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August 24, 2020 8:00 am
Have you noticed that at the beginning of the Christian church, the apostles didn't have very much to say about the teachings of Jesus.
Last time of the Bible study our we saw how God sent Peter to Cornelius, the Gentile, which led Peter and everyone know the good news was open to all peoples. So what's next.
Welcome to the Bible study our radio and Internet program with Dr. James Boyce preparing you to think and act biblically when Peter was standing in Cornelius's house, he declared to them the truth which he and the other apostles had witnessed that Jesus was the Christ, the Lord of all to both Jews and Gentiles. Let's listen now as Dr. Boyce teaches from the book of acts important thing is the declaration of this message that was given to the apostles and which has formed the substance of our heart of Christian preaching whenever its faithful preaching all down through the centuries of the Christian church and that is what Peter did on the first of these verses we saw when we were looking at the chapter last week because it was an expression of what God had been teaching Peter up to this point God had taught Peter that the gospel was for Gentiles to sell when he gets into Cornelius's house has this congregation of Gentiles in front of him.
He begins by acknowledging that I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism, but accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right here, of course, was prejudiced and what I tried to point out last week was somewhat of a proper way I meant to say by that that he didn't have it in for Gentiles absolutely despise other races something of the grace of Jesus Christ undoubtedly was at work in his heart but he approached the matter from all of the centuries of tradition that he had inherited as a Jew, and those centuries of tradition were based bottom on human prejudice along the prejudice entered in and colored it on the revelation of God brought against insert laws those people.
This had come to them through the mediation of Moses on Mount Sinai and prescribe certain ways in which Jews were to live certain foods that Jews would eat certain observances that Jews were to happen, Peter.
As Jill received this from God and was living by now. This was about to change any of these things were cultural were going to pass away, but Peter was in this transition. And he did not understand this fully and so I did use the word with the proper kind of prejudice toward Gentile religion. He said as any Jew in his time would've said including all of those would become Christians.
Well, it's just not proper fellowship with Gentiles going to Gentile house should become ceremonially unclean. If you sit down at the table to eat with Gentiles, its nonkosher food. The G8 and if you're owing to be a joker going to be faithful to the law that God is given is really just can't do those things.
This was the point of the vision.
Of course, when Peter sleep on the roof saw this she come down from heaven with all kinds of animals and it was were clean and those that were unclean. I am sure the animals he saw were the very animals are mentioned in the 11th chapter of Leviticus because that's the chapter that describes the difference between the clean and the unclean. Peter saw that recognized what was involved when he heard a voice from heaven saying Peter rise up and Eve, he replied, I think, without any sense whatsoever that he was contradicting the word of his master the word of God. He said no, Laura can do that you will understand I can't do that.
I'm obeying your word and in all my life I've never eaten anything that's unclean say Peter would've regarded that word from God is a test and he would not of seen his responses. Disobedience.
So when God said what I have called cleaned out you call unclean. Peter was puzzled.
How can that be here. He had been taught that there were certain things he is a Jew should not do. And now it was God saying well I'm about to change all of this by calling clean and you call it unclean. Peter would've said.
How can that be the case, God repeated three times, Peter got the idea that it was important and then when Gentiles arrived at his door. He understood rightly.
He was an apostle of God was working in his life. This was a revelation.
He understood rightly that God was about to do something new.
I was about to open the door of the gospel to the Gentiles as Gentiles and therefore when he arrived in the house of Cornelius.
He said, as we just ran.
I now realize he hadn't realized it before but I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism. We had a realize it to course.
Sometimes we don't.
We have all kinds of prejudices, our own. We have denominational registers. We think that God is going to work with our denomination but not with others. We have racial prejudices. We think that God has to work in our particular racial way, but with other races. We have national prejudices and so on.
And this is a lesson we need to learn. God does not show favoritism as the gospel is for all who will, in the way which is provided through faith in Christ now beginning in verse 36.
Peter actually gets to the sermon he introduces is that why this is the message very interesting sermon some years ago. I think quite a long time ago now.
Perhaps I remember correctly, in 1935 Cambridge, Prof. of New Testament by the name of CH God gave a series of lectures on the apostolic preaching is lectures later appeared in a book called the apostolic preaching and its developments 1935 it was a very significant book because what God did was go to all the sermons that we have from Peter the others in acts and the reflections of that same kind of preaching that week find in Paul's letters and concluded that in these early days was a certain form to the preaching that all of the apostles and all of the early preachers followed Donnetta word Florence. It was based on the Greek word for proclamation. The word charisma and that's what he called the curriculum you done any New Testament studies you know you don't do them for very long before you come up against this term certain basic core of the gospel, God pointed out of the course of these studies lightly. I believe that the simplest form of that is what you find. The pen of Paul and first Corinthians 15. The chapter on the resurrection where the beginning of the chapter he goes at some length the stress of the gospel he preached was no creation of Paul's no special revelation of Paul's but only the thing that he had received in the beginning, as all the others had received namely that Jesus was crucified and buried, and then rose again on the third day in two of those instances, it is according to the Scriptures, crucified, according to Scriptures, buried, and rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures, three points, God said well that's a simplest form of its bite as he examined it using the sermon of Peter's here in earlier in acts. He said there was a more elaborate form of the curriculum of the proclamation and that is what we find.
Now let's go through it and just see what it is that someone like Peter thought was so important for the Gentiles to learn, understand now as I do this reason I'm doing it is not as a sort of historical study to say well back in the early days of the church is what Peter thought Peter was an apostle and what he thought way express.
The gospel is binding because of his apostolic authority is with the gospel is today.
What I'm going to say you say is that this is the way the gospel must be preached today, and when we depart from that we do so to our own farm and the weakening of the church now.
Is this is the message God sent to the people of Israel telling good news. Now let's gospel the good news of peace through Jesus Christ was Lord of all unasserted preparatory to good news of peace reason that the good news of peace is that apart from the good news of peace through Jesus Christ. We are not at peace with God.
War with God all puts it in other terms in Romans and Paul speaks of our relationship to God in the first chapter of Romans. He says were under God's wrath.
That's a way of saying the same thing we would say, well, everything's all right got is not all right would say as though once dad, I am not at war with God.
But God said you wanted war with major rebellion against me. The whole human race is in rebellion against me racial not acknowledge my role it wants to fight me and fight me to the death medical versus bot vein term because when Almighty God actually did take a form in which mere human beings could fight him to the death. That is precisely what they did to him. They killed them in the person of Jesus Christ were at war with God now says Peter.
The good news is that peace has been made for those will have in Christ. Christ is the way in which it comes later on here. He's going to speak of. Jesus says Jesus of Nazareth and is a Jew but remember now that Peter is speaking to Gentiles so introduces the name of Jesus Christ in verse 36.
He says quite appropriately. In this context, who is Lord of all or the Jews asked but Lord of the Gentiles to peers, Lord, guess what Cornelius is Lord as well. Lord of those people in that far-off day. Yes, and also our Lord. This is the Jesus, about whom we speak Lord because he is God because he is God, the one was able to establish peace. Removing the offense that we have erected now. The second thing Peter introduces Eric second part of this correct our basic core of the gospel is the baptism you know what is happening throughout Judea beginning in Galilee. After the baptism, the John preached and performed a course on Jesus is an interesting that that should be mentioned if you want to study this further. You should go to some of these other sermons and see the baptism is mentioned, but let me give just in passing the one I've already referred to, namely, that summation of the gospel that Paul himself gives in first Corinthians, there you have the shortest form of the proclamation anywhere in the New Testament. How Christ was crucified.
According to the Scriptures was buried and then was raised again according to the Scriptures. Paul later on in that chapter. As he begins to talk about the significance of all of this involves our baptism and the baptism of Jesus Christ defied the same thing in the fifth chapter of Romans, and elsewhere. Why is that so important well when we talk about the baptism of Jesus. Generally we talk about it in terms of his identification with us because that's what he himself said when he was baptized when John the Baptist protested and said well now. Why should I baptize you rather should be the other way around.
You should baptize me.
Jesus said no, suffered to be so diaphanous it suffers us to fulfill all righteousness. He was saying.
I want to identify with people and I want to go through all of the things that are proper for me to do so. We think of it in those terms.
That's not the reason primarily why it forms a part of the curriculum as it does here, however the reason it's involved in this basic proclamation of the gospel is that when Jesus Christ was baptized, God himself spoke from heaven, authenticating him as his son.
And because on that occasion, he was anointed visibly in a special way with the Holy Spirit for the task. He had to do voice from heaven said this is my beloved son in whom I am well pleased. John saw the Spirit descending as a dove upon him, and after that he went into the wilderness was tempted of the devil and his ministry began. Interesting.
We look at the Gospels Matthew Mark Luke and John that they do not begin by giving us a great deal of tales from Christ's early life. During the first 30 years already tell in some instances of the birth. Matthew does that Luke doesn't bed immediately after that they passed the baptism of John and the gospel of Mark doesn't even mention the birth. It just starts right in with the baptism of John was significant to say because here, God himself set his seal upon Jesus Christ as the messengers, one to whom we should put heat so the early Christians, early preachers without preaching the gospel and that's where they began to stir things Peter mentions is the public ministry of God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit that's still in reference to the baptism and power and how he went around doing good and healing all who were under the power of the devil because God was with him. I was talking about two things there in the public ministry doing good is all of the good things that Jesus did as he went around the secondly these special acts that demonstrated his power over Satan. We think the exorcisms and perhaps some of the other miracles as well. The significant thing about Peter's summation of the public ministry of Jesus.
In this way is that he does not talk about his teaching that interesting around doing good, showing the power of the Holy Spirit is like by healings power the spirit over Satan so on.
But he doesn't talk about all the things Jesus said, we turn to the Gospels, we find that there are many things that Jesus said hold chapters filled with his teaching parables and discourses of what we call the sermon on the mountain.
The Olivet discourse.
All of the sites chapter after chapter of the teachings yet here you say when Peter is summarizing the gospel presenting it in the way the early preachers presented in their day is not talk about the teachings of Jesus. Why is that well. Reason is that until people came to understand what it is a Jesus Christ did by his death, and turn from their sin and had faith in him becoming new creatures in Jesus Christ.
They want capable of responding was teaching Jesus said, as he did in the sermon on the bow that your to be peacemakers.
Your to live by the Scriptures. Your to follow a higher standard than you found even in the Old Testament that your to do on the other nurses you would have them do unto you.
So on through all the teaching of the sermon on the bottom. Jesus said those things those things were not talk to the masses that largely caused a part of the spirit of God.
They were capable of doing them would be misleading to talk about the teachings of Jesus.
If you'd share his ethics with people. People would think, well, that's what Christianity is all about. It must be the ethics of Jesus.
That's what we should do go out and put them into practice.
And so they would develop a self-righteousness of human righteousness which would cause them to trust in themselves rather than in what Jesus Christ is done vanity again and again falls in the that pattern makes a great mistake. By the early preachers didn't do it. You say will didn't they ever share what Jesus taught. While course they did because we have it in the New Testament by that came afterwards you say after people turn from their sin and come to God through faith in Jesus, God, whom I mentioned earlier distinguishes.
At that point between the curricula on the one hand, which is this basic preaching of the core of the gospel and the dedications, another Greek word which means the teachings curriculum is what was proclaimed in the world. When people repented and came to Christ and the dedicate follow began to teach them Jesus ways, but only after they were degenerate Onyx item Peter mentions is the crucifixion where witnesses of everything did in the country of the Jews in Jerusalem and we are witnesses.
Of course, the fact that they kill him by hanging him on a tree doesn't elaborate here upon the significance of that death, but we would suppose rightly. I'm sure that as he had opportunity and his questions were asked. This is chief thing he would speak about what was the point of Jesus dying here. God had sent his messenger.
He was one to whom we should listen why did he die, and why is that subject crucial central thing in this basic proclamation of the answer is I trust we know is that he died for us died in our place.
This is how he made peace with the point at which he starts this good news of peace through Jesus Christ.
He made peace. As Paul says elsewhere.
By his death by taking the offense against us, God taking the offense and nailing it to his cross say the picture that we have areas of our sin, which is been built up like a great wall between ourselves and God were unable to be at peace when they were on the opposite side of the divided were fighting them all the time I was I to be removed. All it be all right for God to say, well, I'll help you live better but there's still the offense. What are we to do about that. And the answer of the crosses that God took all of that sin and in the figurative way placed upon Jesus Christ and punished at their this is the whole symbolism of the sacrifices how one would sin could take an innocent animal and to bring it to the priesthood haven't killed that innocent animal in the symbolic way. Dying in the place of the center sinner deserves to die, but now animal is dying instead God accepts that death in place of the death of the one. It was sent.
The Old Testament saints as well as New Testament saints knew that the blood of sheep and goats doesn't take away sin was assembled pointing forward to the death that would be sufficient.
Namely, the death of Jesus Christ ethics away sin because of who he is, is God's God dying for us because he is God infinite's death has infinite value. So when he died.
We trust him come to God and the basis of his death. That sin is removed and what was previously a relationship of hostility becomes a relationship of peace for supporting the next item in this proclamation concerns the resurrection, but God. Peter raised him from the dead on the third day cause them to be seen seen by everybody. He says Peter acknowledges that he was seen by witnesses of God and chosen in advance to be witnesses who are they, says Peter, we're the ones that are the ones who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead is interesting that he stresses eating and drinking with Christ because it's a way of saying you say that it was a real resurrection, not a question of some mystical appearance of a disembodied Christ, the kind resurrection that you sometimes see in the movies and Hollywood makes it wasn't a resurrection in faith. That is the faith of the early Christians. So I thought well he must live in the sensitive spirit lives on.
It wasn't a hallucination as if they were so much in love with them that they just couldn't bear the thought of having them data so they imagine that they saw him in places, or it wasn't just his spirit somehow present with them, inspiring them or lifting them or carrying them on. It was a real resurrection. It was a real body and they sat down at a real table with a real Christ, and together with him, ate and drank is what Jesus did in the upper room, you know, to convince them that he was real. I saw him and that's just what they thought they said well it's a ghost. So he sat down with the many H with them in order that they might recognize that he had a real body was really risen from 2000 C was over death.
Just as he was a victory over sin and it's on that basis that he is appointed Lord of glory and the judge of all, which is the point at which Peter ends, he commanded us to preach to the people and testify that he is the one whom God appointed as judge of the living and the dad Peter gets to the end of this sermon and gives what I called the application the invitation. All the prophets testify about him that everyone here he's being universal again you say this everybody includes Gentiles as well as Jews that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name, go back to the point I made earlier.
This is the gospel is no other gospel.
Sometimes you hear people talking about different kinds of Gospels back in the last century there was gospel that was called the gospel of inevitable progress. It was really a secular thing. It had to do with Darwinism, the Industrial Revolution, the progress of the Western nations of the prosperity of that time, and so on, but it had a religious element of the religious element said well Jesus Christ came to inaugurate his kingdom and his kingdom is coming in is going to come gloriously in the Christian version of what's going on in the world is this great kingdom. It's just going to call men.
All sin is going to be wiped out in everything is going to be nice and that was conceived in secular terms. That is not the gospel is understand me. Jesus Christ has a kingdom believe is going to come Monday and establish that kingdom, I believe is going to establish it upon arc.
Some people disagree with that but I think that what is going to happen to sleep gospel of an inevitable kingdom is not the gospel gospel is what we find here. Sometimes people talk about the social gospel great emphasis upon that in the earlier decades of the century by men like water, Russian Bush and others. They saw that the social aspects of Christianity had been neglected by Christian people so they began to stress all the social things, which in themselves are quite important, but which, in their handling of it superseded the real gospel. So Christianity became doing good things, feeding the poor, helping those who were downtrodden. So what we have something similar today in the liberation gospel or liberation theology is the idea that what Jesus Christ came to do is set us free from oppressive social and political powers. The enemy is the system Christianity breaks through from that now don't misunderstand, I think when Christianity comes or is liberation political systems are change progress does follow social things are certainly part of the outworking of the faith that is not the gospel gospel is what we find here gospel of the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, whom God sent anointed with his Holy Spirit at the baptism went about doing good and demonstrating his power over Satan and the forces of evil was crucified by wicked man and raise the third day's resurrection was witnessed by the apostles in this same Jesus and his resurrection form commanded them to go about and preach this gospel to all nations, reminding them that the day is coming when the same Jesus who died and was raised again is going to return is judged of the living and the dead.
That's the gospel, may I say that's the gospel, God blesses whenever we preach something else. All may produce visible results. People may go do good things we say all was not wonderful and that's true, it's good is not the gospel it's not what God blesses because this is what God uses to change lives.
But God uses to bring new life is what God uses to turn men and women from a life of sin to righteousness. Empower them to do it through the spirit of the living Christ. You see, that's the way the chapter ends while Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came upon all who heard the message.
What message message of the social gospel, and all message of liberation theology know all the gospel progress in this message.
All I heard that message Holy Spirit who blessed the message because he had given it came upon them, and they were all saved. This was a great puzzle to those Jews that had come up from Joppa with Peter that the Holy Spirit had been poured out, and I'm quoting even on the Gentiles. See it's not that the Gentiles couldn't be saved.
Remember, that's what I started with course to be saved as they became Jews.
That's what they thought but said that become Jews are still Gentiles and yet the Holy Spirit was poured out upon them exactly as the Holy Spirit had been poured out upon the apostles prior to Peter's first preaching at Pentecost put it that way, you say because here the Gentiles are brought into an exactly parallel position, not merely with the Jews when the apostles because when Peter went out preaching at Pentecost.
He preached they repented they were baptized, and after that the spirit came upon when they went up to Samaria.
The people believed that the Jews had to come up in Jerusalem later hands upon them and then they received the Holy Spirit. Save Gentiles in the house of Cornelius is currently entirely Gentile congregation received the Holy Spirit just as the Jewish apostles had received the Holy Spirit in the upper room.
That's why this chapter is called in some commentaries, Gentile Pentecost, and they were not compelled to be circumcised.
Peter looked at them and said no. Can anyone find any single reason reason. Here's your time and find any single reason why we shouldn't baptize these Gentiles because after all, we preach the gospel same gospel is preached, so they believe, just as we believe Holy Spirit is come upon them, just as he came upon a house. Why shouldn't they be baptized but heading to say so they baptize them without being circumcised without becoming Jews. They were received rightly properly and victoriously in this one great growing international church of Jesus Christ and I wonder if Peter didn't worry about it just a little bit very last line says they asked Peter to stay with them. A few days now.
Many lingered on in that Gentile home and the HI Gentile foods was he fasted for three or four days which I kind of doubt, Peter's case that meant it wasn't kosher food and I wonder. I just wonder if Peter wasn't thinking a few days, I have to go back to Jerusalem and explained all those people there what I've done is worried.
He was worried with some cause because of the next chapter says when he got there they began to criticize the size Peter the apostle to say you went into the house of uncircumcised man and eight with them and Peter had to defendable which is what he does well he may been criticized, but he was right.
We did the right thing later on the leverage and the wrong thing and this became a great struggle in the church since the struggle is reflected in the book of Galatians was. Paul had to fight it out with legalizes from Jerusalem said yes yes Gentiles can be saved but first they must be Jews all had to fight it out and even Peter.
Subsequent to this great revelation wavered, but here he did the right thing and we do the right thing as well.
When we take the same message proclaiming not just people like ourselves but to everyone father Leslie screws to us. We confess that it is easy for us even when we know they stress even when we have been made alive in Christ. To some waiver because we listen to the world we got off the track and we begin to think well maybe it might be better to do it like that.
We forget that were not called to do it like that are called to listen to the world but we are called to be witnesses to this gospel. So father, help us to do it to be faithful in our personal witnessing and blessings as it is always pleased you to bless this great message. Good news of peace through Jesus Christ who is the Lord of all a matter you are listening to the Bible study hour with the Bible teaching of Dr. Jean's voice listener supported ministry of the alliance of confessing Evangelicals. The alliance exists to promote a biblical understanding and worldview. Drawing upon the insight and wisdom of reformed theologians from decades and even centuries gone by. We seek to provide Christian teaching that will equip believers to understand and meet the challenges and opportunities of our time and place.
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