Tag Archives: Acts

Do Not Wish to Provide – Acts 17:26

And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth (Acts 17:26).

Take a look at this picture (source: worldwidefeatures.com) and try to identify the race of these two adorable young girls:

black-and-white-twins-1

Think you have it figured out? How about if I told you they are twins? Yep, twins! How cool is that? And it is actually not that uncommon. As a parent of both “black” and “white” children, the idea of identifying different races based upon skin tone has become ridiculous to me. And, as a Christian who knows that we have all descended from the same sets of great-great-grandparents, I am rather embarrassed to admit how slow I was to realize my ignorance. Even from a purely secular scientific standpoint, there is only one “human” race. It is really quite unfortunate that we as a society continue to cling to divide based upon these arbitrarily derived definitions. Sadly, many of these views of races were derived from and abused by people who wanted to declare they were a result of evolution.

Now, I do not have the foggiest idea who my biological paternal grandfather was. For all I know, he could have been any or even all of the so-called “races” that were listed on a government form I had to fill out this week: American Indian, Alaska Native, Asian, Black, African American, Native Hawaiian, other Pacific Islander, White Hispanic or Latino, or White non-Hispanic or Latino. When I look in the mirror, I am most definitely pretty pale, but many shades darker than my wife and many shades lighter than my youngest daughter. Unfortunately, simply “human” was not one of the race choices I was given.

Perhaps the greatest irony is that we, as a society, continue to claim we can identify the “race” of people by just looking at their skin tone, but supposedly can no longer judge gender by examining the plumbing. Huh?! Yet, God tells us quite clearly that “male and female he created them” (Genesis 1:27). So, I will continue to check the box marked “Do not wish to provide” while celebrating the many hues of both men and women God has so wonderfully created.

 

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Filed under Creation, Evolution

Salvation in no one else – Acts 4:11-12

crossMost Christians are familiar with the passage in Acts 4:11-12 in which we are told that Jesus is the only way we can be saved:

This Jesus is the stone that was rejected by you, the builders, which has become the cornerstone. And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:11-12).

It is interesting that the Old Testament records a passage written about 700 years prior to Jesus in which we are taught that the LORD (literally Yahweh) is our only Savior:

You are my witnesses,” declares the LORD, “and my servant whom I have chosen, that you may know and believe me and understand that I am he. Before me no god was formed, nor shall there be any after me. I, I am the LORD, and besides me there is no savior (Isaiah 43:10-11).

Sine we know that Jesus is also fully God, these passages are easy to harmonize. It is also a great reminder that God’s ultimate plan of redemption for his people has never changed. The depth of the revelation culminated in the coming of Christ Jesus, but the plan was clear from the beginning.

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Filed under God, Salvation

Jesus came to respond to the universal human need to…

DCF 1.0A couple of summers ago I did some research on a small-town, rural Idaho pastor for some friends. He turned out to be an absolute heretic. Last week, I made the mistake of listening to a new sermon by this pastor. Why? It must be similar to our seemingly natural response to look at a car crash. It did not take long for this pastor to remind me of why he is a heretic when he stated:

It is the singular most important issue that Jesus came to address…

OK. I will pause here and let you think about how you would finish his sentence. What was the most important issue Jesus came to address? Think…think…think…

Do you have an answer yet? Is that your final answer? OK, are you sure you want to see this pastor’s answer? Maybe you should look away? No? OK, here is his answer:

Jesus came to respond to the universal human need to know how to live well.

car_crash_2That was not a minor fender-bender, but an absolute, unmitigated disaster: “the universal human need to know how to live well.” Really? He spent a week of sermon prep and came up with that? God had told us how to live well about 1500 years before Jesus came. You may not have heard of these guidelines, but they were called the Ten Commandments. We could all live exceptionally well if we just followed that simple 10 step program. In fact, Jesus even confirmed those rules as words to live by.

There is only one teensy, weensy little problem. We cannot live by them. Not you. Not me. No my Roman Catholic friends, not Mary either. Only Jesus. That law is what convicts us, condemns us, and leads us to Christ Jesus that we may be saved by faith:

But the Scripture imprisoned everything under sin, so that the promise by faith in Jesus Christ might be given to those who believe. Now before faith came, we were held captive under the law, imprisoned until the coming faith would be revealed. So then, the law was our guardian until Christ came, in order that we might be justified by faith (Galatians 3:22-24).

Unlike the law-based gospel preached by this heretic, Jesus came not to tell or show us how to live well, but to respond to the universal human need to have our sins forgiven. We do not need more rules or excellent moral examples. We cannot keep the rules God had given long before Jesus arrived. We need a Savior. Jesus was and is that Savior:

There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved (Acts 4:12).

If you church is teaching anything remotely like the message given by this pastor I listened to—RUN!

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Filed under False Religions

Are you asking the right question? – Acts 16:30

Joseph Smith asked the wrong question in his first vision. The wrong question is “which church should I join?” The right question is “what must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). The Bible not only gives us the right question, but it immediately points us to the answer:

Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved (Acts 16:31).

and expands upon the answer in numerous places including:

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith (Romans 3:23-25).

So, are you asking the right question?

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Filed under False Religions, Salvation

David is still dead – Acts 2:29

In Acts 2:29, the apostle Peter said

Brothers, I may say to you with confidence about the patriarch David that he both died and was buried, and his tomb is with us to this day.

He was referring to Kind David who was dead and contrasting him with Jesus who is alive. We Christians are blessed to serve a God who is alive as opposed to a dead prophet.

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Filed under Jesus

Nothing to say in opposition – Acts 4:14

In our adult Bible study class last Sunday, we were studying the gift of healing and how it was a sign that affirmed the message being preached by the apostles. One verse we studied really jumped out at me:

But seeing the man who was healed standing beside them, they had nothing to say in opposition (Acts 4:14).

The apostles Peter and John had just healed a man who had been lame from birth. Now, this formerly lame man was walking, leaping and praising God.

The priests and Sadducees wanted to argue with Peter and John. They wanted Peter and John to quit talking about salvation through Jesus.  But there was this small problem. The formerly lame man was clearly standing next to Peter and John. It would be foolish to argue that this man was not healed because everyone could see the overwhelming evidence standing there in front of them.

We too have the same evidence, albeit indirectly, right in front of us. The evidence for the life, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ is clearly presented in God’s word, the Holy Bible. The Bible, just like the words of the apostles, is affirmed by the miracles of God. For example, the countless fulfillment of prophecy.

The evidence is before you. Do you have anything to say in opposition?

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Filed under Christian Life, Scripture