Read Acts 8:26-34. Three troubles that plague us: “beginning with this Scripture he told him the good news about Jesus.”

  1. ignorance
  2. guilt
  3. weakness
  1. Ignorance
    1. Of what to do: For there is a time and a way for everything, although man’s trouble lies heavy on him. 7 For he does not know what is to be, for who can tell him how it will be? 8 No man has power to retain the spirit, or power over the day of death. There is no discharge from war, nor will wickedness deliver those who are given to it. 9 All this I observed while applying my heart to all that is done under the sun, when man had power over man to his hurt.
    2. Of what is good: Judges: “everyone did what is right in his own eyes”
    3. Of what is true: Pilate: “What is truth?”
    4. Of God: Suppressed the truth about God and worshipped and served the Created things rather than the Creator” - Nietzsche: God is dead and we have killed Him. “Whither is God?" he cried; "I will tell you. We have killed him -- you and I. All of us are his murderers. But how did we do this? How could we drink up the sea? Who gave us the sponge to wipe away the entire horizon? What were we doing when we unchained this earth from its sun? Whither is it moving now? Whither are we moving? Away from all suns? Are we not plunging continually? Backward, sideward, forward, in all directions? Is there still any up or down? Are we not straying, as through an infinite nothing? Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder? Is not night continually closing in on us? Do we not need to light lanterns in the morning?” 
  2. Guilt
    1. The subjective experience of guilt. I’m not the man I should be. I’m not the mom I should be. I’m not the friend I should be. I’m not the person I should be. 
    2. The objective fact of guilt. They we fell guilty because we are guilty. That we want to turn back time. 
  3. Weakness
    1. Weakness to change the world: The Great Gatsby. The poor are powerless and the rich are corrupt. Psa. 62:9  Those of low estate are but a breath; those of high estate are a delusion; in the balances they go up; they are together lighter than a breath.
    2. Weakness to change oneself: More devastating.

The Bible describes each of these troubles in great detail. Isaiah 53 declares that when Messiah comes he will bring good news countering these troubles that plague us.

The Messiah will Reveal God and His Ways to Us: 

Is. 52:13    Behold, bmy servant shall act wisely;

he shall be high and lifted up,

and shall be exalted.

14 As many were astonished at you—

chis appearance was so marred, beyond human semblance,

and his form beyond that of the children of mankind—

15 so shall he sprinkle many nations.

Kings shall shut their mouths because of him,

52:15 for that which has not been told them they see, 

and that which they have not heard they understand. 

53:1: Who has believed what he has heard from us? 

And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed?


Christmas: God’s Solution to Our Problem of Ignorance

John 1:1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.

John 1:14   And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.

 Our understanding of our problem of ignorance starts with us and ends with God. We experience unease because we don’t know what to do, and we wonder what is good, and then we question if there is any truth, and ultimately any God.  God’s solution starts with God revelation of Himself, and traces back to us. God reveals himself in Christ, and thus reveals grace and truth, and thus reveals the moral Good, and thus we know what we are to do in front of the glory of Holy God. The problem is then, as knowledge increases, guilt increases all the more. 

The Messiah will Personally Atone for Our Sin

Is. 53:4    Surely he has borne our griefs

and carried our sorrows;

yet we esteemed him stricken,

smitten by God, and afflicted.

5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;

he was crushed for our iniquities;

upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,

and with his wounds we are healed.

6 All we like sheep have gone astray;

we have turned—every one—to his own way;

and the LORD has laid on him

the iniquity of us all.

Good Friday: God’s Solution to Our Problem With Guilt
Again, the Bible doesn’t alleviate our subjective problem of guilt by minimizing it, but by addressing the objective reality of it.

Rom. 3:21   But now the righteousness of God has been manifested apart from the law, although the Law and the Prophets bear witness to it— 22 the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ for all who believe. For there is no distinction: 23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins. 26 It was to show his righteousness at the present time, so that he might be just and the justifier of the one who has faith in Jesus.

What does it mean that God might be “just and the justifier”? It means that Good Friday is not so much about God resolving our problem, but God resolving His own problem. Here’s God’s conundrum. If He justifies our rebellion without dealing with the issue of our guilt, then he is unjust. Yet is He deals with our guilt by treating us as our rebellion deserves, then He cannot justify mankind and His creative intent in creating a people to which He can display His glory has failed. And so God himself takes up our cause. He stands in our place and absorbs all the wrath His own justice requires Him to pour out upon sin.

Behold Jesus, on the cross, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world!

53:5 But he was pierced for our transgressions;

he was crushed for our iniquities;

upon him was the chastisement that brought us peace,

and with his wounds we are healed.

6 All we like sheep have gone astray;

we have turned—every one—to his own way;

and the LORD has laid on him

the iniquity of us all.

The Messiah Will Be Victorious Over Death and Share His Spoils With the Strong

Is. 53:10    Yet it was the will of the LORD to crush him;

he has put him to grief;

when his soul makes an offering for guilt,

he shall see his offspring; he shall prolong his days;

the will of the LORD shall prosper in his hand.

11 Out of the anguish of his soul he shall see and be satisfied;

by his knowledge shall the righteous one, my servant,

make many to be accounted righteous,

and he shall bear their iniquities.

12 Therefore I will divide him a portion with the many,

and he shall divide the spoil with the strong,

because he poured out his soul to death

and was numbered with the transgressors;

yet he bore the sin of many,

and makes intercession for the transgressors.

Easter: God’s Solution to our Problem of Weakness

What is stronger that death. Every superhero uses his or her power to fend off death, to fight for life. Jesus’ knew that his death was the reason he had come into the world that it was necessary to take on death head on, yet declared about his life -

John 10:18 No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”

John 2:19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”

Romans 1:4 and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord

Eph. 1:15   For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, 16 I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers, 17 that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, 18 having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, 19 and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might 20 that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, 21 far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 22 And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, 23 which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

2:4 But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, 5 even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved— 6 and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus,

The Gospel is Good News to the Ignorant, Guilty and Weak Because the Gospel is Good News About Jesus.

Acts 8:36 And as they were going along the road they came to some water, and the eunuch said, “See, here is water! What prevents me from being baptized?” 38 And he commanded the chariot to stop, and they both went down into the water, Philip and the eunuch, and he baptized him.

If you believe - be baptized, don’t hesitate. Run up here during our time of worship. We have water and gowns. 

If you believe and you say, even though I know God in Christ, I’ve not been walking in the light of His Word, or even though I understand the work of Christ on the cross, I still feel so guilty over my sin, or I feel so powerless to change and so weak in my battle against the world sin and the devil, might I suggest to you that the problem is not the good news of Christ, its that you started in grace and are now trying to live in the flesh instead of the Spirit. The Spirit will illuminate God’s word, that you might not live in ignorance any longer. The Spirit will lead you back to the cross when you sin, will convict you and drive you to confession, so that you can be cleansed, for God is faithful and just to forgive us because jesus has made payment for sin. The Spirit will give you power to live so that you might not fulfill the lusts of the flesh. So return to Christ. If the Spirit is conniving you to come back, come back to Christ. There’s no alter call - just the Spirit right now in this moment calling your heart back to God. And if He’s calling you, Christian, provoking you once agin to life, confess you sins to him and come. At the end of the service, we will take the Lord’s Supper together, the Holy reminder of our Lord’s work. Let that be your renewal feast, your claimed victory, for God has bought you with a price, and He loses none of those who are his own.