1567 You Can Have Confidence

We know that after three days, Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. He lives. And we don’t have to live a fearful, depressed, cowardly, pessimistic, defeated life.

ROBERT >> Years ago when I was a teenager, I saw a movie, Jesus Christ Superstar. Jesus was presented as this great man who did wonderful things and promised hope to an oppressed world; but the show ended with him dying a cruel death on the cross. My spirit was lifted but then completely deflated with the awful defeat of this one to whom I’d come to believe in. But though that was the end of the movie, we know that’s not the end of the story. Stay tuned. We’ll be back in just a moment.

SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth,
speaking the truth, speaking the truth in love.

ROBERT >> Yes, we know that after three days, Jesus Christ was raised from the dead. He lives. And I don’t have to live a fearful, depressed, cowardly, pessimistic, defeated life. I can be confident and certain and sure and hopeful and bold, unafraid. I can live an accomplished, victorious life. Because he lives, because Jesus Christ lives, I know I can be confident. It was Jesus Christ who removed the guilt and the power and the fear of the condemnation of my sins. It was Jesus Christ that brought me out of my shell and that strengthened me in my weakness, that gave me courage to go ahead when I was afraid. Jesus Christ gave me a new and a greater and a positive outlook on life. Without him, I’m nothing; but by the grace of God, I am what I am. And here’s what I learned.

I learned that I can be confident in his presence always. In Matthew 28:20, we have these words recorded from Jesus, his promise: “I’ll be with you always, even to the end of the world.”

You see, I’m not alone. I don’t have to be afraid. Every moment, Jesus Christ is with me. When I was a child, sometimes I was afraid of the dark or maybe some boogeyman in the closet; but to have mom or dad come in or maybe one of my siblings to comfort me, I could rest.

I remember when Moses wouldn’t go down to Pharaoh until God sent Aaron with him. He was afraid to go alone, but if God would send somebody with him, then he would go.

Do you remember Barak, the commander of the Lord’s army you read about in Judges chapter 5?

He was afraid to go into war. He wouldn’t go into battle unless Deborah, the judge, went with him. He said, I’ll go if you’ll go. And so with Deborah by his side, he went into the battle.

A number of years ago, our family was in crisis. My son, Brian, in his mid 30’s, married, found out not only that they were going to have a child, but found out that he had Hodgkins lymphoma. Thank God we were not alone. My wife and I prayed like we had never prayed before because we had such great concern for the life of our child. And it was during that time that I really came to know and experience Isaiah 41:10. I had read it before, but now it has new meaning not only to me, but also to my son. As I sent this passage to him one day, it kind of became our passage.

Isaiah 41:10, I want to read it to you. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.”

You see, God says you don’t have to be afraid, because I’ll be with you. He says when you’re weak, I’m going to strengthen you; when you need help, I’m there to help you; when you’re falling, I’ll uphold you. God is not far from each one of us according to Acts 17:27. Just reach out to him and trust his promise, I’ll never leave you nor forsake you. So with good courage we say, The Lord is my helper, I shall not fear.

What will man do to me?

What can man do to me?

Hebrews 13:5-6 reminds us that we can be confident because of his presence always. But I also learned something else. I also learned that I can be confident in his power unimaginable.

In Ephesians 3:20, listen to these words from the apostle Paul here about the power of God that works in us. Here he says that “God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or imagine according to the power that works in us.”

That same power that was demonstrated in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, that power that is more powerful than Satan, more powerful than sin, more powerful than death, we have that great power working in us.

When we come up against problems and difficulties and the trials in our life, we need to remember that the Bible says in Hebrews 6:13 concerning God, there is no greater. Nothing and no one is greater than our God.

In Romans 8:31 the apostle Paul asked, “If God is for us, who is against us? ”

Because you see, it doesn’t matter. When you’re on God’s side, with God, we are more than conquerors, he says in verse 37 of Romans chapter 8. We’re superheroes. We can do the unimaginable. I think sometimes that we limit God because we don’t see how he could possibly do anything or help us or get us out of this situation or be the kind of God that is so powerful. We don’t understand; and we can’t do it, and so we think he can’t do it. And so we don’t trust him to do this or to do that. But the Bible says in Matthew 19:26 these very positive and encouraging words that ought to give us confidence in our heart.

Here he tells us that, “With man, it is impossible; but with God all things are possible.”

You see, God is a powerful God of unimaginable power, and God works in us, as we read in Philippians 2:12-13. Just as we saw it in Ephesians 3:20, so we see it in Philippians 2:12-13. The apostle Paul was in prison because of his faith, and he was writing back to this church in Philippi to encourage them to be obedient.

He commends them for their obedience in verse 12, writing, “Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”

You see, as we work out, Paul says, God works in us. Now, I don’t know about you. I don’t really like working out. My only workout is really on the golf course. But here he’s talking about a spiritual workout. He’s talking about a faith that obeys like the church at Philippi. As we work out, as we act on our faith, fulfilling the will of God for our life, it says that God works in us both to will and to do for his good pleasure. Yes, we will. We must make the decision. We must choose to serve God and to obey God. And we do. We must perform. But he gives us the power. He works in us. We can because he can.

As Paul said in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”

Read this passage with me from the book of Hebrews. In Hebrews chapter 13, as we come to the end of this great book, we have this confidence. ” Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen.”

Yes, because he lives, I can be confident. I have learned that I can be confident in his promises faithful. But the Lord is faithful, 2 Thessalonians 3:3, “who will establish you and guard you from the evil one. I’m not always faithful.”

I try to be faithful. My brothers and sisters in Christ are not always faithful. But Jesus Christ is. He’s always faithful. And there’s my confidence. It’s not in anyone or anything else, but in him. I can trust him in my suffering. I can trust him in my trial and problems and difficulties in life because I know, as we all know as Christians, that God works together all things for good, Romans 8:28, “to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.”

He’s working everything for good. I don’t understand what’s going on and what he’s doing, and I cannot fix things. I don’t know what to do many times; but he does. And he is able to do things that I cannot do. I can trust him in my temptations.

In 1 Corinthians 10:13, look at this wonderful promise that we have from God. Here he tells us, “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”

No matter how difficult it may seem, he is the there to rescue me from my temptation. So instead of getting into temptation, I’m looking for God’s way out. And that’s what we must all do. This is the confidence that each of us must take to our trials, must take to our temptations. We must know that he will keep us from the evil one.

Look again at his promise in John the 10th chapter, where Jesus Christ presents himself as the good shepherd who lays down his life for the sheep, how much he loves us and how much he cares for us.

And listen to what he says in John 10:27. Here it says, “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”

No one can snatch you out of the hand of God. Jesus Christ holds you, and he’s going to keep you from the evil one. Yes, you could leave him and you can turn from him and you can walk out on him, but he never lets anyone take you from him. He is here to crown us with life eternal. He died for us, he was raised again to make that possible.

And if we’ll keep our faith and our trust in him, he forever holds us in his hand to crown us with that crown of eternal life as we read in Revelation 2:10. “Be faithful unto death, and I’ll give you the crown of life. Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord, that they may rest from their labors,” Revelation 14:13.

There’ll be a day when God will wipe away every tear from our eyes. There’ll be no more sorrow, no more crying, no more pain, no more death. All things will be new. This is the hope that sustains me, that gives me confidence. I can be confident in his promises faithful. But I can also be confident in his intercession ever. In his mediation, in his speaking to God on my behalf, being there for me, representing me before God in heaven. Let me tell you about a dear sister in Christ. She and her daughter were so close. Her daughter was in her 30’s, she had a husband, kids. She was tragically killed in a plane crash. And of course her mother was devastated. As I came by to visit in her home, her husband took me back to the room where she was; and there she was, curled up like a baby on the floor, and all she could do was groan. The apostle Paul in Romans the 8th chapter speaks of the groaning that we all experience in this world of evil and sin and trial and temptation; but he tells us something in Romans 8 that encourages us and that gives us confidence.

In Romans 8:26, “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.”

You see, this passage tells us that when we’re groaning and when we’re hurting, when we’re in great pain, that the Holy Spirit is interceding for us before God, that he is speaking to God on our behalf with groanings which cannot be uttered.

But more than that, look at Romans the 8th chapter and verse 34. ” Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.”

Yes, we’re not only represented before God by the Holy Spirit, but also by Jesus Christ himself. He also speaks to God on our behalf.

You see, in heaven before God there is this conversation about me, about you. They know all about us, what’s going on in our heart and in our life. They know our hurt, they know our situation. They’re concerned about you and me in our suffering. I can be confident, because all of heaven is in conversation about me. And this is even more meaningful when I realize that Jesus Christ completely understands me.

Let me read to you something from Hebrews chapter 4 beginning in verse 14, where the Hebrew writer reminds us of how that Jesus, after dying and being raised, passed into the heavens.

In Hebrews 4:14, “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession. For we do not have a High Priest who cannot sympathize with our weaknesses, but was in all points tempted as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. You see, this one who is interceding before God in heaven on our behalf, he understands.”

He sympathizes because he once lived in the flesh. He knows our temptations. He knows our trials. And he stands ready to give me mercy, not give me what I deserve. He stands ready to give me grace. He gives me what I do not deserve. I’m confident because he ever lives to make intercession for me.

Hebrews 7:25 tells us that “he ever lives to make intercession for us.

That’s the confidence that we have as Christians, heaven always in conversation about each one of us. But finally let me say to you today that I can be confident in his assurance certain. Took me a little while to learn this point. There was a time when I was scared whether I was going to get to heaven or not. I was always worried about if I was good enough. And I came to realize that nobody is. But it’s not about me being perfect. I’m not perfect. But it is about his perfect performance, about the perfect performance of Jesus Christ. Only because of that is it possible for me to be forgiven. He could be my substitute. He didn’t have to pay for any sins he had committed. He had committed no crimes. And so he could pay for mine. As Isaiah prophesied long before Jesus ever came, He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities. God laid upon Him the iniquity of us all. Jesus did for me what I could not do, what nobody else could do.

Only through him can I be saved. As he said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life; no one comes unto the Father but by Me,” John 14:6.

I don’t deserve it. I can never earn it. I can’t even pay for one of my sins. Salvation is of grace, and I don’t have anything to boast about, as Paul said in Ephesians 2:8-9.

Let me read it to you today. Here the apostle Paul emphasizes the fact that we’re saved by grace through faith. This is how it reads: “For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.”

You see, if you believe that Jesus did that for you, if you’re trusting him for your salvation today, then you will turn from your sin, you will confess your faith, you will give yourself to him in baptism. There we die; there we’re buried; there we’re raised to live a new life, as Paul explains in Romans the 6th chapter. And as a Christian, having begun that new life, I must keep trusting and keep trying and keep being honest about my sins. If so, then I can know that I am forgiven, that I am saved. John writes about this in 1 John 1:5 and following. And I want you to notice these words of confidence before we leave today.

In 1 John 1:5, This is the message which we have heard from Him and declare to you, that “God is light and in Him is no darkness at all.”

If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. It’s that kind of trusting, believing, honest faith that is required of us. For by grace are you saved through faith. Notice in chapter 2 of 1 John, it says in verse 1, My little children, these things I write to you, so that you may not sin. And if anyone sins, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous. And He Himself is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only but also for the whole world.

Yes, that one who died for the sins of the world stands with me. He is my advocate. He represents me before God. He pleads my case. And having already paid for my crimes, he can never lose my case. And so John will tell us in chapter 5 and verse 13, These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

You see, I know I have eternal life because of my faith in Jesus Christ. And I keep going on in that faith, I continue to believe in the name of the Son of God because I know where I’m going. Because he lives, I can be confident that God will get me to heaven. And so can you. I know some have never put their confidence in Christ. But you can do that today.

You can be baptized into Christ for the remission of your sins. And I know some of you have lost that confidence they once placed in Christ. But you can be restored. That confidence you can have once again when you decide to come back to him. I hope that today if we can help you here at The Truth In Love, that you’ll let us know, because we want to help you to live a confident life in Jesus Christ.

SINGING>> On Zion’s glorious summit stood
a numerous host redeemed by blood.
They hymned their king in strains divine.
I heard the song and strove to join,
I heard the song and strove to join.

While everlasting ages roll,
eternal love shall feast their soul.
And scenes of bliss forever new rise in succession to their view,
rise in succession to their view.
Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of hosts on high adored.
Who like me thy praise should sing, oh almighty king?
Holy, holy, holy Lord,
God of hosts on high adored.
Holy, holy, holy.

ROBERT >> Thank you so much for watching our program today. If you have any questions, comments, or requests, if you would like a personal home Bible study or special prayers, if you want more information about the lesson today, or if you’d like to order today’s lesson or any other lesson on CD, DVD, or in manuscript form, please write The Truth In Love at P.O. Box 865, Hurst, Texas 76053.

Or you e-mail us at requests@ttil.tv.

Call our toll-free number, 800-819-2966 or visit our web site at www.ttil.tv.

Remember that all of our materials and services are absolutely free of charge. We just want to do what we can to help us all towards heaven. So please let us know how we can help you, and join us next time right here on The Truth In Love.

SINGING>> Sing to me of heaven, sing that song of peace.
From the toils that bind me it will bring release.
Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so,
showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow.
Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream
of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall,
sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.
Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low
till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go.
When my heart is weary, when the day is long,
sing to me of heaven, sing that old, sweet song.
Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream
of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall,
sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.

1556 The Christian Nametag

Once I was invited to a party where nobody knew each other. And as we came in the door, they gave us a name tag. But it wasn’t our name tag. It belonged to somebody else in the party, and you had to find out who the name tag belonged to. Well, names are important. And the greatest name that you’ll ever wear is the name of Christ. He was given a name above every name. But the question is, can you wear his name tag? Are you a Christian? Are you living as a Christian? And what does it mean to be a Christian?

ROBERT >> Once I was invited to a party where nobody knew each other. And as we came in the door, they gave us a name tag. But it wasn’t our name tag. It belonged to somebody else in the party, and you had to find out who the name tag belonged to. Well, names are important. And the greatest name that you’ll ever wear is the name of Christ. He was given a name above every name. But the question is, can you wear his name tag? Are you a Christian? Are you living as a Christian? And what does it mean to be a Christian?

SINGING>> Speaking the truth, speaking the truth,
speaking the truth in love.

ROBERT >> Did you know that the name Christian only appears in your Bible three times? I want us to look at those three places where we see the name Christian so we can understand what it means to wear the name of Christ, to be a Christian.

The first place that we find this name in the Bible is in Acts 11:26. I want to read the last part of that verse with you today. Here Luke writes, “

And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” You see here that this was the first time that the disciples of Christ were called Christians. But really, this is the fulfillment of a prophecy that Isaiah had made a long time before.

I want us to turn back to Isaiah chapter 56. And Isaiah, he speaks to the people of Israel who had forsaken God. They had gone after other gods. And the judgment and the condemnation of God was coming down upon this people. Their city was going to be destroyed. They were going to be taken captive. And so God speaks of a new day and a new name that he’ll give for his people.

Look with me here in Isaiah 56:5. “Even to them I will give in My house and within My walls a place and a name better than that of sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall not be cut off.”

You see here that Isaiah speaks of a new name. Israel means the prince of God. But God’s people were going to be given another name, a new name, an everlasting name. And I want you to notice it would be given in his house.

But then turn forward just a little bit to Isaiah 62:2. He tells us a little bit more about that name. Here he says, “The Gentiles shall see your righteousness, and all kings your glory. You shall be called by a new name, which the mouth of the Lord will name.”

Here we see that this new name that God would give his people was going to be after the Gentiles had seen the righteousness of God. And as we look in Acts the 11th chapter where the disciples were first called Christians, we see that by this time, indeed the Gentiles had come to see the righteousness of God.

You see, the gospel of Jesus Christ had gone forth in Acts the 2nd chapter, and the Jews were there gathered on the day of Pentecost, Jews from all over the world, and they became obedient to the gospel. The church had its beginning. But I want you to notice that it spread from Jerusalem to Judea, and it continued to spread north to Antioch of Syria. And that’s where we find ourselves here in Acts 11:26. If you’ll notice that verse again, at the beginning, And when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. So it was that for a whole year they assembled with the church and taught there and taught a great many people. And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.

So when we think about the name Christian, what are we talking about?

Well, we’re talking about those disciples who had been gathered there in the church in Antioch. The name Christian belongs to disciples. Those are those who are learners. Those are those who are followers of Jesus Christ. It belongs to those who are a part of the church of Christ that you read about in your Bible, like that church at Antioch that consists not only of Jews, but now also of Gentiles. And so when you think about the name Christian, you’re talking about those not only who belong to Christ, but are learners and followers of Christ, who are members of his church.

In Matthew the 28th chapter, where Jesus was about to ascend back into heaven after his death, after his resurrection, he told his apostles to go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them and teaching them. And there we learn a little bit more about how to become a Christian. Because you see, a Christian is a disciple. A disciple is one who has been baptized, one who has been taught to observe the commandments of Jesus Christ.

And as the apostles went forth in obedience to that command, we read about it in Acts chapter 2. I want to look there with you for just a moment a little bit closer. And do you remember on that occasion when the Jews had gathered for the feast of Pentecost that the Holy Spirit was poured out upon the apostles and gave them great power?

And they began to preach about the death and the burial and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.

They proclaimed him as their Lord and their savior. And you’ll notice here in verse 36 as Peter concludes his message to the people, “Therefore let all the house of Israel know assuredly that God has made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Christ.”

And it was right here that the people spoke out. In verse 37 it says, “Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

You see, these folks were pierced by the preaching of the gospel. And they realized now that they had put to death their Messiah, the one they had long been waiting for to save them and to deliver them. And they wanted to know then what to do.

What could they do to be forgiven, to be right with God, to be a part of his kingdom, his church?

And look at the answer that Peter gave them here in verse 38. “Then Peter said to them, Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.”

And so Peter plainly tells them if you realize that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, if you truly believe in him and trust in him, then you’re going to want to turn away from your sins. You’re going to want to make that decision to repent in your heart, and then to be baptized for the remission of your sins so that you might be forgiven, so that you might receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. Well, the people, many of the people responded very favorably to the words of Peter.

Look what it says in verse 41. “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.”

Right there in verse 41 we read about the beginning of the church. It began with these three thousand souls, who having heard the gospel of Christ, turned from their sins and were baptized in the name of Christ so that they might be forgiven. And you know, when we hear that same word and we respond in that same way, we become a part of that same church. In fact, this is what was happening then.

Look in verse 47, the last verse of this chapter. We see they were, “Praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily those who were being saved.”

The gospel continued to be preached, people continued to obey that gospel, and God was adding them to his church, just as he still doing today as that gospel continues to be preached even to this very day. That’s how we become a Christian. That’s what a Christian is. A Christian is a disciple of Christ, one who’s been taught the gospel of Jesus Christ and has responded in obedience to that gospel. Surely we can see that the name Christian does not belong to the little children who have not yet been able to learn, who have not yet been able to yet be taught and to come to understand and to believe on Jesus Christ; and not only believe, but also be ready to make that decision to repent and to obey his command to be immersed in water for the forgiveness of their sins. Oh, the children are innocent, the children are safe, not yet accountable to the gospel. But we see that if they want to be saved, they must come to that knowledge of the truth and obey from the heart the gospel of Jesus Christ, being baptized into Christ. And that would then make them a Christian, a member of Christ’s church.

Certainly we can also see today that a Christian is not just anyone who may call themselves a Christian. If they have been taught the man-made creeds and doctrines of many churches in the world today but have never heard the pure gospel of Jesus Christ and obeyed it in accordance with the teaching that we just read here in Acts chapter 2, just saying they’re a Christian would not make them a Christian.

No, a Christian is a true and genuine learner, follower of Jesus Christ who’s been obedient to the gospel, as we read about here in the scriptures. But now I want you to notice something else about being a Christian. If we’re going to truly be Christians, we must be committed to Jesus Christ. Let’s go to the second place that we read the name Christian.

Look at Acts 26:28. “Then Agrippa said to Paul, You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”

Here we read about one who was almost persuaded to become a Christian. He was not a Christian, he had not yet become a Christian, but he was almost persuaded. This was King Agrippa. King Agrippa was passing through the city of Caesarea. And this was the very place where the apostle Paul had been imprisoned for his faith under the Roman governor, Festus.

And if you look back in chapter 25, notice what it says here in verse 22. “Then Agrippa said to Festus, I also would like to hear the man myself. Tomorrow, he said, you shall hear him.”

You see from this passage that when Agrippa heard about the apostle Paul, that he wanted to hear from him. He wanted to hear what he had to say. He was at least curious about this gospel of Jesus that Paul was preaching. And as we look over in Acts the 26th chapter, we see that the apostle Paul was very happy to give his defense of the gospel. Not so much defending himself, though he was on trial before Festus, but defending the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Let me read with you Acts 26:22-23. Here it says, “Therefore, having obtained help from God, to this day I stand, witnessing both to small and great, saying no other things than those which the prophets and Moses said would come, that the Christ would suffer, that He would be the first to rise from the dead, and would proclaim light to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”

You see, the apostle Paul spoke to Festus and to Agrippa and to the others that were gathered that day. He spoke to them about Jesus Christ, the one whom the prophets spoke of, who Moses spoke of, the one that all the Old Testament scriptures were pointing to, Jesus the Christ, how he would suffer, how he would die, how he would be raised again. He spoke to them the saving gospel. But I want you to notice that this one, King Agrippa, he was curious, had now been moved to become actually convinced about who Jesus was.

Look with me in verse 26 of Acts 26. Here it says, “For the king, before whom I also speak freely, knows these things; for I am convinced that none of these things escapes his, attention since this thing was not done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.”

Here we can see very clearly that this one who had started out being curious about Jesus is now convinced that Jesus is the one the prophets spoke of. He understands this because he had heard about it, he knew about it. This wasn’t something that had been done in private in some corner. No, Jesus had gone out in the public, and Jesus had taught the people, and Jesus had performed great miracles by the power of the Holy Spirit, and Jesus was crucified in the eyes of the people, and Jesus was buried in that rock-hewn tomb that was sealed and guarded, and it became empty on Sunday morning, that third day. Jesus Christ truly did die for our sins and was raised again to give us the hope and the assurance of eternal life. And Paul said I know that you believe, Agrippa. Agrippa had moved from being curious to convinced about Jesus Christ. But he was not committed.

Here’s that sad verse that we read about in verse 28 we read just a moment ago. Let’s read it again. “Then Agrippa said to Paul, You almost persuade me to become a Christian.”

You see, until our faith moves us to obey, we’re still lost in our sins. Until we come to trust in Jesus Christ enough to do what he’s told us to do in order to become a Christian, we’re still lost in our sins. We cannot yet wear that name tag, I’m a Christian.

In John 12:42-43, we read about some who came face to face with Jesus, and they had to make a decision whether or not they would become his followers and his disciples.

I want you to notice what it says about these in John 12:42. “Nevertheless even among the rulers, many believed in Him, but because of the Pharisees they did not confess Him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue; for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.”

Did you see what it said about these rulers of Jesus’ day? They believed in him. It says that they believed in him, but because of the Pharisees, because they were afraid they would be cast out of the synagogue, they would lose their place, their power, their position among the people, they would not confess Jesus as the Christ. They loved the praise of men more than the praise of God. There are many things sometimes that stand between those who believe on Christ and obeying Christ. And I don’t know what’s standing between you and your obedience to Christ today, but if you have not yet obeyed him, I hope you’ll see that the most important thing you can do is become a Christian.

In James the 2nd chapter, I want you to notice something that James tells us there beginning in verse 14 of James chapter 2 to help us to see that we’re not saved simply by a believing faith. We must trust Christ enough to obey him.

Now notice what James says about it in James 2:14. “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith, but does not have works? Can faith save him?”

Obviously, that’s a rhetorical question that implies a no answer. That kind of faith can’t save anybody. If we have a faith that does not move us to work the work of God, then it can’t save us.

He goes on to say in verse 17, “Thus also, faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead. Indeed, even the demons believe and shudder, as James goes on to say here.

Notice what it says in verse 19. “You believe that there is one God. You do well. Even the demons believe and tremble!”

Yes, it’s not enough simply to say I believe in Jesus Christ. We must be obedient to him.

I want to notice verse 24 with you of this chapter. You see then that a man is justified by works, and not by faith only. Justified means to be made right with God, just as if I’d never sinned. But that’s not by faith only. But it’s when faith works the works of God. You see, Jesus Christ is the author of eternal salvation as Hebrews 5:8-9 tell us. But it goes on to say he’s the author of eternal salvation to all those who obey him. If you believe in Jesus Christ, if you trust him, what he did for you at Calvary to save you from your sins, then you must be obedient to the gospel.

Jesus said in Matthew 7:21, “Not everyone that says to me Lord, Lord, shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven.”
V We can’t just say Jesus is my Lord. Me must demonstrate that by our actions. As he asked in Luke 6:46, Why do you call me Lord, Lord, and not do the things which I say?

Jesus challenges every believer, If any man comes after Me, if any man would come after me, would follow Me, let him take up his cross daily and follow Me. Let him deny self, he says. Take up your cross daily. Follow me. That’s what it means to be a disciple of Jesus Christ, a committed disciple of Jesus Christ.

That’s what it means to be a Christian. As he went on to say in verse 24 of Luke 9, “He that would save his life shall lose it, but he that would lose his life for My sake shall find it.”

You see, we’ve got to exchange our life, the life we want to live, for the life that he wants us to live. And that brings me to my final point this morning. A Christian is willing to suffer for Christ.

In 1 Peter 4:16 we find the very last place in the Bible where the name Christian appears. Here it says,” Yet if anyone suffers as a Christian, then let him not be ashamed, but let him glorify God in this matter.”

Yes, here Peter calls for us to suffer as a Christian. Not for doing evil, not for doing wrong, but because we’re following Jesus Christ. And we should not think that a strange thing. We don’t like to think about it at all, but we shouldn’t think it strange for the Christian.

Back in verse 12 of 1 Peter 4 he says, “Beloved, do not think it strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened to you; but rejoice to the extent that you partake of Christ’s sufferings, that when His glory is revealed you also may be glad with exceeding joy.”

Yes, we’re going to suffer if we’re Christians; but let’s remember, in that suffering, we honor God, we honor Christ, we glorify him. Just as those first-century Christians, so all who live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution, 2 Timothy 3:12. Someone once asked, if you were on trial for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you? And I think that’s a great question.

Are you a disciple of Christ, a true follower of Jesus?

Are you a committed disciple, obedient to Christ in everything?

Jesus suffered for us, leaving us an example, that we should follow in his steps. Are you willing to suffer for the one who suffered for you?

Remember, there’s a blessing in suffering for Christ. Jesus said, Blessed, blessed are those who are persecuted for My name’s sake.

And he went on to say, “Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven. Indeed, our light affliction for the moment works in us far more exceeding an eternal weight of glory,” 2 Corinthians 4:17.

Or as Paul said in Romans 8:17, “I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glories which shall be revealed.”

Are you a Christian?

Have you become a Christian?

Are you living the Christian life?

Do you know that blessing, and do you have that joy, that hope of eternal life through Jesus Christ?

SINGING>> Years I spent in vanity and pride,
caring not my Lord was crucified
knowing not it was for me he died on Calvary.
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
pardon there was multiplied to me;
there my burdened soul found liberty, at Calvary.
Oh, the love that drew salvation’s plan;
oh, the grace that brought it down to man;
oh, the mighty gulf that God did span at Calvary.
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
pardon there was multiplied to me;
there my burdened soul found liberty, at Calvary.

SINGING>> I know that my redeemer lives and ever prays for me.
I know eternal life he gives from sin and sorrow free.
I know, I know that my redeemer lives;
I know, I know eternal life he gives;
I know, I know that my redeemer lives.
I know that over yonder stands a place prepared for me,
a home, a house not made with hands, most wonderful to see.
I know, I know that my redeemer lives; I know, I know eternal life he gives;
I know, I know that my redeemer lives.

ROBERT >> I hope that you found today’s lesson helpful. And to help you in your continued study, we’d like to offer you a free copy of today’s lesson. Thankfully, members of churche of Christ make these materials available to our viewers absolutely free of charge, and all you have to do is contact us, let us know the name of the program you’d like to have a copy of. You can see the title of today’s program on your screen. Lets us know the format in which you’d like to have it. You can have the program in the form of an audio CD or a DVD or a written transcript. You can have any of those formats, again, free of charge. It won’t cost you a thing. You can contact us in a number of ways. We have an 800 number that’s a voice mail system where you can leave the pertinent information.

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SINGING>> Sing to me of heaven, sing that song of peace.v From the toils that bind me it will bring release.
Burdens will be lifted that are pressing so,
showers of great blessing o’er my heart will flow.
Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream
of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall,
sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.
Sing to me of heaven tenderly and low
till the shadows o’er me rise and swiftly go.
When my heart is weary, when the day is long,
sing to me of heaven, sing that old, sweet song.
Sing to me of heaven, let me fondly dream
of its golden glory, of its pearly gleam.
Sing to me when shadows of the evening fall,
sing to me of heaven, sing the sweetest song of all.

Turning Stone Into Bread Is A Character Issue

bread, temptation, and characterTurning stone to bread is impossible for us, but it illustrates an important point about character.

What’s wrong with turning a stone to bread?

Because Satan Wanted Him To Do It?

I’ve heard this question from others and have asked it myself. All kinds of answers have been given. Maybe the most popular one is simply, “It was wrong to do because Satan wanted Jesus to do it.” I think it’s good advice to ignore anything Satan wants us to do, but this account tells us more than that. It’s about character.

Because Jesus Wanted To Do It?

Another explanation is that it was tempting, and that’s what made it sin. It’s difficult to accept that. I’m sometimes “tempted” to do good things. Just because I want to do something does not make it wrong. Here is what James 1:14 says that confuses some people:

“But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.”

Some people have mistakenly thought that all desire is evil. Most of the desires we have are natural and helpful to us. Even desires for evil are usually just misdirected good desires. Greed is misdirected ambition or love, for example. No one should defend greed; it is sin. But the point is that not all desire is evil. So just because Jesus desired food did not make it sinful for Him to eat it.

Because It Would Abuse The Purpose Of Miracles?

There is merit to this point. People performed miracles to prove their message (Mark 16:20). Jesus did the same thing (John 10:38). No one was near Jesus to see a miracle from Him, so it would not have been done with the right purpose.

But there could be more to it. Being the Son of God, He could do what He wanted, couldn’t He? Not necessarily, and this drives at the main reason Jesus could not turn stone to bread. It’s an issue of character.

Consider The Context

Look at the context of the quotation from Jesus. He did not quote this verse because it sounded good. In fact, it’s taken perfectly in its original context and teaches us a great lesson. (The temptations can be found in Matthew 4:1-11.)

Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”

(Matthew 4:3-4)

I used to think that Jesus quoted Scripture as a kind of deterrent. That is, He did it to take His mind off the situation. I gathered from sermons I heard that if I would memorize Bible verses and quote them over and over during times of temptation I would overcome. I doubt anyone actually SAID that would happen. My youthful ears probably just surmised it. Or maybe I picked up the idea from the way religious people are portrayed on television. Wherever I got the idea, it didn’t work.

Coming To A Better Understanding

Years later I decided to study this more thoroughly. To do that, I went to the source of what Jesus quoted. You’ll note that Jesus quoted from Deuteronomy 8:3. Read that chapter and see the context of the quotation. This was the “Second Book” of the Law–the final retelling of the Law by Moses to a new generation about to enter the Promised Land. And he recounted their younger years as children wandering in the wilderness because of the sins of their parents.

He told them how God fed them and protected them, and how He caused them to walk in the wilderness so that they would learn a lesson. And what was that lesson He wanted them to learn? That “Man shall not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that proceeds from the mouth of the LORD” (Deuteronomy 8:3).

And that’s exactly what Jesus was saying to Satan (and perhaps as a reminder to himself). Even in such a minor action, Jesus trusted God to provide for Him.

How Tempting It Would Be!

If your life depended on it, you would be tempted to do just about anything to survive. How about telling a small lie? Or a big one? What about stealing a piece of bread? Or cheating on your taxes?

What about misusing something given for a specific purpose so that you can feed yourself?

What about speeding to get yourself to a hospital while dying?

That may be “going too far”, but I am illustrating the degree of danger compared to the relative “smallness” of the sin He was tempted to engage in. And that is sobering.

We tend to excuse sin if we have a reason to do it that we deem “good enough”. I’m sure Jesus felt the same pull.

If I die here, how will I die for humanity on the cross?

It’s JUST a piece of bread. My Father does want Me to eat!

I’m so glad He never said those things! In fact, that gets to a great principle here. The things we tell ourselves during temptation will determine our character. Jesus said exactly what He should have said. “I’m going to trust My Father to provide for Me, just like He said He wants me to do.”

Character counts even in the lesser things.

Overcome temptation by learning to tell yourself the right things. (Consider this while reading James 3 for further insights!)