Acts 3:21-22 “But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believed: for there is no difference.” These are some of the most exciting verses in the Bible. To get a better understanding of these verses we must realize that God’s wrath is totally against sin. This creates a problem for all of humanity. Because according to previous two and half chapters of Romans we are all very sinful creatures. There is not a person on this earth that cannot say they are not a sinner. We must realize that God demands righteousness, we cannot provide any righteousness, so therefore humanity is in trouble. However;
- God Provides a Righteousness: Rather than us trying to work our way to God through the works of the law, God provided a righteousness outside of the law. Jesus Christ is our way, truth, and life when there was no way, there was no truth, and there was no life. God loved us so much that He provided a way when there was no way.
- God Performs a Righteousness: There had to be someone perform the deeds of the law perfectly. There was no way a person can be deemed perfect without first proving they are perfect. Jesus Christ provided that performance. We often times get so focused on the vicarious death and the glorious resurrection that we forget the perfect, sinless life. All three had to happen in order for man to be saved.
- God Presented a Righteousness: Once the price was paid, and the Lord was satisfied he then turned and presented it to us. We could not earn it and we definitely did not deserve it. It was truly a work of Grace and Mercy. God presented unto us the gift (unto all) and then God provided us with the garment (upon all). A gift unwrapped and unused does us no good. We must receive Jesus, accept Jesus, and the put on Jesus. It is then that we find ourselves clothed in the Righteousness of Jesus Christ!
Today in God’s Word: Look to Jesus Christ. He is the only way, because before Jesus Christ there was no way!
Acts 28:26-27 “…Go unto this people and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: for the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eye, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.”
I can’t think of a more prophetic verse than these two verses. We are living in the day when people hear information, but do not implement it. We are living in a time when people see sin, but they do nothing about it. The hearts of people have become so polluted by the things of this world that the line between right and wrong has become very hazy. We have filled our pulpits with great philosophers, tremendous psychologist, and radical businessmen. Charismatic preaching is not necessary for transformational lives. Great speakers are not needed in the area of eternal affairs. It does not matter how we say, or in what form it is presented. There are three things that must happen before a person is to experience a conversion.
- Their Eyes must be opened to the Gospel: If the person does not see the light then they can never move toward the Light of Glorious Gospel of Jesus Christ.
- Their Ears must be opened to hear the Gospel: According to Romans 10:17 Faith comes by hearing the Word of God. We must remember that there is a difference between hearing someone and listening to someone.
- Their Hearts must be opened to Understanding the Gospel: Until the Gospel pricks the heart of a person they will never receive it. The key to the soul is through the eyes and the ears.
We have teachers, preachers, and leaders all over America that are trying to appeal to the people. We can put together the finest of messages, the deepest of studies, and give the greatest illustrations, only to find our words are falling on deaf ears. The reason people are not responding to the Gospel call is because we are relying on our delivery technique rather than the power of the Holy Ghost. If these three things do not happen then we can rest assure; nothing will happen.
Today’s Challenge: We need to become more reliant on the Lord rather than our ability. Begin to pray that God will open your eyes, ears, and heart. Then pray that God will open the listeners eyes, ears and heart.
Acts 27:23 “For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve.”
This text brings us to one of the greatest moments in Paul’s leadership. It was very rare that you see a prisoner on a ship giving orders. However; God place Paul in a leadership position despite his social position. The presence of God was very evident to Paul. I believe that we must become more aware of God’s presence. Paul had a spiritual depth that recognized the angel of God stood beside him. The key to this scripture is Paul knew God was on his side. In the midst of this storm Paul recognized God standing beside him. Christians must understand that God is on our side. Many believe that He is against us, but again those storms and dangerous situations God places in our lives are just platforms for God’s greater plan.
Today’s Challenge: Recognize that God is on your side. You belong to the Lord, and you serve the Lord. Regardless of the storm and regardless of the crashes, God is on your side!
Acts 26:28 “Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.”
Paul presented his case, shared his testimony, and preached the Gospel to King Agrippa. The boldness of Paul was noted. Paul gave it his best and put the decision into the hands of Agrippa. The statement Agrippa makes in this verse should sends chills throughout our spirit. I am fearful that there are many people today that have made this statement, making this statement, or will make this statement. The key word that we must highlight in this verse is “almost”. That word does not fit into the realm of eternity. No one “almost” makes it to Heaven. I am reminded what I heard a preacher say one time about the word “almost”. It means “about but not quite”. “Almost” will never get the job done. If a person “almost” finishes the job then the job is still left incomplete. The sadness within this statement says that Agrippa was almost a Christian. This statement means that he remained lost and on his way to Hell. Putting this principle in our court means that we can settle for “almost”. We need to strive to go “all the way”. The word “almost” needs to be removed from our goal setting mentality.
Today’s Challenge: Learn to remove the word “almost” from our vocabulary. Remember every time the word “almost” is used then you are saying that you left something incomplete.
Acts 25:7 “And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove.”
Picture yourself in court. You have been accused of so many different offenses but nobody could prove you done anything wrong. That is called being blameless. We are called as Christians to be blameless. We called to have such a testimony among the community that even our enemies have problems finding a complaint about us. Go back to that courtroom experience. Start thinking about people that you hope would not get called into question. Can you think of anyone that you would hope they don’t ask any questions regarding you? Our testimony plays a vital part in the Gospel. We need to be more than just a group of people that say we are Christian. We must be a people that demonstrate the Biblical principles we learn through God’s Word. We must be blameless! Even before our greatest of enemies. Here are some key principles that will help you become blameless:
- Be a Peacemaker: According to Matthew 5:9 they are the ones that God calls His children.
- Be Holy: The greatest key to being blameless is to separate yourself unto the Lord. To live for the Lord and also live like the Lord.
- Pursue Perfection: We need to realize that God told us to “go and sin no more”. If was not possible then God would have never said it. While perfection is something we will never be while dealing with this flesh it is definitely something we can pursue with all our heart. One of my favorite quotes is by Vince Lombardi “In the pursuit of perfection you will achieve excellence.”
- Avoid Mistakes: Mistakes are inevitable; but we need to work hard at avoiding making too many mistakes. Too many mistakes will cause people to lose confidence in our ability to lead. When you make a mistake it is vital that we confess it, correct it, and not do it again.
Today’s Challenge: Assess your acquaintances. Is there anyone in your life that you would ever hope would not testify about your life? If the answer is yes, then change your actions and attitude and start a life being blameless.
Acts 24:10 “Then Paul, after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, answered, Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a judge unto this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself:”
God has a sovereign plan for our lives. He is constantly at work. Reading around this passage we would learn that Paul was placed in prison for preaching the Gospel. Paul had to plead his case before large crowds, high standing legal officials, and some of the most important people within the city. Paul’s attitude toward the plan of God in His life was able to be used greatly in the spreading of the Gospel. It would be a good idea that we observe some principles that will help us spread the Gospel.
- Paul’s Perspective: Most people would have never appreciated God placing them in prison. Paul did not observe this as an obstacle but an opportunity. We would do the Lord a great service if we would stop complaining about where He as placed us and start utilizing the plan of God for the Gospel.
- Paul’s Platform: Paul realized that God was using a prison experience as a tremendous platform to preach the Gospel. Paul realized that God was giving him a platform that could reach more people with Gospel. It is so important that we utilize our God given platform regardless of how popular they may be.
- Paul’s Passion: He was so passionate about the Lord and his salvation that He was full of cheer. He was glad he was in this position. He was glad to be in prison. He was glad to have that platform. He was glad because it allowed him an opportunity to tell his story.
Today’s Challenge: Don’t complain about the plan of God. Start utilizing the platform God give you for the sake of the Gospel.
Acts 23:1 “And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.”
Paul made a very bold statement. He declared that he has literally lived in all good conscience before God. Can we say this? The principle here is that we are to live in good standing before the Lord. This man knew that God would have been pleased with the way in which he lived.
Let us examine ourselves. If we were honest before the Lord today we would see that we could not honestly make such a statement. Those that hear “well done” are those that will finish “well”. We must examine our lives and see what is not right before the Lord.
Today’s Challenge: Start today by living in good standing before the Lord.
Acts 22:14-15 “And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth. For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.”
Being a witness has specific requirements. The concept of a witness is someone that can give another person an actual account of what really happened. A witness is a person that gives a true testimony to what actually happened. God declares that we are to be His witnesses. That by itself is an amazing calling. God has chosen us to declare His Glory. He has chosen us to speak on our behalf. The problem that many face today is that they are trying to speak of someone they know nothing about. The reason our witness is so poor is because we have not seen much, heard much or experienced much.
- God Desires that we Experience Salvation: We can’t be a witness of the saving grace of God if we were not there when it happened.
- God Desires that we Extend Salvation: We are to tell others about our experience. A person that has truly experienced salvation will not have a problem sharing their story.
- God Desires that we Enjoy Salvation: One of the greatest ways to share the salvation experience is to live it out. Honestly, the reason so many lack fruit is because they lack salvation. The fruits of the spirit are still witnesses that God has done an eternal work within us.
Today’s Challenge: Be a witness for the Lord. Testify on God’s behalf.
Acts 21:13 “Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? For I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”
This is a true example of being fully surrendered to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Paul had such a burden for the Gospel in Jerusalem that he was ready and willing to die at the hands of those he wanted to win.
- Notice he was ready to go. The progression of passion starts by being willing and ready to go. Paul was willing to go to the most dangerous part of the world, knowing that he would be risking life.
- Notice he was ready to suffer. If we only chose to go to places where we will be safe then we are risking very little for the Gospel. The greatest need for the Gospel will be to those that hate us the most.
- Notice he was ready to die. He was ready to die for the Lord Jesus Christ. He had surrendered his desires and therefore had surrendered his life.
Today’s Challenge: Are we ready? Assess your life and see if you can truly call yourself a follower of Christ. Are you ready to step out of your comfort zone and accept the extreme consequences that come with it?
Acts 20:35 “I have shewed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.”
Christianity is not about “survival of the fittest”. Christianity is about helping others that are weaker than us. The Lord has informed us that we are to support the weak. We are to labor in such a way that allows us opportunities to support those that are weaker. The cure for society is the Gospel. The greatest way to present the Gospel is through giving. We often directly think support is financial. Support does not have to be financial. It can be spiritual, physical, or even emotional. The Lord desires that we learn the principle of giving. I want us to look at three principles giving presents. (This is the lessons we learned in our previous mission’s conference)
- Giving is the Heart of Christ: Jesus was poor because He gave way more than He received. All I can think about is John Chapter Four when He told His disciples: “I have meat ye know not of”
- Giving is the Health of the Church: A healthy Church is a giving Church
- Giving is the Hope for Every Creature: At the heart of the Gospel is the principle of Giving.
Today’s Challenge: Remember that it much more blessed to give than to receive.