Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Jesus, The Center Of It All

This message was shared by Abhishek Bansode on 25th May 2020. To listen to the audio please click here

Jesus: Center of it All
Acts 2: 14-41
Summary: Jesus is the grand conductor through whom God's plan for us- by His Spirit to be able to dream, prophesy, and to be saved and to see the “great and glorious” day- is fulfilled.

- Acts 2: 14-41, Very Rich scripture
- We will look at this scripture with the view of getting to know
# Who is being addressed Groups of people
# What is the discourse about:   God’s Conductor: Jesus
# Why- the response Elicited. Godly Sorrow/Remorse
Both in the historical context and in our context.

Groups of People
In the preceding verses Act2: 12 and 13 we see there were people who were amazed and perplexed (12) and others who were mocking (13), and then verse 14 says Peter along with 11 stood up, so these were the believers. There were 3 groups of people present there, lets look at each:

Mockers: What does the Bible say about people who are mockers? - Fools!,
Proverbs 1:22“How long, foolish ones, will you love ignorance? How long will you mockers enjoy mocking and you fools hate knowledge?
Psalm 14:1 The fool says in his heart, “God does not exist..

Peter first addresses these people with simple logic: He in one sentence deals with their mockery-saying its only 9AM!! why would they be drunk at that hour? Bible usually deals with mocking and unbelief with logic, even in Romans it is mentioned that there are enough things in nature for humans to know there is an eternal power,(Rom 1-20) but some choose to ignore it. Psalms 19 says The heavens declare the glory of God and their expanse shows the works of his hand.

Thiessen says in his “Introductory lectures in Systematic Theology”: God has endowed man with reason and the thing that is wrong is not the use of it, but the abuse of it”

Ravi Zacharias: “ God put enough into the world to make faith in Him a reasonable thing. But He left enough out to make it impossible to live by reason alone.”

And here is Peter dealing with them, later on, in his epistles, he again touches on this, which teaches us how we are to deal with mockers in the world today, as believers we are often subjects of mockery and “intellectual” questions, Peter tells us in 1 Peter 3:15-16: To tell them the reason for your hope with Gentleness, Respect, clear conscience.
And that is exactly how we should answer when faced with mockery, with gentleness, respect, and to use simple logic like the Bible does time and again.

Wondering: The next group of people who are there and whom Peter is talking to are those who are wondering: “What is happening??” they are amazed and perplexed:
Acts 2:12: They were amazed and perplexed, saying to one another “whatever could this mean?”

They had a sense of awe, and you know what the Bible says in Proverbs 1: 7 - Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. The Fear mentioned here is not the fear which comes because of being scared, it is reverential fear, a sense of awe! And these people are the ones who I believe responded at the end by getting baptized, this was the beginning of wisdom for them.

It is to them that Peter starts to explain first the scripture(Joel 2:28) which is being fulfilled and second why now. Verses 17 to 21 Peter is telling then whats happening, and then he gets into why now part, where he squarely puts the Focus on Jesus: we will get into it a little later.

Acts 2: 43 Everyone was filled with awe_ and many signs and wonders were seen- When we are in awe of God, we are in a posture of worship, and that acts like a catalyst for us to see many signs and wonders.

It is important for us to never lose the sense of wonder about God.

Believers: and then there is the third group present there:

Acts 2: 14 Peter standing up “WITH” the eleven.
It is important for us to stand with Preachers and Teachers and Evangelist and all who are witnessing actively. Be of ONE accord.

Paul repeatedly asked for the believers to whom he was writing to pray for him.
Romans: "I beseech you, brethren, for the Lord Jesus Christ's sake, and for the love of the Spirit, that ye strive together with me in your prayers for me."

We also have to stand with all ministers and preachers and teachers who are working in the mission fields.

Also as believers, just like the early believers who were waiting for the Promise of God, we must eagerly desire to be baptized in the Spirit, to be able to do all that's mentioned: Dream dreams, prophecy, see visions, to be bold witnesses. That is the will and plan of God, prophecied long ago but being fulfilled in our times!

God's Conductor: Jesus
Now we come to what is the crux of this passage, The centrality of Jesus Christ to everything that has just transpired.

Acts 2: 22 onwards, Peter puts Jesus center-stage of his discourse.
22: Jesus was an outstanding Man while in their midst, attested to by God (indeed being God himself) by all that He did.
23: God's divine plan and wisdom: Even though the people crucified him, it was the DETERMINED PURPOSE (marked out) and FOREKNOWLEDGE of God. Isaiah 52:10 It pleased the Lord to bruise Him. so that you and I can be saved, His love for us is awe-inspiring.
24: Impossible for death to hold him- WOW! wow! Wow!
If this does not fill us with awe nothing will- Imagine being a person over whom death has no power, just wow.
Verses 25-35  Peter proves how the Jewish Messiah cannot be a “fleshly” David but rather Jesus.
Its the resurrected Jesus exalted at the right hand of God who is the reason for the event they have just witnessed (Verse 33)
Jesus- crushed and bruised for us, now is exalted by God the Father to be both LORD AND CHRIST!  (Verse 36)

God's plan to save humanity and His Love for us needed a conductor in between for all His love to reach us. And that's why it pleased the Lord. Because with Jesus we could not be reconciled to God, and what Jesus did exalt Him to a position which NO one can ever occupy: Lord and Christ!

Jesus' Resurrection and His exaltation have marked a change in times. Now everyone who calls on His name can be saved, salvation has come for people. His resurrection can give us a secure place to the see the “Great and Glorious” day.

Jesus was central to God's plan from the very begining: 1 Pet 1:20-21 “ He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world but was manifest in these last times for you who THROUGH HIM believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.”

Anyone who Calls on HIS name shall be saved
He is the focus and center of our Faith. Without Him we cant know the riches of the kindness of God and His Grace for our lives.

Godly Sorrow/Remorse
We now come to Why Peter was telling them all this, what was the response expected.
Verse 37: They were cut to the heart.
Its been 50-60 days since Peter himself denied the Lord, this shows what true conviction does.It liberates us from the past sins and gives us the boldness to be witnesses of the Love of God.

2 Cor 7 10 Godly produces repentance leading to salvation, worldly sorrow-death.

Condemnation vs Conviction: one brings the guilt which crushes you and oppresses, the other is the work of The spirit which leads you to salvation, which is liberation. John 12:47 says Jesus did not come to condemn.
Metanoia: to think differently, change your mind. The discourse started with Peter telling them “you

crucified Him” and Jesus a mere man in their sights. He ends with Jesus is Lord and Christ!
God's plan was always to prosper us and to reconcile us to him, and Jesus is central to that,  we must see His Love for us and His free gift of salvation in Jesus.

Through Jesus, we receive the Promise of the Holy Spirit and through The Holy Spirit we receive the Power to be witnesses of Jesus.
Are we seeing Jesus as the center of it all in our lives
Do we need to change our minds about it

Conclusion and Summary
l  Jesus is at Center of God's will for Humanity, and it is through Him that we believe are saved and receive the promises of God.

l  It is Jesus Christ, exalted to the right hand of God, who pours out the Holy Spirit, for us to be filled and to be able to have the power to be witnesses: to be able to dream dreams, see visions, to prophecy and to be bold.

l  Jesus is the grand conductor through whom God's plan for us- by His Spirit to be able to dream, prophesy, and to be saved and to see the “great and glorious” day- is fulfilled.

l  Prayer: Father God, we thank you for your plan for us, for you foreordained Jesus as the Lamb from before the foundation of the world, Jesus Christ we thank you for you chose to be the conductor-the go-between- for us to be able to receive the Love and Promises of God. We acknowledge your Lordship and Centrality in our lives. We thank you that through you and you alone we are saved, and thank you for the baptism of the Spirit, through whom we can be bold witnesses for you. We ask you, Lord Holy Spirit to use us as we submit ourselves to you. Amen

Word of Grace is an Evangelical (Born Again),  Spirit-filled (Charismatic), Reformed, English speaking church in Pune that upholds the Bible as God's inspired Word for life. We are a church community that has people from every part of India and parts of the world. We are here to put the Great Command and the Great Commission into practice by equipping and releasing every member into works of service.  Word of Grace is a part of a wider international family of Churches called RegionsBeyond.To know more about us please log onto www.wordofgracechurch.org. 

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