Scripture Reading: Acts 3 Now Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time for prayer, at three o'clock in the afternoon. 2 And a man lame from birth was being carried up, who was placed at the temple gate called “the Beautiful Gate” every day so he could beg for money from those going into the temple courts. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to go into the temple courts, he asked them for money. 4 Peter looked directly at him (as did John) and said, “Look at us!” 5 So the lame man paid attention to them, expecting to receive something from them. 6 But Peter said, “I have no silver or gold, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, stand up and walk!” 7 Then Peter took hold of him by the right hand and raised him up, and at once the man's feet and ankles were made strong. 8 He jumped up, stood and began walking around, and he entered the temple courts with them, walking and leaping and praising God. 9 All the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 and they recognized him as the man who used to sit and ask for donations at the Beautiful Gate of the temple, and they were filled with astonishment and amazement at what had happened to him.11 While the man was hanging on to Peter and John, all the people, completely astounded, ran together to them in the covered walkway called Solomon's Portico. 12 When Peter saw this, he declared to the people, “Men of Israel, why are you amazed at this? Why do you stare at us as if we had made this man walk by our own power or piety? 13 The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our forefathers, has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate after he had decided to release him. 14 But you rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a man who was a murderer be released to you. 15 You killed the Originator of life, whom God raised from the dead. To this fact we are witnesses! 16 And on the basis of faith in Jesus' name, his very name has made this man—whom you see and know—strong. The faith that is through Jesus has given him this complete health in the presence of you all. 17 And now, brothers, I know you acted in ignorance, as your rulers did too. 18 But the things God foretold long ago through all the prophets—that his Christ would suffer—he has fulfilled in this way. 19 Therefore repent and turn back so that your sins may be wiped out, 20 so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and so that he may send the Messiah appointed for you—that is, Jesus. 21 This one heaven must receive until the time all things are restored, which God declared from times long ago through his holy prophets. 22 Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers. You must obey him in everything he tells you. 23 Every person who does not obey that prophet will be destroyed and thus removed from the people.' 24 And all the prophets, from Samuel and those who followed him, have spoken about and announced these days. 25 You are the sons of the prophets and of the covenant that God made with your ancestors, saying to Abraham, ‘And in your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed.' 26 God raised up his servant and sent him first to you, to bless you by turning each one of you from your iniquities.”Main ThemesThe MiracleThe SettingWe learn in chapter 2 that believers pray daily in the temple. (This means they prayed in the temple courts, not literally inside the temple.) So, chapter 3 opens with a predictable scene—Peter and John find themselves going to the temple to pray (3:1). We can safely assume they were going to participate in a corporate prayer meeting (as opposed to a time of personal prayer).We are aware that at some point synagogues established three prayer times during the day. We have evidence from early Christian writers that Christians continued this practice for a while. Even in Acts we read of three times of prayer: 9:00 AM (Acts 2:15), noon (Acts 10:9), and 3:00 PM (Acts 3:1). There is some doubt that the synagogue tradition was firmly in place at the time of Acts chapter 3, but most agree that was the case.We might ask ourselves: What did these times of corporate prayer look like? It may have included corporate singing of Psalms and other worship, a person leading everyone in prayer, and everyone praying differently but simultaneously.We might also ask ourselves: How long did the miracle and Peter's preaching (which we are about to discuss) take? We learn at the beginning of chapter 4 that Peter and John are arrested towards evening, and recall that Peter and John head towards the temple around 3 PM. So, the miracle and subsequent preaching probably lasted about 3 hours. Although this may be obvious to the reader already, we should note that the speeches we read in Acts are obviously summaries. Luke records the main points made by Peter.The Lame Man and the GateAs the believers head to the temple to pray, they run across a lame man who was placed at the temple gate daily. As a quick historical note, we are not certain at which gate he was placed. Ancient sources do not specify which gate was popularly called “the Beautiful Gate.” We are able to ascertain that it referred to either the Nicanor Gate (which led from the Court of the Gentiles into the Court of Women) or the Shushan Gate at the eastern wall. Since the fifth century, the tradition has been that “the Beautiful Gate” referred to the Shushan Gate, but that tradition may not be reliable.Of more relevance than which gate is being described is the fact that the lame man was at a gate. Because of his defect, he may not have been allowed to go any further into the temple. Also, temple gates were useful for begging since they were frequented by many people. Moreover, one may assume that people at the temple were a more charitable audience than elsewhere. Finally, we must keep in mind the lame man's dismal situation. Begging (considered highly shameful) would have been his only way to provide for himself. There was no other social safety net. As a scholar points out, the poor in ancient cities were “ill-fed, housed in slums or not at all, ravaged by sickness,” and with little hope of social betterment.The ExchangeThe lame man begins the exchange with the apostles on the basis of his need—he requests money. Truly, he requested alms—money given to the poor as an act of charity—but our translation uses money because the term alms is unfamiliar to current readers. Giving alms was viewed as honorable by Judaism.The lame man's request opens the door for a dramatic demonstration of the gospel. The Old Testament strongly emphasized the charitable treatment of the disabled. Consider, for example:You must not curse a deaf person or put a stumbling block in front of a blind person. You must fear your God; I am the Lord. Leviticus 19:14“Cursed is the one who misleads a blind person on the road.” Then all the people will say, “Amen!” Deuteronomy 27:18Like I have pointed out many times before, the gospels are replete with commands to help the poor.Most importantly, according to the Old Testament, healing of the sick would be a sign of the messianic era. Consider Isaiah:Tell those who panic, “Be strong! Do not fear! Look, your God comes to avenge; with divine retribution he comes to deliver you.” Then blind eyes will open, deaf ears will hear. Then the lame will leap like a deer, the mute tongue will shout for joy; for water will burst forth in the wilderness, streams in the arid rift valley. Isaiah 35:4-6)In the Old Testament, the lame also work as a type for the mistreated people of God:Look, at that time I will deal with those who mistreated you. I will rescue the lame sheep and gather together the scattered sheep. I will take away their humiliation and make the whole earth admire and respect them. Zephaniah 3:19So, Peter healing a lame man works on a literal level—it is an astonishing miracle that validates his credentials as one sent by God—and on a narrative level—the story of redemption has reached the messianic era in which the people of God will be gathered.The Disclaimer—No MoneyUpon the lame man's request, Peter and John clarify that they do not have any money. (The phrase “silver and gold” simply means money, “minted coins.”) Although this is nothing but a footnote in the story, we should notice that as the believers shared all their possessions with one another (see chapter 2), the apostles do not seem to have been enriched. Also, this distinguishes Peter and John from magicians of that time, who took payment for their services.The MiracleJesus' NamePeter begins the miracle by giving credit to Jesus Christ. Jesus's name is a key element that recurs throughout this section. It is repeated many times in chapter 3, and its mention continues into chapter 4. This leaves no doubt that the apostles are acting only as agents for the one who sent them—Jesus.We should notice that Peter specifies that he speaks of Jesus “the Nazarene.” This shows a reference to a real, historical figure, and it operates as defiance to popular expectations of greatness. Being from Nazareth was certainly nothing to brag about.How should we understand the use of Jesus' name? For example, in the context of prayer, calling God's name generally means one is addressing God. For example:Now Jesus was praying in a certain place. When he stopped, one of his disciples said to him, “Lord, teach us to pray, just as John taught his disciples.” 2 So he said to them, “When you pray, say: “‘Father, may your name be honored; may your kingdom come. . . .” Luke 11:1-2But in prayer, one is also calling on the Lord himself to act. Consider how the Lord's prayer continues:Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who sins against us. And do not lead us into temptation. Luke 11:3-4Invocations of God's name could be directed at people or at least with people as the intended audience to prove who is acting. Consider Elijah challenging the prophets of Baal:“Then you will invoke the name of your god, and I will invoke the name of the Lord. The god who responds with fire will demonstrate that he is the true God.” All the people responded, “This will be a fair test.” 1 Kings 18Consider also David's blessing of the people of God in the name of the Lord. This probably means he was calling on the Lord to the bless them.When David finished offering burnt sacrifices and peace offerings, he pronounced a blessing over the people in the Lord's name. 1 Chronicles 16:2So, when Peter asks the lame man to walk “in the name of Jesus Christ,” he may be pointing to who is doing the miracle.We could also understand calling on the Lord's name slightly differently. Both in Jewish and Gentile tradition, we can find brokers (i.e., representatives or messengers) using the name of their patron to denote on whose authority they speak or act. So, to say “in the name of Jesus Christ” is to say, “as a representative of Jesus Christ.” We find this (or a very similar) use of the expression in the Gospel of John when praying in Jesus' name (John 14:13; 15:16; 16:23-24). In John, praying “in one's name” evokes praying “on the merits of,” or because of, another's status before the one entreated (much like Israel seeking favor before God on account of their ancestors' favor).Notice that under either interpretation of using the Lord's name, it is Jesus or through the power of Jesus that the miracle happens. The difference is whether the apostle works as an announcer of what Jesus is doing or as the agent through whom Jesus acts.We should also notice that Peter does not use a particular ritual. For pagans, God's favor could be sought by using very specific rituals that needed perfect execution. Jewish ritual was less particular, but correctly implementing the ritual remained important, leading to conflicts between, for example, Pharisees and Sadducees. Peter also does not employ techniques or ingredients that would lend themselves to be interpreted as magic. The only ingredient, so to speak, is the power and authority of Jesus.The HealingPeter clasps the lame man's right hand—typically a sign of agreement or covenant in the ancient world. Given the man's low social status, this denotes acceptance and kindness on Peter's part. Peter helps him up.The miracle is emphatically evident. The man jumps up and immediately walks. Then we are told repeatedly that he “walks around,” walks and leaps,” and all saw him “walking.” The miracle works as a sign that draws attention to the message about to be preached.Why is the miracle so effective? Those at the temple recognized this man as the one “who used to sit and ask for donations.” Since he had been lame from birth, we can conclude he had been placed there daily for a very long time.Moreover, if we are correct in concluding that the lame man could venture no further into the temple due to his disability, the fact that the man enters the temple courts to praise God is significant. His barrier to experience God has been removed by the power and grace of Jesus.The SpeechThe SettingPetter delivers his speech at Solomon's Portico. It was a long outdoor hallway supported by pillars on the east of a pre-Herodian structure, which overlooked the steep Kidron Valley. Apparently Solomon's Portico was a traditional place for Christians to meet and preach; we read about it in Acts (Acts 3:11; 5:12) and in John 10:23.The MessageWhodunit?Peter begins his sermon by correcting an apparent misunderstanding by the crowd. He makes clear that the cause of the healing is Jesus, not himself.Wonder-workers were common at the time, and they were often understood as sorcerers. Clarifying that Jesus was the source of the miracle, along with other passages in Acts (e.g., Acts 8:7-13, 18-24; 19:11-20) work as an antimagical apologetics. These are miracles done by God, Peter is pointing out, not magical works done by Peter's power or cunning. Moreover, Peter is separating himself from certain Jewish traditions that held holy men had power to make certain things happen. (Pagans had a similar notion, believing that piety could lead to spiritual power. For example, Romans believed that their sacrifices could expiate the gods and that their continued worship could even make the gods embarrassed to continue in anger against Rome.)Unlike a sorcerer or a man acting by his own piety-fueled power, Peter points to Jesus and immediately says the following::The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God of our forefathers, has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you handed over and rejected in the presence of Pilate after he had decided to release him.In other words, the main proposition of the speech is that the God of Israel who acted to resurrect Jesus is continuing to act.The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob“The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob” was a familiar Jewish expression, derived from the biblical revelation to Moses recorded in the book of Exodus. It appears multiple times in Exodus and the Old Testament, but probably the most memorable mention is in the scene of the burning bush.Now Moses was shepherding the flock of his father-in-law Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the desert and came to the mountain of God, to Horeb. The angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire from within a bush. He looked, and the bush was ablaze with fire, but it was not being consumed! So Moses thought, “I will turn aside to see this amazing sight. Why does the bush not burn up?” When the Lord saw that he had turned aside to look, God called to him from within the bush and said, “Moses, Moses!” And Moses said, “Here I am.” God said, “Do not approach any closer! Take your sandals off your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” He added, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” Then Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God. Exodus 3:1-6This title for God was common in Jesus' time, appearing in Jewish prayers and benedictions, making it one of the most familiar titles for God. Someone who had read both of Luke's works would remember that Jesus had used this title before—once before. Jesus defended the resurrection of the dead with this very title and the very scene of the burning bush, concluding:But even Moses revealed that the dead are raised in the passage about the bush, where he calls the Lord the God of Abraham and the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob. Now he is not God of the dead, but of the living, for all live before him.” Then some of the experts in the law answered, “Teacher, you have spoken well!” For they did not dare any longer to ask him anything. Luke 20:37-40There seems to be no coincidence that Peter uses that same title for God to preach about restoration as Jesus did to preach about resurrection. The God who demonstrated his faithfulness to the patriarchs in the exodus would be faithful to his promise to raise them from the dead; God demonstrated that faithfulness in raising Jesus from the dead; so, one can expect God to deliver on his promises of restoration as well.The Servant, the Holy and Righteous One, the Originator of LifeBecause I have discussed some of these Old Testament allusions in many occasions, I will provide only a brief summary of what the titles used for Jesus are meant to evoke in the listeners' minds.The term servant along with the theme of glorification almost inarguably points to Isaiah' servant.Look, my servant will succeed! He will be elevated, lifted high, and greatly exalted—(just as many were horrified by the sight of you) he was so disfigured he no longer looked like a man; his form was so marred he no longer looked human—so now he will startle many nations. Kings will be shocked by his exaltation, for they will witness something unannounced to them, and they will understand something they had not heard about. Who would have believed what we just heard? When was the Lord's power revealed through him? He sprouted up like a twig before God, like a root out of parched soil; he had no stately form or majesty that might catch our attention, no special appearance that we should want to follow him. He was despised and rejected by people, one who experienced pain and was acquainted with illness; people hid their faces from him; he was despised, and we considered him insignificant. But he lifted up our illnesses, he carried our pain; even though we thought he was being punished, attacked by God, and afflicted for something he had done. He was wounded because of our rebellious deeds, crushed because of our sins; he endured punishment that made us well; because of his wounds we have been healed. Isaiah 52:13 – 53-5“The Holy One” was especially a title for God himself in both the Old Testament and in early Judaism. In a context that draws heavily on Isaiah, the “holy one” title could imply deity (“Holy One” appears thirty times in Isaiah, including for God as Israel's savior and “redeemer” in the servant contexts). The title could also function as an acceptable title for one of God's servants when conjoined with “of God.” In the case of Acts 3, that seems like a difficult interpretation to hold.“Righteous one” is not a common expression for Christ later in the New Testament. (Although we see some uses, such as in 1 John 1-2. It says, “But if anyone does sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous One, and he himself is the atoning sacrifice for our sins, and not only for our sins but also for the whole world.”) So why is this title for Jesus used in Acts?In Acts, the title of righteous one is used exclusively when preaching to Jerusalem audiences, which is perhaps a clue as to its intended meaning. Calling Jesus the “righteous one” heightens both the contrast with Barabbas the “murderer” and the guilt of those who denied Jesus. It also fits one of Luke's central themes: Jesus was innocent. Moreover, the term “righteous servant” appears in the servant song of Isaiah (Isaiah 53:11), solidifying the connection between the term “servant” and Isaiah's servant.“Prince of life,” “Founder of life,” or as our translation puts it, “Originator of life” is antonomasia—a title that substitutes the name of a person. Examples in other contexts would be referring to Shakespeare as the Bard or to Lebron James as the GOAT.In Peter's speech, we see a recurring contrast between life and death, including between he who raised to life and those who kill. Calling Jesus the Originator of life is a great rhetorical device to emphasize that contrast. Also, a biblically literate listener would probably recall Deuteronomy 30:“Look! I have set before you today life and prosperity on the one hand, and death and disaster on the other. What I am commanding you today is to love the Lord your God, to walk in his ways, and to obey his commandments, his statutes, and his ordinances. Then you will live and become numerous and the Lord your God will bless you in the land that you are about to possess. However, if you turn aside and do not obey, but are lured away to worship and serve other gods, I declare to you this very day that you will certainly perish! You will not extend your time in the land you are crossing the Jordan to possess. Today I invoke heaven and earth as witnesses against you that I have set life and death, blessing and curse, before you. Therefore choose life so that you and your descendants may live! I also call on you to love the Lord your God, to obey him and be loyal to him, for he gives you life and enables you to live continually in the land the Lord promised to give to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Deuteronomy 30:15-20There is much debate about exactly to interpret the word translated as prince, founder, or originator (ἀρχηγός). The term appears frequently in the Septuagint to refer to heads of clans—hence the translations prince and founder. The term could apply to authors or originators of something, or the “initiator” of something. However, for readers steeped more in biblical Greek than in Greek tradition, the image of leadership would be dominant. Jesus is thus the hero leading the way to the historic goal of achieving eternal life, and as such fulfills the promises and inaugurates the opportunity for the eschatological era of blessing. In the words of other New Testament passages, he is the “firstborn” from the dead, who thereby guarantees life to the rest of his people. Perhaps a great translation of ἀρχηγός is “pioneer,” but modern scholars find “pioneer” to be on the list of icky words (for reasons I am sure you could guess).Believe, Repent, and Then . . . The Messiah's ReturnVerses 15 through 21 sounds quite similar to the speech in chapter 2, so I will not discuss them in detail except for the conspicuous differences. By differences, I do not mean inconsistencies. I mean the two speeches are not identical and we learn some distinct information.As in the prior chapter, Peter tells the Jewish audience that they killed Jesus, their divine king sent by God, yet God raised him from the dead, a fact to which the apostles are witnesses. In chapter 2 Peter points to the audience as witnesses of God's miracles (as opposed to the apostles). But in chapter 3 Peter quickly points out that the audience has now witnessed a miracle. The crowd was familiar with the lame man who was healed, making this charge effective. All in all, the setup of the message in chapter 3 is similar to that of chapter 2.The first distinction, albeit in tone and not theology, is in how Peter addresses the crowd's culpability. In chapter 2, Peter emphasizes the guilt of the crowd. In chapter 3, Peter minimizes (although does not remove) their guilt by highlighting their ignorance.Then just like in chapter 2, Peter then clarifies that Jesus' death was according to scripture. Finally, Peter calls the crowd to repentance.The real difference between the two speeches begins in verse 20. What are the fruits of repentance in chapter 2? “Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit'” (Acts 2:38). Peter also tells them to “Save yourselves from this perverse generation!” (Acts 2:40). In short, the result of repentance is forgiveness of sins, receiving the Holy Spirit, and salvation (which in the context of chapter 2 means avoiding judgment).What are the fruits of repentance in chapter 3? “[S]o that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and so that he may send the Messiah appointed for you—that is, Jesus. This one heaven must receive until the time all things are restored, which God declared from times long ago through his holy prophets” (Acts 3:20b-21). Repentance will be followed by “times of refreshing” or what may also be called restoration; and, once sufficient restoration has occurred (“the time all things are restored”) then Jesus will return.This idea of restoration is found throughout the Old Testament prophets. Perhaps the best known passage is in Ezekiel:“‘I will take you from the nations and gather you from all the countries; then I will bring you to your land. I will sprinkle you with pure water, and you will be clean from all your impurities. I will purify you from all your idols. I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit within you. I will remove the heart of stone from your body and give you a heart of flesh. I will put my Spirit within you; I will take the initiative, and you will obey my statutes and carefully observe my regulations. Then you will live in the land I gave to your fathers; you will be my people, and I will be your God. I will save you from all your uncleanness. I will call for the grain and multiply it; I will not bring a famine on you. I will multiply the fruit of the trees and the produce of the fields, so that you will never again suffer the disgrace of famine among the nations. Then you will remember your evil behavior and your deeds that were not good; you will loathe yourselves on account of your sins and your abominable deeds. Ezekiel 36:24-31Jews during Jesus' day and thereafter linked the idea of turning to God with the restoration of Israel. Many Jewish sources show an expectation that Israel would return to God's law in the last days. Often Jewish teachers, particularly in later rabbinic texts, predicated the end's arrival and Israel's restoration as chronologically contingent on Israel's repentance.Summary and ConclusionsWhat does this tell us about the current age? The opportunity to turn to God is now. The good news is going out to all the nations (see verse 25) that the Lord has already raised the firstborn from the dead. Anyone who trusts the “Pioneer of life” shall reach the same destination. And, one day, when all the people of God have turned to Him, Jesus will return to judge, to heal, to restore, and to reign a world that will be filled with love, peace, and joy.The concept of restoration and Jesus' return also prompts a few questions. Peter's speech claiming that heaven would receive Jesus until the period of restoration echoes Psalm 110:1, which Peter quoted in chapter 2. The psalm says:Here is the Lord's proclamation to my lord: “Sit down at my right hand until I make your enemies your footstool.” The Lord extends your dominion from Zion. Rule in the midst of your enemies. Your people willingly follow you when you go into battle. On the holy hills at sunrise the dew of your youth belongs to you. The Lord makes this promise on oath and will not revoke it: “You are an eternal priest after the pattern of Melchizedek.” O Lord, at your right hand he strikes down kings in the day he unleashes his anger. He executes judgment against the nations. He fills the valleys with corpses; he shatters their heads over the vast battlefield. From the stream along the road he drinks; then he lifts up his head. Psalm 110:1b-7So, will all enemies of Christ be defeated and then Jesus will return? Should we expect the church to advance and (peacefully) conquer all the world, every institution, and every person? Will nearly everyone become a follower of Christ? Some believe this. Other passages in scripture have led most Christian throughout history to temper those expectations, with some taking an opposite, extremely negative view of history's arch. But regardless of how we harmonize scripture, the theme of an advancing church (whether ultimately victorious or not) seems inarguable. Many will come to Christ. The enemies of the church will not prevail against the plan of salvation.The second question we might ask is whether Acts 3 (and other texts, such as Romans 11) means that it is the conversion of Jews (not Gentiles) that will trigger the end—the return of Jesus. Many Christians in the United States hold this view today. Often times, although not always, this view includes the belief that national Israel will be restored and blessed before the final judgment. In other words, that Acts 3 is talking specifically about the ethnic nation of Israel. This partially explains why many conservatives in the United States are committed to supporting the nation of Israel. One may also take a passage like Acts 3 and argue that, for example, Peter seems to intentionally omit the more Israel-centric portions of the Old Testament text he cites, and that at the end of chapter 3 Peter again highlights that the promise of salvation is for all nations. Therefore, restoration involves all the people of God—the Church—and not specifically Jews. (Of course, the arguments for the different theological positions look for evidence all over the Bible. I give examples only from the texts we have recently read so as not to derail our conversation.)So far I have avoided these eschatological topics because people feel very strongly about them. Discussion can easily get heated. My intention behind these brief comments is simply to introduce some of the options available.
Pastor Jim Warren continues our Bible Study from 1 Timothy 6:11-16. Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service: This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store. If you want to know more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/salvation.
https://www.bible.com/events/49173827 Church of the Nazarene – Harrisonburg Minor Prophets – Malachi Famous last words Today we are finishing up our teaching series on the Minor Prophets studying the last recorded words of a prophet named Malachi. The way our bibles are organized, Malachi literally gets the last word before the New Testament. We don't know […]
https://www.bible.com/events/49173508 Church of the Nazarene – East Rock Minor Prophets – Malachi Famous last words Today we are finishing up our teaching series on the Minor Prophets studying the last recorded words of a prophet named Malachi. The way our bibles are organized, Malachi literally gets the last word before the New Testament. We don't […]
Audio for: "God Of Hope", part of the series "The Mighty One". Sermon given by Andy Lewis, November 26, 2023, at Faith Community Church in Santa Cruz, CA. Visit us online at www.santacruzfaith.org/ and on Sunday Mornings @ Santa Cruz Church of the Nazarene at 9 am.
Why should we worship? What is the point of praise? And how can we praise in the midst of circumstances? Pastor Ruben preached a message on how praise can change our lives. For those who need to remember how big their God is, this message is for you. How many times have you said, "Thank you" today? We might do it for someone who opens up that door, or does a kind act for us, but how do you tell God, "Thank You?" During this message series we will look at the DNA of gratitude. It pleases God when we live a life of gratitude in every season of life. This is a great series during the month of Thanksgiving. If you want to be more positive and grateful in life, make sure you check out these messages. Invite a friend. Don't miss church at ThornCreek! Nov 4-5 Thank You God Nov 11-12 Grateful Even If Nov 18-19 The God Who Provides Nov 25-26 The Anatomy of Praise
Caught in a storm, the disciples see Jesus walking on the water to them. They mistake Jesus for a ghost, but Peter hears the Master's voice. Then Peter steps out of the boat. What does this teach us? Pastor Jason shares from Matthew 14:28-33.Enjoy this message? Consider visiting Ravenna Church of the Nazarene where Pastor Jason is serving as the Senior Pastor. Have a prayer need? Want to share something with Pastor Jason? Send The Dirt Path Pastor a message. Linktree: https://linktr.ee/thedirtpathpastorHelp spread the gospel through this podcast by subscribing, leaving a review, and sharing this episode.
Pastor Jim Warren brings us a special message from Joshua 5:13-15 and Joshua 6 about the battle at Jericho. Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service: This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store. If you want to know more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/salvation.
Sunday, 26 November 2023 So I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?' And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.' Acts 22:8 Rather, the Greek reads, “And I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?' And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting'” (CG). In the previous verse, Paul had fallen to the ground and heard a voice asking, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?” It next says, “And I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?'” Paul's questioning of who the Presence is shows that even though he had all of the training of a master, he still didn't know who the Lord truly was. It is reminiscent of the story of Samuel in 1 Samuel 3 – “And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. So he arose and went to Eli, and said, ‘Here I am, for you did call me.' Then Eli perceived that the Lord had called the boy. 9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, ‘Go, lie down; and it shall be, if He calls you, that you must say, “Speak, Lord, for Your servant hears.”' So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 Now the Lord came and stood and called as at other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!' And Samuel answered, ‘Speak, for Your servant hears.'” 1 Samuel 3:8-10 Paul knew that this was a divine messenger, but he could not have imagined that Jesus was that divine messenger. His worldview and presuppositions about the law, the Messiah, etc., would not allow him to believe that his actions could possibly be responsible for the persecution of God's appointed Messiah. However, that was about to change with the next words, “And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene.'” The word Nazarene was not used by Luke in Chapter 9. However, Paul here indicates that this is the full title that was spoken to him. Luke's words in Chapter 9 were focused more on the persecution and Paul's stubborn inability to perceive the truth, instead recklessly pursuing a false direction – “And he said, ‘Who are You, Lord?' Then the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. It is hard for you to kick against the goads.'” Here, Paul first identifies the Source of the words from heaven because of the audience he is addressing. He carefully calls Jesus the Nazarene to ensure that the proper Jesus (Hebrew: Yeshua) was being identified for their understanding. The name was not uncommon in Israel at the time. Identifying him this way would carefully elicit memories of the Man who had come and done so many miracles among the people, who had been crucified, and whose followers avowed that He had risen. Paul poignantly identifies himself with this same Jesus. With that, he completes Jesus' words to him, saying, “whom you are persecuting.” Paul doesn't leave out the fact that he had been persecuting Jesus, but the proper Jesus had to first be identified. Matthew Poole describes the term Nazarene used here, saying “...that contemned (though not contemptible) name is owned by Christ from heaven, that they might not be ashamed when they were reproached by it on earth.” Life application: The name Jesus is the name at which every person shall someday bow. All of humanity, from Adam until the last person born, will acknowledge Him – “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” Philippians 2:9-11 Isaiah, however, ascribes this honor to the Lord (Yehovah) – “Look to Me, and be saved, All you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other. 23 I have sworn by Myself; The word has gone out of My mouth in righteousness, And shall not return, That to Me every knee shall bow, Every tongue shall take an oath.” Isaiah 45:22, 23 Paul directly cites Isaiah and applies what the Lord said through him to Jesus. Either Paul was a heretic and a blasphemer, or he is rightly claiming that Jesus is the Lord incarnate. The truth of Jesus' deity cannot be missed if one truly searches it out. However, presuppositions and biases stand in the way. Paul was given a special grace by encountering the Lord personally. We are likewise offered the grace of meeting Jesus personally through the now-completed pages of Scripture. Let us be wise and attend carefully to what we read. The choice is ours, just as it was for Paul. He responded properly – “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, 20 but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.” Acts 26:19, 20 Paul was not disobedient to the heavenly vision. We are not to be disobedient to the testimony now set forth in the pages of the Bible. Believe and be saved, and then share this message with those you encounter, to the glory of God who saved you. Lord God Almighty, thank You for the word that You have given us. It is the place where we can encounter You and find the truth of who You are. May we not be slack about our pursuit of You. Rather, fill us with the burning desire to know You more and more each day. To Your glory, we pray. Amen.
For Season 11 of The Millennial Pastor Podcast our guest host is Megan Pittman. This season, we are exploring worship, the arts, and how they impact our interaction with both God and the Church. We are excited to share conversations with all kinds of leaders, artists, pastors, and creatives who share their stories and how art has played an “instrumental” role in their faith expression. Our guest this week, Rev. Dr. Brent Neely, helps clarify some of the distinctions in how he worships as a Monk committed to a Benedictine community. He points out how all our senses – sight, touch, sound, smell, and taste – ought to be involved in our worship and offers great insight into the role of iconography within the Christian tradition. Brent received his BA in Christian Ministries from Eastern Nazarene College as well as his Masters of Divinity Doctoral of Ministry in Spiritual Formation and Discipleship from Nazarene Theological Seminary. He works as a Chaplain, is an Associate Pastor at Belton New Horizons Church of the Nazarene, and is a Monk with the House of Initia Nova. You can connect with Brent on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @Rev_Dr_Brother or @Monastic_Haikus, or subscribe to his Substack @FromYourBrother. You can also find his book, “The Book of Ancient Prayers: 365+ Prayers from the Saints of the Church” by Brent D. Neely on Amazon. --- Send in a voice message: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/millennial-pastors/message Support this podcast: https://podcasters.spotify.com/pod/show/millennial-pastors/support
As we continue our discussion of Revelation, this weeks letter and discussion was Johns warning about the challenges of riding the fence between different belief systems and emphasizes the importance of fully committing to the way of Jesus. It also touches on trust issues, extreme commitment to Jesus, staying awake and alert in our faith, serving others, and wielding power with love and humility. The conversation highlights that Christians should focus on changing the world through their actions rather than relying solely on legislators or political power. Overall, it encourages a servant-hearted approach to following Christ and making an impact in society.
Pastor Joyce Swingle continues our series "A Prophet's Life: Lessons Learned From Those Called to Communicate God's Truth” with a message from Isaiah 8:9-9:1, focusing on the difference between the godly and the ungodly. She makes a call to choose the godly path, fearing and revering the Lord, and to speak the Word as instructed. Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service: This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store. If you want to know more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/salvation.
https://www.bible.com/events/49169508 Church of the Nazarene – Harrisonburg Minor Prophets – Zephaniah What is God like? Today we continue our series entitled ‘Minor Prophets’. We are taking a deep dive into 4 of the minor prophets from the Old Testament scriptures. They are full of redemptive themes that should convict us, equip us, challenge us, and […]
Listen to the message from November 19th, 2023 by Pastor Kerry Willis, the District Superintendent of the Philadelphia District Church of the Nazarene on the story of Abraham and Isaac! Follow us on all platforms! Website https://www.lansdale.church/ Facebook https://www.facebook.com/lansdale.church YouTube https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCuUsGDGeFmzHJIxZsEiBTWw Instagram https://www.instagram.com/lansdale.church/ Immanuel Sermons https://anchor.fm/lansdalechurch Immanuel Podcasts https://anchor.fm/immanuelpodcasts
Audio for: "When Dealing With Big Questions", part of the series "With Great Boldness". Sermon given by Andy Lewis, November 19, 2023, at Faith Community Church in Santa Cruz, CA. Visit us online at www.santacruzfaith.org/ and on Sunday Mornings @ Santa Cruz Church of the Nazarene at 9 am.
Nobody likes change, but it's inevitable. And for people of faith, change is good. We're called to embrace change so radical the only word for it is resurrection. So how can we take change seriously - in our own lives, in our congregation and in our world?
Why does it seem like everyone is so strong, and I'm so weak? Why is it that some people are able to withstand so much bad news and stress, and I crumble at the thought of pressure? In this upcoming teaching series at Ridgefield Church of the Nazarene, you will discover God's wisdom for how to grow strong. Join us for Under Pressure: How to be strong when you feel so weak.
We are called to walk in the light as He is in the light, filled with His Holy Spirit. But as we journey, the light reveals dark hallways along the path. Curiosity and desire draw us to the dimly lit hallway, but it is off the path. What waits for us there? How do we avoid them? Pastor Jason shares a message from Proverbs 7:24-27.Enjoy this message? Consider visiting Ravenna Church of the Nazarene where Pastor Jason is serving as the Senior Pastor. Have a prayer need? Want to share something with Pastor Jason? Send The Dirt Path Pastor a message. Linktree: https://linktr.ee/thedirtpathpastorHelp spread the gospel through this podcast by subscribing, leaving a review, and sharing this episode.
Force Multiplier: Something that dramatically increases one's impact Ephesians 3:20 (LB) // Now glory be to God, who by his mighty power at work within us is able to do far more than we would ever dare to ask or even dream of—infinitely beyond our highest prayers, desires, thoughts, or hopes. Play it safe. 1 Samuel 17:32-33 (NLT) // “Don't worry about this Philistine,” David told Saul. “I'll go fight him!” 33 “Don't be ridiculous!” Saul replied. “There's no way you can fight this Philistine and possibly win! You're only a boy, and he's been a man of war since his youth.” Am I Reasonable or Ridiculous? Acts 3:1-3 (NLT) // Peter and John went to the Temple one afternoon to take part in the three o'clock prayer service. 2 As they approached the Temple, a man lame from birth was being carried in. Each day he was put beside the Temple gate, the one called the Beautiful Gate, so he could beg from the people going into the Temple. 3 When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for some money. Expectation determines experience. Sometimes it's easier to exist than to expect. Acts 3:4-6 (NLT) // Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, “Look at us!” 5 So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them. 6 Then Peter said, “Silver or gold I do not have, but what I do have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk.” Acts 4:7-12 // They brought in the two disciples and demanded, “By what power, or in whose name, have you done this?” 8 Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of our people, 9 are we being questioned today because we've done a good deed for a crippled man? Do you want to know how he was healed? 10 Let me clearly state to all of you and to all the people of Israel that he was healed by the powerful name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, the man you crucified but whom God raised from the dead. 11 For Jesus is the one referred to in the Scriptures, where it says, ‘The stone that you builders rejected has now become the cornerstone.' 12 There is salvation in no one else! God has given no other name under heaven by which we must be saved.” Acts 3:7-10 NLT // Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. 8 He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9 When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10 they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
Just prior to crucifixion, a person was scourged with a whip which had thongs that were braided with sharp objects such as nails. As an act of public humiliation, criminals carried their own cross to the place of execution, and once there, were stripped naked before being fastened to the cross, either with rope or nails. Being tied to a cross with ropes was less painful in the beginning, but would leave the victim to hang for a longer period of time, even days, which would make the experience more painful in the end. Some who were tied to the cross are recorded to have lasted for nine days. Nailing a person to a cross was more painful from the beginning and would have led to a quicker death. The body would hang between three to four feet from the ground. Sometimes a soporific was given to the victim to help numb the senses. In Jesus case, it was “wine mixed with myrrh” (Mark 15:23), which our Lord rejected because it would have clouded His thinking (Matt 27:34). In some situations the Romans would break the victim's legs which would hasten death, but according to Scripture, Jesus was already dead by the time the soldiers considered doing this (John 19:32-34). Unger notes, “In most cases the body was allowed to rot on the cross by the action of the sun and rain or to be devoured by birds and beasts.” We know that Joseph of Arimathea, a disciple of Jesus, came to Pilate and asked for Jesus' body, that he might bury it, and Pilate granted his request (Matt 27:57-60). It's most likely that Jesus was crucified in April, AD 33. The cross of Christ became central to the message of the gospel. The apostle Paul was sent by the Lord Jesus “to preach the gospel, not in cleverness of speech, so that the cross of Christ would not be made void” (1 Cor 1:17). Paul was not concerned with human sophistry, winning arguments, or impressing his audience by means of rhetorical prowess, but merely with presenting the simple message of the cross of Christ, which brings eternal salvation to those who trust in Jesus as their Savior. Paul continued his line of reasoning, saying, “For the word of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God...[and] we preach Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to Gentiles foolishness, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (1 Cor 1:18; 23-24). Paul summarized his message when he said, “I determined to know nothing among you except Jesus Christ, and Him crucified” (1 Cor 2:2). The image of a crucified Savior seems entirely foolish to a world that creates its saviors out of strong heroes; strong in the human sense of one who can save himself and others. Jesus is certainly strong; after all, He's God! And He does save forever those who come to Him in faith. However, the humility of the cross, with all its offense and shame, leaves no place for human wisdom or pride; for one must admit it was his sin that placed Messiah on the cross to be judged and die. To come to Jesus as a crucified Messiah requires humility, for one must honestly look at oneself from the divine perspective and admit he is a lost sinner in need of a Savior. A Savior who was willing to lay down His life and bear the punishment of the guilty. This requires truth, to see oneself from the divine perspective as utterly sinful and lost. And it requires humility, to admit one it powerless and cannot save himself from a damnable future to which he is certainly headed. It is the work of Messiah that saves. Nothing more is required. Jesus paid it all. W. E. Vine notes, ‘“The Cross of Christ' does far more than express the fact of the infinite love of God to man in the death of His Son; it exposes the enmity of the human heart against God, reveals the true nature of sin as in the sight of God, and makes known the impossibility of bridging, by any human effort, the chasm that separates unregenerate man from God.”Wendell Johnston adds: "The cross stands at the center of Paul's theology (1 Cor 1:23). He saw this humiliating and cruel instrument in a new light—as the extraordinary opportunity to boast in his Savior (Gal 6:14). The shameful cross stood for everything the world despised and thus His allegiance to Christ separated him from the world. Jesus' death was like a magnet drawing the outcasts of the world to Christ (John 12:32). It makes human wisdom foolish (1 Cor 1:27) and weak people strong (1 Cor 1:25), and it breaks the spirit of the proud and lifts up the meek and humble (1 Cor 1:28). Because of His death Jesus breaks the shackles of those in bondage who believe in Him. The Cross brings peace to those in fear (Heb 2:14–15), and it unites Jews and Gentiles into one body (Eph 2:16). The Cross brought complete fulfillment to the system of the Mosaic Law and did away with all the regulations standing against humanity (Col 2:14–18). Because of the Cross, God gives eternal life to those who believe (Rom 5:18). The Cross, which to the world seemed proof of defeat, became the means of triumph (Col 2:15)." The cross represents the love of the Father, as “God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom 5:8). And it represents the love of Jesus for us, as Paul wrote of “the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Gal 2:20b). Paul saw himself as crucified with Jesus, as he wrote, “I have been crucified with Christ” (Gal 2:20a). The words “crucified with” translates the Greek verb sustauroō (συσταυρόω), which means one is crucified with another. This is used in a literal sense of persons crucified in physical proximity to each other, such as “The robbers who had been crucified with Him”, that is, Jesus (Matt 27:44; cf., Mark 15:32; John 19:32). But Paul uses the word in Galatians 2:20 in a spiritual sense, in which he is identified with Christ on the cross. This same spiritual identification truth is for all who have trusted in Christ as our Savior, for to be “crucified with Christ” means that we are identified with our Lord in His death, burial, and resurrection. God sees us there are the cross, with Christ, dying with Him. Paul states, “our old self was crucified with Him” (Rom 6:6), and “we have died with Christ” (Rom 6:8). Furthermore, we partook of His burial, resurrection, and ascension, for “we have been buried with Him” (Rom 6:4), and “raised up with Christ” (Col 3:1; cf., Eph 2:6a), and even now are seen to be seated “with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus” (Eph 2:6b). Concerning Galatians 2:20, William MacDonald states: "The believer is identified with Christ in His death. Not only was He crucified on Calvary, I was crucified there as well—in Him. This means the end of me as a sinner in God's sight. It means the end of me as a person seeking to merit or earn salvation by my own efforts. It means the end of me as a child of Adam, as a man under the condemnation of the law, as my old, unregenerate self. The old, evil “I” has been crucified; it has no more claims on my daily life." Who Crucified Jesus? The question is sometimes raised as to who crucified Jesus? According to Chafer, “Closely related to the contrast between the divine and human sides of Christ's death, is the question: Who put Christ to death? As already indicated, the Scriptures assign both a human and a divine responsibility for Christ's death.” According to the testimony of Scripture, Jesus' death on the cross was the result of: 1) God the Father who sent Him, 2) Jesus who willingly went to the cross, 3), Satan who worked through others to help crucify Him, 4) unbelieving Jews, and 5) unbelieving Gentiles. The Bible verses that address the various persons involved in the crucifixion of Jesus are intermixed. That is, a passage might address God the Father and Jesus, or Jews and Gentiles, or Satan and Jews, etc. It is from these Scripture passages that the following categories as recognized. God the Father Sent Christ to Die Who crucified Jesus? The ultimate answer is God the Father. The Father was motivated by His love for us to save us; therefore, His plan of salvation involved sending His Son into the world to die in our place. The record of Scripture is, “But the LORD was pleased To crush Him, putting Him to grief” (Isa 53:10a), and “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son” (John 3:16a), and “this Man [Jesus], was delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23a), and Peter, praying to the Father, said, “For truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose predestined to occur” (Acts 4:27-28), and “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him over for us all” (Rom 8:32). Chafer notes, “Human hands might inflict physical suffering and death as any victim would die, but only the hand of God could make Christ a sin offering, or could lay on Him the iniquity of others (2 Cor 5:21; Isa 53:6).” Jesus Willingly Went to the Cross Though the Father sent Jesus into the world to be an atoning sacrifice for sin, He did not force Him onto the cross. Jesus consented to come into the world and go to the cross and die for us. He voluntarily laid down His life. The writer of Hebrews states, “Therefore, when He comes into the world, He says, ‘Sacrifice and offering You have not desired, but a body You have prepared for Me'” (Heb 10:5). Jesus, in hypostatic union, speaking from His humanity, said, “Behold, I have come (in the scroll of the book it is written of Me) to do Your will, O God” (Heb 10:7). Constable notes, “Jesus was not some dumb animal that offered its life without knowing what it was doing. He consciously, voluntarily, and deliberately offered His life in obedience to God's will.” Jesus' voluntary death on the cross is found in several passages. Jesus said, “I lay down My life for the sheep” (John 10:15), and “no one has taken it away from Me, but I lay it down on My own initiative” (John 10:18). Paul wrote, “Christ also loved you and gave Himself up for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God as a fragrant aroma” (Eph 5:2), and “Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her” (Eph 5:25), and “the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself up for me” (Gal 2:20), and “who gave Himself for us to redeem us from every lawless deed” (Tit 2:14). The writer to the Hebrews tells us that Christ “offered up Himself” (Heb 7:27; cf., Heb 9:14). Satan Was Instrumental in Jesus' Crucifixion The very first prophesy related to the cross is found in Genesis, when God told Satan, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, and you shall bruise him on the heel” (Gen 3:15). Concerning Genesis 3:15, Chafer notes, “it is implied that Satan did what he could in the exercise of his power—directly, or indirectly, through human agents—against the Savior.” Satan's seed refers to all those who reject God and Christ and are part of Satan's kingdom of darkness. Jesus said to unbelieving Jews, “You are of your father the devil” (John 8:44), and all unbelievers are “the sons of the evil one” (Matt 13:38). These were used by Satan to help in the crucifixion of Christ. On the night before Jesus' crucifixion, John records, “During supper, the devil had already put into the heart of Judas Iscariot, the son of Simon, to betray Him” (John 13:2). During the meal, Jesus said to His disciples, “Truly, truly, I say to you, that one of you will betray Me” (John 13:21), and “After the morsel, Satan then entered into him. Therefore Jesus said to him, ‘What you do, do quickly'” (John 13:27). Here we observe a coalescence of Satanic and human activity to betray Jesus to those who would crucify Him. In this regard, Satan was the motivating force behind Judas, his willing instrument, to bring about the death of Jesus. In the Garden of Gethsemane, the chief priests, officers of the temple, and Jewish elders came to arrest Jesus (Luke 22:52a), and He said to them, “While I was with you daily in the temple, you did not lay hands on Me; but this hour and the power of darkness are yours” (Luke 22:53). Those who came physically to “lay hands” on Jesus were the Jewish authorities who conspired to kill Him. God, in His sovereignty, permitted this to happen, because it served His greater purposes to bring about salvation through the cross. But even though it was their hour to act, these men were not acting alone, as Luke's reference to “the power of darkness” demonstrates that Satan was behind them, driving them on as his agents of lies and destruction. Later, Luke would use the term darkness as a symbol of the sphere of Satan's authority (Acts 26:18), as would Paul (Col 1:13). Unbelieving Jews Crucified Jesus Though it was the Romans who actually placed Jesus on the cross and drove the nails, it was, according to Scripture, unbelieving Jews who conspired and lied about Jesus to have Him crucified (Matt 26:3-4; John 11:53). At the time of Jesus' trial before Pilate, the Jews who were present all shouted, “Crucify Him” (Matt 27:22). God permitted Jesus' crucifixion, both by the Jews and Romans, because it served His greater purpose. Luke recorded Peter, who said, “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know—this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death” (Acts 2:22-23). Clearly this address was to the “Men of Israel,” who rejected Jesus and “nailed [Him] to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death” (Acts 2:23; cf. Acts 4:10; 5:30; 10:39). In Acts 4:27, Luke recorded that there were “gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus…the peoples of Israel” (Acts 4:27), to crucify Him. Paul wrote about “the Jews, who both killed the Lord Jesus and the prophets” (1 Th 2:14b-15a). Unbelieving Gentiles Crucified Jesus Though many unbelieving Jews were directly responsible for collaborating in the crucifixion of Jesus, it was Gentiles who actually did the work of placing Him on the cross. That's what Jesus foretold His disciples, saying, “Behold, we are going up to Jerusalem; and the Son of Man will be delivered to the chief priests and scribes, and they will condemn Him to death, and will hand Him over to the Gentiles to mock and scourge and crucify Him, and on the third day He will be raised up” (Matt 20:18-19). It was said of the Roman soldiers, “After they had mocked Him, they took the scarlet robe off Him and put His own garments back on Him, and led Him away to crucify Him” (Matt 27:31). Luke records in Acts, “truly in this city there were gathered together against Your holy servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel” (Acts 4:27). As Christians, we must not see Christ dying at a distant time or place. We should see our own hands driving the nails that put Him there and then lifting the cross. The crucifixion was not only for us, but by us. It was our sin that necessitated His death and judgment. We must see Jesus bearing all our sin and paying the penalty of the Father's wrath that rightfully belongs to us. In May 2006, I wrote the following poem as I thought about the role I played in placing Jesus on the cross. Christ to the Cross (by Dr. Steven R. Cook) I and the Father led Christ to the cross, Together we placed Him there; I pushed Him forward, no care for the cost, His Father's wrath to bear. Christ in the middle not wanting to die, Knelt in the garden and prayed; Great tears of blood the Savior did cry, Yet His Father He humbly obeyed. So He carried His cross down a dusty trail, No words on His lips were found; No cry was uttered as I drove the nails, His arms to the cross were bound. I lifted my Savior with arms spread wide, He hung between heaven and earth; I raised my spear and pierced His side, What flowed was of infinite worth. Like a Lamb to the altar Christ did go, A sacrifice without blemish or spot; A knife was raised, and life did flow, In a basin the blood was caught. Past the incense table and the dark black veil, To that holy of holy places; The blood of Christ was made to avail, And all my sins it erases. Now this Lamb on a cross was a demonstration Of the Father's love for me; For the Savior's death brought satisfaction, Redeemed, and set me free. Now I come to the Savior by faith alone, Not trusting in works at all; Jesus my substitute for sin did atone, Salvation in answer to His call. Dr. Steven R. Cook  Merrill Frederick Unger et al., “Cross”, The New Unger's Bible Dictionary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1988), 264.  See Harold Hoehner's book, Chronological Aspects of the Life of Christ, pages 95-114.  W. E. Vine and C. F. Hogg, Vine's Topical Commentary: Christ (Nashville, TN; Dallas; Mexico City; Rio de Janeiro: Thomas Nelson, 2010), 108-109.  Wendell G. Johnston, “Cross,” ed. Charles R. Swindoll and Roy B. Zuck, The Theological Wordbook, Swindoll Leadership Library (Nashville, TN: Word Publishing, Inc., 2000), 77–78.  William MacDonald, Believer's Bible Commentary: Old and New Testaments, ed. Arthur Farstad (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1995), 1880.  Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 3 (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1993), 49.  Ibid., 51.  Tom Constable, Tom Constable's Expository Notes on the Bible (Galaxie Software, 2003), Heb 10:5.  Lewis Sperry Chafer, Systematic Theology, vol. 3, 49.  The seed of Satan ultimately relates to the coming Antichrist, who will, during the time of the Tribulation, seek to destroy Israel and prevent the coming of Jesus to rule over the earth. See Arnold Fruchtenbaum's comments on Genesis 3:15 in his book, The Book of Genesis, Ariel's Bible Commentary.  On a separate occasion, after Jesus was born, Satan wanted to kill the baby Jesus. The apostle John—operating from divine viewpoint—records that Satan, “stood before the woman who was about to give birth, so that when she gave birth, he might devour her child” (Rev 12:4). But Satan's attack was not direct; rather, King Herod was his tool to accomplish the nefarious deed. Matthew records the account in his Gospel (Matt 2:1-23). Herod was the human agent who wanted to kill Jesus, but Satan was the motivating force behind the attack.
What do you do when you go through a hard time, and you get to a point where you deside to pray? Today Pastor Ruben is preaching about how in your hard times God provides in meraculous and different ways. Praise God! How many times have you said, "Thank you" today? We might do it for someone who opens up that door, or does a kind act for us, but how do you tell God, "Thank You?" During this message series we will look at the DNA of gratitude. It pleases God when we live a life of gratitude in every season of life. This is a great series during the month of Thanksgiving. If you want to be more positive and grateful in life, make sure you check out these messages. Invite a friend. Don't miss church at ThornCreek! Nov 4-5 Thank You God Nov 11-12 Grateful Even If Nov 18-19 The God Who Provides Nov 25-26 The Anatomy of Praise
Pastor Jim Warren continues our series "A Prophet's Life: Lessons Learned From Those Called to Communicate God's Truth” with a message from Isaiah 8:1-10. He also mentions Hebrews 1:1. Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service: This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store. If you want to know more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/salvation.
Pastor Randy Solomon continues our Wednesday Praise, Pray & Proclaim study "Live the Gospel" in 1 Timothy with a message from 1 Timothy 6:12. He also mentions 1 Corinthians 9:24-25. Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service: This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store. If you want to know more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/salvation.
Melanie Solomon continues our Wednesday Praise, Pray & Proclaim study "Live the Gospel" in 1 Timothy with a message from 1 Timothy 6:6-11. She refers to Matthew 6:32. Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service: This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store. If you want to know more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/salvation.
Matthew 2:1-23 2:1 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, 2 “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” 3 When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 And gathering together all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 They said to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for this is what has been written by the prophet: 6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, land of Judah, Are by no means least among the leaders of Judah; For from you will come forth a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.'” 7 Then Herod secretly called for the magi and determined from them the exact time the star appeared. 8 And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.” 9 After hearing the king, they went on their way; and behold, the star, which they had seen in the east, went on ahead of them until it came to a stop over the place where the Child was to be found. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 And after they came into the house, they saw the Child with His mother Mary; and they fell down and worshiped Him. Then they opened their treasures and presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh. 12 And after being warned by God in a dream not to return to Herod, the magi left for their own country by another way. 13 Now when they had gone, behold, an angel of the Lord *appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Get up! Take the Child and His mother and flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you; for Herod is going to search for the Child to kill Him.” 14 So Joseph got up and took the Child and His mother while it was still night, and left for Egypt. 15 He stayed there until the death of Herod; this happened so that what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet would be fulfilled: “Out of Egypt I called My Son.” 16 Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent men and killed all the boys who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity who were two years old or under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi. 17 Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled: 18 “A voice was heard in Ramah, Weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; And she refused to be comforted, Because they were no more.” 19 But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord *appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, and said, 20 “Get up, take the Child and His mother, and go to the land of Israel; for those who sought the Child's life are dead.” 21 So Joseph got up, took the Child and His mother, and came into the land of Israel. 22 But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Then after being warned by God in a dream, he left for the regions of Galilee, 23 and came and settled in a city called Nazareth. This happened so that what was spoken through the prophets would be fulfilled: “He will be called a Nazarene.” BIBLE READING GUIDE - FREE EBOOK - Get the free eBook, Bible in Life, to help you learn how to read and apply the Bible well: https://www.listenerscommentary.com GIVE - The Listener's Commentary is a listener supported Bible teaching ministry made possible by the generosity of people like you. Thank you! Give here: https://www.listenerscommentary.com/give STUDY HUB - Want more than the audio? Join the study hub to access articles, maps, charts, pictures, and links to other resources to help you study the Bible for yourself. https://www.listenerscommentary.com/members-sign-up MORE TEACHING - For more resources and Bible teaching from John visit https://www.johnwhittaker.net
https://www.bible.com/events/49166092 Church of the Nazarene – Harrisonburg Minor Prophets – Hosea God is faithful; Even when we are not. God is faithful; Especially when we are not. Today we continue our series entitled ‘Minor Prophets’. We are taking a deep dive into 4 of the minor prophets from the Old Testament scriptures. They are full […]
https://www.bible.com/events/49165773 Church of the Nazarene – East Rock Minor Prophets – Hosea God is Faithful Today we continue our series entitled ‘Major Minors’. We are taking a deep dive into 4 of the minor prophets from the Old Testament scriptures. They are full of redemptive themes that should convict us, equip us, challenge us, and […]
Jesus was amazed. Not by the man's actions, nor the man's appearance. This man does not even appear before Jesus. It is the man's faith that amazes Jesus. What does this have to teach us? Pastor Jason will be shares from Luke 7:1-10.Enjoy this message? Consider visiting Ravenna Church of the Nazarene where Pastor Jason is serving as the Senior Pastor. Have a prayer need? Want to share something with Pastor Jason? Send The Dirt Path Pastor a message. Linktree: https://linktr.ee/thedirtpathpastorHelp spread the gospel through this podcast by subscribing, leaving a review, and sharing this episode.
Even though diversity has become a buzz word, it's hard to find any organization that takes it seriously - especially churches. What does it look like to take diversity seriously? The radical truth is that none of us is free until all of us is free. So how can we chase that together as a church?
How can we be greatful when our life is falling apart? Who is the God I am supposed to worship that doesn't seem to be showing up when I need Him the most? How can I give anything when I have nothing left? If you're wanting to see God in the midst of your lowest, this message is for you. How many times have you said, "Thank you" today? We might do it for someone who opens up that door, or does a kind act for us, but how do you tell God, "Thank You?" During this message series we will look at the DNA of gratitude. It pleases God when we live a life of gratitude in every season of life. This is a great series during the month of Thanksgiving. If you want to be more positive and grateful in life, make sure you check out these messages. Invite a friend. Don't miss church at ThornCreek! Nov 4-5 Thank You God Nov 11-12 Grateful Even If Nov 18-19 The God Who Provides Nov 25-26 The Anatomy of Praise
Audio for: "When Dealing With A Missing Leader", part of the series "With Great Boldness". Sermon given by Andy Lewis, November 12, 2023, at Faith Community Church in Santa Cruz, CA. Visit us online at www.santacruzfaith.org/ and on Sunday Mornings @ Santa Cruz Church of the Nazarene at 9 am.
Pastor Jim Warren continues our series "A Prophet's Life: Lessons Learned From Those Called to Communicate God's Truth” with a message from Isaiah 8:1-10. He also mentions Hebrews 1:1. Click the arrow below, or if you're reading this in an email you can click this link, to play the service: This service is available for download free on iTunes, where you can also subscribe to our podcast. Search for "Westchester Chapel" on the iTunes Store. If you want to know more about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ visit www.WestchesterChapel.org/salvation.
Why is it so easy for us to allow distractions to keep us from coming daily to the feet of Jesus? The problem with distractions is that they keep us from taking our faith seriously and keep us from a serious relationship with Jesus. In this teaching at Ridgefield Church of the Nazarene, you will discover that daily distractions are real and they can distract us from spending time with Jesus. Join us this Sunday for Dwelling in Jesus: Coming before God every day brings us closer to the Father as we learn postures that can help us overcome the distractions of life to grow closer in our relationship with God.
Linnea is the Equine & Farm Animal Care Manager for the Houston SPCA, where she has been an advocate for the humane treatment of animals (particularly horses) for the past seven years. Prior to this she has been involved in various equine assisted learning non-profits throughout the Unites States, Canada, and Belize. She competed on the IHSA team for Southern Nazarene University in Oklahoma from 2008-2011, competing at both a regional and national level.
Church of the Nazarene – Harrisonburg Minor Prophets – Jonah Jonah was a prophet, but he really never got it… Today we begin our new series entitled ‘Major Minors’. We are taking a deep dive into 4 of the minor prophets from the Old Testament scriptures. They are full of redemptive themes that should convict […]
"When All The Saints" ©1997, Christopher Miner Music. Used by permission. All rights reserved.http://hymnbook.igracemusic.com/hymns/for-all-the-saintsChristopher MinerChristopher Miner-MusicWilliam Walsham How-TextIn this podcast episode titled "All-Saints-Day and Halloween's-Christian-Origins," Dr. Jeffrey D. Skinner, the host of "Echoes-Through-Eternity-Podcast," explores the fascinating intersection of Christian tradition and the origins of Halloween. Dr. Skinner delves into the significance of All-Saints-Day, shedding light on its deep roots in Christian history and its celebration across various denominations. He also uncovers the surprising connections between Halloween and Christian traditions, revealing how this holiday evolved over time.Throughout the episode, Dr. Skinner emphasizes the unity of Christians of all ages, countries, and races in Christ, highlighting the importance of recognizing the rich history of Christianity and finding inspiration in the stories of saints and martyrs. Listeners are encouraged to reflect on the meaning of All-Saints-Day and its relevance to their faith.This thought-provoking podcast provides valuable insights into the spiritual significance of All-Saints-Day and offers a fresh perspective on the origins of Halloween, ultimately encouraging individuals to embrace the Christian heritage and the unity it represents.Transcript:Dr. Jeffery D. Skinner (00:00.414)Welcome into Echoes Through Eternity. I am Dr. Jeffrey D. Skinner. This is a bonus episode. It's our All Hallows' Eve episode. Halloween. And today we're delivering, we're delving into a topic. Stop.Dr. Jeffery D. Skinner (00:36.33)Welcome to another episode of Echoes Through Eternity with Dr. Jeffrey D. Skinner. I am your host, and today we're delving into a topic that's both fascinating and deeply rooted in Christian tradition, All Saints Day.This isn't your typical Halloween episode. Instead, we'll be uncovering the meaning and history behind the November 1st holiday. That might just change the way you think about saints and Halloween itself. So what exactly is All Saints Day? It's a Christian solemnity, a dignified remembrance where we honor all the saints from Christian history.Whether they're well-known figures or those whose names have been lost to time.Dr. Jeffery D. Skinner (01:34.582)It goes by various names, All Hallows Day, the Feast of All Saints, the Solemnity of All Saints, and Hallow, Hallowmas.Dr. Jeffery D. Skinner (01:47.638)But who are these saints? You might be surprised to learn that it's not just those immortalized in statues within church buildings. According to the Bible, saints are anyone who trust in Christ alone for salvation.Dr. Jeffery D. Skinner (02:05.502)If you, if I trust in God for our salvation, we are saints. Yep, you heard it right. You can be a saint too if you are a follower of Christ. It's not a title bestowed by religious leaders. It's granted by God to anyone who simply trusts in Christ.This Christian celebration is observed on November 1st by the Roman Catholic Church, the Methodist Church, from which the Church of Nazarene, the Wesleyan Church we all held from the were cousins to the Methodists there, the Lutheran Church, and other Protestant denominations in Western Christianity. The Eastern Orthodox Church observes it on the first Sunday following Pentecost. It is a day that reminds us...of our connections as Christians and the spiritual bond between those in heaven and on earth.Now you might be wondering about the connection between All Saints Day and Halloween. Believe it or not, Halloween in its origins was a Holy Christian celebration. The word Halloween comes from Hallows Eve, meaning the evening of holy persons. And it refers to the evening for All Saints Day, which is November 1st on both Anglican and Catholic calendars. Anglican being that Church of England.Dr. Jeffery D. Skinner (03:41.826)Halloween is a blend of Celtic religious ideas and Christian martyrology, showing how traditions can evolve over time.The history of All Saints' Day dates back to early years of Christianity when the Roman Empire persecuted Christians. So many martyrs died from their faith that the Church set aside special days to honor them.In the seventh century, the pantheon in Rome was consecrated to all saints, and many bones of martyrs were brought there. Over time, all saints' day evolved into what we know today. In the tenth century, All Souls' Day on November 2nd was added to honor all Christians who had passed away. People prayed for the dead, but some…Un-Christian superstitions also began to creep in. The holiday absorbed some pagan customs, but we can use it positively to remember and give thanks for Christians from the past who inspired us.Dr. Jeffery D. Skinner (04:55.926)So how can we celebrate All Saints Day? It's about recognizing the unity of Christians of all ages, countries, and races in Christ. While we don't pray to or through the saints, we can find inspiration in their stories of God's faithfulness.The Bible tells us about this great cloud of witnesses whose lives speak of God's unfailing loving grace. There is a beautiful hymn called For All the Saints. It encourages believers to look back through the years of Christian history and think of the millions now enjoying rest and salvation in the presence of God.Dr. Jeffery D. Skinner (05:41.95)And we're using that hymn today by permission from the authors. And you'll find that in the author notes, in the publisher notes, in the show notes. It inspires us to press on. Look forward to the glorious day when the strife is over and we join the triumphant song. No more tears, no more pain.just as we've been talking about in Revelation. That chapter 21 that paints to that new creation, that glorious day when all things are new.Dr. Jeffery D. Skinner (06:26.37)to this All Saints Day. Let's remember that you can be a saint too and take inspiration from the rich history of Christianity.Dr. Jeffery D. Skinner (06:39.042)Thanks for joining us on this journey through the Echoes of Eternity.This has been our All Saints Day episode. Until next time, stay curious and keep seeking the truth. Hallelujah.Dr. Jeffery D. Skinner (06:57.296)Amen.