Persuading Others to Believe

The Apostle Paul had a conviction – we should try to persuade everyone everywhere to believe in Jesus. Do you want everyone to become a Christian? Do you think we shouldn’t impose our beliefs on others? It’s not tolerant to try to persuade someone to convert.

But according to this text, there is much at stake. When Jesus calls Paul to share the message of salvation it’s clear that people need to be moved from darkness to light, from bondage to freedom, from condemnation to forgiveness, from pointless, futile living, to a place of belonging through faith in Him.

No one is born a Christian. Every Christian is a convert. And God has called us to try to persuade others to believe.

Scripture: Acts 25-26

The Promised Servant

700 years before the birth of Jesus, God promised to restore justice to the world and bring healing to the nations. He would do that through His Servant in Isaiah 42.

When you look at the world, it’s apparent the world needs saving, people need a Savior, and God sent His servant into the world that the world might be saved through Him. Jesus is God’s Servant. The Jesus of Christmas is an adorable baby, born in a stable, to poor parents. But He is more; He came to restore all things, to make all things new, to undo everything that sin had undone!

And as God’s servant, Jesus suffers for us. He takes our bruises on Himself and in return, heals our hurts, forgives our sins, and sets us free to be His people until He comes again and the world is made fully new.

Scripture: Isaiah 42:1-9: Matthew 3:17; Mark 10:45; Luke 22:27

The Glorious King

Isaiah gives hope to God’s people by describing a Glorious King who would usher in a Kingdom that would provide a glorious rest.

Scripture: Isaiah 11:1-10

God Can Save Anyone

Most commentators say that Peter and Paul are the two most pivotal people in the book. This passage, Acts 9:1-31, is the story of Saul’s (soon to be known as Paul) conversion. His lust for stamping out Christianity has him pursuing the Christians outside of Jerusalem. But on his way to Damascus, he’s confronted by the risen Christ, converted and commissioned to go to the Gentiles with the gospel.

This text encourages us in a couple ways. It reminds us of the sovereign authority of Jesus to build His church and spread the gospel, no matter how strong the opposition might be.

It also shows us that no one anywhere, under any circumstances is beyond the reach of the gospel!

Scripture: Acts 9:1-31

Who Is Jesus?

Acts 3 is an example of the “signs and wonders” being done at the hands of the Apostles Luke refers to in Acts 2:43. Peter and John, going to the temple see a lame man they likely have seen many times before, but this time it’s different. Peter speaks in Jesus name and the man is healed. A crowd gathers and Peter preaches his second sermon.

Chapter three is a miracle and a message. And this miracle is a message about the salvation Jesus can bring to our souls. It’s also about the restoration Jesus will bring to the world!

Scripture: Acts 3:1-26, 2:43; Isaiah 65:17, 35:5-6

The Lord’s Supper

Jesus told us to be sure we included two “ordinances.” An ordinance is simply something that Jesus ordered His Church to do, on an ongoing basis, as central acts of worship. These two ordinances are baptism and the Lord’s Supper.

The origin of the Lord’s Supper stretches back about 1400 years before Jesus was born. Exodus 12 tells of Moses confronting Pharaoh and telling him to let God’s people go. This stubborn Pharaoh of Egypt resolutely refused to release the people from bondage. To get his attention, God sent 12 plagues on Egypt. Finally, God told Moses to have the people wipe the blood of a sacrificial animal on their doorposts. This sacrifice would be a signal for the angel to Passover the people of Israel and inflict God’s discipline of every Egyptian’s home.

From that day forth, the people of Israel have celebrated Passover, to commemorate God’s protection and deliverance. Then, just before his arrest, Jesus ate the Passover meal with his disciples and changed the meaning of the celebration. Today, we continue to observe this commemoration in the form of what we call the Lord’s Supper.

Scripture: Exodus 12 and Matthew 26

Passion Week

Passion Week concluded in the resurrection, the most critical event in history. However, we must not overlook the events leading up to His crucifixion. These are crucially significant days that help us to understand the life of Christ. Jesus entered the city of Jerusalem with great fanfare on Sunday of Passion Week. Through that week, He taught some of His most important truths. On Thursday, Jesus ate the Passover meal with His disciples and gave His church the ordinance of the Lord’s Supper. From there, He led the disciples to the Mt. of Olives and the Garden of Gethsemane where He prayed. When this agonizing prayer finished, He was betrayed by Judas and taken off to six trials, ending in the sentence of crucifixion.

While the crucifixion and resurrection make up the core of our faith, nevertheless, the drama leading up to the crucifixion reveals much about Jesus and the Christian life.

Scripture: Matthew 21 and 26

The King Is Born!

Christ is the great central fact of the world’s history. To him, everything looks forward or backward. All the lines of history converge upon him. All the great purposes of God culminate in him. The greatest and most momentous fact that the history of the world records is the fact of his birth.  Charles Haddeon Spurgeon

Scripture: Luke 2:1-21

Jesus Is Coming!

We live in a world where each day we experience hardship/heartbreak and we need to know that God comes through on His promises. History is culminating in the birth of Jesus and if we’re in Jesus, our life has meaning/purpose as He’s been orchestrating all of this together for our good and His glory.

Scripture: Luke 1:57-80

Abraham and the Sacrifice of Isaac

Thankfully, God didn’t ask Abraham to go through with the sacrifice, but one dark Friday God would provide, and just as Abraham walked up that hill with his son, his wood for the burnt offering in his hand, God stayed the knife and told him to stop because through this child would come another promise and blessing that would bring rescue and salvation to the world… Jesus would walk willingly up that hill, carrying the wood on His back AND there He would be slain to save and bless the world.

Scripture: Genesis 22:1-19