You are driving down the highway when you encounter a sign that reads, “Dangerous Curve Ahead.” Immediately you are confronted with making a choice. ONE, you can observe the warning and slow down. TWO, you can ignore the warning and maintain your rate of speed. Or, THREE, you can defy the warning and speed up. Whatever response you exercise, you will not change the truth of the sign. The curve remains dangerous, regardless of whether you acknowledge the fact or not.
- May be we are, naturally, a sceptical bunch but surely, if a person is heading toward a fiscal cliff of judgement, then shouldn't we pay careful attention to the warning being given?
- It's healthy to question things, but, some point in life, we have to go out on a limb & accept & make our belief real!
- It doesn't matter whether you believe or not in Homer or Julius Caesar, or Cleopatra for that matter – because they have no personal impact on your life
- But whether you believe or not in Jesus makes all the difference in the world
Ac 10:42 —42 “And He ordered us to preach to the people, and solemnly to testify that this is the One who has been appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead.
- Jesus will be the judge of every single person who has died OR is still alive when He returns
- It is very serious – If it is fact, then that curve is coming whether we like it or not
Q. What do you think when the mobile makes the sound that a message is there for you to view? Are you excited or do you open it with fear & trepidation?
- Mostly, we are very keen to view the message, or the e-mail
- We like to know what news will be there just for me
- Jesus had given orders to His apostles that they were to take His message to every nation on planet earth
- That message would be receivedwelcomed by some and rejectedspurned by others
- If you can recall, the apostles were to have a certain role & it was centred on the Person of Jesus
- They were to be eyewitnesses of the resurrected Jesus
- This is what they proclaimed
- It is the resurrection that proved that Jesus is the Messiah
- I don't think there are many in the western world that haven't heard of the word Messiah
- You find it in all sorts of places: Handel's Messiah; a blasphemous Monty Python movie; some even sport about it by saying someone is a personal messiah – someone who saved them from a lot of trouble
“Oh your my personal messiah”
Q. Who or what is a Messiah?
- Messiah is the English translation of the Hebrew word which means “anointed one”
- Christ is the English translation of the Greek word which means “anointed one” - yes they are one & the same
- Messiah and Christ are equivalent in meaning
- The word Messiah reflects Hebrew & Christ reflects the Greek
Messiah = OT language
Christ = NT language
- The “anointed one” is God's King who is coming to take up the rulership of the world
- Here, oil is poured over the head & the person is pronounced king
- The oil symbolises the Spirit of God
- J. R. Tolkien wrote the book the “Lord of the Rings” - you probably know that Hollywood made a series of 3 movies out of it
- The last one was called “The Return of the King”
- Now while Tolkien did not like to make his books to resemble Christianity, there is still something very deja vo-ish in this movie
- The world had fallen into chaos until its rightful king had returned, destroyed evil & restored peace & harmony to the world
- Jesus, however, brought harmony with God
- Let's think about kingship & kingdom for a moment
Q. What makes a person a citizen of the kingdom & a friend of the King?
- Allegiance, loyalty, a solemn vow to serve the king ; to acknowledge & accept him as your sovereign or ruler – would that sum it up, you think?
- Now translate that to an understanding of Jesus as that king – that sovereign ruler
- It is not surprising then, that in the book of Revelation, we have the image of a name on His thigh& robe – “King of Kings & Lord of lords”
Q. But what happens if this King is born in donkey's feedbox
Q. That He has no aspirations to force people into accepting His rule?
Q. What happens when He accepts suffering & men spitting in His face?
Q. Can such a person be a King? Can someone who was destined to be ruler over the world, be so inept when it comes to defending Himself?
- There is a delightful old movie called “The Prince and the Pauper”
- So old that it is in black & white
- Two boys were the star characters – identical twins, look alikes
- One was from the slums, the other was a prince
- They happen to meet one day & decide to swap roles for a moment just as a kind of game
- However, the Prince who was dressed like the Pauper went outside & got caught by the palace guard
- Thinking he was just a runt from the lower classes that had crept into the palace grounds, he was thrown out into the streets where he tried to convince everyone that he was the prince
- To his utter amazement, he was shunned, kicked, threatened & abused
- Here he is, the rightful prince & no one recognised him or received him
- Yet, this prince, in common street clothes, would one day return to his throne where he would rule over these very ones who shunned him
- Likewise the One who was humbly born in the feedbox of a donkey in a stable in Bethlehem would one day be a mighty ruler of all
Q. Imagine, after shunning & crucifying the King, the Lord of glory
Q. Could you imagine what kind of doo-doo you are now in?
- This is why, when the Jews found out that Jesus truly was the Messiah – the King – that they were (v.37) “pieced to the heart” → what have we done!!!
Q. But what convinced them that this Jesus was the Messiah?
- From all appearances, He was just some rif-raf with a big chip on his shoulder & a mighty big ego to boot!
- All the talk, but when push came to shove, none of His followers stayed loyal to Him
- This is really the backdrop to Peter's message
- Yes, He is as He seems, however, there are 4 elements that are missing:
- How many kings can do that?
- And since God is the only One who can open the eyes of the blind, heal the sick, raise the dead, then it stands to reason that God was with Jesus
- This can be no ordinary man for God must be well-pleased with Him for Him to work such wonders through Jesus
- God Raised Jesus from the dead affirming Him as both Lord & Messiah
- Jesus takes on the name of God from the OT – LORD
- Yahweh & Adonay, both mean Lord & are names assigned to God
- Through the resurrection, Peter, affirms that God has made Jesus Lord & Messiah
- If Jesus was not who He claimed to be, then He would not have been raised from the dead
- His resurrection is a Fulfilment of prophecy
- God made a promise to David to seat one of his descendants on his throne – a descendant who would have an everlasting rule
- And the prediction that His flesh would not undergo decay
- It was no accident that the Son of God, the Messiah, was killed
- It was all part of God's plan
- His death had been in the will & plan of God from the beginning yet, humanly, it was an inexcusable murder
- We must remember another thing that God used to convince the crowd
- The disciples were all given the ability to be multi-lingual – a sign that God's Spirit had come upon all mankind
- They were speaking in the languages of the people who had come from all over the known world to celebrate passover & pentecost
- They were guilty & they knew it!
Q. Since God is Creator – the One who holds your life in His hands - how would you respond to those claims?
- This is THE crucial decision that everyone HAS to make
Q. What are you asking me to believe, you say?
Q. Do you believe they really saw Jesus alive from the dead?
Q. Do you believe them? Do you believe their witness?
- The Jews were utterly convicted of the murder of the King - “We're in a lot of trouble, what can we do to get right with God”
- I hope you can see what's happening here
Q. What are the crowd asking? That if it is at all possible, how they can make things right with God
- They were wanting to know how they can be forgiven; how they can be put right with God
Q. Are you hearing the context? Are you seeing what they are asking?
- And Peter gives them the answer to their despair
Ac 2:38 —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.
- It would be hard to deny that this verse is one of the key verses in the whole of the book of Acts
- It's the way to get right with God
- After all that Jesus has done, after all that God had planned for the salvation of the world, here is the ANSWER to that question, “Brethren what shall we do”? In other words, “what must we do to be saved”?
Q. If these men ask, “Brethren what shall we do”, does Peter say, “do nothing” just accept it intellectually – have warm fuzzy feelings & you'll be right with God! - No he doesn't!!! He says, “repent & be baptised”!
- Firstly, “repent” means to have a change of mind, will & actions
- It starts with sorrow or regret which, of course, would lead one to a change of mind, will & action
- Repent here means a [one time act of] “turning” - a “turning” to Jesus as the Messiah of God
- It is interesting that during Peter's sermon on the Day of Pentecost that the people were “pierced to the heart”
- Lit. that means “smitten in conscience” - they felt the weight of guilt
- Guilty, guilty, guilty
- Out of this, they respond, “Brethren what shall we do”
- You see, they were ripe for repentance; they were in the place of sorrow & regret which led them to having a change of mind, will & action
- The all important first action that was required of them, was baptism
- Being fully immersed into water as Searle will be fully immersed next Sunday in the Murray
- But because of church traditions, there has been a range of interpretations surrounding baptism
Q. Some ask whether baptism is even necessary? And I don't desire to upset anyone, but think for a moment...
Q. What repentant person would ask that? Why would anyone ask that?
Q. Why doesn't anyone ask if repentance is necessary? But some do!
- I sent an article to my PTP guys that came out of the “Apologetic Bible” and here the author makes a comment from another passage but in the context of our verse...
“Baptism and the gospel are thus set in opposition to each other”
- Frankly, I was flabbergasted
Q. Are people so caught up in their church traditions that they would set baptism in opposition to the Gospel?
- But of course, that will happen, if you think that baptism is a work – Is repenting a work too – utter nonsense!
- Baptism is a faithful response to the call of God
1 Pe 3:21 —21 Corresponding to that (i.e. Noah's Ark that brought people safely through the water), baptism now saves you—not the removal of dirt from the flesh, but an appeal to God for a good (a clear) conscience—through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
Q. How can someone say that baptism is not necessary when it has to do with having a clear conscience before God
- Having done what God has asked!!!
- Surely you know what its like when God convicts you over a sin of committed, or the sin of omission
- It is only when you correct that behaviour, that attitude, that action that you can go back to having a clear conscience before God
- People so falsely think that they are right with God, even though they do not do what He says
Q. Why not? Is it that unclear? Why are we not seeing it?
- It's like the passive rebellious child we learn about in GKGW
- If a mother asks her daughter, specifically, to help her with the dishes, but she goes & sweeps the floor”, has she done what her mother asked?
- Or, if a father asks his son, specifically, to sweep up the leaves on the lawn, but he goes & waters the garden, has he done what his father asked?
- Now isn't it amazing that we clearly see the truth in those statements, but we choke on the simple & straight-forward words, “repent & be baptised”
Q. AND DO YOU REALISE WHAT HE WAS ASKING?
- To ask Jewish people to respond in repentance & baptism was a humiliating thing
- Jews regarded baptism as necessary only for Gentile converts & having to submit to it, in the name of the very person they had previously scoffed at, ridiculed, betrayed & rejoiced at, in His death!!!
- But when the crowd heard what they had to do, however, they swiftly obeyed & about 3000 were baptised that same day
- It says that these people “received” or “welcomed” his word & were baptised
- Luke said...”Those who received the word were baptised”
- Interestingly, Luke doesn't say, “those who received his word, repented” - why does he not say that or add that?
- Because it is inherent in the baptism – those who repented got baptised – baptism was the expressed demonstration of repentance
- And Peter doesn't say that, repentance & baptism, the forgiveness of sins & the gift of the Spirit are applicable for children (or infants)
- But for those who willingly, consciously, of their own volition, responded
- Baptism was for those who could make the choice – it is a believer's baptism
- However, the promise is for your children & your children's children
- That is, for every subsequent generation anywhere & everywhere on the earth
Q. WHAT IS THE PROMISE?
- That if you repent & are baptised, you will receive the forgiveness of sins & the gift of the Holy Spirit
- You will be made right with God & He will give you the same gift He poured out upon His disciples
- In this passage today there is a clear message of what a person must do to get right with God
- Each of us are approaching a curve & a message is given of what one must do to be right with God
- You can ignore it, you can defy it, or you can obey it
- What you do with it will be your decision alone
- And you alone will bear the consequences
- I hope that you will not be so hardened, as to resist God's call on your life