Monday, December 23, 2013

Monday, December 23rd

Today's passage from the Bible In a Year Reading Plan is Revelation 17, Zechariah 1-2
Today's scripture focus is Luke 24:44-49

Luke 24:44-49

English Standard Version (ESV)
44 Then he said to them, “These are my words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” 45 Then he opened their minds to understand the Scriptures, 46 and said to them, “Thus it is written, that the Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead,47 and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.48 You are witnesses of these things. 49 And behold, I am sending the promise of my Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

All scripture is God-breathed.  The entire Word of God must be, has been, and will continue to be fulfilled.  The Word is living and active.  The Word does not return void.  The Word accomplishes what its sets out to do.  The Gospel message is not something new out of left field.  It is a continuation of the OT, it is a fulfillment of the OT.

Jesus died, and is now alive again, because that's what the Word said would happen.  And so it did.  It is not optional.  Everything God has promised will come to pass.  Everything.

V45 is very clear - God opens our minds in order to understand the Scriptures.  This is a huge reminder for me - so often I go into Bible reading or evening Bible studying without first praying that God would give me understanding.  What a huge mistake that is.  Obviously, He can reveal things to me without me praying and asking - but this is a great reminder to me that I need to pray before digging into scripture.

What are the scripture about?  Jesus.  It's the "Sunday School answer", but it's so true.  The Bible is not about us.  It's about Jesus.  The primary purpose of the OT was to prepare the people for the coming of Jesus.

That’s why it’s promised in the Old Testament he would be born of a woman, he would be born of a virgin, he would be born in Bethlehem, he would be born before AD 70, that he would live without sin, that he would perform miracles, that he would die through crucifixion, that he would be buried with the rich in his death, that he would resurrect three days later, and that he would save sinners from the eternal wrath of God, and that he alone would ascend into heaven, and that he would take the people of God with him, and that he would rule and reign as the King of kings and the Lord of lords, and that one day he would return to establish a kingdom that would never end.

It all came to pass.  And now we're waiting for the fulfillment of the promises of Jesus' Second Coming.  We know that they also will be fulfilled, because the promises of His first coming were fulfilled.

Repentance and forgiveness is only possible through Jesus.  He is the only Way.  He is the only Truth.  He is the only Life.

And the disciples witnessed this!  The writers of the New Testament witnessed this.  And they waited for the promised Holy Spirit to come upon them, so give them the courage and strength and power they would need to proclaim this amazing message to the world.

What he says is this message has to be proclaimed; this gospel, this good news that God loves us, that he came for us, that he lived the life that we have not lived, that he died the death that we should’ve died, that he rises to conquer the enemies we cannot defeat. His name is Jesus! It’s all finished. He’s alive and well. That the nations need to know, that everyone needs to know. And he says it must be proclaimed.

Jesus says it must be proclaimed.  We have that same power.  We have the same message.  Are we sharing it?  With words?!

I just loved this portion of Driscoll's sermon - the quote he mentions has bothered me for years....
The good news, the gospel of Jesus is not something that can be shown; it must be said. It cannot be shown; it must be said because the good news is about the life, the death, the burial, the resurrection of Jesus. Yes, we believe in justice. Yes, we believe in mercy. Yes, we believe it is good to seek the physical healing of people. Jesus healed them physically. Yes, we believe it is good to feed the hungry. Jesus fed the hungry. Yes, we believe it is good for those who are marginalized and poor and outcast to be loved and cared for as image-bearers of God, and Jesus did that and taught that. But in and of itself, that is not enough to save.
People don’t need just good deeds, though they are helpful. They need good news. They need to learn about Jesus. And one of my great concerns is the cowardice among some who would say, “I don’t want to talk about Jesus. I just want to love and serve people, and I will assume that somehow they will make a connection to Christ.” They won’t. That’s our job. Not just our job, that’s our joy. That’s our joy.
There was a saint many years ago, and there’s a saying that is attributed to him that some would say perhaps he did not say, but it was, “Preach the gospel at all times, and use words when necessary.” False. Preach the gospel. Preach the gospel. Tell people about sin and a Savior. And yes as we love and yes as we care and yes as we give and yes as we serve we can then say, “This is on behalf of Jesus. He loves. He serves. He gives. He is good. He is God. Anything that you appreciate in my affection for you is a reflection of him.”
And so I’m not saying that good words and good deeds are to be divorced, but I’m saying that good deeds without good words can lead to damnation. And if we want people to experience salvation, we can’t just do good deeds. We must tell the good news that Jesus died for sin and he rose for salvation and that he is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one comes to the Father but by him.
He says that we should preach repentance and forgiveness, and it says it “should”—very important word—“should be proclaimed.” Then it hangs in the air as to whether you and I will actually do so. 

Tomorrow's scripture focusLuke 24:50-53
Tomorrow's Bible In a Year Passage passage: Revelation 18; Zechariah 3-4

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