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  • Dec 02 / 2012
  • Comments Off on Sad Farewells (Acts 20:1-21)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Sad Farewells (Acts 20:1-21)

12.2

Bulletin_12.02.2012

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

At this time in Ephesus, the silversmiths were feeling the crunch of the economy after Paul came to proclaim the name of Christ (they made and sold idols of silver for the goddess – people quit buying).

There was a riot, the town clerk warned them that they were in danger from Rome for rioting.

The crowd dispersed. It seems as though Christianity found favor in this time. Some of Paul’s friends restrained him from entering in to defend his friends who were accused in the riots – God used the leaders of the town to calm the riots.

Then, Paul departed for Macedonia. He intended to go to Jerusalem, Rome, and Spain as well.

He hoped to find his fellow worker on the way to Troas – wanted to see Titus, didn’t see him in Troas, but met up with him in Macedonia.

2 cor 7:5-7 – indeed when we came, we had no rest, inside were fears, outside conflicts, yet the God of all comfort comforted us with the coming of Titus, and he in you (the Corinthians) when he told us of your zeal, mourning, etc, for me – I rejoiced.

Notice that Paul was comforted by Titus – God comforts the downcast.

Maybe God wants to use you to encourage someone else, or maybe someone else has encouraged you.

We don’t know how long Paul stayed here, but it must have been during this time that Paul ministered to Elyricum – there is no other record of that, but it is near here.

Here is one of the briefest summaries of Paul’s travels in Acts (5 verses). Some of Paul’s letters were written during this time (2 Corinthians and Romans). Luke never mentions the letters, he focuses on the spread of the church from Jerusalem to Rome.

From Greece, as Paul is ready to leave for Syria, he learned of (another) Jewish plot against him. So, he decided to leave Corinth. Because of the plot, he took the long way round (via Macedonia).

There were several men who accompanied Paul, chosen to represent the various churches to Jerusalem. Luke also mentions their origins.

Sopater was from Berea – high-class, noble, searched the Scriptures to confirm Paul’s words.

Aristarchus – had been dragged into the riot.

Gaius from Derbe.

Timothy (two letters written to him), Tychicus, Trophimus, from Asia.

Later, Trophimus will become the unwitting cause of Paul’s arrest.

These men, going ahead, waited for us (Luke is obviously with them again). The last time he joined them was in Philippi when Paul cast the demon out of the slave girl.

Possibly Luke would have represented Philippi, Paul – Corinth – to take the offering to Jerusalem.

From now on, Luke is much more detailed about his reports.

In Troas, he only records a single (momentous) event. On the first day of the week, we came together to break bread (possibly Communion – probably also lunch). This first day of the week is also the day that Christians usually met for worship – but this day was a special day, scholars are unsure if it is Saturday or Sunday. It was a special meeting – because is was the last time Paul thought he would ever see this church in Ephesus. So, the sermon ran a bit late…from evening until midnight. “And he continued to talk on…and on…” (NIV). There were lamps burning, air was stifling, crowded with people – Eutychus ( “good fortune” ) started to drift off to sleep (he was a young man, nearly a boy) – he fell from the window and picked up DEAD (remember Luke is a doctor). Paul picked him up, “no, no, no! Don’t worry! He’s alive!” Makes you wonder if he really was dead… especially with the way Luke records it – very blandly (matter-of-factly). But perhaps Luke had seen so many miracles by that time that he began to see them as commonplace…

Whatever the case, he’s restored to life.

Prophets Elisha and Elijah did similar things in the OT – Elijah prayed for the widow’s son (1 Kings), Elisha prayed for the Shulamite’s son (2 Kings), Jesus raised Lazarus, Peter raised Dorcas, Paul has now raised Eutychus. God reverses death in these cases for his own glory.

Then, Paul carried on preaching and teaching until morning – barely pausing.

They took the young man home greatly comforted.

Paul left Troas (with no sleep), and started walking. The others took a ship and arrived quicker. But, Paul enjoyed his walk, met them at Assos, and got on the boat and continued on.

They continued on…

They took one day hops between ports. Seems that Luke kept a journal of the details of the journey because there is so much detail in here.

V 16 – “He was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem for Pentecost – he’d missed Passover.”

He probably wanted to show the Jews that he wasn’t neglecting his Jewish heritage, and he wanted to present the offering.

Then, Paul stopped at Miletus, and the elders came and met with him – realizing this would be the last time they would probably meet.

This is the only example of a speech in Acts given by Paul to a Christian audience – and these were elders in the church. This speech closely resembles the voice echoed in Paul’s letters. This was also his farewell address – he told them he’d never see them again on earth. Some also call this “Paul’s Last Will and Testament.”

Paul has given speeches to secular leaders, political leaders, educated scholars, pagans, etc.

This is the only to Christians.

He starts with a defense of his ministry – from the first to last, he served the Lord with great humility and tears. Reminded them of his testing – by Jewish opponents (Luke hasn’t mentioned a lot about this – except Acts 19:9 – the Jews spoke evil – Luke concentrated more on the non-Jewish persecution – Paul refers to “fighting with beasts” in 1 Corinthians, and “the trouble in Asia” in 2 Corinthians).

He also reminds them that he had taught publicly, ministered in homes, only taught things that were helpful.

Nicky Gumble – “The gospel is public information – shouldn’t be hidden. Jesus was crucified publicly.” It’s the reason why he was crucified that we should understand.

The essence of Paul’s message was verse 21 – his message was consistent – Jews and Greeks should turn to God in repentance. The same way that Peter had urged them to turn in Acts 3.

Acts 3:36 “To you first (Jews), God having raised up Jesus, sent him to bless you in turning you away from your sins.”

Sometimes we think, “if I have to give THIS up, it’s gonna really stink…” but Jesus actually blesses us by turning us from those things.

Paul, like Jesus, preached publicly.

John 18, when Jesus was brought before Annas, HP (high priest), and questioned, Jesus said, “yo, I spoke publicly.”

We’ll continue with Paul’s sermon and defense of his ministry next time. His core message was for everyone to turn from their sins and to the Lord – that message is still the same today as 2000 years ago.

As we approach Christmas, we should ask ourselves, are we covered by the blood of the Passover Lamb? Jesus is our Passover Lamb – he sacrificed for us. As we by faith receive him in our lives, we are safe and secure from the enemy’s plan.

Let’s pray together.

  • Nov 18 / 2012
  • Comments Off on Riot in Ephesus (Acts 19:21-41)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

Riot in Ephesus (Acts 19:21-41)

11.18

Bulletin_11.18.2012

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Little bit of controversy about Paul’s decision to go to Jerusalem.
NIV says, “Paul decided” as if his own choice.

Greek (antonemati) – by his spirit (or HS)

But when Paul talks about it, he says, “I was compelled by THE Spirit.”

He knew he’d face trouble, but he wasn’t saying “don’t go” rather “I’ll go with you” (the HS)

Paul seemed to think it was God’s will to go.

Luke didn’t explain specifically his motivation, but Paul did so in his letters. He wanted to distribute a collection for the poor people.

1 Cor 1:4? – “As for the collection for God’s people…when I arrive I will give letters of intro to the men you approve and send them with your gift to Jerusalem.”

2 Cor 1-9
Romans 15 both speak of this event as well.

This must have been on Paul’s mind, heart, he wanted to do something about it.

He wanted to show that the Gentile churches stood with the mother church even though they didn’t hold to the same traditions and culture. This was an opportunity to show that they held to the same love, the same Spirit, as the Jewish Christian churches. This was a symbol of unity to help the Gentiles realize their unity with the mother church and for the Jewish churches to realize the Gentiles worshiped the same God.

2 Tim 4:20 – Erastus is mentioned, and here in Acts.

There came a big stir because of The Way. Demetrius, probably a leader of a regional guild, who called people together
The silversmiths of that time regarded their guild under the protection of Artemis (Diana).

There were silver shrines with an image of the goddess – these were a source of great income for the silversmiths – and people used them in the temple as a sacrifice.

Here image was believed to have been constructed in heaven and fallen to earth.

The temple of Artemis was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world – 4x as big as the Parthenon, and could hold up to 50,000 people.

Ephesus was a large port of shipping.

Now, because of Paul’s preaching, people were turning away from the Artemis cult, and the silversmiths were worried about their source of income – their economy.

“Transformation” videos show what changes happened in various parts of the world.

They showed that when people turned to the Lord, God blessed them, plants grew, etc.

God delights in the prosperity of his people – spiritually speaking, although he can bless physically as well.

Paul notes, “Gods made by human hands are no gods at all.”

Demetrius united their economic concerns with their superstitions, “We’ll lose our trade, AND the temple of the GREAT goddess will be discredited.”

The tradesmen were assembled in an open-air theater – on the east side of the city – they would have been in full view of the temple, and they began to shout, “Ar-te-mis! Ar-te-mis!”

The city began to be in confusion, because some shouted one thing, others another.

Gaius and Aristarchus were working with Paul, dragged into the middle of the mob. Paul wanted to go in and reason with them, but he was held back because they didn’t want him to be ripped to shreds. Even some leaders of the provinces encouraged him not to go in.

Paul had friends in high places.

Meanwhile, the Jews send their own rep – Alexander – to the temple to make their own case. In all appearances, it looks like he wanted to disassociate from the Christians. They both believed in one God.

When the people saw he was a Jew, they basically ignored him.

Paul was restrained and basically had to just sit around and watch – but things worked out in the favor of the gospel.

The clerk reassured them that the “great” goddess was not being threatened, and he basically condemned the men for bringing the charges against the men “You brought them here, they haven’t done anything wrong, what’s the deal?”

The people may not have liked this whole deal, but the government were not opposed. Yet even these high level people belonged to an “Emperor” cult – believing the leaders were picked by God. But this city official, the most important local official, realized the potential consequences of the riot, he implored the crowd to take their charges to the proper authorities – the courts – in a legal manner.

“As it is, we are in danger of being charged with rioting…” (Rome would come down with an iron fist – to put down any riot).
The chief urged the crowd to disband, and they did so.

Luke gives an account, but misses out on some details that Paul shows us in his letters. He wasn’t involved in this riot, but he did undergo a lot of suffering in Ephesus – the cost of success was high.

1 Cor – he had “fought with beasts (persecution)”

2 Cor – “under great pressure, so that we despaired of life itself”

The great apostle Paul? Despairing of life? Yes, he is still a man.

Priscila and Aquila risked their lives for Paul – undergone persecution.

Paul told the elders he’d endured “severe testing” by the Jewish elders.

He also maintained a great concern for the churches in Corinth – because they were basically a mess.

We realize again the things that Paul endured:

  1. Suffering – Paul and his helpers endured much for preaching of Jesus as the Messiah – to the Jews – Jesus, God as the Creator – to the Gentiles. By trusting in Jesus, they received pardon for their sins, the Spirit of God, and eternal life – it’s a big deal!
  2. Sacrifice – Paul speaks of the offering that was taken up by poor churches for other poor people (wealthy people need to step up).
  3. Salvation – Even though there was a great threat, they were always saved. God told the people in the OT, “Stand still and witness the salvation of the Lord.” Paul could witness this kind of salvation.
  4. Sovereignty – God is sovereign and “holds the whole world in his hands.”

Jesus is the same yesterday, today, and forever. We can carry this same faith and hope – what he’s done before, he will do again, how he’s worked before, he will carry through again.

Paul says, “I count all my suffering as nothing compared to the future glory I will receive.”

“If God is for us, who can be against us?”

God is a sovereign God, he will bring us through, if we are for him.

If we are for God, he will be for us, if he for us, who can stand against us?
So the question is, are you for God?

Have you accepted him?

Are we TOO religious? So that we cannot communicate with others?

Let’s ask God to make us wise to salvation.

Let’s pray.

  • Nov 04 / 2012
  • Comments Off on The Prevailing Word (Acts 19:8-20)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

The Prevailing Word (Acts 19:8-20)

11.4

Bulletin_11.04.2012

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Last time we saw the parallel growth of the disciples of John the Baptist and Jesus, and that there were even sects of John the Baptist followers during this time when Paul is preaching.

So, Paul had to remind them that JB was the messenger crying in the desert, preparing the way for the true Lord, even JB was hesitant to baptize Jesus in water when he came.

John’s baptism is a preparatory baptism for the baptism of the Holy Spirit in the name of Jesus ( “In the name of the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit” – the whole Trinity is involved).

Some of that time didn’t even know there was a Holy Spirit, so Paul asked which they’d received, and they said John’s (that of repentance) so Paul corrected them and instructed them, and baptized them in Jesus’ name and they received the HS and began prophesying and speaking in tongues.

That brings us to today.

For three months, Paul preached in the synagogues of the Jews, asserting that Jesus is the Messiah – prophesied through the Jewish Scriptures.

It seems that Paul was more tolerated in Ephesus than in Thessalonica (since he stayed for three months) – but he eventually wore out his welcome.

v.9 – When some were hardened and did not believe, but spoke evil of the Way before the multitudes
(this is the pattern, generally, they don’t believe, harden their hearts, then speak evil about it).

So Paul left, and began daily lecture sessions in the house of Tyranus. The word (his name) actually means “tyrant” – so he may have be dominant.

Paul continued there for 2 years, so that all the Jews and Greeks in Asia heard the Word of the Lord.

Let’s add the previous 3 months + these 2 years + Acts 20 another year

Luke recons it was three years he was in Ephesus – but not only Ephesus, Jews and Greeks in the entire province heard the Word (Smyrna, Pergamum, Colosse, Magnisia, Leodicia, etc – possibly the 7 churches in Revelation were begun by Paul and his associates at this time (Revelation 3)).

Paul likely didn’t go to EVERY city, but the word of mouth talking about miracles and the like probably helped spread the word incredibly quickly.

Paul wrote letters at this time to Colossians – 4:12-13 – Epaphrus greets you, apparently a minister and partner with Paul.

During Paul’s stay in Ephesus, the power of God was demonstrated mightily.

God did extraordinary miracles through Paul so that even small bits of cloth that touched him healed other people.

Paul’s healings could be compared with Peter’s healings in Acts 5:14-15

At that time, believers continually were added to their number so that they brought them out to the streets so that even Peter’s shadow passing by would heal them.
God was doing it, not Peter, just as he did it through Paul. Paul used these signs and miracles as proof that God was using them.

Romans – “I dare not speak of anything that made the Gentiles obedient…except that I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.”

Remember, Paul was one of the exceptions to the apostles, all the others had been personally commissioned by Christ and sent out while still with him. But, Paul was converted while an enemy of Christ and sent out to be the main missionary to the Gentiles.

“Surely, the signs of an apostle were accomplished among you.”

God in his grace was blessing the church, but at times, Paul had to write to them to correct them and bring them back to the Christian lifestyle – the Corinthians were being misled by false apostles and he wrote rather sarcastically to them, “Oh, perhaps I should have taken offerings as these others have…Have you forgotten how God approved my ministry among you with signs and wonders?”

Miracles are pretty good by themselves, but these were extraordinary miracles – some commentators have had trouble accepting them, but Luke was a doctor, and accurately tried to record history – and he recorded these things.

The Greek word for aprons referred to a garment that a working man would wear around his waist to avoid getting dirty – God used these things to heal others and word spread quickly.

In the next scene, Luke gives a sharp, almost comical contrast.

Paul’s name became so well-known that others were trying to mimic Paul and jump on his bandwagon (seven sons of Seva).

“In the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches, I command you to come out.”

Seva was likely a Jewish chief priest (not High Priest), and his sons were unable to use God’s power for their own ends, and they ended up getting beat up for it.

News of this spread quickly as well.

Reminds us of Moses in Exodus and the Egyptian magicians who could repeat some of Moses’ (God’s) miracles. When they couldn’t turn sand into gnats, they admitted “This is the finger of God.”
Reminds us of Elijah and the contest to bring fire down from heaven onto a sacrifice.

We see that God’s power is infinite, greater than any power of the devil.

At that time, both Jews and Greeks were seized with fear and many came telling and confessing their deeds, and many burned their magic books in public – 50,000 drachmas (pieces of silver) in value.

1 drachma = one day’s wage

In the US, $40 per day? * 50,000 coins

= $2,000,000 burned

Hmm, couldn’t we have used the money for something? Feed the poor?
NO. These books were books of evil and must be burned.

In Samaria, Simon Megas (Acts 8), after the murder of Stephen, the church faced persecution – and Philip went to Samaria, and God did many similar miracles like those he did through Paul. Simon was a practisioner of magic and he wanted to follow Philip around.

At that time, the Jews and Samarians were divided, so it was likely that the Samarians were waiting for hands to be laid on them and prophesy – so the apostles did so, and they received the HS, and did as the others did who received Him.

Simon wanted to buy this power, but the apostles rejected him clearly and said “Your money burn with you.” Then he realized the power, and asked them to pray for him.

When Paul went with Barnabas, they met Bar-Jesus, who wanted to turn the pro-consul from God – Paul pronounced a curse on him, and he was covered in physical darkness.

All throughout the Bible, we see how the Word of God prevails over darkness, over magic.

“In this way, the Word of the Lord spread widely and grew (mightily) in power.”

What can we learn?
God is omnipotent, omnipresent, but conditions must be met to receive the full benefit of his salvation.

In our youth, we may have dabbled in the occult – horroscopes, occult, Ouiji Board.

“He who sups with the devil must use a very long spoon – yet it’s not even right.” Derick Prince

We should observe our own lives and vocally renounce our involvement with the occult or alternative religions – “I renounce that, and resist any attempt of it to influence me.” Those things need to be destroyed greatly. Any linkage with uncleanliness needs to be destroyed (pornography). Now it’s in everybody’s home – maybe 50% of Christian men (and women) struggle with this.

What needs to happen is for the access to it (access to ANY temptation) to be destroyed. Do you want freedom? Radically cut off, destroy, any access to the temptation, renounce it, resist it – it’s really a heart matter. “Anyone who looks lustfully at a woman already commits adultery with her in his heart.”

It’s always a heart issue.

Yet, the Word of the Lord prevails.

Let’s pray.

  • Sep 09 / 2012
  • Comments Off on On the Run Again! (Acts 17:1-15)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

On the Run Again! (Acts 17:1-15)

9.9

Bulletin_09.09.2012

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Paul, Silas and Timothy continuing their missionary journeys. Spread the good news of the gospel.

At this point, on the run from Philippi, went through some smaller towns, Luke writes more of Thessalonica – capital of the province of Macedonia – biggest and most prosperous city – pop. 200,000

In Luke’s day, this was an important link between the rich interior and sea trade routes. Paul sees this as a strategic place to preach the gospel (he won’t have to preach in every town – the believers themselves will spread the word in the neighboring towns).

1 Thessalonians 1:5 – Your faith in God has become known everywhere (they evangelized the other towns).

Paul’s strategy was to teach in the largest cities of the Roman world – Corinth, Ephesus, etc, many sea ports on busy trade routes – word would carry fast.

As was Paul’s custom, he went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews for 3 Sabbaths. This was a wonderful teaching opportunity for Paul – the devout would gather to read and interpret the Scriptures (OT), and hope for the Messiah. Paul taught that Jesus was the Messiah – the one they were waiting for.

The 3 Sabbaths was just a portion of a larger campaign in Thessalonica.
1 Thess. (Laboring night and day, we taught you the word of God)
Paul was also a tent-maker – to help support himself. Sometimes churches supported him, but other times he labored and supported himself.

Later, after the first 3 Sabbaths – people started believing – success! After the first 3, he likely wasn’t allowed to teach anymore. So, as his custom was he likely went to the Gentiles next. His first converts were likely pagans and idol worshipers.

1 Thess 1:9 – they declare what manner of entry we have to you and how you turned from idols to serve the living and true God.

This is in contrast to Paul’s experience in the synagogues – background in theology and God study. In synagogues, he opened the Scriptures, the Holy Spirit enlightened them, and he taught Jesus was the Messiah and MUST rise from the dead.

He reasons, persuades, IF they would be persuaded. Many Jews would not believe that the Messiah must suffer – “he must be a glorious king and conqueror!”

There was a belief among some Jews that ONE Messiah must suffer, and the OTHER Messiah would conquer. They failed to realize that Jesus was the same one – suffered in his first coming, conquering in his second coming.

v.4 – Some were persuaded, many devout Greeks, etc.
v.5 – Unbelieving Jews grew envious! That church is stealing members from OUR church! So, they acted in a hostile manner toward Paul and his group. So, they got some low-lifes to stir up trouble, riot, and attacked Jason (a convert)’s house.

They didn’t find Paul, so they dragged Jason out and accused him. “They caused trouble ALL OVER the WHOLE world!!!” Jason harbored them, and this is in opposition to the decrees of Caesar that there is another king – Jesus – pah!

That kind of thing COULD result in execution – and the Thessalonica leaders were likely aware of the trouble that had recently taken place in Rome.
There was continuous tumult when Claudius rules – edict of 49-50 – sought to exile ALL the Jews from Rome.

So, these Jews are obviously playing on the fear of similar riots taking place in that city. They also put a political twist on it “another king” – not literally, but technically. The Jews were just trying to put a political slant on this so that they would have more leverage.

The leaders are thrown into confusion, they don’t want riots – like in Rome – but they likely also see through the plot of the Jews (probably recognize the trouble-makers, and the “leaders” Paul and Silas aren’t anywhere to be seen).

So, they gave a moderate punishment – just made them post bond. Paul and Silas should leave, and not come back during the term of those magistrates.

After that, at night, the disciples hurry Paul out to Berea. Hasty and humiliating departure.
Damascus, Jerusalem, …, Listra (Acts 9-13)

Takes Paul 3 days to reach the town.
Berea is an “out-of-the-way” place, no real politic significance.
But this time, when teaching, he receives an unusually warm reception. They were of noble character, they received the message with eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. (Double checking the minister’s preaching)

Many Jews in Berea believed the gospel. The converted Gentiles were prominent, high-class, not rabble. But guess what? Those same Jews from before, came back, stirring up crowds in a different city. Awesome.

So, Paul headed out to the coast. He ended up in Athens. Silas and Timothy remain in Berea – Paul gives instructions that they should rejoin him ASAP.

Paul 1 Thess 3:1 – Therefore, when we could no longer endure it (absence, lack of communication), we thought it good to be left in Athens alone, and send Timothy, our brother, minister, believer, to establish and encourage you concerning your faith. (Remember Timothy is a half-Jew).

Important to read 1, 2 Thess along with this portion of Acts in order to see Paul’s love and concern for the Thessalonians.

The thing that got him in trouble was the idea that the Messiah must suffer and die and rise from the dead. That Jesus, a “common criminal” was crucified in an ugly way – was supposed to be their Messiah, was a scandal to the Jews.

Remember Paul WAS of that same mindset before he MET Jesus.

So, what were some Scriptures that Paul used as he reasoned with the synagogue?
“This Jesus is the Christ.”

Psalm 22, Isaiah 53 – prophecies about the death. Psalm 22, predicts numerous SEPARATE elements – written 1000 years earlier
22:16 – hands and feet pierced
John 20:25 – Jesus has appeared, explaining to Thomas about the Messiah – hands and feet – holes and imprints

Ps.22:17, 34:20 – his bones will not be broken
Usually, someone’s bones would be broken (legs) to speed up his death
John 19:32-33 – soldiers broke ALL the legs EXCEPT Jesus’ – hmmm… curious

Numbers 9:12 – Passover, leave none of it until morning, nor break a bone of it
Prophecy, and foreshadowing of Jesus
Because of the death of the lamb (Lamb of God) God’s judgment would pass over those who believed

Ps. 22:18 – they would cast lots for his clothes
Matt. 27:5 – when they crucified him, they divided his garments, casting lots

Isa.53 – CLASSIC Messianic prophecy – the suffering servant – details his death for his people
Isa. 53:3 – despised and rejected by men, we hid our faces from Him
Luke 13:34 – Jesus, laments the fact that he was not well received – “Oh, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets, how often I wanted to gather your children together, but you wouldn’t have it. Your house is desolate and you won’t see me again until the second coming.”

Isa. 53:5-9: He was wounded, pierced for our transgressions, crushed for our sins, the punishment of ours fell on his and by his stripes we are healed.
He is the substitute for us, he bore our sin, our punishment so that we could be forgiven

Paul “He made Jesus, who knew no sin, to BE sin, so that when God sees us he sees us IN Jesus – we are included in him”

The Messiah will be silent in front of his accusers.
Isa 53 – “Like a lamb led to slaughter, and a sheep that is silent before is shearers, he didn’t utter a sound
1 Peter – While being reviled, he did not revile, while suffered, he uttered no threat, but TRUSTED himself to the one who judges justly.

Resurrection
Ps. “You will not abandon me to the grave or allow your Holy One to see decay”
In Peter’s first sermon, he boldly (quite a transition from his earlier timidity) proclaimed that God had raised Jesus from the dead. Acts 2

Acts 16:10 – referencing “Holy One = no corruption” – Paul

Isa 53:10 – Lord was pleased to crush him, putting himself to grief,…prolong his days, see his offspring (resurrection)
Hebrews 12:2 – why go through the suffering? “Who for the JOY set before him, despising the shame, set down at the right hand of God.” He is continuing His ministry as our great High Priest. The resurrection makes ALL the difference between a mere martyr dying for a cause and the God man, dying for his people’s eternal life.

Have we accepted Jesus as the Messiah?

Illustration: Ediborough? in Scotland – many windows display art paintings attracting the eye of people passing by. Gazed extensively at a crucifixion picture – he hadn’t thought thoughts like that in a VERY long time, but the artist’s portrayal brought back the long forgotten truths.

Suddenly, he became aware of a small boy by his side
Boy “That’s Jesus, they nailed him with thorns, killed him, he was good, died for us, that’s his mother, looking at what they did to him…Died for our sins, buried him yonder.”

Man – it was too real, turned away.
Boy followed him, “I forgot to tell you!! He ROSE AGAIN!”

AMEN

Maybe you haven’t come to know that REAL hope, maybe some things in life have rendered that hope vain. But the gospel is good news for everyone, backsliders, sinners, devout holy men.

St. Paul’s Cathedral was built on a site of an earlier cathedral that was burned in the great fire of London
As the architect wandered among the debris, he found a stone that said in Latin “I will rise again.”

If we fail, God gives us the opportunity to rise again.

Let’s pray.

  • Apr 15 / 2012
  • Comments Off on The Holy Spirit and the Gentiles (Acts 10)
Acts: The Church Grows, Pastor Brian, Sermons

The Holy Spirit and the Gentiles (Acts 10)

4.15

Bulletin_04.15.2012

Sermon Notes

<Download Notes in a .RTF file>

Alpha Program – Nicki Gumbel “How to be filled with the Holy Spirit”

5 Categories of People who were/are present where the Scripture is spoken.

1. Thirsty (Acts 2) Disciples waited expectantly for the Holy Spirit
waiting, in prayer, didn’t know what to expect, just waiting for Jesus’ promise.

As they gathered, the HS came, like a mighty wind, filled the place, tongues of fire appeared on their heads. They praised God in other tongues (languages).

Many gathered in Jerusalem at that time for Pentecost. They heard these disciples speaking in their own languages, they were shocked.

“What does this mean?”

Peter preached. “They aren’t drunk. But this was spoken by the prophet Joel – there will be signs and wonders. This is a fulfillment of prophecy…”

Peter also said, “This is because Jesus, whom you crucified, has been raised from the dead, and is reigning in heaven.”

Many were cut to the heart, they realized Jesus was the Messiah.

Peter said, repent, and you will also receive the promises.

3000+ added to the church IN ONE DAY.
(Acts 2 – Longing – thirsty)

2. Receptive (Acts 8) Philip evangelist was preaching, signs, wonders, healing. Many turned to the Lord. Simon the sorcerer wanted to buy the power with money…

Demonstration of power in Philip’s word to the people of Samaria. Peter and John came down, prayed for them, they were filled with the HS.

3. Hostile (Acts 9) – the conversion of Saul of Tarsus, Jew, Pharisee, ardent worshiper, perfect in keeping every law…
Yet, something must have troubled him.

He saw the first martyr, Steven – it must have touched his heart.

Yet, he still took Christians to prison. He was hostile to the move of God – didn’t believe it was of God.

On his way to Damascus, he met Jesus. “Why do you persecute me?” said Jesus. “Who are you?” It was Jesus.

He was blinded, led into Damascus, humbled, prayed for by Ananias, healed, changed completely.

From the biggest enemy of Christianity, to the biggest (evangelist) apostle to the Gentiles of Christianity.

4. Uninformed (not taught about the HS)
Disciples encountered many who were baptized by John’s baptism (water), they informed them of the baptism of the HS.

5. Unlikely ones (Gentiles)
First followers of Jesus were Jews. After Pentecost, preached to Jews. Yet, some in Samaria also believed.
Samaritans were like half-Jews, but probably fellowshiped in their own communities.
An Ethiopian also believed.

The first Jews worshiped in the temple. They didn’t really know what to do with the Gentiles who were being converted to Christianity.

How could the mix with them?

This (Acts 10) is the first real “test case” where God led them to mix with the Gentiles. Without this, the barriers, prejudices, and so on would be much more difficult to break down.

Cornelius was a good man, noble. He was accepted by the Jews, recommended by them.

Caesarea.

He was not one who fully accepted the laws of the Jews (probably didn’t conform to all their laws) but he did go to their congregation, worship with them, was accepted by them. He had a vision.

He was afraid. The angel told him to go to Joppa to meet Peter and Simon the tanner – or send for him.

He sent for his devout servants. (God is orchestrating all of this).

Noon the following day, they were on their journey.
At the SAME TIME, Peter went up on the roof to pray. He was hungry, had a vision of a sheet coming down from heaven with ALL bunches of animals coming down from heaven.

“Rise Peter, kill, and eat.”
Is it kosher?…That’s a bit weird.
“Not so, Lord.”
Didn’t want to break his traditions.
“What I have cleansed, don’t call ‘unclean’”
This happened 3 times.

At the same time, the messengers from Cornelius are at the gate looking for him.

He went down to the gate to meet them. Probably surprised to see they are Gentiles: two servants and a soldier.

They told him “we were sent by a godly man to bring you back to Caesarea – you have a word for us.”

Here are 3 people…
The sheet had come down 3 times…
Connect the dots…

“Hmm, OK, come on in.”
The next day, they set out for Caesarea.

Cornelius fell down before him when he arrived – an angel had told him to get the guy, after all.

Cornelius had gathered everyone to hear from Peter.

Peter admits that, as a Jew, it wasn’t even lawful for him to GO IN to Cornelius’ house.

Jews hated Gentiles.
Gentiles hated Jews.

The Book of Common Jewish Prayer at that time:
“Thanks God I’m not a slave, not a woman, not a Gentile…”

That was a big step for Peter to go into that house.

Said, “Well, you probably know about Jesus, right? He was crucified, rose from the dead, commanded us to be witnesses to the fact that He is Lord of All.”

John 3:16 – think about that…

As he’s preaching, they are believing. The Spirit of God comes upon them. Wow! A Gentile Pentecost?

Peter had also brought Jews with him. When they saw and heard these Gentiles praising God IN THE SAME WAY that they had at Pentecost, they KNEW it was the same!

Peter said, “How can we refuse water to baptize these whom God has also saved?”

v. 44-48

Cornelius then disappears from the Story. But this incident is repeated in Acts 11. The elders had heard that Peter had gone in to these Gentiles. They wanted to know what was up.

Peter let them know. Who was I to stop what God was doing?

Still took some decades for all the differences to be ironed out between the Jews and Gentiles.

Acts 15, controversy at Antioch.
How do we live together, worship together? No impositions should be put on Gentiles except those that would hinder their ability to fellowship together.

With this sheet, God shows that everyone is acceptable to Him.

So, what category are you in?
Longing, Receptive, Hostile, Uninformed, Unlikely?

Graveheart, Ontario, at a Rotary Club at breakfast, last time he preached on this.

Rotary Club was good, like Cornelius – helped people, gave to the poor, religious, but lacked SOMETHING essential.

“So even though you’re doing really good works…You still need Jesus.”

We are all somewhere in one of these categories.

Eph. 5:18 – Be continually filled with the HS.

Even for those who have it, leakage can occur, we need to be filled and refilled.

So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Listen