Taking the Epistle

A biblical journey through the epistles

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

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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

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

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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)

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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
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SDG

The ACTS Files – Eleven become Twelve – Matthias replaces Judas Iscariot – Acts 1:21-26

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The ACTS Files – Eleven become Twelve – Matthias replaces Judas Iscariot – Acts 1:21-26 – 12/21/2015

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

Acts 1:21 (ESV) So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

This is the last in our article that looks at the disciples in the “pre-Pentecost” stage of their lives where we have seen that they have been growing in that since Jesus ascended to heaven they have been the following…

•       Obedient in that they went straight to Jerusalem and went to where they were supposed to be
•       They prepared their hearts and covered everything in prayer (devoted themselves to prayer)
•       Had faith that God would supply what they would need
•       Peter quoted scripture that Judas would have to be replaced

And here is where we begin this article, I have always maintained the belief that the reason such great things were done at Pentecost was because man and God were in such union and the disciples were willing tools to be used by God. Can we say the same in our day to day lives? We start midway through what Peter had said and in order to get it all in context let us look at the full text of what was said.

Acts 1:15 (ESV) In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, 16 “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. 17 For he was numbered among us and was allotted his share in this ministry.” 18 (Now this man acquired a field with the reward of his wickedness, and falling headlong  he burst open in the middle and all his bowels gushed out. 19 And it became known to all the inhabitants of Jerusalem, so that the field was called in their own language Akeldama, that is, Field of Blood.) 20 “For it is written in the Book of Psalms, “‘May his camp become desolate, and let there be no one to dwell in it’; and “‘Let another take his office.’ 21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” 23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen 25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

I had my own reasons for splitting it into two articles as there is a lot to look at and I wanted to keep it in an article that was a decent length as well as easier to read if you had never read the passage before. In this article we will focus on the last six verses and if you wish to read back on the first portion then please click “here” and you will see this article. If you have read my articles before you will know that I like to look at the text on a verse by verse basis and this article is no different.

V21 So one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, V22 beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.”

So as we stated earlier they had direction from God’s word, the Holy Spirit was to come in chapter 2 and that is a great example to us because we would either do one of two things:

•       Procrastinate and not do Gods will because we are not confident that we are doing the right thing
•       Carry on and do what we believe but we have to make sure we have confirmation from the Word of God otherwise we would end up in error and not doing what God wants us to do.

Peter states that the candidates had to meet a certain criteria “one of the men who have accompanied us during all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us beginning from the baptism of John until the day when he was taken up from us—one of these men must become with us a witness to his resurrection.” And this tells me that he wanted from a disciple one who had seen it with his own eyes. I believe that even although there were no Holy Spirit revelation because they were in communion with God in prayer and reading scriptures they understood the type of man that God wanted in the twelve and the qualifications that would be required for what would be a tremendously difficult task ahead.

They were about to declare to the world at the biggest Jewish festival of the year that Jesus Christ had not only been crucified but had risen from the dead and was the Son of God. They wanted that testimony to be true, accurate and from primary witnesses to the events that have happened.

V23 And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. V24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen V25 to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” V26 And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

They chose Matthias in the following way.

1 – In prayer
Verse 24 tells us that they first prayed, they exhorted the Lord and sought the correct foundation for this really important decision by covering it in prayer. They followed Jesus example in choosing a disciple, let’s look at that example in the Gospel of Luke:

Luke 6:12 (ESV) In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. 13 And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles: 14 Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, 15 and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, 16 and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

It is fundamentally simple and easy and when we look at this we agree that that is how we should begin, however in practice how many of us start that way? This is an application question as opposed to a condemnation question. I am looking to help you correct deficiencies rather than make you feel bad.

2 – They cast lots!
So they threw dice to determine the winner! Is that an acceptable way to choose the disciple number 12? I would say that it was and here is why. First of all there is a biblical precedent for doing so in the book of Proverbs:

Proverbs 16:33 (ESV) The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the LORD.

And here is why, the disciples were relying on the LORD to show them who of the two candidates the one to be chosen was. They did not rely on many of the methods that we use today such as emotional attachment, likability, being a team player, syncing up with the current leadership, popularity or any of the flawed methods that we use today.

3 – The lot fell on Matthias
God wanted the vacancy filled and although Paul was later named as an apostle, God was keen that when the truth was told about Jesus and the church was to begin that there was a full complement of apostles. Jesus picked 12, some say the number of completion but one came up short and betrayed him and another had to take his office.

We could be contentious all day about the use of lots or whether the disciples should have waited for the Apostle Paul or whether the criteria they used was acceptable. What I do know is that these apostles were in prayer, they had devoted themselves to the scriptures and were genuinely seeking the will of God and had prepared their hearts for Gods outpouring, they did what Jesus did in a similar situation and were in obedience to the father in a way that they never were prior to the crucifixion. Because of this God was planning something amazing and he would use them as the tools to make that happen, if the LORD wills then please join us as we look at the first four verses of Acts 2 in the next article we look at the book of the Acts of the Apostles.

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
TTE
TGBTG
SDG

TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty Two – December 22nd

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TTE Advent Calendar Day Twenty Two – December 22nd

Thank you for reading our twenty second installment of our advent series, please check out our advent page for more articles in this series.

Today we look at Psalms chapter sixteen which is an awesome piece of prophetic scripture and speaks that the messiah will resurrect from the dead…

Holy One not corrupted

Psalms 16:10 (ESV) For you will not abandon my soul to Sheol, or let your holy one see corruption.

This is an awesome piece of prophecy that is often quoted when we are looking at Messianic prophecy. Like many of David’s prophecies in Psalms it has two direct applications:

1) The life of David
2) The life of Jesus

The life of David

David was sure in his faith that his soul would not be abandoned to the grave.

The life of Jesus

As we read in Acts 2 (further down this article) Peter quotes this verse and refers it directly to Jesus. This refers to Jesus by stating the words “Holy One” as Jesus never committed any sin and was the literal first born without blemish that is called for in the Law.

Jesus would not see corruption as his body would only lie in the tomb until the third day, his physical body would not deteriorate until day 4, again fulfilling prophecy. This is confirmed in both Matthew and Acts as we read below.

Matthew 28:1 (ESV) Now after the Sabbath, toward the dawn of the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to see the tomb. 2 And behold, there was a great earthquake, for an angel of the Lord descended from heaven and came and rolled back the stone and sat on it. 3 His appearance was like lightning, and his clothing white as snow. 4 And for fear of him the guards trembled and became like dead men. 5 But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid, for I know that you seek Jesus who was crucified. 6 He is not here, for he has risen, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. 7 Then go quickly and tell his disciples that he has risen from the dead, and behold, he is going before you to Galilee; there you will see him. See, I have told you.” 8 So they departed quickly from the tomb with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. 9 And behold, Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came up and took hold of his feet and worshiped him. 10 Then Jesus said to them, “Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee, and there they will see me.”

Why the two Mary’s?

The two Mary’s come to the tomb and expected to see a dead Jesus, remember how I keep saying that God is in control? God knew the calendar and knew that the Sabbath would be slap bang in the middle of this, God planned it this way and the two Mary’s come to finish the body that had hurridly been taken off the cross and put in Joseph’s tomb.

We read there was a great earthquake and an angel rolled back the huge stone and sat on it. We are not privy to whether the earthquake was due to the angelic intervention or did God send the earthquake to loosen the stone? Does this not give a demonstration of the power of God, that one of his angels could effortlessly move huge stones?

Where were the guards?

The guards were also missing, now Roman guards were there “on pain of death” so it was not a usual circumstance that they would appear “like dead men”. The angel was reassuring to the women and wished to confirm that Jesus was indeed resurrected and the angel said where they would find Jesus.

Answered prayer

We see that the women got an answer to prayer that they were not expecting, Jesus had in fact been resurrected. They whole idea of coming back from the dead and living eternally was beyond what they thought was possible. You have to understand that they had personally witnessed Jesus die in the cruelest way possible and they literally saw the blood and water hit the ground as Jesus was pronounced dead and were there at the last possible minute and saw their Savior died.

An appropriate place

Which is why it was completely appropriate that they took the angels invite to see the place where Jesus was placed. This solidified any testimony they had relayed to the disciples and others stating that the messiah was no longer in the tomb. They were now eye-witnesses and primary witnesses to the fact that he had resurrected.

The two Mary’s were given an appropriate place in relaying the news both to the disciples and also in being one of the first to see the resurrected Jesus. They were truly Women of faith having the desire to come to the tomb, even when they thought their Savior was dead. They worshipped at his feet giving him the praise that was due him, if he was not God they would be sinners under Jewish law.

Peter’s Pentecostal Sermon

Peter confirms this on the day of Pentecost, lets look at the book of Acts chapter two:

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.’ 29 “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.

Peter, empowered by the Holy Spirit spoke in a very volatile situation with no fear. You have to remember that this is Peter who just about fifty days earlier had denied his LORD three times under far less pressure.

Peter speaks what is known in scripture as “Peter’s sermon”, whilst this is a good title I would suggest that “The Holy Spirit speaks through Peter” is more apt. Peter quotes the verse that we stated above as well as another verse in Psalms chapter 16, which Peter goes onto explain why the Holy One could not be bound by death, the full quotation is below:

Psalms 16:8 (ESV) I have set the LORD always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.

Peter begins with the words “hear these words” or to paraphrase “listen to me” in addition to the speaking in tongues, the miraculous signs and wonders and the explanation from the prophet Joel, Peter makes sure that they are fully aware of the reason behind this is Jesus.

This is a challenge for me as I know how many opportunities I have blown because I have not given full attribution to the LORD Jesus Christ. So many good deeds that could have given glory to God but I did not go that extra mile. People that have crossed my path but I have not introduced the gospel to them, I lament in my soul but I am encouraged by Peter’s boldness and makes me realize that God can use even the flawed to accomplish his will.

Peter pulls no punches and lets them have the truth, this is barely two months after Jesus was crucified (basically says “You crucified the messiah sent by God!) Let’s just say that people will have heard of Jesus of Nazareth, it was a big deal when he was speaking of these things. He starts with “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” Everyone in that crowd was aware that he died and was crucified, this is a sound evangelical principle to begin with what people know about Jesus and build from there, but Peter does not stop there.

Peter goes on to attest that he rose again in verses 24-33, he quotes the verses much better than I have and explains wonderfully that the one who was quoted to “not see corruption” was in fact Jesus of Nazareth. (Known also as the Christ)

What a wonderful Gospel message, that Jesus took the full wrath of God that was reserved for us who remained in our sins. Jesus was the only innocent, sinless one who not only died as a sacrifice for our sins in the cruelest, most barbaric way that was ever designed for a criminal to die, he also resurrected and these people attest and are witnesses to the fact to show that because of the resurrection we have proof that Jesus sufficiently paid for our sins. He also tells us that we need to call on the LORD to be saved in verse 21, the full quotation is below:

Call upon the name of the LORD

Acts 2:21 (ESV) And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

And that is the truth, Jesus is the only way to be saved from your sins and be reconciled to God. Obviously I want to see you join me in heaven, but only you can make that choice to accept Jesus as LORD of your life. If you are still in your sins, you are already in slavery to whatever you have as your God; this has no eternal value so I urge you to investigate the claims of Jesus as your messiah.

Jesus went through all this so we can go to heaven, although that decision is ours, we have to choose to follow Jesus. My hope is that these articles help and please contact me if you need to discuss further.

God bless you one and all, I thank you for reading this article. Please share, comment or like below as the LORD leads you too.
TGBTG
TTE

Pentecost – Can I Get a witness?

Pentecost – Can I Get a witness?

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Acts 1:3 (ESV) He presented himself alive to them after his suffering by many proofs, appearing to them during forty days and speaking about the kingdom of God. 4 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, “you heard from me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” 6 So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” 7 He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. 8 But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”

Meanwhile in the first century Jerusalem…

Imagine the scene, the guy you have been following around for the last three years because you believed he was the Messiah is arrested by local law enforcement, betrayed by one of your closest friends for money! Everyone both locally and nationwide is talking about his death, there are several eye witnesses.

Then the unbelievable happens, three days later, he appears again, ALIVE! You know it is him because you have been a step behind him for his whole ministry, you have been in earshot of every word he said, you may not always have grasped the meaning, but you were there.

He hangs around for just over a month, appearing to smaller crowds (1 Cor 15:6) and affirming to the faithful that he is actually alive and rose from the dead. You can see (and Thomas wanted to feel) the wounds in his hands, you get that he came back to show he was who he said he was!

Now he says this, you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit! Well he hasn’t been wrong so far and now you realise that he is God! We are given one instruction, stay put in the city we are in, that’s not to hard huh? Then they will fulfil Isaiah 43:10.

Fast forward to the 21st century

Can you imagine what the disciples had gone through in the last 50 odd days? If they would be getting diagnosed in modern times they would have all manners of PTSD.

They are so happy Jesus has come back, they realise that he is who he said he was so they ask the obvious question to the Jew of that day “when will Israel be restored”. You see, like Herod and so many other Jews, they focused on the prophesies that spoke of the messiah returning to re-establish his Kingdom and were looking for the messiah to overthrow Rome.

Jesus answers plainly, the kingdom you may not know, but the power from the kingdom you will get shortly! It wasn’t too long before the prophesy was fulfilled.

Acts 2:1 (ESV) When the day of Pentecost arrived, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a sound like a mighty rushing wind, and it filled the entire house where they were sitting. 3 And divided tongues as of fire appeared to them and rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. 5 Now there were dwelling in Jerusalem Jews, devout men from every nation under heaven. 6 And at this sound the multitude came together, and they were bewildered, because each one was hearing them speak in his own language. 7 And they were amazed and astonished, saying, “Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we hear, each of us in his own native language? 9 Parthians and Medes and Elamites and residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya belonging to Cyrene, and visitors from Rome, 11 both Jews and proselytes, Cretans and Arabians—we hear them telling in our own tongues the mighty works of God.” 12 And all were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another, “What does this mean?” 13 But others mocking said, “They are filled with new wine.” 14 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.

Nowadays, I use social media to get the word of God out, I find it the easiest way to connect and tell a few thousand folks within a few seconds and be a witness to how Christ has changed me. Based on this sites stats, people have viewed the “testimony” page more than any other page (not including blog posts)

This was social as opposed to social media. God chose a time where there was no MySpace, Bebo, Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus or any if that fun stuff, he also chose a place where everyone who would be seeking God would be and at a time where they would all be in that city.

These devout men, who would already be of good reputation in their own lands, would come back with this story of how the Holy Spirit same down and how these men communicated to them each in a way they would recognise (all simultaneously) – Talk about Christianity exploding on a geographic scale! This was the great commission being fulfilled in one act.

What so many people miss in tho passage and focus on the act of speaking in tongues is that the disciples had two tasks

1) be in the place I told you to be in (Jerusalem)
2) wait until I tell you to wait.

We can learn so much from that, from their simple obedience came Pentecost! Simple huh?

As Christians we have to live by the spirit and not by the flesh, we read the following in Galatians:

Galatians 6:8 (ESV) For the one who sows to his own flesh will from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit will from the Spirit reap eternal life. 9 And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.

So to recap, be obedient, be where God tells you to be, live by the spirit and not grow weary! Let us all go and be witnesses now!

God bless you one and all and Happy Pentecost
TTE