Summary: The gospel of Jesus Christ: 1. is based on God's grace (vs. 11-19). 2. liberates us from Old Testament law (vs. 19-29). 3. calls us to live by love (vs. 28-29). 4. leads us to serve our Savior (vs. 22-31).
Great News about the Gospel of Jesus Christ
The Book of Acts - Part 50
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - July 27, 2014
*I have heard a lot of great news in my life. "Yes, I'll marry you!" "I'm pregnant!" (I got to hear that one 3 times!) "You're going to be grandparents!" "We got all of your wife's cancer, and we got it early. She won't need treatments."
*I've heard great news in my life countless times. But the greatest news I've ever heard is the gospel of Jesus Christ! "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16)."
*The good news of the cross of Jesus Christ is the greatest news the world will ever hear! And this Scripture shows some of the great things about the gospel.
1. First: The gospel is based on God's grace.
*We start today with the wonderful statement of faith Peter made in vs. 11, "We believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.''
*The early church leaders had come together in Jerusalem to deal with the false teaching of legalistic believers. They claimed in vs. 1 that "unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved." The question then was: Do we have to keep Old Testament law in order to be saved? And Christians: The clear answer was no. "For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9)."
*We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ! King Duncan explained that this fact is so critical to us, because ultimately, the only thing the law can do is condemn us. As Duncan said: "If we are saved by keeping all the laws and ordinances, then all of us are doomed.
*Henry Moorhouse told of a lady who said to him, 'I can't see how a person who has broken just one of the commandments can be as bad as another who has broken five or even all of them.' Moorhouse explained to her that God had actually given only one law which consists of ten different parts. 'Look at this watch of mine!' he said. 'If you counted all its cogs, you would find many. If you ruined only one, you might leave the other parts in perfect condition. And yet this would be a broken watch that would no longer run.'
*The woman still couldn't see the point; so he said, 'Suppose you were hanging over a cliff, suspended by a chain with ten links. If someone took a hammer and smashed every link, where would you go?' She replied, 'To the bottom of the canyon, of course.' 'But if he split only one link, what would happen?' 'Why, that would be just as bad. I'd still fall and be killed!' Suddenly she got it. She grasped the truth of James 2:10 that 'whoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.' (1)
*If we had to be saved by keeping the law, then we would all be doomed. But we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ! And in these verses God confirmed the gospel of grace.
*First, grace was confirmed by God's works. We see this in vs. 12, where "all the multitude kept silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul declaring how many miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles."
*The grace of God was confirmed by God's works. Then it was confirmed by God's Word, as James began to speak in vs. 13:
13. . . "Men and brethren, listen to me:
14. Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name.
15. And with this the words of the prophets agree. . ."
*Then James quoted verses from the Old Testament book of Amos, including great news for us Gentiles! There the Lord said:
16. 'After this I will return and will rebuild the tabernacle of David which has fallen down. I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up,
17. so that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord, even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, Says the Lord who does all these things.'
18. Known to God from eternity are all His works.
19. Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God."
*There is hope for the Jews and the Gentiles! There is hope for all of us! There is hope for the lost! There is hope for all who will receive our crucified and risen Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. There is hope for all who will trust in the grace of God. That's great news about the gospel!