Change! (Acts 3)

Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the time for restoring all the things about which God spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets long ago.

What does it mean to be “saved?” We can, sometimes, fall into two camps (both incorrect) thinking that we can either become a Christian absent any kind of change in our lives, or that the only way to become a Christian is to stop doing certain things… Repentance is the key. It’s an attitude of the heart/mind that leads to the results of the hands/feet doing something different. When we turn back from our sins (repentance) times of refreshing come. We don’t need the strength to stop them altogether, God provides that through the Holy Spirit, we just need the resolve to turn our back on our old life. God gave us Jesus, He sent us the Holy Spirit, all we need to do is commit to Him, and He’ll change us! We don’t change to get saved, but our willingness to let Him change us is a key part of repentance.

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Back to Basics (Acts 1-2)

And they devoted themselves to the apostles ‘ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.

When the church began in earnest, Peter stood up and thousands of people were saved. Then what? They devoted themselves to the message the Apostles taught, the Gospel. They broke bread together, fellowship. And they didn’t consider anything they had more important than Jesus or His church, all things were “common.” There’s not some “higher level” we have to go to in order to really follow Jesus, we simply do the basics better. We devote ourselves to the Gospel, the Scriptures. We devote ourselves to the church, connecting to people and building relationships with them. We devote ourselves to prayer, connecting with God. We don’t consider anything more important than this. We’re meant to be well-rounded. Back to basics…

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Peter or Judas? (John 21)

When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “ Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “ Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “ Feed my lambs.” He said to him a second time, “ Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “ Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “ Tend my sheep.” He said to him the third time, “ Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “ Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “ Feed my sheep.

What is the difference between Peter and Judas? They both betrayed Jesus… Peter just didn’t give up. Judas went into despair and didn’t believe in Jesus’ forgiveness. Peter, on the other hand, went out and wept bitterly, yet he received the Lord’s pardon. Three times Peter denied Jesus, and three times Jesus asked Peter if he loved Him. Jesus was telling Peter “I still have a job for you to do.” See, the point of loving Jesus, of being His disciple, is to feed His lambs, to tend His sheep, to feed his sheep. Do you feel like you’ve walked too far away from Jesus? You have not. Do you love Him? Then serve the church… He wants you to.

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Jesus Is God (John 20)

Then he said to Thomas, “ Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” Thomas answered him, “ My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.

Thomas gets a bad rap. He’s usually called “Doubting Thomas” but he was simply being skeptical of news that seemed too good to be true. He said he would have to actually touch Jesus, but at the end of the day, seeing was believing. He never did, apparently, have to put his finger in Jesus hands. His response to seeing Jesus is interesting. He not only acknowledges the truth that Jesus is his Master, Boss, Lord… he calls Jesus “God.” No one in Scripture ever receives worship as God, except God. Jesus doesn’t correct Thomas, He says that we, who have not even seen Jesus, will be even more blessed if we believe. Believe in Jesus, you’ll be blessed. Seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing.

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The Whole Bible (Luke 24)

And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he interpreted to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.

How much of the Bible is for Christians? About 3/4 of the Bible is what we call the Old Testament, but is that still useful for Christians? YES! The whole Bible is about Jesus. It is popular among some circles to be swayed by Jewish rabbinical interpretation of the OT, and I will admit it is helpful to sometimes listen to differing viewpoints, but at the end of the day, Jesus is the center of the whole Bible. Why would we expect people who don’t believe in Jesus to interpret the Bible correctly? Jesus was constantly amazed that Israel missed the fact that all the Scriptures are about Him. Look for Jesus in the OT, you’ll find Him.

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