- Song A Song of Thanksgiving
- Song Thanksgiving Foilage
- Song Thanksgiving Foilage
- Song Thanksgiving Foilage
- Song Thanksgiving Foilage
- Song Thanksgiving Foilage
- Definition of Testimony:* firsthand authentication of a fact: EVIDENCE* a solemn declaration usually made orally* an open acknowledgment* a public profession of religious experienceThe setting...Paul has made his way to JerusalemWorked up the crowd to turn against him and said he was bringing Greeks into the temple… stirring up dissensionActs 22:1-21“Brethren and fathers, hear my defense which I now offer to you.” And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew dialect, they became even more quiet; and he said, “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated under Gamaliel, strictly according to the law of our fathers, being zealous for God just as you all are today. “I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and putting both men and women into prisons, as also the high priest and all the Council of the elders can testify. From them I also received letters to the brethren, and started off for Damascus in order to bring even those who were there to Jerusalem as prisoners to be punished. “But it happened that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me, and I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ “And I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.’ “And those who were with me saw the light, to be sure, but did not understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me. “And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Get up and go on into Damascus, and there you will be told of all that has been appointed for you to do.’ “But since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me and came into Damascus. “A certain Ananias, a man who was devout by the standard of the Law, and well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, came to me, and standing near said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight!’ And at that very time I looked up at him. “And he said, ‘The God of our fathers has appointed you to know His will and to see the Righteous One and to hear an utterance from His mouth. ‘For you will be a witness for Him to all men of what you have seen and heard. ‘Now why do you delay? Get up and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on His name.’ “It happened when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I fell into a trance, and I saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste, and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me.’ “And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves understand that in one synagogue after another I used to imprison and beat those who believed in You. ‘And when the blood of Your witness Stephen was being shed, I also was standing by approving, and watching out for the coats of those who were slaying him.’ “And He said to me, ‘Go! For I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ”A testimony shares how God has worked in your life and continuing to work…Gospel vs Testimony...My Testimony5 Years oldFamily and teachersPeople who impacted my life15 year old self (1993)Serving as pastor of a church I prayed forYour TestimonyShare your testimony (* firsthand authentication of a fact: EVIDENCE)If you don’t have a testimony to share ask someone who shares theirs with you about the GOSPEL!
- We are in the Gospel of Luke… today we are going to tackle most of one of the largest chapters in the Bible (80 verses!) We are going to be looking at the events of a man by the name of Zacharias and his wife Elizabeth:He is a priestThey are said to be considered righteous in the sight of GodI am so glad God is watching!An angel will visit himGod will work a miracleIn the end this priest will prophesy and praise God…BUT FIRST! Let’s rewind and go back 400 years...MalachiHolman- “Malchi rebuked God’s people for specific violations of the covenant, such as laws concerning sacrifices, divorce, and tithes, but he also prophesied the coming of the Messenger who will set things right.”At first glance it would appeared God had been silent or forgotten for 400 years after sending Malachi to the people and declaring His promise...Feelings of forgotten as a nationZacharias forgotten as a priest (will God speak again?)Elizabeth forgotten as she is barren no childrenWhen in reality, God had not forgotten, but was DOING what he promised!& declare what God will do in the coming future...1 “Behold, I am going to send My messenger, and he will clear the way before Me. And the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to His temple; and the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight, behold, He is coming,” says the Lord of hosts.4 “Remember the law of Moses My servant, even the statutes and ordinances which I commanded him in Horeb for all Israel. 5 “Behold, I am going to send you Elijah the prophet before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. 6 “He will restore the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to their fathers, so that I will not come and smite the land with a curse.”The world stage had to be set… made ready for His Messenger who would come:Daniel had prophesied the things that would occur before the Messiah would comeAlexander the Great would come in… create one language GreekHis empire would be divided four way among his generalsEventually Rome would take over the world… roads being developed for transportation!God had not forgotten… On the contrary, He was remembering His promise, fulfilling His Word! In fact His promises… THE PROMISE goes all the way back to the beginning!God’s PromiseThe Seed of the woman would deliver a death blow to Satan15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her seed; He shall bruise you on the head, And you shall bruise him on the heel.”We see the three sons of Noah and there is a blessing passed to Shem25 So he said, “Cursed be Canaan; A servant of servants He shall be to his brothers.” 26 He also said, “Blessed be the Lord, The God of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant. 27 “May God enlarge Japheth, And let him dwell in the tents of Shem; And let Canaan be his servant.”Through Abraham’s seed all men would be blessed this is made clearer in Genesis 153 And I will bless those who bless you, And the one who curses you I will curse. And in you all the families of the earth will be blessed.”Abraham had many sons… Yet Issac is the one God’s blessing was with.Isaac had two sons yet the blessing (Promise) was with Jacob… The God of Abraham, Issac & Jacob.Jacob had 12 sons… Jacobs name is changed by God to Israel (one who wrestles with God)God’s blessing of promise is passed from Jacob to Judah in Indicating the One to come would be royal, a ruler King.10 “The scepter shall not depart from Judah, Nor the ruler’s staff from between his feet, Until Shiloh comes, And to him shall be the obedience of the peoples.From the line of Judah comes a man who was anointed king by the name of David… in and God Promises this...16 “Your house and your kingdom shall endure before Me forever; your throne shall be established forever.” ’ ”The Hebrew word: mashiyach, meaning “the anointed” gradually became a title for the Promised Savior-King Messiah!God did NOT forget… He had been working all along in even the smallest of details!NOW… back to Luke.We Can Take God at His Word!Setting:Priest had their turns to serve in the temple… this was Zacharias’ timeSelected to go in and offer incense (prayers) to God… Usually on behalf of the people of IsraelAnd an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing to the right of the altar of incense. Zacharias was troubled when he saw the angel, and fear gripped him. But the angel said to him, “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your petition has been heard, and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you will give him the name John. “You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. “And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. “It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, to turn the hearts of the fathers back to the children, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”I don’t think this man was praying for a son… too old.Praying for the people, felt forgotten, feeling the oppressions of the Romans, whatever it was GOD HEARD!Wow! the angel states the Zacharias’ son will fulfill the prophecy of MalachiYour son will prepare for the Promised MessiahIt Is Time! The Messiah is coming!!!What God says WILL HAPPEN!Moody- Zacharias ought to have been focusing on the divine “promise” of the message, not the human “problems” of the message.Did you miss it? Do you doubt God due to human limitations?The Promise of the scriptures was being fulfilled and this is Zacharias’ response…Zacharias said to the angel, “How will I know this for certain? For I am an old man and my wife is advanced in years.” The angel answered and said to him, “I am Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. “And behold, you shall be silent and unable to speak until the day when these things take place, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their proper time.”Several lessons here:Be careful when you ask God to prove it or for a sign!This was good news, not intended to create a problemThe last words he could hear was the promise, his last words were questioning GodGod has a time table and a plan, He is NEVER late and always stays true to His WordGod’s Hand Working Deserves Praise“ His Name is John”These are the words Zacharias would write on a board for the questioning crowd…Wait a minute… Zacharias, he’s not going to carry your name?NO this baby boy would carry something much greater… the message that the Messiah has come repent!His Faith to obey and listen loosed his tongue… He begins to prophesy for all there to hear and share!And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Spirit, and prophesied, saying: “Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, For He has visited us and accomplished redemption for His people, And has raised up a horn of salvation for us In the house of David His servant— As He spoke by the mouth of His holy prophets from of old— Salvation from our enemies, And from the hand of all who hate us; To show mercy toward our fathers, And to remember His holy covenant, The oath which He swore to Abraham our father, To grant us that we, being rescued from the hand of our enemies, Might serve Him without fear, In holiness and righteousness before Him all our days. “And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; For you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways; To give to His people the knowledge of salvation By the forgiveness of their sins, Because of the tender mercy of our God, With which the Sunrise from on high will visit us, To shine upon those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, To guide our feet into the way of peace.”Look at the people’s response to all they heard and had seen…Fear came on all those living around them; and all these matters were being talked about in all the hill country of Judea. All who heard them kept them in mind, saying, “What then will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was certainly with him.Darrel Bock- The story’s close indicates that the Lord’s hand was with him. Luke is saying, in effect, “Be assured, Theophilus or any other reader of my account, that God was in these most unusual events.” When God’s hand is mentioned, usually an opportunity for deliverance is around the corner!
- I Love To Tell The Story (Hankey)
- There is a group of men meeting… the leaders within the church, and they are meeting in Jerusalem. We have come to refer to this meeting as the Jerusalem Council.As they come together to converse and even debate, some things are at stake:Defining what is needed for salvation (for Jews and Gentiles alike)The unity between Gentile and Jewish brothers and sisters in ChristLast week we looked at the situations that brought about this need to meet… Let’s reviewSome men came down from Judea and began teaching the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” And when Paul and Barnabas had great dissension and debate with them, the brethren determined that Paul and Barnabas and some others of them should go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders concerning this issue. Therefore, being sent on their way by the church, they were passing through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and were bringing great joy to all the brethren. When they arrived at Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they reported all that God had done with them. But some of the sect of the Pharisees who had believed stood up, saying, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to direct them to observe the Law of Moses.” The apostles and the elders came together to look into this matter.Verse 7 indicates that there was “much debate”As a side bar… I want to draw attention to what they did as they traveled… they shared what God was doing with the gentile believers (bringing great joy to the brothers and sisters in Christ)Paul and Barnabas leave the conversation up for debate with the elders and apostles, and instead keep the unity of declaring God’s amazing work!We are not exactly sure how long the debate went on for… but we do know who the two men are who spoke to this last.Peter & JamesPeter...One of the chosen twelve disciples, an apostleLeader among even the twelveBold for Christ!…“You are the Christ, the Son of the Living God!”Stepped out of the boatInner circle with ChristEarliest leader of the church in JerusalemThe one God used to originally bring the gospel to the Gentiles… (remember Cornelius?)Peter would end up dying for his faithJames...Half-brother of Jesus, watched the Son of God grow upHe would write a powerful book to believers on Godly livingBarclay stated this of James...
He was the leader of the Jerusalem church. His leadership was not a formal ofﬁce; it was a moral leadership conceded to him because he was an outstanding individual. He was the brother of Jesus. He had had a special resurrection appearance all to himself (1 Corinthians 15:7). He was a pillar of the Church (Galatians 1:19). His knees were said to be as hard as a camel’s because he knelt in prayer so often and so long. He was so good a man that he was called James the Just. Further—and this was all-important—he himself was a rigorous observer of the law.These two men, chosen by God to lead the early church would make their statements settling this dispute and rift in the church...Peter Speaks First...records his words he spoke for us…After there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brethren, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles would hear the word of the gospel and believe. “And God, who knows the heart, testified to them giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He also did to us; and He made no distinction between us and them, cleansing their hearts by faith. “Now therefore why do you put God to the test by placing upon the neck of the disciples a yoke which neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? “But we believe that we are saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, in the same way as they also are.”Peter speaks to what they KNOW… referencing back to Cornelius“God made a choice” this was NOT peter’s choice, the Jews choice who went with him, nor was it Cornelius or his friends and family’s… this was God’s Choice!Peter reminds the leaders there that God knows the heart, this is a heart issue!They recieved the sealing of the Holy Spirit by faith without circumcision… God’s ChoiceThey receive the Spirit the same way… faith!No one can earn God’s favor it is recieved by faith. Casting ourselves on the sole grace of God!!!Why make them carry a yoke not even the Jews could do?The law is perfect… from God, but a burden no one but Christ could carryPeter concludes… we who are circumcised depend on God’s grace for salvation… so do the Gentiles.There is an interlude where Paul and Barnabas share all “GOD HAD DONE” with the gentiles and the audience is silent. The testimony of God’s Works are powerful!James Speaks Last...is what James states…After they had stopped speaking, James answered, saying, “Brethren, listen to me. “Simeon has related how God first concerned Himself about taking from among the Gentiles a people for His name. “With this the words of the Prophets agree, just as it is written, ‘After these things I will return, And I will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen, And I will rebuild its ruins, And I will restore it, So that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, And all the Gentiles who are called by My name,’ Says the Lord, who makes these things known from long ago. “Therefore it is my judgment that we do not trouble those who are turning to God from among the Gentiles, but that we write to them that they abstain from things contaminated by idols and from fornication and from what is strangled and from blood. “For Moses from ancient generations has in every city those who preach him, since he is read in the synagogues every Sabbath.”James affirms what Peter has spoken and addresses the Old Testament to those there…He only sites Amos but refers in his position that multiple or many “prophets” speak to God visiting the gentiles and taking out a people for His name.This comes about due to God’s inclusion of them, NOT them becoming Jewish or becoming a part of Israel!
James’s perspective drew less upon the practical experiences reported by Peter, Paul, and Barnabas and more upon the teaching of the OT prophets. If God’s redemptive purposes included Gentiles, then the Jewish believers should not have erected barriers to their inclusion among God’s covenant people.The concept of God’s desire for the gentiles is not a new one… His redemption and salvation has come to all mankind Jew and Gentile alike!The concept of God’s desire for the gentiles is not a new one… salvation has come to them!James the just, a man noted for his rigorous observation of the law… comes to the stance that the gentiles should not be burdened or troubled! wow, if James could come to this them those who were there listening could see this as well.(God’s choice expressed by Peter, Pal and Barnabas's testimony of God working, James’ referencing their Old Testament scriptures… Now James offers up his judgment or opinion…)A Focus on UnityJames closing statement or view is one to do with UNITY…James in his wisdom realizes that there would be Jewish believers fellowshiping with Gentile believers and offers a proposal to avoid any unnecessary offense.The gentile believers are urged to abstain from idols, unchastity, what is strangled, and blood.These practices were specifically offensive to the Jews and would allow for greater fellowshipThe decision confirmed salvation by grace through faith and did not require for one to become a JewThe request would not only keep pagan practices of worship out of the church, it would produce a unity among brothers and sisters in Christ!Note the response to this...Verse 22… it was an agreement with the leadership presentVerse 25… states the leaders had become one in mind on this issue!Verse 31… shows the response of the church in Antioch when they read the letter…they rejoiced and were encouragedChurch, there are two things we should fight fiercely for:Bock, D. L. (2012). A Theology of Luke and Acts: Biblical Theology of the New Testament. (A. J. Köstenberger, Ed.) (p. 88). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.The purity of the gospel of Jesus Christ (these leaders did so)the extent we go to for unity of fellowship in the bodyThe unity of the body of Christ (setting aside your preference)Problem is that usually we find the church just fightingLooking to ones own interest, desires, wantsConsider the insight from a doctor as we close, what do you need to do, let go of, or change for the unity of the body of Christ…
Sometimes a dreaded thing occurs in the body—a mutiny—resulting in a tumor.…
A tumor is called benign if its effect is fairly localized and it stays within membrane boundaries. But the most traumatizing condition in the body occurs when disloyal cells defy inhibition. They multiply without any checks on growth, spreading rapidly throughout the body, choking out normal cells. White cells, armed against foreign invaders, will not attack the body’s own mutinous cells. Physicians fear no other malfunction more deeply: it is called cancer. For still mysterious reasons, these cells—and they may be cells from the brain, liver, kidney, bone, blood, skin, or other tissues—grow wild, out of control. Each is a healthy, functioning cell, but disloyal, no longer acting in regard for the rest of the body.
Even the white cells, the dependable palace guard, can destroy the body through rebellion. Sometimes they recklessly reproduce, clogging the bloodstream, overloading the lymph system, strangling the body’s normal functions—such is leukemia.
Because I am a surgeon and not a prophet, I tremble to make the analogy between cancer in the physical body and mutiny in the spiritual body of Christ. But I must. In His warnings to the church, Jesus Christ showed no concern about the shocks and bruises His Body would meet from external forces. “The gates of hell shall not prevail against my church,” He said flatly (Matthew 16:18). He moved easily, unthreatened, among sinners and criminals. But He cried out against the kind of disloyalty that comes from within.
—Paul Brand and Philip Yancey, Fearfully and Wonderfully Made
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