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Who is this Man?

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SYNOPSIS  -  No one recognized who Jesus was except the demons cast out by him. Only in his sacrificial death can his identity be understood  –  Mark 4:41 .  In his early ministry, the disciples had witnessed Jesus heal the sick, cast out demons, forgive sins, and most spectacularly,  calm a violent storm  on the Sea of Galilee, and all with great authority. Yet rather than faith in the Son of God, these powerful miracles produced confusion, fear, and the question -  Who is this man ? - [ Photo by Nicolas Peyrol on Unsplash ].

Language of the New Testament

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OVERVIEW   -  Was the New Testament composed in Greek or Hebrew? All evidence points to the former as the original language .  What was the original language of what we now call the “New Testament”? For centuries, the consensus was that it was written in Greek. In recent years, however, a growing minority has claimed it was first composed in Hebrew (or Aramaic), then translated relatively early into Greek. After all, the apostles and first Christians were all Jews, and, of course, first-century Jews spoke Hebrew. But what does the evidence show, and does it matter? - [ Photo by Mick Haupt on Unsplash ].

Mercy is NOT Optional

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OVERVIEW   –   Acts of mercy and love are the defining characteristics of the true disciple of Jesus and reflections of the nature of God   –   Matthew 5:43-48 .  We are easily confused and even overwhelmed by the exhortation of Jesus for his disciples to be “ perfect, just as your heavenly Father is perfect .” We assume that “ perfect ” refers to some standard of righteousness that is impossible for any man or woman to achieve. How can anyone ever hope to emulate the perfect righteousness of God? Fortunately, Jesus told us exactly how we become “ perfect ” and emulate our “ heavenly Father .” - [ Photo by Aaron Burden on Unsplash ].

Spirit and Covenant

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SYNOPSIS  – A people filled with the Spirit has been foundational to the redemptive plan of God from the very beginning . In his letter to the Galatians , Paul linked the “ promise of the Spirit ” to the “ blessing of Abraham .” The Law pronounced a curse on anyone who did “ not continue in all things written ” in it, therefore Jesus came under its curse. But he did this to redeem men and women from the curse - that “ the blessing of Abraham might come on the Gentiles through Jesus Christ; that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith ” - ( Genesis 12:2-3, Galatians 3:10-14 ). - [ Photo by Ezra Jeffrey-Comeau on Unsplash ].

Spirit of Life

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SYNOPSIS  –  It is the Spirit of God that imparts all life, especially the everlasting life in Jesus of which the gift of the Spirit is a foretaste and guarantee .  In the churches of Galatia, certain “ false brethren ” were preaching “ another gospel ” that required Gentile believers to get circumcised and conform to some, at least, of the regulations required by the  Torah . Paul responded with a series of arguments, beginning with an appeal to the gift of the Spirit. Since the Gentile converts had received the Spirit in a state of uncircumcision, then circumcision cannot be a requirement for right standing before God. - [ Photo by  Delaney Van  on Unsplash ].

Blessing to the Nations

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SYNOPSIS  -  The promise of the Father, the gift of the Spirit was sent by Jesus to bless all the nations  –  Acts 3:25 .  After the dramatic events on the Day  of Pentecost, Peter and John prayed for a man who was “ lame from his mother’s womb ” and begging for alms near the entrance to the Temple. Rather than money, they commanded him to walk “ in the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth .” Immediately, he stood up, began to walk, and was seen “ leaping, and praising God .” This incident was observed by other Jews, filling them with “ wonder and amazement .” This provided Peter with another opportunity to preach the gospel – ( Acts 3:1-11 ). - [ Yosemite Falls - Photo by  Karl Anderson  on Unsplash ].