Category Archives: Acts

Is Your Salvation FORGED By God Or a FORGERY Of Religion?

Please turn with me in your Bibles to Acts chapter eight. The message God put on my heart for you is:

Is Your Salvation FORGED By God, Or A FORGERY?

Opening: That may seem like a strange question, but I think its a very important question you MUST ask yourself before you leave this room. God doesn’t want you guessing about your salvation. We are told in 1 John 5:13, “These things (the Scripture) I have written to you, that you may KNOW you have eternal life”. God wants you to KNOW that you are saved. Not just religious, but saved.

“What’s the difference?”, you ask. I’m glad you asked!

Illustrate: The other day I went to Ollies – a local discount store – because they sent me a 15% off coupon for a complete purchase. You know me – I love free or discounted. I had bought a non-stick copper pan that was supposed to last forever from Ollies. “Forever” is about 3 years. Having received this discount I headed toward Ollies. Finding the newest “you can never scratch it, even if you throw it in a volcano” frying pan, I headed toward the checkout with my coupon and pan. I got in the shorter line.

Thank goodness, because “Religion” was in the longer line.

Religion is the devil’s tool. Religion has little to no love for God, and certainly loves only its follower. Religion attacked Jesus when He walked this earth. Religion persecuted the early Church. Religion crucified, stoned, and beheaded the Apostles. Religion boiled the Apostle John in oil. I can always spot religion.
Religion loves rituals, not relationships.

Religion is two people arguing in Ollies – not about salvation through Jesus – but on whether you should worship God on Saturday or Sunday. One believed you worship God only on Saturday. The other, on Sunday. Me, I think EVERYDAY!

As these two argued, I never – NEVER – heard them mention the name of Jesus, the Cross, or the empty Tomb. Let me talk for just a minute about the “Sabbath”, the seventh day of the week. Beloved, the שַׁבָּת Shabbâth, {pronounced. Shab-bawth} was NEVER given to the Gentiles, but to the Old Covenant Jew. Israel under the Old Covenant was commanded to have a WEEKLY Shabbâth (Exodus 20:8-9), a SPECIAL Shabbâth during the ceremonial feasts (Exodus 12:16; Leviticus 23; Numbers 28:18, 25-26;… Continue reading

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Water Baptism An Act Of Obedience

The Holy Spirit came on the Church in a mighty way, anointing the disciples with fire. Peter, on fire for the Lord, went out and began preaching the glorious Gospel of salvation. Fifty days before the crowd in Jerusalem cried out for the crucifixion of Jesus. Pilate, the Governor of Jerusalem asked the people:

Matthew 27:17 Whom will ye that I release unto you? Barabbas, or Jesus which is called Christ?

The Bible says that the “the chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask Barabbas, and destroy Jesus”. So when Pilate asked that question, the crowd, incited by the religious leaders, said “Release Barabbas, but let Jesus be crucified”. Though Pilate asked more than once, the crowd was adamant. Jesus must die!… Continue reading

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Witnesses Unto Me

Is it just to tell others how to be saved, to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior? Certainly, we must tell others about Jesus. But being a “witness” for Jesus means to stand out and stand up for what our Lord taught. Jesus Himself is known as:

Revelation 1:5 … the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood

Word Study: Our Lord Jesus is “the faithful witness”. The word translated “witness” in Revelation 1:5 and in our opening text in Acts “witnesses” is the Greek μάρτυς mártys, {pronounced mar’-toos}. Mártys originally meant “a witness, one who can bear record to a truth”. When the word was first used, mártys is not yet associated with anything dark.

When Jesus came to this earth, our Lord “the faithful witness” was hounded, hated, and ultimately HUNG on a Cross for our sins.

Being a faithful witness means that, like Jesus, there is a degree of suffering and shame that goes with it. Jesus is the “Light of the world” (John 8:12; 9:5), and His followers are to be the “light of the world” (Matthew 5:14). And yet, the world walks in darkness. The testimony of Christ is that:

John 3:19 … Light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil…. Continue reading

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Message From A Basket

Turn with me in your Bibles to Acts 9:15.

Last week we saw a man named Saul knocked down on the Damascus Road by Jesus Christ our Lord. The man was arrogant. The man was self righteous. The man was murderous. The man was calloused, with a hardened heart. But Jesus had a plan for this man’s life. Knocked down and blinded, this now repentant man was led to Damascus, where he waited three days without sight, food, or water (Acts 9:9).

Saul waited on the Lord … and on the Lord’s servant Ananias. On the third day Jesus spoke to Ananias and told him to “put your hand on him, that he might receive his sight”. Jesus was talking about more than just physical sight. When Ananias touched Saul, he would gain both physical and spiritual sight.

Saul Is A Chosen Vessel

Ananias was scared to go to Saul, but the Lord assured him. Read with me:

Acts 9:15-18 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. 17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy {Spirit}. 18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized … Continue reading

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Loving Hands, Loving Lord

The Baptism of the Holy Spirit had not come on the Church at Samaria as of yet. You who are Bible Scholars know that the Holy Spirit comes on every believer at the moment of salvation. Jesus told Nicodemus:

John 3:3-7 … Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. 6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit. 7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

The Holy Spirit gives life to the believer. The Holy Spirit also indwells the believer. The Apostle told Timothy:

2 Timothy 1:13-14 Hold fast the form of sound words, which thou hast heard of me, in faith and love which is in Christ Jesus. 14 That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy {Spirit} which dwelleth in us.

And told the Church at Rome:

Romans 8:9 But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of his.

The Holy Spirit baptizes every believer at the moment of new birth. The Apostle wrote in:… Continue reading

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God Is In The Relocation Business

If you study the Scripture you will find that MAN is not the focal point in human history. GOD is. God made everything. The Scripture opens with:

In the beginning GOD created … (Genesis 1:1)

and ends with:

The Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you (Revelation 22:21)

God made us. God loves us. God knows what is best for us. God will be glorified. God will ultimately triumph. God said:

Isaiah 45:5-10 I am the Lord, and there is none else, there is no God beside me: I girded thee, though thou hast not known me: 6 That they may know from the rising of the sun, and from the west, that there is none beside me. I am the Lord, and there is none else. 7 I form the light, and create darkness: I make peace, and create evil: I the Lord do all these things. 8 Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness: let the earth open, and let them bring forth salvation, and let righteousness spring up together; I the Lord have created it. 9 Woe unto him that striveth with his Maker! Let the potsherd strive with the potsherds of the earth. Shall the clay say to him that fashioneth it, What makest thou? or thy work, He hath no hands? 10 Woe unto him that saith unto his father, What begettest thou? or to the woman, What hast thou brought forth?

God is the first cause of all things. God is the Creator of all life. God is. Not us, but God. God is the Source of all life. He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords (1 Timothy 6:15). God’s Will will come to pass. The story of Scripture is that God made us, we rebelled against God, but God pursues us still. He wants to bring us into union with Himself.

John 3:17 God sent His Son into the world not to condemn it, but that the world through Jesus might be saved (my paraphrase)

God is not glorified in a lost world.
God is not glorified when racism abounds.
God is not glorified when people hate – and hurt – people.
God is not glorified when humans try and be God.

We need to relocate our hearts and minds to God…. Continue reading

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Sermon From A Chariot

When we read through the Book of Acts, we see how the early Church – even in the midst of great persecution in pagan Rome – was caused to grow by God. The Holy Spirit was given on the Day of Pentecost, just as Jesus promised (Acts 1:8; John 14:26). God’s people were willing to obey the voice of the Lord.

The Kingdom of God grows when members of that Kingdom – Christians who are “children of God by faith in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:26) walk in partnership with God, following His direction.

The Bible commands Christians to “walk in the Spirit” (Galatians 5:16). We are to “yield ourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead” (Romans 6:13). We are to “bring forth fruit unto God” (Romans 7:4). We do this by telling others about Jesus and the great Grace we enjoy.

In every instance where the Kingdom of God grew in the Book of Acts, it grew because believers shared what Jesus Christ did for us. God saves us by faith in Jesus. Once a person is saved, they are changed to live their lives for Jesus. An old song we often sing, Amazing Grace, says:

Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but NOW am FOUND,
Was blind but NOW I SEE.

Those who experience the Amazing Grace of God become workers together for God’s Kingdom (2 Corinthians 6:1). The stepbrother… Continue reading

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And Stephen

The very first man the Church chose was called Stephen (vs 5). Stephen and these other six men did what they were supposed to do. As they MINISTERED, the MURMURING ceased. Rather than the cancer of murmuring killing the Body, we are told:

Acts 6:7 … The number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith”

The Church began to reach even the hardest to reach. “A great company of the priests were obedient to the faith”. The priests were part of the group that called for Christ’s crucifixion. Now, through love, these “enemies of the Cross” became “children of Christ”.

At this point the narrative in Acts focuses on the standout named simply Stephen. A lot of time is taken with Stephen, because Stephen would have the privilege of being the first martyr of the Church. We saw earlier that Stephen was “full of the Holy {Spirit} and wisdom”, and now read:

Acts 6:8 And Stephen, full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people.

Stephen refused to allow anything in his spiritual walk that was negative or degrading. Stephen would not allow himself to be filled with FEAR, nor CONFUSION. Stephen refused to entertain notions of darkness. Stephen did this by staying busy in Christ, giving to others as Christ gave to him. The Apostle said:

Philippians 4:8 Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true,… Continue reading

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What’s Your Power Source, Part 3

Please turn with me in your Bibles to Acts chapter four.

I have a workshop outside my home, one that I love to go and tinker in. I love woodworking. I love taking raw wood, and turning it into attractive and useful things. There’s a pleasure in working with your hands and your mind. Anyway, I have three basic types of tools in my shop.

• I have tools that require no external power source, things like chisels, hammers, screwdrivers, hand crank drills, hand saws, etc. These tools are ME powered. It takes MY energy to drive them, and they stop working when I myself get tired.
• I have tools that are battery operated. I love these things, because they have no power cord to get in my way. They run off of lithium batteries, which store a charge for a long time, and are able to deliver a lot of power to my tools. When the battery dies, that is, runs out of charge, it stops quickly. When this happens I have to put in another battery that is charged, or let this battery charge before I can continue my work.
• I have tools that are power cord operated. Though the cord limits my freedom of movement, the tool will keep on running as long as I have it plugged into the wall AND pay my electric bill.

What does any of this have to do with the Christian way of life? Our God has given us resources to enable us to live in this world, but empowered by His Kingdom. Sometimes we want to live out our lives in our own power. We use our strength, just as I use hand tools in my shop. Sometimes this is effective – but after a while we just run out of energy. The Lord said:… Continue reading

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What’s Your Power Source, Part 2

This morning we were in Acts Chapter Four asking the question, “What’s Your Power Source?” We will shortly be in Acts Chapter Five as we continue this subject.

I believe the weakness of the Church in America today can be attributed to many programs and many human solutions, but we pay little attention to God the Holy Spirit. We fill ourselves with our own talents and abilities. I was reading an article the other day where the Author said something like this:

“God was invented by man when we lived in simpler times. But now that we have become technologically advanced, now that we have medical science, now that we make our own miracles, we no longer need God. God is obsolete. We are our own God.”

I think this is foolishness – and delusion. As Solomon said, “What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun” (Ecclesiastes 1:9, ESV). Solomon was caught up in the accomplishments and abilities of his advanced age. Solomon in his wisdom did much good in Israel. And yet, without God, Solomon said “vanity of vanities; all is vanity. What profit hath a man of all his labor which he taketh under the sun?” (Ecclesiastes 1:2-3, KJV). If God is not in it, if you live a life with no greater purpose than to satisfy yourself, in time life itself seems meaningless! Solomon for all of his riches and all of his knowledge, ended Ecclesiastes with:

Ecclesiastes 12:13 Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep his commandments: for this is the whole duty of man…. Continue reading

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