Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Acts 2 – Part 3 – The Remarkable Early Church - Acts 2:32-33, 37-47

                                Acts 2:32-33, 37-47
Peter powerfully preached that day of our Lord’s divinity,
The nature of God and man infused, second person of the Trinity.
Resurrected and ascended to heaven, He sits with the Father enthroned,
No one else can be our redeemer. Only He alone.

Their hearts pierced, the people cried out, “Brothers what can we do?”
We have earnestly heard your message, and we know it’s true.”
“Repent of your sin,” Peter said, “be baptized in His name.
Declare to all your salvation; allegiance to Christ proclaim.”

Christ will grant you pardon for sin and send the gift of the Spirit.
His power will flow from deep within to share with those who hear it.
This Father’s promise is given today and to others yet to come.
Salvation is offered to all who believe, won for us by God’s Son.

Peter preached with power and passion urging the crowd to respond.
“Save yourself from your futile lifestyle, prepare for the life beyond.”
Those who believed were saved that day, about 3,000 in all.
The apostles baptized steadily those who answered the call.

How does an infant church behave when thousands come in a day?
What do they do? How are they taught? Where do they meet to pray?
They met in the temple courtyard by day and in their homes by night.
Through teaching, prayer and fellowship, many came to the Light.

A sense of awe came over them because of the Spirit’s presence.
It didn’t matter one’s social class: ruler, slave or peasant.
Every day in the temple grounds the apostles were present to teach
Every night in loving homes hungry new souls were reached.

The apostles received spiritual power performing signs and wonders.
Souls were saved, bodies healed, and marriages going under.
No one was hungry, no one unsheltered, no dire need unmet.
Always there was food to eat and a sleeping place at sunset.

The energy empowering the church came from our Savior’s love.
Every believer was renewed in the image of Christ above.
They loved, they cared, and freely shared that which God had given,
A literal, visible transformation by God’s pure love now driven.

This is what the church should be. Please note what God would do:
He would add daily to His kingdom as the message breaks through.
What would happen if our lives cared far more deeply for others?
Could it be that God would give us many new sisters and brothers?

There is in this record an element of truth that cannot be denied:
We would win more souls to Christ if to our will we died.
If we will live fully for Christ alone; open our heart and abode,
God will send us His chosen ones to learn about heaven’s road.

© Copyright 2016 George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Acts 2 – Part 2 – Peter’s Pentecost Sermon

Acts 2:14-24
Peter stepped forward to preach that day completely unafraid;
The Spirit gave him the words to say and a message to convey.
“These men are not drunk as you suppose, for it’s only nine in the morn.
This is the message Joel wrote about, the day men are reborn.

In the last days, God has said, His Spirit will be poured out.
It heralds salvation for all men and that’s what this is about.
The prophet Joel wrote of a time when many would prophesy,
Of men and women saved and filled by the One who can satisfy.

It ought to be clear these folks are not drunk but praising God on high
Declaring His wonders in dialects each of you recognize.
In the last days implausible changes will happen in man’s heart.
What you see and hear today is God’s incredible start.

Our God has promised to send the Spirit to men and women alike.
He has come to live within, to guide you in your life.
There will be signs in future days on earth and heaven above,
A darkened sun, a blood-red moon, and salvation for those He loves.

People of Israel, listen up! God is declaring salvation.
His Son, Jesus, gave His life to reconcile every nation.
You heard the truth, observed His life, saw His signs and wonders.
The earth shook, the sun was dark; you heard the awesome thunder.

All these things will happen again before the Day of the Lord.
Many who remain in their sin will perish by dagger and sword;
But all who call upon the Lord believing in His name
Will be forgiven, saved to new life, spared from the fiery flame.

Our Lord’s death was God’s great plan, the only deliverance from sin,
The sacrifice able to cleanse and transform us from within.
Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God, betrayed and murdered by man,
Gave Himself as our sacrifice; there is no one else who can.

God has raised Him from the dead. The tomb could not contain Him.
Sinless perfection, our daily bread, death could not restrain Him.
When we place our trust in Him, God counts His death as ours
We rise to new life, His grace poured out in glorious heavenly showers.

This is the essence of Peter’s message that very first Pentecost Day.
If you believe, the Spirit will come to live within you and stay.
You’ll have this life to grow in Christ; fulfill your purpose on earth
When you say “yes” to our loving God; experience a spiritual rebirth.

© Copyright 2016 George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Acts 2: The Message of Pentecost

The Hebrew feasts embody a message to Jew and Christian alike.
These national feasts are meticulous types of the life of Christ.
Just as Jews prepared a lamb to be their Passover meal,
So Christ became “The Lamb of God,” salvation’s holy seal.

The Feast of First Fruits, which celebrated the harvest’s first selection,
Was fulfilled by our Lord in His bodily resurrection.
He is the first fruit of God’s plan, the author of our salvation.
Because He rose, His church will too, for that glorious celebration.

Because this feast always takes place fifty days after the cross,
It became known to the saints as the Day of Pentecost.
Christ would send the Holy Spirit to transform body and mind
Coming not upon a man but indwelling him full time.

His band of believers met to worship that fateful Pentecost Day.
Suddenly the Spirit descended to fill these vessels of clay.
There was the sound of a mighty wind heard by neighbors around.
As they drew near to investigate, this is what they found:

The people praised God in foreign tongues, ones entirely unknown,
Languages from far-away regions of the Kingdom of Rome.
They were declaring the wonderful things God had already done
Praising the greatness of our God and His glorious Son.

But others in the crowd that day said, “Here is what we think.
These folks you see babbling away have had too much to drink.”
I suppose those shallow observers left with shaking heads
Unaware of their lost condition and the judgment they faced ahead.

The message true, our battle cry, is that the Spirit has come;
Come to indwell and sanctify, to make His people one.
He is the source of spiritual power, of consecrating grace;
He it is who enables us to reflect our Savior’s face.

Jesus had told them all to wait for the Father’s promise.
Empowering us to fulfill His will, to motivate and to calm us.
The Father gave the Son to die to pay the debt we owe,
The Spirit comes to indwell and guide, enabling us to be whole.

How we need the Spirit of God to make His home in our heart!
How we need Him to lead and guide, His truth to us impart.
Over and over and over again we seek to be filled with His Spirit
As we proclaim God’s loving grace to everyone who will hear it.

© Copyright 2016 George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Acts 1 - Part 1 -Introduction to Acts

Dr. Luke is the author of Acts, a fine historian he,
Traveling with the Apostle Paul on his ministry journeys.
An erudite and scholarly man, a doctor by trained profession,
Dr. Luke was profoundly led after his saving confession.

He first wrote the Gospel of Christ, the one that bears his name
Recording the life and works of Him who set the world aflame.
He told of His birth, His miracles; how His death our sin transcends,
How Jesus then was raised from the grave, His victory our godsend.

The record complete, the story told, is there more our Lord would do?
What remains before He descends this world to judge and renew?
The answer is found in the Acts account, in history made alive
With events of valor chronicled there as believers serve and thrive.

When Christ arose, He showed Himself for a period of forty days
Proving He was the Risen Lord, setting their hearts ablaze.
He spoke to them of things to come, of ministry activism,
Of how the Spirit will empower in prayerful evangelism.

“Do not leave Jerusalem now, wait for the Spirit’s hour;
You cannot effect salvation grace working in human power.
John immersed you to signify the honest repentance you feel;
The Holy Spirit is coming soon to fill you with power and zeal.”

“Is this the time to declare yourself King?” the disciples said earnestly.
They were filled with earthly plans, thoughts of insurgency.
They were ready to rule with Christ; had dreams of prestige great,
Unaware of the price they would pay to change a lost world’s fate.

They couldn’t do it on their own; no human might is sufficient.
No preaching ability good enough, no human scheme proficient.
But the power flowing from the Spirit is equal to the task;
God empowers His servants well to perform just what He asks.

“You shall be a witness for me in Jerusalem and every nation.
Boldly proclaiming to all who will hear the message of salvation.”
Jerusalem, Judea, Samaria too and all the regions around
Were transformed with joy and peace by this message profound.

These first verses inserted here describe it with precision.
Our journey reveals God’s “good news” in its inspired transmission.
First it was those within the city, then towns and countryside
Received the witness of the redeemed, their soul now satisfied.

Never before and never since has there been such a revolution.
Never such dramatic change as lost souls found life solution.
Never such opposition was raised from social institutions;
Never such dreadful hardship and pain through unjust persecution.

All this and more we will see, I trust I have set the hook,
Open your Bible and study with me in God’s great textbook.

© Copyright 2016 George M. Cuff, All Rights Reserved