Week Seventeen

Monday

After His suffering, He showed Himself to these men and gave many convincing proofs that He was alive!  He appeared to them over a period of forty days and spoke about the kingdom of God. Acts 1:3

“Convincing Proofs”

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead after His crucifixion on the cross is absolutely critical!  If it didn’t occur, Jesus would have been proven wrong.  Remember, Jesus predicted His resurrection: “For as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of a huge fish, so the Son of Man will be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” (Matthew 12:40).  “From that time on Jesus began to explain to his disciples that he must go to Jerusalem and suffer many things at the hands of the elders, chief priests and teachers of the law, and that he must be killed and on the third day be raised to life.” (Matthew 16:21).  If Jesus had been proven wrong in one area, His whole ministry would be in question!

In addition, if the Resurrection did not occur, then we have a “dead religion,” not significantly different than Islam, Buddhism, and many other religions whose primary teachers or leader died and stayed dead!  The Apostle Paul says, “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith.” (1 Corinthians 15:14).  But of course, Christ was raised and He proved it!  “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead.” (1 Corinthians 15:20).

Obviously, resurrection from the dead is not a common human experience!  Jesus didn’t disappear after His resurrection.  The Lord saw fit to give us proof: Jesus stayed on earth 40 days and showed Himself  to many people.  This solidified the victory in our minds.  Other references for post-resurrection visits by Jesus are found in Luke 24, Mathew 28, Mark 16 and John 20 and 21.

*Remember, God gives us everything we need.  He gave us proof that Jesus conquered death through His resurrection.  We serve a Risen Savior, not a dead prophet.  “But God raised Him from the dead, and for many days He was seen by those who had traveled with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem.  They are now His witnesses to our people.” (Acts 13:30-31).


Tuesday

Salvation is found in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved. Acts 4:12

“Salvation”

Accept no substitutes – no generics: Jesus is the only way.  “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6).  There are many in the world today that say there are many ways to God.  This is not true!  Why would God give us His precious, only Son as a substitute for our sins, if there are other paths to Himself?  God had a plan for man’s salvation and Jesus carried it out to perfection.  God cannot be approached any other way.  It’s man’s pride that purports that we can make it on our own.  But, “…all our righteous acts are like filthy rags…” (Isaiah 64:6).  Jesus is the only way to bridge the gap between holy God and sinful man.  This salvation is freely available to us – made possible by Jesus’ death and resurrection.

The first man and first woman wanted to be “like gods” and ate of the tree.  Why?  So that they could determine their own set of morals and absolutes.  They thought that they knew more about themselves than God did.  Self-determinism was born.  When Jesus came along, man had not changed.  Jesus said, “I am the only way.”   But, most people didn’t believe it.  They wanted the Law or some other way to God.  So, it’s no surprise that many purposefully denied the resurrection even though they had proof of its validity.  In fact, it says in Matthew 28 that the guards at the Tomb were paid off to say that Jesus body was stolen, so that people wouldn’t believe in the Resurrection!

There is only one way to God – it is through Jesus: John 14:6.  He died for us and conquered death through His resurrection.  There is no salvation through any other.  Remember, Jesus himself predicted that there would be many deceivers: “Watch out that you are not deceived, for many will come in my name, claiming, ‘I am He.’” (Luke 21:8)

*Don’t compromise the truth by accepting the argument that you can approach God by other means than through Jesus.


Wednesday

Then Peter began to speak: “I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism but accepts men from every nation who fear Him and do what is right. Acts 10:34-35

“No Color”

With this vision from God, Peter’s doctrine was radically changed.  He thought that Christianity was only for the Jews.  But, Cornelius was a Gentile.  God told Peter that salvation through Jesus Christ was for all people.  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son…” (John 3:16).  As Paul later wrote in the Book of Romans, “We have made the charge that Jews and Gentiles are all under sin.  As it is written: ‘There is no one righteous, not even one.’” (Romans 3:9-10).  All men need the salvation that was made possible by Jesus.

Jesus predicted in Acts 1:8 that the disciples would be witnesses in Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria and to the ends of the earth.  As Acts unfolds, this is exactly what happens.  In Acts 2 is the account of the outpouring of the Spirit .In Acts 8:14-17, we read that Samaritans have converted to Christianity and are baptized with the Spirit.  Then in Acts 10:44-46, Cornelius and his Gentile household accepted the truth of Jesus’ message and were anointed with the Spirit.  The truth then spreads to the ends of the known earth.  Gentiles in Ephesus believe (Acts 19:1-6).

Christianity is not a Western religion.  As Jesus prophesied in Acts 1:8, God gathered and continues to gather a people from every nation.  God does not show favoritism.  All have sinned (Romans 3:22) and all need the “redemptive cure” through Jesus Christ.

*”There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” (Galatians 3:28).


Thursday

Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.  Through Him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified by the Law of Moses. Acts 13:38-39

“Salvation – Part 2”

In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught the people many important principles.  At the top of the list was: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are those who mourn for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:3-4).  What did Jesus mean by this?  Was He saying that we should be sad in order to approach God!  No, it goes far deeper than this.  Jesus is saying that it is imperative to see ourselves as we really are.  We are spiritually destitute apart from God and salvation through Jesus.  We should mourn our condition, even after becoming a Believer, because it keeps us humble – it keeps us on the track of seeking God.

This is where every man’s spiritual pilgrimage must begin.  This is more than just intellectual ascent that all of us have been born into a sinful world.  It is personal application that we are destitute and need God.  Prior to the incarnation of Christ, there was the Law of Moses.  This Law which included far more than just the Ten Commandments, explained God’s standards to man.  Fulfilling the Law gave man a means of being right before God.  Of course, faith as demonstrated by Abraham – ( long before the Law) was necessary.

With the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, a new era dawned.  “But now a righteousness from God, apart from the Law, had been known, to which the Law and the prophets testify.” (Romans 3:21).  The author of Hebrews explains, “The Law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming – not the realities themselves.  For the reason it can never by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship.” (Hebrews 10:1).

You see, Jesus became the perfect sacrifice – ONCE FOR ALL.  First you must admit your spiritual poverty and then you must repent (desire to go the opposite direction from your sin).  At that point Jesus shed blood covers all your sin before God and you are justified (forgiven) once for all.

*Remember, Jesus is the only way to God. (John 14:6, Acts 4:12).  His sacrifice for us is totally sufficient ONCE FOR ALL.


Friday

However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me – the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace. Acts 20:24

“The Goal”

Consider this setting: It’s your own memorial service.  What would you want said about you?  What kind of person were you and how did you live your life?  Remember you have never seen an armored car or a U-Haul at a funeral!  When life ends, the issues that really matter are not accomplishments, past positions, or even charities.

I would suggest that the most important part of your eulogy is to have it said that you loved the Lord dearly and did your best to live your life in obedience to His standards.  When you fell short, you were quick to repent and ask His forgiveness.  Secondly, it should be said that you were loyal to your spouse and loved your spouse and your children unconditionally.  (Similarly, that you loved others and you were known as a servant).  Lastly, I hope it would be said that you took the gifts and talents that the Lord gave you, and grew spiritually – serving God’s purposes on earth.

THESE ARE THE THINGS THAT REALLY MATTER AT THE END:

  1. Did you love God?
  2. Did you love your family and nurture them?
  3. How did you use the gifts that God gave you?
  4. How did you use the money that God gave you?

There are lots of diversions in this world.  It will take your constant attention to the end in order to finish well.  There is joy in ending faithfully.  Be tenacious like the Apostle Paul who said, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” (2 Timothy 4:7).  Make your goal and hence your legacy that you were obedient to the Lord so He can say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”

# God’s principle of government in material things: The more you spend on others, the more your income will increase; the more you try to save, the more you will be troubled by “rust” and “thieves”. WATCHMAN NEE