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Our current sermon series in the Book of Acts will help you to have a similar impact today as the early church did in their day.

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Sermon Manuscripts
The Transformational Practices of the Early Church for Us Today

The Book of Acts picks up the story of the disciples in Jerusalem, where Jesus was just put to death. When He died the sky went dark. The earth shook.

Three days later Jesus’ tomb was empty. His followers are all saying Jesus rose, just like He promised. Over five hundred people in the city are all saying they’ve seen Jesus alive from the dead, He’s come back to life. Wow. 

What if you were there and you didn’t believe, what might you be thinking?  

When Jesus was with His disciples, He told them to wait for He would send the Holy Spirit to them. They had eternal life, but they didn’t have the Holy Spirit for He hadn’t returned to heaven and been glorified with the Father. 

Then He ascended. Ten days later, Jesus sent the Holy Spirit and began the church. And the Holy Spirit came manifesting three authenticating signs:

1) The sound of a tornado (power). 2) Tongues of fire sparking and resting on each believer (showing God’s presence). 3) Then the Holy Spirit granted the disciples to declare God’s Greatness in the languages of the various people. 

What if you were in the city then, but you’re not sure what to make of it? You didn’t think Jesus was God, that’s pretty crazy. So you went along with most everyone else’s thinking. Maybe you got swept up in the revelry. Mocking Him. “Crucify Him. Crucify Him.” Seemed like the right thing to do.  

But you saw that the sky went dark while He was on the cross, and the earth shook right at His death. Now Jesus’ body is missing, but it was guarded so well. It doesn’t make sense but… and now people are claiming to have seen Jesus alive from the dead. That’s crazy. And now this incredible sound, tongues of fire landing on His followers, and they’re praising God for His greatness and calling us to believe in Jesus Christ, all in everyone’s language.

It’s almost too much. All of the leaders are telling you, “Ignore them, they’re drunk.” But you’re wiser than that. You know that drunk people don’t speak fluent Farsi or French and make masterful speeches on God’s greatness.  

Next, one of Jesus’ followers, Simon Peter, speaks out. Powerfully. He’s clearly not drunk. And he explains to everyone exactly what we’re seeing. 

Acts 2:22 “Men of Israel, listen to these words: Jesus the Nazarene, a man attested to you by God with miracles and wonders and signs which God performed through Him in your midst, just as you yourselves know, 23 this Man, delivered over by the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you nailed to a cross by the hands of godless men and put Him to death. 24 But God raised Him up again,…” 

The whole point of His speech is the sound, the tongues of fire, and Jesus' followers preaching like the OT prophets in everyone’s own language all point to the fact Jesus rose from the dead, God raised Him, and seated Him in power in heaven. The prophet Joel promises YHWH will send His Spirit. And Jesus just sent Him.

Acts 2:32 “This Jesus God raised up again, to which we are all witnesses. 33 “Therefore having been exalted to the right hand of God, and having received from the Father the promise of the Holy Spirit, He has poured forth this which you both see and hear.” 

Peter quotes the prophet Joel who declared that YHWH Himself will send His Holy Spirit. And Jesus has just sent Him. Jesus is YHWH and this is huge.

Acts 2:36 “Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord [with power] and Christ — this Jesus whom you crucified.”

If you were there, what would you think? How would you respond? If you had called for Jesus' death, how would you react to Peter’s sermon?

If you didn’t believe, you might walk off, laugh at him or shout him down.

But what if you believed what he said? What if Jesus is alive? If it is true?

Acts 2:37 Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, [those who believed Peter's message realized what they’d done. They’re aware of their sin and guilt] and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brothers, what shall we do?” 38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.   

Why didn’t he just tell them to believe in Jesus and be saved, you know, by grace through faith apart from works?

Must we also repent to be forgiven, now? Must we also be baptized in order to have eternal life? Some churches insist on these, based on this passage. But is this prescriptive or simply descriptive? This is descriptive.

But don’t make sweeping applications without observing the words and context and without understanding the meaning. 

Peter’s response differs from everywhere else. It differs from what he’d say to us. Jesus never says to do this in the Gospel of John. Nor Paul in Romans or Galatians. All evangelistic. Nor Peter in His letters. This is a unique people.

What is unique about them? They saw Jesus and His miracles. They rejected Him. Accused Him of blasphemy. They called the Son of God an agent of Satan. They called for the death of their Creator—and even put Him to death! They even told Pilate “His blood be upon us and upon our children.” It is. There is a special judgment awaiting them. Remember, Jesus wept for Jerusalem and predicted their destruction! Jesus warned that generation of what would happen to them, it will be worse for them than Sodom and Gomorrah.

Several decades later, Jerusalem endured a grueling two-year siege. The Roman general Titus commanded his armies to encircle the city and cut off its supplies. This blockade resulted in a horrible famine and disease swept through the neighborhoods. After enduring unimaginable hardships, the city's walls finally crumbled under the relentless assault of the Roman forces. Jerusalem was conquered, the Temple destroyed, and the streets stained with blood. This was a devastating judgment that fulfilled Jesus’ prophecy.

This is what Peter has in mind. Look at what he says just a verse later,

Acts 2:40 And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!”

Peter tells them they need to be saved from God’s special judgment that will come upon that generation that crucified Jesus. So these brand new believers on the Day of Pentecost needed to separate themselves from that generation and the judgment that was to fall on Jerusalem. 

But how? What do these new believers need to do now?

Acts 2:38 Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.   

First, that generation of Jews on the Day of Pentecost needed to REPENT. Literally, to change their minds. About what? About Jesus! He is God in the flesh. Our Savior. Our Lord. God’s anointed. 

Then they need to BE BAPTIZED in the name of Jesus Christ. Be separate from that generation of unbelievers and publicly identify with Jesus. To have eternal life? NO! But to be forgiven, for the forgiveness of sins, for Christ’s blood on their hands.

Forgiveness here is not judicial pardon, that they may go to heaven, but this is more personal, and relational (forgiveness is always relational); so this is to have an intimate, abiding fellowship with God. 

As believers, they are justified by grace alone. They have eternal life. Their sins are forgiven judicially. But the matter of their guilt and shame, for accusing Jesus of serving Satan, calling for His execution, and celebrating His death. These need to be specifically addressed and personally forgiven. 

Repent of this. Confess this. And be baptized, cleansed, and forgiven. I think of Jesus restoring Peter after he denied Him. Peter needed to process what He’d done. He needed Jesus’ personal forgiveness. That’s what God’s doing for those who murdered Jesus and now trust in Him.

"Let’s go through this personal process. Repent. I’ll forgive you. You don’t have to bear this in your conscience. Be baptized. Separate yourself publicly from those who still don’t believe. I’ll cleanse you. Others cannot hold this over you." That’s what those who said “Crucify Him” and now trust Him needed. I think of it as pure gift.

So, how did those who killed Jesus respond to Peter’s message on Pentecost? While many scoffed, many believed. And did what Peter said.

Acts 2:41 So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls.

So the church is birthed and you have all these new believers. What was the next step? See the early church had practices that were transformative. What were they? What did they do? So that we can do the same, today?  

Acts 2:42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Did you expect more? These seem simple, boring, and unimaginative. But these were transformative for the early church. By implementing these practices, we can experience transformation in our church and in our lives.

First, they continually devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, particularly the NT, grace teaching.

They were a learning community, together. They learned together. Discussed God’s Word, together. Private yes, but don’t forsake THIS.

Don't underestimate the importance of gathering together for Sunday’s messages, Life Group discussions, and bible studies, as well as reading God’s Word daily.

Don’t minimize the power of God’s Word to awaken you to God’s love and God’s will for you, to give you God’s perspective on your choices, to protect you from things that harm you, and to lead you on a path of flourishing. 

The Bible is not just any book but God's living, breathing Word. As you open it, you can hear directly from your Heavenly Father and Jesus your Savior in its stories and teachings. This is key to growing in your faith and your love. 

Second, they continually devoted themselves to fellowship. Sharing. Partnering. 

Church, for you to impact your circle and grow stronger in Christ, devote yourselves to the apostles’ teaching (Be in the Word) and participate in the church's life (Choose Community). Fellowship. Know, be known, and Care.

Attend Sunday gatherings, learn together, and worship God together. Serve together. Be there for others. Build relationships. Bring food to share, and commit to a life group. Open your heart to others so you can care. Connect, process, support each other, and spur one another on to love and service.

Third, they devoted themselves to breaking bread and prayer. 

Throughout the NT breaking bread refers to communion, recalling the Lord’s death and sacrifice. We remember together each first Sunday of the month.  

Breaking bread also refers to eating together. Invite people into your home. Invite them out to eat. Open your heart to be there for others. And pray together. Share. Care. We do this every Sunday. Every life group. And more. 

Are these really that transforming? And are the transforming practices of the early church still relevant today?

We don’t know how many months pass between verses 42 and 43, but Luke tells us what resulted in the early church.

Acts 2:43 Everyone kept feeling a sense of awe, and many wonders and signs were taking place through the apostles. [This was all new. God was authenticating these men in their apostolic role in the church.]||| 44 And all those who had believed were together and had all things in common;|||45 and they began selling their property and possessions and were sharing them with all, as anyone might have need. 46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

There were a lot of normal things that we can emulate today.

Yet the Holy Spirit also did something special that day. The church was new. Nobody knew the apostles. “Who are they? Why should they be in charge? Why listen to them?"

Well, because the Twelve were with Jesus from His baptism to His resurrection. They heard Him firsthand. He trained them. And He anointed them. And in verse 43, God authenticates them. He validates the apostles’ leadership by manifesting signs and wonders through the Twelve. 

That was exciting, but it wasn’t a long-lasting phenomenon. Know what was? They continually met together, shared communion, and shared lots of meals in each other’s homes. They got to know each other, they served together, and they knew God together.

Doing these contributed to their love for God and each other, and God used it to bring about remarkable growth.

Look at the results. Unity. Love.

In verse 44, the members of the church “were together” and “had all things in common.”

In verse 45, some of them even sold some of their properties and possessions and shared them with those who had need. 

So are we to sell our homes and keep no possessions to ourselves? Is that what the Lord commands? Do you see that anywhere? No. God doesn’t command us to sell our property and possessions. That’s not His law for us.

God doesn't command us to sell our properties and possessions. He encourages us, however, to foster love and unity by continually meeting together, learning God’s Word together, and spending time knowing each other. Then, in love, we might just choose to sell our property and our possessions if it would really help those we love.

But none of this happens in a vacuum. It’s sandwiched between two passages and earnest faithfulness.  

Acts 2:42 They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.

Acts 2:46 Day by day continuing with one mind in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they were taking their meals together with gladness and sincerity of heart, 47 praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved.

I know our lives are busy some busier than others. We're also independent Americans and very private New Englanders. Most of us cannot meet daily.

Yet spiritual growth s possible and it doesn’t require impossible feats. It's the normal, and very relational things like spending time together, worshiping together each week, eating together, getting to know each other, learning together, sharing and caring and praying together, and yielding our lives to God.

These are what marked the early church. Through these, God nurtured in them a love for each other. They saw each other’s needs and they met those needs

The early church emerged out of a community that previously hated the Lord. Literally killed Him. Now they were grateful for His mercy, His forgiveness. They wanted to know Him more. They wanted to be His people in that still hostile city. But they devoted themselves to the New Testament teaching and they regularly participated in the life of the church together.

That was enough. And these practices can still have an impact on us today.

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Jesus' Promise Fulfilled (Acts 2:1-13)

Last week, we began a new series in the Book of Acts.

Jesus was with His disciples for the last time. He told them to wait in Jerusalem for the Holy Spirit would come upon them. They were eating up every word when, suddenly, a bright cloud descended upon Him, and raptured Jesus into the sky. Immediately, two angels appeared, assuring them Jesus’ll return one day in the same way they saw him go. Imagine the reunion celebration in Heaven. 

Then the angels are gone. Jesus has left. The Holy Spirit hadn’t come, and the apostles are waiting, praying, searching Scripture. Three days. Four days.  

Acts 1:15 At this time Peter stood up in the midst of the brothers (a gathering of about one hundred and twenty persons was there together), and said, 16 “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit foretold by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus.” 

Peter has a thousand questions but Jesus isn’t there so he goes to God’s Word for God’s perspective. Maybe he's thinking about his experience with Jesus, the night of His betrayal. He reads God’s Word. “Guys, the Scripture that the Holy Spirit foretold through David about Judas had to be fulfilled.” His betrayal of our Lord fulfilled God’s Word, it happened by divine necessity! 

God's Sovereignty

God is sovereign. He even uses man’s greatest evil to bring about God’s greatest good. Man sins. The world is cursed and nature causes destruction. But nothing ruins God’s plans. God can use the worst things for His glory…

God created the cosmos and everything in it to be good. He warned Adam ahead of time not to make the choice he did for it would lead to brokenness, death, and destruction. Yet God allowed Adam to make his choice… 

God's Suffering

Man suffers ever since—and we follow the same pattern daily. As with Adam and Judas, in even our worst choices that bring us suffering—God remains sovereign and faithful. Even more, understand that God suffers for our sins, too. Man makes his choice, God allows us to ignore Him, to sin against Him. 

For His sake and ours, God suffers for it another way too! What did Adam’s sin lead to? What did Judas’ sin cause? For each, we see Jesus on the cross. For your sins, see Jesus on the cross, see God’s unfailing love for you. Sin separates us from God. Through Jesus’ suffering, He redeems us from it… 

This is God’s love. He is the God of the cross who identifies with our sin and suffering, He is the God who is found in suffering, who relates to us most deeply through our suffering. He is also the Sovereign Lord of Glory.

Peter discovered another thing. Judas’ role in the original twelve is to be filled,  

Acts 1:21 “Therefore it is necessary that of the men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us—22 beginning with the baptism of John until the day that He was taken up from us—one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”   

Decision Making

We can learn a bit about decision-making from this. For our family, at work, in church; at times we have big decisions to make and you may have one.

Peter starts with what is known and what is seen. This doesn't require spiritual understanding, just a little bit of research and a few answers. The next apostle, just like the original twelve, has to have known Jesus firsthand from His baptism to His ascension. Easy peasy. That narrows the field. 

Acts 1:23 So they put forward two men, Joseph [Hebrew] called Barsabbas [Aramaic] (who was also called Justus [Roman—wow for the gospel to go global this guy seems to have an edge]), and Matthias. 24 And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, [Who? Jesus, in heaven. This is the first recorded instance of prayer to the risen Christ] who know the hearts of all men, show which one of these two You have chosen 25 to occupy this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” 

I wonder how different, and how very relational it was to pray now, knowing Jesus firsthand as they did, now seeing that He’s the One they’re praying to. Amazing. They spoke with Him on earth. Now they speak to Him in heaven. By faith, may we pray, seeing with the same faith and relational awareness.

But back to godly decision-making, the disciples essentially say, “Okay, Lord, we acted on the info we have, we pared it down to two men. Now, show us the man after Your own heart, like when You chose David.” 

What marks their character is their deep trust in God’s sovereign care. They pared it down to two, and they knew that God had already selected His guy; so they ask Him to show them His choice. Trusting God’s sovereignty, they focused more on God than on the candidate. “Lord, reveal Your choice to us.”

Whatever decision you make, do the obvious work you need to do. But spend more time looking to God! He is sovereign. Ask, seek, knock in prayer.

Acts 1:26 And they drew lots for them, and the lot fell to Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

Wait what? Did they literally just roll the dice? What do we do with this? 

First, this was a legitimate method at that time—Leviticus, Numbers, Joshua, Nehemiah. Second, at this point, they still didn’t have the Holy Spirit. The apostles didn’t have direct guidance from God like how we do today.

So if you have a big decision to make, rather than roll the dice or make a list of pros and cons and add up the columns. We are wise to ask God for wisdom and wait on Him, seek out godly others, and act on what He shows.

God wants to develop a character of trust in you so wait patiently on Him.

Trust His intimate, sovereign care. God is for you. He wants to bless you.

Now we come up to Acts 2: Pentecost, the Advent of the Holy Spirit, and the birth of the church. This passage is iconic; it is a huge event in both church and human history.

Jewish Feasts and the Salvation Story

Along with His crucifixion, burial, and resurrection, Pentecost was promised and predicted through the Jewish Feasts.

For instance, Jesus was crucified on Passover. The Passover Feast is the Feast of Salvation. Jesus shed His blood on the day Jews celebrated the blood of the lamb that led to God’s deliverance from slavery.  

On the Feast of Unleavened Bread, Jesus’ body was buried.

Three days later Jesus’ resurrection occurred during the Feast of First Fruits, which celebrated the first wheat harvest of the season. The feast anticipated Jesus’ resurrection, His life out of the earth, and our own resurrection.

After this, Jesus remained with His disciples for 40 days before He ascended to heaven. And He told His disciples to wait for the Holy Spirit. And they waited for 10 days. That’s when we pick it up in Acts 2. It’s been 50 days… 

The fiftieth day after Passover is the Jewish Feast of Pentecost, the Feast of Weeks, 7 weeks is forty-nine days plus one for Sunday. Pentecost means “fifty.” This Feast celebrated the end of the spring harvest, new life, and the Lord’s blessing.

Pentecost points to God giving us the Holy Spirit, planting the church, and the future harvest of believers through the Spirit's ministry in the church. 

These OT Feasts foreshadow God's entire plan of salvation. 

So we pick it up on the Feast of Pentecost or the Harvest Feast, which included a pilgrimage to Jerusalem. So the city was filled with devout Jews.

Acts 2:1 And when the day of Pentecost had come, they were all together in one place. 2 And suddenly there came from heaven a noise like a violent, rushing wind [like a tornado], and [the sound] filled the whole house where they were sitting. 3 And there appeared to them tongues as of fire distributing themselves [spreading out like fire], and they rested on each one of them. 4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance.

Often when God does something new He validates it with authenticating signs.

The Holy Spirit indwelling believers is new! So God provides three authenticating signs that this is the advent of the Holy Spirit Jesus promised, 

The first sign was a sound, a noise like a mighty wind. Notice, there wasn’t any wind. The room wasn’t filled with wind but with "the sound" of a violent wind, a tornado. And it filled the whole house. This sound revealed the coming of the Holy Spirit in POWER. God made it clear to each of them that God’s Spirit was with them, powerfully, just as Jesus said He would be.  

God's Power

The Holy Spirit came with power then and He continues to empower us to be Jesus’ witnesses. As much as the Spirit comforts and cares for us, teaches and guides us, He also empowers us. That’s what the sound of a great tornado zeroing down on your house or 100 freight trains rushing into town represents.

The second sign was visible, Acts 1:3, “and there appeared to them tongues as of fire” as of fire, just as there was no wind, there was no consuming heat. It’s similar to when God revealed Himself to Moses as the burning bush that didn’t burn. 

God's Presence

God often revealed His PRESENCE through fire. He revealed His presence and protection of the nation as a Pillar of Fire over them in the wilderness. Then atop Mount Sinai. Here, the tongues of fire kept flickering like fire, and resting on each individual much like He came to Jesus in the form of a dove.

The sound of a violent, rushing wind represents the Holy Spirit’s POWER, and the tongues of fire upon each believer represent God's PRESENCE.

And the third sign?

Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues,...

This is the third sign: they began to speak in foreign languages.

God's Purpose

This is the fruit, it shows the PURPOSE of God’s presence and power: to fulfill the Great Commission! 

These three signs, the sound of a violent wind (the Holy Spirit’s power), the tongues of fire (God’s presence) on each believer, and foreign languages (fulfilling God’s Purpose that we shall be Jesus’ witnesses) authenticate that the Holy Spirit has come to empower Jesus’ disciples.

The same Holy Spirit dwells in you and empowers you to carry out Jesus’ mission today.

This is another gift of God’s grace. Again, this was a first-time event, a brand new thing, so God authenticated Jesus’ gift of the Spirit on that occasion alone. Not only for their sakes but for ours today. No, He doesn’t grant us to speak the gospel in a foreign language every time we travel abroad. But don’t underestimate the Presence or the Power of Christ in you…

Acts 2:4 And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit was giving them utterance. 

They weren’t making up words. They weren’t speaking ecstatic words that no one could understand. The Holy Spirit empowered them to speak in the native language of the worshipers visiting Jerusalem for the Harvest Feast. 

Acts 2:5 Now there were Jews living [staying] in Jerusalem, devout men [worshipers] from every nation under heaven. 6 And when this sound occurred the multitude [the crowds] came together and were bewildered because they were each one hearing them speak in his own language.

Not only were they bewildered, but they were also impressed, at first.

Acts 2:7 They were amazed and marveled, saying, "Are not all these who are speaking Galileans? 8 And how is it that we each hear them in our own language to which we were born? 9 "Parthians and Medes and Elamites [Iranians], residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, 10 Phrygia and Pamphylia [Turkey], Egypt and the districts of Libya and around Cyrene [Africa], and visitors from Rome [Italy, Europe], both Jews and proselytes [Non-Jews who converted to Judaism], 11 Cretans [Greek isles] and Arabs [Syria... So how is it that] we hear [these unread Galileans] in our own tongues speaking of the mighty deeds [lit., the greatness, the magnificence] of God."

Wow. God did what He promised long before in the Jewish Feasts. He did what Jesus promised He would do. He sent the Holy Spirit to believers. They had God’s presence, and God’s power, to declare God’s Greatness and the Good News that Jesus Christ paid for our sins and gives sinners eternal life.

The same God is in YOU, with the same power, for the same purpose. God cares for YOU. God in Christ forgives YOU. And God is present within YOU. 

Big picture.

This is the opposite of what happened at the Tower of Babel. In Genesis 11, people united and acted contrary to God’s purposes and this would bring great harm. So God interfered; He caused them to speak in different languages. And unable to communicate with one another they separated, dispersed, and eventually formed different nations. A very significant event. On the day of Pentecost, the opposite occurred. The disciples spoke of the greatness and the glory of God to all these people in all their different languages, causing all who believed to be united together in Jesus Christ. 

However, most of those who heard had one of two predictable responses.

Acts 2:12 And they all continued in amazement and great perplexity, saying to one another, "What does this mean? [what is the significance of this day?]” 13 But others were mocking, [Unable to explain it away, they mock; create a new narrative,] saying, "They are full of sweet wine. [Dudes, they’re drunk, don’t even pay them any attention.]

This leads to the apostle Peter’s first sermon in the next passage.

But Pentecost is a very significant day in history. God did a new thing. The risen Christ sent His Holy Spirit to those who believe in Him. This is the first act of the risen Christ. Pretty awesome. The Holy Spirit's arrival on the Day of Pentecost also inaugurated a whole new dispensation: the church age.  

Earlier, we saw how all four of the Jewish Spring Feasts were fulfilled in Jesus’ first coming. There are three more that Jesus’ll fulfill upon His return:

The Fall Feasts

The Feast of Trumpets is interpreted as pointing to the future event of the rapture of the church and the return of Jesus.

1 Thessalonians 4:16 For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. 

The Feast of Trumpets was followed by the Hebrews’ holiest day of the year, the Day of Atonement

Represented in two stages, with two goats, the High Priest sacrificed one to make atonement for sin. Then he laid the people’s sins on a second goat removing all sin from the city. When Jesus returns He will fulfill this day completely when all Israel shall believe and be saved.

The final feast is the Feast of Tabernacles or Tents when God makes His dwelling with us. On earth. In His Temple. And reigning in His kingdom.

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Commissioned and Empowered (Acts 1:1-14)

The Book of Acts (Acts) serves as a significant bridge between the Gospels and the New Testament Letters, written by Luke, the same author as the Gospel of Luke.

In the Gospels, the dominant religion is Judaism. Jesus is the main character. The setting is Israel, in synagogues and the temple. But in the NT epistles, everything takes place in Turkey, Greece, and Rome. Judaism is replaced by Christianity. And rather than the temple, all these churches are everywhere. The New Testament epistles, Ephesians, Romans, James are written to these churches that are everywhere. What happened? Who is Paul? Acts sheds light on this transformation and provides valuable insights into the early Christian movement.

As we first open this book, three verses stand out. Acts 1:5, 8, 11.

Acts 1:5, Acts 1:8, and Acts 1:11 hold profound significance, emphasizing the empowerment of the Holy Spirit, the mission of believers as witnesses, and the assurance of Christ's return.

These passages inspire faith, worship, hope, and action for all believers.

Acts 1:5 states, "for John [the Baptist] baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."

Jesus instructs His disciples to wait for the baptism of the Holy Spirit, a new experience that would mark a significant shift. While believers today are indwelled by the Spirit upon their faith in Jesus, this concept was novel to the disciples. The Holy Spirit's arrival would empower them to fulfill their calling and proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

This is a commission: You shall be My witnesses. It's an identity: You shall be My witnesses. It's a promise: You will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and, as a result, you shall be My witnesses.

The Holy Spirit makes us witnesses worth our salt. And this is something to trust Jesus with. Luke encourages us to do so, relying on the Holy Spirit's guidance and power.

Acts 1:8 declares, "But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth."

Jesus promises that the Holy Spirit will equip His followers with the power to be effective witnesses. The goal is not to impress others with miracles but boldly proclaim the good news of Jesus Christ.

Christianity spreads through believers where we’re at—our city or hometown, neighborhoods, stores, and schools. Then it expands to the county we’re in, Judea, the Pioneer Valley; not our backyard but familiar enough. It’s the responsibility of churches and believers to evangelize their communities." 

Yes, the Holy Spirit assures us of our identity in Christ, comforts us, guides us in truth. He also helps us carry out the mission of making disciples.

This verse inspires us to live as authentic witnesses, sharing the love and truth of Jesus in our communities and beyond.

Acts 1:11 reveals the assurance ofJesus' return: "This Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come in just the same way as you have watched Him go into heaven."

Jesus ascended to heaven in the presence of His disciples, signifying the end of His earthly ministry and His exaltation to the Father's side in glory. The angels assure the disciples that Jesus will return, just as He left.

This truth instills in us a sense of hope and anticipation, reminding us to live in light of Jesus' imminent return, His kingdom, and the glory that awaits us.


Live in the power of the Holy Spirit: As believers, we have the privilege of being indwelled by the Holy Spirit from the moment of our faith in Jesus. Let us rely on His guidance, wisdom, and strength in our daily lives. Cultivate a dependent relationship with the Spirit, trusting Him to empower us as witnesses and to comfort us in times of need.

Embrace the mission of being Jesus' witnesses: Jesus commissions all His followers to be His witnesses, testifying to what we have seen and heard about Him. This involves stepping out of our comfort zones, taking risks, and sharing our faith with others. Let us love people enough to get to know them, to care for them genuinely, and to share the good news of Jesus through our words and actions.

Pray for opportunities and the courage to act on them: Pray for those you know, who do not know Jesus. Pray for opportunities to build relationships with them, to show God's love, and to share your faith. Ask God for the right words and the courage to act when the Holy Spirit opens the door for you to share your hope in Christ.

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Why Christianity is Good

Not long ago, the question about Christianity was, “Is it true?” Today, the question isn’t “Is it true?” but “Is it good?

The word gospel means “good news,” is it?

Moses was in awe of God. He asked the Lord to show me your glory, God said no man may see my face and live. It’s like asking to touch the sun.

Exodus 33:19 And He said, “I Myself will make all My goodness pass before you… 22 and it will come about, while My glory is passing by, that I will put you in the cleft of the rock and cover you with My hand until I have passed by.”

Notice God’s glory reveals His goodness, His goodness is His glory. Mankind in our current, sinful state, cannot see the goodness of God and survive… 

God is good.

But the allegation is the God whom we trust and love is not good, the Bible we read and believe is not good; so therefore, Christianity is not good. It is immoral, harmful, and dangerous for individuals and society. 

But is this true?

Let’s consider some of the allegations, then make the case for why Christianity makes the most sense of the world and offers the greatest good and the greatest hope for individuals, society, and for the entire universe.

One reason people insist Christianity is not good is that, they claim, it promotes violence. Christianity let to the inquisition, crusades, witch trials. 

As Christians, we admit it! Horrific violence has been carried out in the name of Christ, and these are wrong. The Inquisition, witch trials, slave owners justifying owing slaves, Catholic priests preying on boys, televangelists preying on the poor. These are all evil. For these actions do not reflect Jesus Christ; so, by definition, these actions don’t reflect Christianity, but sin. 

Jesus told the story of the man, who stopped to help a stranger who had been beaten and left for dead on the side of the road. A priest ignored him. A wealthy man passed by. But this stranger had compassion, bandaged him, put him up for a few nights. He told this story to show the kind of love and compassion, i.e., goodness that Jesus wants us to have for people in need.

Those who faithfully honored Jesus started the world’s first hospitals, and orphanages, and schools.

While many justified slavery for their own ambitions, other Christians purchased slaves solely to set them free. It was Christians who led in the abolition of slavery. Two-thirds of the members of the American abolition society in 1835 were Christian clergy.

True Christianity reflects Jesus Christ; and the world is a far better place for it. 

A second reason people say Christianity is not good is because, they claim, it a western, white male religion.

Sounds terrible. People want to tribalize everything, view everything based on group identities. But this willfully ignores history,

Revelation 5:9 tells us Jesus was slain, and purchased for God with His blood people from every tribe and tongue and people and nation.

From its conception, Christianity is multiethnic, multicultural, global.

It was instituted by a Jewish Man whose primary language was Aramaic. It was launched in Israel then spread to Northern Africa, the Middle East, Turkey, and Europe. The Four Gospels themselves reflect this: Matthew was written to Israelis-Jews, Luke to Greeks, Mark to Romans, & John to the whole world.

A third reason people insist Christianity is not good, they claim, is it is exclusive not inclusive. 

Yet Christianity is the most inclusive of theistic religions. For Jesus forgives and reconciles with the Father and gives everlasting life to whoever will receive it from Him. Not just Jews or men, good people or religious people… 

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.

Granted, Christianity claims Jesus is the only One who gives eternal life. But that’s because Jesus is the only One who fulfilled prophecy, came to us from heaven, and gave His life for the sins of the world. Jesus is the only One who rose from the dead to do this, so of course He’s the only Savior. But I’ll say it again, He freely offers, as God’s gift, eternal forgiveness and life to anyone, 

John 6:40 For this is the will of My Father, that everyone who beholds the Son and believes in Him will have eternal life, and I Myself will raise him up on the last day.

People may argue, like my neighbor to her dying day, “All good people should go to heaven!” But ask them a question, something like: “What’s your criteria for who is good?” Or “If all good people go to heaven, what about those of us who aren’t so good?” If they say, “Well, everyone should go to heaven.” Ask, “So do you believe Hitler deserves to be in heaven right now?” 

See everyone has a boundary line somewhere.

Yet Jesus made it possible and, as Christians, we declare that ANYBODY can be forgiven, reconciled to God, and made fit for heaven. Anyone can be saved who will look to the Savior and trust Him, accept the gift He wants for you. 

That’s wonderfully good about Christianity—it’s called grace. We all need it.

A fourth reason why people insist Christianity is not good, they claim it promotes hatred. 

The Bible is said to be homophobic, transphobic because it denies nonbinary genders. It is called misogynistic because it promotes a patriarchal hierarchy. Fact is, for millennia, Christian women enjoyed far greater protection, security and equality than did women in like every surrounding culture. 

While the Bible upholds certain goods, Christianity never promotes hatred. 

Jesus told His own disciples on the night he was betrayed,

John 13:34 A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.

In Matthew 5-7, Jesus delivered one of his most famous sermons, the Sermon on the Mount. As he spoke, Jesus encourages us to be humble, merciful, peacemakers, and to radically love, not just our families but our enemies. 

Given that God is morally good and perfect in love, it follows that He desires the best for all people. So, like a good parent, God warns against sin, for He sees the harm and damage to individuals and society as a whole. 

God's stance against certain acts doesn’t reflect a lack of love or compassion for those who engage in them. Instead, it arises from God's desire to protect us from harm and leads to a life of flourishing.

A fifth claim against Christianity is, people say, it oppresses sexual freedom.

For some reason women didn’t like the pagan double standard of letting married men have extramarital sex and mistresses. Women back then didn’t want equal opportunity; they wanted their husbands to be faithful. Men felt no reason. Wives had similar value to a slave. Christianity changed all of this. 

The Bible views sex as a wonderful gift from God, given for pleasure and procreation; but it’s a powerful gift so it does not come without boundaries. 

If you say there shouldn’t be any boundaries. Do you mean there’s nothing wrong with any person or any number of persons having sex outside of marriage? Between different wives and husbands, wives and wives, fathers and children? ...

If you see no harm whatever, at any age, whatever the gender, whatever the relationship, even if they have their own husband or wife. Fine, that is your moral view. But what do you base it on? Is it good?

Yet, most agree, there should be some boundaries! The questions are where those boundaries should be and what those boundaries should be based on. 

As Christians, we trust Jesus so we trust what Jesus says about good and healthy boundaries. But when we affirm His Word that sexual intimacy is designed and reserved for a husband and wife, culture blows up. “Prudes! Puritans!” "How repressive.” “How stupid.” “How evil.”

But the data confirms God’s boundaries for sex bring closer intimacy and greater pleasure, happier marriages and families; while casual, commitment-free sex results in increased dissatisfaction, unhappiness, and loneliness.

A final argument people use to say Christianity is not good is, they claim, Christianity is harmful to our mental health and wellbeing. 

How? Because it says something is wrong with us (sin) and that some of the things we do are wrong (sinful). Telling anybody there is something wrong may cause them to feel immoral, inadequate, judged, or to fear sin or hell. 

True, the Bible refers to sin! But usually as something that hijacks and harms us than more than something we do. Like a doctor, diagnosing a patient, or like the good friend who whispers “you have spinach in your teeth,” it tells us there’s a problem, and provides the answer to our guilt and shame. 

True, Jesus mentions sin. Often. He correlates every human problem to the fact of sin. But not in a finger-pointing way. More as an explanation of the brokenness that we experience:

Sin explains why we’re prone to screw up the good things in our lives; here’s why we inadvertently hurt people we love, make self-destructive choices, do what we hate, and don’t do what we wish. 

But He doesn’t just leave it there. So there you are, now deal with it. Fix it. 

Rather God sent His Son. Jesus came to us, God, goodness, love personified. And in God’s love, rather than chastise us, Jesus laid down His life for us.

Maybe particularly when we speak of sin, we see the essence of goodness! God doesn’t ignore it. Hate you for it. Judge you for it. Christianity points to Jesus, and says you are loved and here is God’s forgiveness and acceptance. 

So Christianity frees us from guilt, from shame, and empowers us to live well. And through the Holy Spirit, God helps us to live differently today. He sets us in a community of mutual care and help. Yet even when we fail and we act as selfish as ever, He picks us up, dusts us off, smiles assuredly, and tells us, “Yes, I still love you. Now let’s do this together.” 

Christianity is true and good. Eternally good, and good for our wellbeing. 

The data backs it up—according to the Washington Times, during COVID, those who regularly attended church were the only segment of the population whose mental health actually improved during the pandemic.

Further data shows church participation correlates with less depression, less suicide, less emotional-coping meds like smoking and substance abuse; plus increased social support greater meaning and greater satisfaction with life.

Besides answering their charges, here are a few more reasons.

First and foremost, Christianity is good because Jesus is good. He healed the sick, fed the hungry, and gave hope to the hopeless. Greater than this, He forgives people’s sins on God’s behalf, gives sinners right standing, and restores those who feel far from God.

Consider that we broke the Law, we rebelled against God, we sinned against God’s goodness. But knowing better than us that we don’t have what it takes, God became a man to pay our penalty with His life.

This is why Christianity is good, 

2 Corinthians 5:19 For God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and He has committed to us the word of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were making an appeal through us; we beg you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.

We can’t convince anyone that Christianity is good who’s unwilling to look at Jesus. 

Romans 5:8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from the wrath of God through Him. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 

This is the goodness of God and of Christianity. 

For those still skeptical, Christianity is good because the believer can know she is fully accepted by God, even when we fail to act like the person He says we are. It's good because we don’t have to perform. And we don’t live in fear. 

Christianity is good because it confers infinite worth to the believer. And it’s good to know our worth and significance; it frees us to love those who don’t share God’s opinion of us. Anytime we’re able to love, it is good. 

Christianity is good because we no longer need to fear judgment, death, or the world blowing up, or our life careening out of God’s care. It gives peace.

Faith in Jesus, so Christianity, gives us a new way of knowing and relating to God too—by His grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Not law. Not good works.

Finally, Christianity is good for Jesus promises He’ll return and to establish His kingdom and bring God’s justice and righteousness to the world. I.e., GOD'S GOODNESS. For all of the brokenness and suffering of this world will be replaced with righteousness, peace, and joy in His physical presence.

For the skeptic, I encourage you to take a closer look at Jesus, see the beauty and goodness and strength Jesus Christ. Ask yourself if your objections to Christianity truly represent Jesus’ teaching and practice. Don’t let anyone else ruin that for you. Ultimately, I encourage you to trust Jesus to reconcile you to God, giving you new life, hope for today, and a great future.

For the believer, I encourage you to embrace the goodness of God, and the goodness of the life Jesus calls you to embrace. God is good. His word is good. To believe what he says and to follow Him is good. Continue to learn of Him, learn from Him. Grow in your love, go to Him daily, He cares for you. 

Phillip Yancey wrote: "The more I study Jesus, the more I am amazed by him. The more I learn about him, the more I want to learn. The more I get close to him, the more I realize I'm in the presence of someone who is so good, so holy, and so pure, that my only response can be to fall down on my knees in worship."

May we also share the faith and joy we have in Jesus with those around us.

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The benefits of a Christian worldview

Jesus saw things different from everyone else; so He lived different from everyone else. He had a different perspective, a totally different worldview. 

Jesus knew the truth about God, the universe; He saw the spiritual dimension of angels and demons, the glory of man, the devastation of sin, the meaning of life. Jesus knew the full story; His worldview made sense of the world. 

What is a worldview? It’s the lens through which we interpret all of life. Or a worldview is like the lid on top of a jigsaw puzzle box; it gives you the big picture so that you can make sense of how the individual pieces fit together.  

A book titled, Hidden Worldviews, says worldviews may best be described as the cultural stories that we believe about reality.  

A common cultural story begins with a big bang billions of years ago, random mutations, evolutionary progress, apes, prehistoric man, up to man, today. 

The Christian worldview follows a story as well: from Day One of Creation to the flood, to the Exodus, to Jesus’ incarnation, His death, resurrection, and His future return and reign. This is the story that forms our worldview.

How do we make sense of the world? The competing messages, the confusion, all the changes taking place? It's like everything is up for grabs. 

So we are wise to embrace a Christian view rooted in the teachings of Jesus and in the Word of God.  

A Christian worldview starts of course with the core reality of God. He was, He is, He always shall be exactly who He reveals Himself to be in Scripture. 

The naturalist says “there is no God,” for all that exists is the material, physical universe. From this way of viewing, say the universe, our solar system, the earth and sun, there is no intelligence behind it, no design, no plan, no purpose. Everything about the universe is random, purposeless, meaningless.

Yet, the Christian worldview gladly and confidently asserts, 

Genesis 1:1 In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.||| All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 

So as a believer looks at the universe she gets a first glimpse of God’s glory, the brilliance of His design, the complexity of His intelligence, the greatness of His power.

With other worldviews some are tempted to worship the planet, or to fear its demise. A Christian worldview calms fears.

For the all-powerful, sovereign Creator who loves us has total control over black holes, wayward asteroids, Mexican killer bees, aliens invasions, global warming, nuclear wars… 

A Christian worldview sees God’s sovereign care, even when it is not immediately apparent.

A Christian worldview has its foundation in the Bible. This sets us apart. We’ve a divine source of truth, wisdom, knowledge. 

Granted, if there is no God, there is no final authority. There may be your truth, or my truth, but there’d be no absolute truth for all. No universal morality for all. No basis for universal justice, no good or evil, right or wrong. 

It would just be personal opinion or majority rule, or truth would be determined by whoever has the power at the time. This is the Pomo view!

Yet God HAS recorded TRUTH in the Bible. This was clearly Jesus’ worldview:

Jesus said, God’s Word is truth. How many times did Jesus say, “It is written.” “Have you not read?” For all Scripture is God-breathed and profitable.

John 5:39 [Jesus said to them,] You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me.

It’s not always easy to understand. It’s not written like a textbook; it’s more like a library of stories. Individual parts of the big picture. Read it. Know it.

Another thing about the Christian worldview, every human being—good or rotten, abled or disabled, black or white, in the womb or in a rest home—every individual person has great value and worth.

Look how Jesus saw the poor, the broken, the oppressed. Think of Genesis. 

According to the biblical story of reality, humankind is created different from and set above the animals. We aren’t animals. We aren’t related. They are made for us. We have authority over them.  

Genesis 1:26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”

The Christian worldview answers deep questions about us.

1. Where do we come from? God hand-formed the very first male and female.

2. Who are we? We are the pinnacle of God’s creation, created in God’s image and likeness.

3. What is our purpose? God created us to know Him and to love and enjoy Him, and to fill the earth and to rule over it.

But ignoring or rejecting what God says, people sadly have no idea who they are, where they are from, if they have worth, or if they even matter. 

So we have empathy for them; we understand why they think only this moment matters, and why they want to be something else, someone special.

For any view that deprives people of knowing God’s love, or keeps them ignorant of who they are and where to find their worth and life, sinks them into a fearful sense of worthlessness, meaninglessness, depravity, despair.  

Yet, God made each of us in His image. And why?—that we may know, and love, and enjoy God, now and forever. He did this for mankind alone.

Yet, here’s something else a Christian worldview knows about us—we are all broken by sin, afflicted by sin, and inclined toward sin. We’re forgetful of God, we misunderstand God, we distrust God, and we live contrary to God.  

Romans 3:23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,

This is our core problem: we separate ourselves from God because we pridefully reject His Word, and we doubt His love, and we resist His authority.

A Christian worldview has a realistic understanding of sin and evil.

Why are we the way we are? Why do we do some of the things we do? The Christian worldview sees sin and man’s brokenness at the center of it

Romans 8:7 The mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

When people question what’s going on with the world today, why are bad things happening, why is there injustice, suffering? Different worldviews offer different fixes. The answers given are when people are educated and prejudices are taught out of people, when the right political system is in place, when more money is spent on the real issues around the world, when every sexual taboo is normalized, when nothing is considered shameful, when addictions are treated medically, when the right people are in power and control, when AI can do the work for us, then we will have "utopia." 

A Christian worldview puts no faith in any of these. For the problem is sin. Sin manifests differently in each of us but it messes with all of us. It’s not a simple matter of just making ourselves better. We are not able to.

Since our the main problem is that we separate ourselves from God because of sin and pride, how is this problem solved? We need God to act in our place, so enter the grace of God and the actions of our Lord Jesus.

The Christian worldview gladly declares God sent His Son as an offering for sin, and through Jesus’ death He condemned sin in His body. Through His resurrection He gives the believer forgiveness, new hearts, new life, power. 

Romans 8:3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did! By sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh…

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. 

This is our God. His heart. His wisdom. This is why Jesus loved Him so! This is why we can trust Him. Through Jesus’ sacrificial death, God justifies all who trust in Him, not counting our sins yet accounting to us Jesus’ own righteousness and life. God’s acceptance. The Holy Spirit. God’s mercy and love. 

So believe in the Lord Jesus to forgive you right now, to reconcile you to God, give you eternal life with Him. And walk with Him by His grace, daily. 

Finally, a Christian view looks beyond the present world, to the return of Christ and the righting of wrongs and the making new of all things.

Jesus viewed the world with an eternal perspective. He said things like “Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, but look to what is to come and store up for yourselves eternal treasures in heaven.” 

Seeing things as Jesus did gives us an eternal perspective which can keep us from being tossed to and fro by shifting societal views, mob uproars, social media negativity, and political campaigns, to be guided by God’s eternal truths, God’s unchanging values. It can help us to love, be peacemakers…

Here are a few tips moving forward: 

The war is for how you think.

1) Be in God’s Word! For in Scripture, God gives us the true view of Himself and the world He created. Including us. Our glory. Our fall. Our future.  

See the big picture: from God creating the heavens and earth to Jesus incarnation, His death and resurrection, the church today, the return of Christ, & His future reign w/us. See knowing what Jesus knew. Put on the mind of X. 

The war is for how you think; we can be taken captive through our thoughts,

Colossians 2:8 See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ. 

Is this true? Does this view affirm or ignore God? Is this a true view of man? Does this square with Scripture? Does Genesis agree? Does Jesus? Or Paul? 

For GU Kids, youth, bible teachers, parents, protect those under your care,

2 Corinthians 10:5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ, 

Think biblically. Think with the mind of Christ. Allow God to transform your way of thinking, by reading His Word and by relying upon God’s Holy Spirit. 

Romans 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.

But in rejecting a secular worldview for ourselves, we do not want to judge or reject those who embrace it. A Christlike world view leads to humility and compassion, and believing the Gospel is the power to give them eternal life.

2) We’ve a message that needs to be spoken; speak the message of Christ.

Here was Jesus’ view: there are dark powers, spiritual enemies blinding our friends and families who don’t believe. Yet He wanted people to know that they have an invitation to God the Father, forgiveness, and eternal life, thru faith in Jesus. And while “the powers that be” want to control what can and cannot be said, Jesus is with us to bring light to where it’s otherwise dark.  

Jesus told us to go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations. Again,

Mark 16:15 … “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

For Jesus wants the world to know and relate to God the Father as He did.  

3) All that said, perhaps what most defined a truly Jesus-formed worldview, is for us to intimately know and trust and love God above all else. 

Jesus’ relationship with the Father was one of awe, intimacy, obedience. You saw this in His prayer life, His words, service.  

John 4:34 Jesus said, “My food [that which gives Him strength and joy and satisfaction] is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work.”

Another time Jesus said He does only what He sees the Father do. And why?

John 5:20 For the Father loves the Son and shows Him all that He is doing.

In a Christian worldview shaped particularly by Jesus, we know there is an all-powerful, all-knowing, and sovereign God—and He loves us. We call Him, “Father”, “Abba.” And He gave us His Son. Eternal life. And He’ll give us His kingdom. His glory. His joy forever. God is truly awesome. Jesus, who knew Him best, found no greater joy than to be loved by His Father and love Him. 

Listen to His words…

John 8:49 I honor My Father…

John 10:29 My Father is greater than all.

John 14:28 You heard me say, ‘I go away, and I will come to you.’ If you loved Me, you would have rejoiced because I go to the Father, for the Father is greater than I.

Jesus knew God the Father and was in awe of Him. He PRAYED intimately. He KNEW God personally. He TRUSTED the Father was always engaged, listening, caring, leading. May we help to foster & enjoy that experiential faith.  

Live with Him daily. And be generous and unafraid to share Him with others.

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Why Jesus' Resurrection Matters

Jesus rose from the dead. Christians have declared this for 2000 years. It sounds so normal to us—it’s hardly shocking. But most people, not surprisingly, think it’s crazy.

Well, if you think Jesus' resurrection is pretty far-fetched, welcome to the club, because most everyone in Jesus’ day thought this was crazy too. In fact, so did Jesus’ own followers.

They didn’t believe it, they didn’t think really get it—until they saw Him alive. 

Today people don’t think about what happened on this day in history. They don’t think out loud about what happens in the future. 

Resurrection? Reincarnation? Annihilation? Assimilation? Popular opinion is nobody knows. Few to many care.

Yet Christians proclaim that Jesus has risen from the dead, and it means something.  

Wherever you’re at, those who actually look at the historical facts of Jesus’ resurrection, the eye-witness accounts, the utopian response of His followers, the “cover-our-butts” reaction of His enemies—we find ourselves face to face with a profound reality that has the power to change lives and to shake the very foundations of the world… 

Whether you’re a believer, indifferent, or a skeptic, let's consider the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the significance of it for each of us today.

On Good Friday, Jesus was put to death. Before dawn on Friday, Jesus’ body was laid to rot in a tomb the rest of Friday, all day Saturday, and early Sunday.

Luke 23:55 Now the women who had come with Him out of Galilee followed, and saw the tomb and how His body was laid. 56 Then they returned and prepared spices and perfumes. And on the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment.

Luke 24:1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb bringing the spices which they had prepared. 2... They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men [John’s gospel says these were two angels appearing as men—so these two] suddenly stood near them in dazzling clothing; 5 and as the women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living One among the dead? 6 “He is not here, but He has risen. Remember how He spoke to you while He was still in Galilee, 7 saying that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and the third day rise again.” 8 And they remembered Jesus’ words, [and they makes sense now!] 9 and they returned from the tomb and reported all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now they were Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James; also the other women with them were telling these things to the apostles. 11 But these words appeared to [the disciples] as nonsense, and they would not believe them. 12 But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen wrappings only; and he went away to his home, marveling at what had happened.

That day, Jesus showed Himself to various believers.

Jesus never once showed Himself alive to those who wished Him dead—not even to scare them or rub it in, “Told ya!”

But this same evening, Easter night, Jesus entered a closed room where many of His disciples were still unbelieving, and hiding in fear.  

John 20:19 So when it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and when the doors were shut where the disciples were, for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 And when He had said this, He showed them both His hands and His side. The disciples then rejoiced when they saw the Lord... 24 But Thomas, one of the twelve, called Didymus, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples were saying to him, “We have seen the Lord!” 

Has this ever been you? Everyone else is excited, saying God’s doing this or that; but you’re not gullible, you need proof! …

But everyone else saw Jesus. The last thing Thomas saw was Jesus buried. He saw the nails pounded into Jesus hands. He saw the spear thrust into His side! So they’re excited.  

John 20:25… But he said to them, “Unless I see in His hands the imprint of the nails, and put my finger into the place of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”   

Thomas didn’t say, I can’t believe. But I won’t believe. I refuse to believe. 

He heard eye-witness testimonies, Jesus’ promises, and OT prophecies insisting He’d rise from the dead. But he determined not to believe unless something happens that may not actually ever happen yet doesn't prove it's not true if it doesn't.

Most people who do not believe in Jesus do not want to believe. Despite the evidence. And Jesus doesn’t always meet their demands.


John 20:26 After eight days His disciples were again inside, and Thomas with them. Jesus came, the doors having been shut, and stood in their midst and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then He said to Thomas, “Reach here with your finger, and see My hands; and reach here your hand and put it into My side; and do not be unbelieving, but believing.” 

Imagine you traveled with Jesus. You've heard His wisdom, His claims. You see His miracles, you’re more amazed with Jesus each day. You witness His authority as He calms a raging sea, heals paraplegics, casts out thousands of demons. You see how He loves and helps people in impossible situations, how they respond; they fall down before Him, pour costly perfume on His feet, anoint His head, go into the streets and proclaim what God has done… 

And it took a lot to get you there, that wasn’t your plan; but Jesus convinces you to start thinking He really came from heaven, He is the Infinite God in a human bod… 

But then you see Him arrested, beaten, tried, and while He escaped every other snare, when it matters most He is silent. And the next day you watch Him suffer and die. You attend His funeral. You’re in shock. You’re ashamed… 

Then Jesus appears. Glorious. He shows you the holes in His hands, and in His side. And it’s Jesus, who told you He’s the Son of God, YHWH of the OT, the God of your Fathers, the God of Abraham and of Moses. And you remember that He told you ahead of time He’d be crucified for our sins, according to prophecy, and on the third day He’d rise from the dead.  

John 20:28 Thomas answered and said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Because you have seen Me, have you believed? Blessed are they who did not see, and yet believed.”

It wasn’t easy to believe in Jesus’ resurrection. But when he realized Jesus rose from the dead, he worshiped Jesus. Thomas knew what it proved.

None of Jesus’ followers expected Jesus to walk out of the tomb. But each of them changed their mind when they saw Him! And each went from hiding in fear to boldly proclaiming, “He’s alive!” even as they themselves were killed.

That’s evidence. It makes NO SENSE unless they truly saw Jesus alive! And although Jesus hasn't shown himself alive to any of us, like he did for Thomas, He did show Himself alive after His death to over 500 people. 

The fact that Christianity spread so rapidly in the decades following Jesus' death. It wouldn’t have gotten off the ground if His body was produced, or it was proven false, or if even one of the apostles facing death said it was a lie. 

But what is the big deal, what is the importance, the significance of Jesus’ resurrection? This answer is wide and comprehensive but I’ll limit it to a few important matters.

The resurrection proves that Jesus is who He claimed to be.  

Romans 1:4 [Jesus] was declared the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead…

Jesus claimed to be the Son of God, able to forgive sins on God’s behalf, to give eternal life to you, and to all who trust in Him. He said His sacrifice, His blood would pay for the sins of the world. The people said “PROVE IT; GIVE US A SIGN.”  

Matthew 12:39 But He answered and said to them, “An evil and adulterous generation craves for a sign; and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah the prophet; 40 for just as JONAH WAS THREE DAYS AND THREE NIGHTS IN THE BELLY OF THE SEA MONSTER, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. 

That’ll be the sign of My authority; then you will have your proof.

And on the third day, Jesus rose from the dead. 

Again, Jesus made Himself to be more than human. He made Himself equal with God. One with the Father. He claimed to be the God of Moses, the Great I Am. The God of Abraham and of Isaac. He claimed to have God’s authority to forgive sins, your sins. He said His death was in your place. He said He would give these blessings and eternal life to all who receive Him, to all who trust Him for these. And by rising from the dead, He verifies it.

Jesus resurrection proves every word, every promise Jesus said is true.  

God is true. His love is true. He gave His life. He’s with us now. 

Jesus’ resurrection answers the question: Can we trust Jesus? Yes. He defeated sin and death and Satan Himself, so He has power over everything else that threatens us too. Which is great news, especially in a world that’s still so broken and scary.

Jesus’ resurrection gives believers hope,

1 Peter 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, |||| 4 to obtain an inheritance which is imperishable and undefiled and will not fade away, reserved in heaven for you…

No matter what is going on in your life can find hope for the future through the resurrection of Jesus. The future Jesus has in store will not let you down, it’ll never get old, it’ll never run out; and it is yours in waiting, for Jesus has it reserved for you in heaven with Himself. What can be better than that?

Faith in Jesus’ resurrection gives us hope in the future. 

John 5:24 “Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life. 25 Truly, truly, I say to you, an hour is coming and now is, when the dead will hear the voice of the Son of God, and those who hear will live.” 

No matter what happens today, looking to Jesus He helps us through, but He holds out hope with joy that what He has in store on the other side of this life is infinitely better, and the reward is worth every heartache today. 

We all go through so much, get discourage by life—relationships, finances, mental health, the loss of a loved one, the state of the world around us. We need Jesus to walk with us. We also need hope that there's more to life than this, hope that this won’t last forever, hope that I won’t be like this forever.  

The resurrection gives us hope for our body. 

1 Corinthians 15:40 There are also heavenly bodies and earthly bodies, but the glory of the heavenly is one, and the glory of the earthly is another. 

Jesus wasn’t raised a ghost; He rose in a supernatural body. This body matters. It’s part of who you are. You may suffer with physical pain or weakness, but in the future this body will be redeemed and renewed in the resurrection. It will be powerful. Supernatural. Sinless. You’ll enjoy physical sensation without things getting freaky. Without any of our physical limitations today.

1 Corinthians 15:42 So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; 43 it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power.

The resurrection gives us hope with our baggage. Our past. 

However broken by sin, however big of a mess you’ve made of life, the fact you cannot control things or change them or fix yourself or anyone else, Jesus will wipe away every tear, He makes all things new, in your resurrection body you will be whole and complete.  

Our hope for the future changes things now. Jesus Christ is risen now. Christ is with us now. God’s love is true. He holds out hope for the future now… 

Our hope is not crazy, not a wishlist, it is rooted in history. In Jesus’ resurrection. It is a crucial part of the Christian faith, Jesus is Alive. And one day, He will be seen. All things will be brought into subjection to His love and righteousness and goodness. 

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How do I receive eternal life with God?
Jesus Christ came into the world to save us from our sins. He made forgiveness possible through His death, and eternal life with God available through His resurrection. Trust Jesus for this and you shall be saved.
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How do I get baptized?
After you trust Jesus for eternal life, a great next step is to express that your past is buried and you have new life in a new relationship with God through Jesus. We can help with that.
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