Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

Category Archives: Peter

The ACTS Files – Repent therefore and turn back that your sins may be blotted out – Acts 3:17-26

downloadfile-9.jpeg

The ACTS Files – Repent therefore and turn back that your sins may be blotted out – Acts 3:17-26 – 05/09/2016

Acts 3:17 (ESV) “And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers. 18 But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled. 19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, 21 whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago. 22 Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. 23 And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’ 24 And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. 25 You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’ 26 God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.”

Thank you for clicking on this recent installment of “The Acts Files” and this article looks at an account where Peter and John went to pray and God used them in a mighty way. My prayer is that I present these scriptures in a manner that is edifying and worthy of the God I wish to serve. Let’s look at these in a line by line and verse by verse format starting in chapter three verse seventeen…

V17 “And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, as did also your rulers.

We come into this sermon midway through (beginning is at the following link) and Peter acknowledges that the order to kill Jesus by crucifixion was done without the knowledge of God’s eternal plan to redeem mankind. Peter explains this because although they are guilty of the blood of Jesus and they are guilty through their sin nature, God used that sin nature to achieve his will in this situation. The ignorance was taken into account but it still was sin.

V18 But what God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ would suffer, he thus fulfilled.

Despite their motives to get rid of Jesus it was all done that prophecy may be fulfilled and despite the best efforts of them as individuals they could not stop God and stop the will and plan of God. Christ, even in his sufferings fulfilled what was written of old about him.

V19 Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, 21 whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.

Peter makes a call to repentance here and that is one of the things I love about many of the good pastors I listen to is that despite where the core verse in the bible they are teaching that they always come back to Jesus and repenting of your sins and the core tenants of the gospel message. Peter also does this and I think that is important because you may always get someone who has never heard the gospel listening to you for the first time and it is important that everything circles back to Jesus.

Peter repeats the call to repentance that he made in Acts 2:38 and calls them to take a u turn in their thinking and as Christians we all understand that because when I reflect on where I was, say 10 years ago then I fully understand about a Holy Spirit changed life. Repentance is not a bad thing because in Christ we have an assured hope that we did not have without Him. Peter is also asking that they be converted to follow Jesus to become that new creation and take advantage of God’s grace so their sins could be blotted out, erased and wiped off any record of our offense to God. What a glorious free gift this Salvation through Christ is!

Jesus will come back and rule the earth in the perfect form of monarchy and righteousness, if you are bummed about your choices for First Minister/President/Prime Minister (delete as appropriate) please be assured that a king is coming who is a glorious king who will have a 100% approval rating and will reign is grace honor and truth. That will be a time of refreshing and Peter goes as far as to say that if the nation repents then God would send Jesus Christ but until then Jesus will remain at the right hand of the Father until the restoration of all things. That Jesus would return and Eden’s curse would be lifted for evermore. This world will continue to get worse until that happens.

V22 Moses said, ‘The Lord God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers. You shall listen to him in whatever he tells you. 23 And it shall be that every soul who does not listen to that prophet shall be destroyed from the people.’

Peter quotes Deuteronomy 18 which states the following…

Deuteronomy 18:15 (ESV) The LORD your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among you, from your brothers—it is to him you shall listen—16 just as you desired of the LORD your God at Horeb on the day of the assembly, when you said, ‘Let me not hear again the voice of the LORD my God or see this great fire any more, lest I die.’ 17 And the LORD said to me, ‘They are right in what they have spoken. 18 I will raise up for them a prophet like you from among their brothers. And I will put my words in his mouth, and he shall speak to them all that I command him. 19 And whoever will not listen to my words that he shall speak in my name, I myself will require it of him.

And Peter was sure speaking their language because they delighted in their knowledge of the scriptures and loved to boast in the facts they knew of God, that danger is still there today as we become more “fact aware” about the bible and not allow it to permeate our heart. Peter ties in “the prophet” as being the Messiah Jesus Christ that they should indeed listen to and follow. Peter also advises verse 19 was unfolding before their very eyes and was a stark warning to the people at that time. It is true that those who reject Jesus whether they be Jew or Gentile would suffer the same fate.

V24 And all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came after him, also proclaimed these days. 25 You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your offspring shall all the families of the earth be blessed.’

The message was consistent through all of the prophets that there would be a Messiah and as sons of the prophets they should have known better as descendants of their spiritual father Abraham that was promised in the book of Genesis and this alone was a real faith tester because Abraham wasn’t much change off of 100 years old and had no kids at that point. His wife was also well advanced in age and if that happened today it would be worldwide news.

If we look at the genealogies in the gospels you will see that the messiah came from the line of ABRAHAM! He was there to bless ALL THE FAMILIES OF THE WORLD. Yes us Gentiles too! First the Jews but also the adopted or grafted in branches to that natural root and that is why I have biblical reasons to doubt a replacement theology position because if we were the replacement to the natural root then the plant itself would not stand as there would be no foundation.

V26 God, having raised up his servant, sent him to you first, to bless you by turning every one of you from your wickedness.

And Peter confirms what I just said that Jesus was sent to the Jews first, to the ones who should have known better but the ones who reject the messiah will open the door by extension to the Gentile nations. Christ is a blessing and is an extension of God’s desire to bless his creation but he also desires first and foremost an intimacy with his creation and we have to be reconciled to God and trusting in Jesus to save you from your sins, the same is true for you dear reader today. I desire to see you as a dear brother or sister in heaven today and if you have not made that commitment then I desire that you do so because “now is the accepted time, today is God’s day of Salvation” (2 Corinthians 6:2)

Lord willing, in our next article in Acts we will look at Acts chapter four verses one through twelve when we see the reaction of the captain of the temple and the Sadducees to what was preached that day. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Jesus calls his first disciples – Matthew 4:18-22

downloadfile-26.jpeg

Jesus calls his first disciples – Matthew 4:18-22 – 04/27/2016

Matthew 4:18 (ESV) While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. 19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. 21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them. 22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

This is a series in the Gospel of Matthew which looks to visit the text from the Gospel of Matthew on a line by line and verse by verse teaching and Lord willing we will get through the full book of Matthew, this is part of a New Testament bible study series that you can read all other studies in this section on this link.

Let’s start our bible study in verse eighteen of chapter four.

V18 While walking by the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen.

We are introduced to Simon Peter and Andrew in this gospel at this account, Andrew was responsible for introducing Peter (John 1:35-42) and Jesus and I would say that in his own way Andrew was somewhat of an evangelist. Peter we know as the dynamic disciple who always said a lot and his actions didn’t always back up the grand words he said, no more so than when he denied the Messiah on the night of crucifixion.

We see them doing what their trade was, they were in their local area “by the Sea of Galilee” and they were doing what their profession was “casting a net into the sea” so he saw these men who were busy in the work that God had blessed them with, they were not lazy men and they were willing to do the blue collar work, willing to put in the hours and remember Jesus could see the hearts of the men he was speaking to so he knew what these men were made of…but chose them anyway! Isn’t that a comfort when you are feeling less than dynamic?

V19 And he said to them, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

  • Follow me – Jesus asked them to follow him, there was no great exegesis given, Jesus did not break down complicated biblical hermeneutics, he said two words! How simple but also so awesome!Jesus was being very cultural at the idea that he would have disciples who would learn from him in a rabbinical format, many of the rabbis of that day had followers, this is where the comparison would end as Jesus discipleship would be much different than sitting at the feet of any of the other Jewish leaders, these folks would be learning from the Law breather himself. What an education!
  • I will make you fishers of men – I have a friend who when he goes out to speak to people about Jesus advises that he is “going fishing” and before I realized what it was he meant I just thought he was spending a lot of time on the riverbank. He had the right heart that it was his job to go out and speak to whomever God put in his path.

In a sense they were being asked to leave their fishing behind but in a much greater sense they were being asked to use their previous skills in order to make a catch for a much more worthwhile captain!

V20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him.

The response was wonderful, they knew they would be leaving their businesses behind to follow Jesus and often times there will be an element of leaving your old life behind. I have no idea whether they were good fishermen but I am assured that a good fishermen could be wealthy enough to have more than one boat and have a regular distribution business going on there.

What is prohibiting you from following Jesus 100%, is it finances? Is it your personal goals? Is it your desire to amass personal “stuff?” We should see the disciple’s example and learn from that and do it also in the timescale that they did. Right away!

V21 And going on from there he saw two other brothers, James the son of Zebedee and John his brother, in the boat with Zebedee their father, mending their nets, and he called them.

Again he sees more able bodied fishermen who were again busy in the occupation that God had blessed them with (mending their nets) and he seeks out two brothers and he calls them also. Have you ever wondered if you are being blessed or not being blessed by God. Have you ever looked at your diligence in the small things? How are you in a job that you may or may not like? Are you diligent? Do you represent the Lord well?

We do know from the gospel of Mark chapter one verse twenty that Zebedee was one of the fishermen we spoke about earlier that did well because he could afford to have servants on his boats. Zebedee had employees so those boys probably had quite a good life and Jesus asks the same question of them and let’s see their response…

V22 Immediately they left the boat and their father and followed him.

They too left the fishing industry and their family immediately and left a situation where they were guaranteed a meal every night to go with this holy man called Jesus, as we learned throughout the gospels that Jesus never owned a house, did not have a dwelling and they weren’t to know it but these men were to become the first twelve people who would follow Christ, literally Christian although they would never be called as such and the ones who followed him would all (with the exception of Judas Iscariot) profess his resurrection and most would pay for it with their lives.

So what would you give up for Jesus? This could be a good barometer of your faith.

Lord willing, in our next article in Matthew we will start in verses twenty three through twenty five of chapter four studying when Jesus began ministering to the crowds. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Gay waitress got bible verse (Leviticus 20:13) for tip in North Carolina

wpid-eb46678dea8d89048f04b5e61a2223d7.jpg

Gay waitress got bible verse (Leviticus 20:13) for tip in North Carolina

I read with sadness in my local paper today (Fresno Bee) that a waitress in North Carolina was left a message on her bill for the table that she was serving and in case you are not familiar with the scripture then let me show you what it said…

Leviticus 20:10 (ESV) “If a man commits adultery with the wife of his neighbor, both the adulterer and the adulteress shall surely be put to death. 11 If a man lies with his father’s wife, he has uncovered his father’s nakedness; both of them shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. 12 If a man lies with his daughter-in-law, both of them shall surely be put to death; they have committed perversion; their blood is upon them. 13 If a man lies with a male as with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. 14 If a man takes a woman and her mother also, it is depravity; he and they shall be burned with fire, that there may be no depravity among you. 15 If a man lies with an animal, he shall surely be put to death, and you shall kill the animal. 16 If a woman approaches any animal and lies with it, you shall kill the woman and the animal; they shall surely be put to death; their blood is upon them. 17 “If a man takes his sister, a daughter of his father or a daughter of his mother, and sees her nakedness, and she sees his nakedness, it is a disgrace, and they shall be cut off in the sight of the children of their people. He has uncovered his sister’s nakedness, and he shall bear his iniquity. 18 If a man lies with a woman during her menstrual period and uncovers her nakedness, he has made naked her fountain, and she has uncovered the fountain of her blood. Both of them shall be cut off from among their people. 19 You shall not uncover the nakedness of your mother’s sister or of your father’s sister, for that is to make naked one’s relative; they shall bear their iniquity. 20 If a man lies with his uncle’s wife, he has uncovered his uncle’s nakedness; they shall bear their sin; they shall die childless. 21 If a man takes his brother’s wife, it is impurity. He has uncovered his brother’s nakedness; they shall be childless.

I give the whole paragraph in scripture in submission to give the full context of what was said. Please bear in mind that I was not at that restaurant that day and I am going on a newspaper report of what happened but it does seem quite clear cut what happened.

So what actually happened then?

Looks like a well-known local same sex equal rights campaigner in the area of LBGT rights was serving at her day job and these customers took exception to their waitress. I am assuming of course that there had been previous interactions or previous knowledge of each other as it does not seem probable that in the hour that they would have had been able to ascertain in a casual conversation setting where the waitresses preferences lay in that area. For me something is missing!

Alexandra Judd works at Zada Janes in Charlotte’s Plaza Midwood in Charlotte North Carolina and I am sure she is getting her fifteen minutes of fame and let’s not forget she is a campaigner for “equal rights” as far as same sex marriages in a state that this is a contentious issue so there is a bias in making this story go as far and wide to help her own campaigning efforts, however she does also state in the article (direct quote) “I’ve had a guest leave me a pamphlet to their church as a tip one time, but I didn’t feel as if they were being hateful towards me. The ladies that came in were very rude, and would hardly talk to me – but I never expected this.” So it does appear that these ladies knew who the waitress was and wanted to make a point from the get go.

You can be right in your message but wrong in how you deliver it!

The patrons of that particular eatery are technically correct in their quotation of scripture in that the bible does in fact say what they wanted it to say I would however question the heart behind what they were trying to do. I say this because if someone was to make a request of me to ask what the bible states about homosexual unions, I would point them towards this and a few other verses. (Leviticus 18:22, 1st Corinthians 6:9-11, Romans 1:26-28, 1st Timothy 1:10-11, Genesis 19:1-38 and that’s just the ones that deal with just homosexuality, there are many more that deal with sexually immoral) In that scenario I would be giving a defense of the faith (1st Peter 3:15) that I hold dear to my heart. (Yes I am also writing with a bias)

Whilst they are correct in what they say, I do not condone or endorse how they put their message across. I say that and I am not so much calling out those women because, let’s face it I do not know them and I am likely never to meet them. I am calling out ALL CHRISTIANS in how they deal with situations like this. Let’s look at how Jesus dealt with a woman who was accused of sexual immorality…

John 8:2 (ESV) Early in the morning he came again to the temple. All the people came to him, and he sat down and taught them. 3 The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst 4 they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery. 5 Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?” 6 This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground. 7 And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” 8 And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. 9 But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. 10 Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” 11 She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

When this verse is often looked at the verse “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” Is often the quoted part and as you would expect I quote the whole account in order for you to have appropriate context. Jesus could see the hearts of these people and seen that despite the sin in their own hearts, they wanted to make an example of this woman for the sin she had committed. Jesus knew each one of them, regardless of how holy they looked was hiding something so he asked the question more in a manner to teach the accusers a question as well as to show mercy to the lady. The last part should also be quoted but it rarely is “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” This conversation shows to me at least that Jesus was not condoning her lifestyle and commanded her to stop the sin that she was in. Jesus also commanded the religious people in the book of Mark…

Mark 12:28 (ESV) And one of the scribes came up and heard them disputing with one another, and seeing that he answered them well, asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. 30 And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ 31 The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” 32 And the scribe said to him, “You are right, Teacher. You have truly said that he is one, and there is no other besides him. 33 And to love him with all the heart and with all the understanding and with all the strength, and to love one’s neighbor as oneself, is much more than all whole burnt offerings and sacrifices.” 34 And when Jesus saw that he answered wisely, he said to him, “You are not far from the kingdom of God.” And after that no one dared to ask him any more questions.

Jesus was correct in what he said all of the commandments hang on those two, the first relates to the first four commands of the 10 commandments that relate to man’s relationship to God and the last relates to the last six commandments is how we relate to our fellow man. We are to love one another, Jesus went on to say in John that is “how you would know you were my disciples” (John 13:34-35) and in this interaction I don’t see much love to the waitress.

Catch more bees with honey than vinegar

This type of slapping people in the face with scripture is neither effective nor helpful. I do not know the hearts of the people who were eating that day or the hearts of the waitress and I have no idea whether the waitress will ever come to know Jesus or not, that knowledge is well above my Christian “pay grade” however I feel that this whole episode has created a negative feeling towards Jesus in this whole area and beyond.

What I see happening in this area is that the ones who support her campaign will rally round the waitress and the restaurant will either get a surge of business or a decline. Personally I hope it is neither and people eat there if they want to and don’t if they don’t.

Here is the part where I may get a little feedback and to be fair I am not all that fussed about that but I have to ask the question based on these ladies actions… “How did this introduce the gospel of Jesus Christ to the lady they made a ham fisted attempt at introducing scripture to?” Do you think that she will be flocking to her nearest church building at the “love” she received? Does this interaction move her closer to a relationship with Jesus or further away? Not just that lady but everyone who reads this.

“Bible Bashing”

Using scripture to cast a burden on someone who is not living in a relationship with Jesus or telling someone in a threatening manner “I will pray for you” really does not help and constitutes what I call bible bashing, it is trying to beat strangers up with a word that they neither agree with and meeting them with a spirit of conflict that rarely ends well. I am not referring to street evangelists who do a wonderful job and will often times step away if someone is not interested, I am speaking to the Christian Pharisee who Jesus would probably have had words for if he was on his mission today.

I love evangelizing, I do think however if you are going to broach a tricky subject like this that you do so when you have a relationship with that people and I say this from a mindset of being someone who has friends who are homosexual. They know I am a Christian and they also know of the great love I have for them, if they wanted to come to my church I would take them there and I pray for them but in a spirit of love because I genuinely want what is best for them. I know that they may or may not come to a relationship with Jesus but I want to be able to be in a position to promote that and not be a detractor.

The bible is clear on God’s view on this subject, the bible is also clear on a whole bunch of other subjects too and I wish we were as zealous on some of those subjects as we are here.

These are just my thoughts please take them as you will!

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

The ACTS files – Peter and John went to pray, they met a lame man on the way – Acts 3:1-10

downloadfile-9.jpeg

The ACTS files – Peter and John went to pray, they met a lame man on the way – Acts 3:1-10 – 04/11/2016

Acts 3:1 (ESV) Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. 2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple. 3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms. 4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!” 7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong. 8 And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

Thank you for clicking on this recent installment of “The Acts Files” and this article looks at an account where Peter and John went to pray and God used them in a mighty way. My prayer is that I present these scriptures in a manner that is edifying and worthy of the God I wish to serve. Let’s look at these in a line by line and verse by verse format starting in chapter three verse one…

V1 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.

I have been looking forward to this passage of scripture for some time, the reason for this is that it brings back happy memories of my Sunday School days back at the Gospel Hall in Roberton Street in Chapelhall back in Scotland. In common with many Sunday Schools of that day we sang a song that was based on this passage of scripture, the lyrics were as follows…

Peter and John went to pray;
they met a lame man on the way.
He asked for alms and held out his palms,
and this is what Peter did say:

“Silver and gold have I none,
but what I have give I thee.
In the name of Jesus Christ
of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”

He went walking and leaping and praising God,
walking and leaping and praising God.
“In the name of Jesus Christ
of Nazareth, rise up and walk.”

Which is a simplistic approach to what happened here in this scripture and I am a simple guy so that suits me fine. (Perhaps we should stop the article here) Nostalgia is a wonderful thing and I am sure that if I went back to that hall being an adult those benches, whilst familiar would not seem as long or as large. I am also sure I would have many memories of lessons learned and happy memories of somewhere that was part of my growing up and very much a safe place for me as a child. You see, as an adult I realize what a sacrifice this family did for where they lived, the loved that generation enough to go collect them from their various homes andddliver them there and back so they could hear about Jesus. Awesome testimony!

I love the words used by Luke the Physician that states that Peter and John began this account by stating that Peter and John were still observant of the “hour of prayer” that they took every opportunity to be in communion with God. They wanted to be immersed in prayer for the mission that they were on. I don’t doubt for a second that they would have taken any opportunity to spread the gospel of Jesus if the occasion arose or were questioned by the assembled leaders that were there. (If you have read ahead you will know that God was going to give them that very opportunity) I believe that these guys were truly on mission because they were going into a place that could conceivably be fairly dangerous for them. Whatever the reason they went there, we know that they did and they went there, they went to pray and they went at the ninth hour. (3pm)

V2 And a man lame from birth was being carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple that is called the Beautiful Gate to ask alms of those entering the temple.

Luke even narrows it down to the very gate that they entered in. This was no fable or made up account that was designed to embellish this new found faith. The veracity of the details listed tells us that this is a true account. Josephus described the self-same gate made of brass from Corinth and was over seventy feet high and was regarded as beautiful.

Back in those days there was no welfare state as the Romans would not be seen to be encouraging the idea of the Government giving money to those who could not support themselves so the ones who were unable to asked alms (donations or free will offerings) from the folks who were going to prayer and today was no different.

V3 Seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, he asked to receive alms.

The poor man thought he was seeing two devout Jewish men so he decided to ask for support from those whom he thought might be able to help him. This practice was established even at the time of Jesus as he had a lot to say about the Pharisees and the way they gave alms and their hypocrisy…

Luke 11:37 (ESV) While Jesus was speaking, a Pharisee asked him to dine with him, so he went in and reclined at table. 38 The Pharisee was astonished to see that he did not first wash before dinner. 39 And the Lord said to him, “Now you Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the dish, but inside you are full of greed and wickedness. 40 You fools! Did not he who made the outside make the inside also? 41 But give as alms those things that are within, and behold, everything is clean for you. 42 “But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others. 43 Woe to you Pharisees! For you love the best seat in the synagogues and greetings in the marketplaces. 44 Woe to you! For you are like unmarked graves, and people walk over them without knowing it.” 45 One of the lawyers answered him, “Teacher, in saying these things you insult us also.” 46 And he said, “Woe to you lawyers also! For you load people with burdens hard to bear, and you yourselves do not touch the burdens with one of your fingers. 47 Woe to you! For you build the tombs of the prophets whom your fathers killed. 48 So you are witnesses and you consent to the deeds of your fathers, for they killed them, and you build their tombs. 49 Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute,’ 50 so that the blood of all the prophets, shed from the foundation of the world, may be charged against this generation, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be required of this generation. 52 Woe to you lawyers! For you have taken away the key of knowledge. You did not enter yourselves, and you hindered those who were entering.”

And what Jesus was saying was that they loved to look religious and get the “holy kudos” from the ones whom they wanted to notice them. It was a self-congratulatory pat on the back kind of deal and these type of people were those who instituted a noise being made when a larger donation went into the temple. It was the same when they gave to the poor, there was no humility or care for the person, and it was all about how holy they looked. I am sure this man knew this but he needed the help and he had no pride left and was reduced to asking passersby for spare change in order to make sure that he could eat that day. He was hoping for some coin to fix a temporary need but look at who God put in front of him. I can only imagine how much he must have prayed to God about his infirmities and I can only imagine how soul destroying it must have been to have to do that on a daily basis, seen as the lowest of the low and being at everyone’s feet level having the dust of the world in your face day after day.

V4 And Peter directed his gaze at him, as did John, and said, “Look at us.” 5 And he fixed his attention on them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”

He asked for something that was going to fix his immediate need however God had much bigger and better plans for that man. Peter decides to engage the man and asks for him to look at them, the man then has enough faith to know that he would be receiving something from this interaction (Imagine the level of people who just walked by him or stepped over them as they were too busy with him to get to their “religious duty”. That pricks my heart because sometimes we can be like that and be too busy with “doing things for God” to actually do the ministry that God has called us to.

Another question I have is do we have faith like this man? This man was at his bottom, you can’t get much lower than breathing in the dust of the people who view themselves as better than you and begging for scraps not much unlike a dog seeking the favors of those who God has put on their hearts to give. Pride stripped away and reliant on the good grace and mercy of God and knowing that whatever he receives really comes from God.

What do we expect from God? How strong is our faith? If we had all of our comforts stripped away and it was just you and God would you have enough faith to expect God to provide for your needs? God will and wants to bless us much more than we are often times willing to ask. This man was hoping for some small coin to maybe buy some food but God had a plan to make him whole.

Peter had no money that was true, but he did have the authority to heal the sick and that was given to him by Jesus (Luke 9:1-6) and Peter rightfully attributes the healing to the one who healed him rather than seeking an audience or claim any credit.

There are two parts to this sentence that I would like to highlight…

  • I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. – God was above the temporary cash flow issue that man required to solve this man’s problems, when we look at our issues from our elevation we often times cannot see how God would remedy our situations.
  • In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk! – God was going to do a supernatural work in his life that even the most religious scholar could not explain logically. They couldn’t explain what Peter did because Peter acted in faith based on what was inside him. Peter knew how to heal the sick in Jesus name because the Holy Spirit prompted him to do it.

V7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.

As soon as Peter said “rise up and walk” the man went from being lame to being whole. Strength filled his legs and God strengthened his bones and this was achieved and noticed by the man when Peter took him by the hand and had him literally standing on his own two feet. We see enormous faith in Peter in lifting him up knowing he was healing him and the man in allowing himself to stand on his own two feet when he previously had not been able too. Can you imagine what this man was feeling, the hope, the expectation and finally being able to walk and how amazing that was? Let’s see how he was reacting…

V8 And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, walking and leaping and praising God.

Not exactly quiet about it was he? Here is how he celebrated…

  • And leaping up he stood and began to walk, and entered the temple with them, – He associated himself with the ones who had shown him Jesus.
  • Walking and leaping – He wasted no time in using this new found gift from God, how do you use your gifts from God?
  • And praising God – He attributed the praise to the one who healed him, we don’t read about him “walking and leaping and praising Peter”

V9 And all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and recognized him as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, asking for alms. And they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

What a living, breathing testimony! There was no denying who the guy was who they thought he was as they had all seen him at the gates, he was recognized (v10) as the one who sat at the Beautiful Gate and we read in Acts 4:22 that he was forty years old at that point and God used that time of faithful obedience to prayer by Peter and John as a gateway to healing this man of an infirmity that he had suffered for four decades. Do not discount the simple obedience that you have to God’s will in your life, you may not see it but God may be placing you where he needs you to be to do a mighty work in His name!

Lord willing, in our next article in Acts we will look at Acts chapter three verses eleven through sixteen when Peter begins speaking in Solomon’s portico as people begin to ask questions about this miracle. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

Agape Bible Study text – Good Friday – “Ear” today and gone tomorrow

wpid-wpid-wp-1427243290629.jpeg

Agape Bible Study text – Good Friday – “Ear” today and gone tomorrow – 03/25/2016

Last supper has just happened, remind the folks of what was spoken about last year.

John 18:1 (ESV) When Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the brook Kidron, where there was a garden, which he and his disciples entered. 2 Now Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, for Jesus often met there with his disciples. 3 So Judas, having procured a band of soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and the Pharisees, went there with lanterns and torches and weapons. 4 Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him, came forward and said to them, “Whom do you seek?” 5 They answered him, “Jesus of Nazareth.” Jesus said to them, “I am he.” Judas, who betrayed him, was standing with them. 6 When Jesus said to them, “I am he,” they drew back and fell to the ground. 7 So he asked them again, “Whom do you seek?” And they said, “Jesus of Nazareth.” 8 Jesus answered, “I told you that I am he. So, if you seek me, let these men go.” 9 This was to fulfill the word that he had spoken: “Of those whom you gave me I have lost not one.” 10 Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant and cut off his right ear. (The servant’s name was Malchus.) 11 So Jesus said to Peter, “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

Main points from this text…

  • Verse 1) Jesus made it easy to be captured, he retreated to a place that Jesus “often met with disciples” (verse 2)
  • Judas procured a “band of soldiers” Here is how a Roman Army detachment was made up

Roman Army definitions
Centurion – Was in charge of at least 100 soldiers
Legion – Reserves would count a Legion of 500 conscripts or 600 soldiers in times of conflict, bear in mind the time or revolutions and revolts (such as the revolt of the Maccabees) and the nature of the uneasy Government in Israel at that time it is fair to say that that number would have been 600.
Band – a tenth of a legion, Legions were assembled in battle into bands that were ten across.

Judas brought up to 60 soldiers of the empire that was so highly trained that it conquered most of Southern Europe, the Middle East and much of the Northern Coast of Africa. They were taking no chances having the following group marching into the garden some 60 soldiers and some officers from the chief priests and Pharisees. I think that it’s fair to say they would be noticed.

The reason for this is simple, this is not the first time Jesus was close to arrest, they sought to arrest him in John chapter 10 chapter 39 but that was while he was teaching so that would have been during the day, so they are taking no chances now doing this away from the crowd with excessive force.

In the UK it is quite often for children to say “you and whose Army?” if they believe that they are quite superior to their opponent or “come back with all your friends and we will make it a fair fight?” if they are boasting, Jesus was showing that in both those scenarios he was mightier Because Judas was flanked by the might of Rome, can you imagine how proud he must have been having been able to muster up that kind of back up? There are times when we rally and rally and think we are on the right side, this is one of those times! Can you think when you have done this?

• They asked for “Jesus of Nazareth” Jesus said “I am he” twice (verse 6 & 8) the He is italicized so it was not in the original transcript and was added later by the translators. So Jesus was saying I am.

• Jesus says “I am” and the excessive force brigade fall backwards – In a pretty humble declaration of who had all the power in this scenario, what a declaration that you can come with your mighty army but you have nothing on Jesus Christ and for me it is a foreshadow of the final battle in Revelation.

• Despite having all the power, Jesus submits to his father’s plan – The following phrases let me know that Jesus knew this was his time “if you seek me, let these men go” and “Put your sword into its sheath; shall I not drink the cup that the Father has given me?”

• Peter cuts off Malchus ear, this is important in the next part of scripture…

John 18:15 (ESV) Simon Peter followed Jesus, and so did another disciple. Since that disciple was known to the high priest, he entered with Jesus into the courtyard of the high priest, 16 but Peter stood outside at the door. So the other disciple, who was known to the high priest, went out and spoke to the servant girl who kept watch at the door, and brought Peter in. 17 The servant girl at the door said to Peter, “You also are not one of this man’s disciples, are you?” He said, “I am not.” 18 Now the servants and officers had made a charcoal fire, because it was cold, and they were standing and warming themselves. Peter also was with them, standing and warming himself.

John 18:25 (ESV) Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. So they said to him, “You also are not one of his disciples, are you?” He denied it and said, “I am not.” 26 One of the servants of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, “Did I not see you in the garden with him?” 27 Peter again denied it, and at once a rooster crowed.

Jesus told Peter that despite his boasting he would deny that he even knew him before the end of that day (see John 13)

John 13:36 (ESV) Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus answered him, “Where I am going you cannot follow me now, but you will follow afterward.” 37 Peter said to him, “Lord, why can I not follow you now? I will lay down my life for you.” 38 Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me? Truly, truly, I say to you, the rooster will not crow till you have denied me three times.

Peter was not under major duress when he did this, but he was scared because the guy he believed was the Son of God had just been arrested and all of his friends scattered in various directions. From Peter’s situation this was as grim as it got, he was brave enough to follow to see where they took Jesus but he stood out with the door far away to not be pulled in and easily enough to escape if the situation got too hot, but close enough to hear what was going on.

Many of us live our Christian lives like Peter, brave with a sword (in the church assembly and often the loudest voices where they can get “Christian kudos”) but cowards where it really matters, when it is not popular to stand with Jesus, and in Peters case a coward before a servant girl (v18) who was sent out to collect Peter to draw him in to where Jesus was.

Peter is scared and tries to blend in at this point and uses the fire to warm himself and to merge into the background, unfortunately the fire lights up his face and the guys who had been in the garden with him (who made the fire in verse 18) less than a few hours previously ask him if he was there. (Remember Peter had cut one of their ears off so they are gonna remember him!) and Peter denies a second time.

Then lastly a relative of the “earectomy” who in all likelihood was right next to him when it happened and certainly would have heard about this because in those days if you lost an ear in battle, if they were able to reattach it we know there would be a mark of some kind. Jesus fixed it whole so that in itself is noteworthy.

Peter relies on himself and his courage fails for a third time and immediately the rooster crows (like Jesus said it would) and Peter cries because of his love for the Lord and he knows he blew it! Just like Peter, we have blown it in so many ways and again just like Peter we have been redeemed, some of us have not taken up that gift of salvation and others are not living according to God will in our lives. As we take communion please think about confessions, things that you need to change in your life and if you need to then beg Jesus for forgiveness of your sins.

Communion text

Explain relationship with Jesus and give a chance to repent of sins

1st Corinthians 11:23 (ESV) For I received from the Lord what I also delivered to you, that the Lord Jesus on the night when he was betrayed took bread, 24 and when he had given thanks, he broke it, and said, “This is my body which is for you. Do this in remembrance of me.” 25 In the same way also he took the cup, after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood. Do this, as often as you drink it, in remembrance of me.” 26 For as often as you eat this bread and drink the cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until he comes. 27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died. 31 But if we judged ourselves truly, we would not be judged. 32 But when we are judged by the Lord, we are disciplined so that we may not be condemned along with the world.

Let’s take a moment in prayer and let’s take the Communion together as a family

Take the bread

Take the cup

We come together to proclaim not just Christ’s death but also the resurrection of Jesus that we symbolically celebrate on Easter Sunday and make an invitation to church on Easter Sunday.

The ACTS Files – Acts 2:36-41 – Peter’s Sermon (Part four)

downloadfile-9.jpeg

The ACTS Files – Acts 2:36-41 – Peter’s Sermon (Part four) – 03/14/2016

Acts 2:36 (ESV) Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.” 37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.” 41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

Thank you for clicking on this recent installment of “The Acts Files” and this article is part four in a four part series of verses which are collectively called “Peter’s Sermon”. I personally love these verses because it shows the work done in the life of the Apostle Peter from when he denied Christ at Passover to this dynamic preacher at Pentecost. (Time elapsed was less than two months!) My prayer is that I present these scriptures in a manner that is edifying and worthy of the God I wish to serve. Let’s look at these in a line by line and verse by verse format starting in verse thirty six…

V36 Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Peter culminates his sermon with these words and states with absolute certainty who he is taking about with authority and a challenge to the nation of Israel. The challenge was that even although Jesus was crucified in the manner of a criminal when in fact he should have been treated the way God does (as Lord and Christ) and he is due the same honor as the Old Testament LORD.

He is stated as being both Lord and Christ and how true is that? This is where we separate from our friends at the JW’s (Jehovah’s Witnesses) when we call Jesus Lord and Christ and make him equal with God in the same manner that Peter did. Let’s see how the people responded…

V37 Now when they heard this they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?”

They were literally convicted in their heart by Peter telling them the truth, there was no mega church, no lights, no smoke machines, no eloquent tugging at the hearts altar call to repentance. Whilst all of those things are good in their own way and serve a purpose Peter simply told the truth and allowed the Holy Spirit to work on the people.

Never underestimate the need for the gospel to be preached in Spirit and in truth! You want to know how you can spark a revival in your area? Then teach the word of God in spirit and in truth and leave the results up to the Holy Spirit, pray for those in your area, be there if your neighbors have questions, be diligent in your life to show a good example and preach and teach the word in season and out of season.

They were “cut to their heart” because they recognized their shared guilt in the death of Jesus Christ and wanted to do something about it. I recognize this as I used to have a very hard heart also and when God started working on my heart I came closer to him and would actually go out of my way (my church was 20 miles away) and from the beginning of that journey started the Christian journey I am on today. I had to realize like they did that I was a sinner and needed a redeemer and savior, until you fully grasp the gravity of that situation then you will not see the need to submit your life to a Savior you are not even sure you need.

They did ask the right question, they wanted to know how this could be remedied and how they could be redeemed by the messiah. They were now open to hearing the basics of salvation and Peter states below…

V38 And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

Peter responds with boldness and states what needs to be done and that is correct even today because we are not born “Christians” and here is what Peter told them to do…

  • Repent – The starting point of any relationship with Jesus Christ is the repentance, the true apology for the sins that have committed and a committal to turn from those sins and living according to the will of God. It is the ultimate life change, that you do not have to continue in the old ways, that you have the opportunity to turn to God.
  • Be baptized – Baptism was an outward symbol that they were now Christians, the symbolism in Romans 6 showing a death to the old life when the person who was being baptized went down and a rise in new life when they come out of the water.

Peter also gives the reasoning behind this and this was “for the forgiveness of your sins” which reconciled man to God and changed your eternal destination. This was the point of the whole sermon, to convict in the hearts enough to ask what they needed to do to become Christians. Peter accomplished more in one sermon than many pastors do in an entire career. Peter continues to share God’s promise…

V39 For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.” 40 And with many other words he bore witness and continued to exhort them, saying, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation.”

The people who were hearing that message had an opportunity to not only change their future but direct the future of faith for generations to come. Never underestimate the impact you can have in the faith of your children and succeeding generations. Your children are your closest witnesses and your staunchest critics to how real your faith is. This promise is even alive today because the work of the Holy Spirit is not a spectator sport and we have to be active in our faith.

He said many other things that are not listed verbatim and you can be guaranteed that Peter’s sermon was not a small devotion, more like a lengthy exhortation filled with spiritual jewels and Peter was not the man to do a placid sermon. He was an enthusiastic guy and you can read from the text that he was urging the crowd to come to their messiah, surrender and repent.

He finishes with his left hook “Save yourselves from this crooked generation” and how apt is that? This generation was under Roman rule, themselves a very carnal occupier who ruled with a man who could not make a decisive decision whether to crucify Jesus or not and instead leaving it up to popular opinion. A man who ruled by popular opinion as opposed to what was right. This generation was ruled by a puppet king called Herod who again ruled a tight line between Roman expectations and the Religious rulers expectations and he was very much a king of compromise.

And as for the religious leaders themselves, what a corrupt lot! They are the ones who are meant to know better and were meant to be looking out for the messiah, they are the very ones who plotted to get rid of him because he was showing them up for the hollow religious shells that they were. Is there anything more perverse than proclaiming a desire for the messiah and a love for God while you are trying to have him crucified? They sealed their title of perverse by having Jesus arrested and placed him in a kangaroo court in the dead of night in order to impose their will without causing a riot in the city. (Path of least resistance)

And so it goes until present day and these words could be applied to our generation just as easily and I could list the ways in which we have strayed from God. As Christians we need to be the ones to show by our lives in the way the disciples did that we are the real deal, we need to love our neighbor, we need to look after the widows and orphans and we need to preach the Word as boldly as Peter did on that day at Pentecost. Let’s look at Romans chapter 1…

Romans 1:16 (ESV) For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. 17 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.”

Are you ashamed of the gospel? Is there something that is prohibiting you from sharing the good news of Jesus with someone in your circle of influence? Do the people who know you most even know you are a Christian? I am not asking you to join Greg Laurie on stage at Harvest America but I am asking you to move the needle for Jesus in your neighborhood. Look at the potential results…

V41 So those who received his word were baptized, and there were added that day about three thousand souls.

Remember at the beginning of the day we were looking at 120 people being part of the fellowship and after the day of Pentecost we had 3000 souls added on that day. Can you imagine that Baptismal service, the people baptizing must have been soaked! Think of what an impact that was and let’s look at the people who were saved that day. I also love that in other translations it adds the word gladly, there was no forced conversions or pressure or people relying on emotional responses it was simply people dedicating their lives to Jesus Christ.

Pentecost was a time that devout Jews from several nations came to Jerusalem, we saw that earlier in the chapter devout Jews from many nations were there and it was very God that the Holy Spirit came down at the first available opportunity to have a massive impact in so many people’s lives! What a big God we serve! Also What a response to the Word of God! I pray for that to happen again and I believe that the game changer is the Word of God in people’s lives.

Lord willing, in our next article in Acts we look at verses forty two through forty seven where we see the continued fruit of Peter’s sermon and the establishment of the church of the Way. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

The ACTS Files – Acts 2:29-35 – Peter’s Sermon (Part three)

downloadfile-9.jpeg

The ACTS Files – Acts 2:29-35 – Peter’s Sermon (Part three) – 02/29/2016

Acts 2:29 (ESV) “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. 30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption. 32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, 35 until I make your enemies your footstool.”’

Thank you for clicking on this recent installment of “The Acts Files” and this article is part three in a three part series of verses which are collectively called “Peter’s Sermon”. I personally love these verses because it shows the work done in the life of the Apostle Peter from when he denied Christ at Passover to this dynamic preacher at Pentecost. (Time elapsed was less than two months!) My prayer is that I present these scriptures in a manner that is edifying and worthy of the God I wish to serve. Let’s look at these in a line by line and verse by verse format starting in verse twenty nine…

V29 “Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.

Peter continues his sermon by continuing to reference King David and the Messiah Jesus and he states quite clearly that what was mentioned in the previous article (link) was not talking about David as some believed at that point, and this is why he states this quite clearly. The original author David is both dead and buried and did not come back to life, so the author is not speaking of himself and is in fact speaking of the only one who did die and come back to life – JESUS! Peter states the evidence is there for David’s burial as his tomb was still with them and if they wished to seek it out and validate the truth of that statement, it could easily be done.

V30 Being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants on his throne, 31 he foresaw and spoke about the resurrection of the Christ, that he was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh see corruption.

Peter takes great care to mention the following…

  • David the Prophet – We see further in the sermon why Peter calls King David a “prophet” as opposed to just King David. It is important to mention that despite David’s many faults, he was still very much a “man after God’s own heart” and despite any thoughts of whether he was worthy or not.This is encouraging for us all on a personal level as I am sure there are things that we have done that we are not proud of. Maybe not in the realms of adultery or murder to cover up that adultery but I am sure that there are things about our lives that we would rather were not publicized. We are no or less worthy as David because as sinners we are short of God’s standard. Thankfully we are saved by grace and not by works, lest any man should boast.
  • God swore an oath – Peter is keen to remind us of the trustworthiness of God, when God gives an oath or make a promise then you know that the God of truth who cannot lie will tell you the truth and what is promised will happen.
  • Prophecy of descendent on his throne – Yes this was fulfilled in the short term when Solomon ascended to the throne but it had greater implications as we read in the gospel accounts of the genealogy of Jesus that he was not just from the line of David in his maternal mother Mary, but also in his legal guardian Joseph.
  • He foresaw the resurrection of the Christ – He saw not just the birth of a messiah that would come from his line, but the mission complete, that the messiah was going to come and fulfil the scriptural prophecies regarding the resurrection.

In case you are in any doubt who Peter refers to, he names that man in verse 32…

V32 This Jesus God raised up, and of that we all are witnesses. 33 Being therefore exalted at the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, he has poured out this that you yourselves are seeing and hearing. 34 For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he himself says, “‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at my right hand, 35 until I make your enemies your footstool.”’

Peter makes it abundantly clear that it is Jesus, the Son of God that he is talking about, and that Jesus and his deeds would still be known as it was only a short time since Passover. Peter makes it crystal clear that Jesus was the only one who could have fulfilled that prophecy in the book of Psalms and gives the following reasons why…

  • He was raised up – We see the evidence for this is Acts one, where Jesus literally went up to heaven.
  • He had witnesses to this fact – Peter and the other followers of Jesus who had followed him to the end were indeed primary witnesses to this fact. If this was a Jewish court there were sufficient witnesses to prove the case.
  • He was exalted to the right hand of God – In order to avoid any question of “where is Jesus now then?” Peter answers before the question arises.
  • He received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit – The example of this had just happened! Talk about having a water tight case for the theology, there was irrefutable evidence that had just happened moments earlier.
  • David did not ascend into heaven – and here is where we learn that it certainly wasn’t David, David’s body was still where it was buried. He was not in heaven.
  • He called Jesus Lord – and lastly, we look at how David viewed Jesus. He called him Lord.

And as much as King David was revered, Jesus was more worthy of all praise, honor and glory. He is coming back and his enemies will be thrown down. Reading the book of Revelation as a Christian makes me anxious and wanting Jesus to come back, how do you feel about the end of the world? Are you anxious because you are unsure your eternal destination or are you willing the Lord to return?

Lord willing, in our next article in Acts we look at verses thirty six through forty one where we look at the response of the crowd. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

The ACTS Files – Acts 2:22-28 – Peter’s Sermon (Part two)

downloadfile-9.jpeg

The ACTS Files – Acts 2:22-28 – Peter’s Sermon (Part two) – 02/15/2016

Acts 2:22 (ESV) “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men. 24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it. 25 For David says concerning him, “‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; 26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. 27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

Thank you for clicking on this recent installment of “The Acts Files” and this article is part two in a three part series of verses which are collectively called “Peter’s Sermon”. I personally love these verses because it shows the work done in the life of the Apostle Peter from when he denied Christ at Passover to this dynamic preacher at Pentecost. (Time elapsed was less than two months!) My prayer is that I present these scriptures in a manner that is edifying and worthy of the God I wish to serve. Let’s look at these in a line by line and verse by verse format starting in verse twenty two…

V22 “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know— 23 this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.

Remember in the last article (link here) we had stated that peter was being bold, this is exactly what we meant by that last remark. Peter could have had such a dynamic sermon just by quoting from the prophet Joel and would certainly have had a lot of public kudos by finishing there, but God knew Peter and knew that that man who so often put his foot in it in a wrong way was about to give a brave declaration that publically set a target on his back from the religious people of the day.

He addresses them “Men of Israel, hear these words” and Peter wanted to make sure he had the crowd’s attention and spoke with authority, he spoke with urgency with a message that would quite literally save their lives. He talks about someone who the people already knew. The fame of Jesus of Nazareth would certainly not have died down some 50 odd days after his death. Peter starts by stating the common ground about who Jesus was, the fact that they agreed that he was “attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst” and he built his sermon from there.

Peter goes on to say that Jesus death was “delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God” and that God knew that the people would “crucify and be killed by the hands of lawless men”. Peter does not miss and hot the wall and states that “You killed this man who was innocent and sent by God and you had no reason to do so” he was not concerned with giving a “seeker friendly” message and he was not looking to be a people pleaser but he was looking to save those who were there, regardless of the consequences, lets contrast this to Peter’s last act when the Lord Jesus Christ was alive prior to crucifixion…

Matthew 26:69 (ESV) Now Peter was sitting outside in the courtyard. And a servant girl came up to him and said, “You also were with Jesus the Galilean.” 70 But he denied it before them all, saying, “I do not know what you mean.” 71 And when he went out to the entrance, another servant girl saw him, and she said to the bystanders, “This man was with Jesus of Nazareth.” 72 And again he denied it with an oath: “I do not know the man.” 73 After a little while the bystanders came up and said to Peter, “Certainly you too are one of them, for your accent betrays you.” 74 Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, “I do not know the man.” And immediately the rooster crowed. 75 And Peter remembered the saying of Jesus, “Before the rooster crows, you will deny me three times.” And he went out and wept bitterly.

This is a man strengthened by spending time with the resurrected Jesus, spending a crazy amount of time in prayer, being on one mission with the disciples and being filled by the Holy Spirit. If you think that you cannot be used by God because you are not as dynamic as Peter here, I am here to say you are probably correct, you cannot do it on your own, however if you are obedient to the small things and give it all up to God, he will accomplish things in your life that you couldn’t even dream was possible.

V24 God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.

Here is the left hook, Peter tells the people, you did your worst to the best of your limited ability but Jesus was always going to conquer death, Peter uses the same term that would be describer for birth pains, God raised him up to fulfil the prophesy that is listed in the following few verses and can be found originally in Psalms 16.

V25 For David says concerning him, “‘I saw the Lord always before me, for he is at my right hand that I may not be shaken; 26 therefore my heart was glad, and my tongue rejoiced; my flesh also will dwell in hope. 27 For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.’

It is quoted as the words of David (King David) and as stated prior it is lifted from Psalms 16:8-11 and you can believe that Peter got three years of intensive bible instruction of the Old Testament so you can be sure that the Messiah taught them from the scriptures.

Jesus is described as that lamb without blemish who was the only one who was able to be called “the Holy One” the one who lived a perfect life, was a perfect Savior and was the only one who was able to reconcile man to God. The Psalm also prophesied that the “Holy One would not see corruption” this states that he would not be in the grave long enough to start the decaying process and the Messiah Jesus Christ rose on the third day. We celebrate this at the Christian festival of Easter. Because of this our soul will not be abandoned in its sinful state to Hades (or Hell) and that is the glorious news of the gospel.

Although Jesus took the punishment of the sins of the world he is described in the passage as the one who “made known to me the paths of life; you will make me full of gladness with your presence.” Jesus was rewarded by the ascension to the Father and that is where he is today, living, loving and interceding on your behalf today and pleading with you to have a relationship with him. If you have a relationship with him he desires for you to have a deeper relationship with him and if you do not know him as your Savior he desires to have to begin one.

Lord willing, in our next article in Acts we will look at part three of Peter’s sermon where Peter concludes the sermon by showing the prophetic nature of the messiah Jesus Christ by showing his lineage to King David and it truly is so dynamic that I would hate for you to miss it. I pray that you are able to join us as we go through the bible, line by line and precept by precept.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

The ACTS Files – Acts 2:14-21 – Peter’s Sermon (Part one)

downloadfile-9.jpeg

The ACTS Files – Acts 2:14-21 – Peter’s Sermon (Part one) – 02/01/2016

Acts 2:14 (ESV) But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words. 15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day. 16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: 17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18 even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; 20 the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. 21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

Thank you for clicking on this recent installment of “The Acts Files” and this article is part one in a three part series of verses which are collectively called “Peter’s Sermon”. I personally love these verses because it shows the work done in the life of the Apostle Peter from when he denied Christ at Passover to this dynamic preacher at Pentecost. (Time elapsed was less than two months!) My prayer is that I present these scriptures in a manner that is edifying and worthy of the God I wish to serve. Let’s look at these in a line by line and verse by verse format starting in verse fourteen…

V14 But Peter, standing with the eleven, lifted up his voice and addressed them: “Men of Judea and all who dwell in Jerusalem, let this be known to you, and give ear to my words.

Peter is being dynamic here, he is standing with the eleven and as we know from our studies in Acts ten of these guys got one to one discipleship with the Messiah Jesus Christ and although he stands as representative of the disciples as a whole, we also observe that he is the only one who is speaking. I am encouraged by this as God truly does use the talents that are prevalent in our natures for his glory. Peter was always one to be forward at speaking out and now at the birth of the Christian church he is the one who has courage where courage was not there and this man was truly sticking his neck out in what could be a hostile environment by raising his voice and drawing attention to the message he was about to preach.

We see that now that Peter is speaking the speaking in tongues have ceased, God is not a God of confusion and the Holy Spirit is working through Peter in what he is about to say. Peter is proclaiming this good news like a town crier, he is asking for quiet (give ear to my words) and is about to say something that is going to be culturally challenging for the recipients.

V15 For these people are not drunk, as you suppose, since it is only the third hour of the day.

You have to understand that Peter is in such a large area that while it is not impossible that he may have heard this being said with his own ears it is more likely that it was revealed to him by the Holy Spirit. The place was loud, it was noisy and Peter’s group was already attracting attention because of the utterance of tongues.

You will remember the last time I spoke on this was the blog that was titled “We know our wine is strong but it’s only 9’oclock” the assumption was that that the disciples were drunk when in fact they were empowered by the Holy Spirit. Peter uses the time of day to show the improbability of them in fact being drunk. In fact most Jews did not begin eating at that time until around the third hour of the day so culturally it would be unusual for them to be drunk at that hour.

V16 But this is what was uttered through the prophet Joel: 17 “‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; 18 even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy. 19 And I will show wonders in the heavens above and signs on the earth below, blood, and fire, and vapor of smoke; 20 the sun shall be turned to darkness and the moon to blood, before the day of the Lord comes, the great and magnificent day. 21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

Peter backs up what he says with scripture, I find that awesome! Just like any preacher worth note he quotes the word of God as the source for his doctrine. In this case Peter quotes from Joel 2:28-32 and this is a great model for the church today, in the midst of the Holy Spirit working Peter shows great discernment to have a bible study, open the word and let’s keep it biblical. Often times in the modern church we try to be either “too spirit filled” or be too “biblically based” and in my view it should not be one or the other. We should have that good balance.

If I was choosing a perfect church that ticks all my boxes, I would choose one that does line by line teaching, is missional, invests, disciples, mentors and equips its members for the work of the ministry and is rich in spirit and rich in love where the believers live out their faith on a daily basis. I believe this is the example that Peter was setting out here.

Peter quotes a passage which believes that they were in the “last days” and although this was done some 2000 years ago, we still have that confidence today. I will make no rash promises of knowledge on when the messiah is returning, all I know with assured confidence is that we are closer today that we were yesterday.

Peter explains that the prophet Joel speaks of the Holy Spirit being poured out on the flesh and that was the beginning of that fulfillment, we will see the full fulfillment when Christ returns. Peer uses this to bring people to the truth of Jesus Christ (v21) to a group of people that could have called him a liar of it was not true, we are only talking less than 2 months after the crucifixion. We can be assured that the truth is the same today, we have to call on the name of the LORD and we will be saved. That is the beginning of a relationship with your messiah Jesus Christ.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions – Jude 1:17-19

Jude

In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions – Jude 1:17-19 – 01/22/2016

Thank you for reading this Bible study on the book of Jude. This bible study is part of a series on the book of Jude, in order to see the full series please check out our “epistle” page or alternatively please check out our page dedicated to the book of Jude for other studies in this book.

Jude 1:17 (ESV) But you must remember, beloved, the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. 18 They said to you, “In the last time there will be scoffers, following their own ungodly passions.” 19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.

Jude continues this short but dynamic epistle by stating a remembrance of the predictions of the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ. The apostles were literally speaking words that were inspired by God and they had good prophetic significance. Jude alludes to this and shows that word of God is always true, always timeless and can always be trusted. Let’s look at the words of the apostle Paul in his 2nd epistle to Timothy…

2nd Timothy 4:1 (ESV) 1 I charge you in the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who is to judge the living and the dead, and by his appearing and his kingdom: 2 preach the word; be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching. 3 For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching, but having itching ears they will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, 4 and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander off into myths. 5 As for you, always be sober-minded, endure suffering, do the work of an evangelist, fulfill your ministry.

We learn the following dynamic points that Paul was exhorting Timothy…

• Preach the Word
• Be ready in and out of season
• Reprove, rebuke, and exhort, with complete patience and teaching

These are musts for moving the needle for Jesus in your neighborhood, whether you are called to teach the word in your living room, a small group, in a church or simply to your family we are called to be consistent when it is convenient and when it is not. We are called to be ambassadors for Jesus Christ and we have to make sure that doctrinally the “ducks are in a row” but we have to lastly do it in love because there is a time coming (and some argue that it is here already) where we will see the following…

• People will not endure sound teaching
• Accumulate teachers to suit their own passions (or ones that will allow them to justify questionable things in their lives)
• Will have itching ears
• Will turn away from truth and start listening to myths

Jude concurs with this teaching in verses 17-18 and I see it today that conservative bible believing churches are being replaced with a more “experience driven” model and that to me is worrying. (Further scriptures you may want to look at are in Acts 20:28-30; 1st Timothy 4:1-2; 2nd Timothy 3:1-5; 2nd Peter 2:1-13; 2nd John 1:7-11.) I am not divisive and will not tear down movements because they do things different to the way I choose to and different people will have different deal breakers when it comes to churches they wish to attend. For me I believe the teaching of God’s word has to be front and center that to me is the major deal breaker and I want to be challenged, encouraged and exhorted by those who wish to mentor or pastor me, for me worship styles, communion methods or other silly arguments we get involved in are just that, silly! Jude talks of such divisiveness in verse 19…

V19 It is these who cause divisions, worldly people, devoid of the Spirit.

We are told it is these who cause divisions, so these people who are open in their sinful lifestyles are in the church and are unrepentant in their ways. If someone was freshly saved or did not know better than that is one thing and a different circumstance to what we refer to here, that comes down to good shepherding and decent pastoral counselling. Jude is speaking of those who are playing both sides of the fence, being a saint on a Sunday and a sinner the rest of the week.

I know all about this as I have done this before I committed my life to Jesus and these people are not all-in believers if believers at all. Obviously I cannot speak for their heart but the lack of spiritual fruit is cause for concern. Because of their lack of spiritual discernment they clash with those who are attempting to do God’s will, they are trying to guide God’s will by the standards of the world and being devoid of the Spirit they are causing tensions because their ideas may sound good to some but they cause dissention and a split in the church.

These are the people who are mockers, following in their own carnal paths and passions. They tend to ask the question first “How does this benefit me? Or “What can I get out of this? Before having an attitude of service and these might be the very people who are being served the most but you will find that because they are not on the same mission as the ones who are following Gods will then this will cause unnecessary hurt and division.

You would have thought the Christian would have learned the lesson of the Pharisee and how the very Messiah that they claim to serve would often times call these people out, calling them such terms as “whitewashed tombs”, “dead inside” and stating that they looked good when they wanted to look religious however they and their hearts were far from God. They are missing one vital component to be truly effective for Jesus Christ, they have no Holy Spirit and I am sure you will agree that we need men and women who are Spirit filled.

Jude will discuss in the next article (Lord willing of course) how to deal with these divisive people in the next article in Jude when we look at verses twenty through twenty three.

God bless and I pray this was a blessing and please feel free to like, share or comment on here or whatever social media platforms you use as the Lord leads you to, as always I love questions about this or any other article so please feel free to fill in the form below, all comments are moderated to avoid profanity.
TTE
TGBTG
SDG