|Written by arkwriter|
|Wednesday, 05 August 2009 00:39|
From the point of view of God’s revelation and redemption to man Jerusalem is the most important city on earth. The Lord Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem; grew up in Nazareth but the most important events in His life that affect mankind occurred in Jerusalem.
Several significant prophecies concerning the Messiah were fulfilled in Jerusalem. Daniel’s prophecy of the Seventy Weeks that projects the Messiah’s mission “to restore and build Jerusalem” clearly point to the Savior’s redemption of fallen man. (Dan. 9:24-25) Even at the age of twelve Jesus knew His future mission and destiny in the city of Jerusalem. When His parents were on their way home to Galilee they discovered He was missing. They returned to Jerusalem and found Him in the temple. “And He said to them, ‘Why is it that you sought Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?’ But they did not understand the statement which He spoke to them.” (Lk. 2:49-50) His disciples at first also did not fully understand His mission in Jerusalem. “From that time Jesus began to show to His disciples that He must go to Jerusalem, and suffer many things from the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed and be raised again the third day.” (Mt. 16:21-23)
A few days before the Passover Jesus entered Jerusalem. Great multitudes of people took palm branches and went out to meet Him, while crying out “Hosanna! ‘Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!’ The king of Israel!” (Jn. 12:12–13). This is the triumphal entry of Jesus into Jerusalem as the King of Israel. It is very sad this same crowd in Jerusalem later denounced Jesus as their King and shouted, “Crucify Him, crucify Him!” (Lk. 23:20-21)
“And when they had come to the place called Calvary, there they crucified Him and the criminals, one on the right hand and the other on the left.” (Lk. 23:33) Calvary is not a poetic or beautiful place like what we sing in the hymns. This name in Latin “calveria” means “skull” which is translated from the Hebrew “Golgotha” (Jn. 19:17-18). It is really an ugly place.
So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ‘It is finished!’ And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.” (Jn. 19:30)
“But one of the soldiers pierced His side with a spear, and immediately blood and water came out.” (Jn. 19:34)
This is the fulfillment of Zechariah’s prophecy: “In that day a fountain shall be opened for the house of David and for the inhabitants of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.” (Zec. 13:1) The fountain that opened in Jerusalem which spewed out the blood and the water from Jesus’ side now also cleanse us from all sin when we are baptized into Him.
“Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been laid.” (Jn. 19:41)
The Garden in which Jesus was buried would be a beautiful place because it is a cemetery for rich people.
The whole gospel is centered on the death, burial and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. All these three important events that affect the redemption of man took place in the city of Jerusalem. The Lord Jesus Christ ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives which is a small hill across from the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. Jesus will also return to this same place at His Second Coming. (Acts 1:9-11)
The Lord Jesus Christ “presented Himself alive after His suffering by many infallible proofs, being seen by them during forty days and speaking of the things pertaining to the Kingdom of God. And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He said, ‘you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.” (Acts 1:3-5) “Now when the Day of Pentecost had fully come, they were all with one accord in one place. . . . And they were all filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave utterance.” (Acts 2:1-4)
God’s outpouring of the Holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost in the city of Jerusalem marked the birthday of the Church. Being the First Church that is established by the Lord Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit, Jerusalem is the source of the Gospel. The Lord Jesus Christ declared, “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8)
“Thus says the LORD: I will return to Zion, and dwell in the midst of Jerusalem. Jerusalem shall be called the City of Truth, the Mountain of the LORD of hosts, the Holy Mountain.” (Zec. 8:3)
The Church is called “the House of God, which is the Church of the Living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.” (1 Tim. 3:15) The First Church in Jerusalem is the only church that has the original truth because it was established by the Lord Jesus Christ Himself who is “the way, the truth and the life”. (Jn. 14:6) It is also the First Church that received the Holy Spirit directly from the heavenly Father. Jesus said, “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears he will speak, and He will tell you things to come. He will glorify Me, for He will take of what is mine and declare it to you. All things that the Father has are Mine. Therefore I said that He will take of Mine and declare it to you.” (Jn. 16:13-15) The First Church in Jerusalem is the model congregation that sets permanent examples and patterns for all future congregations to follow.
1. Gospel Message Peter in his first sermon on the Day of Pentecost preached Jesus is the Messiah that is proven by His death, burial and resurrection (Acts 2:22-36). Then he urged the audience, “Repent, and let every one of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins; and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.” (Acts 2:38-39)
Baptism without delay “Then those who gladly received his word were baptized; and that day about three thousand souls were added to them.” (Acts 2:41) Philip baptized the Ethiopian eunuch after hearing his confession of faith in Jesus Christ (Acts 8:34-39). Ananias urged Saul not to delay baptism. “And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.” (Acts 22:16) Paul and Silas preached to the Philippian jailer, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.’ And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.” (Acts 16:30-34)
2. Church Activities “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” (Acts 2:42)
Apostles Doctrine “And daily in the temple, and in every house, they did not cease teaching and preaching Jesus as the Christ.” (Acts 5:42) “Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the Kingdom of God and teaching the things which concerns the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.” (Acts 28:30-31)
Fellowship The Greek word for “Fellowship” – “koinonia” means partnership or union with others. The main ideas of “Fellowship” are:
(a) “sharing the same faith and beliefs in the Lord Jesus Christ”.
Vertical Fellowship “God is faithful, by whom you were called into the fellowship of His Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.” (1 Cor. 1:9)
Horizontal Fellowship “I thank my God upon every remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine making request for you all with joy, for your fellowship in the gospel from the first day until now, being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ.” (Phil. 1:3-6)
(b) “to share together, take part together” in the sense of partnership or being part of a community. “Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common.” (Acts 2:44) “Now the multitude of those who believed were of one heart and one soul; neither did anyone say that any of the things he possessed was his own, but they had all things in common.” (Acts 4:32)
(c) “to share with” in the sense of giving to others. There is “fellowship of the ministering to the saints.” (2 Cor. 8:4) The apostle James exhorted the church brethren to prove their faith by their works. “If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, and one of you says to them, ‘Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,’ but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works is dead.” (Jas. 2:15-17)
Breaking of Bread The terminology “breaking of bread” in this context does not refer to the Eucharist or Holy Communion which invariably includes the “cup of blessings” (1 Cor. 10:16; 11:23-29; ref. Mt. 26:26-29). “Breaking of bread” is a "Fellowship Meal" (Acts 20:7) and this term is used for a meal even with non-believers (Acts 27:33-36). “Breaking of bread” is sometimes called an "Agape Feast" that occurred daily in the Early Apostolic Church. “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking of bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart.” (Acts 2:46)
Prayers It is the vital breath of life for the First Apostolic Church. “These all continued with one accord in prayer and supplication with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and with His brothers.” (Acts 1:14) “One accord in prayer” is the key to receiving responses from our heavenly Father. Our Lord Jesus Christ intimated, “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven.” (Mt. 18:19) The apostles “raised their voice to God with one accord and said: ‘Lord, You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them. . . . And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” (Acts 4:24-31)
Living Conditions Acts of the Apostles is very clear about how the apostles and the Disciples lived in Jerusalem. After witnessing the Lord’s ascension to heaven, “Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey. And when they had entered, they went up into the Upper Room where they were staying: Peter, James, John, and Andrew . . . . .” (Acts 1:12-13) All the apostles stayed together in the “Upper Room.” All the Disciples of Christ lived in a community, with each family living in separate homes close to the temple. “So continuing daily with one accord in the temple, and breaking of bread from house to house, they ate their food with gladness and simplicity of heart.” (Acts 2:46)Model Church The First Apostolic Church in Jerusalem is the ideal and model church. “But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn, who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect. (Heb. 12:22-23) We can all learn from this exemplary Church in Jerusalem.
May God bless you
A sermon based on this article was preached by Paul Wong
to a Congregation in Houston, Texas on September 18, 2004
This article was published on this Website on August 4, 2009
|Last Updated on Monday, 10 August 2009 01:34|