The Resurrection: The Basis Of Our Hope & Faith (Acts 25:18-19)

The Resurrection: The Basis Of Our Hope & Faith (Acts 25:18-19)

Acts 25:18-19

I. The context

    A. Two years a prisoner (Acts 24:27)
    B. The dispute over their religion (Acts 25:18-19)

II. Paul’s hope and faith rested in the resurrection

    A. His preaching (Acts 13:26-30, 48; 17:2-4, 18, 30-31, 34; 24:15, 25)
    B. His writing (1 Thessalonians 1:9-10; Romans 1:4; 4:23-25; 10:9; 1 Corinthians 15:12-19)

III. Our hope and faith rests in the resurrection

    A. Despite physical, emotional, spiritual struggles
    B. “When you are face to face with the unknown, rely on that which you do know” (1 John 5:4, 13, 14-15, 18-20; Romans 8:28; 1 Peter 1:3-5; 1 Corinthians 6:14; 15:51-57)

Jesus The Creator, The Savior, And The Judge

Jesus The Creator, The Savior, And The Judge

I. The Creator

    A. All three members of Godhead were present and active in creation (Genesis 1:1)
    B. The Father was the “Divine Architect” (Genesis 1:3, 6-7, etc.)
    C. The Son was the “Divine Agent” (John 1:3; Colossians 1:15-17)
    D. The Spirit was the “Divine Adorner” (Genesis 1:2; Job 26:13)

II. The Savior

    A. The relationship between God and man needed to be restored (John 1:10-13; Isaiah 59:1-2; John 1:29)
    B. His first advent was a mission of salvation (John 3:16-17; Colossians 1:13-14; Ephesians 5:23; Acts 2:47b)
    C. His second advent will be to deliver the faithful to the Father (1 Corinthians 15:24; 1 Timothy 2:5; 1 John 2:1)

III. The Judge

    A. The judgment will be based upon His revelation (John 12:48; Matthew 25:31-34, 41, 46)
    B. He will judge righteously (Acts 17:31; Romans 2:16; Ecclesiastes 12:14; 2 Corinthians 5:10; Romans 2:2)
    C. We know the standard and we know the Judge (1 John 5:3; Matthew 11:30; Romans 8:1)

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 230/260: Zacchaeus

Read Luke 19:1-10

Zacchaeus Was A Wee Little Man, But A Spiritual Giant

Zacchaeus was a “chief tax collector, and he was rich” (Luke 19:2); in the eyes of other Jews, he was a traitor to the nation. Tax collectors had a reputation for dishonesty, for collecting more than was due and pocketing the difference. As a chief tax collector, he supervised the work of several publicans under him.

When Jesus came to Jericho, Zacchaeus was adamant about seeing Him. Wherever Jesus went, though, He attracted a large crowd, and Zacchaeus couldn’t see because “he was of short stature” (Luke 19:3). Often in children’s Bible classes a song is sung about this man: “Zacchaeus was a wee little man.” Though he was short, he was determined. He decided to climb the sycamore tree just so he could catch a glimpse of Jesus.

The Lord looked up and saw Zacchaeus in the tree, and He told him that He would come to his house. So Zacchaeus came down and welcomed Jesus into his home, but this upset the crowds. They complained, “He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner” (Luke 19:7).

The tax collector, though, was a committed man. “Look, Lord, I give half of my goods to the poor; and if I have taken anything from anyone by false accusation, I restore fourfold” (Luke 19:8). He was rich, but he was generous, and he was willing to correct any errors that he had committed unknowingly.

Jesus reinforced Zacchaeus’ desire to do right, declaring, “Today salvation has come to this house, because he also is a son of Abraham; for the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:9-10).

Zacchaeus was a wee little man, but he was a spiritual giant, willing to help those in need and do right by his fellowman. How can you be more like Zacchaeus in your life?

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 229/260: Martha

Read John 11:17-27

Do You Believe This?

Martha gets a lot of grief for the incident recorded in Luke 10 at the home she shared with Mary. Mary sat at Jesus’ feet, desiring to learn from Him, while Martha was busy serving and making sure everyone had everything they needed, and she complained to Jesus that Mary wasn’t helping her. Jesus told her that Mary had “chosen that good part” (Luke 10:42). Generally, when one mentions Mary and Martha, this is the first incident that comes to mind.

And yet, John records a much different picture of Martha in his account of the gospel. As she mourned the death of her brother, Lazarus, she expressed her great faith in Jesus. She went to meet Him while Mary stayed at the house, and Martha said to Him, “Lord, if You had been here, my brother would not have died. But even now I know that whatever You ask of God, God will give You” (John 11:20). I do not believe Martha was blaming Him for Lazarus’ death, but rather just stating a fact. She knew His power. She knew His might. She knew He could have prevented her brother’s death.

Jesus responded to her statement of faith with a promise, “Your brother will rise again” (John 11:23). Martha misunderstood His timing but believed His statement. She believed what the Lord taught concerning the general resurrection, that the day was coming when all the dead would be raised again. “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day” (John 10:24). She was looking forward to that day when she could see Lazarus again, but she didn’t know that day was today.

Jesus then gives one of the great “I am” statements found in the gospel of John. “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26).

Martha answered, “Yes, Lord, I believe that You are the Christ, the Son of God, who is come into the world” (John 11:27). What great faith in a time of sadness! Do you believe this?

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 228/260: The Tax Collector

Read Luke 18:9-14

Recognizing the Need

Jesus often taught through parables. These simple stories relayed important spiritual truths to the listeners. Many of the parables taught lessons about the kingdom of heaven; others were used to point out flaws in one’s attitude. In this particular parable, Jesus highlighted the difference in attitudes between a Pharisee who put his trust in how much better he was than other men, and a tax collector who recognized his great need.

The Pharisee, when he prayed, compared himself to other men. He listed a number of sins (or perceived sins) that he had avoided: “extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this tax collector” (Luke 18:11). He then extolled his own worth, saying, “I fast twice a week; I give tithes of all that I possess” (Luke 18:12). It was almost as if he were telling God how great he was, instead of how great God is.

The tax collector, on the other hand, refused to even look up as he prayed. His prayer was simple and direct: “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” (Luke 18:14). He did not compare himself to other tax collectors who may have been cheating the people out of money. He did not tell God, “I might be a sinner, but at least I don’t sin like that!” He did not say, “Look how humble I am!”

No, he compared himself to the only thing that truly matters: God’s standard. When we stand before the Almighty, we will not be judged on a curve. We will not be compared to other men, no matter how good or bad they were or we were. We will be judged by the words of Christ (John 12:48). And we will be acquitted of our wrongdoings if we are in Christ (Romans 8:1).

The tax collector knew that he needed the mercy of God. Every single person alive today still needs that same mercy, and it is provided through the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ. It is provided only to those who are in Christ. And the Scriptures are clear how one accesses such a gracious blessing: through baptism into His death (Romans 6:3-4). Do you recognize your need? Are you in Christ?

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 227/260: Lazarus

Luke 16:19-31

The Rich Man’s Concern

We are not told of great deeds done by the beggar Lazarus. The works that showed his faith are not recorded for us in Holy Writ. All we know of his life is what Jesus said: he was a “beggar named Lazarus, full of sores, who was laid at (the rich man’s) gate” (Luke 16:20).

Of the rich man, we know very little. We do not even know his name! We are told that he “was clothed in purple and fine linen and fared sumptuously every day” (Luke 16:19). We also know that he neglected the needs of his fellow man who desired just the crumbs from the table.

We do know that Lazarus had faith, however, as evidenced by the angels carrying him to Abraham’s bosom. We also know that the rich man did not act on any spiritual knowledge he may have had, for when he died he found himself “in torments in Hades” (Luke 16:23).

The rich man begged for relief from his pain, but Abraham reminded him how he lived his life. The rich man then turned his attention to the living: his five brothers. He begged Abraham that Lazarus might go warn them so they could avoid the same punishment he experienced. Abraham denied the request, saying, “They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them” (Luke 16:30).

There are some in this life who reject baptism because they know a loved one who has now passed was never immersed. They are concerned that if they obey the gospel, they will condemn their loved one. Friends, nothing you can do can affect a person’s eternal destiny once they have passed from this life. You will be judged by your actions; they will be judged by their own.

If your loved ones could send a message to you after their passing, it would be this: “You have Jesus and the inspired writings of the New Testament; hear them!” You must develop a faith in the One who died for you. Do not allow someone else’s rebellion to determine your response. Obey the gospel. Repent of your sins. Be immersed and have those sins washed away!

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 226/260: Mary and Martha

Read Luke 10:38-42

The Good Part

Life in the twenty-first century is full of many activities. I sometimes wonder how a person from the first century would view the busyness of our modern world, between fast-food restaurants, interstate travel, and the technology of the internet. Yet, even in the first century, they found ways to keep themselves busy.

When Jesus visited the sisters Mary and Martha, one sister paid close attention to Jesus while the other was distracted by the busyness of serving. Martha got quite frustrated that her sister was not helping, so she approached the Lord and said, “Lord, do You not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Therefore tell her to help me” (Luke 10:40).

Jesus’ answer is very interesting. He did not condemn Martha for her choice to focus on “much serving,” but neither did He commend her for it. He explained that both women had a choice to make, and it was a choice that only they could make for themselves. Would they focus on the physical, as Martha did, or on the spiritual, as Mary chose? “Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things. But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:41-42).

If we focus too much on the physical, we will miss out on so much that Jesus has to offer. He warned in the Sermon on the Mount that worrying about physical things was a sign of little faith, and said, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).

Have you chosen that which is needed, the good part? Consider the words of Paul: “If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God. Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth” (Colossians 3:1-2).

Where is your focus?

Paul Reasons With Felix (Acts 24:22-27)

Paul Reasons With Felix Acts 24

Acts 24:22-27

I. Who were Felix and Drusilla? (Acts 24:24)

    A. Felix was born a slave but was freed and rose to power
    B. Drusilla was a member of the Herod family

II. Paul preached to them the gospel (Acts 24:25)

    A. Righteousness (Psalm 119:172; Matthew 3:15)
    B. Self-control (Galatians 5:23; 2 Peter 1:6; Titus 1:8; Galatians 5:24; 1 Corinthians 7:10; Matthew 14:4, 10)
    C. The judgment to come (2 Corinthians 5:10; Acts 17:31)

III. The response of Felix (Acts 24:26-27)

    A. Afraid (NKJV), trembled (KJV), terrified (ASV)
    B. He procrastinated for a “convenient time”
    C. He called on Paul again, but with the wrong motivation, hoping for a bribe (Exodus 23:8; Deuteronomy 16:19; 2 Chronicles 19:7; Psalm 15:5)

The Beatitudes of Revelation

The Beatitudes of Revelation

I. I. Revelation 1:3

    A. Preparation for the destruction of Jerusalem (Matthew 24:1-3, 15-16)
    B. Preparation for the second coming of Christ (Matthew 24:36)

II. Revelation 14:13

    A. Encouragement for faithfulness in the face of persecution (Revelation 2:10; 2 Timothy 3:12)
    B. Do not be distracted from the Lord’s work (Romans 12:2; 2 Timothy 4:8)

III. Revelation 16:15

    A. Watchfulness and preparation
    B. Simile also used by apostles in reference to final judgment (1 Thessalonians 5:2; 2 Peter 3:10)

IV. Revelation 19:9

    A. All are invited; the obedient are the called (1 Thessalonians 2:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:14)
    B. Obedience results in sanctification and preservation (Jude 1:1)

V. Revelation 20:6

    A. What is “the first resurrection”? (baptism, the resurrection at the second coming, or the resurrection of the cause following the destruction of Jerusalem?)
    B. “The second death” is eternal condemnation (Rev. 20:14)
    C. “They shall be priests of God” (1 Peter 2:9)

VI. Revelation 22:7

    A. Same principle as Revelation 1:3
    B. Continual action – keeps and keeps on keeping (James 1:25)

VII. Revelation 22:14

    A. The tree of life
    B. Obedience is essential (Hebrews 5:9)

Monday through Friday with People of Faith: Day 225/260: The Leper

Read Luke 17:11-19

Giving Thanks

Leprosy was a dreaded disease. Many regulations regarding leprosy are found in the Law of Moses, particularly in Leviticus 13-14. These lepers in Luke 17 “stood afar off” (Luke 17:12); they were required to make their malady known and separate themselves from others. In the Law, it is written, “Now the leper on whom the sore is, his clothes shall be torn and his head bare; and he shall cover his mustache, and cry, ‘Unclean! Unclean!’” (Leviticus 13:45). It was an undesirable life.

These ten lepers, when they saw Jesus, cried out to Him, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” (Luke 17:13). They had no doubt heard of His wonders, and they desired His compassion and healing. He answered them, “Go, show yourselves to the priests” (Luke 17:14). This was necessary according to the Law for a leper to be declared clean by the priest (Leviticus 14:1ff).

The Scriptures reveal that the lepers were cleansed on their way to the priests. Only one of them, however, when he realized he had been healed, returned to Jesus. Upon returning, he “glorified God, and fell down on his face at His feet, giving Him thanks” (Luke 17:15-16). Only one out of ten.

The Scriptures further reveal that this man was a Samaritan (Luke 17:16), implying the others were Jews. The Jews, who had been raised to know that the Messiah was coming and should have recognized Him when He arrived, largely refused to believe in the Son of God. But those who were previously without hope, outside the promises given to Israel, were the ones who showed gratitude and worshiped.

Jesus told this Samaritan man, formerly afflicted by leprosy, “Arise, go your way. Your faith has made you well” (Luke 17:19). The other nine may have imagined they were getting better on their own, or discredited Jesus’ power by claiming He didn’t really do anything. But this one man saw the power of the Son of God, acknowledged it, and acted upon it.

May our faith and thanksgiving be as strong as this leper’s.

But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. (Acts 8:12)