Tuesday, June 9, 2020

The Early Church - The Good News Delivered

This message was brought by Kris B on May 31st, 2020 at Word of Grace. To listen to the audio please click here

Acts 2:14-41

I want to raise this common question to you  as it is also being raised by my 5-year-old son,
“When is my time out going to be over?” (We are in lockdown now)

120 disciples were up in the upper room waiting. Jesus baptized them with the Holy Spirit on the day of Pentecost.

Pentecost is known as the feast of the week in the Old testament which is roughly 50 days after Passover.
Deut 16:9-12
Count off seven weeks from the time you begin to put the sickle to the standing grain. 10 Then celebrate the Festival of Weeks to the Lord your God by giving a freewill offering in proportion to the blessings the Lord your God has given you. 11 And rejoice before the Lord your God at the place he will choose as a dwelling for his Name—you, your sons and daughters, your male and female servants, the Levites in your towns, and the foreigners, the fatherless and the widows living among you. 12 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt, and follow carefully these decrees.

And so we see the beginning of the feast of weeks.
What are they celebrating? The provision of the Lord’s harvest that he had given to his people until the next harvest. Provision is also freedom which is based in verse 12. They were slaves in Egypt and the Lord had delivered them from the oppressors, They had freedom and provision and with that we enter into New testament on the day of Pentecost.
For them it’s freedom from Egyptian and for us it’s freedom from the power of sin, oppression of sin thereby giving us a new nature to overcome the power of sin and provision to remain and obey Lord.

What the 120 did with that freedom? And see what that may have for our lives.
2 parts:
1st part is what did Jesus and the apostles did and 2nd part is what we should do?
V14-21 – 1st section – The situation explained that the onlookers suppose what’s happening is that they were hearing proclamations in different languages on the feast of weeks that is Pentecost. They heard about the greatness of God. The apostles were not drunk but filled by the Spirit. Peter explains that in the last days the Spirit is supposed to fall on all flesh regardless of stature. All that matters is the day of the Lord has come for great salvation. Given that explanation gives a very nice bridge to the next section that is

Good news Given: v22-36
This offers proof that hinges on the resurrection of Jesus – that our very lives and understanding of the framework of the world in which we live has been transformed. Jesus came with mighty works and wonders, signifying that great salvation is at hand and undoing the consequences of the fall. Peter describes how Jesus came and died and was not able to be held because he is the Messiah. The proof is in the resurrection. David himself died and lay in a tomb but said that this Holy One who would not see corruption would not be held by a tomb. This is proof that Peter lays out that if Jesus is raised, and the Spirit is being poured out on all flesh, then he is the Messiah; the Christ who is raised and ascended to the Father. He ends by saying Jesus is Lord and Christ, Master, and the Anointed One who redeems the lost sheep of Israel. He spells out the gospel clearly for the Jews who knew that the Messiah was to come from David’s line and would sit on the throne forever. The throne that they were thinking was a terrestrial one, but Jesus was on this throne forever. Which brings in the next section which flows naturally from this one.

The Call to Repentance and Faith. vs 37-41
Having heard the gospel, many were cut to the heart and they asked what should they do? Repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of your sins. It is important that we understand this properly that there isn’t an equal weight on both of those things. It is like saying grab your hat and run for the train, we understand ultimately whether we make the train is not going to depend on whether we grab our hat but rather on the running. In the same way, it is not the being baptized on which the salvation depends, but rather a step towards or evidence of your salvation that you have already received. The belief that is associated with repentance is what governs the salvation and that salvation is a matter of grace and faith. So we understand that as we repent we receive salvation and that as evidence of the faith we also get baptized, but baptism is not salvation.

Another important factor is to understand that as Peter states that the news is for you, for the children, and their children, those near and far off, Jews, gentiles, and everyone. So the Gospel is for everyone and we see that 3000 were baptized as people called them to repent and believe.

So what should we do? Should we follow the same pattern? If we have received the liberty and the spirit of God, then we too should be following their examples as the apostle Paul says “imitate me as I imitate Christ.” We too should be good stewards of this gospel.

 So here is the example that Peter used:
The situation explained – we too find ourselves in a strange situation. It’s the first global pandemic that we have faced in 100 years. Many people’s theology is insufficient for these things, but we serve a God who’s theology is sufficient – Matt 24:7. We saw the typhoon off the coast of India a few days ago, all of these things are signs that we are in the last days before Jesus will return. These things are signs of God’s wrath against sin and also signs that we live in a broken world. Romans 8 talks about how the whole world is under the curse of sin and disease and we see that all over – that there is something wrong here and there is a need for salvation. It points us to a much greater judgment that is to come and points towards the eternal separation from God. We can explain to our friends that this is evidence of the fall but also the future judgment coming and we can point them to good news and the truth that it is for this very reason that Jesus came for our sin and took our punishment upon his own body once and for all (1Peter3:18). 

The righteous, perfect Jesus takes the punishment for the unrighteous us and he came was put to death in the flesh perfect human likeness so that we could be forgiven. He came to bring us to God and we are saved by his sacrifice. Galatians 2:20 says that we too were dead in the flesh but alive in the spirit – His coming in the flesh and returning to the Father is now a path that we can follow and there is now a way for man to dwell eternally with God through following Jesus. And now we live by faith through the grace of God. We can explain the gospel to our friends and family and that is the situation explained, the good news is given and the call to repentance. The fall is on full display and the judgment is seen -  we can’t wait for any more.

The coronavirus has taught believers that this world is not our own. As we ask when will my time out be over, it is not just the lockdown but how long before Jesus returns? This world is not our home but it is with Jesus.

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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