Jesus: “The One who sent Me is with Me; He has not abandoned Me because I always do what pleases Him.”
We are witnesses to these things.
There is another witness, too—the Holy Spirit—whom God has given to all who choose to obey Him.
By definition, an apostle of God is a messenger of God – even Jesus Christ is referred to in this way:
“Therefore, holy brethren, who share in a heavenly call, consider Jesus, the apostle and high priest of our confession. He [see The Logos] was faithful to Him [see The Father] Who appointed Him.” (Hebrews 3:1-2 RSV)
“Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent Me, even so I send you.” (John 20:21 RSV)
“The robber comes only to steal and to kill and to destroy. I came so they might have life, a great full life.” (Jesus speaking in John 10:10)
This ending point becomes the starting point for Luke’s sequel, known as the Acts of the Apostles.
The story isn’t really over; it’s just begun.
The life and ministry of Jesus that Luke has just recounted is the mustard-seed stage of the kingdom of God that continues to grow and grow and grow.
Now it’s time for this Kingdom to fill the world.
If Luke’s Gospel is about what Jesus began to do and teach, then Luke’s sequel is about what the risen Jesus continues to do and teach through His followers for millennia. Luke writes in hope that future believers will be taken up into this beautiful story that will never, ever end.
Pleasing the Lord means doing His Will by living in the light of His Word. Those who do what their sinful old selves want to do cannot please God. (Romans 8:8)
God is a God of peace. He raised our Lord Jesus from the dead. Jesus is the Good Shepherd of the sheep. His blood made the New Way of Worship which will last forever. May God give you every good thing you need so you can do what He wants.
May He do in us what pleases Him through Jesus Christ. May Christ have all the shining-greatness forever! Let it be so. Christian brothers, I beg of you to listen to these words that will help you. (Hebrews 13:20-22)
So that you will live the kind of lives that prove you belong to the Lord. Then you will want to please Him in every way as you grow in producing every kind of good work by this knowledge about God. (Colossians 1:10)
So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live your lives in Him. (Colossians 2:6
So we make it our goal to please Him, whether we are at home in the body or away from it. (2 Corinthians 5:9)
Not So much what we do, but why we do it.
No matter what, never betray His trust; get over “it” and keep walking in His will. This is how we overcome.
God can pour on the blessings in astonishing ways so that you’re ready for anything and everything, more than just ready to do what needs to be done. As one psalmist puts it,
He throws caution to the winds,
giving to the needy in reckless abandon.
His right-living, right-giving ways
never run out, never wear out.
This most generous God who gives seed to the farmer that becomes bread for your meals is more than extravagant with you. He gives you something you can then give away, which grows into full-formed lives, robust in God, wealthy in every way, so that you can be generous in every way, producing with us great praise to God.
Carrying out this social relief work involves far more than helping meet the bare needs of poor Christians. It also produces abundant and bountiful thanksgivings to God. This relief offering is a prod to live at your very best, showing your gratitude to God by being openly obedient to the plain meaning of the Message of Christ. You show your gratitude through your generous offerings to your needy brothers and sisters, and really toward everyone. Meanwhile, moved by the extravagance of God in your lives, they’ll respond by praying for you in passionate intercession for whatever you need. Thank God for this gift, His gift. No language can praise it enough! (2 Corinthians 9:8-15)
If the way you live isn’t consistent with what you believe, then it’s wrong.
Any action not consistent with faith is sin.
Be true to your convictions and act from faith. For whatever does not originate and proceed from faith is sin (
whatever is done without a conviction of its approval by God is sinful). (Romans 14:23)
So finally, brothers and sisters, in the name of our Lord Jesus, we ask you, we beg you to remember what we have taught you: live a life that is pleasing to God as you are already doing. Yes, we urge you to keep living and thriving in that life! For you know the instructions we gave you, instructions that came through the Lord Jesus. Now this is God’s will for you: set yourselves apart and live holy lives; avoid polluting yourselves with sexual defilement. Learn how to take charge over your own body, maintaining purity and honor. Don’t let the swells of lustful passion run your life as they do the outsiders who don’t know God. Don’t violate or take advantage of a fellow believer in such matters. As we told you before and warned you: the Lord will settle the score with anyone who does these things. Here’s why: God does not call us to live impure, adulterous, scandalous lives, but to seek holiness and purity. If you ignore this message, then you’re not only rejecting us but you’re rejecting God, the One who has given His Holy Spirit to live in you.
Paul uses the language of a loving faith family reaching out to others. (1 Thessalonians 4:1-8)
For we speak as messengers approved by God to be entrusted with the Good News. Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts. (1Thessalonians 2:4)
The king’s heart is like channels of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He wishes.
Every man’s way is right in his own eyes, But the LORD weighs the hearts.
To do righteousness and justice Is desired by the LORD more than sacrifice. (Proverbs 21:1-3)
The Eternal One is high above it all; for that is where He lives;
He will fill Zion (that heaven on earth) with justice and all manner of doing right.
God will be what holds things together, fast and firm during these times.
He will be boundless salvation, the roots and fruits of wisdom and knowledge.
Zion’s most precious possessionis the people’s awe-filled respect of the Eternal. (Isaiah 33:5-6)
“A son naturally honors his father and a slave respects his master.”
“If I am your father, where is My honor? If I am your master, where is My respect?“
The LORD who rules over all asks you this. (Malachi 1:6)
“Why do you call Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say?” (Luke 6:46)
Brothers and sisters, it doesn’t make any sense to say you have faith and act in a way that denies that faith.
Mere talk never gets you very far, and a commitment to Jesus only in words will not save you.
It would be like seeing a brother or sister without any clothes out in the cold and begging for food, andsaying,
“Shalom, friend, you should get inside where it’s warm and eat something,” but doing nothing about his needs—leaving him cold and alone on the street. What good would your words alone do? The same is true with faith. Without actions, faith is useless.
By itself, it’s as good as dead. I know what you’re thinking: “OK, you have faith. And I have actions. Now let’s see your faith without works, and I’ll show you a faith that works.”
Don’t you realize that faith without works is useless, like a glove without a hand or a hat without a head?
Do you think that just believing there’s one God is going to get you anywhere?
The demons believe that, too, and it terrifies them!
The fact is, faith has to show itself through works performed in faith.
If you don’t recognize that, then you’re an empty soul.
Wasn’t our father Abraham made right with God by laying his son Isaac on the altar?
The faith in his heart was made known in his behavior. In fact, his commitment was perfected by his obedience.
That’s what Scripture means when it says, “Abraham entrusted himself to God, and God credited him with righteousness.”
And living a faithful life earned Abraham the title of “God’s friend.” Just like our father in the faith, we are made right with God through good works, not simply by what we believe or think.
Even Rahab the prostitute was made right with God by hiding the spies and aiding in their escape.
Removing action from faith is like removing breath from a body. All you have left is a corpse.
But Christ is not dead, He’s ALIVE! EVERY FACT IS TO BE CONFIRMED BY THE TESTIMONY OF TWO OR THREE WITNESSES.
A matter must be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses. (Deuteronomy 19:15)
But if they will not listen, take one or two others along, so that ‘every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.’ (Matthew 18:16)
Remember the two heavenly messengers who spoke to Mary at the empty tomb?
“Why are you seeking the living One in the place of the dead? He is not here. He has risen from the dead.
Don’t you remember what He told you way back in Galilee?
He told you that the Son of Man must be handed over to wicked men, He must be crucified,
and then on the third day He must rise. (Luke 24:6-7)
Didn’t it have to be this way? Didn’t the Anointed One have to experience these sufferings in order to come into His glory?
If you are wondering if your faith is authentic, take a look at your life. Are you doing what is right?
The one persisting in sin belongs to the diabolical one, who has been all about sin from the beginning.
That is why the Son of God came into our world:
to destroy the plague of destruction inflicted on the world by the diabolical one.
(1 John 3:8)
Jesus said that He always did the things that pleased His Father. What a great example for us to follow.
One final word, friends. We ask you—urge is more like it—that you keep on doing what we told you to do to please God, not in a dogged religious plod, but in a living, spirited dance. You know the guidelines we laid out for you from the Master Jesus. God wants you to live a pure life.
Keep yourselves from sexual promiscuity.
Learn to appreciate and give dignity to your body, not abusing it, as is so common among those who know nothing of God.
Don’t run roughshod over the concerns of your brothers and sisters. Their concerns are God’s concerns, and he will take care of them. We’ve warned you about this before. God hasn’t invited us into a disorderly, unkempt life but into something holy and beautiful—as beautiful on the inside as the outside.
If you disregard this advice, you’re not offending your neighbors; you’re rejecting God, who is making you a gift of his Holy Spirit.
Regarding life together and getting along with each other, you don’t need me to tell you what to do. You’re God-taught in these matters. Just love one another! You’re already good at it; your friends all over the province of Macedonia are the evidence. Keep it up; get better and better at it.
Stay calm; mind your own business; do your own job. You’ve heard all this from us before, but a reminder never hurts.
We want you living in a way that will command the respect of outsiders, not lying around sponging off your friends.
(1 Thessalonians 4:1-12)
We’ve been waiting for You, Eternal One, to come and shower us with grace.
In the morning, be our strength; in times of trouble, be what saves us.
This portrait of the early church as an unselfish community is captivating and inspiring. It presents a challenge for many followers of the Anointed One who want to show sacrificially their love to Him and His church. Many today wonder how to translate this into a modern culture so shaped by consumerism and self-interest, but no translation is necessary. These problems weren’t foreign to the early community. In contrast to the generosity and sincerity of some like Barnabas, Luke now explains that others gave not out of love, but out of a desire to be honored by the community.
Free At Last, Sins Forgiven
So live your life in such a way that acknowledges that one day you will be judged. But the law that judges also gives freedom, although you can’t expect to be shown mercy if you refuse to show mercy. But hear this: mercy always wins against judgment! Thank God!
Paul describes the root of salvation; a person is saved by God’s grace received through faith. James is explaining the fruit of salvation; saving faith is a faith that works.
An Ounce of Grace Can Overcome a World of Hurt
Ah, you will see for yourself the beauty of the One who rules over all.
Your eyes will take in a land that stretches far beyond the horizon.
You will think back on the terror you experienced:
“Where is the officer who counted the plunder, weighed out our taxes, and calculated our defenses?”
You will no longer see rude and arrogant people in charge of the city,
and you will no longer have to listen to their strange babbling and incomprehensible muttering.
Ah, just look at Zion! The city where we celebrate,
where we make our God-appointed feasts.
You’ll see a Jerusalem at peace, untroubled, undisturbed,
like a permanent tent with stakes driven deep and ropes that never break.
There, the Eternal, so splendid and regal,
will be for us a place of broad rivers and wide canals.
No large boats will pass through them—no mighty ships will sail their waters.
For the Eternal One is our Judge; He has prescribed our laws;
He rules over us, and He is the One who will save us.
You who try to sail in will be unable,
as if your lines are limp, your mast is wobbly, and your sails are furled.
The spoils in your hold will be divided among the deserving.
Even those who can hardly walk will take what you had taken.
And nobody who lives in God’s city will say he doesn’t feel well.
For everyone will be washed clean and forgiven for their wrongdoing.
The Word Became Flesh
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In Him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. (John 1;1-4)
You killed the author of life, but God raised Him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. (Acts 3:15)
And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death– even death on a cross!
—And the Scripture was fulfilled that is saying, ‘And with lawless ones He was numbered.’
God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us,
So that in Him we might become the righteousness of God.
(2 Corinthians 5:21)
So I will give Him a share among the mighty, and He will divide the prize with the strong, because He poured out his life in death and He was counted with sinners. He carried the sins of many. He intercedes for those who are rebellious.
So Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and He will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for Him. (Hebrews 9:28)
The scroll John eats is taken from the hand of the powerful messenger who announces the fulfillment of all the prophecies. Just as it did for the Old Testament prophet Ezekiel (2:8–3:4), the scroll represents the message John is required to proclaim; but first he must take it in and it must become a part of him. Initially it tastes sweet, but as it settles deep within him, it becomes bitter. God’s message is always bittersweet. It is sweet joy for those who turn to God, but bitter sadness for those who do not accept it.
Then I received a measuring rod. It resembled a staff, and I was commanded to take measurements.
A Voice: Get up, and measure the temple of God, the altar, and those who worship in it. However, do not measure the court outside of the temple. Separate that area out because it has been handed over to the nations. They will trample over the holy city for 42 months. I will authorize my two witnesses to prophesy for 1,260 days dressed in sackcloth, the clothes that mourners wear.
These two witnesses are the two olive trees and two lampstands standing in front of the Lord of the earth. If anyone wishes to harm the witnesses, fire spews out of the witnesses’ mouths and consumes their foe in flames. Anyone who wishes to harm them is destined to die this way. They have the authority to shut up the sky so that no rain may fall during the time of their prophecies. They also have authority to turn the waters into blood and to strike the earth with any plague whenever they desire.
The two witnesses bear a striking resemblance to the faithful prophets of Israel and the faithful martyrs of the churches. Together they stand speaking God’s message as the nations rant and rave and trample the holy city.
The lampstands, which signify the churches, are not the light, but they welcome the light and present it to the world.
The olive tree, even today, is a symbol of Israel.
Olive trees supply the oil for the lamps so that they may burn brightly in the darkness.
For a season, the two witnesses enjoy God’s protection, but a time is coming when they will fall victim to the nations and then lie silent.
On the day they finish their testimony, the beast from the abyss will declare war on them and win victory by killing them. Their dead bodies will lie in the street of the great city (which, spiritually speaking, is called Sodom and Egypt) where their Lord was crucified. For three and a half days, representatives of the peoples and ethnicities, languages and nations stare down at their lifeless bodies and refuse them a proper burial. Because these two prophets tormented the earth dwellers by speaking God’s message, the people will rejoice over their dead bodies and celebrate their deaths by exchanging gifts with one another.
At the end of the three and a half days, the spirit of life that comes from God entered their corpses, raising them, and they stood again on their feet. Those who looked on were terrified by what they saw. Then they heard a great voice from heaven.
A Voice: Come up here!
Their enemies watched the spectacle as the witnesses ascended into heaven in a cloud.
In that same hour, a great earthquake shook the earth causing one-tenth of the city to crumble into dust, and 7,000 people were killed in the earthquake. Then the rest who were left alive, quaking in fear, turned and glorified the God of heaven.
The second disaster has passed; watch as the third disaster comes quickly.
The seventh messenger sounded his trumpet, and great voices in heaven confessed:
Voices from Heaven: The kingdom of the world has given way to the kingdom of our Lord
and of His Anointed One.
He will reign throughout the ages.
When the seventh messenger blows his trumpet, the kingdom of this world comes to an end. The rule and reign of God and His Anointed has arrived in full to eclipse the rogue kings who rebelled against the Creator and mocked His good name. God’s kingdom entered our world in the incarnation, death, and resurrection of Jesus. It slipped in almost unnoticed beneath the noses of the powers that be. It grows silently as a seed in the earth until it fills the cosmos.
Today Christians live between the times: we live as aliens and strangers rescued from this present darkness, but we also live as citizens who long for the Kingdom that is to come. Until then we are to seek His kingdom and help carve out the territories for Him.
Then the twenty-four elders, who sit before God on their thrones, fell prostrate and worshiped God.
24 Elders: We give You thanks, Lord God, the All Powerful,
who is and who was.
For You have wielded Your great power
and have begun Your reign.
The nations have raged against You,
but Your wrath has finally come.
It is now time to judge all of the dead,
To give a just reward to Your servants, the prophets,
and to the saints and all who honor Your name,
both the small and the great,
And to destroy those who cause destruction to the earth.
Then God’s temple in heaven was opened up, and His covenant chest could be seen within His temple. Lightning flashed all around. Noises and thunder rumbled. The earth trembled. Heavy hailstones fell from the sky.
A Call to Persevere
…But you, beloved, building yourselves up on your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting anxiously for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to eternal life. And have mercy on some, who are doubting.
(Jude 1:20-22) May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.
(2 Corinthians 13:14) The Lord has risen indeed! It’s true!
Jesus: I’ve been telling you this all along, that everything written about Me in the Hebrew Scriptures must be fulfilled—everything from the law of Moses to the prophets to the psalms.
Then He opens their minds so they can comprehend the meaning of the Hebrew Scriptures.
Jesus: This is what the Scriptures said: that the promised Anointed One should suffer and rise from the dead on the third day, that in His name a radical change of thought and life should be preached, and that in His name the forgiveness of sins should be preached, beginning in Jerusalem and extending to all nations. You have witnessed the fulfillment of these things. So I am sending My Father’s promise to you. Stay in the city until you receive it—until power from heaven comes upon you. (Luke 24:44-49)
—While we wait for the blessed hope–the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ. (Titus 2:13)
—As you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming. That day will bring about the destruction of the heavens by fire, and the elements will melt in the heat. (2 Peter 3:12)