So Peter opened his mouth and said: "Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." -- Acts 10: 34-43 (ESV)
Sometimes we like to major in the minors, as the saying goes. We spend so much time rearranging the deck chairs on the Titanic and never get around to telling anyone the ship is sinking. Or for that matter, where the lifeboats are. Beloved, we hold the keys to the kingdom of heaven in our hands and our hearts and we waste the time instead of redeeming the time. The more I serve in discernment ministries the more I realize that the real church does get it. They understand that the time is drawing to a close here one earth. Precious little time is left. Unfortunately, the vast majority of people in the modern church system are still too busy following false teachers and idol worshipping leaders to realize they are merely playing church. I fear for their very salvation because the purpose driven model churches that many were "saved" in, cannot actually save anyone. That is not presumption beloved. Nor is it supposition, interpretation, or speculation. It is the Bible, plain and simple:
For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. - Romans 1: 16 (ESV)
Therefore I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God. - Acts 20: 26-27 (ESV)
Only the Gospel has the power of God unto the salvation of man. Simplified this means there is no other way for someone to be saved. Your fancy light shows and smoke machines cannot save anyone. Your preaching of sloppy agape love and greasy grace? Nope -- no one will be saved that way. You preaching worldly prosperity and carnal avarice? Sorry but no one will be saved that way. Your experiential Christianity filled with goose bumps and liver shivers? No. Your false signs and lying wonders? No. ONLY the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The Acts verses is Paul saying goodbye to the Ephesian elders and it makes it very plain that if he had held back part of the Gospel then their blood would be on his head. Simplified this means that they would be hell bound and Paul would answer for it because his job was to proclaim the full, unadulterated Gospel. Are we sensing a theme here beloved?
One of the largest distractions the church in this country faces is the extravagance of America. The opulence and luxury. Realize that even the marginally poor in America are royalty compared to other countries in the world where Christianity is punished by death. America is the modern day Sodom. Not only for the erosion of morality but for the sins of Sodom outlined by the Prophet Ezekiel:
Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. -- Ezekiel 16: 49 (ESV)
This is what America is today but the real problem is that the church has morphed into an extension of the world. Do not miss this point because it is crucial to understanding where we are in history. The Bible makes it clear that we were to have no fellowship with darkness. We were to consider ourselves pilgrims and sojourners in this life because our true citizenship is in heaven. We were not supposed to have dual citizenship. Instead though we follow leaders who idolize this country. They have been deluded by Satan, who is the lord of this world, into thinking that they can revive what was never alive. The theories of church growth that sprung out from Rick Warrenisms all teach friendship with the world. They teach young pastors to market their churches to the "unchurched." That means to the goats. So instead of solemnity we have entertainment. Instead of the Gospel we get all of these stripped down, sugared up hybrids that remove any mention of sin, the cross, or sacrifice of any kind. The result is they are not preaching the Gospel as discussed in Romans 1 above. They will not be able to say what Paul said when he left Ephesus. And now, the idolizing America false church has their new messiah in Donald Trump. He has swept into office by the votes of the evangelical base who looked the other way on all of the clear scriptural and moral objections. He is going to make things ok in Sodom again for Christians. We saw this already with his ban on people of the Muslim faith -- who need to hear the Gospel -- while simultaneously making exceptions for Christians. While that sounds good to the ear tickling Christian base it is antithetical to the actual Gospel. You know the one that says we will face persecution. The one that says we will be martyred for our faith. The one that instructs us to love our enemies. You know; the one that is not preached anymore. The false church leadership crowd loved it though. Finally someone is sticking up for "their own." Who cares if it doesn't line up with the Bible? Then came the White House Prayer Breakfast this week and the confirmation from President Trump that he intends to "destroy" the Johnson Amendment.
The false church leaders, like his advisor Paula White, all erupted in glee. That alone should let you know what side you want to be on but let us take a closer look at this repeal promise, which is a full on assault against the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In 1954, then Senator Lyndon Johnson attached this amendment to the tax code which said tax-exempt entities like churches and charitable organizations are unable to directly or indirectly participate in any political campaign for or against any candidate. Specifically, ministers are restricted from endorsing or opposing candidates from the pulpit. To do so risks losing their tax-exempt status. Let us deal with two side issues first. First of all, churches barely adhere to this to begin with. Consider this past election cycle there was a Catholic Church in San Diego that threatened its parishioners with the fires of hell if they voted Democrat. Most pastors have found not so clever ways around this by producing "values voter's guides" that all but pull the lever for the candidate of their choice. So for the most part, churches violate this law every single year, which is odd considering the Biblical instruction to obey the laws of the land. Was there any ambiguity at all this past election who the church leaders pimped as God's choice? Donald Trump was called the new King Cyrus, the second coming of Elijah, and the fulfillment of multiple prophecies. None of it was biblical mind you, but it made for great pressure on Christians.
Secondly, churches should not be in bed with Sodom to begin with. They should not be clinging to their precious tax exempt status as a birthright and start seeing it for what it is truly is; a millstone around their neck. You cannot get into bed with a whore and then act surprised when she asks for money. The question no one is asking then is what should the role of the church be? If you follow leaders from the New Apostolic Reformation they will say that the church has to take over the world by conquering the seven mountains of culture in order to facilitate the second coming of Christ. You know, from no part of the Bible anywhere. The purpose driven churches are so intertwined with the world you cannot tell the difference anymore. So what is the real role? To preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ so that some might be saved out of this world before Christ comes again. Let us reason together and turn to the key verses for today. I chose these because this was a major point of revelation for Peter and I pray it will be for those who may be reading this. This is where Peter realizes the true scope and power of the Gospel. That it is in fact for the Gentiles too. Let us dissect this together and hear what God is saying:
So Peter opened his mouth and said: "Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all),
This is the underpinning of the Gospel beloved. God shows no partiality. He has no bans from any country. In any nation if there be someone who fears Him and does what is acceptable in His sight that person will be saved. That includes the people we have been conditioned to secretly hate. That includes the people we fear the most. Read the end of Acts beloved. When Paul stands before King Agrippa he was facing someone his flesh would have told him to fear. Someone who had the power to set him free. What did Paul do? He preached the Gospel to him! The devil has done a masterful job of convincing the church to fear and loathe the very people who need the Gospel the most. Beloved, He is the Lord of all! Not just America! Even those people we think are barbarians, below us, or unworthy. God loves all and wishes all would come to repentance. This is why no Christian should be supporting the recent ban on Muslims. No Christian. You can dress up your excuses all you like but they will be as fragile as clay pottery when you stand before Christ to explain them. The good news is that of peace through Jesus Christ and we keep it from people. Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for shutting the doors of the kingdom in the faces of those who would seek it. We do that every time we support a false gospel that cannot save anyone or a false messiah selling us carnal pseudo-piety as Christian prosperity. Next in the key verses, Peter reminds us all what is the Gospel:
you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him. And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead.
These are the essential elements of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The preaching of which will lead the Spirit to draw the unregenerate heart to the foot of the cross. It is not built upon self-help because we cannot help ourselves. It is not built upon carnal motivation because the heart is always desperately wicked and in rebellion towards God. The Gospel is built not upon anything to do with us and everything to do with Jesus. His life. His ministry. His miracles. The fact that God was with Him and anointed Him. The fact that He healed people and set them free from the oppression of the devil. The Gospel is also that He died. That He died a sinner's death on the cross after a sinless life. Please do not miss this because without it you miss the entire point of the Gospel. It is not a warm and fuzzy story. You can I both were separated from God through our sin. Jesus reconciled back to the Father and the promise of eternal life through faith in Christ and the work of the cross. Without it there is no salvation. Going to a steepled building each Sunday to sing about how much of a friend you are to God will not save you. Neither will listening to a vision casting charismatic speaker tell you how much the Bible is about you, when it is actually about Him. The next important facet of the Gospel is that He rose on the third day! Jesus Christ defeated death and the grave! People who witnessed His gruesome death were also witnesses to Him being risen after. He has overcome this world beloved for both you and I. The key verses conclude.
And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name." -- Acts 10: 34-43 (ESV)
So what are we to do with such powerful and glorious information? We are to tell the world. Not how to behave better. Not to force them to act like they believe what we believe. Look at the three elements here we are to preach to the lost and think if this is what you see and hear in churches every week. The first thing is the premise of the Gospel. We are to tell them that judgment is coming. That's not very seeker friendly! Judgment is coming and Jesus Christ is the final judge. Without this aspect, Christianity becomes a Tony Robbins Seminar with better stagecraft and music. Secondly, there is the witness of the Gospel. We are to preach the inerrancy of Scripture. That is what it means when it says the Prophets bear witness. We do not rely upon human cunning and craftiness beloved. Our information is irrefutable. Our God is unchanging and our King is unmovable. We do not need new gospels, direct revelation preachers, or expositing anything carnal from this world. We have the Word of God and it bears witness to the Christ. From Genesis through Revelation it is all about Jesus Christ. The third thing is the promise of the Gospel. That for those who believe in Him receive forgiveness of their sins through His name. You are not forgiven because you go to a big church and your pastor writes a lot of books. The premise is the law. The witness is the proof. The promise is the grace. You do not get one without all three. You cannot preach one without all three. All law is legalism. All grace is antinomianism, which is what Joseph Prince preaches. The witness is what balances them out. That is why doctrine is crucial to the Gospel. Without sound doctrine you wander off into extremes and there is no salvation there beloved. So I ask you a simple question now. Is this what you hear every week at church?