Sunday, November 16, 2014

This weeks sermon!

2014.11.16                                       Acts 15: 11- 22
                    Salvation is by Grace alone
                                     Part 2
We’re continuing our study this morning in the fifteenth chapter of Acts……
In this chapter, we come to the concept of grace……. As I said last week….. Understanding the grace of God is  essential to genuine Christianity…… It is what sets Christianity apart from all other religions….. Because All other religious systems in the world are based upon the deeds and works of men……. The Good News of the Gospel is that although we are sinners and very wicked…….. There is hope for us! His name is Jesus! He took our sins and died in our place! The Good News is that the Grace of God has appeared…… He is ready to forgive and save all who cry out to him for mercy!.....
As we come to this 15th chapter….. The early church has exploded with growth….. Many Jews have repented and believed the good news…. through the ministry of first Peter and then later…. The ministry of Paul and Barnabas….. Many Gentiles have also believed the Good News of the Gospel… As we pickup our text in Acts…. Paul and Barnabas have returned from the first missionary journey to the church in Antioch…..  These Jewish Christians are often called "Judaizers" They taught that Gentiles may become Christians, but only after first becoming Jews….. and submitting to all Jewish rituals, including circumcision…….
These Christians were Pharisees from Judea…..
Paul proclaimed the Good News that salvation is by grace through faith alone.... When he did he was quoting the OT Hab 2:4....
Paul said the same thing over and over.... I think he said it to believers in every church everywhere he went….. It is the good news…They needed to hear it…… We need to hear it too....  because we feel that we need to do something to earn God´s love and blessing in our lives…… It is very hard for us to accept God´s unconditional love…. We don´t understand that kind of love…… But there are pictures of unconditional love around us every day….. For instance in the love of mothers for their children…… This morning we dedicated baby Soley to the Lord…. There is not anything that would make Melissa stop loving her….…. I often talk about God´s Chesed….. Unfailing unconditional love….. That is love so strong and eternal…… that we can rest in it…. We can trust the LORD with our lives….. Just like Soley trusts her mom for everything….
These certain men that we read about here in this text were themselves Pharisees who had gotten saved…… They had come to Antioch from Judea….. they objected to the idea that anyone could be saved without first coming under the law….. That means being circumcised and following the law….. When young men are about 13…. They are Bar-mitzvahed…. They become sons of the law….. Then they are considered adults….. and can read aloud in the synagogue from the Torah… So these very religious and legalistic believers objected to the evangelism of the Gentiles einfach so.... saying yes it is Jesus who saves us, but only after we have done all we can do to keep the Law of Moses."
Of course, Paul himself was a former Pharisee (Philippians 3:5) who became a Christian….. But he understood grace…   Paul knew that Jesus was his salvation….. not the way to his salvation….. Paul clearly taught salvation by grace through faith….. Faith and trust in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross…. Look at what Paul wrote to the Galatians…ch….2…..v.16…
Galatians 2: 16                                NLT    Neues Leben
16 Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.”

16 Und doch wissen wir, dass der Mensch vor Gott nicht durch das Halten des Gesetzes gerecht gesprochen wird, sondern durch den Glauben an Jesus Christus. Wir sind zum Glauben an ihn gekommen, damit wir durch diesen Glauben von Gott angenommen werden, und nicht etwa, weil wir dem Gesetz gehorcht haben. Denn durch das Befolgen des Gesetzes wird niemand vor Gott gerecht.«
Here, we see Paul echoing the words of Peter and the apostles in Jerusalem….
Peter´s  argument is clear…..
Since God had accepted these Gentiles….. He gave them the Holy Spirit…. Just like us…. V8
He cleansed their hearts by faith…. Just like us…. V9…
Peter shows how the heart is purified…. by faith, not by keeping of the law…... Since they were purified by faith….. then there was no need to be purified by submitted to ceremonies found in the Law of Moses……
Jewish Christians were not saved, even in part, by their law-keeping….. they were saved the same way Gentiles were….. Through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ…..
This is a very important point for us to consider…. Even today…. We as believers have a tendency to believe that God is especially pleased with us when we do our own list of Godly Things…. Prayer times …. Quiet times…. Reading our bibles….. helping the poor…..
We have a long list of things that we should do…. We also have a long list of things that we should not do….
The problem is not the list…… The problem is in our hearts….. We tend to think that the things we do or don´t do make us righteous…. We become like the Pharisees…. Proud and stubborn…. We are Godly… we say….. But the Lord says…. Your hearts are black and full of sin….
The things that we do need to flow out of a grateful and humble heart…. A heart  that has already been transformed by the Lord Jesus….. We cannot add to that miraculous work… Let´s continue now in the 15th ch… verse 12…
Acts 15: 12                                   NLT   Neues Leben
12 Everyone listened quietly as Barnabas and Paul told about the miraculous signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles.
12 Danach verstummten alle. Sie hörten aufmerksam zu, wie Barnabas und Paulus von den Zeichen und Wundern berichteten, die Gott durch sie unter den Nichtjuden gewirkt hatte.
 V12… Paul and Barnabas tell of their work among the Gentiles…. supporting Peter's claim that God is doing a great work among them….. This shows that even though there had been much dispute….. these men were all of an honorable heart….. They were willing to listen, and to be persuaded if they were wrong…… Barnabas and Paul confirmed Peter's point…… They said the Lord has poured out his Holy Spirit on them with signs and wonders done at our hands…..  Essentially, they are also saying "God has accepted the Gentiles, should not we as well?" let´s continue….v13….
Acts 15: 13-21                                     NLT
13 When they had finished, James stood and said, “Brothers, listen to me. 14 Peter has told you about the time God first visited the Gentiles to take from them a people for himself. 15 And this conversion of Gentiles is exactly what the prophets predicted. As it is written:
16 ‘Afterward I will return and restore the fallen house of David. I will rebuild its ruins and restore it,
17 so that the rest of humanity might seek the Lord, including the Gentiles—all those I have called to be mine. The Lord has spoken—
18 he who made these things known so long ago.’
19 “And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead, we should write and tell them to abstain from eating food offered to idols, from sexual immorality, from eating the meat of strangled animals, and from consuming blood. 21 For these laws of Moses have been preached in Jewish synagogues in every city on every Sabbath for many generations.”
Acts 15: 13-21                               Neues Leben
13 Als sie geendet hatten, stand Jakobus auf und sagte: »Brüder, hört mich an.
14 Petrus hat euch erzählt, wie Gott zum ersten Mal die Nichtjuden aufsuchte, um sich aus ihnen ein Volk zu wählen, das seinen Namen trägt.
15 Diese Bekehrung der Nichtjuden stimmt mit den Voraussagen der Propheten überein. So steht geschrieben:
16 `Danach werde ich zurückkommen und das gefallene Königreich Davids wiederherstellen. Aus den Trümmern werde ich es wieder aufbauen, und ich werde es wiederherstellen,
17 damit die Übriggebliebenen den Herrn suchen, die Nichtjuden eingeschlossen - alle, die ich zu mir gerufen habe. So spricht der Herr,
18 der dies alles schon vor langer Zeit bekannt gemacht hat.´
19 Deshalb bin ich der Überzeugung, dass wir den Nichtjuden, die sich zu Gott bekehren, das Leben nicht unnötig erschweren sollten.
20 Allerdings sollten wir ihnen schreiben und ihnen auftragen, kein Fleisch zu essen, das den Götzen geopfert wurde, alle Unzucht zu meiden und weder Blut noch das Fleisch nicht ausgebluteter Tiere zu essen.
21 Denn seit vielen Generationen wurden diese Vorschriften aus dem Gesetz des Mose Sabbat für Sabbat überall in den jüdischen Synagogen gepredigt.«
V13-22…. James speaks….  This James is not the apostle James, whose martyrdom is recorded in Acts 12:2. This is the one traditionally known as James the Just - the half-brother of Jesus (Matthew 13:155), brother of Jude (Jude 1), and author of the book of James (James 1:1).
James begins by insisting God had a people among the Gentiles….. This would astound a religious Jew in that day!
The Greek word for Gentiles (it could also be translated nations) is ethne….. The Greek word for people in this passage is laos….. The Jews considered themselves a laos of God….. and never among the ethne….. For them ethne and laos were contrasting words…... So, it would be difficult for them to hear that God at the first visited the Gentiles (ethne) to take out of them a people (laos)…… That was hard for them….. they were the laos of God…… Now out of the genitles comes a laos of God…..
James said…. Listen…. This was all prophesied…… It has happened just like God said it would....  In this passage James quotes (Amos 9:11-12), it actually says that salvation will come to the Gentiles….. This demonstrates that what God is doing among the Gentiles has a Biblical foundation….. When James quotes the prophecy in Amos 9:11-12 about rebuilding the fallen tabernacle of David…. he remembers that the Judaism of his day had fallen down in the sense that it had rejected its Messiah….. Now God begins to rebuild…. He is focusing on a church made up of both Jews and Gentiles……
All the Gentiles who are called by My name….. When God says there are Gentiles who are called by His name…. He is saying they stay Gentiles….. They are not Gentiles who have been made Jews….. Therefore, Gentiles do not need to become Jews and under the law to be saved!
Therefore I judge implies that James had a position of high authority in the church….. He was Jesus´half brother and was probably respected as the "senior pastor" of the church at Jerusalem…..
The Greek presents His statement even more strongly…. It could be translated as  as "I determine" or "I resolve" (Expositor's)…. In addition, when the decision of James was published, it was presented as the mutual decision of all present…. Acts 15:25: It seemed good to us…… James' leadership was supported by all present……
What did James decide?
V19… We should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God…… James essentially says, "Leave them alone…… They are turning to God….. and we should not trouble them…..   James decided that Peter, Barnabas, and Paul were correct….. and that those of the sect of the Pharisees who believed in Jesus….. were wrong to insist on the law and circumcision as means of salvation…. We are saved by grace through faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ…. Remember the Things we do…. Do not make us righteous in God´s eyes…. It´s only Jesus who can do that for us….
But James and the Apostles give them some rules…..
What is the point of these things? Look at verse 20…
V20… James' decision that Gentile believers should not be under the Mosaic Law is also tempered by practical instruction….. The idea was that it was important that Gentile believers not act in a way that would offend the Jewish believers…..
These three commands have to do with the eating habits of Gentile Christians….. Though they were not bound under the Law of Moses….. they were bound under the Law of Love….. The Law of Love tells them, "don't unnecessarily anger and upset your Jewish neighbors…..
James went on to tell them to stay away from from … sexual immorality: When James declares that they forbid the Gentile Christians to abstain from … sexual immorality, we shouldn't think that it means common sex outside of marriage….. which all Christians (Jew or Gentile) recognized as wrong….. Instead, James is directing these Gentiles living in such close fellowship with the Jewish believers to observe the specific marriage regulations required by Leviticus 18……. which prohibited marriages between most family relations….. This was something that Jews would abhor…. but most Gentiles would think little of……
Do you remember what Jesus said when he was asked …. What is the greatest commandment?.... They had 613….
He said…. You shall Love the Lord your God with all of your heart and the second is like it….. You shall love your neighbor as yourself…. That is the fulfilling of the Law…. Mark 12:29-34
Gentile Christians had the "right" to eat meat sacrificed to idols….. to continue their marriage practices…. and to eat meat without a kosher bleeding…..   However, they are encouraged to lay down their "rights" in these matters as a display of love to their Jewish brethren…
Let´s read what Paul said about these things to the church IN Galatia…. Gal 2:16…
Galatians 2: 16                                NLT    Neues Leben
16 Yet we know that a person is made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ, not by obeying the law. And we have believed in Christ Jesus, so that we might be made right with God because of our faith in Christ, not because we have obeyed the law. For no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law.”

16 Und doch wissen wir, dass der Mensch vor Gott nicht durch das Halten des Gesetzes gerecht gesprochen wird, sondern durch den Glauben an Jesus Christus. Wir sind zum Glauben an ihn gekommen, damit wir durch diesen Glauben von Gott angenommen werden, und nicht etwa, weil wir dem Gesetz gehorcht haben. Denn durch das Befolgen des Gesetzes wird niemand vor Gott gerecht.«
no one will ever be made right with God by obeying the law….. Later Paul wrote very practical advice to the church….. Let´s read what Paul said about these things to the church at Corinth….
1 Cor 10: 23-33                              NKJV
23 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify. 24 Let no one seek his own, but each one the other’s well-being.
25 Eat whatever is sold in the meat market, asking no questions for conscience’ sake; 26 for “the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.”
27 If any of those who do not believe invites you to dinner, and you desire to go, eat whatever is set before you, asking no question for conscience’ sake. 28 But if anyone says to you, “This was offered to idols,” do not eat it for the sake of the one who told you, and for conscience’ sake; for “the earth is the Lord’s, and all its fullness.” 29 “Conscience,” I say, not your own, but that of the other. For why is my liberty judged by another man’s conscience? 30 But if I partake with thanks, why am I evil spoken of for the food over which I give thanks?
31 Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. 32 Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, 33 just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.
1 Cor 10: 23-31                              sch2000
23 Es ist mir alles erlaubt — aber es ist nicht alles nützlich! Es ist mir alles erlaubt — aber es erbaut nicht alles!
24 Niemand suche das Seine, sondern jeder das des anderen.
25 Alles, was auf dem Fleischmarkt angeboten wird, das eßt, ohne um des Gewissens willen nachzuforschen;
26 denn »dem Herrn gehört die Erde und was sie erfüllt«.6
27 Und wenn jemand von den Ungläubigen euch einlädt und ihr hingehen wollt, so eßt alles, was euch vorgesetzt wird, und forscht nicht nach um des Gewissens willen.
28 Wenn aber jemand zu euch sagt: Das ist Götzenopferfleisch! — so eßt es nicht, um dessen willen, der den Hinweis gab, und um des Gewissens willen, denn »dem Herrn gehört die Erde und was sie erfüllt«.
29 Ich rede aber nicht von deinem eigenen Gewissen, sondern von dem des anderen; denn warum sollte meine Freiheit von dem Gewissen eines anderen gerichtet werden?
30 Und wenn ich es dankbar genieße, warum sollte ich gelästert werden über dem, wofür ich danke?
31 Ob ihr nun eßt oder trinkt oder sonst etwas tut — tut alles zur Ehre Gottes!
32 Gebt weder den Juden noch den Griechen noch der Gemeinde Gottes einen Anstoß,
33 so wie auch ich in allen Stücken allen zu Gefallen lebe und nicht meinen Nutzen suche, sondern den der vielen, damit sie gerettet werden. In our Christian life we are free from the very severe and legalistic requirements of the law….. We can live the law of love… We can now as genuine believers serve and Love the Lord from a thankful and grateful heart…. we can…. With the Lord´s help…. Love our neighbors as much as we love ourselves…. When we do we are fulfilling all the law….. we are demonstrating that we belong to Jesus….  that he has transformed and saved us…. It´s good News…. He is at work in us and he is working through us …. So that we can love and serve our families and care for all of the people that the Lord puts in our lives….. We can even love our enemies…. Luke 6: 35…
Back to Acts 15…v 22
Acts15:22                       NKJV   sch 2000
22 Then the apostles and elders together with the whole church in Jerusalem chose delegates, and they sent them to Antioch of Syria with Paul and Barnabas to report on this decision. The men chosen were two of the church leaders—Judas (also called Barsabbas) and Silas.
22 Daraufhin bestimmten die Apostel und Ältesten und die ganze Gemeinde in Jerusalem einige Männer, die sie mit Paulus und Barnabas nach Antiochia in Syrien schickten, um über diese Entscheidung zu berichten. Die Männer, die gewählt wurden, waren zwei der Leiter der Gemeinde - Judas (auch Barsabbas genannt) und Silas.
V22….. The decision is unanimous…. They wisely  send two brothers from Jerusalem….. They go  with Paul and Barnabas back to Antioch….. To stop the dispute and help all of the believers…. Jew and Gentile to understand the Grace of God better….. Paul gives us a wonderful zusammenfasung in Ephesians…. Read it in your own queit times when you get a chance….
Close Grace
Ephesians 2: 1-10            NLT   Neues Leben
1 Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.
4 But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5 that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6 For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7 So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.
8 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9 Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. 10 For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.
Ephesians 2: 1-10                         NLT   Neues Leben
1 Auch ihr wart früher tot aufgrund eurer Sünden.
2 Ihr habt genauso in der Sünde gelebt wie der Rest der Welt, beherrscht von Satan, der im Machtbereich der Luft regiert. Er ist der Geist, der in den Herzen derer wirkt, die Gott nicht gehorchen wollen.
3 Wir alle haben früher so gelebt und uns von den Leidenschaften und Begierden unserer alten Natur beherrschen lassen. Wir wurden mit dieser Natur geboren und waren Gottes Zorn ausgeliefert wie alle anderen Menschen auch.
4 Doch Gott ist so barmherzig und liebte uns so sehr,
5 dass er uns, die wir durch unsere Sünden tot waren, mit Christus neues Leben schenkte, als er ihn von den Toten auferweckte. Nur durch die Gnade Gottes seid ihr gerettet worden!
6 Denn er hat uns zusammen mit Christus von den Toten auferweckt und wir gehören nun mit Jesus zu seinem himmlischen Reich.
7 So wird er für alle Zeiten an uns seine Güte und den Reichtum seiner Gnade sichtbar machen, die sich in allem zeigt, was er durch Christus Jesus für uns getan hat.
8 Weil Gott so gnädig ist, hat er euch durch den Glauben gerettet. Und das ist nicht euer eigenes Verdienst; es ist ein Geschenk Gottes.
9 Ihr werdet also nicht aufgrund eurer guten Taten gerettet, damit sich niemand etwas darauf einbilden kann.
10 Denn wir sind Gottes Schöpfung. Er hat uns in Christus Jesus neu geschaffen, damit wir zu guten Taten fähig sind, wie er es für unser Leben schon immer vorgesehen hat.
Let´s pray

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