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Summary: 1. Why does Paul have to clarify {AGAIN} the importance of the cross? 2. What is the messianic importance of David? 3. How is Jesus’ dying on the cross similar to the Grenade video? 4. What does it mean when Acts mentions “the realm of the dead?” 5. M

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FOR THE LONGEST TIME

TOPIC: THE DEFINITE PLAN.

INTRO: FOR THE LONGEST TIME. Back in the 1980’s, though no one here is old enough to actually remember that fantastic (or something less than fantastic) decade, the famous artist Billy Joel produced a song titled For the Longest Time. In the Song, Billy Joel writes that he has fallen in love with a woman, and that has happened for the longest time.

TRANSITION: Mankind’s search for love is definitely a never-ending mission, almost like one of the Greek novels with Ulysees lost at sea it may appear at times. But you know what? God’s love for us, and his PLAN for us, has always been in place, which is the topic of this week’s small group lesson. Since the beginning of time, God had a plan to provide salvation to us mortals, despite the way we live our lives. One could say that He has loved us…for the longest time.

BIBLE VERSE: ACTS 2:22-36

22 “Fellow Israelites, listen to this: Jesus of Nazareth was a man accredited by God to you by miracles, wonders and signs, which God did among you through him, as you yourselves know. 23 This man was handed over to you by God’s deliberate plan and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. 24 But God raised him from the dead, freeing him from the agony of death, because it was impossible for death to keep its hold on him. 25 David said about him:

“‘I saw the Lord always before me. Because he is at my right hand, I will not be shaken. 26 Therefore my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices; my body also will rest in hope, 27 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, you will not let your holy one see decay. 28 You have made known to me the paths of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence.’

29 “Fellow Israelites, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and his tomb is here to this day. 30 But he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him on oath that he would place one of his descendants on his throne. 31 Seeing what was to come, he spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, that he was not abandoned to the realm of the dead, nor did his body see decay. 32 God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of it. 33 Exalted to the right hand of God, he has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit and has poured out what you now see and hear. 34 For David did not ascend to heaven, and yet he said,

“‘The Lord said to my Lord: “Sit at my right hand 35 until I make your enemies a footstool for your feet.”’

36 “Therefore let all Israel be assured of this: God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah.”

QUESTIONS:

1. Why does Paul have to clarify {AGAIN} the importance of the cross?

2. What is the messianic importance of David?

3. How is Jesus’ dying on the cross similar to the Grenade video?

4. What does it mean when Acts mentions “the realm of the dead?”

5. Most important question of all 5: Who put Jesus to death?

ANSWERS:

1. Why does Paul have to clarify {AGAIN} the importance of the cross? Why is Paul doing this? I mean, oh my gosh man, don’t the people who lived in the age of the cross understand it by now? The answer is NO. They don’t get it. People, then and now, confuse the cross! Here is an example…

Back in 1993, several denominations held a conference they called “Re-imaging 1993”In that conference an Episcopal theologian (Virginia Ramey Mollenkott) declared: “As an incest survivor, I can no longer worship in a theological context that depicts God as an abusive parent and Jesus as the obedient and trusting child” At this same conference - a doctoral candidate at Union Theological Seminary (Beryl Ingram-Ward) questioned the idea of a “Father God” who would willfully kill his own child: “How can we continue to believe a loving parent would do this when human parents who do this are sent to prison.”

In 1999, a liberal theologian named Borg stated: “For me to accept that God transformed the corpse of Jesus would not only violate my sense of the limits of the spectacular – but it would also privilege the Christian tradition and would be saying that God acted in Christianity in a way God has never acted in other religious traditions.”

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