|Messages By Ovid Need|
The Resurrection - Acts 2:22-24
There are some major stories in Scripture that about every one is familiar with. There is David and the giant, Noah and the Ark, in the old testament. Then we have the birth of Christ and the Christmas story. And the one we think of today, the Easter Story, the time when we celebrate the resurrection of Christ.
This story is told every year in every way imaginable. Christ was born of the virgin Marry, as was prophesied to Adam 4,000 years previously. For the first 30 years we know very little about Him, then He suddenly appears in public at the wedding feast. There He turned the water into wine.
He came representing the God of the Hebrews to the Hebrew nation. For the first couple of years He was very popular, especially as He stood against the religious hypocrites of His day.
As time went on, the religious leaders tried to kill Him because of what He was doing to their power and influence over the people. When God's time was right, they succeeded in their plot to do away with Him.
As do wicked men of all times, they felt they had triumphed over this One who had given them so much trouble, and if He had been no more than a man, they would have been right. But, He was more than just a man, He was the God-man sent here to this earth to die for the sins of His people. Because this was His purpose for coming to this earth to dwell among sinners, these evil men played right into the plan of God.
The word of God is clear from the Garden of Eden on. Wicked men and their devices, and even the Devil himself, are no more than tools in the hand of the Sovereign God who is working every thing according to His eternal purpose. That purpose was established before the formation of the world on which we live, was formed.
God knew just what He was going to do before He formed the heavens and the earth, including the fall of Adam into sin and rebellion against God, and the crucifixion of Christ and the Resurrection.
The resurrection is unique to the Christian religion and upon it is based everything in which we believe. Without the resurrection we have no more than do those who worship Budda. We would have no more than do those who worship their money.
The sum total of this is given in the first message which was preached after the resurrection of Christ. The record of this message is in Acts 2:23-37, and the results of this sermon in vs. 33-47.
In this passage Peter preaches the death, burial and resurrection of Christ, then His enthronement upon the throne of His father David. This enthronement meant that the one that these people had killed was now their righteous Judge. This terrified his hearers, and they were pricked in their hearts and cried out for mercy.
As I studied this passage, I found it strange how we want the results of Peter's sermon, the conviction of the Spirit and the thousands saved, without the message which Peter gave of Christ's seating at the right hand of the Father upon His throne.
Peter's message here is a message that I would love to do a series on one day, if I can ever get to it. I know that because of the inner-ear problems which I am having today, I will not be able to do it justice at this time.
Let me just pull out a couple of points from this passage to discuss today, with the idea that we will cover it in detail sometime.
1. V. 5, Notice who the message was to. It was directed to the house of Israel, called the Jews here. They had come from all over the world to worship at Jerusalem during the celebration of Pentecost.
2. V. 6 The preachers here in Acts 2, spoke in tongues, They spoke in the native tongue of every person who was there out of every nation under the sun.
3. V. 25 The basis of the message was OT prophecy.
4. V. 22, Peter reminded his hearers (who were the decedents of Jacob, the nation of Israel) that the One he was preaching about was Someone they knew. Christ had been in the midst of them.
Peter's message here was only a little more than 3 1/2 years after the start of the public ministry of Christ and only 40 days after Christ rose from the dead. All of the events described by Peter would have taken place, not only within the previous short time-period of a little over a month, but they would have all taken place within a very localized area. Christ's major work, many of His messages, His confrontation with the religious establishment, His trial and crucifixion, would all have happened here in Jerusalem.
Christ was from God, and Peter points out that Christ proved this by the miracles and wonders and signs which God did by His hand. And those signs were not hear-say for the ones listening, but the mighty works of Christ were done among them. The very ones who were now listening to this message were with Christ and saw His works.
Notice Mt. 27:20 took place only 43 days previously. This shows us that there would have been a great many who now heard Peter preach who had been involved in the killing of Christ. Many would have been in the crowd who called for His death before Pilate.
Many here in Acts 2 would have been in the crowd who watched Christ carry His cross. Many no doubt, would have seen Him die on the cross.
There would have been some among this crowd who had been involved in the mocking of the Lord as He died on the cross.
They saw His works, heard His message. They called for his death. They were present at the crucifixion. So as Peter preaches, he reminds them that they knew that what he was saying was true. They had been there.
5. Then in v. 23, Peter points out that what they did in killing Jesus of Nazareth was done because God decreed that it should be done.
Peter wanted them to understand that Christ was not an "innocent victim" of a crazed crowd, even though that crowd had been stirred up by the religious leaders. Many of these people had been present and would have known what took place before Pilate.
Peter wanted them to know that Christ was slain according to God's plan. The Father gave Him over to them, and Christ yielded to the Father's perfect will for Himself.
Mat. 20:28 Christ did NOT yield to the crowd or even to the civil authority, but He yielded to the Father's will for His life. His purpose for coming, living and dying was to pay the price for the sins of His people, to be a ransom for many.
Here again, we see that wicked men only fulfill God's purpose, yet they are responsible for their actions. We will not know how man's will and God's predetermined counsel work together until we see Him. No need to try to figure it out, it is far to high for us.
Isaiah 53:4-5 tells us that it was for the sins of His people that He went through what He did. Not only did this refer to the ones Peter is speaking to here in Chapter 2, but it includes you and me. It was the sins of His people placed Him upon the cross.
Notice a small statement here in this message, v. 24. It was not possible that He should remain in the grave. It would have been contrary to the principles of the written word of God for Christ to remain in the grave, therefore it was impossible for the grave to hold Him.
Why was it not possible to hold Him in the grave?
Acts 3:15 Christ was the Prince of life. The margin calls Him the Author of life.
John 1:4; 5:26 Christ had life in himself.
John 10:18 He had power both to lay down His life and take it up again. Hebrews 2:14 He came that through death He might destroy him that had the power of death, the power of the devil. Therefore, it was impossible for death to hold Him.
Look here for us then. It was impossible for Christ to remain in the grave because it would have violated Scriptural principles. Therefore, how much more is it impossible for us to violate Scriptural principles and get away with it.
The impossibility of the power of the grave over Christ gives us some other impossibilities in Scripture:
1. Eph. 1:12, 13, 19. His resurrection proves that it is impossible for the grave to hold those who have trusted Him. 2 Cor. 4:14 He rose bodily, therefore the ones who have trusted Him will raise bodily to meet Him in the air.
Along this line, it is impossible to be saved without His resurrection, Rom 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.
This trust in the death, burial and resurrection of Christ is shown in baptism, COL 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.
2. John 4:24 It is impossible to worship or come to the Father without the resurrected Christ.
Eph. 1:20 Christ's resurrection gives us our intercessor at the right hand of the Father.
3. Rom. 8:32-39 It is impossible to be separated from God's love.
4. Gal. 6:9; Phil. 1:6; 2 Thes. 3:13. It is impossible to separate us from the promises of God. Was we meet their conditions it is impossible to separate us from the result for our benefit.
Look at this. If we obey God's Word then there is no way we can avoid reaping the results. If the principles of God's Word were strong enough to make it impossible for the grave to hold Christ, then think of the strength of those principles to bring His Word to pass in us for good.
Romans 4:18-25. Paul reminds us that Abraham staggered not at the promises of God, the promise that God could bring life out of death. Abraham believed this promise and it was counted unto him for righteousness. What is the power behind God's fulfilling these promises? The promised resurrection of Christ from the dead for our justification.
There are a multitude of similar passages. These promises have behind them the same power as Christ had behind His resurrection from the dead, the unchangeable principles of God's word. Heaven and earth will pass away before one little dot of His word will fail.
This should be a tremendous exhortation for us to keep on keeping on. There are hundreds of promises in this book for us that have the same power and assurance behind them as what Christ had to raise Him from the dead. God's Word is real. It is so sure that it was impossible that He should be held by death and the grave, because death was contrary to His word.
5. 1 John 1:9; Proverbs 28:13 It is impossible to separate us from His mercy, grace and forgiveness if we will return to Him.
6. Gal. 6:7 On the negative side, it is impossible to avoid the judgment of God for our sins. Every created being will answer to the resurrected Saviour for their sins.
This was a major part of Peter's message here in Acts 2:32-36. Peter said Let all the house of Israel know assuredly, that God hath made that same Jesus, whom ye have crucified, both Lord and Christ.
Of course, the redeemed will go on to eternal life with the Lord, the lost will go on to eternal death with the devil and his angles.
Peter's hearers knew exactly what he was talking about. The Holy Spirit showed them clearly that the One they had killed was now their holy Judge. How could this One they had killed now be their judge? Acts 17:31 because of the resurrection.
Acts 2:37 shows us their response. They were convicted of their wicked deed of killing the Holy One of God.
This is one reason why the wicked desire to deny the resurrection. The resurrection makes it impossible to miss the just judgment for their sins, hell and torment for ever and for ever. The only hope for those who reject Christ is that the message of the resurrection is a lie.
On the other hand, the resurrection makes it impossible for the redeemed to ever have to worry about eternal destruction.
Just as it was impossible for Him to stay in the grave because of the principles of God's Word which were involved, it is impossible to separate us from the principles of the same word.
This gives tremendous hope as we look around at the confusion and turmoil everywhere. When I look at God's Word and the resurrection, I know that it is impossible for His word not to work, if I will only do what is required of me in that word.
7. Something else that the impossibility of the grave to hold Christ makes impossible. 2 Cor. 5:17. Because of the resurrection of Christ, and the now indwelling Holy Spirit, it is now impossible to remain undisturbed in sin. The one who is able to remain in sin with no conviction, is in serious trouble over his salvation.
ROM 1:4 The Spirit which indwells us is the Spirit of holiness.
Rom 6:9-11, the resurrection of Christ proves that sin has no more power over us.
Rom 7:4 Not only does the power of the resurrection hold our hope of being able to live a life pleasing to the Father, but it also holds our power to fulfill our holy calling as a child of God, and bare fruit
Rom 8:11 Our bodies which were dead in trespasses and sins are now made alive unto God and holiness by the same Spirit that raised Christ from the dead. This is speaking of a spiritual resurrection, or the first resurrection from death in trespasses and sin, to live in newness of life.
It is impossible for a Child of God to remain in sin and indifference toward the Lord, His law and His work.
One more point before we close.
I hear once in awhile that Christ offered Himself as the king of the Hebrew nation. Because this nation rejected Him, He was a failure. Therefore, plan "B" went into action.
If such heresy were true, then we have NO REDEEMING work of Christ but only the death of a falsely accused good man. This would make the gospel story only another extension of an old Jewish wives fable.
If it were true, we would have no hope of a bodily resurrection,
But, He came to redeem mankind. It was in God's perfect, eternal plan and these men who killed Him only worked praise to God. Sinful man wants to believe that he is in control of the situation as he rebels against God, but he is only carrying out God's plan.
Ps. 76:10 Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain. Peter had point this out in Acts 2:23, 24 to show that every action and claim of the Messiah was consistent with the principles of God's word.
The death, burial and resurrection was called for in the plan of God from before the foundations of the world. All who will place their complete trust in what He did as the payment of their sins are assured of victory over sin and of eternal life.
As we remember the greatest event in the history of the world, Easter Sunday, 1991, have you placed your complete trust in what the Lord Jesus Christ did upon the cross so many years ago? Or are you putting this off to a more convenient day?
1. Impossible for the grave to hold Him or those who have trusted Him to pay the penalty for their sins. He rose bodily, therefore all who have trusted Him will raise bodily to meet Him in the air. Will you?
2. It is impossible to be separated from God's love. Does it seem that His love is far away from you today? His resurrection proves different.
3. It is impossible to separate us from the promises of God. What is needed today? His resurrection proves He will act according to His promises. What an encouragement this should be to carry on.
4. It is impossible to separate us from His mercy, grace and forgiveness if we will return to Him.
5. It is impossible to avoid the judgment of God for our sins. Every created being will answer for their sins to the resurrected Saviour.
6. The impossibility of the grave to hold Christ makes impossible for His people to continue in sin.
It is impossible to avoid a holy, victorious life here in this life and heaven if you have trusted in the finished work of Christ.
It is impossible to avoid the pains of a literal hell if you have not trusted in His substitutionary death and payment for your sins.
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