Identified with Christ

Wednesday, November 16, 2016, 3:30 a.m. – The Lord Jesus put in mind the song “His Tender Mercies.” Speak, Lord, your words to my heart. I read Acts 3-4 (Select vv. NASB).

Summary of Acts 3:1-4:4

In the name of Jesus Christ, Peter had healed a man who had been lame from birth. This drew a crowd, who were all amazed at what had just taken place. So, Peter seized the opportunity to tell the people, who were standing there, about Jesus Christ. He confronted the Jews about what they had done to Jesus, too. He said, “You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead.” In other words, they had rejected and killed their Messiah, Lord, Christ and God (incarnate), their creator, and they had set a murderer free, instead. But, Jesus was now alive! He was delivered from death. Amen! So, Peter went on to explain that it was in the name of Jesus and the faith that comes through him that this man was healed.

Peter then let the people know that Jesus Christ was the fulfillment of the prophecies of scripture regarding their Messiah, who was to come, and that his suffering and death were also a fulfillment of prophecy of scripture. And, then he charged them that they must repent of (turn away from) their sins, and turn to God, in order that their sins might be wiped out and that times of refreshing (renewal) would come from the Lord. He said this, too, about Jesus Christ: “When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning each of you from your wicked ways.” In other words, Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. He did not die just to give us an escape from hell and a promise of heaven when we die. Peter said, “Anyone who does not listen to him will be completely cut off from among his people,” i.e. faith in Jesus Christ results in obedience.

But, this did not set well with the Jewish religious leaders, so they seized Peter and John and put them in jail until the next day. Yet, many who heard the message of salvation from sin via faith in Jesus Christ believed.

The enemies of the cross of Christ will try to stop the spreading of the gospel, but this often backfires against them, because persecution against Christians has a way of advancing the gospel, instead, so that many more people believe on Jesus Christ to be Lord (owner-master) and Savior of their lives. Praise the Lord! What Satan means for evil in our lives, God means for good, to advance his kingdom, for the glory of God, and for the salvation of human souls from sin, in order to give them the light of life.

By What Name? (vv. 5-12)

On the next day, their rulers and elders and scribes were gathered together in Jerusalem; and Annas the high priest was there, and Caiaphas and John and Alexander, and all who were of high-priestly descent. When they had placed them in the center, they began to inquire, “By what power, or in what name, have you done this?” Then Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, said to them, “Rulers and elders of the people, if we are on trial today for a benefit done to a sick man, as to how this man has been made well, let it be known to all of you and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ the Nazarene, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead—by this name this man stands here before you in good health. He is the stone which was rejected by you, the builders, but which became the chief cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else; for there is no other name under heaven that has been given among men by which we must be saved.”

When we are confronted with why we do what we do, we should seize the opportunity to present to people the gospel of our salvation. We should tell them how Jesus Christ, God the Son, came to earth, took on human flesh, suffered as we suffer, and was tempted in like manner as we are also tempted, yet without sin. We ought to explain to them that because God loved us so much, he gave his One and Only Begotten Son to die on a cross for our sins. God made him (Jesus) who knew no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God (2 Co. 5:21). In other words, when Jesus died, our sins died and were buried with him. But, praise God, Jesus didn’t stay dead. He was resurrected back to life in conquering death, hell, Satan and sin on our behalf in order that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. Salvation comes through HIM alone!

We Cannot Stop Speaking (vv. 13-22)

Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus. And seeing the man who had been healed standing with them, they had nothing to say in reply. But when they had ordered them to leave the Council, they began to confer with one another, saying, “What shall we do with these men? For the fact that a noteworthy miracle has taken place through them is apparent to all who live in Jerusalem, and we cannot deny it. But so that it will not spread any further among the people, let us warn them to speak no longer to any man in this name.”

And when they had summoned them, they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” When they had threatened them further, they let them go (finding no basis on which to punish them) on account of the people, because they were all glorifying God for what had happened; for the man was more than forty years old on whom this miracle of healing had been performed.

I love the first part of this! These rulers of the people and leaders in the Jewish temple not only listened to what the apostles told them about Jesus Christ, but they observed the apostles’ attitudes, their education level, and their poise, and they recognized that these men had been with Jesus.

I believe there is a lesson for us to be learned from this. People who observe us every day not only listen to our words, but they watch our lives. They observe our attitudes, our actions, and our behaviors, and from those observations they draw conclusions about us, right or wrong. They look to see if we are walking the talk, and not just talking the walk. So, when they watch our lives, will they see that we have been with Jesus? Or, will they see us as hypocrites who make a profession of Christ, but whose lifestyles are not much different from those who do not profess Christ at all?

We are no threat to Satan and to his kingdom if we profess Christ but live just like the world lives. In fact, we help to advance his kingdom and we share in his attempts to destroy the kingdom of God when we profess Christ but live as though we don’t know Christ at all. Yet, if we take God and his Word and his salvation seriously, and we share the truth of the gospel with others, and we make it our practice to walk the talk, and to not live hypocritically, though not necessarily perfectly, Satan is going to come after us with his “guns” to attack us in any way he can. And, he will pull out all the stops in order to try to stop us from sharing the gospel of our salvation.

This is happening in our world today, and many of our religious and political leaders are party to the plot to destroy the gospel and its messengers. They are making great strides in trying to prove their case, which they first created (orchestrated), that the people of the world are a mess, and that we need help, and that we, as the people of the world, need to unite as one people regardless of nationality, lifestyle or religion. In other words, this is all about bringing the people of the world together under a one-world totalitarian government and a one-world religion. Their goal is to destroy all which divides us as a people of the world, and to focus on what we have in common. If our beliefs divide us into “them and us,” i.e. unsaved and saved, then we must forsake that, according to them, so we can be accepting of all walks of life and all religions. If we do not conform, we will pay the consequences. Many believers in Jesus are already paying.

Yet, we can’t let their warnings or their threats undo us. We cannot stop speaking about Jesus Christ and his salvation, for many need to hear the gospel so that they can come to know Christ, too. But, we must know that continuing to share the truths of the gospel is going to get us persecuted and perhaps even killed, and that this is coming to America, too. Our leaders are espousing this unity of religion and the destruction of all which divides us as a people, too. Many of them have joined forces with the New World Order (of the beast) and are pushing a social gospel in place of Jesus’ gospel, in order that we don’t offend anyone with the cross of Christ. So, we need to prepare ourselves that things are going to be much different from this point forward, and that we need to stand strong in our faith and not compromise.

His Tender Mercies / An Original Work / January 26, 2014

Fear not! I’m with you.
Be not dismayed!
God watches o’er you.
Trust Him today.
He’ll lead and guide you;
Give you His aid.
He’ll love and keep you
With Him always.

Walk in His footsteps.
He’ll lead the way.
Trust in His love;
Believe that He cares.
He will not leave you.
Faithful He’ll be.
His tender mercies
Now you will see.

Fellowship with Him
Throughout the day.
Tell Him your heartaches.
He’ll heal always.
Rest in His comfort.
He is your friend.
Your faith He’ll strengthen,
True to the end.

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