The Apostle Paul’s Defense Before Felix And Festus

Paul’s Defense Before Felix And Festus

Book of Acts Chapters 24; 25

When we left Paul last week he was about to present his case to Felix, the governor of Judaea and Samaria but before this could take place Felix would hear from the High Priest and the Jewish charges against Paul.

The main characters of this lesson would be the Apostle Paul, Felix and Festus.

Felix was the Roman procurator of Judaea in 53 A.D. He had been appointed by the Emperor Claudius.

Felix held the position that was once held by Pontus Pilate. Felix was a mean and cruel man and his period of office was full of troubles and sedition.

Porcius Festus succeeded Felix as governor Judea and this probably took place in 60 A.D.

Paul had a been a prisoner of Felix for about two years by this time.

Before Paul was able to present his case to Felix, the Jews had brought themselves a lawyer named Tertullus to present their case against Paul.

An "orator" would be a skillful and an eloquent speaker. So even though this man was a lawyer, he was probably not a scribe but he would be fluent in Latin, the language of Rome. We can be sure that Tertullus was brought in in order to flatter and to sway Felix.

We can also be sure that Paul was also fluent in this language of Latin but these Jews may not have been aware of this.

Tertullus accused Paul of being "pestilent", which means that Paul was like some kind of disease that spread bad health to the public.

He also accused Paul of "sedition", which means Paul was causing a great commotion in Jerusalem. Not quite an "insurrection" and not quite a "rebellion" but would certainly soon lead to these things.

In other words, these Jews considered Christianity to be nothing "but some cult" and not a true religion with Paul being the ringleader!

He also accused Paul of profaning the Temple, which means he continued with the accusation that Paul had taken a Gentile into the Holy Place, which was also a lie.

And he went on to say that if the Roman commander had not stopped the Jews they would have settled these things by Jewish law.

Stoning was the preferred method of the Jews but in Paul’s case they would have physically beaten him to death!

We will also meet some other people during this trial of Paul.

We have already talked about Felix and Festus the governors of Judea. In addition there was the high priest Ananias, and we have mentioned Tertullus.

But we will also meet Drucilla, the wife of Felix, and also Agrippa, another Roman governor and his sister Bernice.

Now let’s hear what the Apostle Paul had to say.

*****Act 24:10  Then Paul, after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, answered, Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a judge unto this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself:

Tertullus Had finished his remarks and before making any judgment Felix beckoned with his hand for Paul to speak.

Paul did not flatter Felix as Tertullus had done, but he did acknowledge that the governor was a man of experience and therefore a man of knowledge.

Paul did emphasize that he was happy to "more cheerfully answer" for himself.

This shows that the Apostle Paul had the courage to defend Christianity before any government official and false religion though he considered Christianity to be the fulfillment of the Old Testament!

By this time Paul had already written much of the New Testament and it was in the hands of the Christian church.

The Bible teaches us:

Eph 6:13  Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, [to stand].

We cannot back down when it is time to take a stand. This has already caused much problems in America because we refuse to take a stand on the Word of God.

It is not the time to be passive Christians any more!

*****Act 24:11  Because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem for to worship.
Act 24:12  And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city:
Act 24:13  Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me.

These 12 days refer to the time that Paul was in Jerusalem. Paul wanted Felix to have a clear understanding of the time that he had been in Jerusalem.

1) On day one Paul had arrived in Jerusalem.

2) On day two Paul had met with the church elders and James.

3.) On day three Paul had gone to the Temple with those Nazarites.

4) Days 4 and 5 were spent in the Temple for purification.

5) On day six Paul was arrested.

6.) On day seven Paul had appeared before the Sanhedrin court.

7) On day eight Paul had been escorted to Caesarea and it had now been five days until this day with Felix.

Paul was explaining to Felix that he had gone to the Temple to worship and not to lead anyone in a disturbance.

The Temple records would show that Paul had registered to pay the cost for those  Jews who had taken a Nazirite vow. This had been the plan of James.

Paul had not preached in the Temple nor in any of the synagogues nor anywhere else in the city of Jerusalem!

Paul had made an agreement with Peter and the Jerusalem elders that he would not evangelize the Jews in Jerusalem and he would not go back on his word. (Gal 2:7-10)

In other words the high priest had no proof of the things that he accused Paul of!

These things that Paul had said were facts and could be easily proven!

So Paul next dealt with the charges of sedition and heresy.

*****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 24:15  And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust.
Act 24:16  And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men.

These Jews saw Christianity as heresy!

The outside world saw Christianity as a cult!

Paul explained that the fact that he was a Christian did not mean he worshiped a different God from the God of his fathers. It only meant he worshiped the God of his fathers in a new and living way.

For the only acceptable way to worship the Father is through Jesus Christ.

Joh 5:23  That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father.[He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him].

Paul explained that his faith was still founded on the same scriptures that were honored by his accusers!

Paul had preached many a sermon on the coming "resurrection of the just".

Paul had rarely mentioned "the resurrection of the unjust", which was well documented in the prophecy of Daniel.

Dan 12:2  And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, [and some to shame and everlasting contempt].

There is little doubt that these words did not set well with Felix and more certainly with the Sadducees who did not believe in any resurrection and would not have look forward to any such event if it were true!

And it is true!

Paul explained that he accepted the Scriptures as they were written and that he was careful to avoid the offense of God and of men as he accepted God’s Word is the truth.

Paul was simply saying that it was his goal to keep his conscience clear and not stumble morally.

*****Act 24:17  Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings.
Act 24:18  Whereupon certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with multitude, nor with tumult.
Act 24:19  Who ought to have been here before thee, and object, if they had ought against me.

Now Paul explains why he had come to Jerusalem. Paul had come to present to Jewish believers an offering which had been received from the churches in Galatia and Macedonia and Achaia and Asia.

Instead of going about causing strife and dissension among the Jews, he had been collecting funds for this offering!

Instead of being harmful to his people, he had been trying to help them!

Paul explained that his purpose for being in the Temple was to participate in a particular Temple ritual which was open to all Jews.

This ritual, was a purification ritual and it had been completed just prior to his being apprehended by these that were accusing him this day.

As a Jew, who was ritually pure, Paul had as much right to be in the Temple courtyard on that occasion as any other Jewish man in all of Israel.

And Paul did not have around him neither a multitude nor a group of followers who were causing any disturbance.

These were facts that could be easily proven!

Paul corrected the accusation presented by Tertullus, "that it was the Jewish leaders that had seen him", when it was those certain out of town Jews from Asia and probably from Ephesus.

So any evidence they had was based on "hearsay" at best and if his conduct in the Temple courtyard was wrong or objectionable to the Jews who had seen him, then they themselves should be present to give eyewitness testimony.

We can be sure that they had returned to Asia thinking they had accomplished the destruction of the Apostle Paul.

*****Act 24:21  Except it be for this one voice, that I cried standing among them, Touching the resurrection of the dead I am called in question by you this day.

Paul knew that this whole thing was about Jesus and whether he was living or dead.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord was at the heart of this case against the Apostle Paul.

Peter had these words:

1Pe 1:3  Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope [by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,]

Paul wrote:

Rom 4:25  Who was delivered for our offences, and [was raised again for our justification].

John wrote that we can know this truth:

1Jn 2:21  I have not written unto you because ye know not the truth, but because ye know it, and that no lie is of the truth.
1Jn 2:22  Who is a liar but [he that denieth that Jesus is the Christ]? He is antichrist, that denieth the Father and the Son.

These words of Paul brought Holy Ghost conviction upon Felix.

*****Act 24:24  And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.
Act 24:25  And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.

Drusilla was the third wife of Felix and was very young. She was the youngest daughter of Herod Agrippa I but she no doubt new of her father’s persecution of the Jerusalem church and may also have been more curious than Felix about the Christian faith.

Upon hearing the gospel Felix trembled.

Felix evidently came under terrified conviction.

His discomfort became so intense that he interrupted Paul saying "go thy way for this time when I have a convenient season I will call thee"

There is no indication that Felix ever found a convenient season that he could trust Christ as his Savior.

The Bible says:

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.

*****Act 24:26  He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him.

In fact Felix reverted to his old self and assumed that Paul could if he wanted to purchase his freedom with a bribe, since he had possession of so much of God’s money.

Paul would never have given a bribe to Felix!

Now let’s see Paul present himself before Festus:

*****Act 25:1  Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem.
Act 25:2  Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him,
Act 25:3  And desired favour against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the way to kill him.
Act 25:4  But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself would depart shortly thither.
Act 25:5  Let them therefore, said he, which among you are able, go down with me, and accuse this man, if there be any wickedness in him.
Act 25:6  And when he had tarried among them more than ten days, he went down unto Caesarea; and the next day sitting on the judgment seat commanded Paul to be brought.

History tells us that’s Festus served as governor of the province only two years before he died but Festus appeared to have been a good ruler.

Luke was apparently near Paul during the two years that Paul was kept in Caesarea.

Tradition tells us that Luke wrote much of the Book of Acts during this period of time and probably also wrote the gospel of Luke.

Festus spent about two weeks in Jerusalem before going back down to Caesarea.

*****Act 25:7  And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove.

Once again Paul had to stand before a Roman authority for judgment while these same Jews would seek to have him convicted of a crime worthy of death.

While the Jews still laid many grievous complaints against Paul this verse also says that they were still unable to prove any of their charges.

It had been two years since their previous attempt to convict Paul and it is probable that they had conjured up additional accusations.

These Jews sole purpose was to murder Paul.

*****Act 25:8  While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all.

Paul’s response tells us about the charges that were made against him.

He was accused of breaking the laws of Moses.

He was accused of desecrating the Temple.

He was accused of violating Roman law.

The Greek word for "offended" is in most places in the Bible was translated "sinned".

Paul was not perfect by any means but he was not guilty of any crime against the Jews, nor the Romans and he was certainly not worthy of having the death sentence imposed upon him.

*****Act 25:9  But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me?

Earlier Festus had refused the Jews request for Paul to be sent to Jerusalem for trial.

However now he seemed agreeable to do so, but since Paul was a Roman citizen, he needed Paul’s consent.

Festus was trying to gain favor of the Jews by offering to conduct the trial in Jerusalem not knowing he would be jeopardizing the life of the Apostle Paul.

These Jews were so caught up in their hatred they had no problem in planning an ambush to assassinate Paul in his transit to Jerusalem if it took place.

*****Act 25:10  Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest.
Act 25:11  For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar.

The Jews had blundered when they accused Paul of sedition and rebellion against the Roman Empire!

There were no witness to prove any such charge but this charge made it a Roman issue rather than one merely of the Jews religion, so Paul is a Roman citizen had the right to appeal to a higher tribunal and he appealed to Caesar.

*****Act 25:12  Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go.

All Roman governors had a council appointed to aid them in dispensing justice and Festus conferred with his own counsel.

Again Paul was saved from death by his understanding of Roman law!

Festus may have wanted to gain favor with the Jews, but Roman law demanded that a Roman citizen be given a fair trial.

In all his court appearances we will see that Paul made an adequate and an able defense.

These trials clearly reveal that Paul was not guilty of anything at all. He had done nothing wrong and no provable charge had ever been brought against him.

He had not violated the Temple!

He had not in-sighted rebellion against Roman authority and both the accusers and the judge at these trials knew this to be the truth.

The only thing the that was correct, was that when Paul preached it was a threat to Judaism!

Next week we will see Paul’s defense before King Agrippa. It seems that Festus was at a complete loss as to what to report to the Emperor.

He could find no reason to continue to hold Paul yet the Jews demanded Paul’s life.

Questions?

Let’s pray!

The Accusations In The Sanhedrin Court

The Accusations In The Sanhedrin Court

Text: Book of Acts Chapter 23

When we left off in our last lesson Paul had been bound by the Roman commander Lysias, in Jerusalem. He would have been tortured by these Romans in a search for the truth but Paul was also a Roman citizen and therefore could not be scourged or tortured without a good cause.

Lysias was determined to know whether Paul was guilty of a religious offense or some civil offense.

Lysias needed to have answers because if news of this riot reached Caesarea where the Roman procurator stayed it could cost Lysias his job or even his life.

Rome would not allow its citizens to come under the jurisdiction of a Jewish court so Lysias called this court to come to him.

So let’s begin:

*****Act 23:1  And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.

Paul began his statement by saying up until this day he had lived before God in good conscience.

Paul was not claiming to have always lived in conformity with God’s will.

What Paul was saying was that he had always acted in a manner that was keeping with how he felt God wanted him to conduct himself.

BUT, His understanding of how God wanted him to live had changed when he met Jesus, and believed and was saved.

*****Act 23:2  And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth.
Act 23:3  Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?
Act 23:4  And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God’s high priest?
Act 23:5  Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.

This Ananias could have been the same high priest as at the time of Christ which was 30 years before this day.

This priest was also a political appointee and was a notoriously corrupt and cruel man according to history.

He could not tolerate the arrogance of Paul and ordered those that were seated near him to hit him in the mouth.

Paul immediately told this high priest that God would strike him down and called Ananias a whitewashed wall. 
It was common to washed limestone tombs. The purpose behind whitewashing the tomb was to make them highly visible. This prevented the Jews from accidentally touching them  and becoming ceremonially unclean.

Though a recently whitewashed tomb might be clean, white, and even ornate it was nonetheless full of dead men’s bones!

The outward appearance could be flattering but inside was death!

It is obvious that the Apostle Paul did not regard this appointed high priest as much of a man and certainly not a godly man.

Let’s see what Jesus had said about these men before he went to the cross.

Mat 23:27  Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness.

This Ananias was indeed a hypocrite. Every high priest was expected by God to show honesty and fairness along with compassionate concern for every human being.

Paul’s response showed that though he had respect for the office of high priest but he had no respect for this man Ananias.

History shows that this Ananias was indeed one of the most corrupt men to ever be named high priest.

Paul had not been formally charged with any offense So, Here Paul switch tactics. He no longer tried to tell what happened at the Temple. He began now using his wit and ability to forestall the evil judgment of this group of men.

*****Act 23:6  But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.
Act 23:7  And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided.
Act 23:8  For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.

We already know that the major religious groups among the Jews in the time of the New Testament were the Pharisees and the Sadducees.

Paul was a devout Pharisee before his salvation but he was also well versed in the ways of the Sadducees.

The Sanhedrin court consisted of both these groups and Paul could tell by the way they dressed which ones were from each group. (Matt 23:5)

The Sadducees were wealthy and were considered the party of the sophisticated Jew.

The Pharisees were more spiritually minded but just as carnal.

Let’s see how they would match up in today’s world.

The Sadducees had abandoned spiritual doctrine.

They denied any resurrection past or future.

They denied the existence of angels and also the spirit world. In other words the Sadducees did not believe in heaven or hell and did not believe in any kind of life after death.

Their world was a world of politics and not religion!

The Pharisees were legalistic and the force in the synagogues, insisting on keeping the law and the traditions, even making up their own laws. 

The Pharisees were the smaller of the two groups. They represented hypocrisy and superstition but they still had the support of the people!

It was the desire for political power that gave the Sadducees control of the high priest and they were sometimes called the chief priest.

These two groups were enemies of each other so Paul was quick to use this to his advantage!

*****Act 23:9  And there arose a great cry: and the scribes that were of the Pharisees’ part arose, and strove, saying, We find no evil in this man: but if a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him, let us not fight against God.

These scribes were the scholars of the Law and most of them were Pharisees because the Law meant more to them that it did to the Sadducees.

These are the men who could read, write, and interpret the Law.

These were the secretaries and the chroniclers and they sometimes taught in the schools, in the synagogues and were even considered lawyers who could settle legal disputes in the courts of law, even at the Sanhedrin council.

They quickly found that Paul had broken no law.

*****Act 23:10  And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle.

That word "dissension" means that the disputing between the Sadducees and the Pharisees became so fierce and intense that the Roman commander feared that Paul would be injured.

That word "strove" means they were about to use their fists in a real fight.

So once again this chief captain ordered his soldiers to rescue Paul and return him to the safety of the castle.

*****Act 23:11  And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.

Five times Jesus uses this phrase "be of good cheer".

We know that the number five represents "grace".

Jesus informed Paul that his work in Jerusalem was completed!

He also told Paul he would not die in Jerusalem that he would actually bear witness of Him in Rome.

There can be no doubt that this brought great comfort to Paul.

Many things can trouble God’s righteous people but some way or another the Lord can deliver them out of them all.

The Lord Jesus Christ knows that, we His servants will suffer with Him, but if possible He would have us all cheerful and very conscious of His presence with us at all times.

There is not one thing that men on this earth can do that can change the plan of God!

Paul was more secure this day than he ever realized in all his life!

*****Act 23:12  And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul.
Act 23:13  And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy.
Act 23:14  And they came to the chief priests and elders, and said, We have bound ourselves under a great curse, that we will eat nothing until we have slain Paul.

Paul’s life had been in danger from the very beginning of his ministry.

The Jews had tried to kill them on his first visit to Jerusalem after his conversion.

The Jews drove him out of Antioch in Pisidia.

They threatened to stone him in Iconium.

And Paul was stoned in Lustra.

The Jews tried to have Paul arrested in Corinth.

There was a plot to kill Paul in Ephesus and it is possible that these Jews now in Jerusalem could have been those same Asian Jews of Ephesus.

That phrase "bound themselves under a curse" comes from the Greek word which is based on the word "anathema".

Under Jewish law failure to complete this oath could result in invoking the judgment of God!

BUT, these 40 men needed the assistance of the chief priest and the Jewish elders in order to be successful.

40 men could not have defeated the Roman Garrison!

*****Act 23:15  Now therefore ye with the council signify to the chief captain that he bring him down unto you to morrow, as though ye would enquire something more perfectly concerning him: and we, or ever he come near, are ready to kill him.

We can see that these certain Jews hated the Apostle Paul so much that they were willing to cause problems with Rome. They were willing to ambush any detachment of soldiers that brought Paul to that meeting place and kill Paul.

*****Act 23:16  And when Paul’s sister’s son heard of their lying in wait, he went and entered into the castle, and told Paul.

God had already told Paul that he was going to Rome and that no harm would come to him, so we can readily see the direct involvement of the hand of God.

This is the only place in the Bible that we see a mention of Paul’s sister and her son!

There is no mention of when this sister had moved to Jerusalem nor how this son of hers learned about this conspiracy against his uncle.

This information was provided by the Holy Ghost and we need only accepted as the truth.

It is very possible that since Paul was not actually a prisoner but was held more or less in protective custody that he could be visited by his family and friends.

*****Act 23:17  Then Paul called one of the centurions unto him, and said, Bring this young man unto the chief captain: for he hath a certain thing to tell him.
Act 23:18  So he took him, and brought him to the chief captain, and said, Paul the prisoner called me unto him, and prayed me to bring this young man unto thee, who hath something to say unto thee.
Act 23:19  Then the chief captain took him by the hand, and went with him aside privately, and asked him, What is that thou hast to tell me?
Act 23:20  And he said, The Jews have agreed to desire thee that thou wouldest bring down Paul to morrow into the council, as though they would enquire somewhat of him more perfectly.
Act 23:21  But do not thou yield unto them: for there lie in wait for him of them more than forty men, which have bound themselves with an oath, that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed him: and now are they ready, looking for a promise from thee.
Act 23:22  So the chief captain then let the young man depart, and charged him, See thou tell no man that thou hast shewed these things to me.

In giving this information from this nephew to Paul and the chief Captain, the Jews were not aware that the Romans knew of their plot.

We must remember no Roman soldier could afford to lose a prisoner without it affecting his own life especially that of a Roman citizen.

We have yet to see in the Book of Acts where the Holy Ghost did not speak favorably of the Roman military officers.

Luke writes no record in the Book of Acts of Roman persecution against the church by it’s military.

There is no doubt that the Roman Empire was politically corrupt but for the most part the military were men of quality who respected the laws.

Under these conditions this vow of these 40 men could not be carried out!

The question might arise whether these men proceeded to starve themselves to death. This is very unlikely because the "Mishna", the Jewish writings, provided for the release from vows under such conditions as these.

*****Act 23:23  And he called unto him two centurions, saying, Make ready two hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea, and horsemen threescore and ten, and spearmen two hundred, at the third hour of the night;
Act 23:24  And provide them beasts, that they may set Paul on, and bring him safe unto Felix the governor.

In order to stop any attack by these 40 men this chief captain put together an overwhelming force. He had 200 soldiers 70 Calvary men and another 200 spearman for a total of 470 men.

The third hour of the night would have been about 9 o’clock in the evening and this would have provided greater secrecy and greater protection for Paul.

This chief captain had decided it was time for Paul to be judged by the Roman governor.

*****Act 23:25  And he wrote a letter after this manner:
Act 23:26  Claudius Lysias unto the most excellent governor Felix sendeth greeting.

At this time Felix was governor of Judea and Samaria. He held the position once held by Pontus Pilate.

The capital of the province was still in Caesarea which was 65 miles northwest of Jerusalem.  Paul would now go before the Roman governor.

*****Act 23:27  This man was taken of the Jews, and should have been killed of them: then came I with an army, and rescued him, having understood that he was a Roman.
Act 23:28  And when I would have known the cause wherefore they accused him, I brought him forth into their council:
Act 23:29  Whom I perceived to be accused of questions of their law, but to have nothing laid to his charge worthy of death or of bonds.

By Roman law, Felix would need to know why a Roman citizen was held in custody without having any charges made against him.

So Lysias addressed the two main points.

1) How Paul became the subject of Roman custody.

2) The fact that Paul was a Roman citizen.

What was not mentioned was the fact that Paul was apprehended by the Jews in one of the Temple courtyards and he did not explain how or when he had learned that Paul was a Roman citizen.

The main thing he wanted Felix to know was that the Jews would have killed Paul if he had not intervened with his troops.

Lysias wanted Felix to know that he considered that the issue at hand pertained entirely to Jewish law but it did not seem to him there was any basis for Paul to be put to death or to even be imprisoned.

*****Act 23:30  And when it was told me how that the Jews laid wait for the man, I sent straightway to thee, and gave commandment to his accusers also to say before thee what they had against him. Farewell.

It was also important for Felix to know that there was a conspiracy against Paul and that a group of Jewish terrorists had planned to attack the Roman garrison.

He also informed Felix that he had directed the Jewish leaders to go before him and make their own case against Paul who would be safer in Caesarea than he was in Jerusalem.

*****Act 23:31  Then the soldiers, as it was commanded them, took Paul, and brought him by night to Antipatris.
Act 23:32  On the morrow they left the horsemen to go with him, and returned to the castle:
Act 23:33  Who, when they came to Caesarea, and delivered the epistle to the governor, presented Paul also before him.

Antipatris was a city built by Herod the Great in honor of his father Antipater. It was 40 miles from Jerusalem on the way to Caesarea. This trip began about 9:00 pm that night and ended the next day.

At this point the foot soldiers and the spearman returned to Jerusalem and the calvary of 70 men continued to take Paul to the castle and Caesarea and presented Paul and the letter from Lysias to Felix.

*****Act 23:34  And when the governor had read the letter, he asked of what province he was. And when he understood that he was of Cilicia;
Act 23:35  I will hear thee, said he, when thine accusers are also come. And he commanded him to be kept in Herod’s judgment hall.

The reason Felix asked Paul which province he was from was to determine whether he had the authority to hear this case or if he needed to send Paul to another governor.

If Paul had not been a Roman citizen this question would not have even been asked!

It was very important to make certain all Roman citizens were handled properly, especially in the question of capital punishment.

This was not so for any that were not Roman citizens!

We cannot read this passage of scripture without seeing the hand of God in the life and ministry of the Apostle Paul.

Jesus had told Paul he would be going to Rome.

Paul had not realized that the Roman government would provide him his transportation and his security. 

And, God used the Jews to make certain that His purpose would be fulfilled.

The Jews were determined to kill Paul, but the Romans were just as determined to keep him alive, so we see God prevails over all things.

Questions?

Let’s pray!

The Apostle Paul’s Testimony At The Temple

Paul’s Testimony In The Temple

Book of Acts Chapter 22

When we left off last week many accusations had been made against Paul and then an unruly mob in Jerusalem had attempted to beat Paul to death. Hearing the uproar, Roman soldiers had seized Paul and dragged him away from the Temple.

This riot was quickly put to an end but the Roman soldiers thought that Paul was the focus of the trouble and arrested him.

Paul wanted to make an attempt to speak before he entered the barracks of this Roman Garrison.

So today we get to hear what Paul had to say and we will begin by reviewing two verses in last week’s lesson.

*****Act 21:39  But Paul said, I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and, I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people.
Act 21:40  And when he had given him license, Paul stood on the stairs, and beckoned with the hand unto the people. And when there was made a great silence, he spake unto them in the Hebrew tongue, saying,

These stairs that Paul was standing on led up from the Temple area into the Tower of Antonio Fortress.

Paul had impressed the Roman soldiers with his ability to speak the Greek language but Paul wanted to address these Jews in the Hebrew tongue.

The prophecy of Agabus had come to pass and Paul was now a prisoner and he will remain a prisoner for many years to come.

Paul also had a desire to witness to the Jews in Jerusalem but this was not to be!

*****Act 22:1  Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you.
Act 22:2  (And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,)

Paul had done nothing wrong but he had been accused of bringing a Gentile into the Temple which was not true.

Paul wanted these Jews to understand that in becoming a Christian he had not forsaked nor betrayed his Hebrew heritage.

Paul had found the "fulfillment" of the law and had taught about Jesus as the true Messiah which was a fulfillment of the Old Testament scriptures.

And Paul began by saying here is my defense.

Most every Jew present that day would have clearly understood what Paul said but these Roman soldiers probably did not understand.

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

We should not forget that Paul had been a leading rabbi in his day so he was certainly known to some of these people in this crowd of specially the high priest and most other Pharisees.

Paul said that he was a Jew.

Paul said he was a native of Tarsus, but raised up in Jerusalem.

Paul said he was trained by Gamaliel who was a highly regarded Pharisee.

Paul said he was a follower of the Law, a zealous persecutor of the church, and a representative of the Sanhedrin council.

*****Act 22:4  And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.
Act 22:5  As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished.

We know that Paul had consented to the stoning of Stephen and he had actually held the coats of those that stoned him.

We know that Paul had breathed out threatening’s and slaughter against all followers of Christ.

Paul was saying that he understood their zeal for God because he had also been that way until he met Jesus.

Jesus Christ will make a change in each life He touches!

The High Priest was very aware of the letters he had given Paul to extradite Christians back to Jerusalem.

And now Paul began to tell these Jews why he no longer had that point of view.

*****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.

Paul begins his testimony by telling how he had met Jesus on the Damascus Road.

Paul was headed to Damascus to persecute Christians but instead he was captured by Jesus who he had been persecuting.

In addition, at the noontime hour, there was a light much brighter than the sun that shone upon him and knocked him to the ground.

That great light was from Heaven.

The Apostle Peter said it this way:

2Pe 1:16  For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
2Pe 1:17  For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
2Pe 1:18  And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
2Pe 1:19  We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and [the day star] arise in your hearts:

*****Act 22:7  And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

The voice that Paul heard came from Jesus himself.

And Jesus asked why he was being persecuted by Saul.

Paul was known by the name of Saul before he accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his savior.

You see Saul became so different he got a new name!

Isa 62:2  And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.

*****Act 22:8  And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.

The request that Jesus asked of Paul brought forth an answer that was also a question.

"Who art thou Lord"?

We can see from this testimony "that the same Jesus that was from Nazareth", who had been crucified was still alive.

Paul knew that "the official Jewish position was" [that Jesus of Nazareth was an imposter’ who had been crucified and his body stolen from the tomb by his disciples who then started a rumor that Jesus had been raised from the dead.

BUT NOW EVEN Paul had seen the risen Savior!

*****Act 22:9  And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.

We do not know how many men were with Paul that day on the Damascus Road. There were some members of the Temple security force. And there would have been some servants.

These men who were with Paul, saw the bright light, and they heard some sounds, but they were not able to understand the words because God intended His Word to be specifically for Paul.

This was not strange because it had happened before.

Joh 12:28  Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.
Joh 12:29  The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.
Joh 12:30  Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.

These men were witnesses of this occasion even though they had not heard the words of the Lord Jesus.

*****Act 22:10  And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.

Salvation happens instantly the moment one repents of his sins and trust the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior.

This experience happened to Paul on that eventful day when he was stopped by God before he reached the city of Damascus and the proof of this is in Paul’s response!

"What shall I do Lord"?

We can see that Paul was humbled by the presence of the Lord and he then surrendered himself to the Lord Jesus.

Jesus responded by telling him to get up off the ground were he and fell and go into the city of Damascus.

After Paul had done this thing then he would be told about "all things" that God had arranged for him to do.

God has a plan for each of us!

Rom 8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, [to them who are the called according to his purpose].

*****Act 22:11  And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus.

Spiritually speaking Paul had a brand-new view of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul had began this trip in order to persecute the saints but now it would be one of God’s saints that would inform Paul what he must do for Christ.

Paul was led by the hand to Damascus!

*****Act 22:12  And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there,
Act 22:13  Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him.

We are not told a whole lot about Ananias.

But look at what this verse says.

Ananias was a devout man according to the law of Moses.

Ananias had a good report of all the Jews.

Ananias was a Christian.

Ananias was obedient to the Lord.

Ananias was the perfect example for the apostle Paul!

Like many Jewish believers of his day, Ananias continued to observe some of the stipulations of the laws of Moses and that would have enabled him to have an opportunity to witness to the Jews.

But as a Christian, Ananias was obedient to the Lord putting aside his Jewish heritage in favor of his Christian heritage.

*****Act 22:14  And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.
Act 22:15  For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.

That "Just One" was the innocent and the righteous and the holy, Lord Jesus and there never will be another "ONE" like Him.

The Greek word "dikaios" is used here and also more than 80 times in the New Testament, where it is translated as "righteous" 41 times and as "just" 33 times along with a few other words.

There are four things that Paul learns from Ananias:

1) Paul was told that he would know God’s will for him.

2) Paul learned that he would see Jesus again.

3) Paul was told that he would hear for himself what Jesus wanted him to do.

4) Paul learned that he would be a special witness for Jesus.

In other words Paul would get first-hand information directly from the Lord!

Every Christian will get first hand information from and through the Holy Spirit!

Paul had witnessed the glory of Jesus Christ and now Paul would testify to the glory of Jesus Christ!

*****Act 22:16  And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

Baptism may symbolize the washing away of one sins, "just as it symbolizes death to the old life and a rising to the new life in Jesus.

BUT,  we do not actually die while in the water and neither can physical water wash away sin!

Sin can only be washed away by the Holy Spirit and God’s Word!

The reality of a new life in Christ Jesus with forgiveness of sins and the assurance of everlasting life can only come through faith in Christ as Lord and the regenerating work of the indwelling Spirit of God.

Sins can only be washed away by regeneration:

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;

Baptism is "merely a picture" of what is required for sins to be forgiven.

Paul had yielded himself to the saving power of the Lord, consequently his baptism was the evidence of his sin being washed way.

*****Act 22:17  And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance;
Act 22:18  And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.

Those words "it came to pass" tells us that some time had passed between the baptism of Paul and his vision of Jesus in the Temple.

The second statement" when I was come again to Jerusalem" shows us that Paul had this vision on at least his second visit to Jerusalem following his salvation.

We also know that Paul remained in Damascus for a while testifying of Christ in the synagogues.

AND, We also know that he went to Arabia and was taught by Jesus.

Paul returned to Damascus after this.

On Paul’s first trip to Jerusalem he met only with Peter and James, the Lord’s brother, who was already the pastor of the church in Jerusalem.

Paul then again returned to Damascus where he remained until he had to flee for his life.

It was probably on the second trip to Jerusalem that Paul went into the Temple courts and he received the vision of Jesus.

It is most probable that Paul was sent to Tarsus after this command from Jesus to leave Jerusalem quickly.

The Lord knew that Paul’s testimony would not be received by the Jews in Jerusalem because they rejected Paul so much they would also reject anything he had to say about Him.

*****Act 22:19  And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee:
Act 22:20  And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.
Act 22:21  And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.

Paul had good reasons for telling these Jews about his vision in the Temple.

1) It was to prove that God called him to the mission field.

2) This vision disproved the Jewish accusations that Paul was attempting to change the Jews.

3) By telling these Jews that the experience occurred in the Temple, he could counter their suspicions about his opposition to that holy place.

Paul was about to explain why he was involved with the Gentiles but these Jews would not permit him to continue.

No devout Jew, following the Law, would have anything to do with Gentiles!

*****Act 22:22  And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live.
Act 22:23  And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air,
Act 22:24  The chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade that he should be examined by scourging; that he might know wherefore they cried so against him.Paul was faithful to his witness of the Lord and to the Gentiles no matter what it cost him even his life.

Paul could have quit on God at this time but Paul would rather be a prisoner than give up his burden for lost souls and for missions.

So when these zealous Jews heard the apostle say that God had called him to go far away to the Gentiles their indignation was rekindled.

It was the Jews hatred of Gentiles that started this disturbance, so the mention of the word Gentiles again renewed this uproar!

SO,  in the eyes of the Jews Paul was worthy of death!

This Roman captain apparently did not understand the Hebrew language but when he saw the commotion he decided that he needed to know more about Paul and scourging was used as a method of torture used in an attempt to seek the truth.

*****Act 22:25  And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned?
Act 22:26  When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman.
Act 22:27  Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea

This was the second occasion in which Paul used his rights under Roman citizenship as a defense. Paul had already been beaten several times with rods, he had been imprisoned, and had been persecuted in many ways.

However, the Roman scourge was certainly more crippling and could even be fatal so Paul reminded his captors that he had certain rights as a Roman.

*****Act 22:28  And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born.

Roman citizenship was awarded to an individual in one of three ways.

1) It could be by birth if both parents were Roman citizens.

2) It could be by reward resulting from some great service to Rome.

3) It could be purchased at a considerable price.

It is very likely that Paul’s father had found favor with the Republic of Rome by performing some task. Since Paul’s father had earned his citizenship, Paul was born a Roman though Tarsus itself was far from the city of Rome.

*****Act 22:29  Then straightway they departed from him which should have examined him: and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.

This captain became very concerned, because the even arresting a Roman citizen could be called into question.

Roman citizens had many more privileges than noncitizens of Rome!

The soldiers had made two mistakes and they were quick to undo them. They had blamed Paul and had planned to scourge him but they now showed kindness when they knew he was a Roman citizen.

Even God was using the power of Rome to protect Paul and eventually providing a means for Paul to get to Rome. This would be a mission trip financed by the government!

*****Act 22:30  On the morrow, because he would have known the certainty wherefore he was accused of the Jews, he loosed him from his bands, and commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear, and brought Paul down, and set him before them.

Since Paul was a Roman citizen he could not be held without a reasonable charge against him.

But under the circumstances Paul could not be released because he would be murdered.  So, Paul was kept for a time under protective custody.

Therefore this Roman commander called a meeting of the Sanhedrin court to see whether it could be determined if Paul was guilty of any offense.

As we go through the next few chapters we will see that the trials of Paul were "never" any attempt to discover the truth.

Paul had done nothing wrong that would cause imprisonment, let alone death.

But guilt or innocence does not matter when facing an angry mob.

Next week in chapter 23 we will see the accusations against the Apostle Paul.

Questions?

Then let’s pray!

The Apostle Paul’s Testimony At The Temple

Paul’s Testimony In The Temple

Book of Acts Chapter 22

When we left off last week many accusations had been made against Paul and then an unruly mob in Jerusalem had attempted to beat Paul to death. Hearing the uproar, Roman soldiers had seized Paul and dragged him away from the Temple.

This riot was quickly put to an end but the Roman soldiers thought that Paul was the focus of the trouble and arrested him.

Paul wanted to make an attempt to speak before he entered the barracks of this Roman Garrison.

So today we get to hear what Paul had to say and we will begin by reviewing two verses in last week’s lesson.

*****Act 21:39  But Paul said, I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and, I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people.
Act 21:40  And when he had given him license, Paul stood on the stairs, and beckoned with the hand unto the people. And when there was made a great silence, he spake unto them in the Hebrew tongue, saying,

These stairs that Paul was standing on led up from the Temple area into the Tower of Antonio Fortress.

Paul had impressed the Roman soldiers with his ability to speak the Greek language but Paul wanted to address these Jews in the Hebrew tongue.

The prophecy of Agabus had come to pass and Paul was now a prisoner and he will remain a prisoner for many years to come.

Paul also had a desire to witness to the Jews in Jerusalem but this was not to be!

*****Act 22:1  Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you.
Act 22:2  (And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,)

Paul had done nothing wrong but he had been accused of bringing a Gentile into the Temple which was not true.

Paul wanted these Jews to understand that in becoming a Christian he had not forsaked nor betrayed his Hebrew heritage.

Paul had found the "fulfillment" of the law and had taught about Jesus as the true Messiah which was a fulfillment of the Old Testament scriptures.

And Paul began by saying here is my defense.

Most every Jew present that day would have clearly understood what Paul said but these Roman soldiers probably did not understand.

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

We should not forget that Paul had been a leading rabbi in his day so he was certainly known to some of these people in this crowd of specially the high priest and most other Pharisees.

Paul said that he was a Jew.

Paul said he was a native of Tarsus, but raised up in Jerusalem.

Paul said he was trained by Gamaliel who was a highly regarded Pharisee.

Paul said he was a follower of the Law, a zealous persecutor of the church, and a representative of the Sanhedrin council.

*****Act 22:4  And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.
Act 22:5  As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished.

We know that Paul had consented to the stoning of Stephen and he had actually held the coats of those that stoned him.

We know that Paul had breathed out threatening’s and slaughter against all followers of Christ.

Paul was saying that he understood their zeal for God because he had also been that way until he met Jesus.

Jesus Christ will make a change in each life He touches!

The High Priest was very aware of the letters he had given Paul to extradite Christians back to Jerusalem.

And now Paul began to tell these Jews why he no longer had that point of view.

*****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.

Paul begins his testimony by telling how he had met Jesus on the Damascus Road.

Paul was headed to Damascus to persecute Christians but instead he was captured by Jesus who he had been persecuting.

In addition, at the noontime hour, there was a light much brighter than the sun that shone upon him and knocked him to the ground.

That great light was from Heaven.

The Apostle Peter said it this way:

2Pe 1:16  For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.
2Pe 1:17  For he received from God the Father honour and glory, when there came such a voice to him from the excellent glory, This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.
2Pe 1:18  And this voice which came from heaven we heard, when we were with him in the holy mount.
2Pe 1:19  We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and [the day star] arise in your hearts:

*****Act 22:7  And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?

The voice that Paul heard came from Jesus himself.

And Jesus asked why he was being persecuted by Saul.

Paul was known by the name of Saul before he accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as his savior.

You see Saul became so different he got a new name!

Isa 62:2  And the Gentiles shall see thy righteousness, and all kings thy glory: and thou shalt be called by a new name, which the mouth of the LORD shall name.

*****Act 22:8  And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.

The request that Jesus asked of Paul brought forth an answer that was also a question.

"Who art thou Lord"?

We can see from this testimony "that the same Jesus that was from Nazareth", who had been crucified was still alive.

Paul knew that "the official Jewish position was" [that Jesus of Nazareth was an imposter’ who had been crucified and his body stolen from the tomb by his disciples who then started a rumor that Jesus had been raised from the dead.

BUT NOW EVEN Paul had seen the risen Savior!

*****Act 22:9  And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.

We do not know how many men were with Paul that day on the Damascus Road. There were some members of the Temple security force. And there would have been some servants.

These men who were with Paul, saw the bright light, and they heard some sounds, but they were not able to understand the words because God intended His Word to be specifically for Paul.

This was not strange because it had happened before.

Joh 12:28  Father, glorify thy name. Then came there a voice from heaven, saying, I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again.
Joh 12:29  The people therefore, that stood by, and heard it, said that it thundered: others said, An angel spake to him.
Joh 12:30  Jesus answered and said, This voice came not because of me, but for your sakes.

These men were witnesses of this occasion even though they had not heard the words of the Lord Jesus.

*****Act 22:10  And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me, Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.

Salvation happens instantly the moment one repents of his sins and trust the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Savior.

This experience happened to Paul on that eventful day when he was stopped by God before he reached the city of Damascus and the proof of this is in Paul’s response!

"What shall I do Lord"?

We can see that Paul was humbled by the presence of the Lord and he then surrendered himself to the Lord Jesus.

Jesus responded by telling him to get up off the ground were he and fell and go into the city of Damascus.

After Paul had done this thing then he would be told about "all things" that God had arranged for him to do.

God has a plan for each of us!

Rom 8:28  And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, [to them who are the called according to his purpose].

*****Act 22:11  And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus.

Spiritually speaking Paul had a brand-new view of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Paul had began this trip in order to persecute the saints but now it would be one of God’s saints that would inform Paul what he must do for Christ.

Paul was led by the hand to Damascus!

*****Act 22:12  And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there,
Act 22:13  Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him.

We are not told a whole lot about Ananias.

But look at what this verse says.

Ananias was a devout man according to the law of Moses.

Ananias had a good report of all the Jews.

Ananias was a Christian.

Ananias was obedient to the Lord.

Ananias was the perfect example for the apostle Paul!

Like many Jewish believers of his day, Ananias continued to observe some of the stipulations of the laws of Moses and that would have enabled him to have an opportunity to witness to the Jews.

But as a Christian, Ananias was obedient to the Lord putting aside his Jewish heritage in favor of his Christian heritage.

*****Act 22:14  And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.
Act 22:15  For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.

That "Just One" was the innocent and the righteous and the holy, Lord Jesus and there never will be another "ONE" like Him.

The Greek word "dikaios" is used here and also more than 80 times in the New Testament, where it is translated as "righteous" 41 times and as "just" 33 times along with a few other words.

There are four things that Paul learns from Ananias:

1) Paul was told that he would know God’s will for him.

2) Paul learned that he would see Jesus again.

3) Paul was told that he would hear for himself what Jesus wanted him to do.

4) Paul learned that he would be a special witness for Jesus.

In other words Paul would get first-hand information directly from the Lord!

Every Christian will get first hand information from and through the Holy Spirit!

Paul had witnessed the glory of Jesus Christ and now Paul would testify to the glory of Jesus Christ!

*****Act 22:16  And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.

Baptism may symbolize the washing away of one sins, "just as it symbolizes death to the old life and a rising to the new life in Jesus.

BUT,  we do not actually die while in the water and neither can physical water wash away sin!

Sin can only be washed away by the Holy Spirit and God’s Word!

The reality of a new life in Christ Jesus with forgiveness of sins and the assurance of everlasting life can only come through faith in Christ as Lord and the regenerating work of the indwelling Spirit of God.

Sins can only be washed away by regeneration:

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;

Baptism is "merely a picture" of what is required for sins to be forgiven.

Paul had yielded himself to the saving power of the Lord, consequently his baptism was the evidence of his sin being washed way.

*****Act 22:17  And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance;
Act 22:18  And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.

Those words "it came to pass" tells us that some time had passed between the baptism of Paul and his vision of Jesus in the Temple.

The second statement" when I was come again to Jerusalem" shows us that Paul had this vision on at least his second visit to Jerusalem following his salvation.

We also know that Paul remained in Damascus for a while testifying of Christ in the synagogues.

AND, We also know that he went to Arabia and was taught by Jesus.

Paul returned to Damascus after this.

On Paul’s first trip to Jerusalem he met only with Peter and James, the Lord’s brother, who was already the pastor of the church in Jerusalem.

Paul then again returned to Damascus where he remained until he had to flee for his life.

It was probably on the second trip to Jerusalem that Paul went into the Temple courts and he received the vision of Jesus.

It is most probable that Paul was sent to Tarsus after this command from Jesus to leave Jerusalem quickly.

The Lord knew that Paul’s testimony would not be received by the Jews in Jerusalem because they rejected Paul so much they would also reject anything he had to say about Him.

*****Act 22:19  And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee:
Act 22:20  And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.
Act 22:21  And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.

Paul had good reasons for telling these Jews about his vision in the Temple.

1) It was to prove that God called him to the mission field.

2) This vision disproved the Jewish accusations that Paul was attempting to change the Jews.

3) By telling these Jews that the experience occurred in the Temple, he could counter their suspicions about his opposition to that holy place.

Paul was about to explain why he was involved with the Gentiles but these Jews would not permit him to continue.

No devout Jew, following the Law, would have anything to do with Gentiles!

*****Act 22:22  And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live.
Act 22:23  And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air,
Act 22:24  The chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade that he should be examined by scourging; that he might know wherefore they cried so against him.Paul was faithful to his witness of the Lord and to the Gentiles no matter what it cost him even his life.

Paul could have quit on God at this time but Paul would rather be a prisoner than give up his burden for lost souls and for missions.

So when these zealous Jews heard the apostle say that God had called him to go far away to the Gentiles their indignation was rekindled.

It was the Jews hatred of Gentiles that started this disturbance, so the mention of the word Gentiles again renewed this uproar!

SO,  in the eyes of the Jews Paul was worthy of death!

This Roman captain apparently did not understand the Hebrew language but when he saw the commotion he decided that he needed to know more about Paul and scourging was used as a method of torture used in an attempt to seek the truth.

*****Act 22:25  And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned?
Act 22:26  When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman.
Act 22:27  Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea

This was the second occasion in which Paul used his rights under Roman citizenship as a defense. Paul had already been beaten several times with rods, he had been imprisoned, and had been persecuted in many ways.

However, the Roman scourge was certainly more crippling and could even be fatal so Paul reminded his captors that he had certain rights as a Roman.

*****Act 22:28  And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born.

Roman citizenship was awarded to an individual in one of three ways.

1) It could be by birth if both parents were Roman citizens.

2) It could be by reward resulting from some great service to Rome.

3) It could be purchased at a considerable price.

It is very likely that Paul’s father had found favor with the Republic of Rome by performing some task. Since Paul’s father had earned his citizenship, Paul was born a Roman though Tarsus itself was far from the city of Rome.

*****Act 22:29  Then straightway they departed from him which should have examined him: and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.

This captain became very concerned, because the even arresting a Roman citizen could be called into question.

Roman citizens had many more privileges than noncitizens of Rome!

The soldiers had made two mistakes and they were quick to undo them. They had blamed Paul and had planned to scourge him but they now showed kindness when they knew he was a Roman citizen.

Even God was using the power of Rome to protect Paul and eventually providing a means for Paul to get to Rome. This would be a mission trip financed by the government!

*****Act 22:30  On the morrow, because he would have known the certainty wherefore he was accused of the Jews, he loosed him from his bands, and commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear, and brought Paul down, and set him before them.

Since Paul was a Roman citizen he could not be held without a reasonable charge against him.

But under the circumstances Paul could not be released because he would be murdered.  So, Paul was kept for a time under protective custody.

Therefore this Roman commander called a meeting of the Sanhedrin court to see whether it could be determined if Paul was guilty of any offense.

As we go through the next few chapters we will see that the trials of Paul were "never" any attempt to discover the truth.

Paul had done nothing wrong that would cause imprisonment, let alone death.

But guilt or innocence does not matter when facing an angry mob.

Next week in chapter 23 we will see the accusations against the Apostle Paul.

Questions?

Then let’s pray!

Persecution In Jerusalem

Persecution In Jerusalem

Book of Acts Chapter 21

When we left off last week the Apostle Paul had had an emotional goodbye with the elders of Ephesus. There had been great sorrow because they knew they would never see the Apostle Paul again on this Earth.

Paul returned to Jerusalem to witness to the Jews but he also had other purposes.

Paul wanted to make known the progress of Christianity that had been made in the Gentile churches.

When Paul traveled to Jerusalem he did not know that in a few short years the Romans would completely destroy the city and the Temple.

But the Gentile churches had sent a love offering to the poor Saints in Jerusalem and Paul was delivering that support.

Paul had just recently written the Book of Roman before ending this trip at Jerusalem.

Proof:

Rom 15:25  But now I go unto Jerusalem to minister unto the saints.

Rom 15:26  For it hath pleased them of Macedonia and Achaia to make a certain contribution for the poor saints which are at Jerusalem.

We should remember that it was not the church at Jerusalem that had sent out the Apostle Paul it was the church in Antioch, but at Jerusalem was the first Christian church established and each missionary should report the progress of the gospel to every church they have an opportunity to attend. The Apostles were still home based at Jerusalem at this time.

The first few verses in Chapter 21 described Paul’s return home so we will begin at verse 4:

*****Act 21:4  And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem.

One of the things that I noticed on this return trip was the fact that Christianity was spreading and disciples were found at every location.

At the city of Tyre, the ship that the Apostle Paul was on, was in that port for a week. The apostle and those with him spent that time worshipping and fellowshipping with the members of the church that was in Tyre.

We may not know when this church was established but we do now know that one existed.

The Apostle Paul had already been warned that “bonds and afflictions” were waiting on him if he insisted on returning to Jerusalem.

It actually seems, that the Holy Spirit was commanding Paul not to go and this may have truly been the case but what is certain is, that Paul understood that it was their earnest wish for him not to go to Jerusalem and certainly Paul would not defy the Holy Spirit in disobedience.

Actually Paul had better knowledge from the Lord to understand this than we do and his interpretation was doubtless, correct!

BUT, it is clearly understood that by this prophetic warning that Paul went to Jerusalem at the risk of his own life!

*****Act 21:5  And when we had accomplished those days, we departed and went our way; and they all brought us on our way, with wives and children, till we were out of the city: and we kneeled down on the shore, and prayed.

Act 21:6  And when we had taken our leave one of another, we took ship; and they returned home again.

Another thing I noticed in this chapter is that, the Body of Christ “is a family organization”, including wives and children, “whosoever” trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as their personal Savior!

This was not the case in the other religions of that time where most women had no role in religion nor in government.

When those seven days were up the entire congregation of this little church including wives and children accompanied Paul back to the ship and when they had reached the water’s edge they all knelt in prayer.

While Paul prayed for the church, the church prayed for the Apostle Paul and then they return to their homes.

*****Act 21:7  And when we had finished our course from Tyre, we came to Ptolemais, and saluted the brethren, and abode with them one day.

Ptolemais was 30 miles from Tyre and here again the ship stopped for one day and in this brief time the Apostle Paul had a chance to visit with members of the church located in Tyre.

Christianity was spreading throughout Israel and the nearby cities!

From here it seems that Paul and those with him set out on foot to Caesarea.

*****Act 21:8  And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him.

Caesarea was still the seat of the Roman government in Palestine at this time.

This group of men stayed with Philip and this verse tells us that this was the same Philip who was one of the original seven chosen to serve as deacons of the church in Jerusalem.

We can only imagine this first meeting of the Apostle Paul and Philip, remember Paul had held the coats of those that had stoned Stephen.

Philip would have had to have forgiven Paul to allow him to stay in his own home!

By this time Philip had made his home in Caesarea for at least 20 years.

Proof:

Act 8:40  But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.

Phillip was an evangelist, and it is very likely that is because of the preaching of Philip that the gospel had spread in this entire area.

In fact, Philip is the only person who is actually called an evangelist in the New Testament.

An evangelist is a preacher of the gospel to those who have never heard it. Philip had done this to the Samaritan. Philip had done this to the Ethiopian eunuch and to all the towns from Azotis to Caesarea.

*****Act 21:9  And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy.

We can see that during this time that Philip had raised a godly an Christian family. His four daughters had been entrusted with the gift of prophecy.

It also appears in this verse that these women had chosen to remain unmarried so they could devote themselves fully to the service of God.

It is the Apostle Paul that gave us these words:

1Co 7:34  There is difference also between a wife and a virgin. The unmarried woman careth for the things of the Lord, that she may be holy both in body and in spirit: but she that is married careth for the things of the world, how she may please her husband.

*****Act 21:10  And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.

Act 21:11  And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.

Act 21:12  And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem.

There are many that question whether it was right for the Apostle Paul to continue with his trip to Jerusalem.

I personally think that it is very wrong to question one of God’s apostles!

These men were specifically chosen by God and for a specific purpose!

But these men were also human and as humans none of us are perfect!

It could be said that these prophetic things could be as warnings to prepare the Apostle Paul for what was coming.

The prophet Agabas did not forbid Paul to go to Jerusalem but he did tell him what to expect if he did!

Paul had met this prophet earlier and he had prophesied the coming famine that would be especially hard on the churches of Judea and this had been a fact.

God’s prophets still had to meet the same requirements of the Old Testament:

Deu 18:21  And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken?

Deu 18:22  When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it

Agabus was very careful to declare that this warning had come to him from the Holy Spirit!

Agabus also left little doubt that Paul’s trouble would come from those certain Jews that had been so much of a problem to the early church!

It would be from the hands of these men that the Romans would take custody of Paul!

All those with Paul tried to convince him there was no need for him to go to Jerusalem but Paul would not be persuaded.

*****Act 21:13  Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.

Act 21:14  And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done.

Again we see that Paul felt it more important to take his life into his own hands “for the good of the church” than to yield to the legalistic Jews of Jerusalem.

Ever since the conference that had happened in Jerusalem earlier, trouble had been brewing and those legalist Jews had been following Paul causing havoc it to the church.

Paul felt like it was time to take a stand in Jerusalem and he felt he had to do this personally!

And certainly the Lord’s Will, will always be done!

*****Act 21:15  And after those days we took up our carriages, and went up to Jerusalem.

Act 21:16  There went with us also certain of the disciples of Caesarea, and brought with them one Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple, with whom we should lodge.

Paul loaded up his luggage and went to Jerusalem but he did not go alone. Not only did those go that traveled with Paul which included Luke, but also many disciples of Caesarea and even one man named Mnason who had a home in Jerusalem for them to stay.

This would be a journey of 65 miles that would take three days by foot and two days if they had animals.

BUT, Paul had many friends to encourage him along the way to Jerusalem!

The city would be full of pilgrims for the festival but Paul would not have to find a place to dwell.

*****Act 21:17  And when “we” were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly.

We can see with that word “we” again that Luke was still with the Apostle Paul at this time.

Paul had brought a great love offering to the brethren at Jerusalem and he received a warm welcome from the church.

*****Act 21:18  And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present.

Act 21:19  And when he had saluted them, he declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry.

There may have been many things that had changed since Paul’s last visited Jerusalem but James, the half brother of Jesus, was still head of the church.

We can see that even the leaders of the church rejoiced when they learned of Paul’s successful ministry among the Gentiles in Europe and the many other places where the church had been established.

BUT, James and the Elders of the Church were very aware that many Jewish Christians, “babes in Christ” had suspicions against Paul because he preached differently from the law of Moses.

Paul knew of this type:

1Co 3:1  And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

1Co 3:2  I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

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?

*****Act 21:20  And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law:

James and the Elders of Jerusalem had agreed many years before that Paul should be the minister to the Gentiles.

Proof:

Gal 2:7  But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter;

But there was still great rejoicing from what they have heard!

Paul gave a full and accurate account, not what he had done, but what the Lord had gone through his ministry.

Proof:

1Co 15:10  But by the grace of God I am what I am: and his grace which was bestowed upon me was not in vain; but I laboured more abundantly than they all: yet not I, but the grace of God which was with me.

As soon as Paul had reported these things he was informed of how legalism was spreading through the church by these who were rejecting God’s “Grace”.

*****Act 21:21  And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.

Act 21:22  What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come.

There is no doubt that these were false charges spread by the Jews who had opposed Paul in the cities of Asia!

As we will see many of the same Jews had also come to Jerusalem for the festival of Pentecost and had stirred up the citizens when they saw Paul there also.

*****Act 21:23  Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them;

Act 21:24  Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law.

Here we see that James and the elders had come up with a strategy that showed that the apostle Paul did also obey the Jewish law.

But this strategy would fail!

Paul was asked to associate himself with certain Jewish believers who had taken a Nazarite vow. Paul was even asked to pay the expenses involved in this Jewish ritual.

We will find out in the next few verses that these people would actually use Paul’s attempt to a appease them to bring their false accusations against him and get him arrested.

We may ask did the Apostle Paul keep the Jewish rituals?

We should only use the words of the apostle Paul to answer this question!

1Co 9:19  For though I be free from all men, yet have I made myself servant unto all, that I might gain the more.

1Co 9:20  And unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews; to them that are under the law, as under the law, that I might gain them that are under the law;

1Co 9:21  To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law.

1Co 9:22  To the weak became I as weak, that I might gain the weak: I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.

1Co 9:23  And this I do for the gospel’s sake, that I might be partaker thereof with you.

Paul was not concerned so much concerned whether the plan would work, because Paul was willing to do whatever it took so that others could come to know Jesus.

BUT, This did not include sin in anyway, in any form, or in any fashion!

*****Act 21:25  As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication.

These enemies of the church and of Paul were saying almost the same things they had said about the Lord Jesus Christ and even of Stephen.

The same lie, that said that Paul was teaching the Jews to forsake the laws and customs given by Moses and the fathers!

James and the elders were not worried about what Paul taught the Gentile believers because the relationship of the Gentiles to the law had been settled at that conference in Jerusalem that had taken place earlier.

These elders of the church at Jerusalem were mainly concerned that Paul’s presence in the city might cause division or disruption among the thousands of Jews who had confessed to believe but were still babes in Christ.

We know that old customs are hard to change and in reality we know that the Book of Hebrews was a special letter written to the Jews to explain the relationship between the old and the new covenants.

The Book of Hebrews was written to the Hebrews to tell them to stop being Hebrews, but it was not until the city and the Temple were destroyed in A.D. 70, that traditional Jewish worship ceased.

We also  know that Paul did warn the Gentiles not to get involved in the  Jewish religion!

*****Act 21:26  Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them.

We can see that Paul reported to the priest the next day and shared in the purification ceremony but he himself did not take any vows.

He and the men had to wait seven days and then offer the prescribed sacrifices!

This plan seemed to be the wise thing to do but it did not work! 

Instead of bringing peace it caused an uproar and the Apostle Paul ended up as a prisoner.

This fulfilled the prophecy that had been told him by Agabas!

*****Act 21:27  And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him,

Act 21:28  Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place.

These Jews were from Asia and most probably from Ephesus!

Proof:

1Co 15:32  If after the manner of men I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantageth it me, if the dead rise not? let us eat and drink; for to morrow we die.

These,”Beast of Ephesus” saw the Apostle Paul and began crying out for others to help them hold to him.

They accused Paul of four things which were all false.

1) They said that Paul taught all people everywhere to be against the Jews, which was a lie.

2) They said that Paul preached against the law of Moses, which was another lie.

3) They said that Paul preached against the Temple as a place of worship, another lie.

4) They said that Paul had polluted the Temple, and the holy place, by bringing non-Jews into a courtyard that was restricted to Jews only, “Again another lie”!

*****Act 21:29  (For they had seen before with him in the city Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.)

The proof, that at least some of these Asian Jews were these Ephesians, is the fact that they had recognized Trophimus who was also an Ephesian.

Paul had brought several Gentile Christians with him to Jerusalem from various cities.

These Jews had not actually seen Trophimus inside the Temple complex but they merely assumed, without any basis at all, that Paul had taken him into one of the courtyards to desecrate the Temple grounds.

This is something that the Apostle Paul would have never done!

*****Act 21:30  And all the city was moved, and the people ran together: and they took Paul, and drew him out of the temple: and forthwith the doors were shut.

Act 21:31  And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar.

There had been many Jews who had traveled to Jerusalem to celebrate the feast of Pentecost.

This mob apprehended Paul and were dragging him away from the Temple and probably taking him into the Court of the Gentiles, were they would determine what to do with him.

The doors of the Temple were shut and this turmoil was kept outside the Temple complex!

This leaves any doubt that this mob intentioned to kill the Apostle Paul. They had not chosen stoning, but to actually beat him to death!

However, this uproar was noticed by the Roman military commander of Jerusalem.

And, a “band” of Romans would be approximately 500 soldiers.

*****Act 21:32  Who immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down unto them: and when they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, they left beating of Paul.

Act 21:33  Then the chief captain came near, and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and demanded who he was, and what he had done.

We should remember that these Roman soldiers were garrisoned at the Fortress of Antonio, which was very near the Temple and their job was to keep watch over such disturbances. 

More than one Centurion is mentioned in this verse and each Centurion would have under his control, at least 100 soldiers, so we can see there were at least 200 soldiers that had been dispatched to stop this riot.   

History tells us that during these festivals in Israel the Roman garrison were always on alert.

For Paul to be bound with two chains would normally mean that each arm was attached to a different soldier.

 

SO, The beating of Paul was stopped.

*****Act 21:34  And some cried one thing, some another, among the multitude: and when he could not know the certainty for the tumult, he commanded him to be carried into the castle.

Act 21:35  And when he came upon the stairs, so it was, that he was borne of the soldiers for the violence of the people.

Act 21:36  For the multitude of the people followed after, crying, Away with him.

When the Roman captain had control of the situation he asked this mob what Paul had done.

“This was a mob” and mobs usually have no answers to such questions!

It became apparent to this commander that he needed to take Paul to a place where he had control of the entire situation.

But when they came into the steps leading to the citadel, Paul’s chains slowed him down so much because of the beating he had already had, that the soldiers had to bodily carry him to this entrance of the fortress.

That phrase “away with him” meant that they wanted Paul executed, and they would have been pleased to kill Paul themselves if they had been permitted to do this.

This sounds a whole lot like what had taken place in the time of Jesus!

Joh 19:15  But they cried out, Away with him, away with him, crucify him.

*****Act 21:37  And as Paul was to be led into the castle, he said unto the chief captain, May I speak unto thee? Who said, Canst thou speak Greek?

At the entrance to the citadel there evidently was a porch or balcony. The soldiers intended to take Paul inside the building but he was able to ask the Roman commander a question first.

Paul spoke to this officer in Greek.  So, This officer realized that Paul had to be a more learned and a cultured person that he had first thought.

*****Act 21:38  Art not thou that Egyptian, which before these days madest an uproar, and leddest out into the wilderness four thousand men that were murderers?

There had been a false prophet who was an Egyptian and had a large following when Felix was governor of Judea.

Felix with his army, had dispersed his following, but the Egyptian “who was considered a terrorist” had escaped!

Act 21:39  But Paul said, I am a man which am a Jew of Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city: and, I beseech thee, suffer me to speak unto the people.

Paul now informed this Roman commander by stating that he was a Jew from the city of Tarsus in the province of Cilicia.

The Romans were well acquainted with the city of Tarsus and this commander would have had knowledge of any recent troublemakers from that region.

Paul informed this Roman officer that he was not a terrorist and only asked if he could be allowed to address the Jews at this time.

*****Act 21:40  And when he had given him licence, Paul stood on the stairs, and beckoned with the hand unto the people. And when there was made a great silence, he spake unto them in the Hebrew tongue, saying,

That word “license” means that Paul was granted permission to speak. So Paul stood at the head of the steps leading to the entrance to the Citadel and faced those that were attempting to kill him.

And when this crowd became quite enough for him to speak Paul began speaking to them in Hebrew.

Paul had already impressed this Roman soldier with his ability to speak the Greek language.

But the custom of the Jewish elders was to speak in the Hebrew.

It is clear that Paul was about to say some things that these Romans would not understand.

Aramaic is an offshoot of Hebrew and this would be the language that was normally spoken in Jerusalem though at this time there would be many visitors that spoke Greek.

Paul was directing his testimony to a specific group of people!

But we are not going take time today to go into what Paul said as that will be in our next lesson.

Questions?

Then let’s pray!

Strengthening The Brethren

Strengthening Brethren In Miletus

Book of Acts Chapter 20

No matter how successful our work may be, it will one day come to an end.

The ministry of “spreading the gospel” by the Apostle Paul in Ephesus, had gone on unto the entire region of Asia.

Today we will see Paul’s farewell address to the Elders of the Ephesians church.

Paul was going to Jerusalem and his ministry would take him away from Asia but he would always keep them in his heart.

The Apostle Paul had a great respect for all who spread the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

AND, We can see this great concern for the church in the book of Ephesians and the letters to Timothy.

The Apostle Paul is therefore our example of a church planter and of a missionary of the gospel of Lord Jesus Christ.

But before we get into Paul’s example let’s take a quick look at Paul’s farewell.

After the riot that had come about in the city of Ephesus, Paul left and headed toward Macedonia. Paul had expected to meet Titus at Troas, and to get a report of the things that were happening at the Church in Corinth.

The Apostle Paul had spent three years ministering the “gospel” in Ephesus but he had also requested a love offering to be gathered for the poor, excommunicated saints in Jerusalem. (Excommunicated by Judaism)

Under his direction, the churches of Macedonia and Achaia were to collect money to be used to help those that were in poverty in Jerusalem.

But Titus had not come and Paul would not see Titus until he reached Macedonia.

Our lesson does not begin today until we get to verse 18 but I think it is important that we take a look at a few verses before that verse.

*****Act 20:7  And upon “the first day of the week”, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.

Act 20:8  And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together.

Act 20:9  And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.

In this verse we see the first mention of the church meeting on the first day of the week but it seems to have soon become a regular practice.

We can see this verified in Paul’s letter to the Corinthians:

1Co 16:2  Upon the first day of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as God hath prospered him, that there be no gatherings when I come.

The first day of the week was already kept sacred by Christians, because it was the day of the Lord’s resurrection. (John 20:1)

And, this day was referred to as the Lord’s day in the Book of Revelation!(Rev 1:10)

We should also realize that the first day of the week was the day that God began the physical creation of this world we live in. (Gen 1: 1-5)

But also the first day of the week represents the beginning of the Church and also the “Church Age”.

It is very appropriate that we remember the first day of the week as a day to gather in the Lord’ name.

If we remember that the Jewish day began at 6 PM, then the phrase “at evening time” helps us to understand how Paul preached the gospel until midnight.

When Luke wrote about this in verse 9, he said the Apostle Paul was “long preaching”.

Paul’s sermon was long because this was also his farewell address to these people.

At this time, Sunday, the first day on the week, was not a day in which people were free of daily employment.

So the church began with an evening service.

And, it was during the Preaching service that this young man Eutychus fell asleep and fell from that third loft, which would make this building a three-story building.

This the last instance of someone being raised from the dead, by an Apostle in the Bible.

Whenever Christians assemble, the Word of God should always be heard and it should always include some reading of the Scriptures.

The Apostle Paul did not hesitate to stop preaching but went down to this young man and we can say that he raised him from the dead because that is exactly what happened.

In verse seven we saw that the Apostle Paul observed the Lord’s supper but in verse 11 we can see that this group of people took time to eat a meal and the Apostle Paul talked with these people until daybreak.

*****Act 20:11  When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed.

Act 20:12  And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted.

Act 20:13  And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot.

The Apostle Paul chose to walk from Troas to Assos which was about 20 miles. This gave him more time to spend with the saints.

It would take two days for a ship to sail this distance but probably only about 10 hours to walk this distance.

The Apostle Paul probably also needed some time alone with the Lord as we all do.

There are 50 days between Passover and Pentecost. Paul’s trip from Philippi to Troas had already consumed 12 of those days.

It took Paul 4 more days to get to Miletus so Paul decided he did not have time to make it to Ephesus.

So he invited the leaders of the church of Ephesus to travel the 30 miles to meet him in Miletus. This is where the ship would wait to unload its cargo.

And this is were we will pick up our lesson for today:

Verse 18:

*****Act 20:18  And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,

Act 20:19  Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: 

The Apostle Paul began his remarks to these elders by reminding them of his faithful service even in the face of adverse circumstances and much persecution.

The Apostle Paul was not ashamed of the gospel.

 

Paul had spent three years in Ephesus and had to endure fierce opposition much of this time. He had had much trouble with the Jews. He had battled with the labor unions and even had some problems with the local

government.

Despite all these things, Paul serve the Lord with all humility of mind and with many tears and temptations.

The Apostle Paul did not exalt himself above others.

The Apostle Paul was a humble man in his life but very bold when preaching the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

There had even been many attempts on his life by men from his own nation.

*****Act 20:20  And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house,

Act 20:21  Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ.

In addition to his teaching in the synagogues, Paul had actually went house to house which led to churches being established in individual homes.

We know that the church in Corinth began in the home of Aquila and Priscilla.

We know that it is very possible that the Colossians church met in the home of Philemon.

And it is also very possible that the Laodicean church first met in the home of Nymphas.

Both repentance and faith were the central message of the Apostle Paul to all non-Christians.

Paul preached to whosoever would listen which included Jews and Gentiles.

Repentance toward God and faith in Christ are like two sides of the same bread.

Both sides are distinct but there can be no true repentance without true faith, one cannot exist without the other.

*****Act 20:22  And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:

Act 20:23  Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.

That phrase “and now” shifts the emphasis from the past to the present as the Apostle Paul opens his heart and tells his friends just how he feels.

He did not hide the fact that he was bounded his own spirit to go to Jerusalem and even though he knew that danger and possibly death awaited him there.

The Holy Spirit had witnessed this message to him in city after city.

*****Act 20:24  But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

Paul explained why he would not quit the gospel.

Paul had decided to put Jesus in front of everything in his life.

Paul was not a quitter and wanted to finish all the things that the Lord had given them to do.

Paul had received his ministry from the Lord and he knew that the Lord required his faithfulness and he also knew that one day he would have to give account for the message he preached.

Paul knew that the message of the gospel is a matter of life or death to those that hear it and Paul was a fighter, with both the life he lived and the message that he preached.

Paul was a preacher. He was commissioned and called by the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Apostle Paul was a watchman. He had to be faithful and was not fearful, because the safety of many people rested with him.

Paul had to declare to sinners and saints all the counsel of God!

The Apostle Paul preached the entire Bible from cover to cover.

Those that do not preach the Bible from cover to cover are useless to the nonbeliever, but also to the believer.

The Apostle Paul had not allowed any of these things in Ephesus to distract him from his ministry.

*****Act 20:25  And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more.

Again we see these words “and now”.

Somehow God had impressed upon Paul that this would be his last time to see these elders of Ephesus.

Remember Paul had met 12 of these elders when he first came to Ephesus.

The message Paul preached regarding the kingdom, referred to the Kingdom of Heaven and how to get there.

*****Act 20:26  Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men.

Act 20:27  For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.

The Apostle Paul was confident that he had done what God had sent him to do in that city to both believer and the unbeliever.

The Book of James teaches us:

Jas 2:18  Yea, a man may say, Thou hast faith, and I have works: shew me thy faith without thy works, and I will shew thee my faith by my works.

Paul said “I take you to record” and what he was saying is that he was letting his actions be his testimony.

And there was no one in this area that could hold the Apostle Paul accountable or responsible for eternal damnation.

The sermons that the Apostle Paul had preached in Ephesus were the messages that God has specifically revealed to him or what he had directly led His Apostle to teach.

Jesus Christ had commissioned the apostles to teach the disciples to observe all things whatsoever he had commanded.

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

The Apostle Paul had done this very thing everywhere he preached.

*****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.

Therefore, Paul told these elders that each of them should do the same thing.

That word “overseers” is the same as “bishops”.

These were the same as “elders” of the church.

These were the “pastors”!

In all these cases these are the “spiritual shepherds” of the church.

The job of the shepherd has always been to guard the sheep, to groom the sheep, and to gather the sheep, and to deliver the sheep to green pastures.

We can see all these things in Psalms 23.

*****Act 20:29  For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

Act 20:30  Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them.

The Apostle Paul brought his message to a close by issuing a warning.

Each pastor and preacher, and each missionary and evangelist, need to recognize the dangers that they will have to deal with if they are to protect and lead the church.

We must never underestimate the great importance of the church to this world we live in!

The church is important to God because it has His name on it!

The church is important to the Son of God, because He shed his blood for it!

The church is important to the Holy Spirit, because He is convicting sinners to join the church and equipping the saints to minister to the church!

It is a serious thing to be a spiritual leader in the church of the living God!

There are many threats to the church from the world we live in, but there are also serious threats from within the church.

There are always wolves that want to destroy the church.

A Wolf  is crafty, greedy, and ravenous and kill sheep and other domestic animals without remorse.

In Scripture the Wolf is an emblem of treachery and cruelty.

Wolves are the dread of the shepherd!

Jesus said this about wolves:

Joh 10:10  The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.

Joh 10:11  I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

Joh 10:12  But he that is an hireling, and not the shepherd, whose own the sheep are not, seeth the wolf coming, and leaveth the sheep, and fleeth: and the wolf catcheth them, and scattereth the sheep.

The Apostle Paul warned the church that there would also be false brethren come from inside the church who would also try to lead people away from the truth.

They would have, “distorted doctrines” that would contain some truth but more error, to lead people astray.

We know that this is true especially in our day as we get closer to the end of the Church Age.

*****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.

We must remember that the Apostle Paul was meeting with the pastors and preachers of this newly found churches. He warned them that they were to be vigilant in defending their flocks against false teachings.

But the Apostle Paul also said for them who would come after him to follow his example.

*****Act 20:32  And now, brethren, I commend you to God, and to the word of his grace, which is able to build you up, and to give you an inheritance among all them which are sanctified.

As Paul winds down his sermon he uses that phrase “the Word of His Grace” .

This phrase refers to the Scriptures in which we see the grace of God is prominent.

These words are the means for spiritual growth.

These words are the means for spiritual maturity.

And these words are the means for spiritual instruction which leads to good morals and holiness.

And then inheritance among all those that sanctified means, is being a part of the family of God, here on earth and especially in Heaven.

*****Act 20:33  I have coveted no man’s silver, or gold, or apparel.

Act 20:34  Yea, ye yourselves know, that these hands have ministered unto my necessities, and to them that were with me.

When God gave the 10 Commandments, the very last one said “thou shalt not covet”. When we covet we will break the other nine Commandments because it will cause us to steal, and to lie and to murder to get what we want.

And it will also cause was to dishonor our parents and especially dishonor Our God.

Coveting is idolatry because it is always trying to find something greater than the Living God!

In the qualifications for the preacher in 1 Timothy the sin of covetousness is also mentioned.

But the apostle Paul also mentions laziness.

Even though Paul had some support, he was a working preacher as a tent maker.

The Apostle Paul could have demanded support that would’ve made his life easier and it is not wrong for Christian workers to receive salaries.

1Ti 5:18  For the scripture saith, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn. And, The labourer is worthy of his reward.

But every preacher should be certain they are really earning those salaries and Paul was!

It was a personal thing with Paul at this time of the early church to not be a burden to any church.

*****Act 20:35  I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

A true pastor will always have the needs of his church in mind.

This verse implies that no pastor should burden any church that cannot meet the needs of it’s members!

True ministry is giving and not getting, and it definitely means following the example of the Lord Jesus Christ.

*****Act 20:36  And when he had thus spoken, he kneeled down, and prayed with them all.

This verse teaches us that every sermon should be followed with prayer!

*****Act 20:37  And they all wept sore, and fell on Paul’s neck, and kissed him,

Act 20:38  Sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, that they should see his face no more. And they accompanied him unto the ship.

It is always difficult to say goodbye. Everyone that was at this location this day knew they would never see each other again.

But that’s not entirely true!

We have the blessed assurance that we will all one day see our Christian friends and loved ones in Heaven!

Jesus promises us these things when He returns:

1Th 4:16  For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:

1Th 4:17  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.

Questions?

Let’s Pray!

Church Planting In Ephesus

Church Planting In Ephesus

Book of Acts Chapter 19

We saw last week that the Apostle Paul had stopped by Ephesus on his way to Jerusalem to complete his vow. This week will see his return.

Today will begin the 3rd missionary trip of the Apostle Paul. He also began this trip from Antioch of Syria. He traveled through Galatia and Phrygia, places he had visited previously.

Paul had met Apollos in Ephesus on his second trip and Priscilla and Aquila had taught Apollos the “Gospel”.

Apollos had gone on to Corinth and preached there to strengthen that church. So let’s look at what Paul found in Ephesus.

*****Act 19:1 And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
Act 19:2 He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

Ephesus was the greatest commercial city in Asia minor and it was the capital of the province of Asia. Ephesus was also the home of the Temple of Diana. It is said at one time the Temple of Diana was one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

Those that worship in this Temple believed that the image they worshiped had fallen down from Jupiter.

Meteors and particles from space hit this Earth every day but not a one of them is a god or an image of a god.

The first thing that Paul noticed in Ephesus was some disciples of John the Baptist. They believed but they did not believe on the right things. They did not know the “Gospel”!

We know that John the Baptist had preached Jesus was the promised Redeemer and was truly the Lamb of God. They had totally understood John’s emphasis on repentance but they had failed to see the role of Jesus Christ as the “object” of all our faith.

They had not been taken back to the cross. They had not recognized that baptism represented the death, the burial, and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ.

What they had learned did not include the knowledge of the Holy Spirit!

It is the Holy Spirit that is the most infallible proof that a Christian has of his salvation.

There are some denominations that insist on seeing the proof of the Holy Spirit and they use this as an excuse to speak with tongues and do other such things.

The Bible gives us the proof of the Holy Spirit:

They are listed in the book of Galatians:

Gal 5:22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,
Gal 5:23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.
Gal 5:24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.
Gal 5:25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

Notice the word “fruit” is not plural. Everyone that is filled with the Holy Spirit will possess all these things as evidence of the Holy Spirit. And, if “we live in the Spirit” we will also “walk in the Spirit”!

*****Act 19:3 And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism.
Act 19:4 Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.
Act 19:5 When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.

Why did Paul ask about their baptism? Because in the Book of Acts, baptism was a sign of a person’s spiritual experience.

They were truly disciples of John either through him or through other disciples of him. In the New Testament, baptism always comes after saving faith and it is then followed by discipleship.

This is probably the only case mentioned in the New Testament of anyone being re-baptized. We have already heard a similar story of Apollos but there is no mention him him being re-baptized.

Why happened before Pentecost was under the old covenant but what happened after Pentecost had to be on the New Testament blood of Jesus Christ.

John the Baptist baptized for repentance and the belief in the coming of the Messiah.

But Jesus told his disciples these words:

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.

The Holy Spirit can only come when we are saved in the name of Jesus Christ!

And, He will then come with all His “fruit”, which is the evidence of His coming and not some “babel” in some unknown language!

If we are not certain about what the Holy Spirit does we cannot be certain about our salvation!

Every “Born Again” child of God is a “Temple” for the Holy Spirit!

1Co 3:16 Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?

*****Act 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
Act 19:7 And all the men were about twelve.

Just as the things that had happened at Pentecost in the upper room these men spake in different languages and started preaching. We must still realize that the Jews still require a sign.

The number 12 is a significant number that corresponds with the 12 apostles. There can be little doubt that these 12 men would form the nucleus of the church that would be started in Ephesus and more probably that these would be the elders of that church.

What God did to Paul and for these 12 men was not normal and is not seen in any church today!

It was not repeated after this time!

The people who were converted in Ephesus under Paul’s ministry received the gift of the Holy Spirit when they trusted on the Lord Jesus as their Savior.

The Apostle Paul later wrote in the book of Ephesians these words;

Eph 1:12 That we should be to the praise of his glory, who first trusted in Christ.
Eph 1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,
Eph 1:14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.

At this time in the early church the appearance of the gift of tongues, speaking in different languages, and prophecy, which is preaching, revealed the reality of the Holy Spirit coming. This was a supernatural happening which soon disappeared from the early church. This was the sign to the Jew!

Joe 2:28 And it shall come to pass afterward, that I will pour out my spirit upon all flesh; and “your” sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your old men shall dream dreams, your young men shall see visions:

We should guard against expecting this to be normal or usual today. The Holy Spirit is God and God does what God does but God’s Word tells us that we are filled with the spirit immediately on accepting of the Lord Jesus Christ as our Savior.

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

It is the Holy Spirit that washes us clean and provides us with eternal life.

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;

It is Our Father in Heaven who sent our Savior the Lord Jesus Christ!

1Jn 4:13 Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in us, because he hath given us of his Spirit.
1Jn 4:14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.

*****Act 19:8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.
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.

We see in this verse that the Apostle Paul again began his ministry in a Jewish synagogue. But this time he changes his message he did not begin with the preaching of the “gospel” nor the preaching of “creation” but he actually began with things “concerning the kingdom of God”.

The Apostle Paul was a little more cautious in his approach to the Jews in Ephesus and the results of that was that he preached boldly for three months without causing a major disturbance.

But during that time the message that Paul truly had stirred up these stubborn Jews!

Their reaction became so violent that Paul was forced to move out of the synagogue and find another place to continue his teaching.

Paul begins preaching and teaching in a school that belonged to Tyrannus.

*****Act 19:10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

The Apostle Paul was in Ephesus longer than in any other city which he visited.

We are not told very much about this Tyrannus but it does appear that this school was well-known. We will learn many more things about this time in next week’s lesson.

We know that the Apostle Paul had to provide his own support during this time.

And we know that the Apostle Paul taught the Bible in this school of Tyrannus daily.

So the gospel spread throughout Asia.

There can be little doubt that disciples from this school went out informed the seven churches of Asia that we read about in Revelation 2-3.

AND, it is probably during this time that the churches of Colossae and Hierapolis were founded.

And years later history records that the Apostle John was the chief preacher at Ephesus.

And, it is in Ephesus that we find the traditional burial place of Mary, the mother of Jesus.

*****Act 19:11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:
Act 19:12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.

God enabled Paul to perform special miracles here in Ephesus probably because Ephesus was the center for the occult and the Apostle Paul was demonstrating God’s power in the middle of Satan’s territory.

And we will see that Satan tries his best to “imitate” whatever God’s people are doing because he knows that the unsaved world “cannot tell the difference”.

*****Act 19:13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.

The city of Ephesus was notorious in the ancient world not only for its idols but also for an abundance of magicians and occultist. Demon possession was common so therefore, the practice of exorcism was common.

These wandering Jews [vagabond] who made their living as exorcists, when they saw all the miracles of Paul, decided that there business could improve if they used the name of Jesus.

*****Act 19:14 And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.

The Commandments of God said that a Jewish chief priest would have been from the tribe of Levi and could serve only in the Temple or the Tabernacle.

And the temple was still standing at this time!

These seven sons of Sceva were not Christians but they did see that the Apostle Paul was much more effective than other exorcist at casting out demons.

*****Act 19:15 And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?
Act 19:16 And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded.

Since these men had no relationship with the Lord Jesus Christ and by also using the name of the Apostle Paul in this exorcism, this brought on a bizarre incident.

That evil spirit that possessed this man confessed that he did know both his Lord Jesus and the Apostle Paul but he did not know any of these sons of Sceva.

So under the demonic influence that possessed this man, he became so violent that he attacked these seven sons and prevailed against them and left them naked and wounded.

*****Act 19:17 And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified.
Act 19:18 And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds.

This incident produced so respect for Jesus, among these superstitious people that many abandoned their pagan and occult practices and some of the results are in our next verse.

*****Act 19:19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.

As these people began to abandon their false religion they also began to publicly burned the books associated with those occult practices.

In today’s prices the value of these books would be over $1 million. This gives us some idea of how prevalent pagan worship and the occult was at this time in Ephesus.

And the results are in our next verse.

*****Act 19:20 So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed.

The word of God not only grew but it also prevailed as the “power of the gospel” again overcame “the evils” of this world.

*****Act 19:21 After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.
Act 19:22 So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season.

In this verse we have the first mention of the Apostle Paul’s plan to go to Rome. So we know at this time the Book of Romans had not been written but would be written before Paul actually went to Rome.

Paul first had to visit the churches in Macedonia and Achaia in order to obtain the love offerings that were being taken up for the poor saints in Jerusalem.

In fact while he was still in Ephesus he sent Timothy to help finish that job.

*****Act 19:23 And the same time there arose no small stir about that way.

It was during this time that Satan began a full-fledged attack on the gospel that was preached here at Ephesus.

*****Act 19:24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen;
Act 19:25 Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth.

We should be well aware that wherever the gospel was preached in power, it will be opposed by people who make money from superstition and sin.

And this should also show us the extent of how the gospel was spreading throughout this entire area.

The Apostle Paul was not staging riots, he did not have picket lines, and he was not downgrading the Temple of Diana!

The Apostle Paul was preaching and teaching the truth of the gospel and his converts went out to witness to the lost people in the city.

As more and more people got converted, there were fewer and fewer customers that were available to these jewelers.

It is said back in the 40s and 50s that the traveling evangelist could come into the city and by the preaching of the gospel they could shut down the liquor stores on the bars in that city.

This is the revival that we need now in America!

We simply do not have enough of the preaching of the gospel in America today!

*****Act 19:26 Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands:
Act 19:27 So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.

I probably shouldn’t mention this but we can see that our president here in America today, is totally surrounded and engulfed with the working unions of America.

This can only be about money!

Remember what the Bible says in first Timothy is, that the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil, and above all things, this is what’s wrong with America today.

The silversmiths were only concerned about their jobs and their income and “not at all” about their own false
religion.

If we do not believe that the preaching of the gospel has this kind of power then all we need do is look at the evidence!

As our own nation tries to remove the Lord Jesus Christ, in order to promote immigration and visitors from foreign lands, with the excuse that some may be offended by the truths of the gospel, is our proof.

Everyone has freedom of speech except for the Christian who speaks the Word of God!

*****Act 19:28 And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.

Diana was the goddess of fertility and was considered, at least in Asia, and many other places in the Greco-Roman world to be the mother goddess of all nature.

There are still many today in this world that worship this false goddess. Today she is known as Gaia or probably better known as Mother Earth.

This false goddess is the basis behind most of the New Age movement, not only in America but in this world. This false goddess is also behind the panic of global warming and the major movements in America.

*****Act 19:29 And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre.

We can see that the action of these unions and these government officials brought confusion to the city of Ephesus.

Again we can see that it was not the Christians that brought confusion to the city and these theaters were used for public meetings.

When they could not find the Apostle Paul they captured Gaius and Aristarchus who were two of the men that traveled with Paul on this journey.

Archeology has revealed that this very theater has been excavated and could have seated about 25,000 people

*****Act 19:30 And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not.
Act 19:31 And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre.

When Paul’s friends were seized by this crowd he felt compelled to go into the theater himself but the disciples prevented him from getting involved in the uproar.

We can also see that during this period of time that Paul had made friends with certain men who were chiefs of Asia.

Most Bible scholars believe that these men were Asiarchs.

These were men who were chosen annually from the chief towns, handled problems that arose but would also preside over games and festivals, and the president of this group of men always lived in Ephesus.

We can see that the preaching of the gospel had not made enemies of these men, but they had actually become friends of the Apostle Paul.

Here is a case where friendship was more important than religious differences!

The convictions of the Apostle Paul did not blind him with prejudice where he could not be friendly with pagans who practiced false worship.

This shows the fruit of the Spirit that is called “LOVE”!

*****Act 19:32 Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together.

The people who had assembled in the theater were confused and most of them did not even know why they had gathered. This is usually what happens when someone stirs up a riot.

*****Act 19:33 And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defense unto the people.

There were a group of Jews in this confused mob and they chose a man named Alexander to defend the Jewish citizens and clear them of any charges, if Paul had defamed this false goddess Artemis.

*****Act 19:34 But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.

But when this unruly crowned recognize that Alexander was a Jew they shouted him down and did not give him an opportunity to speak.

This is possibly that this same Alexander, who was the Coppersmith who caused Paul much harm that we read later in the book of Timothy.

2Ti 4:14 Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works:
2Ti 4:15 Of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words.

*****Act 19:35 And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter?

It is very sad thing when people are so foolish to find a meteorite that fell from the sky, and built such an enormous false religion from it!

BUT, the town clerk who finally got this matter under control, “But” we see that he did this for political reasons only.

Ephesus was permitted to exist as a free city with its own elected assembly but Rome needed very little excuse for removing these privileges!

*****Act 19:36 Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly.
Act 19:37 For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.

We can see that this man was indeed a politician as we listen to what he said.

The Christians in Ephesus had committed no crime!

Throughout the Book of Acts, the Holy Spirit makes it very clear that the persecution of the Christian church was caused by unbelieving Jews and not so much by the Romans.

In fact the Apostle Paul used his Roman citizenship to protect himself and his friends and the local assemblies.

*****Act 19:38 Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another.

The city clerk realized that it was Demetrius and these labor unions that had caused this riot, and if they had any grievances they should take their charges to the court.

There would probably have been a Roman Pro counsel that lived in Ephesus at this time.

*****Act 19:39 But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly.
Act 19:40 For we are in danger to be called in question for this day’s uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse.
Act 19:41 And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly.

We have been free in America since the Revolutionary war and it’s hard for us to realize what it’s like to live under the control of any foreign power.

The Romans were very intolerant when any sort of riot was created in the lands that they ruled!

When they favored a city with self-government, they expected those people to avoid all disturbances and keep the peace.

The real danger in Ephesus was not the Temple of Diana, nor the losses that might happen financially to these unions!

Of more importance to the government of Ephesus, was the fact that Rome might see this protest and nullify the government of Ephesus.

So this crowd was dismissed!

All these involved knew they did not want Rome to control their city.

At this point and after three years of labor, the Apostle Paul realized that his work in Ephesus was over. The Apostle Paul was a church planter, and he never intended to stay in one place.

The Apostle Paul had laid a good foundation for the church in Ephesus and the gospel had spread throughout Asia from this location.

The work of the Lord Jesus was not about the Ephesians, it was not about Apollos, and it was not about the Apostle Paul.

The Apostle Paul had began by preaching the kingdom of God, and when he left these people understood the kingdom of Jesus Christ.

Questions?

Let’s Pray!