Friday, August 25, 2023

The Vision (8.25.23): The Standard For Faithful Christian Preaching


Image: Rembrandt, St. Paul in Prison, 1627, Staatsgaleri Stuttgart, Germany

Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on Acts 17:17-31.

And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening (Acts 28:23).

As Paul was under house arrest in Rome, a day was appointed for the Jews of that city to come and hear him speak to them concerning Christianity, which they knew only as a “sect” which everywhere was “spoken against” (v. 22).

In v. 23b we have a summary of Paul’s preaching on this occasion. It is both descriptive, telling us what Paul said that day, and prescriptive, telling us what should always be the content of Christian preaching. Luke tells us here that Paul addressed two related subjects from one source (Scripture):

First, he “expounded and testified the kingdom of God.” Matthew summarized the preaching of the Lord Jesus himself in Matthew 4:17b as, “Repent: for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” The kingdom of God is the rule and reign of God. With the coming of Christ in the flesh, God’s rule broke into this world. When he comes again with power and glory that kingdom will triumph over all.

Second, he was “persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets.”

What did he have to say about the Lord Jesus? No doubt, he proclaimed the gospel (Good News) about Christ. What is the core of gospel proclamation? Christ’s death, burial, resurrection, and resurrection appearances (1 Corinthians 15:3-5).

This is consistent with what Paul preached at Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:27-30), and it is consistent with what Paul preached before Agrippa in Acts 26, “that Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead” (26:23).

The standard for faithful Christian preaching has not changed in 2,000 years: Proclaim from the Scriptures the death of Christ on the cross for sinners and his glorious resurrection so that all who trust in him might walk in newness of life.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

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