God makes you so right with Himself that sins are forgiven and forgotten by God. You record is clean; your life is clean, and you are living for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Alright, thank you very much, and hello friends. How are you? You’re doing okay today? Our broadcast today continues in the third portion, you may say, of Paul’s talk at Antioch. He had quite a long discourse there, actually. And so we’re plowing on through it. We’ve gotten now to verse 26. Paul had given a summary of Jewish history. He had connected the ancient Hebrews with the Lord Jesus Christ. Now he says, “men and brethren, and children of the stock of Abraham, and besides whosoever among you feareth God,” that takes in the visitors, the strangers and the Gentile proselytes, “to you is the word of this salvation sent”.
Now, here’s a parallel to what Peter said, “The promise is to you and to your children, and to many as the Lord our God shall call”. “The promise is to you and to your children, and to all that are far off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call.” That’s Acts 2:39. Now, Paul is saying something, the same thing you see. He said, look this is for everybody here, this salvation, it’s in a person, the Lord Jesus and it is for you.
Stopping long enough to realize that one of the biggest thrills you will ever have is to realize that God’s plan of salvation is not simply something objective that you look at, at arms length, so to speak, and say oh yeah, that is salvation. Rather it is so personal that when you open your heart and life to the Lord Jesus, all of the mercies of God are focused upon you. And like Paul you see yourself as the chief of sinners, and you see yourself as the greatest candidate for God’s mercy, and you see yourself as the recipient of the greatest amount of God’s grace and pardon. That’s the way it is, and all I’m saying today is just help yourself to a blessing today by realizing that salvation isn’t something it’s somebody, and that somebody belongs to you and you to Him, the Lord Jesus Christ. This salvation is for you. God planned it for you.
I think the problem that I’m talking about is particularly true of people who have been brought up in an evangelical atmosphere. We got accustomed to the use of certain terms and songs and expressions, and we get used to going through certain formalities. Now we confused those things with reality. This is true on the campus of a Christian college. I see the students, every now and again, pitifully trying to convince their fellows, and faculty, and staff alike that, oh yeah, they’re all right spiritually. Why? Because they’re going through the motions, they’re saying the right words. You see, well now, this doesn’t prove a thing. It only proves that they may be a very good actor.
What we’re after is reality with the Lord Jesus Christ, not the form merely. Don’t throw the form out. Don’t throw the form out but get reality with it. That’s what counts. “Unto you,” said he, “is the word of this salvation sent.” Now he goes on with a little more historical comment, he said, “they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning Jesus Christ. “And though they found no cause of death in Him, yet desired, they Pilate, that He should be slain. And when they had fulfilled all that was written of Him that’s in the prophets, they took him down from the tree, and lain him in a sepulcher. But God raised him from the dead: And he was seen many days by them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people”.
And so we declare unto you glad tidings, how the promise which was made unto the fathers, God has fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is written in the second psalm, “Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten Him.” And in another place he said, “Thou shalt not suffer thy Holy one to see corruption”.
Christ was raised from the dead in fulfillment of the prophesies of the Old Testament. This is what Paul is saying. Now just a thought or two here; It will be forever remembered, that the people who were present at the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus wanted Him killed no matter what. They could find no legal cause of death in Him, as Paul says. Pilate said the same thing. We have the testimony from his own lips in another portion of the scripture. But these people said, “We want Him killed”. Now, stop to realize that unbelief is always murderous. Unbelief is always murderous.
If you reject God, you have no alternative, but to be at war with Him. If you reject God, you find that He is getting in your way, and you have to get Him out of your way. This I think is the reason for the violent opposition, bitter, cynical, poisonous, opposition that you find on the part of some college and university professors against the gospel. There’s one who starts his class every term by saying, “Is there anybody her who still believes in God?” And asks for hands and then he proceeds to mock at anybody who is hapless enough to have lifted a hand and said, yes he believes in God.
Incidentally, one of our own people was taking some graduate work in his class, and this actually happened, you know, the teacher said, “anybody here who still believes in God?” Well, this person lifted the hand, and so the attack began, “aha, so you believe in God? Can you prove there’s a God?” And, our person who was taking graduate work looked him right in the eye, and said,” Well, sir can you prove that there isn’t?” And there was a small silence, and the subject was changed. (Laughs) That’s pretty good huh. You don’t have to back down, but the point I’m making is that many of these people, who are so bitter against the gospel, and against the Lord Jesus Christ, are people who sometime or other in their lifetime have said no to God.
Unbelief is murderous. It has to get God out of the way. That’s why these people wanted the Lord Jesus killed. They couldn’t stand to have Him around because they had rejected Him. Don’t be surprised at persecution, if it is leveled against you or against other believers. Don’t be surprised at it. Because the human heart is so constituted that when you say no to God, you have to get God and his people out of your way. That’s why persecution comes up, you see.
Well, I thought that was an insight worth stopping on because it explains a lot that happens. Well, they found no cause for death in Christ, yet desired, they Pilate, that He should be slain. Now, all of this was in fulfilling the scripture because the next verse says, “When they fulfilled all that was written of Him, they took Him down from the cross and laid Him in a sepulcher. And God raised Him from the dead, because that also had been prophesied”.
Interestingly enough, there is constant reference to the fulfillment of scripture, not only here in the book of Acts, but in the gospel records itself. Look for yourself how many times Matthew, and Mark, and Luke, and John use the expression, “that it might be fulfilled”. You have reference to the scriptures in Matthew 26:24, “the Son of Man goeth as it is prophesied of him”, and so on. Later on, “that it might be fulfilled, I will smite the sheep, and the flock shall be scattered.” That’s 26:31. And so on… Let’s see a few more here.
Well, I’m going down the verses, and using your time probably not too well. But you have all of these different references, “That if might be fulfilled”. “That it might be fulfilled”. And hear it again in chapter 27:9, “Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah, the prophet saying, ‘They took the 30 pieces of silver’“. You just go right straight on through fulfilled, fulfilled, fulfilled.
Well, now what does that say to us? It says that even when people are opposing and even when things are the darkest, God is having His way. That’s what it says to me. Can you think of anymore dark hour than the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus Christ? Can you think of any time when spirits were lure, and hopes were more thoroughly dashed to pieces, and when everything seemed lost. Can you think of any time more tragic and filled with despair than Golgotha, Calvary, the crucifixion of the Lord Jesus? This is humanity’s most tragic hour, and at that point, Paul says these people were fulfilling what God had said about it.
You can have the sublime consciousness even in your tragic hours. Now I think this is good for somebody today, I don’t know who you are, because I don’t have any radar that reaches out and tells me who’s who. But the Spirit of God whispers to me what to say, and that helps, doesn’t it? So, somebody needs this? In your darkest hours, and maybe you’re going through a dark one today, God is getting His will done. Will you believe that? Will you look up, maybe through your tears, or maybe through your pain, or through the haze of uncertainty and misunderstanding, and perplexity? Just look up and say, “Dear Lord, I believe you. I believe you. I’ve still got you”. Jesus said, “Let not your heart not be troubled, ye believe in God, believe also in me”. I’ve still got you dear Lord and I believe your will is being done. Hallelujah. You know what that will do? It will take all of the stress out of the situation. Your tears may still fall, but they aren’t going to be bitter. It will take the stress out of the situation if you just look up and realize, just as it was at Calvary, humanity’s darkest hour, when God, the Almighty maker, died for men, the creatures’ sin.
In humanity’s darkest hour, God was getting His will done. He was fulfilling His promise, even during the divine heartbreak of Calvary. You, my friend can look up and say, Oh God, I believe you’re getting your will done, and I’m going to submit myself to you. I want your will, not as I will, but as thou wilt. It’s great, huh.
Now Paul the apostle is giving his sermon here at Antioch of Pisidia. He’s in the synagogue. He’s summarized Jewish history. He’s connected the Lord Jesus Christ with the descendants of King David. He’s been saying now that in dying on the cross and in rising again, the Lord Jesus Christ was fulfilling divine prophesy. God raised Him from the dead and He was seen many days by them that came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses unto the people. God protected the situation by allowing many people to see the Lord Jesus Christ under many different kinds of circumstances, so that it wouldn’t be one person’s hysteria or twelve persons conniving but 500 people could stand and say, we know Him, we saw Him, we’ve heard His voice, we’ve touched Him, we know He’s alive. Hallelujah.
All of which leads me to say, as we close this broadcast, that your most powerful impact upon people today is simply to prove that Jesus Christ is alive by the kind of person you are. You are His witness. The Lord Jesus said, “Ye shall be witnesses unto me.” I wonder friend, think about this, will anybody today decide that Jesus is alive, as He watches you?
Think it over, will you? Let’s pray.
Lord Jesus Christ I pray that Thou would so work in us by Thy Holy Spirit that the people who are watching and evaluating us will decide for themselves that Christ is real. I ask in His name, Amen. Amen! God bless you, dear friend, all the way, that’s all for now.
Till I meet you once again by way of radio, walk with the King today and be a blessing!
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