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10 minutes in search of Christ Jesus.

Bondservant of Christ

    • Jan 6, 2022 LATEST EPISODE
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    Acts 4:4

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 6, 2022 9:18

     Thursday, 6 January 2022   However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand. Acts 4:4   The previous verse referred to arresting Peter and John and taking them into custody until the next day. Despite this, their words to the people were not without effect. This is seen as Luke continues, saying, “However, many of those who heard the word.” This is referring to those mentioned in Acts 3:11 –   “Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon's, greatly amazed.”   No indication of how many were gathered is given, but it would have been no small number. The people were amazed and curious concerning the healing of the beggar, and they would want to know everything they could about the matter. Because of this, they were willing to listen to Peter's discourse for several hours.   Eventually, the leaders got word of what was going on and were furious that Jesus Christ was being portrayed as resurrected. But it was during this time of Peter speaking that the people were convinced and many “believed.”   This clearly indicates that they had “repented” as Peter told them to do in Acts 3:19. They were a part of the nation that had crucified the Lord Jesus, and they had changed their minds about what happened. No longer was Jesus rejected by them, but rather they had accepted that He died for their sins and rose again. Thus, those who believed were saved upon their faith in Christ. This is the intent of what is conveyed by Luke. As such, it demonstrates that they were saved by faith alone in the grace of God found in Jesus Christ. With this noted, Luke next records, “and the number of the men.”   This is the general way that numbers were reckoned. It is found time and again in Scripture –   “You shall observe the Feast of Tabernacles seven days, when you have gathered from your threshing floor and from your winepress. 14 And you shall rejoice in your feast, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant and the Levite, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow, who are within your gates. 15 Seven days you shall keep a sacred feast to the Lord your God in the place which the Lord chooses, because the Lord your God will bless you in all your produce and in all the work of your hands, so that you surely rejoice. 16 “Three times a year all your males shall appear before the Lord your God in the place which He chooses: at the Feast of Unleavened Bread, at the Feast of Weeks, and at the Feast of Tabernacles; and they shall not appear before the Lord empty-handed. 17 Every man shall give as he is able, according to the blessing of the Lord your God which He has given you.” Deuteronomy 16:13-17   All people were to attend each pilgrim feast, without exception. However, the reckoning is based upon the males. Likewise, it says in Matthew –   “Then He commanded the multitudes to sit down on the grass. And He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He blessed and broke and gave the loaves to the disciples; and the disciples gave to the multitudes. 20 So they all ate and were filled, and they took up twelve baskets full of the fragments that remained. 21 Now those who had eaten were about five thousand men, besides women and children.” Matthew 14:18-21   In the feeding of the five thousand, only the men were counted. As such, the number was at least double and possibly triple or more of that number, depending on how many family members were present. Based on Luke's wording, the same is probably true here. The men are counted, standing as representative of those who accompanied them. With this understood, Luke provides the numbers, saying, “came to be about five thousand.”   Some older translations like the Geneva and the KJV say the number “was” about five thousand. This gives a false sense of what is being conveyed by Luke. It was not five thousand who had been converted, but the number of believers had grown (in total) to about five thousand men. Before Pentecost, in Acts 1:15, there were recorded one hundred and twenty believers. On Pentecost, it says that “three thousand souls were added to them” (Acts 3:41).   In that account, it does not specify men, but that may be the case. However, Luke's specificity now in Acts 4 indicates a body of about five thousand men, meaning a much larger body of believing family would be counted in that number as well. It is a large amount, but it is still only a very small portion of Israel, and it does not include the leaders who must be a part of the faith before a true national turning can be considered for the coming of the promised times of refreshing Peter spoke of in Acts 3:19.   Life application: No dating is given concerning the event which has taken place. It could have been days, weeks, or months after Pentecost. The matter is not included by Luke because that is not what was important. The fact that the event happened, and that many believed, is what is important.   Further, the number of believers had increased now to about five thousand men. However long that took, it is the result that is focused on. It is a good lesson. If we get caught up on setting numbers in a ministry, the focus is all wrong. We are to enter into the ministry, in whatever particular job we do, without worrying about numbers. We are to continue to minister whether there are five or five hundred.   It is very easy to get so caught up in numbers, such as YouTube views, that we forget that what we should be doing is simply the thing we have been called to do. If we are doing our job properly, and in accord with Scripture, then what we are doing is proper. It doesn't matter if we have seats filled in a stadium of fifty thousand people if what we are doing is not in accord with the word of God. If it is not, the ministry is to be considered a failure.   Can you imagine the Lord saying, “What you did was not in accord with My word, but the result was effective, so here is a big reward for you.”? No. The ends never justify the means, if the means are not aligned with God's word. Be content with what you do for Christ if what you are doing is done in obedience.   It is certain that the faithful in heart who quietly sit in church on Sunday and the only thing they have to offer is a small monetary gift or a box of donuts for the ministry are more pleasing to the Lord than a preacher with a hundred thousand followers on YouTube, but who misuses the word of God. The former will receive their reward while the latter will be punished for his disobedience.   Heavenly Father, help us to have our priorities right. May we not feel that what we do for You is lacking just because it is not great in the eyes of the world. Even the small things we do, when done with a right heart toward You, are pleasing in Your eyes. Help us to remember that this is so. Amen.

    Acts 4:3

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 5, 2022 6:39

    Wednesday, 5 January 2022   And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. Acts 4:3   The authorities had come upon Peter and John who were presenting words concerning the resurrection to the people. In their disturbed state, it next says, “And they laid hands on them.”  The obvious meaning is that being men of authority, they were arresting them. Of these words, the Pulpit Commentary notes –   “The harsh persecution of the disciples at Jerusalem at this time when the Sadducees were in power is in exact accordance with Josephus's statement in the passage just referred to, that the Sadducees were more severe and cruel in their administration of justice than any other Jews. Their tenet of no life to come made them look to severe punishments in this life.”   As there were more than just Sadducees there, this may be a stretch of the analysis, but the truth of the statement concerning the Sadducees is still relevant to their attitude concerning matters of life. With their arrest, it next says, “and put them in custody.”   The word is new to Scripture, térésis. It signifies the state of safely keeping something. It will be seen again in Acts 5:18 concerning a public jail, and then again in 1 Corinthians 7:19 where it refers to the keeping of the commandments.   This is less of a punishment than it is a way of simply holding them over for a trial. There is a perceived offense that has been committed. As such, there will be an evaluation of that offense, but it will not occur “until the next day.”   Some believe this is based on the words of Jeremiah 21:12, where it says, “Execute judgment in the morning.” If this is correct, then it would show the illegal nature of Christ's trial which was held, at least partially, at night. That is recorded in Matthew 26. As for Peter and John, they would be held in custody for a trial the next day. Luke records the reason as the verse finishes, saying, “for it was already evening.”   Acts 3:1 had said that “Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.” As this verse says it was already evening time, it would now be about 6pm. Therefore, from the time of their entering through the gate and meeting the beggar until their arrest was about three hours. It would have been an afternoon filled with their imploring the people to heed the message concerning Christ Jesus. Eventually word got to the leaders by some offended soul, and their coming to make the arrest came about.   Life application: The comment about the Sadducees by the Pulpit Commentary is valid, even if that is not the reason for their arresting Peter and John. Sadducees are specifically noted three times in Scripture. Each time, it also notes that they say there is no resurrection. Once, in Acts 23:8, it also says they believe there are no angels or spirits.   Regardless of the last points, the fact that they denied any resurrection sets them off as men without any true hope. Their state is reflected in the words of David –   “Arise, O Lord, Confront him, cast him down; Deliver my life from the wicked with Your sword, 14 With Your hand from men, O Lord, From men of the world who have their portion in this life.” Psalm 17:13, 14   If man's portion is only in this life, then his attitude will reflect that. However, if a man truly believes in an after-life, his attitude will then reflect that. And further, if a man not only believes in an after-life, but also has the absolute surety of attaining the promises of eternal restoration with God because of the cleansing power of Christ, his life will reflect that as well.   The state of the world in which we live has become one which is turning more and more towards a hope and a portion in this life only. Because of that, the conduct of the people who believe this, especially when they are in power, will reflect this belief.   The doctrine of evolution has brought about an entire change in the thinking of humanity. If we are evolved from unthinking slime, and if we will return to nothing but corruption without any further hope, then the natural inclination is to get everything you can, while you can get it. Why not! “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die. And when we die, there will be nothing left to gain.”   It is a hopeless, tragic, attitude that more and more permeates the world. And with it comes a diminished value of others in the eyes of those who hold it. “If I am a bug's descendant, and he is too, then I might as well try to squash him before he squashes me.”   Thank God for Jesus Christ who gives man a hope that transcends this fallen, broken, and evil existence. For those who possess the surety of eternal life, there is a contentment that transcends the temporary and depressing nature of this current walk. There is a hope of eternal joy in the presence of God in a state that we cannot yet comprehend. This is the wonder of the hope that is found in Jesus Christ our Lord. Let us rejoice in Him no matter what our current state is like. Yes, let us rejoice in our Savior!   Lord God, no matter what happens in this life, we possess a hope that transcends the evils we may face. We have this hope because You have sent Jesus. Thank You, O God, for Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

    Acts 4:2

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 4, 2022 7:14

    Tuesday, 4 January 2022   being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. Acts 4:2   The previous verse saw the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees coming upon Peter, John, and the beggar. Now, the account continues, saying, “being greatly disturbed.”   The verb is diaponeomai. It comes from dia (through) and poneomai (to work hard). Hence, it gives the sense of great distress or vexation. One might say, “troubled through and through,” or “thoroughly vexed.” These leaders were highly agitated “that they taught the people.”   Although what they taught is not yet stated, the very fact that these men were standing in the temple teaching would have been enough of a source of grief for them to be indignant. As has been seen in the gospels and already in Acts, the leaders looked at these men as uneducated Galileans.   How could they know anything of value concerning theology or what was culturally or morally right? It was only they, the priests, Levites, Sadducees, and other elites, that could debate such higher points. Not mere Galileans. But what really galled them was that they stood there teaching the people “and preached in Jesus”   The words are correct, and they clean up a grievous error of the KJV which says, “through Jesus.” The Greek preposition en (in), not dia (through), is used. The preaching of John and Paul is “in Jesus” and it concerns “the resurrection from the dead.”   It is true that the resurrection of the dead for all people comes through Jesus, but this is not the point that John and Peter are making. Rather, it was Jesus who had resurrected just a short time ago. The point isn't just that people standing there being preached to will be resurrected through Jesus, but that Jesus had resurrected. He is the firstfruits of those to be resurrected (1 Corinthians 15:20). If Jesus had not first resurrected, there would be no resurrection. This is the very argument that Paul makes in 1 Corinthians 15 –   “Now if Christ is preached that He has been raised from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? 13 But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen. 14 And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty. 15 Yes, and we are found false witnesses of God, because we have testified of God that He raised up Christ, whom He did not raise up—if in fact the dead do not rise. 16 For if the dead do not rise, then Christ is not risen. 17 And if Christ is not risen, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins! 18 Then also those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. 19 If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable.” 1 Corinthians 15:12-19   Paul goes on with his logical argument in that chapter explaining all of the finer details that exist because of what occurred “in Jesus.” The truly galling point to these men is that it was they and the other leaders of Israel who had stood before Pilate calling out for His crucifixion. If Jesus had resurrected, then it meant that they had crucified their Messiah.   Such a notion could not be tolerated, and it vexed them through and through to even have it considered. If the resurrection is found in Jesus, then everything that they clung to – their status, their power, their influence – would be taken from them and would belong to the One they had done away with just a short time ago. To them, this was a great affront, and it could not be allowed to be conveyed to the people.   Life application: Again, and again, we see the importance of proper translation concerning the Bibles we use. When giving a general reading of Scripture for our daily devotionals, it may not seem so overly important. At such times, we just read to get an appreciation for the general sense of what is said.   However, as we mature in our thinking concerning Scripture, or when we attend studies that are intended to convey proper doctrine, it becomes more and more important to know exactly and precisely what is being said. Words have meaning. Sentence structure carries ideas that can be misunderstood. Tenses convey the thoughts of the author. If such are botched up, like the translation of the KJV above, real errors in thinking will eventually occur.   Fortunately, the theology of what is conveyed in this verse, and which was mistranslated by the KJV, is properly explained elsewhere. We cannot say, “Well then, no harm no foul.” That is incorrect. The concept of what is conveyed in Acts 4 is important and it is to be rightly understood by those who are reading and thinking on what is being said. Thus, it is important to not get captivated by one translation.   Instead, be studious in your daily reading and change up translations from time to time. This will give you a broader sense of what is going on. When you come to something that doesn't read as you once read it, you should then say, “I need to find out which is correct, and why!” When reading this word, you are reading the very words conveyed to us by God. Therefore, let us pursue it as best we can for all our days.   Gracious heavenly Father, help us to see what is right and proper concerning various translations of Your precious word. Lead us to understand it more and more each day, and to think on the minutest of details that can actually have the greatest of meaning to the overall narrative. In rightly knowing Your word, we will more closely match our thinking with what You are telling us. May it be so to Your glory. Amen.  

    Acts 4:1

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 3, 2022 9:18

    Monday, 3 January 2022   Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them, Acts 4:1   Chapter 3 ended with Peter addressing the men of Israel at the temple complex at the “porch which is called Solomon's.” It is while Peter is addressing the people that Chapter 4 begins. That is noted with the words, “Now as they spoke to the people.”   Peter is still in the process of giving his speech as this occurs, and his words were heard by some who were not at all pleased with what they were hearing. That will be seen in the coming verses. But, for now, the narrative continues with the identity of those who are not pleased, beginning with “the priests.”   The priests are those descending from Aaron who was designated and ordained as the first high priest of Israel. The term “chief priests” is used many times in the gospels, indicating that there was a hierarchy within the priesthood. Luke does not use that term now, and so this may simply be the priests who were on duty at the time, fulfilling their regular duties as scheduled according to their divisions. Along with them came “the captain of temple.”   Aaron the priest is descended from Levi. Along with him, all of the tribe of Levi – including those who were not of the priestly class – were designated for the service of the tabernacle and later the temple. They were interspersed throughout the land of Israel in Levitical cities to minister to the people. But Levites from the various clans with Levi were designated to serve in rotating courses at the temple as outlined in 1 Chronicles. Over them would be chief men who stayed at the temple. These are noted by Luke at the time when the plot to kill Jesus was being worked out –   “So he went his way and conferred with the chief priests and captains, how he might betray Him to them. 5 And they were glad, and agreed to give him money.” Luke 22:4, 5   Over these captains, there would be one to direct all of them. That is the person now being detailed in Acts. Of this captain of the temple, Vincent's Word Studies says –   “It was the duty of the Levites to keep guard at the gates of the temple, in order to prevent the unclean from entering. To them the duties of the temple-police were entrusted, under the command of an official known in the New Testament as "the captain of the temple," but in Jewish writings chiefly as "the man of the temple mount." Josephus speaks of him as a person of such consequence as to be sent, along with the high-priest, prisoner to Rome.”   Along with these came others who were there at the temple as well. As Luke says, “and the Sadducees.” Of this group, Albert Barnes gives a sufficiently detailed description –   The Sadducees are supposed to have taken their name from Sadok, who flourished about 260 years before the Christian era. He was a pupil of Antigonus Sochaeus, president of the sanhedrin, or great council of the nation. He had taught the duty of serving God disinterestedly, without the hope of reward or the fear of punishment. Sadok, not properly understanding the doctrine of his master, drew the inference that there was no future state of rewards or punishments, and on this belief he founded the sect. The other notions which they held, all to be traced to this leading doctrine, were:   That there is no resurrection, neither angel nor spirit Matthew 22:23; Acts 23:8; and that the soul of man perishes with the body. They rejected the doctrine of fate or decrees. They rejected all traditions, and professed to receive only the books of the Old Testament. They were far less numerous than the Pharisees, but their want of numbers was compensated, in some degree, by their wealth and standing in society. Though they did not generally seek office, yet several of them were advanced to the high priesthood.   Of these three classes noted by Luke, it says they “came upon them,” meaning Peter, John, and the beggar who were there before the crowd. The words indicate they didn't just come to hear, but that they are there to confront the men. The encounter is not one of friendly greeting and acceptance, but rather – as will be seen – one of displeasure and of forceful intent.   Life application: One can go to YouTube, or other video sources, and see people on the streets giving the gospel to others. At times, those who are being recorded may have the attention of the person or people they are witnessing to and then along comes some public official to stop them or even arrest them – quite often when they are perfectly within their rights concerning what they are doing.   The truth is often not acceptable to those who hear it. This is especially so when it comes to religion. As there are about fifty jillion religions out there, it is unpalatable to tell people that you carry the only one that bears the truth. People don't want to hear that. And yet, anyone who belongs to a religion either thinks what he believes is the truth, or he is an idiot for believing what he knows is untrue.   As such, their standing there – believing in their own religion – should be just as offensive to the officials as that of those presenting the gospel. Therefore, if the evangelists are within their public rights, there should be no harm nor foul. But that is not how things will often go, is it?   Because there is truth, and because that truth can be reasonably verified through study, and because it is at variance with how people perceive themselves before God, the truth can be difficult to swallow. And so, it is easier to rough up, persecute, and even arrest those bearing the truth as a temporary fix to the situation.   As Christians, if we are willing to actually open our mouths and speak, there is always the possibility that people will take offense, and they may have you attacked, arrested, or even killed – depending on the surrounding circumstances. This goes along with the witness for Christ, and we must be willing to accept things as such. How far are you willing to go to get the truth out to others?   Everyone must stand before the Lord someday, and each will see the embodiment of truth in the Person of Jesus Christ. It will be either for salvation or for condemnation. If you do your job properly, you may save a soul from the latter. Our current lives are temporary, but we will all spend eternity somewhere. Let us be willing to share the good news now, even if it means this current life gets more difficult or even cut short for doing so.   Lord God, help us to be bold in our proclamation of the gospel. And give us the strength to never waffle in our conviction that it is the absolute truth of God. We know there is only one way to be reconciled to You. Help us to be strong and defend that truth when it is time to do so. Amen.

    Acts 3:26

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 2, 2022 10:05

    Sunday, 2 January 2022   To you first, God, having raised up His Servant Jesus, sent Him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.” Acts 3:26   Peter just referred to the covenant made with Abraham, which was a covenant of faith – something even Moses and the prophets spoke of in their words. Now, Peter explains what that means in regard to the coming of Christ Jesus, saying, “To you first.”   Peter is speaking to the men of Israel (3:11). This is perfectly in accord with Jesus' words of Luke 24 –   “Then He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, 47 and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.'” Luke 24:46, 47   The sentiment is repeated by Christ just prior to the ascension in Acts 1, and then it is picked up now by Peter and later by Paul several times in Acts and then in his epistles –   “Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, ‘It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.'” Acts 13:46   The message was to go first to those who bore the burden of the law, to free them from its bondage. This was even the purpose of Jesus' earthly ministry, as He said in Matthew 15:24, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”   The house of Israel bore the weight and responsibility of the law. Therefore, the law had to be fulfilled first before a New Covenant could be introduced. Christ came to take the weight of the law upon Himself in order to remove that weight from the people. Jesus said this explicitly in Matthew 11 –    “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” Matthew 11:28, 29   With this being understood, Peter next says, “God, having raised up His Servant Jesus.” This is not speaking of the resurrection. The structure of the Greek indicates clearly that it is referring to the act of bringing Christ into the world in order to accomplish His mission.   It is the same terminology as was used in verse 3:22, which said, “For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren.” Jesus was raised up by God within the house of Israel. Peter indicates this, saying that He “sent Him to bless you.”   The verb is a present participle. The words more correctly read, “blessing you.” It is an ongoing action, always present before the people. The blessing of Christ is one that can be appropriated at any point in time because the eternal Christ has been raised up for this very purpose. The contrast between the ongoing action of the law in comparison to the ongoing blessing of Christ is reflected by Paul in 2 Corinthians 3 –   “Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech— 13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament, because the veil is taken away in Christ. 15 But even to this day, when Moses is read, a veil lies on their heart. 16 Nevertheless when one turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 18 But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord.” 2 Corinthians 3:12-18   This “blessing” is then realized in the action that results from it, which Peter says is, “in turning away every one of you from your iniquities.” This was exactly what Zecharias the father of John the Baptist prophesied concerning the coming of Messiah –   “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Highest; For you will go before the face of the Lord to prepare His ways, 77 To give knowledge of salvation to His people By the remission of their sins, 78 Through the tender mercy of our God, With which the Dayspring from on high has visited us; 79 To give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.” Luke 1:76-79   Sin is what separates man from God. The law only highlights, and even magnifies, the sin in man. As such, Christ came to take man's sin upon Himself, and to remove the weight and burden of the law from the people so that they would no longer face the imputation of sin. In turning to Christ, man turns away from sin. Reconciliation is realized, and pure shalom – wholeness in all ways – is restored.   Life application: In Revelation 21:3, 4, it says –   “Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them, and they shall be His people. God Himself will be with them and be their God. 4 And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.”   This is a marvelous promise from the word of God that someday the world in which we live will be behind us. All of the sorrows, pains, trials, divorces, murders... all of it, will be gone. A state of perfect wholeness will be realized, and humanity will be blessed with what was originally intended for them.   But this cannot occur unless the sin in man is dealt with first. For those who fail to come to God through Jesus Christ, their sin remains. As such, their condemnation remains. No person can enter into what God has prepared for His people without coming through Jesus Christ. And this is exactly what the first point of the simple gospel of salvation through Jesus proclaims, “Christ died for our sins” (1 Corinthians 15:3).   We have sin, Christ is the cure for the sin we bear, and we must believe that these things are true. Unless we acknowledge this, there can be no salvation. And, incredibly, all God asks us to do in order to receive His salvation is to believe. This is what Abraham did, as indicated in the previous verse of Acts. And this is what the gospel Peter and Paul put forth for humanity – BELIEVE!   Let us accept God's offer of peace and reconciliation which comes through the giving of His Son for us –   “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures...” 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4   Accept what God has done, and be guaranteed a place in the glorious new heavens and earth that Revelation so beautifully describes! Do it today.   Lord God, we are so very grateful to You for having sent Christ Jesus to take care of the sin in our lives. An infinite void separated us from You, but through Him, that gap is repaired. Thank You for Jesus Christ our Lord. In His name, we pray. Amen.

    Acts 3:25

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 1, 2022 16:04

    Saturday, 1 January 2022   You are sons of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.' Acts 3:25     The previous words of Peter referred to the prophets having spoken concerning Christ, foretelling the days that had now come in Him. With that stated, he next says, “You are sons of the prophets.”   In other words, Peter now connects the people before him directly to those who spoke of Christ. The prophets had received the words, the prophets' words foretold the coming of Christ, the words of the prophets were intended for the people of God, and the sons of those prophets had now been the recipients of what was foretold. Thus, they were without excuse if they turned away from the words of the prophets.   It actually doesn't bode well for them if taken in conjunction with Jesus' words spoken to the Pharisees during His ministry –   “And He said, ‘Woe to you also, lawyers! For you load men 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, and your fathers killed them. 48 In fact, you bear witness that you approve the deeds of your fathers; for they indeed killed them, and you build their tombs. 49 Therefore the wisdom of God also said, ‘I will send them prophets and apostles, and some of them they will kill and persecute,' 50 that the blood of all the prophets which was shed from the foundation of the world may be required of this generation, 51 from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah who perished between the altar and the temple. Yes, I say to you, it shall be required of this generation.'” Luke 11:46-51   Jesus knew that he would be rejected, even though the prophets had foretold of His coming. Peter was now telling them that this same Jesus would now hold them accountable if they continued in their rejection of Him. This was explicit in verse 3:23 where he cited Moses concerning anyone who would not hear the words of the Prophet prophesied by him. With this understood, he next says, “and of the covenant which God made.”   In the Greek, Peter uses the noun and verb form of the same root word. In essence, he says, “and of the covenant which God covenanted.” God had entered into a covenant that was still in force at the time. Israel is being reminded of this with the words of Peter. But more, Peter continues by saying that the covenant is “with our fathers.”   This means that a covenant was made long ago and yet it was still in full effect. It was set forth and the terms remained unchanged. It was open and available to the people standing before him. But more, Peter is implying that he and John who stood before them had been the recipients of the covenant promises and that they had not. If they had, Peter wouldn't have to be standing there explaining all of this to them.   At this point, one would think that Peter is speaking of the Mosaic Covenant. He has just gotten done referring to Moses' words that were written   in Deuteronomy 18, a part of the covenant originally established at Mount Sinai. He then continued on referring to the prophets of that covenant when he said, “from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days” (3:24).   Because of this, the initial thought might have been, “What is this guy talking about. We are all sons of the covenant set forth by Moses.” But this is not at all what Peter is referring to. This is seen in his next words, “saying to Abraham.”   Despite having referred to precepts found in the Law of Moses and of those who lived and prophesied under that covenant, Peter is not at all referring to the Mosaic Covenant. That was a two-way covenant. The offer was made to the people, and they agreed to its provisions. They placed themselves under it and were bound to it. There was no future option to get out from under it. It stuck to them like glue and only in its annulment (through its fulfillment) could they be released from its yoke.   However, the “covenant which God covenanted” with Abraham was a completely different sort. God spoke forth the promise, and it was He who would see it through for those who were to be included in its provisions. With that understood, Peter next cites the promise of that covenant to Abraham, saying, “And in your seed all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”   This covenant was initially promised in Genesis 12 –   “Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, From your family And from your father's house, To a land that I will show you. 2 I will make you a great nation; I will bless you And make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. 3 I will bless those who bless you, And I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.'” Genesis 12:1-3   In Genesis 15, Abraham noted to the Lord that he had no “seed,” meaning offspring. But the Lord promised, on oath and by covenant, that His earlier promise would – in fact – come to pass. There it said –   After these things the word of the Lord came to Abram in a vision, saying, “Do not be afraid, Abram. I am your shield, your exceedingly great reward.” 2 But Abram said, “Lord God, what will You give me, seeing I [b]go childless, and the heir of my house is Eliezer of Damascus?” 3 Then Abram said, “Look, You have given me no offspring; indeed one born in my house is my heir!” 4 And behold, the word of the Lord came to him, saying, “This one shall not be your heir, but one who will come from your own body shall be your heir.” 5 Then He brought him outside and said, “Look now toward heaven, and count the stars if you are able to number them.” And He said to him, “So shall your descendants be.” 6 And he believed in the Lord, and He accounted it to him for righteousness. Genesis 15:1-6   In response to the spoken word alone, Abraham believed the otherwise incredible. He demonstrated faith and was declared righteous. After that, the Lord Himself cut the covenant as is recorded in the rest of the chapter.   In Genesis 17, the sign of the covenant was given, circumcision. The sign anticipated the coming of Christ. In the coming of Christ, the sign was fulfilled. In Genesis 22, a test of Abraham's faith was made, and Abraham was vindicated through the test. As such, the Lord said to him –   “By Myself I have sworn, says the Lord, because you have done this thing, and have not withheld your son, your only son— 17 blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies. 18 In your seed all the nations of the earth shall be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.” Genesis 22:16-18   It is this covenant, made with Abraham, and which continued through Isaac and Jacob, that Peter is referring to. This means that Peter's citing of Moses concerning the Prophet to come, and of his citing of the prophets under the Mosaic Covenant, indicates that even the words of Moses and the prophets anticipated the fulfillment of the Law of Moses by the Messiah and its subsequent annulment by Him, thus allowing for the Abrahamic Covenant to take full effect.   As the Abrahamic Covenant was one based on faith alone, and which bore the sign of circumcision, and because the sign of circumcision is fulfilled in Christ, it means that anyone who demonstrates the faith of Abraham is “circumcised” in the heart and declared righteous through that act of faith (Romans 2:29).   All of this is carefully explained in the epistles, but those standing before Peter would have had an inkling of what was being presented. Restoration and fellowship with God cannot be obtained by a person through the Mosaic Code.   Rather, it could only be realized by faith in God's fulfillment of it in Christ. And anyone, whether of Israel or not, could have possessed that faith. Hence, “all the families of the earth” means that all along Israel was not the only thing that God was focused on. Rather, God was reconciling the world to Himself through Jesus Christ. As will be seen in the next verse, Israel is just the first to be given this offer of reconciliation.   However, Jesus carefully explained this to Israel even during His ministry, using the faith of a Gentile to show them this –   Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him, 6 saying, “Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.” 7 And Jesus said to him, “I will come and heal him.” 8 The centurion answered and said, “Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, ‘Go,' and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,' and he does it.” 10 When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, “Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel! 11 And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour. Matthew 8:5-13   Life application: The Mosaic Covenant, which is the basis for the Law of Moses, is not a means to an end for those to whom it was given. Rather, it was a tutor to them, and to us, that something else was necessary to bring peace between God and man. It was a steppingstone in the process. This is clearly and unambiguously stated by Paul in Galatians 3 –   What purpose then does the law serve? It was added because of transgressions, till the Seed should come to whom the promise was made; and it was appointed through angels by the hand of a mediator. 20 Now a mediator does not mediate for one only, but God is one. 21 Is the law then against the promises of God? Certainly not! For if there had been a law given which could have given life, truly righteousness would have been by the law. 22 But the Scripture has confined all under sin, that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. 23 But before faith came, we were kept under guard by the law, kept for the faith which would afterward be revealed. 24 Therefore the law was our tutor to bring us to Christ, that we might be justified by faith. 25 But after faith has come, we are no longer under a tutor. Galatians 3:19-25   As this is so, why would anyone want to return to the law in order to attempt to be pleasing to God? It is a slap in His face, it is a rejection of Christ's work, and it calls out, “The blood of Jesus was insufficient to do what needs to be done! Thanks for trying, God, but I've got this.”   Can you see how disgraceful the theology of those who return to the law for justification is? Don't just walk away from such teachers... run. God has done the work. All He asks you to do is to simply believe. Have faith in Christ's finished, final, and forever work and be pleasing to your Creator. This is all that you can give Him. Jesus has done the rest.   Also, Peter's words here demonstrate, without any doubt at all, that his “gospel” is exactly the same as that of Paul. He speaks of the gospel of grace through faith. Works are excluded.   Lord God, thank You for the all-sufficient work of Jesus Christ our Lord. Today, we pray for those who are caught up in various religious expressions that are displeasing to You. We pray for those caught up in Judaism, the Hebrew Roots Movement, Seventh Day Adventists, and all others who have set aside the grace of Christ in order to work their way back to You. Open their eyes to what Jesus has done. This we pray in His glorious and exalted name. Amen.

    Acts 3:24

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 31, 2021 12:15

    Friday, 31 December 2021   Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days.  Acts 3:24   In the previous two verses, Peter has spoken out the words of Moses concerning the “Prophet like me” that he had mentioned in Deuteronomy 18. But the word concerning Christ didn't begin there, as noted in verse 3:21 where Peter referenced “all His holy prophets since the world began.” Nor did it end with Moses either. Rather, Moses spoke of prophets that would arise in Deuteronomy 18 as well –   But the prophet who presumes to speak a word in My name, which I have not commanded him to speak, or who speaks in the name of other gods, that prophet shall die.' 21 And if you say in your heart, ‘How shall we know the word which the Lord has not spoken?'— 22 when a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the thing does not happen or come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously; you shall not be afraid of him. Deuteronomy 18:20-22   The implication of Moses' words is not that there will only be false prophets, but there will be true prophets, but that the false prophets must be identified and weeded out. With this understanding, Peter begins this verse with, “Yes, and all the prophets.”   In Scripture, the word “all” does not necessarily have to mean “all” in the absolute sense. For example, in Matthew 3, it says –   “Now John himself was clothed in camel's hair, with a leather belt around his waist; and his food was locusts and wild honey. 5 Then Jerusalem, all Judea, and all the region around the Jordan went out to him 6 and were baptized by him in the Jordan, confessing their sins.” Matthew 3:4-6   However, in Luke 7, it says –   “And when all the people heard Him, even the tax collectors justified God, having been baptized with the baptism of John. 30 But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the will of God for themselves, not having been baptized by him.” Luke 7:29, 30   Thus, not every prophet is necessarily referred to here. It simply speaks of a unified message from the office of the true prophet. And that includes “from Samuel and those who follow.”   Peter specifically mentions Samuel, and yet prophets were noted between the time of Moses and Samuel, such as in Judges 4:4 and 6:8. In 1 Samuel 2:27-36, a person – though not specifically called a prophet – carried the word of the Lord to Eli the high priest. It can even be inferred that Eli the high priest heard and knew the word of the Lord from 1 Samuel 3:9.   However, the office of prophets took on a rather distinct nature at the time of Samuel where groups of prophets are recorded together. Further, the distinct nature of Samuel's prophetic office is noted in Psalm 99 –   “Moses and Aaron were among His priests, And Samuel was among those who called upon His name; They called upon the Lord, and He answered them.” Psalm 99:6   Of this office of prophet, of which Samuel is noted as the chief example, Peter next says, “as many as have spoken.”   These words have to be considered in a limited sense. First, not all of the words of a prophet were words of prophecy. Some prophets only spoke a limited number of words of prophecy from the Lord in their lives, such as king Saul (1 Samuel 10:11). Some prophets spoke the word of the Lord, but only the substance of their words – without any specifics – are recorded in Scripture (see Jeremiah 26:20-23).   Therefore, what Peter is saying is that there is a general tenor of the prophetic word of the Lord that is conveyed which ultimately points to something specific, and that is that they “have also foretold these days.”   This is speaking of the promise of the coming Christ and of that which is involved in His coming – a New Covenant, the rejection of Him by His people, the inclusion of Gentiles in the work of the Messiah, the regathering of His people to the land of Israel, a future tribulation, a glorious messianic kingdom, and so on. The prophets spoke forth words of the events surrounding the coming of Christ, sometimes in typology, sometimes in veiled terms, sometimes in generalities, and sometimes in explicit words. Jesus referred to this after His resurrection –   “Then He said to them, ‘O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?' 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself.” Luke 24:25-27   As far as Samuel and him being given as the chief example of this class of people, it should be noted that even his mother spoke forth words of prophecy at the time she dedicated him to the Lord. In her words, she specifically notes the coming of Israel's king at a time when there were no kings, and then refers to the Lord's Messiah (anointed) –   “The adversaries of the Lord shall be broken in pieces; From heaven He will thunder against them. The Lord will judge the ends of the earth. ‘He will give strength to His king, And exalt the horn of His anointed.'” 1 Samuel 2:10   Likewise, though not through Samuel directly, the words of the book ascribed to him explicitly speak of the establishment and eternal nature of the Davidic line of kings, an obvious reference to the coming of Christ –   “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men.” 2 Samuel 7:12-14   Thus, Peter's words to the men of Israel were clearly understood and carried with them the note of certainty that the prophetic utterances given to the people of Israel were intended to lead them to the times in which Christ would come. He is the central point and intent of off prophecy, whether it directly speaks of Him or not. As it says in Revelation 19:10, “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”   Life application: In the main commentary, Jeremiah 26:20-23 was referenced –   “Now there was also a man who prophesied in the name of the Lord, Urijah the son of Shemaiah of Kirjath Jearim, who prophesied against this city and against this land according to all the words of Jeremiah. 21 And when Jehoiakim the king, with all his mighty men and all the princes, heard his words, the king sought to put him to death; but when Urijah heard it, he was afraid and fled, and went to Egypt. 22 Then Jehoiakim the king sent men to Egypt: Elnathan the son of Achbor, and other men who went with him to Egypt. 23 And they brought Urijah from Egypt and brought him to Jehoiakim the king, who killed him with the sword and cast his dead body into the graves of the common people.”   Though seemingly unnecessary to the biblical narrative, the words are actually key in understanding exactly what Peter is referring to in his words. Israel is being told that they have been guided by the warnings of the prophets all along. And it isn't just the spoken words that were recorded in Scripture that were guiding them. Rather, prophets – both true and false – were speaking to the people.   The true were to be heeded; the false were to be destroyed. But the testimony in Scripture is that quite often the false were exalted and the true were destroyed. As such, the very existence of these people – whether recorded in Scripture or not – was a guiding factor in the nation as it led towards punishment, exile, return to the land, and so on.   And all of these things were leading the nation to the time when Messiah would come. Everything about the nation of Israel was being geared for this one main purpose. Therefore, when we read the history leading up to Israel, in the nation of Israel, or even of the alignment of nations that align with or come against Israel, we are seeing the unfolding of God's workings within humanity in order to bring about the fulfillment of His plan for humanity.   As such, when we read Scripture, let us consider this. This book lays down the outline of everything that is needed for us to understand everything God wants us to know concerning His redemptive process within the stream of time and human existence. In our hands, we are holding the precious and sacred treasure which is THE WORD OF GOD.   Let us handle it wisely and never fail to be careful with its sacred contents.   Lord God, help us to be responsible with our time, vigilant in our walk before You, and ever-so careful with how we treat the precious words of life that are revealed in Your Holy Bible. May we seek out its treasures all the days of our lives. Give us wisdom in Your word, O God. Amen.  

    Acts 3:23

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 30, 2021 8:47

    Thursday, 30 December 2021   And it shall be that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.' Acts 3:23   Peter, quoting Deuteronomy, has been referring to the Prophet who would come and who would be like Moses. The command in Deuteronomy was spoken from the Lord to Moses. From there, it was to be communicated to the people through the law. This command was that the Prophet to come was to be heard in all things. Peter now speaks of the consequences of disobeying this command, saying, “And it shall be.”   The words speak of a state of being that must exist. In essence, “The people are to do what I command. And what I command includes...” With that in mind, Peter continues, saying, “that every soul who will not hear that Prophet.”   As the Prophet to come was promised by the Lord, and as He had the words of the Lord in His mouth, speaking everything commanded by Him, then to not hear Him would be to ignore the Lord. In this, one can see that the word of the Lord is a reflection of who He is. When He speaks, He is revealing the substance of who He is to us. To not hear Him, as revealed through this Prophet sent by Him, that person “shall be utterly destroyed.”   Peter does not cite Moses exactly here. In Deuteronomy, it says, “I will require it of him.” Despite the change in wording, Peter's words surely paraphrase the intent. When the Lord seeks out why He was ignored, it is a way for Him to reveal to the person the error of his way and to understand the judgment he deserves.   The person failed to believe, and to fail to believe the Lord means that person will be destroyed. The word Peter uses to convey this is found only here in Scripture, exolethreuó. It is a compound verb, coming from ek, or “out,” and olothreuó, or “destroy.” Thus, it signifies complete destruction. Peter finishes his thought by saying that such a person was to be so destroyed “from among the people.”   What this means isn't just being destroyed for sins committed in the flesh, but that there is no hope of being saved from eternal condemnation. Further, this signifies that the person will be utterly cut off from the people of God as well. It means to die apart from the atonement of sin. The reason this would occur comes down to one simple word: faith.   The Day of Atonement in Israel was a day of faith. It was a day of acknowledging one's sins before God. To not have faith in the atonement process meant that the person did not believe it was effective – for whatever reason. But Scripture, meaning the words of the Lord, said that this was how atonement was to be received.   In the same manner, to not believe the words of the Prophet, who had the words of the Lord in His mouth, was to not believe the words of the Lord. In the end, one is saved or condemned by what he believes or fails to believe.   Life application: Though spoken to Israel under the law, the words of Jesus teach us that our words have power. But words are a reflection of what is in the heart –   “Either make the tree good and its fruit good, or else make the tree bad and its fruit bad; for a tree is known by its fruit. 34 Brood of vipers! How can you, being evil, speak good things? For out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. 35 A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things. 36 But I say to you that for every idle word men may speak, they will give account of it in the day of judgment. 37 For by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:33-37   This remains true in the church age. The words we speak will either bring salvation or condemnation. First, the gospel is given –   “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” 1 Corinthians 15:3, 4   This is what Christ did for us. Paul then tells us in Romans how that is appropriated –   But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith which we preach): 9 that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. 11 For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” 12 For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. 13 For “whoever calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” Romans 10:8-13   The mouth speaks forth what the heart believes. This doesn't mean that one is saved by simply speaking forth just anything then. Rather, it means that a person whose words speak forth what his heart believes, when that belief is in accord with the gospel message, will be saved. When the heart and the word are in one accord, the message is accepted by God.   This is because, unlike God whose words always reflect who He is, man's words are often not truthful. It is the Lord who searches the hearts and minds. It is He who discerns what is true and what is false. Only a true confession, which is an open profession of the state of the heart, will be pleasing to God.   In the end, everything about our relationship with God must come down to faith. When our faith is properly directed, our words will express that. And in our profession of faith, we will be justified before God. Good stuff from our marvelously gracious Creator!   Lord God, thank You for the simplicity of the gospel. Thank you also that all You ask for us to do is to believe that simple gospel message in order to be saved. You have done all that is necessary to bring us back to You. Thank You that our faith in this is pleasing in Your eyes. Amen.

    Acts 3:22

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 29, 2021 11:17

    Wednesday, 29 December 2021   For Moses truly said to the fathers, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. Acts 3:22   Peter had just mentioned “all His holy prophets.” Speaking of one of them in particular, Moses, the great lawgiver of Israel, he next says, “For Moses truly said to the fathers.”   Peter will cite words from Deuteronomy 18, words given to Israel by Moses as instruction and guidance concerning their future conduct. They are words of law, and what they say are binding upon the nation. To fail to heed them will result in whatever penalty is given to accompany them.   In other words, at times Moses might direct that the offender be stoned to death. At others, that he is to be beaten a certain number of times. In the coming verse, the penalty will be mentioned. But first, Peter cites the mandate, beginning with, “The Lord your God.”   In the Hebrew of Deuteronomy 18:15, it says, Yehovah Elohekha – “Yehovah your God.” It is the name of the God of Israel. Moses prophesied that the Lord God would be the initiator of the action that is to come about. With that understanding, Peter next says, “will raise up for you.”   The words, whether in Hebrew or Greek speak of the Lord raising up or causing to stand. The Lord is the initiator of the action. The sense is that at some point in Israel's history, what Moses says will come about according to the set plan of the Lord. And what He will raise up, according to Moses is “a Prophet like me.”   Moses was a prophet of the Lord, and after him came many more prophets whose words were often carefully recorded and maintained, becoming the basis for Israel's Scriptures. However, none of these were “like” Moses apart from the fact that they were prophets. The difference between Moses and all others was that the words of Moses formed the basis of the law. He was the one who initiated the covenant.   But more, not only did he initiate the covenant, he also performed the priestly role in its initiation, serving at the altar and ministering the blood. Though he was not to continue in the role of priest, he did serve in this function initially.   And further, not only did he serve in these ways, but he also served as the legislator of the covenant. No other prophet would be like Moses in all of these ways. His position in Israel was unique and distinct from all other prophets.   As Moses said that the Lord would raise up a Prophet like him, it meant that this prophet would – by default – be the Initiator, Priest, and Legislator of a New Covenant. This is carefully and minutely explained to Israel in the book of Hebrews where Jesus is said to be “greater than” Moses and Aaron in all ways.   With this understood, because it came from the unbreakable words of law issued forth from Moses, Peter next says that this Prophet would come “from your brethren.”   The meaning of this was clearly understood by every single person in Israel. The One God would raise up with be an Israelite, not a foreigner. When John the Baptist came, the people wondered if he was this coming Prophet –   “Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?' 20 He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, ‘I am not the Christ.' 21 And they asked him, ‘What then? Are you Elijah?' He said, ‘I am not.' “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, ‘No.' 22 Then they said to him, ‘Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?' 23 He said: “I am ‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Make straight the way of the Lord,'” as the prophet Isaiah said.” John 1:19-23   John denied he was the coming Prophet. Others immediately recognized Jesus as such –   “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote—Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” John 1:45   Saying “of whom Moses” wrote about, it is clearly referring specifically to the coming Prophet. Likewise, Peter is now building his case before the men of Israel that Jesus is, in fact, the One Moses spoke of. The importance of this is that Moses clearly commanded the people concerning this coming One, saying, “Him you shall hear.”   In the Hebrew of the referenced verse from Moses, there is an added stress in the word translated as “you shall hear.” This is indicated by the structure. It says, elav tishmaun – “Him you shall certainly hear.” Further, the sense of the word “hear” is not just to listen to the audible sounds, but to heed them and to obey them.   As such, there will be no excuse for the rejecting of this Prophet. The people must heed the words He speaks. It is a command of Moses, and it is a provision specifically directed by the Lord. Further, the people were to heed him, as Peter says, “in all things, whatever He says to you.”   The basis for these words is found also in Deuteronomy 18 –   “And the Lord said to me: ‘What they have spoken is good. 18 I will raise up for them a Prophet like you from among their brethren, and will put My words in His mouth, and He shall speak to them all that I command Him.'” Deuteronomy 18:17, 18   The words of the Prophet are equated directly to the words of the Lord. Therefore, to reject the Prophet's words is to reject both Moses and the Lord. What is said by Him is to be heard and complied with.   Because this is clearly to be understood from the law itself, no person of Israel – to whom the Law of Moses was given – could (or can) say that he was being obedient to Moses if he rejected this Prophet Moses spoke of and that Peter now refers to. To reject Jesus is to reject Moses. Jesus said this explicitly to them –   “Do not think that I shall accuse you to the Father; there is one who accuses you—Moses, in whom you trust. 46 For if you believed Moses, you would believe Me; for he wrote about Me. 47 But if you do not believe his writings, how will you believe My words?” John 5:45-47   In rejecting Moses, the people would reject the Lord who commissioned Moses. The logical progression of thought is that only condemnation could result from a rejection of Jesus. To ensure this is understood, Peter will continue this thought in the next verse.   Life application: Jews, and heretical sects of Christianity, will claim that salvation can be obtained through adherence to the Law of Moses. But this is a false teaching. The Law of Moses, from both the words of Moses and those of the Lord, clearly indicated that to not comply with Jesus' words is to reject Moses. And Jesus' words establish a New Covenant –   And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you. 21 But behold, the hand of My betrayer is with Me on the table. 22 And truly the Son of Man goes as it has been determined, but woe to that man by whom He is betrayed!” Luke 22:19-22   This is explicit and it is clear. The author of Hebrews then explains what this means –   “In that He says, ‘A new covenant,' He has made the first obsolete. Now what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away.” Hebrews 8:13   The Mosaic code is obsolete. It has served its purpose and it is no longer in effect. Therefore, to fall back on it for salvation means that salvation will never be realized. Be sure to stay away from the damaging teachings of such people. One must either come to Christ, fully and completely, setting aside attempts at self-righteousness through the law, or he will never find salvation. Come to Jesus by faith alone and you will be in the sweet spot.   Lord God, thank You for the surety we possess through faith in Christ. May Your glorious name ever be praised for what You have done for us through Him. May we never set aside this grace by attempting to be justified through our own righteousness. Instead, may we find our hope and rest in Christ alone. Amen.

    Acts 3:21

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 28, 2021 12:04

    Tuesday, 28 December 2021   whom heaven must receive until the times of restoration of all things, which God has spoken by the mouth of all His holy prophets since the world began. Acts 3:21   Peter has asked the men of Israel to repent and be converted so that “times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” Further, he told them that the Lord would send Jesus Christ. Now he explains when this will happen, beginning with the words, “whom heaven must receive.”   The Greek word is dechomai. Helps word studies notes that “The personal element is emphasized ... which accounts for it always being in the Greek middle voice. This stresses the high level of self-involvement (interest) involved with the ‘welcoming-receiving.'”  Further, Charles Ellicott says, “The words have a pregnant force: ‘must receive and keep.'”   Christ Jesus has been received into heaven, welcomed from His time of service on the earth. And He will remain there “until the times of restoration of all things.”   The Greek word translated as “restoration” refers not only to the rule of the Lord in a true theocracy, but in a condition suitable for that rule. This means that even the physical earth will be restored to a more perfect condition.   Some say it will be like the earth before the fall. This may be true to some extent, but there will still be a problem with man's relationship with God and those born at that time will still be susceptible to death. This is found in various Old Testament passages. Three will be cited of this thousand-year epoch to get the idea of where things are marvelous, but are still not perfect –   “No more shall an infant from there live but a few days, Nor an old man who has not fulfilled his days; For the child shall die one hundred years old, But the sinner being one hundred years old shall be accursed. 21 They shall build houses and inhabit them; They shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. 22 They shall not build and another inhabit; They shall not plant and another eat; For as the days of a tree, so shall be the days of My people, And My elect shall long enjoy the work of their hands. 23 They shall not labor in vain, Nor bring forth children for trouble; For they shall be the descendants of the blessed of the Lord, And their offspring with them.” Isaiah 65:20-23   Despite men living to extremely old ages (as the days of a tree), something seen before the flood of Noah, Isaiah notes that there will still be death. Further...   “And it shall come to pass that everyone who is left of all the nations which came against Jerusalem shall go up from year to year to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, and to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. 17 And it shall be that whichever of the families of the earth do not come up to Jerusalem to worship the King, the Lord of hosts, on them there will be no rain. 18 If the family of Egypt will not come up and enter in, they shall have no rain; they shall receive the plague with which the Lord strikes the nations who do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles. 19 This shall be the punishment of Egypt and the punishment of all the nations that do not come up to keep the Feast of Tabernacles.” Zechariah 14:16-19   Zechariah's words show that there is anticipated rebellion by the nations, refusing to honor the King, the Lord of hosts. And more...   “Now when the thousand years have expired, Satan will be released from his prison 8 and will go out to deceive the nations which are in the four corners of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle, whose number is as the sand of the sea. 9 They went up on the breadth of the earth and surrounded the camp of the saints and the beloved city. And fire came down from God out of heaven and devoured them. 10 The devil, who deceived them, was cast into the lake of fire and brimstone where the beast and the false prophet are. And they will be tormented day and night forever and ever.” Revelation 20:7-10   Revelation shows that there will be the desire for rebellion and war in the hearts of men. Eventually, a large-scale rebellion against the Lord and His people will occur. These show us that the “restoration of all things” is more in line with the pre-flood world than it is with the pre-fall world.   Unlike the pre-flood world, though, its defining character is that righteousness will be more prevalent than sin. Genesis 6 shows how desperately wicked man on earth became. On the other hand, with the messianic rule, man will be guided to (for the most part) make right moral choices and to live in a manner honoring of the Lord. Peter, citing Isaiah, will refer to this epoch of time later in his second epistle –   “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night, in which the heavens will pass away with a great noise, and the elements will melt with fervent heat; both the earth and the works that are in it will be burned up. 11 Therefore, since all these things will be dissolved, what manner of persons ought you to be in holy conduct and godliness, 12 looking for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be dissolved, being on fire, and the elements will melt with fervent heat? 13 Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.” 2 Peter 3:10-13   It will be this time of long life and one dominant ruling government under the Lord that Peter speaks of now to the men of Israel. Of this, he next says, “which God has spoken.”   The words signify divine inspiration. It is what Peter will also refer to in his second epistle –   “And so we have the prophetic word confirmed, which you do well to heed as a light that shines in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts; 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation, 21 for prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.” 2 Peter 1:19-21   God speaks, His words foretell, and what He says will come to pass. But His words are conveyed through men. Israel understood this because they were the people who kept these oracles of God. As such, Peter continues with, “by the mouth of all His holy prophets.”   This does not mean that all of the prophets spoke of this future period. Rather, it means that there is a united message from God that is conveyed by His true prophets. Their message is one because God is One. What God speaks through His many prophets is, therefore, a reliable testimony of what He has done, is doing, and will continue to do throughout all of redemptive history. And that message is ultimately given for one overarching purpose which is to reveal Himself through the Person of Jesus Christ.   This consistent message of prophecy has occurred “since the world began.” The Greek reads “from the age.” It signifies from the earliest point. God spoke the universe into existence, and yet John 1 says that the Word was there at the beginning with God. It says that all things were made through Him. Thus, even though those words were penned long after they occurred, both Moses and John spoke of things concerning the very beginning.   Everything about the creation account ultimately points to God's work in Christ. When evaluated from that perspective, the words come alive as to why the Lord had them recorded in His word. Further, Moses records the words of the Lord of Genesis 3:15, the first explicit prophecy concerning the coming of Christ known as the protoevangelium –   “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”   Everything in the word is given through God's prophets to lead us to this wonderful understanding of God's workings in and through His Messiah, Jesus.   Life application: When reading the Bible, we should continuously ask ourselves why God used the specific words and stories. In our asking, we should question how these things point to Christ. When we discover the answer, the narrative comes alive in an entirely new way.   However, we have to be extremely careful to never insert our ideas into the Bible. It is very easy to decide a passage means what we want it to mean. That is not a healthy way of reviewing Scripture. Rather let us evaluate what is presented and compare it with the rest of Scripture in order to form a sound picture of the typology God is presenting. Otherwise, we can find ourselves making anything say anything. This is not honoring of God and of His precious word.   Lord God, thank You for the wonderful gift You have presented to us in the pages of Scripture. It is a wonder, a marvel, and a treasure. Prompt us, O God, to open it and seek out its secrets all the days of our lives. Thank You for Your majestic and superior word! Amen.

    Acts 3:20

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 27, 2021 8:08

    Monday, 27 December 2021   and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before, Acts 3:20   The words now continue the thought of Peter that is being expressed to the men of Israel. As they are a continuation of the previous verse, it is right to restate them together –   Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, 20 and that He may send Jesus Christ, who was preached to you before,   The context demands that attention is paid to who is being addressed. It is specifically Israel. They had killed their Messiah, and they are being asked to repent of this. Like Peter's words of Acts 2, the matter has absolutely nothing to do with Gentiles. The “times of refreshing” are a certain reference to what we now know as the millennial kingdom. To Israel, it was a time anticipated in the prophets concerning a coming messianic kingdom where the Lord's Messiah would reign among them.   This is then more fully confirmed with the words of verse 3:30, which say, “and that He.” This is referring to “the Lord” who was just noted in the previous words, “so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” The times of refreshing will come from the Lord, and Peter notes that it is He who then “may send Jesus Christ.”   The Jews standing there have been told that their Messiah had been glorified (verse 2:13). In the coming verse, Peter will explain that this means He is currently in heaven. Thus, Jesus is not among them, nor will He be among them until a set time and after a specific event has taken place.   This is an obvious conclusion when Peter has already noted that what happened to Jesus at the hand of the Jews was “foretold by the mouth of all His prophets” as noted in verse 3:18. Those hearing Jesus' words would more clearly understand that there is a set purpose and a set time for all things to occur, including the absence and then return of their Messiah.   As noted several times already, Jesus has clearly and unambiguously told the people when He would return –   “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing! 35 See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!'” Luke 13:34, 35   Jerusalem is the seat of power and authority. It is from where Israel's rulers direct the affairs of the nation. At the time of Jesus' words, it was anticipated that they would reject Him. This came to pass, and Peter is again telling them that what they did to their Messiah required that they repent of it as individuals, but also on a national scale. Until the leaders of Israel acknowledge Christ Jesus as their Messiah, He will not return. When they do, He will. And when He does, the times of refreshing – the messianic age – will come to pass. All Scripture will be fulfilled, and not a word of the Lord shall fail.   It is this scenario, concerning this Jesus, that Peter next notes, “who was preached to you before.” This is certainly referring to the words he conveyed to the people in this same location on the day of Pentecost and who he again stood and proclaimed now after the healing of the beggar.   They had seen the coming of the Spirit, they had seen the healing of the man, and they had choices to make. And those choices must be rendered both individually and collectively. Again, the passage before us has absolutely nothing to do with Gentiles. They have not ever been mentioned in any of what is occurring in the narrative. Israel must be first presented with the opportunity to receive her King. As that fails to come to pass, the message will begin to go out to those who would gladly receive the good news of salvation by faith in His completed work.   Having said that, nothing is said – here or elsewhere – that if the Jews rejected their Messiah, they would be rejected as the people of the Lord. In fact, the opposite is explicitly stated in both testaments of Scripture, including the verse now being considered. It is up to the Jews for them to be restored. When they do what is expected of them, it will come to pass.   Life application: Two particular points should be considered from the verse that is being looked at. The first is that it is never said in Scripture that the Lord is returning to His church so that times of refreshing may result. The church isn't under punishment and in need of refreshing.   Instead, it has been a part of the nations of the world. Anyone who calls out to God through the gospel of Jesus becomes a part of the church. The idea of “refreshing” implies that such is needed. Israel would be judged for the rejection of Christ, and the resulting punishments of the curses – laid out in the Law of Moses – would be realized. It is from that state that refreshing would be needed. Jesus will return to Israel when they first return (repent and acknowledge) Him.   However, Jesus never returns to the church because He never left the church. Jesus will gather His church together in the air, exactly as Paul describes in 1 Thessalonians 4. It is not a return at all; it is a rapturous event.   The second point is that just because it says that the Lord (implying Yehovah of the Old Testament Scriptures) will send Jesus Christ, it in no way negates that Jesus is the God/Man. This cannot be used as a verse to deny the deity of Christ. In the Old Testament, there are times where one verse will speak of God and another of the Lord. Both are clearly presented as God though.   At times, the Angel of the Lord is sent by God, and yet – when He is – He is clearly identified as the Lord (Yehovah). This is the same with Jesus in the New Testament. The Lord (the divine God) will send Jesus Christ (the Man who is the Messiah) to the people of Israel. But He does it by sending Himself in the form of a Man, just as occurs so many times in the Old Testament. There is no contradiction at all here. Rather, the Person of Jesus is the full, final, and forever expression of who this “Angel of the Lord” is who is found in the Old Testament.   We now know and more fully understand what Israel could not even guess at. If they did, they would not have crucified their Messiah (1 Corinthians 2:8). But in rejecting Him, they rejected the Lord God. The two are One. He is the God/Man. He is JESUS.   Heavenly Father, how great it is to know that You have expressed Yourself in the Person of Jesus so that we can understand who You are. We can also appreciate all that You were willing to do in order to reconcile us to Yourself. Thank You for the story of redemption and love that is so beautifully expressed in the coming of Jesus. Amen.

    Acts 3:19

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 26, 2021 13:49

    Sunday, 26 December 2021   Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, Acts 3:19   The words of verse 17 just said, “I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers.” It is based on those words that we next read of Peter saying, “Repent therefore.” The Greek word is metanoeó. It means “to change one's mind or purpose,” “to think differently after,” and so on. It does not mean actually doing any work at all. It is simply a changing of the heart (the heart signifying the reasoning process of a person in the Bible).   Just as in Acts 2:38, Peter is telling the people (it is second person plural, and thus he is speaking to each person as much as to all of the people gathered before him) to change their minds. The question is, “About what?” The answer is, “About Jesus, the Messiah, and their rejection of Him.” Though they did it in ignorance, they had rejected and killed Him. As such, they had to repent of this. Their mind was, “Crucify Him. He is not our King.” Their change in mind must correspond to that: “We believe! He is our Messiah!”   The word “repent” is prescriptive for Israel who had crucified Jesus. It is not prescriptive for anyone else who has not first rejected Jesus. In other words, the same two examples that were used in Acts 2:38 will help remind what the intent here is –   John walks up to Tom and tells him about Jesus. Tom had never heard of Jesus. Tom does not need to repent of anything. He needs to simply believe the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4) and he will be sealed with the Holy Spirit, and he will be saved (Ephesians 1:13, 14). Tom has heard the gospel. Tom has rejected the gospel. Tom must “repent” of his former rejection (change his mind), believe the gospel, and Tom will be saved.   This is the context of Peter's words. The men of Israel, and Israel collectively, must repent of what they had previously thought concerning Jesus. For those who will do so, Peter then says, “and be converted.” The Greek word is epistrephó. It signifies to turn or return. It corresponds to the Hebrew word shuv, which bears basically the same meaning, and which is used in the same manner time and again towards Israel –   “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Repent, turn away from your idols, and turn your faces away from all your abominations. 7 For anyone of the house of Israel, or of the strangers who dwell in Israel, who separates himself from Me and sets up his idols in his heart and puts before him what causes him to stumble into iniquity, then comes to a prophet to inquire of him concerning Me, I the Lord will answer him by Myself. 8 I will set My face against that man and make him a sign and a proverb, and I will cut him off from the midst of My people. Then you shall know that I am the Lord. Ezekiel 14:6-8   In essence, Peter's words say, “Change your mind and turn back.” Israel had denied Christ, they had asked for a murderer in His place, and they had then killed Him (Acts 3:14, 15). Peter is asking them to “undeny” the Lord and to return to right thinking concerning Him, turning back to the path that God had purposed in Christ Jesus. Peter then says, “that your sins may be blotted out.”   The guilt of the sin was carefully laid out by Peter. The guilt remained unatoned for and was clearly written upon them for God to see. But Peter says that those sins could be “blotted out.” It is a new word in Scripture, exaleiphó. It signifies complete removal, as in wiping away or being erased. This word will be found in Colossians 2:14 concerning the ending of the Law of Moses because of Christ's work –   And you, being dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, He has made alive together with Him, having forgiven you all trespasses, 14 having wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us, which was contrary to us. And He has taken it out of the way, having nailed it to the cross. 15 Having disarmed principalities and powers, He made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them in it. Colossians 2:13-15   In Christ, the law is fulfilled and ended. But without Christ, the guilt of the law stands against those who will be judged by it. In coming to Christ, the sin is atoned for and there is no longer the imputation of future sin.   This is exactly what Peter is referring to. The sin of those who had crucified Christ will be atoned for by simply changing their mind and turning back to the proper path. Ezekiel spoke of the “idols of the heart,” and law observance had become exactly that to the people. Instead of coming to Christ, the embodiment of the law, they wanted Him crucified and thought to do things their own way. No atonement, apart from Christ, could cover such a sin (see Hebrews 6:4). But in returning to Christ, the sins could be blotted out “so that times of refreshing may come.”   The word translated as “times” signifies a season or a fitting moment, such as the timing of the harvest. The right times for “refreshing” would come upon the turning of the people. This word, translated as “refreshing,” is found only here in Scripture. It signifies “to breath easily.” As such, it is the state of being revived with fresh air. One can think of stagnation and oppression until that time. But when the time comes, there will be deep breaths of cooling. And Peter finishes up noting that these will be “from the presence of the Lord.”   The Greek word is prosópon. It comes from two words signifying “towards the eye.” Thus, it refers to the face or the countenance, corresponding to the Hebrew word panim, or face. The idea then is the favorable countenance of the Lord looking toward people.   In Leviticus 26, the Lord told the people that if they were not obedient that His face would be against them –   I will set My face against you, and you shall be defeated by your enemies. Leviticus 26:17   In their rejection of Christ, the Lord had set His face against the people He would pursue them and destroy them. Only in calling out to Christ will this time end and will the times of the Lord turning His face to them in favor come to pass.   Life application: What Peter says to Israel now is never used by those who insist on baptism as a necessary part of being saved. Instead, they cite Acts 2:38 and leave it at that. But look at the two verses side by side –   “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” Acts 2:38   “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” Acts 3:19   What happened in Acts 2? The believers were baptized into the Holy Spirit. In Acts 2, the people were told to repent and be baptized (most assuredly speaking of the baptism of the Spirit – one being the result of the other). What happened in Acts 3? A man was healed of his infirmity. The people are told to repent and be converted (the changing of the mind results in the action of turning back to the Lord). In both, the sins are forgiven (remission/blotting out). In one, the gift of the Holy Spirit is promised. In the other refreshing from the favorable face of the Lord, instead of oppression which comes from the face of the Lord being turned against them, is the result.   The man is being used as an object lesson (a sign) concerning the state of Israel, just as the event of speaking in tongues was used as a sign to Israel. It is as clear as the nose on one's face that the ONLY thing that Israel is being instructed to do in order to be forgiven is to “repent,” or “change the mind.” This is perfectly in accord with all other instances of salvation in Scripture.   If one has been given the gospel and rejected it, he must – by default – repent of that state of mind. If a person has never been given the gospel and he then accepts it, only his faith – and nothing more – saves him. At that moment, he is sealed with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 1:13, 14), and he is saved.   Doctrine falls into individual categories. When the categories are mixed, faulty theology is the result. If anyone ever tells you that you must be baptized (water baptism) in order to be saved, be sure to explain to him what is actually being conveyed in Acts 2:38 and Acts 3:19. If he continues in his faulty theology, separate yourself from him. He is teaching a false gospel.   And remember, Acts is a descriptive account of what is happening. Read it, understand what the purpose of each event is given for, and then consider it as a historical record of what happened. But to obtain right doctrine, go to the epistles and study them, applying their precepts to your walk before the Lord.   Lord God, thank you for the consistent message of Scripture. We are saved by grace alone through faith alone. Anything else is a false gospel. May we proclaim the simple path to salvation that came at the high cost of Christ's work on our behalf. Amen.

    Acts 3:18

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 25, 2021 12:49

    Saturday, 25 December 2021   But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled. Acts 3:18   Peter, after having clearly identified the men of Israel as having been those who killed their Messiah, then noted that they did it in ignorance. A sin of ignorance, as was seen in the previous commentary, could be forgiven with the appropriate sacrifices. But now, Peter doesn't say to them, “You must observe the rituals laid down by Moses for the atonement of your sins.” Rather, he immediately turns to explain what those sacrifices only anticipated. He does this by beginning with, “But those things.”   This is referring to what he had just said in the previous verses –   But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.   What Peter is saying is that what occurred in the betrayal and crucifixion of Christ Jesus had a set purpose. Despite the fact that Israel did these things, thus bearing guilt for their actions, the very things they did actually served as the means of making their own forgiveness possible. This continues to be seen with the words, “which God foretold.”   In other words, the things that happened to Jesus were actually prophesied in advance, meaning that God knew what would occur. Despite this, two things are to be taken as axioms: 1) God did not cause the events. His foreknowledge does not mean active participation in the event. And 2) the people bore guilt for their actions. God's foreknowledge does not negate personal culpability in the things that they participated in.   God, knowing all things and understanding the hearts of the people of Israel, foresaw their rejection of Christ and allowed them to continue through with His crucifixion, knowing that it would be the means by which the world could be saved. What should have occurred, came about. God's plans and purposes were fulfilled exactly as spoken “by the mouth of all His prophets.”   This is clearly evidenced throughout Scripture, especially it is seen in typology, but it is also directly prophesied to have occurred at times. Jesus indicated this after the resurrection –   Then He said to them, “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Ought not the Christ to have suffered these things and to enter into His glory?” 27 And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24:25-27   The word of God reveals Jesus. From beginning to end, He is the main subject of what God is doing in the span of redemptive history. The word of God is given to show this. And the word of God clearly revealed the sacrifice of Christ for the sins of man. Of all of the words of the prophets, this is most explicitly seen in Isaiah 52:13-53:12. Take the time to read that short passage today, thinking about how they point to the Person of Jesus. In those words, as elsewhere in Scripture, it clearly indicates “that the Christ would suffer.”   By saying this, Peter is plainly and unambiguously saying that the sufferings of Christ were prophesied in advance, and that what happened to Him was in fulfillment of Scripture. As this is so, and as all of the sacrificial system pointed to what He would do, Scripture – meaning the Law of Moses – is fulfilled in Him. As such, it is now set aside (made obsolete and annulled) in Him.   With this understanding, Peter is indicating that Jesus – not the sacrificial system of the law – is the only Sacrifice acceptable to atone for what they had done. Depending on our knowledge of the Old Testament, we may or may not get this. But the men standing before Peter would. They had heard that God foretold these things, that Christ was the fulfillment of what was spoken forth, and that there was intent and purpose behind those events. Everything added up, and they would have fully grasped this, whether they believed it or not.   This is perfectly evident from discussions with Jews today. Any Jew who is even remotely versed in Scripture, and who understands who Jesus is, knows fully well that Christians believe this to be true. They grasp the theology mentally, but they do not believe it to be so. They also know it because throughout the centuries, a remnant of believing Jews has always existed. There are Jews who have not only grasped what is said, but they have believed it. Of these things concerning the sufferings of Christ that were prophesied in advance, Peter – still speaking of God in Christ – says, “He has thus fulfilled.”   As before, this does not mean that God actively caused these things to happen. And further, God could have actively stopped them from happening. This is evidenced by Jesus' words prior to His crucifixion –   But Jesus said to him, “Put your sword in its place, for all who take the sword will perish by the sword. 53 Or do you think that I cannot now pray to My Father, and He will provide Me with more than twelve legions of angels? 54 How then could the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must happen thus?” Matthew 26:52-54   God allowed the events to take their course because He knew that what Christ would do was necessary for restoration between Him and man to take place. But the guilt of what took place rests squarely upon Israel for their actions, the denial they professed, and the rejection that occurred among them. Peter has stated it is so, he has shown that Scripture confirms his words, and he will next explain what they need to do in order to be forgiven for their actions. He will also explain to them what a failure to do what is necessary will mean for them.   Life application: When thought through, this verse is a good one to understand other important issues that arise in theology, such as the process of salvation. For example, many people believe that because God knows in advance what will transpire, it necessarily follows that man does not actually have free will. This is nonsense, and that becomes perfectly evident from evaluating this verse.   If that were so, then there would be no culpability for Israel's actions in having crucified their Messiah. Peter clearly told them that Scripture foretold what would happen. And yet, he also unmistakably has told them that they are guilty before God because of it, and they must do something in order to be absolved of their guilt. God's foreknowledge in no way negates man's free will, nor the guilt that comes from exercising it.   Further, God's foreknowledge in no way negates man's responsibility toward the gospel. As an example, Calvinism teaches that man does not have free will in choosing Christ. It says that man is incapable of calling out to God because he is totally depraved. But total depravity can have various meanings. Just two of the many examples of total depravity are:   Man is completely fallen and cannot choose what is good. The image of God in him is erased. Man is fallen and can do nothing pleasing to God because he bears a sin nature. But man still bears the image of God, even if it is marred. He still has a knowledge of what is right and wrong. He can see the good and choose it.    The first is wrong on the surface. James 3:9 clearly indicates that the image of God in man remains. And more, Genesis 3:22 plainly indicates that in the fall of man, he obtained the knowledge of good and evil. He can know the difference and choose what is good and what is evil (see Genesis 4:7).   With the incorrect view of man in relation to God, Calvinism says that man cannot receive Christ without God intervening. As such, it teaches that God chooses who will be saved, He regenerates their spirit (they are born again), they then can choose what is good by calling on Christ, and they are then saved. In essence, a person is saved before he is saved. It is confused thinking and poor theology.   Calvinists cling to John 6:44 as evidence of their view –   No one can come to Me unless the Father who sent Me draws him; and I will raise him up at the last day.   Using this verse as a stand-alone rejects the entire context of what Jesus is saying. In John 5, Jesus distinctly indicates that God uses Scripture for this very purpose. God the Father IS DRAWING man through the word of God. The word of God speaks of Christ, and Christ came to fulfill Scripture. As such, Jesus later says in John 12:32 –   “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”    In every numbering system ever devised, except that used by Calvinists, 12:32 comes after 6:44. There is a reason why Jesus' words are placed there. It is because Scripture is used to draw man to God. Jesus fulfills and thus embodies Scripture. Therefore, when He is crucified, He will become the principal means for God to draw men to Himself. This is just one of the many points where Calvinism incorrectly uses Scripture to come to erroneous conclusions concerning key theological points of doctrine. Conclusion to life application: Calvinism is a failed theological system.   Lord God, thank You for the offer of Jesus Christ that has been presented to all people. It is by personal faith, through free will, that we are allowed to believe or reject Your offer. This demonstrates a great care for Your creatures. You allow us, without forcing us, to simply believe and be saved. Thank You for this offer of peace and reconciliation. Yes, thank You for the gospel of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

    Acts 3:17

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 24, 2021 10:00

    Friday, 24 December 2021   “Yet now, brethren, I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers. Acts 3:17   Peter has scathingly rebuked the “Men of Israel” (verse 3:12), and then he provided the explanation for his rebuke in the previous verse. With that stated, he changes his address, saying, “Yet now, brethrern.”   He spoke to them as countrymen on an equal but general manner when he called them “Men of Israel.” It was clearly a way of identifying himself with them as being of the same people who committed the crime of killing their Messiah without sharing directly in the guilt. Now, his address draws them into a closer bond, as if the past deeds are forgivable, and by which a restored closeness within the nation is readily possible. With this stated, he next says, “I know that you did it in ignorance.”   They are still men of Israel, and they still – both individually and collectively – bear the guilt for what occurred, even if done in ignorance. This is clearly laid out in their own law –   “Speak to the children of Israel, saying: ‘If a person sins unintentionally against any of the commandments of the Lord in anything which ought not to be done, and does any of them, 3 if the anointed priest sins, bringing guilt on the people, then let him offer to the Lord for his sin which he has sinned a young bull without blemish as a sin offering.” Leviticus 4:2-4 (Individual sin).   &   “Now if the whole congregation of Israel sins unintentionally, and the thing is hidden from the eyes of the assembly, and they have done something against any of the commandments of the Lord in anything which should not be done, and are guilty; 14 when the sin which they have committed becomes known, then the assembly shall offer a young bull for the sin, and bring it before the tabernacle of meeting.” Leviticus 4:13, 14 (The entire congregation).   Because of their guilt, each person must make the appropriate sacrifice for what he has done. And because the entire nation bears guilt, there must be a national sacrifice for what they have collectively done. But Peter will not direct them to make those sacrifices demanded by the Law of Moses, which are only types and shadows of the coming Messiah. Rather, he will call for them to “repent” and be converted, as will be noted in verse 3:19.   A new order of things has come, and a new means of satisfying God through the atonement process has been realized. The church is only at the very beginning of understanding this. It will take all of the New Testament epistles to fully realize the magnitude of what Christ did through His sacrificial work. For now, Peter simply points out that their guilt exists, even if it was done in ignorance. And this extends beyond the common people who may be standing before him. This is seen in his final words of the verse, “as did also your rulers.”   The rulers were responsible for the killing of Jesus, even if they too did it in ignorance. They bore the guilt of the act. But more, as leaders, their guilt must be admitted before the nation can find its promised redemption. That is seen, again, in the Levitical law –   ‘When a ruler has sinned, and done something unintentionally against any of the commandments of the Lord his God in anything which should not be done, and is guilty, ... So the priest shall make atonement for him concerning his sin, and it shall be forgiven him.” Leviticus 4:22 & 4:26   Israel bears guilt in various ways for what they have done. The Law of Moses can no longer purge their guilt. This is clearly laid out in the book of Hebrews, explaining that everything that happened under the law was only anticipatory of the coming of Christ. When Christ came, He fulfilled that law. In His fulfillment of it, it is annulled (Hebrews 7:18), it is obsolete (Hebrews 8:13), and it is set aside (Hebrews 10:9).   The Law of Moses is done. It is nailed to the cross (Colossians 2:14). In saying it is nailed to the cross, it means that Christ embodied it. He fulfilled it. And in His death, it died with Him. When He came out of the grave, it was under the establishment of a new and better covenant.   Paul's words to Timothy clearly understood the guilt he bore, even when his actions were in ignorance, but the forgiveness he had received was absolute when it came through the finished, final, and forever work of Jesus Christ –   “And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord who has enabled me, because He counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry, 13 although I was formerly a blasphemer, a persecutor, and an insolent man; but I obtained mercy because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.” 1 Timothy 1:12, 13   Life application: The nation of Israel continues to bear the guilt for what it did in rejecting Christ, even two thousand years later. Nothing can atone for their guilt apart from repenting of their actions, calling out to Christ, and being restored through the New Covenant. The Tribulation period that lies ahead will be the seven final years of the Mosaic Law being worked out in order for them to figure this out (Daniel 9:24-27).   The incredible thing to consider isn't that the nation of Israel hasn't figured this out, but that innumerable people who should know better – because they have the New Testament right there before them – cannot seem to figure it out.   There is a constant returning to the Law of Moses, in part or in whole, as they try to earn what God has already granted. They try to work through what God has already accomplished. And they will never find rest nor peace in the Lord through doing so.   Grace is grace. It cannot be earned. One must simply trust in what Christ has done, and then live out his life with this continued understanding. Be sure to run from the Hebrew Roots Movement, Seventh Day Adventism, and any other church that reinstates precepts from a fulfilled and now-obsolete law. And stay away from those who say that Jews have either a different gospel (hyperdispensationalism) or can be saved through adherence to the Law of Moses (dual-covenantalism).   There is one gospel, it is the only way to reconciliation with God. What happens in Acts is merely a descriptive account of how the church developed while its theology was in the process of being laid out by the apostles. Their epistles explain how all things find their fulfillment and completion in Christ.   Lord God, thank You that Christ is the fulfillment and the end of the law that stood against us. Yes, praise God for Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

    Acts 3:16

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 23, 2021 9:44

    Thursday, 23 December 2021   And His name, through faith in His name, has made this man strong, whom you see and know. Yes, the faith which comes through Him has given him this perfect soundness in the presence of you all. Acts 3:16   Peter has conveyed to the people their denial and killing of Jesus, but God's approval of Him through the resurrection. With that stated, he now immediately turns to the power that comes with this fact. The Greek reads in a different order than the NKJV cited above –   And His name, through faith in His name... (NKJV) And upon the faith of the name of Him... (my translation)   In this, the Greek does not say dia, or “through.” It says epi, or “upon.” It is an important distinction. There is also an article which must be translated, “the faith.” The account from Luke is precise. This man had not heard any word concerning Christ Jesus. Peter simply brought him from being a cripple to being healed –   And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; 3 who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. 4 And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.” 5 So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. 6 Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” 7 And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. Acts 3:2-7   It was not the man's faith, but “the faith” which is found in Jesus Christ. One might say, “The church is established upon the faith found in (as the basis of) the name of Jesus.” This is the thought being expressed by Peter. The corresponding account of Paul healing a cripple is completely different –   And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother's womb, who had never walked. 9 This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, 10 said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked. Acts 14:8-10   There, it refers to the man's faith. He had faith (there is no preceding article in the Greek) to be healed after hearing the gospel and Paul commanded him to stand. As for Peter, he healed the man based upon the faith found in (based upon) the name of Jesus. It is this faith which Peter says, “has made this man strong.”   Faith in the man was not a requirement for this healing for exactly the reason that Peter had been explaining. Israel was guilty of crucifying their Messiah, but to demonstrate that God had, in fact, raised Christ, the power of His name was used to prove the matter. This is to contrast what Peter said in verse 3:12   “...why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?” (3:12)   “And upon the faith of the name of Him has made this man strong.” (3:16).   This is the proof of what Paul carefully explained in the intervening verses. The miracle had been wrought by power which is upon (based on) the faith of the name. As an additional note of the undeniable surety of the matter, Peter next says, “whom you see and know.”   So surely is this a valid miracle that Acts 4 will detail a trial held by the leaders concerning what happened. There it says –   For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” 21 So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done. 22 For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed. Acts 4:20-22   The people knew the man, they had seen the miraculous change in his physical body, and they had no excuse to not believe what their eyes beheld. Peter's words, as recorded by Luke, are precise and exacting. This includes what he next says to the people, “Yes, the faith which comes through Him.”   This time, the translation is correct. The word dia, or “through,” is used when speaking of Christ. Again, it is not speaking of the man's faith. It is speaking of “the faith,” meaning the basis of the faith, which comes through the resurrected Messiah. It is this new formulation in the ongoing redemptive narrative that has been presented to Israel.   In times past, miracles were done in the name of the Lord, Yehovah. But now, it is power in the name of Jesus (Yeshua – Salvation), that such miracles are proclaimed, and which then occur. As such, Peter notes that the faith which comes through Jesus “has given him this perfect soundness.”   Here, Peter uses a word found only this one time in the Bible, holokléria. Souter says that it pertains to “the condition of wholeness, where all the parts work together for ‘unimpaired health.'” The miracle was wrought, and there was nothing lacking in it. The man went from a total cripple from his mother's womb to a man that could walk and leap about without even needing to be trained to do so once his body was healed. Everything worked as if it had been working all his life. With that stated, Peter finishes with a note that it was done “in the presence of you all.”   Even if the people didn't actually see the healing happen, many had come through the same gate just before it happened. The man lay there, broken and helpless, begging alms. Some may have handed him a coin. Some may have pointed at him and mocked. Some may have said to their children, “This is the curse of God.” Whatever they thought or did as they passed, they had seen him in laying there, understanding his condition was hopeless. And yet, he was now before them completely healed. The testimony to all of the people concerning the faith in the name could not be denied.   Life application: Just a few incorrectly translated prepositions and missing articles can change the entire meaning of a verse. And with the change in meaning, there is seen to be an entirely different purpose for what was said than would otherwise have been known. Israel is being given instruction on a miracle that occurred among them. But with the faulty translation of the KJV, which is then repeated in the NKJV, people will have a complete misunderstanding of what is being conveyed.   In Acts 14, in the comparable healing passage which refers to Paul, there will be a different design and purpose for what is said. In noticing these differences, one's theology will be strengthened and more perfectly aligned with what the Bible is telling us. But without noticing these things, we will remain deficient in our thinking.   In learning this lesson, it should teach us for our own spiritual lives. Let us endeavor to always be precise in how we present the gospel. Including various words not laid out in Scripture concerning the gospel, we can easily present a false gospel. The beauty of being saved by faith alone through Christ alone can be obliterated by saying something as innocuous as “repent and be baptized.”   Acts 2:38 says this but Acts 2:38 must be taken in its proper context (as noted then) or a false impression of what Peter was saying (and to whom he is speaking) will arise. Learn the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4), and then proclaim that by believing that message of salvation will be realized. Yes, let us be precise concerning such important matters.   O God, help us to be faithful in presenting the gospel of Jesus Christ to others. And when we do, help us to faithfully present it. May our words be words approved by You in Your word so that no errors in thinking arise in those we speak to. To Your glory we pray, Amen

    Acts 3:15

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 22, 2021 8:55

    Wednesday, 22 December 2021   and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses. Acts 3:15   The previous verse should be cited together with this to see the contrast and to better understand the paradox that is presented –   “But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, 15 and killed the Prince of life, whom God raised from the dead, of which we are witnesses.”   The immediate contrast –   “asked for a murderer” / “killed the Prince of life.”   The paradox –    The Prince of life was killed.   The broader contrast –   “But you denied the Holy One and the Just” / “whom God raised from the dead.”   Peter sets the actions of Israel in complete contrast one to another. Whereas they asked for Barabbas, a man who purposefully ended another's life, they also killed the One who grants it. The word archégos is introduced here. It will be seen again in Acts 5 and then twice in Hebrews. It comes from arché, meaning “beginning” or “origin,” and agó, “to lead” or “to guide.” Hence, it is one who is a file-leader. He sets the way for others to follow.   Some translations use the term “author.” Though this is a close thought, it is not exact. It more closely would signify an originator or founder that continues to lead. Its other uses will help understand the significance of the word –   Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. Acts 5:31    For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. Hebrews 2:10   looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12:2   Christ is the “file-Leader” of life, of restoring others to God, of salvation itself, and of the faith possessed by those who look to Him. The question of what “life” is being referred to is appropriate. It could be referring to life itself, that which animates humans (and indeed all life), or it could refer to the “life” which is obtained through restoration with God, meaning the spiritual restoration to God that was lost at the fall.   The immediate context is surely referring to the latter because Peter will next speak of the resurrection that makes this life possible. But the former is true as well. Jesus is clearly revealed as the Lord (YHVH) of the Old Testament Scriptures. It is He who breathed life into Adam at the first (Genesis 2:7), but He is also the one who indicated He would breathe the new life, the Holy Spirit, into those who would come to Him by faith (John 20:22). In Him is life (John 1:4), both the initial giving of it, and the restoration of that spiritual life through His completed work.   It is this One that Israel killed, revealing the great paradox. How could the file-Leader of life die? And yet, He had to die to bring about life in those who killed Him. One necessitated the other. It reveals the wisdom and the immensity of God's plans. And in their killing of Christ came the victory over death, as Peter notes, saying, “but whom God raised from the dead.”   Peter has already said in Acts 2:24 that “it was not possible that He should be held” by death. This is because “the wages of sin is death.” But Christ, the Prince of life, had no sin. As such, death could not hold Him. He had done nothing to earn death, and He therefore was resurrected by the power of God.   Life was found in Him who is the life. The enormity of the event, and the piercing nature of the words, must have been terrifying to those who realized what they meant. And to make certain that the words could be trusted, Peter next says, “of which we are witnesses.”   It is debated what Peter is referring to:   “the Prince of life...of whom we are witnesses.” “God raised from the dead...of which we are witnesses.”   Either way, the fact is that Peter and John are witnesses, thus establishing the truth of the matter as required by law. They did witness the life and deeds of Christ, and they did witness Christ in His resurrection. Both testify to the fact that He was, and still remained, the Messiah. Israel is being presented with information that they cannot live without. Likewise, each individual was being presented with that same information. The choice is both an individual one and it is a collective one. Each person standing there had to individually choose to believe, and the nation as a whole – who was under the terms of the Mosaic Covenant – had to do so as well.   Life application: What God has done in Christ is incredible in the extreme. But it is not impossible to believe. If the story of Jesus was just one made up in the minds of a group of people at a given time, it could easily be ignored.   However, the books of the Bible span about fifteen hundred years of time. And more, not only are they written over that span of time, but they encompass details that go from the very beginning of time until the end of time as we currently understand it – telling of things that would happen well into the future, and which continue to be realized even at the current time.   They are comprised of the writings of about forty different people. They are written in various locations throughout the Middle East. They are written in several different languages, and they are written to various groups of people.   Despite all of these things, the message found in these sixty-six books is a single, unified whole. It carries one overall theme while also carrying – very consistently – many individual themes that form it into a single body of literature that defines the very purpose of man's existence on earth.   The main theme, the Subject, of this compilation is God working in Christ in order to have an eternal relationship exist between the two. The Person of Jesus, who is Christ, is that Subject. It is He who is the Prince of life, and it is He to whom we are responsible.   Let us never forget this, and may we spend our time and energy – above all else – focused on this. Let us praise God, exalt Him, and magnify His glorious name for all the world to see and understand His goodness towards us in the giving of His Son. May this be how we direct our lives, all the days of our lives.   Lord God, thank You for what You have done in and through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

    Acts 3:14

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 21, 2021 12:36

    Tuesday, 21 December 2021   But you denied the Holy One and the Just, and asked for a murderer to be granted to you, Acts 3:14   Peter just noted to those gathered before him. They, men of Israel who should have known better, had delivered up Jesus when even a Gentile, Pilate, was determined to let Him go. To continue describing the guilt that rested upon them, he next says, “But you denied the Holy One.”   When considered, the irony is palpable. Israel denied the Holy One, something even the demons acknowledged –   Now there was a man in their synagogue with an unclean spirit. And he cried out, 24 saying, “Let us alone! What have we to do with You, Jesus of Nazareth? Did You come to destroy us? I know who You are—the Holy One of God!” Mark 1:23, 24   Despite even the demons knowing who Christ was, the men of Israel rejected him and denied His position as their Messiah – a title which includes the thought of kingship –   When Pilate therefore heard that saying, he brought Jesus out and sat down in the judgment seat in a place that is called The Pavement, but in Hebrew, Gabbatha. 14 Now it was the Preparation Day of the Passover, and about the sixth hour. And he said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” 15 But they cried out, “Away with Him, away with Him! Crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “Shall I crucify your King?” The chief priests answered, “We have no king but Caesar!” 16 Then he delivered Him to them to be crucified. Then they took Jesus and led Him away. John 19:13-16   Peter is standing before them and is defending who Christ Jesus is, preparing to explicitly state that it is He who healed the beggar. But before he does this, he wants them to understand the guilt they bear. What he has said so far cannot be denied. He was there, they were there, and they had called out the words rejecting Jesus. Peter next adds in another set of words to increase the accusation. Not only is He the Holy One, but Peter next says, “and the Just.”   The word signifies “righteous” or “just in the sight of God.” A righteous person is one who conforms to the will of God and meets His standards of uprightness. Peter claims that Jesus fits this description. But more, and again showing the irony of the matter, both Pilate and his wife recognized this quality in Him –   While he was sitting on the judgment seat, his wife sent to him, saying, “Have nothing to do with that just Man, for I have suffered many things today in a dream because of Him.” Matthew 27:19   When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.” 25 And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.” Matthew 27:24, 25   But even worse than this obvious fact is that Israel went a step further. Not only did they deny Christ who is both the Holy One and the Just, but they added to their guilt by violating the Law of Moses in an open and direct way. Peter explicitly states this by saying, “and asked for a murderer to be granted to you.”   The Greek reads, “and asked for a man, a murderer, to be granted to you.” In this, there is a hint of Christ's deity being conveyed by Peter without explicitly stating it. The Scriptures implicitly reveal the deity of the coming Messiah. Without getting into a long theological discussion about the matter, Peter sets Barabbas – a mere man – against the Holy One and the Just. But along with this contrast, Peter identifies Barabbas as a murderer. This fact, along with the request for his return, is recorded in Mark 15 –   Now at the feast he was accustomed to releasing one prisoner to them, whomever they requested. 7 And there was one named Barabbas, who was chained with his fellow rebels; they had committed murder in the rebellion. 8 Then the multitude, crying aloud, began to ask him to do just as he had always done for them. 9 But Pilate answered them, saying, “Do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” 10 For he knew that the chief priests had handed Him over because of envy. 11 But the chief priests stirred up the crowd, so that he should rather release Barabbas to them. 12 Pilate answered and said to them again, “What then do you want me to do with Him whom you call the King of the Jews?” 13 So they cried out again, “Crucify Him!” 14 Then Pilate said to them, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, “Crucify Him!” 15 So Pilate, wanting to gratify the crowd, released Barabbas to them; and he delivered Jesus, after he had scourged Him, to be crucified. Mark 15:6-15   Israel had called out for a murderer to be released to them while calling out for One who was clearly innocent to be led away for crucifixion. This is in direct violation of their own law –   “Moreover you shall take no ransom for the life of a murderer who is guilty of death, but he shall surely be put to death.” Numbers 35:31   And again –   ‘Cursed is the one who takes a bribe to slay an innocent person.' “And all the people shall say, ‘Amen!' Deuteronomy 27:25   Those guilty of murder were not to be allowed to live, and those who were innocent were not to be slain for the price of a bribe, which is essentially what occurred when they took Barabbas over Jesus. A bribe is a type of inducement which is given, normally illegally or through dishonesty, in order to act favorably towards one party over another. Israel looked for the favor (which is the meaning of the word used) of ridding them of this Man in exchange for a known criminal.   The testimony is recorded for the world to see, but while Peter stood before the men of Israel it was clearly evident that it was true. The events had only happened a short time earlier. There could be no denying what had transpired. The burden of guilt rested (and continues to rest) upon the nation who betrayed its Messiah.   Life application: Today, something unexpected has come upon the world. Within the past generation, the nation of Israel has been reestab lished. This is an amazing miracle that confirms the words of Scripture which stated this would come about. Only a short time ago in relation to their time of exile, it would never have even been imagined possible.   Because this has occurred, many churches and individuals take this as a sign of God's divine favor upon them and that their time of punishment is over. This is incorrect. The national guilt of Israel remains, and it will not be cleansed until they acknowledge Jesus as their rightful Messiah. That is explicitly stated by the Lord –   “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the one who kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to her! How often I wanted to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were not willing! 35 See! Your house is left to you desolate; and assuredly, I say to you, you shall not see Me until the time comes when you say, ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!” Luke 13:34, 35   God has returned the people to the land in preparation for this event, and it is right that Christians support this and pray for their restoration. But this does not mean that Israel is to be given a blanket approval for their actions. They, like all of the nations, are immersed in approving immorality. Their abortion laws are more liberal than most nations and they are working to make them even looser. As a nation, they do not acknowledge the hand of the Lord in their restoration, nor in their continued existence. They are filled with pride and self-righteousness, just like all of the nations of the world.   This must all be purged from them before they are a people prepared for their God. Let us take a balanced look at Israel and understand that God has done, is doing, and will continue to do the miraculous in and through them. And yet, they continue to reject Him and act indecently before Him. To this day, the words of Ezekiel 36 remain true of this peculiar nation –   “Therefore say to the house of Israel, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “I do not do this for your sake, O house of Israel, but for My holy name's sake, which you have profaned among  the nations wherever you went. 23 And I will sanctify My great name, which has been profaned among the nations, which you have profaned in their midst; and the nations shall know that I am the Lord,” says the Lord God, “when I am hallowed in you before their eyes.” Ezekiel 36:22, 23   Let us consider Israel in the light in which God does, just as any sinner. We evangelize the lost while condemning their actions. We hope for restoration and new life to be found in them, and we pray for their healing. So it should be in our attitude towards this wayward nation. Remember to pray for Israel.   Lord God, help us to have a right and proper understanding of the events unfolding in the world today. A people under sentence for their past actions are being prepared for a time where their guilt will be atoned for, and they will stand purified in Your presence. May that day be soon. Until then, we pray for Israel the people and for each within the nation. May Your Spirit continue to call them to Yourself through the cleansing power of the shed blood of Christ. Amen.

    Acts 3:13

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 20, 2021 12:20

    Monday, 20 December 2021   The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our fathers, glorified His Servant Jesus, whom you delivered up and denied in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let Him go. Acts 3:13   Peter now explains the source of the healing power that brought the beggar to full health of his legs. He had just noted that it was not by their own power or godliness that he was made to walk. Rather, his words will point to the power of God in Christ, beginning with, “The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.”   By introducing the patriarchs, Peter is clearly identifying the accomplishment of the miracle with the same God who had been faithfully followed by the fathers of the “men of Israel” whom he began to address in the previous verse. There has been an unbroken line of His power being displayed in this line, and Peter acknowledges that it continues at their present time. Having noted these three patriarchs by name, he next says that he is “the God of our fathers.”   The selection of this line was carefully recorded each step of the way. Abraham was called, he was directed by the Lord to follow a certain course of life, he was given promises and the covenant of faith was made with him. He was given the sign of circumcision. He was tested and the surety of the promise was restated because of his faithfulness.   From him, the line was carefully detailed to continue through Isaac, the son of promise. And from Isaac, the line continued through Jacob, who is Israel. The same God who had directed the course of events of their lives, and who had carefully detailed the continued course of events through the specified chosen line, is the same God who “glorified His Servant Jesus.”   By noting the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, Peter is carefully ensuring that he is proclaiming the works and power as belonging to that same God. He is not introducing a new god, nor is he introducing an aberrant way of worshipping this same God. Rather, as he continues, he will clearly demonstrate that “His Servant Jesus” is the fulfillment of the Scriptures.   As yet, Peter has not called their God by His name Lord (YHVH). Rather, he has only used the term “God” and affixed His identity to the patriarchs. What will be implied in his continued words is that the Lord their God is, in fact, the Lord Jesus. For now, however, he is acknowledging that Jesus is the One Scripture testifies to.   In this verse, some translations say “Son” or “Child” here instead of “Servant.” The word can be translated either way, but Peter is clearly identifying Christ in His role as the “Servant of the Lord” who was prophesied of in their Scriptures. More specifically, he is surely tying Him to the “Servant” of Isaiah 52/53 –   “Behold, My Servant shall deal prudently; He shall be exalted and extolled and be very high.” Isaiah 52:13   That this is what is on Peter's mind is to be inferred beginning with the next words which say, “whom you delivered up and denied.”   “He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.” Isaiah 53:3   The rejection of the Servant is prophesied in these words. Peter is calling them to mind and telling the people before Him that it is they who fulfilled this prophecy. There is no need to directly cite the words as they would have been familiar to all of the people before him. They would be able to clearly tie the prophecy together with the event, if they were mentally willing to do so. Peter then adds salt into the wound of the event by saying, “in the presence of Pilate.”   Not only did they reject the Servant of the God of their fathers who was glorified by Him, but they had done it in the presence of a Gentile ruler. They called out for a guilty sentence upon the One who was clearly innocent in God's eyes, but who was also clearly innocent in the eyes of this Gentile placed over them. Peter avows this poignantly by saying, “when he was determined to let Him go.”   The words of Pilate would have rushed back into the mind of any of the people who had been present at the time –   Pilate then went out again, and said to them, “Behold, I am bringing Him out to you, that you may know that I find no fault in Him.” 5 Then Jesus came out, wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. And Pilate said to them, “Behold the Man!” 6 Therefore, when the chief priests and officers saw Him, they cried out, saying, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” Pilate said to them, “You take Him an  d crucify Him, for I find no fault in Him.” 7 The Jews answered him, “We have a law, and according to our law He ought to die, because He made Himself the Son of God.” 8 Therefore, when Pilate heard that saying, he was the more afraid, 9 and went again into the Praetorium, and said to Jesus, “Where are You from?” But Jesus gave him no answer. 10 Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?” 11 Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.” 12 From then on Pilate sought to release Him, but the Jews cried out, saying, “If you let this Man go, you are not Caesar's friend. Whoever makes himself a king speaks against Caesar.” John 19:4-12   Pilate clearly saw the innocence of the Man, and he attempted to have him released several times. But more, the account shows that Pilate was aware that Jesus was more than just another “Man.” He may not have understood the truth of who Jesus was, but he understood that God's hand was certainly upon Him and thus it made the contrast to the angry calls of the Jews all the more striking.   This is clearly seen in the structure of Peter's words. As Vincent's Word Studies notes –   “He is ἐκείνου [ekeinou], the pronoun of more definite and emphatic reference, the latter, Pilate, ‘in order to make the contrast felt between what Pilate judged and what they did.' This is further emphasized in the next verse.”   Peter is setting the actions of Israel against the decision of Pilate, bringing the guilt of their conduct squarely back on them. And this is before even acknowledging that it is Christ Jesus who is the One who healed the man. That will not be specifically stated until verse 3:16. Peter is applying lashes upon the people before telling them of the healing balm that can bring restoration to their souls. For now, he is simply acknowledging that they bear guilt for the sin which they committed.   Life application: Peter's words reveal an effective way of reaching some people with the gospel. Some people already know that they are guilty of sin. They wear it on their shoulders for all the world to see, and they are scared of the day they have to meet their Maker. For these, the simple gospel that tells them Christ died for their sins is all they need to hear. When presented to them, the wonderful words of release flow over them like a flood of cool water while in a dry and barren land.   Others, however, feel just fine with themselves. They may compare themselves to others, as if God grades on a bell curve. “Well, I'm a lot better than most people. God understands my faults. All is good.” They have no idea that “others” are not a valid standard, but rather absolute perfection is.   For such people, they need to be presented with their (many) imperfections in light of the absolute perfection of the Lord. “You have done this in the presence of God, even a criminal can know that. Why can't you see this?” Eventually, when the sin is presented as an infinite crime against God, the person will then realize how terrible his state before God actually is. From that understanding, a presentation of the gospel will bring peace to the now-troubled soul.   Each person must be evaluated to understand what is going on in his or her mind. Once that is done, the proper approach to evangelizing is then to be pursued. Peter knew the guilt of the people before him, but because a miracle had been done in their presence, they sure thought that they were right with God. “We are Israel, and God is doing great things among us!”   To avoid any such notion that God approved of them because of what had been done, Peter gave them the bad news first. Let us use this tool when necessary.   Lord God, help us to be effective at telling others about Your wonderful workings in Christ on our behalf. Each person is an individual, and so help us to carefully understand what he needs to know in order to be saved. From there, may we then present it in a way that will be effective in his life. To Your glory we pray. Amen.

    Acts 3:12

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 19, 2021 7:48

    Sunday, 19 December 2021   So when Peter saw it, he responded to the people: “Men of Israel, why do you marvel at this? Or why look so intently at us, as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? Acts 3:12   It was just seen how the people ran together in amazement at what had taken place. Now, their attitude concerning this miracle becomes clear. They have misunderstood what the Source of the miracle actually is. It is something Peter will correct in his words ahead. As such, he begins with, “So when Peter saw it.”   This refers to the previous words, “all the people ran together to them.” The implication is that they think that what happened was because of the miraculous power of Peter and John. Running to them may have included words like, “Explain how you did it,” or “Let us see more of this.” Whatever it was, something clued Peter into the fact that the multitude thinks it was the apostles who are behind the healing. As such, it says, “he responded to the people.”   The Greek more literally reads, “he answered to the people.” However, saying this, the Bible's use of “answering” someone is not the way we use the term today. It can mean to answer, as in a response, but it also means “to take up a conversation.”   It also can be an answer based on an inferred, but unstated question. This is probably the case here. Even if the questions speculated on a moment ago were not actually asked, the expression of the people alone would be sufficient to elicit such an answer. With that in mind, Peter begins his discourse with, “Men of Israel.”   The Greek reads, “men, Israelites.” This is their defining clan and culture. Today, the term “Jew” is applied in the same manner, coming from the predominant tribe of Judah. However, before that became the customary identification, being an Israelite was the first and most important designation. It is to this group of people, descended from Jacob – who is Israel – that the next words are spoken, “why do you marvel at this?”   This is the same word used to describe the state of the people in Acts 2:7 –   “Then they were all amazed and marveled, saying to one another, ‘Look, are not all these who speak Galileans?'”   Peter could look at the faces and tell what was on their minds. There was the same sense of confused wonder that he had seen among the people when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples at Pentecost. At that time, Peter seized the opportunity to tell the people about the marvelous workings of God in Christ. Such will be the case again now. But to continue to settle their minds first, he asks again, “Or why look so intently at us.”   The verb is the same as in Acts 3:4. The beggar fixed his eyes on Peter and John when he thought he would receive alms from them. Now, the people have intently fixed their gaze upon them, looking for an answer to what now so greatly perplexed them. With these questions carefully directed to the multitude, Peter is able to begin to redirect their attention to the One who is the Healer of the crippled beggar. He does this by asking, “as though by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk?”   Peter implicitly denies their having performed the miracle under either their own “power” or “godliness.” The word translated as “power” signifies might, strength, ability, and so on. They lacked the medical skills to heal the man, they lacked the power to heal him, and so on. There was nothing in them that could account for the healing.   The word translated as “godliness” is introduced into Scripture, eusebeia. Other than this one use in Acts, it is seen only where it is used heavily by Paul in the pastoral epistles, and then four times by Peter in his second epistle. The word “godliness” is probably the best possible translation. It signifies piety or a right-hearted response towards God.   By asking in the manner he has, denying such power as their own, Peter is clearly indicating that the healing was not something connected to these traits in either he or John. Rather, an explanation of where the miracle stemmed from must be provided.   Life application: Peter and John could have immediately seized upon the moment and drawn attention to themselves. But before that is even hinted at, they rightly redirect the people's attention away from themselves.   Who is it that deserves the attention, praise, and acclamation for the things that have been done through you? If you are a faithful follower of Christ, it is always right to redirect compliments given to you about your abilities and capabilities to the Lord. It is He who fashioned humanity, and you are a human being. It is He who knows you would be born when you were, what your DNA makeup would be, that you would receive His offer of Jesus, and so on.   As such, everything ultimately stems from Him, and He should be given the credit for all good things that stem from your life. It can be hard to not accept praise, especially when you put a lot of effort into the things you do. And you can be complimented at a time when it catches you off guard. At such a time, you may accept the compliment without even thinking about it.   But if we can be of the mind to continuously redirect praises and the like to the Lord, we do well. Let us endeavor to do this. And by doing so, it would be hoped that those who hear our words will truly want to know why we are so willing to give credit to Him. One never knows where the first opportunity to share the gospel will arise. And this attitude may be just the place.   Heavenly Father, help us to live our lives in a manner that will ultimately be pleasing to You and glorifying of You in the sight of others. This is good and right, so help our minds to be always tuned into this attitude. Amen.

    Acts 3:11

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 18, 2021 6:49

    Saturday, 18 December 2021   Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John, all the people ran together to them in the porch which is called Solomon's, greatly amazed. Acts 3:11   Luke continues to describe the excitement of the healing of the beggar which took place, saying, “Now as the lame man who was healed held on to Peter and John.” The idea here is not of needing support from them. He has already been shown to walk around and even leap. Luke is saying that he, now being swarmed by the multitude, does not want to get  separated from Peter and John. And so, in order for that to not occur, he literally seizes them and clings onto them. The verb is a present participle. He “is clinging” to them.   The need for this becomes more evident with the next words, which read, “all the people ran together to them.” There is an excited fever of awe and wonder, and as one draws nearer so does another and another. Everyone wanted to be able to participate in the event surrounding them.   The same thing was seen when Jesus was active in His ministry. In Luke 8, for example, it says twice that the multitudes thronged Him. He was so pressed in by them that when someone purposefully touched him for healing, He was unaware of who it was. Here, likewise, the crowds are thronging these three. The beggar did not want to be separated from them, and so he steadfastly clung to them. This was “in the porch which is called Solomon's.”   The word translated as “porch” is stoa. It refers to a portico. It is a covered colonnade, normally open on one side, where people would gather. This particular portico is known as “Solomon's.” Charles Ellicott describes it –   “The porch—or better, portico or cloister—was outside the Temple, on the eastern side. It consisted, in the Herodian Temple, of a double row of Corinthian columns, about thirty-seven feet high, and received its name as having been in part constructed, when the Temple was rebuilt by Zerubbabel, with the fragments of the older edifice. The people tried to persuade Herod Agrippa the First to pull it down and rebuild it, but he shrank from the risk and cost of such an undertaking (Jos. Ant. xx. 9, § 7). It was, like the porticos in all Greek cities, a favourite place of resort, especially as facing the morning sun in winter.”   There, in this gathering place, it says the people who thronged these three were “greatly amazed.” The words are translated from a single Greek word found only here in Scripture, ekthambos. It goes beyond astonishment to a sense of bewilderment. Most of them were fully aware of who the beggar was. All of them were now apprised of the matter, even if they were previously unaware of him.   The name Solomon is derived from the word shalom, or “peace,” “wholeness,” or “soundness.” The giving of the name is explained in 1 Chronicles 22 –   “Then he called for his son Solomon, and charged him to build a house for the Lord God of Israel. 7 And David said to Solomon: ‘My son, as for me, it was in my mind to build a house to the name of the Lord my God; 8 but the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have made great wars; you shall not build a house for My name, because you have shed much blood on the earth in My sight. 9 Behold, a son shall be born to you, who shall be a man of rest; and I will give him rest from all his enemies all around. His name shall be Solomon, for I will give peace and quietness to Israel in his days.'” 1 Chronicles 22:6-9   In one way, there was anything but “peace,” meaning quietude, in the portico that day. And yet, for the beggar who is now healed, there is a sense of completeness and peace that had never existed before. His body was formed into a state of shalom that he had never previously known.   It is with the crowd, in the state of bewildered excitement because of the miracle performed on him, that Peter will seize the opportunity to address the crowd and explain the marvel of what God had done in Christ.   Life application: The physical healing of this man is actually nothing in comparison to the healing that occurs in a sinner who has been reconciled to God through Christ. The gulf between the two was an infinite one. But God can span the infinite in Christ – the God/Man. His humanity can remove the stain of sin from the soul worn down by it. And His deity can then reach out to His Father to span the gap and form a bridge between the two.   The same sense of astonishment that filled the people of Israel at the healing of the beggar should be experienced by all who know the miracle that has occurred in each of the redeemed of the Lord. But too often, we miss the spiritual, focusing too heavily on the physical. Let us consider the glory of what God has done in our lives, and let us never fail to wonder at the majesty of the cross of Christ. Through it, there is perfect healing and total restoration for the weary soul.   Lord God, thank You for what You have done in Christ to reconcile us back to Yourself. We were sinners in need of a Savior, and through His cross we are restored. Thank You for the great things You have done for us in our lives. Amen.

    Acts 3:10

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 17, 2021 5:48

    Friday, 17 December 2021   Then they knew that it was he who sat begging alms at the Beautiful Gate of the temple; and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him. Acts 3:10   When the people saw the man joyously walking and praising God, Luke says, “Then they knew that it was he who sat begging alms.” The word translated as “knew” signifies to recognize. Jesus used the word when saying, “you will know them by their fruits.” One sees, he recognizes, and an understanding is realized. So it is with this man.   But the verb is in the imperfect tense – “they “were knowing,” or “they were recognizing.” The use of the imperfect brings life to what is said. It wasn't as if everyone knew, but that one realized it and then another and then another. Thus, the bewildering nature of the event becomes evident.   At times, it is hard to place someone that we see, “I am sure I know that guy.” But because of the context of where he is regularly seen has changed, his identity is just out of grasp. Once the mind remembers the context, then the understanding is realized – “Oh! That is the John who works at the grocery store!”   This is how it was for the people. They each saw the man, the identity seemed familiar, but the context was missing. But all of a sudden, one after another began to realize that he.... this man! was the beggar “at the Beautiful Gate of the temple.”   One can sense the knowledge suddenly being realized and the overwhelming sense of bewilderment flooding over the crowd. “How can this be?” Luke masterfully brings us into the narrative to feel the experience. One can sense what may have been said. “That guy has been sitting at the temple gate for years and years. His legs were twisted and emaciated. In fact, I just saw him there as I passed fifteen minutes ago... and now this? What does this mean?” As such, Luke records, “and they were filled with wonder and amazement.”   The word translated as “wonder” is unique to Luke's writings, being seen now for the last of three times. It signifies astonishment that is allied with terror or awe. One could think of being stunned or dumbfounded. What is witnessed is just beyond the ability of the mind to grasp. The word translated as “amazement,” ekstasis, is obviously the root to our modern word “ecstasy.” Its direct meaning is “to completely remove.” As such, it means to confuse the mind so that it reaches out beyond ordinary perception. In this case, the minds of the people verge on a sense of overwhelming delight that something incomprehensible has taken place “at what had happened to him.”   The miracle that occurred wasn't something that was far off. It was something in their midst. And it wasn't something that occurred to someone they didn't know, as if it could be the word of a charlatan. Rather, it happened to someone almost every single person would have seen at one time or another. Nothing could be more striking to imagine. The effects of seeing the man could not have made a greater impact upon those who now stood beholding him.   Life application: There are many people with great afflictions of the body around us. We know of blind people, crippled people, and people with various chronic diseases or maladies. This is a part of the human condition. We will pray for those we know, and there are times where it is heard that a true miracle occurs, and they are healed. But for many, the malady continues throughout the person's entire life, and then he or she dies.   If such people are believers in Christ, it will only make what is coming next for them even more wonderful. They spent a lifetime in pain, being incapacitated, being shunned, or whatever. But when they are called forth from the grave at the rapture, there will be an instantaneous change. The body they will possess will be incorruptible, and it will be perfectly suited for an eternity in the presence of God.   For those who were pretty healthy when they died (or are raptured), the change will be no less incredible. Our bodies, even when in pretty great shape, have times of sickness, overwhelming tiredness, sadness, and so on. Such things will be forever behind us when we are off to meet the Lord. Hold fast to this truth. The life we live now is temporary and it is passing away. Fix your eyes on what lies ahead and be ready for glory that you cannot even imagine when Christ comes for His people. The day will be like none other!   Lord God, we are hoping Jesus will be back soon to deliver us from this body of corruption into our eternal home. Amen.

    Acts 3:9

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 16, 2021 6:43

    Thursday, 16 December 2021   And all the people saw him walking and praising God. Acts 3:9   With the complete healing of the crippled beggar, it then said that he went into the temple with Peter and John “walking, leaping, and praising God.” With that stated, Luke next records, “And all the people.”   This was at the hour of prayer in the afternoon (Acts 3:1). The number of people would not be small. In Luke 1, when Zecharias went into the temple to burn incense, it says, “And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense.” Nothing is said of it being a particular day, like a Sabbath or a feast day. If it was, this would have been carefully recorded by Luke. As such, in can be inferred that a “great multitude” would be the regular attendance at this event. Of this multitude of people, it next says they “saw him.”   This is in the temple, at the hour of prayer and when the incense would be burned to the Lord. One might think this event with the beggar would be a great distraction from the Lord and something that would be inappropriate. Rather, it is honoring of the Lord. It is God who healed the man. It was done in the name of Jesus Christ. Everything about the ritual burning of the incense, and the offering of the lamb that would also have occurred at this time, points to the work of Christ Jesus. Every detail anticipates what He came to do.   Rather than being inappropriate, it is a beautiful expression of what God intended for the world to see. There is a man healed of his affliction, just as the prophets prophesied would someday occur. It was seen by the multitude, and the man was “walking and praising God.” He was giving Him glory for what had occurred in the name of His Christ. Nothing could be more honoring of the Lord than this wonderful display of renewal of the beggar through Him.   The lame had been cured. Nothing could be hidden in this. He was over forty, he had been crippled since birth, and he was suddenly and miraculously healed. This was a true and absolutely verifiable miracle that had occurred in the presence of the people. God was to be glorified for what He had done, and the name of Jesus would be exalted for the power it carried.   Life application: Throughout the years, there have been innumerable scam artists who would claim healing in Jesus' name. One of the common tricks is to wheel a person into a church or arena who supposedly had one leg shorter than another. The charlatan would then come forward and miraculously make the shorter leg grow, right before the people.   Even a teenager can figure this out. By pulling the hip up, it causes one leg to appear shorter than the other. By relaxing the muscles, it appears as if the leg is actually growing. And wahlah! The money starts filling the coffers. There are innumerable scams like this. There are also well-known evangelists who have claimed to be capable of miraculous healings. Peter Popoff, for example, would make claims concerning erratic conditions in people who had come for healing.   However, it was discovered that while people were standing in line to enter, conversations would be brought up by his staff. The information they gleaned would then be given to people in the control room who would then transmit that to Popoff through a device in his ear. He was eventually exposed as a fraud when recordings of what he was doing were made.   A person who was associated with Popoff's scam tried to justify what occurred, saying, “When you're praying for the sick, it's through the Holy Spirit, and there's some times that it works freely, and then there are other times when the Spirit's just not there.” He also added that “on the days it didn't show, you still had to pay for the auditorium, so you needed to help the Holy Spirit along.”   Though bankrupted through this, Popoff continued his ministry and eventually rebuilt it, still scamming people who are unintelligent enough to continue to give to a person who knowingly did the disgraceful things he did.   The Holy Spirit does not need help. God is fully capable of accomplishing everything needed to fully and completely express Himself in the manner He deems is necessary. And He has provided us a written testimony of His great deeds in the pages of Scripture. We do not need to have outward displays of miraculous healings any longer. We have exactly what God deems is sufficient for us to live by faith.   Let us not get caught up in that which is false. We can pray for healing of those around us, and we can also pray for the grace to endure through our trials if healing is not realized. In the end, we must accept that God has done, and will do, what He determines. He does not need our help. Instead, He simply asks us for our faith.   Lord God, help us to be people of faith. We have Your written word. What more do we need to testify to the miraculous deeds that You have done, and to the marvels which You continue to do – such as preserving Israel, and changing lives – in the world? Thank You for the evidences You have provided us. They are sufficient to establish our faith. Amen.

    Acts 3:8

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 15, 2021 6:25

    Wednesday, 15 December 2021   So he, leaping up, stood and walked and entered the temple with them—walking, leaping, and praising God. Acts 3:8   Peter took the beggar by the right hand and lifted him up. As he did this, the feet and bones were healed, and they received strength. With this done, Luke's words follow with the delight of the moment, saying, “So he, leaping up.”   Luke is referring to the beggar using a word found only here in Scripture exallomai. It is a compound verb signifying “out” and “springing up.” Hence, “leaping up” or “leaping forth” gives the sense. Vincent's Word Studies notes of this word –   “Used in medical language of the sudden starting of a bone from the socket, of starting from sleep, or of the sudden bound of the pulse.”   Again, Luke's knowledge of medical terminology defines the action in a technical sense. Peter lifted him up and then he simply leaped forth in incredulity, joy, or maybe sheer amazement. A form of the word is found in Isaiah 35, and it beautifully resembles what occurred at this moment –   “Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, And the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. 6 Then the lame shall leap like a deer, And the tongue of the dumb sing.” Is 35:5, 6   From there, it says he “stood and walked.” The first verb is aorist while the second is imperfect. The man stood and then he began walking. One gets the heightened sense of a person who has never done so in his life. He probably stood looking down at his strengthened legs – no longer twisted, wasted away, and useless – and then he... took a step, and then another, and then another.   His heart is racing, his blood is pulsing, his mind is considering the moment and everything that it signifies. Ten thousand thoughts of the past, of the present moment, and what the future held filled his mind. He continued walking... “and entered the temple.”   The man had been brought by others to the Beautiful gate, set down, and stayed in the same spot all day, day after day. Now, instead of remaining outside of the temple of the Lord, he could – under his own power – enter into the complex. The moment would have had a sense of absolute amazement attached to it.   As he walked over mosaics, walked past huge cut blocks, and passed by intricately carved columns and pillars, they would have looked new and vibrant to him. Everything would be seen from a new perspective because he would have to watch for obstacles as they came near. A lame man would have no need of such observances. Luke records next that the now-healed beggar wasn't alone, but he entered the temple “with them—walking, leaping, and praising God.”   The Greek includes “and” with each verb. He was “walking, and leaping, and praising.” Each is set off as an individual occurrence which together formed the first moment of a man restored to normalcy after over forty years of being lame, even from birth. In this state, Peter and John would have shared in the delight of the man's exuberance.   The entire scene is alive with excitement, and the most poignant part of it all is that he was there in the temple “praising God.” As will be noted, the leaders will acknowledge that this could only have been a miracle, meaning an act of God –   “But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves, 16 saying, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.” Acts 4:15, 16   The man himself, more than any other, knew this to be the case. What occurred was personal and life changing. As such, he stood, walked, and leaped before God, praising Him for what had occurred.   Life application: What is it that we praise God for? Generally, we praise God when good things happen to us or to those we love. When things don't go so well in life, we often exclude praises. However, we may start praying more. Why is it that we praise God when things are going well, and pray to Him when they aren't?   Rather, we should do both at all times. Even in our affliction, we can find a reason to bless His name and praise Him. Job, a man “blameless and upright” was noted as such because this was his nature. In the time of his greatest affliction, he said –   “Naked I came from my mother's womb, And naked shall I return there. The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; Blessed be the name of the Lord.” Job 1:21   Let us endeavor to not use God when we need Him and then ignore Him when we don't. Instead, may our life attitude be to praise Him through our storms, and to pray to Him, even when we don't have any pressing needs in our lives. He is worthy of our attention and our devotion at all times. And so may we give this to Him always.   Lord God, great are You and You are greatly are You to be praised! Amen.

    Acts 3:7

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 14, 2021 9:02

    Tuesday, 14 December 2021   And he took him by the right hand and lifted him up, and immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength. Acts 3:7   Peter's last words to the beggar on the street were, “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” With that stated, it now says, “And he took him.” Peter, knowing that the man was crippled and did not have any experience at what it meant to rise in his own strength, was prepared to help him in his new walk of life. The word Luke uses, piazó, signifies “to squeeze.” In other words, Peter firmly seized his hand, demonstrating complete confidence in what was to occur.   In reaching out his hand, it was a sign to the man that he honestly believed the healing had been realized. It was also an encouragement to him to be confident as well. As a note of authenticity to what he is writing, Luke specifically next says, “by the right hand.”   In noting this, Luke is showing that he was fully aware of every detail and had carefully and meticulously investigated the account. As it was only Peter and John with the beggar, and yet by noting the right hand, it is seen that he went beyond the normal description of someone who would have been standing right there.   Most people would say, “Well, I grabbed him by the hand and raised him up.” Upon hearing that, the hearer would say, “Well, isn't that amazing!” It appears that Luke, however, went a step further by specifically asking which hand he grabbed. Everything about the account is perfectly detailed to be that of an investigator who is determining the absolute accuracy and truth of what is being conveyed. Only after noting which hand, it then says, “and lifted him up.”   The man was probably so incredulous at what occurred that without Peter's help, he might have spent a few minutes testing the waters before taking the plunge. But with Peter's assistance, he was impelled to rise immediately and go all-in with utilizing his body in this new condition.   The words of the account so far are not unlike the manner in which Jesus treated others that He had healed. The account of the boy possessed by a demon in Mark 9 is given. After Jesus cast it out, he was so still that those around him thought he was dead. But Mark then records, “But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose” (Mark 9:27).   The care of the Healer for His patient is beautifully seen in Christ's care of the boy. Peter learned from that and followed in like manner when he was given the power to perform his own healings. With this noted, Luke next records, “and immediately.”   There wasn't any delay in what occurred. Peter spoke the words, reached out to take the man up, and with the instant power of the workings of God, there was a change in “his feet and ankle bones.”   In these words, the particular language of a physician is clearly evidenced. Luke's knowledge of the human body led him to describe exactingly what occurred. So precise are his words that it is probable he personally interviewed the man who was healed. Peter and John probably would have said, “Well, he couldn't walk, and then he could.” However, Luke not only describes what was wrong, but he uses specific terminology to report the change. It is something the beggar would probably have had to point at and say, “Well, it was this and this... these things that were healed.”   Both words are found only here in Scripture. The first is basis. It signifies “a pace.” It is the base step and thus, by implication the foot. It is the source of our modern word of the same spelling which came to us via Latin from the Greek, and it bears much the same sense. Vincent's Word Studies describes its meaning –   “A peculiar, technical word, used by Luke only, and described by Galen as the part of the foot lying beneath the leg, upon which the leg directly rests, as distinguished from the ταρσὸς [tarsos], the flat of the foot between the toes and heel, and πεδίον [pedion], the part next the toes.”   The next word is sphudron. That is believed to be basically the same as the word sphaira, meaning a ball or sphere. As such, it signifies the ankle bone that is globular in nature. Luke's medical knowledge of the event is carefully detailing the exact changes that took place in this man, crippled even from his mother's womb.   With the description of the body parts complete, Luke then carefully notes that they “received strength.”   The Greek word is found only three times in Acts. The first two are in this account (3:7 & 3:16). The last is used when referring to the strengthening of the church in Acts 16:5. Paul uses the kindred noun in Colossians 2:5 when referring to the steadfastness of the Colossians' faith in Christ. When used in medical language, it is especially applied to the bones.   Luke's careful and thorough record of the events that took place gives us every reason to believe that the account took place, exactly as described.   Life application: When a person is given the gospel and he receives it, a complete change in that person occurs at that very moment. There is a new walk of life that is realized. But that person may not even notice the change has taken place. Yes, there was belief in what Christ did and the sealing of the Spirit. And yet, for each person who accepts the gospel, there will be a personal and individual reaction to it.   Because of this, it is incumbent on those who share the gospel to be willing to take them by the hand and help them stand on their new spiritual legs. At the same time, some people will simply spring up automatically and get going. But even this type may need assistance that he may not realize. Such a person can run ahead without knowledge and have a head-on crash in his theology.   If we are willing to share the gospel, we should also be willing to help those who receive it understand what to do with it. “Live for the Lord, read the word, grow in Christ, and walk as the Bible instructs us to.”   The more effort we put into those who receive the word, the better grounded they will be as they head into a church that is actually quite dysfunctional, filled with bad doctrine (or even heresy), and that is known to chew up and spit out those who are truly on fire for the new life they have come to know.   But there is another truth to convey. How grounded are we in our own walk? If we lead someone to Christ, and yet are not doing our own part to increase our spiritual maturity, we will be like a fish out of water trying to teach another fish out of water how to swim. Therefore, each of us needs to not only share the gospel, but to also be in the word, growing in it daily. May it be so, to the glory of God who first saved us so that we can then go out and tell others.   Lord God, help us to be responsible witnesses of Your wonderful gospel message and then help us to be reliable and responsible helpers to those who receive it. May it be so to Your glory. Amen.

    Acts 3:6

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 13, 2021 10:23

    Monday, 13 December 2021   Then Peter said, “Silver and gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” Acts 3:6   Luke's precisely worded account of the beggar at the gate called Beautiful has been detailed up to the point where the beggar has now given his full attention to the apostles standing before him. With that being the case, the narrative continues, saying, “Then Peter said.”   Again, it is Peter who speaks. He is the central focus of Acts during the first twelve chapters. Whatever else was going on with the other disciples, Luke's focus is most especially on Peter, his words, and his actions. Noting John during this account provides adequate testimony for the events that take place. The words of Peter to the beggar are, “Silver and gold I do not have.”   As apostles, and as members of the society of disciples, they would have had access to the money distributed among believers as was noted in Acts 2:45. This distribution will be noted again, such as in Acts 6:1. Having access to this does not cause any conflict with what is stated here. The two were simply going to the temple. There is no reason to assume that they always carried money with them as they went out, nor should any such thought be inferred, as if Peter was somehow not being honest. His words are clear and precise. Peter was not carrying any silver or gold that he could pass on to the man. Despite this, he did have something of value that he could provide. That is seen in the words, “but what I do have I give you.”   The apostles had been given the authority to heal. That is explicitly stated in Mark 16 –   “And these signs will follow those who believe: In My name they will cast out demons; they will speak with new tongues; 18 they will take up serpents; and if they drink anything deadly, it will by no means hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”   Peter, knowing the words of Jesus, and having been a part of his ministry where those sent forth by Jesus throughout Israel had already accomplished such things (such as in Luke 10:9), was confident that he had the power and ability to continue to do what Jesus said. With this confidence, he next said to the man, “In the name.”   The words set forth the Source of the power and authority. To proclaim a name is to proclaim that person's position and sphere of influence. To say, “I come in the name of Caesar,” is to proclaim the authority of Caesar. Peter now proclaims a name. As such, he is saying, “I proclaim under the authority of...” And the name he proclaims is that “of Jesus Christ.”   To a Jewish person, the words would mean, “of Jesus the Messiah,” meaning, “Jesus the Anointed One.” Peter is proclaiming that the Person he is naming bears the authority and power of the Lord (Yehovah) because He had been anointed as such. This is noted in the prophetic writings of Isaiah, words which would have been well known to the people –   “The Spirit of the Lord God is upon Me, Because the Lord has anointed Me To preach good tidings to the poor; He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, To proclaim liberty to the captives, And the opening of the prison to those who are bound; 2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord, And the day of vengeance of our God; To comfort all who mourn, 3 To console those who mourn in Zion, To give them beauty for ashes, The oil of joy for mourning, The garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; That they may be called trees of righteousness, The planting of the Lord, that He may be glorified.” Isaiah 61:1-3   The Lord God, Yehovah Elohim, had promised to anoint One to come who would bring healing and restoration to the people. This is the anticipated Messiah whom Peter now proclaims. But to further define who he is referring to, he adds in the words “of Nazareth.”   The name Yeshua, or Jesus, was a common name in Israel at the time. However, by adding the designation of the town from which He came, it set Him apart more clearly. The term “Jesus of Nazareth,” or the affixing of the location to His name, is used time and again in the gospels to specifically refer to the Lord, such as in Matthew 21:20, 21 –   “And when He had come into Jerusalem, all the city was moved, saying, ‘Who is this?' 11 So the multitudes said, ‘This is Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth of Galilee.'”   So notable is the name, that it was purposely placed upon the cross when He was crucified –   “And He, bearing His cross, went out to a place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha, 18 where they crucified Him, and two others with Him, one on either side, and Jesus in the center. 19 Now Pilate wrote a title and put it on the cross. And the writing was: JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS.” John 19:17-19   This would have been known by almost everyone at this point, and the title is purposefully used by Peter to ensure that there was no doubt about the exact Person he was referring to. So important is this designation, that Peter will again use it when speaking to Gentiles about Him in Acts 10 –   “Then Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘In truth I perceive that God shows no partiality. 35 But in every nation whoever fears Him and works righteousness is accepted by Him. 36 The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ—He is Lord of all— 37 that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached: 38 how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him. 39 And we are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree.'” Acts 10:34-39   With the Name proclaimed, and thus having credited the One to whom the power issues from, Peter next says, “rise up and walk.” It is the same general command given by Jesus at times, such as in Matthew 9:6 and John 5:8. There was someone lame, and Jesus – by the power He possessed – healed the lame. Peter now proclaims that same power by proclaiming the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth.   Life application: Verses such as these in Acts have led Charismatics and Pentecostals to assume that they have the same power to heal as the apostles did. They claim healing over people and often perform false healings. Or they will claim healing power over someone, but the healing never comes to pass, thus destroying the faith and confidence of those they prayed over.   The first problem with this theology is that they are not apostles of Jesus. The office of apostle no longer exists because Jesus does not personally commission anyone anymore, a necessity for the office. But more, even the apostles – who healed at times – did not have the power to heal at all times. Paul had the power to heal in Acts 14:8-10 and elsewhere. However, he certainly could not heal his own affliction as is recorded in 2 Corinthians 12:7-10. It is said that he left Trophimus sick in Miletus in 2 Timothy 4:20. He also notes his inability to cure Epaphroditus in Philippians 2:25-27. And Timothy, who was with Paul more than often, had an affliction of the stomach, along with other infirmities, that Paul never healed. That is noted in 1 Timothy 5:23.   Such examples are provided, right in the prescriptive epistles, to show us that the power and authority used by the apostles was something that was not to be abused, and it only came at certain times and for reasons set forth by the Lord. When the healing power was there, it may have been evident to them just as the words of prophecy were evident to the prophet. But prophets did not prophesy at all times. They only did so when the Lord spoke through them. Likewise, it is clear that the apostles did not heal at all times, but only when they were somehow prompted to do so by the Lord.   In whatever manner these things occurred, they are not normative for the church age. If we desire the healing of another, we are to pray for it. If the Lord heals, it is His prerogative alone. It is presumptuous and sinful to claim something over another when we have no right to do so. Let us not be found to act in this manner.   Lord God, Your word asks us to pray for the healing of others, but there is no guarantee that it will come to pass. Help us to understand this, and to leave such matters in Your capable hands as we pour out our desires to You. In the end, we know that You will do what is just, good, and right. All things will come out as You determine, and so help us to be satisfied with this knowledge. Amen.

    Acts 3:5

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 12, 2021 5:16

    Sunday, 12 December 2021   So he gave them his attention, expecting to receive something from them. Acts 3:5   In the previous verse, Peter fixed his eyes on the beggar who had asked for alms and called out to him, “Look at us.” Now, in response to that, Luke records, “So he gave them his attention.”   The verb is imperfect and should say something like, “So he began to give them his attention.” The action began and is continuing into the present. This clearly shows that even though the beggar saw Peter and John as is recorded in verse 3:5, he didn't really “see” them. He simply noticed that they were there and immediately did what beggars do. He asked for alms. His care was not on “who” in particular was going by but that potential givers were going by, regardless as to who they were.   Now, with Peter calling for him to give them his attention, he began to notice them for “who” they were. This still doesn't mean he has made a mental note of who they really were as people, but that he has gained their attention and so he was going to give them his attention. This is as common as Brits in the UK. When one stands to profit from another, more attention is given in hopes of securing the deal, or even for increasing the amount that may be offered. Luke's use of the imperfect brings this to life. And the reason for his attention being given to the apostles is then explained with the words that he was “expecting to receive something from them.”   The verb is a present participle. He began to look at them because he was anticipating alms to be delivered to him. One can get the mental idea of what was going on in the man's head. “I had better start directing my attention at these guys because they are about to hand me some silver.” A full gaze of attention from him may come if they handed him ten silver coins, but a quick look up and then back down may come if they handed him a small copper coin. The response of the beggar will now be fully brought forth by how the hand is filled.   Life application: When sharing the gospel, there are as many reactions to it as there are people who are willing to listen. And those who are willing to listen may only be doing so because they are too shy to tell the one sharing the message that they are not really interested. Once the message starts to be presented, the person hearing the message will give cues as to whether he is actually interested in hearing what is said or not.   What happened with this beggar is just what needs to happen with the person being given the gospel. His attention needs to be fixed. There should be no other distractions, and no more than two people should be there. And even if there are two people, only one should do the talking. If there are more than two people, the presentation will be intimidating. If more than one is talking, the message will be confused in the mind of the hearer.   Once the hearer has his attention directed to the one who is speaking, the speaker needs to be attentive to the body cues. The eyes, the feet, the arms... each part of the person will give cues as to his state of mind. Is he fidgeting? He is nervous. Is he backing up? He is scared. Are his arms crossed in front of him? He feels exposed and maybe threatened. Are the eyes darting around? He wants the conversation to just end so he can get away.   Ten thousand little cues will tell you if you are having an impact or not. If you are not, then you need to redirect your approach so that the person will feel comfortable, not threatened, welcomed, and so on. This is what Peter and John have done, and it is how we are to do such things as well. The attention must be focused, direct, caring, and of personal value to the hearer.   You have the greatest “alms” in the world to give to this person, if you can get him to understand that he is a beggar in need of them. Sin is the problem, we are desperately in need of the kind hand of the Lord to cure it, and the gospel is the gift that we cannot do without. Be ready with this message at all times. Pass on the gift of eternal life that was secured for the person standing before you through the shed blood of Christ.   Lord God, help us to be responsible with sharing the gospel message. None can do without it, and all who come must do so through it. So, Lord, give us wisdom in sharing this all-important message of life and hope. Amen.

    Acts 3:4

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 11, 2021 6:28

    Saturday, 11 December 2021   And fixing his eyes on him, with John, Peter said, “Look at us.” Acts 3:4   The lame man sitting at the gate called Beautiful had noticed Peter and John going into the temple. Upon noticing them, he asked for alms. In response to this,  Luke records concerning Peter, “And fixing his eyes on him.”    The Greek word, atenizó, gives the sense of the attention of the individual being completely fixed on what is before him. It is a word that is used fourteen times in the New Testament, and all but two are from Luke. The other two uses are by Paul in 2 Corinthians 3.   With this directed and steady stare upon the beggar, Luke adds in the words, “with John.” Peter is the one who is inspired to act, but John is there as well. As such, he is able to confirm the event as a second witness to what will take place. With this noted, the verse ends with, “Peter said, “Look at us.”   Here, Luke uses the word blepó. It is not an uncommon word, but it gives the sense of looking attentively. The previous verse used another word when it said of the beggar, “who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple.” There, he saw, but he wasn't attentive to what he was seeing. He just simply saw a couple guys coming and was set to ask alms from them without really paying attention to who they were. He discerned their presence, but his attention was not fixed upon them. However, Peter now asks for full and undivided attention.   Life application: In your daily life, you will see many people and many things without really paying attention to them. This doesn't mean you are uncaring. Rather, if we took the time to carefully observe everything we passed, we would never get anywhere.   When we drive down the road, we see trees, but we don't see each tree. And even if we went slow enough to see each tree, we wouldn't see each branch. But suppose we stopped and looked at each branch. We still probably wouldn't continue by looking at every leaf or pine needle. Again, if we were attentive to every detail, we would never get anywhere.   However, there are things we should be more attentive to than others. The word of God, for example, is something we may read every day. But our level of attention to it may be more or less, depending on how careful we are with it.   As noted above, the word atenizó is used twice by Paul, both times in 2 Corinthians 3. The second time he uses it, he says –   “Therefore, since we have such hope, we use great boldness of speech— 13 unlike Moses, who put a veil over his face so that the children of Israel could not look steadily at the end of what was passing away. 14 But their minds were blinded. For until this day the same veil remains unlifted in the reading of the Old Testament because the veil is taken away in Christ.” 2 Corinthians 3:12-14   Paul compares the veiling of Moses' face to the veil which blinds the eyes of the Jews to the truth of Christ. The same words of the Old Testament are read by Jew and Gentile alike, and yet, unbelieving Jews have no sense of discernment concerning how it all points to Jesus. The same is true with us before we are shown how it anticipates Him.   Have you ever read a passage and thought, “I wonder why that is included in the Bible?” And then, shortly after, a preacher does a sermon on exactly that passage. In his sermon, he carefully explains how it anticipates Christ. It is as if a light goes on. “Yes, of course! I see it. If only I had thought it through.”   When we read the Bible, we are reading the word of God. It is a book intended to show us what He has done, is doing, and will do in redemptive history. And every bit of it is centered on Jesus. If we keep that in mind, and if we are careful to think about what we are reading, we can often see things that are right there in plain sight, but which are veiled in how they are presented.   When reading the Bible, be careful not to insert what you are looking for into what you are reading. Rather, ask the Lord, “What are You showing us?” Then think on what you have read, considering it in relation to the rest of Scripture. In this, you may find types and pictures of what God is doing in the text right before you.   Fix your gaze attentively on this precious word, contemplate what it says, and cherish what it conveys. This word is what tells us of Jesus, and Jesus is the One who reveals the unseen Father to us. Yes, cherish this sacred word and this beautiful gift that God has given to reveal Himself to us.   Lord God, how wonderful it is to study Your word, to think on its precepts, and to consider its lessons. There are foundational truths recorded there. In it we find a properly established moral base for our lives. And through it, we are directed to You – the Giver of all good blessings in Christ. Thank You for this precious word, O God. Amen.

    Acts 3:3

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 10, 2021 6:41

    Friday, 10 December 2021   who, seeing Peter and John about to go into the temple, asked for alms. Acts 3:3   The narrative continues concerning Peter and John's going to the temple at the ninth hour. As they were going through the Beautiful gate of the temple, Luke noted that a certain man was placed there to ask for alms, meaning he was a beggar. It is he “who, seeing Peter and John” is described by Luke.   The verb is aorist. Rather than “seeing,” it reads “who, having seen Peter and John.” The idea is that he noticed them coming, but as will be seen in the coming verse, he really didn't pay any special attention to them. Peter and John were going through the gate and they were “about to go into the temple.”   The words “about to go” are correctly rendered. Luke is writing as if they are passing by as we read. There is a beggar, sitting at his place of begging, and he noticed a couple people coming. As they were passing through the gate (the door) and about to enter the temple complex, it says he “asked for alms.”   Now the verb is imperfect. More appropriately, it says, “he was asking for alms.” If one is reading it in the proper tenses the scene is more alive, and the mental picture is that of a movie scene. Young's Literal translation catches the sense –   “who, having seen Peter and John about to go into the temple, was begging to receive a kindness.” YLT   This poor beggar, unable to tend for himself, probably worn out from the degrading life he was assigned, is doing what he did from day to day. When someone passes by, he notices them and picks up his mournful call, “Alms... alms... can you spare a kindness? Alms... alms... it's the Lord's temple. Have mercy!”   There he sat from day to day with no hopes or expectations beyond the kindness, or maybe the pitied conscience, of whoever passed by. This man was not one to plan a vacation or even a weekend walk up the Mount of Olives. His life bore little meaning except maybe to a couple of people. He was afflicted, probably thought accursed of God by many, and one who was easily ignored as the healthy people passed him by without a care in the world.   Life application: It is true that there are people standing on the side of the road with signs that are there to scam those who drive by. Many make more than people who go to a full-time job. By handing them money, you also only increase their desire to continue begging, and you will spur others on to do the same. It is a problem. The desire may be to help people out, but our kindness may be taken advantage of.   However, this doesn't mean we should turn a cold shoulder to those in need. Often, we have the opportunity to help people that are truly in need, and we should do so. But the most important thing we can do is share the good news of Christ with them. To meet someone's physical needs, without tending to his spiritual needs, is a temporary bandage on a fully open and septic wound.   But this goes beyond us to the church or denomination we attend. Think of the Roman Catholic church for a moment. Regardless as to what you think about its theology, the world looks at it as the symbol of “Christianity.” They have certain organizations set up for tending to the needy, the outcasts, and so on. And yet, there is little or no sharing of the true gospel as presented in the Bible. Instead, there is an unceasing number of scandals that come forth from it – sexual abuse, perversion, even murdering of youth which is evidenced by unmarked graveyards filled with unknown children.   Along with that, the “pope” of the catholic church places himself into countless political entanglements, works to direct world events that will ultimately benefit him and the church, and now the current pope (2021) is a champion of social justice, redistribution of wealth, ecumenicalism, religious pluralism, and even climate change.   These things are undeniable because they happen openly from day to day. And yet, knowing this, ask yourself if you have ever – even once – heard the pope give a clear presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ as it is outlined in Scripture. The answer is assuredly “No.”   Where are your priorities placed? There is nothing wrong with engaging in politics if it is intended to bolster the moral state of a society. However, there is a world of difference between that and what is carried out by the Roman Catholic Church.   Now extend that to the other large denominations you know of. How many of them have social programs galore, and yet how many of them present the gospel while engaging in these social programs? Be aware of your surroundings! If you are a part of a church or denomination that is presenting a social gospel, but which is failing to simply preach the gospel, you are a part of the problem. Evaluate yourself and determine to do right before the Lord. Your day to stand before Him is coming. Be about His business now.   Lord God, if we are not sharing the gospel in our churches and in our daily lives, we are not acting in accord with what You expect of us as Christians. Help us to correct this. To Your glory, O God. Amen.

    Acts 3:2

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 9, 2021 8:09

    Thursday, 9 December 2021   And a certain man lame from his mother's womb was carried, whom they laid daily at the gate of the temple which is called Beautiful, to ask alms from those who entered the temple; Acts 3:2   As seen in the previous verse, Peter and John went together, up to the temple at the hour of prayer. It was at the ninth hour that this occurred. At this particular time, Luke next records, “And a certain man.”   Based on the surrounding words, it is apparent that this man was well known and easily identifiable to those who came and went. This is first certain because of the words that he was “lame from his mother's womb.”   The verb is a present participle. It says he “was being lame.” Rendering this verb correctly is important because someone can be lame from his mother's womb but be fixed by a doctor. “Craig was lame from his mother's womb, but Dr. Voitenko was able to correct that.” In this case, the lameness continued on without correction, even until the time of this account. Of this man, it says he “was carried.”   Again, the verb needs correction. It is imperfect. He was “being carried.” This means that it was a regular event, from day to day without any end to the ordeal. It wasn't just that he was carried there one particular day, but that it was a regular and ongoing thing. Both of these thoughts are especially noted by Luke to ensure that it is understood by the reader that what occurred was not a setup by the apostles. Rather, the man was lame, he remained lame, and he was being carried from day to day.   It is this particular man, in this particular situation, “whom they laid daily.” Now, for the third time, the verb needs correction. It is again imperfect. It reads, “whom they were laying daily.” Saying, “they laid daily,” could indicate 20 years ago. “Craig used to be laid daily at this spot.” That is not the intent at all. It had happened, and it was continuing on without any end in sight – “Craig is being laid daily at this spot... poor guy! His misery goes on and on.”   It is this ongoing action that occurred “at the gate of the temple.” The man is being continuously laid, from day to day, at a place where countless multitudes would pass by. At the pilgrim feasts, the numbers would be staggering. But even on regular days, the same people who were inclined to go to the temple would see him every day.   And, because it is the ninth hour, he was there at the hour of prayer when many who would come for this specific purpose would be going by. That was seen in the citation of Luke 1:10 in the previous commentary. This man would be a notable fixture that would be unmistakably recognizable when the coming events had taken place. In the case of the gate, of which there were many, he was daily laid at the gate “which is called Beautiful.”   The word “gate” literally signifies a “door.” The gates of the temple could be shut with a door anytime it was deemed necessary, both from a customary standpoint, or out of necessity, such as during an emergency. The latter is seen later in Acts 21–   “And all the city was disturbed; and the people ran together, seized Paul, and dragged him out of the temple; and immediately the doors were shut.” Acts 21:30    It is at the door of the temple that this man was customarily laid. Of the placement of this gate (door), Albert Barnes provides suitable information –   “In regard to this gate there have been two opinions, one of which supposes that it was the gate commonly called Nicanor, which led from the court of the Gentiles to the court of the women (see Plan in notes on Matthew 21:12), and the other that it was the gate at the eastern entrance of the temple, commonly called Susan. It is not easy to determine which is intended; though from the fact that what is here recorded occurred near Solomon's porch (Acts 3:11; compare the Plan of the Temple, Matthew 21:12), it seems probable that the latter was intended. This gate was large and splendid. It was made of Corinthian brass, a most valuable metal, and made a magnificent appearance (Josephus, Jewish Wars, book 5, chapter 5, section 3).”   There at this spot, the man was laid in order “to ask alms.” This was a regular practice at the time, and it was also something that occurred elsewhere throughout the Roman empire. It is still seen today in areas of the world. People that are handicapped in one way or another are laid in public places where they will have the best opportunity to receive pity from those passing by. It was the regular daily occurrence in this man's life. There he would be laid, and there he would anticipate something to be handed to him “from those who entered the temple.”   As they were entering the temple, it would be a time when they probably felt most inclined to be generous, especially because the Lord's presence would be especially felt by them in this place. Everything about the verse gives us the sense that the man would have been well known, his condition would have been fully understood by many multitudes, and it was a state that had no anticipation of ever changing.   Life application: The wording in the verse certainly gives us the sense that the man's state, and his placement at this location, was one that had been going on for a long time. As such, it is quite possible, even highly likely, that Jesus Himself had passed by this man during his ministry. He had only ascended recently, and the man was a regular at this particular spot. For all we know, Jesus may have stopped and talked to him. It is all speculation, but it is not at all improbable. And yet, He had not healed this man.   God works in His own timing and for His own purposes. If Jesus had previously healed this man, it would not have changed the hearts of those who had seen His countless other signs and wonders. But by allowing this sad state of the man to continue until after His crucifixion, it would add a great deal of credibility to the fact that His name had power, and that His ministry was being carried on by His apostles.   If you are personally struggling with something debilitating in your life, even something that has been ongoing for an extended period of time, it doesn't mean God is uncaring. He may have you in that state to continue to bring Him glory. If you think of your pains, trials, woes, and afflictions in this light, you will be more responsible in how you respond to them. So be wise and be willing to allow the Lord to be glorified through your woes.   He has promised us so much more in the life to come. Do you believe that? If so, then allow Him to be glorified through your temporary afflictions in this one.   Lord God, may our lives be used to bring glory to You. Yes, be glorified in us, O God. Amen.

    Acts 3:1

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 8, 2021 8:46

    Wednesday, 8 December 2021 Now Peter and John went up together to the temple at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour. Acts 3:1   Acts 3 opens with a great verse to demonstrate why the book of Acts is descriptive in nature and doesn't prescribe doctrine. Because that is what some will suddenly claim concerning verses that will soon come up in Acts 3. Acts 2 ended with these words –   “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” Acts 2:46, 47   The apostles and disciples would meet in the temple. That now continues to be seen with the words, “Now Peter and John.” These two (along with James) spent a great deal of intimate time with Jesus. While the other apostles were left behind, Jesus would take them to witness various events in His min istry, such as –   “Now after six days Jesus took Peter, James, and John, and led them up on a high mountain apart by themselves; and He was transfigured before them. 3 His clothes became shining, exceedingly white, like snow, such as no launderer on earth can whiten them. 4 And Elijah appeared to them with Moses, and they were talking with Jesus. 5 Then Peter answered and said to Jesus, ‘Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; and let us make three tabernacles: one for You, one for Moses, and one for Elijah'— 6 because he did not know what to say, for they were greatly afraid.” Mark 9:2-6    “But when Jesus heard it, He answered him, saying, ‘Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well.” 51 When He came into the house, He permitted no one to go in except Peter, James, and John, and the father and mother of the girl. 52 Now all wept and mourned for her; but He said, “Do not weep; she is not dead, but sleeping.' 53 And they ridiculed Him, knowing that she was dead.” Luke 8:50-53   Luke specifically notes the two preparing for Christ's final Passover meal as well –   Then came the Day of Unleavened Bread, when the Passover must be killed. 8 And He sent Peter and John, saying, “Go and prepare the Passover for us, that we may eat.” “So they said to Him, ‘Where do You want us to prepare?' 10 And He said to them, ‘Behold, when you have entered the city, a man will meet you carrying a pitcher of water; follow him into the house which he enters. 11 Then you shall say to the master of the house, “The Teacher says to you, ‘Where is the guest room where I may eat the Passover with My disciples?'”” 12 Then he will show you a large, furnished upper room; there make ready.' 13 So they went and found it just as He had said to them, and they prepared the Passover.” Luke 20:7-13   Peter and John will also be seen together in Acts 4 and Acts 8. Of these two apostles Luke next says they “went up together to the temple.” This is where the believers were said to gather daily, and so it is the standard thing they would be expected to do. However, Luke adds in specific information to be considered, saying it was “at the hour of prayer, the ninth hour.”   This would be at 3pm. It is the time of Israel's evening sacrifice, and it is the hour that Christ died on the cross –   “Now it was about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 Then the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was torn in two. 46 And when Jesus had cried out with a loud voice, He said, ‘Father, ‘into Your hands I commit My spirit.' Having said this, He breathed His last.” Luke 23:44-46   This was a common time for the people to gather and prayer, but it was also a time that other great events in Israel's history are recorded to have occurred. One of these events is found in 1 Kings 18 –   “And it came to pass, at the time of the offering of the evening sacrifice, that Elijah the prophet came near and said, ‘Lord God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel, let it be known this day that You are God in Israel and I am Your servant, and that I have done all these things at Your word. 37 Hear me, O Lord, hear me, that this people may know that You are the Lord God, and that You have turned their hearts back to You again.' 38 Then the fire of the Lord fell and consumed the burnt sacrifice, and the wood and the stones and the dust, and it licked up the water that was in the trench. 39 Now when all the people saw it, they fell on their faces; and they said, ‘The Lord, He is God! The Lord, He is God!'” 1 Kings 18:36-39   Prayer was customarily made at this time and also at the time of the morning sacrifice. These were the times when the incense was presented in the temple as first specified to Moses in Exodus 30 –   “Aaron shall burn on it sweet incense every morning; when he tends the lamps, he shall burn incense on it. 8 And when Aaron lights the lamps at twilight, he shall burn incense on it, a perpetual incense before the Lord throughout your generations.” Exodus 30:7, 8   That this time of incense and sacrifice was also the time of prayer is then noted in Luke 1 –   “So it was, that while he was serving as priest before God in the order of his division, 9 according to the custom of the priesthood, his lot fell to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. 10 And the whole multitude of the people was praying outside at the hour of incense.” Luke 1:8-10   It is at this specific hour that Luke records the events that will follow.   Life application: In Acts 3, there will be a miraculous healing. It is not uncommon, especially for Pentecostals and Charismatics, to claim healing over another based on the recorded healings found in Acts. The logic is that these things occurred in Acts, and they can claim the same healing power now. Thus, they are taking such verses as prescribing healing power for believers in Christ.   The pick and choose nature of such things is found, quite clearly, in the fact that none of these same people specifically go to church at the ninth hour to pray. Nor do they follow a host of other things done by the apostles as recorded in Acts 3 or elsewhere. One can see that by selectively choosing verses from Acts, pulling them out of their intended context, and applying them to Christian life today, any number of aberrant doctrines can be conjured up.   But the record of these events in Acts was never intended to prescribe anything. They simply give us a historical account of what happened during the early establishment of the church.   Remember this as You read the Bible. Ask yourself “Who is being addressed?”, “Why are the events recorded?”, “What dispensation is being referred to?”, and so on. In maintaining a proper perspective concerning the context, you will avoid great error in your doctrine.   Lord God, how wonderful it is to be in Your presence and to be able to pray to You anytime and anywhere we choose. In fact, Your word tells us to pray without ceasing. As this is so, we know that You are ever attentive to our prayers. Thank You for such comforting reassurance. All glory to You! Amen.

    Acts 2:47

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 7, 2021 10:09

    Tuesday, 7 December 2021   praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:47   The words of this verse continue those of the previous verse. Taken together they read, “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.” With this noted, we see that the early church was “praising God.”   This is a general statement that was noted by Luke at the very end of his gospel –   “And He led them out as far as Bethany, and He lifted up His hands and blessed them. 51 Now it came to pass, while He blessed them, that He was parted from them and carried up into heaven. 52 And they worshiped Him, and returned to Jerusalem with great joy, 53 and were continually in the temple praising and blessing God. Amen.” Luke 24:50-53   This attitude of praise concerning the crucified Lord, their Passover Lamb (Leviticus 23:14) and Atoning Sacrifice (Leviticus 23:26-32); and the risen Lord, the Firstfruits of God (Leviticus 23:9-15); continued on in an attitude of praise at the Lord who gave forth His Spirit to the people (Leviticus 24:15-22). The fulfillment of typology from Scripture was being realized before their eyes.   With each occurrence, the praises of the people must have grown greater and greater. The thought of Ecclesiastes 9 must have saturated their conduct –   “Go, eat your bread with joy, And drink your wine with a merry heart; For God has already accepted your works. 8 Let your garments always be white, And let your head lack no oil.” Ecclesiastes 9:7, 8   The Lord had accepted them, and thus their works were now acceptable to the Lord. Along with this, it says of them, “and having favor with all the people.” This doesn't mean the masses were being converted, nor that the leaders accepted their message as true. It is the same general sentiment found in Mark 12:37 where it says, “And the common people heard Him gladly.”   Those who heard the apostles speak would have nothing to hold against them, and – indeed – they would have been glad to listen to them and learn from them, even if they didn't join the faith. People can go to a lecture by a person and learn from him, even if they don't necessarily agree with him. We can watch a show on TV about something we don't agree with, maybe evolution, and still enjoy the content.   As such, the apostles and disciples found favor with people in general. There was nothing worthy of calling for a good stoning in order to silence them. And so, they continued proclaiming their message. In this, it next says, “And the Lord added to the church daily.”   The verb is imperfect. It more rightly says, “And the Lord kept adding to the church daily.” Of those that heard from day to day, some were convinced, their hearts were touched, and they yielded to the call upon their hearts. Saying that “the Lord” did this does not in any way need to imply that the Lord actively reached into their hearts and converted them. This would be contrary to the notion of free will in man.   Rather, the apostles would have quoted directly from Scripture (as evidenced by Peter's quoting of Scripture in Acts 2 and elsewhere, and also in the epistles). Along with that, they would explain how Christ fulfilled these things. In hearing, there would be a response. This is how salvation works. Paul states this directly in Romans 10:16, 17 –   “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed our report?' 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.”   It is the Lord who gave Scripture, it is the Lord who fulfilled Scripture, it was the Lord who appointed His ambassadors, and thus it is the Lord who adds to the church. Luke finishes the verse with the thought that those who are so added are “those who were being saved.”   The KJV tragically renders these words, “such as should be saved.” This would compel the verb to be rendered in the future. But it is a present participle. Vincent's Word Studies, citing Lightfoot, reveals the extent of the damage such an incorrect translation of these words means –   “Salvation is a thing of the present, as well as of the past and future. ... ‘Godliness, righteousness, is life, is salvation. And it is hardly necessary to say that the divorce of morality and religion must be fostered and encouraged by failing to note this, and so laying the whole stress either on the past or on the future - on the first call, or on the final change. It is, therefore, important that the idea of salvation as a rescue from sin, through the knowledge of God in Christ, and therefore a progressive condition, a present state, should not be obscured, and we can but regret such a translation as Acts 2:47, “The Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved,” where the Greek implies a different idea' (Lightfoot, ‘On a Fresh Revision of the New Testament').”   The church was growing, and people were being saved. But the theology behind the words is important to understand, and it cannot be properly understood when a translation gives a faulty sense of what has occurred, is occurring, or will occur within the redemptive narrative.   Life application: There is a lot of theology that is to be found in this final verse of Acts 2. But Acts 2 is a chapter literally overflowing with information that is to be taken in the proper context and applied to our theology in the proper manner.   As for Acts 2:47, how one perceives the words here will be based on what one believes about salvation. Does man have free will? Does God actively choose some for salvation while condemning all others? Is salvation a “right now” event, or is it some concept that applies to the future in an obscure way? Paul tells us the importance of “right now” in his second letter to the Corinthians –   “We then, as workers together with Him also plead with you not to receive the grace of God in vain. 2 For He says: ‘In an acceptable time I have heard you, And in the day of salvation I have helped you.' Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.” 2 Corinthians 6:1, 2   What is your attitude concerning sharing the gospel? If people are predestined to be saved by God, then it doesn't really matter, does it? Can God's will be thwarted? And so, if there are those who “should be saved,” there would be no need to worry about telling them anything. There would be no need to send missionaries out to bring the message of Christ to the world.   Great errors in theology have  arisen because of great errors in translations, in thinking, and in doctrine. Let us be aware of such errors and flee from them. Let us purpose in our hearts to get the saving message of Jesus Christ out to those around us.   Lord God, help us to be responsible with our time in Your word. Help us to reject faulty translations when we realize they are faulty, making notes to carefully correct the doctrinal errors that are presented in verses or passages that were incorrectly presented. We can be sure that most translators really cared about what they were doing, but we can also be sure that they were just fallible people translating Your word in a fallible way. Help us to see the error and to correct it in order to be right in our walk with You. Amen.  

    Acts 2:46

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 6, 2021 10:00

    Monday, 6 December 2021   So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart, Acts 2:46   The previous verses spoke of the new believers having everything in common and of the people selling their goods and possessions and then dividing up the proceeds among one another. With that noted, and implying it is a reason the people could gather daily, the words now state, “So continuing daily.”   Because of having sold all their possessions, the believers could remain together as a group, even after the end of the pilgrim feast. Normally, people would come to the feasts, spend time in the presence of the Lord, and then return to their homes in order to return to their employment, whether it was working in the fields, working as a potter, or doing whatever else they once did for their livelihood. In essence, the believers had come to live out an almost permanent festive celebration.   The instructions for the attendance at the pilgrim feasts are stated several times in the books of Moses. The particular instructions for the Feast of Weeks (Pentecost) are noted in Deuteronomy 16 –   “You shall count seven weeks for yourself; begin to count the seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the grain. 10 Then you shall keep the Feast of Weeks to the Lord your God with the tribute of a freewill offering from your hand, which you shall give as the Lord your God blesses you. 11 You shall rejoice before the Lord your God, you and your son and your daughter, your male servant and your female servant, the Levite who is within your gates, the stranger and the fatherless and the widow who are among you, at the place where the Lord your God chooses to make His name abide. 12 And you shall remember that you were a slave in Egypt, and you shall be careful to observe these statutes.” Deuteronomy 16:9-12   Because of the enormity of what occurred, and because of the marked change in the people who had come to this feast, they were so converted that they kept the spirit of the feast going, even after it had ended. This attitude was found in all the believers who continued together “with one accord.”   There was a unity of purpose and heart among the believers because of their faith in Christ. It is the same attitude that has been seen, such as in Acts 1:14, and it will be seen several more times (where the same Greek word is used) through Acts 12 when referring to the faith and unity of these early believers. For now, it is a unity of mind that was on display “in the temple.”   The disciples would gather there openly to consider the wonder of what God had done in Christ. It is probably at this time that they began to ponder the larger picture of what their history had been leading to and how it was actually all a typological anticipation of the coming of the Messiah.   The Passover celebration that they had observed year by year would have taken on a whole new meaning to them. The Day of Atonement would suddenly stand out in a whole new way. And so on. There must have been an overwhelming sense that they belonged to a people that had served a greater purpose than they ever could have previously imagined.   In this state of amazed joy, they were not only in the temple daily, but they were also “breaking bread from house to house.” The Greek reads “at home.” The words are then set in contrast to “in the temple.” When they weren't at the temple, they were at someone's home. Wherever the believers dwelt, other believers would come and sit over a meal, symbolized by the breaking of bread that would set the tone for the meal.   Bread would be brought forth, a blessing would be made, and then bread would be broken and passed around. This is seen in all three synoptic gospels, such as in Mark 8 –   “So He commanded the multitude to sit down on the ground. And He took the seven loaves and gave thanks, broke them and gave them to His disciples to set before them; and they set them before the multitude. 7 They also had a few small fish; and having blessed them, He said to set them also before them. 8 So they ate and were filled, and they took up seven large baskets of leftover fragments.” Mark 8:6-8   Once the bread was brought forth, blessed, and broken, “they ate their food with gladness.”   One can think of the complete joy of knowing they had become a part of what God had been preparing since the fall of man. Step by step, He was working in the world as it led to the coming of Christ and toward the restoration of all things in Him. These early believers were sensing the glory of God in a way that probably stunned their senses from moment to moment.   Each time someone brought up a story from their Scriptures, they would probably talk about it and how it actually was leading to Jesus. As they ate their meals, they would be filled with gladness in the Spirit that their eyes had been opened to these marvelous things. Luke next notes that this state would be combined with that of “simplicity of heart.”   Here is a word found only this once in Scripture, aphelotés. It means “not stony ground.” As such, it is that which is simple or plain. There is nothing complicated to the eyes or to the feet when walking, and thus the steps are unencumbered. The term “purity of heart” would give a good sense. There is nothing complicated in it, there is nothing uneven or difficult in it.   As such, there would be no concerns or worries. No matter what arose during the day, the people would acknowledge it as being within the will of the Lord. In other words, “If the Lord took everything that we know of our part of human history, and He organized it so meticulously that we can see Jesus in every detail, then He must be guiding our lives for a good purpose, even if difficult or bad things happen along the way.”   The story of Joseph would have taken on a completely new meaning in their minds, the exile to Babylon would begin to make sense, the raising up of good kings, and the failings of the bad kings would be understood more clearly. The story of Ruth and that of Esther would suddenly call out to them in a completely new way. There would be no stony ground in their hearts because they could see the world with eyes that had never seen such wonder and glory before.   Life application: There are people who have been Christians for many years, or even for all of their lives – having come to know Jesus at young ages – and yet, they have never taken the time to dive into Scripture and search out its treasures. But at some point, they decide to start listening to sermons from the Old Testament and they start to realize that everything there is about... JESUS.   In this realization, they start to hunger the word as they never had before. Not only do the Old Testament Scriptures start to make sense, but the New Testament starts to take on a completely new tone. This is because they see that the Bible is one united whole, all telling the same story – slow and progressively revealing what God is doing in Christ.   With this new appreciation, their faith finds a stronger footing than it ever had before, and their lives take on a new calmness that they had never experienced. “If God had everything so carefully structured in the past, certainly my life is being carefully handled as well.” With this new attitude, the trials, pains, and woes all seem less troubling. A new reliance on Christ is realized, and a surety in salvation is more fully appreciated.   If you have not pursued God's word to its fullest, start today. The sermons from the Superior Word will help you in this. Start with Genesis 1:1 and just keep on going. There is treasure in this word. Forget the TV shows! Get into the word!   Lord God, help us to not squander our time, but to focus on You and on Your word now... while we can. Surely our lives will be more grounded if we do this. So, help us to pursue this path. Give us the heart to cherish this word all the days of our lives. Amen.

    Acts 2:45

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 5, 2021 6:34

    Sunday, 5 December 2021   and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need. Acts 2:45   The previous verse noted that “all who believed were together, and had all things in common.” Along with that, it now goes on to say, “and sold their possessions and goods.” It should be noted that all of the verbs in this verse are in the imperfect tense – “they were selling,” “they were dividing,” “anyone having a need.”   The idea is that they were in a state of selling everything they had as the occasion called for it. The word translated as “possessions” signifies landed property, such as a field or the like. The word translated as “goods” signifies stuff in general. It is simply something under the authority and discretion of a person.   One can get the sense that the disciples really thought that Jesus must be coming back quickly and there would be no need to have these things. So, they gathered together into a commune and sold their things off, waiting for that day. In doing this, they “divided them among all.”   There is a definite state of generosity here that follows after precepts found in the Law of Moses, such as –   “If there is among you a poor man of your brethren, within any of the gates in your land which the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not harden your heart nor shut your hand from your poor brother, 8 but you shall open your hand wide to him and willingly lend him sufficient for his need, whatever he needs.” Deuteronomy 15:7, 8   This doesn't mean these people were all poor that came into the fellowship, but that the principle of extending your hand to another to meet his need is one that Israel was aware of and lived by. As people sold their things, eventually someone would need to follow suit to take care of the person who had done so and found himself with nothing left. This is seen in the final words of the verse, “as anyone had need.”   Until these people joined the movement, they would have had their own property, their own employment, and their own means of tending to themselves. But it is quite apparent that they felt that these things would no longer be needed. The Lord would surely return soon, and the kingdom had arrived where there would be a new order of things.   Unfortunately, they misunderstood the times and the seasons Jesus spoke of in Acts 1:7. Israel, as a nation, had rejected the Lord. As a corporate body, they would be corporately punished for this, as outlined in the law – such as in Leviticus 26 and Deuteronomy 28. They would go into an extended exile and the gentiles would pick up and carry the spiritual banner that had been carried by Israel for so long.   This is all clearly seen and revealed to them as Acts closes out –   “Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!” Acts 28:28   It would be a calamitous mistake indeed to use Acts in a prescriptive way by following along with this verse in the church today.   Life application: The early church, misunderstanding the timeline of events to come, must have thought that they would enter into the kingdom age quickly. As such, they followed a rather reckless path concerning future savings. But even the Proverbs warned against that –   “A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children, But the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.” Proverbs 13:22   Solomon's advice did not stop being true after the resurrection of Jesus. We should save for contingencies in life, and we should even save in anticipation of blessing the next generations.   Unfortunately, the early Gentile church at Thessalonica caught the same fever as the Jews in Jerusalem. Paul told them about the coming of the Lord at the rapture in his first epistle, and they took that as an indication that they would be swooped out of there in short order. Hence, in his second epistle, it is seen that there were believers who were lolling around and not being productive. That is what brought about Paul's words concerning anyone not working would also not eat.   What is similar, but is found on a spiritual level, is the constant whittling away of time by the people of the church today because of the shape the world is in. And this has been going on constantly since the 1800s. Individuals and groups have gotten so into date setting that every twenty or thirty minutes it seems that a new date for the rapture is set. When it doesn't happen, a new and “corrected” calculation comes out, moving the timing back a couple days or a month.   This constant stream of failure is bad enough, but the true failure is that these same people spend all their time consumed in the thought of their speedy departure and they fail to do the things that are truly necessary – like telling people the gospel and actually learning proper doctrine.   It is a sad state of affairs, and it is as common as bed bugs in a boarding house. What people need to do is to forget about the timing of the rapture (meaning the dating of it, not necessarily the sequence of events as Scripture lays out), and actually live their lives in a productive manner – spiritually, towards their family and friends, and economically as well. The Lord will come when He comes. All of the false date setting in the world will not change the time of His coming one bit. And, when it happens, the date setting won't have mattered at all.   Lord God, help us to be responsible with the time You have given us in our lives. Amen.

    Acts 2:44

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 4, 2021 6:48

     Saturday, 4 December 2021   Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, Acts 2:44   Acts 2:44 (along with other verses to come) is a great verse for dispelling the notion of applying the book of Acts to our current religious lives. Luke has been describing the growth and fellowship of the early church. To highlight the unity and brotherhood that existed, he continues with, “Now all who believed.”   It is referring to those who had accepted that Jesus is the Messiah of Israel. They are all Jews at this point, and they have separated themselves from the larger group within the nation, identifying themselves first and foremost with Jesus. Only after that were they considered people of Israel.   This was not uncommon. Pharisees had their own sect that stood apart from the others. Sadducees did as well. The extra-biblical record refers to the Essenes. These and other groups identified as Jews, but with a separation based on various beliefs. This had become the case with followers of Christ.   As such, Luke notes that they “were together.” This implies communal living. It is something that is found in various sects even today, and it is something that is set forth as an ideal in the modern Jewish kibbutzim. Though not believers in Jesus, the people live together, work together, and are almost one large family. If one were to add in Jesus, such a community would closely reflect what is developing here in Acts. One noted aspect of the kibbutz that is stated here in Acts is that they “had all things in common.”   This will be further explained in the next verse and then it will continue to be explained a bit later in Acts. This system will be seen to be a flawed one that will eventually break down, even to the point where these people will become dependent on the Gentiles in order to meet their needs.   As noted, the words here show the folly of selecting verses from Acts and applying them in a prescriptive manner. How common it is to argue over Acts 2:38. Churches set doctrine based on that verse, or other verses, that have nothing to do with the intended structure of the church or of rightly established doctrine within the church.   And yet, right in the same chapter, and in verses dealing with the exact same group of people, verses that clearly define what they did and how they lived are completely ignored for establishing any sort of doctrine. The chances of establishing a viable, working church based on the words stated now are pretty much zero. Those churches that would attempt to do so would almost immediately turn into an aberrant cult led by a megalomaniac. This is the natural outcome of such a system.   Rather, the words here simply describe what occurred, and they will eventually describe the failed outcome of the system. This is not because it is not a noble ideal, but because we are living in a fallen world. Such a system cannot sustain itself. It has been attempted by sects and even governments (communism) and the result is always failure. The human heart is not conditioned for such a system at this time.   This is why Paul gives instruction to the church concerning our responsibility to work and to earn one's own keep, such as –   “But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. 7 For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; 8 nor did we eat anyone's bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, 9 not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us. 10 For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. 11 For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. 12 Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread.” 2 Thessalonians 3:6-12   Paul's words are prescriptive. They are commands for us during the church age, and they are to be adhered to. If you want to eat, get to work. If you want to excel in this current system, you will be diligent in your labors, save when you can, and pay your bills with money earned by your own efforts.   Life application: Remember that Acts describes what occurred at various points in the early church. It shows us how things were, but it does not speak to whether those things are right or not. Nor does it set forth doctrine for us to live by. Instead, we are to look at what Acts says as a way of understanding how the church began, was able to grow, and how it eventually became established in the world.   During this early period, things took one form or another, identifying what did work and what failed to work. Eventually, the epistles were completed. They give enough information for the church to have effectively continued for two millennia.   Let us not pick and choose verses from Acts in order to establish doctrine. Should the temptation arise to do so, then simply come back to this verse in Acts and ask yourself, “Why am I not also applying what it says here to my doctrine as well?” The answer will come forth telling you that Acts is not intended for such purposes.   Glorious heavenly Father, thank You for Your kind hand upon us. Bless the work of our hands as we go forth to our respective places of employment. Help us to be productive, fruitful, and to work honorably for the wages we receive. May our lives be examples to others of our desire to honor You through our daily actions. Amen.

    Acts 2:43

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 3, 2021 6:07

    Friday, 3 December 2021   Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Acts 2:43   The previous verse noted that those who had believed and were added to the number continued resolutely in the Lord, in teaching, in fellowship, in breaking of bread, and in prayers. With that noted, a word about those who had witnessed these things is given, saying, “Then fear came upon every soul.”   The word “fear” has various significations, such as terror, alarm, withdraw (as in fleeing from something), etc. Here, it probably does not speak of terror, but of awe. It appears that this is referring to not only those who believed, but also those who merely saw what occurred, even if they were not added to the number of disciples.   Those who were added to the number would have been in awe at the events their eyes beheld and the enormity of what it meant that the Christ had come and fulfilled Scripture. Those who didn't believe would still be in awe of the fact that so many people had suddenly been converted in their lives and conduct.   In all, there would be a sense of something major going on that they were being swept up in. Those inside would want to grow; those outside would want to know. And one of the major reasons for the intensity of the awe is connected to the next words, saying, “and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles.”   The words here are teras and sémeion. The teras, or wonder, is something that is done in order to bring about a reaction from those who see it. The effect upon those who witness it is intended to bring about a change in them. A wonder is a thing that is evident in itself. It is something that extends beyond what is normal and is thus considered miraculous. When it is done, it is to be attributed to the Lord because there is no other explanation for it to occur.   The sémeion or sign, is a sign, a miracle, a token, and so on. It generally is given to authenticate, corroborate, or confirm a person or a matter. Whereas a wonder is the thing itself, the sign stands for, testifies to, or points to something else. A simple example of a sign would be the blood of the Passover applied to the doorposts of a house. It is a sign. Jesus' miracles, at times, are noted as signs. Though they may be miraculous, like the changing of water to wine, they are signs that were given to authenticate Him as the Messiah and His ministry as approved by God.   These things, having been done through the apostles, were clear demonstrations of the power and effective working of the Lord, and they were given as confirmations of their office and of the approval by the Lord concerning their ministry.   The important thing, however, is that everything done by them and through them was ascribed not to their own abilities or capabilities, but to the effectual working of the Lord through them. Thus, even though these signs and wonders confirmed their office, and their approval by the Lord, they ultimately point back to the Lord Himself, acknowledging that He and His ministry among Israel was exactly what was claimed. Jesus is the Messiah.   Life application: Despite it being as common as coins in a slot machine among churches and individuals in the church today, the claim that people are still exhibiting signs and wonders is both unnecessary and contradictory to the word itself. It is the apostles who had this power. There are no more apostles. The signs and wonders were given to testify to the church of the authority and office of the apostles who represented Jesus. The Bible now does this.   Those in the church are to walk by faith, not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). If we are expecting signs and wonders, we are not adhering to this precept. And so on. The purpose of the Bible is to be a witness to the workings of God in Christ. As it is given by the Holy Spirit, and as we are to accept it as such after doing our personal evaluation of it, then what do we need signs and wonders for? They are completely superfluous to our walk.   This does not mean that we should not pray for, or hope for, healing. We are specifically told to do so. But we are not to expect it or claim it. That is presumptuous. Should our prayers be answered, we should give God the glory for what has occurred. Let us be sound in our doctrine, reasonable in our walk, and understand the difference in what is merely descriptive and what is prescriptive in Scripture. In this, we will be in the sweet spot.    Lord God, how wonderful it is to have the written testimony of those things that occurred in order to confirm Your workings in redemptive history. Now, we can read about the signs and wonders that were given to establish the faith of early believers and we can then more readily accept that the message we have is true. Thank You for Your precious word! Amen.  

    Acts 2:42

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 2, 2021 10:22

    Thursday, 2 December 2021   And they continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Acts 2:42     The previous verse saw three thousand souls added to the number of followers of Christ. With this great increase, Luke now records the results of their conversion, saying, “And they continued steadfastly.”   He uses the same word as in Luke 1:14 to describe their conduct –   “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.”   The word used, proskartereó, signifies a consistent display of strength that does not fail, even in times of difficulty. It is a remarkable attitude considering that they had first been among those who mocked what they saw. But when they heard the words of Peter, and when they realized the magnitude of what had occurred in the coming of their Messiah, they were wholly converted. There is no record of any of these people falling away. Rather, their lives had been completely changed by the events that occurred.   In this state, it says they continued “in the apostles' doctrine.”  The word is more precisely rendered “teaching.” It signifies both the act and the matter rather than just the matter (as in “doctrine”). Those who had joined the faith were willing to sit and be instructed on what it meant to enter into the New Covenant. Along with continuing in the apostles' teaching, it adds “and fellowship.” Vincent's Word Studies provides the meaning –   “From κοινός, [koinos] common. A relation between individuals which involves a common interest and a mutual, active participation in that interest and in each other. The word answers to the Latin communio, from communis, common. Hence, sometimes rendered communion, as 1 Corinthians 10:16; 2 Corinthians 13:14. Fellowship is the most common rendering.”   Indeed, the life of the early believers wasn't just in common, it was almost in commune. This will be seen in Chapter 4. There was an intimate fellowship that goes well beyond that experienced in almost all of the church today. To find any church that is even closely similar to what is described is almost unheard of. But, if such a body exists, it is more of a fringe cult than anything else.   This alone shows the descriptive nature of the book. It also shows the hypocrisy of those who pull various verses or passages out of Acts and force them upon a congregation in a prescriptive manner while completely ignoring other passages that are just as clearly stated. What is occurring in the early church, as is recorded in Acts, is a state of necessity for the body to survive, grow, and continue within the society in which it existed.   To impose the same type of life upon others in societies elsewhere would not only likely be unwise, it would most certainly be damaging to those who joined. As noted above, this is the type of environment that easily leads to complete bondage in cults. The reason is that any such teacher is not an apostle of Jesus. When such control of others' lives is obtained, the most aberrant of doctrines quickly arise. This has been seen innumerable times in the present dispensation.   As for these early believers, they had a state of instruction, community, and a reliance on one another. Along with that, they continued “in the breaking of bread.”   The word used, klasis, is derived from a word, klaó, signifying “to break.” It is found only here and in Luke 24:35 where Jesus broke the bread in Emmaus after His resurrection. This is the final use of the word in Scripture, but the connection to Luke 24 may be intended to signify more than just the fact that common meals were shared, but that each meal was considered a participation in the Lord's Supper.   In other words, the bread in a family would have been broken by the head of the house who would then say a prayer for blessing upon it. In the case of the breaking of bread among the believers, it would be asking for a blessing in the body of Christ. This is, of course, speculation. However, it is reasonable to assume this. Christ had said in Luke 22:19 (and Paul repeats in 1 Corinthians 11:24) to “do this in remembrance of Me.”   Along with these points of activity, Luke adds in the words, “and in prayers.” Even the prayer life of these early believers was a united activity, and it shows the highly intimate closeness of the body as they continued on in their relationship based on the memory of the Messiah who had come to the people of Israel.   Life application: It is often said that those described in the book of Acts who had converted to the faith continued to adhere to the instruction (Torah) of Moses. This is then used to justify that believers today are also bound to Moses.   This is not only untrue, it is one of the principle teachings that Paul argues against. In fact, the book of Galatians is so clear, unambiguous, and precise in arguing against it that it is astonishing that anyone gets caught up in this heretical doctrine. Peter is even used as an example of why this is untrue, being called out openly by Paul for his heresy. In fact, because it is the basis for the book of Galatians, Paul calls it out as anathema, or accursed right at the beginning of the epistle –   “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:6-9   Thus, this is not a light and unimportant matter. It is the highest of offenses against the cross of Jesus Christ. The reason these early believers continued on in the culture of the  Jews was because they were... Jews. To this day, Jews have a Sabbath. Jews circumcise. Jews (in part) observe their annual feast days. Jews get married under a khupa. These are things they do culturally, whether they believe in God or not, and whether they are believers in Jesus or not.   Even though these things are what they do culturally, they actually have nothing to do with faith in the finished work of Christ. Reinserting the Law of Moses, in part or in whole, is not to be tolerated in our lives as Christians. It is the arrogant attitude that says, “Jesus, You did a good job, but I will improve upon it. Thanks for Your help, but I've got this.” You will not survive the judgment for your arrogance.   Be sure to understand the historical record of Acts, but also be sure to understand proper theology so that you do not get swept up into the judgment of God for failing to simply believe that Christ has completed what is necessary for you to be saved. The words, “It is finished,” have meaning. Believe them.   Lord God, thank You for Jesus Christ who has fulfilled all that is necessary to bring me into a right relationship with You. Thank You that we are free from the bondage of the law, and that we are brought into the perfect liberty of living by faith in the completed work of Christ. Amen.

    Acts 2:41

    Play Episode Listen Later Dec 1, 2021 13:53

    Wednesday, 1 December 2021   Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them. Acts 2:41 Peter has given the instructions to those of Israel before him concerning what they must do in order to, as he said, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” The instructions were found in verse 2:38, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.”   The reason for this is because they are a part of Israel and because they lived during the time of this “perverse generation” that had crucified the Lord. Thus, they bore the national guilt of Israel, whether they had actually participated in His crucifixion or not. Therefore, they had to repent (change their mind). It was a necessary part of their conversion. Further, the baptism was to show an alignment with Christ, thus rejecting the actions against Him that had taken place.   The account describes what occurred and why. It does not prescribe anything for us today because it is not normative in the process of salvation as laid out in the epistles. This is a one-time event that sets apart believers in Christ from those who would not believe.   Remembering this now, we read the continued words of Luke, “Then those who gladly received his word.” The word translated as “received,” apodechomai, is a forceful one used only by Luke, mostly in Acts that signifies “to gladly receive.” In some manuscripts, such as that used for the NKJV, it is accompanied by the word asmenós, signifying “with delight.” Thus, there is a heightened sense of the joy they felt as they anticipated a joyous turn of events in their lives.   Though the words are merely descriptive, they go to the heart of the gospel, and they clearly convey the doctrine of free will. Nothing is said here, or anywhere else in Scripture that God caused them to receive the word. They heard the word preached, and they have faith that the word is true –   “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, ‘Lord, who has believed our report?' 17 So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” Romans 10:16, 17   The word “obey” cited by Paul in Romans 10 clearly means “to believe,” as it does elsewhere in this context. These people before Peter heard the good news, and in their hearing, they had faith (they “received his word”). Of those who received this word, it next says they “were baptized.”   This is in accord with the Lord's instructions of Matthew 28 –   “And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, ‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.' Amen.” Matthew 28:18-20   The people had believed, meaning they had faith after receiving the word. In this, they were saved. And so, as an outward demonstration of the inward change, they were water baptized. Because nothing is said of them receiving the Holy Spirit it cannot be known if that came before or after the water baptism. But the equation of Mark 16:16, which was cited when Acts 2:38 was evaluated, says that the Holy Spirit is received upon belief.   As such, it can be reasonably inferred that this is the case here. From that point, these now-saved believers were obedient to the word of the Lord recorded in Matthew 28, and they were baptized. But even if during this recorded event the Spirit came upon them after water baptism, such would not be normative for the church age.   For example, the description of the coming of the Spirit in Acts 8 and Acts 10 will be different than it is here. What is presented in these three chapters is not to establish a norm for the church, but to provide confirmation to Peter that these various groups had, in fact, been accepted by God. This will be seen as the accounts are evaluated.   As noted in the Acts 2:38 commentary, and supposing Peter was speaking of water baptism (something that cannot be wholly determined from the text), this could not be considered a work for these people. Rather, it would be a necessary condition to bring them into the proper category where they co  uld be acceptable to receive the Spirit. The categorical requirements were set forth. In being water baptized, this group of people would have then met the categorical requirement.   As the timing of the coming of the Spirit upon them is not recorded, it cannot be known what Peter was referring to with one hundred percent certainty. The point, however, is that Luke is providing a historical record of what occurred. He is not setting doctrine for the church. And so, either way, this is not to be considered a normative standard. It is simply a description of what took place. With this understood, it next says, “and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.”   A great number indeed! They had heard the words of Peter, they had believed the message, and they were saved. In being saved (either way), they were water baptized as a way of publicly professing their new faith in Christ Jesus.    The number three thousand is an important number to see and understand. This is because it fulfills a pattern that is set forth in Scripture in which a theological point is made. In Exodus 32, we read –   Now when Moses saw that the people were unrestrained (for Aaron had not restrained them, to their shame among their enemies), 26 then Moses stood in the entrance of the camp, and said, “Whoever is on the Lord's side—come to me!” And all the sons of Levi gathered themselves together to him. 27 And he said to them, “Thus says the Lord God of Israel: ‘Let every man put his sword on his side, and go in and out from entrance to entrance throughout the camp, and let every man kill his brother, every man his companion, and every man his neighbor.'” 28 So the sons of Levi did according to the word of Moses. And about three thousand men of the people fell that day. 29 Then Moses said, “Consecrate yourselves today to the Lord, that He may bestow on you a blessing this day, for every man has opposed his son and his brother.” Exodus 32:25-29   At Sinai, which according to Galatians 4 symbolizes the temple in Jerusalem, the law was received, and it was written on tablets of stone. Those tablets were given to Moses but were broken at the base of the mountain because of the people's turning from the Lord to a false God. After this, three thousand people died because of their sins.   In Acts 2, at the temple in Jerusalem, the word of the Lord was again given, but this time it was written on the tablets of the hearts of the people, as Paul calls the work of the Spirit in 2 Corinthians 3:3. In this, three thousand people were saved because of their faith in Christ Jesus.   The two accounts are given to show the superiority of the fulfilled law in Christ to the giving of the law by Moses. One was written on stone, and it leads to death. The other is written on the heart, and it leads to life.   It was a perverse generation who failed to believe, having time and again rejected the Lord in the wilderness, and it was a perverse generation who rejected Christ and sought to seek their own righteousness apart from Him.   The lesson we see is that for those three thousand who died at Sinai, they died in sin because of their deeds and their failure to believe. For the three thousand who received Jesus in Jerusalem, they died to sin because of faith in the deeds of Jesus. The contrast is complete.   Life application: The question for each of us is, “When the Lord comes to visit us for punishment, will it be punishment in us for the sins we have committed in this life, or will it have been in Christ for those same sins?” These are the only two options available to man.   If our sins have been judged in Christ, our names are written in the book of life, and they shall never be blotted out; we have overcome. If our sins have not been dealt with through Him, then another fate awaits   It is the most marvelous news – in Christ, God so pardons sin as to remember our sin no more! The world doesn't even want to hear about sin. But it is a reality that cannot be denied when considering the holiness of God.    Today many churches are filled with worshippers quite often because the church is geared towards the carnal man. There are promises of health, wealth, and prosperity, but there is no heart for the grace of God which frees us from sin. The sin is passed over and not dealt with. Or churches return their people to the law in an attempt to turn away the wrath of God. But God rejects this.   What God has done is to accomplish all the work that is necessary for our salvation in and through the Person of Jesus Christ. To return to the law is to reject this. It is a self-condemning act. Or, to fail to acknowledge one's sins at all means that such a person doesn't really need a Savior. It too is a self-condemning act.       Lord God, there is nothing surer in my life than the fact that I need a Savior from sin. I know that You sent Christ Jesus into the world to accomplish this, and I receive the offer You have made in Him. I receive the good news! Thank You, O God, for Jesus. Hallelujah and Amen.

    Acts 2:40

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 30, 2021 9:33

     Tuesday, 30 November 2021   And with many other words he testified and exhorted them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.” Acts 2:40   The recorded words of Peter's discourse are ended, but this is not all that he said to the people as is evidenced by the words, “And with many other words.” What this means is that what was deemed appropriate by the Spirit to be conveyed was included in the passage, but nothing else. Everything in Scripture has a set purpose. Nothing is left out that should have been included, and nothing superfluous is added in.   What is recorded from Peter's words was sufficient to convey why the event of speaking in tongues took place, what they signified, proof that they were prophesied in advance, how they pointed to the work of Christ Jesus, how the Scriptures prophesied of the work of Jesus, what that work led to (meaning His exaltation), and what was necessary for those standing before Peter to be saved from the wrath that would most surely come upon the people for having crucified their Messiah.   The recorded account is fully sufficient to meet the purposes of being a proper witness against Israel concerning their actions and their guilt. It is also a witness that the Feast of Pentecost (Shavuoth) has found its fulfillment in the work of the Lord.   With these things sufficiently explained and their truths established, it says of the many words of Peter's that are left unrecorded that “he testified and exhorted them.” The Greek words give the sense of a complete and encouraging testimony. In other words, Peter left no questions unanswered, and what he said was fully sufficient to convince, if those who heard were willing to pay heed. Included in his exhortation, Peter included a stern warning, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation.”   In other words, the wrath of God was aroused against Israel, just as had happened so many times in their past. Each time, their Scriptures carefully recorded the surrounding events, testifying to them why the things that happened to them came about. Their standard was the Law of Moses and when they departed from it, they were explicitly told what the resulting punishment would be. And yet, nothing is recorded in their Scriptures – meaning the Old Testament – to explain their second exile.   This means that either Israel was left without explanation, in their own writings, as to why they were exiled, or it means that Sacred Scripture does record the reason, but they have failed to accept that body of Scripture as divinely inspired.   In other words, the Old Testament is an incomplete account of Israel's history. Only with the New Testament do Moses' words, to which Israel is bound, now have any meaning for the modern nation. Indeed, the Old Testament tells of Israel's modern restoration, but it does not tell why they needed to be restored. Only with their rejection of Christ do the past two thousand years of their history make any sense.   This is what Peter is implying when he calls them a “perverse generation.” The word translated here as “perverse” is skolios. It literally means “crooked.”  HELPS Word Studies defines it as “crooked (bent) because dried out (like a piece of parched wood); (figuratively) morally twisted (warped) because lacking the oil of the Holy Spirit – hence, unacceptable to God (His standards).”   The definition is a perfect fit for what occurred in Israel. They lacked the Holy Spirit, as evidenced by the lack of speaking in tongues at the fulfillment of the Feast of Pentecost. As such, they were unable to accept God's standard as presented to them in the Person of Jesus Christ. Their thoughts were crooked and there would be no hope for the nation. Only those who stepped away from the national mindset could be saved.   Life application: There is an interesting set of patterns that is found in Scripture, and which connects what occurred in the wilderness wanderings of Israel to the Roman exile of Israel. Israel was offered Canaan, the Land of Promise. Before they entered, men were selected to spy out the land. When they returned, a bad report was spread throughout the camp and the people rebelled.   At that time, the Lord promised to destroy the congregation through exile in the wilderness. They would continue to fall dead during that period until all that generation was gone. Only after that would Israel then enter into Canaan. The Bible is clear, both in Numbers – and as is explained in Hebrews – that they were punished because they lacked faith –   “Therefore I was angry with that generation, And said, ‘They always go astray in their heart, And they have not known My ways.' 11 So I swore in My wrath, ‘They shall not enter My rest.'” Hebrews 3:10, 11   &   “For who, having heard, rebelled? Indeed, was it not all who came out of Egypt, led by Moses? 17 Now with whom was He angry forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose corpses fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did He swear that they would not enter His rest, but to those who did not obey? 19 So we see that they could not enter in because of unbelief.” Hebrews 3:16-19   The pattern is repeated in the coming of Christ. The people did not believe Him. In their unbelief, they were not given the rest that is found in Jesus Christ. For those who do believe, they have entered God's rest (Hebrews 4:3). The entire account of Israel's Roman exile was typologically anticipated in the wilderness wanderings. They, as a nation, were removed from God's presence because of their unbelief.   However, the nation eventually did cross the Jordan and enter. Likewise, Israel will someday come to Christ in faith and enter into His rest. The pattern is explained in the Numbers and Deuteronomy sermons at the Superior Word website.   One of the main themes of this, however, is that Moses did not enter into the promise, but died outside of Canaan in the land of Moab. Moses represents the law. As such, a clear and unambiguous picture is made for us. By the law, no person can enter into God's rest. They must come by faith in Christ alone.   If you are stuck in a law-observant church, meaning observing the law in part or in whole, you must remove yourself from that doctrine. What is taught by the Seventh Day Adventists, the Hebrew Roots movement, and so on is the highest form of heresy because it denies the all-sufficient work of Jesus Christ. Be sure to never add deeds of the law into your theology in an attempt to please God. He is pleased with you based on your faith in the work of His Son.   Only after being saved are your works credited in accord with your salvation. These are not works of the law, but works as outlined in the New Testament epistles. Have faith Christ Jesus and be pleasing to God.   Lord God, Your word is a wonderful testimony to Your working in and through Jesus Christ. Help us to be sound in our thinking and to know in our hearts that You have done everything necessary to reconcile us to Yourself. Help us to put away our arrogance by trying to do what He has already done. Help us to find our sufficiency in His work alone. To Your glory we pray. Amen.

    Acts 2:39

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 29, 2021 13:34

    Monday, 29 November 2021   For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” Acts 2:39   Peter just instructed the men of Israel what they needed to do in order to receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. At first, it might seem contradictory to do something in order to receive a gift, but that was seen to be incorrect. A gift is not necessarily something everyone will get. Only those who meet the qualifications for receiving it will. In the case of those of Israel who had just crucified Christ Jesus, they had to prepare themselves in order to be eligible. Today, we too must be prepared, meeting the qualifications that are set forth for us as outlined in the epistles.   Understanding this, and having seen what Peter instructed the people before him, he notes to them, “For the promise.” This is certainly referring to the reception of the Spirit. It is what Peter cited in verse 2:17 –   “And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh;”   However, and whether they understood it or not, this promise is based on the establishment of a New Covenant. Peter was fully aware of this, having sat with Christ as He proclaimed it. But those there before him will receive that instruction in due time if they accept the terms set forth to receive the gift. This New Covenant was prophesied by Jeremiah, and it is what allows the pouring forth of the Spirit –   “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah.” Jeremiah 31:31   In the establishment of this New Covenant, the Spirit has been poured out. It is the promise Joel referred to. As such, Peter continues, saying that it “is to you and to your children.”   Again, it follows directly with the next half of the verse that Peter cited from Joel –   “Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams.” Joel 2:17   The people of Israel were to receive the promise, and it was one that extended beyond a single generation. It would continue from that point on, testified to by the words “and to your children.” It implies a new order of things had come to pass. From there, Peter then says, “and to all who are afar off.”   The words “afar off” mean “at a distance” or “unto a long way.” The idea of “to you and to your children” is temporal in nature. The idea of “to all who are afar off” is spatial in nature. It is an all-encompassing thought then. Whatever Peter is thinking of, and whatever the Jews standing there were thinking of, cannot be fully known. Any or all of them may be thinking only of Jews of the dispersion and not of Gentiles at all. However, the words are words of prophecy, therefore, the full scope of their meaning does not necessarily have to be understood at this time. For example, in John 11, it says –   “And one of them, Caiaphas, being high priest that year, said to them, ‘You know nothing at all, 50 nor do you consider that it is expedient for us that one man should die for the people, and not that the whole nation should perish.' 51 Now this he did not say on his own authority; but being high priest that year he prophesied that Jesus would die for the nation, 52 and not for that nation only, but also that He would gather together in one the children of God who were scattered abroad.” John 11:49-52   Caiaphas prophesied concerning the nation of Israel, but John clearly indicates that what he prophesied extended beyond the nation. Thus, by default, it extends to the Gentiles. The same is true here, whether Peter and those before him realized this.   Peter and the others had already been told that they were to carry the gospel to the Gentiles. That is clearly recorded in Matthew 28 –   “‘All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.' Amen.” Matthew 28:18-20   The sentiment is also reflected in Jesus' final words to those gathered with Him in Acts 1:8. However, as Acts continues on, it will be seen quite clearly that Peter did not fully understand this. There is a developmental process that is identified in Acts that shows that the apostles and disciples were learning as they went. Paul, however, will be taken from outside of this group and given a direct commission apart from their slowly developing understanding. This way, the focus of one group, though bearing the same gospel, will be more user-friendly to one audience, while that of the other will be more acceptable and palatable to another audience.   When the two sides meet up, such as is recorded in Galatians 2, it will be seen that Peter, not Paul, must continue to develop in his theology to come to the same level of understanding concerning what is going on as that of Paul. For now, and even if Peter and those before him did not understand that the words applied to the Gentiles, it does not negate the fact that they do. Paul makes this clear in his words of Ephesians 2 where he clearly shows that the words apply to Gentiles who were once outside of the commonwealth of Israel –   Therefore remember that you, once Gentiles in the flesh—who are called Uncircumcision by what is called the Circumcision made in the flesh by hands— 12 that at that time you were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God in the world. 13 But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. 14 For He Himself is our peace, who has made both one, and has broken down the middle wall of separation, 15 having abolished in His flesh the enmity, that is, the law of commandments contained in ordinances, so as to create in Himself one new man from the two, thus making peace, 16 and that He might reconcile them both to God in one body through the cross, thereby putting to death the enmity. 17 And He came and preached peace to you who were afar off and to those who were near. 18 For through Him we both have access by one Spirit to the Father. Ephesians 2:11-18   As such, and understanding that this promise applies to both Jew and to Gentile, Peter concludes with the words, “as many as the Lord our God will call.” The promise extends to whoever the Lord calls. The words of prophecy are not limited by man, but by God. It is He who determines the extent of the call. As such, and even if a prophecy is misunderstood, it is God's prerogative that stands.   With this understood, a person could take a Calvinistic stand on the words “the Lord our God will call” and say, “See, this proves that a person must be regenerated in order to believe. Only then can he be saved.” This would assume the “call” is active (God actually reaches out to the individual and selects him for salvatio  n), and the assumption would be incorrect.   It has already been seen that God sets forth the conditions for salvation. In the case of these Jews before Peter, it was with a particular requirement based on particular circumstances which are not to be considered normative for today. As far as the call being referred to, meaning salvation through the gospel, the call has been made by Jesus in the giving of the gospel. It has been recorded in Scripture as directed by the Holy Spirit. God has made the move, and now that call – which is passive – must be responded to.   Therefore, the words “as many as the Lord our God will call” find their extent based on that. The fact is that the church age will end at some point. Therefore, to say, “as many,” is a parameter set by God. Suppose there is an island that has never been evangelized. If it is expected to take a certain number of missionaries a certain amount of time to evangelize them all, it may be that the rapture will happen before they are all evangelized.   As such, “as many as the Lord God will call” will only apply to those who were evangelized before the rapture. This doesn't mean that God actively chose some and actively rejected some (Calvinism). Peter says that God was not willing for any to perish, but that all should turn and be saved (2 Peter 3:9). However, because of the timing of redemptive events, it did not come about. This is the extent of Peter's words now. It is a passive, not an active, calling from God.   Life application: One thing that can be highlighted from Peter's words of this verse is the universal nature of the calling of God through the gospel. It is a constant problem with cults and sects that they believe certain things belong only to certain people – such as spiritual gifts, salvation, and so on – and that this is based on limitations they have assumed from Scripture or from their own imaginations.   In fact, this is generally the main indication of an incorrect doctrine. The truth of the matter, however, is that salvation is offered to any and to all who meet the requirements set forth by God. His requirement in the church age is that a person must believe the gospel. In this, the Spirit is given in full measure to the person who believes.   The Church of Christ, for example, says that a person must be baptized in order to be saved. That is not a limitation set forth in Scripture, even if it was specifically stated to a certain group of people at a certain time (Acts 2:38). One must determine what is normative, meet the requirements for that, and he will be saved.   Anytime someone or somebody claims an exclusivity that is not clearly stated in Scripture (those who read the King James Version only, only Jehovah's Witnesses, only Mormons, only the elect (when taken out of context), must be baptized into the Church of Christ, and so on), then be sure to compare their “onlyism” with Scripture. When it is determined that it is not to be found, then run to get away from that body.   God does not show favorites. He saves everyone who comes to Him through the parameters He sets forth. Be sure to know what those parameters are (know the gospel) and meet them. When you have, you are saved. This is what God expects for salvation. From there, be sure to continue to learn what God expects from His word for those who have been saved through the gospel. Grow in doctrine, pursue holiness, and walk circumspectly in this world. Oh, and be sure to tell others the message of hope that is found in Jesus Christ our Lord.   Lord God, thank You for the simplicity of the gospel. Thank You that it is clear, understandable, and available to any and to all who are willing to simply believe its words. You have done the work. Help us to accept this and to be saved through the precious blood of Christ. Amen.

    Acts 2:38

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 28, 2021 21:07

    Sunday, 28 November 2021   Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Acts 2:38   Acts 2:38 is a marvellous verse to practice your memorization skills. Let's see how you do. What are the five basic rules of biblical interpretation that you have been asked to remember? They are:   Is this prescriptive (does it prescribe something)? Is this descriptive (does it only describe something)? What is the context? What is the context? What is the context?   The answers to these questions will help resolve an untold number of errors in theology that have arisen because of this single verse. The verse is based on the question asked by those gathered before Peter while listening to his discourse, which was, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”   The question was asked in response to the obvious fact submitted to them that they had crucified Jesus, their Messiah. This made them enemies of Him. In the pouring out of the Holy Spirit, they had been excluded, proving this fact. Salvation had been presented to Israel, and they missed the offer. And yet, their actions are the very thing that made their salvation possible.   The answers are that the passage is prescriptive. It is prescribing something for those standing before Peter (and before the Lord as they were at a pilgrim feast in the presence of the Lord). The passage is also descriptive. It is describing what occurred and who is involved in what is occurring. The context is that this is Peter speaking to the “men of Israel.” Not a single Gentile is involved, nor will any be involved in the entire passage. As such, it is prescriptive for those standing there, but not for anyone else who is not involved in the events at that moment.   The context is also that the people standing before Peter are all a part of the body of Israel who had crucified their Messiah. The context is also that some of those of Israel (not those in the crowd being addressed) had received the Spirit while others had not. And so forth. As these things are true, and as the events at the conversion of others – throughout the rest of Acts – are completely different, then despite this passage having a prescription tied to it, the prescription is only for this particular event. It is not a prescription for any other event. It is not normative for the church age. Rather, it is now only a descriptive account for those who receive the completed New Testament. In other words, and stated plainly, what is said here now – and in the verses to come – was a one-time event that is not to be made into doctrine for the church age. It does not apply (it is not normative) for our doctrine today. With that hopefully understood, the account recorded by Luke proceeds, saying, “Then Peter.”   Peter has been the leader of the twelve. It is he who has spoken out all of the words since verse 2:14, and he continues with the instruction. Luke then records that he “said to them.” The word “them” is speaking of the “men of Israel.” The masculine speaks for the whole and Peter's words will be inclusive of women who are given the same instruction.   It is the body of people who had just crucified Jesus. They had rejected Him openly. In Israel, unlike any other body of people, there is both an individual salvation and a corporate salvation. The individual salvation is evident in Scripture elsewhere, but it is proven by the coming of the Holy Spirit upon some and not upon others.   The corporate salvation is spoken of throughout all of Israel's history, and it is confirmed by the words of Jesus and of the apostles. The nation bears collective guilt for its actions. This is based on their agreement to the covenant set forth at Mount Sinai, a covenant that is still binding on them today until they – as a nation – enter into the New Covenant in Christ's shed blood –   “Behold, the days are coming, says the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah— 32 not according to the covenant that I made with their fathers in the day that I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, though I was a husband to them, says the Lord. 33 But this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, says the Lord: I will put My law in their minds, and write it on their hearts; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. 34 No more shall every man teach his neighbor, and every man his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,' for they all shall know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them, says the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.” Jeremiah 31:31-34   The words of Jeremiah are addressed to the house of Israel and the house of Judah. The words are only dealing with them, even if Gentiles are also brought into this New Covenant. Other prophets, Jesus, and the apostles clearly indicate this.   This is the context – Peter, Israel, Israel's rejection and crucifixion of Christ, some receiving the Holy Spirit and some not receiving the Holy Spirit. This is what had occurred only a short time earlier –   Pilate said to them, “What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?” They all said to him, “Let Him be crucified!” 23 Then the governor said, “Why, what evil has He done?” But they cried out all the more, saying, “Let Him be crucified!” 24 When Pilate saw that he could not prevail at all, but rather that a tumult was rising, he took water and washed his hands before the multitude, saying, “I am innocent of the blood of this just Person. You see to it.” 25 And all the people answered and said, “His blood be on us and on our children.” 26 Then he released Barabbas to them; and when he had scourged Jesus, he delivered Him to be crucified. Matthew 27:22-26   As such, these words of Peter now are based on this event. Thew words apply to corporate and to individual Israel, but they do not apply to anyone else, including individual Jews, at any other time. But the precept does apply to the corporate body for all time. With this understanding, Peter states, “Repent.”   This is one of the most misunderstood and misused words in all of Christianity. The Greek word is metanoeó. It means “to change one's mind or purpose,” “to think differently after,” and so on. It does not mean actually doing any work at all. It is simply a changing of the heart (the heart signifying the reasoning process of a person in the Bible).   Peter is telling the people (it is third person plural, and thus he is speaking to each person as much as to all of the people gathered before him) to change their minds. The question is, “About what?” The answer is, “About Jesus, the Messiah, and their rejection of Him?” They had to repent of this. Their mind was, “Crucify Him. He is not our King.” Their change in mind must correspond to that – “We believe! He is our Messiah!”   The word “repent” is prescriptive for Israel who had just crucified Jesus. It is not prescriptive for anyone else who has not first rejected Jesus. In other words, these two examples will help –   John walks up to Tom and tells him about Jesus. Tom had never heard of Jesus. Tom does not need to repent of anything. He needs to simply believe the gospel (1 Corinthians 15:3, 4) and he will be sealed with the Holy Spirit, and he will be saved (Ephesians 1:13, 14). Tom has heard the gospel. Tom has rejected the gospel. Tom must “repent” of his former rejection (change his mind), believe the gospel, and Tom will be saved.   This is the context of Peter's words. Israel (individually and collectively), who had just crucified their Messiah, must repent. For those who will do so, Peter then says, “and let every one of you be baptized.” The question here is “what baptism” is being referred to. It does say in verse 2:41 that those who received his words were baptized. That is certainly speaking of water baptism.    The word “baptize” is a transliteration of the Greek word baptizó. It signifies to immerse. The people were to have an immersion in water. However, it is not the water baptism that saves. Christ's finished work is what saves. Peter makes this clear in 1 Peter 3 –   “There is also an antitype which now saves us—baptism (not the removal of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God), through the resurrection of Jesus Christ, 22 who has gone into heaven and is at the right hand of God, angels and authorities and powers having been made subject to Him.” 1 Peter 3:21   The Weymouth Version translates these words as “with a view to remission of your sins.” This then is in accord with both the idea of baptism of the Holy Spirit which occurs when one believes, and the water baptism which is a later outward demonstration of what has occurred.   The expectation for this guilty group of people is to first change their minds. It is to then make a public acknowledgment of this change in mind by being baptized.    The main question to be resolved is, “Does this mean that these people must be water baptized in order to receive the Spirit, or does it mean that these people will receive the “baptism of the Holy Spirit” based upon their faith, and that the water baptism then follows as an outward display of the inward change?”   The text says later nothing of their receiving the Spirit after being water baptized in verse 2:41. What appears to be the case is that the formula of Mark 16:16 is evidenced here –   “He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.”   When one believes and is baptized, salvation is realized. However, when one does not believe, condemnation remains. Hence, baptism is conditional upon belief. In other words, it follows necessarily that these people will be baptized into the Holy Spirit when they demonstrate faith.   One might suppose that this one time in Scripture Peter is making baptism in water a requirement for salvation (which would be contrary to the whole tenor of Scripture). If such was believed, it would still not be a normative thing for the church. Water baptism is a symbolic act of washing away the sin and defilement. This is not something that is required for salvation by anyone else after this.   Hence, what Peter must be saying is that these people will be saved when they turn to the Lord, they will receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit, and then they are to be water baptized as the outward sign of their new life as directed by Jesus in Matthew 28:19.   Next, Peter says this baptism is to be “in the name of Jesus Christ.” The Greek reads “upon the name.” Where would the people now stand? Upon the name of Caesar? Or will it be upon the name of the One they had rejected?   The crucified Christ, He who was openly rejected by the people – and upon whom His blood remained (see Matthew 27:25 above) – is now to be the One who provides forgiveness and salvation to those who just repented. This is perfectly evidenced in the next words, which say, “for the remission of sins.”   The blood atonement of Christ is set forth, clearly and unambiguously, in these words. The Lord was crucified, their actions had caused it, and their repentance of that will allow for atonement for their sins. The word translated as “remission” is aphesis. It signifies “dismissal,” “release,” “pardon,” “complete forgiveness,” and so on.   For those who repent and who are subsequently baptized from this group of people, a change will take place which will be explained in a moment. But notice that two things are required for the people standing before Peter to receive that change – 1) repent, and 2) be baptized. The repentance must occur, but so must the baptism. There must be a complete separation from the old and an acceptance of the new for them BECAUSE they were guilty of having rejected Christ along with their nation. This is why what occurs here is not normative for the church age. It only applies to these people, at this time, in order to establish the complete separation between the two. Some of these people may never have heard of Jesus. Some of them might have heard and sympathized with Him. But the point is that the nation bears the guilt, and it is to instruct the nation that these requirements are set forth. It is instructional for Israel, and it is a testimony to bear witness against them for all time.   Peter next says, “and you shall receive the gift.” A gift is something one cannot earn. It is grace and nothing more. And yet, Peter has said they must do something in order to receive it. The apostles had received the gift. It simply came upon them. But it did not come upon the others. This means that the reception of the gift is conditional.   If someone says, “I have ten thousand squiggalmidoos and they are free to anyone who meets these criteria,” it doesn't mean that it is not a gift. It means that they must be in a certain category. If one of the requirements is to have blond hair, then none but those with blond hair are eligible. Those with blond hair, along with any other set requirements, will be able to receive the gift. For those standing before Israel, the apostles had met the requirements. The others had not. For those who had not, they must first meet the categorical requirements. Once they were satisfactorily met, they would receive the gift. There are no works here. There are only set requirements. And the gift they would receive would be that “of the Holy Spirit.”   This is salvation. It is the sealing of the person for redemption. It is receiving the full, final, and forever forgiveness of sins through the shed blood of Christ. It is moving from the Mosaic Covenant (the Law of Moses) to the New Covenant in Christ's blood. It is the covenant that speaks of the non-imputation of sin and the surety of reconciliation with God for all eternity.   The words here are prescriptive for those at the time. They are descriptive after the event. The context is Israel who crucified the Lord, and the prescriptions are necessary but are not normative. We are not to take what is said in Acts 2:38 and change the parameters. Even if Peter is speaking of water baptism (which is probably not the case), the requirement would not apply in any other context, and it certainly does not apply to salvation today. The epistles convey to us what is required for salvation. They tell the people of the world what God expects of them in order to be in a right standing with Him.    Life application: Acts is a descriptive account of what occurred. The prescriptions within that historical record are not necessarily (and are almost never) normative for the church age.   Understand and maintain proper context within your theology and you will be in the sweet spot.   Lord God, help us to be in the sweet spot concerning our doctrine and theology at all times. To Your glory, we pray. Amen.

    Acts 2:37

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 27, 2021 9:16

    Saturday, 27 November 2021   Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Acts 2:37   With Peter's statement, which summed up his discourse that God had assuredly made Jesus both Lord and Christ, the response is quick and definitive. Luke records, “Now when they heard this.” The words are surely in reaction to everything Peter has said since verse 2:14. His discourse, influenced by the Holy Spirit, was perfectly suited to elicit what follows, which is that “they were cut to the heart.”   The word used, katanussó, is one not found elsewhere in Greek literature except in the Greek translation of Genesis 34:7. It is an intensified form of a word meaning “to pierce.” Thus, it is to pierce all the way down or all the way through. HELPS Word Studies then defines it as to be “emotionally stunned.” As it is the heart that is identified, it is as if a spear was thrust right through the heart so that there is a complete severing from the state of mind that existed only moments before. The idea can almost be felt in the use of the word from Genesis –   “And Jacob heard that he had defiled Dinah his daughter. Now his sons were with his livestock in the field; so Jacob held his peace until they came. 6 Then Hamor the father of Shechem went out to Jacob to speak with him. 7 And the sons of Jacob came in from the field when they heard it; and the men were grieved and very angry, because he had done a disgraceful thing in Israel by lying with Jacob's daughter, a thing which ought not to be done.” Genesis 34:5-7   The sons of Israel had one attitude and, suddenly, their entire state of mind had completely changed. This is the idea now. Those that heard Peter, and who took his words to heart, had gone from laughing and blaming what they heard on the effects of new wine, to a state of complete shock that they were responsible for the crucifixion of their Messiah. Thus, the response is that they were deeply stunned “and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles...”   The words are not without purpose. As has already been seen, in Israel, the testimony of “two or three” witnesses is necessary to establish a matter. There are twelve standing as a united force of agreement, demonstrating that Peter's words are fully supported, and they are validated by the precept of the Law of Moses.   With such a large number of witnesses, backing up the words of Peter, and with the greater weight and evidence of the proper use of Scripture to come to a right conclusion concerning the words of prophecy, those who have heard have every reason to believe the discourse was true. They were all guilty of shedding innocent blood. But more, it was the innocent blood of God's Messiah who was prophesied in Scripture.   Scripture itself pointed at them and essentially called out, “You have done exactly what was prophesied in advance.” As such, they called out to Peter and the others, “Men and brethren.”   It is the same expression seen in Acts 1:16 and Acts 2:29, andres adelphoi, “men, brothers.” In the middle of Peter's speech, after citing Joel and before citing David, Peter had called them this. He was drawing them into the bond of brotherhood that Israel was called to demonstrate. His audience had not received the Spirit, but they were still brothers according to the flesh, and Peter had indicated as such as a way of influencing their thoughts as he spoke.   The words of Paul concerning Israel reflect this bond that exists between the people –   “For I could wish that I myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my countrymen according to the flesh, 4 who are Israelites, to whom pertain the adoption, the glory, the covenants, the giving of the law, the service of God, and the promises; 5 of whom are the fathers and from whom, according to the flesh, Christ came, who is over all, the eternally blessed God. Amen.” Romans 9:3-5   The response of the people to Peter's words indicates that they fully accepted his words and that they were in fact brothers to be hearkened to. They had gone from accusing the apostles of being drunk to seeking their very advice in how to correct the terrible predicament that they now found themselves in. As such, they called out, “what shall we do?”   They had the guilt of bloodshed resting upon them, but it was obvious that this could be expiated. Otherwise, what would be the point of the Christ rising again? If they had killed Him and He remained in the grave, there might be no remedy, but because He lived, there must be a greater purpose that they had missed. As such, their forgiveness must be a part of the plan that was set in motion by God, even from the fall of man.   Life application: It is often said that the Jews killed Jesus and thus they are no longer God's people. But this flies in the face of the covenant-keeping nature of the Lord, and of future prophecy which clearly indicates that the guilt of Israel will be atoned for.   In Acts 2, the people are cut to the heart at hearing what they had done. Zechariah shows that someday this will be a state that permeates the entire nation. When they realize that they have borne the guilt of the blood of the Messiah for millennia, they will be cut to the heart, and they will mourn over what they have done –   “And I will pour on the house of David and on the inhabitants of Jerusalem the Spirit of grace and supplication; then they will look on Me whom they pierced. Yes, they will mourn for Him as one mourns for his only son, and grieve for Him as one grieves for a firstborn. 11 In that day there shall be a great mourning in Jerusalem, like the mourning at Hadad Rimmon in the plain of Megiddo. 12 And the land shall mourn, every family by itself: the family of the house of David by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of the house of Nathan by itself, and their wives by themselves; 13 the family of the house of Levi by itself, and their wives by themselves; the family of Shimei by itself, and their wives by themselves; 14 all the families that remain, every family by itself, and their wives by themselves.” Zechariah 12:10-14   The words of Zechariah 12 refer to the future and they will come to pass. Israel will have a national piercing of the heart, and they will finally come to realize what they had done. For each person today, Jew or Gentile, the most important question that we can ever answer is in relation to the gospel message. “What shall I do?”   When the gospel is presented, it can either be accepted or it can be rejected. The choice is up to each individual. Choose wisely. Choose life. Choose God's offer of forgiveness found in Christ.   Lord God, thank You for the offer of peace that You have extended to us. Thank You for the gospel! What a blessed assurance we possess because of the forgiveness found in the shed blood of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.  

    Acts 2:36

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 26, 2021 10:42

    Friday, 26 November 2021   “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.” Acts 2:36   Peter has finished his citing of Psalm 110. Based on what he presented, it is understood that the words of David were evidently not referring to David himself,   but to the coming Messiah. He is greater than David, He is sitting at the right hand of the Lord, and He is there until the Lord's enemies have been made His footstool.   With this clearly presented and now perfectly understood, Peter says, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assu redly.” The Greek word order (which is how the verse will be evaluated) reads, “Assuredly, therefore, let know all the house of Israel.” There is a strong emphasis that the matter Peter will speak of is firmly established.   The word translated as “assuredly” is one which indicates “not to totter.” Thus, it is that which is secure. Its other two uses, Mark 14:44 and Acts 16:23, both refer to someone being securely guarded. Peter indicates that the truth of the matter is secure and sure. One might say, “This is an inescapable truth.”   As such, the next word – translated as “therefore” – is then supported by the words that follow. They are words that are to be heard, understood, and (hopefully) accepted as absolute truth. Hence Peter follows with “let know.”   It is the common Greek word ginóskó, signifying “to come to know,” “to recognize,” “to perceive,” and so on. Peter is indicating that the result of the surety of the matter that he has presented is intended to “let all the house of Israel” come to understand – whether they like it or not, and whether they accept it as not – that the matter is established.   The term “house of Israel” is a way of saying “family.” Israel was the father of twelve sons. He also adopted two sons of Joseph as his own. It is this family which comprises the whole house of Israel.   Descendants from all of these tribes were gathered at the temple, they had seen the effects of the coming of the Spirit upon the apostles, and they had heard the explanation of the event. From there, they were to accept what was presented and continue to convey this message to all others in this nation – the “house of Israel.”   And what is it specifically that Israel is to hear, understand, and (hopefully) accept? Well, it is a thought that is based on what Peter had just presented right from Scripture, and which was fulfilled in the coming of Jesus. It is “that God...”   What has occurred is an act of God, and thus it stands as an eternal edict of God. What God has done is set, it is fixed, it is firm, and it is fully resolved. With this being perfectly understood from Scripture, and from the fact that God is both the Creator and the One who directs His creation, it is He who determines what will come to pass.   As such, and as His words spoke forth of the coming of the Messiah, and as His Messiah had come (just as God determined), and as His Messiah had fulfilled His will (just as God stated), then it is established that He “has made this Jesus.”   It is “this Jesus” who Peter has explicitly referred to in verse 22 and verse 32 –   “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— (Acts 2:22) & This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses (Acts 2:32)   This same Jesus of Nazareth, who was attested to Israel by God, and whom God raised up from the dead, is the One that Peter is referring to. It is also He, as Peter says to Israel, “whom you crucified.”   These words would have been like sharp arrows pointing directly at the hearts of the men standing there. What had occurred was an event that was prophesied, and it was an event that was then fulfilled. But it was an event that Israel had been responsible for.   They were the people of the Lord. They were the stewards of the Scriptures. They were to be the people of the Messiah who was prophesied to come. And yet, they were the same people who did exactly what the Scriptures foretold, meaning the things they had done. They had crucified this Man – their Messiah. But Peter had said in verse 23 that this was “by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God.”   As such, there must be hope. It is the next verse that will both show their reaction to the words, and which will reveal that they will want to know if there is anything that they can do to make things right. For now, however, Peter finishes his thought concerning “this Jesus.” It is that God has made Him “both Lord and Christ.”   The word translated as “Lord” (kurios) signifies a master. In the Greek, it can indicate the Lord (YHVH), but it does not necessarily signify that. It can simply mean one greater than another, such as the “lord” or “master” of a house. The context decides the ultimate meaning. In this case, the context is that Jesus is the “Lord” or “Master” of Israel – its Messiah – based on the decision rendered by God. This is clearly understood from the word “Christ.”   The word Christ (Greek: Christos) comes from the word chrió, signifying “to anoint by rubbing or pouring olive oil on someone to represent the flow (empowering) of the Holy Spirit. Anointing (literally) involved rubbing olive oil on the head, etc., especially to present someone as divinely-authorized (appointed by God) to serve as prophet, priest or king” (HELPS Word Studies). As such, it means “Anointed One.” Thus, it is a direct translation of the Hebrew word “Messiah.”   God has made this Jesus both the Lord of Israel and the Messiah of Israel. This is the culminating thought of what has been presented to the ears of the people by Peter as he speaks forth his words of explanation concerning the events that have occurred before them.   Life application: There is absolute surety in the words of Scripture concerning Jesus. If the New Testament is the word of God, then there is no other possibility than that Jesus is the full, final, and forever expression of what God has done in Christ. As such, there is no other way to be reconciled to God except through Him.   There are people that believe Jews can be saved through adherence to the Law of Moses. This is the set doctrine of, surprisingly, the Roman Catholic Church. This is also the heretical teaching of John Hagee and other dual-covenant “theologians.”   There are others who say that even Jews who believe in Jesus (and some add in the Gentiles) must still adhere to the Law of Moses (in part or in whole). These are also heretics. The New Testament clearly reveals that the law is annulled, obsolete, and set aside in Christ. It is nailed to the cross.   As such, to teach such things (which is exactly what Paul refers to in the book of Galatians) is, as Paul states it, anathema. It is accursed –   “I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:6-9   Let us carefully heed the words of Scripture, and let us trust solely in the finished work, and thus in the merits, of Jesus Christ. It is He alone who is to receive our attention in our walk before the Lord. He alone fulfilled that which stood against us, meaning the Law of Moses.   Lord God, thank You for having done that which we could never have done. You sent Christ to accomplish the mission, to prevail over sin and death, and to rise again in order to give us a new hope and a new direction. Thank You for Jesus Christ our Lord! Amen.

    Acts 2:35

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 25, 2021 9:15

    Thursday, 25 November 2021   Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”' Acts 2:35   Peter referred to David in the previous verse, noting that he did not ascend into heaven, but he did prophesy in the 110th Psalm that Messiah would. In this, the Lord said to Him, “Sit at my right hand.” The Lord Jesus ascended to the position of all authority and power in heaven at that time. Peter finishes his quote with the next words, saying, “Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.”   The Greek more precisely reads, “the footstool for your feet.” The Lord Jesus will remain in His heavenly position until the course of human events comes to the right point where Christ will return again and intervene in the stream of time. The enemies of Christ are any who do not accept His offer of peace and reconciliation with God.   This has been, and it continues to be, the normal course of the world. Some have come to Christ while others have rejected Him. The gospel grew immensely at times, but it has also come under great attack in almost all places it has been preached.   In the world today, even the nations who have been most friendly to Christianity are becoming more and more hostile to it. This will increase as the world drums up reasons that Christians are the problem in society. A worldwide targeted agenda against the true faith is in motion as the world continues to devolve into moral perversion and ungodly agendas.   However, and actually, because of this, the world will devolve into being a place of death and destruction. This is clearly outlined in the pages of Revelation. Without faith in God as presented in the Bible, there can only be enmity with God and a life-course that will follow an unsound, even wicked, path. Chaos will be the inevitable result.   Those who do hold to the true faith as presented in Scripture will be harassed and martyred in enormous numbers. But this period of global wickedness will end. It is the time prophesied throughout Scripture, and it is simply defined in David's words as when the Lord has made the enemies of Christ a footstool for His feet.   The symbolism of this is where the foot is placed upon the neck of one's enemies, thus indicating total authority over them as they lie in helpless subjugation. It is seen, for example, in Joshua 10 –   “So it was, when they brought out those kings to Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said to the captains of the men of war who went with him, ‘Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings.' And they drew near and put their feet on their necks. 25 Then Joshua said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, nor be dismayed; be strong and of good courage, for thus the Lord will do to all your enemies against whom you fight.'” Joshua 10:24, 25   This time of Christ reigning in heaven is alluded to by Paul in Ephesians 1 –   “and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20 which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.” Ephesians 1:19-21   It is also quite clearly expressed in 1 Corinthians 15 –   “The last enemy that will be destroyed is death. 27 For ‘He has put all things under His feet.' But when He says ‘all things are put under Him,' it is evident that He who put all things under Him is excepted. 28 Now when all things are made subject to Him, then the Son Himself will also be subject to Him who put all things under Him, that God may be all in all.” 1 Corinthians 15:26-28   Paul's words do not provide all of the information in the timeline, but they provide a broad brushstroke of how these things are laid out. Without going into all the detail, the anticipated timeline is:   - The church age. This ends at the rapture of the church (may that day be soon!). - The seven final years of the Law of Moses for Israel (Daniel 9:24-27), also known as the Tribulation Period. This period ends when Israel as a nation calls out to Christ, acknowledging Him as their Messiah (Matthew 23:27-39, and etc.). - The millennial reign of Christ.   The reason that the rapture is placed in this general timeline before the tribulation period is because that is what the Bible teaches.   Life application: One of the serious deficiencies in replacement theology (well, one of many) is that they believe the world will continue to be evangelized until a state peace is realized. When this occurs, the marvelous time prophesied in the Old Testament will be realized. The church will have overcome the wickedness of the world and the gospel of Christ will be universally known and accepted.   That is not at all what the Bible teaches, nor does it even hint at this. The enemies of Christ will continue until the end. The world will come apart at its seams as wickedness increases. The enemies of the gospel will all but overpower the saints. But Christ will return and slay those who have come against them.   The church will have been removed before the tribulation period, and Israel will become the primary focus of world events. This is not because they will be right with God, but because God is faithful to His covenants. They will eventually come to this realization, they will call out to Him for deliverance through Christ Jesus, and Jesus will respond. The national salvation of Israel is clearly presented in Scripture, and it will come to pass.   This demonstrates the great faithfulness of the Lord to His word. As this is the case, each person who has been saved by the blood of Christ should be perfectly assured that his salvation is secure. Our unfaithfulness to the Lord will never negate His faithfulness to His covenant promises. Israel is a template of this. In His faithfulness to Israel, we can be assured of His faithfulness to us.   Thank God today for His unlimited grace and mercy toward the objects of His covenantal promises. The shed blood of Christ has secured our salvation. Yes, thank God for Jesus Christ our Lord.   How good it is, O Lord, to wait upon You. Though times may get very terrible in the days ahead, we have a sure and blessed promise of eternal joy in Your presence. Whatever happens now is but a light and temporary affliction as we await the glory that is yet ahead. And so, O Lord, how very good it is to wait upon You. Amen.

    Acts 2:34

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 24, 2021 9:02

      Wednesday, 24 November 2021   “For David did not ascend into the heavens, but he says himself: ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Acts 2:34   Peter just said that Jesus was exalted to (or by) the right hand of God. Peter is clearly implying that Jesus is God, thus it is signifying that God – through Him – has poured the Spirit out upon the believers. In order to substantiate that what he is saying is not only possible, but is actually provable based on Scripture itself, he cites the 100th Psalm. It is a psalm cited by Jesus in all three of the synoptic gospels (Matthew 22:44, Mark 12:36, and Luke 20:42). It is also cited in Hebrews 1:13.   Before citing the psalm, Peter begins with, “For David did not ascend into the heavens.” He has already noted that David had died, he was buried there in Jerusalem, and implying that his body had corrupted.” The obvious meaning is that David was in Sheol (Hades) awaiting the resurrection of the dead. Therefore, what Peter will cite from the 100th Psalm, which was written by David, could not be referring to himself. Instead, it is a prophesy about the coming Messiah.   Peter confirms this line of thought by continuing with, “but he says himself.” This is referring to David. David wrote the psalm, David did not ascend into heaven, and yet, the psalm speaks of someone who has ascended into heaven. And so, David cannot be speaking of himself.   But more, David uses particular words that exclude any possibility at all that he could be referring to himself, even in metaphor or allegory. Peter now cites those words of David, beginning with, “The LORD.”   “The LORD” is the Hebrew name for God, Yehovah (Yahweh, YHVH, etc.), used over 6000 times in the Old Testament. It refers to Him and only Him. He is the I AM THAT I AM of Exodus 3, and the one that claims there is “no other god” in Isaiah 44 (and elsewhere) –   “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last; Besides Me there is no God.'” Isaiah 44:6   Peter continues the citation, saying, “said to my Lord.” Here, “my Lord” is the Hebrew word adoni. It means, “my master,” or “my lord.” In this case, David is subordinating himself to the One he is referring to. This is what Jesus was conveying to those before Him –   While the Pharisees were gathered together, Jesus asked them, 42 saying, “What do you think about the Christ? Whose Son is He?” They said to Him, “The Son of David.” 43 He said to them, “How then does David in the Spirit call Him ‘Lord,' saying: 44 ‘The Lord said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool”'? 45 If David then calls Him ‘Lord,' how is He his Son?” 46 And no one was able to answer Him a word, nor from that day on did anyone dare question Him anymore. Matthew 22:41-46   It was understood that David was obviously referring to the Messiah (the Christ). However, in the Bible, the father is always considered greater than the son. And yet, though the Messiah would descend from David (another precept clearly taught in Scripture), David still subordinates himself to his own Seed. “The LORD said to my Lord,” or paraphrased, “Yehovah said to my Master (the One greater than me).”   As this Son is greater than David, it implies that He was before David, even if He came after him. It is an implicit note of deity. Because of their inability to respond to Jesus' question, they realized they were not as smart as they thought. What was presented to them was beyond their understanding.   Peter is taking what he learned from Jesus' instructions of the Pharisees, and he is making his case that Jesus is – in fact – the incarnate Yehovah. It has been implied in the analysis of David's words, and it continues to be supported by his next words, saying, “Sit at My right hand.”   Peter's words earlier in the passage confirm that that the Christ would die, He would be buried, and that He would resurrect. The words of this psalm confirm that He is greater than David. And more, they confirm that He not only resurrected, but ascended. To sit at the right hand of God means that He is in heaven at the position of all power and authority.   And more, He has taken the words of Joel, cited earlier, to directly equate Jesus with Yehovah. Joel, quoting the Lord (Yehovah) said, “I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh” (Acts 2:17). Peter said in Acts 2:33 that Jesus was the One who accomplished this.   The picture that Peter is painting is one that clearly portrays Jesus as the Christ, and that Christ is God. Any other analysis of his words would cause damage to what is being conveyed.   Life application: The Bible slowly and progressively reveals the beautiful thought that God loves the world, meaning humanity, so much that He was willing to do the incredible in order to restore us to Himself. He created man in His image. The implication is that He desired to bond with him in a unique way. But the Bible shows that this cannot be the case when sin is present.   But, without having sinned, man would not have had the knowledge of good and evil. Thus, we can see that God was willing to give man a conscience, and to use that conscience – even to his own harm – in order to make a full and mutual relationship with Him possible.   The sin still had to be dealt with though. And so, in due time, God entered into the stream of time and human existence in order to correct that part of the equation. In the coming of Jesus, He was able to do this. Now, God continues to give us the choice to accept Him or reject Him through His offer of peace. This is not forced, and so it is a mutual relationship.   To think on the enormity of what God has done in Christ leaves the mind bewildered. And yet, it is true. The message of God in Christ is one of wonder. Thank God for Jesus who has made our reconciliation with God possible. Yes, thank God for JESUS!   Lord God, thank You for the coming of Christ our Lord who has made all things new. We wait for the day when they will be realized. May Your glorious name be praised forever and ever! Amen.

    Acts 2:33

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 23, 2021 10:11

    Tuesday, 23 November 2021   Therefore being exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He poured out this which you now see and hear. Acts 2:33   Peter just said that God had raised up Jesus. With that understood, He next says, “Therefore being exalted.” The word means “to lift up,” or “to raise on high.” Thus, it signifies “to elevate.” This happened to Christ who was dead. He was found worthy, and death could not hold Him.   As such, He was raised up – from the grave to the throne, and from the humiliation of the cross and death to the glory and power of the eternal King. The next words of Peter are debated over, “to the right hand of God.”   They are in the dative case. Simply stated, the Greek dative expresses a thing, or a person, indirectly affected by an action. With this being the case, there are two equally possible translations to these words –   “by the right hand of God” “to the right hand of God”   Either is possible based on the surrounding context. The right hand signifies power, both in action (ability) and in position (authority). The previous verse just said that God raised Jesus. Therefore, it could be “by the right hand (ability) of God.” However, the next verse quotes David and will say, “Sit at my right hand (position of authority).” Nothing is lost in either translation because both possibilities are true. As such, translations such as Young's use “at” which can convey both meanings at the same time –   “at the right hand of God having been exalted.”   As such, it can mean “at [by the power of] the right hand,” or “at [to the location of] the right hand of God.”   This may seem niggling, but the words have importance and should be considered. God's power (His right hand) raised Jesus (Romans 10:9), and Jesus is seated at the right hand (the position of authority) of God (Romans 8:34). With this understood, Peter next says, “and having received from the Father.”   What Peter will refer to is something that had to wait for the full course of these events to occur. Christ was raised from the dead by the power of God, but He remained for a span before ascending to the Father. Only with that action completed would the disciples receive “the promise of the Holy Spirit.”   Jesus stated this explicitly in John 16 –   “But now I go away to Him who sent Me, and none of you asks Me, ‘Where are You going?' 6 But because I have said these things to you, sorrow has filled your heart. 7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you. 8 And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: 9 of sin, because they do not believe in Me; 10 of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more; 11 of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged.” John 16:5-11   In Christ's return to the Father (the right hand of power and the position of authority), the Helper was promised to come. This is what Peter is now referring to. In the exaltation of Jesus to this position, they received the Spirit from the Father. But because Jesus is at the position of power and authority, it explains why Jesus went to the Father in order for this to occur –   “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” John 14:26   “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me. 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.” John 15:26, 27   There is a unity within the Godhead that is clearly presented in Scripture. Thus, Jesus was able to say –   “Believe Me that I am in the Father and the Father in Me, or else believe Me for the sake of the works themselves.” John 14:11   In understanding the words of Jesus, and now the words of Peter as influenced by the Spirit, we see that the Spirit issues from the Father, through the Son. It is this event which Peter refers to by saying, “He poured out this which you now see and hear.”   This is a confirmation of what was prophesied by Joel, and which was cited earlier –   ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your young men shall see visions, Your old men shall dream dreams. 18 And on My menservants and on My maidservants I will pour out My Spirit in those days; And they shall prophesy.” Acts 2:17, 18   Peter is clearly and unambiguously stating that the promise of the pouring out of the Spirit prophesied in Joel has come. The church has been established, and this is the firstfruits of that event typologically anticipated in Leviticus 23 –   “You shall bring from your dwellings two wave loaves of two-tenths of an ephah. They shall be of fine flour; they shall be baked with leaven. They are the firstfruits to the Lord.” Leviticus 23:17   In the words of Leviticus 23, “two loaves” were to be presented. The loaves were to be “baked with leaven.” This is one of only two times that leaven was to be presented to the Lord in the Old Covenant sacrificial system. Leaven pictures sin, and yet – because of the work of Christ – sinful people could be presented to the Lord, sanctified by the Holy Spirit. The Jews now being filled with the Spirit represent one of the loaves.   The Gentiles (coming later in Acts) represent the other loaf. The symbolism is clear. There is one New Covenant, there is one gospel, and there is one way to receive the promised Holy Spirit. That is through accepting the finished, final, and forever work of Jesus Christ.   Life application: The events of Acts 2 are descriptive in nature. They simply record what occurred. They do not prescribe anything. The reception of the Spirit by various believers in Acts will occur in various ways. Each will give insights into the early working of the Spirit in the church to confirm that Jesus is the Messiah.   Once those early events occurred, there was no longer a need for such outward displays to continue. The verifications had been made, the apostles witnessed the events – confirming the acceptance by God on the various people – and the writings of the prescriptive epistles become the standard for how the church works henceforth.   What occurs now is historical but not normative. We are beholding the work of the Spirit in these demonstrable ways with our own spiritual eyes as we read the book of Acts. In this, we are to demonstrate faith that they occurred, and we are to be convinced that God has accepted all people into His church – Jew and Gentile – according to their belief in the gospel of Jesus Christ.   Lord God Almighty! You possess all power in heaven and on earth. Thank You that despite this glory, You would look with favor upon us – sinners in need of a Savior – and send Jesus. Thank You for Your kind care and gentle hand upon us. Praises to You, O God. Amen.  

    Acts 2:32

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 22, 2021 7:53

    Monday, 22 November 2021   This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses. Acts 2:32   The previous verse noted that David “spoke concerning the resurrection of Christ.” Peter now directly states this prophecy is fulfilled, saying, “This Jesus.” It is who he openly proclaimed in verse 2:22, after which he explained the events leading to his citing of the psalm –   “Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a Man attested by God to you by miracles, wonders, and signs which God did through Him in your midst, as you yourselves also know— 23 Him, being delivered by the determined purpose and foreknowledge of God, you have taken by lawless hands, have crucified, and put to death; 24 whom God raised up, having loosed the pains of death, because it was not possible that He should be held by it.” Acts 2:22-24   With his subject clearly understood to be “This Jesus,” he now repeats the fact stated in verse 2:24, saying, “God has raised up.” The repetition is to demonstrate that what he had claimed is perfectly in line with the prophecy of David. And more, for emphasis, he used the verb form of the noun used in the previous verse –   Concerning the resurrection (anastasis) of the Christ God has raised (anistémi) up   The mental idea conveyed to the ears of the people would be, “David spoke of the resurrection of the Christ, and God resurrected Christ, who is JESUS.” It is of this amazing event that Peter next says, “of which we are all witnesses.”   These words certainly extend beyond the thought of that stated concerning the selection of a replacement for Judas –    “Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, 22 beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.” Acts 1:21, 22   The apostles' office was specifically to proclaim what they had seen, bearing witness to the events as a united group. This is noted, for example, in Acts 8:1 –   “At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.”   Because of the office, the apostles remained together while all the others were scattered. Understanding this, Peter's words now that “we are all witnesses” is most likely speaking of whatever size of group of disciples were gathered and upon whom had been poured out the Holy Spirit. As there were more than twelve languages identified by Luke, it is probable that it was a gathering of all of the disciples, and Peter is referring to all of them.   Be it twelve, one hundred and twenty, or more, the matter is legally established before the people with his words. Deuteronomy 19:15 set the standard for witnesses in any testimony concerning iniquity or sin as “two or three witnesses.” That became the standard for any testimony in Israel. Jesus noted that to the Pharisees in John 8:17 because it was a clearly accepted provision among the people.   Therefore, the matter of the resurrection is clearly established through the multiple witnesses standing before the people.   Life application: The Bible is the written record of what has occurred in redemptive history. It details God's workings in and through Christ in order to reconcile us to Himself. Is it reliable? If you are unsure, it is incumbent upon you to verify it in your own mind. Or, if you are challenged by someone as to why you believe it, can you defend your faith? Even if you cannot, if someone challenges you, the onus is on that person to make his claims for or against the word.   This was the case with Simon Greenleaf. He was a non-believer, but he was one of the greatest legal minds in history. He was a principal founder of Harvard law school. At one point, he was challenged by a student to look at the gospels from a legal standpoint.   As an intellectually honest person, he took the challenge, setting aside any presuppositions or biases. In doing so, he came to the conclusion that the gospels hold the topmost weight of legal accuracy. His basis for this was that “Every document, apparently ancient, coming from the proper repository or custody, and bearing on its face no evident marks of forgery, the law presumes to be genuine, and devolves on the opposing party the burden of proving it to be otherwise.”   His conclusion was that the gospels bore this stamp of authenticity and were, in fact, what they claimed to be. As such, he states –   “The foundation of our belief is a basis of fact - the fact of the birth, ministry, miracles, death, resurrection by the Evangelists as having actually occurred, within their own personal knowledge it was therefore impossible that they could have persisted in affirming the truths they have narrated, had not Jesus actually rose from the dead, and had they not known this fact as certainly as they knew any other fact.”   Simon Greenleaf surrendered his life to Christ, knowing that no legal case could suitably challenge the Bible's genuineness.   Be sure of your faith by being sure of what the basis for your faith is. Read this word, study this word, and cherish this word. Be ready to defend it, and also be ready to challenge those who dismiss it. Implore them to be as intellectually honest as Simon Greenleaf and to do their own evaluation of it – to the glory of God.   Thank You Lord God that our faith, the faith we possess in Jesus Christ, is ground in a word that is reliable, verifiable, and accurate in all that it contains and proclaims. Thank You that we have the surety of the truth of Jesus Christ and His gospel. He died for our sins, He was buried, and He rose again – according to Scripture. Thank You, O God, for the surety we possess. Amen.

    Acts 2:31

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 21, 2021 8:59

    Sunday, 21 November 2021   he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption. Acts 2:31   Peter continues now with his citing of the 16th Psalm and with his evaluation of how that is fulfilled in Christ, beginning with, “he, foreseeing this.”   The words refer to David. In whatever manner, David foresaw the things he wrote about and penned them. The influence of the Spirit was upon him. In that capacity, he was able to prophesy of things to come. In this state, he “spoke concerning the resurrection.”   This is certain, because his words imply both death, and release from death –   The words, “For You will not leave my soul in Hades,” imply death. If a soul has departed to Hades, it is because the person has died. Not being left in Hades means something else will come about. That is later followed with, “You have made known to me the ways of life.” David clearly understood that if a soul had gone to Hades, and yet that same person has been made to know the ways of life, he has found the key by which to escape the state of death.   It could be reasonably argued that David was speaking in metaphor about himself, or that he was speaking poetically about some event that touched him and led him to write a psalm, but Peter – under the influence of the Spirit – corrects any such notion saying that what David wrote was specifically about God's plans concerning the resurrection “of the Christ.”   David understood, from the words that he penned, that the Messiah would die and that He would rise again. The details and reason for these things may have been completely hidden from him, but the facts set before him when he read his own words of prophecy clearly indicated to him that he had written about the Christ.   Somehow, this coming One would die, but his words indicated without any doubt “that His soul was not left in Hades.” Peter, standing before the people gathered there, confirmed that the words referred to Jesus and that He had returned from the dead. Hades could not hold Him. The remarkable thought is later more fully revealed by John –   “I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.” Revelation 1:18   Christ, because of His triumph over the law, possessed the keys of both Hades and Death. He had unlocked the prison which had bound men's souls ever since the time of Adam. And it was not a return in a ghostly state, nor into a body that was in a state of ghoulish decay. Rather, it was to a body that was untouched by the effects of sin. As Peter says, “nor did His flesh see corruption.”   This is an important point. People claim to see ghosts and zombies. Samuel was brought back from his departed resting place as a disembodied spirit. But there has never been any occurrence such as that of Christ. He returned from Hades, and He returned to a body without any corruption. The victory is complete in Christ. This is the enormity of the thought being conveyed by Peter to the people standing before him whose ears heard of the marvelous workings of God in Christ.   Life application: David wrote under the influence of the Spirit concerning things that would come. According to Scripture, he even knew that what he wrote was concerning the coming Messiah. But this does not mean that he had a complete understanding of all things surrounding the events he prophesied of. Peter will later write concerning this –   “Of this salvation the prophets have inquired and searched carefully, who prophesied of the grace that would come to you, 11 searching what, or what manner of time, the Spirit of Christ who was in them was indicating when He testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow. 12 To them it was revealed that, not to themselves, but to us they were ministering the things which now have been reported to you through those who have preached the gospel to you by the Holy Spirit sent from heaven—things which angels desire to look into.” 1 Peter 1:10-12   David wrote beforehand of these things, and like the other prophets, he knew that these things pointed to “the sufferings of Christ and the glories that would follow.” This can certainly be said of the case of David's words in the 16th Psalm. But Peter also says that such prophets “inquired and searched carefully” about such things.   David may have thought, “Why would the Christ need to die at all? What is the purpose of going to Sheol and then coming back from there?” Isaiah later went further, prophesying that Christ would be wounded for our transgressions and that he would be cut off from the land of the living. In this, he may have spent many hours pondering what these things could mean.   But in the end, they lacked all of the information. Instead, they realized that whatever was being conveyed would be formed into “the gospel.” It is this that they “preached” with their words, even if they didn't fully understand what it was they were preaching.   The point of this is that the blood atonement of Christ is, in fact, proclaimed by the prophets, and it is confirmed right here in Chapter 2 of the book of Acts. Those who deny this do so because they have not thought through the enormity of what Christ has done. They have a myopic view of the world, dividing the work of Christ into two gospels, two bodies, and a twisted view of the united work of Christ.   The same gospel put forth in the many prophesies found in the Old Testament is summed up by Peter, and also by Paul, in the New. Paul elsewhere clearly and precisely defines this gospel that Peter is right now conveying to the people of Israel –   “For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4 and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures, 5 and that He was seen by Cephas, then by the twelve. 6 After that He was seen by over five hundred brethren at once, of whom the greater part remain to the present, but some have fallen asleep. 7 After that He was seen by James, then by all the apostles. 8 Then last of all He was seen by me also, as by one born out of due time.” 1 Corinthians 15:3-8   This is the gospel. It is the one gospel that pertains to both Jew and Gentile as witnessed first by Peter (Cephas), then by the other apostles, and finally by a large number of witnesses. And it is the same gospel that was later accepted by Paul and proclaimed among the nations. Any other gospel is no gospel. It is anathema.   Hold fast to the truth of God in Christ. Keep away from those who would destroy the beauty of the work of Christ, twisting it and perverting it for their own demented purposes.   Lord God, thank You for what You have done in Christ our Lord. Thank You for the all-sufficient atonement and reconciliation that comes through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

    Acts 2:30

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 20, 2021 14:50

    Saturday, 20 November 2021   Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne, Acts 2:30   Peter began his explanation of why he cited the 16th Psalm in the previous verse. He now continues with that, saying, “Therefore.”   Peter cited the psalm. The psalm said that the Holy One of the Lord would not see corruption. But Peter explained that David's tomb was right there in Jerusalem for all to see. He had corrupted back into the dust he was made from. As such, more words necessarily follow (Therefore) to explain what David was writing about while the Holy Spirit directed him. This is evident from the next words, “being a prophet.”   It is clear that David was guided by the Spirit of God when he did certain things in his life. A good example of it was receiving the instructions for the building of the temple –   “Then David gave his son Solomon the plans for the vestibule, its houses, its treasuries, its upper chambers, its inner chambers, and the place of the mercy seat; 12 and the plans for all that he had by the Spirit, of the courts of the house of the Lord, of all the chambers all around, of the treasuries of the house of God, and of the treasuries for the dedicated things; 13 also for the division of the priests and the Levites, for all the work of the service of the house of the Lord, and for all the articles of service in the house of the Lord. ... “All this,” said David, “the Lord made me understand in writing, by His hand upon me, all the works of these plans.” 1 Chronicles 28:11-13 & 1 Chronicles 28:19   It is also understood that David's Psalms were inspired by the Lord. As such, they were included in Scripture to testify to that fact. As David was a prophet, it means his words were to be considered from that light. Thus, in referring to One who would come who would not see corruption, Peter continues, “and knowing that God had sworn with an oath.”   David clearly understood that when God (the Lord) spoke to him, it was as an oath in and of itself. This is because God cannot lie. What He speaks forth will come to pass. At times, the Lord will confirm His words by vowing an oath, but even without this, what the Lord speaks is considered as if He has sworn. It is as if He has raised His right hand and committed Himself to the words He speaks forth. Understanding this, that which God had sworn was that “to him that of the fruit of his body.”   The “fruit of his body” can mean the direct issue of a child, such as Solomon being born to him. And indeed, such an occurrence fulfills an immediate aspect of the promise that is made, but it does not fulfill the entire promise. The fruit of the body can also refer to anyone who later issues from him as a descendant. David would be considered the fruit of Abraham's body, even many centuries later. All humans can be considered the fruit of Adam's body. As this is a truth conveyed in Scripture, the “fruit of his body” can be referring to anyone that issues from David henceforth. And this fruit is next noted as “according to the flesh.”   This clearly defines this One who is coming to be a literal, physical human being. Further, he will be one that directly descends from David, inheriting a direct human connection to him with all that this entails from a human aspect, such as DNA. This truth dispels several heresies that have arisen within the church over the years. This seed of David (see Romans 1:3 and 2 Timothy 2:8), meaning the fruit of his body, will be a literal, physical descendant of his. Of this Person, it next says, “He would raise up the Christ.”   This is a promise that began in Genesis 3, and which was the hope and anticipation of God's people ever since –   “And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.”   The line of the promised Messiah is carefully noted all the way throughout Scripture so that those who are in this line, and who can typologically be used to reveal redemptive truths, are carefully noted in stories which often otherwise seem to have no relevance at all.   For example, the story of Lot and his two daughters is introduced and seems like a curiosity, but it doesn't seem to have any purpose other than to show that he and his two daughters did something immoral. That has nothing to do with why the account is recorded. Rather, all three of them are ancestors of Jesus Christ. The account is to demonstrate the faith of the daughters and how it is rewarded by bringing them into His genealogy. Such is true with many other similar stories, like the account of Judah and Tamar in Genesis 38.   The lengthy historical record of David is no different. God would raise up the Christ from the line of David, thus fulfilling His promises to David –   “When your days are fulfilled and you rest with your fathers, I will set up your seed after you, who will come from your body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He shall build a house for My name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his Father, and he shall be My son. If he commits iniquity, I will chasten him with the rod of men and with the blows of the sons of men. 15 But My mercy shall not depart from him, as I took it from Saul, whom I removed from before you. 16 And your house and your kingdom shall be established forever before you. Your throne shall be established forever.” 2 Samuel 7:12-16   &   “I have made a covenant with My chosen, I have sworn to My servant David: 4 ‘Your seed I will establish forever, And build up your throne to all generations.'” Selah Psalm 89:3, 4   These and other such references are given in Scripture as a confirmation that David would continue the line through which the Messiah would come. His throne would be the throne of the glory that lay ahead, as Peter explicitly states when he finishes the verse with, “to sit on his throne.” This promise was stated and confirmed to a young virgin of Israel many generations later –   “And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Luke 1:31-33   Of these words concerning the throne, Ruckman incorrectly evaluates what is going on in Scripture, saying, “Here is another place in Acts 2 where the Protestants, Catholics, and Orthodox stumble. They teach that this expression, “his throne,” is God's throne. This was done by tying this verse to verses 33-34. But in verse 33-34, Jesus Christ doesn't sit on any throne. He is seated at the “right hand” of God's throne (Heb. 1:3). “His throne” in this verse is a reference to the throne of “the patriarch David” in verse 29...”   The utterly ridiculous nature of this comment is almost beyond belief. It shows a complete lack of understanding concerning the nature of God. To him, it is as if God is sitting on a literal throne somewhere ruling the universe. God does not have parts. God is Spirit. If God had physical parts, He wouldn't be God. The “right hand” of God signifies the position of authority. Jesus Christ, sitting at the “right hand” of God does not mean that He is sitting next to God on another throne. It means that He is seated on the throne of God with all of the authority of God, symbolized by the right hand.   Hebrews 1:3, that is cited by Ruckman, (“the right hand of the Majesty on high”) is explained in Hebrews 1:8, 9 –    “But to the Son He says: ‘Your throne, O God, is forever and ever; A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of Your kingdom. 9 You have loved righteousness and hated lawlessness; Therefore God, Your God, has anointed You With the oil of gladness more than Your companions.'”    David was promised that one of His descendants would reign on His throne forever. It is this throne that is referred to in Isaiah 9:7 –   “Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.”   The words of Peter do not negate that Christ will literally rule from Jerusalem during the millennium. But the throne of Christ is the throne of David. The throne does not simply speak of a physical throne where someone sits down. Instead, it is emblematic of the authority of the throne. That is why it can be said that Christ reigns from David's throne even though the physical throne of David was destroyed eons before. It is a position of rule.   Unfortunately, in order to divide the church and put forth heretical doctrine, hyperdispensationalists destroy any meaning of the symbolism provided in Scripture, such as “right hand,” “throne,” “fruit,” “seed,” and so on.   Life application: The verse set before us is one that will dispel several heresies when properly considered. One of them is a heresy known as Valentinianism. A modern proponent of this is Jacob Prasch. He teaches, “Adam and Yeshua were both created by Ha'Shem, by God, directly and personally.”   Jesus is not a created being. That is the error of many cults, such as the Jehovah's Witnesses. However, Jesus, in His humanity, is a part of the creation. There is a world of difference between the two, and it is what defines the distinction between orthodoxy and heresy.   To state that God created Jesus directly and personally as He did with Adam, is to then deny the entire body of Scripture which points to the begetting of human beings, one to another, from Adam to Christ.    God created all things, it is true, but the body of Christ, is an incidental part of creation, not a direct act of creation. Rather, God prepared a body out of that creation for the incarnation. This is evidenced by Hebrews 10:5 –   “Therefore, when He came into the world, He said: ‘Sacrifice and offering You did not desire, But a body You have prepared for Me.'” Hebrews 10:5   Scripture, given by God, carefully – even meticulously – details the preparation of the body of Christ, through seventy-five direct generations of fallen human beings as is recorded in Luke 3, and with the introduction of even more fallen souls who are found in the pages of Scripture, and who likewise enter into His genealogy.    To say that Jesus was created by God, directly and personally, and to have that mean what is being conveyed by Prasch, would be exactly the same thing as saying that Charlie Garrett was created by God, directly and personally.   It is at best a category mistake, but such a category mistake results in the formulation of a heretical doctrine. The body of Christ, despite having come through these innumerable fallen souls was prepared perfectly by God, not suddenly created. Jesus is the seventy-seventh name noted in Luke's genealogy, and God is the first.   The record is given, and the details are provided, to ensure that the error of assuming that Jesus was a being created directly and personally by God, would not be made. The statement that Jesus was created is incorrect. Despite being human, however, He was born without sin because He was born of Mary, but with no human father.   As such, the line of sin that is transmitted from father to child since Adam was cut. Christ is fully human, of the seed of David, and He is fully God – having been begotten of God. Let us carefully consider the word and never make the mistake that Jesus is a being created directly and personally by God. Be it the Jehovah's Witnesses or some other heretical denomination or teacher, let us take the time to understand the nature of the God/Man who came to dwell among us and to die for our sins, redeeming us as the people of God.   Lord God, thank You for the many blessings that are found in Christ our Lord. Thank You for what You did through Him, coming to unite with humanity in order to do what we could never do by fulfilling the law that stood against us. And in fulfilling it, Christ took all of the sin of the world upon Himself. Thank You for what You have done through Christ our Lord! Amen.  

    Acts 2:29

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 19, 2021 8:30

    Friday, 19 November 2021   “Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day. Acts 2:29   Peter has completed his citing of David's words from the 16th Psalm. With that complete, he now immediately turns to the explanation of why those words were spoken by him, beginning with, “Men and brethren.”   In verse 2:14, Peter said, “Men of Judea and all who are in Jerusalem.” In verse 22, he then addressed them as “Men of Israel.” Now, he brings them even closer to himself by saying the exact same words he said to those gathered with him in verse 1:16, Andres adelphoi, “Men, brothers,” or more literally, “brother-men.”   In this, he is addressing those with him in a personal, friendly manner, acknowledging that those gathered are not just of Israel, and they are not just dwellers in the nearby areas. Instead, they are brothers united by the distinct culture that had bound them together in a unique way. With this bond of affinity stated, he continues by saying, “let me speak.”   Rather than “let me,” which would be begging permission, the meaning of the Greek is “it is permitted for me to speak.” Based on the display of tongues, based on the fact that he has shown from both the prophets and the psalms that the events that have taken place were prophesied, and based on the fact that he is a brother Israelite, he has the permitted right to speak forth.   From there, he says, “freely to you.” Rather, the Greek clearly reads “with freedom.” Based on what has occurred, and based on the facts presented in verses 22-24 concerning Christ's ministry, crucifixion, death, and resurrection, Peter cited inspired Scripture in order to establish a baseline by which he could then make and support his argument concerning Christ and how He is the reason behind the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the disciples.   As such, Peter next narrows his discourse to speak of the writer of the psalm that he just quoted, Israel's famous king and sweet psalmist. He does this by saying, “of the patriarch David.” Here, the word patriarchés, meaning the head or founder of a family, is introduced. The word will be used to describe the twelves sons of Jacob in Acts 7:8, 9, and also of Abraham in Hebrews 7:4.   David is called a patriarch because he is the father of the royal line and family leading to the Messiah. The term “House of David” is used numerous times in the Old Testament. It is referred to three times in the gospel of Luke as well. It is this key family that he is the patriarch of. Of King David, Peter now makes an obvious point to demonstrate why he brought in the words of the psalm. It is “that he is both dead and buried.”   Again, the translation is not precise. The verbs are aorist. It reads, “he both died and was buried.” There is a definite time in which these events occurred in the past. It is sure and fixed, and it is recorded for Israel to remember –   “So David rested with his fathers, and was buried in the City of David. 11 The period that David reigned over Israel was forty years; seven years he reigned in Hebron, and in Jerusalem he reigned thirty-three years.” 1 Kings 2:10, 11   The events happened, and time then marched on. David became a memory of the past. But a reminder of his time remained for those in Jerusalem. As Peter next says, “and his tomb is with us to this day.”   The words is mnéma. It signifies an identifiable sepulchre. The word comes from mnaomai, meaning to remember or to recollect. The resting place of David was still to be found among the place where most of the other kings of Judah were buried. It was a reminder of his time upon the earth, and that he had – in fact – gone the way of the earth.   As such, the entire point of Peter's quoting of the psalms becomes clear –   “For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.” Acts 2:27   The psalms were considered both sacred and inspired by God. To say otherwise would be considered blasphemous. As this is so, no one could challenge Peter's logic that David could not have been speaking of himself. David died, entered Hades, and remained there. And more, his body saw corruption, testified to by the tomb which remained in Jerusalem for all to see.   As this is so, then the psalm was clearly speaking of someone else. Therefore, Peter's claim in the resurrection of Jesus was a valid explanation of what occurred, and the tongues coming upon the believers was a sign and a witness that it was so. Peter will explain this in detail in the verses ahead.   Life application: When evangelizing Jews, it is good to first determine if they accept the premise that the Scriptures are inspired or not. If they accept this premise, then it is a valid approach to show them, from their own Scriptures, that the things presented there clearly point to a New Covenant, a crucified Savior, the resurrection, and so on. If they are willing to accept these things, you have a valid door through which to present them the gospel.   If they are not sure about the inspiration of Scripture, then you can attempt to convince them by reading them Isaiah 52:13 - 53:12. Most Jews have never heard these words read and they have no idea they are there. Without telling them that you are reading Isaiah, simply read them the words and then ask, “Who is this referring to?” Almost any who hears the words will say, “Jesus.”   They have heard the claims, they have been told what Christians believe, and they are told that none of it is true. But after they say it is Jesus who is being referred to, you can then show them that the words come not from a “Christian” source, but from their own “Jewish” Bible. From there, you have demonstrated that Christ is referred to, seven hundred years in advance, and they have testified to it as such. From there, you can give them the simple gospel of their salvation.   In the end, it is the heart – softened by the word of God, or hardened to the word of God – that must accept the word and receive the Gift, or reject the word and be condemned. Be ready to evangelize Jew or Gentile at all times. There is only one way to be reconciled to God, and that is through the Messiah of the Jews and the Christ of the nations. It is through JESUS.   Lord God, give us the desire to share the wonderful word of salvation to those who so desperately need to hear it. May we be willing to open our mouths and speak. Give us this desire, O God. Amen.

    Acts 2:28

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 18, 2021 11:16

    Thursday, 18 November 2021   You have made known to me the ways of life; You will make me full of joy in Your presence.' Acts 2:28   In this verse, Peter will complete his quoting of Psalm 16. He has directly equated the verses from it to the Lord's passion, His courage through the ordeal, His death, His burial, and then to the fact that even in death He would not see corruption. Now, and with that being the reference point, Peter continues, saying, “You have made known to me.”   Peter cites the words directly from the Greek translation of the Old Testament, stating them in the aorist tense. As such, it reflects the words of Christ in the resurrection. His body did not see corruption, but instead, something new was made known to Him, which is “the ways of life.” The Hebrew states this in the singular, “the way of life.” However, the Greek OT continues to be cited by Peter, “the ways of life.”   The word translated as “way,” hodos, indicates a road, path, and so on. By implication, it then signifies a progress, such as the route or distance. Figuratively, it can indicate a mode or means of traveling. For example, one could use the word to say, “This is the way (the route) we will take, and it will be on this way (this path).” It can also be used to speak of a manner of life, “This is the way (hodos) of the Lord (Matthew 3:3 gives this meaning), and we should follow it.” That type of use of the word is found, for example, in Job 16 –   “For when a few years are finished, I shall go the way of no return.” Job 16:22   There is a way (path) of life that people pursue. For example, the same thought concerning the “way of life,” as what David states in the Hebrew, is repeated in Proverbs 5 when referring to the way (path) of the immoral woman –   “Lest you ponder her path of life— Her ways are unstable; You do not know them.” Proverbs 5:6   Peter's citing the plural of the Greek “ways” signifies the fullness of the manner of attaining life. This then takes one back to the words of Moses in Deuteronomy, such as in Deuteronomy 10 –    “And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?” Deuteronomy 10:12, 13   There in Deuteronomy, Moses uses another word that carries essentially the same idea as the one David uses in the Psalm. It is the same word that is used in the Hebrew of Isaiah 40:3 that is cited in Matthew 3:3 (above). It also can mean a literal path, or it can signify the course or mode of life.   Israel failed to “walk in all His ways,” but where Israel failed, Christ prevailed. Because God favored Christ, He made known to Him the ways of life. In turn, Christ followed the ways of life, He attained the goal, and He attained to the resurrection from the dead.   With that understood, Peter finishes the quoting of David with the words, “You will make me full of joy in Your presence.” The Greek reads more precisely, “You will fill me with joy with Your face.” The idea of the face of the Lord is that of being in His presence, and thus being accepted by Him. With the face of the Lord, comes the thought of favor, honor, peace, and so on.   If one goes into the presence of a king and the king accepts him, he has received the king's honor and the like. This idea is well-expressed in the words of the high priestly prayer found in Numbers 6 –   “The Lord bless you and keep you; 25 The Lord make His face shine upon you, And be gracious to you; 26 The Lord lift up His countenance upon you, And give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26   Life application: What should be obvious is that if the “ways of the Lord” are those things that bring life, meaning those things detailed by Moses in the law, and if Christ has attained to them where nobody else prior to Him could, it is an acknowledgment that in Him – not in the law – is the way to life. It is as if simple arithmetic is set before us, and yet we find it hard to accept the equation.   Jesus does not ever say that we are saved through keeping the Law of Moses. In fact, He hints at exactly the opposite time and time again. In Matthew 5, He says –   “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill. 18 For assuredly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle will by no means pass from the law till all is fulfilled.” Matthew 5:17, 18   In His words, Jesus is not saying that we (Israel at the time) must obey the law of Moses in order to be saved. He is making a point that the Law of Moses must be obeyed in order to not be condemned, and that the Law of Moses was the binding precept that condemns. Hence, He acknowledges that the law must stand until it is fulfilled. And then He immediately says that this is what He came to do, to fulfill it.   In other words, one can hang his proverbial hat on the law and attempt to find life through it, and he will fail and be condemned. Or he can come to Christ who has fulfilled the law and find life through the One who already had life in Him (see John 1:4, “In Him was life...”). Jesus did not need to fulfill the law to find life. Rather, because He was born under the law, He needed to fulfill the law in order to not be condemned. The ways were set before Him.   The difference is that man is already condemned by original sin. But Christ bore no original sin. In His fulfillment of the law, the life remains in Him, and that life can then be bestowed upon any who accepts His fulfillment of it. As He says –   “Jesus said to him, ‘I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.'” John 14:6   He uses the same term as Peter uses, hodos, way. But when Jesus says it, it is in the singular. Christ was shown the ways of life and He lived by them. The evidence of that is His resurrection, proving that He had fulfilled the law and was not condemned by it. Jesus shows us THE WAY OF LIFE and only through that can we also live. He embodies the law, and we are granted His perfect obedience under it by a mere act of faith.   As this is true, why (Why on earth!) would anyone want to go back under the law of condemnation? Choosing that path would be as smart as dunking one's head in fluoroantimonic acid. Reason it out. Learn the simple equation. And then, give up on your futile attempts to merit God's favor apart from the merits of Christ. Only in Him, and in Him alone, will you find the way of life.   And, as a bonus thought, once you have found this way – God's superlative way – of attaining life, then act like it. He has redeemed you through the blood of Christ. Put away all worries, all neuroses, all anxieties, and all doubts. Be strong in your faith, be firm in your convictions, and do not let this world – a world that is passing away – steal the joy of Christ in you. Praise God for what He has done through Christ. Yes, praise God for JESUS!   Glorious Heavenly Father, thank You for the completed work of Christ. To Him were shown the ways of life. In His fulfilling of the law, He now provides us with THE WAY OF LIFE. Thank You that You have made this path available to us. Yes, O God, thank You for our Lord Jesus. Amen.

    Acts 2:27

    Play Episode Listen Later Nov 17, 2021 17:07

    Wednesday, 17 November 2021   For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. Acts 2:27   In this verse, Peter continues to cite the 16th Psalm. It is this verse, in particular, that he will use to build his case concerning the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ that he spoke of in verse 2:23. As such, he begins with, “For You will not leave my soul in Hades.”   The word translated as “leave” means to “leave behind” or “abandon.” Other words which give the sense might be to “forsake,” or to “desert.” The word translated as “soul” is the Greek word psuché. That can have various significations, but the intent here is the being of the person that extends beyond the physical makeup. It is based on the Hebrew word nephesh which carries the same general meanings as the Greek. That this is referring to that which animates the body is obvious from the context because of the words “in Hades.”   Hades (translated as “hell” in older versions) is the repository for the dead. Today, hell is considered the place of damnation and eternal torment, but that was not its original intent. The Greek word hadés is the unseen world where departed spirits go. It is equivalent to the Hebrew word sheol, which is variously translated as the grave, hell, the pit, and so on. When a person dies, their soul (that which animates the physical body) is separated from the body. From there, it goes to sheol (hadés) where it awaits whatever is coming.   This is an unnatural state for man who is a soul/body unity. This is the doctrine known as anthropological hylomorphism, or the dual nature of man. Quite often, people incorrectly state that man has a triune nature – soul, body, and spirit. But this is not what Scripture teaches. Rather, the spirit is a connection to God. When Adam fell, the spiritual connection to God was lost. All people are born as a soul/body unity, but there is no spiritual connection to God.   The reconnection is the spiritual nature that needs to be corrected, but it is not a separate part of a person. When a person dies, he enters into an unnatural state where the body is dead, but the soul lives on. Paul calls this state being “naked” in 2 Corinthians 5:3. The intent for man that is clearly seen in Scripture is that he is to be a soul/body unity (clothed), and that it is to last forever because of the spiritual connection to his Creator. When the spiritual connection was severed, the physical body became corrupt and was destined to die –   “In the sweat of your face you shall eat bread Till you return to the ground, For out of it you were taken; For dust you are, And to dust you shall return.” Genesis 3:19   The soul, without the body (meaning when the body dies), goes to this pit. Whatever state that soul is in at the time of death will determine whether that person will be condemned to the Lake of Fire, or if that person will be given new and eternal life. An example of a soul in sheol (hadés) is found in 1 Samuel 28 –   “Then the woman said, ‘Whom shall I bring up for you?' And he said, ‘Bring up Samuel for me.' 12 When the woman saw Samuel, she cried out with a loud voice. And the woman spoke to Saul, saying, ‘Why have you deceived me? For you are Saul!' 13 And the king said to her, ‘Do not be afraid. What did you see?' And the woman said to Saul, ‘I saw a spirit ascending out of the earth.' 14 So he said to her, ‘What is his form?' And she said, ‘An old man is coming up, and he is covered with a mantle.' And Saul perceived that it was Samuel, and he stooped with his face to the ground and bowed down. 15 Now Samuel said to Saul, ‘Why have you disturbed me by bringing me up?'” 1 Samuel 28:11-15   This is what David was saying in the Psalms concerning the state of One who has died, “For You will not leave my soul in Hades.” In this, it could be that he is simply saying, “I know that I will be redeemed from the pit someday. The Lord will not abandon me forever.” It is the same sentiment that Job anticipated –   “For I know that my Redeemer lives, And He shall stand at last on the earth; 26 And after my skin is destroyed, this I know, That in my flesh I shall see God, 27 Whom I shall see for myself, And my eyes shall behold, and not another. How my heart yearns within me!” Job 19:25-27   As this is the case with David and Job and so many others, it can be argued to this point that David is simply writing about himself in the psalm. However, his next words are what Peter's case hinges on. Continuing to cite David, he says, “Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.”   The word translated as “allow” is didómi. It means to “give.” Hence, “Nor will You give Your Holy One to see corruption.” As such, “allow” provides an acceptable way of understanding the intent. The Weymouth New Testament provides real clarity in the meaning of this verse –   “For Thou wilt not leave me in the Unseen World forsaken, nor give up Thy holy One to undergo decay.”   The word translated as “corruption” is introduced into Scripture here, diaphthora. It is found six times, all in Acts 2 and Acts 13. All six uses will refer to this same context, that of the non-decay of the body of Christ. The word David uses in the Psalm is shakhath, signifying a pit. As such, it figuratively means “decay,” because a body in a pit decays. The Greek translators of the Old Testament understood this and translated the words of David as Peter now repeats them.   It is the normal occurrence that happens to all people. It is the reason why some cultures embalm their dead. It is an attempt to arrest the degradation of the body in order to overthrow the effects of the fall. Job understood this state of degradation of the body and he forms a parallel thought, equating the pit (corruption) to the activity of worms which come to destroy his body –   “If I say to corruption, ‘You are my father,' And to the worm, ‘You are my mother and my sister,'” Job 17:14   As the soul does not decay, what David says is obviously referring to the body that has gone to the pit in death. The words of David are stating that a Person is going to die, that the soul of that Person will enter Hades, and that the body of that Person will not see corruption in this state. After finishing his quote from the psalms, Peter will then explain why this must be speaking of the Messiah rather than David referring to Himself.   Both of these clauses, when properly understood, point to a person who is protected by the Lord from being abandoned in the repository of the dead (Hades) and whose body – that has been temporarily separated from the soul – will not see any corruption, even though this is the usual and accepted norm for bodies that die. That this separation is temporary is to be inferred because the soul has not been left in Hades. As Hades is where disembodied souls go, the inference is then obvious. There will be a reuniting of the soul and body.   Life application: One valuable tool in studying particular verses or passages is to check the translation of multiple versions. In doing so, different ways of expressing the same thing can be considered. In knowing what the original language says, and then noting these various translations, it is as if a flower has opened up with many beautiful petals that look the same, but are individual from one another.   At the same time, one must be careful to not simply choose the translation that he likes the most because it is pleasing to the ear. It may be wrong, and indeed, translations are often wrong. But to see the variations can help come to a proper conclusion about what is being said. This is exactly what the authors of the KJV said to do in their preface. Though the language is old and difficult, they say –   “For as it is a fault of incredulitie, to doubt of those things that are evident: so to determine of such things as the Spirit of God hath left (even in the judgment of the judicious) questionable, can beno lesse then presumption. Therfore as S. Augustine saith, that varietie of Translations is profitable for the finding out of the sense of the Scriptures: so diversitie of signification and sense in the margine, where the text is not so cleare, must needes doe good, yea is necessary, as we are perswaded.”   In other words, they are fully persuaded that it is necessary to use a multitude of translations, and to also check the margin notes where the text is not so clear. As such, we can close with an evaluation of the verse set before us today in a multitude of translations –   # because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, you will not let your holy one see decay. (NIV)   # For you will not leave my soul among the dead or allow your Holy One to rot in the grave. (NLT)   # For you will not abandon my soul to Hades, or let your Holy One see corruption. (ESV)   # because You will not abandon my soul to Hades, nor will You let Your Holy One see decay. (BSB)   #for You will not abandon my soul into Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see decay. (BLB)   # Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. (KJV)   #For You will not leave my soul in Hades, Nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption. (NKJV)   #FOR YOU WILL NOT ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES, NOR WILL YOU ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY. (NASB)   # FOR YOU WILL NOT FORSAKE ME and ABANDON MY SOUL TO HADES (the realm of the dead), NOR LET YOUR HOLY ONE UNDERGO DECAY [after death]. (Amplified)   # because you will not abandon me in Hades or allow your holy one to see decay. (CSB)   # because You will not leave me in Hades or allow Your Holy One to see decay. (HCSB)   # Because thou wilt not leave my soul unto Hades, Neither wilt thou give thy Holy One to see corruption. (ASV)   # “Because you did not leave my Soul in Sheol and you did not give your Pure One to see destruction.” (Aramaic)   # The Lord won't leave me in the grave. I am his holy one, and he won't let my body decay. (CEV)   # Because thou wilt not leave my soul in hell, nor suffer thy Holy One to see corruption. (Douay-Rheims)   # Because thou wilt not leave my soul in Hades, Neither wilt thou give thy Holy One to see corruption. (ERV)   # because you will not abandon me in the world of the dead; you will not allow your faithful servant to rot in the grave. (GNT)   # because you do not abandon my soul to the grave or allow your holy one to decay. (GWT)   # For you will not abandon my soul to Hades or allow your Holy One to experience decay. (ISV)   # Because You will not leave my soul to Hades, Nor will You give Your Holy One to see corruption; (LSV)   # because you will not leave my soul in Hades, nor permit your Holy One to experience decay.   # because you will not abandon my soul in Sheol, neither will you allow your Holy One to see decay. (NHEB)   # For Thou wilt not leave me in the Unseen World forsaken, nor give up Thy holy One to undergo decay. (Weymouth New Testament)   # because you will not leave my soul in Hades, neither will you allow your Holy One to see decay. (WEB)   # because Thou wilt not leave my soul to hades, nor wilt Thou give Thy Kind One to see corruption; (YLT)   Lord God, thank You for the diligent study and care of scholars and translators over the ages who have brought a richness to understanding Your word that fills us with a great and deep understanding and appreciation for what Your word is telling us. Help us to be diligent in our own studies, and to carefully evaluate and consider what You are telling us. To Your glory, we pray. Amen.

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