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August 17, 2008 AM


INTRO:Acts 5:42 tells us that the apostles preached Jesus "daily in the temple, and in every house". Prior to this, the apostles had been "commanded ..not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus" (Acts 4:18). The early days of preaching and teaching in Jerusalem must have been exciting. The word "multitude" was used to describe the number of the disciples. Can you imagine a time when hundreds of people were responding to gospel preaching in a desire to be baptized into Christ? It was a time of great generosity as people shared their material blessings with those who had nothing. It was a time when miracles of healing were very evident. All of this, however, did not go unnoticed by the high priest and his henchmen! So...

    1. Acts 5:14 - "..multitudes both of men and women"
      1. keep in mind Acts 2:41 - these are people being baptized!
      2. remember, too, Acts 2:47 - these are saved people being added!
    2. Acts 4:31 - "..they spake the word of God with boldness"
      1. I know they spoke of the crucifixion - see Acts 4:27,28
      2. and they spoke powerfully of the resurrection - Acts 4:33
    1. Remember something which apostle Paul said...
      1. Acts 26:26 - ",,this thing was not done in a corner"
      2. the apostles were in Solomon's porch - they could hardly be missed!
    2. Acts 5:17,18 - Ah, the Sadducees again
      1. preaching of Jesus' resurrection was grossly objectionable to them
      2. such teaching would undermine their own credibility - jail them!
    3. Acts 5:19,20 - But God had other plans for them
      1. deliverance from the prison was certainly an exceptional thing
      2. but the reason had nothing to do with the injustice, the personal comforts, and such - it was all about teaching "the words of this life"
    1. He said three very distinct things
      1. he reminded them they had been forbidden to teach in Jesus' name
      2. he accused them of filling Jerusalem with their doctrine
      3. he accused them of trying to lay the blame for Jesus' death on them
        1. they remembered well the crucifixion .. they had initiated it
        2. but guilty people often want to shift blame to others - guilt is not fun
    2. The "words of this life" challenged their tradition and status quo
      1. arrogance, prejudice are enemies of truth
      2. any challenge to arrogance, prejudice is unwanted, unpopular!
      3. this man and his henchmen were well entrenched in position and power - there was no room for any admission of error - there was no room for change
    1. They first acknowledged loyalty to God - Acts 5:29
      1. true, human authority had commanded them to stop preaching
      2. but when faced with this choice - God, or men - only choice was God
      3. this statement is a "good to live by" truth for you and me, too
    2. They proclaimed the cross of Christ - Acts 5:30
      1. they make clear that Jesus is God sent - thus, Messiah
      2. they are unafraid of identifying them as guilty of crucifying Jesus
      3. as I read through Acts, I see the crucifixion mentioned in various ways - but always as central to the proclamation of the word of God
    3. They proclaimed the resurrection by reference to exaltation - Acts 5:31
      1. whom they declared unworthy, God declared to be Prince & Savior
      2. the great need of Israel? repentance
      3. the great possibility because of the cross? forgiveness
    4. Not here say... "we are his witnesses of these things"
      1. the high priest and friends could deny, complain, do bodily harm, etc.
      2. but there was no way they could bury the truth of Jesus
      3. their predictable response? Acts 5:33 ... their answer for any opposition seemed to be "kill it"!
    5. What is your answer to gospel truth? to the cross?
      1. Jesus' crucifixion is not isolated in history
      2. it happened - and it happened for you and me
      3. but, like the high priest, we make the choice - he chose so badly - will you?

INTRO: Preaching the cross does not always make sense to stubborn, prejudiced people. My hope and prayer are that the preaching of the cross of Jesus will affect each of us and make of us better people.

Cecil A. Hutson

17 August 2008

God's Plan of Salvation

You must hear the gospel and then understand and recognize that you are lost without Jesus Christ no matter who you are and no matter what your background is. The Bible tells us that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Before you can be saved, you must understand that you are lost and that the only way to be saved is by obedience to the gospel of Jesus Christ. (2 Thessalonians 1:8) Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.” (John 14:6) “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12) "So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17)

You must believe and have faith in God because “without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6) But neither belief alone nor faith alone is sufficient to save. (James 2:19; James 2:24; Matthew 7:21)

You must repent of your sins. (Acts 3:19) But repentance alone is not enough. The so-called “Sinner’s Prayer” that you hear so much about today from denominational preachers does not appear anywhere in the Bible. Indeed, nowhere in the Bible was anyone ever told to pray the “Sinner’s Prayer” to be saved. By contrast, there are numerous examples showing that prayer alone does not save. Saul, for example, prayed following his meeting with Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9:11), but Saul was still in his sins when Ananias met him three days later (Acts 22:16). Cornelius prayed to God always, and yet there was something else he needed to do to be saved (Acts 10:2, 6, 33, 48). If prayer alone did not save Saul or Cornelius, prayer alone will not save you. You must obey the gospel. (2 Thess. 1:8)

You must confess that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. (Romans 10:9-10) Note that you do NOT need to make Jesus “Lord of your life.” Why? Because Jesus is already Lord of your life whether or not you have obeyed his gospel. Indeed, we obey him, not to make him Lord, but because he already is Lord. (Acts 2:36) Also, no one in the Bible was ever told to just “accept Jesus as your personal savior.” We must confess that Jesus is the Son of God, but, as with faith and repentance, confession alone does not save. (Matthew 7:21)

Having believed, repented, and confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, you must be baptized for the remission of your sins. (Acts 2:38) It is at this point (and not before) that your sins are forgiven. (Acts 22:16) It is impossible to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ without teaching the absolute necessity of baptism for salvation. (Acts 8:35-36; Romans 6:3-4; 1 Peter 3:21) Anyone who responds to the question in Acts 2:37 with an answer that contradicts Acts 2:38 is NOT proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ!

Once you are saved, God adds you to his church and writes your name in the Book of Life. (Acts 2:47; Philippians 4:3) To continue in God’s grace, you must continue to serve God faithfully until death. Unless they remain faithful, those who are in God’s grace will fall from grace, and those whose names are in the Book of Life will have their names blotted out of that book. (Revelation 2:10; Revelation 3:5; Galatians 5:4)