Acts Devotionals

God’s Rescue Plan

The first time I met a person whose surname was “de Jesus” I was horrified. I was not even a Christian, but I knew this chap was not the Jesus of the Bible. Funny? Not really … The Islamic Religious believes in Jesus, but talk as they may, it is not the Jesus of the Bible. The Christian Liberal Theologians talk about Jesus, but their Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible. The same may be said of many who speak of Jesus … but their Jesus is not the Jesus of the Bible. No … I am not splitting hairs here! Get your belief wrong as to whom Jesus is and you shall be eternally damned because your faith is not in the Jesus of the Bible … but in another one.

It’s much like the late Bishop Tutu saying all religions believe in the same God. The reason he was decidedly wrong is because the only way God has revealed Himself is through His Son, Jesus … and through none other! This is not judgmental. This is a plain Biblical fact. You will recall that Paul, Silas and Timothy arrived at Thessalonica, went to the synagogue, most likely by invitation and preached the Biblical Jesus from the Old Testament Scriptures on three consecutive Sabbath Days. His messages were exegetical and applicatory. He proved that the Gospel he proclaimed was as per the Scriptures the Jews believed in and taught. We read:

Ac 17:2 As his custom was, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that the Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ,’” he said. 4 Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women. 5 But the Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. 6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other brothers before the city officials, shouting: “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, 7 and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.” 8 When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil. 9 Then they made Jason and the others post bond and let them go.

1) This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ. One cannot get more specific than this. Paul wanted his audience to understand exactly whom he was talking about. Keep the thought of Paul’s “explaining and proving” in mind.

(1) It was the One Who suffered. Many suffered for what they believed … but Paul used the Scriptures. He would have pointed out the Messiah would come from a virgin birth and that He would die substitutionally, enduring the wrath of the Father for all who believe. (Isaiah 7 and 53). The virgin in some miraculous way was found to be pregnant through the agency of the Holy Spirit. The point is that He was sinless because there was no human father and no inherit sin transfer we humans experience. His gruesome death would be one that included shedding His sinless blood to appease His Father’s wrath for all who would believe.

(2) It was the One Who rose. As said yesterday. To rise from the dead implies death. This was another miraculous sign … one who died, was buried in a tomb, rising to life three days later. Paul would have pointed out that the resurrection was also substitutionary. Every believer is guaranteed not only the resurrection of the soul to spiritual life (the reversal of the Genesis 3 curse on man), but the resurrection unto eternal life to be with Jesus in His glory after personal death.

(3) It was the One Who reigns. Not only did Jesus die for our sin and guilt, He rose victoriously for our soul’s eternity … He is seated upon the Throne of Glory and reigns His Kingdom as well as all creation.

(4) It is the One Who calls for commitment. Paul would, as all solid reformed preachers today, call for repentance and faith. If Jesus is the Messiah, died, rose and reigns … then He has the right to demand we turn from our wicked ways and follow Him. When Paul preached … “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ” he was saying this is the Jesus of the Bible. Beloved, make certain your Church believes and preaches this. If it does not … get out and find a Bible Believing Church!

2) People do respond to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Gospel Message is the most powerful message in all the world.

Ac 17:4 Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and not a few prominent women.

Three categories of people were saved through Paul’s preaching.

(a) Jews. Not many … only a few were persuaded!

(b) God-fearing Greeks. These were proselytes … pagans converted to the God of the Jews. There was a large number of these people who were persuaded.

(c) Then there were prominent women. Macedonian women had a reputation for being independent and enterprising. These were from a higher echelon of society. Their husbands were likely prominent business and political leaders. What is interesting is that these women believed for themselves. They did not turn to Jesus because their husbands did. They believed without their husbands being present.

The Gospel pulls people from all parts of society … rich and poor, educated and illiterate, lowly and high profiled and connected and unconnected. The Gospel has no respect for skin color, language, culture or ethnicity.

You see, in Adam we are all related and the Messianic Promise of Genesis 3:15 was for descendants of Adam … as you and I are! Beloved, if you are a believer today, praise God for the power of the Gospel because this Gospel about this Jesus brought you irresistibly to faith in Him.

There was no discrimination or prejudice. There was no deciding that your gifts, talents and qualification could work in the Kingdom. There was no foreknowledge that you would be a Preacher, Sunday School Teacher, Elder, Deacon, Pianist, Singer, larger tither, etc. No … the Gospel broke the barriers of resistance, convinced you of the Truth of the Gospel, caused your soul to understand, believe, repent and follow Jesus as Lord and Savior, as God and King. The Gospel did that. That is its power. The issue is that when one believes in the Jesus Paul preached for salvation … that one shall be saved … irrespective who they are! Praise God!

From time to time I ask you to do a stock take of yourself spiritually. Review the Jesus you believe in. Is He the Jesus of the Bible … the one Paul preached? You need to be totally certain because this is a matter of life and death … eternal life and eternal death.

Father, thank You for Your wonderful love for us. The way You designed Your rescue plan is beyond our human understanding but it is appreciated. Thank You precious Lord for such a glorious Gospel and for such a great salvation. Amen.

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