Thursday, September 12, 2013

Blaming the Blameless (Acts 25)

This week we got all the way through Acts 25.  Starting with Acts 24:27, to remember a little bit of the context, (re-)read Acts 25.  That’s right, you’re going to read the whole chapter, and I’m not going to interrupt you one time.

Like I said last week, the last few chapters in Acts have seemed so repetitive, but it’s not just repetition for the sake of repetition.  The Holy Spirit is layering our understanding as we read (so long as we don’t just skip ahead to the new parts).  Moving on … today we’re going to focus on Acts 25:27.  Paul is about to make his statement before the assembly, and in verses 24-27, Festus (the new governor of the province) explains why they are all there.  It wasn’t for a trial; instead what reason does Festus give in vs. 26?                                                  And here comes verse 27:

“For it seems to me senseless and absurd to send a prisoner and not state the accusations against him.” (Amplified)

Paul was getting closer and closer to his final judgment before the supreme ruler of the Roman empire – Caesar.  Paul’s upcoming judgment day got me thinking about the Day of Judgment promised … prophesied in Scripture.  Let’s look at 1 John 4:17 first.  What does this verse say about how we are (or are not) to approach the Day of Judgment?                                                                                                                                           

Still in 1 John 4:17, what does John say about how this is even possible, i.e. for us to not fear on the Day of Judgment?  Because                                                          so are                        in                               .  Who is the He?                                                           

What does is it mean that we are as Christ is in this world?  Short answer:  it means just what it says.  Long answer:  let’s look at what the Bible says about how Christ is so we can see how we are.

                                                            Jesus Christ                                       Us                               
1 Cor 1:30 (NLT)

2 Cor 5:17

Eph 1:4

Eph 1:7

How is it even possible that we have been made right with God, pure and holy, free from sin (1 Cor 1:30); that we are already new creations (2 Cor 5:17); holy and blameless in His sight (Eph 1:4)?  We’re going to look back at 2 Corinthians 5 for the answer – specifically verse 21.  Go ahead and look there; I’ll be waiting when you’re done.

… On the cross, Christ became as we are – sin, so that we could become as He is –blameless, righteous in the eyes of the Father.  

In Job 1, we see that Satan – the accuser – presents himself “before the Lord” (Job 1:6).  Don’t Satan’s appearance before the Lord and his accusations against people here are earth was an isolated incident.  Revelation 12:10 says that, during the Tribulation period (yet to come), there will be a time when Satan – “the accuser of our brethren who keeps bringing before our God charges against them, day and night” – will be “cast out.”  For now, Satan continues his accusations of us – that is, of you and of me, but, if we have been buried with Christ in baptism and raised with Him to new life (Col 2:12), Satan is in as strong of a position against us as Festus was with Paul.  He can bring our names before God, but because of Jesus Christ, our Advocate (1 John 2:1-2), it is Satan who looks foolish.

Now What?!  Thinking of Christ as our Advocate in heaven, let’s take on our role as His ambassadors here on earth and allow God to make His plea through us, so that this week more of His people can be reconciled back to God, becoming as Christ is in this world (2 Cor 5:17).

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