What Will You Do With Jesus?

Sun, Jun 12, 2022
Teacher: Tom Blackford
Passage: Acts 28:17-31
Duration:26 mins 43 secs

Message text

What Will You Do With Jesus?
Acts 28:17-20

INTRO: Good morning. We are reaching the end of our Study of the Books of Acts. There is so much in this book to strengthen and encourage us in our faith. As we have studied this book we have been challenged to live better lives for Christ and have been inspired to keep on—keeping on. It’s been a long journey but one which I hope and pray has been worth it.

Our lives are also a journey, some long and some short. I’m reminded of an old story told by an English preacher;

A young man was walking along a country road. Along came a farmer driving a wagon.
Without asking permission, the young man jumped up on the wagon and said, "I'm going to ride along with you to London."

The farmer just looked at him and said nothing. They rode on for perhaps ten miles. The young man began to feel uneasy. He turned to the farmer and said, "I say, how much farther is it to London?"

The farmer replied, "If you keep on the way we are going, it is about 520 miles, but if you want to get off and walk back the other way, it is about sixteen miles—six miles from where you jumped on."

Sometimes in life we just jump on for a ride without really finding out where the ride is going to take us. God has a ride mapped out for us already as long as we follow His divine will. Like the apostle Paul we need to always make sure we’re heading in the right direction. Check the map, and see if we are on course.

I. Now let us conclude our look at Acts. Remember that we left Paul at the port of Puteoli where he found some brethren and stayed with them for seven days. He journeyed on and he finally reached Rome. He was overwhelmed with thankfulness and encouraged to keep going when some brethren traveled many miles to greet him.

A. This was a great moment for Paul and for the saints in Rome and so we continue with Luke’s account to Theophilus in Acts 28:17-20 – “17. And it came to pass after three days that Paul called the leaders of the Jews together. So when they had come together, he said to them: "Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans, 18. "who, when they had examined me, wanted to let me go, because there was no cause for putting me to death. 19. "But when the Jews spoke against it, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar, not that I had anything of which to accuse my nation. 20. "For this reason therefore I have called for you, to see you and speak with you, because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.''”
B. After three days in Rome, Paul called for the leaders of the Jews. As Paul always did, he addressed himself "to the Jew first" (Romans 1:16).

1. He explained to them that he was in Rome because of charges brought against him by their brethren in Jerusalem. He told them that the authorities had wanted to release him, but he had to appeal to Caesar because the Jews were opposed to Paul being at liberty. Paul's forbearance here is notable, in that he made no mention of the repeated attempts against his life, aided and abetted by the high priest himself.
2. This passage sheds additional light on what happened under Festus. It was the protest of the Jews that led Festus to withhold from Paul the liberty which he could have had.

C. Paul says the reason I’m in chains today is because I’m a Christian. He is someone who whole heartedly follows Christ because he knows and fully understands that Jesus Christ was and is the true fulfillment of Israel's hope. By this, Paul meant that the Christian faith was the true fulfillment of the hope of God's people. Throughout his speeches and epistles, Paul always insisted upon the identity of the New Covenant with all that had been prophesied and typified in the Old.

II. Do we have that kind of conviction? Do we believe that Jesus was the promised Messiah who was the true fulfillment of Israel’s hope? We have read of one woman who truly believed that, and she is found in John 4.

A. In a discussion with Jesus about worship, the Samaritan women says in John 4:25 – “ "I know that Messiah is coming'' (who is called Christ). "When He comes, He will tell us all things.''”

1. What a priceless jewel of faith lay at the bottom of this poor beleaguered woman's heart. All the sins and mistakes of her life had not erased her knowledge of the essential truth that Christ would come into the world and teach men all they need to know to obtain salvation.
2. Look at Jesus’ response to this claim in verse 26 “Jesus said to her, "I who speak to you am He.''” Scholars say that the Samaritans only accepted the Pentateuch which is Genesis through Deuteronomy as Scripture, yet they anticipated the Messiah confidently.

B. In the Temple court, Peter preached in Acts 3:22-24 “22. "For Moses truly said to the fathers, `The Lord your God will raise up for you a Prophet like me from your brethren. Him you shall hear in all things, whatever He says to you. 23. `And it shall come to pass that every soul who will not hear that Prophet shall be utterly destroyed from among the people.' 24. "Yes, and all the prophets, from Samuel and those who follow, as many as have spoken, have also foretold these days.”

1. Quoting from Deuteronomy 18:15 ff Peter makes his statement clear. Jesus was the promised Messiah.
2. All the way through the Old Testament there are many prophecies concerning this coming Messiah.

C. The Jews and the Samaritans were waiting on the arrival of the Christ.

1. In Luke 2:25 we find that Simeon was “… waiting for the Consolation of Israel,…”.
2. In Luke 2:38 we find that Anna spoke of Him to “… all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem… ”.
3. Andrew announced to Peter, “… We have found the Messiah'' (which is translated, the Christ).” in John 1:41.
4. In John 1:45 we find Philip bringing Nathanael to Jesus, saying, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets, wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.”

D. Even the enemies of Jesus recognized the Messianic prophecies of the Old Testament.

1. In Matthew 2:4-6 we find Herod calling the Scribes, the copiers of the Old Testament manuscripts, to inquire “… where the Christ was to be born.”
2. When disputing the belief of some in Jesus as the Christ, the Jews affirmed, in John 7:42 “Has not the Scripture said that the Christ comes from the seed of David and from the town of Bethlehem, where David was?”
3. While being tried, the high priest asked the Lord, in Matthew 26:63 “I adjure You by the living God that You tell us if You are the Christ, the Son of God.” Look at Jesus’ response in verse 64, “It is as you said.”

E. You see, there was a reason that the Samaritan woman said, “I know that Messiah is coming”. The reason is found in the Old Testament prophecies concerning Christ. This was well known.

1. No wonder the apostle Paul asked King Agrippa in Acts 26:27 “King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you do believe.”
2. The question you really need to answer is; Do you really believe that Jesus is the Messiah? Because the evidence is indisputable.
3. The Old Testament predicted the events. Christ came and fulfilled them.

III. Folks, believing that Jesus is the Christ and yet doing nothing with that belief, are two different things. For those who are not Christians, they need to ask themselves the same question which Pilate asked the mob in Matthew 27:22 “… "What then shall I do with Jesus who is called Christ?...”

A. In the Tabernacle Holy of Holies, the light of God's glory was present between the cherubim, telling Israel that God was in her midst. The mercy seat was the place appointed where God met once a year the blood of the sacrifice of atonement.

1. The blood of atonement was sprinkled there. Atonement, it was not an appeasement. God does not have to be appeased.
2. He is merciful, compassionate, and full of loving kindness, but He will not hold man guiltless without an atonement.
3. When the blood was sprinkled, there was satisfaction. Sin was rolled forward. The offering for sin was made.

B. That was the Old Testament, but now the One whose blood was made an offering for sin is Jesus, the Messiah, the Christ.

1. He is the Mercy Seat where the justice of God and the satisfying sacrifice bring peace to all who believe.
2. We don’t want anyone to leave here today making the same mistake that many other people do, and that is to reject Him. We don’t want anyone leaving here today saying that ‘no one ever told me that Jesus was the Messiah’.

C. Have you ever talked to someone about something that has happened, but they didn’t know anything about it? You thought they would have known something about it because it concerned them, but they hadn’t heard anything.

IV. In a way that’s what Luke goes on and shares with us next. Listen to their reaction to Paul’s words. Acts 28:21-22 – “ And they said to him, "We neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren who came reported or spoken any evil of you. "But we desire to hear from you what you think; for concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.''”

A. It seems from our text that the leaders of the Jews in Rome knew nothing of the charges against Paul and reported that no word had come from Jerusalem.

1. Since Paul’s accusers were Jews and the people he is speaking to here are Jews, you would think that such a serious charge against Paul would be known by most Jews.
2. If that happened today, with our modern version of the grapevine, social media, people the world over would be saying. ‘Hey, you know that guy Saul who became a follower of Christ, man he’s such a troublemaker, he stirred up a rebellion amongst the Jews in Jerusalem, he is the main ringleader of the Nazarene party among the Jews, and hey, if you think that was bad, he even defiled the temple by bringing Gentiles in there and spoke against our forefather’s teachings.’

B. They hadn’t heard anything bad about Paul. In fact, they were more interested in hearing more about this Christianity which everyone, everywhere is speaking against.

V. Paul after a while arranges to do just that. Now I say this tongue in cheek, but if someone were to think that listening to a sermon for thirty or forty minutes is long, they really should count their blessings. We are now Acts 28:23-24 – “ So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening. And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved.”

A. On the appointed day, a large group returned, and Paul preached all day using Moses and the prophets to testify concerning God's kingdom. We see over and over again as we study that we can’t just use the New Testament and leave out the Old Testament.

1. In teaching a person willing to study, the preacher took him straight to the Old Testament and to the Book of Genesis to show him how sin had separated mankind from God. After discussing a few others passages in the Old Testament, he smiled at the preacher at the end of the study and said, ‘someone once told me that the church of Christ doesn’t believe in the Old Testament, I now know that is simply not true.’
2. Romans 15:4 - “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.”
3. 2 Timothy 3:16-17 – “ All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”
4. The apostle Paul used the Old Testament to convince the Jews and Gentiles that Jesus was the Messiah. We should be doing the same thing.
5. By the way notice we read; “he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them” I think it would be a mistake to suppose this took the form of a monologue and I suspect the debate must have been keen and impassioned.

B. As we have seen so often the group was divided as to whether to believe Paul or not. This always occurs when the gospel is preached: people are polarized with reference to it, some believing, some not believing (2 Corinthians 2:15-16).

VI. At this point Paul has one more statement to make, again using the Old Testament as his proof. Now at Acts 28:25-27 – “25. So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: "The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, 26. "saying, `Go to this people and say: "Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you will see, and not perceive; 27. For the heart of this people has grown dull. their ears are hard of hearing, and their eyes they have closed, lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, lest they should understand with their heart and turn, so that I should heal them.'' '”

A. Paul quoted from Isaiah 6:9-10 why? To show that their rejection to the gospel had been foretold by the Holy Spirit. This same passage was applied to Israel by Christ, as affirmed in all four gospels (Matthew 13:13-15; Mark 4:12; Luke 8:10; and John 12:37-41). The reason for its being repeated here is because the same blindness that closed the hearts of Israel to the Christ was still operative in closing their hearts against the gospel.
B. This is still a major problem for many people today. They hear of the Bible, they even read and listen to the Bible but they fail to understand it. They see Christians coming together every week and living their lives fully devoted to God but they can not perceive of having that commitment.

1. Why don’t they understand? Why can’t they perceive? Simply because their hearts have become hardened. They have ears but they only hear what they want to hear. They have eyes but they don’t use them to see truth. The cares of this world are too important to them and they take the easy way.
2. Isaiah says, ‘listen, open your hearts, listen to what God is saying to you, open your eyes and see the truth’.
3. In other words, leave your own ideas behind, forget about what the world says and turn to Jesus in repentance, and He will heal you from the disease of sin.

VII. There is good news. Paul says in Acts 28:28 – “Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!” Paul tells them that salvation would be taken to the Gentiles and they will listen. What about us today, are we listening?

A. A visitor approached a preacher after listening to his sermon on the necessity of receiving Christ as his Savior. The man said he thought that Christianity should limit itself in presenting Christ as our example whom we should follow.

The preacher turned to the visitor and said, "If I were to preach Christ as our example, would you follow His example?" "Why not?" was the flippant answer. The preacher said, "Okay, let us think of some of the things that Jesus did and did not do. One of the things that is said of Him is that He did not sin. Can you take that step and follow His example in doing no sin?" "No, I must be very honest about myself, I do sin said the man."

The preacher then answered: "It is impossible then to follow Jesus unless you first make Him your Savior. It is He who must live in you so that you can say 'For me to live is Christ.'"

1. Jesus Christ came into the world not only to set an example for us, but to become our Savior. It is only when we receive Him as our Savior that we are able to follow Him as our example because He dwells in us.
2. The only reason the offer to have Jesus as your personal Savior is still an offer today is because Jesus hasn’t given up on you. God loves us. 2 Peter 3:9 – “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”
3. Do any of us really think that God wants people to perish and spend eternity in hell? God is patient with you. He doesn’t want you or anyone to be condemned to hell. He is waiting patiently for you to turn and be healed spiritually.

B. Please don’t ever think though that Jesus is not going to return for Judgment Day until you repent. Peter tells us in 2 Peter 3:10 – “But the day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night…”

1. It’s not a question of ‘if’ Jesus is coming back, it will happen. Scripture is clear on that. It’s a question of ‘are you ready’ before He comes back.
2. He’s not going to come back and say, ‘hi, I understand you’ve struggled to believe in me ever since the creation of the world. I’m going to give you another few thousands years to believe.’
3. No! When Jesus comes back, that’s it. If you haven’t believed and obeyed His commands before that happens you’re in trouble.

C. Listen to those familiar words Jesus says in Matthew 7:21-23 – “21. "Not everyone who says to Me, `Lord, Lord,' shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. 22. "Many will say to Me in that day, `Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?' 23. "And then I will declare to them, `I never knew you; Why didn’t Jesus know them? They were prophesying in Jesus Name, they drove out demons in His Name, they performed miracles in His Name. Why then didn’t Jesus know them?

1. Because of what He said in verse 21, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only he who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.”
2. Look at what Jesus said following on in Matthew 7:24-27 – “24. "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: 25. "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. 26. "Now everyone who hears these sayings of Mine, and does not do them, will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand: 27. "and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.''”
3. Being a Christian is more than just coming to Jesus, it’s more than just hearing His words. It’s about obeying His words and practicing what Jesus preached.

We are now at the conclusion of acts. Paul is finished speaking with the Jews, but he is far from finished when it comes to preaching the gospel. Acts 28:29-31 – “29. And when he had said these words, the Jews departed and had a great dispute among themselves. 30. Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, 31. preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.”

Paul spent two years in his own rented house where he received guests and taught many people concerning the kingdom of God. He spoke boldly and no one forbid him to continue.

He finally made it to Rome and his ambition to preach the gospel in the greatest city then known to mankind was fulfilled, thanks to the grace of God.

This concludes our look at the Book of Acts starting with the first sermon called, ‘It’s all about Jesus’. There is much more of course. The Book of Acts, Luke’s report to Theophilus, begins and ends with Luke writing about Jesus. The question is for each of us; What are you going to do with Jesus, the Messiah?

We learn from the New Testament how to be saved. We need to hear the word; believe in Jesus; repent of our sins; we must confess our belief that Jesus is the Son of God; and be baptized for the remission of our sins… If we follow these steps, the Lord adds us to His church.

Perhaps there is someone in the assembly today with the need to be buried with Christ in baptism. If you have never done these things, we urge you to do so today. If anyone has this need or desires the prayers of faithful Christians on their behalf, we encourage them to come forward while we stand and sing.

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Taken from sermon by Mike Glover


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