Archive for the ‘Book of Acts’ Category

Good Samaritan’s Random Act of Kindness

June 6, 2015

There was a story on Fox and Friends this morning where  a stranger buys a struggling mother a car.

Watch the video at the link above for the complete story.

The stranger wanted to remain anonymous. Apparently, he had the money and was able to share it with someone who was in desperate need. The Fox website labeled this as “Good Samaritan’s random act of kindness.”

The video reveals that the woman is a Christian and that she had been praying to God for an answer to her dilemma.

I think that it was wise for the man who bought the car for her to remain anonymous. Perhaps he, himself, is also a Christian and was heeding what Jesus said in the Sermon on the Mount:

Mat 6:1

“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

Mat 6:2

“Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward.

Mat 6:3

“But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing,

Mat 6:4

“that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly

David Guzik writes:

A. Doing good to please God.

1. (1) Jesus’ warning against doing good to be seen by others.

“Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.”

a. Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men: Charitable deeds is actually the word righteousness. Jesus tells us to not do righteous things for the sake of display or image (to be seen by them).

i. Jesus has just clearly shown God’s righteous standard; perhaps He anticipated the thought “Wouldn’t everybody be impressed if I was like that?” So here Jesus addressed the danger of cultivating an image of righteousness. It is almost impossible to do spiritual things in front of others without thinking what their opinion is of us as we do those things, and how they are thinking better or worse of us as we do what we do.

ii. This does not contradict His previous command to let your light so shine before men (Matthew 5:16). Although the followers of Jesus are to be seen doing good works, they must not do good works simply to be seen.

b. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven: The idea is when we do righteous deeds for the attention and applause of men, their attention and applause is our reward. It is much better to receive a reward from your Father in heaven.

I have been reading Dr. David Jeremiah’s book “A.D. The Bible Continues: The Revolution That Changed The World.” In chapter 3, (which describes and expands upon the Day of Pentecost and the spectacular birth of the Christian church) we read about the church opening its hands to those in need.

In the early church, “all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had. They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need” (Acts 2:44-45). The fledgling church experienced severe persecution, leaving members displaced and destitute. They formed a close-knit community to take care of one another, sharing their food, clothing, and money to meet people’s needs.

Over the years, some people have pointed to this passage to make the claim that the early church practiced Communism or socialism, but such was not the case. Communism is a compulsory sharing of goods because no one is thought to have the right to own anything. Socialism acknowledges the right of private property, but it requires individuals to give a certain percentage of what they earn to others in order to narrow the gap between socioeconomic classes.

The early church, however, shared their goods because they were generous and committed to one another. Scripture doesn’t say that the entire church sold all they had and gave everything up for the community’s welfare. It simply says that people voluntarily sold their possessions as financial concerns arose and gave the proceeds to those in need.

Today, almost every church takes care to meet the needs of members lacking food, shelter, help, or clothing. Some churches have food banks or centers offering furniture and clothing. The authentic church is a caring and generous community.

Notice that serving those in need was done by the early church without the “help” (more accurately, the interference) of the Roman government which was hell-bent on destroying these “annoying” followers of Jesus.   Both the Roman Empire and the Sanhedrin Jewish leaders thought that the death of Jesus Christ on the cross at Calvary would stop the “rabble-rousers” and finally put an end to this religious movement once and for all.

However, when Jesus rose from the dead, walked the earth (again) in his resurrected body for 40 days and appeared to over 400 people over that time span, the Jesus Christ revolution had only just begun!

In the TV series of the same name, we are seeing that there was an enormous political and religious upheaval that led to the formation of the early church. Despite the brutality being done against the people of The Way (what it was called back then), the depiction of the Day of Pentecost was quite riveting!

Dr. Jeremiah shares extra information regarding the Old Testament history of that day and what it meant to believers in the New Testament.

The Feast of Pentecost
The word Pentecost is the Greek name for the Jewish festival Shavuot. Pentecost celebrated two coinciding events, one ancient and the other ongoing. The first marked the occasion of Moses receiving the Ten Commandments on Mount Sinai, which had occurred seven weeks after the original Passover in Egypt.

The second event was the culmination of the Feast of Weeks. This feast derived its name from the seven-seek harvest of wheat and barley, which began at Passover. The day after this seven-week harvest was designated as a time of celebration and thanks to God, which the Jews expressed by bringing an offering of the first crops from their harvests to the Temple.

Since that was the fiftieth day after Passover, it was called Pentecost, meaning “fifty days.”

Recall that the risen Jesus remained on earth for forty days, and then he ascended into heaven ten days before the Jewish observance of Pentecost (Shavuot). On the morning of Pentecost, 120 disciples and the 12 apostles (Judas had been replaced by Matthias) were in the upper room, still waiting for the arrival of the promised Holy Spirit.

Then it happened!

There was a deafening roar that startled everyone and it was like the sound of a rushing wind. It filled not only the house they were in but people heading to the Temple to celebrate Shavuot were shocked by it too! Scripture describes what the disciples experienced. There were bright streaks of light resembling flaming tongues that flashed above them as the Holy Spirit entered into them! At that moment, the power that Jesus promised them had arrived, and they were able to speak in tongues so that the hearers could hear their own languages! This was a miracle! (see Acts 2:1-6).

These men were changed forever! And Peter gave the sermon that birthed the church (Acts 2). The disciples and apostles were no longer confused about their mission. They finally realized that the kind of Kingdom Jesus was establishing was not merely to save Israel from the Romans, but to save the world from Satan.

Dr. Jeremiah writes:

He (Jesus) was not merely the Messiah to the Jews; he was the Messiah to people in all nations around the globe. He was the rightful King not of just the Jews but of the whole world, which since the time of Adam and Eve had been “enemy-occupied territory.” The task of these disciples was to lead people out from under the tyranny of a demonic usurper and rally them around the flag of a resistance movement led by Jesus Christ, their true King.

The power Jesus had promised was infinitely better than anything they could have anticipated. It filled them with more joy and love and courage than they had ever imagined possible.

In today’s world, the persecution of Christians has increased exponentially. The Bible tells us that the closer we get to the end times, this will be the case. Therefore, we need to speak out boldly, as we should, and share the gospel of Christ!

As followers of our Savior and Lord, we should boldly stand up for Jesus Christ in our present circumstances. He is our Savior, Lord, and King, and His love needs to be shed abroad in our hearts and in our world – now.

Hat tips:
Fox News

Dr. Jeremiah.org

 

So Great is His Love for Those Who Fear Him

April 27, 2015

This is one of the most loved Bible verses from the Old Testament.  I see it all the time on the blogs of Christian writers.

Skeptics might view that verse in a totally different way from how believers in Christ see it.  They may think, “why would anyone think that the God of the Bible is a God of love because we are to “fear” Him?”  It is a good question, actually, and one that I will attempt to answer in this post.

When you look up the term “fear” as it is used in Psalm 103:11, we learn that the root Hebrew word [yare’]means both “to frighten – affright, be (make) afraid, dread” as well as “fear (be had) in reverence.”

When we look up the term “reverence” in the dictionary and view the word origin and history, we find:

Word Origin and History for rev-er-ence

n.

late 13c., from Old French reverence “respect, awe,” from Latin reverentia “awe, respect,” from revereri “to stand in awe of, respect, honor, fear, be afraid of; revere,” from re-, intensive prefix (see re- ), + vereri “stand in awe of, fear,” from PIE *wer- “to be or become aware of, perceive, watch out for” (cf. Old English wær “aware, cautious;” see wary ).
v.

late 14c., “treat with respect, honor; venerate, pay pious homage to; esteem, value; bow to (someone); do honor to,” from reverence (n.). Related: Reverenced ; reverencing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

When Adam and Eve sinned, they hid (or, at least tried to hide) themselves from God because they now feared Him (the “frightened,” “dreaded” kind of fear).

Prior to The Fall, the relationship between God and the first man and woman was one of “treat with respect, honor; venerate, pay pious homage to; esteem, value; bow to (someone); do honor to,” from reverence.”

Today, we have the free-will choice to either remain “afraid of God,” or to “treat [Him] with respect, honor; venerate, pay pious homage to; esteem, value; bow to (someone); do honor to,” from reverence.”

God the Father sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to be the bridge between sinful man and Holy God.

On the Day of Pentecost, the Holy Spirit came down from heaven and proceeded to indwell the apostles.

Recall that most of them ran away (except John, Mary M. and Mary the mother of Jesus)  out of fear for their earthly lives  when Christ was crucified!  Thomas doubted that Christ had been risen and wanted proof by seeing Him, and putting his fingers into the nail scars on Jesus’ hands and at his side.

So what changed them so drastically that they feared no more and steadfastly spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ to 3,000 in one day?

Answer:  The indwelling power of the Holy Spirit – promised by Jesus Christ!

Read the account about the Day of Pentecost in Acts 2.

Dreaded fear became the more positive reverent fear in the name of Jesus Christ!

And this happens to this very day when we repent of our sins and accept Christ as Lord and Savior in our lives; thus inviting Him into our hearts through the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit!

Where do YOU stand with God?

In Christ’s service,

Christine

*******

How To Know God Personally [Click on link to discover the principles!]

What does it take to begin a relationship with God? Devote yourself to unselfish religious deeds? Become a better person so that God will accept you?

You may be surprised that none of those things will work. But God has made it very clear in the Bible how we can know Him.

The following principles will explain how you can personally begin a relationship with God, right now, through Jesus Christ…

Any Readers Watching the Series, “A.D. – The Bible Continues?”

April 21, 2015

I have watched all three episodes of the epic series, ” A.D. The Bible Continues” which have been broadcast over the last three Sunday nights on NBC.  The stats for viewership are good and the series is getting a high rating from faith driven consumers for biblical accuracy.

Contrary to what secular leftists might claim, the Bible is still very important and being sought out and read by millions across the U.S. as well as around the world!

If you didn’t see Sunday’s episode, you can view it at the link above.

A.D. The Revolution that Changed the World

In addition to this great series, Dr. David Jeremiah of Turning Point Ministries is doing sermons each Sunday morning which shares the Scripture behind the story of the NBC 12 week series!

You can view all sermons presented so far at the new website, A.D. – The Revolution that Changed the World.

Please feel free to share your opinions and thoughts on both the NBC series and Dr. Jeremiah’s sermons on the Scripture behind the story in the comment section.

Thanks and God bless!

~ Christine

Speak the Things Which We Have Seen and Heard

February 21, 2015

 

The title of this post comes from a verse in Acts 4.  With the upcoming TV series about the Book of Acts and Dr. David Jeremiah’s 12 week Turning Point Ministry sharing the Scripture behind the story, I began thinking about how the Apostles in the Book of Acts were received during their missionary journeys.  They encountered both joy from those who believed, and threats to shut them up from the establishment authorities who wanted to shut down the spread of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Before I post the verses leading up to that particular Bible verse in Acts 4, I wanted to first share some quotes regarding religious liberty from the late Dr. D. James Kennedy. Dr. Kennedy truly knew what our Founders meant regarding the Establishment Clause in the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.  He knew how vitally important the free exercise of religion was to our Founders, and how such rights would be threatened and attacked in our day.

Does the First Amendment declare the “separation of church and state”?  Probably 99 percent of the people in America today have been brainwashed into saying “yes.”  But it does not!  We must understand what the First Amendment says, because the relationship between these two “kingdoms” – church and state – has been long and difficult.  The founding fathers resolved that question in a marvelous way, but their solution is being completely disregarded in our time–and most people are not aware of it.

The First Amendment states:  “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”  What does this say about what the church can or cannot do?  What does it say about what a Christian citizen should or should not do?  Absolutely nothing!  It says, “Congress shall make no law respecting and establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.”

The First Amendment forbids the federal government from restricting religion in any manner.  The Establishment Clause was only intended to stop the formation of a national church; and so it must be seen as merely a further limitation on government from restricting people from freely exercising their faith.

– Dr. D. James Kennedy

The founders of our nation wanted to avoid what was happening in Britain – the imposition of a national church upon the people. But the First Amendment and Establishment Clause were NOT meant to squelch the speech, worship, and associations of people and various denominations of churches from having the ability to freely exercise their faith.

Today, government is setting down a strong hand in order to restrict people from freely exercising their faith.  Most often these restrictions are being pushed upon those who hold to the Christian faith. Please read some of the previous posts here at Talk Wisdom for evidence of this fact!

As Christians, we know that God has called us to preach the Gospel of Christ – “in season as well as out of season.”  In today’s vernacular, we might say “when it’s popular as well as when it isn’t popular” to do so.

2Ti 4:2

Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching.

However, being an honest book, the Bible has already told us that there would be those who would fight hard against the spread of Christianity!  Such goals were evident when the Apostles started preaching about Christ in the book of Acts.

Note these verses:

Act 4:15

But when they had commanded them to go aside out of the council, they conferred among themselves,

Act 4:16

saying, “What shall we do to these men? For, indeed, that a notable miracle has been done through them is evident to all who dwell in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it.

Act 4:17

“But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.”

Act 4:18

So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.

Act 4:19

But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge.

Act 4:20

“For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

Why did the council not want the miracle that was done through the Apostles and the teachings of Jesus Christ to spread? Because it interfered with their authority. They could not have this Jesus spoken of as the crucified, risen Savior of the world! It would threaten their religious authority.

Today, the name of Jesus Christ is often blocked from graduation speeches, but it’s OK to use His name as a curse word in any movie or TV show.

Read the previous verses to understand what they were objecting to:

Act 4:1

Now as they spoke to the people, the priests, the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them,

Act 4:2

being greatly disturbed that they taught the people and preached in Jesus the resurrection from the dead.

Act 4:3

And they laid hands on them, and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening.

Act 4:4

However, many of those who heard the word believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand.

Act 4:5

And it came to pass, on the next day, that their rulers, elders, and scribes,

Act 4:6

as well as Annas the high priest, Caiaphas, John, and Alexander, and as many as were of the family of the high priest, were gathered together at Jerusalem.

Act 4:7

And when they had set them in the midst, they asked, “By what power or by what name have you done this?”

Act 4:8

Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers of the people and elders of Israel:

Act 4:9

“If we this day are judged for a good deed done to a helpless man, by what means he has been made well,

Act 4:10

“let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.

Act 4:11

“This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ [fn]

Act 4:12

“Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”

Act 4:13

Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.

Act 4:14

And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they could say nothing against it.

Note that the people who realized that Peter and John had “been with Jesus” and saw the man who was healed standing right in front of them – they could not say anything against it! But those Sadducee leaders saw it as a threat against their power, so they wanted this preaching to “spread no further among the people.” Thus they can up with a plan to “let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.”

Today, those who disagree with or blatantly hate the name of Jesus Christ continue to try to “command them [us] not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.”

But the Apostles were not hindered by their threats:

Act 4:21

So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way of punishing them, because of the people, since they all glorified God for what had been done.

Act 4:22

For the man was over forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.

Act 4:23

And being let go, they went to their own companions and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.

Act 4:24

So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them,

Act 4:25

“who by the mouth of Your servant David [fn] have said:

‘Why did the nations rage,
And the people plot vain things?

Act 4:26

The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the LORD and against His Christ.’ [fn]

Act 4:27

“For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together

Act 4:28

“to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done.

Act 4:29

“Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word,

Act 4:30

“by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.”

Act 4:31

And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.

Neither should we, my dear fellow Christian brothers and sisters, be shaken or hindered from speaking with all boldness the Word of God and His Christ – Jesus!

Paul reiterates that we should put on the armor of God, despite those who would want our speech and even our lives “to be in chains” in Ephesians 6; and thus “speak boldly, as I [we] ought to speak.”

Eph 6:20

for which I am an ambassador in chains; that in it I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.


Talk Wisdom

Talk Wisdom's goal is to defend the tenets and values of Biblical Christian faith. We defend our Constitutional Republic and Charters of Freedom, especially when speaking out against destructive social and political issues. As followers of our Savior and Lord, we should boldly stand up for Jesus Christ in our present circumstances. He is our Savior, Lord, and King, and His love needs to be shed abroad in our hearts and in our world - now.

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