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The 73rd Psalm is known as the Psalm of Asaph who was David's chief musician.  Whether the author was Asaph or David; we do not know.  However, the Psalm begins with a basic foundational truth.  Psalm 73:1 tells us, "Truly God is good”.  It is necessary, that as a Christian, we have certain foundational truths from where we build our whole relationship of faith.  As the first block was set when building our New Church Building where we started building up.  So also we need to have the first cornerstone which is Jesus.  From there we start building our faith structure.  Psalm 118:22 says, “The stone which the builders rejected Has become the chief cornerstone.”  There are certain things that I must always remember.  And one of those is that "God is good".  Because there will come times that the circumstances of my life will tend to challenge this truth.  There will be times where I won’t understand the experiences that I am going through and it won’t seem that God is good.  Especially when I’m suffering through the trials of this world.   It will be then that many would think, “if God is good, then why am I suffering these things?”  And so many times the circumstances of my life would not assure me of the goodness of God.  It’s then that I must have this foundational truth where to fall back on.  When I just can't understand my circumstances; I need to fall back on the fact that "God is good".  And it is so important that this truth be there to fall back on: “God is good, God is merciful and God is love".  When the storms of life come upon us, remember: Psalm 23:4, “Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.”  We Pastors use this scripture at funerals where the family of the one that has passed from this life are in the trial of sadness but David wrote it when he was going through a hard trial in life itself.  Because none of us have been promised that we would have no more problems or trials after trusting in Jesus and now wanting to do the right things.  But on the contrary, the Bible says in 2 Timothy 3:12, “Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.”  Bible doesn't promise that Christianity would be a bed of roses.  You're more to find thorns on those roses meaning that the storms of life will eventually come.  Living the Christian life even places divisions with those around you because you are becoming a light in the world.  Light and darkness just don't mix.  And if you are in favor with all people around you, then there’s something wrong with your Christianity.  We are to love them but there will be several people that will not love you back.  And many times it becomes difficult to understand this, especially when it comes from our own family.  That’s where prayer comes in. 

The Psalmist declared in Psalm 73:2, But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.  He's saying: "I'd about had it, I was going down".  He started out with a foundational truth of "God is good”.  But then he says: "I almost slipped".  He’s trying to understand the things of life around him by only seeing his trials from ground level, therefore going down rapidly.  But for the Christian, just when it seems that we are going down, we discover that Rock under our feet which is the basic foundation upon which our faith is built.  His Name is Jesus.  And we are able then to stand even in the worst storms of life.  Jesus said in Matthew 7:24-25, "Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock: and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it did not fall, for it was founded on the rock.”  How many times, we've held our heads above water, just holding on to Romans 8:28, "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose."  That's the only thing that kept us going.  Because we surely could not see what good could come out of this?  We surely could not understand our circumstances.  It seemed like we were going under, but yet, we knew that "all things were working together for good because we love God”.  And that's what kept us going.  We know that God loves us and that God is working in the circumstances of our lives.  We know that "God is good". 

The Psalmist here is in trouble.  He says in Psalm 73:2, “But as for me, my feet were almost gone; my steps had well nigh slipped.”  Why? Because he said in Psalm 73:3, “For I was envious at the foolish, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked.”  One of the things that we have difficulty in understanding is why wicked people are sometimes so prosperous.  People who want nothing to do with God.  People who even speak evil things of God and often they are still prospering.  The Psalmist became envious not of their wickedness but of their prosperity.  He just couldn't understand how people like that can get by with all the evil they do.  And not only do they get by, but live lives as though they are prospering in their wickedness.  As he observed the wicked, he says in Psalm 73:4,5,7,10 “For there are no bands in their death: but their strength is firm.  They are not in trouble as other men; neither are they plagued like other men.  Their eyes stand out with fatness: they have more than heart could wish.  Therefore his people return hither: and waters of a full cup are wrung out to them.”  He’s having a great problem in understanding why.  Why God would allow this.  Especially when he’s trying to live a good life and he’s suffering so much.  He’s thinking of how is it that wicked people get by and here I am trying to do the right thing and it seems that I'm struggling and they are prospering.

In Psalm 73:6,8,9,11, he continues, “Therefore pride compasseth them about as a chain; violence covereth them as a garment.  They are corrupt, and speak wickedly concerning oppression: they speak loftily.  They set their mouth against the heavens, and their tongue walketh through the earth.  And they say, How doth God know? and is there knowledge in the most High?”  Again, he’s saying that these are the men that are prospering in the World and they seem not to have any troubles.  No financial problems.  At least, no problems like the ones I have.  It just doesn't seem fair! 

Now, in observing the wicked in their prosperity, it led him to the wrong conclusions.  He says in Psalm 73:13, “Verily I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocence.”  Translation of verse 13 is that it just doesn't pay to serve God.  It doesn't pay to try and live honestly.  It doesn't pay to be righteous.  Look at those dishonest people prospering!  And here I am trying to be honest and I'm getting slapped in the face for it.  It doesn't pay to try to do the right thing.  He concludes in Psalm 73:13, "I've cleansed my heart in vain".

In Psalm 73:14, he declares, “For all the day long have I been plagued, and chastened every morning.”  In other-words, something is wrong!  If God is good then why don't good people prosper and wicked people have problems.

In Psalm 73:16, he comes to still another conclusion“When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me.”  All of us have had painful experiences in life that we don't understand.  We really do not understand the ways of God.  That’s why God said in Isaiah 55:8, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the LORD.”  Back in September 30, 2012, I was at the hospital with a young Christian couple who’s one year three month old baby boy was in the intensive care unit.  We had been praying to God for months and months.  That day he died.  As I was there in the hospital with them, if they had asked me, “Why did God allow our baby boy to die?”  My only response would have been: “I don’t know”.  Don’t get me wrong, I prayed with them after their baby boy died and prayed to God to give me words of comfort for the parents.  I’ve seen some Pastors pride themselves in having all the answers.  I don’t have all the answers.  All I know is that God is good and God loves us.  But I also believe Isaiah 55:8, I don’t understand all of the ways or things that God does.  I don’t understand why many things happen to us.  I don’t understand sorrow, suffering, pain and the reason for it.  My mother became a Christian woman at the age of forty-eight years old.  She became a child of God when she trusted Jesus as her Savior.  She was a good Church member and attended Church regularly.  She prayed and trusted in God for almost 32 years when at that time she got dementia.  There was also a situation where a Christian couple dedicated to God's work; had their twelve year old daughter molested and killed by a next door neighbor.  So that when I know that God is good, it troubles me that good Christian people suffer.  Now there’s always the Bible answer to sorrow, suffering, pain and evil that points back to the sin of Adam and Eve and how this World became a fallen world because of that.  And this is true.  But our God is good.  And when you stand on that foundational truth, there are going to be many things about God that you will never understand.  And trying to understand them only brings pain, especially when you start asking: “God why?”  This always has the effect of what happened to the Psalmist here in Psalm 73:2-16.  He was seeking to understand why and he was wiping himself out spiritually.  He was going down into the cesspool of monotonous "whys".  He was going through a great trial in his life and asking himself: “Why didn’t God do this, why didn’t God do that”.  And when you want to change things that already are; it will bring you to the Psalmist same conclusion: “When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me;”    

Psalm 73:17 tells us, “Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood their end.”  Now sometimes when we have a problem of our trying to understand a situation and then coming out with a false idea of God; it is due to the fact that we are always seeing the situation in how it relates to me in the present.  Whereas God works in our circumstances as they relate to me in the eternal.  And this is why I can't always understand the ways of God.  And again, it’s most times because I am interested in the present and God is interested in my eternal welfare.  I see things as they relate to me now and God sees things as they relate eternally.  Jesus said in Mark 8:36, “For what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”  God is interested in the eternal plan.  So as God permits circumstances to come into our lives; it's always with the eternal in mind.  But I'm not always thinking with the eternal in mind.  My short view of seeing only goes until tomorrow.  How will this affect me tomorrow?  So many times, this is the reason I cannot always understand the ways of God.  Because I do not see far enough down the road.

The Psalmist said in Psalm 73:16-17, “When I thought to know this, it was too painful for me; Until I went into the sanctuary of God; then understood I their end.”  Coming into the sanctuary of God should always give us an eternal view of our circumstances.  It should take us out of the material temporal world in which we live in and make us see the eternal.  I then see things in a new way.  So now coming into the sanctuary, the Psalmist sees the wicked differently.  No longer envying them but now feeling sorry for them because he is seeing them now in relation to the eternal. 

Psalm 73:18-19 tells us, “Surely thou didst set them in slippery places: thou castedst them down into destruction.”  A minute ago he was so envious of them but now he sees them through the prospective view of eternity.  They are about to be destroyed forever if they continue to let their wickedness get between them and God.  And the sad part of it is that because of their prosperity that probably kept them from receiving Jesus as Savior.  Prosperity or trials can both bring you to Jesus.  Prosperity or trials can both block the way to Jesus.  It’s all in the person’s heart.  God will never force a person to accept His only begotten Son.  There will never be a person in heaven screaming: “I never wanted to be here”.  God will never offend our free will to choose.  God will make you willing to go but never twist your arm in order for you to go.  Also the wicked with all their prosperity, it all stays behind at the time of death.    

In Psalm 73:23-26, we read, “Nevertheless I am continually with thee: thou hast holden me by my right hand. Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory. Whom have I in heaven but thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside thee. My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.”  So not only did he see the truth about the wicked but when he came into the sanctuary he saw the truth about himself.  Now he sees his relationship with God.  God is with him.  God is guiding him.  And this is a very important conciseness to have with very Christian.  They must believe that Jesus is always with them.  After Jesus resurrected, for the next forty days Jesus trained His disciples on the awareness of His presence at all times day or night by appearing to them frequently when they least expected.  He was wanting to show them that He was always there. 

So the Psalmist ends with Psalm 73:28, “But it is good for me to draw near to God: I have put my trust in the Lord GOD, that I may declare all thy works.”  Here is where the Christian finds the balance in life.  Here is where he finds the answers to the problems that come.  Here is where the Christian sees through his heart in relation to the eternal. 

Maybe today, you've come with some problem that you can't understand.  Sometimes we come after meeting problems head on as we turn the corner.  I pray that the Spirit of God begins to minister to you: giving you a new eternal view of things and a new strength to continue.  Stand on those truths that form your foundation – “God is good and God loves you”.  Take that step of faith and believe that all things are working together for your good because you do love God.  Come to God’s sanctuary (the Church) to get that eternal view.  Paul said in Romans 8:18, “For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”  And then realize: 2 Corinthians 4:17, “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory;”  See things now with a prospective eternal view and be able to face each day victoriously because I know that God is with me.  He will see me through. 

We are in a time in our world, in our country, in our Church where we need Christians that have their eyes wide open spiritually seeing the eternal.

God Bless

Revelation 16:1-7

1 Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, "Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth."

First Bowl: Loathsome Sores 2 So the first went and poured out his bowl upon the earth, and a foul and loathsome sore came upon the men who had the mark of the beast and those who worshiped his image.

Second Bowl: The Sea Turns to Blood 3 Then the second angel poured out his bowl on the sea, and it became blood as of a dead man; and every living creature in the sea died.

Third Bowl: The Waters Turn to Blood 4 Then the third angel poured out his bowl on the rivers and springs of water, and they became blood.

5 And I heard the angel of the waters saying: "You are righteous, O Lord, The One who is and who was and who is to be,  Because You have judged these things.

6 For they have shed the blood of saints and prophets, And You have given them blood to drink. For it is their just due."

7 And I heard another from the altar saying, "Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments." NKJV

As we read these verses, we find that they make reference to the Second three and one-half years of the Tribulation, known as the “Great Tribulation”.  These are the final seven judgments which are the worst of the three and one half years of the Seven Years of Tribulation.  All those who have taken the number of the Anti-Christ in order to buy and sell and who worship the Anti-Christ are experiencing hell on earth.

Revelation 16:1 reads, “Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, "Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth."  Paul tells us in Colossians 3:5-8, "Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth."  The wrath of God or the anger of God is against sin and against those that willfully do these sinful things.  The Bible speaking about God who is pure tells us in Psalms 22:3, “But You are holy, Enthroned in the praises of Israel.”  Sin breaks fellowship with a Holy God.  In Revelation 15:4, it is stated again that God is Holy: Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, For Your judgments have been manifested."  Therefore, the wrath of God comes against all who sin because of God’s holy nature.  And this is why it was mandatory that God send His Son to die for the sins of the World, otherwise, no one could enter heaven.  John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.”  And the popular spiritual phrase is “God loves the sinner but He hates sin”.  And yet because sin is in the sinner the Bible says in Romans 3:23, “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” God’s wrath had to fall on all sinners.  So, at the cross, Jesus took our sins and satisfied the wrath of God against sin for all who trust in His Son.  Isaiah 53:12 speaking of Jesus says, Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors."  Jesus suffered the wrath of God for those who trust in Him.  Paul speaking of Jesus in Romans 5:9 declares, “Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.”  The work of Christ upon the cross was completed when the wrath of God poured out on Jesus, the lamb without blemish, against all sin through the blood of Jesus.  Although Jesus died for the sins of the World, the blood is only applied to those who trust in Jesus as their Savior.  Isaiah 53:12 says, “Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.”  The reason it says, “And he bore the sin of many” rather than all is because only a small portion of those in the world will trust in Christ.  Jesus told a parable of the Wedding Feast in Matthew 22:1-14.  The summary of that parable goes like this: the King invited the guests (all Jews) to the feast but they would not come.  They made many excuses not to come and some were obvious lies.  Then the King told his servants to go and invite all the people Jew and non-Jew alike.  They came with the proper wedding attire except for one who came without the proper wedding outfit.  Matthew 22:13-14 tells us, “Then the king said to the servants, 'Bind him hand and foot, take him away, and cast him into outer darkness; there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.' "For many are called, but few are chosen."  Jesus gives us more commentary about this in Matthew 7:13-14, “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it.  Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.”  Jesus has already taken the wrath of God on Himself for those who are in Christ.  These will be few in number, compared to the number of people on the earth, that will choose to walk through the narrow gate and take the difficult way leading to life in Christ.  Again Paul says: 1 Thessalonians 5:9, “For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ,” And yet, there are some Christians that believe the doctrine or the teaching “all Christians will go through the Seven Years of Tribulation”.  They are called “Post Tribulation believers” because they believe in a combined resurrection and rapture of all believers after the Great Tribulation or at the end of it.  But the Bible tells us over and over that God did not appoint believers unto wrath.  John 3:36 tells us, “He who believes in the Son has everlasting life; and he who does not believe the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him."  Paul in Romans 5:9 tells us, Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him."  This is why we are Pre-Tribulation believers.  We believe that at the Rapture of the Church (Revelation 4:1) we are out of this world.  Then the Seven Years Tribulation period starts.  The wrath of God ascends on those who did not satisfy God’s wrath by trusting in the One that did satisfy the wrath of God against those who sin against Him.  Jewish people in the Tribulation will make it out either by death or by deliverance. Why? Because of God’s prophesy in Jeremiah 30:7,Alas! For that day is great, So that none is like it; And it is the time of Jacob's trouble, But he shall be saved out of it."  This prophesy speaks of the tribulation.  One of the reasons God places the Seven Year Tribulation period upon the earth is to bring God’s people (the Jews) to salvation through His Son Jesus Christ.  Compared to the earth’s population during the Tribulation period, very few Gentiles will be saved during those years of tribulation up to the Coming of Jesus.  Why?

2 Thessalonians 2:3-12 gives us the answer, Let no one deceive you by any means; for that Day will not come unless the falling away comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and exalts himself above all that is called God or that is worshiped, so that he sits as God in the temple of God, showing himself that he is God.  Do you not remember that when I was still with you I told you these things?  And now you know what is restraining, that he may be revealed in his own time.  For the mystery of lawlessness is already at work; only He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way.  And then the lawless one will be revealed, whom the Lord will consume with the breath of His mouth and destroy with the brightness of His coming.  The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness.”  God’s Holy Spirit in the Church (which indwells believers) is restraining the Anti-Christ and restraining the start of the Seven Years of Tribulation.  Once the rapture takes place (“He who now restrains will do so until He is taken out of the way”) and all Christians are out of this world, the Seven Years of Tribulation will soon start.  We are living now in the dispensation of grace,  where anyone can trust in Jesus and God gives them salvation by the grace of God (freely).  But once the rapture happens, the Holy Spirit will no longer work as in the New Testament but will work as He did in the Old Testament.  The Holy Spirit will not indwell in those that trust in Christ during the Tribulation period.  But nevertheless, He will be bringing people to Christ, especially the Jewish people because of God’s promise through prophesy.    

Revelation 16:1 tells us, “Then I heard a loud voice from the temple saying to the seven angels, "Go and pour out the bowls of the wrath of God on the earth."  This scripture alone tells us that the Church will not have anything to do with the Tribulation.  Otherwise, we’d be appointed unto wrath and 1 Thessalonians 5:9 says, “For God hath not appointed us to wrath, but to obtain salvation by our Lord Jesus Christ.”  Jesus has taken God’s wrath for us.  The work of Christ for our salvation is complete.  John 19:30 tells us that the work of our salvation was completed upon the cross by God’s Son Jesus.  “So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, "It is finished!" And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit”, God's wrath against sinful man was satisfied.  The cross totally satisfied the righteous demands of God.  Jesus said in John 5:24, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.”

Revelation 16:7 continues "Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments."  Always remember that!  Because some people in reading 1 Samuel 15:2-3, would come to a conclusion that God’s judgments are too harsh.  1 Samuel 15:2-3 tells us, “Thus says the Lord of hosts: 'I will punish Amalek for what he did to Israel, how he ambushed him on the way when he came up from Egypt.  Now go and attack Amalek, and utterly destroy all that they have, and do not spare them. But kill both man and woman, infant and nursing child, ox and sheep, camel and donkey.'"  But remember that God knows the hearts of people.  He knew that the Amalekites would not repent of their evil deeds.  He knew that the Amalekites were so evil in they participation in idol worship and human sacrifices together with their hatred for the Israelites would eventually affect God's people like a cancer and pollute or even try to destroy the people of God through whom the savior of the World would one day come.  So always remember, Revelation 16:7, "Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments."  Because one thing Satan is always challenging is the righteousness of God.  People who don’t believe in God excuse their unbelief by saying: “How can a God of love permit a person to go to hell?  How can a God of love permit that women and children be killed?"  And they think that they can excuse their unbelief in God's Son and even the existence of God by seeing God’s judgments as unfair. But when those that have trusted Jesus as Savior enter heaven and we hear the angel shout out Revelation 16:7, “Even so, Lord God Almighty, true and righteous are Your judgments!”; I guarantee you that all of us will shout out: “Amen!!!”  Because God has done everything even the impossible in order that He doesn’t have to judge.  The door of salvation is open to all.  So it comes down to choice.  Simply trusting in Jesus.  There’s no religion here.  There’s no need to sacrifice here.  There are no laws to follow here.  Simply repent of your sins and trust in God’s Son.  

God Bless

Acts 5:28-29

28 saying, "Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man's blood on us!"

29 But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: "We ought to obey God rather than men. NKJV

The disciples has been in the temple preaching Jesus Christ. There were many miracles being made and sick people were being healed by the dozen.  Multitudes of people were coming to hear the Apostles, so many that the High Priest and those with them were filled with jealousy.

In Acts 5:17‑29, the Apostles had been in the temple and had been arrested for witnessing about Jesus Christ.  And they were thrown in prison.  While there in prison, an angel of the Lord came and release them out of the prison by a miracle.  Now after all this, what do you think that Angel would say to them: "Now get out of town as quick as you can and don't come back!  Because they've got a warrant out for you, keep going".  But instead, the angel told them to go right back to the place where they were arrested.

Acts 5:30‑32 tells us what Peter and the other Apostles said, “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree. Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him."  As a Christian, I want my life to be effective for God.  I want my life to be a witness of what Jesus has done for me.  I believe that this is in the mind of every true Christians who now understands the salvation that Jesus has acquire for us.  I’ve had many sad experiences so many times in trying to do something for God.  I think, "Oh, God, what's going on; how come I can't be more effective for You Lord?  And I've tried so hard, Lord! You know I've tried so hard! How can I be more effective for You!"  And we desire to really be effective for the Kingdom of God's sake.

Now we are looking at some men here in Acts 5 that were extremely effective.  Their lives were really effective for the Kingdom of God!  Look at the witness of their testimony.  Acts 5:28 says, "Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man's blood on us!"

Notice this is not what they said they were doing; but this is what their enemies said they were doing.  Many times when we give our own report, we tend to exaggerate it.  Like the salesman who went out to the countryside to sell Vacuum Cleaners.  The lady open the door of her home to him and he went in throwing dirt on all her carpet.  He took out his Vacuum Cleaner to demonstrate his exaggeration of how fast his Vacuum Cleaner could pick up all the dirt, so he ask her: “Where’s your electrical plug?”  And the lady responded: “we don’t have electricity out here.”  Talk about having to eat dust.  How about the exaggerated sign outside a “fried chicken restaurant: “If the Colonel had our chicken recipe, he’d be a General”.  But we have ways of exaggerating when we give our own report.  But Acts 5:28 “you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine” was not what they said they were doing but their enemies said it.  Now that's being effective!  "Oh, how I wish we could fill the south-side with the Doctrine of Jesus Christ.  How glorious it would be to be brought into court and have a County Court Judge tell you: "you've filled the Pleasanton Road area with the Doctrine of Jesus Christ".  Would to God that we could be as effective for God as the Apostles were for God.

Later on, when Paul and the brothers that were with him were arriving at Thessalonica, the people came to report to the officials of the city in Acts 17:6, we read: “These that have turned the world upside down are come here also."  Not only were they filling the cities with the Doctrine of Jesus Christ; but according to their enemie's testimonies, "they were turning the world upside down".  If you would stop the disciples and asked them what they were doing; they'd say: "We're turning the world right side up".  But their enemies were saying that "they are turning the world upside down.  But in reality, the world is already upside down.  It needs to be turned right side up and you're the one that God want to do it.  God wants you to be effective for Him!  God wants your life to be really effective for the Kingdom of God's sake.  God does desire that we fill this whole area with the Doctrine of Jesus Christ. 

What is the "Doctrine of Jesus Christ"?  Now, in Acts 5:28, the Priest asked them the question: “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name?”  When Peter and the Apostles heard that question, they took it that God was opening a door for them to give a witness about Jesus.  That’s all that those that are full on for Jesus need.  They are looking for that open door to give a witness for Jesus.  They don’t believe in coincidences.  They know it’s God that’s opening that door of opportunity.  When a person asked them, “Hey, how’s it going?”; the Christian response will be: “I’m glad you asked that question” and begins to tell them about eternity.  Because God places a burden for lost souls immediately after a person receives Jesus and begins to understand the great salvation that has been purchased for those that trust in Christ.  It was then when Peter comes through that open door and gives them the Gospel.  Acts 5:30 says, “The God of our Fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree.”  The "Doctrine of Jesus Christ" first of all involves the "Resurrection".  And this is the central part of the whole doctrine.  Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 15:13-14, “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ is not risen.  And if Christ is not risen, then our preaching is empty and your faith is also empty.”  The whole "Doctrine of Jesus Christ" stands on "Resurrection from the Dead".  So Peter starts out right with the center of the whole thing.  Acts 5:30 says, “The God of our Fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree.”  Jesus victory from the grave spells victory for us!  The night before His crucifixion, Jesus aid to His disciples: John 14:19, "A little while longer and the world will see Me no more, but you will see Me. Because I live, you will live also.”  What's He talking about?  He's talking about His Resurrection from the Dead.  This is our insurance or assurance that we too shall rise from dead.  John, speaking of Jesus, said in John 14:19, "Because I live, you too shall live".  That's our guarantee!  The moment we close our eyes to this world, we will be in the presence of God.  The Christmas church goers were hibernating all through the year.  But come in November, the shopping malls will be full of people. People planning for dinners and parties, after they go to Church of course.  But what are they celebrating?  And if you ask them what are you celebrating? They'll say: "we're celebrating the birth of our Lord!"  Interesting that if He is indeed your Lord, then your life belongs to Him.  But if you do whatever you want all year around with no regard for the One you call your Lord then He is not your Lord.  And if He isn’t your Lord, then what are you celebrating at Christmas?  Now these are hypocrites, for sure!  Many people say that there are too many hypocrites in Church and that’s why they don’t go to Church.  I say that for every hypocrite you find in Church, there are 5000 or more hypocrites at Christmas in the shopping malls.  The same goes for those that celebrate Easter believing that a rabbit can lay an egg and yet knows little or nothing of the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.  They have no cause or right to celebrate our Lord's birth.  In fact the whole thing is rather ridiculous.  Peter declared the truth in Acts 5:30, “The God of our fathers raised up Jesus whom you murdered by hanging on a tree.”  This is the central message of the Church today.  "Jesus Christ is not dead; He is alive!  God has raise Him from the Dead".  And because God has raised Him from the dead, you're going to have to answer to Him for living the life as a hypocrite.  Celebrating his birth without truly believing in His resurrection from the dead.  Living a hopeless life when God has resurrected His Son to give you hope.  

The Second area of Doctrine that Peter brought out is in Acts 5:31, “Him God has exalted to His right hand to be Prince and Savior, to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins.  This is the "Doctrine of Salvation"God has exalted Jesus to be a Savior and a Prince.  What kind of a Prince is He?  Isaiah lived 600 years before the birth of Christ.  Isaiah wrote in Isaiah 9:6, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.”  Jesus is the Prince of Peace.  At the Birth of Christ, we read in Luke 2:14, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.  Those religions of the Middle East make fun of the Words of our Christian Bible, especially here in Luke 2:14.  Their religions use wars to produce their means of satisfying their god.  And even at that, they point their finger at us Christians when seeing countries around them destroying each other.   Luke 2:14 is a jokes to them.  They make fun of those that believe in harmony and peace when they see so much inability to live together.  They point at us as unbelievers in our human nature that seems to be so greedy and seeking for more and more as the reason for fighting and bickering and wanting to take from others.  They call Luke 2:14 a phony promise: “Peace on earth, good will toward men”.  When you look around and see all the wars, it really seems that way.  How can this be, “Peace on Earth?”  But we as Christians discover that there is “Peace on Earth, Good will toward men” in our hearts.  Jesus has set up His kingdom in our hearts and there is peace.  Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  Paul said in Philippians 4:7, “and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”  Jesus keeps my heart and mind at peace in the midst of wars and fighting.  And if the "Prince of Peace" has come into your life and He is reigning in your life; then there is peace in your life because you have submitted your life to the authority of the "Prince of Peace".  Paul says the same thing as Peter in Philippians 2:6‑11, “who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

Acts 5:31 tells us, “Him God has exalted to be Savior”.  How has He become our Savior?  By our simply believing in Him.  2 Corinthians 5:21 tells us, “For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”  Jesus Christ as my Savior has saved me from the fate that I deserved for my rebellion.  He saved me for eternal life with Him. 

The third part of the doctrine of Jesus Christ is: Acts 5:32, “And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him."  God’s command for all people is to come to His Son Jesus.  Jesus said in Matthew 11:28, “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”  And if you obey Him, God will give you the Holy Spirit.  The minute that you open your heart to trust Jesus as Savior, the Holy Spirit will come into your heart and life and began to indwell in you.  God has many gifts for you through the Holy Spirit.  The list of gifts are found in 1 Corinthians 12, in Romans 12 and in Ephesians 4.  God has many gifts that He wants to give to those that have trusted Jesus as their Savior but it's a funny thing how people treat the gifts of God.  Some people are afraid of them.  They don't ask for them because they might have to get committed to something.  Most Christians are too busy in their own lives to want more commitments.  For them, the last thing they would want to do is pray: “Father in Heaven, I want my life totally open to You.  Lord, whatever you have for me, I want”.  Instead, they just want to come and sit down on Sunday morning, hear the preaching and then go home.  Others believe: "that the gifts of the Holy Spirit” were necessary back then after the Day of Pentecost but now because we have the full revelation of God through His Word, the gifts are no longer necessary.  But in Acts 5:32, Peter and the other Apostles are telling us different.  “And we are His witnesses to these things, and so also is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey Him."   As true as this was back then, it’s true today.  The Holy Spirit has been given to you to be a power in your life.  We are nothing without the Holy Spirit.  Billy Graham without that power would not have been nothing.  Pastor John Hagee without that power is nothing.  We without that power are nothing.  Acts 1:8 was true then as it is today, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth." How I need that power in my life today.  How I thank God for that power today.  Not just the receiving of that Spirit the day of salvation but the constant filling of the Holy Spirit in my life.  Ephesians 5:18 commands us, “And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit,”  The word “filled” in the Greek means “continuous action”.  Over and over again, be filled with God's Spirit!  We are living a world that will take you in and spit you out.  Drain the strength, the joy and the peace out of you.  We need our cup to be refilled so it can overflow daily with love, compassion and mercy for the lost.  We need the Holy Spirit today just as Peter and the Apostles needed it back then.

So as we see these men so effective for God, we wonder, what’s their secret?  Peter gives us some answers in Acts 5:28‑29, "We Must Obey God".  The first thing is to acknowledge one authority and that’s God.  Above and beyond any other force or power that man might devise, "WE MUST OBEY GOD".  God has to be the authority of our lives.  "We Must Obey God"!  Many people consider God and they'll never be effective for God.  Many people say, "We ought to” do this and we pay little attention to these people because there’s no commitment.  These are lives that are not effective toward God.  But when someone says, "we must”.  Then we pick up and listen.  Because that person is now talking about his life.  "We must obey God".  There's no other way!  There's no other substitute!  There's no other authority!  (You do whatever you want, "I must obey God!").  These were men who were committed.  The second thing Peter says in Acts 5:32 "We are His witness”.  Translated it means, "We are His Martyrs".  A man may speak and still not be a witness.  In other-words, he talks it but doesn’t live it.  A man may be a witness who never speaks.  In other-words, he lives it but never speaks.  Acts 5:32 points us to the person that’s "a martyr" or "a witness".  Someone whose whole life is totally and completely a witness.  This is my life!  I’m a martyr for God.  I will give my life for God’s truth.  You may threaten to beat me, it makes no difference.  We are His Martyrs!  So it was a total dedication of their complete life and being!  That's what made them so effective!  It wasn't a half‑hearted dedication to God.  It was total!  WE ARE HIS MARTYRS!  The third thing that Peter said in Acts 5:32, “so is also the Holy Spirit whom God has given to them that obey Him”.  To know that you have the same power of the Holy Spirit that was working in their lives.  Knowing that you cannot do one good thing for God in the energy of your own flesh.  Though we try so often and so hard thinking that we’ve succeeded but we are actually failing because there’s no consistency in our own strength.  It will always be a hit and miss kind of life.  The only real way to be effective for God is to be anointed with the power of Holy Spirit.  To be led and directed by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Only then can I be an effective tool in God’s hands.  I must be lead, I must be empowered, and I must be directed by the Holy Spirit in all things I do for God.  Only then can I be effective for God.  So we’re right back in square one in Acts 1:8, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth."

You Want Your Life To Be Effective For God?  First, recognize God as the Supreme authority in your life.  Acts 5:29 "We Must Obey God".  Second, you must commit yourself in saying in your heart, Acts 5:32, “we are His martyrs!”   And third, you must know the power of the Holy Spirit in your life to guide you and direct you.  Acts 5:32, “God gives it to those that obey Him”.  And before long, you start turning people right side up with your testimony of living a complete life for Christ.

God Bless

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