Gospel

The Price of Rejection

In Luke 10, Jesus told His disciples to tell the cities that rejected Him that “the Kingdom has come near” to them. Those cities had the opportunity to hear Jesus, see Jesus, be healed by Jesus, and most of all be redeemed by Jesus, yet they passed on that opportunity and rejected Him.

We live in an amazing time where we have an abundance of Bibles in multiple languages and translations, we have stores full of books about the Bible and the Christian faith, and you can go online and listen to almost any Bible teacher in the world. We live in a time when the Gospel and scripture, as well as solid Bible teaching is readily available. The Kingdom truly has come near to us.

The question is, what do we do with that? Join Pastor Leland Acker in Luke 10:10-24 by listening to the audio posted above.

Take Your Cross!

In Luke 9, Jesus proclaimed the Gospel of His death, burial and resurrection, before telling His disciples that they must take up their cross to follow Him. What does it mean to take up your cross? Check out today’s message, posted above, as Pastor Leland Acker defines the Gospel, then discusses what it really means to take up your cross.

3 Steps to Discipleship

Jesus called us to do more than say a sinners prayer and rest upon our blessed assurance. He called us to follow Him.

In Luke 9:23, Jesus said, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

The call to follow Jesus is the call to an amazing lifelong journey in which you will literally see amazing things.

The life of a disciple is truly a transformational and fascinating experience. Think about it. When we read the Gospels, we often imagine ourselves as one of the disciples, as one who would follow and learn from Jesus.

In fact, there’s an entire TV series dedicated to that idea. The Chosen spends as much time, if not more, exploring the lives of the disciples and their personalities than it does recreating the events of the Bible.

None of us imagine ourselves as just one of the townspeople, Roman soldiers or Pharisees. We tend to imagine ourselves as disciples. That’s where Jesus was. That’s where the action was.

But life for the disciples was not for the faint hearted, and neither is life for disciples today. When Jesus issued this call to discipleship, He clearly set tough expectations. He made it plainly known what we should expect.

In Luke 9:23, we see three steps to discipleship.

1. Discipleship begins with the commitment to follow Jesus. Jesus had just predicted His death, burial and resurrection for our sins according to the scriptures. He then said, “If any will come after me.” Basically, He was saying, “This is where we’re headed.” To follow Jesus meant that you would have to be committed to the cause.

2. Discipleship involves sacrifice. Jesus’ next words were “let him deny himself.” Denying yourself means foregoing current temporary pleasures in order to achieve the greater goal of following Jesus. Sometimes this involves financial or career sacrifice. Sometimes this means discontinuing activities that are not pleasing to the Lord. Either way, there is sacrifice.

3. Discipleship involves following. This means we learn from the Lord and conform our lives accordingly.

Being a disciple means learning from the Lord and growing in your faith. This is an endeavor we have all undertaken. This is a journey that is best taken together.

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Who Is This Jesus?

In Luke 9, Jesus sent the disciples out into the villages to preach the Gospel and heal the people. As His fame grew, Herod heard about Him and was perplexed. The last great prophet that drew a following was John the Baptist, and Herod had him beheaded.

In his exasperation, Herod asked, “Who is this?”

It’s possible that Herod had a guilty conscience and knew his day of judgment was coming. Or, maybe he was simply curious. Either way, his question stood, and it’s a question upon which the eternal destiny of every individual hangs.

“Who is Jesus?”

In Luke 9, we see that Jesus was many things to many people. Some saw Him as a great prophet, or the resurrection of one of the great prophets.

To those whom He miraculously fed, He was a free (and much needed) meal.

But when He asked Peter, “Who do you say that I am?” Peter responded, “The Christ of God.”

In that confession, Peter proclaimed that Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, and the Savior and Redeemer of Israel, as well as all mankind. Jesus went on to discuss the Gospel with Peter, how that He would die and rise again to redeem man from sin.

We live in a world today where people are encouraged to define and live by their own truths… Their own beliefs. This freedom is essential in allowing us to worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth, and to live our lives in peace and Godliness, which is God’s will for us.

However, our freedom to define truth and our own belief system does not mean that there are no wrong answers. The question of Who Jesus is must be correctly answered, and accepted, or the sinner is doomed.

For many, Jesus is a wise prophet or a great teacher. For others, He is merely a source of blessing. Some treat Him like a magic genie or a trump card to fulfill their desires in this life. To others, He is a culture warrior who shakes the foundation of the establishment and exacts social justice.

While some of these descriptions fit, the truth is that Jesus Christ is the only Begotten Son of God, who took on the form of man, lived sinlessly, and then went to the cross to pay for our sin, freeing us from guilt and reconciling us to God.

His resurrection conquered death and gave us hope for eternal life.

That is the true Gospel. That is the central message of Christianity. That is what we believe, and it’s what brings us hope.

In Luke 9, you see the people being distracted by the miracles and events surrounding the ministry of Christ. Today, we can be distracted by controversies, politics, debates and economic conditions surrounding the church. Let us tune out the noise and get back to what matters.

Who is Jesus?

He is my Savior and Redeemer, the one Who didn’t see the good in me, but rather put the good in Himself as He transformed me into the person He intended on me being. He is my source of hope, and the reason I live and minister today.

Who is Jesus to you?

Introducing the Christ

In Luke 4:16-30, Jesus returns home to Nazareth, where He visits the local synagogue and reads from Isaiah 61. His visit came after having spent time preaching and teaching along the shores of Galilee, near Capernaum. Those who had heard Him preach glorified Him, and He had apparently performed some miracles along the way.

The passage He read at the Nazareth synagogue was a Messianic prophecy concerning the healing and restoration that Messiah would bring, a reference to the power of the Gospel. The people, however, were unimpressed, wishing that He would rather perform some of the same miracles He did in Capernaum. When Jesus confronted their hardness of heart, they tried to kill Him, but He passed through them and escaped.

In reading the opening of Isaiah 61, we are reminded of the power of the Gospel. It is the Gospel that brings healing and eternal salvation. We are also reminded of Who Jesus really is, and why we should place our faith in Him. Ultimately, we are reminded of the hope that our faith brings.

The Boy Jesus (Luke 2:41-52)

The Gospel of Luke teaches us Who Jesus is by telling us everything we need to know about Christ. Jesus is identified as the Christ by His identity, teaching, and mission.

In Luke 2:41-52, we are given a peek into the childhood of Jesus Christ. This is the only look, aside from His birth, that we are given into the life of Jesus before He became an adult. What we see in this snapshot of Jesus’ childhood is a boy that is already empowered by the Holy Spirit. He is already God in flesh, and this makes sense, as the angels who heralded His birth didn’t say, “Come see the future Christ,” but rather announced, “Come see Christ the Lord.”

This passage puts to rest the notion that Jesus wasn’t born Christ, but rather became Christ. Had Jesus not been the Christ prior to this passage, He would not have had the wisdom to be able to confound the doctors of the Law in the Temple. His wisdom and teaching in this moment can only be explained by His divinity.

In this passage, we see the divinity of Christ, the wisdom of Christ, and the mission of Christ. The divinity is shown when Christ declares that He is in His Father’s house, the Temple. The wisdom is shown in his interaction with the doctors and lawyers. His mission is shown in the words He spoke, translated by the KJV as “I must be about My Father’s business.”

Check out the video above to see Pastor Leland Acker demonstrate Who Christ is from this passage of scripture.

Hope (Daniel 9:24)

sky sunset person silhouette

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Daniel was a man who had done everything right, yet, time after time, adversity and tribulation troubled him. Captured from his homeland of Israel during his younger years, he was one of several elite captives taken from Israel and enslaved in Babylon.

Though Daniel’s assignment wasn’t the worst, he worked personally for the Babylonian king, he still faced troubles, from impure foods being offered, to being thrown in the lions’ den, to seeing his friends thrown in the fiery furnace. (Daniel and his friends were delivered from all of those, by the way).

By the time we get to Daniel 9, the Babylonian empire has been conquered by the Medo-Persian empire, and Daniel is now working for another king. Having lived through the entire Babylonian captivity, Daniel now sees the light at the end of the tunnel,  and the captivity is coming to a close.

Daniel sees God’s deliverance coming, and it is at this time that God begins to show Daniel how He will redeem His people and restore the nation of Israel. In Daniel 9:24, the Lord gives us his plan:

Seventy weeks are determined upon thy people and upon thy holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

God would redeem His people, and restore His nation, by ending man’s rebellion, cleansing man from sin, and establishing His Kingdom on earth. Listen to Pastor Leland Acker discuss this message of hope below: