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April 25, 2011

Luke 23:46-47

“And He said to them, ‘Thus it is written, that the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day, and that repentance for forgiveness of sins would be proclaimed in His name to all the nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

Proclaiming the Resurrected Christ Today

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Eternal Life

        Most Christians I have ever met never make it a practice to proclaim repentance for forgiveness of sins in the name of Jesus Christ.  Some Christians tell me that they live for Christ, and their testimony shines for Him.  They somehow think that their lives will be enough witness, without words.  Others tell me that they evangelize the world by inviting people to church, so they can hear a message of salvation from the preacher. Jesus taught His disciples a very different plan to evangelize the world.  He meant that each one of us should share the Gospel of Jesus Christ based upon the Scriptures and our own testimony.

        The Testimony of the Scriptures to Salvation.  One time an old preacher told me that the Old Testament has no doctrine for the church today.  We looked together at 2 Timothy 3:16-17.  There, we read that all Scripture is inspired by God, and is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be adequate and equipped for every good work.  Paul was referring primarily to the Old Testament in that passage.  So we see that the entire Bible, properly interpreted, helps us and equips us.  In Luke 24:44, Jesus told His disciples that the Law of Moses, the Prophets of the Old Testament, and the Psalms of the Old Testament all testified of Him, and all of them must be fulfilled.  Jesus told His disciples to share their faith based upon the Scriptures that testified of Jesus.  We should remember that faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ (Romans 10:17).

       Jesus Opens Minds To Understand the Scriptures.  Although the disciples had heard Jesus read and teach the Scriptures, their minds were not open to understand the preaching and prophesying of Jesus concerning His death and resurrection (Luke 9:45; Luke 18:34; Mark 9:32; compare Mark 6:52; Mark 8:17-18).  Only when Jesus opened their minds to understand the Scripture, after His resurrection, were they able to grasp the clear teaching of Scripture about the death of Christ, and other matters.  The Holy Spirit also plays a critical role in helping believers understand the Scripture (John 14:26).  By the wisdom of this world, no one came to know Jesus (1 Corinthians 1:21).  Remember also that Philip explained the Scriptures to the Ethiopian eunuch on the desert road (Acts 8:35).

       The Scriptures Proclaim The Gospel of Jesus Christ.  You may be shy and concerned about sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  You may know intellectually that you should share the Gospel, but you have many reasons why you do not make it a practice.  Consider Luke 24:46 with me.  Jesus told His disciples that it is written that “the Christ would suffer and rise again from the dead the third day.”  When we focus upon the simple Gospel message, based upon the facts of Christ’s life, death and resurrection, we see that we are called to share Christ from the Bible.  Many of you share the facts of your life everyday.  What did you do today?  How did work go today?  In the same way you share facts about your life, you can share important facts about the life of Jesus Christ.  Because Jesus died on the cross for the sins of the whole world, He died for my sins too. 

       Repentance for the Forgiveness of Sins. Jesus lays to rest any controversy about whether we need repentance for salvation.  Jesus emphasized the preaching of repentance for forgiveness of sins in Luke 24:47.  Repentance means that we change our minds about our behavior, recognize our actions as sinful before God, and seek forgiveness from God. Jesus said we should proclaim repentance for sins in His Name.

        Proclaiming in the Name of Christ.  Only Jesus Christ can forgive sins, and without Him, there is no forgiveness for sins or salvation in anyone else (Acts 4:12; John 14:6).  Using verses from the Bible, we proclaim with our words that Jesus died for our sins and now lives to invite sinners to repentance and salvation by faith in Him alone.  He alone died for sins, and rose from the dead.  He triumphed over sin and death and we can too.  We have been commanded to proclaim this great news (Matthew 28:19-20).

       You Are Witnesses of These Things.  Jesus also reminded His disciples that not only had they seen the things they would bear eye-witness testimony about later, but that they were actually witnesses of the fulfillment of all the Scriptures about Messiah coming as Immanuel, God with us in the flesh.  If you have trusted Christ to forgive your sins, they you too are a witness of salvation.  You do not have to be a Bible scholar to share your faith, because you can share Christ from a few key verses in the Bible (Romans 3:23; Romans 5:8; Romans 6:23; Romans 10:9-10).  Of course, you could share from many other passages, but they will all have the theme that Jesus Christ died on the cross for you, and if you repent, turn to Him for forgiveness, He will forgive you and live within you forever.  We turn to Him in faith for salvation, and we live in Him by faith.

        So we learn more about the resurrection of Jesus today.

       ●  Jesus opens the minds of His children to understand the facts of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We need to count upon His power to help us understand and apply His word to our lives.  You really can understand the Bible if you read it, and pray for Him to help you as you read.

       ●  Jesus told His disciples that they should proclaim repentance for forgiveness of sins to the whole world.  We should do the same.

       ●   If Jesus has forgiven your sins, then you are an eyewitness of His power to save sinners, and you know what happened to you.  By learning a few Bible verses at first, you can learn how to share with others the Gospel of Jesus Christ that saved you, and introduced you to a lifetime of living in love with Jesus Christ. 

Application for Today

        Today I want to proclaim the repentance for forgiveness of sins to everyone Jesus sets before me with open ears.  I want to listen to Jesus as I share His love with people He brings to me.  Will you proclaim repentance for forgiveness of sins today?


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