Kingdom Thinking
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Kingdom Thinking

Acts 2:1–13  (ID: 2440)

Although the disciples spent significant time with Jesus before and after His resurrection, they were slow to understand the true purpose of His kingdom. Alistair Begg explains that the mission of Christ was neither centered on politics nor marked by an attitude of escapism. The truth of the Gospel should motivate us to make Christ known in every generation.

Series Containing This Sermon

When the Church Was Young

Selected Scriptures Series ID: 26401

Sermon Transcript: Print

We’re going to read from the Bible in Acts this morning, in the book of Acts. Acts 2:1:

“When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

“Now there were staying in Jerusalem God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard them speaking in his own language. Utterly amazed, they asked: ‘Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans? Then how is it that each of us hears them in his own native language? Parthians, Medes and Elamites; residents of Mesopotamia, Judea and Cappadocia, Pontus and Asia, Phrygia and Pamphylia, Egypt and the parts of Libya near Cyrene; visitors from Rome (both Jews and converts to Judaism); Cretans and Arabs—we hear them declaring the wonders of God in our own tongues!’ Amazed and perplexed, they asked one another, ‘What does this mean?’

“Some, however, made fun of them and said, ‘They[’ve] had too much wine.’

“Then Peter stood up with the Eleven, raised his voice and addressed the crowd: ‘Fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain this to you; listen carefully to what I say. These men are not drunk, as you suppose. It’s only nine in the morning! No, this is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: “In the last days, God says, I will pour out my Spirit on all people. Your sons and daughters will prophesy, your young men will see visions, your old men will dream dreams. Even on my servants, both men and women, I will pour out my Spirit in those days, and they will prophesy. I will show wonders in the heaven[s] above and signs on the earth below, blood and fire and billows of smoke. The sun will be turned to darkness and the moon to blood before the coming of the great and glorious day of the Lord. And everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”’”

We’ll stop our reading there. Thanks be to God for his Word.

In one sense, we are simply picking up from where we left off last time. Last time, we were considering the two sad faces on the Emmaus Road, whose perplexity was directly related to the fact that they had a view of the kingdom of God that was faulty. You remember we said that they, like their contemporaries of the day, thought in terms of the ushering in of God’s kingdom in light of territory, politics, and influence. And they anticipated that when the Messiah came, the oppressors would be overthrown, the temple and all that was represented in it would be rebuilt, and the justice of God would be established on the earth.

And so, with the arrival of Jesus in Jerusalem, expectations were running high. The crowds were quoting from the right kind of psalms, and they were giving voice to their expectation of this kind of deliverance. And then, of course, it all came to a crashing halt when they realized that this apparent Messiah was hanging up on a cross in between two thieves. And all of these expectations of the temple and of God’s justice and of the overturn of the Roman oppressors all came to a grinding halt. It wasn’t a one-way trip to the kingdom, but it was actually a cul-de-sac. It all came crumbling down in the events of that Good Friday evening.

And so it was that the resurrection of Jesus turned their thinking all around. They needed to have a completely renewed understanding of what it would mean for God’s kingdom to come. And it was, of course, their encounter with the risen Jesus that changed their gloomy countenance into joyful expectation once again. But of course, old habits die hard, and the way we think about things can be so rooted in our consciousness that even when we begin to get an inkling of the fact that it is different from what we expected, still our screen saver, if you like, in our minds tends to flip back to the same picture. And what we discover is that Jesus in the interim—between his resurrection and his ascension, in a period, Luke tells us, of some forty days—Jesus took time to teach his followers concerning the kingdom of God. That was their preoccupation. Jesus had arrived on the scene of biblical history in his adult ministry proclaiming the kingdom of God: “Repent,” he said, “and be baptized. And follow me. I am the King.”[1] And throughout the journey, there had been these indications of his kingship. But then it seemed to go so dreadfully wrong.

Now, you might expect that by the time we get to the beginning of Acts, by the time we are within the threshold of the fulfillment of God’s promise…

Incidentally, within the work of Jesus for our redemption, we have not only his incarnation, but we have also his sinless life, we have his death upon the cross—his crucifixion—we have his resurrection, we have his ascension, and we have the outpouring of the Spirit of God on the day of Pentecost. The outpouring of the Spirit of God on the day of Pentecost is part of the saving work of Christ. It is, if you like, the grand finale that will set forward his purposes for his people until the time when he returns. And therefore, the events of the day of Pentecost are as unique and unrepeatable in their essence as are his incarnation, his crucifixion, his resurrection, and his ascension. And that will become apparent to us as we study this together—not only this morning. But I mention it to you so that your minds can begin to think along those lines.

The Question the Disciples Ask

As Jesus then explained to his followers concerning the kingdom, we might have expected that they would have immediately got the picture. But if your Bible is open and you look down to Acts 1:6, we discover that they were not getting it at all. And “when they met together, they asked [Jesus], ‘Lord, are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?’” Calvin says about this question, “There are more things wrong in this question than there are words in the sentence.”[2] It’s the absolutely wrong question! They missed the point completely. They are not getting it. And when they think in a faulty fashion, it needs to be corrected.

In fact, there are two aspects of their faulty thinking that are here in Acts chapter 1, and we might just point them out for a moment. One is the question here in verse 6, where their preoccupation is still territorial and so on and raises the hopes that they have of God doing something in national and political terms, which is, if you like, the error of the politicist, dreaming of establishing utopia on earth: “Jesus, are you now going to do the thing? Are we now going to get everything sorted out for us the way we had hoped?” Or, “Now we know you’re alive and risen from the dead, so let’s get the kingdom thing going! Let’s get the temple built. Let’s get justice established. Let’s get these Roman oppressors out of here! You going to do this now, Jesus?”

So, you’ve got one group who are thinking in national and political terms, and in fact, the same group faces the contrary possibility—that is, as they’re described standing, looking up into the sky after the ascension, and the two men in white come to them and say, “Why are you standing looking up into the sky? I mean, don’t you have better things to do than that?”[3] Well, of course, they did have better things to do than that, because Jesus had just told them what to do.

So, in between their wrong question and their standing looking into the sky is the answer to their two problems. Problem number one is the false activism that issues in politicism. Problem number two is the false isolationism that issues in pietism. And here we are two thousand years later, and the twin virus is present in the church. When God’s people fail to understand what God has said to do and fail to enjoy what God has promised to give, it seems that both extremes will be present. And sometimes the emphasis will be more on one than the other. One group says, “We’ve got to get this fixed here. We’ve got to get the kingdom on the earth.” Another group says, “Forget the earth! We’re going to heaven. Let’s just stand and wait for Jesus to come back, and we can get out of here.”

Now, you don’t have to be particularly bright to recognize that in contemporary evangelical America, both of the viruses are present. And each of us will tend in one direction or the other: Either we will tend towards pietism—looking up and getting out—or we will tend towards politicism, as if somehow or another, territorially, nationally, the fixing of our nation and our time according to kingdom principles is what the business is all about. And it isn’t what it’s all about. And as surely as these disciples needed to get their heads sorted out, so does the church in every generation.

The antidote to politicism and pietism is Spirit-filled, Bible-centered, Christ-focused preaching of the gospel.

About fifty-four years ago now, in May, one of my favorite Scottish preachers, James S. Stewart, a Presbyterian, addressed the faculty of divinity and the students at Yale in New England. And in the course of his address, he said this: “The greatest drag on Christianity to-day, the most serious menace [in] the Church’s mission, is not the secularism without, it is the reduced Christianity within: the religious generalities and innocuous platitudes of a pallid, anaemic Christianity … what Kierkegaard [referred to as] a ‘vaporized Christianity.’”[4]

Now, do you think he’s right? Can you imagine what he might have said of contemporary Christianity if he was addressing the Yale Divinity School today, in 2005? If the gospel does not drive the church in every generation, the church will be driven by something else. And these two extremes I think we could probably use to quantify the last hundred years of church history in America. And the question that is raised by the quote is: If the problem is not external but internal, and if the answer is not in politicism or in pietism, then are we prepared to take seriously the issue, and are we prepared to pay careful attention to the remedy?

You see, the antidote to the virus is Spirit-filled, Bible-centered, Christ-focused preaching of the gospel. That’s what Jesus says, picking up on what he had said to them before. It’s recorded in Luke 24;[5] we won’t turn to it. He says to them in answer to the question about the kingdom, “It[’s] not for you to know the times or the dates the Father has set by his own authority.” “Please don’t start on that,” he says. “Let me tell you what you need to know. Let me tell you what you need to have. Let me tell you what you need to do”: “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you”—that’s the promise—“and you will be my witnesses”—that’s the command—“in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.”[6]

So, in other words: “I don’t want you to stand looking up into the sky. I don’t want you to be concerned about national, territorial things. I want you to be focused on the fact that my power is given to you in order that my world might be engaged by you.” Now, it’s just as straightforward and as simple as that.

And so, over this period of time, these well-meaning characters had to be weaned away from their wrong views of the kingdom. They were to learn—as we learned in our studies in God’s big picture—first of all, that the kingdom of God was not limited to Israel, but it was for all people everywhere. That died hard with them, because they viewed God’s dealings in Judaistic terms. They assumed that it was going to be this way forever. Even the establishing of the church, as we will see, was localized for a significant period of time only in Jerusalem. And when the church goes out into Samaria in Acts chapter 8, they immediately send a couple of characters down from Jerusalem to find out what’s going on in Samaria. Because what are they going to do now? “We thought that it was just us, and it was ours, and our preoccupation would be with ourselves.” And Jesus says, “You’re going to have to understand that this kingdom that I am putting together is not national. It’s multinational. It’s international. It’s about the whole world. Give up your territorialism.”

Secondly, that the kingdom was gradual in its expansion. You remember when we did that study, we said that we could think of God’s kingdom in terms of “God’s people in God’s place under God’s rule”[7] enjoying God’s blessing. And we can view the whole story of history in those terms, starting in Genesis: Adam and Eve (God’s people) in the garden (in God’s place) in communion with God (under his rule) enjoying all the beauty of what he has provided (under his blessing). And as that story unfolds the whole way through the Bible, we discover that what is now, as we sang in our song, is also not yet. And it is gradual as it becomes preached to the world and a testimony to the nations before the end comes. That’s what Jesus said in Matthew 24: the “gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to [the] nations, and then the end will come.”[8]

So they needed to understand this: The kingdom was not limited to Israel; it was international. The kingdom was not happening instantaneously, immediately; it was gradual. The kingdom, thirdly, was not political; it was spiritual in its character. And as the people bowed beneath the rule and reign of King Jesus, there was supposed to be a difference in their values and in their lives.

The Sermon Peter Preaches

Now, we don’t necessarily have the time to tease this out. But when we think this out in terms of the way in which we speak to our friends and neighbors, we realize that just to tell them we have Jesus in our hearts may not mean very much at all, especially when their response is to tell us that they have Krishna in their hearts, or that they have Buddha in their lives, or they have Scientology as their framework. So then what we have is the vying of various existential experiences. But of course, you see, that was never what the disciples were doing. That was never what they were doing. We’re going to see that in the sermon that Peter preaches. He doesn’t stand up and address the questions that come as a result of Pentecost and explain the wonderful experience that they’ve had of God. He stands up and explains the implications that Jesus is King and that it is his kingly rule which has invaded time and culture and life and has transformed us. And it is because Jesus is King, he’s going to say, that he has poured out this gift upon his people, and his people now are enabled in this way in order that they might engage in this activity.

And the drama of it, of course, is in the group that he gives the information to and the group that he gives the charge to—this little group of individuals, the scaredy-cats who were hiding behind closed doors only a matter of a few weeks before. Who would launch a venture to reach the world with a group like this? If you were putting a sales force together and you brought this group in, can you imagine, you know, Philip asking these questions all the time? Thomas second-guessing the strategy? “Oh, I don’t know if I believe that.” “Be quiet at the back!” And someone else, Peter, charging off with the materials before he’s even understood the manual, and so on. Total chaos! And Jesus gathers this group together, and he says to them, “You’re my group. Now I have a promise for you that will be fulfilled. I want you to wait until the promise is fulfilled. Don’t go off at half cock. Wait for the promise to be fulfilled, and then go out and obey my command.”

And so to the day of Pentecost in chapter 2. When the day of Pentecost came, the Holy Spirit is “poured out.” “Poured out.” “Poured out” in such a way as to enable the group to proclaim the wonders of God in other tongues and languages. That’s what happens, isn’t it? The threefold phenomena is there for us to view. There is the sound that was “like the blowing of a violent wind”—which, of course, we don’t find any difficulty in thinking of, having gone through last evening. There was the sight of what appeared to be “tongues of fire that separated” and rested on them. And then there was the phenomenon of this strange capacity for language that was granted to these individuals, so that although they were not native speakers of Parthian or of the dialect that was necessary in order to communicate with those from Pamphylia or Phrygia, they found themselves telling the wonders of God, but not in their own native language.

And that had an impact both on the speakers, and it also had an impact on the listeners. That’s what Luke tells us down in verse 5: “Staying in Jerusalem” were “God-fearing Jews from every nation under heaven.” We surely must take that to mean that it was every nation from the Greco-Roman Empire—from the Mediterranean Basin, if you like. It’s important that we don’t study the Bible woodenly. I don’t think there was anybody there from America, and I doubt there were any Aborigines from parts of Australia. But the group that was gathered was a multinational, multilingual group.

And this group felt the impact of what had taken place. When this amazing sound moved through the crowd, it was the sound of them hearing the wonders of God, the good news of God, in their own language. And it occasioned questions. Of course it did. Verse 7: they were “utterly amazed,” and they said, “Are not all these men who are speaking Galileans?” Yes, of course they are. “[Well,] then how it is that each of us hears them in his own native language?” That’s the only obvious question, isn’t it? “If everybody is from Galilee, and everybody speaks Aramaic or whatever it was, then how come… I am here from Libya. How come I can hear this man from Galilee speaking to me in my own language?” Now, if somebody didn’t ask that question, presumably they were brain-dead. The fact is, any sensible person would have to ask the question, “What’s going on here?”

And verse 12 says that the follow-up question was obvious. They were “amazed,” and they’re “perplexed,” and “they asked one another, ‘What does this mean?’” “What is this about?” It must have been such a dramatic thing, mustn’t it? And of course, in most crowds—not only crowds that come from Liverpool—the wits are present. They always—somebody can manage to turn it into a joke for the Letterman show. And so some of them made fun of them and said, “Oh, it’s clear they’ve had too much wine. I mean, this—don’t worry about this. Whatever’s going on, these folks, they must have been… They either stayed up all night or, you know, they got ahead of the game this morning.”

Well, what is happening here? What is happening on the day of Pentecost? What happened on this historic occasion? Well, two things are happening, and both of them are important. And you need to understand this before we go any further. I recognize the introductory nature of this study, but without the introduction, that which follows would just be double Dutch.

Turn to John 16 for just a moment, and remind yourselves of the promise that Jesus made to his disciples. John 16:12. He says to them, “I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear.” “I can’t tell you everything right now.”

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will bring glory to me by taking from what is mine and making it known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will take from what is mine and make it known to you.[9]

Now, to whom is this promise given? To the disciples. The last time you heard this verse quoted, who was the promise apparently referencing? The general Christian population. “After all,” says somebody in the Bible study, “the Spirit of God, he is going to come and lead us into all truth.” Well, yes, he does, but that is not the promise that is given here. The promise that is given here is that the Spirit of God will take the disciples of Jesus—who, frankly, are pretty clueless both in coming up to the resurrection and even post-resurrection, and even after Jesus has been giving them instructions about the kingdom of God, they’re still standing up, saying, “Excuse me? Are you at this time going to restore the kingdom to Israel?” What do they need? They need the Spirit of God to come and do for them what Jesus promised the Spirit of God would do—namely, lead them into all truth so that when they, the apostles, spoke, they spoke the very truth of God; so that the truth of God, which they spoke, when it was then written down in books and letters and left for us in the Bible, would be the very truth of God.

And on the day of Pentecost, what is happening is God is equipping his apostles for the unique role that he has given to them. They were foundational. They were those who had seen Jesus. They were those who had heard from Jesus. They were an unrepeatable group of individuals who experienced an unrepeatable encounter with the living God in Christ.

And therefore, and incidentally and parenthetically, that is why when we think in terms of apostolic succession, we do not think in terms of some apostolic succession that goes in a line through bishops and through popes, but we think of an apostolic succession which is the succession directly related to that apostolic teaching which is given us in the Bible. And the true apostolic succession is the succession of those churches and individuals and pastors and teachers and so on throughout all generations and every place who remain true to the teaching of the apostles, which Jesus said they needed to have in order that they might be able to do what they did.

That’s the first thing that’s happening. And what is happening simultaneously is that God is ushering in a whole new era of his Spirit, which—unlike the past, where the Spirit of God had come on kings, anointing them, and prophets, anointing them spasmodically, if you like, individually—now, in this new era, the Spirit of God is going to come upon all his people and fill them with all God’s fullness. And why is this the case? Well, the hint is given to us in what has happened in the Pentecostal event. What has happened in the Pentecostal event? People have been so filled with the power of the Spirit of God that they have been enabled to communicate the truth of God to a multilingual environment in a dramatic and spectacular way.

In this new era, the Spirit of God is going to come upon all his people and fill them with all God’s fullness.

Now, Jesus has just said, “You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes [up]on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and … Judea and … to the ends of the earth.” The Spirit of God is given, and immediately, the word of God’s truth is communicated not exclusively nationalistically, locally, but is communicated multilingually to the people who are gathered as, if you like, an indication of, a foreshadowing of, that which is about to take place when these individuals scatter throughout the world.

Now, it’s difficult to read this and, if you know your Bible, not think about another situation involving language. And I can tease you back to it. I know you’ll all get there, but let me tell you: Genesis 11. Because in Genesis 11, we have the Tower of Babel, right? The Tower of Babel is built by men who, in their proud attempt to get up to God, are seeking to establish that which represents themselves. You remember God comes, and he says, “This is not a good situation. I will confuse their language.”[10] And the confusion of language and the scattering of peoples is an expression of the judgment of God upon their proud defiance of him. Proudly, they try and reach up to heaven.

Here in Pentecost, graciously, God reaches down to earth. And he says, “That ‘united nations’ program that you had going way back in Genesis—I’m going to show you the real ‘united nations’ program. I’m going to show you how it is that Black people and White people and Chinese people and Scottish people and Swedes and Iraqis and Parthians and Pakistanis and Egyptians and folks from Borneo, how they will all be gathered together in one great, phenomenal company. Let me tell you how this is going to happen: I am giving you my power in order that you might obey my command. And when you do, I will put together a company that no man can number that comes from every tribe and nation and language and people and tongue, gathered before the throne.” It’s all in Revelation 7.[11]

Now, the fact that that’s the case is, first of all, verifiable data if you’ll look at it. And the fact that in the twentieth century, the church has routinely made a mess of the day of Pentecost is equally verifiable data. I’m sure that even some of the things that I’ve said to you now have rattled your cage and sent you in the wrong direction from where you once were. Well, I’m delighted! Rattle on, McDuff! That’s what I say—if we can rattle our way to a submission to the truth of God’s Word.

We’ll finish here: What is the first dramatic, effective, culture-engaging impact of the day of Pentecost? What is the first thing that happens as a result of the outpouring of God’s Spirit in this way? A sermon. A sermon! “Oh,” you say, “here we go again, trying to justify your existence.” No, I’m not at all! I’m trying to show you what happened. The Spirit came. The languages unfolded. The crowds asked the question. They’re bewildered, they’re amazed, they’re perplexed, and so on. And Peter stood up with the Eleven, and he raised his voiced, and he addressed the crowd, and he says, “What I’ve asked the group to do is just to take a moment and share. They’re all going to share their experiences. I’ve asked Philip; he had a quite wonderful experience over there in the corner. He was sharing with a man from Libya. And then I’ve asked Luke here if he would just give us a little…” No. No. “Then Peter stood up with the Eleven,” he “raised his voice,” and he “addressed the crowd.” And he said, “Hey, fellow Jews and all of you who live in Jerusalem, let me explain to you what has happened here.”

In other words, “And now, boys, I want you to use your minds. I want you to think.” What we have in the first thirteen verses is description. What we have from 14 on is explanation—the description of God’s intervention, the explanation of God’s intervention. So we don’t need to be in any doubt. We don’t need to be in any confusion. Peter now gets it. And as we’re about to see from his sermon, he has actually been paying attention. And he is going to show that finally, as the penny dropped, and as the Spirit brought him into all truth and took the things that Jesus had been saying, he had a crash course in understanding the Bible. He is understanding prophetic books. He’s understanding the Psalms. He’s understanding the way the whole thing fits together. It’s fantastic.

Well, where is the church? Do you think the church believes in sermons? No. No! I can guarantee you it doesn’t. Go throughout the country. I’ll tell you what the church believes in: politicism and pietism. “We’re out of here. Who cares?” “We got to fix this.” And the antidote to the twin virus is to fulfill the command of the risen Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit. Who knows but that God may just choose against all odds, and with another funny little group of people, to make a dent in our culture as a result of you going where you go in your world with nothing other than the promise of his power and the proclamation of his truth?

Don’t let people tell you they don’t believe the Bible, and the Bible doesn’t work, and they get you all tied up in knots, and you don’t know what to say. Don’t worry about that. The Bible will take care of itself. It’s the sword of the Spirit.[12] Keep your sword with you. Take it to work with you. Don’t bang people over the head with it, but leave it around—a little New Testament, not a gigantic, big study Bible, but something; a little dagger or whatever it is. I mean, if you came out of a car park, and you were heading towards your apartment, and somebody came up to you to rob you, and they said, “Give me your wallet,” or “Give me your purse,” and you took a knife out of your pocket and said, “How would you like some of this?” and they said, “Knives? We don’t believe in knives. I don’t believe in knives! Knives can’t do anything. Knives don’t hurt. Knives can’t cut. Knives can’t—ugh!” The fact that they don’t believe in the knife doesn’t blunt its edge, does it? The fact that they don’t believe in the knife doesn’t neutralize its impact, does it? And the fact that our friends don’t believe in the Bible doesn’t blunt our sword. It doesn’t prevent its ability to cut.

It’s really quite simple, isn’t it? Spend a little less time over here in the activism, a little less time over in the corner in the pietism, and a little more time over here with our Bible in the power of the Holy Spirit, and who knows what God might choose to do? That could be really exciting, couldn’t it?

Father, will you come and confirm your promise to us and fill us with your Spirit? Will you come and remind us of your command and enable us to obey it?

And may the grace and the mercy and the peace of the risen Lord Jesus Christ be our power, today and forevermore. Amen.

[1] See Matthew 4:17, 19; Mark 1:15, 17.

[2] John Calvin, Commentary upon the Acts of the Apostles, trans. Christopher Featherstone, ed. Henry Beveridge (Edinburgh: Calvin Translation Society, 1844), 1:43. Paraphrased.

[3] Acts 1:11 (paraphrased).

[4] James S. Stewart, A Faith to Proclaim (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1972), 31.

[5] See Luke 24:46–48.

[6] Acts 1:7–8 (NIV 1984).

[7] Graeme Goldsworthy, Gospel and Kingdom: A Christian Interpretation of the Old Testament (Exeter, UK: Paternoster, 1981), 47, 57, 59, 100.

[8] Matthew 24:14 (NIV 1984).

[9] John 16:12–15 (NIV 1984).

[10] Genesis 11:6–7 (paraphrased).

[11] See Revelation 7:9.

[12] See Ephesians 6:17.

Copyright © 2024, Alistair Begg. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations for sermons preached on or after November 6, 2011 are taken from The ESV® Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version®), copyright © 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

For sermons preached before November 6, 2011, unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from The Holy Bible, New International Version® (NIV®), copyright © 1973 1978 1984 by Biblica, Inc.TM Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.

Alistair Begg
Alistair Begg is Senior Pastor at Parkside Church in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Bible teacher on Truth For Life, which is heard on the radio and online around the world.