Acts

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“David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers” (Acts 13:36 ESV)

June 20, 2016

What more fitting epitaph of your life might be given than that you served God’s purpose in your own generation? Such was the summary of David’s life offered by the apostle Paul. God has a purpose for your life. It is both general and specific. It is general in that every person whom God has made, was made to glorify Him. It is specific in that each of us is called to serve God’s purpose in our “own generation,” offering our unique God-given gifts to serve His call. Two questions: 1) Do you know your specific purpose? 2) Are you obeying and trusting God to do it? As Queen Esther was asked, “Who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:14).

‘While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”’ (Acts 13:2 ESV)

June 18, 2016

Imagine attending a worship service that ends not with an invitation to go have lunch, but with a commissioning service that puts you on the next boat going out to sea. That’s what happened to Barnabas and Saul (“Paul”). Oh, to have worship services so Spirit-filled that people immediately surrender to do what God has called them to do. May churches around the world begin to experience an Antioch revival, a church known not for its seating capacity, but its sending capacity. Antioch, also called the “Cradle of Christianity,” where the Spirit called, and the people obeyed and went.

“But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus” (Acts 9:27 ESV)

June 14, 2016

After Saul the Persecutor became Paul the Preacher, he sought to meet with the disciples, but they were afraid. But Barnabas, whose name means “Son of Encouragement,” vouched for Paul and presented him to the apostles. What a great friend to have! Someone who will mediate for you and put their own name on the line for you, so that you can have a second chance at life. How like Jesus was this Barnabas who encouraged both Paul and the apostles to be reconciled to one another.

“Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus” (Acts 8:35 ESV)

June 12, 2016

Philip preached Jesus to the Ethiopian eunuch from Isaiah 53. He could have taken his gospel message from anywhere in the Bible, for all Scripture testifies of Christ (John 5:39). This is Christ-centered or gospel-centered preaching: Showing how the written Word points to the Living Word. When the Ethiopian heard the good news, he believed and was baptized. For this kind of preaching calls for a response. The preacher that doesn’t preach Christ, hasn’t preached. True biblical preaching always points to Christ (1 Cor. 2:2).

“This is the Moses who said to the Israelites, ‘God will raise up for you a prophet like me from your brothers.’” (Acts 7:37 ESV)

June 10, 2016

The newly appointed deacon, Stephen, was stoned to death for his witness, becoming the first Christian martyr. His verbal defense of the gospel before his accusers was a Spirit-inspired masterpiece, boldly proclaimed. He reminded them that it was Moses, whom they claimed to follow, that spoke of a coming prophet who would mediate God’s Word to them (Deut.18:14-19). Then, he compared them to the Israelites in the wilderness who rejected Moses, for they had rejected the Righteous One whom God had raised up “from their brothers,” Christ Jesus. Stephen was essentially preaching the words of Jesus, who said, “For if you believed Moses, you would believe me; for he wrote of me” (John 5:46).

‘But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men’ (Acts 5:29 ESV)

June 7, 2016

When the Jewish council again brought the apostles before them for preaching in Jesus’ name, ordering them to stop, Peter replied that their ultimate obedience was to God. In other words, the ruling that the council gave went contrary to the command of Christ, therefore the apostles had chosen to obey Him. In all other regards, the apostles and the early Christians were taught to be model citizens, obeying the human authorities over them. But when man’s law went against God’s, they chose to obey God.

‘who through the mouth of our father David, your servant, said by the Holy Spirit, “‘Why did the Gentiles rage, and the peoples plot in vain? The kings of the earth set themselves, and the rulers were gathered together, against the Lord and against his Anointed’” (Acts 4:25-26 ESV)

June 6, 2016

With the filling of the Holy Spirit, the early church began to see the prophecies concerning Christ all through the Hebrew Scriptures. They were especially drawn to the Psalms of David. After Peter and John were held in custody overnight and instructed to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, they returned to their friends and joined a prayer meeting already in session. As they began to pray, they quoted Psalm 2:1-2, describing how the world’s kings and rulers would come against the Lord’s “Anointed,” in their prayers. This event never happened during David’s time. They rightly perceived that the Spirit had given David this prophecy to describe Jesus’ time. This newfound awareness of the Scriptures, perceived through the influence of the Spirit’s filling, gave the early church tremendous power in prayer and boldness in preaching. Do you ever pray the Scriptures back to the Lord as they did?

“…and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago” (Acts 3:20-21 ESV)

June 5, 2016

To the worshipers in the Temple courts who wondered at the healing of the lame man, Peter explained that the source of the healing power came from Jesus the Christ. He told them that this was the same Jesus they had crucified, but whom God had raised from the dead, ascended to heaven and who would soon return. Therefore, he challenged them to “repent” and “turn back” to believe in Jesus, so that their sins might be forgiven and that they would be ready for Christ’s appointed return. The Jews were looking for a Christ, a Messiah, that would set up an earthly kingdom and dwell with them as king, so it was important that Peter explained to them the prophetic reason why the Christ had ascended to heaven “until the time” of restoration. Peter was an eye witness to Christ’s ascension, and he had heard with his own ears, Christ’s promise to return. So, he preached with a sense of urgency and expectation that the Father would soon send Christ back again to restore all things.

Paul: A Relentless Faith

May 29, 2016 | Acts 20:17-28 | character study, faith

In the book of Acts, we see that God used the relentless faith of Paul to expand and establish the church in the 1st century. We can learn from Paul how to have a faith that allows us to live for Christ, redefine our life’s value, and to care for the church.

David: A Passionate Faith

May 1, 2016 | Acts 13:22-23 | character study, faith

One of the great heroes in the Bible was the Shepherd King named David. He is the only one in Scripture to be called a “man after God’s own heart.” There are more chapters in the Old Testament about David than anyone else. And this poet, musician, shepherd, warrior, king has more mentions in the New Testament than any other Old Testament figure. Yet, David wasn’t perfect. He was a man after God’s heart, but still a man nonetheless. David was zealous, humble and focused, yet he was still a sinner. The real beauty and purpose of his life is how it points to Jesus, the real hero of the Bible and of all creation.