December 29th, 2019
“The Predicted One”
Aux. Text: Daniel 4:28-37
Call to Worship: Psalm 105:1-22, 42-45
Service Orientation: The fulfilled prophecies surrounding Jesus’ birth assure us that God not only knows the future, but controls it. Therefore, I don’t know what the future holds but I know Who holds the future.
Bible Memory Verse for the Week: I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come. I say: My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please. — Isaiah 46:10
- (v. 17) The Jews did not realize that Jesus of Nazareth came to them as their Messiah. Nor did they understand the Scriptures that spoke of the suffering Servant, that is, the Messiah. In his sermon to the Jews in Pisidian Antioch, Paul says that the people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus (13:27). Nevertheless, their guilt, which can be removed only by repentance and by Christ’s forgiving love, remains. Christ’s love is present. Even on the cross, Jesus prayed for the people who killed him: “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” (Lk 23:34).
Peter includes the leaders of the Jewish people in his address: “And now, brothers, I know that you acted in ignorance, just as your leaders did.” This general statement does not mean that every Jewish leader acted in ignorance. Remember that Jesus taught the doctrine of sinning against the Holy Spirit when Pharisees and teachers of the law said that he was casting out demons by Beelzebub, the prince of demons (see Mt 12:24; Mk 3:22; Lk 11:15). (Simon J. Kistemaker, NT Commentary: Acts, 133)
- (v. 18) Peter repeats the words that Jesus spoke first to the two men of Emmaus and later in the upper room when he opened the Scriptures and told the disciples that the Christ would suffer and enter his glory (see Lk 24:26-27, 45-46).
Peter bases his sermon on the OT Scriptures and tells his audience that Jesus is the fulfillment of prophecy. In fact, Peter puts it pointedly when he says that “God fulfilled in this way the things which he had foretold through all the prophets.” God speaks through his servants the prophets, but he fulfills his word through Jesus his Son. God, then, provides continuity in his revelation. He makes it known that the Christian community lives in the age of fulfillment. Thus, the early Christians see in the OT Scriptures Christ’s humiliation and suffering that leads to glory.
The prophets in the OT era prophesied that the “Christ would suffer” (compare Isa 50:6; 53:3-12; 1 Pt 1:10-12). Because the Jews were familiar with the writings of the prophets, they should have known these facts. Jesus told the men of Emmaus that they were “slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken” (Lk 24:25); and in the upper room Jesus had to open the minds of his disciples so that they could understand the Scriptures (Lk 24:45). (Simon J. Kistemaker, NT Commentary: Acts, 133-4)
- (v. 24) The prophetic testimony to Christ which Moses began was carried on by Samuel and all the later prophets. Samuel may be specially mentioned as the next named prophet after Moses. It would be difficult to find a recorded prophecy of Samuel which could be applied to Jesus so explicitly as the words of Moses just quoted; but Samuel was the prophet who anointed David as king and spoke of the establishment of his kingdom, and the promises made to David found their ultimate fulfillment in Jesus (cf. 13:34). And all the words of the prophets similarly found their ultimate fulfillment in him (cf. 10:43). (F. F. Bruce, The New International Commentary on the NT: Acts, 87)
- (v. 24) The line of reasoning Peter develops is that all the prophets, from Moses to Samuel to those who follow, have spoken about the coming of the Messiah. After quoting Moses’ prophecy in the preceding verses, Peter mentions Samuel. In the intervening ages between Moses and Samuel, the prophets left no prophecies concerning the Christ. For this reason, Peter omits that period and continues with Samuel, who in Jewish writings was known as the teacher of the prophets (compare 13:20; 1 Sm 3:19). (Simon J. Kistemaker, NT Commentary: Acts, 139)
The question to be answered is . . . How can knowing the fulfilled prophecies of Jesus’ birth serve us today?
Answer: The God Who controls and foretold the hundreds of future details surrounding Jesus’ birth is the same loving God Who seeks to give you a future and a hope. But we must learn to trust Him to enjoy this future hope.
The Word for the Day is . . . Future
Four questions we need to ask of Jesus’ birth:
I- What are some of the prophecies concerning the birth of Jesus? (Gn 3:15; 12:3-7; 49:10; 1 Sm 2:10; 2 Sm 7:8-12; Ps 2:2-7; 22:9; 89:3; 110:1; Isa 7:14; 8:8; 9:1-6; 11:1; 40:3; 49:5; Jer 23:5; 31:22; Dan 9:25-26; Hos 11:1; Mic 5:2-3; Mal 3:1; 4:5)
Prophecy made Fulfilled
Savior born of a woman (Gn 3:15) Mt 1:18; Gal 3:16,19
Seed of Abraham (Gn 12:3, 7) Mt 1:1-17; Gal 3:16
Seed of David (2 Sm 7:8, 12; Ps 89:3) Mt 1:1-17; Lk 2:4, 11; Rom 1:3
Virgin birth (Isa 7:14) Mt 1:18, 23; Lk 1:31, 34-45
From Galilee (Isa 9:1-2; Mic 5:2 Mt 2:1, 5-6, 23
Elijah as Forerunner (Isa 40:3; Mal 3:1; 4:5) Mt 3:1-3; Mk 1:2-4; Lk 3:3-6; 7:27; Jn 1:23
Called Emmanuel (Isa 7:14; 8:8) Mt 1:22-23
A King (1 Sm 2:10; Ps 2:6; Jer 23:5) Mt 2:2; Lk 23:2; Jn 12:15
II- How can seeing the fulfillment of these prophecies bolster my faith? (Jn 20:31; Rom 10:17; 1 Cor 10:1-11)
Where there is no faith in the future, there is no power in the present. — Halford E. Luccock
Six facts, I am persuaded, conclusively prove that the Bible is God’s Word to anyone who considers them thoroughly and objectively. …Here are those six facts:
- The Bible stakes its own authority on its claim to be the Word of God. If it lies to us at this point it is altogether worthless.
- The Bible at no point contradicts itself. Scripture is internally consistent.
- The Bible’s batting average for predicting future events–what we call prophecy–is 1,000. When Scripture says something will happen, it happens, though not always in the way we think.
- The Bible’s description of its contemporary world is accurate. Archeologists and historians have looked for that single finding that proves the historical data of Scripture to be inaccurate. In every single case where we have found the proofs, they vindicate the biblical content.
- The Bible does not contradict the proven truths of science. No, the Bible is not a science book, but scientific findings agree with the fact statements that are in Scripture.
- The Bible has been kept from error over history. Hundreds of hand-copied ancient manuscripts of Scripture have been uncovered. Some date back almost to the original documents. These manuscripts vary from one another in details. But not one of those differences in reading significantly alters a teaching. (D. James Kennedy; What Is God Like?, 39)
The early Christian community attentively searched the OT prophecies to ascertain that Jesus Christ of Nazareth had fulfilled them. In their sermons and epistles, Peter and Paul repeatedly quote these prophecies to show that Jesus is indeed the promised Messiah. (Simon J. Kistemaker, NT Commentary: Acts, 139)
Hope is a settled conviction about the future, a conviction giving meaning and shape to life in the present. We can see this in many everyday situations. If, for example, you enter university in the hope of one day becoming a doctor; that hope will shape your life, directing not only your choice of courses but also dictating what time and effort (and money) you will devote to your studies. Thus, the whole of your life will take on a new look, a new focus, because of your hope for what the future will bring. (Craig G. Bartholomew & Michael W. Goheen, The Drama of Scripture, 206)
III- What was the reason God sent His Son? (Mt 1:21; 9:13; 11:10; 26:24, 31; Mk 1:2; 9:12-13; 14:21, 27; Lk 3:4; 7:27; 9:56; 18:31; 19:10; 21:22;22:37; 24:44, 46; Jn 3:16-17; 12:14, 16; 18:37; 20:31; Acts 13:29; 17:11; ; Rom 5:8-10; 15:3-4; 1 Tm 1:15; Heb 10:5; 1 Jn 2:2; 4:10)
He says: ‘Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners of whom I am chief,’ as if to say there are big sinners and lesser sinners and little sinners. He did not mean that, however; he cannot possibly mean that, for that would be to contradict his essential doctrine. What he does mean is that the nearer a man gets to God the greater he says: ‘I am the chief of sinners;’ and it is only a Christian who can say that. The man of the world will never make such a statement. He is always proving what a good man he is. But Paul seems to be saying more than that, as I have just been saying. (D. Martyn Lloyd- Jones; Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Cure, 70)
He came to leave us “an example” that we should “follow in his steps” (1 Pt 2:21), But more: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tm 1:15). But even more; he came to destroy the devil (Heb 2:14) and to “disarm the principalities and powers” (Col 2:15). But most of all, most broadly and cosmically of all, God sent his Son to unite or reconcile all things to him (Eph 1:10, Col. 1:20). That is, he sent Christ to restore a broken and rebellious universal kingdom. (Cornelius Plantinga, Jr.; Assurances of the Heart, 164)
True, they did not foretell in so many words that it was the Messiah who was to suffer: they spoke of the obedient Servant of God as suffering for the sins of others. But Jesus himself accepted and fulfilled his messianic mission in the terms of the prophetic account of the Servant and other righteous suffers, and the apostles’ interpretation followed his own. The Servant’s sufferings were endured in order that through them salvation might be brought to many. God had foretold this through his servants the prophets; Peter and his hearers had seen the prophetic oracles fulfilled and the salvation of God brought near in these last days. (F. F. Bruce, The New International Commentary on the NT: Acts, 83)
IV- What can I conclude from answering questions 1 through 3? (Ps 37:3; 115:9-11; 125:1; Prv 3:5-6; Isa 26:4; Mk 11:22; 1 Pt 1:10-12; 2 Pt 1:19-20)
I don’t know what the future holds but I know Who holds the future.
The term “Immanuel” is directly related to the Biblical doctrine of the presence of God with His people, so clearly promised in Ex 3:12, so eloquently declared in Isa 7:14 and so certainly applied to Jesus in Mt 1:23. The closing wish expressed in Scripture is just this—“the grace of the Lord Jesus be with all the saints. Amen” (Rv 22:21). (Merrill C. Tenney, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Vol. 3, 261)
If Jesus has come . . . I’ve heard from God (Heb 1:1-2)
If Jesus has come . . . My life has meaning (Jn 4:14)
If Jesus has come . . . Satan has lost (1 Jn 3:8)
If Jesus has come . . . Love has won (Rom 8:38-39)
If Jesus has come . . . Death has died (2 Tm 1:10)
If Jesus has come . . . I’m forgiven (Eph 1:7-8)
If Jesus has come . . . I have a Hero (1 Pt 2:21)
If Jesus has come . . . I’ll share in His victory (Col 1:13)
Today we need an “Emmaus road” experience in reverse. The disciples knew Moses and the Prophets but could not conceive how they might relate to Jesus the Christ. The modern church knows Jesus the Christ but is fast losing any grasp of Moses and the Prophets. (Philip Yancey; The Bible Jesus Read, 25)
In a sense, “God with us” is the story of Scripture in summary. The key covenant statement of relationship, “I will be their God, and they will be my people,” is sometimes called the “Immanuel theme” in covenant theology. From the fellowship with God that mankind enjoyed in Eden to “the grace of the Lord Jesus…with all” God’s people in Rv 22:21, the concept of God’s search for His children and His dwelling with them (cf. Jn 1:14) is prominent throughout the Bible. (Geoffrey Bromiley, The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, Vol. 2, 807-8)
Worship Point: Worship the God of the Universe Who not only knows the future but controls it.
Gospel Application: God’s Son lived the life we were supposed to live and died the death we deserved to die so you could have a hope and a future. If your future hope is up to you, your future is more than likely hopeless.
(Mt 1:22-23) This birth and this inspiring name were interpreted by Matthew as the fulfillment of an ancient prophecy. In the days of Ahaz, Isaiah had predicted that God was to grant deliverance to Judah from the kings of Israel and Syria, and that as a symbol of this divine intervention a virgin should bring forth a son who should be called “Immanuel,” which means “God with us.” The ancient prophet may not have had in mind either a miracle or an event of the distant future, but the writer of the Gospel saw that the true meaning of his prediction was realized in the birth of Jesus, for he was no mere pledge of divine deliverance but himself a divine Savior, not only was his name a token of the presence of God, but he himself was manifest deity. The real significance of the birth of Jesus, as here related, lies therefore in the fact that the Son of Mary is also the incarnate God who is able to save those who put their trust in him, for he is all that his blessed name implies, our divine Savior, “JESUS.” (Charles R. Erdman, The Gospel of Matthew, 30-31)
The name of “Immanuel,” the son born of the virgin, is to be the watchword for God’s people, the word of hope, no matter how desperate conditions become among men. He is the hope because His name means that God is with us. This would indicate that the one born of the virgin is more than man. He is also God. Isaiah 9 would seem to support this, for there the child is called “Mighty God” (Isa 9:6). (Merrill C. Tenney, The Zondervan Pictorial Encyclopedia of the Bible, Vol. 3, 259)
Spiritual Challenge: See God as the God of love Who not only knows the future but controls it. Allow that knowledge to bring you the fruit of God’s Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Gal 5:22-23)
Spiritual Challenge Questions:
A- There are many who think that if God does indeed know and control the future, then He cannot be loving. Their thinking is based on two assumptions: 1)- If God controls the future then we are puppets and have no free will and all our actions and decisions are ultimately meaningless. 2)- If God knows and controls the future, and this world is filled with pain, suffering and death; then either God cannot be loving and is a monster Who likes to watch us suffer, or He does not really have control of the future. What do you think? What erroneous assumption are they making when they say such things?
B- How can a study of fulfilled prophecies bolster one’s faith? Such books as Evidence that Demands a Verdict I & II by Josh McDowell and any one of the Lee Strobel’s The Case for. . . books do this. Why is intellectual evidence never convincing for a person who has not yet decided for Christ?
C- Most 21st century Americans believe that seeing is believing. But Augustine, 1600 years ago said, “Believing is seeing.” We will truly never “see” something and recognize it until we believe it to be true. What do you think? How does what we believe to be true influence and dictate what we are able to see?
D- For the last 1900 years people have been trying to discredit the Bible. But, with each charge of error and inaccuracy, archeological evidence and historical facts have proven the Bible reliable and true. What is there about people that make them so passionately hostile to God’s Word as truth? If they are not believers in God or Christ, what do they care?
So What?: In this world of rapid change and political, cultural and environmental uncertainty; how can any thinking person enjoy peace, security and hope without trusting in the God of the Universe? Think about it. And allow the circumstances of the world in which we live drive you to Jesus!
No greater blessing can be conceived than for God to dwell with his people (Isa 60:18-20; Ez 48:35; Rv 21:23). Jesus is the one called “God with us:” the designation evokes Jn 1:14, 18. As if that were not enough, Jesus promises just before his ascension to be with us to the end of the age (28:20; cf. also 18:30), when he will return to share his messianic banquet with his people (25:10). (Frank E. Gæbelein, The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Vol. 8, 80)
HFM Mission Statement: Revealing Christ’s love to all ages through the transforming power of God’s Word.
I don’t know what the future holds but I know Who holds the future.
HOLDS THE FUTURE