Jesus, our Lord, knew that many would follow Him. He also knew that of those that followed many would eventually turn back to the world. So, Jesus set up provisions for them so they could repent again and return. He spent time teaching directly to His fallen followers and helped them understand that He was merciful, longsuffering, and greatly wished for them to return home to Him. In Luke 15, Jesus speaks directly to the fallen and give three parables of those returning home.
Pilate asked Jesus that question at the Lord’s trial. Jesus had already given the answer in the previous verse: “For this cause I was born, and for this cause I have come into the world, that I should bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37). Beforehand, Jesus made arguably His most famous statement that also was about truth: “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). There are two inferences we can make from Jesus’ words.
Romans is a great book for the new Christian convert to read through. Paul explains the meaning of our salvation and what God expects from us now. The book of Romans can be organized into five simple parts:
- First, Paul covers the problem of sin and our unrighteousness (1-3).
- Next, he speaks about the provision made for those who desire to be righteous—God’s salvation (4-5).
- Third, Paul talks about pursuing righteousness with all our might (6-8).
- Fourth, he explains the selection of God, choosing the humble of the world to respond to His gospel call (9-11).
- Finally, Paul concludes with the practices of righteousness—loving one another, giving, showing mercy, and doing good to our enemies (12-16).
On the day of Pentecost, Peter preaches his first sermon. Peter’s explains how the prophesied day had come when the Lord would save His people. He quotes the prophet Joel saying, “And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, That I will pour out of My Spirit on all flesh…That whoever call on the name of the LORD shall be saved” (Acts 2:17-21). First, God’s Spirit had just been poured out on the apostles. They received the power of the Holy Spirit and many could hear the different languages that the apostles could now speak. After seeing that the “last days” or last time period had come, confirmed by the giving of the Holy Spirit, then the second part of the prophecy was also fulfilled. “And it shall come to pass…That whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.”
When Paul traveled to Athens, he was shocked by the large numbers of idols in the city. Athens was a place where there were countless idols dedicated to the many gods created by the human imagination. He even saw one that was called “The Unknown God.” When Paul got an opportunity to speak a large group of Athenians, he referred to the “Unknown God” as being the one true God that the Athenians worshipped but were very ignorant about.
Therefore, the One whom you worship without knowing, Him I proclaim to you: 24 “God, who made the world and everything in it, since He is Lord of heaven and earth, does not dwell in temples made with hands. 25 Nor is He worshiped with men’s hands, as though He needed anything, since He gives to all life, breath, and all things. (Acts 17:23-25)
The prophets often wrote about the coming Christ in the Old Testament. They explained His general characteristics, His mission, His plan, and even the way He would die and be raised from the dead. They wrote these prophecies down so that when the Messiah did come, God’s people could recognize Him. Also, by having these prophecies, God’s people could recognize a false messiah claiming to be the Christ. All God’s people had to do was compare that person with the credentials set forth by the prophets. Jesus Christ matched these credentials perfectly. If He had missed just one, there could be an argument made against Him for not being the Son of God.
As just established, the gospel is the power of God. It is the good news that Jesus died for us, was buried, and then raised. First, the Bible convicts us of our sins. Next, the gospel informs us that Jesus has created a way to forgive us of those sins. Our sins have ultimately separated us from God. While carrying the guilt of sin, we will never to be able to have a relationship with God.
“But your iniquities have separated you from your God; And your sins have hidden His face from you, So that He will not hear.” (Is. 59:2)
A young man named Daniel was taken into captivity. King Nebuchadnezzar had just conquered the kingdom of Israel and Daniel was enslaved and sent to Babylon as spoils of war. Daniel knew that his life was going to become very difficult. However, Daniel had already “purposed in his heart” that he was going to serve God no matter the situation.
Daniel was to be trained to become a teacher and servant for the Babylonian nobles. He was trained by Ashpenaz who after some time would have to present Daniel to the king as a ready servant. Ashpenaz tried to feed Daniel food that would make him look as healthy as possible for the king. Unfortunately, Daniel could not eat the food given to him. Daniel, being a Jew living in the Old Testament, had to abstain from certain foods that were forbidden in the Law of Moses. Christians today are not under the Law of Moses, but Daniel was.
Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. (James 1:21)
We crave the thought of being saved. Our favorite movies and TV shows are proof of that. We love watching men and woman being saved weekly by incredible heroes.
Andrew Smith, June 30, 2015