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Showing posts from July, 2016

Increase Witnessing Opportunities

Acts 3 contains another public proclamation of Christ by Peter. Many more individuals were saved as a result. Here are three observations on how this opportunity arose.
You can increase your own opportunities to proclaim Christ by focusing your attention on these things:

1. Opportunity came through normal life activity. Some people view evangelism with an "event" mentality. That is, they break up their life into times of active duty and periods of off-duty. Active duty would be when they evangelize at church events, etc. Off-duty is any other time. In Acts 3, Peter and John were going about their normal activities when an opportunity to proclaim Christ presented itself. They took full advantage. Christians should seek to live a Great Commission lifestyle instead of being event focused. Events may be part of your evangelism lifestyle but we will miss opportunity to proclaim Christ if we stick only to special occasions. Every day is a special occasion from the Lord to meet peop…

Preaching Christ from Moses

In Peter's Pentecost proclamation he preached from the prophets and psalms. In his second sermon (Acts 3) he preaches from Moses.
The church has been growing. The Lord was adding to their number day by day those who were being saved (Acts 2:47). Peter has a captive audience because a beggar lame from birth was publicly healed.

The people are marveling at this miracle. Peter asks them, "Why are you amazed at this?" He points out their unbelief. Then he points them to Christ. Two passages from Moses serve as foundation texts.

After this message more believe: But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand (Acts 4:4, NASB).

Deuteronomy 18:15 in Context
Moses is giving instruction for after entering the Promised Land. He commands them to be holy. He teaches that whoever participates in the profane practices of the pagans will be detestable to God.

Then, Moses promises that God will raise up a prophet for them to o…

The Promised King

As Peter wraps up his explanation of Christ on the Day of Pentecost he uses two additional Old Testament passages.
The first reference is seemingly a paraphrase of Psalm 132:11. It could simply be a summary of several Old Testament passages. The final passage is Psalm 110:1. Both texts serve to drive home the same point: Jesus is the promised king from the line of David.

Psalm 132 in Context
Psalm 132 is a Psalm of Ascents. It would have been sung by faithful Israelites on their way to the Temple to worship. This particular psalm calls on the Lord to remember His promise made to David. This promise included:

God providing a king from David's line to rule on the throne foreverGod choosing Zion as His habitation foreverGod's blessing upon His people for their faithfulness to the covenantGod bringing shame upon the enemies of His king
All of these hopeful truths are found repeatedly throughout the Old Testament. This psalm served as a reminder of God's promises and a stimulus t…

Power Over Death

Peter's sermon continues in Acts 2 with a second Old Testament passage explaining Christ.
Peter transitioned the crowds attention by citing the prophet Joel. Now that he has their attention Peter cites from Psalm 16:8-11, a psalm of David.

Psalm 16 in Context
Psalm 16 was written during the life of King David. Scholars debate the exact dates of David's birth and death. Regardless, we are looking at a psalm written roughly 1000 years before the birth of Jesus.

The original writing certainly applied to events happening in David's own context. In this psalm, David expresses his trust and delight in the living God. Not only does David say that he delights in God but he also expresses delight in God's people.

How Peter Uses Psalm 16
Peter focuses the crowds' attention on the reality of God's power working in the life of Jesus. By pointing to the miracles, wonders, and signs God performed through Jesus during His public ministry. The resurrection was the pinnacle of…

Call on the Name of Jesus

Acts 2 contains our first example of how the first followers of Christ explained Him using the Old Testament.We don't start here because it is the first canonically. It's not. There have been many references to the Old Testament - many of which explain Christ - in the Gospels. These are printed before Acts 2 in your Bible. They were written by Apostles and associates of the Apostles. We will examine many of them in later posts.

There are even two Old Testament Scriptures cited in Acts 1:20. These Scriptures are used in relation to replacing Judas. They are not specifically explaining Christ. If you are interested in an in-depth study that looks at the complete use of the Old Testament in the New I recommend G.K. Beale and D.A. Carson's Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament.

We start in Acts 2 because it is the first chronologically. Luke wrote Acts c. A.D. 60-62 which is nearly three decades after the crucifixion. But the event he is recording in Acts 2 …

From Dangerous to Powerful

I'll always remember the last day of my first Greek class. Our professor ended the course by saying, "Congratulations - you now all know enough to be dangerous." (I'm paraphrasing.)

After one course we didn't know enough Greek to be useful. We only knew enough to be dangerous. We knew enough to convince others that we knew much more than we actually did. It is easy to lead people astray by sounding like an authority. Even when you don't really know what you're talking about.

Moving from dangerous to useful is important. While none of us will ever know everything we should strive to always be growing in the grace and knowledge of the Lord. We cannot wait until we know everything before we speak the gospel to others. But there are two basic themes to keep in mind to help us grow into maturity in the faith.

Preparation through study.Preparation through prayer.
Both take time. Lots of time. We should be engaging in both forms of preparation until we take our …

Explaining Christ From the Old Testament

Then beginning with Moses and with all the prophets, He explained to them the things concerning Himself in all the Scriptures. (Luke 24:27, NASB)
This passage in Luke is awe-inspiring. It is also frustrating.
Awe-inspiring because it tells us that on the day that Jesus rose from the dead He took the opportunity to explain everything the Old Testament Scriptures had to say about Himself as He walked with them down the road. He started with Moses and went right through all the prophets.
A few verses later (Luke 24:44-49) Jesus explains to a bigger group of His disciples that everything written about Him in the Law of Moses, the Prophets, and the Psalms has been fulfilled. These Old Testament passages contained the truth which they were to testify to the nations: That the Christ would suffer;That He would rise again from the dead on the third day;That repentance for the forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations. Awesome.
Yet, it is frustrating. Because Luke wa…