The Pleasure Mad Society

A New Church in Corinth

Book of Acts Chapter 18

No matter what happens during mission work we must see that all the work done for the Lord Jesus Christ is honorable work.

Manual labor should never be seen as beneath the hands of God’s people!

God’s people must always be seen as unblameable in the way they behave in this world.

We know that the Apostle Paul is now on his second missionary journey.

We know that Timothy and Luke will be with him with Barnabas and Mark going in a different direction.

Paul had been to Athens, but he had been laughed out of town because of his message on Jesus Christ, but not before at least a few Athenians got saved.

This is how important it is that we preach and teach the “Gospel” and not some other message, because at least a few will always understand the truth and others will have the “Gospel Seed” planted within them, and the Holy Ghost can convict them of the truth of Christ from time to time.

Paul had now arrived in the city of Corinth.

Corinth was a major city in Greece at this time and was located at the southern tip of Greece.

Corinth was located on a piece of land that was only five miles across and bordered by two harbors, one on its east coast and another one on its west coast.

It is said that there was a means to drag a ship from one coast to the other to speed up the shipping process, probably a canal.

All traffic from north to south passed right through the city.

This made the city of Corinth a city with immense wealth.

People from many nations could be found at Corinth.

Corinth was home to a pleasure mad society!

The temples in Corinth were dedicated to Aphrodite the so-called goddess of fertility.

Corinth was also a sport minded society being the home for the Isthmian Games which was second only to the Olympic Games.

The city of Corinth was a place for much sin, but Corinth was also a place where the Gospel could be spread around the world.

The Apostle Paul had become discouraged in Athens and it showed as he entered into Corinth.

Paul, just like we all are, was at the mercy of God and we see right off God would supply his need.

Athens had been a place of closeminded people.

This is the normal results of philosophical and intellectual teaching!

Intellectual pride closes a person’s mind to the truth of God!

As witnesses for the Lord Jesus Christ, we must choose to use our time where it can produce more fruit, unless directed by the Holy Spirit in a case such as Phillip, who was called out of a revival to witness to one man.

Once some are saved, we must spend some time to disciple them according to the Word of God or most of them will fade away and be useless to God.

*Act 18:1 After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth;
Act 18:2 And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them.

God knew that Paul had been discouraged in Athens and immediately and God gave Paul two new friends.

Aquila and Priscilla were two Jewish believers that had left the Church at Rome because of the persecution of Christians caused by the Emperor Claudius.

Claudius had demanded that all Jews leave Rome.

All who were Jews by birth, whether they were Jews or Christians were commanded to leave Rome.

Some say this happened because of attacks of the unbelieving Jews on the believing Jews.

Aquila and Priscilla became two of the best friends of the Apostle Paul and they were active Christians.

Rom 16:3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:
Rom 16:4 Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.
Rom 16:5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.

Paul had entered Corinth with fear and trembling and until he met Aquila and Priscilla, Paul had truly little strength and was most probably broke and broken.

1Co 2:1 And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
1Co 2:2 For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
1Co 2:3 And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
1Co 2:4 And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
1Co 2:5 That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.

The Jews were all taught a craft as they grew up and Paul’s craft was tentmaking and God sent Aquila and Priscilla who were also tentmakers, and they formed a business together.

These two Christians later traveled with Paul to Ephesus where they settled.

One thing we see about these two Christians wherever we find them, we find their home is a center for Christian worship and Christian fellowship.

Remember they met a young preacher named Apollos who they brought into their home to instruct him as he had known no one but John the Baptist and knew nothing of Jesus Christ.

Act 18:24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus.
Act 18:25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.
Act 18:26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.

They held church in their home in Corinth.

1Co 16:19 The churches of Asia salute you. Aquila and Priscilla salute you much in the Lord, with the church that is in their house.

They held Church in their home in Rome.

Rom 16:3 Greet Priscilla and Aquila my helpers in Christ Jesus:
Rom 16:4 Who have for my life laid down their own necks: unto whom not only I give thanks, but also all the churches of the Gentiles.
Rom 16:5 Likewise greet the church that is in their house. Salute my wellbeloved Epaenetus, who is the firstfruits of Achaia unto Christ.

They had certainly been Paul’s helpers.

They had risked their own lives in order to save the Apostle Paul!

Paul encouraged them all to get back to the work of the Lord.

*Act 18:3 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.
Act 18:4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.

Paul was never too good to work in support of himself to do the work of the Lord!

Paul was not always supported by the churches he had formed and sometimes those churches that did support him was just slow in getting to him.

When Silas and Timothy arrived, they brought some support from the church in Philippi.

Php 4:15 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.

The church at Philippi supported Paul all his remaining days because it was a mission minded church from the start.

Paul did not ever hesitate to work with his own hands to further the Gospel, it just took some of the time he could have been preaching.

Paul did what was necessary to reach people for Jesus Christ.

Paul reasoned with the Jews on every Sabbath.

Some may frown on this, but this was the only time the Jews would be gathered together in one place.

Paul presented sound, thoughtful, logical points and Paul answered all reasonable questions.

Paul did all he could to convince these Jews and these Gentiles the truth of Jesus Christ as the Son of God.

We should never be demanding, or argumentative when witnessing for Jesus Christ!

Isa 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.

Paul never got tired of talking about the Lord Jesus Christ!

Act 20:31 Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears.

Col 1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
Col 1:29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily.

Paul became more relaxed and excited when Silas and Timothy returned to him.

*Act 18:5 And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.
Act 18:6 And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.

There should be no doubt in our minds that the Lord Jesus Christ is God’s Messiah whom the entire Old Testament speaks of.

All the Bible and all the Scriptures reveal Jesus Christ from Genesis to Revelation!

Paul had been discouraged yet Paul would never quit on God!

Silas and Timothy had brought wonderful news about the churches in Macedonia.

Silas and Timothy had also brought financial support which allowed Paul to devote full time to the work given to him by Christ.

Those in the Jewish synagogues opposed and blasphemed the Lord Jesus Christ and rejected the teaching of the Apostle Paul.

Paul turned his ministry into a ministry to reach Gentiles.

This turning point began in the ministry to the Corinthians.

Note that Paul was not pronouncing a curse upon these Jews.

Paul was just stating that his obligation to the Jews first was over, that he had met his responsibility to them.

Paul was free of their blood if they never repented.

We have this same responsibility to the lost, but if the salvation plan of the Lord Jesus is rejected then we are free from their blood.

Mat 10:12 And when ye come into an house, salute it.
Mat 10:13 And if the house be worthy, let your peace come upon it: but if it be not worthy, let your peace return to you.
Mat 10:14 And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.
Mat 10:15 Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.

As we witness to the lost, we can turn from those who continuously reject the Gospel and continue on to others who have not had that same opportunity.

*Act 18:7 And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man’s house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue.

Notice how the Holy Spirit works.

Paul would no longer preach in this synagogue, but without a doubt there would be times that the Word of God could be heard through the sharing of walls.

Paul also knew it would be easier to find for those converts who were seeking to hear the Word of God.

This passage proves that the physical location of a church remains important!

The Apostle Paul was now identified as the missionary to the Gentiles.

Paul could associate with them because they were now his true brothers and sisters in Christ!

Rom 12:3 For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.
Rom 12:4 For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:
Rom 12:5 So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.

There was one man in particular that came to know the Lord Jesus Christ and all his family believed also.

*Act 18:8 And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.

Notice again how the Gospel works.

Crispus, who was the chief of this synagogue came to know the Lord Jesus and then his entire family also believed.

This is the power of a godly father.

Today in America the father is a missing ingredient in far too many families!

Inside this new church would be others who were saved from a lifetime of immorality and corruption because this was the population of Corinth.

Rom_10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.

We have no reason to be ashamed of our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ!

Rom_10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

The strongest churches have members from all levels of society!

The words of the Lord always prove to be the truth!

Act 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.

The Lord said he would never forsake us, and He meant what He said and He always means what He says.

How did the Lord Jesus help Paul?

*Act 18:9 Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace:
Act 18:10 For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.

We already know there is a lot of difference between a vision and a dream.

Because of the riches in the City of Corinth, this city was full of rich and powerful people.

It could be rather intimidating to witness to most of them.

The Jews had already rejected the message of Christ Jesus.

Paul did not know how long he would be able to preach to these Gentiles.

We can also see that the Lord Jesus Christ always has His eyes upon us and He sees what we are going through.

It is easy to get discouraged when witnessing for the Lord.

Here where I live in the Bible Belt everyone you meet will say they are saved when this cannot be true.

Paul was human as we all are, and we all are dependent upon the Lord Jesus for His presence and His encouragement.

We do not have to be afraid!

We do not have to feel intimidated!

Paul’s life had been threatened many times.
Paul had been persecuted relentlessly.
Paul had been stoned to near death.
Paul had been opposed even by some in the Church.
Paul had been beaten by rods which would be like a fiberglass fishing rod.
Paul had been cast out of many cities.

Paul thought upon these things as he faced the unknown in this city of Corinth.

Yes, he needed the help of the Lord, and the Lord is always right on time.

The city of Corinth was one of those places where we wonder if it is really worth the effort to tell such people about the Lord.

The storms of life will come and they will be numerous and it will never be easy to be a Christian in such places as Corinth, but it is the Lord who decides where we live and where we are born and He has His purpose.

We are to be missionaries to the place that the Lord has placed us!

There are no accidents in this world.

If you accept the providence of God then you now that this is true so, everything happens for a reason.

If we do not believe in the providence of God, then we are missing out on reality!

Act 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.
Act 17:29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device.
Act 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent:

The Lord Jesus knew exactly what Paul needed to hear.

There would certainly be those who would try to cause Paul harm, except for the fact that the Lord was not going to allow this to happen.

We sometimes forget the absolute power of God!

There were more Christians in Corinth than Paul realized.

The Lord said: be not afraid. Paul had the ability to preach boldly, and he needed to continue to do so.
The Lord said: speak. All Paul had to do was to speak the words that the Holy Spirit would give to Him.
The Lord said: Hold not thy peace. Preach the Word.

Certainly, Paul might be attacked for his stand on the Lord, but this same Lord has said Paul would come to no harm from them.

2Ti 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
2Ti 1:8 Be not thou therefore ashamed of the testimony of our Lord, nor of me his prisoner: but be thou partaker of the afflictions of the gospel according to the power of God;
2Ti 1:9 Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began,

Paul was faithful to the Lord’s calling!

*Act 18:11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

How can we say we have “faith” if we give up or cower down every time things get a little tough or even a lot tough.

We cannot lose our salvation because of our faith!
We cannot live on spiritual highs; we live on faith!
We must endure some things because we have this faith!

We must walk by “faith” and not by our “feelings”!

What many do not realize is, that during this time of Paul’s teaching, he also wrote the two epistles to the Thessalonians.

Authoring the books of the New Testament that Paul wrote, were just as important as his preaching to the plan of God.

1Ti 1:12 And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
1Ti 1:13 Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious: but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.

We do many foolish things when our faith is lacking!

We need to stay as close to Jesus as we can possibly get!

The Lord Jesus loves it up close and personal with each of us!


Church Planting

A New Church in Thessalonica

Book of Acts Chapter 17

We should understand in this world we live in that there are some who will go to great lengths to shut up the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

It should not be surprising when our enemies try to use lies in trying to stop the spread of the Gospel!

Thessalonica was the largest city and the capitol of Macedonia.

It was founded by Sassander, who was the top military officer of Alexander the Great, after the death of Alexander.

The Romans made Thessalonica a free city because it was loyal to Rome.

A free city was allowed to form its own government and make local laws.

Thessalonica was also a port city but the key to the importance of this city was the fact of the roads built by the Romans.

This road was called the Ignatian Way. This road was also the main street of this city.

As this city became more of a city of commerce, it also became more wicked.

It is true that money is the root of all evil!

The Gospel could still spread from such a location.

The Apostle Paul was the messenger sent from God to bring the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

It is said that there were twenty-two synagogues in this city at this time in Thessalonica.

*Act 17:1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews:

1) The Apostle Paul set an example for all believers, but he also set an example for all future missionaries.
2) The Apostle Paul preached the Gospel despite great opposition and terrible persecution, from those who would not accept the Gospel. Paul belonged to the Lord and he had been called by the Lord to preach the Gospel.

The Apostle Paul had a personal relationship with the Lord and this is a requirement for every believer.

Even more than we, Paul knew that there were very many who had never heard the Gospel.

In fact, if everyone in this world had heard the Gospel already then the Lord would have returned to take us home.

We must keep in mind, those who have never heard the Gospel are doomed to eternal damnation and this should bother us greatly.

The Lord Jesus Christ loved this entire world and the proof is, He came to save as many who will believe Him and the work that He did, so we could be saved from the wrath of God.

All the world’s people must get this opportunity!

2Co 5:14 For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead:
2Co 5:15 And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.

3) The Apostle Paul preached the Gospel wherever he was at.

Even when Paul was just passing through, he paused long enough to preach the Gospel.

Rom 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:
Rom 15:21 But as it is written, To whom he was not spoken of, they shall see: and they that have not heard shall understand.

Paul is our example to tell the world about the Gospel, no matter where we are located.

Paul did not miss any opportunity to witness for Jesus Christ!

We, as the Church, need to make our own plan to share the Lord Jesus Christ to all we make contact with but it must match God’s plan.

1Pe 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:
1Pe 3:16 Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

*Act 17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures,
Act 17:3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.

We are not all called to preach, but as the Lord’s priests, we are to be bold in our presentation of the Gospel!

We must understand that it is the things we believe that give us direction for our lives!

Where did Paul get his sermons? From the Scriptures!

The Word of God gives the source for the truth of Jesus Christ, but also gives us “the Authority to speak in His name”!

All the Word of God came from Heaven!

We should never come up with our own ideas about the Gospel, it is already written in the Blood of Jesus Christ!

1) Jesus Christ died for our sins.
2) Jesus Christ arose from that death proving that He is God.
3) The Lord Jesus is the true Messiah (the Christ) spoken of in the Old Testament.

Act 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
Act 2:24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

Paul preached in the Jewish synagogues for three sabbaths, but he spent the remainder of those weeks witnessing to the Gentiles.

Paul remained in Thessalonica for a considerable amount of time.

1Th 2:9 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.
1Th 2:10 Ye are witnesses, and God also, how holily and justly and unblameably we behaved ourselves among you that believe:
1Th 2:11 As ye know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father doth his children,
1Th 2:12 That ye would walk worthy of God, who hath called you unto his kingdom and glory.

The Lord Jesus Christ is our example in all things, but Paul could be an example to us for his dedication to preaching the Gospel.

When people would object as Paul preached in their worship centers, Paul would go door to door and even outdoors if that was needed.

When the church would not or could not support Paul, he got a job himself. The spreading of the Gospel was just that important to him.

Rom 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.

The results will always be that some will believe and those that believe are just one step away from salvation!

They just need to pray to the Lord and ask for His forgiveness.

Faith must always come first.

*Act 17:4 And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.

The Jews are some of the most biased people and they ate blinded by their prejudices of people on this earth, yet some got saved and began serving Christ.

Sin can be overcome in any life, no matter how deeply rooted it may be, but only by the power of Jesus Christ.

We must never allow the gross sin of any individual keep us from witnessing to them if we get that opportunity.

Many of the Greek men and women got saved and became devout in the worship of Jesus Christ.

Many of them were sick of idolatry.
They were sick of speaking to them and get no response.
They were even sick of dusting them off every day like a normal household chore.
They were false gods who could not possibly offer any help to them.

Many of them now saw hope for the first time and that hope was in the Word of God!

You see there is a truth of eternal life, but it comes from God through His Son Jesus!

There will also be those who reject the Word of God and Satan causes them to turn to hatred toward those who do believe.

*Act 17:5 But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.

Envy leads to strife, division, and hatred.

Paul preached against these things many times having seen them firsthand on his journeys.

1Co 3:3 For ye are yet carnal: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men?

Tit 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and
hating one another.

We must understand that the world is going to react to the Gospel and not always in a good way!

Satan will do his best to stop the preaching of the Gospel but it is impossible for him to do so!

Notice these unbelievers were not brave enough to stand against the Christians themselves, but they hired wicked people to confront those new believers. That word “baser” gives us the meaning of our word “wickedness”.

This is exactly what is going on in America today and around the world, as most of the governments in this world are behind this push of the wickedness of the gay world to confront the Church for them. God always knows what is going on!

Antifa, the BLM, and yes even Soros and many others receive money and encouragement to go after the Church and they receive this money from the government.

These people are always ready to stir up trouble for the Church and the governments are most always behind it!

It is our own government who are trying to shut the mouths of the Christians who take a stand on the Word of God.

These sorts of people are a dangerous threat to all believers and also to themselves.

Throughout history, these sorts of people have been used time after time to try to oppose any movement of God.

We are blind if we do not see this today!

We sometimes ignore what the carnal governments are doing, so they enlist the help of these baser sort today when they would normally not get involved and stay behind closed doors.

These were men with selfish motives.
They spread rumors as they talked against Church leaders.
They aroused those who were ill-informed.
It was religious leaders who were speaking against the Church.

It was the religious leaders who brought those false charges against the Lord Jesus.
It was religious leaders who convinced the government to kill the Lord Jesus.

Religionist (Jews) are people who were moved with “envy” against Paul and the Gospel.

Envy can also mean jealousy.

Many Jews and Greeks were turning to Christ.

They were jealous because another preacher was getting the attention and recognition, following, and loyalty of the people!

These Jewish elders could not stand this!

They assaulted the house of Jason which had become a church in a home.

*Act 17:6 And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also;
Act 17:7 Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.

The important thing that we should notice is, that in these three weeks a Church had been formed.

It is true that Paul had been staying at this home of Jason, but he and Barnabas were out spreading the Gospel, they were not hiding.

Paul was not ashamed of the Gospel!

Going against the law, these wicked men had dragged Jason and other believers out of his house and presented them to the rulers of the city.

They wanted Jason and these men along with Paul and those with him, charged with insurrection.

Yes, the Gospel does change lives!

Yes, the Gospel does turn men and women and children from sin and shame to God and from immorality to purity by the blood of Jesus.

Of course this charge was false!

Christians are some of the most civil people in every nation.

They are diligent workers, causing no trouble and paying their taxes because this is what the Word of God teaches.

Yes, Christians will take a stand on the Word of God, but God does not expect us to start trouble or break laws.

Does the Gospel cause a disturbance in a community? Not in the way these men described. Christian communities are orderly.

Many things have been done in the name of Christianity, but it was not Christians that did these things.

Not every building with a cross upon it is a true house of God!

Not everyone who name the Lord Jesus their Lord are God’s children!

Christians will never threaten public peace!

The Gospel will never put people in an uproar!

The Gospel does not ever infringe on the rights of others!

These charges were false in the sense these accusers meant.

These same charges are made against Christians even today, but it is only because the world has made itself self-righteous.

One charge stated that Christians claim a new King.

What the Bible teaches is the Lord Jesus Christ will return as King. He is our High priest at this time.

So this charge was also false!

Those who do not have the Holy Spirit within them, will never understand the preaching of the Gospel nor the Word of God!

What did Paul preach?

1Th 4:11 And that ye study to be quiet, and to do your own business, and to work with your own hands, as we commanded you;
1Th 4:12 That ye may walk honestly toward them that are without, and that ye may have lack of nothing.

Yes, the Lord Jesus is King but he is King of Heaven and King in my heart and in every heart of the Christian.

Joh 18:36 Jesus answered, My kingdom is not of this world: if my kingdom were of this world, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews: but now is my kingdom not from hence.
Joh 18:37 Pilate therefore said unto him, Art thou a king then? Jesus answered, Thou sayest that I am a king. To this end was I born, and for this cause came I into the world, that I should bear witness unto the truth. Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice.

The Lord Jesus rules and reigns in the hearts of each believer!

No earthly power need be concerned about Christ seizing power upon this earth because this is the period of Grace and the opportunity for whosoever will to be saved!

What the job of the Church is to start is a “spiritual revolution” and a revival of God’s people.

Godly men and women and even children become more loyal and more responsible citizens because this is what God demands of us.

It is the ungodly who cause most all the problems in this world!

It is the ungodly who cause the collapse of governments!

It is the ungodly who are dishonest and corrupt!

Pro 14:34 Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.

Until they knew the truth this government was concerned.

*Act 17:8 And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things.
Act 17:9 And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go.

During elections those in office have a fear that they could lose their positions.

This scenario is not much different.

If the news of another King reached Caesar in Rome, they were afraid it could affect their livelihood and their positions.

They placed Jason under bond much like those are released from jail on bond today probably for a pledge of his good conduct and should commit no treason, but the other brethren were released without such a bond.

Paul and Silas chose to leave the city for a time.

1Th 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.
1Th 2:18 Wherefore we would have come unto you, even I Paul, once and again; but Satan hindered us.

Why do most sinners reject the Lord Jesus Christ? Because of what it might cost them!

As Christians we are to deny this world.

We must die to our own desires and ambitions and serve the cause of Christ.

Rom 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
Rom 8:12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors, not to the flesh, to live after the flesh.
Rom 8:13 For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live.
Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

By the lead of the Holy Spirit, Paul just moved to the next city.

*Act 17:10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.

We should notice how brave Christian believers become after knowing the truth of the Gospel.

Jason could no longer allow Paul and Barnabas and those with him to stay in his home, not because he was afraid for himself. He did this for their own safety.

Jason was not about to turn them in to the authorities!

So they escaped under the cover of darkness.

Every believer must have such courage especially in our day and times.

The day is coming that we might have to risk imprisonment just because we claim the Lord Jesus Christ, especially our Pastors and Preachers.

Berea was a pleasant out of the way place located at the eastern slope of the Olympian Mountains about 50 miles from Thessalonica.

Berea was not located on the Ignatian Way the main road running through that country of Macedonia.

Yes, the message of the Gospel is intended to turn this world upside down!

Yes, we must do what it takes to save the lives of our true preachers!

No, we are not afraid of death, but let’s leave this in God’s hands and be about the business of spreading the Gospel.

As soon as Paul reached Berea he found a synagogue of the Jews and he went in to share the Gospel.

Paul found something was different in this city.

*Act 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

A noble people are more concerned about what is going on in the world around them.

A noble people will have a greater concern about God and the things of God.

These people knew what was going on in the big cities like Thessalonica, just as we can see what is going on in New York City and Washington DC and California, and they did not like it.

They knew that God alone was the answer to this world’s problems.

Act 10:35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him

These people were receptive to the Word of God.

These people had a well-balanced temperament.

These people had a healthy attitude toward other people.

These people showed concern about the welfare of others.

These people showed concern for the truth.

Most of this world shows no concern for the truth!

We would be in shock to know all the truths of corruption in our own government.

It is the truth that makes us free!

The natural man shows “bias” and “prejudice” against the truth of the Word of God, which is all truth when rightly divided.

It is because the Word of God is the truth that we must surrender to it!

We must never surrender to the lies and corruptness of this world we live in, which has truly little truth in it!

The only answer for this world is the Lord Jesus Christ!

Rom 15:4 For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope.
Rom 15:5 Now the God of patience and consolation grant you to be likeminded one toward another according to Christ Jesus:
Rom 15:6 That ye may with one mind and one mouth glorify God, even the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

This truth is never going to change!

Paul Preached:

1Th 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

A noble people will investigate, study, and seek to verify the truth!

A noble people do not just shut their minds or hearts to the things that are going on around them and just accept it as reality, as our own government encourages us to do.

A noble people do not just accept and swallow all the things that are said in this world.

How does anyone just do this?

Our own government speaks to us as we are just ignorant people not knowing anything.

Our own government speaks down to us.

Noble people do not accept these things.

A noble people trust God!

Isa 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.
Isa 1:19 If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:
Isa 1:20 But if ye refuse and rebel, ye shall be devoured with the sword: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.

Therefore many of them believed the preaching of the “Gospel”.

*Act 17:12 Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.

Most noble people know the truth when they hear it.

They find out that God will reward every diligent search for the truth.

They find out that God will reveal the truth to the human heart by the Holy Spirit.

We see that the Gentiles in Berea were just as noble as these Jews in the synagogue.

There is something to said of honorable people.

Joh 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

The Gospel is for all men, women, and children!

Even a child can know the truth just by hearing the Word of God!


God Will Open and Close Doors

An Open Door for Ministry

Book of Acts Chapter 16

If we belong to the Lord Jesus Christ, then we must always follow the lead of the Holy Spirit!

Many people fall into the trap that the Holy Spirit is a “thing” or they say “it” when the Holy Spirit is a person, in fact the third person of the Holy Trinity.

One man said the Holy Spirit was only an influence emanating from God the Father.

This man was condemned by the Council of Churches, but his teaching still exists in many cults, one being the Jehovah’s Witness.

We must understand that only the Holy Spirit can understand the mind of the Lord Jesus.

1Co 2:11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.

The Holy Spirit has a will that matches the Will of God!

It was the Holy Spirit that forbad the Apostle Paul to preach in Asia, but directed Him to preach in Europe.

It was our Heavenly Father who sent the Holy Spirit to guide us in the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ!

Joh 14:16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
Joh 14:17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.

Joh 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

It is the Holy Spirit who will guide us to the truth of our world!

Joh 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
Joh 16:14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
Joh 16:15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

Knowing all these things we would be foolish not obey the lead of the Holy Spirit!

The Apostle Paul knew this to be the truth!

*Act 16:6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia,
Act 16:7 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not.
Act 16:8 And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas.

We should understand that when we are in the ministry for Jesus Christ, we will be led step by step by the Holy Spirit who lives within us!

It seems that when Paul finished his first mission trip and after a while, he had returned to Antioch of Pisidia, and Paul was deciding upon a second missionary trip and just where he would begin.

The Holy Spirit forbade Paul to go westward into the Roman province of Asia, which is now Turkey and not modern Asia.

Paul was planning to penetrate Asia for the Lord Jesus Christ.

It is good to note that the seven churches from the Book of Revelation are all in this part of Roman Asia which again, is not Asia as we know it today.

The Holy Spirit also forbade Paul to go towards the North.

Paul could have ignored the guidance of the Holy Spirit and Paul’s missionary journeys would have ended with no results.

So the only direction that was left was to go toward Troas.

It was at Troas where Paul had his vision of Macedonia, we call the Macedonian Cry.

*Act 16:9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us.
Act 16:10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.

Paul saw a vision during the night but we should not think of this as a dream. There are differences between a vision and a dream.

A vision is applied to things seen of a marvelous character seen objectively such as the Transfiguration of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Mat 17:9 And as they came down from the mountain, Jesus charged them, saying, Tell the vision to no man, until the Son of man be risen again from the dead.

Dreams are far different!

Notice that the Holy Spirit did not just come out and tell Paul what to do.

The Holy Spirit opens and closes doors.
The Holy Spirit tugs at our heart.
The Holy Spirit sees if we are listening.
The Holy Spirit stopped Paul from making his own plans.

We see that we cannot have our own salvation plan, we have to trust the Lord in His plan!

Paul’s plan was still important, the cities of Asia certainly needed to be reached for Jesus Christ.

We can just say that Paul’s timing was wrong, and did not match the will of God at that time.

Note, the Apostle Paul was not given any reason for the rejection of his plan, the Holy Spirit just closed that door.

In fact, all doors were closed except for the direction Troas.

We can also understand that Luke has now joined to this group of missionaries.

Luke may have joined to help take care of Paul.
Luke may have joined to be a medical missionary.
We can be sure that Luke joined this group because the Holy Spirit led him to do so.

We can understand that Luke was a medical doctor.

The truth is, that only God knew His reasons for choosing Europe and we know that God knows best.

We know that God follows His own sure plan that He knows will work best for His own will to be followed.

What is the will of God?

1Ti_2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

God wants everyone to be saved but God leaves that choice up to us.

Paul now had his direction, and he already knew his message which was to preach the Gospel, the same message we all have.

The Holy Spirit shut the door to Asia.
The Holy Spirit shut the door to Bithynia.
The Holy Spirit opened the door to Troas.
The Holy Spirit showed Paul the vision of the man in Macedonia.

Paul followed the lead of the Holy Spirit, knowing that this was the right thing to do.

*Act 16:11 Therefore loosing from Troas, we came with a straight course to Samothracia, and the next day to Neapolis;

Once we understand that the Holy Spirit is opening the right door, then we should immediatly obey the Lord’s call!

God had chosen that the Gospel should first go to Europe!

This does not mean that God would not send someone else to Asia, it just was not going to be the Apostle Paul at this time.

What group has hindered the spread of the Gospel as much as Satan?

We would have to say it is the Church simply because the Church has not always entered into the doors opened by the Holy Spirit, but many times have chosen to barge through the doors that were closed by the Holy Spirit.

It is the same for not praying when encouraged by the Holy Spirit to pray.
It is the same for everyone who gives to promote the Gospel when the Holy Spirit has pushed us to give more.
It is the same when the Lord called us to be His witnesses but we ignore that person the Holy Spirit has drawn us to witness to.

We should remember a few things!

Mat 7:21 Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; “but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven”.
Mat 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name have cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?
Mat 7:23 And then will I profess unto them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.

Again I can feel the guilt of myself as I study these passages.

The Apostle Paul once wrote about his conversation with a king:

Act 26:19 Whereupon, O king Agrippa, “I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision”:
Act 26:20 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.

How many of us can say these words that Paul said?

How many of us can say, “I have never been disobedient unto our heavenly calling”?

*Act 16:12 And from thence to Philippi, which is the chief city of that part of Macedonia, and a colony: and we were in that city abiding certain days.

At this time Philippi was the gateway to Europe and it lay on a road built by the Romans.

The way was called the Ignatian Way.

The city of Philippi was named after Philip of Macedonia who was the father of Alexander the Great.

Philippi was now a proud Roman colony and, in many ways, it was like a miniature of Rome.

Rome founded these colonies to help keep the peace. Rome also encouraged veteran soldiers to retire in these colonies and would grant them citizenship if they did so and many did.

These colonies were loyal and their service was to Rome. They totally rejected the influence of the world around them!

The location of the Philippian Colony assured the spread of the Gospel to the Gentiles!

Both businessmen and salesmen travelled to and from this city from all over the world.

We know that Paul desired to evangelize Rome, but we should also notice that the Gospel moved at a faster pace than did the Apostle Paul.

Act 28:13 And from thence we fetched a compass, and came to Rhegium: and after one day the south wind blew, and we came the next day to Puteoli:
Act 28:14 “Where we found brethren”, and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went toward Rome.

The Church at Philippi was founded on Paul’s second missionary journey, and so begins the Gospel into Europe and from Europe all around the world.

The Gospel came to America from Europe.

Paul had wanted to go to other places, but the Holy Spirit insisted that the Gospel go to Europe first.

Note, Paul was not the only missionary, and the Gospel was moving in all directions at all times just as it is today.

Paul had gone to Troas because it was the only open door to him, but Paul did not understand these things at that time.

By one vision the Holy Spirit changed the cradle of society, and the world has not been the same since.

Let us take a quick look at the founders of the first church in Philippi.

Lydia a businesswoman.

Act 16:14 And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, which worshipped God, heard us: whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul.
Act 16:15 And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there. And she constrained us.

A slave girl who was possessed by an evil spirit.

Act 16:16 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying:
Act 16:17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation.
Act 16:18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour.

A jailer who was guarding the Apostle Paul who had been locked up again for preaching the Gospel.

Act 16:27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled.
Act 16:28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here.
Act 16:29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas,
Act 16:30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
Act 16:31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

Now if these people could start a Church for Jesus Christ then it should not be a problem for anyone if we would just listen to the Holy Spirit and go where he says to go and never try to barge through a closed door!


Keep the Gospel Simple

The Gospel Plain and Simple

Book of Acts Chapter 15

What does God say about the “Gospel of Jesus Christ”? God says to keep it simple.

What upsets God the most? Changing the meaning of His words!

Rev 22:18 For I testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book:
Rev 22:19 And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

This passage is ignored more than any other passage in all the Bible by those who want to argue over the Word of God.

People are always saying; God did not mean what He said, but God always means what He says, and God also says what He means!

While most of the Apostles were still living and even some of the family of Jesus were still living, there was a council called in Jerusalem by the first church that was established in Jerusalem.

What was the end result of this great council?

That mankind is saved by the “Grace” of God through “Faith” alone, period!

Eph 2:8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Eph 2:9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.

There is to be nothing added to the Grace of God or it would not be “Grace”!

These certain men, Pharisees, were not opposing the Apostle Paul, though it was Paul they pointed their fingers, they were opposed to the Lord Jesus Christ.

They were opposed to Christianity!

If you are opposed to the Lord Jesus Christ, then you cannot be saved!

Is a ritual or ceremony necessary to be saved? No! Salvation is by “Grace”.

Does each individual have to accept the whole Law of Moses before they can be saved? No! Salvation is by “Grace”.

No matter how solid the Church congregation is, Satan will do his best to cause confusion in the Church.

If even one false preacher is allowed to preach in a Christian Church and he preaches a false doctrine, there will be someone in that group of Christians who then have doubt in some doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ and they will cause confusion in the Church.

1) All preachers must be screened before they are allowed to preach because some are false prophets.
2) All God’s people must be settled on the Word of God and the Doctrine of Grace!

What is the “Doctrine of Grace”?

Grace is the unmerited, undeserved favor of God toward all mankind and is displayed in His care for us.

In reality by the operations of the Holy Ghost (Holy Spirit) exercises moral influence on man through His special revelation, that sin is restrained, order is maintained in life, and righteousness is of God.

It is by God’s “Grace” those general blessings, such as rain and sunshine, food and drink, clothing, and shelter, which God imparts “indiscriminately” in what manner seems good to Him.

Mat 5:45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.

Psa 145:8 The LORD is gracious, and full of compassion; slow to anger, and of great mercy.
Psa 145:9 “The LORD is good to all”: and his tender mercies are over all his works.

This same Grace and goodness of God extends to all mankind.

God does not play the “bias” or the “race” game!

Those that believe that God has a part in all the bad things that go on in this world should know that God is good to all people!

Rom 2:4 Or despisest thou the riches of his goodness and forbearance and longsuffering; not knowing that the goodness of God leadeth thee to repentance?

It is the “Goodness” of God that allows the “Grace” of God, so there can be only one Savior.

1Ti 4:10 For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

It is the same Holy Spirit who holds back the unrelenting sin in the world until all mankind gets an opportunity to be saved!

2Th 2:6 And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
2Th 2:7 For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way.

When the Holy Spirit is removed at the Rapture of the Church, then the “Grace of God” will cease for seven years and those who rejected the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ will begin to understand just what “Grace” meant.

The “Grace of God” is an opportunity for us to claim God’s “Goodness”! We may not have this opportunity for very much longer!

“Grace” involves the truth of the Word of God!

Rom 10:17 So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.

In our Chapter today we get to see the first battle of Satan trying to make a mockery of God’s Grace.

We get to see how “legalism” first stuck its ugly head up trying to enter the Church and it did.

*Act 15:1 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.

If legalism had infiltrated the early Church the whole character of Christianity would have been changed and the Church would certainly have failed!

Legalism destroys the love of God!

Gal 5:2 Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.
Gal 5:3 For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law.
Gal 5:4 Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.
Gal 5:5 For we through the Spirit wait for the hope of righteousness by faith.
Gal 5:6 For in Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love.

1) There had already been problems with the unbelieving Jews and we will see this continue.

2) There had already been problems with unbelieving Gentiles and this will continue and we see that it has.

3) Now we get to see problems within the Church by members who get confused by false preachers.

Confusion destroys churches!

The Church began to have problems between the Jews and the Gentiles.

These Jews, these Pharisees, had accepted the true Messiah, the Savior of the world but under the one condition that the Gentile nations would become Jews.

Judaism is full of “ritual” and “ceremony”. In Christianity, salvation is by “the “Grace” of God with no ritual and no ceremony.

Even today this false doctrine still creates havoc in many churches!

These men from Judea came to the Church in Antioch Syria and mixed with true believers and taught their own ideas because these ideas are not in the Word of God.

There are far too many false preachers today who preach their own ideas of salvation and who reject salvation is an act of God’s Grace.

We are wrong to teach any doctrine not in the Word of God!

We are wrong to listen to the doctrines of some man!

God has made sure that a Bible is available to every Christian so we can know the Word of God ourselves!

These false preachers and false teachers were Pharisees so, they were well versed in the Scriptures of the Old Testament, but the New Testament was just being written as the Church grew.

The Apostle Paul wrote about half of the New Testament, with the Apostle John and Luke both writing a good bit of the New Testament and a few other writers including Peter, Jude, and James both the stepbrothers of the Lord Jesus Christ.

If what these men said was considered to be important, it would certainly cause confusion in this young Church and they would certainly be upset.

It is these things that cause churches to split and many have over these very things.

Legalism can destroy the Church!

When we feel like our eternal fate is at stake, we can get confused if we ignore “salvation by Grace”.

Notice, these men did not say the all Christians should undergo these rituals to be obedient to Scripture, or to please God, or to the please the Church, or to show your love for God, or some other things.

These men said we must all go through these rituals and be circumcised “to be saved”!

They said it was these rituals that brought salvation and not the “Blood of Jesus Christ”.

God’s “Grace” plus any ritual is false teaching.
God’s “Grace” plus man’s own hand is false teaching.
God’s “Grace” plus man’s own work is false teaching.
God’s “Grace” plus anything is false teaching!

Grace saves us, because of God’s love!

God’s love brings God’s “Grace”.

Circumcision was only a “physical sign” that a Jewish man was a follower of the One True God.

It was a “sign” that Jewish man believed the promises God made to Abraham and to Israel.

Circumcision is just “a sign” and has no salvation value!

Faith had to come before circumcision!

Rom 4:11 And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised: that he might be the father of all them that believe, though they be not circumcised; that righteousness might be imputed unto them also:
Rom 4:12 And the father of circumcision to them who are not of the circumcision only, but who also walk in the steps of that faith of our father Abraham, which he had being yet uncircumcised.

Even Abraham had faith before he was circumcised!

The Jews made much more out of circumcision than God intended, and this is what ritual and ceremony can cause.

Circumcision was never a sign of righteousness!

Gal 6:15 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.

Col 2:11 In whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ:
Col 2:12 Buried with him in baptism, wherein also ye are risen with him through the faith of the operation of God, who hath raised him from the dead.

Any man, woman, or child, who is “Born Again” by the Spirit of God, then become God’s New Creatures!

Joh 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.
2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

2Pe 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

God saves only those whose, body, mind, and soul, are focused upon His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ!

Baptism is just being obedient to the Lord Jesus Christ and has nothing to do with salvation!

We are all baptized by the Holy Spirit to be “Born Again”!

Every Christian must stand up against any teaching that goes against salvation by the “Grace” of God through His Son the Lord Jesus Christ!

*Act 15:2 When therefore Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and disputation with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas, and certain other of them, should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question.

Many of the Jewish converts were still zealous for the Law.

In reality, the Laws given to the Jews are good to live by.

The Ten Commandments are still considered the moral law and we should observe them.

The Jews were given 613 laws that pertained to every facet of their lives and those laws have not been rescinded.

These laws were given to the Jews and God has never said they would lead to salvation!

It is true that if someone could keep all 613 of these laws, they would be considered righteous, and righteousness is part of salvation.

The fact is, that there has never been a single human being that has kept all 613 of those laws and to break even one brings the sentence of death.

Rom 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:
Rom 3:11 There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God.

Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;

The Lord Jesus Christ is the only person who kept all 613 of those laws, proving His own righteousness.

Because most of the Apostles were still alive at this time and still in Jerusalem, then Jerusalem was the place where these things would be settled.

We should understand that this issue was critical to Paul because he was the Apostle to the Gentiles.

Paul’s commitment to the Lord would not allow him to waste time in useless argument and neither are Christians to argue the Word of God with non-believers!

2Ti 2:15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2Ti 2:16 But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness.

There must never be useless arguments over what God has said!

2Pe_1:20 Knowing this first, that no prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.

All arguments over what God has given to us in His Word are useless!

The Church at Antioch was not seeking for the Church at Jerusalem to enlighten them on the Doctrine of Salvation, they already knew where they stood and this church would have separated itself from the church at Jerusalem rather than give in to false doctrine!

The Church at Antioch sent Paul and Barnabas:

1) Because all the Apostles needed to be on the same page.
2) If the Apostles agreed it would carry a great weight in spreading the Gospel.
3) A declaration by the Church at Jerusalem would provide a great weapon in evangelism.

Many rituals were observed at the Church at Jerusalem because it was a church full of converted Jews, but if the Church would reject ritual salvation with a strong verdict, then salvation by “Grace” alone would be greatly strengthened.

Tit 3:4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared,
Tit 3:5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost;
Tit 3:6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
Tit 3:7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.
Tit 3:8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly, that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable unto men.

Titus, a Gentile did travel with Paul and Barnabas and Titus completely understood the outcome of this council was particularly important.

The Church won this first battle because the Church adhered to the truth of God!

The Church can win every battle if we all just cling to the truth of the Word of God!

As Paul traveled to Jerusalem he preached in as many churches as he could.

*Act 15:3 And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.

It is important for us to consider that when the new Churches had witnessed the preaching of the Apostle Paul they knew they needed to use great effort to keep him preaching in as many places as possible.

It is the same for any church that has a great preacher, that church needs to help in getting his sermons to as many other places as possible.

We do this well here at Gethsemane but we can still do better.

Obviously we need to help all our missionaries as best we can!

Persecution had driven many believers to Phenicia.

Act 11:19 Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.

There may have been a church there, but they were not involved in missions.

The Church at Samaria had been established by Philip and Peter, and John.

Act 8:5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.

Act 8:24 Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.
Act 8:25 And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.

Still these churches were not involved with missions and were excited to hear what the Lord had done on Paul’s first journey.

There was excitement even in Jerusalem.

*Act 15:4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them.
Act 15:5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.

Salvation by the Lord Jesus Christ is certainly enough to cause excitement in any church, it is certainly “Good News”.

This excitement is what the “Good News” of the Gospel can cause.

There are always questions about the simplicity of salvation and there will always be those who reject this simplicity.

Rom_12:8 Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.
2Co_1:12 For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward.
2Co_11:3 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.

It is by a lack of “faith” in the truth of God that people want to add to the Word of God!

These Pharisees who had accepted the Lord Jesus as the true Messiah was a natural result after the Scriptures were explained to them!

Once their eyes were opened to the truth of Christ they were bound to see the evidence in the Old Testament Scriptures.

If they were honest and open in their hearts, then the Holy Spirit would certainly have convicted them, and they could have been converted from Judaism to Christianity.

Christianity is not a growth from Judaism! Christianity stands alone as the only means of salvation!

Most of these Pharisees saw Jesus as a fulfillment of Judaism and not a replacement.
Most of these Pharisees saw Jesus as an addition to the Law and not replacing the Law.
Most of these Pharisees saw Jesus as an addition to their rituals not replacing them.
Most of these Pharisees saw Jesus adding baptism to the ordinances and not replacing those ordinances.

The Pharisees who had a lifetime commitment to the Law would be very slow to give up the Law!

They would be slow to accept the “righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ”!

In Antioch, the question had been “does a man have to be circumcised to be saved”?

All of a sudden in Jerusalem, the question became “does a man have to keep the whole Law to be saved”?

This is the story of legalism!

These people are never content until they keep adding to the Word of God and the simplicity of God’s Grace making a mockery of the truth of God and His Son and even the Holy Spirit who declared the Word of God to be only from God and not from man.

2Ti_3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

**We should ask ourselves, what can we do to gain favor with God, when we know that God is no respecter of persons. We must accept His Son.

Act_10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:

When we insist in a works doctrine, we call God a liar!

**We could ask ourselves what kind of work will make us righteous when God says that none of us are righteous nor can we be, again making God a liar.

Rom 3:10 As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one:

Do we come to the Lord with or own package of works, or do we come seeking the “mercy” of God?
Do we come to the Lord to be praised for our works, or do we come to praise the Lord for what He has done for us?
Do we receive the glory of God because of our own goodness, or is God’s glory given to us because of the glory He has given to His Son?

When the Apostle Paul stood before these elders and the church, he declared what the Lord had done and not what he (Paul) had done.

God will only save mankind by “Grace through Faith” because God is the only One who can accept us into His family!

What were these Pharisees doing? They were tempting God!

“They had the gaul to ask God to declare Himself” when God has already given us His Word!

It was now time for the Church to act on these things.

The answer to these things would either stop the Church or the Church would grow in Spiritual Knowledge.

We already know that it is impossible for this world to stop the Lord’s Church!

*Act 15:6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.
Act 15:7 And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.
Act 15:8 And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;
Act 15:9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
Act 15:10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?

The Church at Jerusalem met together. The Apostles, the Elders, and the congregation, because the importance of this decision is far too important to ignore.

Notice the Apostles were not being Lords over the Church.

The Elders were not being Lords over the Church.

We see there was much disputing, so all sides were represented. No one was ignored or silenced!

The biggest problem with the Pharisees is that they had for many years been legalistic in their approach to God and they had caused much harm to Judaism.

The Apostle Peter hit the nail on the head when he said, “Why Tempt Ye God”.

It is God the Holy Spirit who moves into each child of God and brings salvation to each individual.

These Jews nor these Pharisees had ever been able to keep all those 613 laws, so why would they ever demand the Gentiles to be obedient to those same laws to gain salvation.

Those old laws were never about “Righteousness”.

Those laws were just a measuring stick to teach us all the path to righteousness.

Gal_3:24 Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster to bring us unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith.
Gal_3:25 But after that faith is come, we are no longer under a schoolmaster.

Then the Apostle Peter speaks, and all the religious world need to listen to what he said.

*Act 15:11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.

It was not the Law that saved all those in the church at Jerusalem, it was God’s “GRACE” and it is God’s “GRACE” that opens the door to salvation.

Peter said in so many words: “If our beliefs and hopes are the same as theirs, why should the Gentiles be urged to adopt observances which form to us no ground for our own hope of salvation”.

You see it was God alone who saved the Gentiles!
It was God alone who saved the Jews!

It is God alone who can forgive sin!

Salvation can come from no other source and this “Grace” comes only by the Lord Jesus Christ!

Cornelius and his house had believed the Word of God while Peter was still preaching and by “Faith” the Holy Spirit had moved into each believer.

No law was involved but the Law of Grace!

Only God knows our hearts.
Only God can bear witness to our faith.
Only God can send the Holy Spirit.
Only God could send the Holy Spirit to the Jews and to the Gentiles.

His name is Jehovah.

It is by “faith” that moves the hand of God! Not any ritual and not any ceremony and not anything called religion!

Peter knew that no Jew had been able to keep all those Laws and one failure brought the Judgment of God.

These Pharisees also knew this was true!

Peter knew one more thing, “Why do we question the Word of God”, it is extremely dangerous to question the actions of God!

All mankind is saved in the exact same way, and this is not ever going to change!

Rom 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Rom 3:24 Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus:
Rom 3:25 Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;
Rom 3:26 To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.

There is only one salvation source for the world God created and it is by the Lord Jesus Christ.

*Act 15:12 Then all the multitude kept silence, and gave audience to Barnabas and Paul, declaring what miracles and wonders God had wrought among the Gentiles by them.

It was God alone who verified the message of salvation by “Grace” with miracles and wonders, not points and arguments!

Those miracles show clearly that God approved the message of the Apostle Paul and Barnabas.

God keeps the message of salvation simple because He does not want anyone to stand up in the Judgment saying, “God, you made salvation too difficult for me”.

It is the truth that makes us free!

Paul preached to these same people on a later date.

Gal 3:1 O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you?
Gal 3:2 This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?
Gal 3:3 Are ye so foolish? having begun in the Spirit, are ye now made perfect by the flesh?

Legalism runs rampant in many a church today because “false prophets” push it.

It is only the Church who can put a stop to this foolishness by trusting the Word of God!


The Responsibilities of the Church

Responsibilities of Missionaries

Book of Acts Chapter 14

The goal of every church is to make disciples of Jesus Christ.
The goal of every disciple should be to lead someone to the Lord Jesus Christ.
The goal of every missionary must be to start a new church.

The truth in every step is to make sure we keep the Lord Jesus Christ the Head of the Church, the Head of each disciple, and the Head of every mission work.

No one can care for the Church like the Lord Jesus Christ can!

At every step in mission work, we must give God the glory!

It must be the responsibility of every missionary to keep in touch with the sending church and those that support them.

There is no other work more fulfilling than the Lord’s work!

There are certain responsibilities that go along with every mission work!

There are certain responsibilities that come from being a Christian!

We should understand this passage from Chapter 13 through Chapter 14 as the first great missionary journey of the Apostle Paul.

Remember Paul was not alone as Barnabas was with him and he may have picked up some disciples along the way, but I do not believe Luke was with him yet.

John Mark had departed from them and had returned to Jerusalem.

I believe we can understand that time spent around Elymas the sorcerer had scared Mark as he was still a young man and did not know what to expect from the spreading of the Gospel.

Mark became a victim of feelings and emotions.

John Mark got to see just how wicked and powerful the Devil truly is.

We know that Mark learned from these things and later became a valuable missionary in the cause for Christ.

Missionary work is not easy!

One man wrote that there are three stages of God’s work.

1) It is impossible.
2) it is difficult.
3) It is done.

In this passage we see another city named Antioch, but this city is in Pisidia and not Syria.

These are two different cities in two different countries.

This Antioch was the most important city in Galatia which is located in what is now modern day Turkey.

This same Antioch was a military center for Rome to control this area where there was much rebellion against Rome.

The major commercial route between the west and Ephesus and the Cilician cities ran right through Antioch of Pisidia.

There was now a church whose head was Jesus Christ that was started in this same city even through great difficulty.

There were enough believers in this city that it divided this city helped along by the vicious Jews that hated the Apostle Paul and the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul was even stoned.

Act 14:19 And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.
Act 14:20 Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.

Churches were established!

Evangelism will always have the goal that we must go to where the lost are located.

This is what the Lord Jesus did for us!

Jesus came looking for me and for you and for all that are now saved.

We will also see that once the Apostle Paul took the lead in Paphos, he continued to lead throughout this first journey.

Barnabas continued to support Paul throughout this journey.

Paul would soon be known to us as the Apostle to the Gentiles.

We can believe that the Holy Spirit was engaged in this also.

Paul made a habit of first going into the Jewish synagogues when coming to a new location before going to the Gentiles if one was there and he had his reasons and his reason was biblical.

Act 3:23 And it shall come to pass, that every soul, which will not hear that prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people.
Act 3:24 Yea, and all the prophets from Samuel and those that follow after, as many as have spoken, have likewise foretold of these days.
Act 3:25 Ye are the children of the prophets, and of the covenant which God made with our fathers, saying unto Abraham, And in thy seed shall all the kindreds of the earth be blessed.
Act 3:26 Unto you first God, having raised up his Son Jesus, sent him to bless you, in turning away every one of you from his iniquities.

The Apostle Paul became a preaching machine.

1Co 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.

Paul instructed Timothy how to be a Preacher in today’s world:

2Ti 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
2Ti 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
2Ti 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

We must understand that preachers are instruments in the hands of the Lord.

We must understand that true preachers are so surrendered to the cause of Jesus Christ that the Lord Jesus is able to use them to the fullest to bear witness to the “Grace of God” and His desire to save all.

In fact we are all that love Christ to be so surrendered that we want to be His servants through which He can live today inside us.

After Paul and Barnabas had completed this first missionary journey he made a U-turn and went back to each new church that was formed.

Every new church will still need some guidance.

*Act 14:21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch,
Act 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.

The first great task of the Church was to preach the Gospel, the Good News, and make disciples.

The instruction centers upon the truth of the Word of God.

Once the missionary leaves following the Holy Spirit then that new church, that new group of disciples must depend on the Bible to instruct them.

This is why the devil spends so much time trying to discredit the Word of God.

This is also why there are now so many different versions of the Bible with most of them being perversions of the Scriptures.

Act 13:38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:
Act 13:39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

Did Paul mean the laws of Moses were wrong? No!

Paul preached that salvation can come only by the Lord Jesus Christ. The laws of Moses were still good laws to live by for the Jews who they were given to.

The goal of the preacher is to make disciples and all the Word of God is important.

We must first accept that our creation was an act of God so we can acknowledge the power of God.

If God cannot create from nothing as He says, then He would hardly have the power to save.

The purpose of the Church will always be to make disciples that are usable to the ministry of the Lord Jesus Christ.

The city of Derbe was the furthermost frontier city of the Roman Empire in Galatia.

Derbe was located about 30 miles from Lystra on a road built by the Romans.

These roads built by the Romans did make it easier to spread the Gospel.

A church was established in Derbe by the Apostle Paul.

Paul revisited this church on his second missionary journey.

We should all understand that it takes a commitment to serve the Lord.

Rewards come by faithfulness!

There will be much persecution from many sources come to the Church all of which will be inspired by Satan.

We must believe that persecution will increase in these last days for it will. For some it will be much more severe than others.

Mat_5:11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Joh_15:20 Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.

We should also understand it takes time to strengthen and make true disciples and the work of the Church is not done until this takes place.

It is a lifelong thing!

This is why the growth of the Church is not in numbers. The growth of the Church is the Spiritual strength of its disciples!

Paul clearly understood these things.

For the preacher, the evangelist, the missionary, making disciples is not as exciting as leading the lost to the Lord, but it is just as important. It requires a commitment from both parties!

1) A group of good Christians can reach far more of the lost than one good missionary.

2) It takes a good group of Christians to support that good missionary.

The Word of God is not so hard to the faithful!

Continuing in the faith means much more than just believing in Jesus!

We must believe upon Jesus!

Every doctrine spoken to us by our Lord must be followed as He commands.

We must adhere to the written “Will of God”!

The Lord Jesus Christ did not come to debate the Word of God.
The Lord Jesus Christ came to give us the truth of God and His will for us.

His first will was for us all to be saved!

1Ti_2:4 Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

2Pe 3:9 The Lord is not slack concerning his promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.

Some people always ask, why has the Lord not returned because this world is so evil and wicked, we see this is the only reason that we should understand and continue in the work the Lord has given to us.

We need to be patient as the Lord is patient!

It is not God’s will that anyone perish in the depths of Hell.

We do this when we reject the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

We must understand and teach the basic beliefs and the doctrines of God’s Word!

What is the preacher to do?

2Ti 4:2 Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.
2Ti 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;
2Ti 4:4 And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.

When we know the truth, we will not so easily fall by the wayside but remain true to the “Gospel”

Every believer must know that when our job is done here upon this earth the Lord will make sure to take us to our Heavenly home and nothing upon this earth can stop this.

Joh 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
Joh 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.
Joh 10:29 My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.
Joh 10:30 I and my Father are one.

Every Church needs to be organized.

*Act 14:23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.
Act 14:24 And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia.
Act 14:25 And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia:

We must know that the Church is not a building, but it is that group who meet together in that building is the Church. In Derbe at this time they probably met in someone’s home, but they still needed to be organized.

With Paul’s help they ordained elders.

Ordination means to appoint, to elect, to choose normally by a show of hands.

This is God and men choosing.

1) Peter wrote:

Act 10:41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.

2) Paul wrote:

2Co 8:18 And we have sent with him the brother, whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches;
2Co 8:19 And not that only, but who was also chosen of the churches to travel with us with this grace, which is administered by us to the glory of the same Lord, and declaration of your ready mind:

This of course was Luke who was trusted by all the different churches.

Remember those first seven deacons were elected by the Church body and appointed by the Apostles.

This is how the Church works and they are to be independent bodies of Christ, linked together only by the truth of the Gospel and the love of Jesus Christ.

The main thing to remember in this is that it is the Holy Ghost that first chooses the preacher.

Act 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.

Act 20:28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

Every separate body of believers all belong to the Lord who purchased us all with His own blood!

Elders must be appointed according to these examples.

1) The Holy Spirit
2) The Church
3) Other preachers

Remember that we are all just instruments in the hand of God and He is still no respecter of persons and each of us are rewarded for the work that we have done ourselves.

Not only was the door of faith opened to the Gentiles but the entire world was open to the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

With the organization of the church at Derbe complete for now, Paul and Barnabas moved on to the other churches that had been established to do the same thing, the choosing of elders for that particular church.

Only then could Paul and Barnabas return to Antioch Syria to tell the Church what the Lord had accomplished.

*Act 14:26 And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled.
Act 14:27 And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.

During this first missionary trip we see some of the things that the Apostle Paul suffered.

Paul was stoned and left for dead because of certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium.

Some believe that Paul may have actually been dead and that this is the time that the Lord allowed him to view Heaven.

Notice these wicked men fell upon Paul and not Barnabas for they said Paul was the chief speaker and Paul vexed them much more than Barnabas.

These certain Jews were seditious and dangerous people.

These Jews could not bear that the “Gospel of Jesus Christ” should get started anywhere in the known world.

They simply did not understand the truth of the God that they to worshipped.

Paul was stoned by a mob without any judicial proceedings. Paul had committed no crime.

They had predetermined that Paul was not good enough to live in any city, anywhere.

Today we call this “bias” and it is “bias” that is causing most all the problems in our own nation and this “bias” is instilled by our own government!

When these things are not restrained it is very easy for them to instill evil on the other side and it is intentional.

There are now ears on both sides ready to hear and to react to anything said whether it is the truth or not.

Those that do this simply will not accept the truth of God because they do not want to hear the truth of themselves!

Paul was delivered by the power of God so he could continue the ministry of Jesus Christ.

As Paul revived, he returned to those same cities and preached the same salvation message and made many disciples.

All the stones that were thrown at the Apostle Paul could not stop him from preaching the ‘Gospel”.

It is more than possible that Timothy joined up with Paul as he returned to those cities after being stoned.

2Ti 3:10 But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
2Ti 3:11 Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.

God’s plan is always working whether we understand all these things or not.

God’s “grace” is sufficient for us all!

As we worry, even though the Lord says not to, we do not have to worry about losing our salvation.

Whatever trials we face, Christ Jesus will give us the strength to go through them and still be victorious!

All we need do is to continue in the faith!

As they returned to Antioch Syria, they had much to tell the Church and they needed a long rest.

*Act 14:28 And there they abode long time with the disciples.

It is always good to be back with your church family after an extended absence.

The door of the Gentiles was permanently opened but the call of the missionary is a continuous calling.

There is no entering into the Kingdom of God without faith in the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

This message will never change because it is the truth of Abba our Heavenly Father!

It is Christ our Lord who opened the door of faith and it is Christ our Lord who will keep that door open until He returns.

This is why it is called GRACE.

God’s Riches At Christ Expense.

Rom 16:24 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all. Amen.
Rom 16:25 Now to him that is of power to stablish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,
Rom 16:26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:
Rom 16:27 To God only wise, be glory through Jesus Christ for ever.


Church Missions

Missionaries Sent To Start New Churches

Book of Acts Chapter 13

The persecution of Christians had finally led the Church to obeying the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord Jesus had said:

Mar 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Mar 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.

The Christian Church at Antioch had launched forth a deliberate effort to carry the Gospel to the entire world.

This Church commissioned its first two missionaries to tell the world of the desperate need for the Lord Jesus Christ.

This world does have a desperate need for the Lord Jesus Christ!

His message has not changed, and His message is the same today as it was when He first walked upon this earth!

There is no salvation without the Lord Jesus Christ, the Anointed One of God!

Not the Church at Jerusalem but the Church at Antioch had accepted the challenge of the Lord Jesus Christ and were determined to spread the “Gospel”.

As Christians this is our main job given to us by the Lord.

We all have a part to play in spreading the “Gospel of Jesus Christ”.

Of the many who had escaped the persecution in Jerusalem some had stopped in Antioch of Syria and formed a new church.

It appears that instead of having one man designated as the Pastor this church had five prophets and teachers.

*****Act 13:1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.

This church at Antioch was determined to do the commandments of Jesus Christ.

This church reached out to the world of the lost to teach them about the truth of the “Gospel”, the “Good News” to all the world and for all mankind.

In reality, there are thousands of Christians doing the work of Christ and the Bible cannot mention them all, but here in this passage the Bible mentions several men who were working hard in this church in Antioch Syria.


Barnabas was also called Joses.

Act 4:36 And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus

We see he was also a Levite and Luke described him as a good man.

He was born of Jewish parents but he was a native of Cyprus where he owned some land which he had sold to help with the Church at Jerusalem.

It is possible that Barnabas attended the same school of Gamaliel at the time of Paul.

It was Barnabas who was selected to lead the missions at this church in Antioch.

By following the lead of the Holy Spirit, Barnabas sought out Saul (Paul) to assist him.

We also first see John Mark who was still a young man, not yet thirty years old.


Simeon was no doubt a black man. Some say this was Simon of Cyrene who carried the cross for Jesus Christ.


Lucius was from Cyrene.

Cyrene which is located in Northern Africa and maybe the same location as modern-day Tripoli. He was probably a poor man but very rich in Jesus Christ as are all true Christians.

There were many Jews located at this place and many who had escaped the persecution going on in Jerusalem against the Church.


It is said that this man who was a teacher or prophet at Antioch was brought up with Herod Antipas and was possibly his “foster-brother”.

This type thing happened often in the Roman society where another child was selected to grow up a lone child of a high-ranking politician.

He was possibly educated in Rome.

**Then there was Saul.

Saul may have been mentioned last but only God knew what He was calling on Paul to do.

Act 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:

Act 9:16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.

They all ministered for the Lord.

Rom 10:12 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.

Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

We, as a part of the Church need to clearly understand this truth!

We can see that the Church at Antioch thrived because the Church leadership was diverse and from all social classes, but they all loved the Lord Jesus Christ.

Teaching is a high calling and is one of the great callings of the Holy Spirit.

Teaching is ranked second only to the Spiritual gift of prophet or pastor.

In the New Testament most preachers were also called prophets.

A prophet is a man who has the message given to them by God the Holy Spirit.

Every prophet or pastor should also be a teacher, but not every teacher will become a pastor or prophet.

There is no doubt every teacher will give a strict account to God for his faithfulness to the Word of God.

The sole goal of the teacher is to share the glorious truths of God with God’s people!

*****Act 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.

Ministering to the Lord means they spent much time in prayer and fasting to give themselves more undistracted time to spiritual things such as teaching the truth of God.

They often gathered together seeking the commands of the Lord.

When we do this we will find that the Holy Spirit will find us something to do in the power of the Church and the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit had a specific work for Saul and Barnabas.

We should be able to see that if we are not faithful to the ministry we are already in, then the Holy Spirit will not give us some other work of God to do.

Col 3:23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men;

Col 3:24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

Col 3:25 But he that doeth wrong shall receive for the wrong which he hath done: and there is no respect of persons.

It is faithfulness that gains the trust of the Lord to do greater things for Him!

God will only call those who are already faithful to minister the Word of God.

Those who are not faithful to the Word of God but still say they are called are not God called, but they have called themselves and are the children of the Devil.

God will only use those who sense the desperate need of the world to find the Lord Jesus Christ when He is not hard to find because He is the One who is doing the seeking!

As I write all these things down, I can see clearly how I fail the Lord!

We should understand that Paul and Barnabas were not only called to a life of witnessing for the Lord. We are all called to do this!

The Holy Spirit was calling them to a lifetime in ministry of the Lord, the special calling of the Missionary.

God does not have a retirement plan other than our home in Heaven when our time is complete upon this earth.

The Holy Spirit will only speak to us when our heart and mind are clear in the work of the Lord!

To belong to the work of the Lord Jesus Christ, is to belong to the Holy Spirit and surrendered to the Holy Spirit’s use and His will.

Eph 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:

Eph 4:13 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:

Prayer and fasting truly become even more important to the ministry and the call of Christ.

*****Act 13:3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.

It is of an immense importance to bathe “all” the missions of the Church with prayer and fasting.

It is foolish to launch a new mission without prayer and fasting!

We must always seek the face of God before we ever seek the arm of God!

Every mission must be commissioned by the Church body!

We must understand, it was the Holy Spirit who called Barnabas and Paul and set them apart for the mission field.

They did not call themselves!

The Body of Christ must acknowledge the call of the Holy Spirit.

The Body of Christ must commit its support and prayers to those called of God to do such things.

The Body of Christ must be obedient to the Holy Spirit’s leadership by allowing these men to be separated from the church at Antioch.

This laying on of the hands was not like an ordination, but was an act showing the Church was in fellowship in the ministry of spreading the Gospel.

Any so-called church that does not support missions are not in obedience to the will of God for the Church!

These two men would be an arm of the church at Antioch reaching out into the world. This is what all missionaries are.

They must go out into the world with the Blessing of God, and with the blessing of this Church, but there must always be some means of accountability.

It is God the Holy Spirit who will decide where a mission is to begin!

*****Act 13:4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.

Act 13:5 And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.

We will notice that the Holy Spirit paints a graphic picture of the problems that arise in missions and evangelism.

Seleucia was the closest port to Antioch and from this port they would sail to Cyprus.

The Bible teaches us that this was Paul’s first missionary journey not Barnabas.

It is extremely important for us to know that the call to foreign missions is a work of the Holy Spirit!

The Church is to manage the local missions and also assist the foreign missions and evangelism!

Those missions that strike out without the Holy Spirit will fail!

We should not just strike out on our own in mission work. Not even local visitation should be taken on without prayer and the blessings of the Church!

This does not mean we are not to be witnesses for Jesus Christ at every opportunity as we should.

This work is already sanction by Jesus Christ Himself but all the work of the Church must be centered upon prayer and the Holy Spirit!

Paul and Barnabas were sent by the Holy Spirit and the Church was to assist in the many ways that a Church can.

We must clearly understand the leadership of the Holy Spirit is critical to every servant of God!

Rom 8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.

Rom 8:15 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.

Without the guidance of the Holy Spirit we will never succeed in any work for the Lord!

Joh 16:13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.

Joh 16:14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.

The Holy Spirit will even be giving us the words to say.

Joh 14:26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.

Cyprus lay in the northeast corner of the Mediterranean Sea. It was a place that commercial ships would stop on their journeys to other places.

Cyprus was famous for their copper mines and shipbuilding industries, but it was as a resort area that brought the most revenue to this place.

The population was of Greeks and Phoenician, but there were also many Jews.

The false goddess Venus was worshipped as the goddess of love and lusts, and immorality.

Wickedness had taken over the island and they were in dire need of the Gospel.

The Romans had now ruled this island for about one hundred years and immorality followed the Romans everywhere they went and the Greeks were not much better in this day.

Keep in mind this was the home of Barnabas.

Salamis was the largest city on the island but was not the capitol city.

*****Act 13:6 And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus:

Paphos was the capitol city of Cypress.

We should understand that from the day these missionaries landed on the Island of Cypress until they had come to Paphos, they had preached in every city and town along that route.

Paphos was a thriving city and a seat of the Roman government on this island.

Paphos was also a pagan stronghold for the worship of Venus, the Roman goddess of love. A false deity.

Cypress was great tourist attraction because of its beaches and warm climate and its cities were usually very busy with people from all walks of life.

These are places that Satan loves to get involved in.

There was a false prophet by the name of Barjesus in this city.

We should understand that if there were no false prophets, then there would be no false teaching!

Mat 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves.

Mat 7:16 Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles?

Mat 7:17 Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

Mat 7:18 A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit.

We can also be sure that when our missionaries preach the truth, Satan’s false prophets will go against them.

It can be much easier to preach against some idea than to preach against a false prophet, especially one who is deep seated in the government.

We have this in our own government today!

Most all false prophets will reach out to the governments long before they ever reach out to the people!

Christianity reaches out to people as instructed by the Lord Jesus.

It is those Christians that should seek to be a part of the government.

Our world is full of false prophets and false ideas about God!

The is the reason a Bible translated from the original text are so important!

Notice this false prophet was also a sorcerer.

We should not doubt the Satan will be behind any power that these children of the Devil may have, and they may be able to show certain powers.

*****Act 13:7 Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God.

That term “deputy” has the meaning of Roman proconsul who the Bible says he was a prudent man.

A prudent man can be a “man of understanding” who is cautious before he acts upon things.

He possessed some knowledge of many things but at this time did not possess the knowledge of the One True God.

He was controlled more by his mind than by his feelings and emotions.

As Christians this is a good trait for us all to have.

We cannot allow our feelings and emotions to be our guide, we need the truth of God!

The Word of God is about the truth, and not about feelings and emotions.

Up until this time of Barnabas and Paul, he had been seeking the truth in philosophy, science, and religion.

None of these things will lead you to salvation!

Most all those in government will have someone like this sorcerer around them and they will trust them for answers when they are confused and this is where Satan will dominate them.

This man had a desire to hear the Word of God.

No doubt this proconsul had heard of what was going on his island and he wanted to hear it for himself.

One other important thing to mention is the fact that without believers witnessing for the Lord, no one will hear the Word of God.

Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Rom 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?

This man “Barjesus” had a truthful name.

*****Act 13:8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.

The name Elymas has the meaning of magician and corrupter. The term Elymas was the official title of this sorcerer.

We can be sure he was more a corrupter than a magician!

Elymas was doing his absolute best to keep this proconsul from hearing the Word of God.

The name Barjesus means the son of Jesus or sone of Joshua.

The name Jesus was a name that was popular in this age.

When this man stood toe to toe against God’s missionaries, then God brought judgment against him.

It is dangerous to go against the One True God.

Mar 9:40 For he that is not against us is on our part.

Mar 9:41 For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward.

Mar 9:42 And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.

It is not Paul who put a stop to this corrupter, it was the Holy Spirit!

*****Act 13:9 Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,

Act 13:10 And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?

Act 13:11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.

I am sure there are things like this that go on today but the difference here is, the Church was just getting started and God was not going to allow the Devil to stop it.

Mat_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.

God will only tolerate so much sin from any individual!

When the Holy Spirit is working on an individual, He will not allow Satan to interfere with His work and Satan certainly does not have the power to stand up to God and he will always have to flee the power of the Holy Spirit.

Those under Holy Ghost conviction will get their opportunity to decide for themselves if they accept the Word of God or not!

God will not do His work of salvation any other way!

It was Sergius Paulus that had decided to hear the Word of God and God was certainly going to allow this to happen, even if He already knew the results.

The Apostle Paul knew this man Barjesus was a fraud!

This child of the Devil was an enemy of all righteousness!

1Jn 3:10 In this the children of God are manifest, and the children of the devil: whosoever doeth not righteousness is not of God, neither he that loveth not his brother.

What do false prophets do? They pervert the right ways of the Lord Jesus Christ!

We should also note that this is the first place that Saul is called Paul.

There are many things we can determine about this “judgment” of Elymas.

1) The blindness will only be for a season, so he is given room to repent.

God is also God of the second chance and most of us know that we did not come to Christ the first time that the Holy Spirit called.

2) This was a just judgment.

This was blindness for blindness and darkness for darkness.

When we blind ourselves to the truth of God, then God may pass judgement in that act of blindness.

3) This judgment was immediate.

By rejecting the truth of God we have given ourselves over to sin!

We cannot take the right ways of God and make them crooked; God will not allow this to happen for very long.

We see much of this going on today.

Isa_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!

There are a certain group of politicians who claim to be Christian, but they still approve of the sins of our world today.

This is taking the right ways of God and making them crooked.

Their salvation is a false salvation and they need to repent.

Just as this false prophet was perverting the cause of Christ these politicians are doing the same thing.

This man Barjesus was an agent for Hell and so are all those who pervert the Word of God!

Notice false prophets are full of craftiness and malice.

One man became a believer once he knew the truth.

*****Act 13:12 Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.

This deputy had spent a lot of time with this Elymas and thought him to have certain powers which he probably did have of Satan’s power.

When he saw the power that the Holy Spirit had shared with Paul, he was amazed and astonished.

We do not know of this man’s salvation other than what the Bible says, “he believed”.

Tradition says this man not only helped with the spreading of the “Gospel” on the island of Cyprus but that he became bishop of Narbonne in France and was left there by the Apostle Paul as he traveled to Spain.

Mission work is doing the work that God has given us to do.

Mission work is being obedient to the commands of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Not everyone can be a missionary, but we all can share in the responsibility of mission work in our church.

If we can do nothing else, we can pray!

It is the Holy Spirit who calls missionaries, some to foreign lands, some to our homeland, and even some to be locals but we of the church are still to do our own mission work bathed in prayer and fasting.

Today our church reaches around the world with our broadcast, our supported missions, and our church people.

This is what the Lord expects us all to do and we must continue until the Lord returns.


The Power of Prayer

A Praying Church and God’s Power

Book of Acts Chapter 12

Our lesson today is about prayer.

If we are truly the children of God, then we know that our prayers to our Holy God are necessary.

In its simplest form prayer is having a conversation with our Heavenly Father.

We cannot talk to our Heavenly Father unless we have God the Holy Spirit living within us for, He will not hear us.

The one exception being the sinner’s prayer.

The ears of God are always open to the cries of the oppressed, especially those oppressed of the Devil.

We will not get an answer to any prayer that is not prayed in the name of God the Son, Jesus Christ!

Joh 16:23 And in that day ye shall ask me nothing. Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whatsoever ye shall ask the Father in my name, he will give it you.
Joh 16:24 Hitherto have ye asked nothing in my name: ask, and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full.

Why is prayer so necessary?

Jas 4:1 From whence come wars and fightings among you? come they not hence, even of your lusts that war in your members?
Jas 4:2 Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, yet ye have not, because ye ask not.
Jas 4:3 Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

Prayer is the source for receiving all things from God but especially help in our time of need!

Having a good prayer life is how we draw near to God because it is by prayer, we show our faith!

Heb 10:21 And having an high priest over the house of God;
Heb 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
Heb 10:23 Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised;)

If our faith is wavering, we will not get an answer to our prayers.

Most of the attacks we have seen so far against the Church has been from the chief priests and elders of Judaism, but today we see where the politicians have decided to join in ridding the world of the Church.

We see some of our own politicians trying to do the same thing in our nation today and all around the world.

The Kings of the Jews were appointed by Rome during this time and most all of them were wicked rulers.

This grandson of Herod the Great, who was as wicked as his father and his grandfather found that he could gain favor with these wicked Jews if he persecuted the Church, especially the Apostles.

Now when I say the Jews, I am not talking about the people but only those that hated the Church and hated the truth of Jesus Christ.

So he rounded up James the brother of John and murdered him, for James had done nothing wrong except to preach Jesus Christ.

This pleased those wicked Jews so much that Herod decided to murder Peter and he had Peter arrested.

Ww should be able to see that the Apostles of the Lord Jesus had been free to go where they pleased.

The politicians had to be very careful with these type things because much of the people were on the side of the Apostles of Christ.

Herod had to pick the right time to kill Peter.

Peter was guarded by sixteen soldiers to make sure he did not escape.

These four-man units extended from battle formations.

Peter may have been in prison, but the Church had determined that the best thing to do for him was to pray.

Prayer should not be the last thing we think to do but the first thig we think to do.

Prayer is our greatest weapon against this evil, wicked, world.

We must keep in mind that there was great persecution taking place against the Church and believers were afraid for their lives in Jerusalem.

The Church at Jerusalem had become an underground church meeting behind closed doors and in hidden places.

The Apostles would still go in and out of the Temple but even this was about to end.

The whole Church was praying for the release of Peter.

*Act 12:5 Peter therefore was kept in prison: but “prayer was made without ceasing of the church unto God for him”.

Prayer for Peter was earnest and it was continuous, and probably in many private houses.

Peter was guarded by sixteen soldiers, probably four at a time and around the clock. The politicians were still embarrassed about the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. They had never found the body of Jesus Christ.

They either had to accept the truth or make up some lie about our risen Savior.

We might ask ourselves why the Church met in earnest for Peter, yet we do not read of the same thing for James.

The only conclusion we can come to is that it was time for James to home to be with the Lord, but it was not time for Peter, the work of James being complete.

Now we must not get confused with this James the brother of John, and another James who is step-brother to the Lord Jesus Christ who will become the Pastor of the Jerusalem Church.

Maybe the Church had not gathered for James as they had for Peter, but we know that the Lord is no respecter of persons and James would be far better off than Peter and Peter’s work was not yet done.

Both of the wrists of Peter were chained to one of the wrist of two different soldiers at all times.

*Act 12:6 And when Herod would have brought him forth, the same night Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains: and the keepers before the door kept the prison.

We will see that Peter knew what had happened to James but even being chained to two different soldiers and more soldiers standing guard, Peter was so content that he could sleep and sleep peaceably.

The whole Church was praying.
The Church was doing all it could, praying specifically for Peter’s deliverance.
The Church was praying fervently, earnestly, and continuously!
Crying out to God for sovereign deliverance of Peter.

This is the type of praying that we do not do enough of. I know I do not and not many of us practice fasting.

Peter’s only hope was truly for God to intervene!

Here on the night before he was to be executed Peter was so at peace that he could sleep even in his situation.

We see that the Lord Jesus Christ was meeting the needs of his servant Peter!

You see it is God’s “Grace” that gives us the strength and the peace to endure the persecutions of this world!

We cannot face the trials of this life without the peace that comes from our relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ!

This is because we have confidence in the truth of God.

Isa 26:3 Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee: because he trusteth in thee.
Isa 26:4 Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength:

And behold the Angel of the Lord.

*Act 12:7 And, behold, the angel of the Lord came upon him, and a light shined in the prison: and he smote Peter on the side, and raised him up, saying, Arise up quickly. And his chains fell off from his hands.

Next, we see a pattern of God’s miraculous work along with Peter’s obedience.

Peter could not have been delivered without his own obedience to the Lord and the Lord’s ministering angel!

We will notice as we read through this passage that this angel did not do for Peter what Peter could do for himself.

God will never do what we can do ourselves!

Peter had to obey the commands of this angel.

Anytime we find ourselves in communication with the Lord, the Holy Spirit, our Heavenly Father, or one of His angels, we need to obey any commands we receive.

We will also notice that once Peter was delivered and out of danger, he was left on his own to work out his own deliverance.

Php_2:12 Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.

Peter would return to the Church before seeking a better place to serve the Lord and escape the politics of Jerusalem.

Peter should seek the Lord in making any other decisions.

God’s deliverance involved only what Peter could not do for himself!

We should understand that Peter was full of confidence that he would live to be an old man but Peter still had to do his part.

Joh 21:18 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.
Joh 21:19 This spake he, signifying by what death he should glorify God. And when he had spoken this, he saith unto him, Follow me.

We can see that Peter did not think he was old at this time.

Peter was so sound in his sleep that this angel had to awaken him.

The angels are not only ministering spirits, but they are for the deliverance of God’s people.

Psa 34:7 The angel of the LORD encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them.

A bright light shone in this prison though it was a dark and dreary place.

These guards who kept Peter must have been struck into a deep sleep by the Lord.

This angel awakened Peter by giving a blow to his side.

This angel helped Peter to rise up because Peter was between two guards and said “Arise up quickly” and then those chains that bound Peter just fell away silently.

Then the angel said for Peter to dress himself.

*Act 12:8 And the angel said unto him, Gird thyself, and bind on thy sandals. And so he did. And he saith unto him, Cast thy garment about thee, and follow me.
Act 12:9 And he went out, and followed him; and wist not that it was true which was done by the angel; but thought he saw a vision.

Notice Peter was told to dress himself for Peter did not know what to do except to obey this angel.

We should understand that when we are helpless then God will help us, but God will not do what we can do for ourselves.

Peter had not awoken to the reality of what was going on around him and he still felt he was just seeing a vision or as if he was dreaming.

Peter continued to follow this angel.

As we follow this story in the Bible, we must cling to the fact that all these things were happening because of prayer by this Church.

To think otherwise would be to think wrong.

When we pray and we see the results of our prayer we must praise the Lord for what He has done.

We may not see immediate results to all our prayers, and we must remember, going home to Heaven is still far better than remaining in this world.

As long as we have a work to complete, we will remain upon this earth.

*Act 12:10 When they were past the first and the second ward, they came unto the iron gate that leadeth unto the city; which opened to them of his own accord: and they went out, and passed on through one street; and forthwith the angel departed from him.
Act 12:11 And when Peter was come to himself, he said, Now I know of a surety, that the Lord hath sent his angel, and hath delivered me out of the hand of Herod, and from all the expectation of the people of the Jews.

We can just imagine Peter following this angel quickly through this prison and when those iron gates open under their own power, Peter began to realize the truth that he was being freed from prison.

It was only after they passed that first street in the city that Peter came to himself and this angel departed from him to go wherever the Lord would send him next.

Peter realized that none of this was a dream and that he was actually free.

Peter than fled the city because it would not be long before Herod would be seeking him again.

There is a lot of typology in this passage.

God’s deliverance of His people from the chains of sin.

The slumber of the Jews to the Word of God just two examples.

Peter was now fully awakened realizing what had taken place and Peter knew where the Church might be gathered.

*Act 12:12 And when he had considered the thing, he came to the house of Mary the mother of John, whose surname was Mark; where many were gathered together praying.

What do we know about this Mary?

This Mary was a sister to Barnabas.

Col 4:10 Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister’s son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)

This Mary was also the mother of John who we know as Mark who became very profitable to the Apostle Paul after a rough start.

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

We know that it was Peter who led Mark to the Lord.

1Pe 5:13 The church that is at Babylon, elected together with you, saluteth you; and so doth Marcus my son.

This is the only clear mention of this Mary in the Bible, but we can see that she was a dear sister to the Church.

She must have been a widow for her husband is never mentioned,

She evidently was the owner of much property and a huge house large enough for the Church to gather safely in her home.

This maybe the place that is called the “upper room”.

The best thing that can be said about this mother was the fact that she was a godly mother who helped her own her son to become a missionary.

Her home had a gate like many of the places we see classified as places of the rich.

Luk 16:19 There was a certain rich man, which was clothed in purple and fine linen, and fared sumptuously every day:
Luk 16:20 And there was a certain beggar named Lazarus, which was laid at his gate, full of sores,

*Act 12:13 And as Peter knocked at the door of the gate, a damsel came to hearken, named Rhoda.
Act 12:14 And when she knew Peter’s voice, she opened not the gate for gladness, but ran in, and told how Peter stood before the gate.
Act 12:15 And they said unto her, Thou art mad. But she constantly affirmed that it was even so. Then said they, It is his angel.

Peter knocked at the door of the gate and a young lady named Rhoda came to the door.

We do not know if Rhoda saw Peter at this time but we do know she recognized his voice.

Out of her excitement she forgot to open the door of the gate and ran as fast as she could to tell the Church that Peter was free.

Peter also realized he was in great danger exposed to the people in the streets if someone saw him.

When Rhoda said that Peter was at the door, those within thought Rhoda was crazy and told her so.

It is a fact that we as the Church do not realize that God answers every prayer that reaches Him in Heaven.

Most of us do not give God the credit for answered prayers so, when we pray we probably do not pray with enough faith that our prayers will be answered.

This is what was happening at Mary’s house.

Maybe they prayed for James as they were praying Peter.

The one thing that makes a prayer happen is “faith”!

Mat 17:20 And Jesus said unto them, Because of your unbelief: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you.
Mat 17:21 Howbeit this kind goeth not out but by prayer and fasting.

Someone finally goes to check to see if it really was Peter at the door and it was.

*Act 12:16 But Peter continued knocking: and when they had opened the door, and saw him, they were astonished.
Act 12:17 But he, beckoning unto them with the hand to hold their peace, declared unto them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, Go shew these things unto James, and to the brethren. And he departed, and went into another place.

Peter was left standing at the door, still knocking, still worrying that someone would come by and see him.

Peter was now a wanted fugitive.

As soon as the door was opened Peter stepped in. He was comforted and all their doubts disappeared, and everyone was full of joy.

Peter quickly gave an account of his miraculous deliverance.

James the stepbrother of Jesus was now the Pastor at the Church in Jerusalem and James needed to know the Peter had been freed because of prayer.

James’ father was Joseph while the Holy Spirit cause the birth of our Savior.

Mary was the mother of them both.

We all need to believe this truth!

Peter then departed and the Bible does not tell us where Peter had to go for his safety.

We should clearly understand that the Lord God of Heaven does certainly answer every prayer that gets to Him.

Our job is to live our lives so that our prayers are always answered.

God will still answer in a way that suits Him according to His plan, but He will answer.

God is not ever going to say yes to every prayer we pray.

We are not always going to get an answer that we want.

God will answer every prayer of faith at His own terms.

No matter how God answers our prayers, we are to offer our thanks.

In fact, we just as well thank Him before time, because if we are living righteously then we know our prayer will be answered.

Not many remember to give God thanks for what He has done as He answers our prayers.

Whatever God does in response to our prayers will always be the right thing to do!

God must always get the glory for everything that He does!

Peter’s church friends and family were excited that Peter was free but Peter’s enemies were just the more confused.

We live in a confused world today because the Word of God is rejected.


The Gospel Is For All the World

Gentiles Receive the Gospel

Book of Acts Chapters 10 and 11

We know that it was the Apostle Paul who was the Apostle to the Gentile world but before Paul, it was the Apostle Peter who first took the “Gospel” to the Gentiles.

God knew that Peter would have to be convinced that the Gospel was also written to the Gentiles, which means to all the world and not just to the Jews.

The Jews would have kept the Word of God to themselves if they could have.

This is known as discrimination. Everywhere we go we find that people are different.

People differ in beliefs, religion, speech, looks, color, behavior, status, and many other ways.

This has been true since the time of Cain and Abel.

In our nation today all these things are brought together in one word, racism.

There is only “one race”, and it is the “human race” and we are all full of flaws.

In our lesson today we find that God treats everyone the same and He encourages the Church to treat everyone the same.

We all stand on level ground at the foot of the cross!

The Jews had their own laws and customs and they looked upon Gentiles with suspicion.

We should keep in mind that the Jewish people have always been mistreated, enslaved, and persecuted more than any other people upon this earth.

They had been conquered by army, after army, after army and by the millions they had been removed from their nation and scattered all over the world.

Their religion is what has kept them together all these years and their belief in the One true God.

They opposed anyone who threatened or attempted to break their laws of religion or the laws of their nation.

Instead of proclaiming God to the world, the Jews claimed God was the God of the Jews and to no one else.

All gentiles were called dogs.

A gentile could have no dealings with the Jews until they were ritually cleansed.

They would never help a Gentile to give birth for the fear that another Gentile would be born into this world.

The Jews were too stubborn to change their ways, but God was not going to allow Christianity to follow that same path.

If God could convince Peter, then all the Apostles could be convinced of this truth.

God will not allow prejudice any room in Christianity!

God had convinced Peter of all these things the day before Peter had gone to visit Cornelius, a Roman Centurion.

*Act 10:34 Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:
Act 10:35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.

It was the Apostle Peter who first preached to the Gentiles the means of salvation to all people.

God does not show partiality or favoritism to any person because of looks, position, or circumstances.

God has no favorites in the Church! We may think so, but the fact is God looks upon all His saved children exactly the same!

God will never discriminate between His children!

Appearance, or position, abilities, works, health, or stature do not make any person acceptable to God!

God has always said these things even throughout the Old Testament but hardly anyone paid attention to Him.

Deu 10:17 For the LORD your God is God of gods, and Lord of lords, a great God, a mighty, and a terrible, which regardeth not persons, nor taketh reward:
Deu 10:18 He doth execute the judgment of the fatherless and widow, and loveth the stranger, in giving him food and raiment.

2Ch 19:7 Wherefore now let the fear of the LORD be upon you; take heed and do it: for there is no iniquity with the LORD our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts.

And God does not ever change in the New Testament:

Rom 2:11 For there is no respect of persons with God.

God simply does not play favorites!

God’s love is in equal portions to all!

Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

There are two things that grab God’s attention:

1) Fearing God.

This fearing of God is a reverent fear of God along with an absolute fear of God.

Heb 12:28 Wherefore we receiving a kingdom which cannot be moved, let us have grace, whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear:
Heb 12:29 For our God is a consuming fire.

2) Working righteousness according to the Word of God. (To be right and to do right).

Mat 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

We cannot just stress righteousness but we must also do righteousness.

We cannot just believe but we must be a doer of the Word.

We must walk the talk as some would say.

There are so many who claim to know the Lord Jesus Christ as their Savior and acceptable to God, but they neglect obeying God and serving Him.

Loose living allows one to go out and do pretty much as he desires. He may feel secure and comfortable in his faith. He knows that what he does may affect his fellowship with God, but he also does not think it affects his salvation.

In reality this is false righteousness! It is self-righteousness or legalism.

There is no such thing as righteousness without living righteously!

We must obey the law of love and acceptance! God loves us and accepts us not because we do good but because we love and trusts the righteousness of Jesus Christ.

We have no righteousness in ourselves.

There are no laws that can keep us righteous and we certainly cannot judge the actions of others to try to be as righteous as they are.

Our goal is to be like the Lord Jesus Christ!

We cannot be acceptable to God without being made righteous in the Lord Jesus Christ!

2Co 5:21 For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.

*Act 10:36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)
Act 10:37 That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;

It is true that God sent His Word through Israel.

The Word of God is very clear that a Savor, the Messiah would arise out of the Jewish nation and from that point the knowledge of Christ the Savior should spread to all nations under Heaven.

Joh 4:21 Jesus saith unto her, Woman, believe me, the hour cometh, when ye shall neither in this mountain, nor yet at Jerusalem, worship the Father.
Joh 4:22 Ye worship ye know not what: we know what we worship: for salvation is of the Jews.
Joh 4:23 But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth: for the Father seeketh such to worship him.
Joh 4:24 God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.

Israel was the first nation to receive the Word of God:

The Apostle Paul wrote:

Rom 9:3 For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh:
Rom 9:4 Who are Israelites; to whom pertaineth the adoption, and the glory, and the covenants, and the giving of the law, and the service of God, and the promises;
Rom 9:5 Whose are the fathers, and of whom as concerning the flesh Christ came, who is over all, God blessed for ever. Amen.

None of these things can be denied.

God sent the New Testament by the Lord Jesus Christ, God’s very own Son.

These things being true, the Word of God was not meant for Israel alone.

The Lord Jesus Christ did not come just for Israel’s salvation!

God is no respecter of persons.

God accepts people from every nation.

The Lord Jesus Christ is Lord of all!

1Co 8:6 But to us there is but one God, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him.

There is almost no one today who can truthfully say they have never heard some part of the Word of God!

The world still pays no attention to what God says.

Today people will tell you that the Word of God is not relevant to the world of today.

In America many say the same thing about our Constitution and the Word of God is much more important than our Constitution.

The “Gospel” of Jesus Christ has been published around the world today, it is just ignored by most of the world.

Jesus began preaching the Word of God in Galilee just after John was imprisoned.

Mar 1:14 Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God,
Mar 1:15 And saying, The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand: repent ye, and believe the gospel.

Jesus then preached the Word of God in every city and village.

Luk 8:1 And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,

There are no excuses for rejecting the “Gospel” of Jesus Christ!

There is no excuse for ending up in Hell at your death.

The ignorance of the Lord Jesus Christ will put you in Hell!

*Act 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
Act 10:39 And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:

Jesus Christ is the Anointed One of God, the Messiah, God’s Anointed Savior!

The word Christ in Greek and the Hebrew Messiah denote the Lord Jesus as the “Anointed One” of God.

Jesus was anointed with God the Holy Spirit but he was anointed in a way that no other person has ever been anointed.

The Holy Spirit was given without measure to the Lord Jesus Christ!

Joh 3:33 He that hath received his testimony hath set to his seal that God is true.
Joh 3:34 For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.
Joh 3:35 The Father loveth the Son, and hath given all things into his hand.

What did Jesus say?

Luk 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,
Luk 4:19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

Jesus was anointed with the Holy Spirit so that He could go about doing good and healing all that were oppressed of the Devil.

What are some the things the Devil will oppress us with?

Evil spirits and demons, lying and deception, bitterness and hatred, killings and wars, selfishness and greed, immorality and lust, power over death and many other things.

When we receive the Holy Spirit, the devil will have lost any and all power over us!

Act 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.

This part of the “Good News” we can witness to others about.

There is proof that the Lord Jesus did all these things.

The disciples were with the Lord for about three years and were eyewitnesses of all these things.

The Lord Jesus did not come to debate the Word of God!

The Word of God stands as the absolute truth for this world!

The Lord Jesus may no longer be upon this earth in body, but He is still working in lives today. Still delivering from the oppression of the Devil.

The Scripture speaks of at least four anointings:

1) The anointing of respect or of hospitality.

Mar 16:1 And when the sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, had bought sweet spices, that they might come and anoint him.

2) The anointing for service:

Exo 28:41 And thou shalt put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shalt anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.

3) The anointing for medical purposes.

Luk 10:34 And went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him.

4) The anointing of God’s Son. (Our Scripture)

Act 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

Many of the disciples of Jesus Christ were also witnesses to His death!

Act 2:23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain:
Act 2:24 Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

Act 3:13 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.
Act 3:14 But ye denied the Holy One and the Just, and desired a murderer to be granted unto you;
Act 3:15 And killed the Prince of life, whom God hath raised from the dead; whereof we are witnesses.

But God raised Him up from the dead.

*Act 10:40 Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;
Act 10:41 Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.

There was no doubt that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was done in such a way that showed He had victory over Death, over Hell, and over the Grave.

The Lord Jesus appeared to a selected group of witnesses.

1) God showed Jesus openly. He was visibly, openly, and publicly seen as the Risen Lord.

2) The Lord Jesus appeared to chosen witnesses who were chosen for a reason.

3) Certain witnesses did eat and drink with Him after He arose from the dead.

Peter tried to stress that the person we know as Jesus, did die, and did raise from the dead and did have fellowship with His disciples.

Peter tried to emphasize that he and the other disciples, men and women were as closely associated with Jesus as people can be. These were all true, verifiable witnesses.

Peter emphasized that the Lord Jesus Christ actually died and actually rose from the dead and he was certain of it!

The person that rose from the dead was the same person that died. He was the same Jesus that they knew before He died!

His body was a real body, not as a ghost, but a body that could only be described as “glorified”.

He was real. He could eat, drink, speak, and do all things that people do, but He could do all sort of Heavenly things also.

The same body that was buried was the same body that was resurrected!

This same Lord Jesus who they had traveled with also repeated some the same commands He had already given to them.

*Act 10:42 And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.

Peter said we had all get it very clear, the Lord Jesus Christ is the only Judge of the living and the dead of all nations and all peoples.

He will judge the Jew and the Greek and all other nationalities and He is no respecter of persons!

He is ordained of the same God that the Jews had worshiped all these years beginning with Abraham.

Jesus Christ is the One and Only Judge of all people no matter who they are or where they are, alive or dead.

He and He alone will judge all their works from the day they were born to the day they die within His creation.

Act 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.

All the prophets of the Old Testament when they spoke of the Messiah, they were speaking of the Lord Jesus Christ.

*Act 10:43 To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

The Bible from the Book of Genesis to the Book of Revelation tells the story of God’s Messiah, our Savior.

Peter had been convincing of this truth.

Mat 16:15 He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am?
Mat 16:16 And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

It is the believing in all these truths that He allows the forgiveness of sins.

There is no other way to be forgiven by our Heavenly Father!

So, what are the results when people hear and understand the truth of God?

*Act 10:44 While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
Act 10:45 And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.

Without the Holy Ghost we cannot be “Born Again”.

Without the Holy Spirit we will have no power against the Devil.

Without the truth of the Word of God we will remain lost in a dying world.

1Th 2:13 For this cause also thank we God without ceasing, because, when ye received the word of God which ye heard of us, ye received it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which effectually worketh also in you that believe.

While Peter was still preaching, faith entered into these Gentiles and they were gloriously saved.

Hearing the Word of God is a requirement before the Holy Spirit will enter into the soul of any human.

Our “Faith” must be based upon the truth. Not just any truth but the truth of God!

Jehovah God caused the Holy Spirit to fall upon these Gentiles because they had become believers.

No man not even Peter had anything to do with God pouring out His Spirit upon these believers.

The gift of the Holy Spirit is an act of God!

They received the Holy Spirit because they received the truth of Jesus Christ and believed.

The Jewish believers who were present with Peter were astonished. They had been taught since childhood that the Holy Spirit was available to only the Jews.

They in their teachings had developed a hatred for the Gentiles.

The signs they saw were identical to what the Jews had seen on that day of Pentecost and could not be denied.

We know that speaking tongues was them speaking in a language they could not have known, probably the Jewish language as these were Greek speaking Gentiles with some knowing Latin.

This called the “baptizing of the Holy Spirit.

Note: Even today the Jews are always seeking some sign that what God does is true. Their faith has always been lacking.

*Act 10:46 For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,

Tongues is simply another word for languages.

The words of Jesus:

Mar 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.
Mar 16:16 He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believeth not shall be damned.
Mar 16:17 And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
Mar 16:18 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.

*Act 10:47 Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
Act 10:48 And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.

Peter then challenged those Jewish believers to see if they would deny water baptism.

There could be no question that these Gentiles were just as saved as those Jewish believers.

God will never teach a lie!

The door to the Gentile world was now opened.

It seems it was the Jewish believers who baptized these Gentile believers.

They all believed on the Lord Jesus Christ, and they all became part of the Church, the Bride of Christ.

They were all baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Father God said:

Isa 45:22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else.

God the Son said:

Mat 22:9 Go ye therefore into the highways, and as many as ye shall find, bid to the marriage.

The Holy Spirit directed all these things to be written down so we would all have the truth!


From Saul to Paul

The Enemy is Changed

Book of Acts Chapter 9

In the Bible, Paul is first known by the Greek equivalent of his Hebrew name which is Saul. Paul is best known by his Latin Roman name Paul.

Paul went from being the most hated persecutor of the Church to being the great Christian and Apostle to the Church that belongs to Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul was the most dominate missionary to the Gentiles.

To the Church Paul was a murderer and he was certainly a murderer.

It was the Lord Jesus Christ Himself who came to Paul and brought salvation to him.

It is only the Lord Jesus Christ who can save anyone.

1Jn 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

It was the Lord Jesus Christ that cleansed Paul from his sin of persecuting and murdering the Church.

We can be sure Paul had other sin.

Paul hated the Church and wanted to destroy the Church.

When we persecute the Church, we are actually persecuting the Lord Jesus Christ for He is the Head of the Church!

*Act 9:1 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest,
Act 9:2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem.

Paul burned with a flaming fury against the Church and all Christians.

It is Christians that make the Church. The Church is not a building!

Paul was consumed with fierce anger and that fierce anger was against Christ Jesus and His disciples.

Paul hunted down and slaughtered all the believers he could find, and we can be sure the world helped him.

The followers of Jesus Christ were called “the way” before the term Christianity was used.

Act 19:9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of “that way” before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.

Act 19:23 And the same time there arose no small stir about “that way”.

Act 22:4 And I persecuted “this way” unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.

Act 24:14 But this I confess unto thee, that after “the way” which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets:

Act 24:22 And when Felix heard these things, having more perfect knowledge of “that way”, he deferred them, and said, When Lysias the chief captain shall come down, I will know the uttermost of your matter.

The teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ were not pictured as a religion and Christianity is not a religion!

The teachings of the Lord were not pictured as rules and regulations for they are simply the truth of God.

The teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ were seen as “the way of life’ according to our Heavenly Father.

Not just that but also the “course of life”, “the means of life”, “a condition of life”, and “an experience of life”.

It is the Lord Jesus Christ who showed us “the way” of salvation!

Act 16:17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us “the way” of salvation.

It was the Lord Jesus Christ who showed us the “way of the Lord”.

Act 18:25 This man was instructed in “the way” of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.

It is the Lord Jesus Christ who has shown us how to have peace in our lives!

Luk 1:79 To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into “the way” of peace.

Rom 3:17 And “the way” of peace have they not known:

It was the Lord Jesus Christ who has shown us “the truth” of God’s creation.

2Pe 2:2 And many shall follow their pernicious ways; by reason of whom “the way of truth” shall be evil spoken of.

This is what Paul was doing. He was speaking evil of the way of truth!

It is the Lord Jesus Christ who has shown us “the way of righteousness”.

2Pe 2:21 For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them.

Paul was about to see “the way” himself and what it means to be a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.

*Act 9:3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven:

What is the truth of our Savior? God can save anybody, anywhere, at any time!

Saul was going to Damascus to slaughter Christians and wipe out Christianity.

Right in the middle of doing this evil, Paul was saved.

A light appeared suddenly, out of nowhere and unexpectedly. A light brighter than the noon day Sun!

Act 22:6 And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me.

Act 26:13 At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.

Paul saw the Lord standing in the middle of this light.

1Co 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?

1Co 15:8 And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time.

This light was the Glory of the Lord!

1Ti 6:15 Which in his times he shall shew, who is the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords;
1Ti 6:16 Who only hath immortality, “dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto”; whom no man hath seen, nor can see: to whom be honour and power everlasting. Amen.

Just the power of this Light struck Paul down to the ground.

Act 26:14 And when “we were all fallen to the earth”, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

The truth is, the Glory of God must shine in our hearts before we can be saved.

2Co 4:6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Glory of God!

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Lord of Heaven!

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God Himself!

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Savior to all those who believe, there is no other Savior.

Isa 9:2 The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light: they that dwell in the land of the shadow of death, upon them hath the light shined.

Paul is converted from Judaism to Christianity.

By the way, to be a Christian is to do the best we can to be like the Lord Jesus Christ and we can only do this by being filled with God Holy Spirit!

*Act 9:4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
Act 9:5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

Paul had realized he had seen the Lord and now realized that He was hearing the Lord speak.

Paul was not alone but he was the only one who heard the Lord speak all the others heard was a mighty sound, but they could not distinguish the words spoken by Jesus.

What was Paul’s sin?

Paul was opposing and persecuting the Lord Jesus Christ!

Joh_16:9 Of sin, because they believe not on me;

Paul was treading on dangerous ground and every soul upon this earth will get to meet our Savior.

Opposing Christ Jesus is serious, so serious it dooms a person to hell unless there is repentance.

This day was Paul’s chance to miss hell and Paul had to make the right choice.

This may have been Paul’s last day on earth had he remained rebellious.

Mat 25:40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.

Mat 25:45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.

Mat 25:46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Paul knew these things happening around him were coming from Heaven.

When Paul asked “who art thou Lord”, he knew it was the Lord of Heaven and earth who was speaking to him.

Paul knew this person was the Lord of Heaven, but he did not know the Lord as his Savior but they are One and the Same.

It takes a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved.

Until you meet Jesus and recognize His glory, you will never understand this.

When a person really sees he has been rebelling against the Lord of Glory, the Savior, he will come under conviction.

Paul understood that what he was doing was opposing God who he had great faith in.

In Judaism it is Jehovah who is worshipped and Jehovah and the Lord Jesus are the same Deity.

Paul began to understand that he was lost, separated from Jehovah God and doomed to Hell.

Heb 2:3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;
Heb 2:4 God also bearing them witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will?

It is hard to kick against your own conscience.

“To kick against the pricks” is a picture of a stubborn ox being goaded with a long stick that was sharp on its end.

It was hard for the ox to kick against the goad for he would only feel more pain.

Paul was questioning himself over the truth.
Paul was fighting himself over the truth.
Paul was struggling within himself with the truth of the Scriptures which he knew very well.

When the Light of the Gospel finally breaks through our sinful darkness, we will begin to know the truth.

Everyone who chooses to go against the Lord Jesus has chosen a hard way of life!

They will never know if they have chosen right, and it will affect everything they try to accomplish.

This something each Christian understands!

Psa 51:2 Wash me throughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin.
Psa 51:3 For I acknowledge my transgressions: and my sin is ever before me.
Psa 51:4 Against thee, thee only, have I sinned, and done this evil in thy sight: that thou mightest be justified when thou speakest, and be clear when thou judgest.
Psa 51:5 Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.
Psa 51:6 Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts: and in the hidden part thou shalt make me to know wisdom.

There was only one thing Paul could do, he had to obey the Lord.

*Act 9:6 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do.

Paul had to surrender to the truth that he was the greatest of all sinners.

Gal_1:13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:

Paul was hardly able to bear up under the weight of his sin!

We all get this way when we realize we are just dirty rotten sinners.

These things became part of Paul’s testimony.

Paul became a shattered man, and it would take some time in prayer and meditation to clear his mind so he could learn the truth.

Paul needed the companionship of another believer who had been through similar things.

Paul had been converted and a radical change was taking place within him.

It would take proof of his conversion for the Christian community to receive him.

There were some who witnessed this event that happened to Paul.

*Act 9:7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man.

There were some witnesses, but they did not know what was really happening.

In typology, we would say they were a type of the world we live in.

The world listens to false science and lies and reject the truth so the world cannot know the truth.

The world is aware of the miracle of conversion, but the world refuses to open their eyes to the truth but cling to the lies of false science.

We have to open our hearts to see the Light of the Lord Jesus.

We have to silence ourselves and our thoughts to hear the voice of God.

We have to make ourselves available to confront the Lord.

We have to be prepared to surrender if we call upon the Lord.

Act 28:27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.
Act 28:28 Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.

2Co 4:3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
2Co 4:4 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.
2Co 4:5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

Paul could only do as the Lord instructed him. It is called obedience!

*Act 9:8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus.
Act 9:9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.

Paul was blind and he did not know if it was temporary or forever.

Paul was helpless and had to be led by others.

Paul could do nothing else but to think about what had happened to him.

Paul became ashamed for what he had been doing.

Paul needed some help from a Christian!

Paul thought his purpose was to eliminate Christianity, but Paul now had no purpose in his life.

Paul wondered why the Lord Jesus had chosen him.

Paul wondered what the Lord Jesus wanted with him, and he wondered what the Lord Jesus was going to tell him to do.

Paul was unable to eat or drink for three days and Paul became exhausted with no strength at all.

We must understand that once the Lord Jesus has forgiven us, He no more remembers our sin and it is best we forget that old sin.

God sent Paul a brother in Christ named Ananias.

*Act 9:17 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
Act 9:18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.

What Paul needed most was the need to experience the help and ministry of a fellow Christian.

As Christians we all know we are only sinners saved by the “Grace” of God!

Paul needed to see the faith of a brother in Christ.

Paul needed to know that he was also a brother in Christ.

Paul needed to feel the power of God and a glorious healing.

Paul needed to feel the power of the Holy Spirit.

Many ask, just when was Paul saved?

Was Paul saved on the Damascus Road or when he was filled with the Holy Spirit.

Paul knew that awesome Light was from Heaven.
Paul knew that voice he heard was from Heaven.
Paul knew who ever was speaking to him was of Heaven.
Paul called this Heavenly being “Lord”.

Paul was surrendering to the Lord when Paul asked Him “What will you have me do”?

Paul did not have a personal relationship, but he knew it was the Lord God of Heaven.

Paul called Him Lord a second time.

Paul realized his only help was to obey the Lord God of Heaven as he surrendered to the Lord.

Paul prayed and the Lord Jesus heard him.

Act 9:11 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, “he prayeth”,
Act 9:12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight.

It is evident that Paul surrendered to the Lord Jesus on the Damascus Road.

Does not sound a whole lot different from many of us who prayed the sinners pray and many pray and never give themselves to the Lord Jesus.

We now have Paul’s history of how he served the Lord in the New Testament.

Paul could now eat because he was settled in his faith.

*Act 9:19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus.

Paul was a changed man because he had been “Born Again”!

We see that a Church had been established in Damascus and now Paul was identified with other believers.

Paul was a true believer; his old man had surely died!

Paul became a follower of “The Way”.

Paul became a true follower of the Lord Jesus Christ.

*Act 9:20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.

Paul preached Christ, the Messiah.

Paul no longer preached religion, or tradition, or ceremony or ritual.

There is a great significant difference between the two!

Paul also did not preach his firsthand experiences, his visions, his praying.

Paul preached Christ. It takes a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ to know the truth!

2Co 4:5 For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

Col 1:27 To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:
Col 1:28 Whom we preach, warning every man, and teaching every man in all wisdom; that we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus:
Col 1:29 Whereunto I also labour, striving according to his working, which worketh in me mightily

Paul preached Christ the Son of God:

Col 2:8 Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ.
Col 2:9 For in him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily.
Col 2:10 And ye are complete in him, which is the head of all principality and power:

The people were amazed at the change in Paul. We could say Paul made a 180 degree turn rom his old life.

*Act 9:21 But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests?

Paul stood as a testimony to the change that comes about when the Holy Spirit moves in and we are “Born Again”.

The people in the synagogues and in the public were amazed at what they saw in the new Paul.

They were expecting all the things they had heard about in Jerusalem to take place.

They had known about the mission of Paul and how he treated men and women Christians.

Paul now identified as a Christian himself.

Paul would later declare to the Romans that he was not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

Rom 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.
Rom 1:17 For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written, The just shall live by faith.

And to the Christians at Corinth:

1Co 9:16 For though I preach the gospel, I have nothing to glory of: for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the gospel!
1Co 9:17 For if I do this thing willingly, I have a reward: but if against my will, a dispensation of the gospel is committed unto me.

Paul became steadfast and faithful to the cause of Christ and his old friends became his enemies.

*Act 9:22 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.
Act 9:23 And after that many days were fulfilled, the Jews took counsel to kill him:

Paul continued to grow in his faith and his zeal was now for the truth of Jehovah who is the Messiah who came to our world to save us.

Paul grew Spiritually. We can have no strength that can compare to “Spiritual Strength”.

The Bible we have today is rich in the work of the Holy Spirit.

We should never forget the Holy Spirit is one third of the Triune God.

The Holy Spirit is not the influence of God, the Holy Spirit is God with His own work in our lives to accomplish and the power of the Holy Spirit showed mightily in the Apostle Paul.

The more Paul grew in the Lord the more he was able to confuse those who opposed the “Gospel.”

Paul could take the Scriptures and prove that the Lord Jesus was the true Messiah!

Paul grew in strength because his “faith” grew greatly every day.

Paul had been studying the Old Testament since he was a child, but he now knew the truth of the Messiah.

What is the truth of the Bible?

Heb 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.

So the same ones who had encouraged Paul to persecute Christians now plotted to kill Paul.

God was not about to allow this to happen.

*Act 9:24 But their laying await was known of Saul. And they watched the gates day and night to kill him.
Act 9:25 Then the disciples took him by night, and let him down by the wall in a basket.

We would wonder why they would hate Paul with such a vengeance.

They then considered Paul to be a traitor to Judaism.

When Paul escaped, this is probably the time when Paul went to spend some time with the Lord.

Gal 1:15 But when it pleased God, who separated me from my mother’s womb, and called me by his grace,
Gal 1:16 To reveal his Son in me, that I might preach him among the heathen; immediately I conferred not with flesh and blood:
Gal 1:17 Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus.

Where did Paul get his message?

Paul says not from man.
Paul did not immediately go back to Jerusalem to learn from the Apostles.

Paul went to Arabia where he stayed about three years. The same amount of time the other Apostles spent with Jesus.

It is after this he returned to Damascus.

Many times we just need to get alone with God and just talk to Him.

He is always ready to hear from us!

It is probably on his return to Damascus that verse twenty-three kicks in and this passage we are on now.

There are different theories about Paul’s time in Arabia.

The point being Paul spent some quality time with the Lord Jesus and became a much more mature Christian and it was time for the Lord to use Paul in a mighty way.

Even after returning from Arabia it was still 12 years before Paul went to the missionary field.

Paul fled from assassination all the remaining days of his life.

Paul was run out of Jerusalem and did not get to go home very much.

Paul went to his childhood home in Tarsus until he was called to the mission field.

The message of the “Gospel” convicted and threatened the followers of Judaism, and it still does today.

Christianity is not a growth from Judaism but in fact all those in Judaism will have to convert to Christianity which will take place after the “Rapture of the Church.

The Apostle Paul is an example for us all of the change that takes place after we are saved and the work that we need to be doing as disciples.

Paul was not some fanatic no more than a Christian is today, witnessing for our Lord and Savior.

God will always make a way to escape when we are true witnesses for the Lord.

God will deliver us from difficulty when we true witnesses.

God will carry us through to His presence when death comes.

2Ti 4:18 And the Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto his heavenly kingdom: to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

You see this is the truth of the Scriptures!

The Jerusalem Church is Scattered

The Jerusalem Church is Scattered

Book of Acts Chapter 8

The one thing we should get noticeably clear in our minds is the fact that God will have His way in this world!

Even when things look dire, we need to remember that Jehovah God is in charge of every aspect of this world.

Nothing happens upon this earth that God does not know about!

What had God told to the early Church?

Mar 16:15 And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Luk 24:47 And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.

Mat 28:18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
Mat 28:19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
Mat 28:20 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.

Over and over again we see the command to the Church.

The Church is not a building! The Church is every true believer!

The Church in Jerusalem had grown to an exceptionally large congregation, yet no one had considered what the Lord Jesus had commanded.

Yes, when the Lord Jesus speaks, He is commanding us to do as He says.

In fact, the Bible is a Book of Commands and not a Book of Suggestions!

Since the Church in Jerusalem would not “go into all the world” then, God would allow some things to take place and the result of these things would be the Church would be obedient to the Lord.

Now God did not cause the persecution that came to the Church, but God did allow it to take place.

The early Church grew because of the “Grace” of God, and we are still in this period called “Grace”!

Because of God’s Grace, He will not do things to go against His grace!

In other words, God did not cause this persecution, or the Church could not call it “Grace”.

In our lesson today we get to see some things about a young man named Saul.

Saul will become the worst of the persecutors of the Church, until He becomes maybe the greatest Christian who has ever lived.

First the persecutor:

*Act 8:1 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.

Though Saul did not cast a single stone upon Stephen, Saul was still consenting to his death.

As Stephen was dying, he gave God’s final invitation to those who were super religious in Jerusalem, but Israel rejected God’s message.

Israel set out to destroy God’s Church and Israel found out that this would be impossible.

The world of today needs to take note, that man cannot destroy the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ!

God overruled Israel and used this persecution to scatter the Church as the Lord Jesus had commanded.

Act_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.

The Holy Ghost (Spirit) had come and it was time for the Church to get busy about the work of the Lord!

God has a plan for this world and no one, not any human can change the plan of God.

No matter what is happening in this world, God’s plan moves along at God’s pace.

It was Saul who launched this heavy persecution.
Some godly men buried Stephen.
Saul would persecute both men and women.
The brethren were scattered in every direction.

Saul was well pleased with the death of Stephen!

As Christians we should never be pleased with the death of anyone no matter their guiltiness!

We should never be happy that someone has died without knowing the Lord as their Savior.

Fury had been building inside Saul and Stephen’s death just set Saul out to destroy all the Church.

Saul felt that the preaching of the Lord Jesus Christ would destroy Judaism.

Gal 1:13 For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews’ religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it:
Gal 1:14 And profited in the Jews’ religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous “of the traditions of my fathers”.

What Paul had not considered is the “traditions” cannot save anyone!

We can see that there were also politics behind the work of Saul, and Saul prospered in many ways because he persecuted the Church, the Body of Christ.

The persecution of the Church began immediately on the same day that Stephen was buried which was the same day Stephen was murdered.

Note the Apostles stayed behind.

They had given some freedom by the authorities because of Gamaliel:

Act 5:34 Then stood there up one in the council, a Pharisee, named Gamaliel, a doctor of the law, had in reputation among all the people, and commanded to put the apostles forth a little space;
Act 5:35 And said unto them, Ye men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what ye intend to do as touching these men.
Act 5:36 For before these days rose up Theudas, boasting himself to be somebody; to whom a number of men, about four hundred, joined themselves: who was slain; and all, as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought.
Act 5:37 After this man rose up Judas of Galilee in the days of the taxing, and drew away much people after him: he also perished; and all, even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed.
Act 5:38 And now I say unto you, Refrain from these men, and let them alone: for if this counsel or this work be of men, it will come to nought:
Act 5:39 But if it be of God, ye cannot overthrow it; lest haply ye be found even to fight against God.
Act 5:40 And to him they agreed: and when they had called the apostles, and beaten them, they commanded that they should not speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go.

Remember that Council would carry the same weight as our own Supreme Court.

The Apostles were highly esteemed by the people and these wicked men did not need any more intervention from Rome which could happen if the Jews were in some sort of civil war.

Act 4:21 So when they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding nothing how they might punish them, because of the people: for all men glorified God for that which was done.

Had the Apostles fled Jerusalem, then there would have been no one left to stabilize the Church at Jerusalem.

God does not shut down one Church to see it thrive somewhere else!

The Church in Jerusalem was an important Church and still is today.

Remember the Church is that congregation of believers.

This church would have ceased to exist, and this was not part of the plan of God.

The Church requires good godly leaders who cling to the Lord Jesus Christ.

You see we can trust that what God has said is the truth!

Mat 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.
Mat 16:19 And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.

Do not be confused by this Scripture. Peter is not the “Rock” of the Church, it is the Gospel, the truth of the Lord Jesus Christ!

No matter what Satan or the rebellious governments of this world send against the Church, the Church will prevail until the day the Lord removes the Church to deal with this wicked world.

2Ti 2:19 Nevertheless the foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, The Lord knoweth them that are his. And, Let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity.

We see that good godly devout men of God carried Stephen to his burial expressing great sorrow for him, but the soul of Stephen was already with the Lord Jesus Christ in our Heavenly home. These men were no longer afraid to show their faith.

*Act 8:2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.
Act 8:3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.

As for Saul. he joined in the persecution of the Church becoming the ring leader.

Saul had every intent to completely destroy God’s Church and remove it from the face of the earth.

Many would come behind him trying to do the same thing even in today’s time.

Even mighty Rome could not destroy the Church and none today will be able to.

Saul was like a man gone mad!

Act 26:11 And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.

Saul would even go into homes, breaking down the doors, seeking every believer.

Saul arrested everyone he could find, trying to stamp out Christianity.

Saul would storm every synagogue and he punished every believer that was present.

Even though women were considered to be insignificant in Saul’s day, Saul still went after women with the same fierceness.

Saul would send as many as he could to prison!

Act 22:4 And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.

Saul hunted them down like some terrible criminal even though these people just professed the Lord Jesus Christ as their perfect Savior.

This became their theme.

This had been what God commanded all along.

Those that escaped went forth claiming the Lord Jesus Christ and preaching the Word of God.

Persecution will never stop the work of God!

****Act 8:4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went everywhere preaching the word.

We know the Apostles were not scattered.

Most of the priests were not scattered.

It was the lay people who were scattered abroad.

That word “abroad” means “widely scattered”, beyond the bounds of a country, before the public.

They went everywhere preaching the Word of God, the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Rev_1:6 And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.

When the Word of God is preached and received it is then time to decide.

This is the power of the Christian Church.

The Lord Jesus Christ is the Savior unto life, or He is Ruler of death unto death.

Our life and our death are in the hands of our Savior!

This is a choice we must all make and thank God, He is the God of second chances.

Act 11:19 Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only.
Act 11:20 And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus.
Act 11:21 And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.

We should understand that evangelism is still the answer to persecution!

We have the life we live right now to prepare for what is said about us when we are dead.

*Act 8:5 Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.
Act 8:6 And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.

Philip went to Samaria which had been prepared by the Lord Jesus Christ with the message of salvation and many of those who were once enemies to the Jews became part of the Christian Church.

These are all things that can happen when we are obedient to the Lord!

Why was Philip given the power to do miracles?

We must remember there was no Bible to be given to believes in that day.

The Old Testament presented the message of the “coming of Christ”.

The message of the New Testament would be the return of Christ to get His Church. The “Good News”!

The New Testament would not be written for many years so God allowed some few men to take credit for some miracles mostly concerning healing.

Today we have the complete text of the Bible, there are no lost books of the Bible.

Miracles still happen every day but most all of them go unnoticed.

God uses persecution to demonstrate the reality of salvation.

God uses miracles for this same purpose!

Persecution of the Church can be simple abuse, or it can be violent.

It can happen at work, at home, at school, at play and yes, even at Church.

In every case God will use persecution to bear witness of Himself!

What the world needs now is to see a revived Church.

Many believe that revival is the time to reach out to the public and it can be, but the intent of “revival” is to stir the Church to get back to the work of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We need a true movement of God in the hearts and the lives of all the children of God, inside and outside the Church.

Philip had accepted the call of God and had become an evangelist; Philip was a lay person who was trained by the Holy Spirit.

He did not go to some seminary nor any other school accept the school of the Holy Spirit and Philip obeyed the commands of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philip preached and proclaimed the Lord Jesus Christ

Philip preached the “Good News, the Gospel and there is no better news today.

The one thing the Church needs today is to be in “one accord”!

We see just the opposite in our Churches today.

Every so-called Bible that has been rewritten just to pacify some congregation needs to be gathered and burnt for heresy.

There is only one truth and for the English-speaking world! The KJV is the closest we can get to the truth of God along with a few others that are taken from the “Received Text”.

All others are no more than commentaries that are taken from already altered versions of Scripture.

We must be in one mind and one spirit, one accord.

We must have an open mind, a willingness to listen to what God has to say, and then be obedient!

Has Satan infiltrated the Church? Yes, and we are foolish to think differently.

*Act 8:7 For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.
Act 8:8 And there was great joy in that city.

All those who do not have the Holy Ghost living within them are under the control of evil spirits.

2Ti_2:26 And that they may recover themselves out of the snare of the devil, who are taken captive by him “at his will”.

Satan cannot touch the child of God without God’s permission. Satan can threaten like he has this power but he does not!

It is not the same for those who have not given their lives to Christ Jesus! Satan can do as he pleases with these people!

People who cannot help themselves can be healed but only by the Lord Jesus Christ!

There will be evidence of changed lives! In fact, if there is no evidence of changed lives then we need to question their salvation!

2Co 5:17 Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.

1Jn 5:1 Whosoever believeth that Jesus is the Christ is born of God: and every one that loveth him that begat loveth him also that is begotten of him.
1Jn 5:2 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.
1Jn 5:3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous.

All those who would rather rewrite some book calling it a Bible just because they do not like the commandments of God, cannot then be saved!

When people understand the truth, it will certainly bring joy!

This joy will come and stay because it is the gift of God!

Philip did not have the power of miracles within himself to do miracles!

This power is only of God and God has His reasons and nothing comes from God without “faith”!

It is the deliverance from the great depths of sin that brings the greatest joy!

Deliverance from false prophets.
Deliverance from false religion.
Deliverance from sorceries which is drugs.

False religion will always fail in the end because there is no truth in false religion.

God has one message:

Rom 10:10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.
Rom 10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Rom 10:12 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.
Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

Even though Philip was in a great revival in Samaria, the Holy Spirit had a special request, and we must always listen to the Holy Spirit.

*Act 8:26 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.

We should know that God has His eyes on everything that is happening in this world!

Remember God knows the ending at the same time that He knows the beginning.

Every soul is important to God!

Why would this angel of the Lord not go himself?

I can think of two reasons:

1) Because this was a mission for a man. In the Lord’s salvation plan there is a place for redeemed sinners to be witnesses for Jesus Christ. No angel could accomplish this mission!

2) The Holy Spirit would already be working upon this individual and one of God’s redeemed could show him the way, the Jesus way.
An angel is but a messenger!

We should also remember Philip was in the middle of a great revival so what was so important about one man?

There were two ways from Jerusalem to Gaza, one desert, the other was through a more populous country.

Philip had no way of knowing a particular reason God would send him somewhere else during a revival, but Philip seemed to understand the importance of this mission.

We must always listen to what the Lord has to say no matter what we are doing at the time God calls!

Philip had to walk by faith!

It is our faith that is important when we are speaking to the Lord!

Jehovah does not limit Himself to our theories or our beliefs and we should not either!

God will use whatever is necessary to reach a lost soul!

God tells us all to “arise” and “go” and walk in the ways of the Lord Jesus Christ!

What did Philip do?

*Act 8:27 And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,
Act 8:28 Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.
Act 8:29 Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.

Philip saw some man riding in a chariot who was returning from Jerusalem.

We should understand that Chief officers of nations were called eunuchs. Some were eunuchs as we understand but not all were!

Many of them were the chief ministers in eastern courts and called eunuchs.

For instance we know that Candace was the queen of the Ethiopians but all the queens of Ethiopia were named Candace.

We should understand what the Bible says:

Psa 68:31 Princes shall come out of Egypt; Ethiopia shall soon stretch out her hands unto God.

This eunuch would be one of the tools Jehovah would use to fulfill this prophecy!

No doubt that this eunuch was also a proselyte to Judaism. A Gentile converted to Judaism.

Tradition tells us that even Candace was baptized by this eunuch after the work of Philip was completed.

This eunuch had taken part in all the Jewish festivals of that day, and he would now learn the simplicity of salvation by Jesus Christ.

He was reading from the Book of Isaiah the prophet of Jehovah.

It is a fact that many believers shy away from foreigners when the Lord only sees souls and all souls are as jewels and are valuable to the Lord.

The Lord Jesus wants us to reach all people with the truth!

Rom 10:11 For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.
Rom 10:12 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.
Rom 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.

We might understand that if we could reach the higher ups in our own government, it could change everything about the America we see now.

The one thing that can be said about eunuchs is, that they are dedicated to their position.

This eunuch was a worshiper of God, yet he was not saved because he did not know all the truth.

We must all seek a personal relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ.

Philip sensed what he was sent to do but Philip still needed a little push from the Holy Spirit.

After all this man was a high ranking officer of some country and not a Jew.

The Holy Spirit will always guide us if we listen to Him and place our lives under His control.

*Act 8:30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?
Act 8:31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.
Act 8:32 The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:

Notice that Philip came straight to the point.

It was not time to talk about the weather or the long trip. Philip was sent to this man for one purpose and Philip did what the Holy Spirit instructed him to do.

Philip initiated the conversation, but he did not give this man time to ask what he was doing chasing his chariot.

No doubt this man was faithful to have traveled such a great distance to worship Jehovah.

This man had a copy of the Word of God and few especially Gentiles had such a copy of the Word pf God.

Remember all copies were done by hand and were unbelievably valuable.

This man had a problem that he could not solve and there were no answers at his home in Ethiopia.

He did not understand that the Lord Jesus Christ died for him.

Isa 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
Isa 53:4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
Isa 53:5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Isa 53:6 All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all.
Isa 53:7 He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.
Isa 53:8 He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken.
Isa 53:9 And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth.
Isa 53:10 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.
Isa 53:11 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.

If we believe the Bible then we must understand that Isaiah was writing about our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ.

Isaiah was writing about the Messiah who had already come and completed the work required of His Father for our salvation!

He was led like a sheep because He was the Lamb of God.
He willingly died for our sin though He could have said no.
Because He was God it was in humiliation that He died and the justice due Him was not allowed.
In this time of “Grace” His followers are innumerable and who could have numbered them.

Psa 22:30 A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.
Psa 22:31 They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this.

This eunuch could not have understood about the Lord Jesus Christ until He had heard this truth.

It is the same today to those who do not know the Lord Jesus Christ.

The prophecies of the Old Testament of the coming of the Messiah have been fulfilled.

We are now awaiting upon the return of the Messiah to collect His Church to take His bride home to Heaven to present to His Father!

He is coming back to get His Church!

Come Lord Jesus Come