Title Page. Lesson Eight. Luke 24:46-49. Luke 24:46-49 46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
46 And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day:
47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.
48 And ye are witnesses of these things.
49 And, behold, I send the promise of my Father upon you: but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem, until ye be endued with power from on high.
I Corinthians 15:1-4
1 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand;
2 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain.
3 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;
4 And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures.
But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.
We are challenged and empowered by the Holy Ghost to take the gospel of Jesus Christ to the whole world.
Throughout much of history, huge events that have effected change in the lives of mankind and in the destiny of nations actually began in the proverbial “corner.” Hidden away from the skeptical eyes of the world, the small turn of a wheel brought great reform. Little did anyone realize the vast impact that would occur because of Rosa Parks’ refusal to move to the back of a bus in Montgomery, Alabama, on a cold December evening a half century ago.
Her actions launched a young Montgomery pastor to the forefront of the civil rights movement. It is doubtful that Rosa Parks or Martin Luther King Jr. fully realized on that day into what they were about to enter. Because of her, progress in civil rights not only occurred in Montgomery, but it also swept the nation and encouraged lasting change.
As for small actions having the ability to create large change, there is no way to compare with other world events what occurred with the life and ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ. His three-and-one-half-year ministry is still reaching into the lives of mankind two millennia later. The accusatory question “Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth?” (John 1:46) came from the lips of Nathanael; yet it seemed to be the feeling of the entire country.
Despite the thoughts of the nation, Jesus’ ministry and miracles rose above every detractor, and all will see Him ultimately as the supreme deity (Isaiah 45:23; Romans 14:11; Philippians 2:10). In this lesson, we shall discover how God fulfilled the entire plan of the gospel through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Gospel of Jesus Christ
The gospel of Jesus Christ came in an exclusive manner. The prophets consistently heralded the message that a Messiah would come and serve as a deliverer for the people of God. Though most people did not understand, His purpose was to deliver mankind from sin and to provide redemption and eternal salvation.
This gospel of deliverance does not belong to a person, to a particular denomination, or to a particular group of theological scholars; it belongs to God. No matter what a person’s opinion may be about the gospel, he must ultimately face the fact that sin separated mankind from God. Moreover, mankind would have remained lost without the remedy provided by the Cross.
Some people might consider the gospel to be confrontational or judgmental; however, eternal salvation comes only through Jesus Christ (John 14:6). No other system of beliefs—Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, the New Age movement, or any other—will stand the scrutiny of God. There is only one way to be saved—through the redemptive sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Jesus’ death was foretold in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3:15). Before Adam and Eve ever fell into sinful disobedience in the Garden, God initiated a plan of sacrifice that would require the shedding of blood (Hebrews 9:22; I Peter 1:20; Revelation 13:8). God’s plan for mankind’s redemption initiated a long line of animal sacrifices throughout the history of Israel.
Although God granted no one immunity from offering a sacrifice, He did provide a plan for those whose socio-economic status was under duress. Those who did not have the means for the required sacrifice could use a turtle-dove instead. However, those who enjoyed the wealth and blessings of the land were required to offer a young bullock. God required the sacrifice of a lamb only on the Day of Atonement each year.
The first of the Old Testament patriarchs, Abraham, had to offer a ram on Mount Moriah. When God provided this ram as a substitute offering for the life of Abraham’s son Isaac, He established a pattern that further pointed toward the future finished work of the Cross.
Nothing about God’s plan is accidental. This pattern of blood sacrifices progressed through the law of Moses where the priesthood of Israel offered an untold number of sacrifices for the sins of the people. However, these sacrifices did not remove sin; they only postponed judgment of the sins until an acceptable sacrifice could be made. That ultimate sacrifice would be realized in the shedding of the blood of Jesus Christ.
God chose to work through mankind to accomplish His plan—through the Jews, the Romans, and the Greeks. By the time of Jesus, the Romans were responsible for over thirty thousand deaths by crucifixion. This abhorrent means of execution played a role in the plan of God, for it was destined to be the method of Christ’s death on the cross.
When Joseph of Arimathea finally removed the torn body of Jesus from the cross, the hope of His disciples had collapsed, and they were ready to return to their fishing nets and tax collection tables. Even though the prophet Isaiah had given a detailed prophecy concerning the crucifixion of the Lord (Isaiah 53), they forgot his words in their moments of loss.
Paul revealed to the Galatians that Christ’s work of atonement at Calvary overturned mankind’s curse of sin (Galatians 3:13). Further, at the time of Jesus’ death, a strong symbolic event occurred in the Temple. The veil that kept the Holy of Holies separated from the other areas of the Temple was torn in two—from top to bottom. By this action God opened His grace and mercy to all mankind. (See Hebrews 4:16.)
As the death of the Lord was significant for all mankind, so also was His burial. The writings of Isaiah provided other significant prophecies that further confirmed that Jesus was the Messiah. For instance, see Isaiah 53:9. Isaiah indicated that at the death of the Lord, He would be with a “rich man.”
This prophecy was fulfilled when a wealthy man named Joseph of Arimathea asked Pilate’s permission to take Jesus’ body from the cross. After removing the body, Joseph and Nicodemus prepared it for burial. They wrapped it, along with a mixture of myrrh and aloes, in a clean, white linen shroud. (See John 19:38-42.) The body was buried in Joseph’s own new tomb (Matthew 27:59-60).
The best description of the tomb would be a cave with a large rock that served as a door. After placing the body in the grave, they rolled this huge stone into place. The next day, the religious leaders persuaded Pilate to send soldiers to seal the tomb and to guard it. The religious leaders were aware of the Lord’s word when He predicted His death and subsequent resurrection.
They were concerned that Jesus’ disciples would gain access to the body, steal it, take it to another place, and attempt to convince others that Christ had risen from the grave. (See Matthew 27:62-66.) However, there was nothing counterfeit about the miracle that did occur.
If there were a single event in history that could be noted as the most important, it would have to be the resurrection of Jesus Christ. This event is one of the core doctrines of Christianity. Over the course of history, numerous religious leaders have come and gone, but only One has risen from the dead.
The Bible contains numerous Old Testament prophecies that speak of the resurrection of the Messiah. (See Psalm 49:15; Isaiah 26:19.) When the Lord came out of the grave after fulfilling the “sign of Jonah,” He fulfilled these and other prophecies in Scripture, and He provided the great hope of the gospel. (See Matthew 12:39-40.)
The apostles did not shy away from talking about the Resurrection. In fact, the first sermon of the early church contained important references to the Resurrection (Acts 2:22-24). Peter continued to preach the resurrection of Jesus Christ (Acts 4:10-12; 10:40), and Paul continued in the same mindset (Acts 13:30, 37; 23:6; 26:23; I Corinthians 15:3-4), even filling his epistles with references to the Resurrection (II Corinthians 4:14; Ephesians 1:20; Colossians 2:12). The Resurrection actually serves as the underpinnings for a number of important concepts related to the entire scope of God’s plan for His church and for mankind.
Salvation to Be Preached in the Name of Jesus
Repentance Preachedin Jesus’ Name
Perhaps one of the most difficult things for a person to acknowledge is his own sinfulness.
Every person who has been born comes into the world with the awful specter of sin hanging over his life (Psalm 51:5; Romans 5:12; Ephesians 2:3). Because of the great hold that pride has in the lives of mankind, it often is difficult for a person to admit that without the cleansing blood of Jesus Christ, he would be lost forever.
The earliest message of the apostles included the necessity of repentance in a person’s initial approach to God. What does it really mean to repent? Webster’s Dictionary defines it: “To turn from sin and dedicate oneself to the amendment of one’s life; to feel regret or contrition; or to change one’s mind.”
With bold declaration on the Day of Pentecost, Peter issued a challenge to those who were remorseful for the crucifixion of the Lord and urged them to repent. Repentance takes a person beyond the false concept of easy-believism. Moreover, repentance is essential to salvation (Luke 13:3). It really does matter what one believes about salvation. The continued efforts of many misguided false teachers promote the idea of “tolerance” that in the end will only provide eternal punishment.
Many people reject the idea of repentance because it forces them to make changes in their lifestyle, but it is necessary for salvation. Just as the cross was essential to Jesus Christ in order for Him to provide for man’s redemption, so repentance is essential to any person who desires to receive the provisions of redemption. Christ’s death required self-denial and sacrifice, and so does repentance. (See Matthew 16:24-25.)
Many verses of Scripture provide insight into why repentance is necessary and what it really is.
“Now I rejoice, not that ye were made sorry, but that ye sorrowed to repentance: for ye were made sorry after a godly manner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing. For godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world worketh death.
“For behold this selfsame thing, that ye sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things ye have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter” (II Corinthians 7:9-11).
“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord” (Acts 3:19).
“And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent” (Acts 17:30).
A person should also understand that repentance is more than just an emotional response. Some people may express themselves through tears, but tears do not always signal that true repentance has occurred. A person could possibly shed tears because he has self-pity, and he may not be expressing genuine repentance. However, true repentance exists at a much deeper level where the penitent person comes to understand that his sin is the ruin of his soul.
Remission of Sins Obtained through Baptism in Jesus’ Name
Once a person has repented of his sins, he has to put away his former life, which Scripture sometimes refers to as the “old man.” (See Romans 6:6; Ephesians 4:22.)
Because the “old man” has been crucified with Christ, we must bury him through water baptism in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins. Jesus gave much insight about the new birth to Nicodemus when He explained the necessity of being born of water and of the Spirit. (See John 3:3-5.) To be born of water means to be baptized in water by immersion in the name of Jesus.
God has always required that His people be separate from the rest of the world. He formed a covenant with Abraham, which extended into the law of Moses and required His people to undergo the rite of circumcision. This ritual separated the Jews from every other nation in the world. Paul understood that water baptism was like a spiritual circumcision.
“In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ: 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. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision of your flesh, hath he quickened together with him, having forgiven you all trespasses” (Colossians 2:11-13).
On the Day of Pentecost, the apostle Peter instructed the questioning crowd to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins (Acts 2:38). In every account of water baptism in the Book of Acts, the people were baptized in the name of Jesus. (See Acts 8:12, 16; 10:48; 22:16.) The Scriptures clearly reveal that the authorized method of water baptism in the New Testament is by immersion in Jesus’ name as practiced by the early church.
Holy Ghost Promisedin Jesus’ Name
The death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ make salvation possible, so it is not surprising that they closely relate to the salvation experience—repentance of sins, water baptism by immersion in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and receiving the Holy Ghost with the initial evidence of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance.
It is clear in the Book of Acts that receiving the Spirit baptism was not a single event that happened only at the time of the beginning of the church. Rather, many received the Holy Ghost—those tarrying in the upper room on the Day of Pentecost; the Gentiles in Cornelius’s household; and the disciples of John at Ephesus. Moreover, many people continue to receive the Holy Ghost throughout the world today. The wonderful new-birth experience is available to all who are hungry for a supernatural work of the Spirit in their lives.
The Great Commissionto All Believers
Once the power of the Spirit has filled a believer’s life, the Spirit equips him to overcome sin and to disciple others. (See Acts 1:8; Romans 8:13-14; I Peter 1:3-5; II Peter 1:3-4; I John 4:4.)
Go into All the World
The Holy Ghost is a missionary Spirit. It is crucial during the waning hours before the Rapture that the church should untiringly work to make disciples for the great cause of Jesus Christ. The believer who understands what the Spirit has accomplished in his life will attempt to find every possible opportunity to reach the world with the gospel.
However, there are many obstacles in the North American church that severely hinder evangelistic efforts—apathy, materialism, and self-sufficiency, to name a few. We can evaluate the real kingdom priorities only when we are willing to honestly consider where and how we spend our money and time.
A Bible college instructor often challenged his students about their real concern for the kingdom of God. He said that every person has two books that tell the story of his devotion to God. Those two books are a checkbook and a datebook because they indicate where a person spends his money and his time.
To go into all the world with the gospel of Christ requires sacrifice on the part of a Christian. The apostle Paul was extremely single-minded in his focus when he stated, “This one thing I do” (Philippians 3:13). That one thing required him to press—to give and to make concessions in every aspect of his life. Commitment requires sacrifices in a person’s daily life.
1. First, he must commit to daily prayer. When one establishes an active prayer life, he experiences a continual dialogue with God. However, when an individual attempts to minister to others but does not give himself to prayer, he apparently thinks he is able to produce results with his own abilities. A true believer should avoid this trap at all costs.
A. C. Dixon stated, “When we depend upon organizations, we get what organizations can do; when we depend upon education, we get what education can do; when we depend upon man, we get what man can do; but when we depend upon prayer, we get what God can do.”
2. Second, a believer must commit himself to a focused consciousness of the lost around him. The constant gnawing within the heart of a Spirit-filled person over the spiritual welfare of lost humanity forces him to take action. For him, witnessing to the lost becomes a passion.
We may not win every person that we attempt to reach; however, we should do as the sower in Matthew 13:3-8 who broadcast the seed over the four types of ground. We are to plow, plant, water, and allow God to produce the results.
Preach the Gospelto Every Creature
One aspect of the modern church is that preaching is primarily limited to a pulpit. While this practice is biblical and appropriate, it should not be the only means of reaching multitudes of people with the gospel. Christians who listen to preaching and take much in should then share the apostolic message with the lost outside the church building, thus allowing themselves to be used by God to touch others around them. The lost of our world desperately need to hear the life-giving message of salvation!
Jesus Christ has promised salvation to whosoever will receive it! One should repent of his sins, be baptized in water in Jesus’ name for the remission of sins, and then receive the Holy Spirit with the initial evidence of speaking with other tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance.
Some people relegate the infilling of the Holy Ghost to nothing more than an experience of speaking with tongues. However, so much more accompanies salvation than just this initial experience; the new birth brings joy to a person’s life, gives him hope for the future, illuminates the Word of God within him, and energizes his prayers. Ultimately, a whole change of life accompanies salvation.
Signs Will Follow
One of the most powerful aspects of the salvation experience is that we are empowered by the Holy Spirit to overcome and defeat sin in our lives, which has reigned in mankind since the Garden of Eden. Mark 16:17-18 clearly defines what occurs in the lives of believers as the Spirit empowers them:
3. Protection from Danger. Missionaries are a living testimony to God’s protection from danger. During the years 1997-1999, foreign missionaries Craig and Lyna Sully were serving in the countries of Nigeria, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast. Late one evening, Brother Sully was returning from a series of services with two young national preachers. On their way home, a roadblock set up by the rebels pulled them over and forced them out of their vehicle.
The rebels began attempting to beat them and after slightly injuring them, the rebels instructed them to get back into their vehicle and go their way. As they began pulling the vehicle forward, the rebels again ambushed them with rapid machine-gun fire as they tried to make a hasty exit. Although very much unnerved by the whole affair, they did not fully realize the power of God’s protection until the next morning.
At daylight, Brother Sully looked out the window of his home and noticed bullet holes down the side of the vehicle. He also discovered that a bullet had actually gone through the tire and was rattling around inside the wheel rim and tire. Amazingly, the night before when the bullet had pierced the tire, it did not go flat during their getaway. What a miraculous intervention and provision of divine protection!
4. Sick Shall Recover. Many people have witnessed the miraculous power of God through healing. Local churches can testify to the fact that God has healed both believers and sinners of terminal illnesses and many other diseases—both physical and emotional. God still heals!
The New Testament salvation experience adds much to the life of the believer. Not only does it provide hope for eternity, but it also gives the believer a wonderful life on earth. Further, every Christian becomes an effective emissary of Jesus Christ to accomplish the great cause of furthering the gospel of the kingdom. We should earnestly pursue all the things God has in store for us while we become His valued disciples.