Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - March 2, 2014
*The Apostle Peter preached this message almost 2,000 years ago, but it is just as fresh today as the first day it was heard. This is the message that the world needs to hear today. This is the message that every person in the world needs to receive today.
*This message is the only hope for the world. It is the only hope for us. And in this Scripture, God gives us four salvation essentials.
1. When it comes to our salvation, the first essential is healing.
*People need healing. We all need all kinds of healing, and Jesus is the ultimate healer. We see this truth in vs. 36-38, where Peter said:
36. "The word which God sent to the children of Israel, preaching peace through Jesus Christ He is Lord of all
37. that word you know, which was proclaimed throughout all Judea, and began from Galilee after the baptism which John preached:
38. how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him."
*What kind of healing was Peter talking about here? Well this Greek word for healing was used 28 times in the New Testament, and it was used for all kinds of healing.
 Certainly that includes physical healing.
*For example, Matthew 8:5-13 tells the story of a Roman centurion who came to Jesus, pleading with Him. There the Word of God says:
5. Now when Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to Him, pleading with Him,
6. saying, "Lord, my servant is lying at home paralyzed, dreadfully tormented.''
7. And Jesus said to him, "I will come and heal him.''
8. The centurion answered and said, "Lord, I am not worthy that You should come under my roof. But only speak a word, and my servant will be healed.
9. For I also am a man under authority, having soldiers under me. And I say to this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and to another, 'Come,' and he comes; and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it.''
10. When Jesus heard it, He marveled, and said to those who followed, "Assuredly, I say to you, I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel!
11. And I say to you that many will come from east and west, and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven.
12. But the sons of the kingdom will be cast out into outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.''
13. Then Jesus said to the centurion, "Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.'' And his servant was healed that same hour.
*The word "healed" found twice in this passage is the same word that Peter used in his sermon about Jesus. The Lord physically healed that servant in a miraculous way. And ultimately, all physical healing comes from God.
*Most of the time He uses the natural healing process He has given to us. God also uses the dedicated health care professionals and medicines He has blessed us to have. But many times, we have also seen God answer prayer, and go beyond what the doctors can do. That's why James 5:16 tells us, "Confess your trespasses to one another, and pray for one another, that you may be healed."
 Jesus is our physical healer. -- But He is also our emotional healer.
*We know this is true because in Luke 4:18-19, Jesus said:
18. "The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
19. to preach the acceptable year of the Lord.''
*Jesus said: "He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted." Again, it’s the same word for healing Peter used here in Acts 10:38, and nobody can heal a broken heart like Jesus.
 He is our emotional healer. -- But most of all, Jesus is our spiritual healer.
*And this spiritual healing is by far the most important kind of healing. Physical healing in this world is temporary. Emotional healing may also be temporary. Yes Jesus came to heal the brokenhearted, but those hearts can be broken again. But the spiritual healing Jesus can give will last forever and ever!
*We see an example of this spiritual healing in Matthew 13:14-15. Sadly, in this case the Lord was talking about people did not get healed. They missed God's spiritual healing, because they refused to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. And Jesus said:
14. . . "In them the prophecy of Isaiah is fulfilled, which says: 'Hearing you will hear and shall not understand, and seeing you will see and not perceive;
15. for the heart of this people has grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their heart and turn, so that I should heal them.'"
*On the other hand, 1 Peter 2:24 talks about people who have been spiritually healed by trusting in the Lord. There Peter began by saying that Jesus "Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness: by whose stripes you were healed."
*Stuart Hamblen found this kind of spiritual healing in 1949. Stuart was a very successful singer-songwriter, who wrote country and western songs. He was successful in the eyes of the world, but spiritually as lost as he could be. Stuart was a heavy drinker, and before he got saved, he wrote one song called: “I won't go hunting with you Jake but I'll go chasing women.” -- Nice. Stuart had also been in some western movies, including some that starred John Wayne.
*Then Stuart Hamblen got saved at a Billy Graham Crusade. After he got saved, Stuart saw John Wayne at a party, and Wayne asked, “What's this I hear. You got religion?”
*Stuart answered, “It is no secret what God can do in a man's life." John Wayne replied, “Well that sounds like a song.” And that exchange was the inspiration for the lyrics of this song that Stuart later wrote:
“The chimes of time ring out the news,
Another day is through.
Someone slipped and fell.
Was that someone you?
You may have longed for added strength,
Your courage to renew.
Do not be disheartened,
For I have news for you.
It is no secret what God can do.
What He's done for others, He'll do for you.
With arms wide open, He'll pardon you.
It is no secret what God can do.” (1)
*People need all kinds of healing: Physical, emotional and spiritual. And in vs. 38, Peter summed it all up by telling those people that "God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him."
*Let Jesus Christ be your healer. It’s essential!
2. The second salvation essential here in God's Word is hanging.
*There could be no healing without the hanging. Peter made this truth clear for us in vs. 39, where he said: "And we are witnesses of all things which He (i.e. Jesus) did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree."
*When I hear the word "hanging," the first thing that pops in my mind is the old western TV shows I saw back in the 1950's and 60's, shows like, "Gunsmoke," "Have Gun Will Travel," "Roy Rogers," "Wanted Dead or Alive," and more. Things were all neat and clean on those old shows. They spared us from most of the blood and guts, and grisly reality of death by hanging.
*But in reality, it's a gruesome thing to see someone hanging by a rope. I've seen a few pictures over the years: Some of the people who conspired to kill Abraham Lincoln, and several of the black people who were lynched after the Civil War.
*In December 2006, Saddam Hussein was justly put to death by hanging. The sentence was carried out after Saddam was convicted for murdering 146 people. That was just a tiny fraction of the untold thousands Hussein had really killed. Saddam deserved to die, but he did not want to be hanged. He insisted that dying in a hangman's noose was for "common criminals." And he requested to die in front of a firing squad because that was a soldier's death. (2)
*Hussein's death by hanging was a gruesome thing, but it was nothing compared to the hanging Jesus went through. Jesus hung on a tree. But Jesus was nailed to that tree, or rather He was nailed to a cross made from a tree.
*Timothy Peck gave us some great insight, when he said: "My wife committed her life to Jesus Christ while she was a junior in high school. Shortly after she became a follower of Jesus Christ, she had a conversation with a friend who was a Jehovah’s Witness. They talked about whether or not a Christian should wear a cross. Her friend reasoned that since the cross was the way Jesus was executed, it was totally inappropriate for someone who claimed to be a follower of Jesus to wear one. She said: 'If your brother was killed in a drive-by shooting, you wouldn’t wear a silver assault rifle. If one of your ancestors had been lynched you wouldn’t wear a gold noose.'"
*Timothy then said: "In some ways, my wife’s friend had a point we often miss today. You see, after 2,000 years of church history we have a difficult time understanding how scandalous the cross truly was to the people in Jesus Christ’s generation. So far as we know, death by crucifixion on a cross originated with the ancient Persians. But it was the ambitious Greek military general Alexander the Great who made it a popular form of execution.
*By the time the Roman Empire came to power, crucifixion on a cross was a form of capital punishment reserved for only the worst criminals. To the Jewish mind, being nailed to a cross was such a shameful way to die that they considered any who were crucified to be cursed in God’s sight."
*And no wonder. Remember what Paul said in Galatians 3:13: "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, 'Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree.'" There the Apostle was referring to the Old Testament law in Deuteronomy 21:23.
*There was no worse way to die than hanging on a cross. So Timothy Peck noted: "Had the early Christian church hired a big advertising firm to help them come up with a logo for Christianity. A cross wouldn’t even be on their list, because it was such a revolting, shameful and offensive symbol." (3)
*But we love the cross! We love the cross, because we know that Jesus died on that cross for our sins! Jesus Christ suffered and died on the cross for us, to take our punishment, to save us. Thank God for the cross!
*And thank God that Jesus rose from the dead! There wouldn’t be any good news without the resurrection, but we know that we can live forever, because Jesus has conquered death forever! Listen to Peter again in vs. 39-40:
39. . . "We are witnesses of all things which He did both in the land of the Jews and in Jerusalem, whom they killed by hanging on a tree.
40. Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly,
*Jesus is alive! But there had to be a hanging for our salvation. It was essential.
3. The third salvation essential here in God's Word is hearing.
*Peter points us to this truth in vs. 40-43, where he said this about Jesus:
40. Him God raised up on the third day, and showed Him openly,
41. not to all the people, but to witnesses chosen before by God, even to us who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead.
42. And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead.
43. To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins.''
*Whoever believes in Jesus will receive remission or forgiveness of sins. That’s great news! But somebody’s got to tell it. So God calls some Christians to preach to people. And He calls all Christians to witness that Jesus is the one and only Savior and Lord.
*Somebody’s got to tell it! This is also why just before He went back to Heaven, Jesus said: "You shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." (Acts 1:8)
*Who are God’s witnesses today? -- Christians: We are. And every day we should pray: "Lord, make me a faithful and caring witness for you."
*Youth Director Tom Marino told about the day he was playing with his 4-year old son, Thomas. They were playing doctor. Dad held the stethoscope to his own heart so Thomas could listen. The little boy got still and quiet. Then Dad asked, "What do you hear?" Four-year-old Thomas replied, "It's Jesus! He's walking around." Little Thomas then asked this question: "Dad, why can't Jesus get out?" (4)
*Church: We have to let the Lord out in the things we do and say, because hearing is essential.
4. The fourth salvation essential here in God's Word is the Holy Spirit.
*People can never be saved without the work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts. Verses 44-48 remind us of the presence and power of God’s Holy Spirit.
44. While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word.
45. And those of the circumcision who believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles also.
46. For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then Peter answered,
47. "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?''
48. And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then they asked him to stay a few days.
*Here the Holy Spirit worked in a special way as the Gospel broke through the old barrier of race, and began its journey to the ends of the earth. This was to help fulfill that prophecy of Jesus in Acts 1:8, "You shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."
*And here the Holy Spirit moved in an unusual way. God the Holy Spirit repeated the display of His power that He showed on the day of Pentecost. -- And why? Because some Jews in the early church resisted the truth that the gospel is for all the nations of the earth.
*We don’t need that same demonstration today. But we do need the power and the presence of the Holy Spirit! By ourselves, we can’t save anyone! And no one is saved without the work of the Holy Spirit of Jesus Christ in their lives!
*The Lord spoke clearly about this truth several placed in the Gospel of John. When He was speaking to Nicodemus in John 3:3-6, Jesus said:
3. . ."Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.''
4. Nicodemus said to Him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?''
5. Jesus answered, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.
6. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."
*Then on the night before the cross, in John 16:7-11, Jesus said:
7. "Nevertheless I tell you the truth. It is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you.
8. And when He has come, He will convict the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:
9. of sin, because they do not believe in Me;
10. of righteousness, because I go to My Father and you see Me no more;
11. of judgment, because the ruler of this world is judged."
*Only the Holy Spirit can convict people of their sin, their urgent need of salvation, and the hope they can find in Jesus Christ! This fact is so essential, that in Romans 8:8-16, Paul said:
8. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9. But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His.
10. And if Christ is in you, the body is dead because of sin, but the Spirit is life because of righteousness.
11. But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you.
12. Therefore, brethren, we are debtors not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.
13. For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.
14. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God.
15. For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, "Abba, Father.''
16. The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God,
*No one can be saved without the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.
*As Christians we can say, "Thank God for the healing we have in Jesus Christ!" But it never would have happened without the hanging. It never would have happened without the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts. And it never would have happened without us hearing the good news about Jesus.
*Now God wants other people to hear the truth about our Savior Jesus Christ. May God help us to help them! Would you please bow for prayer.
(2) Houston Chronicle, 12312006, Early Edition, p. A1 - Source: "In Other Words" January 2007 #1 - produced by Dr. Raymond McHenry - www.iows.net
(3) SermonCentral sermon "What Christians Think about the Cross" by Timothy Peck - 2 Corinthians 5:17
(4) Sermons.com sermon "I Am Christ’s" by Maxie Dunnam - 2 Corinthians 5:11-6