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We Lift Up the Lord Jesus Christ!

Notes & Transcripts

We Lift Up the Lord Jesus Christ!

Acts 2:25-32

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - June 16, 2013

*In the January, 2002 issue of "World Magazine," Melvin Newland read the story of a church in New York City. From the early 1900's through the 1960's this church was a powerful witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. They had more than a thousand active members. But by 2002, their number had dwindled to about 120.

*Why? -- Well, in recent years their emphasis switched from presenting the gospel to helping the homeless. They set up soup kitchens in the church building, and began massive feeding programs for those in need. That was a good thing to do. But, at this church, prayers were never offered in the soup kitchens, nor was the name of Jesus ever mentioned, because they were concerned that someone might be offended.

*Melvin gave this explanation of the church's decline: "Turning away from Christ's command to preach the gospel, they made no effort to communicate the good news of a Savior who forgives sins, changes lives, and frees us from the bondage of our sins. The result was that the same people came through their lines year after year with no improvement, no change for good taking place in their lives. The church was feeding their bodies, but starving, their souls. And now the church itself is almost dead." (1)

*God forbid that we would ever go down that road! We are here in Caldwell Parish to lift up the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! Peter's sermon on the Day of Pentecost helps us see why.

1. First: We lift up the Lord, because Jesus can foresee the future.

*We see this truth in vs. 25, as Peter continues his sermon, and here, Peter began to quote David from Psalm 16: "For David says concerning Him: 'I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken."

*Here David was speaking as a prophet. Peter made this clear starting down in vs. 29:

29. "Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.

30. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne,

31. he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption."

*Inspired by the Holy Spirit, King David wrote these prophetic words a thousand years before Christ was born. Think about that. From the beginning, God promised that His Messiah would come. Even in Genesis 3, God told about the one who would crush the Serpent's head. And all of those prophecies are going to come true. One source I looked at lists 351 Old Testament prophecies that have already been fulfilled by Jesus Christ.

*And by the grace of God, King David got to write some of those prophecies. David was able to get a glimpse of the future, but only because the Lord can see all of the future! As God says in Isaiah 46:9-10:

9. "Remember the former things of old, for I am God, and there is no other; I am God, and there is none like Me,

10. Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times things that are not yet done, saying, 'My counsel shall stand, and I will do all My pleasure.'"

*I like the story about the preacher who was made announcements at the end of a service. One day he said: "The class on prophecy has been cancelled due to unforeseen circumstances." (2) We can't see the future, but God can! So "the Bible bases its reputation on its ability to predict the future." (3)

*We lift up the Lord, because Jesus can foresee the future.

2. And because He put full faith in His Father.

*This is another truth in vs. 25, where David quoted the Savior saying: "I foresaw the Lord always before my face, for He is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken." Psalm 16:8 put it this way: "I have set the Lord always before me; because He is at my right hand I shall not be moved."

*That word "set" means deliberate, intentional looking at the Lord. We should keep looking at the Lord both day and night, in every situation. That is the way Jesus trusted in our Heavenly Father. He put full faith in His Heavenly Father.

*And that is why in vs. 25-28, Jesus could say that the Father:

25. . . is at my right hand, that I may not be shaken;

26. therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; moreover my flesh will also rest in hope,

27. because You will not leave my soul in Hades, nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.

28. You have made known to me the ways of life; you will make me full of joy in Your presence.'

*In other words: "Father, I am relying on You. I am rejoicing in You. I am resting in You!" And by going through all that He went through Jesus proved that we can also rely on God. Jesus proved that we can fully trust in the promises of God. And we must.

*Life is far more fragile than we usually realize. And if we live long enough, we will have to let go of our health, our home, our family and our friends. Why does God let life happen like that? One reason why is because God wants us to see that He has to be number one in our lives. He also wants us to learn that we can trust Him in every situation.

*I often think back to our good family friend, Mary Parker. She was greatly blessed in life. Mary and her husband Jimmy met during World War II. He was in the Army and she was a Navy WAVE. I am not sure how they met. Maybe it was at the USO. And they were married on the last day of the war in 1945.

*When Jimmy passed away, they had been happily married for 52 years. Mary taught school for over 20 years. She had two daughters. Mary and Jimmy had five grandchildren. They also had some wonderful friends, including my Mom and Dad.

*The Parkers lived in a nice house with a pool in back. They spent many wonderful summer vacations at the beach and on the lake. But in the last months of Mary Parker's life, most of those things were gone, and she was locked in a fierce battle with lung cancer.

*I have always remembered something she told me a few months before she died. Mary was living in an assisted-living complex, and that day she was sitting in one of those lift-recliners. Mary had a big TV tray in front of her. And while I was there, she moved her hands around the outside edges of that TV tray, as she said, "This is my world."

*Mary had lost almost everything this world has to offer. But she still had everything she needed, because she had Jesus! Mary assured me that she was trusting in the Lord, and that she was ready to go to Heaven. She said, "I'm looking forward to it." And every time I talked to her, over and over again she talked about how good God had been to her.

*She was trusting in the Lord. She was being like Jesus. And we lift up the Lord, because Jesus put full faith in His Heavenly Father.

3. We also lift up the Lord, because He went the distance to deliver us.

*Jesus went all the way from Heaven to hell for our sake! Verses 26&27 record a great testimony from the Lord. There Jesus spoke about His death, and said:

26. therefore my heart rejoiced, and my tongue was glad; moreover my flesh will also rest in hope,

27. because You will not leave my soul in Hades (or hell), nor will You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.

*Jesus went all the way to hell. But of course, He did not go to hell to suffer for our sins. The price for our sins was paid in full on the cross! But until Jesus went back to Heaven, the Old Testament believers were not in Heaven. The Bible tells us that Old Testament believers were in a separate compartment of Hades. It was the temporary resting place that Luke 16 calls "Abraham's Bosom."

*John Phillips gave this explanation of what happened when Jesus died: "At death the Lord Jesus committed His spirit to His Father in Heaven. His body, touched now only by loving hands, was tenderly anointed with costly ointments, wrapped in linen, and laid to rest in a brand-new tomb belonging to Joseph of Arimathea. His soul went down into 'hell' (or Hades), the (place) of departed souls.

*Jesus did not go there, however, as a victim of death but as a victor. There He proclaimed the triumph of the cross and 'led captivity captive' (Ephesians 4:8). He remained in those regions for three days and three nights 'as Jonah was three days and three nights in the whale's belly' (Matthew 12:40)." (4)

*Remember that the prophecy Peter quoted in vs. 26&27 was originally written by King David back in Psalm 16. Think about how it must have been for David to see Jesus arrive in Hades. I wondered what David said, and I think it could have been: "Lord, you are my shepherd, I shall not want. You were with me in the valley of the shadow of death. I don't have to be afraid. Surely goodness and mercy followed me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in your house forever!"

*David saw the Lord arrive in Hades. All of the Old Testament saints saw the Lord come in victory. And like never before they saw the meaning behind all the lambs they sacrificed through the years. They saw the true Lamb of God who died on the cross to pay the price for our sins.

*We lift up the Lord tonight, because Jesus went the distance to deliver us.

4. We also lift up the Lord, because Jesus rose again to rule forever.

*Speaking of David as a prophet in vs. 29-32, Peter said:

29. "Men and brethren, let me speak freely to you of the patriarch David, that he is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.

30. Therefore, being a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that of the fruit of his body, according to the flesh, He would raise up the Christ to sit on his throne,

31. he, foreseeing this, spoke concerning the resurrection of the Christ, that His soul was not left in Hades, nor did His flesh see corruption.

32. This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses.

*Jesus Christ was raised to rule forever!

[1] Think about the perfection of His rule.

*The patriarch David was surely a good king, but not a perfect king. In 1 Samuel 13:14 and Acts 13:22, the Bible testifies that King David was a man after God's own heart, but David committed some grievous sins during his 40-year reign.

*Now God had blessed us to live in one of the best countries in the history of the world. But even the best country in this world is full of flaws. On the USA's best day, our government was still far from perfect. It turns out that the best government is not a republic like we have today. The best government is a Kingdom ruled by a perfect King. And that is what we have in Jesus Christ!

*Listen to this description of our King in Revelation 19:11-16. There the Apostle John said:

11. Then I saw heaven opened, and behold, a white horse. And He who sat on him was called Faithful and True, and in righteousness He judges and makes war.

12. His eyes were like a flame of fire, and on His head were many crowns. He had a name written that no one knew except Himself.

13. He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood, and His name is called The Word of God.

14. And the armies in heaven, clothed in fine linen, white and clean, followed Him on white horses.

15. Now out of His mouth goes a sharp sword, that with it He should strike the nations. And He Himself will rule them with a rod of iron. He Himself treads the winepress of the fierceness and wrath of Almighty God.

16. And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

*That's our King, Jesus Christ!

[2] His rule is perfect. -- And His rule is permanent.

*Even if David had been a perfect king, his reign only lasted forty years. As Peter said in vs. 29: David " is both dead and buried, and his tomb is with us to this day." But in vs. 32, "This Jesus God has raised up, of which we are all witnesses." And in Revelation 11:15, "Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were loud voices in heaven, saying, 'The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!'''

*That's our King, Jesus Christ!

[3] His rule is permanent. -- And His resurrection is powerful.

*It was powerful enough to overcome the Lord's death, and powerful enough to overcome the death in us. The resurrection of Jesus Christ has the power to work in our lives right now! That's why in Ephesians 1:19-21 Paul prayed for Christians to know:

19. . . the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power

20. which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places,

21. far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.

*The resurrection of Jesus Christ has the power to transform our lives right now! And it has the power to give us life forever! That's why in 1 Peter 1:3, Peter said: "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has begotten us again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead."

*When we receive Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are born again to live forever in the perfect Kingdom of Heaven. We could never deserve it, but Christians, everlasting life is ours because of Jesus!

*Max Lucado pictured the scene in the story of an out-of-place dog. It happened one night in Lawrence, Kansas, when the oldest operating orchestra in the world was playing. It was a night of bright lights, formal dress and beautiful music. But it was hot that night in Kansas, so the doors were open to catch a breeze. Hock Auditorium was not air-conditioned. And sometime during the music, a dog entered stage right.

*It was a brown, generic, Kansas dog, not a mean dog; not a mad dog; just a curious dog. He passed through the basses, the violins and the cellos. His tail wagged in beat with the music.

*Had he passed on through the orchestra, the music might have continued, and the audience might never have noticed. But the dog didn't leave. He stayed, at home in the splendor. The musicians laughed. The audience laughed. The dog looked up at the conductor and panted. And the conductor lowered his baton.

*The most historic orchestra in the world, one of the most moving pieces ever written, a night wrapped in glory, all brought to a stop by a wayward dog. The conductor stepped off the podium and scratched the dog behind the ears. His tail wagged again. The maestro spoke to the dog a few seconds; then led him off the stage, and the people applauded.

*And Max Lucado asked: "Can you find you and me in this picture? -- I can. Just call us Fido. Consider God the Maestro. And envision the moment when we will walk onto His stage. We won't deserve to be there. We will not have earned it. We may even surprise the musicians with our presence.

*The music will be like none we've ever heard. We'll stroll among the angels and listen as they sing. We'll gaze at heaven's lights and gasp as they shine. And we'll walk next to the Maestro, stand by his side, and worship as he leads. He, too, will welcome us. He, too, will speak to us. But He will not lead us away! He will invite us to remain forever as guests on his stage." (5)

*So we are here in this world to lift up the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ! We lift up the Lord, so that other people might come to know and trust in our Savior Jesus Christ!

*As we go to God in prayer, let's worship the Lord. And ask God to help us share the good news about our Savior Jesus Christ.

(1) SermonCentral sermon "The Lord's Church" by Melvin Newland - Acts 2:1-41

(2) JOYFUL NEWSLETTER - 1/2000 - P.2 - "The Lord's Laughter" - Contributed by Dr. John Bardsley - Source: "Dynamic Illustrations" - Topic: Future

(3) Original source unknown

(4) Adapted from "Exploring Acts" by John Phillips - p. 51

(5) Adapted from "UpWords" with Max Lucado - Week of July 30 - August 5 - "The Guest of the Maestro" - From "When God Whispers Your Name" Copyright - Thomas Nelson, 1999 - http://www.crosswalk.com/devotionals/upwords/upwords-week-of-july-30-august-5-11635563.html

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