Tuesday, May 27, 2008

God on Earth "SAVE YOURSELVES!" Acts 2:22-42 Mateen Elass

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Through Peter’s first sermon, Jesus brings roughly 3000 into his Kingdom by the convicting power of the Spirit working through the retelling of the Passion story. Peter’s message highlights God’s sovereign arrangement of the destiny of Jesus, utilizing the rebellion of human beings to bring salvation to the human race. He pinpoints their guilt in murdering Israel’s Lord and Messiah, but offers them the incredible gifts of forgiveness from this same person and the new life of the Spirit. All they have to do is “save themselves” – by admitting their guilt and throwing themselves on God’s mercy, turning from the ways of the world and welcoming God into their lives. God, who has cut them to the heart, will heal their hearts and bring them into communion with Himself and His new creation (the church).

Monday, May 19, 2008

God on Earth: "Gawkers, Mockers and Shockers" / Acts 2:12-21 / Mateen Elass

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When God powerfully acts in our world, many people do not have eyes to see. Many are perplexed, for they have no framework by which to make sense of what they are encountering. They are open to being helped, but unsure in their own interpretations. Others, who have written God out of the creation, cast about for the closest natural explanation for what they are seeing, even if their view makes no sense. But those who are schooled in God’s ways, who live in union with Christ, can not only see God’s handiwork but also make sense of how what God is doing fits into His master plan of transforming the world into His Kingdom. Such insight is usually shocking to the ears of the first two groups.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

God on Earth "How Christians Make Decisions" Acts 1:15-26 Mateen Elass

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Jesus chose twelve apostles for profound theological purposes. One of them defected, as foretold by Scripture. Peter recognizes the need to select a replacement. How is this understanding reached, and how does the early church select the replacement? This text indicates a combination of three elements: Scriptural input; the use of sanctified reason; and a submitted heart as seen in dependency on God to show His direction. These three elements are still crucial for Christians today in discerning the will of God for important decisions.