THE DIVINE NATURE

By

Shelby G. Floyd

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The Bible teaches that there is just one God, but this one Godhead involves three distinct persons—identified as the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit: “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one” (Mark 12:29).

Christ Is the Bodily Fullness of the Godhead

Paul declares that in Christ “dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily” (Colossians 2:9). That is why Jesus said to Philip, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father” (John 14:9). Jesus Christ existed eternally as “the Word,” but was historically made flesh and lived among the human family (John 1:1-4; 1:14).

In several scriptures the first person of the Godhead is even called “God the Father” (Romans 15:6; 1 Corinthians 8:6; 2 Corinthians 1:2-3). Great is this mystery of godliness that has been revealed unto us (Colossians 2:2; 1 Timothy 3:16).

One God—Three Persons

All three persons are mentioned together in such a way as to indicate that they share the same nature—deity (Matthew 28:18-20; 2 Corinthians 13:14; Ephesians 4:4-6). After the baptism of Jesus, the Holy Spirit came upon him in the form of a dove; the Father was in heaven and endorsed his Son as being well pleasing. This is a clear illustration of the three distinct persons who shared the divine nature.

There are several independent lines of proof that Jesus was the divine Son of God. (1) John the Baptist gave testimony to this fact (John 1:32-34; 5:32-35). (2) The works of benevolence that Jesus did testify to his deity (John 5:36; Matthew 11:4-6). (3) The miracles of Jesus prove who he claimed to be. (John 20:30-31; 1 John 5:7-8). We serve an awesome God!

Copyright © 2021 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142

Communion–Sunday Worship

By

Shelby G. Floyd

Good to see all of you today. A lot of you have come out to honor your mothers after our worship today and that is wonderful. We have a lot of great mothers in this congregation and you know Almighty God chose a young Jewish maiden to bring his only begotten, and beloved Son into this world. So God honors mothers and we do also!

Last night I called Jim and left a message for him. I asked do you have an upbeat song service for tomorrow? This morning I asked again. Do you have an upbeat song service, and he said, well, I am going to sing everything slow! But Jim did a great job and let me tell you the song leader has a lot to do with the with how the preaching goes over, because it can put you in an uplifting mood and we appreciate our song leaders.

The New Testament clearly outlines the essentials of worship. There is no doubt about that. These are communion, the contribution, prayer, preaching and singing. It really is that simple. In matters of judgment or incidentals, the New Testament does not have a whole lot to say. That indicates that God specifies what he wants us to do in worship and then to some extent He leaves it up to us as how we expedite it or carry it out. Therefore we are not to unloose what God has commanded and we are not to command what he has unloosed. So this is the third sermon that I have prepared to present on Acts 2:42, which is a statement that Luke records immediately after the church was established and after 3000 people were baptized into Jesus Christ. Acts 2:42 says they continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine or teaching, fellowship or the contribution, the breaking of bread—that is the communion, and prayer. So the first sermon was on prayer. The early church was a praying church. They started out that way, and the early church listened and abided by the apostles teaching or doctrine, and the early church took up a weekly contribution and the early church broke bread every Sunday, every first day of the week. And I plan to establish that proposition this morning.

JESUS ESTABLISHED HIS OWN MEMORIAL BEFORE HIS DEATH
Now Clay read that wonderful scripture from Matthew 26:26 through 30 where Jesus instituted the Lord’s supper. But where and when did he do that? It was the Last Supper, and it is not called the Last Supper for no reason at all. The Last Supper was the last Jewish supper that would ever be observed scripturally by God’s people. It had served its purpose. Every time they took the Last Supper, they were reminded of their bondage down in Egypt and how Moses was sent down there to bring them out of that bondage and lead them to the promised land. So Jesus took some elements of the Last Supper and He instituted or inaugurated the Lord’s Supper. And so in the Bible it is called the Lord’s Supper and the Bible even uses the Lord’s Day and the Lord’s Table! This is because we usually have a supper on the table! The Lord’s Supper as also called the breaking of bread or communion. Those are the words that the Bible uses to express the Lord’s Supper. Now the people in the world sometimes refer to the Lord’s Supper as the Sacrament or the Eucharist, but we believe it is better to express Bible subjects by Bible language. It is a lot more accurate if we describe Bible things with Bible terms. Therefore, Jesus established the Lord’s Supper at the Last Supper. And the Jerusalem church began by observing the Lord’s Supper steadfastly every first day of the week. They continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine. That is the apostles teaching, fellowship, the breaking of bread and prayer.

Now it does not mention singing because the New Testament was progressively revealed to us. It was not revealed all in one day. It took about 60 years and the New Testament was not completed until about 95 A.D. And then the bible was closed and Jude said the faith was once delivered (Jude 3), and that means it never needs to be repeated. We are not going to have any new revelations since the end of the first century! From the beginning, the Lord’s supper was observed on the first day of the week.

Now Buzz Aldrin took communion on the moon. I pointed out to you the last time I spoke, that Jesus in his conversation with the woman at the well said the time is coming when neither in this mountain nor at Jerusalem shall men worship the Father. He added that our God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and truth. So the place in Jerusalem was not the only place that people could worship. We can worship anywhere in spirit and truth!

And we have an example with Buzz Aldrin taking communion on the moon on Sunday, July 20, 1969. I really am thankful that we had a man like Buzz Aldrin, who had the courage and the faith to do that, because one year earlier on Christmas Day 1968 when we first landed on the moon, several astronauts read Genesis 1:1 through 10 out of the King James Bible and there has never been a more beautiful reading of the book of Genesis. But they got a lot of grief from Madeleine O’Hara. You can see the video of Aldrin taking communion on the moon by searching on YouTube.

A SUMMARY OF PAUL’S TRAVELS LEADING TO TROAS
Now I want to talk to you about some of the travels that the apostle Paul made as he traveled around on his evangelistic journeys. He was always encouraging the disciples and the congregations with the word of God. God’s word is a great comfort in any thing that is going on in your life. You will find encouragement and the word encouragement means it gives you courage to go forward and live your life and to deal with problems and whatever is going on.

Paul did not have automobiles or jet airplanes and he did not have a phone that he could call ahead and talk to people to find out how they were doing. But he traveled all over the world, establishing churches, and setting them up in the worship on the first day of the week. Then he would leave them and they would carry on, because they been taught what the Bible teaches in regards of worship.
In Acts 20:2 we find that Paul and those travelling with him, when they had gone over that region and encouraged them with many words, he came to Greece. According to Romans 15:4 Paul wrote the church at Rome “that whatever things that were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” So he was always encouraging people personally with the word of God. Life is made up of our relationships with each other and we have a lot of wonderful relationships. Heartland you can see the map on the screen and that map shows how Paul was traveling around. He probably rode on a donkey and walked a lot. It is amazing what that man accomplished without all the modern means that we have of travel and communication. And the Bible declares to us in Acts 20:2-3, that when they had gone over that region and encouraged them with many words, he came to Greece and he stayed there three months. And when the Jews plotted against him as he was about to sail to Syria, he decided to return through Macedonia. Now please notice the young men who are traveling with him:

And Sopater of Berea accompanied him to Asia—also Aristarchus and Secundus of the Thessalonians, and Gaius of Derbe, and Timothy, and Tychicus and Trophimus of Asia. These men, going ahead, waited for us at Troas. But we sailed away from Philippi after the Days of Unleavened Bread, and in five days joined them at Troas, where we stayed seven days (Acts 20:4-6 NKJV).

These men going ahead waited for us at Troas. Did you notice there the change in the pronoun to the plural us and we? That indicates that the man who wrote the book of Acts is traveling with them. Who wrote the book of acts? Luke, the same person who wrote the gospel according to Luke, is the man that wrote the book of Acts, and he is traveling with these seven other men. And Paul says, but we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and in five days we joined them at Troas, where we stayed seven days. (Acts 20:6). Now they stayed seven days and that is very important.

A WINDOW INTO THE WORSHIP AT TROAS ON SUNDAY
I want us now to look through a window. This window is beautiful because it allows us to openly look into an actual worship service of a New Testament congregation. Have you ever thought about that we can just open a window and see what was going on in that congregation? Therefore we can actually have a perception of what was going on in an actual New Testament worship service!

Let us now look through the open window to the Troas worship service: “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight” (Acts 20:7 NKJV).

Now notice what the Bible says in Acts 20 and verse seven. What day did they come together to break bread? The text says, “…now on the first day of the week.” What day of the week was the first day of the week? Sunday! Yes! We learned that in our previous lesson, that the church began on the Day of Pentecost which was the first day of the week (Acts 2:1-4). Our Sunday is the first day of the week. That is when the disciples came together to break bread. Therefore they came together to take the Lord’s Supper established by Jesus before his betrayal, death, and resurrection (Matthew 26:26-30). The seven men who were travelling with Paul went ahead to Troas and waited for Paul and Luke to arrive (Acts 20:4-5). Later when Paul and Luke joined them at Troas, they “stayed seven days” (Acts 20:6). And some people have tried to say that this breaking bread here was a common meal. I do not think Paul waited 7 days to eat nourishment! This was a special kind of breaking bread and so they waited 7 days. Why did they wait seven days? Evidently, they got there too late on the Lord’s day. The church had already met for worship to take the Lord’s supper, and then they all went home just like we do. Therefore, they had to wait seven days until the first day of the week came again and the congregation would gather together. So this is another proof that indicates that the church was in the habit of meeting together every first day of the week.

PAUL PROCLAIMS AN ALL-NIGHT SERMON
Therefore Paul and company met with them on Sunday, the first day of the week and he spoke to them and continued his speech until midnight (Acts 20:7). You know I have never heard anybody complain about our preaching here. At Heartland we just get up and speak on the subject and we step down when we are through. Sometimes it is shorter, sometimes it is longer! But the Bible says plainly Paul met with them and he did intend to leave the next day by going aboard a ship headed to Syria. He was in a hurry to get to Jerusalem because there was a feast day of the Jews, and he wanted to be there, and perhaps convert some of his own people. But the Bible says he spoke to them and continued his speech until midnight.

I think we have established that the Lord’s supper was taken on the Lord’s day (Revelation 1:10). Paul preached until midnight. Weak preaching produces weak churches. We want the Heartland congregation to be strong in declaring the word of God. I would love to come here every Sunday and make everybody happy. Sometimes we must preach on things that make people holy! We want God’s people to be holy and happy! That is our goal and we cannot be holy if we are committing sin and living an ungodly life. We must teach and preach on things that encourages people to live a holy life as well as a happy life. And we will not have a happy life unless we live a holy life! We need to remember the charge that Paul gave the young preacher Timothy,

“I charge you therefore before God and the Lord Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead at His appearing and His kingdom: Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching. For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but according to their own desires, because they have itching ears, they will heap up for themselves teachers; and they will turn their ears away from the truth, and be turned aside to fables” (2 Timothy 4:1-4 NKJV).

There will not be much power coming out of the pulpit if our goal is to make everybody happy. Where did the church meet? It met everywhere. The church met in the Temple court and in synagogues and in people’s houses (Colossians 4:15 Roman 16:5) and in a rented place. The church did not own property back then. And in our lesson today they were in a building up on the third story. They were not too proud to meet anywhere to worship the Lord God.

EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENED DURING WORSHIP AT TROAS
Now I want us to look through that window again and notice everything that happened during a worship service at Troas that I have listed on the chart on the screen. I believe we have everything mentioned. Paul preached! Paul preached until midnight. A young man was sitting in a window, so they had a window on the third story. A young man fell into a deep sleep. His name was Eutychus. Eutychus was overcome by sleep. And he fell down from the third story. Eutychus died from the fall. Luke the physician gave us his death certificate—he said he was taken up dead! Luke is present in worship (we, and us section of Acts 20:5, 6, 13). Paul went down and brought Eutychus back to life!

And the Bible says that after Paul had raised this young man up and gave him life, he went back up to the third story and “broke bread.” That means he went back up there and took the Lord’s supper and worshipped God. And then the Bible says Paul “talked a long while, even till daybreak” (Acts 20:11). After they took the Lord’s supper, Paul probably answered many questions in an more informal type of discussion, like we do in a Bible class. Paul stayed with them until early morning and he departed

Have I covered everything that happened there in the Troas worship service? I do not want to leave anything out. It has been a very eventful worship gathering. I had a thing like that to happen at one of my preaching places. We had a wonderful elderly lady and her husband was a doctor. He never came to church on Sunday morning, but would always come on Sunday evening worship and eat the Lord’s supper. So one Sunday evening I was preaching and we had a young couple sitting about halfway back in the congregation. He and his wife were talking and laughing and that really disturbs the preacher. Therefore, immediately after we dismissed, I asked the husband what was going on? He said, I kept telling my wife to wake our son up because he was snoring. But my wife kept telling me that our son was not snoring. She said it is the doctor who is asleep and snoring! But that is not the end of the story! Shortly afterward the young men brought the Lord’s supper around and the doctor was still asleep. They woke him up and it startled him and he scattered the Lord’s supper all over the place! That is the only time anything like that has happened. It was not a good situation. But it is not a sin to fall asleep in worship.

Martin Luther King was speaking up in Harlem in 1968, and Bill Clinton was on the podium and Bill Clinton fell asleep. Later the New York Post said, “Like Martin, Clinton had a dream!” And even now we have noticed sometime that our president has gotten a little bit sleepy upon the podium. So you know things like that happen, and it is not good, but sometimes we cannot help it. For instance, if you are a person that does heavy labor and you work long hours and you come to worship, you might fall asleep. And some people take certain kinds of medicine that will make you sleepy. And so it is not a sin if anybody goes to sleep because we are not to judge that situation. We do not always know the circumstances and we do not have a record of Paul rebuking Eutychus for falling asleep and disrupting the assembly! The record say that Eutychus was a “young man” and the original word means a lad about eight to fourteen years old. He could have been a slave and worked long hours before coming to worship. We do know that it is midnight and Paul is still preaching. We could say, “Paul preached him to death.” It is not a sin to fall asleep physically in worship, but it is a sin if we fall asleep spiritually! Therefore Paul wrote the Ephesian church and said,

Awake, you who sleep,
Arise from the dead
And Christ will give you light.
(Ephesians 5:14 NKJV).

The Troas worship was experienced by people just like us. They were ordinary people who had been baptized into Christ (Galatians 3:26-27) and were doing their best to serve the Lord. I think the congregation at Troas was made up of common people like all of us. So we decided to describe what the members at Heartland do in their everyday life. We have factory workers, public school teachers, school administrators, nurses, homeschool teachers, policeman, business owners, technology workers, and school bus drivers. We also have delivery truck drivers, medical supervisors, plumbers, carpenters, accountants, armed services, both active and retired. But that is not all! We have retired postal workers, preachers, truck drivers, mechanics, bakers, clerical workers, childcare workers and administrators, and young people like Eutychus. And we also love our little children and infants, with more on the way! Have I missed anyone? I think I know this congregation fairly well. All of you are just common people like they were in New Testament times. All of us do different things. But when we come together, we all worship God on the first day of the week and we break bread.

INCIDENTALS AT THE TROAS WORSHIP
Now I want us to look at some incidentals. Incidentals are things that God has not legislated, but left us free to carry out his commands. Did God tell us the time of the day to worship? No! Different congregations have different times to worship, but they all “break bread” on the first day of the week. God did not tell us the length of the sermon. He did not tell us where we are to sit, some like to sit up front and some in the back. Evidently it was permissible for Eutychus to sit up in an open window! Sometimes children will get up and leave the congregation for a short time. We have no record that Eutychus was criticized for sitting in the window! Do not make it a habit to come to worship to find fault, but to be lifted up in love and devotion to the Lord! God did not tell us how many lights we should have in the assembly. Troas probably had oil lamps and that would probably help to make Eutychus sleepy.

We are all going to die someday. It could be at a worship service like where Eutychus died. But we do not have an apostle to raise us up to life again. But all those who die in the Lord have the promise that Christ will raise us up to everlasting life.

I will close with the story of a man who was rather wealthy, and he noticed there was a man that was very needy. The wealthy man had seven costly coins. And he gave the needy man six of those coins and he was very happy. But then he turned around and followed the man who gave him six coins and stole the seventh coin. You may say, that is terrible, the man should be put in prison!

But the moral of that story is that God gives us six days to work and make money and enjoy life to the fullest! But I wonder what God thinks when we steal the first day of the week—the Lord’s day? Let us think about that as we stand to sing a word of encouragement for anyone to become a Christian and live a faithful life. *

* Copyright © 2021 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby G. Floyd presented the essence of this sermon May 9, 2021, at the Heartland Church of Christ, 1693 West Main Street, Greenwood, Indiana 46142

THE MIND OF CHRIST

By

Shelby G. Floyd

“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,” wrote Paul to the church at Philippi. (Philippians 2:5).

Jesus Christ is the perfect model of humbling ourselves before God Almighty: “He humbled himself” (Philippians 2:8). He took three big steps to do this.

1. He gave up his right to glory, his prerogative of equality with the Father: “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; (Philippians 2:6-7).

2. He became a human in the very nature of a servant: “…rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself…” (Philippians 2:7-8).

3. He was the perfect man who voluntarily died a heinous death as a felon on the cruel cross of Calvary: “…he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death—even death on a cross!” (Philippians 2:8). Those who have given their allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ are commanded to imitate his humble attitude: “In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).

We will have the mind of Christ when we seek the unity of the congregation with one mind and purpose, out of a heart of love for our brothers and sisters in Christ, “Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind” (Philippians 2:1-2).

The only way we can do this is by thinking of other people as being better than ourselves: “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).

When we imitate Christ, God raises us up to sit with him in the heavenly places, “And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus” (Ephesians 2:6). To live with Christ forever in the heavenly home we must have the mind-set of Christ while we are here in our earthly home. *

*Copyright © 2021 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby--Pulpit 2017

Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142

PRACTICE CHRISTIAN LOVE

By

Shelby G. Floyd

Man looking at bright cross sign

God’s people must learn by practice to love one another and pray for one another. Nothing in the world will convince outsiders that we are truly the disciples of the Lord more than visible, genuine love and affection among brothers and sisters in Christ.

Jesus said, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:34-35). It was reported to have been said by outsiders in apostolic times, “Oh, how those Christians love one another.”

When the apostle Paul wrote a letter to the congregation at Philippi, he publicly declared his love for them: “God can testify how I long for all of you with the affection of Christ Jesus” (Philippians 1:8). He also stated that it was right for him to feel this way about them, “because I have you in my heart” (Philippians 1:7). We will not develop the love of God in our relationship with each other until we have each other in our hearts.

The way we can indwell in each other’s hearts is by praying for one another at all times and under all circumstances: “And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God” (Philippians 1:9-11).

We also develop this love for one another by caring for one another in our material and spiritual needs. The congregation at Philippi had cared for Paul in his needs again and again. And Paul had always shared with them in their spiritual needs: “Yet it was good of you to share in my troubles. Moreover, as you Philippians know, in the early days of your acquaintance with the gospel, when I set out from Macedonia, not one church shared with me in the matter of giving and receiving, except you only; for even when I was in Thessalonica, you sent me aid more than once when I was in need. Not that I desire your gifts; what I desire is that more be credited to your account. I have received full payment and have more than enough. I am amply supplied, now that I have received from Epaphroditus the gifts you sent. They are a fragrant offering, an acceptable sacrifice, pleasing to God. And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:14-19).

Let us learn to love one another by habitual practice, so when we think of one another we will have a good memory of each other and thank God, “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now” (Philippians 1:3-5). *

* Copyright © 2021 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142

SUNDAY WORSHIP

By

Shelby G. Floyd

Sunday Worship - Christ Church - Mt Pleasant SC

Good morning. It is a beautiful day to come out worship God. I was standing back in the entryway and Mitch Davis came in and he told me “That is a Great Sermon!” And I asked, “What did I preach about?” He said, “I don’t know.” He has not changed since he was 18 years old! We continue to pray for Gary Stephens and his family in the loss of his mother.

My message is a continuation of what I began three weeks ago when I spoke to you about how the early Christians were devoted to the apostle’s doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayers (Acts 2:42). Today we are talking about Sunday worship. I am sure that most of us have received our financial stimulus and it really comes in handy to stimulate our financial obligations. In like manner we need to have some worship stimulus to make our worship to God more meaningful each Sunday. Today our Sunday worship is about the first day of the week worship as it is identified in the New Testament. A few weeks ago Mitch preached on the first day of the week topic—the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The first day of the week is mentioned about eight times in the New Testament. So that indicates it was a very important day among the Christians during the first century after the resurrection and ascension of Christ.

Today we usually speak of the week in days like Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and so forth. Our lesson is about Sunday worship, but we are really talking about first day of the week worship. Let us look at the days of the week. In the Old Testament as you open up the book of Genesis, the first thing that God said was, “‘Let there be light’ and there was light” (Genesis 1:3 ESV). When God had finished creating what he did on the first day, the Bible says in the Hebrew— “day one (yo-vm e-chad).” I have read that Hebrew scholars teach that when the word day is used with a numeral, it always refers to a 24-hour day, and I believe that to be the case. We have people that teach that the earth and all its tenantry including the universe were created in millions or billions of years. In Genesis one the days are twenty-four-hour days and the work of creation was completed in a week. That is how we got our seven-day week. And, at the same time that God created the seven-day week, he also caused the earth to take 365 days to go around the sun. He created the vast universe and for all we know, the entire universe may orbit around the throne of God. But if God created this universe and he did, then he did not have any problem creating the heavens and the earth in seven days.

Hebrew, days of the week | Hebrew language words, Learn hebrew, Hebrew  lessons

THE SEVEN DAY WEEK
Let us take a look at the week. First, we have the Hebrew words for each day of the week. Sunday, the first day of the week was given the name Yom Rishon. Saturday, the seventh day of the week was given the name Yom Shabbat. Conversely our days were named after idolatrous gods. This demonstrates that man was created a worshipping being. The Gentile world realized that man must worship something! If mankind does not worship the true God, then we will invent something to worship. Therefore, Sunday was named after the sun-god and Monday was named after the moon god. Tuesday was named after I believe a German god Tyr. Wednesday was named after the Anglo-Saxon god Woden. Thursday was named after Thor and then Friday was named after Woden’s wife Frigg and Saturday was named after the planet Saturn. And we still go by those names today, but we do not worship any of those gods. Therefore, we do not even think of those gods when we say I am going to do this on Friday. These are just names by which we identify each day of the week so far as English-speaking peoples are concerned.

Why Sunday? | Bible facts, Bible knowledge, Happy sabbath

THE FIRST DAY OF THE WEEK
When we talk about the first day of the week, we are talking about Sunday. Jesus was raised from the dead on the first day of the week which was Yom Rishon or Sunday. He spent 40 days after he was resurrected talking to the apostles about things that he wanted them to know and do. And Jesus appeared to them on many different occasions. Sometimes he would show up in a room where they were getting ready to have prayer. Sometimes he would approach them in other places. For 40 days he spoke to them about things pertaining to the kingdom of God. They thought while he was living that the kingdom of God was going to be an earthly kingdom that would overthrow Rome and establish Israel as the preeminent kingdom in this world. Now he is again telling them that his kingdom is not of this world. He wants them to understand that his kingdom is a spiritual kingdom. Christ will rule from heaven and not on this earth. He will in the hearts of His people!

And so some of the last things that he said before he ascended up into heaven, was go into the city of Jerusalem and tarry or wait there until you receive power from on high. So they went back to Jerusalem, where they started praying. And they prayed that God would help them replace Judas who fell by transgression and went to his own place. And then the day of Pentecost arrived. If you go back to the book of Leviticus 23:15-16, you will find that Pentecost (or the Feast of Weeks) always occurred 50 days after the Passover. And it always occurred on the first day of the week—Sunday in our language. When you come to the book of Acts the second chapter, the day of Pentecost was fully come. The apostles waited ten day after Jesus ascended and when the day of Pentecost was fully come, there appeared under them cloven tongues like as a fire and sat upon each of them and they all began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance (Acts 2:1-4). Now when they were speaking in other tongues that was not pig Latin, it was not baby talk, because just a few verses later some of the people in the audience asked “how hear we every man in our own language?” And the Greek word there is dialektos or dialect. It did not make any difference what dialect they were speaking, for they could hear and understand what the apostles were saying.

The Bible says that when the day of Pentecost was fully come, they were all in one place and suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind and sat upon each of them and they all began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance Acts 2:1-4).

And then Peter stood up and he seems to be always the first to speak out. He is quick. He is impulsive and impetuous and he preaches a great gospel sermon on this Sunday worship first day of the week and after he had finished his sermon, he had convicted many of those in the audience of having the blood of Jesus dripping from their hands because they had cried out, crucify him, crucify him, and they were so moved by his sermon. They cried out, “what shall we do,” what shall we do to escape the consequences of what we have done and you know what he told them? “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sin and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit” and then the Bible tells us 3000 people were baptized into Christ and there is the nucleolus of the church. The church started in Jerusalem with 3000 members and they added members every day. The church was a growing church and then we come to our text: The 3000 is the antecedent of the word they—”they continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer” (Acts 2:42). We do not need to talk about prayer because I spoke to you three weeks ago about prayer on the first day of the week. Then the church assembled and they continued in the apostles teaching, fellowship breaking bread and prayer. Today, I will talk in a general way about each one of those items. Later I plan to have a fully developed sermon on each one of those topics.

Near the end of the New Testament we read of the apostle John. He was one of the dearest apostles to the Lord Jesus Christ. And John, like many of the apostles was being persecuted because he stood for the kingdom of God and the Lord Jesus Christ. No doubt the Roman government had arrested him, and by the way, in contrast to what we do today in America, when the Romans arrested you, they put you in prison. They did not intend to do housekeeping with prisoners like we do. They put you in prison and you had a trial. You were either found guilty or innocent. If you were found innocent, they let you go free. If you were found guilty, they put you to death that very day. And we see that happened when they put Jesus to death.

John was in exile and no doubt was suffering because he had been expelled from the coast of Asia. He wrote, “I John, both your brother and companion in the tribulation and kingdom and patience of Jesus Christ, was on the island that is called Patmos for the word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ and I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day” (Revelation 1:9-10). Are we all in the spirit today? We are here on the Lord’s Day just like John to worship the Almighty God. The first day of the week was very important to the biblical Christians. The place was not important, but what they were doing was important.

The Woman at the Well. In the Gospel of John, Jesus revealed… | by Angela  N. Meyer | Challenging Theology | Medium

THE WOMAN AT JACOB’S WELL
Jesus will verify what I have just said when we now go and examine the lesson that Jesus taught the woman at the well in Samaria. Jesus passed through Samaria going to Jerusalem. The Jews and the Samaritans did not get along very well. Usually Jewish travelers would go around Samaria. Jesus went right straight through Samaria to Jerusalem and he had a conversation with the Samaritan woman at Jacob’s well. She had come out of town to draw a bucket of water and take it back to her house. And Jesus revealed something to this woman that she did not expect him to reveal. In your Bible in John the fourth chapter, beginning with verse 16, Jesus said to her, “Go, call your husband and come here. The woman answered and said I have no husband. Jesus said to her, you have well said, I have no husband for you had five husbands and the one whom you now have is not your husband, and that you spoke truly. The woman said to him, sir, I perceive that you are a prophet.” And then in the next verse, she changed the subject. Now this woman in the past had five husbands. Now she is living with a man and he is not her husband. She has a marriage problem, but Jesus did not beat her over the head with her sinful relationship. We all have fallen short. We have all done things wrong but we do not want to be identified by it.

How we deal with people is very important as well as how people deal with us when we do wrong. But the woman quickly changed the subject! And I do not know about you, but when people get on you about something that you are guilty of, what do you do to get them off the problem? We change the subject because we do not like to talk about our shortcomings and sin! Likewise this woman changed the subject and said,

“Our fathers worshiped in this mountain and you Jews say that in Jerusalem is the place where one ought to worship” (John 4:20).

She wants to get the Lord into an argument and debate. She wants to be in the affirmative that up there in Samaria is where people ought to worship. She wants Jesus to argue that down in Jerusalem is where people should worship. But Jesus does not take the bait. He does not accept what she wants him to do. And so the Lord actually was given an opportunity to teach about true worship because she needs to understand true worship and the true gospel message.

Therefore Jesus answered, “Woman, believe me, the hour is coming when you will neither on this mountain, nor in Jerusalem, worship the Father” (John 4:21). It does not matter where you worship, but who and how you worship is important. “But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him” (John 4:23). True worship is to worship the Father in spirit and in truth. So Jesus taught the woman at the well, the place of worship is not really important, but what we do and how we do our worship is what is really important. God is the object of our worship, and that is important.

The spirit of worship is important and the truth of worship is important. People can worship God truthfully, but not in the right spirit. God will not accept that worship. And people can worship God in the right spirit, but not according to the truth. God will not accept that worship either. Jesus gave us the formula for acceptable worship. The Lord taught the woman at Jacob’s well the worship that God will accept. And I love this verse that closes out this conversation in John 4:24:

“God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth.”

SUNDAY WORSHIP: THE APOSTLE’S DOCTRINE
Now I want us to zero in on those items of worship that we talked about beginning in Acts 2:42: “They continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine, fellowship, in breaking of bread and in prayer.” We are not going talk about prayer because we discussed that three weeks ago. The special time of worship is the first day of the week on which the church was established and it was called the day of Pentecost. The day of Pentecost always occurred 50 days after the Passover. Numbering the days after the Passover one would count 50 days and it would be on the first day of the week or Sunday (Leviticus 23:15-16). Therefore Sunday worship was on the first day of the week when they convened in the temple and even from house to house to worship Almighty God. The place was not important, but what they did was very important. Jesus verified what we have just said when he taught the woman at the well in Samaria. Therefore our worship should be on every first day of the week. When we come together to worship there are several things that should characterize the worship on the first day of the week—Sunday worship.

The TRUTH under FIRE: A STUDY in ACTS TWO :42 - FOUR FACETS in the FUNCTION of  the CHURCH


Let us start with the apostle’s doctrine. The word doctrine simply meets teaching. What I teach should not be my doctrine. It should be the doctrine of the apostles or the doctrine of Christ. The first congregation at Jerusalem continued in the apostle’s doctrine or teaching (Acts 2:42). When we go to Acts two, we find a few things that they were teaching on the day of Pentecost. For instance, they taught on that day baptism for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38). They taught that repentance precedes baptism (Acts 2:36-41). The apostle Peter taught faith comes by hearing (Acts 2:37; Romans 10:9-10). Peter taught that the sinner has something to do in obtaining salvation from sin (Acts 2:37). He taught that the disciples should continue in the apostle’s doctrine (Acts 2:42).

When we come together every week like we do, we are either going to continue in the apostle’s doctrine or, in the doctrines of demons. Paul wrote to the young preacher Timothy, and he wanted him to continue in the apostle’s doctrine. Therefore he wrote to Timothy, “Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1 NKJV). What are they going to do in the latter times? They are going depart from the faith—from the apostle’s doctrine. They are going to leave it, and give heed to deceiving spirits. There are deceiving spirits in this world and the naïve and the simple will be deceived and leave the apostle’s doctrine and what are they going to accept? They will replace the apostle’s doctrine and give heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons. But as for me, I will stick with the apostles teaching!

SUNDAY WORSHIP: FELLOWSHIP
Next, they continued in fellowship (Acts 2:42). That word fellowship is a broad word that comes from the Greek word koinonia and it means partnership, fellowship, joint participation, share, and contribute. Words like that. Now today we have almost exclusively identified the word fellowship as something you do by going back to the fellowship room, drinking coffee, and sharing a meal together. Well, that was part of their fellowship. But I do not believe that was the fellowship that was being done here. But the word fellowship is translated from a word that is on several occasions translated “contribution” or its equivalents. Study the context in 2 Corinthians 8:4; Philippians 1:5 and Philippians 4:15 where the word koinonia is used in sharing or giving financially to promote the gospel!

Church Growth | Being Changed from the Inside Out

The King James and New King James versions do not say that we should contribute every first day of the week. But here are several versions that do translate kata mian sabbatou by “every first day of the week or the equivalent! We now list some of those passages of scripture:

1. Now about the collection for the Lord’s people: Do what I told the Galatian churches to do. On the first day of every week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with your income, saving it up, so that when I come no collections will have to be made (1 Corinthians 16:1-2 NIV).

2. Now concerning the collection for the saints, as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you are to do as well. 2 On the first day of every week, each of you is to put aside and save as he may prosper, so that no collections need to be made when I come (1 Corinthians 16:1-2 NASV).

3. When you collect money for God’s people, I want you to do exactly what I told the churches in Galatia to do. 2 That is, each Sunday each of you must put aside part of what you have earned. If you do this, you won’t have to take up a collection when I come (1 Corinthians 16:1-2 CEV).

4. Now concerning the collection for the saints: as I directed the churches of Galatia, so you also are to do. On the first day of every week, each of you is to put something aside and store it up, as he may prosper, so that there will be no collecting when I come (1 Corinthians 16:1-2 ESV).

Concerning the collection, some translations just say we are to contribute “on the first day of the week.” That would be sufficient because every week has a first day. But the Greek text is even more specific in 1 Corinthians 16:2! And where the original text is specific, the translation into English should be just as specific! If we are to contribute on the first day of every week, then the translation should say that in one or more different places in the New Testament. The King James and New King James versions do not say that we should contribute every first day of the week. But here are several versions that do translate kata mian sabbatou by “every first day of the week or the equivalent!

Now I have visited congregations where after the Lord’s Supper was observed, a man would get up and say, “The elder have set aside this to be a good time to take up an offering.” The person meant well, but the impression was left that the elders were the ones who decided that a collection should be taken up. But the elders did not decide that! The apostles and the apostle’s doctrine declare that a collection should be taken up “on the first day of every week!”

The elders can decide if the basket is to be passed by each person, or that each person can go and pass by the basket, or for that matter, send it electronically as some are doing during the Covid Pandemic. Those are incidentals and each of them simply carry out the command. The command is bound, but not the incidentals! The elders did not set the day to take up a collection. The apostles did that as they continued to reveal the teaching on many subjects involving the work of the church. We are commanded to take up a collection every first day of the week and by the way we been doing that here at Heartland ever since we started this congregation in 2000. I hear of churches continually ask for special collections to pay their bills. We have never had to do that. Why? Because we are doing what God tells us to do and it is not that difficult. Just obey the Lord, and there will be plenty of money to take care of all the expenditures of the church. We have obeyed the Lord and He has blessed us. Thank all of you for contributing this past year during a very difficult time when many people had to worship from home. It has been a rough year but we came through it with flying colors.

BREAKING BREAD IN THE COMMON MEAL
The phrase “breaking bread” does not always refer to taking communion. For instance in the very context we have been considering we have this statement:

Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, 45 and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
46 So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart (Acts 2:44-46 NKJV).

Now breaking of bread is a figure of speech called synecdoche, where a part stand for the whole or the whole can stand for the part. For example, one might say, come over to my house and we will break bread. The bread could stand for the entire meal. This figure of speech is also used in the Lord’s Supper. Communion is not just “breaking bread!” Communion also includes drinking the fruit of the vine. Therefore “breaking bread” stands for the fruit of the vine also.

Acts 2:44-46 teaches that the church did not take the Lord’s supper every day. They just took the Lord’s supper on the first day of the week in what is Sunday worship. We have had Sunday worship today and I think I have covered all that we have done today except singing. And by the way, the New Testament was not all revealed on one day. The Bible was a progressive revelation until the end of the first century. The New Testament started in revealing the life of Christ in Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The history of the beginning and development of the church is revealed in the book of Acts. And the apostolic letters that were written to the church continued until about 95 A.D. or the end of the first century. The revelation from God to God’s people then stopped! We have not had any new revelations since then. The inspired writer Jude summed it all up when he wrote near the end of the first century:

Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3 NKJV).

The word “once” translates from hapax that means once for all and it never needs to be repeated! We can plant our feet upon the word of God and stand secure! This is the lesson today. Become a Christian. There is no other way!

Copyright © 2021 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved



Shelby G. Floyd delivered the essence of this sermon April 18, 2021, at the Heartland Church of Christ, 1693 West Main Street, Greenwood, Indiana 46142



THE CURSE OF ALCOHOLIC DRINK

By

Shelby G. Floyd

Do not look on the wine when it is red, when it sparkles in the cup, when it swirls around smoothly; At the last it bites like a serpent, And stings like a viper. (Prov. 23:31-32)

The Bible has much to say about strong drink, and the evils that are associated with it. Solomon is noted for his wisdom, and the books that are written by him are inspired. In the book of Proverbs we have some of the greatest principles on ethics and morality that can be found.

There are some persons who have tried to use the Bible as approving the use of wine, But Solomon says, “Don’t even look at that colorful stuff bubbling up in the glass! It goes down so easily, but later it bites like a poisonous snake” (Proverbs 23:31-32 CEV). That is from a contemporary version. Here are Solomon’s words from the ESV:

“Do not look at wine when it is red,
when it sparkles in the cup
and goes down smoothly.
In the end it bites like a serpent
and stings like an adder.”

Therefore, when wine is mentioned in the Bible in the sense of intoxicating drink; it is always condemned.

A Nation of Alcoholics and Drunkards?

It is a dangerous precedent for any nation of people to become a race of alcoholics. Abraham Lincoln once said,

“Whiskey has many defenders, but no defense.”

President Lincoln was a great opponent of strong drink. It is still true that whiskey and strong drink has many defenders, but there are no plausible arguments that can be made in its behalf. Strong drink is one of the greatest curses that have ever beset our country. There are millions of alcoholics. There are an equal number of persons who are classed as problem drinkers. The drinking of strong drink and drunkenness causes thousands of deaths annually on our nation’s highways. Many times this number of persons is injured for life, resulting from accidents caused by drinking drivers.

Wine is a Mocker
Wine is a mocker,
Strong drink is a brawler,
And whoever is led astray by it is not wise.
(Proverbs 20:1 NKJV).

Wine is a mocker in that the man who drinks wine mocks things that are decent and wholesome. Those who drink wine and strong drink are deceived, and they are not wise. In the New Testament Paul said,

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap” (Galatians. 6:7).

Those who drink wine and strong drink usually come to poverty, because the labor of their hands is used to buy the fiery liquid. Their families are de¬prived of food, clothing, and other necessities of life in order to gratify their desires for strong drink. Solomon said,

He who loves pleasure will be a poor man;
He who loves wine and oil will not be rich.
(Proverbs 21:17).

He also said,

Do not mix with winebibbers,
Or with gluttonous eaters of meat;
21 For the drunkard and the glutton will come to poverty,
And drowsiness will clothe a man with rags. (Proverbs 23:20-21).

The liquor industry advertises its products in glowing terms. Strong drink is usually associated with the young and those who are successful; but such is far from being a true picture of those who are taken in by such deceitfulness. Solomon describ¬ed the humiliation brought upon those who go to wine when he said,

Who has woe?
Who has sorrow?
Who has contentions?
Who has complaints?
Who has wounds without cause?
Who has redness of eyes?
30 Those who linger long at the wine,
Those who go in search of mixed wine.
31 Do not look on the wine when it is red,
When it sparkles in the cup,
When it swirls around smoothly;
32 At the last it bites like a serpent,
And stings like a viper. (Proverbs 23: 29-32 NKJV).

Copyright © 2021 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142

DEVOTED TO PRAYER

By


Shelby G. Floyd

 

Good Morning. It is great for all of us to come out this morning and sing those wonderful hymns and praise to Almighty God. And we are thankful for the great prayer that Jeff led. Likewise, Terry always does a good job reading the Scriptures.

Sarah and I and Damon and Susan took a quick trip to Nashville, Tennessee for a memorial service for our nephew and came back last night. So we had a quick trip and we realized that a lot of people are on spring break because we could see about every other car had something on top of the roof. They were all headed to Florida and many were coming back. This is the time of the year when people take spring breaks. We are going to get back to normal soon.

Today I am speaking on the subject, Devoted to Prayer. It is a “first day of the week” subject that I planned to present to you. Now, the world looks up on the weekend as including Friday, Saturday and Sunday and the reason is because a large number of people enjoy sports, camping, pleasure trips and things like that and they include Sunday to be involved in those things. Christian people enjoy those activities also, but we do not allow those things to keep us from observing the Lord’s day and coming together to worship and to study and to pray on the Lord’s Day—the first day of the week.

THE EARLY CHURCH BEGAN ON “THE DAY OF PENTECOST”—SUNDAY

There are over 30 references to prayer in the book of Acts. Our text today that I am using right now is an example of one of those Scriptures. Acts 2 and verse 42 is set in the context of the beginning of the church. When did the church begin? It began on the first day of the week. It is called the day of Pentecost and Pentecost always occurred 50 days after the Passover. You would count seven weeks and then on the 50th day—that was the day of Pentecost. It was always on Sunday, the first day of the week. God started the creation of the universe on first day of the week according to Genesis the first chapter and he finished it in a week. So in this setting, we have the beginning of the church.

On the first day of the week Peter received the baptism of the Holy Spirit as well as the other 11 apostles. They were all filled with the Holy Spirit. The Bible says they began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit gave them utterance. 3000 people cried out after they were convicted of putting to death God’s only begotten Son and asked, “what shall we do?” The simple answer was “repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins.” Very simple. So we have the nucleolus of the church on the day of Pentecost–the first day of the week.

Immediately, we have the early church involved in the work and worship ordained by the Lord Jesus Christ. This is briefly described in Acts 2:42. This verse brings us to this lesson of “Devoted to Prayer! “They continued steadfastly in the apostle’s doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayer.” All of the newer translations say “they devoted” themselves to the apostle’s doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayers. Did you know the early Christians were called “devotees,” and we all are devoted to the apostle’s doctrine, fellowship, breaking of bread and prayers? That is a good name to be called by, and we ought to be devoted to all of those things and other things that are found in God’s word.

Concerning prayer someone has said, “Prayer only makes sense when you have quit trying to do the work of ministry alone. I have learned that as things go smoothly, I pray less. As our goal shrinks, I pray less. As things become more manageable, I pray less. But as we reach out, stretch ourselves, and tackle God-sized dreams, I pray more.”

Now if we want to pray more here at Heartland and I think we do. Then we have got to enlarge our vision and make our dreams larger. Our dreams of spiritual and numerical growth as a church requires prayer. The early church was a praying church and because they were devoted to prayer, they were a powerful and growing church. We want to be a powerful and growing church and so we will have to rely upon prayer a lot more than we do now.

THE EARLY CHURCH PRAYED “IN ONE ACCORD”

Now we need to go back to the first chapter of Acts to pick up another thought on prayer. After his resurrection Jesus spent forty days talking to the apostles about things that pertain to the kingdom of God and he said go into the city of Jerusalem and tarry there until you receive power from on high (Luke 24:45-49; Acts 1:1-8). They need the power. So you go to Jerusalem and you tarry there until you receive power from on high. Now how long had Jesus been talking with them? The Bible says 40 days after his resurrection. That leaves 10 days until the day of Pentecost. So they went back to Jerusalem to wait for this promise of the power, which was the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The baptism of the Holy Spirit was never promised to anybody but the apostles! Therefore they are waiting there in Jerusalem and they have some matters to take care of before they receive that power.

So the early church learned quickly that if anything is going to happen, they must stick together and pray together and when the 120 disciples came together and the record says, “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication, with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers” (Acts 1:14 NKJV). This is the last mention in the scriptures of the mother of Jesus. John is taking care of her as Jesus asked him to do. The NIV says “they joined together in prayer and supplication.” That is what we have been doing this morning. We joined together in prayer. They were sticking together. They were praying together. We can learn from this example that if our work in the kingdom of God is going to be successful, we must stick together and all pray together and be on the same page. That is what they were doing.

THE EARLY CHURCH PRAYED BEFORE MAKING DECISIONS

Now let us advance to the next point that we want to make, and that is the early church prayed a lot before they made decisions. We get in trouble sometimes personally because we make decisions without doing any praying and asking God for his guidance. The early church did not make that mistake. They prayed before making decisions as a church. So the disciples are gathered together there in Jerusalem. They are waiting for the baptism of the Holy Spirit—for the power from on high. And they have a problem! They must replace one of the apostles who fell away by transgression. That apostle was Judas. The Bible says he fell because of transgression. He broke the will of God. Their choice came down to two good men—Justus and Matthias or Joseph and Matthias. They were both good men. A lot of times when there are positions in the church to fill such as elders, deacons, preachers and bible class teachers, there are many good choices. These disciples are not going to make the choice on their own. They are going to ask God to guide them and help them in the decision.

So who did they choose? Who would you have chosen? How should we go about making decisions like that? Let us look at Acts one. You can open your Bibles and follow along with Acts 1: 24 through 26:

And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.” And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

Then they cast lots and the lot fell to Matthias and he was added to the 11 apostles. Now they are back to the original number of 12 apostles. I do not know how they went about that, but however it was carried out, they relied upon how it turned out to be the will of God. From the context of this statement we make some observations concerning the prayers of the church.

1. I think we can safely say that our prayers and our decisions should be Bible based—based upon the word of God. And when they got ready to choose this apostle, Peter spoke. He was always the spokesman, he was outspoken, quick on the trigger, and impulsive. Peter said it is written in the book of Psalms. Before they cast lots, they went to the Bible so their decision will be based on the word of God. Peter said it is written in the book of Psalms and then he quoted Psalms 69:25 and also Psalms 109:8, and he speaks here in the Greek language, so we have an inspired translation from the Hebrew in Psalms 69:25 and 109:8 into the Greek language of the New Testament. So before we make our decisions, we should say it is written, if we possibly can. The Bible had already pointed out that the place of Judas would become vacant and that somebody else would take his leadership role. The decision is going to be based upon Psalms 69:25 and Psalm 109:8. Let us follow their example in making our decisions affecting the work of the church.

2. We need to examine all of the alternative options.

In Acts 1:21 through 23, Peter says,

“Therefore, of these men who have accompanied us all the time that the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John to that day when He was taken up from us, one of these must become a witness with us of His resurrection.”
And they proposed two: Joseph called Barsabas, who was surnamed Justus, and Matthias.

So there are further qualifications to replace this apostle. It must be somebody that actually was a witness of the resurrection of Christ. There cannot be any apostles today. Nobody today was a witness to the resurrection of Christ. Then they proposed two men, Joseph, and Matthias. Both of these men had been with the group of disciples from the time that Jesus was baptized (Matthew 3:13-17) until his resurrection.

3. Number three. We need to pray for wisdom and guidance before we make those decisions.

And that is what the Bible says in Acts 1:24 through 26:

And they prayed and said, “You, O Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which of these two You have chosen to take part in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas by transgression fell, that he might go to his own place.” And they cast their lots, and the lot fell on Matthias. And he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

God is a heart knower! We think we know a lot about people, but we cannot read people’s hearts. We only read the outward man, but we cannot really know the inward man like God. He knows our hearts. When they asked God to show them which of these two, He had chosen, it will be better if we can make choices that God has already made. That is the ideal. James an inspired writer agrees,

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind. For let not that man suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways” (James 1:5-8 NKJV).

That is our formula for making decisions. A lot of prayer and a lot of reliance upon God’s word—God’s eternal will.

THE EARLY CHURCH PRAYED UNTIL THINGS HAPPENED!

Now the next thing we want to talk to you about is the early church prayed till things start happening. In our day and time we pray and things just keep going along like they do every day. There does not seem to be any upheaval or any kind of problem. There is no opposition, and we even thank God that we are free to worship and assemble because the government cannot take that away from us. They did not have that kind of protection in the beginning of the church. The early church prayed until things start happening. They were actually threatened. From 3000 new converts the church is growing and expanding every day. More and more people are being baptized every day even after being threatened. The Bible says the disciples prayed for boldness to speak God’s word. They were severely threatened and commanded not to speak about Jesus Christ.

So they prayed for boldness and they were severely threatened and commanded not to speak about Jesus Christ by the Jewish leaders in Jerusalem. They huddled together and had a little meeting in which they said we must stop this movement. They are filling Jerusalem with this doctrine. The priesthood especially was troubled and this what they said,

But so that it spreads no further among the people, let us severely threaten them, that from now on they speak to no man in this name.”
So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. (Acts 4:17-18 NKJV).

What were they to do when the authorities came along and said, “You can preach, but you are not to mentioning the name of Jesus Christ!” Would they just meekly abandon the great commission of taking the gospel into the whole world? This pandemic has caused a lot of people to realize the power of the government to shut down many institutions. There have been many contradictory statements made about this problem. This gives us a little insight as to what could happen if we lose our freedom of worship and freedom of speech.

Therefore how are the 12 apostles going to handle this threat? They stated emphatically that they were going to speak the things that they had seen and heard: “But Peter and John answered and said to them, ‘Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard’” (Acts 4:19-20).

I do not think they had to have a meeting to find out what Peter meant. What would the church do if they put Peter and John in prison? On this occasion the whole church had a prayer meeting. I think it would be good if we had more prayer meetings. The whole church would be more effective in carrying out God’s work if we prayed more. The Jerusalem had a prayer meeting and offered up this prayer:

So when they heard that, they raised their voice to God with one accord and said: “Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them, 25 who by the mouth of Your servant David have said:

‘Why did the nations rage,
And the people plot vain things?
26 The kings of the earth took their stand,
And the rulers were gathered together
Against the Lord and against His Christ.’

27 “For truly against Your holy Servant Jesus, whom You anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles and the people of Israel, were gathered together 28 to do whatever Your hand and Your purpose determined before to be done. 29 Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, 30 by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus.” (Acts 4:24-30).

No wonder David is called the messianic prophet because he and Isaiah are quoted more in the New Testament than any other Old Testament writers! Here again the church is relying upon the word of God, and not just the apostles. The church is quoting the words of the prophet David their father spiritual father and that is from the second Psalm. Here are some of the most beautiful words in all the Bible. “Why do the nations rage and the people plot in vain? The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the Lord and against his anointed one.” They mention that Herod, Pilate and the Gentiles and the people of Israel plotted and conspired against Jesus. They were all conspiring to put a stop to the growth of this new movement called the kingdom of God.

Now I want you to notice the five specific parts of their prayer.

1. First, it is always good to praise God’s name in any situation. So they addressed their prayer to the Lord. “Lord” is translated from the Greek word “despot” in verse twenty-four. Despot means that Jesus Christ is the absolute ruler!

2. Next, they quote the beautiful words of David in Psalms 2. They were fulfilling the scripture.

3. Third, they state that the problem is they were being opposed because they belonged to Jesus Christ and they made a request in his prayer.

4. They did not ask for protection, but they asked for courage and boldness to speak God’s word.

5. And what was God’s response? He shook the building.

IV. GOD SHOOK THE MEMBERS TO BOLDLY SPEAK THE WORD OF GOD!

And that brings us to our final exhortation. and that is they prayed for boldness and God not only shook the building, but he shook the congregation until they became bold in body and spirit. The Bible says when they had prayed, God physically shook the building they were in, but he also shook the people in the building. He shook up their minds and their spirits to go out and boldly speak the word of God:

And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness (Acts 4:31).

That is what we want to happen to all of us—to be bold in our proclamation of God’s word. We do not need to hide in a corner and we do not need to be ashamed. We need to be bold and courageous. The Bible teaches us that we should pray without ceasing. “Pray with ceasing” (1 Thessalonians 5: 17). Jesus Christ emphasized in the story that he told about the Judge and the widow, to never give up in our prayer life. The widow had a grievance and she went to the judge and he paid no attention to her. He put her off but she did not give up. She kept pestering that judge every day until finally he said, “If I don’t take care of this widow, she is going wear me out!”. So finally, he took care of her problem. This story then illustrates if you do not get the answer to your prayer right away, never give up.

Now, what can we draw from our lesson today? 1. Let us pray together as a congregation. 2. Every time we come together in unity, let us ask God to help us make our decisions as a church. 3. Let us persist in our prayer until God shakes us up to go and carry out our duty of spreading the gospel message.

Now I hope all of you are praying for somebody to become a Christian. We all know someone who has not confessed Jesus Christ and been baptized for the forgiveness of sin. Pray for those who have strayed away from the church. We need to pray for them also before it is too late! Come to the Lord as together we stand and sing.*

Copyright © 2021 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

*Shelby G. Floyd delivered this sermon March 28, 2021 at the Heartland Church of Christ, 1693 West Main Street, Greenwood, Indiana 46142.

Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142

A Life With No Regrets

By

Shelby G. Floyd

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All of God’s people should live our life in such a way, that when we come to the end, we can look back without regret. This means that we must be dedicated to the Lord, study his word and rely upon divine wisdom to make the right choices. Life goes by fast and how many times do we hear someone say, “If I had my life to live over again I would have done such and such.”

John Greenleaf Whittier wrote, “For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, ‘It might have been’.” “It might have been.” Religiously this represents those who have neglected the great salvation offered by Christ.

In the letter to the Hebrews the people are warned not to neglect what is spiritually important:

Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation, which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed to us by those who heard Him (Hebrews 2:1-3 NKJV).

If we will heed what is said and not neglect our duty, then we can look back without regret and not think about what “might have been.”

No doubt Esau was filled with remorse and regret after he realized he had sold his birthright for a bowl of soup. Esau was a profane person and was filled with regret: “For you know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place for repentance, though he carefully sought it with tears” (Hebrews 12:17). No doubt he looked back and wondered again and again, “what might have been.”

Everyone of us has a sphere of influence for Christ and the church. We have opportunities to do good for those out of Christ and especially for those who are in the household of God (Galatians 6:10). Let each of us zealously work to bring our friends and acquaintances into Christ (Galatians 3:26-29).

Copyright © 2020 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved

Shelby G. Floyd

Heartland Church of Christ

1693 West Main Street

Greenwood, Indiana 46142





LIFTED UP

By

Shelby G. Floyd

Good morning. We have a very good audience today. It is so good that more and more people are coming out for worship where we all can be together. I am glad to be able to speak to you today on the subject “Lifted Up.”

When Jesus came into this world the Jewish people were looking for a conquering hero who would restore the greatness of Israel and rule over the whole world. But it was not long until they realized that this was not going to happen, because as Jesus continued his ministry, they realized that he was going to die. In fact, he spoke to them several times and told him that he was going to be put to death and they could not believe it. They did not have any idea how the Messiah could be put to death. But Jesus told them over and over again, I am going to be put to death, but I will rise again and I will see you. And so, after he was put to death, they realized that the kingdom was not going to be a physical material kingdom. It would be a spiritual kingdom not of this world, it would be in this world, but it would not be of this world.

And so, the cross became the very center of the gospel message and I believe we need to exalt and mention and preach on the cross a lot more than we do. I do know that the apostle Paul exalted the cross of Jesus Christ. Everywhere that he went on his evangelistic journeys the cross was the center of his message. And in Galatians 6 and verse 14 he said,

“But God forbid that I should boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, whom the world has been crucified to me and I to the world.”

The great apostle Paul looked upon himself as being crucified with Christ and to be raised with Christ, and he exalted the cross of Christ. He also said in Galatians 2, verse 20:

“I have been crucified with Christ, it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the son of God who loved me and gave himself for me.”

THREE TIMES JESUS PROPHECIED HE WOULD BE LIFTED UP ON THE CROSS

And those statements from the apostle Paul, are the very essence of what we need to be crying out ourselves! We were crucified with Christ, we live with Christ, and he is our Lord. Three times Jesus predicted that he would be lifted up. In the Old Testament book of Numbers chapter 21, God’s people had come out of Egypt, out of bondage and slavery. Now they were marching toward the promised land. And God gave them victory after victory. They had just won a great victory and then they marched on toward the promised land, but they did not have any water, and they did not have any food. So, they started murmuring and carping and criticizing the Lord and God did not like it at all.

Jesus Compared Moses Lifting Up the Serpent to Jesus Lifted Upon the Cross
The Lord brought serpents or snakes that bit them and they were dying and they cried out to the Lord! Oh Lord, save us. They did not repent of their attitude and rebellion. God told Moses to create a brazen serpent and you raise it up on a pole and then every person who has been bitten by a serpent or a snake when they look upon it, they will live and be okay. That is the cure. Now they had to look upon it, man had to do something, but what they did was not the creative power that would restore their health and overcome snakebites. It was God’s power, but Moses was his instrument in executing that power.

When we come to the third chapter of John, we have a man named Nicodemus who came to Jesus by night. He said, “Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher from God. No man can do the things that you are doing, except God be with him. And Jesus said to him that unless a man be born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God and so Nicodemus was told he had to be born again of a spiritual birth so he can enter a spiritual kingdom. Later in the conversation Jesus said,

“And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

“He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God” (John 3:14-18 NKJV).

There is the golden text of the Bible, “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son,
that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Now there is a phrase that I want to emphasize in that reading” As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness so “the Son of Man…” Often we don’t realize that Jesus was not only the Son of God, but he was also “the Son of Man.” He had a human nature just like we do. He could be hungry and thirsty. He could feel pain and so they thought the Son of God could not be destroyed. But Jesus was not only God’s Son but he was also the Son of Man! Therefore, in Luke chapter 3, we can trace his genealogy back on his mother’s side all away to Adam! And in Matthew chapter 1 we can trace it back through his father’s side, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob! Therefore, Jesus was the Son of Man, in his fleshly nature, but he was also the Son of God in his eternal nature (cf. Romans 1:3-4). He therefore could do all kinds of miracles because he was the Son of God, but he also could be put to death and lifted up on a pole just like Moses lifted up the serpent, because he was the Son of Man! Therefore, let me emphasize that Jesus was the Son of Man. He was one of us. He joined the human family and lived and taught and worked and died.

Jesus Prophesied That When He Was Lifted Up, They Would Know That He Was Who He Claimed to Be
Now there is a second prediction that Jesus made that is rather brief. In John eight verse 28 Jesus said, “When you lift up the Son of Man, when you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am he, and I do nothing of myself, but as my Father taught me, I speak these things” (John 8:28). He is the Son of Man, and he says, “when I am lifted up, then you will know that I do nothing myself but only what my father teaches me and exhorts me to do.”

Jesus Prophesied That When He Was Lifted Up, He Would Draw All People unto Himself
Next, we have the third prediction and the long context where Jesus again predicts that he is going to be lifted up, and he would also draw all people unto himself! Where is the power of the gospel? It is in the cross. It in the power of the cross that people are moved in their emotions, will, heart, and minds. Jesus said,

“Now is the judgment of this world and the ruler of this world will be cast out, and I if I am lifted up, will draw all peoples to myself. This, he said, signifying what death he would die. The people answered him, we have heard that the Christ lives forever and how can you say the Son of Man must be lifted up, who is the Son of Man” (John 12: 32-34).

Again, we have at the end of that verse “the Son of Man” mentioned. Who is the Son of Man? They had heard that the Christ lives forever and so they were having problems in her mind, not understanding how the Son of Man could be lifted up, put to death and then the Christ could live forever!

THE CHRIST WAS LIFTED UP IN THREE WAYS

Jesus Was Lifted Upon A Cross
That brings us to the fact that Christ was lifted up three ways. We have three passages that describe Christ would be lifted up three ways. First, Christ was lifted up on the cross. You cannot help but be moved when you go to the close of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John and all of them describe how Jesus was defrauded of his justice. They lied and they trumped up charges against him, and finally because they did not have the power to put him to death, they used the Romans who did have the power of life and death. They had to maneuver, they had to work where they could get the Roman governor to allow Jesus to be put to death.

In Mark the 15th chapter, the Bible says,

“Now when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour. 34 And at the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?” which is translated, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?”

35 Some of those who stood by, when they heard that, said, “Look, He is calling for Elijah!” 36 Then someone ran and filled a sponge full of sour wine, put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink, saying, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to take Him down.”

37 And Jesus cried out with a loud voice, and breathed His last” (Mark 15:33-37 NKJV).

And by the way, here we have an inspired translation, so you have no worry about anything as to whether it’s true or not, which is translated, “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me.” That shows us that Jesus had a human nature. He had a heavenly Father and he is innocent. He never committed any sin. He is innocent yet they raise him up on that cross and nailed those spikes through his tendons and through his feet, and he is bleeding and he is dying. He actually cried out “my God, my God, why have you forsaken me,” and some of them said “Let him alone, He is calling for Elijah, let us see if Elijah will come and save him.” And then the Bible says in verse 37, “And Jesus cried out with a loud voice and breathed his last.” My wife told me that she was with her dad when he died and she said he cried out with a really loud voice, and I remember telling her, that is the way that Jesus died. And right here is the confirmation that Jesus was lifted up on that cross just like he predicted when he said, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, the Son of Man must be lifted up,” so we have the fulfillment of Jesus own prediction.

Jesus Was Lifted Up from The Grave
Next, we give our attention to the fact that Jesus was lifted up from the grave. Now as I drive around by the graveyards and see all those gravestones and I know they have been in there for a long time, and not any have risen from a single grave, and they will not come up until the last day until Jesus cries out and the dead will be raised incorruptible!

In Mark 16:1-6 the Bible says,

“When the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices so that they might come and anoint Him. And very early on the first day of the week, they *came to the tomb when the sun had risen. They were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone from the entrance of the tomb for us?” And looking up, they *noticed that the stone had been rolled away; for it was extremely large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe; and they were amazed. But he *said to them, “Do not be amazed; you are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who has been crucified. He has risen; He is not here; see, here is the place where they laid Him” (NASB).

Notice how accurate the Bible is: they saw a man with a long white robe sitting on the right side not the left side, but the right side. The Bible is so specific when it wants to be specific that you realize that God had to be the author and the one who inspired his people to record this event. But he said to them, do not be alarmed. This is the person that was clothed in the long white robe—he is speaking to these women and tells them to not be alarmed. You see, Jesus of Nazareth who was crucified. He is risen. He is not here—see the place where they laid him. But go tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you into Galilee, and there you will see him as he said to you.

Jesus Was Lifted Up into Heaven
We have seen that Jesus was lifted up on the cross, Jesus was lifted up from the grave and now he is going to be lifted up into heaven. The Bible closes out the brief book of Mark in these words,

And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation. The one who has believed and has been baptized will be saved; but the one who has not believed will be condemned. These signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not harm them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.”

So then, when the Lord Jesus had spoken to them, He was received up into heaven and sat down at the right hand of God. And they went out and preached everywhere, while the Lord worked with them, and confirmed the word by the signs that followed” (Mark 16:15-20 NASB).

Recently in my daily Bible reading I came across this passage and it fits right in with this message today. King David (and Jesus was the Son of David according to the flesh), prophesied in Psalm 24 Jesus ascending into heaven and entering in before the eternal throne:

Lift up your heads, O you gates!
And be lifted up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord strong and mighty,
The Lord mighty in battle.
Lift up your heads, O you gates!
Lift up, you everlasting doors!
And the King of glory shall come in.
Who is this King of glory?
The Lord of hosts,
He is the King of glory. Selah
(Psalms 24:7-10 NKJV).

Therefore, when our Lord ascended into heaven He was welcomed by His Father and thousands of angels into everlasting Glory! Jesus went into heaven and was seated on the right hand of God.

THE MESSAGE OF THE CROSS

Now what is the message of the cross for us today. The message of the cross that Paul presented to the church at Corinth was direct and specific. Paul proclaimed to the church at Corinth, “For I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified” (1 Corinthians 2:2 NKJV). Did Paul preach on anything else? Yes, but the cross was the very center and core of his message. He determined not to preach anything among them except Jesus Christ and him crucified. So that is the core of the gospel message.

The message of the cross is looked upon by the world today as barbaric foolishness and instead of the power of God, it is looked upon as a curse because in the Old Testament there is a passage that says, “Cursed is everyone hanging on a tree!” And Jesus took the curse, he was hanged on the tree and Paul says for the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing. We look at the world today and they do not care about Christ’s death, and the resurrection.

Therefore, Paul says,

“For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God. For it is written, I will destroy the wisdom of the wise and bring to nothing the understanding of the prudent. Where is the wise, where is the scribe? Where is that disputer of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of this world” (1 Corinthians 1:18-20 NKJV)?

At that time, the Grecians had their great philosophers such as Aristotle, Plato, and Socrates, but they were unable to raise people up by their bootstraps (philosophy). And they were very wise, but there was no power to change people’s lives. The cross can change people’s lives. Even though the world looks up on it as foolish and as a barbaric curse that is outmoded in our day and time, but to those who are called, Christ crucified on the cross is both the power and the wisdom of God.

In that day, the Jewish people as a whole rejected the cross and the Gentile people partially received and believed in the cross. Why? The Jews required a sign in order to believe. And the Greeks sought after wisdom, so both the Jew and the Greek stumbled because one wanted something to be really wise and the gospel to them did not seem to be wise and the Jews were constantly wanting a sign—a miracle to prove what they would believe. But what did Paul preach? He preached “Christ crucified, to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks. Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God” (cf.1 Corinthians 1:22-24).

But today those of us who are Christians who believe in the cross, we have the power and the wisdom of God. Because we believe in Christ, and we believe Christ was crucified, it is the power and the wisdom of God and then we should glory in the cross of Christ. That is what Paul said in Galatians 6:14,

“But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (NKJV).

My friends, the cross of Calvary is our boast and glory. Let us never be ashamed of the cross. We have been crucified with Christ and we have been crucified to the world.

WHAT IS THE DRAWING POWER OF THE CROSS?

Now what is the drawing power of the cross and note the passage that we studied in John 12:32-34. We found out that Jesus will draw all men. Actually, all people, “I will draw all people unto myself.” Well, what is the motive, what is the power that Jesus has in the cross to draw all people? One is the goodness of God. The innocence of Christ. You know, our God is a forgiving God. I cannot get over the way in the history of the Jewish nation how they were constantly rebelling, disobeying God, and going after the false gods of the nations around them, worshiping idols and God would become angry with them and even punish them, but he could not stand to go very long without forgiving them and trying to bring them back. That is the kind of God we serve. If you mess up, he is not going to mark you off his list forever. There is always hope, he is always ready and willing and reaching out to forgive us and to bring us back into the fold. And so,

The Goodness of God and the Innocence of Christ Draws Us to Christ!
The apostle Peter later in his life before he was put to death said,

“For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps:

“Who committed no sin,
Nor was deceit found in His mouth”;

who, when He was reviled, did not revile in return; when He suffered, He did not threaten, but committed Himself to Him who judges righteously; who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose [c]stripes you were healed (1 Peter 2:21-24 NKJV)?

By the way Peter uses the word tree there instead of the word cross. What is it that draws people to Christ? It is futile to wrap our life completely up in this world because our history here is so brief. Life only makes sense when we live for that which is eternal.

The Power of Sacrifice Draws us to Christ
The golden text in the Bible is good. Children learn and quote this verse from the time that they go to Sunday school:

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 17 For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).

The Power of Love Draws us to Christ
“For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:6-8).

EXAMPLES OF THOSE WHO WERE DRAWN TO CHRIST

Pentecost Sunday
Jesus said I will draw all men—all people to myself. When we come to the book of Acts, chapter two, we have the birthday of the kingdom of God—the birthday of the church. 3000 people cried out and asked, “men and brethren, what shall we do?” Why did they ask that question? Peter had just convicted the audience of being guilty of crucifying Jesus and he proved to them that they had done a terrible thing. Peter gave a brief answer,

Then Peter said to them, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call” (Acts 2:28-39 NKJV). And in the last verse the Bible declares, “the Lord added to the church daily such as were being saved” (Acts 2:47). 3000 sinners were saved and became members of the church. They were the initial nucleus of the church.

The Ethiopian Treasurer
As we start going through the book of Acts, we have an Ethiopian that had come to Jerusalem to worship, he was returning home sitting in his chariot. He was the treasurer are of Queen Candace of Ethiopia and he was reading Isaiah the 53rd chapter. A preacher happened to come along in the providence of God, he heard the man reading Isaiah 53 and he asked him if he understood what he was reading. Just because I do not understand something, does not mean nobody understands it! I learned early in life that when you run across a problem in the Bible and you do not understand it and several people do not know the answer, does not mean nobody knows answer. There are smart people in the world and if we examine and seek the truth, eventually we will find out the truth. And so, he asked him do you understand what you are reading? And he answered, how can I except some man should guide me? And they came to a certain water and again he asked if anything was hindering him from being baptized. He made the good confession that Jesus is the Christ and they went down into the water, both Philip and the eunuch and he baptized him and when he came up out of the water the Spirit caught away Philip and the eunuch went on his way rejoicing. I challenge you to find anybody in the New Testament that ever rejoiced until after they were baptized.

Cornelius a Roman Soldier
In the 10th chapter of Acts, we have Cornelius a Roman soldier who is a centurion—he is a over 100 soldiers. He is quite powerful. He has servers that wait on him and he is a godly Gentile Roman soldier. In fact, he was so good that the Jews said he is really a good man for he helped us build a synagogue. That is the kind of man he was. He was reaching out to the Jewish people and he had a vision and, in that vision, he saw a man coming to him and preaching the word of God. Immediately after that vision he sent two of his servants and a soldier down to where Peter was to invite him to come and speak to him.

Peter had a vision at noon while the women were preparing dinner, and the vision told him some men were coming to meet him and that he should welcome them. It was about noon and he is up on the roof. They had flat roofs back then. While he is praying there is somebody knocking on the gate. He gets up and goes down and they are inquiring about Simon Peter. I am Simon Peter, and why have you come here and they relate to him what Cornelius had experienced back at Caesarea. Peter invited them in and that was something that Jews did not do. They would not invite Gentiles into their house. They stayed overnight. The next day they started back toward Caesarea and Peter did not want to get in trouble with his fellow Jews, so he took six of his Jewish brethren with him. They would be his witnesses as to what happened.

When they arrived, they were all waiting for him? Cornelius had called his family and close friends into his home for Bible study and preaching. When Peter walked in he asked why have you called for me, why have you invited me here? Cornelius rehearsed to him what had happened and how God had told him to send for Peter and he would tell him words whereby he and his household would be saved. Peter begins his sermon by pointing out that God is no respecter of persons, but in every nation he that fear God and works righteousness is accepted.

And as he continues to preach about the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, suddenly Peter’s sermon is interrupted. I have had my sermon interrupted before and it really throws you off, his speech was interrupted because the Holy Spirit in a baptismal measure came down on the household of Cornelius. When it was over, Peter continued his sermon right where he left off. The last thing that he had said was forgiveness based on faith. Now to those people who believe you are saved by faith only; we are going to leave you right where Peter’s sermon was interrupted! But Peter did not stop there. After the interruption was over, Peter said “Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Spirit as well as we” (Acts 10:47-48)? Peter brought water into the message again and Cornelius’s believing family were baptized. There is water in the scheme of redemption.

Lydia, the Business Woman
I relate to you another conversion of Lydia in Acts 16. Lydia went out by the riverside in Philippi to have a prayer meeting. Paul would go out there and study the scriptures with these women, and finally Lydia and her household were baptized. They were the charter members of the Philippian church. And while Paul and Silas were in Philippi, they stirred up a hornet’s nest. Some citizens were making a living from making little idols to worship. They had a fit because if you believe in God and Jesus, you are not going to buy thee little idols and put them around in your house everywhere. They were losing their business! They were ready to stone Paul and Silas. They had them arrested and put in the Philippian jail. The Bible says they beat them and fastened their feet in the stocks and they were put in the inner prison!

The Jailor of Philippi
But God does not fail his people and his preachers at midnight. There was a great earthquake, and the jailer, realizing as a Roman jailer he was responsible for the prisoner drew his sword and was about to take his own life. And Paul cried out, do yourself no harm for we all here, we are not trying to escape. The jailer sprang in trembling and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” They replied, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved, and your house.” (Acts 16:30-31). Then they spoke the word of the Lord to them so they would know what to believe (Acts 16:32). And obviously they spoke to the jailor about baptism because, the scripture says “he (the jailor) took them (Paul and Silas) the same hour of the night and washed their stripes; and was baptized, and all his, straightway” (Acts 16:33 KJV).

You my friends have been given some specific examples of how in the New Testament times people were drawn to Jesus. Jesus said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to myself.” My friends let the Lord Jesus draw you to him. Respond today before it is everlastingly too late!

*Copyright © 2021 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved



Heartland Church of Christ

Shelby G. Floyd delivered the essence of this sermon March 7, 2021 at the Heartland Church of Christ, 1693 West Main Street, Greenwood, Indiana 46142.

BAPTIZED AGAIN

By

Shelby G. Floyd




While Paul was beginning his third evangelist tour, Apollos came to Ephesus. The Bible tells us several things about his character and abilities as a preacher of the word. (1) He was a learned man; (2) He had a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures; (3) He had been instructed in the way of the Lord; (4) He spoke with great fervor; and (5) He taught about Jesus accurately. These things were all positive and good. However, there was one negative—he knew only the baptism of John. This means that he baptized people into John’s baptism:

“Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesus. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18:24-26).

Paul left Aquila and Priscilla at Ephesus when he re­turned to Antioch in Syria, thus ending his second tour. Unlike some, Aquila and Priscilla did not publicly correct him and humiliate him. They took him aside and “taught him the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18:26).

When Paul arrived at Ephesus, he found twelve men who were disciples. They had not received the Holy Spirit be­cause they had been baptized into John’s baptism. After the great commission was given, John’s baptism was no longer valid. Therefore, Paul “baptized them into the name of the Lord Jesus” (Acts 19:5).

People need to be re-baptized if any of the following are not true: (1) who should be baptized? A penitent believer, not an infant or small child; (2) what is the action of baptism? It is an immersion, not sprinkling or pouring some water on someone; (3) what is the purpose of baptism? It is for the forgiveness of sins (Acts 2:38); Baptism is not because one is saved and them wants to be baptized. Baptism is in order to be saved (1 Peter 3:21). If any or all of these are not true in your life, you need to be re-baptized. *

*Copyright © 2020 Shelby G. Floyd, All Rights Reserved



Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142