The Acts of the Apostles – Preaching Outline

My purpose in preparing this preaching outline is to provide a pattern of the ministry of the church according to the will of God as penned by Luke in the Book of Acts. Luke recorded the history of the church from the command of the Lord Jesus Christ and his ascension through the final imprisonment of the Apostle Paul. The empowering and expansion of the church is recorded and remains a pattern of the work of God for each generation until The Lord’s return.
The book of Acts aids in understanding many of the New Testament epistles not only with its historical record but also in the introduction and interaction of many of the personalities mentioned.
Careful study of the Book of Acts will clarify many issues facing the church today, especially in the area of authority in the church (polity) and gifts of the Spirit.
The Book of Acts also instructs in the mission of the church for world evangelization. The plan and preparation for evangelization under the leadership of the Holy Spirit is presented including the specific call to the work and the establishment of churches.
My prayer is that this outline will be useful in the churches for instruction and encouragement in the work of the Lord.
Stephen J. Burke

Introduction to the Book of Acts

I. The Writer – Luke wrote the Gospel of Luke, continuing his treatise to Theophilus on the Life and ministry of Jesus Christ and the ministry of the church in this book – Acts.
The author of Acts was a companion of Paul is clear from the passages in the book in which “we” and “us” are used (16:10-17; 20:5-21:18; 27:1-28:16). Colossians 4:14 and Philemon 24 point affirmatively to Luke, who was a physician.
Colossians 4:14 Luke, the beloved physician, and Demas, greet you.
Philemon 1:24 Marcus, Aristarchus, Demas, Lucas, my fellowlabourers.
Luke was faithful in his ministry with the Apostle –
2 Timothy 4:11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.

II. The place and date of the book. The book was probably written in Rome during the first imprisonment of the Apostle Paul. Luke accompanied Paul to Rome –

Acts 28:16 And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him.

Acts 28:30-31 And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.

and mentioned his imprisonment and ministry. It is to be noted that Luke did not mention the burning of Rome which was in 64 A.D. and the subsequent persecution of the Christians from 64 – 67 A.D. He also does not mention the second imprisonment of Paul in 64 A.D, the Jewish rebellion against Rome in 66 A.D. nor the destruction of Jerusalem by Rome in 70 A.D. The date of the writing should be set between 59 and 61 A.D.

III. The Purpose of the book.

The book was written to complete the treatise Luke was writing to Theoliphus. Luke recorded the command of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Power of the Holy Spirit, and the activities of the Apostles in the establishment and spread of the church.

Outline of the Book of Acts

I. The Promise Fulfilled. Acts 1:1-2:13

A. The post-resurrection ministry. Acts 1:1-11

1. The proof of His resurrection. Acts 1:1-3

a. The conflict.

Psalms 16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.

1). Confusion. Refer to John 20:1-9 and Mark 16:9-13
2). Commotion. Luke 24:36,37

b. The communion –

1). With those familiar with Him. “…whom He had chosen…”
2). With time to provide evidence of His life. “…seen of
them forty days…”

c. The confidence. Note the confidence of these witnesses due
to the communion with the Lord.

1). Peter Acts 2:22-24; 3:26 and 30-35 years on, Peter
still had that trust in the Lord!

1 Peter 1:18-21 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, Who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.

1 Peter 3:18 For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit:

2). Paul Romans 1:1-4; 4:24,25; 6:3-5; 1 Corinthians 15:3-8; 2 Timothy 1:12

3). John about 60 years had past when John the Apostle testified of the resurrection of the Lord.

Revelation 1:5 And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,

The time spent with Jesus convinced them of the truth of God’s Word and His faithfulness to His promise – to provide a Saviour for a sinful world. They spent the rest of their lives witnessing to the truth – Jesus Christ – crucified, buried, and risen again to satisfy the justice of God and provide a way for us to be saved. Are you saved today? The same message they preached is presented to you today. Jesus, the Same yesterday, today, and forever is ready to save you if you will repent of your sins and call up Him for salvation.

2. The patience required. Acts 1:4,5

a. The expectation. 1:4 They were instructed to wait
(perimenein, to wait around here)

His command presents a different thought than that found in –

Romans 8:25 But if we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it.
(to expect fully, to look for salvation) and –

1 Thessalonians 1:10 And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come. (to look for His coming)

The meaning of ‘wait’ in these instances does not restrict the believer to a location. We can look for the consummation of our salvation or the return of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ from any place on earth, but the disciples were commanded to stay together in Jerusalem and wait –

1). By Jesus – The Authority
2). For the fulfillment of His promise.
Refer to Matthew 3:11; John 14:15-17, 26; 15:26,27; John 16:7-15

b. The explanation. 1:5

We can imagine that by this time the disciples are wondering how these things will happen? What is it going to be like? Will we know by our senses – to see, feel, hear? Remember – the Lord’s coming, His life, His death was not according to their expectation!

1). Remember the baptism of John – your baptism?

a). The reality of it.
b). The results of it.
(1). Obedient in heart.
(2). Identified in life.

Remember that the Pharisees identified themselves as being opposed to the Word of God through their refusal to obey God and be baptized by John the Baptist.

Luke 7:29-30 And all the people that heard him, and the publicans, justified God, being baptized with the baptism of John. But the Pharisees and lawyers rejected the counsel of God against themselves, being not baptized of him.

2). Recognize that God’s promise will not be in secret!

a). They would know the reality of it.
b). They would experience the results of it.

3). Realize they needed to be patient and wait on the
Lord according to His Word!

Next we see –

3. The plan revealed. Acts 1:6-8

a. The disciple’s concern. Acts 1:6,7

The disciples were reminded by the Lord of the message of John the Baptist and while considering the quote of Matthew 3:11, they would have remembered John’s words as recorded in Matthew 3:12. The coming of the Holy Spirit was tied in with the judgment. The question they asked was a logical consequence of this consideration. They were familiar with the prophecies concerning the Spirit of God and the kingdom –

Refer to Isaiah 32:14-19; Ezekiel 37:11-14; Joel 2:28-32

b. The Lord’s comment. Acts 1:7 He reminded them of that which He had already told them –

Matthew 24:36 But of that day and hour knoweth no man, no, not the angels of heaven, but my Father only.

c. The Lord’s command. Acts 1:8 I would like to look more closely today at this command.

1). The promise – “…ye shall receive…” ‘Ye’ – the church. Institutional, not personal!
2). The power – it involved –

a). The authority to act. The church commissioned.

(1). He is the head of the church.
Colossians 1:18 And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence.

(2). He is building the church. Refer to Matthew 16:18,19

b). The power to preach.

(1). Confidence. Boldness for the speaker.
(2). Conviction. John 16:8-14;

Note the work of the Holy Spirit: “to reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment…” The word ‘reprove’ is translated in a few other ways which may help us to understand this work –

1. To confront.

Matthew 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

2. To convict.

John 8:9 And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.

3. To convince.

Titus 1:9-11 Holding fast the faithful word as he hath been taught, that he may be able by sound doctrine both to exhort and to convince the gainsayers. For there are many unruly and vain talkers and deceivers, specially they of the circumcision: Whose mouths must be stopped, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre’s sake.

Note Romans 1:16; 10:9-17

He confronts: the lost must hear the Word of God
He convicts: the lost must admit his guilt and lost estate
He convinces: The lost must recognize that there is only One way to God, and that is through believing in the Lord Jesus Christ. “I am the way, the truth, and the life…”

(3). Confirmation.

(a). Taught the Jews that the gospel for all. Acts 1:2,8,10,19

(b). Temporary manifestations until the Word of God was completed.
1 Corinthians 12:7-11; 13:8-13

3). The proof. Fulfilled at a point in time “…after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you”
4). The practice – “…ye shall be witnesses unto me…” 2 Corinthians 4:1-7;

1 Corinthians 15:3-4 For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

5). The place – the whole world

Note the emphasis on “in all Judaea”. Judas Iscariot was from Judaea.

4. The promised return. Acts 1:9-11

a. The ascension. Acts 1:9

Often we read of the ascension in passing, almost as an epilogue to the command to the church. We need to note its importance, which we will do by referring to the following passages of Scripture –

The mention of His return to the Father in the prayer recorded here. John 17:11-17
The manner of His return is remembered. 1 Timothy 3:16
The majesty of His position beside the Father –

Ephesians 1:19-21 And what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, Which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead, and set him at his own right hand in the heavenly places, Far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come:

Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

1 Peter 3:22 Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God; angels and authorities and powers being made subject unto him.

1). The evidence – eyewitnesses “…while they beheld…”
2). The escort “…he was taken up…”
3). The entrance – His ministry

Hebrews 6:19-20 Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; Whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.

Hebrews 8:1-2 Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an high priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens; A minister of the sanctuary, and of the true tabernacle, which the Lord pitched, and not man.

a). Head over all things.

Ephesians 1:22-23 And hath put all things under his feet, and gave him to be the head over all things to the church, Which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.

Ephesians 4:7-11 But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore he saith, When he ascended up on high, he led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. (Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things.) And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers;

b). Intercessor. Refer to Exodus 28:12,29; Leviticus 16:6, 3-34

Romans 8:34 Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.

Hebrews 7:25 Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.

c). Advocate.

Hebrews 9:24 For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us:

1 John 2:1 My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:

Refer to 1 John 1:9

b. The attention. Acts 1:10a Focused on the Lord
c. The announcement. Acts 1:10:b,11

1). The messengers. 1:10b
2). The message. 1:11 “…this same Jesus…”

a). The person –

Born in Bethlehem
Raised in Nazareth
Ministered in Israel
Arrested in Jerusalem
Crucified in Golgotha
Buried in Joseph’s tomb
Resurrected the third day
Known of the disciples
Ascended into Heaven

This Jesus, this same Jesus, will come again in like manner

Philippians 3:20, 21 For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: Who shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself.

2 Timothy 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.

Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

b). The plan.

(1). The coming for His saints. Refer to 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18
(2). The coming in power to establish His Kingdom. Matthew 24:25-31; 35-42

B. The Preparations made. Acts 1:12-26 What do you do when you are waiting?

Peter, Andrew, James, and John were fishermen by trade. What were they doing when the Lord called them to the ministry? They were fishing or they were preparing to fish

Mark 1:16-20 Now as he walked by the sea of Galilee, he saw Simon and Andrew his brother casting a net into the sea: for they were fishers. And Jesus said unto them, Come ye after me, and I will make you to become fishers of men. And straightway they forsook their nets, and followed him. And when he had gone a little further thence, he saw James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother, who also were in the ship mending their nets. And straightway he called them: and they left their father Zebedee in the ship with the hired servants, and went after him.

Now they were fishers of men, but the Lord told them to wait before they cast their nets – so what did they do? They prepared. They had failed terribly in their witness for Jesus already and now they knew what they must do to be able to stand for Him – PRAY!
The church united –

1. In prayer. Acts 1:12-14 “…Prayer and supplication…”

This fundamental practice of prayer will not change until we are in the presence of God. Over a hundred years ago Hudson Taylor wrote a letter of encouragement to Jonathan and Rosalind Goforth about their ministry to a particular area in China – “Brother, if you would enter that province, you must go forward on your knees.” The Goforth’s did exactly that and God blessed their witness of His Son Jesus Christ with multitudes of people being saved.

2. In personnel. Acts 1:15-26 Not only prayer, but people are imperative. The right people in their place. Are you in your place of service?

Conclusion: We must note 1:25 “…his own place…”

Matthew 26:24 The Son of man goeth as it is written of him: but woe unto that man by whom the Son of man is betrayed! it had been good for that man if he had not been born.

Hebrews 9:27 And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

C. The promise of God fulfilled. Acts 2:1-4

Luke has been very specific in his description of these events. We should read the verses carefully that we may understand what the Lord is telling us. Luke told us of –

1. Pentecost Refer to Leviticus 23:5-22

a. The series of festivals proclaimed a message for the people that they lived out each year. In reference to grain –

1). Passover – they ate the bread of affliction – they had been afflicted but now they were redeemed!
2). Firstfruits – they offered the sheaf of anticipation
3). Weeks – they offered the bread of appreciation.

b. The disciples were in the midst of experiencing these very things –

1). The crucifixion – They had been afflicted but now they were redeemed!
2). Resurrection – anticipation Up to this time, they were still in the anticipation stage.
3). Pentecost – there would be appreciation! Fulfilled promise of God

Next, we note –

2. The People – the disciples were –

a. Worshipping. On this very day we can be reasonably sure of their participation through –

1). Their presentation.

Exodus 23:14 Three times thou shalt keep a feast unto me in the year
Exodus 23:16 And the feast of harvest, the firstfruits of thy labours, which thou hast sown in the field:

2). Their provision. Leviticus 23:22 The Lord provided for those strangers.

Leviticus 23:22 And when ye reap the harvest of your land, thou shalt not make clean riddance of the corners of thy field when thou reapest, neither shalt thou gather any gleaning of thy harvest: thou shalt leave them unto the poor, and to the stranger: I am the LORD your God.

3). Their praise. Psalm 113-118 Note some of their songs lifted up to the Lord –
Psalm 113
Psalm 115:1-3
Psalm 116:10-19
Psalm 117
Psalm 118:19-29

Following their presentation before the Lord we see them again –

b. Waiting in one accord. Might they have been wondering over the past ten days about the promise – how will we know what that the power is given?

1). “The Lord told us to remember John the Baptist and his baptism.
2). We were at the right place – as we are now.
3). We were with the right person – as we are now
4). We were obedient – as we are now.
5). We were baptized – no, not yet – keep waiting”. They may not have understood what was going to happen, but then they may not have understood what John was doing either until they submitted to him and got wet. When they came up out of the water, they knew that they had been baptized!

3. The Promise fulfilled Acts 2:2,3

a. The Prophecy of John.

Matthew 3:11-12 I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance: but he that cometh after me is mightier than I, whose shoes I am not worthy to bear: he shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost, and with fire: Whose fan is in his hand, and he will throughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire.

b. The Promise of Jesus.

Acts 1:4-5 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me. For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.

John 1:31-34 And I knew him not: but that he should be made manifest to Israel, therefore am I come baptizing with water. And John bare record, saying, I saw the Spirit descending from heaven like a dove, and it abode upon him. And I knew him not: but he that sent me to baptize with water, the same said unto me, Upon whom thou shalt see the Spirit descending, and remaining on him, the same is he which baptizeth with the Holy Ghost. And I saw, and bare record that this is the Son of God.

c. The Precise fulfillment. Acts 2:2,3

Now, remember –

Acts 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

4. The Power – to witness unto the Lord Jesus Christ to all that were present. Acts 2:4

They had been faithful. They had learned from the Word of God –

Proverbs 3:5 Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.

Now they knew what the Lord Jesus Christ was speaking of and they began to witness of Him.

D. The power of God manifested. Acts 2:5-13

1. The Power – The Holy Spirit Acts 2:4
2. The Proof – It is a language. Acts 2:5-11
3. The Purpose –

a. To witness unto the Lord Jesus Christ. Romans 10:17
b. To witness to sectarian Jewish believers. Romans 10:13

We note the truth of these statements through the testimony of the Apostle Paul to the Corinthian church.
Paul counseled them that love must be the essence of their ministry, and in desiring the ministry of the Holy Spirit, their priority should be prophesy. 1 Corinthians 14:1, He explained the reasons for this by –

1). Reviewing their practice. 1Corinthians 14:2-19 His –

a). Comparison of languages and prophecy. 1Corinthians 14:2-5 Their practice –

(1). Personal promotion. 1Corinthians 14:2,4a Paul’s recommendation –
(2). Preaching to edify. 1Corinthians 14:3,4b

1 Timothy 4:12-13 Let no man despise thy youth; but be thou an example of the believers, in word, in conversation, in charity, in spirit, in faith, in purity. Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

(a). Edify Refer to –

Romans 15:1-2 We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.

(b). Exhort
(c). Encourage

(3). Practical advice – they should be seeking to prophecy. 1Corinthians 14:5

b). Considering, through reason, the results of their actions. 1Corinthians 14:6-11

(1). He used a rhetorical question to help them understand this truth. 1Corinthians 14:6
(2). He then illustrated his argument with commonly known instruments.

(a). Musical instruments 1Corinthians 14:7 orderly notation
(b). Military instruments. 1Corinthians 14:8 commands for action

(3). He compared their speaking with the meaningless sounds. 14:9,10 (4). He concluded his argument by stating these actions result in confusion. 17:11

c). Charge to them to edify the church 1Corinthians 14:12-19 Refer to Ephesians 4:1-12

(1). The Proposal – give themselves to the building up of the church. 1Corinthians 14:12
(2). The Plan – have men ready to interpret to the church. 1Corinthians 14:13-15
(3). The Problem – without interpretation, the message is not understood by all. 1Corinthians 14:16,17
(4). The Presentation of God’s message in a clear manner, easily understood by all is the goal! 1Corinthians 14:18,19

2). Revealing their purpose. 1 Corinthians 14:20-25 The –

a). Insistence that they mature. 1Corinthians 14:20
b). Intended purpose of tongues and prophecy. 1Corinthians 14:21,22

(1). Tongues were a sign gift from God. 1Corinthians 14:21,22a Refer to Isaiah 28:11,12

(a). They drew attention. Acts 2
(b). They demonstrated –

[1]. Unity. Acts 10; 11:1-4, 13-18
[2]. Doctrine. Acts 19:1-8; Refer to 18:20

(c). They declared the majesty of God – Acts 2 “…wonderful works of God…” Acts 10 “…magnify God…”. 1 Corinthians 14:13-17 “praying, singing, giving of thanks”

(2). Tongues were a sign gift for man – unbelieving.

(a). Jews at – Jerusalem (Acts 2); Capernaum (Acts 10,11); Ephesus (Acts 19).
(b). Foreigners in Corinth. Supernatural communication in their own languages.

(3). Prophecy 1Corinthians 14:22b Not for unbelievers, but for believers. Why? Refer to 1Corinthians 14:3

c). Irrefutable conclusion. 1Corinthians 14:23-25

(1). Confusion would result if only tongues were spoken. The majority would not understand. 1Corinthians 14:23
(2). Conviction would result if all prophesied. The majority would hear and repent.
1Corinthians 14:25

3). Reproving their conduct. 1 Corinthians 14:26-35

a). Their practice questioned. 1Corinthians 14:26
b). The procedure established. 1Corinthians 14:27-32

(1). Tongues. 1Corinthians 14:27,28
(2). Prophecy. 1Corinthians 14:29-32

c). The principle stated. 1Corinthians 14:33 Remember –

1 Corinthians 13:8-10 Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

Now we have the perfect Word of God and are still bound by the commission to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. The power of God is upon His Word!
His Word is given for this purpose –

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

II. The Preaching of Peter. The First Message Acts 2:14-2:47

This self-satisfied group of Jews, confident in the knowledge that they had rid Israel of a trouble maker, now hear of strange happenings among the small group of followers that had remained behind in Jerusalem – these misguided Galileans. As they gathered around the assembly, they heard the witness of God in their own languages and were amazed, not knowing what was taking place. Some quickly tried to quench the fervor by mocking, but these disciples were no longer easily intimidated. Instead of appeasement or retreat, they stood together and Peter spoke with authority. We note –

A. The Response. Acts 2:14-21

1. He denounced their mockery. Acts(2:13) 2:14,15

a. He reproved them for their impure thoughts about the work of God. Acts 2:14,15

This was the morning of Pentecost – they most probably would not have even taken a morning meal yet, nevertheless taking any drink, and especially not strong drink. The Jews ridicule was silenced by Peter

They were as those spoken of in –
Titus 1:15 Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.
b. He followed this by speaking to them after the pattern
of the Lord.

The Lord had rebuked the Sadducees because of their ignorance of the Word of God regarding the resurrection. Matthew 22:29 (They knew the words but did not understand the meaning). – Peter took them back to the Scripture and –
In the spirit of this statement –

2. He then declared the meaning of the phenomenon. Acts 2:16-21

a. Witness unto the Lord. Acts 2:16-20

It is clearly the work of God – “…this is that… Saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit…” “…And on my servants and on my handmaidens I will pour out in those days of my Spirit; and they shall prophesy:…”

The unsaved crowd had no part of God’s blessing! Except to know His –

b. Willingness to save. Acts 2:21 If they would repent! It is the same today.

B. The Rebuke. Acts 2:22-32
Peter held them accountable for their actions. Acts 2:22-24

1. The accused. “…ye men of Israel, hear these words…”
2. The accountability. “…approved of God among you..” “…as ye yourselves also know”

a. Their knowledge. Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you…”

They knew!

John 2:23 Now when he was in Jerusalem at the passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.

John 3:2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

John 6:14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.

John 7:31 And many of the people believed on him, and said, When Christ cometh, will he do more miracles than these which this man hath done?

John 10:37-38 If I do not the works of my Father, believe me not. But if I do, though ye believe not me, believe the works: that ye may know, and believe, that the Father is in me, and I in him.

John 10:42 And many believed on him there.

John 11:43-45 And when he thus had spoken, he cried with a loud voice, Lazarus, come forth. And he that was dead came forth, bound hand and foot with graveclothes: and his face was bound about with a napkin. Jesus saith unto them, Loose him, and let him go. Then many of the Jews which came to Mary, and had seen the things which Jesus did, believed on him.

John 12:42-43 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: For they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God.

They were –

b. Their sinful condition. Acts 2:23a They were not ignorant, they were rebellious against the Word of God. They had a choice, but they had already acted in their rejection of Him as their King.

3. The actions. Acts 2:23b They compelled Romans to execute Jesus, even though He had been declared innocent by the Governor. “…with wicked hands…”
4. The answer of God – Acts 2:24 they were wrong, proved by the resurrection, and yet they remained rebellious!

Today we turn to Peter’s declaration of the Scriptures to bring the truth before them.
We see –

C. The Reproof. Their lack of spiritual discernment. Acts 2:25-32
The Word of God was clear in the reference to the Saviour.

1. The Prophecy declared. Acts 2:25-28
In these verses we note the –

a. Presence of God. Acts 2:25a “the Lord always…”
b. Power of God. Acts 2:25b “I should not be moved…” 2:27 “Because thou wilt not..”
c. Praise to God. Acts 2:26 “Therefore did my heart…”

Was David speaking these things of himself? No! We see –

2. The Prophecy directed – to the Messiah. Acts 2:29 David is dead!
3. The Prophecy fulfilled. Acts 2:30-32 David knew this truth!
God had revealed it to him.
This Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ!

a. His soul was not left in hell!
b. His body did not see corruption!

God raised Him from the dead and the disciples were His witnesses.

This being the case, we note –

D. The Reasoning. Acts 2:33-36

1. The Phenomenon is evidence to the truth. Acts 2:33
2. The Prophecy is evidence to the truth. Acts 2:34,35 Refer to –

Psalms 110:1 A Psalm of David. The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

3. The Proclamation of the truth. Acts 2:36
The man, Jesus of Nazareth, of the lineage of David – you have crucified Him, But God has raised Him up and set Him at His right hand!

E. The Reaction. Acts 2:37

1. Conviction. Acts 2:37a Refer to John 16:7-11
2. Changed attitude. Acts 2:37b

a. Toward the disciples. “…men and brethren…”
b. Toward themselves. “…what shall we do?”

They realized that they had a need that had not been satisfied through religious exercise!

F. The Recommendation. Acts 2:38-40 Not the repentance of Judas Iscariot, but true repentance towards God.

1. Personal salvation. Acts 2:38a Repent

a. Sins forgiven. Remission, afesin means – freedom, forgiveness, liberty. Isaiah 1:18
b. Sealed by the Holy Spirit

Ephesians 1:13-14 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

2. Public declaration. Acts 2:38b Baptize
3. Present opportunity. Acts 2:39,40 Do it now!

2 Corinthians 6:1-2 We then, as workers together with him, beseech you also that ye receive not the grace of God in vain. (For he saith, I have heard thee in a time accepted, and in the day of salvation have I succoured thee: behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.)

“My hope is built on nothing less Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness; I dare not trust the sweetest frame, But wholly lean on Jesus’ name. On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand, All other ground is sinking sand.”

Today we will examine what took place in the lives of these that obeyed the Word of God –

G. The Result. Acts 2:41-47

1. Salvation. Acts 2:41a

a. Attitude. ‘…gladly… The gospel is good news!
b. Added to the family of God. “…received His word…”
“…born again…”

John 1:12 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:

Ephesians 1:13-14 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Romans 8:16-17 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

c. Added to the church (assembly) Acts 2:41b “…were baptized: and the same day…”

Refer to Matthew 28:19 and Romans 6:3-11

Next we note their –

2. Submission. Acts 2:42,43 the immediate result – Refer to Ephesians 5:18-21

a. Their determination. Acts 2:42a :…continued steadfastly…”

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

1). The Lord expects faithfulness.

Hebrews 11:1 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.

Hebrews 11:6 But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.

2 Timothy 3:14 But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them;

2). The Lord rebukes the unfaithful. The relationship, service, and worship unto God is not an amusement or an exercise in religious living. Note God’s rebuke of the congregation that sat under the preaching of Ezekiel. Ezekiel 33:30-32

Therefore we note the exhortation of Paul to Timothy –

1 Timothy 4:7 But refuse profane and old wives’ fables, and exercise thyself rather unto godliness.

b. Their direction. Acts 2:42b They began in the right in the Word of God.

1). The Apostle’s doctrine. Their teachers had learned from the Master Teacher.

Matthew 11:1 And it came to pass, when Jesus had made an end of commanding his twelve disciples, he departed thence to teach and to preach in their cities.

Mark 6:12 And they went out, and preached that men should repent.

2). Fellowship. Agreement, partners with God and man.

Amos 3:3 Can two walk together, except they be agreed?

Galatians 2:9 And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.

3). Ordinances. ‘…breaking of bread…”
4). Prayer. Encouraged single mindedness among the people.
“…Thy will be done.”

c. Their discernment. Acts 2:43

They realized that this was the work of God. Note the reaction of others before them –
Luke 7:11-16. Fear and praise met in worship of God!

d. Their deportment (behaviour) Acts 2:44-47

1). They gave of themselves 2:44,45
2). They glorified the Lord 2:46,47a
3). They grew in number 2:47b “…and the Lord added to the church daily…”

III. The Preaching of Peter – the Second message. Acts 3:1-4:4

This portion opens with what would look to many as a chance meeting at the House of God. Someone has well said “The path of true devotion is often found to be the path that leads to
useful service to others.”

A. The Miracle. Acts 3:1-11

1. Peter and John went to seek communion. Acts 3:1

a. A good place to pray – evening prayer beginning at 3:00 PM
b. A good place to preach – many people gathering to present their prayers before the Lord. They should be prepared to hear the truths of God.

2. The poor man went to seek compassion. Acts 3:2

a. His condition physically “…lame from his mother’s womb…”
b. His condition socially. “…to ask alms…” He was unable to work and was dependent on the compassion of others.

We need to try and understand what Peter and John thought when the lame man called to them as they walked by. Let’s take a few moments and see what they would have known from the Scriptures.

1). The Law of God and poverty in Exodus. God gave the –

a). Promise of hope for the poor

Exodus 21:2 If thou buy an Hebrew servant, six years he shall serve: and in the seventh he shall go out free for nothing.

b). Protection for the poor.
Exodus 22:22-24 Ye shall not afflict any widow, or fatherless child. If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry; And my wrath shall wax hot, and I will kill you with the sword; and your wives shall be widows, and your children fatherless.

c). Promise of Justice for the poor.

Exodus 23:6 Thou shalt not wrest the judgment of thy poor in his cause.

d). Provision for the poor.

Exodus 23:10,11 And six years thou shalt sow thy land, and shalt gather in the fruits thereof: But the seventh year thou shalt let it rest and lie still; that the poor of thy people may eat: and what they leave the beasts of the field shall eat. In like manner thou shalt deal with thy vineyard, and with thy oliveyard.

We can see how that being poor in Israel would not be ideal, but it would not hold the shame that is often attached to it in our day. This could not be said, though, for those that acted shamefully –

2). The lazy and lawless have no claim to righteous poverty.

God’s condemnation on the –

a). Lazy Proverbs 6:6-11
b). Pleasure seekers

Proverbs 21:17 He that loveth pleasure shall be a poor man: he that loveth wine and oil shall not be rich.

c). Drunkard

Proverbs 23:20-21 Be not among winebibbers; among riotous eaters of flesh: For the drunkard and the glutton shall come to poverty: and drowsiness shall clothe a man with rags.

We should also note that –

3). The Life of the poor can be tragic. Man did not and often does not follow God’s will toward the poor.

Proverbs 14:20 The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends.

Proverbs 19:4 Wealth maketh many friends; but the poor is separated from his neighbour.
Proverbs 18:23 The poor useth intreaties; but the rich answereth roughly.

4). The Love of Jesus evidenced in His lesson on compassion. Luke 10:30-37

The man was poor and needy, but not of his own making.
Sometimes people simply find themselves in the circumstances of poverty through no fault of their own and they are in need of compassionate help.
We must look to –

5). The Love expected by God to be shown to the poor.

Proverbs 14:31 He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker: but he that honoureth him hath mercy on the poor.

Proverbs 22:2 The rich and poor meet together: the LORD is the maker of them all.

We can see why they would be attracted to him and concerned about his plight. They knew the Word of God and were led by the Spirit of God.

3. The Power of God manifested through faith. Acts 3:3-7

a. The appeal for help. Acts 3:3
b. The attention of the Apostles. Acts 3:4
c. The anticipation of offering. Acts 3:5
d. The authority of the command. Acts 3:6a “In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth…”
e. The amazement of the lame man. Acts 3:6b He was twice afflicted by his condition.

1). Physically.
2). Mentally. He did not even try to rise up – we see that he was not the one with faith!

f. The action of faith. Acts 3:7 “And he took him by the right hand, and lifted him up…”

The lame man was satisfied that his condition was permanent and he had no hope of improvement, ever. Many people are living in this same condition –

they may not be physically handicapped, but they are spiritually handicapped – satisfied that being placed in this place by their family, they are destined to maintain it and change is out of the question. They may not like the condition they are in, but they do not believe there is anything else for them.

We have a message for you today, there is hope in God through His blessed Son Jesus Christ!
We want to put action to faith today – will you trust the Lord for His salvation? If we could take you by the hand today and lift you up into the salvation of God, we would, because we have faith that God will save you if you will only believe in Him.
We cannot lift you up, though, but we can encourage you to have that same faith that you see in those that have trusted God

Last week we saw how devotion and faith can work in the lives of believers to bring forth a witness for the Lord Jesus Christ. As Peter and John were going to the Temple court for the time of prayer, they exercised faith in the healing of the lame man.
It is interesting to see how quickly things can change. We have all made plans, only to have them changed by circumstances. It is of vital importance that we be sensitive to the Word of God and the leadership of the Holy Spirit to follow His direction.
In their situation, how many of us may have said –

“If I had any extra coins, I would stop and give one to him”
“It is almost time for prayer. We can talk to him later if he is still here”
“I am sure that someone else will help him”
I wonder if they may have been reminded by God of the time that Jesus had been begged to go to the house of deathly ill girl. Her father was urgently bringing him to his house when they were interrupted by a lady that also had a need – Mark 5:22-42
“Be not afraid, only believe.” What words of the Lord to live by!

They had been with Jesus and had learned what He would do in a situation like this
We can see how their trust and sensitivity brought forth praise to God –

4. The Praise to God for His wonderful mercy. Acts 3:8-11

a. His ability. ‘Leaped, stood, walked’. Acts 3:8a
b. His appreciation. Acts 3:8b, 9,11a …held Peter and John…”

1). Exalted God.
2). Expected by God. He also expects thankfulness! Refer to Luke 17:12-19

Do we show appreciation to the Lord for His many blessings in our lives?

c. His attraction. Acts 3:10,11

Are those that know us aware that God has changed us. He has wrought a miracle in us making us new creatures in Christ Jesus.

Note the boldness of Peter –

B. The Message 3 Acts:12-26

1. The exclamation of Peter 3:12 “…why marvel ye at this…”?

The people’s amazement. Jesus is gone but the miracles continue. Peter explained that they had killed Him, but He is not dead!
2. The evidence presented –

a. Of their guilt. Acts 3:13-15

1). The determination of Pilate – to release Him “…I find no fault in him.”
2). The denial of the people “…we have no king but Caesar…”

John 19:15 But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him. Pilate saith unto them, Shall I crucify your King? The chief priests answered, We have no king but Caesar.

3). The desire of the people – exchange the innocent for the guilty – Barabas

John 18:39-40 But ye have a custom, that I should release unto you one at the passover: will ye therefore that I release unto you the King of the Jews? Then cried they all again, saying, Not this man, but Barabbas. Now Barabbas was a robber.

b. Of the truth, that Jesus of Nazareth is the Messiah. Acts 3:16-18

1). God raised Jesus from the dead. 3:15
2). God raised this man from his lame condition through faith in the Risen Lord. 3:16
3). God accomplished His purpose. 3:17 God is working and He needs to be obeyed!

3. The Exhortation to believe, repenting and trusting in Him. Acts 3:19-26

a. Prophecy of judgment. Acts 3:19-24
b. Promise of mercy. Acts 3:25,26

1). Their position. 3:25
2). Their priority. 3:26

c. Peter’s message. Acts 3:19a

“Repent ye therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out”
Today we have seen the work of God and this should remind us of the work of God in our lives.
Does God know us to be thankful to Him for all things?
Have we told Him?
Do our family and friends know and wonder at that change that God brought about in our lives?
Have we told them?
Do you know that you are saved, having repented and trusted the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation?
What God has brought to your heart today, trust and obey His leading.

IV. The Persecution and expansion of the church, Section One Acts 4:1-8:4

In the first three chapters of Acts we have noted the promise of God being fulfilled and, following that, the preaching of Peter. The Holy Spirit has empowered the church and executed His ministry as promised by the Lord and proved through the preaching.
Now we turn to the persecution and the expansion of the church which Luke presents beginning in chapter 4 and goes through chapter 12, verse 25. Everything about the Lord is good, yet we find that persecution faces the believer who is determined to follow the Lord.
Today we begin with –

A. The Confrontation of Peter and John. Acts 4:1-22

1. The confrontation began with –

a. Interference. Acts 4:1,2 The leaders –

1). Became aware of the preaching and were grieved (distressed)

a). At the presumption of the Apostles. Who gave them authority to preach?

The leadership in Israel had come a long way from Moses attitude as recorded in
Numbers 11:25-29.

b). At the preaching of the Apostles. What is this doctrine?
The resurrection – the Sadducees rejected this doctrine and, being in power, attempted to silence this message.

2). Assembled together to confront them. 4:1a “…the priests, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees…”
3). Assaulted the Apostles suddenly. 4:1b, 2

They interfered and broke up the assembly

b. Incarceration. Acts 4:3,4 It was too late to try and assemble the
leaders. The trial of Jesus was held at night, but that assembly had been prearranged.
c. Importance. Acts 4:5,6

A serious issue for them. They were not only dealing with the presumption of the men, the preaching of the doctrine, but they also had to explain a notable miracle. This was more than they wanted to do alone.
Note the men that were called together to deal with this situation. They had successfully had the leader of this group executed and probably thought they would overwhelm these followers with their presence. Remember how Jesus presented their attitudes –

Luke 18:11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
d. Interrogation Acts 4:7,13,14

1). Their demand. 4:7 “…by what power, or by what name, have ye done this?”
2). Their dismay 4:13,14 “…they had been with Jesus…”

e. Intimidation. Acts 4:15-18 “…spread no further…”

2. The confrontation resulted in three things –

a. First, The declaration of –

1). The power of the Living Christ. 4:9.10 Note 4:4 “…many of them which heard the word believed…” 5,000

Paul preached this same message years later – the unchanging gospel of Jesus Christ. Refer to 1 Corinthians 15:12-20

2). The position of the Living Christ. 4:11,12

Psalms 118:21-23 I will praise thee: for thou hast heard me, and art become my salvation. The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner. This is the LORD’S doing; it is marvellous in our eyes.

Matthew 21:42-45 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder. And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.

b. Second, The demonstration of their trust in God. Acts 4:13,14
“…they had been with Jesus…” Before and after the resurrection!
c. Third, The determination to obey God. Acts 4:19,20

They stated that they were not able not to speak …
John 15:26-27 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me: And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.

3. The confrontation ended in –

1). The release of the Apostles. 4:21,22
2). The frustration of the unbelievers.
Do you think that the issue ended here for them?
Do you think that confrontations will end so easily for you?
Peter prepares the believers for the trials to come for those who stand for the truth of God’s Word.

1 Peter 2:4-10 To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.

Have you obtained His mercy? Are you saved?
Have you submitted to His grace? Are serving Him as a royal priesthood, with a holy and peculiar life? Set apart unto the Lord?

B. The Confirmation of the truth. Acts 4:23-31

They may have remembered their struggle in the storm, relying on their own strength and wisdom until all hope was lost. Mark 4:37-41

Now when they are in the storm of conflict, they go to God immediately for His wisdom and strength.

1. The rehearsal. Acts 4:23-28

a. They assembled with the brethren.
Peter and John had challenged the religious leaders (Acts 4:18-20) and now they needed the power of the Lord to accomplish that which they have purposed. This may happen to us at times – speaking and then thinking about it. Let’s look at another example of this in Scripture and we can have better understanding – Ezra 8:21-23

b. They acknowledged –

1). Who He is. 4:24

a). He is Lord (despota), Owner of all things. He is the Master, the Owner by right –
b). He is Lord (Qeos), Creator of all things.

2). What He said. 4:25,26 Refer to Psalm 2:1-3

a). They were reminded again that God had not been taken by surprise – that He had prophesied of the death of the Messiah by David a thousand years before.
b). They may have remembered that Jesus had told them five time, those recorded by Matthew, that He would be taken and would be crucified.
c). They were reminded that God is in control despite what they may perceive through their circumstances.

3). What He did. 4:27,28

a). They crucified the Lord Jesus.

Isaiah 53:10-11 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities.

b). He raised Him from the dead.

Psalms 2:4-6 He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure. Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.

2. The request. Acts 4:29,30

a. They had learned that priorities are not set based on fear or favour of man, but by God’s will.
Therefore, they did not request for –

1). The opposition to cease.
2). The message to be changed to make it more agreeable to the religious leaders.
3). The method of presenting the message to be more culturally acceptable, integrating people into the assembly without confrontation.

b. They did ask for –

1). Boldness to be witnesses unto the Lord Jesus Christ.
2). Evidence that their witness was true.

3. The reaffirmation. Acts 4:31 The Holy Spirit blessed them with boldness to preach!

Are we relying on our knowledge, our strength, our wisdom to enable us to capture the interest of the unbeliever or to face the adversaries of the Lord?
Not every confrontation will be accompanied with a threat of physical violence or bodily harm. But confrontations will come that will test our faith in God and we need to be prepared to answer.

We must understand that we will face conflict and we need help.
We need one another – they gathered with the church to discuss the situation.
We need God. They approached Him through
His Word and sought His help.
Prayer and supplication.

Will we learn from their experience?
Will we trust the promises of God?

We read today of a wonderful thing to consider –

C. Compassion in the Church. Acts 4:32 – 5:11 Compassion –

1. Practiced. Acts 4:32-37 In the practice of compassion,
they were united in –

a. Their belief. Acts 4:32a “…them that believed were of one heart and of one soul…”
They were in perfect harmony. Refer to Psalm 133

1). They agreed in the Truth – The Gospel. Since there are not two ways of salvation, there must be agreement at this point.

Agreement or argument can follow, and sometimes does, but –

2). They acted according to the Truth. The Commission Matthew 28:18-20

Their belief fostered –

b. Their concern. Acts 4:32b

1). They encouraged one another. (God gave!) Refer to –

Ephesians 4:11-13 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:

2). They enabled one another to fulfill God’s will.
Sharing – in our day this could involve –

a). A ride to church
b). A Bible
c). A songbook while singing.
d). A meal
e). Whatever was needed they provided in order to build up the believers in the Word.

This was accomplished and we see the natural progression in –

c. Their power Acts 4:33a “…and ye shall be witnesses unto me…” Acts 1:8
d. Their blessing – Acts 4:33b “…and great grace was upon them…”
e. Their manner. Acts 4:34b-37

1). They gave. 4:34b,36,37

a). The entitlement program – functioning according to the Law.
b). The expectation of the people – illustrated in
God’s Word. Matthew 24:14-30
No presumption of equality – “you owe me! I deserve it!”

c). The example of the believers – manifested in the care shown by Barnabas. 4:36,37

2). They received. Acts 4:35

a). According to knowledge. The leadership would be expected to be acquainted with the people.
(This was a problem at first and we will soon see its resolution)
b). According to need.

It did not take long for sin to manifest itself even in this united assembly. Sin worked itself in the perfect environment of Eden and has continued to produce evil in every age.

1 John 2:14-16 I have written unto you, fathers, because ye have known him that is from the beginning. I have written unto you, young men, because ye are strong, and the word of God abideth in you, and ye have overcome the wicked one. Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

Compassion in the church was –

2. Perverted. Acts 5:1-11

a. They were envious of the ministry of others. Acts 5:1
b. They were enticed by their envy to lie to God and man to promote themselves. Acts 5:2

Proverbs 14:30 A sound heart is the life of the flesh: but envy the rottenness of the bones.

c. They were entrapped by their sin and paid with their lives. Acts 5:3-11

James 1:14-15 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed. Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

D. Council arrests the Apostles Acts 5:12-42

1. The Answer of their prayers. Acts 5:12-16 Refer to 4:29-31

a. Fame Acts 5:12
b. Fear Acts 5:13

Refer to John 12:42 for an example of those believers that held back because of the fear of the consequences.

John 12:42 Nevertheless among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue:

c. Flourishing Acts 5:14-16

2. The Anxiety of the Sadducees. Acts 5:17-32

a. Confining of the Apostles. Acts 5:17-25 Note 4:3 and compare with 4:18

1). The first incarceration was simply to hold the for further questioning (They secured them in a room.
2). This incarceration was intended to put fear into them, locking them up in the public prison. Each incident increased the intensity of the persecution.

b. Concern of the Sadducees. Acts 5:26-28 Refer to –

Matthew 27:25 Then answered all the people, and said, His blood be on us, and on our children.

c. Confession of the Apostles. Acts 5:29-32

3. The Advice of Gamaliel Acts 5:32-40
He was not a believer, he was simply presenting an ‘if/then’ proposition and keeping a situation from developing that would draw the attention of the Romans to them.
Note that he was a Pharisee and the head of a religious school. Refer to –

Acts 22:3 I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.

4. The Attitude of the disciples. Acts 5:41,42

Conclusion: Read 1 Peter 3:8-17

Peter said that anyone could, and anyone should suffer for doing wrong, but what about suffering for doing right? How should we respond when we suffer for that which is true? Peter told us to thank the Lord for His faithfulness. He knows what He is doing and how to bring glory to Himself out of our lives. As we have read about the afflictions of this church, we thank God for His faithfulness and goodness in times of trouble. Can we not give the same thanks when the trouble is ours?
Trust God today to use you to bring glory to Himself.

A behavioral pattern is becoming apparent as we study the growth of the church – conflict from without, conflict from within.

Conflict from without – Acts 4:1-22 Confrontation of the Apostles by the priests
Blessing on the ministry – Acts 4:23-37
Conflict from within – Acts 5:1-11 Ananias and Sapphira
Blessing on the ministry – Acts 5:12-16
Conflict from without – Acts 5:17-40 Arrests and beating of the Apostles
Blessings on the ministry – Acts 5:41,42
Conflict from within – Acts 6:1-7 Today we are introduced to problems in the church.

E. Choosing ministers of the church.

1. The Prejudice of the people. Acts 6:1 Some things seem to never change

a. Unequal treatment based on nationality –

The problems noted here stem from the regional jealousies of the people. Even though they are believers, united together in Christ, they are still babes in Christs and are letting their prejudices effect their ministry. The Jews of Israel believed they had a more prestigious standing than the Jews living among the nations. They had met together to worship as one in the Temple, yet they were divided by nationality. They brought this attitude with them into the church and now were faced with dealing with it.

b. Unusual growth of the church created a logistical problem
for the Apostles, who had been overseeing this work.

Acts 4:35 And laid them down at the apostles’ feet: and distribution was made unto every man according as he had need.

Peter pointed out their priorities –

2. The Precedence of prayer and preaching in the ministry. Acts 6:2

a. The Charge given to the Apostles John 21:15-17
b. The Commission given to the church. Mark 16:15 “Go ye into all the world and preach…”
c. The Commencement of the ministry.

Acts 2:14 But Peter, standing up with the eleven, lifted up his voice, and said unto them, Ye men of Judaea, and all ye that dwell at Jerusalem, be this known unto you, and hearken to my words:

d. The Command to preachers. Refer to 2 Timothy 2:15 and –

2 Timothy 4:1-2 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

The Apostles did not want to get distracted from that which was most important – trading that which is necessary for that which is good! Remember Romans 10:9-14

The solution was –

3. The Partition of the work. Acts 6:3,4

a. The involvement – the church is a living body. It is people and they need to be involved.
b. The instructions –

1). They need to know what faith and fulness are.
2). They need to know who is living by faith and the fulness of the Holy Spirit.

c. The intention – Refer to Ephesians 4:11-14

To grow in Christ. Note the model of immaturity – 1 Corinthians 3:1-3. The Corinthians would choose someone from their group or even nominate themselves. Notice the choices of the Jerusalem church –

4. The People nominated men for the ministry. Acts 6:5,6
Every one of these names is Hellenistic. It is wonderful to note the interest of the whole church to set forth these men to serve and trusting that they would tend to each person in need with no consideration of their nationality.

5. The Power of God is manifested. Acts 6:7

The church working together allowed the Apostles to spend more time praying and preaching. Their example encouraged the members to witness. This testimony was used to convict and convince even the very heard hearted!

a. More preaching. Acts 6:7a
b. Multiplied disciples. Acts 6:7b
c. Miraculous conversion. Acts 6:7c Remember that these were

1). Saducees – they did not believe in the miraculous
2). Priests – they lived off of their service in the Temple.
3). When they turned to Christ, they truly put their past behind them and moved forward trusting the Lord.

Conclusion:
God will wonderfully bless His church when His people put Him first in their lives – the all consuming desire to do His will. What God says, that is what I will do. This is the right attitude.

F. Commencement of violence – the murder of Stephen Acts 6:8 – 7:60

1. The Activity. Acts 6:8

a. He preached to the world – they were at his doorstep. Five groups are listed.
(Paul was most likely in the synagogue of Cilicia)
b. He proved the witness with power according to the promise of the Lord.

Mark 16:15-18 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned. And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

2. The Accusation. Acts 6:9-15

a. They rebuked him for his message. Acts 6:9
b. They reinforced their position through deceit and lies. Acts 6:10-14
c. They realized their sin. Acts 6:15

When we, human beings, get caught in a position that we cannot defend ( the truth is clear, yet we refuse to admit that we are wrong) we get angry. We have the option of submitting to the truth, but that would be admitting that we are wrong. Again, we turn back to Adam as an example of our behaviour. When clearly faced with the truth, instead of admitting guilt and repenting, he excused himself by blaming God. We are the children of Adam in this flesh. We hide, we excuse ourselves, we get angry. Why don’t we just admit that we are wrong and that God is right?

3. The Answer Acts 7:1-53

a. He reviewed their history.
b. He rebuked them for their rejection of the truth, the very things they accused him of.

Note especially Acts 7:48-54. They had continually rebelled against the Word of God given by Moses and they had no true respect for the House of the Lord. They were the ones who blasphemed God.

c. He revealed their sin Acts 7:51-53

4. The Anger Acts 7:54-59

a. The Word of God provoked them to intense anger.
b. The Grace of God possessed Stephen, giving him peace.

John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.

c. The Praise of God enraged them.

“I see the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God.”
This same council had heard this statement before –

Matthew 26:63-64 But Jesus held his peace. And the high priest answered and said unto him, I adjure thee by the living God, that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven.

This was all that they could take – they lost control and in a rage murdered Stephen

5. The Attitude Acts 7:60 Grace and mercy

a. He preached the truth to them. Refer to Acts 7:51-53

Note Paul’s admonition to Timothy. He was present when Stephen preached this message and taught him a lesson it seems he never forgot –

2 Timothy 4:1-2 I charge thee therefore before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall judge the quick and the dead at his appearing and his kingdom; Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

b. He prayed for them. He had the mind of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Luke 23:34 Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots.

Conclusion –
Know –
There are some who will not believe you. The will twist your words to mean something that you did not intend, and then attack you as the transgressor.
If we respond as Stephen did, we will completely rely on the Lord and have His peace.
Trust –
that your testimony unto the Lord will not die out so quickly. You may, through the presentation of God’s Word, ignite a spark that the Holy Spirit will continue to blow on until it flames up in the soul and they repent and call upon the Lord for salvation.
Understand –
Stephen gave his life because the truth of salvation is so important. He was willing to lay down his life, praying that they would understand and be saved. Do we understand the importance of salvation? Are you saved?

G. Crucial Juncture of the Church. Acts 8:1-3

1. The Enemy of the Church. Acts 8:1-3

We are going to ask some questions at this point with the intention of seeking information that will help us to clearly understand the remainder of this book. We need to address three questions

– Who, What, and Why?
– Who? Who is Saul, the man introduced in Acts 7:58?
– What? What is happening to the church?
– Why? Why is the church being attacked (not destroyed!)

The first question answered –

a. Who is Saul?

1). His home. Tarsus
2). His heritage.
a). Jewish – Saul. Acts 22:1-3; 26:4,5; 23:6-10

2 Corinthians 11:22 Are they Hebrews? so am I. Are they Israelites? so am I. Are they the seed of Abraham? so am I.

b). Roman – Paul Acts 13:9,13

Romans 16:7 Salute Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen, and my fellowprisoners, who are of note among the apostles, who also were in Christ before me.

Notice that he took advantage of his citizenship when it offered him help in the ministry.
Acts 16:20,21, 35-40; 22:24,29

3). His vocation – tentmaker. Acts 18:3; 1 Corinthians 9:7-15
4). His education. (Note their method of instruction)

a). Religious.

Acts 22:3 I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.

Acts 26:24 And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.

b). Secular. His knowledge was not restricted to religious teachings.

(1). Greek philosophy

Acts 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

(2). Cretian poets and philosophers.

Titus 1:12 One of themselves, even a prophet of their own, said, The Cretians are alway liars, evil beasts, slow bellies.

A paradox of self-reference is commonly supposed to arise when one considers whether Epimenides spoke the truth.

5). His zeal.

a). Typified.

Genesis 49:27 Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.

b). Testified. Acts 22:3a-5; 19,20; 26:9-12

6). His struggles. Romans 7:17-24 Contrast this with Romans 8:35

Note his personal remark in –

Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? or do I seek to please men? for if I yet pleased men, I should not be the servant of Christ.

All of this resulted in the person we meet in these verses. This is Saul of Tarsus, the enemy of the church.

Conclusion
Now – Consider what was taking place at this time. Imagine if you will what the view from Heaven would have been as we watch these boys in their teenage years.

1. Jesus in Nazareth
2. John in the wilderness.
3. Peter, Andrew, James, and John in Capernaum.
4. Saul in Jerusalem.

Did they ever meet as they went to the Temple each year, not to be friends or know one another, but just cross pass – say “Hey”?
We do not know and it is not important, just an interesting thought. What is important is that which is going on now – in our lives. From that same view from Heaven, what are we preparing for? Who’s path will we cross and how will God use us? Will we be ready to be used?

b. What is happening to the church in Jerusalem? We are going to see two things that caused the church to suffer and then we will see the result.

First –

1). Dedication to a system of religion instead of the Saviour. (speaking of Saul)

a). Saul, and multitudes before and after, was dedicated to a religion – a system of belief.

He attacked anything that he believed was a threat to that system. As we noted last week, he did not find the peace of God. At the end of the day, he was a sinner, one who could not be right as he thought he should be. Reformation (change) according to a set of rules (law) or even according to self (conscience) never brings lasting results or satisfaction. You see, the Law condemns in order to reveal the need of a Saviour. He did not know the grace and mercy of God. Religion had turned the Law into a taskmaster instead of a schoolmaster. He was in bondage and he struggled to free himself, but could not! It made him angry and bitter! Is this you today? Turn to God through faith in His Son Jesus Christ.

b). Saul fought against it; he struggled with it –

Galatians 1:14-15 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers. But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,

– then finally he accepted and embraced the truth that he shared with the church at Rome –

Romans 4:3 For what saith the scripture? Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.

Second –

2). Disregard for the command of the Lord. (speaking of the church) Matthew 28:19;
Mark 16:15; Acts 1:8

a). The command to wait. Acts 1:4
b). The command to go. Acts 1:8
c). The commands of God require simple obedience.

James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

The result –

3). Dispersed into the world.

a). The believers sought safety. (Not secrecy)
b). The believers shared the gospel.

(1). The ministers – church members.

In the following verse, Acts 8:5, we read of Philip going forth preaching. Note that he is a deacon and an evangelist. He has gone forth proclaiming ‘ekêrussen’ the Word of God. These mentioned in Acts 8:4 were not prophets, pastors, or evangelist. They were church members –

(2). The ministry – “…preaching the word…” ‘Evangelizing’

They were telling people the that they met what they knew – Jesus Christ the Saviour, Crucified, Buried, and Resurrected has provided eternal life for all who will come to God by faith in Him.
The church learned a lesson through this and we thank the Lord for that, but, it is sad to see the pain, the sorrow, the loss that resulted from disobedience to God.
We have a tendency to say “It will be alright” or “God will understand why I did not obey Him, why I did not do what I knew I should”. Remember what James told us, we read it before –

James 4:17 Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

This is how God looks at our disobedience and we see what happened at the church in Jerusalem due to theirs. I am glad that Luke shared this with us so that we can be warned – do what God wants us to do!

Now –

What do we see here today?
Those that are in bondage to a system – no peace, no joy, no assurance of the love of God.
Those believers living by making excuses for not being able to obey God.
Those who have learned that God does not accept excuses, they have learned the joy of obedience – that God will enable each person to fulfill God’s will for your life.

V. The Persecution and expansion of the church – Section Two Acts 8:5 – 12:25

A. Deceit in the church. Acts 8:5-24

1. Preaching. Acts 8:5-7

a. Preaching – the Gospel of Salvation Acts 8:5
b. Power – Miracles proving the authority of the preacher. Acts 8:6,7
c. Preparation. Refer to Jesus’ ministry in Samaria recorded in John chapter 4

1). The Conversation. John 4:9,10
2). The Confrontation. John 4:21-24
3). The Conversion. John 4:39-42
4). The Challenge. John 4:35

2. Praising. Acts 8:8 The people were complete –

a. In soul. Saved Refer to Galations 5:22,23
b. In body. Healed

Who would not want to be healed from an affliction or ailment? Paul wanted to be healed and prayed that the Lord might help him –

2 Corinthians 12:7-9 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

Paul rejoiced in the Lord, even though he was not healed. He would also have rejoiced if he had been healed! The joy came through the will of God being done.

3. Pretending. Acts 8:9-24 Simon Magus

Well known pretenders – Judas Iscariot, Charles Darwin

Titus 1:16 They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him, being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work reprobate.

a. He relished his position Acts 8:9-11

1). He created a position of importance. “…giving out that himself was some great one…”
2). He manipulated the people by the use of sorcery.

b. He realized his loss. Acts 8:12

He lost his prestige among the people when they turned to the Lord.

1 Thessalonians 1:9 For they themselves shew of us what manner of entering in we had unto you, and how ye turned to God from idols to serve the living and true God;

Salvation makes us all ‘one’ in Christ – looking unto Jesus. Simon was no longer ‘great in the eyes of the people.

c. He recognized true power. Acts 8:13 “…he continued with Philip…”

1). Attended Philip constantly. Insinuated himself at Philip’s side.
2). Absolutely determined to discover the power behind the signs and wonders.

d. He revealed his true motive. Acts 8:14-19

1). The difference. 8:14-18a

He knew immediately that Peter had the power he needed to reinstate himself to his position of authority in Samaria.

a). Philip’s ministry

(1). Spiritual change
(2). Physical healing.

Philip gave way to Peter and John. This is the position Simon wanted!

b). Peter’s ministry. Spiritual imbued, manifested physically. Peter brought completion of God’s work in the believer’s life.

2). The Desire.

He was so callous that he believed this to be a simple financial transaction. He had no spiritual discernment, no conviction of sin in the matter.

e. He received rebuke from the Apostles Acts 8:20-23
f. He regarded himself to be innocent. Acts 8:24

1). He rejected the truth and justified himself in his belief.
2). He refused to submit to the Lord himself, asking the Apostle’s to settle the issue for him.

His heritage is alongside that of Cain, Esau, Judas Iscariot, Pontus Pilate.
Who do you want to identify with?

B. Dedication in ministry. Acts 8:26-40

Notice if you will that Philip did not get discouraged when he found that his sidekick was actually a snake! The Lord admonishes us continually to have a good testimony that we might not bring shame on His name or disappointment into the lives of believers. There will always be those that are in church for their own satisfaction, their own gain and when that is thwarted, they depart –

1 John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

We are to mind our testimony for Him and not spend our time minding other’s testimonies – just keep serving the Lord. There are many believers today that are out of service for the Lord, out of church, out of fellowship because they have allowed someone to effect their walk with the Lord and brothers and sisters in Christ. Do not let this happen to you! Remember Philip, follow his example and just keep serving!
Now let’s look at his next field of service. The –

1. Simple obedience of Philip. Acts 8:26 Refer to 1 Samuel 15:22
2. Searching official of the court of Candace, ruler of Ethiopia

Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

a. Seeking the truth in worship (the Temple in Jerusalem). Acts 8:27
b. Seeking the truth in the Word. (Reading the Scriptures). Acts 8:28

1). Acknowledged that he did not understand. Acts 8:30

1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

2). Asked Philip to help him. Acts 8:31

3. Sharing the Gospel. Acts 8:32-35 Notice the presentation of the Truth –

a. The reading of the Word. Acts 8:32,33 Refer to Romans 10:14, then 10:9-13
b. The respect of the Eunuch. He knew that this man, Philip, was a man of God. 8:34
c. The reference was explained – Isaiah spoke of the Messiah, Who is Jesus of Nazereth.
Read Isaiah 53:1-11

4. Submission to the will of God. Acts 8:36-39.

Note that his desire to obey God was wholehearted. He did not want a part, he wanted the whole and he took the initiative. Philip had obviously explained to him the command of God –

Matthew 28:19-20 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

– and the Eunuch acted upon what he had learned. He did not know where Philip came from or where he was going to, but he was with him now and so he wanted to do as much as he could while his teacher was present.

a. The request – “What doth hinder me to be baptized?”
b. The requirement – “… If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest.”
c. The response – “… I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
d. The result – “… they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch;
and he baptized him.”

Notice a pattern reveals itself in this ministry of the Word to this man –

Facts “… began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.”
Faith “… he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.”
Feelings “… and he went on his way rejoicing.”

Is your heart settled on the Lord –

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

If not, pray for the Lord to help you to be steadfast in the faith.

C. Direct Encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ. Acts 9:1-31

1. Intention Acts 9:1,2

Not “breathing out,” but “breathing in” (inhaling) as in Aeschylus and Plato or
“breathing on” (from Homer on). The partitive genitive of apeilês and phonou
means that threatening and slaughter had come to be the very breath that Saul
breathed, like a warhorse who sniffed the smell of battle. He breathed on the
remaining disciples the murder that he had already breathed in from the death
of the others. He exhaled what he inhaled.

a. Searching for believers. They would most likely be among those in the synagogues as
this had been their place of learning and worship.

b. Sending them for judgment, torture and death.
c. Striking terror into the heart of the church.

2. Indictment. Acts 9:3-5

The appearance was –

a. Personal.

1). The Lord sent Philip with the message; Peter with the message.
2). The Lord met Saul personally.

a). Saul was away from his center of power and security.
b). The hunter found that he was the hunted.

b. Powerful.

1). Means – note Saul’s testimony in Acts 22:6,7 “…suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me and I fell unto the ground…”
2). Message – conviction “…It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks”
Years later Paul recalled this conversation with the Lord and in that testimony said –

Acts 22:20 And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was
standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that
slew him.

c. Purposeful.

1). To save.
2). To send as an apostle.

a). He was an apostle by the will of God, not by succession in the line of the apostles.

Galatians 1:16-18 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among
the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood: Neither went I
up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days.

b). He fulfilled the criteria of an apostle in that he saw Jesus.

1 Corinthians 9:1 Am I not an apostle? am I not free? have I not seen Jesus Christ our Lord? are not ye my work in the Lord?

3. Instruction. Acts 9:6-18

a. To Saul Acts 9:6-9 Go and wait.
b. To Ananias Acts 9:10-17 Go and speak. Note that both obeyed the Lord.

4. Identification. Acts 9:18-22

a. With the Lord. Baptism Acts 9:18
b. With the brethren. Fellowship Acts 9:19
c. With the Gospel. Preaching the Word. Acts 9:20-22

Acts 26:19-20 Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.

5. Indignation. Acts 9:23-25
6. Indorsement. Acts 9:26-31

Paul knew exactly what he was writing about as the Holy Spirit led him to pen these words in the second letter to the Corinthian church.
Refer to 2 Corinthians 5:16-21

What about you today? Are you still looking at Christ according to the flesh – the historical fact of His existence. A Jewish prophet, a good man, a teacher of high ideals. This is not enough – as Paul found out. He is more than all of these – He is Lord and He is Saviour.
Bow before Him today and ask forgiveness for sin and ask him to save you.

D. Declaration of the Gospel to the Gentiles. Acts 9:32 -10:48

1. The Ministry.

a. His ministry in Lydda.
b. His ministry in Joppa

Peter ventured out from Jerusalem again, but this time not to a specific ministry like the new church in Samaria. This time he was on a general tour of the churches encouraging and edifying them. The Lord was leading him to the place he needed to be.
I wonder if Peter looked out upon the sea and thought about a prophet of God who, centuries before, had stood on these very shores and looked to the sea as a way of escaping God’s command for him to preach to the people of Nineveh, the hated Gentile city.

2. The Men devoted to God. Acts 10:1-16

a. Devoted but lost, Cornelius. Acts 10:1-8
b. Devoted but prejudiced, Peter. Acts 10:9-16

God instructed each man as to how to meet the need. They could have disobeyed, but through simple obedience to God, both were blessed!

3. The Meeting. Acts 10:24-29

a. Anticipated Peter’s arrival. Acts 10:24
b. Awed in Peter’s presence. Acts 10:25,26 Peter had the right attitude!
c. Anxious to know God’s message. Acts 10:27

4. The Message. Acts 10:36-43

Ephesians 2:12-14 That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world: But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. For he is our peace, who hath made both one, and hath broken down the middle wall of partition between us;

a. The Introduction. Acts 10:34-37

1). It is for all. 10:34,35
2). It is familiar. 10:36,37 Nothing done in secret!

b. The Person. Jesus of Nazareth. Acts 10:38 He is the message.
c. The Power. Acts 10:39-41
d. The Purpose. Acts 10:42,43 Salvation through Him

5. The Manifestation of God’s power. Acts 10:44-48

a. They were accepted by God through faith. (not law or tradition)
b. They were accepted by men as brothers in Christ. Fellowship “…tarry with them…”

Today I ask you, are you as Cornelius, knowing who God is and devoted to Him, but lost? You are trusting in tradition, church, family, but not in the Lord Jesus Christ alone?
Trust completely in Him

Romans 10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

Today, are you devoted to God, but guided by prejudice against others? Remember Paul’s exhortation to unity –

Ephesians 2:21-22 In whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.

E. Defense of the preaching to the Gentiles. Acts 11:1-18

1. The announcement Acts 11:1

a. The Word of God was preached.
b. The Work of God was proclaimed.

When God changes lives, people hear about it. Note Paul’s commendation in

1 Thessalonians 1:5-8 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake. And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.
2. The accusation – of Peter Acts 11:2,3

a. The racial bias. God spoke against racial bias and these men knew His Word –

1). All nations would be blessed in Abraham.
2). They knew Gentiles would interact with them and they were to be a blessing.

Genesis 22:17-18 That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heaven, and as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies; And in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed; because thou hast obeyed my voice.

3). They knew Gentiles would live among them and they were to be treated kindly.

Exodus 22:21 Thou shalt neither vex a stranger, nor oppress him: for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt.

b. The religious bias. The issue is noted in their statement “…uncircumcised…”

They would have no problem if these in Caesarea had all been Jewish converts. They did not understand how Gentiles could be saved outside of the Law. They believed they should convert and then be saved. They would be dealing with this issue for years. Much of Paul’s writings dealt with this issue, Romans, Galations, Hebrews. Note Ephesians 2:8,9

3. The argument – by Peter Acts 11:4-17

a. The resistance of the people is noted by Luke’s repetition of Peter’s account.
Acts 10:10-20; 11:4-17; 15:6-11

b. The rehearsal of the events as they happened. Acts 11:4-15
c. The realization of God’s purpose. Acts 11:16,17

Note Paul’s reference to this in 1 Corinthians 14:22,23

4. The acknowledgment Acts 11:18 Reluctant agreement.

The issue was not settled yet. Note years late in Galatia, Peter had trouble with this issue. Galations 2:11-14 We will see this situation caused Paul much grief later in his ministry.
How do we overcome this religious bias in our lives?
You might say “Wait, we do not have religious bias today”. There is a religious bias, one in particular is raising its ugly head again – it is called various names – Calvinism, reformed theology, the doctrine of election. Charles Spurgeon, a well respected pastor and preacher of the 19th century stated in a devotional, read this past Friday, these words “…As God accomplishes the healing of the sick by the use of medicines, he usually accomplishes also the saving of souls by the means of grace; and as I, not knowing whether I am elected to be healed or not, yet go to the physician, so I, not knowing whether I am elect to be saved or not, yet will I go to Jesus as He bids me go, and put my trust in him, and I hope I shall be accepted of Him.” How sad! How repulsive to the truth of the Word of God, to the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ!
John 3:16; Romans 10:9-13;

1 Timothy 2:3-6 For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

John 10:28-29 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.

1 John 5:13 These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may know that ye have eternal life, and that ye may believe on the name of the Son of God.

Do you see that there is a religious bias today? The pride, the arrogance needed to sustain this theology must be rejected and the truth of God’s Word accepted.
Also, how do we overcome racial bias?
Understand –

Acts 17:26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation;
Surrender worldly bias and seek the unity and the edification of the church.

F. Developments among the Gentiles. Acts 11:19-26

1. Influence Acts 11:19-21

a. Of tradition. Acts 11:19 “…the Jews only…”
b. Of Peter Acts 11:20
refer to Acts 11:18 “…God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.”

c. Of God Acts 11:21

John 1:12-13 But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name: Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.
2. Interest Acts 11:22-24

a. More than casual – not just an interesting occurrence.
b. Members of the church in Jerusalem.

1). The testimony of the church was involved.
2). The testimony of the witness must be faithful.

1 Thessalonians 2:10-12 Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe: As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his
children, That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

c. Mentoring by Barnabas. Acts 11:23,24

1). His connection. Refer to Acts 4:36 and 11:18 “…of Cyprus…”.
2). His confidence. Acts 11:23a “…and had seen the grace of God, was glad.”
3). His charge. Acts 11:23b ‘Persistence’

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

4). His compassion. Acts 11:24 He loved God and His work

3. Involvement Acts 11:25,26a Barnabas –

a. Recognized the need in the church. He was not an “I can do it all myself” person.
Rapid growth of the church required additional experienced teachers.
b. Realized who could meet the need. Refer to Acts 9:27; 9:15
c. Resolved to find Saul and partner in the work. Acts 11:25,26a

4. Identification Acts 11:26b

1 Peter 4:14 If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.

1 Peter 4:16 Yet if any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed; but let him glorify God on this behalf.

We are to be a testimony to God, a good testimony, showing His working in our lives. People ask “Are there still miracles being performed today”? We should be able to say “Yes, just look at my life”
I was on the broad road to Hell but now I am on the straight road to heaven.
I was in darkness but now I am walking in the Light.
I was lost but now I am found.
I was a child of the Devil but now I am a child of God.
I was saved from facing the wrath of God.
I was in bondage to sin but now I am set free to do right.

John 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

I am finally free to serve God because I love Him.
I am finally free to worship God in Spirit and in Truth.
This is a miracle – do you know this miracle in your life today

G. Death and Deliverance. Acts 12:1-25

Luke is giving an account of a time that is fraught with death – that of the Apostle James, sixteen soldiers that were ordered to guard and present Peter for execution, and finally Agrippa I, the King of Israel. We are also told of deliverance – that of Peter from the evil design of Agrippa and of the church. Let’s look at chapter twelve in the Book of Acts and see what these things mean to us today.

1. Politics Acts 12:1-3a

a. The command of God to establish government.

1). The idea. To provide protection and peace.

Genesis 9:6 Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

2). The ideal. To pray for and respect leadership.

Romans 13:1-3 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

b. The concern of leaders for their own personal power and position.

1). Agrippa sought his position by political maneuvering in Rome.
2). Agrippa secured his position by seeking the favour of the Jews. 12:1,2

This was the first recorded government attack on the church. It has been followed by consistent persecution each century since that time because of politicians seeking to secure their own power and position – refusing to submit to God. Knowing this, God’s Word is sure in His exhortation to believers –

1 Timothy 2:1-2 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

We are to pray in faith, not in feeling – how we feel about the leadership. God is still in control!
Peter knew this truth – Let’s now look at the –

2. Prayer Acts 12:3b-19

a. The arrest. They were encouraged when they saw they could kill the Apostles. 12:3b
b. The anticipation. Peter was not an easy man to keep in prison! 12:4
c. The assurance.

1). The prayer of the believers. 12:5
2). The peace of Peter 12:6

d. The Angel. Acts 12:7-10
e. The amazement Acts 12:11-19

1). Of the church. 12:11-17
2). Of Agrippa. 12:18,19

a). The execution of the guards.
b). The escape to Caesera. He did not know who he could trust!

3. Pride Acts 12:20-23 He lived for power and now needed reassurance.

a. The accolades of the people Acts 12:20-22a
b. The acceptance of their worship. Acts 12:22b His wounded pride and fear due to the failure in Jerusalem fed on their words and he was lifted up on high in pride and arrogance.
c. The awful death. Acts 12:23

4. Prosperity Acts 12:24,25

Conclusion. We are to learn that God is in control – Of life and all that it involves.
Of death – believers and unbelievers.
Agrippa lived in fear and died in agony.
James and Peter measured their lives according to the Word of God –
James –
Matthew 20:22 But Jesus answered and said, Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? They say unto him, We are able.

Peter –

1 Peter 4:12-13 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

1 Peter 4:19 Wherefore let them that suffer according to the will of God commit the keeping of their souls to him in well doing, as unto a faithful Creator.

VI. Paul’s Ministry of the Gospel. Acts 13 – 28

A. The first missionary journey. Acts 13:1-15:35

1. The beginning of the ministry. Acts 13:1-4
Working out of the commission of God. Acts 11:19-26; Acts 13:1-4

a. A church was established. Acts 11:19-24

1). God used means to get the saints to go. Acts 11:19

a). God commanded the church to reach Jerusalem and the world. Acts 1:8
b). The saints concentrated on only one art of the command – Jerusalem.
c). The confrontation with Stephen and the Jewish leaders began a great persecution.

(1). The believers began to venture out to Judah and Samaria. Acts 8:1,5
(2). The persecution continued and forced the believers to keep moving.

They did not feel safe in Judah and Samaria because of the zeal of Saul of Tarsus. They moved even unto the cities of Damascus (Acts 9:1,2) and to Phenice, Cyprus, and Antioch (Acts 11:19)

d). God’s command is sure!

(1). “Go ye into all the world….” Mark 16:15
(2). “Ye shall be witnesses unto me…” Acts 1:8

2). God used His Word to lay the foundation of the church. Acts 11:19,20

a). God commanded that His message, the Gospel, be preached to every creature. Mark 16:15

(1). The message to Jerusalem Acts 2:38-41

“Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost. For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the Lord our God shall call. And with many other words did he testify and exhort, saying, Save yourselves from this untoward generation. Then they that gladly received his word were baptized: and the same day there were added unto them about three thousand souls.”

(2). The message to Judah and to Samaria. Acts 8:4,5

“Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.”

(3). The message to the world. Acts 11:19,20

b). The message brought forth results.

(1). The Word of God was preached.
(2). The people believed.
(3). The church was begun.

3). God blessed His Word in their lives. Acts 11:21-24

a). The people were being witnesses of what God had done in them.
b). The message was bringing forth a change in their lives and others were coming to God.

When Barnabas arrived he testified that he had seen the grace of God…
Refer to Ephesians 2:8-10

“For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

c). The people were being taught. (Notice that the people of Antioch accepted the exhortation of an outsider! Another evidence of the grace of God in their hearts)

We have seen that God’s commission to His church is sure and settled. We must go forth preaching the Gospel, the good news, of the Lord Jesus Christ! The Lord in all of His power will do the work.

b. A friend included. Acts 11:25,26
The church at Antioch was founded on God’s Word and needed to continue to grow thereby. God’s command states that disciples are to be made, they are to be baptized, then taught the whole counsel of God. With this command before them to be accomplished, Barnabas thought of Saul, later to be known as Paul.

1). Barnabas thought of someone who would be blessed by this work.

a). The grace of God was evident at Antioch.
b). The blessings of God are sufficient to share.
c). The need of the people was great.

2). Barnabas thought of someone who would be a blessing to this work.

a). Saul had a testimony to share.
b). Saul was a teacher of the Word.
c). Saul had a calling to fulfill. He was sent by the Lord to the Gentiles. Acts 9:15

“But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:”

3). Barnabas invested himself in Saul’s life.

a). He gave of his time. …departed…
b). He gave of his wealth. …seek, found, brought…
c). He manifested the testimony that God gave of him in Acts 11:24. …a good man…

4). The results were evident. Acts 11:26

a). The saints were called “Christians”.
b). They followed the command of God. See Mark 8:34-38

We need to bring people into the work, not only to be saved, but also to serve. Too many people are saved and not given the opportunities to serve. We must go after them and include them.

c. The pattern was repeated. Acts 13:1-4

1). The church was serving. Acts 13:1

a). God’s command is to the church. …in the church….
b). God used these men to work together.

(1). These men were all servants of God.
(2). These men were united in the Lord’s work.

2). The church was seeking. Acts 13:2a
a). They were reaching their “Jerusalem”.
b). They were commissioned to Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel …”
c). They were seeking guidance. …and fasted…

3). The church sending. Acts 13:2b-4

a). God answered their prayer. 13:2a
b). The church acted accordingly in obedience to God’s leadership. 13:3
c). The pattern was shown to us. 13:4

And has been repeated throughout the centuries. We are to continue in this work –
Our part –

To be witnesses unto the Lord where we are –
To send witnesses unto the Lord into all the world.

2. The change in leadership. Acts 13:4-13

a. Optimism Acts 13:4,5

1). Preaching the Gospel home! What a blessing to come home with the Good news.
2). Paul had already been ministering in Tarsus, his hometown, so they began going out unto the world through the island of Cyprus.
3). Pattern of ministry was established – going to the Synagogues first.

b. Opposition Acts 13:6-11

1). Invited to preach the Gospel by the governor. 13:6,7
2). Interfered with by a jealous member of the court. 13:8
3). Imprecation from Paul to the sorcerer. 13:9-11 Sometimes necessary –

a). Jesus dealing with the Pharisees. Matthew 23:13-33
b). Peter preaching to the Pharisees.

Acts 3:13-15 The God of Abraham, and of Isaac, and of Jacob, the God of our fathers, hath glorified his Son Jesus; whom ye delivered up, and denied him in the presence of Pilate, when he was determined to let him go. But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you; And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.

4). Interchange of leadership.

The opposition to the missionary’s message resulted in a change in the leadership of the missionary team.

Possible reasons for the change –

a). Their calling –

(1). Barnabas and Paul were called by God to go out on this mission.
(2). Paul was called particularly of God as the Apostle to the Gentiles.

b). Their characters –

(1). Barnabas was a prophet and a teacher, but not necessarily a leader.
He is noted as being involved in the churches.
(2). Paul was an Apostle and is noted by going where others had not been – the synagogues of Damascus, Jerusalem, Tarsus, and Cilicia.

Romans 15:20 Yea, so have I strived to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build upon another man’s foundation:

c). The circumstances –

(1). Barnabas was a Jewish citizen of Cyprus. He was in the court of his governor.
(2). Paul was a Roman citizen, a visitor to this country. He was in the court of his representative to Caesar.

Barnabas was more likely to stand quietly while being withstood by the sorcerer. After all, he was already in favour with the Procounsel. Paul would not be intimidated either by character or by right of citizenship. He stepped forward to lead.

d). The characteristics, required in leadership, can be seen in Paul’s life and ministry.

(1). Confidence in the Lord.
(2). Courage.

Joshua 1:6 Be strong and of a good courage: for unto this people shalt thou divide for an inheritance the land, which I sware unto their fathers to give them.
(3). Control by the Holy Spirit.

Proverbs 25:28 He that hath no rule over his own spirit is like a city that is broken down, and without walls.

(4). Concern for others.

Proverbs 15:23 A man hath joy by the answer of his mouth: and a word spoken in due season, how good is it!

(5) .Compassion.

1 Timothy 2:1-2 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

(6). Careful in choosing companions.

Proverbs 13:20 He that walketh with wise men shall be wise: but a companion of fools shall be destroyed.

Deuteronomy 20:8 And the officers shall speak further unto the people, and they shall say, What man is there that is fearful and fainthearted? let him go and return unto his house, lest his brethren’s heart faint as well as his heart.

c. Opportunity Acts 13:12,13

1). Accepted. The Procounsel believed.
2). Abandoned. John departed.

a). The reason is not stated, but was unacceptable with Paul as we see in Acts 15.
b). The return from the ministry was a missed blessing for John.

(1). Much can be learned from facing adversity.
(2). Much can be learned from following leaders, even if you are disappointed in the circumstances.

We are going to be faced with opposition and adversity. How are we to face it –

As Believers – by submitting completely to the Lord. We may be confused, we may be hurt emotionally, we may be afraid – but we must remember that as we are following the Lord, He will make the way for us and give us wisdom in the decisions we need.
As unbelievers – We encourage you to be saved and then rest in His wisdom and power.

3. The challenge facing the ministry. Acts 13:14-52

a. The Invitation to speak. Acts 13:14-15

1). The privilege – they were Jews and noted as teachers.
2). The priority – the news they shared was the Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

b. The Instruction. Acts 13:16-41

1). Reminded – 13:16-22 Paul identified with them in their history.
2). Rehearsed – 13:23-37 God established the nation.
3). Reasoned – 13:38-41

Exhortation to believe and not follow the way of the Jewish leadership.

Note the difference in this message and the one he heard from Stephen –
Acts 7:51-53 compare with Acts 13:27,28
They rejected the Messiah and gave Him to be crucified. You have the opportunity to accept Him as your Saviour!

c. The Interest of the hearers. Acts 13:42-44, 48,49

1). They requested to know more.
2). They returned, acting upon their desire.
3). They rejoiced, knowing that they could come to the Lord freely by faith.

d. The Indignation – Acts 13:45-52

1). Of the Jews – Envy

The evil of religious and cultural bigotry raised up again and divided the people. Is it any wonder that, as we have said so many times, God hates pride!

Proverbs 16:5 Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the LORD: though hand join in hand, he shall not be unpunished.

Proverbs 16:18 Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 6:16-19 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.

2). Of the Evangelist – Exasperation. 13:46,51

E. The Inheritance. Acts 13:52

The situation – these new believers, Jews, proselytes, and Gentiles, had been in fellowship with the Jews in the synagogue. The Jewish leaders had been their spiritual teachers. Now they found themselves separated from their former religious practice and they also found that their new teachers were spoken against, mistreated and forced to leave the city. It seems that it would have been a time of sadness and confusion, yest we find it a time of rejoicing.
Why? Because the truth of the Word of God had been preached, believed, and applied to their lives. Not only did they have a joy in the fulfilment of the promise of God, but the Comforter had come to them to guide them in all Truth. What a great ime of rejoicing to know that Jesus Christ had set them free from the law of death and brought them to life in Him. They rejoiced and Paul and Barnabas could rejoice with them, even though not with them, they would rejoice.

Luke 15:10 Likewise, I say unto you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.

Today, can you rejoice in your salvation? Are you saved?
What would happen if you were invited to speak a word for the Lord? Do you have a testimony to share? Are you ready?

1 Peter 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

Could it be today that you have witnessed for the Lord and your witness was rejected. Not everyone is going to received the testimony. Sometimes, as in Antioch, it will be received in the beginning and then jealousy will rise up leading to a confrontation. Do not be discouraged – this is no new thing. It is human nature – sin nature. Keep on for the Lord.

1 Corinthians 15:58 Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.

4. The Conflict Acts 14:1-7

a. Increasing confrontations. Acts 14:1,2
b. Inevitable hostility. Acts 14:3-5
c. Intelligent decision. Acts 14:6,7 Based on the Lord’s admonition –

Matthew 10:23 But when they persecute you in this city, flee ye into another:
for verily I say unto you, Ye shall not have gone over the cities of Israel, till
the Son of man be come.

Note: We must be sensitive to the leading of God. Know when to witness and know when to
walk away. Notice the action of the people when Stephen preached to them in –

Acts 7:57 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and
ran upon him with one accord,

They actually put their hands over their ears so they could not hear the message! Many times
people stop their ears, not often with their hands, but they shut out what you are saying to
them. It is best to stop and walk away before they become openly hostile. Simply thank
them for their time and say “I look forward to talking to you again”.
Stephen was in a situation that he could not walk away from and so he boldly proclaimed the
gospel to these men. The grace of God was with him in this witness.
When a person visits church, they should not get angry when confronted with the gospel. It
should be expected!
When someone visits the church and you are led to ask them, “are you saved”?, speak up and
ask.
When you are with people that have knowledge of God, also ask them what they believe
about Jesus.
When you are with people that have no knowledge of God, spend time to educate them and
pray for them to understand the conviction of the Lord.
Paul and Barnabas were surprised by the reaction of the people of the town of Lystra when
they preached and healed a lame man. –

5. The Confusion. Acts 14:8-18

a. The miracle of healing. Acts 14:8-10
b. The mistaken identification of the evangelist. Acts 14:11,12

There were Jews in the town and surrounding area, but it seems the majority of the people had
no knowledge of the God of the Jews or of His power!

1). Barnabas – Jupiter (Roman), Zeus (Greek)
2). Paul – Mercury (Roman), Hermes (Greek). He was noted as the spokesman for Zeus.

c. The message to the people. Paul exhorted them to listen and consider the truth!

1). They did not recognize the Source of this power. 14:13
2). They did not recognize the Source of all power, even though living in His presence
all of their lives. 14:14-17

a). They attributed power to deities of their own making-

Romans 1:21-23 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

b). They were ready to believe a lie.

The danger of signs and wonders among unbelievers! Be careful with miracles. They are of great value as performed by God or through His power, but –
They have no saving grace.
They have no lasting power –
Those that were fed became hungry again.
Those that were healed grew old and died.
Those that were raised from the dead, died again.
The value was in directing attention to God so that the people would hear and believe.
Compare the times that the Word of God was proclaimed with the number of times miracles were performed. Miracles were rare and not according to natural processes which drew the attention of the people. Without belief, the miracles were just interesting performances –
Note the following sequence of events –

John 6:14 Then those men, when they had seen the miracle that Jesus did, said, This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world.

John 6:26 Jesus answered them and said, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracles, but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled.

John 6:36 But I said unto you, That ye also have seen me, and believe not.

John 6:66 From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him.

The miracles in themselves were not enough to hold the people with the Lord.

Read John 3:1-3 It is not about the signs and wonders, it is about belief by faith. Do you have faith today?

6. The Corruption. Acts 14:19,20

a. Inclined to hate. Acts 14:19

The sin nature inclines one to attack that which produces guilt or shame. We will see in this account of the ministry of the gospel that this inclination knows no bounds.
Matthew 23:13 But woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye shut up the kingdom of heaven against men: for ye neither go in yourselves, neither suffer ye them that are entering to go in.

Luke 11:52 Woe unto you, lawyers! for ye have taken away the key of knowledge: ye entered not in yourselves, and them that were entering in ye hindered.
Proverbs 29:10 The bloodthirsty hate the upright: but the just seek his soul.

Refer to Genesis 4:3-8 Cain’s hatred of Able because Able was righteous

Man’s sinfulness in manifested in hatred for that which is good and right. These were not satisfied to have persecuted the evangelist in their own towns, they gave of their time and money to travel and incite others to hatred –

b. Induced to violence. Acts 14:20

We can see how easily emotions can be manipulated as they are unstable in the unbeliever. Note the change in Amnon’s emotional state due to his sinful actions –

2 Samuel 13:15 Then Amnon hated her exceedingly; so that the hatred wherewith he hated her was greater than the love wherewith he had loved her. And Amnon said unto her, Arise, be gone.

Tamar’s presence reflected to Amnon his sin and guilt drove him to cast her out. He could have begged her forgiveness and confessed before God, Tamar, and King David, but he rejected repentance and chose to protect himself by destroying Tamar’s reputation.
This is typical of the natural man and is what we see in the account in Acts 14:19,20
The unbelievers in Lystra had acted upon their passions for the superstitious beliefs and had been proven wrong. As those that are nursing wounds are volatile, they were easily influenced to turn from worship to hate and to kill the one that had humiliated them

c. Intrepid character of the apostle.
Paul determined to encourage and comfort the disciples.

7. The Confirmation. Acts 14:21-28 Confirmation of the churches

a. People were instructed. Acts 14:21,22

The evangelist were fulfilling the commission of the Lord “…teaching them to observe”

1). Evangelized the people.

a). Preached.
b). “…taught many…” Made disciples. Refer to Matthew 28:19

They followed the Lord’s plan.

2). Encouraged them in their faith. Eternal security. Refer to 1 John 5:13
3). Exhorted them in faithfulness. They were now to be witnesses according to Acts 1:8

John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

b. Pastors were appointed. Acts 14:23a Refer to Titus 1:5-9

1). Their priority.

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
2). Their pursuit.

2 Timothy 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

3). Their purpose.

1 Peter 5:2-3 Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; Neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

Ephesians 4:11-12 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

This was not easy! These also were new believers who stepped up to serve God. They were willing to serve even though they may have feared they would make mistakes because of ignorance of what to do in the ministry of God.

c. Prayer was offered along with fasting. Acts 14:23b
(set themselves apart to seek God’s leadership)

This was a wonderful occasion for the new believers. They could lift up personal prayers unto God.

1 Peter 2:5 Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

Hebrews 4:14-16 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
d. Perseverance was enjoined. “…commended them…” Refer to –

1 Thessalonians 4:1 Furthermore then we beseech you, brethren, and exhort you by the Lord Jesus, that as ye have received of us how ye ought to walk and to please God, so ye would abound more and more.

e. Provided an account of the ministry. Acts 14:25-28
Refer to –

Philippians 4:13-17 I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. Notwithstanding ye have well done, that ye did communicate with my affliction. Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.

The partnership in the ministry!

8. The Council at the church in Jerusalem. Acts 15:1-41

a. The Counterfeit teachers. Acts 15:1

1). Their mission. To subvert the doctrinal teaching of the church.
We should be aware of their method in the accomplishment of their purpose –

2). Their method. They counterfeited the ministry of Barnabas. Refer to Acts 11:22
3). Their message. They counterfeited the message of the gospel, adding law to grace for salvation.

2 Corinthians 11:2-4 For I am jealous over you with godly jealousy: for I have espoused you to one husband, that I may present you as a chaste virgin to Christ. But I fear, lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. For if he that cometh preacheth another Jesus, whom we have not preached, or if ye receive another spirit, which ye have not received, or another gospel, which ye have not accepted, ye might well bear with him.

b. The Confrontation of false doctrine. Acts 15:2a

This may have been the time that Paul formulated his arguments to deal with this false doctrine.
Refer to Romans 4:1-14; Ephesians 2:8-10

c. The Consensus among all to take the issue back to its source. Acts 15:2b-4

Remember the instruction of the Lord in how to deal with conflicts – Go to the source!

Matthew 5:23-24 Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee; Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.

Matthew 18:15 Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother.

d. The Consideration of the issue. Acts 15:5-12

1). The dissenters rose up. 15:5

a). They had been answered. Acts 11:2
b). They had not accepted. They waited for another time.
c). They allowed themselves time to spread their doctrine within the church.

Romans 16:17-18 Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple.

2). The discussion in private session. Acts 15:6-12

a). The reasoning of the Pharisees.
b). The rehearsal of God’s working by –

(1). Peter
(2). Barnabas and Paul

e. The Conclusion of James. Acts 15:13-21
James had been listening and considering the issue before he made the pronouncement –

1). The argument of Peter. Acts 15:14
2). The agreement of the Word of God. Acts 15:15-17
3). The acknowledgment of God’s will. Acts 15:18
4). The advice to the churches. Acts 15:19-21

Conclusion: Note Paul’s letter to the Galations. He warned them that this sin had not be completely expelled, but would rise up in men, even the most honorable and dedicated men are susceptible to sin. Refer to Galations 2:1-14

How do we protect ourselves from false doctrine?
Mind the Lord –

John 5:24 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

Then –

Meet regularly in church on Sundays and Mid-week services.
Make reading the Word of God your priority.
Memorize the basic tenants of the gospel and measure what people tell you by them.
Mark your Bible in order to refer to Scriptures to help you in time of need.
Minister God’s Word to others. You will always learn more than you can share

f. The Counsel of the church. Acts 15:22-29

1). Agreement. 15:22,23
2). Assurance. 15:24
3). Advice. 15:25-29

a). They responded to the church at Antioch that they were united in their decision –
15:25
b). They respected Barnabas and Paul. 15:26
c). They recommended Judas and Silas as men of God. 15:27
d). They relied on the leadership of God. 15:28
e). They requested the saints to be sensitive to the beliefs of the Jews. 15:29

It is very clear that the church in Jerusalem did not exercise any authority over the church in Antioch!

g. The Consolation. Acts 15:30-35 Consolation is found in right doctrine!

1). The rehearsing of the message. 15:30
2). The rejoicing in the consolation. 15:31

Refer to Acts 15:28. “…it seemed good to the Holy Spirit…”

The Lord is our Comforter, our Consolation. Refer to John 16:7-13

Read –

Psalms 119:5-6 O that my ways were directed to keep thy statutes! Then shall I not be ashamed, when I have respect unto all thy commandments.

Psalms 119:9 BETH. Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way? by taking heed thereto according to thy word.

Psalms 119:11 Thy word have I hid in mine heart, that I might not sin against thee.

Psalms 119:16 I will delight myself in thy statutes: I will not forget thy word.

Psalms 119:24 Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellers.

Psalms 119:45 And I will walk at liberty: for I seek thy precepts.

Psalms 119:49-50 ZAIN. Remember the word unto thy servant, upon which thou hast caused me to hope. This is my comfort in my affliction: for thy word hath quickened me.

Psalms 119:67 Before I was afflicted I went astray: but now have I kept thy word.

Psalms 119:89 LAMED. For ever, O LORD, thy word is settled in heaven.

Psalms 119:105 NUN. Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

h. The Contention between the evangelist. Acts 15:36-41

1). The disagreement. 15:36-38
2). The division. 15:39a
3). The departure. 15:39b-41

Disagreements will come in our lives. At times, they may lead to division. Remember, do not burn the bridges of reconciliation!

1 Corinthians 9:6 Or I only and Barnabas, have not we power to forbear working?

This church was familiar with the ministry of Barnabas, even though the men had not worked together since the first journey. Paul speaks of Barnabas with respect, holding him up as an example, even as himself.

2 Timothy 4:11 Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry.

Here Paul is requesting Mark to come and help him. He has confidence in him and he seems to feel that Mark bears no hard feelings toward him, who spoke very harshly of him at one time.
Reconciliation is a beautiful adornment in the believer’s life – a testimony to the unbelieving.
Return to the source.
Rely on the Truth.
Reconcile as soon as possible.

B. The Second Missionary Journey. Acts 15:40 – 18:23

1. Ordaining Timothy to the ministry. Acts 16:1-4

a. His Family. Acts 16:1

1). His mother. A Jew with intimate knowledge of the Scriptures.
2). His father.

a). His reputation. A Greek who was well known in the area. “…because of the Jews which were in those quarters: for they knew all that his father was a Greek.”

b). His rule. Possibly an agnostic, allowing his son to be instructed in the Scriptures but refusing to allow him to be circumcised.

(Note this was the situation, albeit reversed, in the situation of Moses’ sons)

Exodus 4:24-26 And it came to pass by the way in the inn, that the LORD met him, and sought to kill him. Then Zipporah took a sharp stone, and cut off the foreskin of her son, and cast it at his feet, and said, Surely a bloody husband art thou to me. So he let him go: then she said, A bloody husband thou art, because of the circumcision.

b. His Faith.

1). Personal faith.

a). Illustrated in family life.

2 Timothy 1:5 When I call to remembrance the unfeigned faith that is in thee, which dwelt first in thy grandmother Lois, and thy mother Eunice; and I am persuaded that in thee also.

b). Instructed in the Word.

2 Timothy 3:15 And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.

c). Introduced to the Gospel by Paul Acts 14:6,7

1 Corinthians 4:17 For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.

2). Practice of faith. Refer to –

Ephesians 2:8-10 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.

a). Commended for his testimony. 16:2
b). Circumcised for his heritage. 16:3,4
c). Commissioned for the work.

1 Timothy 4:14 Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery.

2 Timothy 1:6 Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands.

c. His fidelity. He was trusted in the witness of the Lord Jesus Christ.

1). He was a partner in the work – missions. Philippians 2:19-23

1 Thessalonians 3:1-2 Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone; And sent Timotheus, our brother, and minister of God, and our fellowlabourer in the gospel of Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith:

1 Thessalonians 3:6 But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you:

1 Corinthians 4:15-17 For though ye have ten thousand instructors in Christ, yet have ye not many fathers: for in Christ Jesus I have begotten you through the gospel. Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me. For this cause have I sent unto you Timotheus, who is my beloved son, and faithful in the Lord, who shall bring you into remembrance of my ways which be in Christ, as I teach every where in every church.

2). He was the pastor of a church.
3). He was a proven friend. 2 Timothy 4:9-13

In the end, he had proven himself to be faithful.

1 Corinthians 4:2 Moreover it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful.

Does God count you faithful today? Do you family, friends, and colleagues count you as being a faithful person, one that can be depended on?
We being at conversion and continue through commitment. Have you committed your life to God today through belief in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ?
Are you an example of commitment?

Parents, are you raising up your children to know the Word of God and to see the Word of God in your lives?

2. Obey God’s leadership. Acts 16:5-15
a. Results. Acts 16:5
b. Renewal. Acts 16:6-10

We can see 3 things to measure ourselves by.

1). They were seeking to help. 16:6,7

a). God’s direction was sought. “…they assayed…” Translated most often “tempted”.

You may say today “I do not know where God wants me to serve” Are you seeking?
They were active!

16:6 “they had gone”
16:7 “they were come”
“they assayed to go”
16:18 “came down to Troas”

b). God’s direction was sure.

(1). The world is the field. The opportunity to serve is at hand – just reach out to someone!

(2). The way is revealed.

(a). Everything we know about God reveals order and control.
(b). The ministry of the gospel is no different.

[1]. He knows where He wants His word proclaimed.
[2]. He knows when He wants His word to be proclaimed.

[a]. Bithynia was later evangelized and churches established.

Just when Christianity first entered the province is not known. The well-known letter of the imperial legate, Pliny the Younger, to the Roman Emperor Trajan in A.D. 112 indicates that by then Christianity had already been entrenched in the area for many years, with the result that the pagan temples were almost deserted.

[b]. Asia, which includes the city of Ephesus, was also evangelized and churches were established.

[3]. He knows who He wants to proclaim it. God’s direction is sure!
Philip to the Ethiopian. Acts 8
Paul to the Gentiles. Acts 9
Peter to Corneilus. Acts 10

2). They were willing to help. 16:10 Knowing and doing –

a). They received the call. Knowing
b). They reacted to the call. Doing

(1). They knew where they were to go.
(2). They knew how they were to go. “Endeavoured” (sought the means)
(3). They knew why they were to go. …assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.
(4). They went! Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia,…

How many have received the call and yet have reacted in opposition to God’s direction?

c. The Reward. They were prepared to help. Acts 16:11-15, 2 Timothy 2:15

1). The people he found were few. Not enough to maintain a synagogue

God cares for the few. Matthew 18:11-14 He did not send people to gather a crowd.

2). The people he found were poor. While some may have been in good circumstances, the majority were poor. Refer to 2 Corinthians 8

God cares for the poor. 1 John 3:16-19

3). The people he found were praying. “…which worshipped God.”

God cares for the soul.

a). The priority of Paul was the gospel message. He went to preach and did not get sidetracked! Acts 16:10.

(1). God has provided salvation for all that will come, but God saves one at a time. This is a personal relationship with the Lord. The modern “Church Growth” movement would have discouraged Paul from going because of the limited possibilities.
(2). God has promised provision for His children. Philippians 4:19

But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

(a). If the people had relied solely on Paul’s material help, when they wanted to have a part in the ministry they could only afford to give what Paul could supply!
(b). When the people trusted in the Lord, then as His children desiring to have a part in the ministry they could give what God could supply! “…according to His riches in glory.”

b). The preparedness of Paul was seen in preaching the message. Romans 1:16
c). The preaching of Paul resulted in conversions.

Be prepared to help anyway that we can, but remember the priority will be in the Word. Know the Word of God!
God’s direction is sure! Do you know His direction in your life?
God’s call is sure! Do you know God’s will for your life? Are you doing it now?
God’s promise is sure! Isaiah 55:11 He will both justify and judge by His Word.
They were seeking; They were willing; They were prepared. What about us?
“If ye love me, keep my commandments”. John 14:15

3. Obstacles face the evangelist. Acts 16:16-24

The Lord has blessed the evangelists with a place and provision for their stay in Philippi. They were able to minister daily to Lydia’s household and the community. People began to take notice of them, and as we read today in the Scriptures, some for good, “as we went to prayer”, and some for evil purposes.
As believers who are serving the Lord, we will find ourselves faced with obstacles in the witness unto the Lord.

a. The discipline of ministry.

1). Their practice.

“…as we went to prayer…” 16:16a
“…this she did many days…” 16:18a

She knew where they would be because of their faithful practice. Does your life reveal to others your faith in God.

2). Their purpose. To fulfill the will of God

“Assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel
to them…” Acts 16:10b

They were faithful in their calling.

b. The distraction of evil. Acts 16:16-18

1). The proclamation of the truth. 16:17

a). Testimony of believers, Godly servants. People had been saved.
b). Testimony of the ungodly. Satan had taken notice.

God demands His testimony to be brought forth through holy vessels.
2 Timothy 2:21 If a man therefore purge himself from these, he shall be a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.

1 Corinthians 9:27 But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

God rejects the testimony of liars.

Mark 1:23-25 And there was in their synagogue a man with an unclean spirit; and he cried out, Saying, Let us alone; what have we to do with thee, thou Jesus of Nazareth? art thou come to destroy us? I know thee who thou art, the Holy One of God. And Jesus rebuked him, saying, Hold thy peace, and come out of him.

2). The power of God invoked to silence the aggravation of this false witness. 16:18

Satan will use any means to distract people from the Truth of God!

c. The distress of the tradesmen. Acts 16:19-21

1). The offense to the tradesmen.

a). It was not in the rebuke to this demon.
b). These men did not take this as a personal affront to their God.
c). It was in the loss of their fortune.

(1). Unbelievers spoken of by the Lord.

Matthew 6:31-32 Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things.

(2). Unrighteousness spoken of by Paul.

1 Timothy 6:10 For the love of money is the root of all evil: which while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.

2). The offense to God.

a). The manifestation of this same attitude in believers.

(1). Covetousness abounds despite the knowledge of God’s will.

Exodus 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

(2). Contentment eludes the believer, determining to have his will over God’s will.
(3). Contempt for the things of God. 2 Timothy 4:10 “for Demas hath forsaken me…”
(4). Careless about the judgment of God.

2 Timothy 4:14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:

We will stop here today and look at –

b). The means to overcome this characteristic of the natural man.

Colossians 3:1,2
Romans 12:1,2
Romans 6:6-11

4. Opportunity in the time of trouble. Acts 16:25-40

a. To see people saved. Acts 16:25-34

1). Prayer 16:25a

Isaiah 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.

Philippians 4:6-7 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus

I can imagine Paul and Silas encouraging one another as they suffered physically but not spiritually. May be one of the psalms they sang was Psalm 13

2). Praise 16:25b

Psalms 40:3 And he hath put a new song in my mouth, even praise unto our God: many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

3). Protection 16:26-29

a). Paul did not rely on the provisions of Roman law.

He did not reveal that he was a citizen of Rome. He waited on God’s timing.

b). Paul relied on the power of God!

4). Promise 16:30-33

(Who could have guessed that this would turn into an opportunity to preach the Gospel)?

5). Prospering. 16:34 Fellowship and rejoicing in the Lord.

2 Corinthians 12:9-10 And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake: for when I am weak, then am I strong.

b. To secure the safety of the young church. Acts 16:35-40

1). The release ordered. 16:35,36
2). The rejection of the release order. 16:37
3). The request of the magistrates. 16:38,39 (attitude change!)
4). The reunion of the brethren. 16:40

It seems that Luke and Timothy were left behind to help this church to grow in the knowledge of God. Timothy stayed for some time and rejoined Paul in Berea. Luke rejoined the group as recorded in Acts 20:5.

5). The resolve of Paul and the evangelist had elevated the status of this church in the eyes of the people. The ordinary citizens would be aggravated at those that had manipulated them with the charges against the evangelist because of their own personal loss, which they did not mention. They had put the entire city in a precarious position if the authorities of Rome heard of their rejection of the due course of law guaranteed by Rome.

5. Odious operation of sin Acts 17:1-9 – breaking the Tenth Commandment –

Exodus 20:17 Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.

“But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy…”

a. They could not condemn – Acts 17:1-3 The truth was evident –

1). He was explaining the Scripture. “…opening and alleging…”

Isaiah 1:18 Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.

2). He was exhausting their arguments. Refer to Acts 6:10
3). He was engaging some with the truth. Acts 17:4

Some Jew, mostly Gentiles – a mixed group.

4). He was exciting others to anger –

Mark 7:9 And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.

b. They would not convert – they refused to accept the truth. Acts 17:5a

Luke 20:17-18 And he beheld them, and said, What is this then that is written, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner? Whosoever shall fall upon that stone shall be broken; but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

c. They should not covet – but they did. They rejected their own teachings in order to attack the evangelists. They were controlled by envy!

Proverbs 27:4 Wrath is cruel, and anger is outrageous; but who is able to stand before envy?

d. They contrived to turn the people from the Truth of God. Acts 17:5b-9

1). Their method – they hired the worst of men to carry out their desires –
2). Their message – they took advantage of the recent news that there had been drastic changes wherever these men had preached the Gospel. The unbelievers were ‘upset’.
3). Their means – a personal bond that the evangelist would depart.

1 Thessalonians 2:17 But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire.

And yet, Paul loved the souls of his countrymen –

Romans 9:1-3 I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost, That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart. For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
Romans 10:1 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved.

The power of God’s Word is revealed again. Note Paul’s declaration of God’s work among
them –

1 Thessalonians 1:6-8 And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost: So that ye were ensamples to all that believe in Macedonia and Achaia. For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak any thing.

We see again the wonderful work of God according to His promise –

Isaiah 55:11 So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.

Do not envy (covet)!

2 Corinthians 10:12 For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise

6. Ordinary, yet extraordinary, practice of the Bereans. Acts 17:10-15

a. Their practice. Refer to –

Psalms 119:24 Thy testimonies also are my delight and my counsellers.

Psalms 119:105 Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.

Psalms 119:74 They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word.

b. Their preparation – they knew how to find God’s will.

John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me.

John 7:17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.

c. Their protection. They knew the truth and could compare truth with error.

1 Timothy 4:12-16; 2 Timothy 3:15-17; 3:5-7

1). The experience of Josiah. 2 Chronicles 34:15-28; refer to 34:2-4

a). Tradition draws from truth and error. This is Satan’s teaching. Genesis 3
b). Truth leads us to God.

2). The experience of the Ethiopian. Acts 8:30-35 The truth brought him to salvation!
3). The experience of the Bereans. Acts 17:11,12

a). Searching. 2 Timothy 2:15
b). Obeying. “…Therefore many of them believed…”
c). Serving.

Acts 20:4 And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus.

Is this our desire today, to be God’s people who are dedicated to knowing Him through His Word? We do not worship the Bible, but we worship the God who gave us His Word, the Bible.
Do we search the Scriptures daily to see whether these things be so? We should – if we would have the testimony of God – “These were more noble…”

7. Open proclamation of the Gospel in Athens. Acts 17:16-34

a. He was alone. Acts 17:16a

1 Thessalonians 3:1 Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left at Athens alone;

This was one of the few times in Paul’s ministry in missions that he was alone. Being alone is a truly difficult situation for anyone to be in. The promise of the Lord should resound loud in our minds and hearts when we are alone

Hebrews 13:5 “for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.”

1). The pattern of ministry –

Mark 6:7 “And he called unto him the twelve, and began to send them forth by two and two…”

a). Two would be sent forth as witnesses. (This according to the Law)
b). Two would be sent forth as support and encouragement, the one for the other.

2). The position that Paul was in – waiting for Silas and Timothy to join him. He did not just sit and wait, but he toured the city and as he saw the city, –

b. He was aggrieved. Acts 17:16b

In the history of the life of Apollonius of Tyrus it is stated “Having come to anchor in the Piraeus, he went up from the harbour to the city. Advancing onward, he met several of the philosophers. In his first conversation, finding the Athenians much devoted to religion, he discoursed on sacred subjects. This was at Athens, where also altars of unknown divinities are set up.”

It is interesting to note the different reaction between the two men. Appolonius was attracted by the religion and philosophy while Paul was grieved by it. Appolonius found it interesting while Paul found it condemning to the souls of men. Paul’s heart was torn by the ignorance of the people and he could not remain quiet, even though alone without help and encouragement – he could not wait, he had to speak.

c. He was active. Acts 17:17 Proclaimed the gospel

Paul was not a tourist, he was an evangelist with a message for the people which he delivered faithfully.

d. He was adamant. Acts 17:18-21

1). Paul was not deterred by their practice. They were devoted to their religion.
2). Paul was not deterred by their provocation. “Babbler”

a). The Stoics were led by self determination and pride. They had no place for a Saviour.
b). The Epicurians were led by materialism and denial of God being in control of His creation.
3). Paul was not deterred by their proposition. He knew that they were setting him up, but he was going to take the opportunity to tell them the truth!

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

e. He was aware of their belief. Acts 17:22,23

1). His declaration to them –

The God that controls all things that are uncontrollable
The God that is unlike all the gods that man has created
The God that you cry out to when you do not know who else to cry out to –
This God is my God and I will declare Him to you
2). His declaration to us.

When you have done all that you can do.
When you have prayed all that you can pray.
When you have followed every religious practice: confirmation, baptism, communion.
When you have done all this, it should reveal to you that you are too superstitious.
Let me declare unto you the Truth: A relationship with God through His Son Jesus Christ.

f. His argument. Acts 17:24-31

1). His power. 17:24-27
2). His person. 17:28,29
3). His proclamation. 17:30 He has allowed you to live up to this time to hear this message. You had better listen, repent, and call up Him for salvation.
4). His proof. 17:31

g. His accomplishment. Acts 17:32-34 He was faithful and the Lord blessed His Word.

Conclusion: No church was established in Athens, although some were saved.
These people chose religion, tradition, materialism over the Truth. Ultimately they chose death over live, Hell over heaven. What would you have advised them to choose?

Introduction to the ministry at Corinth

a. “40 miles Southwest of Athens, Corinth was the capital of the province of Achia and had a population of 500,000. Julius Caesar, recognizing the importance of the Isthmus as a military and mercantile position, sent thither a colony of Italians, who were chiefly freedmen. This new establishment rapidly increased by the mere force of its position. Within a few years, it grew from nothing to an enormous city”. Coneybeare and Howson, pg 326, The Life and Epistles of St. Paul.

b. Crossroads of travel and commerce for all points. It boasted of two seaports, one on each side of the isthmus.

1). It was not a centre of intellectualism, like Athens, but was a trading centre with a cosmopolitan population.
2). The city was overseen by the goddess Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love. The temples were full of prostitutes and the city had a thriving night life.
3). The city had a stadium which hosted contest every two years and was second only to the Greek Olympics.

c. Faithful is the Lord.

1). Paul’s emotional condition at this time. 1 Corinthians 2:1-3
2). Note that God did not deceive Paul about his ministry. Acts 9:10-16
3). God promised to be with him throughout his ministry. 2 Timothy 1:7-12; 4:6-16

8. Overcoming difficulties in Corinth. Acts 18:1-6

a. Finances.

Paul needed money to live and minister. He worked at a trade to supply his needs. We will take this opportunity to see God’s plan for the support of His evangelist and pastors.

1). Paul’s means were exhausted. He had waited for Silas and Timothy in Athens and now
had arrived in Corinth. He needed money.

2). Paul’s method was to practice his craft when he could. We see this in –

a). Thessalonica.

1 Thessalonians 2:9-10 For ye remember, brethren, our labour and travail: for labouring night and day, because we would not be chargeable unto any of you, we preached unto you the gospel of God. Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:

2 Thessalonians 3:8 Neither did we eat any man’s bread for nought; but wrought with labour and travail night and day, that we might not be chargeable to any of you:

b). Corinth. 18:3

3). Paul’s mode. The Scriptural instruction for support.

Galatians 6:6 Let him that is taught in the word communicate unto him that teacheth in all good things.

1 Timothy 5:17-18 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine. For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.

Titus 3:13 Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them.

1 Corinthians 9:4-14

4). His motive.

2 Corinthians 11:7-9 Have I committed an offence in abasing myself that ye might be exalted, because I have preached to you the gospel of God freely? I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, to do you service. And when I was present with you, and wanted, I was chargeable to no man: for that which was lacking to me the brethren which came from Macedonia supplied: and in all things I have kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself.

a). He knew that the people needed to be God’s children before they could understand God’s will. He gave them time to be instructed in the things of God.

Philippians 4:15-16 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity.

b). He knew that God’s Word would lead them to be blessed in carrying out God’s will.

Philippians 4:17-19 Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account. But I have all, and abound: I am full, having received of Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, an odour of a sweet smell, a sacrifice acceptable, wellpleasing to God. But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.

Paul grew in his trust of God through his experience in following God. The confidence that he displayed and the comfort that he encouraged were known to him personally. The recipients of his letters knew that his knowledge and trust had been forged in God’s fire.

1 Peter 1:6-7 Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations: That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:

The could learn from his experience.
Philippians 4:11-13; 1 Timothy 6:6-8; Hebrews 13:5,6
Are we learning?

b. Friends. Acts 18:2,3 Remember that he had been traveling and ministering alone. The Lord helped Paul overcome the difficulty of being alone.

Once the Lord gave direction to witness in a town or city, the issue of how to make contacts faced the evangelists. It is good to establish credibility among the people to aid in the presentation of God’s Word. Paul’s general method was to approach those that had a similar background, as the Jews meeting in the synagogue, and they could immediately identify with one another. Those non-Jewish proselytes would note that the message was accepted, at least by some of their friends and acquaintances. The ethnic diversity of the team would also be an encouragement in the preaching of the Word. Paul and Silas
were Jews, Timothy was of mixed parentage: Jew and Gentile, and Luke was a Gentile. They would then desire to hear more about the Promise of God.
While this was Paul’s normal procedure, his immediate situation, being alone and in need of money led him to search out a job first. We can see God’s hand in using Paul’s need –

1). New friends. 18:2,3 Acquila and Priscilla. In meeting them God provided –

a). Finances to live on.
b). Family to introduce him to two aspects of ministry –

(1). They introduced him to the local synagogue.
(2). They introduced him to the current situation in Rome.

God’s direction is seen here in turning Paul’s mind and heart towards Rome.

Acts 19:21 After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.

c). Fellowship through their coming to the Lord in salvation.
d). Friends to mentor and to minister with. The record of their ministry –

(1). In Ephesus 18:18,19
(2). In Rome Romans 16:1-5a
(3). In Asia

2 Timothy 4:19 Salute Prisca and Aquila, and the household of Onesiphorus.

2). Old friends. Silas and Timothy Acts 18:5a

a). His was encouraged by their –

(1). Presence

2 Corinthians 1:19 For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, who was preached among you by us, even by me and Silvanus and Timotheus, was not yea and nay, but in him was yea.

(2). Praise

1 Thessalonians 3:4-7 For verily, when we were with you, we told you before that we should suffer tribulation; even as it came to pass, and ye know. For this cause, when I could no longer forbear, I sent to know your faith, lest by some means the tempter have tempted you, and our labour be in vain. But now when Timotheus came from you unto us, and brought us good tidings of your faith and charity, and that ye have good remembrance of us always, desiring greatly to see us, as we also to see you: Therefore, brethren, we were comforted over you in all our affliction and distress by your faith:

(3). Partnership

(a). Note how he spoke of Titus to the Corinthians.

2 Corinthians 8:23 Whether any do inquire of Titus, he is my partner and fellowhelper concerning you: or our brethren be inquired of, they are the messengers of the churches, and the glory of Christ.

(b). Note, the Elijah, man’s propensity to discouragement when alone

Refer to 1 Kings 19:13-18

The Lord encouraged him with ministry and then informed him that he was not really alone, he only felt that he was alone. We will note this again in the next message.

Paul had to overcome the difficulty of the –

c. Firm rejection of the Gospel. Acts 18:5b,6

1). The Offer – the Good news that Jesus Christ is the Messiah.
2). The opposition – the united rejection of the Truth.
3). The observation. These had determined to reject the truth to their own destruction.

Paul reminded Timothy of the futility in continuing the preaching to men such as this. It is better to move on and preach to others –

1 Timothy 6:3-5 If any man teach otherwise, and consent not to wholesome words, even the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, and to the doctrine which is according to godliness; He is proud, knowing nothing, but doting about questions and strifes of words, whereof cometh envy, strife, railings, evil surmisings, Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.

Do you have difficulties in life to overcome? Seek the Lord’s leadership and follow Him. You may not see the Hand of God moving you at this time, but remain faithful, serving Him in devotion, reading His Word, praying, witnessing, faithful in church. Do what you know is right where you are at and trust in His leading.

9. Organizing the church Acts 18:7-18

a. The Preaching to the Gentiles. Acts 18:7-11 Jews rejected the message –

Ezekiel 33:7-8 So thou, O son of man, I have set thee a watchman unto the house of Israel; therefore thou shalt hear the word at my mouth, and warn them from me. When I say unto the wicked, O wicked man, thou shalt surely die; if thou dost not speak to warn the wicked from his way, that wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand.

1). Preached the Gospel.

1 Corinthians 15:2-4 By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:

2 Corinthians 4:3-5 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake..

1 Corinthians 2:1-5 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

2). Planted the church. Pattern from the Lord’s command in Matthew 28:18-20

Read 1 Corinthians 1:17-24

He preached and baptized establishing the church. He then turned the baptizing over to the church.

3). He prepared them to grow spiritually.

a). He expounded the Word of God. Read 1 Corinthians 3:1,2
b). He expected the hearers to grow spiritually.

Hebrews 6:1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

b. Protected by the Lord. Acts 18:12-17

1). Paul’s anxiety. Acts 18:9.10 Fear can overcome the bravest of men.

The example of Elijah

a). Elijah’s victory. 1 Kings 18:37-39
b). Elijah’s valley. 1 Kings 19:4,10 Thought he was alone. Note the similarity in God’s encouragement. 1 Kings 19:15-18

2). Paul’s appearance before the Roman governor Gallio.

a). His anticipation Acts 18:14 “And when Paul was now about to open his mouth”
b). Paul’s amazement. Completely different outcome from Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea

c. Parting from the church. Acts 18:18,19 He left Corinth on his own timetable!

1). Partners in the journey.
2). Preparing the ground for the new church in Ephesus.

10. Occasion of Paul’s return to Antioch. Acts 18:20-22

a. His regard for the church at Jerusalem.
b. His report to the church at Antioch.

The missionary plan still follows this pattern. It is important to report on the work that the missionary has been commissioned to.

1). Appreciation for the partnership.
2). Accountability in the ministry.
3). Advertise the need in the ministry.

Matthew 9:38 Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.

C . The Third Missionary Journey. Acts 18:24-21:14

Introduction to Apollos: 1 Corinthians 1:12; 3:5; 4:6; Titus 3:13
It had been over 25 years since the death of John the Baptist. It is not probable that Apollos was old enough to have been present at John’s preaching and baptizing. It seems that he heard and was baptized by one that had been with John. The Scripture bears witness that Apollos preached accurately the message that was proclaimed up to that time.

1. His eloquence. Acts 18:24a A communicator
2. His education. Acts 18:24b,25 His privilege

a. His privilege – the opportunity of education.

The city had been founded by Alexander the Great to bear a testimony of his greatness. Upon his death, Ptolemy I, one of his generals, took control of Egypt and continued to build the city. He brought thousands of Jews and gave them economic opportunity and religious freedom. As part of his improvements to the city, he built great libraries and schools.
Ptolemy II continued the expansion of the city. He treated the Jews well and tradition teaches that he asked the High Priest in Jerusalem to send 72 priests to translate the Scriptures from Hebrew to Greek. This opened the Word of God to the world.

b. His purpose. The know the Word of God.

“…mighty in the Scriptures…”
“…instructed in the way of the Lord…”

c. His passion. To Preach

1). He preached with fire!
2). He preached with fear! “…taught diligently…”

Accurately. What he preached was right! He did not know the whole message!

3. His enlightenment. Acts 18:26 Ready to learn
4. His earnestness Acts 27a “…he was disposed to go…” Ready to serve, as was Paul.

Even though the church was established, he was burdened to help them grow.

Romans 1:15 So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also.

5. His encouragement. Acts 18:27b “…the brethren wrote…” Confidence shown in him
6. His evangelism and exhortation. Acts 18:27c,28. “…helped them much which had believed…”

a. He trusted in the Lord. He followed the ministry of an apostle. (Which would be humbling)

1 Corinthians 3:6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

b. He attracted a following, but many simply were looking for an alternative to Paul. Paul had not come to them with eloquence –

Apollos was naturally eloquent. They were entertained, much as those in Ezekiel’s day –

Ezekiel 33:32 And, lo, thou art unto them as a very lovely song of one that hath a pleasant voice, and can play well on an instrument: for they hear thy words, but they do them not.

He did not want to return to this church to minister, even at the encouragement of Paul.
He may have not wanted to add to the divisive nature of the people until they settled the issues (?)

1 Corinthians 16:12 As touching our brother Apollos, I greatly desired him to come unto you with the brethren: but his will was not at all to come at this time; but he will come when he shall have convenient time.

We see that God sends men into His field –
Some to break up the hard ground,
Some to water and tend,
Some to repair.

The Institution of the church in Ephesus. Acts 19:1-41

2. The Institution of the church in Ephesus. Acts 19:1-41

a. Paul’s meeting with the disciples. Acts 19:1-7

1). His interest in them. 19:1

We are not informed of the circumstances of this meeting. We note that he was able to determine that they were disciples. They must have been familiar with the activities of the believers. He also determined that they had a problem in their doctrinal belief. God tells us in His Word that we can know if people are correct in their doctrine.

We have the Truth as a measure of their –

a). Attitudes.

Romans 8:5 For they that are after the flesh do mind the things of the flesh; but they that are after the Spirit the things of the Spirit.

b). Actions.

John 15:4-5 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

Matthew 7:20 Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.

Galatians 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

This interest brought forth –

2). His interrogation of them. 19:2,3

a). Paul presented a probing question 19:2a
b). They responded as he may have anticipated. 19:2b

How could this possibly be if they were true disciples?

c). Paul posed his response to draw out an answer. 19:3a
d). They revealed in their answer that they had only very partial knowledge of the Truth. 19:3b

(1). Every record of John’s message speaks of the Holy Spirit.
(2). Every baptism upon profession of faith in God through the Lord Jesus Christ was to be followed by baptism in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.
(3). These ‘disciples’ had heard neither message! It is obvious they had only heard general accounts and had decided to become Christians.

He did not reveal the answer to them for their agreement. Sometimes we unwittingly lead people to the responses that we want to hear. We must prayerfully and carefully help others to come to the knowledge of the truth.

3). His instruction to them. 19:4

a). He taught them about John – “He must increase and I must decrease…” John’s ministry was not to surround himself with disciples, but to prepare the people for the coming of the Messiah – Jesus of Nazareth. No disciples of John should exist!
b). He taught them about Jesus the Messiah. He presented the Gospel.

4). His invitation to them. 19:5-7

a). Their salvation. 19:5a
b). Their submission 19:5b
c). Their security. 19:6,7

Why did they receive this sign ? They were Jews who did not know if the Holy Spirit even existed. His presence was demonstrated publicly. This is the last recorded instance of this gift from God.

b. Paul’s ministry establishing the church. Acts 19:8-12

1). He cared for their souls. Acts 19:8 Read to Romans 10:1-3

a). The Lord’s love for him kept him proclaiming the truth, no matter what man may say.

2 Corinthians 5:14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:

b). The Lord’s will for all men kept him preaching. Read 1 Timothy 2:3-6

2). He changed the venue of the meetings. Acts 19:10 A common practice even today
3). He continued faithfully preaching the Word. Acts 19:10

a). Paul followed his method of establishing a church – 1 Corinthians 3:10-15
b). Paul charged the evangelists and pastors to do the same –

2 Timothy 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.

4). The Lord confirmed the Truth through many miracles. Acts 19:11,12

Let’s take a moment and look at the purpose of the miracles: to teach the truth of God.

a). Miracles were used for specific purposes.

(1). They demonstrated the deity of Jesus Christ. John 3:1,2
(2). They proved that He is the Messiah.

Matthew 9:27 And when Jesus departed thence, two blind men followed him, crying, and saying, Thou Son of David, have mercy on us.

(3). They were used to illustrate truth. John 6:32-35.

(Manna/Messiah – God gave both)

b). There were no objections as to the miracle being genuine. No one accused them of performing some kind of trick. The miracles by Jesus – John 3:1,2

The miracles by the Apostles – Acts 4:16 Saying, What shall we do to these men? for that indeed a notable miracle hath been done by them is manifest to all them that dwell in Jerusalem; and we cannot deny it.
This is one of the most unusual manifestations of miracles recorded, almost like Acts 5:15,16 with people seeking to be within the shadow of Peter as he passed by so they would be healed. This may have been the high point of the use of miracles.

c). We do want to note that the use of healing miracles subsides toward the end of the lives of these Apostles. Note the statements of Paul in the last years of his ministry.

Philippians 2:25-27 Yet I supposed it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, and companion in labour, and fellowsoldier, but your messenger, and he that ministered to my wants. For he longed after you all, and was full of heaviness, because that ye had heard that he had been sick. For indeed he was sick nigh unto death: but God had mercy on him; and not on him only, but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow.

2 Timothy 4:20 Erastus abode at Corinth: but Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick.

1 Timothy 5:23 Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach’s sake and thine often infirmities.

2 Corinthians 12:7-9 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure. For this thing I besought the Lord thrice, that it might depart from me. And he said unto me, My grace is sufficient for thee: for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.

d). If the miracle, gift of healing, has ceased and is not operative in our time, the question arises “does God heal today”? The answer is found in –

James 5:14-16 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much.

Robinson’s Word Pictures – “At bottom in James we have God and medicine, God and the doctor, and that is precisely where we are today. The best physicians believe in God and want the help of prayer.”

Today, have you believed God’s message through His Word – “ye must be born again”?
Have you obeyed the Lord in every area of life since you have been saved? Baptism, growth
Has God been encouraging you to serve Him in His work? Witnessing, Sunday school teaching
Has God been calling you to preach? You may ask, “how do I know if God is calling me to preach”? The answer begins with this – “He that desireth the office of a bishop desireth…”

3. The Interference in the ministry at Ephesus. Acts 19:13-41

It is good to introduce the practice of the people of the city of Ephesus as we begin this portion of Scripture. The following statement reveals the popular practice of the population –

The “Ephesian letters,” mystical monograms, used as charms or amulets, are spoken of frequently by heathen writers. Ephesus was, therefore, the chief seat of necromancy, exorcism, and all forms of magic arts for all Asia.

a. The Consequences of deceit. Acts 19:13-16

1). The power produced. A difference between illusion and magic! The power of Satan operates performance of supernatural magic!

Exodus 7:11 Then Pharaoh also called the wise men and the sorcerers: now the magicians of Egypt, they also did in like manner with their enchantments.

Daniel 1:20 And in all matters of wisdom and understanding, that the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and astrologers that were in all his realm.

Daniel 2:10 The Chaldeans answered before the king, and said, There is not a man upon the earth that can shew the king’s matter: therefore there is no king, lord, nor ruler, that asked such things at any magician, or astrologer, or Chaldean.

2). The Prohibition of God to associate or abide their existence.

Leviticus 19:31 Regard not them that have familiar spirits, neither seek after wizards, to be defiled by them: I am the LORD your God.

Deuteronomy 18:10-11 There shall not be found among you any one that maketh his son or his daughter to pass through the fire, or that useth divination, or an observer of times, or an enchanter, or a witch, Or a charmer, or a consulter with familiar spirits, or a wizard, or a necromancer.

3). The practice. Acts 19:13,14

It should be noted that the word ‘exorcist’ is used only here in the New Testament and is not associated with the power of God through His Son or His preachers to cast out demons! The word literally means “to cause someone to swear” and is used as a ‘magic’ formula to make demands on the demons.

The common superstition of the day among the Jews was recorded by the Jewish historian
Josephus in the Antiquities, viii 2.5

God also enabled him to learn that skill which expels demons, which is a science useful and sanative to men. He composed such incantations also by which distempers are alleviated. And he left behind him the manner of using exorcisms, by which they drive away demons, so that they never return; and this method of cure is of great force unto this day; for I have seen a certain man of my own country, whose name was Eleazar, releasing people that were demoniacal in the presence of Vespasian, and his sons, and his captains, and the whole multitude of his soldiers. The manner of the cure was this: He put a ring that had a Foot of one of those sorts mentioned by Solomon to the nostrils of the demoniac, after which he drew out the demon through his nostrils; and when the man fell down immediately, he abjured him to return into him no more, making still mention of Solomon, and reciting the incantations which he composed. And when Eleazar would persuade and demonstrate to the spectators that he had such a power, he set a little way off a cup or basin full of water, and commanded the demon, as he went out of the man, to overturn it, and thereby to let the spectators know that he had left the man; and when this was done, the skill and wisdom of Solomon was shown very manifestly: for which reason it is, that all men may know the vastness of Solomon’s abilities, and how he was beloved of God, and that the extraordinary virtues of every kind with which this king was endowed may not be unknown to any people under the sun for this reason, I say, it is that we have proceeded to speak so largely of these matters.

God warned of these that would change His Word –

Isaiah 5:20 Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

James 3:11 Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?

4). The price of deception. Acts 19:15,16

b. The Conviction of the believers. Acts 19:17-20 Put fear into their lives!! They had put the world’s value on these things instead of seeing that they were worthless and dangerous!

Ephesians 6:11-12 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

Be warned!

c. The Contingent sent from Paul into Macedonia. Acts 19:21,22
d. The Commotion incited by the artisans of the shrines to Diana. Acts 19:23-41

1). The Accusation. 19:23-28

a). The Primary motive – financial.
b). Their promotion of worship was only secondary.

The long term continuation of their business. (Creating and maintaining a market)

2). The Assembly. 19:29-34
3). The Appeasement. 19:35-41

Paul’s reaction – He had not had any personal confrontations with these men. Their was nothing they could accuse him of. He listened to the recommendation of the leadership and stood aside, allowing things to work themselves out.

Proverbs 26:17 He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.

c. The Contingent sent from Paul into Macedonia. Acts 19:20-22

1). The prosperity of the Gospel. 19:20 Refer to Isaiah 58:11
2). The practical aspect of the ministry. Trials are always at hand –

2 Corinthians 1:8 For we would not, brethren, have you ignorant of our trouble which came to us in Asia, that we were pressed out of measure, above strength, insomuch that we despaired even of life:

1 Corinthians 15:32 If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.

No perfect church! None without problems, trials, tribulations. Just as there are problems in life, but we rejoice that we have the Saviour Who brings us through. Refer to 2 Corinthians 4:7-10

3). The plan for the ministry. 19:21,22 Things were going well and he was setting up his schedule to prepare the church before his departure. Refer to –

1 Corinthians 16:8 But I will tarry at Ephesus until Pentecost.

Acts 19:20 introduces the following accounts. Luke shares with us the environment the church is enjoying in the evangelism of Ephesus as well as the surrounding country. The Lord is blessing His Word, as He promises to do, individuals and thereby cities, towns and villages are being transformed from walking in darkness to walking in light. At the beginning of this change, people may be intrigued or even amused, but after some time they find that God’s Word changes people – the way they live, the way they talk, they way they spend their money! We are reminded that we lived in a sin cursed world and even the success of the Gospel can lead to trials in the church.

Pastors have been killed, churches burned or attacked throughout the centuries because people were threatened by a change in lifestyle!

d. The Commotion incited by the artisans of the shrines to Diana. Acts 19:23-41

1). The Accusation. 19:23-28

a). The Primary motive – financial.
b). Their promotion of worship was only secondary.

The long term continuation of their business. (Creating and maintaining a market)

2). The Assembly. 19:29-34 Mob mentality
3). The Appeasement. 19:35-41

Paul’s reaction – He had not had any personal confrontations with these men. Their was nothing they could accuse him of. He listened to the recommendation of the leadership and stood aside, allowing things to work themselves out.

Proverbs 26:17 He that passeth by, and meddleth with strife belonging not to him, is like one that taketh a dog by the ears.

What do we need to learn –

The Head of the church is our Lord Jesus Christ and the mission of the church is the proclamation of His Word! Preach the Word!
Problems in the church will arise but they must settle them according to the Word of God.

“Be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the word of the Lord”

Plan for the future prayerfully, but do not be surprised when unexpected situations come up. Trust the Lord and adjust the plans according to His leadership.
As a ship on the ocean, take your sightings every day and adjust the course accordingly – personal devotions and a close walk with the Lord. If you have made a wrong turn, return to that point and get back on the right way.

4. The Intercession for the believers in Judaea. Acts 6:1-6

We need to remember that Paul had been planning this itinerary for some time. He had two purposes for this journey through Macedonia and Greece.

1. To continue to encourage and exhort the churches.
2. To collect a benevolence offering for the believers in Judaea. They were in great need.

Paul had sent Timothy and Erastus ahead to prepare the churches for his visit. Refer to Acts 19:21,22 and 1 Corinthians 16:10,11. Although Luke did not mention it, Paul had also sent Titus to Corinth to see how they had responded to his first letter and request for the offering.

a. Paul’s expectation.

1). The Initial itinerary.

a). To sail directly to Cenchera and then on to Corinth. From there he would go North into Macedonia.

2 Corinthians 1:15-16 And in this confidence I was minded to come unto you before, that ye might have a second benefit; And to pass by you into Macedonia, and to come again out of Macedonia unto you, and of you to be brought on my way toward Judaea.

b). To sail earlier than planned was not practical because of adverse weather.

2). The Alternative itinerary. Travel overland to Troas, expecting to meet Titus coming from Corinth.

2 Corinthians 2:12 Furthermore, when I came to Troas to preach Christ’s gospel, and a door was opened unto me of the Lord,

b. Paul’s exasperation. Acts 20:1,2

1). Titus did not arrive and Paul had not information about Corinth. 2 Corinthians 2:13a
2). Traveled through Macedonia through Philippi. 2 Corinthians 2:13b
3). Trouble in the ministry (not unusual). 2 Corinthians 7:5

c. Paul’s exultation. 2 Corinthians 7:6-16

1). The messenger arrived. 7:6
2). The message –

a). Rejoiced at the repentance of the church in Corinth.
b). Regretted they had not prepared their offering as promised. 1 Corinthians 16:1-4

d. Paul’s exhortation.

Paul had been collecting the offering from the churches in the North and as he traveled South. He was planning on receiving the offering from Corinth, then
sailing to Syria and continuing on the Jerusalem. We note that a group of men from the churches were accompanying him on this journey to help transport and protect the offerings. Refer to Acts 20:3,4 Paul, upon hearing that Corinth was not prepared, wrote them from Macedonia –

1). The example. 2 Corinthians 8:1-5
2). The expectation. 2 Corinthians 8:6
3). The exhortation. 2 Corinthians 8:7-12.

e. Paul’s departure for Judah. Acts 20:3-6

Do not make frivolous promises that you will not be able to keep. Be realistic!
What does God want? He wants you, all of you – “…they first game themselves…”
Once they gave themselves, they knew that all that they had was His. They could follow God’s direction with joy and fervency.

5. Incidents on the journey to Jerusalem. Acts 20:7-21:14

a. Interruption of the service at Troas. Acts 20:7-12

1). The message for the church. 20:7,8 Brought forth in urgency
2). The man who fell asleep in church. 20:9

a). His conflict with his flesh.

He was fighting off the sleep, but just continued to go into a deeper sleep. He should have moved to a safe place when he noted that he was beginning to sleep. He did not and it cost him! Convenient, enjoyable (look at him over there!)

b). His awakening was too late. Startled, but not enough time to reach for safety.
c). His tragedy is a warning – are you sitting on the ledge?

Do you sing the songs but not consider the words and how they affect your life?
Do you think about where you are going to have lunch during the preaching?
Do you keep these things on your mind? –
I do not learn anything from the messages.
The music is not enthusiastic
The people are not friendly.
The church does not have enough programs for our family

Proverbs 4:23 Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.

This should be our pattern in every area of life. Protect ourselves from our own weaknesses

3). The miracle of God. 20:10
4). The meal to encourage the church. 20:11a
5). The message resumed. 20:11b
6). The missionaries departed. 20:11c,12

b. Introspection, traveling alone. Acts 20:13,14 Note three things about this –

1). The Lord displayed outward power.

a). The preaching of the Lord.

Matthew 6:6 But thou, when thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret; and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.

b). The power of the Lord. Miracles and simple power in confrontation

2). The Lord desired inward power – through communion with the Father –

a). Encouraging others.

Matthew 6:8b “… for your Father knoweth what things ye have need of, before ye ask him.”

We can seek guidance and direction from God Who already understands everything there is to know about our situation!

b). Engaging in communion Himself.

Mark 1:35 And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, he went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.

The Lord Jesus made a practice of prayer and it seems that He spent time alone with the Father in preparation for each momentous decision.

Luke 6:12-13 And it came to pass in those days, that he went out into a mountain to pray, and continued all night in prayer to God. And when it was day, he called unto him his disciples: and of them he chose twelve, whom also he named apostles;

It is important to seek the counsel of your brethren, but remember, they are not infallible. The Scripture gives us illustrations of the extreme of self, whether it be for selfishness in the matter of Solomon’s son, Rheaboam, or of ignorance of Peter. “Not so Lord…”! We must be in private communion with God, seeking His counsel through His Word. You can stay on your knees till you fall over and it will do no good unless you open the Word! Be on your knees with God’s Word before you, speaking to you as you speak to Him!

3). The understanding of Paul. He needed time alone to prepare for what he knew faced him.

We need to follow this practice in our lives and here we see Paul in preparation for his interaction with the Jewish community in Jerusalem. They have no interest that he has come with a benevolent offering the the Christians. They are continuing their attack on his person.

c. Instruction to the pastors of the churches in Ephesus. Acts 20:15- 28

1). His example. 20:15-21

Acts 20:15-27 introduces us to Paul’s dilemma. He had a great desire to speak with and instruct the pastors of the churches of Ephesus, but he was afraid that if he went into Ephesus, he would be compelled by the disciples to stay longer than he wanted as his desire was to be in Jerusalem by Pentecost. Therefore, he bypassed the city and sent messengers back for the pastors to come and meet with him. He was on the South side of the city and they would not try to get him to return to the city.

a). His motive. 20:19 To give the message, not to take from them.
He worked with his hands.

b). His message.

(1). He preached without fear. 20:20
(2). He preached without favour. 20:21

2). His expectation. 20:22-27

We are informed that God revealed to Paul of the dangers he would face in Jerusalem. We might wonder, “are these warnings for him to change his course”? We will note late that he refused to change his course. Was he being rebellious? Hold that thought and we will answer the question before he reaches Jerusalem. For now, let’s look at the knowledge that he has –

3). His exhortation. 20:28

a). Reminded the pastors of –

(1). Their office

(a). Elders
(b). Pastors (shepherds) 1 Peter 5:1-4
(c). Bishops ( overseers)

(2). Their ordination – the Holy Spirit put them in the office.

Refer to Titus 1:5.
(3). Their obligation. To preach the Word!

b). Revealed the dangers that face them.
c). Reviewed the ministry among them.
d). Revealed the dangers that faced them. 20:29-32

Paul did not expect to visit the churches of Ephesus again. He was giving his final exhortations and farewells to the pastors. While he was looking into an unknown future, we have the privilege of looking back and we know that he actually did visit the churches again seven or eight years later, following his release from his Roman imprisonment. He visited the church with Timothy, and leaving him to pastor the church, Paul moved on into Macedonia to visit the churches. We want to note the exhortation that Paul gave Timothy for the ministry in Ephesus as it accords with his warning to them as read here in Acts 20:29. Refer to 1 Timothy 1:3-7

(1). He Cautioned them. 20:29,30

(a). Danger from without 20:29
(b). Danger from within. 20:30 Note the many warnings –

Matthew 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Philippians 3:17-19 Brethren, be followers together of me, and mark them which walk so as ye have us for an ensample. (For many walk, of whom I have told you often, and now tell you even weeping, that they are the enemies of the cross of Christ: Whose end is destruction, whose God is their belly, and whose glory is in their shame, who mind earthly things.)

2 Timothy 2:15-18 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth. But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some.

2 Peter 2:1-2 But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction. And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom the way of truth shall be evil spoken of.

1 John 2:18-19 Little children, it is the last time: and as ye have heard that antichrist shall come, even now are there many antichrists; whereby we know that it is the last time. They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us.

We must also beware of the danger of focusing so much on this command to doctrinal purity that we forget the love of our Lord Jesus Christ. We can become enemies of the world, forgetting that “God so loved the world…” We must serve God wholly, in Truth and in Love.

Refer to Revelation 2:1-5

(2). He Commanded them. 20:31 “…therefore watch, and remember…”
(3). He Commended them. 20:32

(a). Commended to God. “…All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth…’

“The Author and Finisher of our faith”

(b). Commended to God’s Word.

[1]. Saving faith.

Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

Romans 1:16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

[2]. Living faith.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.

Hebrews 4:12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.

2 Peter 1:16-21 For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty. For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased. And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount. We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts: Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation. For the prophecy came not in old time by the will of man: but holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.

Paul was not there to exalt himself or ‘improve his situation’. He was there as the of the Lord exalting and glorifying God!

Watch out for those seeking position, provision, and power instead of simply serving God. All of these things will come to the faithful servant of God!
Be cautious
Be commended
Be content

d. Intent on arriving in Jerusalem. Acts 21:1-14

Paul had confidence in his relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ. Over years of faithful service, he became familiar with the leadership of the Holy Spirit. He did not know the future and at times had to change his plans to conform to God’s plans. He had learned to discern God’s will for himself.

Discerning God’s will. Let’s look at the –

1). Desire.

a). To help the believers in Judaea and Jerusalem.
b). To answer his accusers.

2). Danger.

a). The Jews were a constant threat to the Apostle Paul.
b). The misinformed believers were posing a danger, believing Paul denied their heritage.

Hebrews sets them right in doctrine

3). Danger. The warnings of impending danger. Acts 20:23,24; 21:4, 10-11.

Real warnings from God’s people. The difficulty was to discern whether these were –

a). Instructional. Do not go! This would be like that given to Josiah.
b). Informational. Be prepared as you go. This would be like those given by Jesus.

Jesus informed His disciples of danger to prepare them for that which was to come.

(1). In His life. Matthew 16
Matthew 16:21-23 From that time forth began Jesus to shew unto his disciples, how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day. Then Peter took him, and began to rebuke him, saying, Be it far from thee, Lord: this shall not be unto thee. But he turned, and said unto Peter, Get thee behind me, Satan: thou art an offence unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of God, but those that be of men.
(2). In their lives. Compare John 21:18,19 with 1 Peter 4:12-14 an 2 Peter 1:14.

John 21:18-19 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, When thou wast young, thou girdedst thyself, and walkedst whither thou wouldest: but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not. This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

4). Determination. 21:13

a). The Words of the Lord –

Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

b). The experience in the ministry –

2 Timothy 1:12 For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.

5). Discernment. 21:14

a). The Apostle Paul

Romans 12:1-2 I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service. And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

b). The evangelist. “…the will of the Lord be done.”

I take you again to Proverbs 2:1-11.

D. The Prophecy of affliction fulfilled Acts 21:15-23:35

1. The Arrival in Jerusalem. Acts 21:15-26

Paul was returning to Jerusalem to bring an offering for the destitute and to answer the accusations brought against him by the Judaizers. He knew what to expect from them as he had dealt with them a number of times outside of the city and in the Jerusalem church itself. Remember his visits to dispute with the false teachers that had visited the church in Antioch and also as he departed from Ephesus, leaving Acquila and Priscilla there to minister. In these visits, the focus had been on the responsibilities of the Gentiles. Now he is faced with a different situation, the mindset of Jewish believers. They are not saved by keeping the convenant relationship with Abraham, but they are children of Abraham through this covenant. They are not saved by keeping the Law, but they are Jews by keeping the Law. The centerpiece of Israel for the whole world was the Temple and its ordinances. These believers were going to church and to the Temple. They were having an identity crisis! Paul made a decision at this time that people have been discussing since it was recorded.

a. The Praise Acts 21:15-20a

1). Hospitality 21:15,16

Titus 3:13-14 Bring Zenas the lawyer and Apollos on their journey diligently, that nothing be wanting unto them. And let ours also learn to maintain good works for necessary uses, that they
be not unfruitful.

2). Fellowship – a true partnership together. 21:17-19

Philippians 4:15-17 Now ye Philippians know also, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia, no church communicated with me as concerning giving and receiving, but ye only. For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my necessity. Not because I desire a gift: but I desire fruit that may abound to your account.

3). Rejoicing in the Lord 21:20a

a). Rehearsing God’s work brings joy!

(1). Barnabas was glad when he saw the work of God. Acts 11
(2). The churches rejoiced in the rehearsal of God’s work.
(3). John shared his joy at the testimony of God’s work.

2 John 1:4 I rejoiced greatly that I found of thy children walking in truth, as we have received a commandment from the Father.

3 John 1:3 For I rejoiced greatly, when the brethren came and testified of the truth that is in thee, even as thou walkest in the truth.
b). Remember that this had already been settled (?) Refer to Acts 15:3-11

There were some that only pretended to rejoice. They were waiting for an opportunity to discredit the Apostle Paul.

b. The Prophecy – the warning coming to fulfillment. Acts 21:20b-21

Acts 11:17-18 Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God? When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life.

1 Corinthians 14:21-22 In the law it is written, With men of other tongues and other lips will I speak unto this people; and yet for all that will they not hear me, saith the Lord. Wherefore tongues are for a sign, not to them that believe, but to them that believe not: but prophesying serveth not for them that believe not, but for them which believe.

Note Acts 15:1,24; 16:3

c. The Proposal Acts 21:22-25

1). Associate with Jewish believers that have taken the Nazarite vow
2). Approve their actions by financing their vows and purifying himself with them.

d. The Purpose of Paul’s agreement. Acts 21:26

Paul wrote to the church in Corinth while ministering in Ephesus. He had been recently to Jerusalem and had seen the difficulties arising in the culture of the believers. They were not like the churches out in Asia or Macedonia with Jews and Gentiles. They were a homogenous group of Jewish believers living among a nation of Jewish unbelievers. They had a struggle before them to determine God’s expectation of them. Remember, they did not have the New Testament yet and Jerusalem and the Temple would be destroyed long before the Scriptures were collected together. Paul determined not to alienate himself from them but he would also not compromise the Truth of God. The request was reasonable and had nothing to do with salvation. He agreed to their request, but did not anticipate the the reaction of unbelievers – which we will see next week.

1 Corinthians 9:20 And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;
Today we want to consider the issue of separation and what are the guidelines which will keep us true to God.

2. The assumptions of all those involved. Acts 21:27-40

Practically all humour is based on man’s natural inclination to assume a conclusion before hearing the end of the matter. The conclusion of the joke is twisted to surprise the listener. The unexpected provokes a reaction –

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson go on a camping trip. After a good dinner they retire for the night, and go to sleep. Some hours later, Holmes wakes up and asks his faithful friend. “Watson, look up at the sky and tell me what you see.” “I see millions and millions of stars, Holmes” replies Watson. “And what do you deduce from that?” Watson thinks for a minute. “Well, astronomically, it tells me that there are millions of galaxies and potentially billions of planets. Astrologically, I observe that Saturn is in Leo. Horologically, I deduce that the time is approximately a quarter past three. Meteorologically, I suspect that we will have a beautiful day tomorrow. Theologically, I can see that God is all powerful, and that we are a small and insignificant part of the universe. What does it tell you, Holmes?” Holmes is silent for a moment. “Watson” he says. “Someone has stolen our tent!”

While assumptions in humour are entertaining, they have no redeeming value in practical day to day living. God warns us about the practice of making decisions based on assumptions in –

Proverbs 18:13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

A problem with assumptions is that the reality of the situation is unexpected and one has not prepared to deal with that.

An assumption is a way that we understand something based on our experience or expectation, and not especially founded in reality. We live in a world of people who not only think, but act on their assumptions. We see in these Scriptures that –

a. Paul the Apostle – assumed that he would appease the church Acts 21:26
b. The Jews of Asia – assumed that Paul had defiled the Temple Acts 21:27-31
c. Claudius Lysias, the chief captain. – assumed that Paul was an Egyptian criminal.

Acts 21:32-40

Eve assumed that the serpent was telling her the truth. He planted the thought that God’s Word was not necessarily true and definitely was not authoritative. She assumed she would be the improved version of herself!
Jacob’s daughter, Dinah, assumed the world would think the same way as her family thought.
Ahab assumed that he could hide in a crowd. He also did not accept God’s Word as true!
Josiah assumed that he could disobey God and still be protected. Josiah believed that God’s Word was true, but in this case, it was not binding on him because of a promise. Does salvation give the believer the license to sin? NO!
The Prodigal Son assumed his companions were his friends, but when his money ran out, so did they.
People assume –
They will go to heaven – if they are sincere
Doctrine is not important
Personal testimony is only their business
A.W Tozer stated, “Any faith that does not command the one who holds it is not a real belief; it is a pseudo belief only. And it might shock some of us profoundly if we were brought suddenly face to face with our beliefs and forced to test them in the fires of practical living. Many of us Christians have become extremely skillful in arranging our lives so as to admit the truth of Christianity without being embarrassed by its implications.”
We must not live by assumptions on our part. If we do not know or are not sure, ask questions and search out the truth.
On the other had, sometimes we already know the truth and we do not ask because we do not want to hear. We believe that we will have an excuse if we do not ask.
Once the truth is known, submit to it.
Are you saved?
Are you serving?
Are you a testimony, a witness unto the Lord in Word, appearance, and deed?

3. The Anger at Paul’s defense. Acts 22:1-23

a. Paul’s strategy Acts 22:1-23

1). To Identify. 22:1-5

a). Attention. 22:1,2
b). Ancestry 22:3a
c). Academic credentials 22:3b
d). Attitude 22:3c-5

2). To Inform. 22:6-22

a). His account of meeting the Lord 22:6-16
b). His amazement at the command of the Lord. 22:17-21
c). His audience rejected his ministry. 22:22,23 “…at this word…”

They hated his teaching and therefore they hated him. They could not stand the truth that he shared later in his letter to the Romans –

Romans 3:28-30 Therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith without the deeds of the law. Is he the God of the Jews only? is he not also of the Gentiles? Yes, of the Gentiles also: Seeing it is one God, which shall justify the circumcision by faith, and uncircumcision through faith.

Romans 10:12-13 For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.
This is a familiar occurrence for those who maintain a witness of the Truth. Note –
Luke 4:24-29 compare with Acts 22:21,22

Remember that the personal testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ, 11 Apostles, 70 faithful disciples, and multitudes of others had no influence on Judas Iscariot. People have their issues that they place before submission to God.
It may be prejudice as in the case of the Jews. “A Western religion”
It may be power and position as in the case of Judas
It may be procrastination as in the case of the young man that asked Jesus that he might go home and bury his father first.

Luke 9:59-60 And he said unto another, Follow me. But he said, Lord, suffer me first to go and bury my father. Jesus said unto him, Let the dead bury their dead: but go thou and preach the kingdom of God.

The Lord teaches us very clearly through His Instruction, through the examples noted in His Word (as we have read today), and through our own life experience that we cannot control the responses of others. We can only offer an honest and clear testimony of God and His love for the world as shown through His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Luke 14:26-27 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

The child of God should not have to hesitate in the decision of following Jesus!

4. The Arrest of Paul. Acts 22:24-23:35

a. The appeal process begun. Acts 22:24-30

1). The prejudice. 22:24-25a To be compelled to tell the truth.

a). Kindness rejected.

(1). Rescued Paul from the mob. 22:24a
(2). Required Paul to be scourged (beaten, tortured in order to know the truth)
22:24b, 25a
(3). Rational – Paul would not tell the truth willingly.

The statement of the events speaks to man’s prejudice. Our sin nature predisposes us to be suspicious of others. We judge others unfairly. The captain had no idea who Paul was, but he knew that he was not like himself, so he supposed he would not simply tell the truth when asked.

b). Kindness required – as a child of God we should share His care for man.

Psalms 145:9 The LORD is good to all: and his tender mercies are over all his works.

Note the following

(1). Abraham. Genesis 18:1-5 “…three men…”
(2). Commandment. Exodus 22:21; Psalm 146:9
(3). Jesus Christ – the perfect!

(a). The Samaritan woman. John 4:9
(b). The Gadarinian demoniac. Mark 5:1-7
(c). The woman in Sidon. Mark 7:24-26

And all of this may be illustrated by the kindness and compassion shown by the Samaritan traveler to an injured stranger. Luke 10:30-33
We see again that which we already know – men have a natural inclination to distrust others. This inclination leads men to have contempt and/or fear of those that they do not know or understand.

I thank God that while we were at enmity with Him, He convicted our hearts of our sinful state, convinced us of His love, called us to Himself to salvation.

Romans 5:8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.

We were loved while being unlovable.

I understand the Roman captain’s prejudice against Paul because I identify with it in the flesh. I know of God’s love for the unlovable and I know that as a child of God, I am to identify with and imitate Him.
My problem with myself is when, during this study, I followed His Word to Luke 6:35 and find it so difficult to identify with Him “…for he is kind unto the unthankful and to the evil.”
A kind nature will separate the child of God from the natural man’s inclination to prejudice.

2). The protection. 22:25b-29 Protected under Roman law.

God ordained human government and He uses it as He wills –

Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

God’s protection to accomplish His purpose –

Acts 9:15-16 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
a). God used Paul’s identity.

(1). Of the Jews, a Pharisee
(2). Of the Romans, a citizen

b). God used Paul’s individuality.

(1). His attitude. “…for to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain…”
(2). His action, to stand alone when necessary!
(3). His abilities – he was a communicator, able to speak to people from all walks of life.

We must look to ourselves in the wholeness of our person, our preparation, our purpose
(“…and ye shall be witnesses unto me…”) May we say with the Apostle Paul –

Galatians 2:20 I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.

Paul knew that God made no mistake in calling Him as the Apostle to the Gentiles and to speak before rulers and kings! His greatest desire was to serve the Lord, but beyond his own desire, he knew there was a call upon his life to do so – he, being constrained by God’s call – pressed forth to do more.

Romans 1:14-16 I am debtor both to the Greeks, and to the Barbarians; both to the wise, and to the unwise. So, as much as in me is, I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

I not only need to take advantage of, I need to accomplish the purpose that God has for me being in this place at this time.

I may ask myself, what is God’s purpose for me? The answer is clear – to be a witness unto the Lord Jesus Christ – “…ye shall be witnesses unto me…” Everything else is to that purpose!
You are in a peculiar position to witness to people that others may not be able to witness to.
Where you were born,
What family you were born into,
What language you speak,
What community you associate with,
What opportunities you have.
All of these things have brought you to where you are in this time and place. The question is “What are you going to do with who you are and what you have”?

Remember the life of Joseph? He went from –

1. A Son – favoured
2. A servant – fearful

Genesis 42:21 And they said one to another, We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we saw the anguish of his soul, when he besought us, and we would not hear; therefore is this distress come upon us.

3. A saviour of his people – faithful. God showed Himself faithful in the life of Joseph!

Genesis 50:20 But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but God meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this day, to save much people alive.

This thought should lead us to this determination – Romans 12:1,2

1 Timothy 2:1-4 I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

From the threshing floor to the throne – God will have all men to be saved! We have the message of life – the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

3). The process. 22:30 Due process

Note that God authored law providing social justice.

The Ten Commandments contain four laws regarding man’s relation with God and six regarding man’s relation with man. If the first four are submitted to by faith, they will influence the application of the relationship with man.

Matthew 22:37-40 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

When God is honored, man is blessed!

Mankind needs to remember that God’s laws provide for truth and equity and are foundational to the laws of society that provide the same! Note the recent article in the newspaper from woman in Penang ridiculing the Lord’s injunction that wives submit to their husbands. She does not realize that God provides protection for women through the responsibility He requires of men to respect them, the fathers to provide and protect them, and for husbands to love them.
Now, moving on to the Word before us –

b. The authority of the High Priest respected by Paul Acts 23:1-5

1). The Reaction of the High Priest. 22:1,2 He was offended by Paul’s statement.

He was stating that he was right and they were wrong. He had submitted to the truth and they were still rebelling against it. These are they he was speaking of in –

Romans 10:1-3 Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.

2). The Rebuke from Paul. 22:3 He got personal in his rebuke. “…thou whited wall…”
3). The Reason for his reply – did not recognize him as the High Priest. 22:4,5

A number of reasons for Paul not recognizing him have been given, but he realized that he should not have said all that he said in this official hearing. Refer to 22:30

4). The respect shown. He should have followed the example of the Lord – question the action without a personal attack on the office of the High Priest. Refer to John 18:22,23

Exodus 22:28 Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.

c. The animosity between the Jews. Acts 23:6-11 Pharisees and Sadducees.

Rage replaced reason on the seat of judgment.

1). His conclusion – he would not receive a fair hearing. (from circumstances of 23:1-5)
2). His confession – 23:6
3). The council divided. 23:7-9 Refer to Acts 5:34-39

Paul turned the council against one another, making the issue about them instead of him.

4). The chaos. 23:10
5). The comfort. 23:11 The presence of the Lord.

Paul had a lapse of good judgment in rebuking the High Priest. He was immediately smitten through the knowledge of God’s Word and apologized for the personal attack. He was then able to consider his situation and through clear thinking was able to escape this hearing uncondemned, but it may have seemed to him that he was back in the same place he was before. He had made no advance in securing his freedom. In the middle of this difficult situation, the Lord comforted Him and reminded him that He was not through with him – that God was going to use Paul to witness to kings.

We learn again that we are not to get discouraged in our walk with the Lord. Though the world seem like it is against us with trouble on every side, God is with us –

Romans 8:31 What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?

b. His present. Acts 26:12-23

1). The Intervention of God. 26:12,13
Paul had received a commission to destroy the church. God intervened –

a). To protect the Church.

Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

b). To prove that Jesus of Nazareth is the Christ. He is Lord!

2). The Investigation of Paul’s heart. 26:14,15
The questions asked –

a). Why are you persecuting me (Jesus)?

When a person trusts God for salvation, a personal relationship is established by God. What is done to the believer is done to Him. Read Matthew 25:34-40

John 15:4-5 Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, except it abide in the vine; no more can ye, except ye abide in me. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

b). Why are you rebelling against the Truth?

(1). Paul had heard the Truth preached. Read Acts 6:9,10
(2). Paul had rebelled against the truth, but he was constantly faced with it. 26:10,11

Acts 22:19-20 And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.

(3). Paul was being convicted ‘pricked’ by God, the Holy Spirit.

To “kick against the pricks” was a common saying for someone who was being stubborn. The ox cart driver had a long pole with a sharp point. When the ox would refuse to obey, the driver would prick him with the stick. Often, the ox would kick against the prick, only hurting himself more. The driver would stop pricking the ox once the ox was obedient.
When a person was stubborn and rebelled against the Word of God, the Holy Spirit would prick his heart, encouraging him to obey. This is called ‘conviction’. Read John 16:7-11, especially verse 9.

3). The Incredible testimony – 26:16-23 Two things are important to know –

a). Who Paul is speaking to –

Paul was speaking to a Roman Governor and a non-Jewish King. Neither of these men would understand the personal relationship with God that Paul is preaching of.

(1). The Roman governor, Festus, was compelled by law to worship the Emperor, Caesar.
(2). The King, Agrippa, would worship the God of the Nation of Israel, but not understand the individual family relationship introduced by the Lord Jesus Christ.
Read John 3:1-7

Romans 8:14-17 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together.

b). Who Paul is speaking about – The Lord Jesus Christ
The testimony preached 26:16-23

4). The Interruption of the testimony 26:24a

“…And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice…”

It is sad that the preaching of the truth of God is often rejected –

1 Corinthians 1:18 For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.

c. His plea. Acts 26:24-32

1). A common response. 26:24b

“…Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.”
Refer to Acts to note similar reactions to this message!

Acts 17:18 Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.
Acts 17:32-33 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. So Paul departed from among them.

2). A concern for souls. 26:25-29 Paul pleaded with them to hear.
3). A conclusion without conviction. 26:30-32

What about you today? Has the Lord intervened in your life to show you your need?

4. The treacherous voyage. Acts 27:1-44

a. The departure – A congenial beginning Acts 27:1-3

1). The Centurion – an officer of the first order.

a). His prestige – Officer in a respected legion.
b). His power – refer to 27:11 He had authority over both the ships helmsman and the ships owner. Normally the ships captain has absolute authority of his ship.
c). His position – escort prisoners from Caesarea to Rome.

2). The companions of Paul – Luke and Aristarchus
3). The course was pleasant. They had smooth sailing and made good time.
4). The courtesy extended to Paul.
“Courteously entreated” – from the Greek word ‘Philanthropis’ – the love of man.
The Centurion treated Paul with kindness and respect.

b. The difficulties encountered Acts 27:4-12

Often when things are going well, we begin to expect everything to be easy. When we are faced with difficulties, they seem overwhelming in comparison and we are prone to make bad decisions seeking a way to return to the easy life.

1). They were weary. 27:4-8 Notice how Luke describes this second part of their journey –

“…the winds were contrary…”
“…sailed slowly many days…”
“…scarce were come over…”
“…the wind not suffering us…”
“…hardly passing it…”
At best, sailing one of these ships was hard work, but here we find that the voyage had become very difficult. The sailors had to use all of their knowledge and skill in battling the winds and the seas in order for this ship to reach this safe harbour. The crew and the passengers must have been very happy to reach this port known as ‘Fair Havens’.

2). They were warned. Acts 27:9,10

Paul, the prisoner, gave a warning about continuing on at this season. I am sure that the ship’s captain as well as the Centurion wondered what this teacher would know about the dangers of traveling on the sea.
About three years prior to this, Paul had written a letter to the Corinthian church from Macedonia and he shared with him his testimony. Note what he wrote in 2 Corinthians 11:23-27. “…thrice (three times) I suffered shipwreck…”. Paul knew what he was speaking about and they should have heeded his advice.

“What does this teacher know”? This thought reminds me of what the disciples may have thought when they were in a dangerous storm out on the lake. Read Mark 4:37-41. “…so that it was full…” Why did they wait until the boat was about to sink before they woke the Lord? They may have thought ‘He is a carpenter’ – ‘We have fisherman who earn their living on this lake’! They thought they could deal with the situation in their own strength and wisdom. It was only when they believed all was lost that they called upon the Lord!

3). They were wanting. They wanted more than Fair Havens offered –

We want to be reminded here by the Word of God in this account how quickly men become dissatisfied with what they have. We rejoice and are pleased at the first, but there is a saying that can be true if we let it “familiarity breeds contempt”. We get tired of that which we were so happy with.

Paul had learned to control his desires for the good of his ministry and of his life. He would be content to wait at this safe haven even though it may not have offered a comfortable stay. His goal was to preach at Rome and waiting here was the most reasonable thing to do. Refer to –

1 Corinthians 9:24-27 Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain. And every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things. Now they do it to obtain a corruptible crown; but we an incorruptible. I therefore so run, not as uncertainly; so fight I, not as one that beateth the air: But I keep under my body, and bring it into subjection: lest that by any means, when I have preached to others, I myself should be a castaway.

c. The decision to continue Acts 27:11-13

We must seek our leadership from God through His Word. Beware of a sign, a south wind blowing softly, for it may be leading you to desperation and destruction. We need to seek Godly counsel and then when it is given, do not ignore it. This passage reveals, again, our inclination to the desires of the flesh and how we may justify our actions based on circumstances instead of the Word from God. Those involved in the decision wanted to be in a place they perceived would satisfy their desires. They had come into a place where they could wait until it was safe to continue, but it was not what they considered to be a comfortable place to wait.
It is sad to note that, instead of heeding advice from the man of God, they moved at the first opportunity to satisfy “their purpose”, not to continue on to Rome with all haste, but to find a more comfortable place to wait.
“…And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phenice, and there to winter;…”

By ignoring Godly counsel and seeking self, they came through terror and ended in the loss of everything except their lives.
We have heard so many people say over the years “We should have waited. We should have sought the will of God and submitted to it.” It is better to decide to follow God now. Follow His starts and follow His stops. Stay close to Him!

Mark 6:31 And he said unto them, Come ye yourselves apart into a desert place, and rest a while: for there were many coming and going, and they had no leisure so much as to eat.

John 11:15 “…nevertheless let us go unto him….”

d. The dangerous voyage Acts 27:14-20

1). The determination. They would continue even though the wind was changing. 27:14
2). The desperation. 27:15-19
Again, notice the words Luke uses to describe the desperate situation –

a). “…The ship was caught…” A.T. Robertson in his Greek grammar states that it is as the ship had be seized by a great monster!
b). ‘Tempestuous’ – this is the same word we use for “typhoon”
c). “…helps, undergirding…” – using ropes to wrap around the ship to help keep it from breaking apart.
d). “…strake sail…” – they brought down the rigging as there was no use in fighting against the wind. They would use a smaller front sail to keep the ship headed into the waves so they would not roll the ship over on its side.
e). “…lightened….” They threw all of the excess cargo and then furniture of the ship overboard.

3). The despondency. 27:20 They lost all hope of surviving.

e. The deliverance of God. 27:21-44 Here the Lord again strengthens Paul to lead. He –

1). Established his credibility. 27:21 Paul had been right when he warned them-
2). Encouraged them with the message from God. 27:22-25
3). Exhorted them to be prepared for the work ahead. 27:26-41

a). They must stay together. 27:26-32 They need all of their knowledge and strength.
Notice that the Roman soldiers did not question him this time – they acted quickly!

b). They must work together. 27:33-41 A great deal of courage and strength was going to be needed to survive. Paul ministered to them –

(1). Spiritually. He prayed for the Lord’s blessings.
(2). Physically. He provided an example for them and bread to eat. A positive influence.
27:35,36
(3). Continually.

The words in 27:33 – “…And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat…” mean that Paul continued to encourage them until the morning light. The number of the persons aboard the ship is given as 276. We can imagine Paul, along with Luke and Aristarchus, moving among them throughout this stormy night, taking each man some bread and encouragement.

4). Escaped from the danger, all safely reaching land. 27:42-44

We have no idea how many times have men been rescued from an untimely death because a child of God was in their midst?

If we can use our imaginations and picture the Apostle Paul lying on that beach, the wind still howling and the waves still pounding, wet, exhausted and thanking God for His deliverance, we may ask ourselves this question – Why the storm?
God had promised Paul that he would reach Rome and that he would testify of the Lord there. We would have expected a simple cruise across the sea and a safe march up the Italian road to Rome. Remember God’s promise in

Acts 23:11 And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.

And also in 27:24 “… Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar:”
We learn again that the Lord will bring glory to Himself by working through His children.
Because of this storm Paul went from being an ordinary prisoner to being feared and favoured. On this ship were three faithful servants of the most High God. The other 273 people – soldiers, sailors, merchants, and prisoners, people from all walks of life, listened to the preaching, heard the promises, and saw the power of God through the life of His witnesses.

We do not look forward to storms in our lives, but God has promised to bring us through them unto Himself. We have a sure destination – it is the journey that holds trials and tribulations. Luke, through the leadership of God, has penned down this account to encourage us in our journey – to trust God in the storms, and to praise Him for the testimony we may have for Him.

Will you, as Paul did, trust God in the midst of the storms of life?
Will you, as Paul did, help those that may not believe you and have involved you in a troublesome time?
Paul was confident that he would be safe – he was concerned for the others –
“…Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.”

5. The Trust rewarded. Acts 28:1-31

Melitis is known to be the Island of Malta. Publius was the ruler of the Island under the direction of the Roman governor of Sicily. He was in authority over the Roman troops garrisoned on Malta. The travelers spent three months here while they waited for safe sailing weather. We see that they were –

a. Received by the inhabitants of the island. Acts 28:1-10 They were –

1). Protected from harm 28:1-6

a). The people’s reception. 28:1,2
b). The people’s reaction. 28:3-6

The people of Melitis helped the men to a safe place out of the storm. They prepared a fire to help warm them from the cold and dry them from the rain and sea. It is interesting to note Paul’s character. Neither as an apostle or a prisoner did he leave work for others to do. When the fire needed more wood, he collected a bunch that had been set aside and put it on the fire. A snake that had been resting in the wood was excited by the heat of the fire and struck out at Paul. Through this incident, we see the people’s reaction.

(1). Their surprise 28:3

Probably no one was surprised more than Paul was. It seems that there was one terrible thing after the other –
The lying accusations against him.
The unjust imprisonment
The dangerous storm and shipwreck
Now – he is collecting wood to help the others and he is bit by a poisonous snake.
What did he do? He trusted God – again. He threw the snake into the fire and kept on doing what he had been doing! The Lord, through the Apostle Peter, told us how to look at these things – how to understand them –

1 Peter 4:12-13 Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.

Troubles are a part of life. God will give His children the strength to endure and overcome them. He will bless us and He will receive glory through these times.

(2). Their superstition 28:4-6

(a). The fear –

They believed that ‘Vengeance’ would chase down the guilty and exact revenge. They had a distorted idea of the true justice of God. We should remember that the world’s idea of God is always distorted. They think that He is like them or their gods.

(b). The fact – Men, all of mankind, are accountable of God and will answer to Him. No person can hide from God’s justice!

Amos 5:18-19 Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! to what end is it for you? the day of the LORD is darkness, and not light. As if a man did flee from a lion, and a bear met him; or went into the house, and leaned his hand on the wall, and a serpent bit him.

Psalms 139:7-12 Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there: if I make my bed in hell, behold, thou art there. If I take the wings of the morning, and dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea; Even there shall thy hand lead me, and thy right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me; even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee; but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.

(c). The future. Everyone, every person from every time, will stand before the Lord and admit that He is God-

Philippians 2:9-11 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

(3). Their submission. 28:9
They trusted the man of God and in turn trusted the God of the man.

2). Prayers answered. 28:7-10

a). They had a good relationship with the governor.
b). They had a good opportunity to minister to the people.
c). They had a good testimony upon their departure.

God continued to lift up the testimony of His prisoner and glorify Himself throughout this journey.

b. Reception in Italy. 28:11-16 Family everywhere there is a believer!
Paul was encouraged by the –

1). Fellowship of the brethren. 28: 14,15
2). Freedom afforded to him. 28:16
He was allowed to dwell in his own house instead of a prison cell.

By this time we can imagine that those making this journey with Paul believe that he is no ordinary man. Our hope is that they came to the realization that he was and ordinary man with an extraordinary Saviour!

1 Thessalonians 1:5 For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.

c. Requesting information of the Jews. Acts 28:17-22

1). He informed them of –

a). His appeal to Caesar. 28:17-19
b). His belief resulting in the appeal. 28:20

2). He inquired of their knowledge of his case. 28:21,22
The accusations of those Jews in Jerusalem would not have reached them yet, as Paul had just recently arrived.

d. Reasoning from the Scriptures. Acts 28:23-29

1). The Word was preached. 28:23
2). The Word was effective. 28:24-29 As we have seen so often.
a). Some turned to God.
b). Some turned from God.
Paul quoted Isaiah 6:9,10 to reprove them for their unbelief.

Matthew 21:42-44 Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord’s doing, and it is marvellous in our eyes? Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof. And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.

Read Isaiah 55:1-11 We see here that God foretold the rejection of His Word and His turning from the nation of Israel to the Gospel to the Jews and Gentiles.

e. Remarkable grace of God. Acts 28:30,31

Romans 15:29 And I am sure that, when I come unto you, I shall come in the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.

Paul remained in prison in Rome for two years ministering to those in that city and to the world through the letters the Holy Spirit lead him to write.

The Lord has blessed us greatly with the letters to the:

Philippians –

Philippians 2:5-7 Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:

Colossians –

Colossians 3:1 If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God.

Ephesians –

Ephesians 1:12-14 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ. In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

Philemon –

Philemon 1:8-18 Wherefore, though I might be much bold in Christ to enjoin thee that which is convenient, Yet for love’s sake I rather beseech thee, being such an one as Paul the aged, and now also a prisoner of Jesus Christ. I beseech thee for my son Onesimus, whom I have begotten in my bonds: Which in time past was to thee unprofitable, but now profitable to thee and to me: Whom I have sent again:… If thou count me therefore a partner, receive him as myself. If he hath wronged thee, or oweth thee ought, put that on mine account;

Paul was finally released for a time. We have no information as to whether he had a trial before the Emperor or if Nero simply decided the case had no merit and Paul was not guilty of any crimes. Either way, Paul was released and he continued his ministry until he was arrested again a few years later. In this second imprisonment he wrote to Timothy and encouraged him –

2 Timothy 2:9 Wherein I suffer trouble, as an evil doer, even unto bonds; but the word of God is not bound.

I have heard it said that we are in Acts 29 – carrying the Gospel to the ends of the world until the Lord returns. We must determine to be faithful in the Lord’s work –

Titus 2:13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ;

A you looking for that Blessed Hope today? Are you saved? Are you serving?

Bibliography

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Old and New Testaments in the King James Version
Thomas Nelson Publishers
Nashville

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1892

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Charles Caldwell Ryrie
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A Verse by Verse Commentary
John R. Rice
Sword of the Lord Publishers
Murfreesboro, Tennessee
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Electronic Edition

The Acts of the Apostles
Jamieson – Fausset- Brown Commentary
Electronic Edition

The Acts of the Apostles
Matthew Poole’s Commentary on the Whole Bible
Electronic Edition

Acts
A.T. Robertson’s Word Pictures
Electronic Edition

St. Paul the Traveller and the Roman Citizen
William Ramsey
Kindle Electronic Edition

The Life and Epistles of St. Paul
The Rev. W.J. Conybeare, M.A.
The Very Rev. J.S. Howson, D.D.
Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company
Grand Rapids, Michigan
Reprinted, June 1983

The Life of St. Paul
James Stalker, M.A.
Zondervan Publishing House
Grand Rapids, Michigan

A Harmony of the Life of St. Paul
According to the Acts of the Apostles
And the Pauline Epistles
Frank J. Goodwin
Baker Book House, Grand Rapdis, Michigan
Eleventh Printing 1977

The Apostle Paul
Alexander Whyte, D.D.
Published by Jennings and Graham
Cincinnati

The Voyage and Shipwreck of St. Paul
James Smith Esq., of Jordanhill, F.R.S.
London
Longman, Brown, Green, Longmans, and Roberts
1856

The Land and the Book
Southern Palestine and Jerusalem
W.M. Thompson, D.D.
New York
Harper and Brothers Publishers
1880

Orientalisms in Bible Lands
Edwin Wilbur Rice, D.D.
Philedelphia
The American Sunday School Union
1816 Chestnut Street
1910
The Complete Works of Flavius Josephus
Flavius Josephus
Translated by William Whiston, A.M.
Kregel Publications
Grand Rapids, Michigan
1981

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About sjbjburke

I am an evangelist that enjoys Bible study and I look forward to posting outlines and receiving helpful comments. My wife and I celebrated our 40th wedding anniversary in 2010 and we enjoy serving the Lord together.
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