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The Message of Jesus-3

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Twelve men changed the world. Eleven of them ate, slept, sailed, and walked with Jesus. The twelfth man was a latecomer, so he got three years alone in the desert with Jesus.   These men were the apostles, the sent ones, those entrusted with the Gospel of God’s grace. Peter and the eleven together with Paul, the twelfth and final apostle, appear on a divine videotape on evangelism. They demonstrated in public what they had been trained, taught, and commanded to do by Jesus.

Jesus saved them to share the Gospel, the Good News of salvation. Few things are more exciting than to learn from Him, the Master, His message and means for calling men and women, boys and girls to salvation. That is what those fishers of divine souls learned.

As we continue this study of the message of Jesus, remember that Jesus went out preaching in the heavily populated area of Galilee and with Him went twelve tape recorders that captured His words, His passion, and His method. Then He left, asking them to keep up the work of the Gospel. Fanning out to the farthest corners of the Roman Empire, they did so. They blazed the trail for the Gospel to reach untold millions of people from India to Britain, from Russia to Africa. They took Christ’s call seriously.

Remember that reading Acts is like turning on a video that lasts thirty years. Acts is not so much a book on doctrine as it is a divinely recorded and edited video of thirty years of sharing the greatest message ever given by the greatest witnesses ever chosen. The Holy Spirit empowered the apostles to take the Gospel to the world and Acts is like a video report of how the apostles and disciples shared the Gospel message in every possible setting. We get to see how the eyewitnesses shared with the world what happened in the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

In the last lesson we saw the first six of the twenty-two recorded events in Acts where a Gospel message is presented. We found that the Gospel message summary after those six messages on how to be saved is: REALLY REPENT and TURN AWAY FROM INIQUITY, and BE SAVED by RECEIVING FORGIVENESS OF SINS, when you BELIEVE WITH ALL YOUR HEART. 

In this lesson we will look at the seventh through twenty-second gospel messages presented in Acts.

The SEVENTH Gospel message is in Acts 9 which records the conversion of Saul of Tarsus into Paul the Apostle. Acts 9:1-6 introduces us to Saul, who becomes Paul, the latecomer, one born out of due time, as Paul later describes himself. The actual record of Christ’s words to Paul is not revealed until Paul’s witness to Agrippa in Acts 26 so we will cover this message in more detail there. Note that those who are saved are called in Acts 9:2 those “who were of the Way.” This description of Christianity, derived from Jesus’ description of Himself (John 14:6), appears six times in Acts (19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22). This is an appropriate title because Christianity is the way of God (18:26), the way into the Holy Place (Hebrews 10:19, 20), and the way of truth (John 14:6; II Peter 2:2).

The EIGHTH Gospel message, in Acts 10:35-11:18, is TO BELIEVE, TO RECEIVE REMISSION OF SINS, and that GOD GRANTS REPENTANCE.

The NINTH Gospel message, in Acts 11:20-21, is TO BELIEVE in the Lord Jesus and TO TURN to the Lord.

The TENTH Gospel message, in Acts 13:38-39, 48, is FORGIVENESS TO ALL WHO BELIEVE, WHO DO SO AT THE APPOINTMENT OF GOD.

The ELEVENTH Gospel message, in Acts 14:27-15:9, is that GOD OPENS THE DOOR OF FAITH AND PURIFIES THE HEART.

The TWELFTH Gospel message, in Acts 15:19, is to TURN TO GOD AND AWAY FROM WHAT OFFENDS GOD’S WORD AND PEOPLE.

The THIRTEENTH Gospel message, in Acts 16:14, reveals that THE LORD OPENS THE HEART TO HEED HIS WORD.

The FOURTEENTH Gospel message, in Acts 16:31, is TO BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. 

As a result of the FIFTEENTH Gospel message, in Acts 17:1-7, salvation was described by pagans who observed the process as GETTING A NEW KING OF ONE’S LIFE.

The SIXTEENTH Gospel message, in Acts 17:30, is that GOD COMMANDS ALL TO REPENT. 

The SEVENTEENTH Gospel message, in Acts 18:8-13, is TO BELIEVE WHEN GOD DRAWS ONE TO WORSHIP HIM.

The EIGHTEENTH Gospel message, in Acts 19:8-26, included reasoning and persuading concerning things of THE KINGDOM, and FOLLOWING A WAY WHICH PEOPLE FOLLOW INSTEAD OF THEIR OWN WAY. (Isaiah 53:6)

The NINTEENTH Gospel message, in Acts 20:21-25, proclaims  REPENTANCE TOWARD GOD AND FAITH TOWARD OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. The Gospel message is described as TESTIFYING TO THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD (see also Titus 2:11) and PREACHING THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

The TWENTIETH Gospel message, in Acts 24:14-25, describes A WAY OF WORSHIP THAT INVOLVES RIGHTEOUSNESS, SELF-CONTROL, AND AVERTS JUDGMENT that makes the lost to fear. This was certainly not an easy to believe, “try Jesus” message! Let’s look at this message and its audience in more detail. We meet the cast for this scene in Acts 25:13:

Porcius Festus is a little-known figure introduced in Acts 24:27. Unlike Felix, the former slave whom he succeeded, Porcius Festus was a member of the Roman nobility. Little is known of his brief tenure as governor (He died two years after assuming office.), but the Jewish historian Josephus described him as better than either his predecessor or his successor.

King Agrippa (Herod Agrippa II) was the great-grandson of Herod the Great, who ruled at the time Jesus was born and murdered the innocents at Bethlehem in cruel, calculated, cold bloodedness (Matthew 2:1–19; Luke 1:5). He was the grand-nephew of Herod Antipas, the Herod of the gospels who wanted Jesus to do a trick and then mocked Jesus at his crucifixion and to whom Jesus would not even utter a word (Mark 6:14–29; Luke 3:1; 13:31–33; 23:7–12). He was the son of the Herod who killed James and imprisoned Peter. The last of the Herods who played a prominent role in New Testament history, he was a man who knew so much, but cared so little.

Bernice (whose sister Drusilla was married to former governor Felix), was not Agrippa’s wife, but his consort and sister. She was living in an incestuous relationship with her brother Agrippa, which was the talk of Rome, where Agrippa had grown up.  Bernice for a while even became the mistress of Emperor Vespasian, then of his son Titus, but always returned to her brother.

Paul was facing pagans steeped in sin, lost and doomed men and women. What did he tell lost people? How did he do personal evangelism with big shots who had sordid lives? He hit them with God’s Word, God’s Law, God’s holiness, and their utter failure to meet His standard.

Acts 24:25 tells us “…[Paul] reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment…” God demands righteousness of all men because of His holy nature (Matthew 5:48; I Peter 1:15, 16). For men and women to conform to that absolute standard requires self-control. The result of failing to exhibit self-control and to conform oneself to God’s righteous standard is (apart from salvation) judgment.

Felix was afraid. Living with a woman he had lured away from her husband, Felix obviously lacked righteousness and self-control. The realization that he faced judgment alarmed him, and he hastily dismissed Paul. He said “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.” The moment of conviction passed, and Felix foolishly passed up his opportunity to repent (cf. II Corinthians 6:2).

The TWENTY-FIRST Gospel message is in Acts 26:14-20 where we hear the Gospel message directly from Jesus. Jesus describes salvation as opened eyes, turning, receiving, and being sanctified. How did Paul sum up what he heard? He told the LOST to “repent, and turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.”

The message described here is TO TURN TO GOD (Acts 26:18-20).

This is one of the more amazing portions of Scripture. What dazzles us is the inspired record of Paul’s conversion by Jesus Christ Himself. The setting is the dusty road to Damascus. Paul lies on his face and then looks up at a light brighter than the noonday Sun. His eyes are being seared, but his soul is even more enflamed. He is talking to God, or is it Jesus, or is it the Lord against whom he had fought? Then Jesus speaks and explains the plan of salvation. Jesus calls it “the Way” and gives seven elements of genuine faith.

To catch the flavor of Christ’s soul-winning pattern used on Paul, listen to God’s Word in Acts 26:18-20:

[Paul quotes Jesus as saying He will send Paul to the Gentiles] to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in [Him]. [Paul goes on to say] Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.

What did Paul tell the lost? Did his message differ for the Jews? No, there is one Gospel, one salvation, one faith!

The TWENTY-SECOND and final Gospel message, in Acts 28:31, is described as coming into God’s kingdom. 

The starting message is REPENT and the concluding message is GOD’S KINGDOM, both rarely if ever used in our new way of doing God’s business. Should we go back and check out the way we are doing God’s work, to be sure it is God’s way?

TAGS: 000604PM

Twelve men changed the world. Eleven of them ate, slept, sailed, and walked with Jesus. The twelfth man was a latecomer, so he got three years alone in the desert with Jesus.   These men were the apostles, the sent ones, those entrusted with the Gospel of God’s grace. Peter and the eleven together with Paul, the twelfth and final apostle, appear on a divine videotape on evangelism. They demonstrated in public what they had been trained, taught, and commanded to do by Jesus.

Jesus saved them to share the Gospel, the Good News of salvation. Few things are more exciting than to learn from Him, the Master, His message and means for calling men and women, boys and girls to salvation. That is what those fishers of divine souls learned.

As we continue this study of the message of Jesus, remember that Jesus went out preaching in the heavily populated area of Galilee and with Him went twelve tape recorders that captured His words, His passion, and His method. Then He left, asking them to keep up the work of the Gospel. Fanning out to the farthest corners of the Roman Empire, they did so. They blazed the trail for the Gospel to reach untold millions of people from India to Britain, from Russia to Africa. They took Christ’s call seriously.

Remember that reading Acts is like turning on a video that lasts thirty years. Acts is not so much a book on doctrine as it is a divinely recorded and edited video of thirty years of sharing the greatest message ever given by the greatest witnesses ever chosen. The Holy Spirit empowered the apostles to take the Gospel to the world and Acts is like a video report of how the apostles and disciples shared the Gospel message in every possible setting. We get to see how the eyewitnesses shared with the world what happened in the life, ministry, death, and resurrection of Jesus.

In the last lesson we saw the first six of the twenty-two recorded events in Acts where a Gospel message is presented. We found that the Gospel message summary after those six messages on how to be saved is: REALLY REPENT and TURN AWAY FROM INIQUITY, and BE SAVED by RECEIVING FORGIVENESS OF SINS, when you BELIEVE WITH ALL YOUR HEART. 

In this lesson we will look at the seventh through twenty-second gospel messages presented in Acts.

The SEVENTH Gospel message is in Acts 9 which records the conversion of Saul of Tarsus into Paul the Apostle. Acts 9:1-6 introduces us to Saul, who becomes Paul, the latecomer, one born out of due time, as Paul later describes himself. The actual record of Christ’s words to Paul is not revealed until Paul’s witness to Agrippa in Acts 26 so we will cover this message in more detail there. Note that those who are saved are called in Acts 9:2 those “who were of the Way.” This description of Christianity, derived from Jesus’ description of Himself (John 14:6), appears six times in Acts (19:9, 23; 22:4; 24:14, 22). This is an appropriate title because Christianity is the way of God (18:26), the way into the Holy Place (Hebrews 10:19, 20), and the way of truth (John 14:6; II Peter 2:2).

The EIGHTH Gospel message, in Acts 10:35-11:18, is TO BELIEVE, TO RECEIVE REMISSION OF SINS, and that GOD GRANTS REPENTANCE.

The NINTH Gospel message, in Acts 11:20-21, is TO BELIEVE in the Lord Jesus and TO TURN to the Lord.

The TENTH Gospel message, in Acts 13:38-39, 48, is FORGIVENESS TO ALL WHO BELIEVE, WHO DO SO AT THE APPOINTMENT OF GOD.

The ELEVENTH Gospel message, in Acts 14:27-15:9, is that GOD OPENS THE DOOR OF FAITH AND PURIFIES THE HEART.

The TWELFTH Gospel message, in Acts 15:19, is to TURN TO GOD AND AWAY FROM WHAT OFFENDS GOD’S WORD AND PEOPLE.

The THIRTEENTH Gospel message, in Acts 16:14, reveals that THE LORD OPENS THE HEART TO HEED HIS WORD.

The FOURTEENTH Gospel message, in Acts 16:31, is TO BELIEVE ON THE LORD JESUS CHRIST. 

As a result of the FIFTEENTH Gospel message, in Acts 17:1-7, salvation was described by pagans who observed the process as GETTING A NEW KING OF ONE’S LIFE.

The SIXTEENTH Gospel message, in Acts 17:30, is that GOD COMMANDS ALL TO REPENT. 

The SEVENTEENTH Gospel message, in Acts 18:8-13, is TO BELIEVE WHEN GOD DRAWS ONE TO WORSHIP HIM.

The EIGHTEENTH Gospel message, in Acts 19:8-26, included reasoning and persuading concerning things of THE KINGDOM, and FOLLOWING A WAY WHICH PEOPLE FOLLOW INSTEAD OF THEIR OWN WAY. (Isaiah 53:6)

The NINTEENTH Gospel message, in Acts 20:21-25, proclaims  REPENTANCE TOWARD GOD AND FAITH TOWARD OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST. The Gospel message is described as TESTIFYING TO THE GOSPEL OF THE GRACE OF GOD (see also Titus 2:11) and PREACHING THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

The TWENTIETH Gospel message, in Acts 24:14-25, describes A WAY OF WORSHIP THAT INVOLVES RIGHTEOUSNESS, SELF-CONTROL, AND AVERTS JUDGMENT that makes the lost to fear. This was certainly not an easy to believe, “try Jesus” message! Let’s look at this message and its audience in more detail. We meet the cast for this scene in Acts 25:13:

Porcius Festus is a little-known figure introduced in Acts 24:27. Unlike Felix, the former slave whom he succeeded, Porcius Festus was a member of the Roman nobility. Little is known of his brief tenure as governor (He died two years after assuming office.), but the Jewish historian Josephus described him as better than either his predecessor or his successor.

King Agrippa (Herod Agrippa II) was the great-grandson of Herod the Great, who ruled at the time Jesus was born and murdered the innocents at Bethlehem in cruel, calculated, cold bloodedness (Matthew 2:1–19; Luke 1:5). He was the grand-nephew of Herod Antipas, the Herod of the gospels who wanted Jesus to do a trick and then mocked Jesus at his crucifixion and to whom Jesus would not even utter a word (Mark 6:14–29; Luke 3:1; 13:31–33; 23:7–12). He was the son of the Herod who killed James and imprisoned Peter. The last of the Herods who played a prominent role in New Testament history, he was a man who knew so much, but cared so little.

Bernice (whose sister Drusilla was married to former governor Felix), was not Agrippa’s wife, but his consort and sister. She was living in an incestuous relationship with her brother Agrippa, which was the talk of Rome, where Agrippa had grown up.  Bernice for a while even became the mistress of Emperor Vespasian, then of his son Titus, but always returned to her brother.

Paul was facing pagans steeped in sin, lost and doomed men and women. What did he tell lost people? How did he do personal evangelism with big shots who had sordid lives? He hit them with God’s Word, God’s Law, God’s holiness, and their utter failure to meet His standard.

Acts 24:25 tells us “…[Paul] reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment…” God demands righteousness of all men because of His holy nature (Matthew 5:48; I Peter 1:15, 16). For men and women to conform to that absolute standard requires self-control. The result of failing to exhibit self-control and to conform oneself to God’s righteous standard is (apart from salvation) judgment.

Felix was afraid. Living with a woman he had lured away from her husband, Felix obviously lacked righteousness and self-control. The realization that he faced judgment alarmed him, and he hastily dismissed Paul. He said “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.” The moment of conviction passed, and Felix foolishly passed up his opportunity to repent (cf. II Corinthians 6:2).

The TWENTY-FIRST Gospel message is in Acts 26:14-20 where we hear the Gospel message directly from Jesus. Jesus describes salvation as opened eyes, turning, receiving, and being sanctified. How did Paul sum up what he heard? He told the LOST to “repent, and turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.”

The message described here is TO TURN TO GOD (Acts 26:18-20).

This is one of the more amazing portions of Scripture. What dazzles us is the inspired record of Paul’s conversion by Jesus Christ Himself. The setting is the dusty road to Damascus. Paul lies on his face and then looks up at a light brighter than the noonday Sun. His eyes are being seared, but his soul is even more enflamed. He is talking to God, or is it Jesus, or is it the Lord against whom he had fought? Then Jesus speaks and explains the plan of salvation. Jesus calls it “the Way” and gives seven elements of genuine faith.

To catch the flavor of Christ’s soul-winning pattern used on Paul, listen to God’s Word in Acts 26:18-20:

[Paul quotes Jesus as saying He will send Paul to the Gentiles] to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in [Him]. [Paul goes on to say] Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus and in Jerusalem, and throughout all the region of Judea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent, turn to God, and do works befitting repentance.

What did Paul tell the lost? Did his message differ for the Jews? No, there is one Gospel, one salvation, one faith!

The TWENTY-SECOND and final Gospel message, in Acts 28:31, is described as coming into God’s kingdom. 

The starting message is REPENT and the concluding message is GOD’S KINGDOM, both rarely if ever used in our new way of doing God’s business. Should we go back and check out the way we are doing God’s work, to be sure it is God’s way?

 
 
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