Acts: The Loud Cry
My Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
In the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John we are given a glimpse into the life of Jesus. In their own way, each writer attempted to reveal the truth that Jesus of Nazareth was the Messiah who was to come. His life and teachings revealed the Ten Commandments perfectly. He lived and taught the Old Testament values of justice, righteousness and mercy. Those form the foundation of God’s throne. Those are what the Ten Commandments are all about. Without them there would be no “Salvation”.
For many “scholars” of the Bible, Acts represents the “founding of the Christian church”. But I don’t see it that way. The word “Christian” was first recognized in Antioch as being attached to those who followed Jesus. “The Greek word Χριστιανός (Christianos), meaning ‘follower of Christ’, comes from Χριστός (Christos), meaning ‘anointed one’, with an adjectival ending borrowed from Latin to denote adhering to, or even belonging to, as in slave ownership.” Wikipedia.
Since they were “slaves” of Christ, and Christ was from eternity, and He was the God of the Old Testament, then all who have followed Christ since Adam have been of the “Christian” Church. What the modern pagan churches (since they have come from the pagan Catholic Church) want to do is separate the concept of “church” in the New Testament from the concept of “church” in the Old Testament. But since Jesus is eternal, and is the God of all the world, and Jesus does not change, then we cannot see two different churches but a continuum of the same spiritual church. The temple services, instituted 2,500 years after sin, were abolished at the death of Christ, however, the foundational Law of God and His unending spiritual church, the Ten Commandments, are eternal and did not change. The true concept of “church” is what it has always been since Adam: Christian - Christlike.
The same Jesus who talked with Adam in the “cool of the evening” under the trees in the Garden of Eden is the same Jesus who talked with Abraham out under the stars on the hills of Palestine. This is the same Jesus who copied the Ten Commandments from the Throne of God and handed them to Moses on the Mountain of Sinai. He is the same Jesus who talked with David, Elijah, Jeremiah, Daniel and who Isaiah and Ezekiel saw in glory and splendor. Then He came as a baby to Bethlehem in order to show the world, that for eternal life, it is imperative to live the Ten Commandments perfectly, without sin. Then He gave His broken body as a sacrifice in atonement for those broken Ten Commandments.
When He left this planet, to return to His Father, He did not set up another church. He did not tell the disciples to “go on church planting trips”. He told them to go, individually, and “make disciples of all nations, . . . Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you.” Matthew 28:19-20. Those teachings of Jesus were: Be perfect, stop sinning and to keep the Ten Commandments to get your eternal life. These are the same teachings He taught in the Old Testament. The spiritual church is the same, He just cleared out the rubbish man had put into it along with the ceremonies, traditions, services and rituals God had set in place to point to the coming Messiah. All that was now accomplished. The Messiah had come.
The disciples were following in the footsteps of their ancestors who, like Levi, “turned many from sin”. Malachi 2:6. They did not make church members out of them; they taught the people how to follow Jesus individually by being obedient to what He commanded. They were not to join a church organization. Nowhere in the entire Bible will you find God’s people setting up a “church organization”. In both Old and New Testaments, they were just people who had become disciples of Jesus and gathered for the purpose of sharing their love of Jesus with each other. They came together to “refute, warn, and encourage with the utmost patience...” 2 Timothy 4:2. Why? Because each was to carry in his own individual heart the truth. The “truth” was not to be delegated to a few church leaders or as some fundamental beliefs. The truth was not a “belief”, but a truth that was to be written in the hearts and lived in each individual member. “Teach them to your children, talking about them while sitting in your house, walking on the road, or when you are about to lie down or get up.” Deuteronomy 11:19. Then they were to refute, warn and encourage those who did “not tolerate healthy doctrine, but with itching ears will surround themselves with teachers (churches) who cater to their people’s own desires.” 2 Timothy 4:3. But this was an individual responsibility of everyone who claimed to be a “Christian”. It was not left to church leadership or organization. Are you fulfilling your responsibilities as a Christian?
The book of Acts shows how the disciples, under the command of Jesus, followed the example of the Patriarchs and went out and made disciples of everyone they could. Those who became disciples were then to pick up the commission individually from Jesus and do the same. By this process the world was soon enlightened with the truth. But when the devil saw he was not able to penetrate the movement of individuals, he devised a plan whereby he would organize them into a “church” in which he would have control over them. Since that time the “church of God” has almost been wiped out from the face of the earth. Very few of us are left who are disciples of Jesus. The majority who claim to be “Christian” are only “disciples of church”. That is why you must come out from being a “church member” and return to the original concept of individual responsibility by becoming a personal “disciple of Jesus” as a Christian; following Him and Him alone. “Almost Christians, yet not fully Christians, they seem near the kingdom of heaven, but they cannot enter there. Almost but not wholly saved, means to be not almost but wholly lost.” COL 118
Acts 1:1 to Acts 3:26
In my first book, Theophilus, I wrote about everything Jesus did and taught from the beginning, up to the day when he was taken up to heaven after giving orders by the Holy Spirit to the apostles he had chosen.
Please notice, the “orders” were given, not to a “church” but, to “the apostles he had chosen.” The devil has created a wonderful “antichrist” organization called “church”. Keep in mind, in the Greek, the word “anti” means “in place of”. It is doing a most magnificent work at taking the eyes of people away from Jesus and onto man and his organizations. We must break the psychological and emotional hold the “church” habit has over us and return to Jesus.
After he had suffered, he had shown himself alive to them by many convincing proofs, appearing to them during a period of 40 days and telling them about the kingdom of God.
Again, He was telling “them” “about the kingdom of God” and not how to put a church together. He didn’t sit them down and say, “Now I am appointing James as the president with Peter as the secretary. John will be the treasurer and the rest of you are board members. Be sure you vote unanimously so there is unity in the church.” No, He did not do any of that. Salvation is a personal, individual responsibility in which no one and nothing is to come between you and Jesus Christ.
While he was meeting with them, he ordered them, “Don’t leave Jerusalem. Instead, wait for what the Father has promised, about which you heard me speak. For John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit a few days from now.”
The concept Jesus left was not of an organization to vote and make its own rules by its own authority. They, individually, were to wait for the Father in Heaven to move them, individually. The Father was going to send them, not an organization, but the Holy Spirit to endow them with power and authority, individually. In a sense, they were to follow the example of Abraham, John the Baptist and all the prophets of God. They did not start a church. They simply taught individuals how each was to fulfill his duty to His God. They taught each his own individual responsibility of salvation by keeping the Ten Commandments. They never once told anyone to “join my church”. If the disciples, individually, moved in step with the Holy Spirit, they would be walking in harmony and in an orderly and organized manner with the true “Church of God”. Unlike today’s organizations in which each member is controlled by the governing body of a church, God’s true church is under the control of the Holy Spirit and is in perfect harmony with itself. There is no division among the individuals of God’s “church”. They move in perfect order with the Spirit of God. It is impossible for the Spirit of God to deny Himself or disagree with Himself. It is the organizations of the devil that are disorganised and full of divisions. They may appear “organized” and in “unity” on the surface or under a “name” of an organization, but underneath they are in turmoil and splintered into opposing sects while living in sin.
Now those who had gathered together began to ask Jesus, “Lord, is this the time when you will restore the kingdom to Israel?” He answered them, “It is not for you to know what times or periods the Father has fixed by his own authority. But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”
And there it is! Jesus was not restoring the kingdom of Israel or starting a church or any another organization. His true “church” has always resided in each individual heart. Only those hearts who have received “power when the Holy Spirit comes on you” are the disciples of Christ. If you are a disciple of Christ, you, personally, individually, “will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Are you witnessing for Jesus? They were to do just what the nation of Israel was called to do, evangelize the world, individually. But the nation of Israel apostatized by making a “church” out of the nation and then making “church members” out of converts. Instead of each individual living the Spiritual Kingdom in the heart, they let the “organization” do the work. Therefore, Jesus said, “How terrible it will be for you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You travel over land and sea to make a single convert, and when this happens you make him twice as fit for hell as you are.” Matthew 23:15.
“Often the question arises, Why, then, are there so many, claiming to believe God’s word, (claiming to be “Christian” or church members) in whom there is not seen a reformation in words, in spirit, and in character? Why are there so many who cannot bear opposition to their purposes and plans, who manifest an unholy temper, and whose words are harsh, overbearing, and passionate? There is seen in their lives the same love of self, the same selfish indulgence, the same temper and hasty speech, that is seen in the life of the worldling. There is the same sensitive pride, the same yielding to natural inclination, the same perversity of character, as if the truth were wholly unknown to them. The reason is that they are not converted. They have not hidden the leaven of truth in the heart. It has not had opportunity to do its work. Their natural and cultivated tendencies to evil have not been submitted to its transforming power. Their lives reveal the absence of the grace of Christ, an unbelief in His power to transform the character.” COL 99.
After saying this, Jesus was taken up while those who had gathered together were watching, and a cloud took him out of their sight. While he was going and they were gazing up toward heaven, two men in white robes stood right beside them. They asked, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking up toward heaven? This same Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you saw him go up into heaven.”
Jesus “will come back in the same way you saw him go up into heaven.” There is no secret “rapture”. There is no unseen resurrection. When Jesus comes we are told that every eye will see Him. He will come in a cloud of glory as the disciples saw Him go to Heaven.
Where are you “gazing”? Oh, at your church? If you belong to Jesus you will be “gazing up toward heaven”. By keeping our eyes fixed on Jesus in Heaven, we will be sure and certain that “this same Jesus, who has been taken up from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you saw him go up into heaven.” But if you are looking at your church, you will not truly believe Jesus is coming and you will be involved in the pleasures and lusts of this world and your church.
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.
Individually, they did as they were instructed by Jesus. Their hearts were knit as one while under the direction of the Holy Spirit. No organization, no church can accomplish that task. Only the power of God, through the agency of the Spirit, can accomplish that feat.
When they came into the city, these men went to the upstairs room where they had been staying: Peter and John, James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot, and Judas the son of James. With one mind all of them kept devoting themselves to prayer, along with the women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.
Not one church, organization, denomination or “Christian” gathering is of “one mind” unless they are under the direction of the Spirit of God. This was not a “corporate” gathering with “corporate” prayer. Each one was devoting himself personally and individually to prayer. They were cleansing themselves of all ego, pride, selfishness and former “church” attractions. They were withdrawing themselves from their “church” and giving themselves totally to Jesus Christ individually. Nothing of self could remain in the heart. They beheld the Pattern and it was their choice to follow that Pattern in their own individual lives.
At that time Peter got up among the brothers (there were about 120 people present) and said, “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke long ago through the voice of David about Judas, who was the guide for those who arrested Jesus, because he was one of our number and was appointed to share in this ministry.” (Now this man bought a field with the money he got for his crime. Falling on his face, he burst open in the middle, and all his intestines gushed out. This became known to all the residents of Jerusalem, so that this field is called in their language Hakeldama, that is, “The Field of Blood”.) “For in the Book of Psalms it is written, ‘Let his estate be desolate, and let no one live on it,’ and ‘Let someone else take over his office,’ who was one of the men associated with us all the time the Lord Jesus came and went among us, beginning when he was baptized by John until the day he was taken up from us. Therefore, someone like this must become a witness with us to his resurrection.”
These were about 120 people who had personally, individually, committed themselves to “slavery” to Jesus. We today have no understanding of that concept. In fact, we loath any thought of being a “slave” to anyone or institution. And yet, church members have all become voluntary slaves of this world, their churches, their own opinions, their jobs and homes, etc. Christians who are supposed to be in unity seldom are able to see “eye to eye” on the color of the church carpet. But to be a “slave” of Jesus is to be totally under His control. I’m still learning that. Little by little the Spirit of God is revealing to me the scope of such a thought. Until we see “eye to eye” in perfect unity, Jesus will not be able to sound the “Loud Cry” in the earth for these last days. The world must know that we move with one accord, through the Spirit of God, seeing “eye to eye”, and that there are no divisions among God’s people. Not even by a thought.
Judas, of course, did not “buy the field” himself. He was dead. However, it was “his money” that bought the field. Much like philanthropists today who, when they die, leave money to purchase this or that for a school, organization or person. Whatever their money purchases will be considered as “bought” by that person and his name placed upon it.
The people gathered did not take a vote as to who would take the place of Judas. They did not pass the recommendation on to a committee. They looked to the Word of God, found what it said, and acted in obedience to it as the Spirit of God moved them in their interpretation of the text. How far that concept is from our churches and denominations of today. No, first we send it to committees who make sure we are not offending anyone or whether it is politically acceptable. My, aren’t we “Christian”. When Peter stood up, it wasn’t because he was more important than anyone else, or voted in as “leader”, no, the Spirit of God moved upon him and he did as the Spirit moved him. The churches of today do not allow anyone who is moved by the Spirit of God to stand up and speak in the churches. It is all man-made and church controlled. God has been kicked out. They don’t want the Spirit of God telling them what they must do, think or believe. It is all forms and rituals.
So they nominated two men—Joseph called Barsabbas, who also was called Justus, and Matthias. Then they prayed, “Lord, you know the hearts of all people. Show us which one of these two men you have chosen to serve in this office of apostle, from which Judas left to go to his own place.” So they drew lots for them, and when the lot fell on Matthias, he was enrolled with the eleven apostles.
I don’t hear of any political parties getting involved. I don’t hear of any arguments or discussions. They were all under the power of the Spirit of God and He chose the person. They left it to the Lord who knows the hearts of all people. They didn’t vote on Matthias, they drew lots and let the Spirit of God decide. Can you imagine your church doing that today? No! People chosen today to be leaders in the church are politically well placed and usually have money and are in good social standing. The church would not let the Spirit of God chose one who is humble, poor and obedient to Jesus.
Churches and organizations today ordain pastors, ministers and others, not because they were chosen by God but because they have earned a worldly degree, passed man-made studies and agree with the church or organization that is ordaining them. If your pastor, minister or leader is not teaching you to stop sinning, be perfect and to keep the Ten Commandments TO GET YOUR ETERNAL LIFE, that person is not of God. 2 John 8-11.
When the day of Pentecost was being celebrated, all of them were together in one place.
Interesting to note, they were together in one place, but that “place” was not down with the church people who were celebrating Pentecost. Those rituals, services and ordinance were no longer accepted by God. He wants people who will be obedient to Him. The “church” had long since stopped being obedient to Jesus. They claimed Caesar as their king. They continued with the forms, but God was not with them.
Suddenly, a sound like the roar of a mighty windstorm came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting.
Someday people are going to leave their churches, come together in homes, be of one mind, one heart and one Spirit. Then a “windstorm” will come from Heaven and the world will know that there is a God and that He still responds to His children.
They saw tongues like flames of fire that separated, and one rested on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other languages as the Spirit gave them that ability.
Somehow, God had to separate, physically, His people from those pious, self-righteous church people who claimed to be of God. That day will also come for us. For them, God gave the ability to speak all the languages of the men who had come from foreign nations to Pentecost. The truth had to get out immediately. Jesus couldn’t wait for the disciples to learn the languages. He endowed them with the ability right now. Today, with Google translator and many other wonderful scientific and technical inventions, God does not need to give us the gift of speaking in other languages. But whatever gifts are needed to put out His truth, will be given. I have been given many new gifts that I never thought possible. All necessary in order to fulfill the mandate God has called me to do.
Now devout Jews from every nation were living in Jerusalem.
Today there are “devout” Christians in every church who have never heard the truth about Jesus. They have never heard the teachings of Jesus as to what they must do to get eternal life. If you are reading this, it is now your duty, if you are a “devout” Christian, to come out of church, learn and then do what Jesus commanded; go and teach others to live in obedience to everything He has commanded.
When that sound came, a crowd quickly gathered, startled because each one heard the disciples speaking in his own language. Stunned and amazed, they asked, “All of these people who are speaking are Galileans, aren’t they? So how is it that each one of us hears them speaking in his own native language: Parthians, Medes, Elamites, residents of Mesopotamia, Judea, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, the district of Libya near Cyrene, Jewish and proselyte visitors from Rome, Cretans, and Arabs, listening to them talk in our own languages about the great deeds of God?” All of them continued to be stunned and puzzled, and they kept asking one another, “What can this mean?”
The “Tongues of Fire” was not a quiet movement. The disciples were fearless for Jesus and spoke up with a “Loud Cry”. I don’t think we, today, have that understanding. Our churches want us to be quiet and let the pastor do all the talking. There are many who are “stunned and puzzled” about this ministry. They too keep asking,“What can this mean?”.
It is the duty of every “devout” Christian to learn the meaning of this ministry and what God is doing in and through it. When you realize it has been called by God, as the disciples of Christ’s day, you too will give the “Loud Cry” and share it with others. You will not hold a different opinion or thought from that which God has and is dictating and directing through this ministry. That was the downfall of Israel. They refused to listen to those sent by God to bring them back into unity with God. Each wanted to believe as he or his church saw fit.
But others kept saying in derision, “They’re drunk on sweet wine!”
Unfortunately, there are those who make fun of this ministry and of those who are supporting it. The devil will do everything in his power to bring “derision” to God’s people. The last thing the devil wants is for people to listen carefully and live in obedience to the teachings of Jesus.
Then Peter stood up among the eleven apostles and raised his voice to address them: “Men of Judea and everyone living in Jerusalem! You must understand something, so pay close attention to my words. These men are not drunk as you suppose, for it’s only nine o’clock in the morning.
It was not many weeks past that Peter stood up and walked away from his duty. He denied Jesus. But since then, Peter had become converted, a true Christian, and “raised his voice” giving the “Loud Cry” that Jesus was the Messiah who was to come.
There are lots of “supposing” going on in the world today. But few are paying close attention to the words God is speaking. We may be humble inmates, fisherman, tax collectors, garbage men, nurses, teachers and housewives, etc., but if we speak the words of Jesus, you had better “pay close attention”.
Rather, this is what was spoken through the prophet Joel: ‘In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on everyone. Your sons and your daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, and your old men will dream dreams. In those days I will even pour out my Spirit on my slaves, men and women alike, and they will prophesy. I will display wonders in the sky above and signs on the earth below: blood, fire, and clouds of smoke. The sun will become dark, and the moon turn to blood, before the coming of the great and glorious Day of the Lord. Then whoever calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’
They could have sat around all day debating the legitimate use of Joel at this time.
After all, Spirit filled women? “Last days”? They could have argued and reasoned and fought over it. In doing so they would have wasted a great opportunity to share the truth. This would have made the devil very happy. But, that is the section of God’s Word the Spirit of God wanted used. They didn’t care what the church, pastors or educational “geniuses” thought. They simply spoke what the Spirit put into their mouths.
“Fellow Israelis, listen to these words: Jesus from Nazareth was a man authenticated to you by God through miracles, wonders, and signs that God performed through him among you, as you yourselves know. After he was arrested according to the predetermined plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified this very man and killed him by the hands of lawless men. But God raised him up and put an end to suffering of death, since it was impossible for him to be held by it. For David says about him, ‘I always keep my eyes on the Lord, for he is at my right hand so that I cannot be shaken. That is why my heart is glad and my tongue rejoices, yes, even my body still rests securely in hope. For you will not abandon my soul to Hades or allow your Holy One to experience decay. You have made the ways of life known to me, and you will fill me with gladness in your presence.’
The first topic out of Peter’s mouth was not about joining a new church, but “Jesus from Nazareth”. He pointed the people away from their religion and church to Jesus Christ. He lifted up Jesus by quickly reviewing what they all knew. Then he opened Scripture to them to press home the truth that Jesus lived and died according to “the predetermined plan”. Then he goes on to show that the words of David applied to Jesus.
“Brothers, I can tell you confidently that the patriarch David died and was buried, and that his tomb is among us to this day.
Peter was not confused about what happens when we die. David was dead and buried. He wasn’t in heaven. Jesus came to destroy death, yes, but all in good time. He proved it in His life so all who believe, and live in obedience to His teachings, may also live again at the last day.
Therefore, since he was a prophet and knew that God had promised him with an oath to put one of his descendants on his throne, he looked ahead and spoke about the resurrection of the Messiah: ‘He was not abandoned to Hades, and his flesh did not experience decay.’
David spoke by the Spirit of God. David understood that when he died he was not going to heaven immediately. He would wait in the tomb and would experience decay. But the Messiah would break the chains of death for those who live in obedience to Him. Soon, Jesus is coming back to raise the righteous dead.
“It was this very Jesus whom God raised, and of that we are all witnesses. He has been exalted to the right hand of God, has received from the Father the promised Holy Spirit, and has caused you to experience what you are seeing and hearing. For David did not go up to heaven, but he said, ‘The Lord told my Lord, ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’
How illogical. Think about it. If you were a Jew, living back then, that statement would seem totally insane. Only by the Holy Spirit, impressing hearts, could one be able to understand that logic. However, it wasn’t “out of the blue”. Since all the Jews were very aware that the dead could be raised, having either witnessed Jesus raising the dead or having been told about it, God had been preparing the soil for the seed that was now being planted.
The death and resurrection of Jesus was not something done in the “dark”. In the “gospels” we have recorded where the women and a few disciples went to the tomb to see it “empty”. However, would I be too far off suggesting that maybe hundreds of other curiosity seekers had also gone to view the empty tomb? Do you really think that the guards who were watching over the tomb of Christ left the tomb quietly after the resurrection? I don’t think so. Yes, after they met with the church leaders they came away with bags of money and a lie. But between the tomb and the church, I can see them sharing with everyone what they had seen. Therefore when Peter is telling the listeners that Jesus was now in Heaven with the Father, I am sure their minds went back to Jesus in the temple stating that He had come from the Father. I think the pieces of the puzzle were beginning to come together in the minds of the hearers. Scripture is like a puzzle. Get all the pieces together right.
“Therefore, let all the people of Israel understand beyond a doubt that God made this Jesus, whom you crucified, both Lord and Messiah!”
Israel had been waiting for the Messiah to come at the head of armies to conquer the Romans. Their Messiah would come and rule on David’s throne. But here was a “Messiah” who was far superior. He conquered death! He rose and is now in Heaven sitting on the throne of the Universe! Would He not be worthy of being their “Lord” and King? But in order to receive that understanding into the heart as a living reality, they had to acknowledge that it was their church, their leaders, they themselves, who crucified Jesus. It was their sins which caused the death of their Lord and Messiah. And it didn’t matter what day they went to church on. Only by accepting the fact that they crucified Jesus would they be able to humble themselves and accept Jesus as their “Lord and Messiah”.
When the crowd that had gathered heard this, they were pierced to the heart. They asked Peter and the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”
It is easy for us to look back two thousand years and point fingers at the Jews. But unless we also are “pierced to the heart” and acknowledge that it was our sins that put Jesus on the cross, we will never be able to accept Jesus as our Lord and Messiah, personally. Accepting the historical fact will do nothing for your eternal life. Going to church, singing the songs, praising Jesus on the Sabbath and dropping money into the treasury, none of that will get you a place in Heaven.
Peter answered them, “Every one of you must repent and be baptized in the name of Jesus the Messiah for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the Holy Spirit as a gift.
There are many today who claim that all we have to do is “repent and be baptized” in order to be “saved”. But that is not what Peter is saying to you. Those people back then had a true desire to serve God. Remember, we read earlier that these were “devout Jews” who had come to Jerusalem. They were dedicated to keeping the Ten Commandments. They desired to have their lives right with God. All THEY needed to do was “repent and be baptized” in order to “receive the Holy Spirit”. Their hearts were ready. Then, as Jesus said, the Holy Spirit would teach and guide each one of them into the truths they would need for eternal life. Since they already were well acquainted with the Ten Commandments, what they needed to do was shift their focus from the church and its services, sacrifices, ordinances and feast days to Jesus as their Savior and Messiah. Faith in Jesus as the “Lamb of God” would close and complete the circuit for salvation in their lives.
Their lives and ours today are not the same. As Jesus said to the woman at the well, “Salvation is of the Jews”. The Jews knew the requirements of the Ten Commandments. All they needed to do was accept Jesus as the “Lamb of God” in their lives to replace the lamb slain and all the temple feast days, services and rituals. Today, our churches have no understanding of what it means to “keep the Ten Commandments”. The churches today, when they talk about “repent and be baptized”, are not talking about surrendering the life to Jesus, they are talking about “joining a church”. What they claim about repentance has nothing to do with a biblical repentance, a sorrow for sin and a turning away from sin. Why? Because the churches today don’t even know what sin is. They no longer teach the teachings of Jesus which are: sin is the breaking of the Ten Commandments and we must stop sinning, be perfect and keep the Ten Commandments to get our eternal life. “The object of the Christian life is fruit bearing—the reproduction of Christ’s character in the believer, that it may be reproduced in others.” COL 67.
For this promise belongs to you and your children, as well as to all those who are distant, whom the Lord our God may call to himself.”
“For this promise” was given to Adam, passed down to Noah, renewed through Abraham and again by Moses through the Israelites. But they rejected the promise and turned to idols. Instead of accepting the promise that they could live the sinless, perfect and commandment keeping life for their eternal life, they wanted to be like the nations around them and “work their own way to heaven” through their self-righteous church ceremonies, ordinances, traditions and sacrifices. They lusted after the forms in place of the substance, along with the lusts of other things. “These are not necessarily things sinful in themselves, but something (church) that is made first instead of the kingdom of God. Whatever attracts the mind from God, whatever draws the affections away from Christ, is an enemy to the soul.” COL 53. It becomes “anti” Christ - “in place of” Christ.
Therefore, by the time of Jesus, they had let go of the commands of God in order to observe their own church traditions. However, you are included in “all those who are distant” and can join the promise given to God’s children. You, personally, can keep the Ten Commandments and get your eternal life if you are willing to accept Jesus as your personal Savior. No “church” is required.
Using many different expressions, Peter continued to testify and to plead with them, saying, “Be saved from this corrupt generation!”
Peter, the disciples and the followers of Jesus gave the “Loud Cry” for their generation. God is pleading with you to “Be saved from this corrupt generation!” After 1500 years of Catholic Church indoctrination, the churches today have become a “corrupt generation”. They have no idea what it is to live in obedience to Jesus. It is all a Catholic concept of “church”. Sin all week, go to church on Sabbath, pay your money and pretend to “repent” and all is well because you have eternal life. How sad. You must get out of your church today and go to Jesus and listen to Him and what He is commanding of you for your eternal life.
So those who welcomed his message were baptized. That day about 3,000 people were added to their number. The believers continued to devote themselves to what the apostles were teaching, to fellowship, to the breaking of bread, and to times of prayer.
They didn’t devote themselves to church. They didn’t spout church doctrine or become cult followers of any disciple. They simply listened to the apostles teaching what Jesus commanded of them. The disciples taught them to be obedient to the Ten Commandments and to live perfect, sinless lives. They fellowshipped together in Jesus. They shared with each other the joy they had received in following and living in obedience to the teachings of Jesus. They gathered in “the breaking of bread” to show their newfound faith in Jesus as the “Lamb of God” to take away their sins. Through the breaking of bread they recognized a new way into the Most Holy of Holies and acknowledged that no lamb or church could ever take away their sins. It was Jesus who died and was broken for their sins and therefore they wanted nothing to do with sin in their lives. They spent time in prayer, lots of prayer, asking the Spirit to reveal their sins so they could repent of their sins and put those sins to death. They wanted to bury those sins with Jesus so they could be raised into a new life with Jesus.
A sense of fear came over everyone, and many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles.
When we follow the example of the disciples in our lives today, there will come a “fear” over the world. But as long as the world sees no difference between it and church-going “Christians”, what is there to “fear”?
All the believers were united and shared everything with one another. They made it their practice to sell their possessions and goods and to distribute the proceeds to anyone who was in need.
This was not a mass sell off. This was no hysterical giving by feelings. This was an educated, Spirit led activity for the purpose of helping “Christians” who were in need. The concept of “anyone” was not just anyone, but anyone of the new believers who needed help. Why? Because as the new believers accepted the truth about Jesus, they would be cut off from the church and society in general. Many would become “needy”, homeless and without work. Therefore, “All the believers were united and shared everything with one another.” They didn’t give to other Jews, the Jewish church or the pagans. Only those who came out of the church.
Wouldn’t it be wonderful if those who claim to be “believers” today were as dedicated to Jesus as they were back then? What a difference it would make. Lives would be changed, society would see the principles of true Christianity lived and hearts would be converted. But today, government has taken the place of Christianity. We are so greedy, we say, “Let the government feed, clothe and house them. I’m keeping my money!”
United in purpose, they went to the Temple every day, ate at each other’s homes, and shared their food with glad and humble hearts. They were praising God and enjoying the good will of all the people. Every day the Lord was adding to their number those who were being saved.
I can just see what would happen today if Christians “dropped by” your home to eat. “United in purpose”! This was not an “OK church, let’s all pile into the donkey carts and go sing ‘Jesus Saves’ at the Temple.” This was not a church or organizational, mandatory activity. Individually, each had died to self and were now led individually by the Spirit. It was the Spirit of God who moved them as one. How I long for the day to see God’s people “united in purpose”. But as long as the selfish heart reigns in our churches there can be no “uniting in purpose”. Each is in it for themselves and what they can get out of it. The “me” generation today is driving a “me stake” into the heart of Christianity. It is all about “you believe as you like and I will believe as I like”. You have your church and I have mine.
But when we live with “humble hearts”, there will be gladness, praising God, sharing our goods and seeing “eye to eye” with those who are obedient to Jesus. If we go to our churches it will not be to sit and listen to a dead formal ceremony, but to stand up and share the life-changing power in our own lives. We will not be talking about a church, organization or famous evangelist. We will be sharing Jesus and what He has done personally in our own lives over the past week. And yes, the good will of all the people will enjoy hearts and lives that are truly under the power of the Spirit of God. But the leaders will hate you.
One afternoon, Peter and John were on their way to the Temple for the three o’clock prayer time.
Again, going to “the Temple” had nothing to do with “going to church”. They were going where the people were. They were going to share with the people what they had found in Jesus. The people at the Temple were putting their faith in a dead lamb. The disciples went to share a living “Lamb of God”. What are you sharing with those around you? Your new hairstyle, new clothes, new car, a new job, how much money you are making, a new house or your church?
Now a man who had been crippled from birth was being carried in. Every day people would lay him at what was called the Beautiful Gate so that he could beg from those who were going into the Temple.
The Temple was the center of the life of a Jew. The cripple was there in order to find “sympathy” and funds to satisfy his hunger and needs. After all, these were “God’s people” who were supposed to be helping the poor. But the system had obliterated all God’s commands for the poor. Church made their hearts callous.
When he saw that Peter and John were about to go into the Temple, he asked them to give him something. Peter, along with John, looked him straight in the eye and said, “Look at us!” So the man watched them closely, expecting to get something from them. However, Peter said, “I don’t have any silver or gold, but I’ll give you what I do have. In the name of Jesus the Messiah from Nazareth, walk!”
This ministry has no silver or gold. It hardly has funds to keep the doors open. However, this ministry gives what it does have, the name and power of Jesus Christ. Those who accept it are “walking” in a new life. They are finding their lives changed, their health improved, their mental capacities developed and a new hope. The same Jesus that healed the cripple at the temple will heal you if you will humble yourself, listen and obey.
Then Peter took hold of his right hand and began to help him up. Immediately his feet and ankles became strong, and he sprang to his feet, stood up, and began to walk. Then he went with them into the Temple, walking, jumping, and praising God.
This ministry is doing what Peter did. We are trying to take hold of your hand to help you up into Jesus. If you will grab on and let this ministry lift you up, you will immediately find the strength to walk in Jesus. You also will then go into your church walking, jumping and praising God. Praise God, not your church.
When all the people saw him walking and praising God, they knew that he was the man who used to sit and beg at the Beautiful Gate of the Temple, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.
Are people looking at you in “wonder and amazement” for what has happened in your life? Or are you just sitting in church? God wants to manifest His power through you. Will you let Him? Will you take hold of the truth and put it inside of you and live in obedience to it so you can find the healing, sin-destroying power of God in your life.
While he was holding on to Peter and John, all the people came running to them in what was called “Solomon’s Colonnade”. They were dumbfounded.
My heart rejoices when inmates come running to this ministry after hearing my story. I rejoice to see them “dumbfounded” that an inmate can change his life and become a new creature in Jesus. My heart rejoices to see them asking how they can find the same joy that I have in Jesus. Wouldn’t it be nice if church people did the same?
When Peter saw this, he told the people: “Fellow Israelis, why are you wondering about this, and why are you staring at us as if by our own power or godliness we made him walk?
And that is the essence of the message I give to inmates and everyone who will listen. It is not by my power. It has nothing to do with my godliness or goodness. This ministry is simply the agent used by God to glorify His name. Look to:
The God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—the God of our ancestors—has glorified his servant Jesus, whom you betrayed and rejected in the presence of Pilate, even though he had decided to let him go. You rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer released to you, and you killed the source of life, whom God raised from the dead. We are witnesses to that.
Peter did not pull any punches. He was not “Politically Correct”. He laid out the truth. They, the church, the people who claimed to be “God’s people” were the ones who betrayed and rejected Jesus. They were the “lawless ones”. The church had “rejected the Holy and Righteous One and asked to have a murderer released to you, and you killed the source of life, whom God raised from the dead.” We need to be plain and blunt in our churches. The churches today are killing God’s people. The church is destroying the lives of billions. The church is the “antichrist”, taking the eyes of the people away from the “Holy and Righteous One” and putting those eyes firmly on the church. The church is killing the Source of Life in your soul.
It is his name—that is, by faith in his name—that has healed this man whom you see and know. Yes, the faith that comes through Jesus has given him this perfect health in the presence of all of you.
If you will take your eyes off your church, off your pastor, off the leaders of your church and put them on Jesus, you also will find the “perfect health” He offers. Stop talking about your church and look to Jesus, in faith, and live in obedience to Him and you will find the power He offers.
“And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance like your leaders. This is how God fulfilled what he had predicted through the voice of all the prophets—that his Messiah would suffer.
You have been going to church in ignorance. You have been brainwashed by your church leaders. For over 1500 years the Catholic Church system has been indoctrinating people to believe that salvation is in the church. That they are required by God to “go to church” for their salvation. That Jesus can only be found in the “church”. But all of that is “antichrist”. Your salvation is only found in Jesus Christ. If you will do as Peter and the disciples taught, you will find your sins blotted out.
Therefore, repent and turn to him to have your sins blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord and so that he may send you Jesus, whom he appointed long ago to be the Messiah.
Repent from your church. Repent from your sins. Repent from everything that has come between you and Jesus Christ. Then, the times of refreshing will come to you from Jesus. He will be sent to minister to you, to talk to you and to inspire you. Your life will never be the same.
He must remain in heaven until the time of universal restitution, which God announced long ago through the voice of his holy prophets.
There will come a time of “universal restitution”. All will be restored. The wicked will be destroyed and the righteous will be given eternal life. Sin cannot be tolerated for eternity. It must be destroyed. That is why Lucifer is working so hard to destroy all righteousness. He is working very hard, through the churches, to destroy the Ten Commandments and those who teach the teachings of Jesus. But Jesus will stand up and say, “It is done”. With that statement the end will come.
In fact, Moses said, ‘The Lord your God will raise up for you a prophet like me from among your brothers. You must listen to everything he tells you. Any person who will not listen to that prophet will be utterly destroyed from among the people.’
How true that is. “You must listen to everything he tells you. Any person who will not listen to that prophet will be utterly destroyed from among the people.’” If you are not listen to Jesus and live in obedience to His teachings to be perfect, stop sinning and to keep the Ten Commandments to get your eternal life, you will be destroyed from among the people. I couldn’t say it any plainer myself. Peter said it perfectly. But are you listening? Or are you in church listening to your pastor?
Indeed, all the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who followed him, also announced these days.
The whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, reveals the plan of salvation. That plan has always been, and will always be, to live in perfect obedience to the Ten Commandments. Sin is the breaking of any of the Ten Commandments. No sin can go to heaven. Your church cannot get you into Heaven.
You are the descendants of the prophets and the heirs of the covenant that God made with your ancestors when he told Abraham, ‘Through your descendant all the families of the earth will be blessed.’ When God raised up his servant, he sent him first to you to bless you by turning every one of you from your evil ways.”
How true. God raised up Jesus and sent Him into this world to bring you the blessings of Heaven. What are those blessings? The blessings of truth, righteousness and the knowledge that we can live Heaven’s perfect, sinless Ten Commandments. You have a choice. Continue in church living in your evil ways, or going to Jesus and let Him transform your life.