believers of which He had made them apart, what happened to those who weren’t yet a part of the church? The other folks who lived in Jerusalem found them to be an acceptable group and so Luke goes on to say, in Acts 2:47 - that, “the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”

When we get together for whatever the occasion, people see us enjoying each other’s company and they can see salvation in our lives, people are going to be attracted to the light. Because today as followers of Jesus Christ, if we give ourselves over to daily study, to sharing, to meeting together and if our hearts are filled with extreme joy and simplicity and if God wills, the results might well be the same, daily conversions as people come to us and ask, ‘What must we do to be saved?”
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We learn from the New Testament how to be saved. We need to hear the word; believe in Jesus; repent of our sins; we must confess our belief that Jesus is the Son of God, and be baptized for the remission of our sins... If we follow these steps, the Lord adds us to His church.

Perhaps there is someone in the assembly today with the need to be buried with Christ in baptism. If you have never done these things, we urge you to do so today. If anyone has this need or desires the prayers of faithful Christians on their behalf, we encourage them to come forward while we stand and sing.

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Reference Sermon: Mike Glover

There’s a New King in Town

Posted by Chardon in DefaultTag

There’s a New King in Town 
Acts 2:17-36

INTRO:
We are continuing our study of Acts, and today we are in Acts 2:17-36.

Before we start I would like to tell you a story I heard about a preacher who was walking down a street one evening when he saw little Johnny jumping up and down trying to reach a doorbell.

The preacher wanted to help so he walked over and pressed the button for the youngster. After he pressed the doorbell, he asked the young man, "And now what?”, and the little boy said, "Now run!" and he took off.

I guess the point of the story is, although we would like to think good of people, not everyone thinks the same.

The last time we were together we left the Jews in Acts 2 in a state of confusion because the apostles were speaking in the listener’s languages.
Peter immediately set out to end the wild speculations about the cause of the apostles doing this.

First of all he said in Acts 2:15 – “listen, these men are not drunk because it’s only 9:00 in the morning.” [para] We live in a society in which people go on drinking binges and get drunk at all hours of the day. To understand what Peter means we need to think like a Jew of his time. On a festival day like Pentecost, no Jew ever ate or drank anything till after 9:00 am. The Jews should have realized this, and they should have known the apostles were not drunk. They also should have realized that being drunk does not improve a persons communication skills, except perhaps in the thinking of the drunk person.

Then, secondly, in Acts 2:16, Peter told the assembled crowd that the things they had seen and heard were the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel. Peter wanted the Jews to begin to think the same as the apostles. That’s where we will continue today in our study of Acts.

Let’s start by reading Acts 2:17-21 – “17. 'And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions, your old men shall dream dreams. 18. and on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; and they shall prophesy.19. I will show wonders in heaven above and signs in the earth beneath: blood and fire and vapor of smoke. 20. The sun shall be turned into darkness, and the moon into blood, before the coming of the great and notable day of the Lord. 21. And it shall come to pass that whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.'”

Peter plainly says the pouring out of the Spirit upon the apostles was the fulfillment of the prophecy of Joel. If the Jews we’re wondering when Joel’s prophecy was going to be fulfilled, this was it. If the Jews were looking for proof that they were now living in the Last Days, this was it.

We do need to remember that not all of Joel’s prophecy was fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost. Some of his words would be fulfilled a little later. For example; when Joel says that, “God will pour out His Spirit on all people” or “all flesh” as some translations have it, he’s including all nations, even the Gentiles.

It is true that only the apostles received the outpouring of the Holy Spirit on Pentecost, but the infusion of the Holy Spirit that became available to mankind on that day was a much more extensive thing than the miraculous demonstration upon the Twelve.

In Acts 2:38 Peter promised that all who would repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, "shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit"; and this also is included in the prophecy. It is in this extended sense that it is "upon all flesh."

We will see this being fulfilled in Acts 10. Acts 10:44-47 – “44. While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word. 45. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also. 46. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered, 47. "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?''”

Furthermore, Joel also prophesied that, “some daughters would prophesy,” this again was fulfilled a little later in Acts 21. Acts 21:8-9 – “On the next day we who were Paul's companions departed and came to Caesarea, and entered the house of Philip the evangelist, who was one of the seven, and stayed with him. Now this man had four virgin daughters who prophesied.”

It was Moses who first expressed the hope that God's Spirit would be upon all the people, saying, "Would that all the Lord's people were prophets, that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them" (Numbers 11:29). The fulfillment of this desire is seen in the truth that every Christian is endowed with an "earnest" of the Holy Spirit. (2 Corinthians 1:22)

I. Before we move on I think I need to say something about Acts 2:21, where Joel is quoted, "whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved." Many people claim if you just call on the Name of Jesus, you automatically become a Christian.

A. Oft times they turn to Romans 10:8-10 – “But what does it say? "The word is near you, even in your mouth and in your heart'' (that is, the word of faith which we preach): that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation.”

1. From verse 8 we see that this contains "doctrine of the gospel". In verse 9 is a pairing of CONFESSION and FAITH as coordinates among the conditions of salvation, that is primary salvation, or pardon from "past sins" (2 Peter 1:9), such as in the conversion to Christ.

2. If this passage stood alone in the New Testament, it might be fairly inferred that these are THE TWO conditions of salvation; but it does not stand alone, for there are other similar pairings of the elementary conditions of primary salvation, as in the case of REPENTANCE and BAPTISM (Acts 2:38), and that of FAITH and BAPTISM (Mark 16:16).

3. There are no legitimate grounds for thinking that any one of these pairings excludes the conditions mentioned in the others. Faith, repentance, confession, and baptism are all divinely imposed conditions of salvation, none of them outranking any of the others.

4. Faith is omitted in one of the pairings and mentioned second in another. Repentance is mentioned in only one, confession in only one, and baptism in two; but all alike are commanded, all alike are necessary; and all alike are prerequisite to justification.

B. Back to verse 21 then. What does ‘Calling on His Name’ mean? Calling on the name of the Lord means a person asking the Lord by the Lord’s authority to set them free from their sins.

1. We know that can only be done by yielding to His will as it was expressed in His commandments. Matthew 7:21 – “Not everyone who says to Me, 'Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”

2. Scripture also says in Mark 16:16 – “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”

C. Calling on His Name needs to be accompanied with obedience to His commandments.

1. In Acts 22 when Paul addresses the crowd, he was giving his testimony and he tells them in Acts 22:12-16 – “12. "Then one, Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there, 13. "came to me; and he stood and said to me, 'Brother Saul, receive your sight.' And at that same hour I looked up at him. 14. "Then he said, 'The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth. 15. 'For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16. 'And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.'” Salvation comes through calling on His Name and being obedient to Him in baptism.

2. 1 Peter 3:21 – “There is also an antitype which now saves us, namely baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,” There’s none of this, ‘just say a little prayer and ask God into your life’. There’s none of this ‘do I have to be baptized’? It’s simple obedience to the will of God. We have to do what the Bible says. No ifs, buts or maybes.

II. I like to watch ‘CSI’ shows and sometimes I like to watch ‘Agatha Christie’s Poirot’. I just love how they keep you in suspense right up to the very end. You will notice there are all sorts of accusations going around until finally they have enough evidence to bring a case and convict the guilty person.

A. If Poirot was investigating the claims of Jesus Christ, he would have to conclude that Jesus was who He claimed to be. Now back to Peter in Acts 2:22 – “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know ” Not one single Jew could deny that Jesus had worked miracles because they had been done in plain view.

1. It is not like today where someone might say, ‘a man was raised from the dead in some village in the middle of the Amazon.” Most of Jesus’ miracles were performed in public view for a reason.

2. Jesus Himself said in John 5:36 – and I paraphrase; “I have testimony weightier than that of John. For the works that the Father has given me to finish—the very works that I am doing—testify that the Father has sent me.”

3. When Jesus was talking to the Jews, and they asked Him if He was the Christ, He said to them in John 10:25 – “... I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in My Father's name, they bear witness of Me.”

B. John wrote his gospel to tell us exactly that in John 20:30-31 – “And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.”

1. The Hebrew writer tells us the same thing in Hebrews 2:4 – “God also bearing witness both with signs and wonders, with various miracles, and gifts of the Holy Spirit, according to His own will.”

2. Those miracles should have inspired awe and wonder in the hearts of those who saw them. The miracles of Jesus should have been a clear sign to the Jews that Jesus was more than God's spokesman. He was God’s Son.

C. Some people recognized these displays of God's power for what they were and believed in the Son.

1. The nobleman in John 4:46-54 whose son was at the point of death came to Jesus asking for help and Jesus sent him on his way and told him his son would live. The Bible says in John 4:51-52 – “And as he was now going down, his servants met him and told him, saying, "Your son lives!'' Then he inquired of them the hour when he got better. And they said to him, "Yesterday at the seventh hour the fever left him.''”

2. Some of the Jews who had gone to comfort Mary after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead believed in Him. John 11:45 – “Then many of the Jews who had come to Mary, and had seen the things Jesus did, believed in Him.”

D. Not everybody was convinced. Matthew records an incident where Jesus had just healed a demon-possessed man who was blind and mute. According to Matthew 12:24, the Pharisees said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.”

1. The Pharisees weren’t convinced that Jesus was God’s Son and so looking for an excuse to kill Him, they said it was the devil working these miracles through Jesus.

2. We find the same thing happening in Mark 3:1-6 when Jesus heals the man with a shriveled hand, the Jewish leaders refused to believe who He was. Can you imagine the shock on their faces when Peter says in Acts 2:22 – “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know ”

III. We as parents are always warning our kids about things. For example we tell them to be careful when they go outside and not play near the road. They always say “yah, yah we know.” It’s not until they almost get run over that they remember the words we told them.

A. Can you imagine the look on all those Jewish faces when they finally realize that God knew beforehand that they would kill the Christ? Acts 2:23-24 – “This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him”. [para]

1. They should have remembered what God said in Genesis. Genesis 3:15 – “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.” If these Jews, who were God’s people, who were so spiritual in their thinking, and who knew and understood God’s word so well; I wonder if they would remember that the Messiah was to be killed and then raised back to life?

2. I wonder if they remembered Isaiah’s words concerning what would happen when the Messiah came? Isaiah 53:6-12 – “6. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. 7. He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so He opened not his mouth. 8. He was taken from prison and from judgment, and who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgressions of My people He was stricken. 9. And they made His grave with the wicked but with the rich at His death, because He had done no violence, nor was any deceit in His mouth. 10. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hand. 11. He shall see the travail of His soul, and be satisfied. by His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, for He shall bear their iniquities. 12. Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death, and He was numbered with the transgressors, and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.”

3. I wonder also if they would have remembered David’s words from Psalm 16:8-11 when Peter quoted them in Acts 2:25-28 – “For David says concerning Him: 'I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; moreover my flesh will also rest in hope, because You will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of joy in Your presence.” I wonder if they realized that David was speaking about the Messiah.

B. There is no doubt that this passage from the Old Testament, prophesies a resurrection of someone. We know that because it is only by a resurrection that one could descend into the grave and not see decay. Who is David speaking about? We know that Jesus died. We know that His body was laid in a tomb that was given by Joseph of Arimathea.

1. We also know is that His spirit went to paradise. When Jesus was on the cross and the two thieves were at either side of Him, Jesus said to one of them in Luke 23:43-46 – “... "Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.'' And it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, "Father, 'into Your hands I commend My spirit.' '' And having said this, He breathed His last.” It’s plain to see that Jesus trusted the Father to reunite His soul with His resurrected body in a powerful display intended to leave no doubt as to the true identity of Jesus of Nazareth.

2. Peter’s point is that David wasn’t speaking about himself. That’s why he mentions that David’s body saw decay and was still in its grave in the very city of Jerusalem where Peter spoke. Acts 2:29-32 – “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. "Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. "This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.”

3. Peter is saying, that David knew when he wrote of God's Holy One he was not speaking of himself but, through the voice of prophecy, was speaking of the promised King who would arise from among his offspring. Peter and the eleven who stood with him were witnesses of the very resurrection David had foretold. They had seen Jesus in His resurrected body.

C. If anyone could testify that Jesus Christ was now seated on His throne in heaven it was Peter. How could he testify to this? How could he prove that Jesus is seated at God’s right side? The proof was the Holy Spirit’s arrival. Remember what Jesus said to His disciples in John 16?

1. I’ll paraphrase what He said to them in John 16:5-15 – "Now I am going to him who sent me, yet none of you asks me, 'Where are you going?' -- Because I have said these things, you are filled with grief. But I tell you the truth: It is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Counselor will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. When he comes, he will convict the world of guilt in regard to sin and righteousness and judgment: in regard to sin, because men do not believe in me; in regard to righteousness, because I am going to the Father, where you can see me no longer; and in regard to judgment, because the prince of this world now stands condemned. "I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.”

2. Peter says to those listening; do you want help to understand what has happened here today? Do you remember the great prophet, Joel? Do you remember one of the greatest kings of our history, David?

D. There was a man who was in a championship fight and he was getting beat up pretty good, his eyes were puffy, his lip was cut and his cheeks were swollen. He staggered over to his trainer at the end of the round and said, "throw in the towel man, I'm getting killed out there". His trainer, trying to encourage him said, "Oh, no, you're doing great, that guy is not laying a glove on you." The boxer looked up past his bloody nose and said, "Well, would you keep your eye on the referee then because somebody out there is hitting me."

1. Peter was hitting these Jews from all sides with:
• The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
• The miraculous events of Acts 2:1-11 speaking in different tongues.
• The words of the prophet Joel.
• The words of the king and prophet David.

2. Peter was spelling it out to them and Peter wasn’t finished just yet. He had more to say concerning King David.

3. He says to the Jews, quoting more words of David from Psalm 110:1 in Acts 2:33-35 – “Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. "For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: 'The Lord said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, till I make Your enemies Your footstool. '”

E. In other words the Jews had to realize that there was a new King in town and that this new King was also Lord over David. He too was to rule from a throne, not on earth, but in heaven. Peter says, Jesus is Master and King now.

1. Just in case they thought Peter was the one giving out all this authority, he says in Acts 2:36 – “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

2. Peter put them in their place and cut their legs out from under them. Peter left the Jews speechless.

IV. Folks, that’s a very powerful lesson for us. Whenever you get into a religious discussion with anybody, let the Scriptures speak for themselves. Don’t start talking about the Bible unless you know what you’re talking about. Speak where the Bible speaks and be silent where the Bible is silent.

A. If you’re adding your opinion and you’re not sure what a passage of Scripture means, be honest and tell them that. If you know and fully understand any passage of Scripture then back it up with more Scripture. When you point out Scripture, let the Bible speak for itself and you too will leave those who are arguing or debating with you—speechless.

1. Peter was being a in your face kind of guy when it came to preaching Jesus Christ, the very One they had crucified. He says, This Jesus has now been placed by God in the position of authority.

2. Next Peter is going to tell us that if anyone wishes to come to the Father then they are going to have to yield to Him.

CONCLUSION:
The Jews had no response. Peter had opened up two separate prophecies of David before their very eyes. He has presented the testimony of reliable witnesses who had seen the resurrected Lord. He had called his listeners' attention to the unique events of the day which had to have originated from heaven itself through the workings of God's Spirit.

A woman was visiting her husband’s grave, but when she was walking through the graveyard she saw a tombstone that read: "Here lies John Kelly, a lawyer and an honest man." "How about that!" she exclaimed. "They've got three people buried in one grave."

Peter could look out of the temple area into Jerusalem and say to the Jews, ‘Look there lays King David, a faithful and devout follower of God.’ Dig his grave up and you will find his remains.

However the one reason the Jews couldn’t argue with Peter is because Jesus' tomb no longer contained Jesus' remains. If it had, then surely they would have argued the case. The Jews would have said, ‘you see, this Jesus’ body is still here just like David’s’. They didn’t because they couldn’t. Peter presented very powerful evidence of the Lordship of Jesus Christ.

Someone once wrote and asked Emily Post, the good manners expert of another generation; "What is the correct procedure when one is invited to the White House but has a previous engagement?" They got a reply saying, "An invitation to dine at the White House is a command, and it automatically cancels any other engagement."

Folks, Jesus is Lord, whether people want to confess that or not. When people receive an invitation to come and join Him in baptism, we need to remember that baptism is a command from the King and that invitation automatically cancels all other engagements.

We learn from the New Testament how to be saved. We need to hear the word, believe in Jesus, repent of our sins; we must confess our belief that Jesus is the Son of God, and be baptized for the remission of our sins... If we follow these steps, the Lord adds us to His church.

Perhaps there is someone in the assembly today with the need to be buried with Christ in baptism. If you have never done these things, we urge you to do so today. If anyone has this need or desires the prayers of faithful Christians on their behalf, we encourage them to come forward while we stand and sing.

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Reference Sermon: Mike Glover

Baptism Of The Holy Spirit

Posted by Chardon in DefaultTag

Baptism Of The Holy Spirit
Acts 2:1-16

INTRO: Good morning. In our study of the Books of Acts the last time, we were in Acts 1:4-26, we were talking about the days immediately following the crucifixion. This morning we will be going on to Acts 2 verses 1-16 and in general I will be using the NKJV. First though I’d like to tell a story.

Three religious men of different faiths decided to combine their efforts one day to help their community. Each one made a sign and positioned himself alongside a state highway.

Soon a car came speeding towards them, and the first guy held up his sign for the driver to read, it said, ‘Turn Around, You Are Going the Wrong Way!’ The driver barely glanced at him as he sped on by toward the next person.

The next man raised his sign, which said, ‘The End is Near!’ The driver shouts back, ‘Religious nuts!’ and drove toward the last man who had a sign that said, ‘Give Heed, Lest You Die!’. The driver laughed as he passed and shouted, ‘You guys are too much!’

Suddenly there was the sound of screeching tires on the road, the twisting of metal and then everything went quiet. The three religious men thought about what had happened and agreed that they needed a new sign, which would read, ‘Stop! The bridge has collapsed’.

I. The last time we were together we saw that God, through His prophets had given signs that His kingdom was to be established with the coming of the Messiah. We saw that Jesus said, ‘thy kingdom come’, and today we’re going to see that ‘thy kingdom came’.

A. What was going to be the sign that the kingdom had come? Jesus said in Mark 9:1 – “Assuredly, I say to you that there are some standing here who will not taste death till they see the kingdom of God present with power.” Jesus says they’ll know the kingdom has come because they’ll witness its power. That word ‘power’ is the Greek word ‘dynamis’ (δύναμις) and it means mighty work, miraculous power. In other words, everyone will know His kingdom has come because it will be accompanied by miraculous power.

B. A little later when Jesus is speaking to His disciples, He tells them in Luke 24:49 – “Behold, I send the Promise of My Father upon you; but tarry in the city of Jerusalem until you are endued with power from on high.” Here we see the promise of the Comforter, the Holy Spirit. Notice again that Jesus told the apostles to wait in the city until they had been clothed with power.

C. As we entered Acts 1, we saw that the apostles are still thinking physically and looking for a physical kingdom. They ask Jesus in Acts 1:6-8 – “Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?'' And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. "But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.''”

1. I notice Jesus says, the kingdom will come with power.
2. Stay in Jerusalem until you’ve been clothed with that power.
3. You will receive that power when the Holy Spirit comes on you.

D. Did that time come?

II. Yes, the event came in a powerful way. Let’s read Acts 2:1-4 – “ Now when the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Then there appeared to them divided tongues, as of fire, and one sat upon each of them. And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance.”

A. What do we know about the setting of these verses? Well, the day of Pentecost was a Jewish feast, which was celebrated 50 days after Passover.

1. Pilgrims had come to Jerusalem from all over to celebrate the event.
2. It was a very busy time of the year, so busy in fact that Jewish history records the temple was open 24 hours a day to allow those people who arrived in the early hours of the morning to bring their sacrifices to the Lord.

B. What happened? It was on that day that the apostles, who were filled with the Holy Spirit, spoke in different languages.

1. This signaled the arrival of God’s new kingdom.
2. The kingdom that Daniel prophesied about.

C. When I read these things my active imagination kicks in and I can just imagine being there and witnessing this.

1. Thinking in today’s terms I imagine the local reporters writing articles in the local newspaper. I know, not realistic but this is my imagination.
2. The ‘Jerusalem Times’ has on its front page, ‘apostles drunken house party literally shakes the house.’
3. I can imagine, on the front page of the ‘Temple News’, ‘alcohol-fueled apostles speak languages they’ve never learned or studied’.
4. Imagine the guy at the newspaper stand at the temple gates shouting, ‘Read all about it! Read all about! The drunken apostles claim that God’s kingdom has come!’
5. As I said not realistic or even sensible - but we realize how this must have affected the people there.

D. It’s at this point, when everyone is amazed and perplexed, that Peter explains what’s going on. Acts 2:14-16 – “ But Peter, standing up with the eleven, raised his voice and said to them, "Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and heed my words. "For these are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. "But this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel:” Peter says “no, we’re not drunk.”

1. He says “We all know that on a festival like Pentecost, none of us Jews would ever eat or drink anything until after 9:00 a.m.”
2. Peter tells them, “No, this is exactly what the prophet Joel said would happen when God’s kingdom came. This is the power that Jesus spoke to us about, the power of the Holy Spirit.”

III. Just in case Peter’s audience forgot about whom “Jesus” was, He goes on to remind them and I paraphrase. Acts 2:22-24 – “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him.”

A. We all have read about the many miraculous things Jesus did in the Gospels, whether it be healing the lame, restoring people’s sight, or even raising people from the dead.

1. Peter said, these men had witnessed these things. They know full well what Jesus did. The proof that God was with Him was in those miracles, wonders, and signs.
2. His death on a cross was all a part of God’s plan from the beginning. The good news is, despite being crucified and buried, He rose again because God gave Him the power to do so.

B. Peter in verse 25 reminds them of what David said; - “For David says concerning Him: 'I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken; therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; moreover my flesh will also rest in hope, because You will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.”

1. Peter is quoting from Psalm 16 and I paraphrase Psalm 16:8-11 – “I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken. Therefore, my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest secure, because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay. You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”
2. David prophesied about the resurrection of Jesus, but David died and was buried. Peters says, you want proof that Jesus rose from the dead? Go and visit David’s tomb. It’s still there and if you were to open up his grave you will find his remains.
3. If you go to the place where Jesus was buried, you’ll find no remains. Why? Because He’s risen.
4. In other words, as much as David was still dead, Jesus was still alive.

C. Peter continues and says in Acts 2:36 – “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

1. The name “Jesus” was very common in Biblical times and Peter doesn’t want anyone to think about any other Jesus than ‘this Jesus’.
2. Peter proclaimed that God had made this Jesus, the One whom the Jews had crucified, Lord of all things. He was the anointed One, the Messiah of the Jews. He was the Messiah for which all Israel had been waiting for—for centuries.

D. Can you imagine being told that you murdered the very person your nation has been waiting for? Now I imagine someone hawking a paper in the temple court selling the ‘big issue’ shouting, ‘Read all about it! Read all about! The apostles charge us with murdering our very own Messiah!’

1. Imagine what was going through their minds! We’ve just killed the Messiah! We’ve just murdered this Jesus who was God in the flesh! The Creator and Sustainer of the universe, the Author and Perfector of our faith!
2. We’ve just killed the very person God spoke about as the head crusher in Genesis 3:15! We’ve just murdered the very person the Old Testament prophets spoke about coming!

E. Folks, it is hard for me to think about what was going through their minds. I can believe that panic was setting in because of the reality of what they did. We see their reaction in the next verse.

1. Acts 2:37 – “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, "Men and brethren, what shall we do?''”
2. Those words, ‘cut to the heart’ is the Greek, ‘katanýssō’, (kat-an-oos'-so) and it means to pierce thoroughly, to agitate violently. (Strong G3572). In other words, when the realization of what they did, thoroughly hit home, they were pained in their hearts, they panicked and asked, “What shall we do?”
3. In effect, they’re asking, what can we do to make things right? How can we be right with God after doing this? I can imagine them thinking there would be thunder and lightning and the earth was going to open up and swallow them. I can imagine them thinking that God Himself was going to appear from the clouds and wipe them off the face of the earth.

IV. We can imagine them nervously asking Peter, “What shall we do?” Acts 2:38-39 – “Then Peter said to them, "Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. "For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.''”

A. Now imagine the first response to Peter’s words in their minds? Peter, we’ve admitted that we crucified this Jesus. We know we’re guilty of killing the Messiah, we understand that we murdered God in the flesh and you’re talking about forgiveness!

1. How can this be?
2. Are you telling us all we have to do is repent and be baptized in the Name of the very person we crucified to be forgiven?
3. Peter says, yes, it’s that simple, just think differently about your life and turn to Jesus. Just do spiritually what Jesus did physically. Die with Him in baptism. Be buried with Him in baptism and rise again to a new life—with Him.

B. I can imagine them saying, but Peter we crucified the Lord and Messiah and you’re talking about God giving us a gift!

1. Peter describes to them something that seems so simple; when you are baptized God will give you a piece of Himself to help you live a life worthy of being called a follower of Jesus.
2. They might have wondered how is all this possible? All of this is possible because Jesus died for us, He was buried but He rose again.

C. Now again my imagination of the local reporters on the scene, listening to this conversation, and taking pictures. The ‘Jerusalem Times’ on its front page, has a picture of these Jews crying, with the headline, ‘God offers forgiveness to anyone who admits they are sinners and is baptized.’ On the front page of the ‘Temple News’, it reads ‘Jews overcome with joy as God offers a gift to anyone who is baptized’.

D. You see, God’s kingdom came and it came in a powerfully miraculous way. Luke, the writer of Acts, continues in Acts 2:40-41 – “And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, "Be saved from this perverse generation.'' Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.”

1. Jesus said, ‘thy kingdom come’.
2. After He died, was buried and rose again, His kingdom came.
a. The church was born and it was made up of people who had been born again.
b. On that day 3000 souls were spiritually born again and added to the spiritual kingdom of God.

E. I was curious about that number 3000. In Exodus 32 when Moses and Joshua were up on the mountain, they came back down to discover that Aaron had organized the building of a golden calf. God was furious, as was Moses and we pick up the story in Exodus 32:25-28 – “25. Now when Moses saw that the people were unrestrained (for Aaron had not restrained them, to their shame among their enemies), 26. then Moses stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, "Whoever is on the Lord's side, come to me.'' And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him. 27. And he said to them, "Thus says the Lord God of Israel: 'Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.' '' 28. So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And about three thousand men of the people fell that day.”

1. When the Old Testament law was introduced it immediately brought death, 3000 souls died on that day.
2. When the New Testament law is introduced it brought grace, and 3000 souls were saved that day.
3. That’s why John said in John 1:16-17 – “And of His fullness we have all received, and grace for grace. For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”

V. I wonder, do you remember the day your sins were forgiven and you received the gift of the Holy Spirit? I remember that day well. It was full of mixed emotions. I felt the guilt in the realization that I was a sinner and Jesus died for my sins. I was also feeling overjoyed and amazed that God would forgive me and offer me a gift despite my past.

A. I went down into the waters of baptism as a sinner, as a nobody... but came up out of those waters of baptism as somebody, a child of God, a Christian.

1. The story is told that Martin Luther when he was depressed or feeling worried about his life would often recall in Latin the words, ‘Baptizatus sum’, which means ‘I have been baptized!’ It was a reminder to himself of who he was and Whose he was.
2. You’re not part of a church named after the day on which the church was born. You’re a part of the church adjectively named after the One who died for His church.

B. Do you realize that you’re a part of the greatest living organism on Earth, where Christ is King and ruler over everything? You’re a Christian, one who is possessed by God and you’re a part of His kingdom.

1. You’re a part of that Kingdom which Daniel and other Old Testament prophets spoke about. You’re a part of that church that Jesus told Peter He would build.
2. I know that life can get tough at times and that enthusiasm we had in the beginning just seems to fade away. I would like to encourage everyone listening who is a Christian to think of your baptism when you’re going through difficult times. Remind yourself of who you are, to Whom you belong, and where you live.

C. Too many times when life gets tough or we go through some trial, we beat ourselves up to the point of thinking that God has abandoned us and we’ve lost our salvation. Nothing is further from the truth. Romans 5:8-10 – “... God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life!”

1. Notice the phrase, ‘much more’, our salvation isn’t based on our ability to be good or better ourselves. Our salvation is based on Jesus and what He did for each of us.
2. We’re not going to heaven because we perform so well here, we’re going to heaven because Jesus performed like no man ever could on Calvary.

VI. Do we believe that God, with the motive of love, He who sent His Son to die for us—would love us less now that we’ve obeyed the Gospel and we’re trying our best to please Him?

A. Ask this, did we do anything to save ourselves? I would suggest the answer is both “yes” and “no”.

1. Yes, because Peter said in Acts 2:40 – “Be saved from this perverse generation.”
2. How did we save ourselves? We go back to the question the Jews asked Peter, in Acts 2:37 – “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” The word ‘do’ implies an action, something to be done.

B. We did do something to save ourselves but at the same time we didn’t do anything to save ourselves because Jesus did it all for us. In other words, because of Jesus’ death, burial, and resurrection, He made it possible for us to save ourselves through obedience. That’s what grace does. Grace opens the door for us to enter so that we can be saved. The hymn says; “He who died, Heaven’s gate to open wide”.

C. If someone were to tell you they had a brand-new house built for you just outside London England, and it’s their gift to you no strings attached, but for you to own it, you must go to the house following their instructions.

1. To get to that house they tell you that you must get on a plane, a train, a bus and a taxi, or they can’t give you this gift.
2. Imagine you accepted their gift and you got on a plane, a train, a bus and a taxi to where the house is located just outside the city of London.
3. Did you earn that gift? No, it was their gift to give. Ah, but did you have to do anything to receive that gift? Of course, you had to get on a plane, a train, a bus and a taxi to reach the meeting place at the house.
4. Would they have given you the gift if you only used a plane, a train, and a taxi? No! Why is that? Because their instructions were for you to use a plane, a train, a bus and a taxi.

D. My point is this, salvation is free but we must do something to receive it.

1. The Bible never says simply believe in Jesus and you’ll be saved.
2. The Bible nowhere teaches that you say the ‘sinner’s prayer’ and you’ll be saved.
3. To receive salvation, we have to follow the instructions God has given us.

a. The Bible says we must have faith in Jesus Christ as the Son of God.
b. We must repent and turn to God.
c. We must acknowledge our faith in Christ Jesus.
d. The Bible says you must be baptized in water to receive the forgiveness of your sins and to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

4. Peter tells them, this is what you need to do to enter God’s kingdom, the church.

CONCLUSION:
If you’re not a Christian this morning, you might be thinking, ‘well I didn’t crucify Jesus’, I wasn’t there.’ There was an unknown hymn writer who asked that very question for everyone, Christian or not to answer for themselves. I’m fairly sure most people here have heard the hymn “Were You There”. You know how it goes;
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
Oh, sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.
Were you there when they crucified my Lord?
All through this song, there is a series of questions but the answer is never given. It’s never said, but it’s implied with the words, ‘sometimes it causes me to tremble, tremble, tremble.’

It certainly caused those to whom Peter was speaking ‘to tremble, tremble, tremble’ because they asked the question, in Acts 2:37 – “what shall we do?”

If you accept that you’re a sinner, maybe you too will ‘tremble, tremble, tremble’ because you’ll realize that Jesus died for you because of the sins you’ve committed in your life.

The promise of forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit isn’t restricted to just those who were there present on the Day of Pentecost. Peter says in Acts 2:39 – “For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” Forgiveness is still available today because Jesus did die, He was buried and He rose again. The gift of the Holy Spirit is still available today because He did die, He was buried and He rose again.

When we realize and accept that we’re sinners and acknowledge the terrible death Jesus went through for us, it should prompt us to ask the question, what must we do?

Let me sum up Peter’s sermon in Acts 2 with four verses from 1 Corinthians 15.
1 Corinthians 15:1-4 – “1. Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel which I preached to you, which also you received and in which you stand, 2. by which also you are saved, if you hold fast that word which I preached to you unless you believed in vain. 3. For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4. and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures,”

Peter preached the simple Gospel message, he spoke about the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus just as the Old Testament Scriptures foretold. Paul says, if you believe this Gospel and hold onto that good news, you will be saved.

If you’re not a Christian this morning, then please know that you too can become a part of this amazing spiritual kingdom of God. You too can have all your sins forgiven, every evil thought you’ve ever had, every evil deed you’ve ever done will be wiped clean.

God knows how difficult it will be to live the Christian life and so He promises to give you at your baptism a piece of Himself to help you along the way. You simply have to follow the instructions given in God’s Word and when you do, the angels in heaven will write in the ‘Eternal Herald’, ‘Rejoice with us, another sinner has repented and given their life over to this Jesus.’

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We learn from the New Testament how to be saved. We need to hear the word; believe in Jesus; repent of our sins; we must confess our belief that Jesus is the Son of God; and be baptized for the remission of our sins... If we follow these steps, the Lord adds us to His church.

Perhaps there is someone in the assembly today with the need to be buried with Christ in baptism. If you have never done these things, we urge you to do so today. If anyone has this need or desires the prayers of faithful Christians on their behalf, we encourage them to come forward while we stand and sing.

Reference Sermon: Mike Glover

Thy Kingdom Come

Posted by Chardon in DefaultTag

Thy Kingdom Come
Acts 1:4-26

INTRO: Good morning. This morning we will continue in our study of the Book of Acts. Last week we discovered that this Book is really about Jesus.

I want to start by telling you a story I heard.
There was a couple who after spending a lovely evening out together came home to their children whom they had left in the care of a babysitter. They had a great night out together and were very pleased to find the kids fast asleep in their own beds.

The babysitter was about to walk out the front door when she said to the proud parents, "By the way, I promised Johnny that if he would stay in bed, you would buy him a pony in the morning."
I guess the point of the story is, don’t promise something you can’t fulfill.

Luke continues with the theme of Jesus, and he is now focusing on the days following Jesus’ resurrection. We know that Jesus appeared to His apostles on several different occasions.

Luke mentions one of those times in Acts 1:4 - “And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, "which,'' He said, "you have heard from Me;”

Luke tells us of Jesus appearing to some of the disciples in Luke 24:36-43 – “36. Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, "Peace to you.'' 37. But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they had seen a spirit. 38. And He said to them, "Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? 39. "Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as you see I have.'' 40. When He had said this, He showed them His hands and His feet. 41. But while they still did not believe for joy, and marveled, He said to them, "Have you any food here?'' 42. So they gave Him a piece of a broiled fish and some honeycomb. 43. And He took it and ate in their presence.”

I. Of course Jesus eating with His disciples isn’t the point I’m trying to make. The point is that Jesus never promises something which He does not intend to fulfill. Luke is telling us that Jesus instructed His disciples to remain in Jerusalem until the Father's promise, about which He had told them, came to be fulfilled.

A. What was that promise? The promise is the coming of the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, or Helper. Jesus said to His disciples in John 14:15-18 – “15. "If you love Me, keep My commandments. 16. "And I will pray the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever, 17. "even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees Him nor knows Him; but you know Him, for He dwells with you and will be in you. 18. "I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” I find that I must note here the phrase “another Helper” or as some translations have it “another Comforter”. It is the adjective allos (ä'l-los) meaning “another” which connects the Helper to Christ.

B. In Mark 1:4 we read; “John came baptizing in the wilderness and preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins.” John goes on and says that the time was coming when they would be baptized with the Holy Spirit.

1. Mark says in Mark 1:7-8 in speaking of John; “And he preached, saying, "There comes One after me who is mightier than I, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to stoop down and loose. "I indeed baptized you with water, but He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit.''”
2. In Acts 1:5 Luke continues quoting Jesus where He says – “for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”
3. I don’t want to go into too much detail in this sermon about being baptized with the Holy Spirit but I will say this, in Acts 2:1-4 we find the fulfillment of that promise of Jesus that the apostles are baptized with the Holy Spirit.

II. At this time I would like for us to turn our attention to the Kingdom of God.

A. Have you ever been told something when you were a child and it wasn’t until later in your life you found it wasn’t true? For example have you ever heard these sayings?

a. If you break a mirror you will have 7 years bad luck.
b. The Easter bunny hides eggs around your house for you to find.
c. It is bad luck for a black cat to cross your path.
d. If you step on a crack you will break your mothers’ back.
e. If your upper lip itches you are going to kiss a fool.
f. If your nose itches you are about to have a visitor.

B. I don’t know where these concepts originally came from but I do know that many people still believe these things today. In our life we develop many concepts that are sometimes difficult to change. The reason I mention this is because the Jews were much the same in their thinking.

1. Whenever they talked about God’s kingdom they would have a different idea from what God had in mind.
2. In the days of Daniel, God prophesied through him that a kingdom would come. When Daniel interprets Nebuchadnezzar’s dream, he talks about kings and their kingdoms which are to come. He says in Daniel 2:44 – “And in the days of these kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which shall never be destroyed; and the kingdom shall not be left to other people; it shall break in pieces and consume all these kingdoms, and it shall stand forever.”

C. The apostles, like many Jews, thought that Jesus was going to establish a physical kingdom here on earth. They believed it would be an earthly kingdom that would conquer all of its enemies. They were itching to know when this great earthly kingdom was going to be established. When Jesus faced Pilate in John 18, Jesus said to him at verse 36, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My servants would fight, so that I should not be delivered to the Jews; but now My kingdom is not from here.” Time and time again Jesus had to tell people that His kingdom was not an earthly kingdom but a spiritual kingdom.

D. Have you ever been longing for an event to happen in your life? Perhaps you looked forward to graduation day or your 16th birthday or your 21st birthday? Maybe you’re waiting for a visit from someone you know and love and you just can’t wait until that person arrives. Or maybe you’re waiting for a call from the doctor to tell you the results of some test that you’ve had taken, so that you can get on with the rest of your life.

1. The disciples were the same. They wanted to get on with God’s work. Luke tells us in Acts 1:6-7 – “Therefore, when they had come together, they asked Him, saying, "Lord, will You at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?'' And He said to them, "It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority.” They just did not fully understand yet what God’s plan was.
2. One of the biggest lessons we can learn as Christians is that we are working on God’s timetable—not ours. Maybe some of you are being a taught a lesson from God right now on patience. I know I am.
3. Maybe your longing for the day the congregation grows here at Chardon. Maybe you’re longing for a loved one or friends and family to become Christians. We’re all working on God’s timetable.
4. The Book of Ecclesiastes has a lot to say about God’s timetable. I’m sure we all know these verses. Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 – “1. To everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven: 2. A time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck what is planted; 3. a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; 4. a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; 5. a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; 6. a time to gain, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to throw away; 7. a time to tear, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; 8. a time to love, and a time to hate; a time of war, and a time of peace.”

E. The disciples had to learn patience concerning the arrival of God’s kingdom. At the same time, it was also important for them to know and understand what Jesus promised them. They were to receive power when the Holy Spirit came upon them, and it was going to happen in God’s time not theirs. It was only when the Holy Spirit came and they received His guidance that they could get on with the work that God had planned for them to do. They were to be patient but notice Jesus doesn’t leave them in the dark about what is going happen to them.

1. He tells them what they have to do when the Spirit arrives. Acts 1:8 – “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Jesus tells them to stay in Jerusalem until “you receive power from on high but once you have that power, I want you to tell people all over Jerusalem about me, go to Judea and go to Samaria and finally I want the gospel of Christ to go all over the world”.
2. That is a real lesson for all of us. We can’t just sit back in our comfort zones expecting God to send people to our meetings. We need to be out there and witnessing for Christ. I know these days we may not be able to be “out there” physically but remember witnessing is not something you do, witnessing is what you are. Every time you open your mouth, every time you speak to your friends and family, every time you’re faced with problems, you are witnessing for Christ.

F. There was a little boy who went to Sunday school for the first time and his mother said, "What was it like? Who was your teacher?" The little boy said, "I don't know. I think it must have been Jesus' grandmother because He’s all she talked about."

1. That’s you folks, that’s me, that’s every one of us. Most people don’t read the Bible. They read our lives.
2. When people look at our lives and listen to us talking we are witnessing for Christ and when people see us living our lives they should see Christ living there.
3. Peter says in 1 Peter 2:21 – “For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps”.

III. The disciples should have already been aware of what was going to happen. Time and time again Jesus spoke to them about things which was about to happen... and they were fulfilled.

A. Jesus ascending into heaven is one of those predictions. Acts 1:9-11 – “9. Now when He had spoken these things, while they watched, He was taken up, and a cloud received Him out of their sight. 10. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, 11. who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.''”

1. This is the fulfillment of the Lord's own prediction when He asked his disciples in John 6:62 – “What then if you should see the Son of Man ascend where He was before?”
2. Having issued these final instructions, Jesus began to bless the apostles according to Luke 24:50-51 – “And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven.”
3. Before Jesus came to earth, He was with the Father in Heaven. The apostles saw Him begin His ascent back to the throne. Can you imagine being there when Jesus was taken up into heaven? I can visualize the apostles standing there with their mouths wide open, looking up into the clouds where they had last seen the Savior. What a sight that must have been!
4. While they were looking, Luke tells us in Acts 1:10-11- “ And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as He went up, behold, two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, "Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw Him go into heaven.''”

B. We are not specifically told but most believe these were angels and let me explain why. Just after the resurrection of Jesus, Matthew records in Matthew 28:2-4 – “ And behold, there was a great earthquake; for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat on it. His countenance was like lightning, and his clothing as white as snow. And the guards shook for fear of him, and became like dead men.”

1. Luke in his gospel records Luke 24:4- “And it happened, as they were greatly perplexed about this, that behold, two men stood by them in shining garments.”
2. John in his account of the resurrection says in John 20:10-12 – “ Then the disciples went away again to their own homes. But Mary stood outside by the tomb weeping, and as she wept she stooped down and looked into the tomb. And she saw two angels in white sitting, one at the head and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain.” From this it seems very likely the two "men" who Luke says stood by the apostles are angels who appeared in the form of men.

IV. I mentioned earlier about patience and I believe the apostles give us an example of what to do while patiently waiting. Those who had seen Jesus ascend went into the city of Jerusalem. Their time of waiting wasn’t a sorrowful time. It was a time of joy.

A. Straight after Jesus is taken up into heaven Luke tells us in Luke 24:52-53 – “ And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God.” This tells me that the time of sorrow following the crucifixion of Jesus was over... and now the apostles realized the events they had witnessed were a reason for rejoicing.

B. Back in Acts 1:12-14 – “12. Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey. 13. And when they had entered, they went up into the upper room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew; Philip and Thomas; Bartholomew and Matthew; James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot; and Judas the son of James. 14. These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”

1. When a woman becomes pregnant, if she goes full term, will carry that baby for about 9 months. What are the parents doing during this time? They don’t just hang around for 9 months and wait for the baby to be born. They get organized. They prepare the nursery; get food and diapers, toys and medicine.
2. What do we do today while we wait for God’s timetable? We do what these eleven did. We do what Mary, the Lord's mother did. We do what Jesus’ brothers did. We do what these other unidentified disciples were constantly found doing.
3. We wait patiently and we prepare. We prepare by presenting our bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God. We prepare by transforming our minds, learning what is good and acceptable. We prepare by teaching others through our words and our example.
4. The disciples prepared themselves for what was about to happen with prayer as they waited on the promised comforter. We prepare ourselves as we wait for Jesus return.

V. It was sometime during that period of waiting, that Peter addressed a group of about 120 disciples to find a replacement for Judas. Acts 1:15-19 – “15. And in those days Peter stood up in the midst of the disciples (altogether the number of names was about a hundred and twenty), and said, 16. "Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus; 17. "for he was numbered with us and obtained a part in this ministry.'' 18. (Now this man purchased a field with the wages of iniquity; and falling headlong, he burst open in the middle and all his entrails gushed out. 19. And it became known to all those dwelling in Jerusalem; so that field is called in their own language, Akel Dama, that is, Field of Blood.)”

A. I wondered why Judas had to be replaced. Perhaps it’s simply because Judas had been numbered with them and had a part in the ministry the Lord had given to the apostles.

1. If you ever go to Scotland and mention the Battle of Bannockburn and the name William Wallace people will know exactly what you are talking about and what he did.
2. If you go anywhere in England and mention the year 1066 and the Battle of Hastings and the name King Harold II of England, people will know exactly what you are talking about and what he did.
3. If you go anywhere in the United States and mention Abraham Lincoln and the Gettysburg Address people will know exactly what you are talking about and what he did.
4. During the days of Jesus, if you mentioned the place Field of Blood and the name Judas Iscariot people would know exactly who and what you were talking about. Remember after realizing what he had done, Judas threw the thirty pieces of silver down in the temple and went out and hanged himself.
5. Judas was seized with remorse and returned the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and elders. The chief priests did not want to put the blood money in the treasury, so they purchased the field in which to bury strangers as Matthew tells us in Matthew 27:10. Everybody in that group who Peter addresses would have been acquainted with the facts surrounding Judas' death and the purchase of the Field of Blood.

B. Quoting from Psalm 69:25 and Psalm 109:8, Peter told those who were gathered that the Holy Spirit, through David, had said the surroundings of Judas, would become desolate and another would be chosen to take his office.

1. Acts 1:20 – “"For”, said Peter, “it is written in the book of Psalms: 'Let his habitation be desolate, and let no one live in it'; and, 'Let another take his office.'”
2. To choose someone to take Judas’ place, they couldn’t just choose their best friend or someone who appeared to be spiritually mature.

C. The person they selected had to meet a certain criteria.

1. Acts 1:21-22 – “Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”
2. Whoever they were going to choose had to have been with the Lord from the time that John baptized Jesus, right up to the ascension of Jesus. They would especially need to have witnessed His resurrection.

D. Luke tells us in Acts 1:23 – “And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.” Folks, here is another important point for us to recognize. Peter sets out the physical requirements for who is going to replace Judas but ultimately it is God who knows best.

1. We can read of this in 2 Chronicles 6:30 – “then hear from heaven Your dwelling place, and forgive, and give to everyone according to all his ways, whose heart You know (for You alone know the hearts of the sons of men),”
2. They addressed a prayer to the One who knows people’s hearts better than any of us ever will as we see in Acts 1:24-26 – “ And they prayed and said, "You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.'' And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.”

E. When we are faced with tough decisions in life, God needs to be our first protocol. When we pray for God to help us with any decision in life, we are doing two things.

1. First of all, you are inviting God to look into your heart and the hearts of others you are praying for because you know that He knows everyone’s hearts better than we do.
2. Second, when you pray, you are expressing complete dependence upon God to help you make the right decision.

F. That’s what these disciples were doing in the upper room. They were acknowledging their own inability to see into the inward thoughts of others and they were expressing complete dependence upon God for making a correct decision.

1. As I think on this I realize that they asked the Ruler of the Universe to guide the selection process so that the right man would be chosen. Matthias was that man. God chose Matthias to do His work at that time like He chose you and me to do His work in this time on earth.
2. That thought reminds me of 2 Thessalonians 2:13-14 – “But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved by the Lord, because God from the beginning chose you for salvation through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth, to which He called you by our gospel, for the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.”

CONCLUSION:
Those of you who are not Christians this morning can be assured of this; God is calling you today also.
As the hymn writer Fanny J. Crosby writes, “Jesus is waiting, O come to Him now, waiting today, waiting today, Come with thy sins, at His feet lowly bow, come and no longer delay. Calling today, calling today, Jesus is tenderly calling, is tenderly calling today.”

The stage was set folks and God’s timetable was about to come upon them.
Remember when Jesus taught His disciples how to pray?
He said in Matthew 6:10 – “Your kingdom come. Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” We don’t need to rehearse that prayer like some religious groups do today because as we are going to see next time, God’s kingdom has already come.

Jesus’ spiritual kingdom is about to come in Acts 2 and it is going to be established and His promise to His disciples of the Holy Spirit is about to be fulfilled.
May we always go to God in prayer for all the decisions we make in life and may He give us the patience we need to rely on His timetable while we await for answered prayers.

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We learn from the New Testament how to be saved. We need to hear the word; believe in Jesus; repent of our sins; we must confess our belief that Jesus is the Son of God; and be baptized for the remission of our sins... If we follow these steps, the Lord adds us to His church.

Perhaps there is someone in the assembly today with the need to be buried with Christ in baptism. If you have never done these things, we urge you to do so today. If anyone has this need or desires the prayers of faithful Christians on their behalf, we encourage them to come forward while we stand and sing.

# 637 – “Will Jesus Find Us Watching”

Reference Sermon: Mike Glover

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