The Redeemer Reveals His Glory

Jesus is the Alpha and Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and then end in all of creation, in our church, and in our personal lives. The entire book of Revelation points to this truth – that Jesus is, was, and always shall be supreme – our all in all.

When John had his vision he was on the Island of Patmos. Patmos was an island penitentiary just off the coast of Asia or what we now call western Turkey. He was put there by the Roman Emperor Domitian because of his belief in the risen Christ. In the midst of his vision he is instructed by Christ Himself to write down all of the things he had seen and would see. This writing was to be sent to seven churches – also in Asia – for their edification.

The churches in Asia faced serious persecution especially at the hands of the Roman government. While Revelation is eschatological and apocalyptic, it first offered instruction, encouragement, and hope for those churches in Asia, but also for all Christians and all churches facing persecution. Jesus, the Alpha and Omega, truly is the first word in all of creation and, in the end, He will have the last word as well.

This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, December 4, 2022. It is part of a series of Bible study sessions from The Gospel Project – a Bible study curriculum developed by Lifeway Christian Resources. Handouts with slide content can be requested at: fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com .

Handouts are also available at: fromthebackporch.org .

Website – FromTheBackPorch.org

Twitter – From the Back Porch @ nationalfast

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Email – fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com

Empowered by the Spirit

In Acts, Chapter 3, we find Peter and John going to the temple to pray. As they arrive at the temple they are met by a man who has been paraplegic since he was born. This man was carried to the temple each day to beg for alms – his only known source of income. As Peter and John approached, this man asked them to help him with the financial assistance he urgently needed. Peter’s response was simple and direct. “Silver and gold have I none, but what I do have I give you: In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk.” (Acts 3:6) Peter helped him up and immediately he could walk and even leap for joy.

In this encounter there is an encouraging lesson for those who are struggling – for those who are paralyzed by some physical issue as well as those who have been immobilized by stress, fear, anxiety, and the often overwhelming cares of everyday living. The lesson is that there is hope, there is healing, and there is unfathomable help in the Name of Jesus. And moreover there is salvation in that same Name – the Name above every name – the Name of Jesus.

However, in this encounter there is also a sobering lesson for the church. We, as Christians, have available to us the same power that allowed that man to walk. As a church we have the same Spirit of God Who empowered Peter and John. God hasn’t changed since the 1st Century AD. “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.” (Hebrews 13:8) So who has changed?

In showing St. Thomas Aquinas the room in which the money of the church was being counted, Pope Innocent IV proudly said, “The church is no longer in an age when she can say, ‘silver and gold have we none.’” Thomas replied, “It is true, holy father, nor can the church now say to the lame man, ‘Rise up and walk!’” In class Sunday morning, I misattributed the statement to St. Augustine when it was actually St. Thomas Aquinas. Nevertheless, the point remains the same and it raises the following question – “Is the church operating in the power of the Holy Spirit or is the church relying on it’s own power, resources, and programming to accomplish God’s work?”

(Note – The video quality is less than optimum as is the audio quality. It will be back to high definition next week.)

Next week we will be in 1 Peter 1&2 where we will look at how to live as Christians in world that is at times hostile to our Faith.

This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, March 27, 2022. It is part of a series of Bible study sessions from The Gospel Project – a Bible study curriculum developed by Lifeway Christian Resources. Handouts with slide content can be requested at: fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com

Website – FromTheBackPorch.org

Twitter – From the Back Porch @ nationalfast

Facebook – From the Back Porch in Texas

In the PDF below you will find the presentation slides for this lesson.

First Look at the Evidence of the Resurrection

The first to give witness and testimony to the birth of Jesus were the shepherds. The first to give witness and testimony to the resurrection of Jesus was a woman. You would be hard pressed to find two groups of people lower in social standing within the 1st century Jewish community than shepherds and women. No offense to either group – that’s just the way it was. The shepherds first beheld and worshiped the new born king and a woman, Mary of Magdala, first beheld the empty tomb after the resurrection and worshiped the One she called Rabonni.

The first few verses of John 20 give great insight into the mindset of those who were following Jesus. At first, they just didn’t get it. Nothing made sense.. John 20:9 says, “As yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead.” They didn’t get it then . . . but that was then. What happened after that transformed them into a Spirit-led force that couldn’t be silenced. What they saw at the beginning of John 20 was just a beginning of the things they would witness after the resurrection of our Lord – things that undeniably prove that Jesus did, in fact, rise from the dead. Hallelujah!

The next 3 sessions will be devoted to events which followed the resurrection. We will see more evidence of His resurrection and direction of how we are to live because Jesus died and rose again.

This Bible study was presented to the Agape Life Bible Study Class of the First Baptist Church in Brenham, Texas, on Sunday, February 6, 2022. It is part of a series of Bible study sessions from The Gospel Project – a Bible study curriculum developed by Lifeway Christian Resources. Handouts with slide content can be requested at: fromthebackporchintexas@gmail.com

Website – FromTheBackPorch.org
Twitter – From the Back Porch @ nationalfast
Facebook – From the Back Porch in Texas