Sunday, March 31, 2013

Resurrection Sunday 2013

Resurrection Sunday
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |


Isaiah 53
Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by mankind, a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces he was despised, and we held him in low esteem.

Surely he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted.

But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.

We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way;
and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

He was oppressed and afflicted, yet he did not open his mouth; he was led like a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent, so he did not open his mouth.

By oppression and judgment he was taken away. Yet who of his generation protested?
For he was cut off from the land of the living; for the transgression of my people he was punished.

He was assigned a grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death, though he had done no violence, nor was any deceit in his mouth.

10 Yet it was the Lord’s will to crush him and cause him to suffer, and though the Lord makes his life an offering for sin, he will see his offspring and prolong his days,
    and the will of the Lord will prosper in his hand.

11 After he has suffered, he will see the light of life and be satisfied; by his knowledge my righteous servant will justify many, and he will bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore I will give him a portion among the great, and he will divide the spoils with the strong, because he poured out his life unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors. For he bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.
a.      Today is NOT about Ishtar
i.       She was the Assyrian/Babylonian goddess of fertility, war, love and sex

ii.    This is why the Pagan holiday “Easter” is celebrated with bunnies, which are symbolic of reproduction, and eggs, which are a symbolic of fertility.

iii. Although Ishtar worship has been around for approximately 4,500 years, only 1 of the many days of Ishtar worship actually come near to the day of Passover.

iv.   CONTRARY to Pagan claims, today is NOT a Pagan holiday taken over by a “new” faith as one of their own, but rather, a HOLY DAY which just happened to take place during one of the many Pagan days that fill the calendar.

b.     It IS the PASSOVER
i.       Leviticus 23:5 specifies that the festival year begins with Passover, on the fourteenth day of the month (Nisan 15).

ii.    In both the Old Testament and the New Testament, Passover is the Feast of Salvation.

iii. Jews receiving Salvation from Egypt after the death of the firstborn, and the blood of the lamb as a covering, and in the New Covenant, salvation from sin after the death of the Firstborn of God, and the Lamb's blood which does not cover, but cleanses.

iv.   Today, we mark our bodies (the house of the spirit” with the blood of Christ.

v.      Today is a celebration of Salvation!

c.      Today is a promise of God fulfilled!
i.       Man's relationship with God was broken because of sin

ii.    Through the atonement of Christ's sacrifice at Passover, He brought us a NEW COVENANT, purchased with His blood

iii. ANYONE who drinks of this cup, can receive the New Covenant with God, through Christ Jesus, and once again, be in fellowship with our Father in heaven.

a.      Through prophecies
i.       Such as Isaiah 53

ii.    There are literally thousands of prophecies concerning Jesus, which He fulfilled, proving He was the Christ

iii. The Old Testament teaches of Jesus, and the coming New Testament

iv.   Remember, the Testaments are COVENANTS (agreements made with God)

b.     And God showed His people through example (or foreshadowing)
i.       Prophecies told of what was to come, and have been fulfilled by Christ, but foreshadowing SHOWED the people what was to come!

ii.    God showed what He was going to do to bring Salvation to His people and renew the relationship that had been broken because of sin, by saving the Jews from Egypt.

iii. This foreshadowed what Christ would accomplish.

c.      Finally, God not only gave prophecies to be fulfilled by Christ, and foreshadowing to SHOW what Christ would accomplish, but Jesus taught before the Cross of what His mission was, and what OUR mission would be once He left.

a.      Celebrate it as a feast of God!
i.       Not as a ritual, rather a feast in honoring God's Salvation

b.     Remember it!
i.       As the Israelites were instructed to do, teach it to our young, so the next generation will know what God has done!

c.      Many want to celebrate Christmas as Jesus' birthday, yet;
i.       We know from scripture Jesus was not born in December

ii.    We were NEVER told in scripture to celebrate Jesus' birth
iii. And Jesus Himself told us in scripture to CELEBRATE HIS DEATH!

a.      At the Passover feast, the night Jesus was taken into custody, he celebrated with the Disciples, and had the “Last Supper”, and during the breaking of bread, and the drinking of the cup into the New Covenant, Jesus told them “EVERYTIME you do this, do this in remembrance of me”

b.     Jesus told them, every “communion”, as we call it, every breaking of bread, celebrate the Passover, Jesus' death!

c.      Why?  Because it is ONLY through His atoning sacrifice that we have a New Covenant, which Jesus told us was purchased with His blood, which was poured out for the remission of sins, and His body, which was broken for you and me, on PASSOVER.

i.       Not Christmas

ii.    Isn't that blasphemous?
a.      no...we need to remember SCRIPTURE!

b.     Jesus said in Matthew 15:3 "why do you break the command of God for the sake of your tradition?"

c.      Jesus then said in Matthew 15:6 "you nullify the word of God for the sake of your tradition."

d.     We need to stop conforming to this world and what it, and tradition teaches, and stick to the SCRIPTURE ALONE!

e.      Romans 12:2 "Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will."

f.       Until you renew your mind, and stop following the patterns of this world, you will NOT be able to know God's will.

It is sometimes frustrating when people come to me with complaints of tradition, which have nothing to do with the Word of God, and want ME to COMPLY...even threatening me with God's hand if I don't.
Well guess what, if it's not scriptural, then the one who makes the empty threats in God's name is the one who needs to repent.

So, TODAY, Passover, a celebration of Salvation for God's people!

Let us celebrate PASSOVER today!  Resurrection Sunday!

Feast with family and friends, give thanks, accept the New Covenant with God the Father, through Jesus Christ, and HONOR the Lord, by LIVING the Great Commission of Jesus Christ!

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!

Sunday, March 17, 2013

From Acts to Revelation Part 68 – Paul's Trial

From Acts to Revelation
Part 68  – Paul's Trial
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

Paul was found in the Temple, with 4 other Jew's, who had vowed to take the Nazerite vow with Paul.

The Jews began accusing him with lies, saying he brought Gentiles into the Temple (which was forbidden), and he was preaching and teaching against Moses and the Temple, and they began to beat him to death.

The Roman guards came, saving Paul's life, arresting him, but allowing him to speak to the crowd in Aramaic. Paul explains to them how God lead him from being a Zealot, to following Jesus, the Messiah, and how God had called him to preach the Gospel to the Gentiles, which caused them to riot once more.

Paul was taken by the guards to be beaten, when they discover he is a Roman citizen.

So they take him before the Sanhedrin to figure out "why" the Jews are rioting over him, and another argument breaks out in the Sanhedrin, with the Pharisees taking Paul's side, and the Sadducees turning on him.

The Captain of the Roman Guard decides to take Paul to see Governor Felix, where Paul was kept in Herod's Palace Jail until his trial.

Today, we will see how we are judged in this world by powers who reign in the land, how accusers will attack us and our reputation with lies and twisted facts, and how we must endure, and withstand the wiles of the devil, and his constant attacks.

Five days later the high priest Ananias went down to Caesarea with some of the elders and a lawyer named Tertullus, and they brought their charges against Paul before the governor. When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented his case before Felix: “We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation. Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude. But in order not to weary you further, I would request that you be kind enough to hear us briefly.
“We have found this man to be a troublemaker, stirring up riots among the Jews all over the world. He is a ringleader of the Nazarene sect and even tried to desecrate the temple; so we seized him. [7] [a] By examining him yourself you will be able to learn the truth about all these charges we are bringing against him.”
The other Jews joined in the accusation, asserting that these things were true.

I.       THE TRIAL
a.      Paul sits in Jail
i.       Inside a cell in Herod's Temple, awaiting his trial

ii.    Paul has to wait for the High Priest Ananias
a.      Remember, Ananias is a corrupt Sadducee who is later assassinated by the Jewish sect, the Zealots, for his constant undercover deals with the Romans.

iii. Paul is also awaiting a select group of Sadducee accusers, and an orator named Tertullus.

b.     Turtullus is as corrupt as his leader, Ananias
i.       He serves as the Prosecutor for the Jews

ii.    So, he was essentially, a corrupt prosecutor

iii. Crooked as a Virginia fence

c.      Many times in our lives, we are attacked, and accused
i.       Most attacks come from those who are corrupt, wicked or evil, who DO NOT WANT THE BIBLE TO BE TRUE!

ii.    When you, and your faith is attacked, they are not actually attacking you, rather, they are attacking the very Word of God, and what the Bible says is Truth.

iii. We need to remember that, when we are attacked, the battle is not ours, but the Lord's!

a.      Tertullus the Orator
i.       While the name, "Tertullus" was Roman, it wasn't uncommon for Jews and Greeks to take Roman names, so Tertullus may not have been a Roman.

ii.    And while Tertullus speaks from a Jewish perspective, it wasn't uncommon for orators/lawyers to speak directly from the perspective of their clients, so Tertullus wasn't necessarily a Jew either.

iii. Regardless of his nationality, Tertullus had been deemed best able to present Ananias and company's case against Paul.

b.     Why didn't Ananias present the case himself?
i.       Since this was a Roman trial, Ananias may have wanted to take no chances regarding Roman trial law and protocols. It was probably also conducted in Latin, which would have been Ananias' second language at best.

c.      Tertullus begins throwing out accusations and accuses both Paul and Rome

a.      First comes the official "blowing of smoke"
i.       Tertullus begins by praising Governor Felix

ii.     "When Paul was called in, Tertullus presented his case before Felix: “We have enjoyed a long period of peace under you, and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation. Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude. But in order not to weary you further, I would request that you be kind enough to hear us briefly."

a.      "Enjoyed a long period of peace under you" - True? If so, 470 Roman soldiers wouldn't have been needed to protect the transfer of one prisoner. Judea was a hotbed of simmering rebellion that often boiled over, not a place of great peace.

b.     " ...and your foresight has brought about reforms in this nation." - True? If so, Paul's companions wouldn't have had to bring famine relief donations for the church in Jerusalem.
c.      "Everywhere and in every way, most excellent Felix, we acknowledge this with profound gratitude." - What? Paul had been sent to Caesarea because the Jews had plotted to kill Paul in Jerusalem, which would have required them to fight against and probably kill the Roman soldiers protecting Paul.

d.     "...most excellent Felix..." - Was he? Marcus Antonius Felix was originally a slave from Cilicia, Paul's home province, but had gained his freedom thanks to his brother, Marcus Antonius Pallas, a freedman well-liked by Emperor Claudius. As Felix' political fortunes rose, so did his reputation for corruption, cruelty and lusts. He governed Judea from 52 AD to 60 AD with "the power of a king but the mind of a slave", according to Tacitus, the Roman historian.

b.     Tertullus was trying to butter up the judge
i.       In Roman court, it was customary for orators to start with flattery to win the favor of the judge. In this case, however, Tertullus' flattery may also have been made and/or received with a veiled threat against the peace of the region, should Felix not side with the Jews.

ii.    Threatening the judge in court, usually does not work in your favor

c.      Now the accusations against Paul begin to fly

i.       He profaned the Temple
a.      To the contrary, he spent almost seven days in it in ritual purification.

ii.    We were already judging him according to our law
a.      "They were seeking to kill him" (Acts 21:31) contrary to their law.

iii. YOUR soldiers took him with GREAT VIOLENCE
a.      He took Paul from their great violence against him.

iv.   Paul is a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes
a.      Because Jesus grew up in Nazareth, the Jews called Christian "the sect of the Nazarenes" in derogation.

Today, we saw how we are judged in this world by powers who reign in the land, how accusers attack us and our reputation with lies and twisted facts, and how we are to endure, and withstand the wiles of the devil, and his constant attacks.

We have a judge, and He is not of this earth. We have accusers around the corner, but do not fear them, in this life, God will give us all we need to survive, and thrive, while we obey Him, and fulfill our calling, in His Holy Name!

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!