October 9, 2016
The Gospel is a great mystery—but not in the sense we might expect. As he explores Paul’s words in Ephesians 3:1–6, Alistair Begg reminds us that the Gospel is not a puzzle that can be solved by human deduction or reason but a wonder that can only be known by the life-giving work of the Holy Spirit. The mystery of Christ is that Jews and gentiles alike can be brought near to God as members of one body through the work of Jesus.
Sermon Transcript: Print
We’re going to read from the Bible in Acts chapter 22; I invite you to turn there. Acts chapter 22. And we referenced this this morning, and we’ll read to the twenty-first verse. Paul is given the opportunity to address the people, and Luke records the event:
“‘Brothers and fathers, hear the defense that I now make before you.’
“And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew language, they became even more quiet. And he said:
“‘I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day. I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, as the high priest and the whole council of elders can bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brothers, and I journeyed toward Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished.
“‘As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And I answered, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said to me, “I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.” Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand the voice of the one who was speaking to me. And I said, “What shall I do, Lord?” And the Lord said to me, “Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.” And since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.
“‘And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, came to me, and standing by me said to me, “Brother Saul, receive your sight.” And at that very hour I received my sight and saw him. And he said, “The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth; for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard. And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.”
“‘When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance and saw him saying to me, “Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.” And I said, “Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. And when the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him.” And he said to me, “Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.”’”
Well, I invite you to turn back to Ephesians, which is where we’re studying. Ephesians chapter 3. Let me just read these verses again, the opening verses, and then we’ll pray.
“For this reason I, Paul, a prisoner [for] Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles—assuming that you[’ve] heard of the stewardship of God's grace that was given to me for you, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation, as I have written briefly. When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ, which was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit. This mystery is that the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”
Father, we ask for the enabling of the Holy Spirit as we study these verses together. Grant that we might enter into all that you have for us as you instruct us from the Bible. And we pray in Jesus’ name. Amen.
Well, surely no one was more amazed at the grace of God than Saul of Tarsus. We read earlier from Acts chapter 22, and I hope that your breath was caught by the way in which he acknowledged his part in the persecution of the Lord Jesus Christ when he says, “And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you.’” It wasn’t that he had just a sort of marginal interest in Christian things. He detested it. “And when the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him.” And it was in that context that the Lord spoke to him and said, “Go, for I will send you … away to the Gentiles.”
And as we acknowledged this morning, this is an extraordinary choice of an apostle to reach the gentile world. From a human perspective, it would seem almost as if the Lord could not have chosen a more unlikely person to go to the gentiles—he who had been so opposed to everything that was represented in their quest for the Lord Jesus Christ. And I always like to imagine these various heroes of the Bible joining us in worship. And if he were to join us, I know that he would enter wholeheartedly into our singing and would have sung this song with us just now and would gladly have sung along:
I know not why God’s wondrous grace
To me has been made known,
Nor why, unworthy as I am,
He bought me for his own.
And as we saw in the opening couple of verses this morning, Paul identifies himself as a prisoner for Christ Jesus on behalf of the gentiles, and he knows, he assumes that they have heard that he is also a steward of the grace of God—grace, he points out, that was given to him in order that it might be for them. And you will see that he takes it that his readers are aware of this and aware also, in verse 3, of “how the mystery was made known to me,” he says, “by revelation, as I have written briefly.”
Now, this mystery, the word “mystery,” comes a number of times here in the text: there in verse 3; again in verse 4, the “insight into the mystery”; in verse 6, “This mystery is…”; in verse 9, “the plan of the mystery hidden for ages.” So, clearly, this is a very important word, and it is important for us to understand what it is that Paul is referencing when he speaks of this mystery.
Some of you, like me, enjoy mystery stories. You have enjoyed them since childhood if you’re like me. I was thinking about it this afternoon as I was pondering the word again. And I was a great fan of Enid Blyton, and she wrote a series of mysteries. I think they were called the Barney Mysteries. And they all began with R. Yeah, with R. So you had The Ragamuffin Mystery. You had The Rockingdown Mystery. You had The Rilloby Fair Mystery. You had The Rat-a-Tat Mystery. You had The Rubadub Mystery. And they featured Roger and Diana and Snubby and a new friend that they had made called Barney. You can tell it was highly intellectual stuff just from the thing.
But I loved those mysteries, and I devoured them—that’s why I remember them—and I would try and figure out the ending, the puzzle that was represented: Why has Snubby gone down in the basement and never come back up again? There must be some explanation for this. And that love of mystery has continued. I’ve devoured the Ellis Peters books, if you know her; P. D. James as well; and it continues to this day. And essentially, what’s involved in the reading of those mysteries is trying to unravel a puzzle to, by human reason and deduction, try and get ahead of the storyline, as it were, so that you might figure out the answer to the question.
Now, it is important for us to recognize that that is not the way this word “mystery,” which appears here— mustḗrion in Greek—is being used by Paul. In fact, nothing could be further from that. This word “mystery” and the way that Paul uses it here is used of something that actually cannot be deduced by human wisdom. The normal mystery book, you can try and figure it out. “No,” says Paul, “the mystery to which I’m referring is something that you cannot come to by unaided human wisdom, but you can only get to it by the revelation of the Holy Spirit.” So when he uses this terminology, he is speaking about truth that is hidden from human knowledge, human understanding, but disclosed by the revelation of God. Or, if you like—and I just try and remind myself by using language like this—it is truth arrived at not by speculation nor actually by investigation but by revelation.
And Paul is clear about this always and in every situation. He was clear about it in his own case. That’s why we read, from Acts chapter 22, one of the places where we have the record of Paul’s encounter with the risen Christ on the road to Damascus. And when he recounts that event later on before Agrippa—which you’ll find, actually, in Acts chapter 26—when he’s addressing Agrippa and giving his statement concerning his following of Jesus, he says at one point in the ninth verse, he says, “[Agrippa,] I myself was convinced…”
I … was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority …, but when they were [there, we] put [them] to death [and] I cast my vote against them. … I punished them often in all the synagogues … [I] tried to make them blaspheme, and in raging fury against them I persecuted them even to foreign cities.
“I … was convinced that I ought to do many things.” And here’s the point: he would have continued to do these “many things” were it not for the fact that he had been set apart, he had been saved, he had been converted, as a result of the revelation of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And no matter where we go in the writings of Paul, we find that this is his emphasis. For example, when he introduces his letter to the Galatians, he says, “For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it”—“I didn’t get it in a seminary”—“but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ.” And then he goes on to say, “[Because if you think about it, you know about] my former life in Judaism, [and] how I persecuted the church of God violently.” God, he said, “set me apart.” In fact, he says dramatically in verse 15, “But when he who had set me apart before I was born…” Wow! “Before I was born”! So in other words, God set him apart to be the apostle to the gentiles not because of anything that was in him in terms of his background or his characteristics, but it was God’s purpose from eternity that Paul would fulfill this role.
When he … had set me apart before I was born, and who called me by his grace, was pleased to reveal his Son to me, in order that I might preach among the Gentiles, I did not immediately consult with anyone; nor did I go up to Jerusalem to those who were apostles before me, but I went away into Arabia, and returned again to Damascus.
So, the point is important, and it is at the same time straightforward.
One final reference, in order to drive it home to us—familiar material, I think, for some of us; we often quote these verses. He is explaining to the Corinthians, when he writes in 1 Corinthians, how men and women will never come to the truth of the gospel on their own. They will never come to the truth of the gospel on their own. I resist the temptation to digress in the realm of apologetics, which, of course, have a valid place, not in convincing people of the truth of the gospel but in unsettling people’s view of the world. Because there is no way that you can argue somebody to faith in Jesus Christ. And Paul makes it clear. He says, “Among the mature…” This is 1 Corinthians 2:6:
Among the mature we do impart wisdom, although it is not a wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are doomed to pass away. But we impart a secret and hidden wisdom of God, which God decreed before the ages for our glory. None of the rulers of this age understood this, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him”—these things God has revealed to us through the Spirit.”
Now, you see, this explains why educated men and women are able to pick up the Bible, to read it, to make all kinds of deductions from it, and never actually to bow before Jesus Christ and acknowledge him as a Savior and a King. There’s hardly a week goes by when somebody says to me, “Well, why is it that people would simply not believe?” Well, the answer is: because the god of this age has blinded their understanding and their minds. And the only way that they will ever come to an understanding of the gospel is a result of God’s amazing grace and goodness. It is tremendously humbling, and it is at the same time reassuring. Because if the burden were to be laid upon the proclaimer of the gospel to take the veil from the eyes of those who are unbelieving, the burden would be unbearable. But the promise of the Bible is that the entrance of God’s Word actually brings light. But men and women do not come to it by their unaided human wisdom.
David Wells from Gordon-Conwell is helpful to us in this regard—wonderfully helpful, so helpful that the little book where the helpful part was with me is now no longer with me. So I’ll take that as divine guidance that I was not supposed to quote David Wells from my little black book, page 163. But I know it well enough—and you know it well enough, because I quote it all the time—where he says essentially that we possess no “intuitive radar”; that there is an invisible boundary between ourselves and God; that we are separated from God, both in terms of his wrath towards sin and in terms of our rebellion towards him. That barrier is an impenetrable barrier from our side. We have no intuitive radar whereby we may engage God. Therefore, we are without God and without hope in the world. The story of the gospel is that God has taken the initiative and broken through that impenetrable barrier in the person of his Son and in his Son discloses to us the glory of his name. Again, it is a truth which humbles us. It is a truth which glorifies God.
I know not how this saving faith
To me he did impart,
[Or] how believing in his [name]
Wrought peace within my heart.
But “I know whom I have believed.”
Now, that is the song of every genuine Christian. The genuine Christian is not going around saying, “You know, I understand this perfectly, and it’s no surprise to me. After all, I was magna cum laude in my group, and I’ve investigated a lot of philosophy, and I’ve discovered these things, and I’m big on spirituality,” and so on. No, the Christian is saying, “It is a mystery to me.” “O how the grace of God amazes me.”
Now, when Paul says that he’s written about this briefly—back to our text in Ephesians 3; he says, “You know, I have actually mentioned this, assuming that you’ve heard of the stewardship of God’s grace, how the mystery was made known to me by revelation as I’ve written briefly,” the end of verse 3—I take it that that is simply a reference to earlier in this particular letter, that he’s not referring to anything other than that which has appeared before—perhaps particularly verses 6–10 of the opening chapter, where he speaks of having redemption through the blood of Jesus, “the forgiveness of our trespasses,” and so on, and then he says, “making known to us the mystery of his will, according to [the] purpose, which he set forth in Christ.” And he says, “You know, I have had this made known to me, I’ve written briefly about it,” and then, in verse 4, “When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ.”
Now, don’t let’s just immediately scan over “When you read this, you will discover this.” Let me ask you a question: Do you think that Paul would be surprised—if it were possible for him to drop in on us tonight—do you think he would be surprised that we are reading his letter that he wrote two thousand years ago to the believers in Ephesus? Now, some people would say yes. I hope you wouldn’t, because it’d be the wrong answer. But some people would say yes—that Paul would have had no concept whatsoever that what he was dealing with would have this lasting value.
I don’t think that actually stands up to the scrutiny of Scripture at all. Paul would not have been surprised. He would not have been surprised to discover that we’re reading it, nor would he have been surprised to discover that many of us are believing it or that we are seeking to apply it. Because Paul himself was aware of the fact that he as an apostle—as one who had seen the risen Christ, as one who had received the revelation of Christ, as one who was inspired by the Spirit of Christ—that Paul himself understood that his letters actually carry the authority of God, in the same way that the Old Testament Scriptures carried the authority of God.
And there are places where we could go to reinforce this. The most obvious one is in 2 Peter chapter 3, where you will remember Peter, when he is speaking about Paul and how difficult it is to understand some of the stuff that he’s written… I always find that a great encouragement when I can’t work my way through the material. But this is 2 Peter 3: “And count the patience of our Lord as salvation,” he says, “just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction”—now, notice the phrase—“as they do the other Scriptures.”
“The other Scriptures.” In other words, Paul is writing Scripture. His letters are Scripture. That which has been revealed to the apostles in their unique foundational role in the church, which has been illumined in their lives by the ongoing ministry of the Spirit, is then committed, inscripturated, given to us in the Bible, so that we do not need to go and look for other revelation, for the revelation that was necessary has been provided and then has been inscripturated so that we might study it together. It speaks to the reality of apostolic authority; it speaks also to the fact that there is no saving truth apart from the Scriptures. Those two statements are worthy of another fifteen minutes on their own; I resist the temptation.
Verse 4: “When you read this, you can perceive my insight into the mystery of Christ.” Now, some commentators say that there is a distinction here between what he refers to as “the mystery of Christ” and this particular mystery in verse 6. I’m not swayed one way or the other. Surely, when we think of Christ, it is a great mystery. It’s a long time since we sang,
Meekness and majesty,
Manhood and Deity,
In perfect harmony,
The Man who is God. …
O what a mystery.
O what a mystery it is—the mystery of the incarnation, the mystery of the divine and human nature in the one person. And people in his day looked at him and said, “Isn’t he just the carpenter from Nazareth? Isn’t he just Joseph’s boy?” People look at him today and say the same thing: “Isn’t this Jesus of Nazareth just another fine fellow, just another religious man from the past, just a teller of tales and a healer of souls, amongst many others?” By nature, such deductions are understandable. Only by the Holy Spirit does a person ever bow down and say, “Lord Jesus Christ, you are the very Savior I acknowledge I need. You are my Lord and my God.”
Now, Jesus Christ is both the substance and the source of that mystery. And in verse 5, he says this mystery “was not made known to the sons of men in other generations as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles.” Incidentally, don’t go south on the notion of mystery. Some people like to use “mystery” in a sort of mysterious way. It goes like this: “Well, it’s all a big mystery; nobody really knows.” That is not at all what Paul is saying. He’s saying that this truth is clear; this truth is definable; this truth is understandable. It is mysterious in the sense that we cannot come to it by unaided human reason. But when we enter into the reality of it, we realize how straightforward and wonderful it really is.
“Well,” you say, “I get that. But what does it mean that it was ‘not made known to the sons of men in other generations’? What about the fact that it begins, the Bible begins, with it?” Genesis chapter 12 and Abraham: “Through the seed of Abraham all the nations of the earth will be blessed.” That sounds as though they had an idea of it, doesn’t it? The psalmist. We sing about it in the Getty song: “O Church, Arise”: “And Christ will have the prize for which he died: a [heritage] of nations.” The prophets anticipated the fact that the streams of the universe would flow, as it were, in the direction of the Lord Jesus Christ, that he was going to be a light for the nations.
So what does Paul mean? It “was not made known to the sons of men in other generations”—notice the little word “now”: “as it has now been revealed to his holy apostles and prophets.” Prophets were men who were given a special understanding of the inspiration that had been given to the apostles so that they could learn it and teach it. But now the apostles have grasped it, have grasped it in a way that they never understood it. For Paul, it took this dramatic encounter on the road to Damascus, and for Peter an equally dramatic discovery.
Do you remember the Peter story in Acts chapter 10? Turn to it for just a minute; I’ll point it out to you. I can only get you started, and then you’re on your own from there. But it’s absolutely amazing, the story in Acts 10 and 11. Essentially, what you have in Acts chapter 10 and 11 and 12 are “The Acts of Peter.” You’ve got the Acts of the Apostles; you have these three chapters that largely feature Peter, and then he’s gone; he doesn’t appear again in the record of the Acts. But these three chapters are—if I might say so reverently—they’re humdingers. Because what is happening here is that Peter is confronting the challenge of racial and religious discrimination. In fact, there is a sense in which what you have in chapter 10 is not so much the conversion of Cornelius as it is the conversion of Peter—that Peter is the one who needs to be converted from his faulty view of the impact of the gospel to the gentile world.
And you will perhaps recall the story. I daren’t start into it, because we’ll spend the whole time here. But remember, Cornelius has a vision. He sees this situation, and he’s given word to send to Joppa. You remember Joppa—Nineveh and Joppa and so on. “And you go and get a guy called Peter. He’s lodging with one Simon, a tanner.” That in itself is interesting, because tanners dealt with dead animals, and Jews didn’t deal with dead animals. So Peter’s already moving a little bit in the right direction, in that he’s hanging out with Simon, who’s fiddling around with dead animals. You’re not supposed to do that if you’re a good Jewish boy. All right?
“The next day”—verse 9—“[while] they were on their journey and approaching the city,”
that’s when Peter has this amazing encounter. He’s hungry; he wants something to eat. He goes into a bit of a daze, he falls into a trance, he sees the heavens open, and a sheet descends with all these animals and reptiles and birds of the air—all the things that a good Jewish boy has to have nothing to do with at all. “And there came a voice to him”—verse 13—“‘Rise [up], Peter; kill and eat.’” And Peter, who’s good at this response, said, “No way.” In other words, he was true to himself. Remember, Jesus says, “I’m going up to Jerusalem, I’m going to suffer and die,” and he goes, “No, you’re not.” On another occasion, Jesus says, “Now I’m going to wash your feet”; he says, “You’re not going to wash my feet.” So, “Get up and kill and eat,” and Peter says, “No …, for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.”
Now, I’m going to have to leave you to read the story on your own, but it just gets better and better and better. And the way the whole thing folds together… And eventually Peter is at the house of Cornelius. Actually, it’s so full of good stuff. Verse 23. When Cornelius and his friends show up (gentiles), and they tell him that “a holy angel has told us to send for you” (which is… That’s heavy-duty) “and to hear what you have to say”—verse 23: “So he invited them in to be his guests.” You don’t do that. A good Jewish boy doesn’t do that. That’ll make your house unclean. You have nothing to do with these gentiles. So now he’s hanging around with Simon the tanner, which is a start. Now he’s inviting them into his house, which is progress. But the great denouement is still to come.
And Peter puts two and two together as a result of the revelation of the Holy Spirit, and when they have said to him, “We’d like to hear your story,” Acts 10:34: “So Peter opened his mouth and said, ‘Truly I understand that God [does not show favoritism].’” “I get it,” he says. “The picture of those creatures in the sheet I understand. We have been convinced that that should never be part of things. That represents you, Cornelius, and your friends. You have no part in us. We are the people. We have always been the people. You are not.” But he says, “Now I know. God, by revelation, has shown me that there is no special nation status,” not for the Jew any more than for Great Britain or any more for the United States of America. God has no favorites, because the message of the gospel is to the ends of the earth, for all the nations of the world.
I love language, as you know. And remember, I said this morning that the Jews regarded the gentiles as dogs, right? So when Cornelius meets Peter, he falls before Peter, and Peter has to say to him, “Hey, get up. I’m a man just like you.” Cornelius had to be dissuaded from treating Peter as a god, and Peter had to be dissuaded from treating Cornelius as a dog—the same two consonants and the same vowel. This is the grace of God. And this, you see, is opening up a whole new vista as the gospel begins to go the ends of the earth.
And so, that’s why we can’t possibly overestimate the impact of what Paul is conveying here to these Ephesians. “This mystery,” he says, finally—and it’s almost as if he’s been teasing it. He’s referred to “the mystery” and then “the mystery of Christ,” and the people are going, “What is the mystery?” And then he says, “This mystery is…” “Good. What?” “That the Gentiles are fellow heirs, members of the same body, and partakers of the promise in Christ Jesus.” It doesn’t come across just as clearly in the English as it does in the Greek, but what he’s saying is this: that the gentiles, who were previously excluded from the covenants and promises and agreements of God, are now equal heirs of the promises, equal members of his body, equal partners in his provision. And all of this, you will notice—verse 6—is “in Christ Jesus through the gospel.”
God’s plan—and it’s not his plan B—God’s plan that was previously veiled, Paul says, has now been realized in Jesus and is now revealed to him and is conveyed to us as a result of the apostolic authority being left to us in the Scriptures, so that now we have the great anticipation of the fulfillment represented in Revelation 7, which we quote all the time: that there will be a company that no man can number from every tribe, every nation, every language, every tongue. Why else would we be sending our friends to the ends of the earth? Why would our Wycliffe people, why would the Beans, invest their entire life? Why would we send young Bobby and Jules off into the middle of nowhere? Because God is committed, and “Christ will have the prize …, a [heritage] of nations.”
Well, we pray:
O God our Father, we thank you for the immensity of your love. As Nicodemus, the religious ruler, comes to Jesus by night, speaks so straightforwardly to him, and Jesus cuts to the chase: “Nicodemus, unless you’re born again, you’ll never see the kingdom of God; you’ll never enter the kingdom of God.” He didn’t say, “Well, Nicodemus, you’ve come from a nice home and background. You’re an intelligent man, and you have a spirituality of your own.” No. No. In our hearts, that soft part of us wishes somehow or another we could get it that way, but we’re shut up to the truth of your Word, Lord Jesus. And so it behooves us to pay careful attention to the Bible, to seek to understand it properly, to proclaim it kindly and boldly. And we thank you that you are the friend of sinners and that all who turn to you in repentance and in faith will discover that your welcome is beyond our ability to comprehend.
And so we pray that you will so work in us and through us. Help us to think these things out. Help us, Lord Jesus Christ, to examine the Scriptures to see if these things are so. And may it spur us on to think clearly and to believe humbly and to rest assuredly in the great promise of your grace. For we ask it in Christ’s name. Amen.
 Daniel Webster Whittle, “I Know Whom I Have Believed” (1883). Lyrics lightly altered.
 Acts 26:9–11 (ESV).
 Galatians 1:11–12 (ESV).
 Galatians 1:13, 15 (ESV).
 Galatians 1:15–17 (ESV).
 See 2 Corinthians 4:4.
 See Psalm 119:130.
 See Ephesians 2:12.
 David F. Wells, What Is the Trinity? (Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2012), 11–12.
 Whittle, “I Know.”
 Emmanuel T. Sibomana, “O How the Grace of God Amazes Me.”
 Ephesians 1:7 (ESV).
 Ephesians 1:9 (ESV).
 2 Peter 3:15–16 (ESV).
 Graham Kendrick, “Meekness and Majesty (This Is Your God)” (1986).
 Matthew 13:55; Mark 6:3 (paraphrased).
 Genesis 22:18 (paraphrased). See also Genesis 12:2ؘ–3.
 Stuart Townend and Keith Getty, “O Church Arise” (2004).
 Acts 10:5–6 (paraphrased).
 Acts 10:14 (paraphrased).
 Matthew 16:21–22 (paraphrased).
 John 13:7–8 (paraphrased).
 Acts 10:14 (ESV).
 Acts 10:22 (paraphrased).
 Acts 10:33 (paraphrased).
 Acts 10:34 (ESV).
Acts 10:34–35 (paraphrased).
 Acts 10:25–26 (paraphrased).
 See Revelation 7:9.
 John 3:3, 5 (paraphrased).
 See Matthew 11:19; Luke 7:34.
 See Acts 17:11.
Copyright © 2023, 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.