Highlights from Acts: Session 3
Key theme: Our BUT NOW God!
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me,
I once was lost, but now am found; Was blind, but now I see. ~John Newton
A misunderstanding has cropped up in the world that defines Christianity differently than the Bible does. We tend to think that Christianity is about being good enough to get to heaven. We believe that we’re all basically good, even though we may not be good enough to get to heaven … so Jesus came to add whatever needed to be added to our good to make up the difference.
The Bible says that our problem is not being good enough … it’s being good at all—that sin is at the root of all of the brokenness in our world — murder or murderous gossip extortion or manipulation, perjury or fibbing, stealing God’s glory or just a whisper of pride. And it says that any sin separates us from the Giver of Life: God, the Father, Son and Spirit.
Romans 3:22-23: … There is no distinction: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God….
Our good works don’t make us worthy of Heaven —
God Himself had to come down to make things right.
And He did!
Only God is intrinsically good, so He had to come in order to fulfill the requirements of the Law with purity of heart on our behalf because we couldn’t do it ourselves. Jesus’ life is as important as His death and resurrection — He had to come to earth, to add humanity to His divinity, and live a sinless life — for us. We couldn’t do it because in the fall, all of mankind was tainted. Every person born after Adam and Eve took that bite of apple has a tendency toward self-protection, self- reliance, self-promotion, self. Toward Self and not toward God. That’s why our good works are not really good — they are never done with a pure, God-glorifying, selfless heart.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound, that saved a wretch like me
The primary role of God’s good and holy Law is to reveal His righteous character and our own sinfulness so that it points us to our need of forgiveness and our need of a Savior. The Law helps us to see the chasm between His holiness and our sinfulness. Our obedience does not earn us God’s favor, but it is an inevitable outflow of our union with Christ.
Jesus Christ, is the One in whom mercy and justice meet!
Christ did not come to make bad people good.
He didn’t even come to make good people good enough.
He came to bring the dead to Life!
And you were dead in the trespasses and sins …. But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— …. so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (From Ephesians 2:1-10)
Tying the Good News of Jesus Christ to the Old Testament:
The Old Testament sacrificial system required that animals be killed day after day, year after year because an animal isn’t really enough to pay for man’s sin. Although forgiveness was offered through the animal sacrifices, it was never on the basis of the animal sacrifices. The animal sacrifices pointed forward to Something …. to Someone ahead. They pointed forward to Jesus Christ, the perfect Man who would sacrifice Himself for His people.
Christ was the only Man to obey the Law perfectly, meet the Standard, and enter heaven. So that in Christ, anyone who will come enters heaven, too —not because of anything that she did or ever will do, but because God has placed Christ’s righteousness on her. He fulfilled the requirements of the law for her. Christ met the standard of God’s holiness. Through what Christ accomplished, anyone — whether Jew or Gentile — can meet the standard of God’s holiness.
The Christian message of salvation is not Do Better!
The message of the Kingdom of God is Repent!
This is Good News! Jesus says, Come to Me, lay your sin, your guilt and your shame at the foot of the cross …. whatever they look like, lay them down …. If the Spirit is moving in your heart today to understand the completeness of Christ’s work, believe God’s Word. Jesus already paid the price; lay it all down and leave it behind.