Friday, March 03, 2017

Great Turn Arounds

These guys needed to be saved from politics, philosophy and religion.

The Ethiopian meets Philip

Acts 8:30-31 Philip ran over and heard the man reading from the prophet Isaiah. Philip asked, “Do you understand what you are reading?”

The man replied, “How can I, unless someone instructs me?” And he urged Philip to come up into the carriage and sit with him.
Philip was making disciples in Samaria and with great results, the crowds were amazed at the message and the power that Philip had. Philip enjoyed great success there but instead of moving on to another town and doing it again God tells him that he has an appointment in the desert. (Acts 8:4-13, 8:26)

The Ethiopian was a government official from North Africa, he was reading from the Old Testament, he feared God but he didn't understand the teaching about the Messiah. (Acts 8:26-40)

Saul meets Ananias

Acts 9:3-5 As he was approaching Damascus on this mission, a light from heaven suddenly shone down around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, “Saul! Saul! Why are you persecuting me?”

“Who are you, lord?” Saul asked. And the voice replied, “I am Jesus, the one you are persecuting!
Saul was a very religious man, born in Tarsus and moved to Jerusalem, he was trained in Judaism by a famous Rabbi. (Acts 22:3)

Saul has been zealous in his efforts to get rid of the Christ followers, he thought he was doing God a favor until he meets Jesus in a beam of light shining down from heaven.

Cornelius meets Peter

Acts 10:21-22 So Peter went down and said, “I’m the man you are looking for. Why have you come?”

They said, “We were sent by Cornelius, a Roman officer. He is a devout and God-fearing man, well respected by all the Jews. A holy angel instructed him to summon you to his house so that he can hear your message.”
Cornelius was a military man in the Roman army, he was a good guy that believed in God, prayed and did nice things for those around him. In response to Cornelius faith God had a plan for him to meet Peter. (Acts 10:1-8)

Three very different guys with very different backgrounds. A man of politics, a man of philosophy, and a man that is very religious all have the same need. They all share the same heartache that is caused by sin, they all have a hunger for more in life and they all need help dealing with their situation.
1 Peter 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
There is hope! These guys were not stuck on a road to disaster without an escape, they have been given an opportunity to make a U-turn.

All three men were told about the hope that had just recently been revealed, hope that is rooted in Jesus and his work that he did on the cross, hope that is secure because they saw him come back from the grave.

Repent And Be Refreshed

Acts 3:19-20  Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away.  Then times of refreshment will come from the presence of the Lord, and He will again send you Jesus, your appointed Messiah.
These three men from totally different backgrounds were impacted by the message of hope. When the gospel reached them they were caught up in the politics, philosophy and religion but they realized that their thinking was all wrong.

Their belief systems could not bring them to the satisfaction that comes from the living hope that we have in Jesus. All of them were open to the gospel message and the results of their faith helped take the gospel to the nations.
1 Peter 1:3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead
Thank you Lord!