September 15, 2019
Scripture: Acts 2:41
This morning we will begin with this verse – an amazing event recording the salvation of 3,000 people! Our God is an awesome God and God loves you, me, and all people! The 3,000 people turned to God on the day of Pentecost when the Holy Spirit came upon the disciples. The disciples began to speak in foreign languages so that the thousands of people in Jerusalem could all hear the disciples praising God in their native language. What a time to be alive! It was a spiritual awakening and a revival of people.
I believe we are encountering an amazing time to be alive at Rose of Sharon now. I am excited for the Lord is doing in our church family. I believe God is preparing for us for a mighty spiritual working in our church. We will be holding revival services November 10 – 13. Please plan to be with us if you are able. Please be in prayer for what God will do during our revival. As we look toward revival down the road it is appropriate for us to begin with the gospel and the Lord’s Supper. The Lord’s Supper, which we will observe this morning, is an opportunity for us to remember the work Jesus completed for us on the cross. Jesus willingly went to the cross to sacrifice Himself in our place to pay the price for our sins so that we might be forgiven and have a way to salvation. When we receive Jesus as our Lord and Savior then we can be saved and receive His salvation. This is possible because of the work Jesus did on the cross. As we prepare for revival it is important that we remember all Jesus has done for us. And it is important that we share the gospel with others, just as Peter did in Acts 2 which led to 3,000 people surrendering to Jesus. We can follow Peter’s example as we interact with others.
As the disciples were speaking in the foreign languages before the crowds some accused the disciples of being drunk. Peter stood before the crowd to refute this claim and provide the truth to the people. In Acts 2:21 we see Peter announcing the way of salvation that anyone who would call on Jesus, on the Lord, can be saved. It is important that we understand this verse. Peter said “whosoever”; this means any and all people. And the means is faith in calling on the Lord, salvation is not dependent on church attendance, money given, reputation, good deeds, achievement, behavior, or anything by our own power but only by faith. We must remember this truth as we share the gospel.
In verses 22 – 24 Peter teaches that Jesus was the promised Messiah of the Old Testament proven by the miracles and works Jesus completed before the people. He tells the people that they then participated in the arrest and execution of Jesus. However, Peter does make sure to teach that the death of Jesus was a part of God’s plan. And Jesus does not end at the execution as He arose from the grave!
In verses 25 – 31 Peter interjects some explanation of the Old Testament Scripture to clarify prophesy that had been misunderstood by the Jewish people. This correction, is not the focus of our message today, but in it Peter declares Jesus to be the Messiah promised by the prophets.
With verse 32 Peter returns to the resurrection and reminds the people there they had been witnesses of the resurrection. This is a crucial verse for us today. There are some people today who try to suggest the resurrection did not happen. However, these people were not alive then, but Peter and these thousands of people were. Had the resurrection not happened surely someone in the crowd would have argued with Peter. But no one objects Peter’s assertion because they knew it was true and we can believe it true today.
In verse 33 Peter tells the crowd what they are now witnessing s the work of the Holy Spirit in the disciples. Verses 34 – 35 include another interjection to address Jewish beliefs and Peter again clarifies prophesy to show that it points to Jesus.
Verse 36 includes the summary of the gospel: Jesus came to earth and demonstrated He was God’s Son, Jesus sacrificed Himself by dying on the cross, and then Jesus rose from the dead. Jesus is our Lord and Savior. The response of the crowd is seen in verse 37 in which the people are pricked in their hearts. They are aware of sin separating them from God and they are aware of their need for help so they ask Peter. In verse 38 Peter tells the people to repent and place their faith in Jesus as Lord and Savior just as we started in verse 21. Peter tells the people they should be baptized too, an act of obedience to God and a public declaration of one’s personal choice to follow Jesus as Lord and Savior.
The details of Peter’s message ends in verse 39 with the teaching that the promise of salvation is available to all people including children. I want to encourage our parents and grandparents to engage your children when your children start to ask questions about being saved. Do not underestimate the ability of God to work in the life of the young. I am more than happy to meet with you if you and/or your children want to discuss salvation. Join me in praying for our church family and our community to experience God’s working and for us to be faithful and obedient to God’s will.
Scripture: John 13:21 – 30
Tonight as we continue looking at Jesus’ final night with His disciples prior to the crucifixion we will look at Judas Iscariot being identified as the betrayer. As we look at Judas I think we will benefit from reviewing some of the events leading up to this day.
John 12:3-8 occurs just prior to the events in the Upper Room. Here Jesus’ feet are washed by Mary. The oil she washes Jesus’ feet is estimated to have cost the equivalent of year’s earnings for a rural worker in Jesus’ time. In Matthew 26:10-16 we see Judas’ response to this act. Judas is focused on the cost and monetary value of the oil not on the worship of Jesus. Judas was focused on the monetary value because he was stealing. Evidently, Judas had become a treasurer of sorts for the disciples’ ministry and he was stealing from the gifts. Judas decides the cost of this warrants his choice to enter a pact with the chief priests to betray Jesus.
Moving back into John 13 during the feet washing (verses 10-11) we see Jesus tell the disciples one of them is not clean, or not a faithful member. In verses 18 and 19 Jesus again forewarns that one of them will betray Him and provides the sign of how to know who the betrayer would be. As we read earlier in verses 21 – 30 Jesus provides more discussion on the identity of who would betray Him.
I want us to focus on a couple of verses here. First in verse 27 we see that Jesus tells and commands Judas to leave and complete the betrayal. Second we see in verses 28-29 that the other 11 disciples are clueless that Judas is the betrayer.
Now, what does all this mean and how does it relate to John 16:33? How does the betrayal by Judas show us we can have peace and courage in a world full of different tribulations?
First lets recap what is happening. Judas has become angered about the money and decided to meet with the chief priests in secret to devise a plan to betray Jesus. Judas’ behavior and deception is such that the other 11 disciples have no idea that they have a betrayer in their mix. The other 11 are beside themselves at the thought of a betrayer and are questioning if it is themselves.
In contrast to the disciples, Jesus knows exactly what is happening. We see Jesus give repeated warnings to the 11 of the betrayer. And Jesus even provides a sign to them. One thing for us to take away from this is that Jesus is not surprised and deceived. People may betray us, society may work against Christianity, persecution may come from unexpected places but we have peace knowing the Lord is aware of it all. No trickery will catch the Lord unaware. Here is something else, we should look to the Lord for warnings of betrayal. Jesus desires the best for us and He may be giving us signs of things to come to prepare us so we cannot afford to look away from Him.
Here is something else, no matter the size of the evil at work, Jesus is still in control and sovereign. Look at who all is assembled in this betrayal. We have an expert thief who has managed to hide his identity from the disciples, we have the chief priests – the most powerful Jews, and Satan himself entered in Judas. This is about as powerful a combination of evil that could be but Jesus is aware of their every move and He controls it. It is only when Jesus tells Judas to go and make the betrayal that Judas does so. Evil can only go where the Lord allows. It’s a source of comfort to know that whatever evil we are seeing it has been allowed by God. We may not like it, and may not make its workings less terrible but we can know that God is still controlling things and whatever is happening is according to God’s will.
And a final great thing here is that we know Jesus and the Lord use the betrayal to set in motion the great salvation work they have been planning to redeem humanity! God takes the works of evil and uses it for tremendous good. Whatever terrible thing we experience we can ask what good is God bringing from this? That can give us great courage and peace in the face of troubles. Jesus has indeed overcome the world! Let’s go into the world with this knowledge and work for the Lord!
If we can be of help in some way to you, please let us know.
In Christ’s Love, Charlie Tucker