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Not All Christians


Good Morning Beloved Family,

It wonderful to see all of you today
thank you for coming..

Heavenly Father,

Lord, we come to worship today 
You are our hope in times of despair,
our shining light in the darkness

as recipients of Your grace
we are so grateful
we are people of peace,
the challenges we're facing these days are difficult
we find ourselves longing for peace, Your peace,
the peace that passes understanding

More than at any other time in history we want to be together…
and with the pandemic, we can't
we have the sense that something isn’t right
Some of us are feeling overwhelmed,
some are fearful and feeling alone

Though we live in challenging times, Lord
we are so privileged to live in these times
Your influence is being seen in every part of the world 
Help us all to nourish it, protect it and steward it
In Jesus' name we pray
Amen

"Now when they heard this, they were pierced to the heart, and said to Peter and the rest of the apostles, “Brethren, what shall we do?” Peter said to them, “Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and your children and for all who are far off, as many as the Lord our God will call to Himself.” And with many other words he solemnly testified and kept on exhorting them, saying, “Be saved from this perverse generation!” So then, those who had received his word were baptized; and that day there were added about three thousand souls. They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer."
Acts 2:37-42

Today's Message: Not All Christians Are Christlike

The book of Acts may originally have had no title. The Greek manuscripts title it “Acts,” and many of them add “of the Apostles.” The Greek word praxeis, translated “Acts”  was often used to describe the achievements of great men. Acts does feature the notable figures in the early years of the church, especially Peter in chapters 1–12 and Paul in chapters 13–28.

But the book of Acts, be could more appropriately be called “The Acts of the Holy Spirit through the Apostles,” since His sovereign, superintending work was far more significant than that of any man contributing to it. It was all through the Spirit’s direction, control, and empowering ministry that strengthened the church and caused it to grow in numbers, spiritual power, and influence.

Since Luke’s gospel was the first book addressed to Theophilus Luke 1:3, it is logical to conclude that Luke is also the author of Acts, although he is not named in either book. The writings of the early church Fathers such as Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Origen, Eusebius, and Jerome affirm Luke’s authorship, and so does the Muratorian Canon ca. A.D. 170. So it is highly unlikely that anyone would have forged a work to make it appear to be Luke’s. And if there were a forger surely they would have attributed his work to a more more prominent person. Luke was rather an obscure figure.

Luke was also a careful researcher and an accurate historian, displaying an intimate knowledge of Roman laws and customs, as well as the geography of Palestine, Asia Minor, and Italy. In writing Acts, Luke drew on written sources, and no doubt interviewed key figures, such as Peter, John, and others in the Jerusalem church. He was Paul’s close friend, traveling companion, and personal physician.

"As they were speaking to the people, the priests and the captain of the temple guard and the Sadducees came up to them, being greatly disturbed because they were teaching the people and proclaiming in Jesus the resurrection from the dead. And they laid hands on them and put them in jail until the next day, for it was already evening. But many of those who had heard the message believed; and the number of the men came to be about five thousand."
Acts 4:1-4

"The word of God kept on spreading; and the number of the disciples continued to increase greatly in Jerusalem, and a great many of the priests were becoming obedient to the faith."
Acts 6:7 

Strangely enough, the strongest opposition to Jesus’ ministry came from the Chief Priests in Jerusalem. They were supposed to be God’s representatives to minister to the Jews, but they were fighting His Son! Why? They had the most to lose if the masses obeyed His teaching and replaced religion with reality!

It was the Chief Priests who fought hardest against the Apostolic Church, trying to stamp it out. But even as they fought it, they could not stem the tide of conversions within their own ranks! In general, the priesthood had grown very corrupt by the time of Jesus; it was just a religious form!

As early as the time of Jeremiah, some priests had acted also as priests of Baal, Jeremiah 2:8. In the time of Ezekiel, they ministered before these idols in the Temple itself, Ezekiel 44:12 and allowed the heathen to join them in their sacrifices, Ezekiel 44:7.  Isaiah prophesied against a priesthood that had become sensual, covetous, drunkards, tyrannical, and adulterous, Isaiah 28:7-8, 56:10-12. Although they were somewhat chastened by the captivity, the root evils soon reappeared. Malachi, in the last word we have on the subject in the Old Testament, says that the priests performed their services for money, 1:10, corrupted the covenant and caused people to stumble, 2:8, were despised by the people, 2:9, and forgot entirely that they were supposed to be messengers of the Lord, 2:7. Many of the most righteous among the priests were of the “lower orders” and even of the Levites. 

History says there were approximately 8000 “ordinary” priests who served at the Temple in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus. A much smaller number served in “official” priesthood positions: The High Priest, the Sagan (second priest), 2 Katholikin, chief treasurers, 7 Ammarcalin, in charge of gates & 3 Gizbarim, undertreasurers. These 14 officers formed the “council of the Temple.”  Also, there were heads of certain divisions, heads of families under these, overseers of guards, etc.   

But while their hierarchy fought the church, “a great company of the ordinary priests were obedient to the faith”!

When did reality replace religion in the lives of the priests?  
When did divinity overtake duty?  
Could it have been an encounter with someone touched by the Nazarene that turned the tide?

It was the priests duty to instruct the people of the law, to appraise things dedicated to the sanctuary, I have to wonder if it could be some of the priests who were devoted to the Law were convicted when they heard it explained with authority by the One who had written it? The custom of donation to the Temple had been abused over the years, with some reserving gifts, “Corban,” for the Temple just so they would not have to support their aged parents with the money!

Could it be that some of the priests who had gone along with erroneous traditions were set free when they heard from Jesus that there had to be more to worship than corrupt religion?

It was the priests duty to act as the court of appeal in the event of a difficult case, is it possible that some of the priests who had wrestled with weighty questions of the people were converted when they heard of the Wisdom of the Ages being shared with the masses?

It was also the priests duty to administer the oath of purgation to any woman accused of adultery and render the verdict if stoning was warranted, and to inspect lepers and declare them clean, is it conceivable to think that now there were some of the priests who had wrestled in vain with secret sins of their own all the while they judged others found hope in the mercy and forgiveness of the Nazarene? And that some of the priests who had to dust off the scrolls to relearn a ceremony they thought would never be fulfilled caught the revelation of the Messiah Jesus Christ?

The ordinary priests had never viewed the magnificent Ark of the Covenant behind the veil in the Holy of Hollies. Only the High Priest was allowed to enter there, on the Great Day of Atonement.

Josephus says the evening sacrifice was at the ninth hour, exactly when the veil was rent! The priests had heard of the magnificent Shekinah, but what did they see that day? Nothing! The glory of the Lord had departed from the Temple before the captivity as seen in Ezekiel’s vision. Is it now possible that some of the priests who finally discovered that there was no reality behind their religion turned to the reality of the One who embodied the Spirit of God?

In Closing.....

It is obvious that Jesus ministry had an effect on at least some of the priests, but it was even more powerful when His ministry was multiplied!

Not all Christians are Christlike!
Through Jesus Christ, we can be set free from dead religion!
And then we can help lead someone else to freedom!

And now may the Lord bless you and keep you;

the Lord make His face shine upon you,
And be gracious to you;

The Lord lift up His countenance upon you
And give you peace.

Now and forever, in Jesus' name
Amen
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Brian Monzon Ministries

The Brian Monzon Ministries

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