Summary: EASTER 3(A) - Believers will focus on joyful Christian living as each one believes God's forgiveness and everyone values faithful, Christian fellowship.
FOCUS ON JOYFUL CHRISTIAN LIVING (Outline)
April 18, 2010 -
Easter 3 -
INTRO: The infant Christian church was about to drastically change. On Pentecost thousands of souls would be added to the small group of believers who had followed Jesus. These thousands of new believers would come, literally, from the ends of the earth (cf. 2:9-11). These “outsiders” would forever change the dynamics of the church. "For there is no difference between Jew and Gentile--the same Lord is Lord of all and richly blesses all who call on him, for, ‘Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved’" (ROMANS 10:12,13). From a few beliers to thousands – what a change. The one Lord is the Jesus who lived, died, and rose again for all people. What joy!
FOCUS ON JOYFUL CHRISTIAN LIVING.
I. Believe God’s forgiveness.
II. Treasure faithful fellowship.
I. BELIEVE GOD’S FORGIVNESS
A. Peter is preaching to the crowd in Jerusalem at Pentecost. Peter publicly proclaims Jesus’ resurrection.
1. For Jesus to be raised from the dead meant that he was first put to death. The crowd is guilty.
2. Verse 36. The crowd crucified Jesus. This Jesus was Lord and Christ, the Messiah, Anointed.
B. Verse 37. The crowd is stricken with guilt for their sins, “cut to the heart”. Thus God’s law works.
1. Verse 38. God offers forgiveness for the guilty. Baptize means to wash with water.
2. God’s gift in baptism is forgiveness. The gift of the Holy Spirit is faith. God washes sin away.
3. Verse 39. God’s promise was for the crowd and the next generation and others in the future.
C. Verse 40. The Greek uses the passive voice: “Be saved”. The power of salvation is in God’s hands.
1. Verse 41. Many repented. God forgave them. The Holy Spirit provided them faith to believe.
2. God changed their lives to be able to escape the “corrupt generation”. Believers rejoice!
D. Sin is disobedience. From the first sin of Adam and Eve no one is exempt from sin. God’s law re-minds us of our sin and disobedience. This is not pleasant to hear. Sometimes the truth is not that pleas-ant to hear. God’s truth does not change. Today not many want to take responsibility for any of their ac-tions, especially those with bad consequences. All too many try to deny sin. Even more have tried to change sin into a sickness or a disease. Sin is still sin in the eyes of God as revealed in his word. "Everyone has turned away, they have together become corrupt; there is no one who does good, not even one" (PSALM 53:3). We cannot escape sin on this side of heaven. God’s law reminds us of our disobedience.
E. We do not think with the same mind as God. Our finite, human minds try to put almost everything into a category or place. We often think of sin as big or little. Sometimes we look at sins according to quantity – many or few. We might even compare ourselves to others. Then we become guilty of thinking that our sins and our lives are not as bad as someone else’s life. God looks at sin as sin. In God’s mind each sin is the same. "For whoever keeps the whole law and yet stumbles at just one point is guilty of breaking all of it" (JAMES 2:10). One sin means complete guilt. One sin needs God’s forgiveness.
F. Purely, by God’s free grace we are saved. Our sinful thoughts, words, and action deserve only eternal punishment as the just reward for our wickedness and rebellion. Thankfully and joyfully, we do not have a vengeful God. Scripture reminds us time and time again of the great love that God has for all of his creation. God truly does not desire the eternal death of anyone. God’s gift of forgiveness reminds each of us of God’s grace and mercy. "Rend your heart and not your garments. Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and he relents from sending calamity" (JOEL 2:13). This is our God. Once again, our God is almost the complete opposite of our earthly thinking. Grace, compassion, and love are rare commodities in today’s society. For believers, God’s forgiveness reveals divine grace, compassion, and love. God’s forgiveness causes our joyful living.
FOCUS ON JOYFUL CHRISTIAN LIVING.
Our Christian lives are joyful by God’s free forgiveness.
II. TREASURE FAITHFUL FELLOWSHIP.
A. This Pentecost crowd was stunned when they realized their sins crucified Jesus. God changed them.
1. Verse 42. These newly forgiven sinners wanted to know more about this Jesus.
2. The crowd gave themselves over to the apostles’ teaching = the resurrection of Jesus.