Eli’s Negligence A Derelict Father

Eli’s Negligence—-A Derelict Father

Book of 1 Samuel Chapter 2 (Note: 1 Chronicles 2)

What is a derelict father?

The word derelict means to abandon or to throw away or to have left.

Therefore a derelict father is one who has thrown away his children or left them to themselves!

Spiritual instruction is absolutely vital to our well-being, though most reject this idea.

BUT, not just any spiritual instruction, it must come from the Word of God, the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

Our nations are failing because our morals have sunk to such a low estate.

Remembered the theme of the Book of Judges.

Jdg 21:25  In those days there was no king in Israel: every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

This verse says that Israel had no King. Israel did not need a King, what Israel needed was God.

This the same for any nation. Does a nation need a government? Sure, but that government needs God’s direction!

We will see again that through Samuel, God would save this nation of Israel.

Our lesson today does not cover the first eleven verses in this chapter. This passage is known as the "Song of Hannah". This passage is not only a song of praise but it is also a song of prophecy and should be studied on its own.

*****1Sa 2:11  And Elkanah went to Ramah to his house. And the child did minister unto the LORD before Eli the priest.

Hannah and Elkanah returned to Ramah, leaving their son in Shiloh. Their hearts were full of joy and they had great expectations to see what the Lord would do with Samuel.

These parents were dedicated to the Lord, and worshiped Him together, and prayed to Him together, and trusted in His Word.

Hannah had once had a broken heart but the Lord gave her peace because she prayed and submitted to His will.

We will now see the contrast in Eli, who was High Priest and judge of Israel, but not so much a parent.

*****1Sa 2:12  Now the sons of Eli were sons of Belial; they knew not the LORD.

We will read in the next few passages just how evil these priestly sons of Eli were.

1) They were lost and unsaved.

2) They regarded Belial, (which is wickedness), as compared to the true God.

They were "worthless" in God’s ministry!

Jesus said in the Book of Matthew:

Mat 13:38  The field is the world; the good seed are the children of the kingdom; [but the tares are the children of the wicked one]

Hophni and Phinehas were "tares"!

3) They were stealing those offerings from God not the people.

4) They bullied the people of God, rather than assist them with their sacrifice to the Lord.

5) They committed adultery inside the tabernacle showing disdain for the House of God.

6) They ultimately caused God’s people to sin.

They were servants of Satan but inside God’s House!

No one can ignore or violate God’s Word and escape the consequences of their actions!

*****1Sa 2:13  And the priests’ custom with the people was, that, when any man offered sacrifice, the priest’s servant came, while the flesh was in seething, with a fleshhook of three teeth in his hand;
1Sa 2:14  And he struck it into the pan, or kettle, or caldron, or pot; all that the fleshhook brought up the priest took for himself. So they did in Shiloh unto all the Israelites that came thither.

First we see this phrase "the priests’ custom". This means that this was not according to the law of God given to Moses.

The priests’ servants in this case would be the sons of Eli.

There were 5 offerings made to the Lord. Each offering is actually a "type" of Christ.

The "Peace Offering" was the only offering where the sacrifice could be eaten by the people and may be the least understood of the 5!

We need to understand the order followed here:

The offerer brought his offering to the altar, laid his hand on it, and slew it.

Laying his hand on the animal showed his affection for the animal and its worthiness. It also represented a transfer of the sin of the one who offered onto the animal of sacrifice.

The priest then sprinkled the blood upon the altar and around it.

The animal was then cut up, and God’s portion (almost entirely fat, besides the two kidneys) was placed on top of the already burning "Burnt Offering" and "Meal Offerings".

Then the priest received the breast and right shoulder for himself and his own children.

The offerer received the remainder of the animal to eat. However, it had to be eaten within one day if it was a thanksgiving offering or within two days if it was a vow or voluntary offering.

If any remained on the third day, it had to be burned.

In this process, the major teaching of the peace offering is revealed.

This was the only offering that the animal did not have to be perfect and it represented complete peace with God.

In addition, since all parties (God, priest, and man) share the same meal and satisfaction, it shows that all are in a peaceful communion or fellowship together.

Because it was placed in sequence on top of the other two offerings, the peace offering is directly connected to them, and thus it depicts the effect of perfect devotion to God and man: peaceful satisfaction and fellowship, the fruit of devotedly keeping the two great commandments of the law.

What are those two commandments?

Jesus said it this way to the Pharisees:

Mat 22:36  Master, which is the great commandment in the law?
Mat 22:37  Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.
Mat 22:38  This is the first and great commandment.
Mat 22:39  And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.
Mat 22:40  On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.

In this sacrifice Christ, "in type", plays all three parts:

Christ is the offering, sacrificing His life in service;

Christ is the priest, serving mankind at the altar as Mediator;

Christ is the offerer, bringing His sacrifice to the altar.

The altar, the place of meeting for all three, represents sacrificial services and devotion to God that gave Him satisfaction and resulted in our acceptance.

The peace offering shows man, as Christ: accepted, fed, strengthened, and satisfied by sacrifice.

This teaches that sacrifice is indeed the essence, the heart and core, the essential element, of "Love" whether to God or man!

More specifically, it shows us that sacrifice plays a major role in acceptance before God.

In other words, spiritual feeding and therefore spiritual strength, and spiritual satisfaction!

Devoted people sacrifice for those they love!

Thus, sacrifice indicates devotion to God (burnt offering) and devotion in service to man (meal offering).

Another aspect of this offering is important for us to consider more closely: The priest’s children are also specifically named to receive of the peace offering!

Whom do the priest’s children "in type" represent?

This is important because they were also to eat directly of the offering and be satisfied!

We have already seen that Christ is symbolically portrayed in several ways here, as the Offerer, the Offering, and the Priest.

We must remember that Christ is one with His church.

We are parts of His body; we are "in Him!"

Knowing these things we can see that all the meat in the flesh pot belonged to the offerer that brought the offering, as God had already provided the breast and the right quarter for the priests.

These 2 sons of Eli made a mockery of this special offering designed by the Lord to simulate His "Grace" and the Church in complete fellowship with Our Maker!

*****1Sa 2:15  Also before they burnt the fat, the priest’s servant came, and said to the man that sacrificed, Give flesh to roast for the priest; for he will not have sodden flesh of thee, but raw.

So before the burnt offering was made, which symbolizes Christ, and belonged to the Lord, and should be made before all other offerings.

Before God got His required offering, these sons of Eli came and demanded a share of what did not belong to them!

They liked roasted meat better than boiled meat and the flesh hook did not always bring up the best piece of meat.

They wanted the best pieces of meat for themselves! This was not God’s plan!

*****1Sa 2:16  And if any man said unto him, Let them not fail to burn the fat presently, and then take as much as thy soul desireth; then he would answer him, Nay; but thou shalt give it me now: and if not, I will take it by force.

The priest of the tabernacle were entitled to receive the breast and the right thigh of the animal being sacrificed.

Lev 7:34  For the wave breast and the heave shoulder have I taken of the children of Israel from off the sacrifices of their peace offerings, and have given them unto Aaron the priest and unto his sons by a statute for ever from among the children of Israel.

But this could only happen after the fat had been burned on the altar!

Lev 3:3  And he shall offer of the sacrifice of the peace offering an offering made by fire unto the LORD; the fat that covereth the inwards, and all the fat that is upon the inwards,
Lev 3:4  And the two kidneys, and the fat that is on them, which is by the flanks, and the caul above the liver, with the kidneys, it shall he take away.
Lev 3:5  And Aaron’s sons shall burn it on the altar upon the burnt sacrifice, which is upon the wood that is on the fire: it is an offering made by fire, of a sweet savour unto the LORD.

Eli’s sons ignored both of these requirements!

Notice that the people were more concerned for the honor and glory of God than the priests. They were willing to lose their own property but could not bear the fact that the Lord should be dishonored and so rudely treated.

They were willing that these priest should take what they pleased of theirs but they desired that the Lord be served first as it always should be.

To take the flesh of the sacrificial animal and roast it before this offering had been made was a crime which was equivalent to robbing God and therefore the worst crime that the sons of Eli committed.

It was a crime that would result in capitol punishment under Mosaic Law.

We should remember that the people did what they thought was right in their own eyes and rejected the Word of God, even the priests.

Jeremiah wrote of these things:

Jer 5:31  The prophets prophesy falsely, [and the priests bear rule by their means]; and my people love to have it so: and what will ye do in the end thereof?

*****1Sa 2:17  Wherefore the sin of the young men was very great before the LORD: for men abhorred the offering of the LORD.

This was a very great sin in the sight of God. But even robbing God was a small sin in comparison with causing hatred of the sacrifice themselves.

It caused the people to despise making an offering to the Lord.

*****1Sa 2:18  But Samuel ministered before the LORD, being a child, girded with a linen ephod.
1Sa 2:19  Moreover his mother made him a little coat, and brought it to him from year to year, when she came up with her husband to offer the yearly sacrifice.

In verse 11, we read were Samuel did minister unto the Lord but before it Eli the priest.

But now in this verse we read that Samuel ministered before the Lord.

Samuel had not been corrupted by seeing these evil practices and was now involved in higher services which he could perform without the assistance of Eli.

The linen ephod meant that Samuel was dressed as a priest but not as the High Priest.

It was made of fine linen and consisted of two pieces, which hung from the neck and covered both the back and front over the outer garment.

That outer garment, was a coat made by Samuel’s mother that was a long garment and had sleeves and Hannah made her son a new one every year while he was serving at the Tabernacle.

*****1Sa 2:20  And Eli blessed Elkanah and his wife, and said, The LORD give thee seed of this woman for the loan which is lent to the LORD. And they went unto their own home.
1Sa 2:21  And the LORD visited Hannah, so that she conceived, and bare three sons and two daughters. And the child Samuel grew before the LORD.

Eli had taken Samuel under his wing and had pronounce God’s blessings upon Elkanah and Hannah for their faithfulness and willingness to surrender their son to the Lord’s service.

God will always bless us when we keep our vows before him.

So Samuel was the first of six children God that granted to Hannah.

*****1Sa 2:22  Now Eli was very old, and heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation.
1Sa 2:23  And he said unto them, Why do ye such things? for I hear of your evil dealings by all this people.

The women mentioned here were those women who have dedicated themselves to the service of the tabernacle. They had renounced worldly things and had given themselves to the Lord service.

There were some women that gave themselves to the Lord this continued even until the days of Jesus:

Luk 2:36  And there was one Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Aser: she was of a great age, and had lived with an husband seven years from her virginity;
Luk 2:37  And she was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day.

But, Hophni and Phinehas were guilty of fornication with these young women even causing them great sin.

All these things were terrible sin in the eyes of God. To the Canaanites that were left in the land this was an acceptable practice because they were accustomed to presence of sacred prostitutes in their temple worship.

The Tabernacle of God was to be considered "holy"!

The Tabernacle of the congregation was the appointed place where the Lord would meet with His people!

Hophni and Phinehas committed their most heinous sins at the entrance of God’s courtyard that was set aside for God’s people to come and meet Him!

Eli was very old and had lost control of his sons but their sins were well known to the people of Israel.

AND, No amount of rebuke of Eli could change the actions of his sons.

All Israel saw these things go on continuously!

*****1Sa 2:24  Nay, my sons; for it is no good report that I hear: ye make the LORD’S people to transgress.
1Sa 2:25  If one man sin against another, the judge shall judge him: but if a man sin against the LORD, who shall intreat for him? Notwithstanding they hearkened not unto the voice of their father, because the LORD would slay them.

The fact that Eli was old was no excuse for his easy-going attitude toward his sons.

We have already seen how quick he was to judge Hannah and there were probably many others.

Eli was the High Priest!

Eli was the judge of all Israel.

Any other man of Israel guilty of these things could be sentenced to death but his two sons paid him no attention.

Eli warned that since they had sinned against God that they were left without an advocate who could plead their case in his presence.

Even this fell on deaf ears!

Eli had not been a godly father nor a spiritual leader to his sons and nor to Israel.

Remember our word "derelict" meant to throw away or dispose of and Eli had done this to his own sons.

It’s a tragic thing when an earthly father loses his influence over his own family because in the end they can only wait for God’s hand of judgment to fall.

Remember Lot’s wife, Lot lost his influence with his family.

Remember King David, after David sinned with Bathsheba he lost influence over his sons.

Hophni and Phinehas had no respect for the Lord!

They had no respect for God’s house!

They had no respect for the office of High Priest!

And they had no respect for Israel!

And they had no respect for their earthly father nor their Heavenly Father!

So all God could do was to judge them for their sin.

Sin against God and His Word are more dangerous than sin against people!

*****1Sa 2:26  And the child Samuel grew on, and was in favour both with the LORD, and also with men.

But Samuel not only grew in his stature but he also grew in grace and in all aspects toward the Lord.

He grew better while Eli sons grew worse!

These things were noticed by all of Israel.

And Samuel also grew in favor with the Lord!

*****1Sa 2:27  And there came a man of God unto Eli, and said unto him, Thus saith the LORD, Did I plainly appear unto the house of thy father, when they were in Egypt in Pharaoh’s house?
1Sa 2:28  And did I choose him out of all the tribes of Israel to be my priest, to offer upon mine altar, to burn incense, to wear an ephod before me? and did I give unto the house of thy father all the offerings made by fire of the children of Israel?

That phrase "the man of God" is used 76 times in the King James Bible and usually refers to a prophet.

This man of God appeared in Shiloh to declare God’s judgment on Eli and his family.

This man of God first reminded Eli of the past and how he had chosen the tribe of Levi above all the other tribes of Israel to be his priestly family.

Eli had to bear the blame for coddling his sons rather than protecting the offerings of God, the Tabernacle, and those that brought sacrifices by the commandment of the Lord.

*****1Sa 2:29  Wherefore kick ye at my sacrifice and at mine offering, which I have commanded in my habitation; and honourest thy sons above me, to make yourselves fat with the chiefest of all the offerings of Israel my people?

God, through this prophet, asked Eli why he was trampling on the sacrifices.

In other words why had he allowed the sacrifices to be despised by the children of Israel?

All the sacrifices are "types" of Christ.

The Apostle Paul taught us all that the Old Testament was our schoolmaster until Christ came.

Eli had honored his sons above the Lord.

It was a privilege for the high priest and his sons to offer sacrifices on the brazen altar and to wear the sacred garments and to eat of the holy offerings.

As a father Eli had the authority to discipline his sons.

But as High Priest, Eli not only had the authority but was commanded by the Lord to do so and Eli knew all these things.

And as judge, the judgment of Eli would not have been questioned if he had followed the Word of God!

Eli had done none of these things but had made himself rich, through his two sons, with the best of all the offerings of Israel.

Remember these words of Jesus:

Luk 16:13  No servant can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one, and love the other; or else he will hold to the one, and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and mammon.

*****1Sa 2:30  Wherefore the LORD God of Israel saith, I said indeed that thy house, and the house of thy father, should walk before me for ever: but now the LORD saith, Be it far from me; for them that honour me I will honour, and they that despise me shall be lightly esteemed.

That word "wherefore" means "because of these things", judgment was set for the family and house of Eli.

By the anointing of Aaron a right was given to him and his family to be high priest among the Jews forever.

But now God says since you have walked unworthily this would no longer happen.

God told Jeremiah to write these words:

Jer 18:10  If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.

God will not allow His Word to be trampled on!

Since the house of the high priest had lightly esteemed the things of the Lord, they too would be esteemed as nothing!

This is a plan from which God will never depart!

Every promise that is ever made is in reference to these words,

"They that honor God will be honored; they who despise him shall be lightly esteemed!"

*****1Sa 2:31  Behold, the days come, that I will cut off thine arm, and the arm of thy father’s house, that there shall not be an old man in thine house.
1Sa 2:32  And thou shalt see an enemy in my habitation, in all the wealth which God shall give Israel: and there shall not be an old man in thine house for ever.

God said, "I will destroy the strength, the power, and the influence, of the family of Aaron".

We know when this happened:

Heb 5:4  And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron.

Heb 5:5  So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, to day have I begotten thee.

Eli’s house, by its own actions, had proved itself unworthy of continuing the priestly office!

Part of this prophecy was fulfilled when Solomon banished Abiathar and replaced him with Zadok.

1Ki 2:27  So Solomon thrust out Abiathar from being priest unto the LORD; that he might fulfil the word of the LORD, which he spake concerning the house of Eli in Shiloh.

Eli witnessed the defeat of the Israelites, the capture of the Ark, and the death of his wicked sons.

He witnessed these things before he met his own tragic death!

Eli did not get to witness the wealth of Israel during the time of Solomon.

It was during this time of Israel’s riches that Eli’s family was turned away from the priesthood.

*****1Sa 2:33  And the man of thine, whom I shall not cut off from mine altar, shall be to consume thine eyes, and to grieve thine heart: and all the increase of thine house shall die in the flower of their age.

Of Eli’s family they could now only become common priest.

This verse is better explained in verse 36.

1Sa 2:36  And it shall come to pass, that every one that is left in thine house shall come and crouch to him for a piece of silver and a morsel of bread, and shall say, Put me, I pray thee, into one of the priests’ offices, that I may eat a piece of bread.

Those who are not cut off in the flower of their youth shall be worse off than those who are, because they will have to beg for their bread or their food.

*****1Sa 2:34  And this shall be a sign unto thee, that shall come upon thy two sons, on Hophni and Phinehas; in one day they shall die both of them.

Eli would live long enough to see his own two sons die, both of them in one day.

The proof of this is in chapter 4:

1Sa 4:11  And the ark of God was taken; and the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, were slain.

*****1Sa 2:35  And I will raise me up a faithful priest, that shall do according to that which is in mine heart and in my mind: and I will build him a sure house; and he shall walk before mine anointed for ever.

Although the priesthood had been promised to Aaron’s descendants perpetually, this promise was conditioned on faithfulness, and Eli and his sons had forfeited this claim.

This promise of a faithful priest, with a sure house, is fulfilled in Jesus Christ.

Heb 2:7  Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honour, and didst set him over the works of thy hands:

Jesus had these word for the Apostle Peter:

Mat 16:18  And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Jesus was not talking about Peter, He was talking about the truth of the Gospel, The Word of God

Sin has a far-reaching and deadly consequence!

Because Israel had not been taught properly they did not behave properly!

Hophni and Phineas did not know the Lord and their behavior brought disgrace to their families and failure to their nation.

We must realize that we will reap what we have sown.

We see in our own nation today that sin still has a far-reaching and a deadly consequence and it does in every nation!

When our preachers do not preached the truth, nor stand on the Word of God, it will bring disgrace to our nation and it has.

What is the duty of a father?

Eph 6:4  And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.

Though we fail as earthly fathers.

We have a Father in Heaven who can never fail!

Questions?

Let’s Pray!

The Seven Pillars Of Wisdom

The Seven Pillars Of Wisdom

The Book of Wisdom, Proverbs let’s us know that there are 7 pillars of wisdom:

Pro 9:1  Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars:

And Job asked this question:

Job 28:12  But where shall wisdom be found? and where is the place of understanding?

The Bible is the place to find “wisdom” and “understanding” of the things in our life.

The Bible tells us that "wisdom" is the principle thing, or the most important thing for understanding of the things of this world and of course God’s World to come.

Pro 4:7  Wisdom is the principal thing; therefore get wisdom: and with all thy getting get understanding.

The Bible says that without wisdom we cannot even apply our heart to understanding.

The Bible tells us where to find this wisdom:

Pro 9:10  The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding.

So what are these 7 pillars of wisdom so that we can build our house of understanding?

James the Half-Brother of Jesus gives these seven pillars of wisdom to us:

Jas 3:17  But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

1) The wisdom from God is first "Pure":

In other words these 7 pillars of wisdom must first be built on Jesus Christ:

Jesus is our foundation for wisdom:

Mat 16:18  And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.

Remember it is not Peter that is the “rock” it is what Peter had just said!

Mat 16:16  And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.

This can happen only one way:

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;

Without the purity of Jesus the other pillars will fall.

2) The wisdom from God is next "Peaceable":

The Bible says:

2Ti 2:4  No man that warreth entangleth himself with the affairs of this life; that he may please him who hath chosen him to be a soldier.
2Ti 2:5  And if a man also strive for masteries, yet is he not crowned, except he strive lawfully.
2Ti 2:6  The husbandman that laboureth must be first partaker of the fruits.

3.) The man of wisdom must next be "Gentle":

Every child of God must be a gentleman or gentlewoman.

Again the Bible says:

Tit 3:2  To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men.

4) The man of wisdom must next be "Easy To Be Entreated":

This is being reasonable when it comes understanding the Word of God.

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

5) The man of wisdom must next be "Full of Mercy and Good Fruits":

This is being always helpful and considerate!

The Bible says:

Col 1:10  That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

6) The man of wisdom must next be "Without Partiality"

The word “race” is not in the Bible. The word “tongues” meaning languages suggest only other cultures and “race” is irrelevant!

The Bible says:

1Ti 5:21  I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one before another, doing nothing by partiality.

7) And the man of wisdom must be without "Hypocrisy"

Again the Bible says:

1Pe 2:1  Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,
1Pe 2:2  As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:

Being a Christian is not putting a show but “It Is”being sincere in speech and in our actions.

We must be “doers of the Word” not hearers only!

There is no "Wisdom without the Lord" and your house of "Wisdom" will fall without these "Seven Pillars"!

Let’s Pray!

A Special Life The Birth Of Samuel

A Special Life, The Birth Of Samuel

Text:

1 Samuel; 1 Chronicles

Our Focus: 1 Samuel

Theme: There are no accidents with God. God has a plan and purpose for every life born into this world!

The Books of Samuel could be considered transitional books in the Bible.

The Books of Samuel roughly cover the years 1070-970 BC.

To some Samuel is considered the last of the judges.

To others Samuel is considered the first of the kings.

In truth Samuel was the last judge, but Samuel was also a priest, and Samuel was also a prophet.

And, it could probably be said that Samuel was the founder of the "school of prophets" mentioned more by Elijah and Elisha.

But Samuel was never King of Israel, the first king being King Saul.

Samuel is probably the author of most of the Book of Samuel but he could not have written all of it because the book notes his death.

It is because of this that we can believe we have actual eyewitness accounts of the events that are described in both First Samuel and Second Samuel.

This was an extremely important period in the history of Israel, marking the end of the dark period of the judges, and the transition to the United Kingdom of King David.

This is the transition in the Bible from a theocracy to a monarchy.

Believe me we are fools to want anyone but Jehovah God ruling in our lives.

Those that want a king deserve a king. Only when King Jesus rules during the Millennial Kingdom will there be a just king and this comes after the Church Age!

So let’s begin with the birth of Samuel:

*****1Sa 1:1  Now there was a certain man of Ramathaimzophim, of mount Ephraim, and his name was Elkanah, the son of Jeroham, the son of Elihu, the son of Tohu, the son of Zuph, an Ephrathite:
1Sa 1:2  And he had two wives; the name of the one was Hannah, and the name of the other Peninnah: and Peninnah had children, but Hannah had no children.
1Sa 1:3  And this man went up out of his city yearly to worship and to sacrifice unto the LORD of hosts in Shiloh. And the two sons of Eli, Hophni and Phinehas, the priests of the LORD, were there.
1Sa 1:4  And when the time was that Elkanah offered, he gave to Peninnah his wife, and to all her sons and her daughters, portions:
1Sa 1:5  But unto Hannah he gave a worthy portion; for he loved Hannah: but the LORD had shut up her womb.
1Sa 1:6  And her adversary also provoked her sore, for to make her fret, because the LORD had shut up her womb.
1Sa 1:7  And as he did so year by year, when she went up to the house of the LORD, so she provoked her; therefore she wept, and did not eat.
1Sa 1:8  Then said Elkanah her husband to her, Hannah, why weepest thou? and why eatest thou not? and why is thy heart grieved? am not I better to thee than ten sons?

We must remember the theme of the Book of Judges.

Jdg 17:6  In those days there was no king in Israel, but every man did that which was right in his own eyes.

Something was needed to break the endless cycle of sin, punishment, and oppression.

These judges were only a temporary solution and Israel felt that perhaps law and order would exist if they had a king.

But before the first king arises we will first see the last great judge of Israel!

Elkanah, which means "God created" was from Ephraim geographically, but he was also from the family of Levi, the priestly family.

Elkanah was a descendent through Kohath.

It was the duty of this family to take care of the Ark of the covenant, the table of shewbread, the candlestick, the alters, and the vessels of the sanctuary, with all the hangings of the Tabernacle.

We should have a clear understanding that though Elkanah had two wives, "polygamy" was not, and never will be a part of God’s original design and intent.

When the Lord instituted marriage, He made it quite clear that marriage be between one man and one woman, and this is the pattern for all marriages. No Same Sex Marriages are biblical!

Polygamy and any other unbiblical marriage will always cause additional consequences and hardships in a family!

Hannah may have been the favored wife but it was the other wife that was providing the children!

Barrenness in the Old Testament era, was considered a curse on a married woman since her husband’s legacy and inheritance largely depended on a son to continue the family’s bloodline.

So Hannah was not only barren but she was also ridiculed by other women especially Peninnah!

The Hebrew men had to go to the Tabernacle to worship the Lord at least three times each year.

They had to observe the Feast of the Unleavened Bread, which included the time of the Passover.

They had to observe the Feast of the First Fruits.

And they had to observe the Feast of the Tabernacles.

AND, the Tabernacle was located in Shiloh at this time, which was about 10 miles from where Elkanah lived.

At this time, Eli was the high priest of Israel, but he was also the judge of Israel after the death of Samson.

Eli had two sons, Hophni and Phinehas, but they profaned the priesthood, and caused great disgust amongst the people of Israel in their worship of the Lord.

That phrase "a worthy portion" really meant that Elkanah offered an offering for Hannah that was enough for two.  He offered for Hannah and for a child she had never had up till this time!

But Hannah’s female rival taunted her and caused her great sorrow year after year and she despised this trip to Shiloh.

But Hannah, whose name means "Grace" could not leave off serving the Lord!

SO, Hannah shows us two of things that are required for answered prayer!

One of those is patience.

The Bible says:

Rom 5:3  And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: "knowing that tribulation worketh patience";

Another one is the fact that the Lord looks into the heart of that one who prays.

And the Bible says:

Psa 34:18  The LORD is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit.

It is truly a miserable when trials and troubles come, but many use this as an excuse to stop going to church.

This will never solve the problem and it will only make things worse!

*****1Sa 1:9  So Hannah rose up after they had eaten in Shiloh, and after they had drunk. Now Eli the priest sat upon a seat by a post of the temple of the LORD.
1Sa 1:10  And she was in bitterness of soul, and prayed unto the LORD, and wept sore.

There’s just something special about praying in the house of God! We cannot always do this but we can get into our closet and get alone with God!

While everyone else were still sitting around the table, Hannah rose up to go pray.

When we fully understand that is only the Lord who has the power to answer prayer, then we will live in such a way that our prayers can be answered.

We see Eli, who was the high priest, and a descendent of Ithamar, though all high priest should actually have come through the family of Eleazar, the firstborn son of Aaron.

King Solomon corrects this when he becomes king and installs Zadok as High Priest.

We also see that Eli sat upon a seat.

In other words he was more prepared to judge God’s people than he was to be a priest to God’s people!

Hannah was in bitterness of soul and Hannah cried to the Lord who knew her needs.

Hannah not only wept but she wept with such intensity, that she became emotional in her sadness sadness.

We know that when weeping begins in the heart it will show outwardly and with great stress!

*****1Sa 1:11  And she vowed a vow, and said, O LORD of hosts, if thou wilt indeed look on the affliction of thine handmaid, and remember me, and not forget thine handmaid, but wilt give unto thine handmaid a man child, then I will give him unto the LORD all the days of his life, and there shall no razor come upon his head.

Normally, if Hannah had had a son he would have been involved in the ministry of the tabernacle from the age of 25 to the age of 50.

But by this vow for her son, he would to be devoted to the ministry from his childhood and "also" being subjected to the discipline of a Nazirite all his life.

We see a lot of pictures of Jesus with longhair but these pictures could better describe what Samuel would have looked like as Jesus probably did not have long hair but resembled most any other Jewish man of that time!

*****1Sa 1:12  And it came to pass, as she continued praying before the LORD, that Eli marked her mouth.
1Sa 1:13  Now Hannah, she spake in her heart; only her lips moved, but her voice was not heard: therefore Eli thought she had been drunken.
1Sa 1:14  And Eli said unto her, How long wilt thou be drunken? put away thy wine from thee.

Hannah’s faith and devotion was so strong that it brought misunderstanding and criticism from Eli.

Again, Eli sat as judge before his main function as priest!

We will see that Eli was tolerant of the sin of his two sons, but he was quick to judge and condemn the devotion of a godly woman!

We will also see that if your prayers do not come from your heart, then they cannot be heard of God!

John Bunyan said: "in prayer it is better to have a heart without words, than words without a heart".

And, this is the way that Hannah prayed!

BUT, Eli, the high priest, reputed Hannah while she was still praying!

He accused her of being a drunk and therefore wasting God’s time!

But Jesus said:

Joh 7:24  Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.

We soon find out as Christians that as we serve our best, the world will judge us with great harshness!

AND, we see this more and more of in the days we now live!

*****1Sa 1:15  And Hannah answered and said, No, my lord, I am a woman of a sorrowful spirit: I have drunk neither wine nor strong drink, but have poured out my soul before the LORD.
1Sa 1:16  Count not thine handmaid for a daughter of Belial: for out of the abundance of my complaint and grief have I spoken hitherto.

Hannah immediately denies that she even drinks alcohol and Hannah kept a meek and humble spirit because her heart and soul were stayed on the Lord!

A "daughter of Belial" would mean that Hannah was a "worthless" person in the eyes of man.

She just tells Eli that she was pouring out her soul before the Lord! 

Eli would have known this if he had just listened, and finally we see Eli acting like a priest which he should have done from the start.

*****1Sa 1:17  Then Eli answered and said, Go in peace: and the God of Israel grant thee thy petition that thou hast asked of him.
1Sa 1:18  And she said, Let thine handmaid find grace in thy sight. So the woman went her way, and did eat, and her countenance was no more sad.

We know that the United Nations seeks ways to change this world every day, but what we will read here, in the Book of Samuel, Is That God Can Change The World With The Birth Of One Child!

Hannah was crying out for a child not knowing "that it was in the will of God to use such a child" at this very time!

God had made plans for Samuel before he was even born!

Eli then added his own blessing to the prayer of Hannah.

Hannah may not have known her prayer would be answered but she knew she had gone to the only source who could provide her request!

Five times Hannah had called herself a handmaid, which tells us she had submitted herself to the Lord. (Five also being the number for Grace)

Hannah returned to the feast with peace in her heart, and joy showed on her face, her burden was lifted!

*****1Sa 1:19  And they rose up in the morning early, and worshipped before the LORD, and returned, and came to their house to Ramah: and Elkanah knew Hannah his wife; and the LORD remembered her.
1Sa 1:20  Wherefore it came to pass, when the time was come about after Hannah had conceived, that she bare a son, and called his name Samuel, saying, Because I have asked him of the LORD.

"Remembered" means that God kept this prayer of Hannah on His mind!

There are over 40 times that the Bible uses the word "remembered" associated with God.

The Book of Revelation states this fact:

Rev 8:3  And another angel came and stood at the altar, having a golden censer; and there was given unto him much incense, that he should offer it with [the prayers of all saints] upon the golden altar which was before the throne.
Rev 8:4  And the smoke of the incense, [which came with the prayers of the saints], ascended up before God out of the angel’s hand.

The "prayers of the saints" are a sweet aroma in the presence of God!

And God does not forget any prayer that reaches into Heaven and each of those prayers He will answer in His own time.

The Book of James tells us:

Jas 4:2  Ye lust, and have not: ye kill, and desire to have, and cannot obtain: ye fight and war, [yet ye have not, because ye ask not].
Jas 4:3  Ye ask, and receive not, [because ye ask amiss], that ye may consume it upon your lusts.

The art of praying is best learn on our knees with a humble heart and just talking to God!

First we see that Hannah did ask of God and her prayer did reach into Heaven. Hannah had lived a life that allowed this to happen and Hannah had not asked "amiss"!

In other words what Hannah had asked was not wrong!

It was not out of order!

AND, it was not improper and God had heard this prayer!

The next thing we see in this verse is the fact that the birth of Samuel would not be a supernatural event but would come from his parents Elkanah and Hannah.

In fact, the name Samuel means, "heard from God", because she had ask for him from the Lord.

*****1Sa 1:21  And the man Elkanah, and all his house, went up to offer unto the LORD the yearly sacrifice, and his vow.
1Sa 1:22  But Hannah went not up; for she said unto her husband, I will not go up until the child be weaned, and then I will bring him, that he may appear before the LORD, and there abide for ever.

Most children can be weaned from their mothers milk in two or no more than three years and this could be true of Samuel.

But one commentator writes that there was a threefold weaning of children in these times.

1.) There would first be a weaning from the mother’s milk up to three years old.

2.) There would next be a weaning of the toddler stage up to seven years old.

3.) There would last be a weaning from childless manners at the age of 12.

In other words it was very probable that Samuel was 12 years old and fit to serve in the Tabernacle, so that he may appear before the Lord and abide forever.

We know that in the life of Jesus, growing up we first see Him at the age of twelve at the Temple in Jerusalem:

Luk 2:42  And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.

Luk 2:46  And it came to pass, that after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the doctors, both hearing them, and asking them questions.

*****1Sa 1:23  And Elkanah her husband said unto her, Do what seemeth thee good; tarry until thou have weaned him; only the LORD establish his word. So the woman abode, and gave her son suck until she weaned him.

It was not sin for Hannah to stay at home and Elkanah approved of Hannah’s decision. It was only required of the men to make those three yearly trips to the Tabernacle.

*****1Sa 1:24  And when she had weaned him, she took him up with her, with three bullocks, and one ephah of flour, and a bottle of wine, and brought him unto the house of the LORD in Shiloh: and the child was young.

1.) Hannah brought with her three bullocks. This probably but did not mean that Samuel was three years old as some suggest but there were three offerings that had to be made.

There was the burnt offering, the sin offering, and the peace offering.

2.) Hannah brought and ephah of flour. It took 3/10 part of a ephah for each offering, of each bullock.

3.) And Hannah brought a bottle of wine.

God will never go against His Word so this was grape juice and not fermented wine, as some may think and probably "freshly squeezed" or "yayin mi-gat", wine from the vat as only the best would be brought before the Lord!

In fact, The Jewish Encyclopedia provides a concise description of the various usages of "yayin": Which is "Fresh wine", before any fermenting.

And in the more recent Encyclopaedia Judaica (1971): "The newly pressed wine prior to fermentation was known as "yayin".

In the King James Bible "yayin" can be used for fermented and unfermented wine.

Such as:

Pro 23:30  They that tarry long at the wine; they that go to seek mixed wine.
Pro 23:31  Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup, when it moveth itself aright.
Pro 23:32  At the last it biteth like a serpent, and stingeth like an adder.

This verse tells us specifically not to look upon wine that is fermented and if you cannot look upon it then you certainly should not drink of it.

Again, God will never go against His Own Word.

1Sa 1:25  And they slew a bullock, and brought the child to Eli.
1Sa 1:26  And she said, Oh my lord, as thy soul liveth, my lord, I am the woman that stood by thee here, praying unto the LORD.
1Sa 1:27  For this child I prayed; and the LORD hath given me my petition which I asked of him:

Hannah had taught her son well and had prepared him for serving the Lord.

At this time Samuel did not have a personal knowledge of the Lord!

This would come later when God spoke to him!

But Hannah was woman of prayer and she taught her son to be a man of prayer.

Hannah reminded Eli that she was the woman who had prayed for a son earlier.

And, She also reminded Eli that God had answered her prayer!

*****1Sa 1:28  Therefore also I have lent him to the LORD; as long as he liveth he shall be lent to the LORD. And he worshipped the LORD there.

That word "Lent" used by Hannah here, means that she was making a lifelong and unconditional loan of her son, to the Lord.

Hannah had been obedient to her vow!

And, Hannah is a wonderful example of praying in the "Will of God"!

God works through mankind and God wanted a man like Samuel!

But, True prayer can only be offered on the grounds of sacrifice.

When Jesus Christ offered Himself as payment for our sin, He also opened the doors of Heaven that our prayers could be accepted through Him.

The Bible is specific:

Joh 14:13  And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified "in the Son".
Joh 14:14  If ye shall ask any thing in my name, I will do it.

There was much more work done on the Cross than just a payment for our sin!

Prayer is about changing us, as much as it is about changing our circumstances, and none of that can happen without Jesus!

Questions?

Let’s Pray!

The Apostle Paul Preaching In Rome

Preaching In Rome

Book of Acts Chapter 28

We have reached the last chapter in this great Book of Acts. We have seen so many things that caused the beginning of the early church.

We need to get back to many of the basics we have learned in these chapters!

But most of all, we must realize that the message of the Church is still the "Gospel" of the Lord Jesus Christ and that will never change!

The Church grows as the "Gospel" is spread.

This is our only job!

Last week when we left off, 276 men, including the Apostle Paul were swimming for their life in hope of reaching the shore of the island we now know of as Malta.

Let’s pick up where we left off:

*****Act 28:1  And when they were escaped, then they knew that the island was called Melita.

It was not until everyone was safely on the island that they realized they were at a place called Melita. This island of Melita is now known as Malta.

We also need to realize that where ever God places us, that is to place where we are to begin a work for God and represent Jesus Christ as His ambassadors.

We already know that God was sending Paul to Rome, so this stopover in Melita was surely the providence of God.

We should never forget this verse and we can believe that Paul never did:

Rom 11:33  O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! [how unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out!]

*****Act 28:2  And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold.

It is probable that the people of Melita were probably descendent of Phoenician sailors who first used this island.

They were considered barbarous simply because they did not speak Greek nor Latin as their native language.

The Greeks, and after-wards the Romans, called all nations "but themselves" barbarians!

This reminds us of how people felt about each other at the tower of Babel back in the Book of Genesis.

But the people of Melita did treat these shivering survivors with great kindness by building a bonfire on the beach to warm them up.

*****Act 28:3  And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand.

It’s very interesting to note that, out of more than 300 people who were enjoying this fire, it was Paul who took it upon himself to gather sticks to keep it burning.

Among the sticks, however was a venomous snake. The snake itself was stiff from the cold and must have look much like another stick.

The heat energized the snake so that it suddenly bit the Apostle Paul.

And this did not go unnoticed!

There are always eyes on God’s people!

It is said today that you cannot find a venomous snake on the island of Malta.

*****Act 28:4  And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet "vengeance" suffereth not to live.

In this short time these people of Melita had already realized that some of these men including Paul were prisoners bound for Rome.

They looked on Paul is a doomed man and as good as dead.

They concluded that if it was murder he was guilty of, and had escaped the death of the sea, then the gods had punished him in this way.

That word "vengeance" comes from the Greek word "Dice" which is also the name of a Greek goddess said to be the daughter of Jupiter.

*****Act 28:5  And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm.
Act 28:6  Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.

Many eyes were watching as Paul shook the snake off into the fire. They were amazed that his hand had not swollen nor had he fell over dead, so they watched him for a great while.

But, to their amazement no harm had come to Paul.

There are two things we should note here:

1.) We have the fulfillment of Scripture.

Mar 16:17  And these signs shall follow them that believe; In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues;
Mar 16:18  They shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick, and they shall recover.

This promise of protection, was not for show and was not intended to apply indefinitely. This experience of Paul’s is the only actual example of such a thing recorded in the New Testament and we should not expect for these things to happen today.

2.) We have the superstitions of the lost.

Since Paul could not be killed by the poison from this Viper then he to must be a god.

This is not the first time that this happened to Paul.

We should remember the things that happened in Athens.

Act 14:11  And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men.
Act 14:12  And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker.

There are still many pagan worshipers whom are still waiting on the return of their own false gods.

So, we can see that only one explanation will work here, "the direct intervention of the Living God"!

*****Act 28:7  In the same quarters were possessions of the chief man of the island, whose name was Publius; who received us, and lodged us three days courteously.
Act 28:8  And it came to pass, that the father of Publius lay sick of a fever and of a bloody flux: to whom Paul entered in, and prayed, and laid his hands on him, and healed him.
Act 28:9  So when this was done, others also, which had diseases in the island, came, and were healed:

God would not only provide for Paul and his shipmates, but he would also show His true power to the people of Melita.

Publius, was the chief man of the island who was very sick at that time. Paul went to this man without being asked and through the healing power of God, healed this man of his sickness.

When this was done for Publius, many others of the island came to him, were healed also.

We must also realize Paul also had Luke, the physician, with him at this time.

And we can know that Paul was not a man who would let opportunities to witness for Christ to slip by without taking advantage of them.

It is also very possible that a church began during the time Paul was on this island.

*****Act 28:10  Who also honoured us with many honours; and when we departed, they laded us with such things as were necessary.
Act 28:11  And after three months we departed in a ship of Alexandria, which had wintered in the isle, whose sign was Castor and Pollux.

That word "honors" means what ever those things that were given to Paul were "things of value".

Everyone on that ship had lost all their personal possessions so it seems that "these barbarians" were in actuality, "very hospitable".

Those three months were probably November through February, the same three months when sailing ceased because of severe weather conditions!

They found another ship from Alexandria, which was probably carrying wheat to Rome, and obtained passage.

Those names Castor and Pollux came from the figurehead on the bow the ship.

These names were so chosen because of the astrological sign of Gemini or, "The Twins".

These names of pagan deities were regarded as maritime patrons.

To every seaman of that time, these were the gods that steered the ship safely to each port.

This shows again the pagan world at the time of the early church!

Christians are still commanded to shine as lights in this dark world!

*****Act 28:12  And landing at Syracuse, we tarried there three days.
Act 28:13  And from thence we fetched a compass, and came to Rhegium: and after one day the south wind blew, and we came the next day to Puteoli:
Act 28:14  Where we found brethren, and were desired to tarry with them seven days: and so we went toward Rome.

Syracuse is the city on the southeast coast of Sicily and about 90 miles from the island of Malta.

That phrase "fetched a compass" means they could not sail in a straight line to Puteoli but had to use tacking.

It was not until a south wind started blowing that they were able to continue sailing and then reached Puteoli the next day which was about 200 miles.

Puteoli was the harbor for the ancient city of Neapolis which today is called Naples.

Julius allowed Paul to spend some time with Christian brethren here in this city.

From here their journey to Rome would be over land.

(See Map)

*****Act 28:15  And from thence, when the brethren heard of us, they came to meet us as far as Appii forum, and The three taverns: whom when Paul saw, he thanked God, and took courage.
Act 28:16  And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him.

It seems that as Paul traveled toward Rome a delegation from the Christian church "in Rome not of Rome" traveled to meet Paul, which they did at a place called "three taverns".

There were also others that met Paul at Appii Forum.

Appii Forum was a "market place".

The "three taverns" was a place to get refreshment.

These were road junctions on the road to Rome.

These brothers and sisters in Christ gave Paul encouragement as he neared the end of his journey.

It seems that Paul was placed under house arrest and that Luke could no longer stay with Paul but was at least allowed to visit him, as were many others.

We can read of some of these things in the Book of Philemon and the Book of Colossians which were written while Paul was in Rome.

We know that Nero was the Emperor at this time but he had not yet shown his true character.

And we know that Paul was treated with courtesy and allowed many privileges.

*****Act 28:17  And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans.
Act 28:18  Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me.
Act 28:19  But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had ought to accuse my nation of.
Act 28:20  For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.

Soon after his arrival Paul assembles the local Jewish leaders to explain who he was and why he is in Rome appealing to Caesar.

Paul wanted to emphasize to his Jewish brethren that he was not guilty of any roles against his people or of their customs customs.

He told them that he had been apprehended in Jerusalem by the Jews and then came under the custody of the Romans and this had continued until that day.

The Romans had determined that there was no reason for his execution but the Jews were determined that he should not be released and therefore he had appealed to Caesar as a Roman citizen.

He informed them that he had no intention of accusing his Jewish brethren and had no charges to bring against his own people.

Some things we should realize is, that every Roman citizen deserved and often demanded a Roman trial.

An appeal to Caesar most often guaranteed the trial to be in Rome.

In Paul’s mind making his defense in the highest court in the known world at that time, could possibly result in Christianity being recognized in the Roman Empire as an acceptable religion and different from Judaism.

And it was the Living God that had put these things in place for this to happen.

*****Act 28:21  And they said unto him, We neither received letters out of Judaea concerning thee, neither any of the brethren that came shewed or spake any harm of thee.
Act 28:22  But we desire to hear of thee what thou thinkest: for as concerning this sect, we know that every where it is spoken against.

Any news of these things that had happened in Jerusalem had not made it to Rome. They had not received any communication of these things from Jerusalem and were therefore "neutral" in their feelings toward Paul, after all Paul was also a Jew.

Those words "we desire" means that they thought it was appropriate to hear of the Christian movement.

So they made arrangements to hear Paul preach.

And Paul was always ready to Preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ!

*****Act 28:23  And when they had appointed him a day, there came many to him into his lodging; to whom he expounded and testified the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus, both out of the law of Moses, and out of the prophets, from morning till evening.
Act 28:24  And some believed the things which were spoken, and some believed not.

Paul always seemed to find some way to reach out to the Jews with the gospel of Jesus!

Since he could not go to the synagogues in Rome he got the Jewish leaders to come to him.

The epistle to the Romans had already reached the brethren in Rome and in it Paul had written these words:

Rom 1:16  For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.

So again, Paul preached the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ by using the laws of Moses and the words of the prophets, all from the Old Testament.

Paul began with the Book of Genesis and continued through all the Scriptures proving that Jesus had fulfilled the promises to the fathers!

And we can see that they remained attentive from morning till evening.

And as always, when Jesus Christ is presented all His fullness, some will believe but most will not!

*****Act 28:25  And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers,
Act 28:26  Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive:
Act 28:27  For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.

To these unbelieving Jews, Paul uses a quote that had been used by Jesus Christ and by the Apostle John.

Isa 6:9  And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not.
Isa 6:10  Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed.

Paul applied the prophecy of Isaiah to the Jews rejection of Jesus as their Messiah!

Those words "well spake the Holy Ghost" in Isaiah, meant that these were the words of God Himself.

And this also meant that Paul had been obedient to the will of God!

They did not understand because they rejected God’s Word!

To reject the truth does not change the truth into a lie!

The truth is always the truth!

In Paul’s day the refusal of the Jews to receive the message of Jesus, would ultimately result in the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple that the hands of the Roman army in 70 A.D.

Then Paul gave this warning to those Jews which stands even until today and will stand until the Rapture of the Church!

*****Act 28:28  Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it.

Paul announced that the offer of salvation would go to the Gentiles since it the Jews had rejected it.

Paul had again and again went to the Jews first, only to find that again and again it was only the Gentiles that responded to the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We must remember these words of the apostle John:

Joh 1:11  He came unto his own, and his own received him not.
Joh 1:12  But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name:
Joh 1:13  Which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.

Gentiles, in practically in every nation have received the Gospel gladly and in great numbers.

Though the Christians of the first century were largely Jews, this has since changed and it has been the Gentile churches and the Gentile missionaries who have been spreading the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We know that after the Rapture the church, it will again be those 144,000 Jews, of the Book of Revelation, who will be the missionaries of the Gospel to this lost world.

*****Act 28:29  And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves.
Act 28:30  And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him,
Act 28:31  Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.

According to Roman law, it was necessary to wait about two years for the prosecution to come forward in their case. There is no indication that the Jews ever did this and certainly not within the two-year period as Luke would certainly have mentioned it if they had.

Many Bible scholars believe that Paul was released at this point and was able to continue his missionary activities for a few more years.

And that it was a few years later that Paul was arrested and executed by Nero following the burning of Rome, which he blamed on the Christians and history has shown that it was probably he who started that fire.

It is also believed that during this time that Paul wrote the epistles to the Ephesians, the Colossians, Philemon, and to the Philippians.

It is also believed that after Paul was released from Rome and before he was finally executed that he wrote the epistles to first and second Timothy and to Titus.

To every Christian we have a tremendous example in the life of the Apostle Paul.

In the Book of Acts, Luke, inspired by the Holy Spirit, has shown us how a small group of disciples dedicated to the Lord Jesus Christ began the early church by spreading the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

It began with this command:

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

Which is the same command we have today!

And we should all have this same attitude of the Apostle Paul:

Eph 3:8  Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
Eph 3:9  And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
Eph 3:10  To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God,
Eph 3:11  According to the eternal purpose which he purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord:

Questions?

Let’s Pray!

Protection In The Storm

Protection In The Storm

Book of Acts Chapter 27

When we left off last week the Apostle Paul had appeared before King Agrippa in order for Festus the Roman Procurator to have some information to write to Caesar.

Agrippa came to only one conclusion which he informed Festus:

Act 26:31  And when they were gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, [This man doeth nothing worthy of death or of bonds].
Act 26:32  Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar.

Festus then had what he needed to write to Caesar: Paul was not set free because "he had requested for Caesar to judge him".

It is shortly after this, that it was decided that Paul would be sent to Rome. Paul was sent to Rome, not for anything that he had done but only because the Jews had said he had done things against the Jewish religion and they wanted him to be killed and would do so if they had the opportunity.

God had already decided Paul would preach in Rome so we will see God’s plan unfold.

It would be good to consider that there was great difficulty in travel in Bible times. Travel was not only difficult but it was dangerous. There were many occasions when people started on a journey and were never heard from again. If they traveled by land, they were in danger from outlaws and thieves. If they traveled by sea, they were at the mercy of the weather, in boats that were ill-equipped to handle bad weather.

When this journey begins a group of people has set sail from Israel to Rome. This journey would begin in Caesarea, in northern Israel, were Paul and some other prisoners were delivered into the care of a man named Julius.

So let’s see how Luke takes us through this journey:

*****Act 27:1  And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus’ band.
Act 27:2  And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us.

We should immediately notice again of the word "we".

Luke, the author of the Book of Acts, joined Paul for this trip to Rome and remained with him al least until Paul was delivered to the custody of the soldiers in Rome.

The journey to Rome will involve typical navigational practices and patterns of the first century. Another thing we should know is that due to dangerous weather conditions, no sailing occurred on the Mediterranean during the period from mid-November to early March.

Paul’s voyage was near the beginning of this dangerous sailing period.

The word "band" was in fact, the 10th part of a Legion of Roman soldiers. These "bands" were groups of normally 600 men which makes a Roman Legion about 6000 men.

Aristarchus, as well as Luke, traveled with Paul on this long voyage from Caesarea to Rome.

Aristarchus had been with Paul since his third missionary journey and was a Thessalonian.

As a Roman citizen, as well as a highly educated religious leader, it was appropriate in the eyes of the Centurion and the ship officers, that Paul have attendance and we know that Luke and Aristarchus were at least two of those that attended to Paul..

That ship of Adramyttium would be a ship based in Asia minor but Julius had no intention of selling to Rome in this ship, as it was only a coastal vessel.

*****Act 27:3  And the next day we touched at Sidon. And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself.

Julius was a member of the Imperial guard and we can see that he was courteous to Paul and treated him very well. Unexpectedly Julius had a gracious attitude for people and for life and days on the battlefield can sometimes lead a man to be this way.

It should also be very obvious to us that there had been a local church established at Sidon at this time an God’s people had kept up with things that happened to Paul!

*****Act 27:4  And when we had launched from thence, we sailed under Cyprus, because the winds were contrary.
Act 27:5  And when we had sailed over the sea of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra, a city of Lycia.
Act 27:6  And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein.

(See map)

We will begin to see, as Luke paints with words, a vivid picture of the troubles that came to pass on this trip to Rome.

The first problem arose after the ship left Sidon. It was a straight line distance of over 350 miles from Sidon to Myra.

We must remember these ships were coastal vessels and when sailing would keep visual contact with the coast. Normally Paul’s ship would have continued sailing northward along the coast and then turned westward along the coast of what is now Asia minor.

However the winds did not allow this so the captain of Paul ship turned northwest from Sidon and pilot his vessel for the island of Cyprus and then sailing the east side of Cyprus, using the island to protect the ship from some of those contrary winds.

He then followed the coast until he got to Myra. It was approaching the season when sailing ceased on the Mediterranean so the winds were generally from the West this time of year.

At Myra, Julius transferred Paul and the other prisoners to a ship from the north African city of Alexandria, which is in Egypt.

In the stays of Paul, Rome survived because of the grain of Egypt. These ships were much larger and much sturdier vessels and generally safer in the open seas.

*****Act 27:7  And when we had sailed slowly many days, and scarce were come over against Cnidus, the wind not suffering us, we sailed under Crete, over against Salmone;
Act 27:8  And, hardly passing it, came unto a place which is called The fair havens; nigh whereunto was the city of Lasea.
Act 27:9  Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them,
Act 27:10  And said unto them, Sirs, I perceive that this voyage will be with hurt and much damage, not only of the lading and ship, but also of our lives.
Act 27:11  Nevertheless the centurion believed the master and the owner of the ship, more than those things which were spoken by Paul.

It was 150 miles from Myra to Cnidus and another 230 miles from Cnidus to the Fair Havens.

After some difficulty sailing, they arrived at the Fair Havens on the southern side of the Isle of Crete. By this time it was late autumn. The dangerous season for sailing was from September to November. After this date all navigation on the open sea was normally discontinued.

Paul was probably just as qualified to judge sea travel at this time as they were. Paul had been through three ship wrecks already.

2Co 11:25  Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, [thrice I suffered shipwreck], "a night and a day I have been in the deep";

We know that Paul wrote the book of Corinthians before he was captured in Jerusalem and jailed.

Those words "the fast", which is the "Day of Atonement", placed these events in early October.

In spite of this knowledge and over the protest of Paul the boat officials set sail for Phoenix planning to winter there.

*****Act 27:12  And because the haven was not commodious to winter in, the more part advised to depart thence also, if by any means they might attain to Phenice, and there to winter; which is an haven of Crete, and lieth toward the south west and north west.
Act 27:13  And when the south wind blew softly, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, loosing thence, they sailed close by Crete.
Act 27:14  But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon.

Soon, however, they are caught up in the grasp of a vicious winter typhoon.

And from this point, Luke will give to us a vivid account of this storm that was actually recorded in history.

*****Act 27:15  And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive.
Act 27:16  And running under a certain island which is called Clauda, we had much work to come by the boat:
Act 27:17  Which when they had taken up, they used helps, undergirding the ship; and, fearing lest they should fall into the quicksands, strake sail, and so were driven.
Act 27:18  And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship;
Act 27:19  And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship.

First: This ship is blown far out to sea completely out of control.

Second: These terrified sailors band the ship with ropes to help strengthen the  hull.

Third: As the seas grow higher they throw all the cargo overboard.

Fourth: They also discard all the tackle and the loose objects that cannot be tied down.

And Fifth: After 14 frightful and desperate days Luke describes a time of "no hope for survival".

Those "quicksands" were off the African coast, west of Cyrene, which gives an idea that this ship had no idea of which direction it was heading.

(Again see the map)

*****Act 27:20  And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away.

There was no let up in the storm.

Day after day, and night after night, the winds and the waves raged and relentlessly battered the ship and its crew and its passengers.

We can be sure that the rain had not ceased and these were terrible and most miserable days.

The heavy clouds obscured all view of the sun by day and of the stars by night and the constant exposure to all these things caused all hope that they should be saved to be taken away.

But Jeremiah gave us these words:

Jer 17:7  Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.

Paul had not forgotten the things the Lord had told him. Paul knew he would give his testimony in Rome and he would have to survive this ordeal to do this.

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".

*****Act 27:21  But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss.
Act 27:22  And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship.
Act 27:23  For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve,
Act 27:24  Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee.

That word "abstinence" means that these people had not eaten anything during the storm or at least very little. They had not had much opportunity and had little desire to eat and many of them had probably become seasick.

Paul made a quick reminder of the fact that he had advised them to remain in the Fair Havens, not because he had that I told you so attitude, but because he simply wanted them to listen to him now.

When you’re in that position of "no hope" it is comforting to have assurance that you will not lose your life!

We read in Chapter 23 where Paul had received direct assurance from God that he would bear witness that Rome.

And now this angel had assured him that all on board would also be saved from death.

It is often that we see that God will spare the ungodly because of godly men in their midst!

We must remember the words Abraham asked of the Lord:

Gen 18:23  And Abraham drew near, and said, Wilt thou also destroy the righteous with the wicked?

There have been many guilty cities and even nations that have been spared on account of God’s people and this is even more true in our day!

We also have proof of this in the New Testament and of the days we live in now:

2Th 2:6  And now ye know what withholdeth that he might be revealed in his time.
2Th 2:7  For the mystery of iniquity doth already work: "only he who now letteth will let, until he be taken out of the way".
2Th 2:8  And then shall that Wicked be revealed, whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy with the brightness of his coming:

The Lord had given these words to Paul and He would not now do something differently!

*****Act 27:25  Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me.

It is important for us to "believe God" and not to just "believe in God".

The Bible teaches us:

Jas 2:19  Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble.

To "believe" God, is to accept God’s Word as the truth!

And we all should have this verse memorized:

2Ti 3:16  "All scripture" is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

We need nothing more than God’s "complete" Word to make our own life "complete"!

*****Act 27:26  Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island.

Only God could have had this information. God had assured Paul that he and all the others on the ship would be spared from death. However, there were still going to experience some difficulties, nonetheless, as they were going to be cast upon a certain island.

God will use every opportunity to reach out to the lost of this world!

*****Act 27:27  But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven up and down in Adria, about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country;
Act 27:28  And sounded, and found it twenty fathoms: and when they had gone a little further, they sounded again, and found it fifteen fathoms.
Act 27:29  Then fearing lest we should have fallen upon rocks, they cast four anchors out of the stern, and wished for the day.

For two weeks this ship and these that were on it had been caught up in this massive storm.

The Adria, refers to the part of the Mediterranean Sea that lies between Italy and Greece and today is called the Adriatic Sea.

It is possible that these sailors heard the noise of waves breaking against a seashore and they believed that they could be very close to land.

That term "sounded" means that they were casting something like a javelin that was attached to a cord into the water that would give them some sense of the depth of the ocean.

A "fathom" was the standard measurement of the distance between the middle fingertips of the hands of an adult man with outstretched arms and is about 6 feet.

20 fathoms would be 120 feet of depth.

15 fathoms would be 90 feet of depth.

This is pretty shallow water in the midst of the ocean but because of the darkness they could not be sure of anything so they were "longing for daybreak" to come so they might possibly see land.

They did not want to run the risk of having the ship torn apart over rocks or grounded on some reef so they cast out four anchors from "the stern" or the rear of the ship.

And nothing else could be done until daybreak!

*****Act 27:30  And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship,
Act 27:31  Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.
Act 27:32  Then the soldiers cut off the ropes of the boat, and let her fall off.

The crew of the ship then decided that they would take their chances and tried to lower boats so they could escape and abandon the ship.

This points out just how grave this situation really was, when a sailor thinks its safer in a small boat, than in the much bigger ship.

Paul knew that if the sailors left the ship it could mean certain doom to all the rest, so the Roman commander commandeered the ship placing it under his direct control.

Accepting Paul’s word, Julius the Roman commander, cut the ropes to the smaller boats allowing them to drop into the ocean.

Paul had been in similar situations before as he had written to the Corinthians.

2Co 11:25  Thrice was I beaten with rods, once was I stoned, thrice I suffered shipwreck, a night and a day I have been in the deep;

If all the sailors left, no one on board knew how to sail the ship!

*****Act 27:33  And while the day was coming on, Paul besought them all to take meat, saying, This day is the fourteenth day that ye have tarried and continued fasting, having taken nothing.
Act 27:34  Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health: for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you.
Act 27:35  And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat.
Act 27:36  Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat.

Paul encouraged this crew and these passengers to eat some food. They had eaten very little in 14 days. They had continued to fast because they had lost all hope. They did not trust the ship’s captain and certainly not Julius, the Roman commander who had stop them from escaping.

BUT, Paul assured them they would need their strength in the coming days and "Not One Hair" would fall from any head.

Paul assured them that they were under the absolute protection of the "Living God"!

The Bible teaches us:

Mat 10:30  But the very hairs of your head are all numbered.

In other words, It is God who sets on the throne and He keeps a watchful eye on all His "Creation"!

So Paul began this meal by giving thanks that God had provided them with a meal and the time to have a meal.

Some of Paul’s last words to Timothy were these words:

1Ti 6:8  And having food and raiment let us be therewith content.

You see even on our worst day God will still provide our needs!

And "no hope" became "good cheer"!

You see we should always remember that our testimony, even in trying times, can be an encouragement to others!

A Christian always has hope and that hope is in the Lord Jesus!

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,

*****Act 27:37  And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls.
Act 27:38  And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, and cast out the wheat into the sea.

276 souls put their trust in the Lord. God had said not one of these men would be harmed so the Holy Spirit gives us an exact count of each and every head!

The decision to run the ship aground had already been made, so at this point everything that was not needed and that had weight was thrown overboard.

This would insure that the ship would get as close to the shore as it possibly could!

*****Act 27:39  And when it was day, they knew not the land: but they discovered a certain creek with a shore, into the which they were minded, if it were possible, to thrust in the ship.

It is good to make note that this small bay on the island of Malta where the ship finally went aground has been called St. Paul’s Bay ever since this time and it is located behind a small island where two seas meet as we will now read.

*****Act 27:40  And when they had taken up the anchors, they committed themselves unto the sea, and loosed the rudder bands, and hoised up the mainsail to the wind, and made toward shore.
Act 27:41  And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves.

That phrase "taken up" referring to the anchors, actually means either "cut away or loosed" as they would have never brought the weight of those anchors back into the ship.

The rudder had been secured by bands and these were no longer necessary. The wind was blowing toward the shore so the main sail was raised in order for the ship to get as close to the shore as possible.

The place where these two seas meet was a reef or a sandbar and when the front of the ship made contact it stuck fast and could not be moved.

The rear of the ship was being beaten by the waves and it began to break apart.

*****Act 27:42  And the soldiers’ counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape.
Act 27:43  But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land:
Act 27:44  And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.

We must not forget it was death to any Roman soldier that allowed his prisoner to escape and none could escape if they were all dead.

But, this was not allowed by Julius.

So they all went overboard into the sea and swam, or floated, all making their way safely to shore.

We should not miss this opportunity to have the confidence that Our God can save us from any situation, of any kind, and at any time.

Some of these were Christians but most were not, yet but nothing can stop the Will of Our God from being accomplished.

And there is never a time for God’s people to give up or lose hope!

Questions?

Let’s Pray!

Paul’s Defense Before King Agrippa II

Paul’s Defense Before King Agrippa

Book of Acts chapter 26

In our last lesson we saw as Paul had defended himself against Felix and against Festus of the false things that had been accused of him by the Jews and the high priest.

Festus had discovered that he had no real reason to send Paul before Caesar.

Another opportunity came when Herod Agrippa II and his sister Bernice arrived in Caesarea to pay their respects to him.

This Agrippa was the son of Herod Agrippa I. He had been appointed king of the region around the Sea of Galilee by the emperor Nero.

He was also known as Marcus Julius Agrippa and was only 17 when his father died and he was the last of the Herod Dynasty.

Let’s begin I looking back to some verses that we did not cover from last week:

*****Act 25:24  And Festus said, King Agrippa, and all men which are here present with us, ye see this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews have dealt with me, both at Jerusalem, and also here, crying that he ought not to live any longer.
Act 25:25  But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and that he himself hath appealed to Augustus, I have determined to send him.
Act 25:26  Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto my lord. Wherefore I have brought him forth before you, and specially before thee, O king Agrippa, that, after examination had, I might have somewhat to write.
Act 25:27  For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.

Festus the governor was at a complete loss as to what to report to the Emperor. He actually had no reason to continue to hold Paul and neither would King Agrippa.

The Jews still demanded Paul’s life but he was required by Roman law in his report to Caesar to specify the crimes which to prisoner was accused and this he could not do.

King Agrippa was part Jew and knew much more about the Jews religion than Festus did and according to tradition he had made considerable study of his own of that religion.

So even though Festus, as the Roman official in charge of this occasion, deferred to Agrippa after Paul had been brought before them.

*****Act 26:1  Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself:

Without asking Paul any questions he allowed Paul to explain what he had been doing and why he had been arrested.

*****Act 26:2  I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews:
Act 26:3  Especially because I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently.

Paul immediately acknowledged Agrippa’s title as King and said he was glad to answer all charges the Jews had brought against him.

Remember Paul had been accused of violating Jewish law.

Paul had been accused of desecrating the Temple.

And Paul had been accused of actually breaking Roman laws.

None of these things were true nor was there any evidence to prove such things.

We should not forget that the Herodians were Edomites, which were the descendents of Esau.

There is a great prophecy that was given to Esau by his father Isaac and I believe it was fulfilled by these Herod’s:

Gen 27:40  And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; [and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck].

So let’s hear Paul’s response:

*****Act 26:4  My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews;
Act 26:5  Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.
Act 26:6  And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers:
Act 26:7  Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.

Many of Paul’s accusers were familiar with Paul’s early life. The phrase "manner of life" means not only how Paul lived but the real reasons for his actions.

The Greek word for "youth" not only means "young" but it also means "lack of experience".

Paul as a young adult, was being trained by Gamaliel to become a Pharisee and Paul knew that these Jewish leaders knew about all these things.

Paul had become a strict Pharisee and he observed all the Mosaic dietary laws and certainly all commandments as written by Moses.

But not only that, Paul had observed those things that had been added by the traditions of the Pharisees themselves.

That phrase "the most straightest sect" means that the Pharisees were uncompromising on their standards.

Then Paul mentioned the main issue from which he was being judged.

"His hope in God’s promise" was the hope of the "resurrection" of the Messiah!

That term "Messiah" is a Jewish title for Israel’s future King who would bring salvation at the end of the age or what we know as the "Millennial Kingdom".

This is the promise that all the prophets had presented to the fathers of Israel!

The Book of Galatians gives us a clear picture of how Paul understood the Old Testament Scriptures.

Gal 3:16  Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
Gal 3:17  And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
Gal 3:18  For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

Paul insisted that it was the"promise of this Messiah" that held together the scattered tribes of Israel as a nation.

And Paul insisted that he was accused, because he believed in this hope and in his belief that this hope was fulfilled in Jesus.

And that Jesus had demonstrated this truth by His own resurrection!

Paul also makes us recognize "that representatives from all 12 tribes were still in Judea" and were still adhering to their ancient religion.

"This gives us proof that there is no suggestion in the New Testament that there are 10 lost tribes somewhere else in the world"!

It is a fact that Israelites were scattered all over the world but there are no lost tribes of Israel!

*****Act 26:8  Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?

The Sadducees did not believe in any "resurrection" but Paul still asked this simple question of King Agrippa.

All the Jews believed in a sovereign God so this would only be incredible if anyone but God or those that God empowered should claim to raise the dead for God only is the Creator of life!

Most every Jew of that time had no problem in believing "in creation" as written in the Book of Genesis.

To Paul it was a sad thing that the Jews, whose hope was in the coming of the Messiah and the promised resurrection, should now denied Jesus who had proved he was the true Messiah.

Most all, but the Sadducees, believed in the "doctrine of the resurrection" and many Pharisees including Paul had converted to Christianity yet the Jewish nation still rejected Jesus as the Messiah.

But we now know that they are blind to this fact.

Rom 11:7  What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded
Rom 11:8  (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.

*****Act 26:9  I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
Act 26:10  Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.
Act 26:11  And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.

Paul was not only a Pharisee but he had also been a zealous persecutor of the church. He had punished the believers and tried to force them to deny Jesus Christ and some of them he had even helped to send to their death.

But, Paul took full responsibility for his actions and Paul had voted in favor of the death penalty for all Christians.

Paul had been relentless in his persecution of the believers on Jesus Christ.

Paul had gone from synagogue to synagogue arresting or otherwise harassing those who embraced Jesus and His ways.

Paul said he was "exceedingly mad" and was "enraged" and it became Paul’s intention to eradicate Christianity not only from Jerusalem and not only from Israel but from all the world.

Sadly there are many today that have the same purpose because this is the purpose of Satan and all his followers!

*****Act 26:12  Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,
Act 26:13  At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.
Act 26:14  And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

Paul had been one of the reasons early Christians had left Jerusalem. His zeal had driven out many of the believers and they had taken their message to the Jews in other communities.

Paul gives us a vivid description of what he saw. The light that Paul saw was a supernatural light.

What Paul saw was a Shekinah glory of God!

Listen to the words of Isaiah:

Isa 60:1  Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.
Isa 60:2  For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

Even at the brightness of noontime, the earth is a dark place when compared to the glory of God!

This actually blinded Paul for three days but the important thing was that Paul’s "spiritual eyes" had been opened, for he was beholding the living Christ.

Paul had written these words to the Corinthians:

2Co 4:3  But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
2Co 4:4  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
2Co 4:5  For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
2Co 4:6  For God, [who commanded the light to shine out of darkness] , hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Paul had not only seen the Shekinah glory of God but he had also heard His voice!

Those that were with Paul had heard a sound but they had not understood the voice of God and they all fell to the earth but only Paul remained there.

To explain that phrase " kicking against a prick"  we should understand that when an ox was too stubborn for the farmer, the farmer used a long, sharp, pointed stick.  this was called an "ox goad". This encourage the animal to be obedient.   If the animal kicked against the goad it would cause more severe wounds.

Jesus was using His heavenly "ox goad" to push Paul to conversion and the more that Paul resisted the more severe his wounds would be.

We know that Holy Ghost conviction can be very painful and in some cases will leave scars.

*****Act 26:15  And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
Act 26:16  But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
Act 26:17  Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,
Act 26:18  To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

The very best thing we can do when we are under Holy Ghost conviction is to realize that it is Jesus calling us to repent. 

We cannot understand the "Grace of God" until we realize God loves every sinner.

Paul was an enemy but God does speak to His enemies.

It is very clear in this passage that God had been dealing with Paul for some period of time "But" it is also very clear that Paul had been resisting all that time!

It should also be very clear in this passage that Judaism was not enough for salvation!

And it is just as clear that no religion of the Gentiles had any means of salvation!

And these things have not changed!

There is no means for evolution to bring anyone to the saving power of God!

All false religions are in fact under the power of Satan who leads all false religions!

It is the "god of this world" who have blinded the minds that believe not and the apostle Paul had been chosen by the Lord Jesus to open their eyes to the truth.

The Lord Jesus Christ died to deliver us all from the power of darkness and into the light of the glorious gospel!

The Bible teaches us:

Col 1:13  Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

*****Act 26:19  Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:
Act 26:20  But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
Act 26:21  For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me.

Paul explained that he could not be disobedient to such a heavenly vision!

When Paul asked the Lord what he would have him do, he meant it sincerely and he obeyed immediately!

The changes Paul experienced involved such a radical change of his life that no one could understand at this time.

During Paul’s time in Damascus he preached mostly to the Jews that Jesus Christ was the true Son of God.

Later he went to Jerusalem where he continued to witness for Jesus and still later Paul preached to the Jews through out Judea.

Paul preached to the Gentiles primarily on his three missionary journeys after his meeting with Peter.

And Paul explained to Agrippa "that it was for these reasons" that the Jews caught him in the Temple and wanted to kill him.

*****Act 26:22  Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:
Act 26:23  That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.

Paul had had a great beginning with visions and voices.

Paul was sure in his mind and his heart that it was the Lord that had saved him throughout his ministry from those that would cause him harm.

For us the fact that Paul continued is proof of his conversion and evidence of the faithfulness of God!

Paul will say "by God’s grace" and God had enabled him to serve "by His perfect grace".

The book of Psalms teaches us:

Psa 34:19  Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.

And Paul himself knew this to be true:

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.

Jesus Christ was the very first one to resurrect from the dead!

There had been some before him that had been raised from the dead, but only to a physical body!

Jesus was raised in a glorified body!

The church will be raised in glorified bodies!

The book of Romans teaches us this fact:

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

Our Lord Jesus currently sits at the right hand of God in Heaven!

It is a fact that Christ Jesus suffered for our sins!

It is a fact that Christ Jesus sits at the right hand of God in control of this world we live in!

It is a fact that Christ Jesus will leave this position and descend back earth!

It is a fact that the dead in Christ will be resurrected from the dead and will join the Christians who are living at that time and will meet The Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds!

"This is the Rapture the church".

And it is a fact that after this time, Christ Jesus will return to the earth this will be the second coming of Christ!

We must be ready for the return of the Son of God!

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about facts!

*****Act 26:24  And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.
Act 26:25  But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.

Is at this point that Festus interrupted Paul. Festus was a Roman and knew nothing of the Jewish Scriptures and probably cared even less, so all these words presented to Agrippa meant nothing to him.

He suggested that Paul must have gone mad through so much study of the Jewish fables.

But Paul was not speaking to Festus, he was speaking to Agrippa, and he knew that Agrippa understood his words.

Agrippa would also understand why the Jews were so incensed at the thought that Paul was leading the Gentiles to the Lord.

These Jews were more afraid that the Christian Gentiles would soon be known as God’s chosen people and they would lose all privileges with Rome!

Paul declared that his words were true and that word "soberness" means being of a sound mind!

None of these things had been kept secret in Jerusalem.

The death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ was common knowledge!

Paul had written to the Corinthians that there were more than 500 eye witnesses, of the resurrected Christ including himself.

There was no attempt to hide the resurrection of Jesus by the early Christians!

In fact it was and is the theme of every gospel message!

And it should be so today!

*****Act 26:27  King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.
Act 26:28  Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.

By asking Agrippa if he believed the prophets, Paul wanted him to acknowledge that he believed what the Old Testament Scriptures taught about the Messiah.

But before he could respond to this question, Paul answered for him, declaring "I know that thou believest the prophets".

Agrippa may not of totally understood about all these matters but he was certainly aware of them as King of Judea and he responded.

Many have laughed at this response from Agrippa. Many have said he was being sarcastic to Paul.

BUT,  by his use of the word Christian this cannot be true!

The term Christian was at that time only a term of reproach and Agrippa would not have considered it a title he would endure. 

There will always be those that are "almost persuaded" but praise the Lord there will always be those that are "fully persuaded"!

And Paul said:

*****Act 26:29  And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.

There may have actually been some that day that heard the words of Paul and were persuaded but all those we will meet Heaven and they can tell us of this day.

The apostle Paul had turned this trial into an example of effective witnessing.

He had done this with his own personal testimony and the truth of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Agrippa had resisted the divine will of God as many others do that reject the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

BUT, We know that being almost saved is still being 100% lost!

Questions?

Let’s Pray!

Paul’s Defense Before King Agrippa II

Paul’s Defense Before King Agrippa

Book of Acts chapter 26

In our last lesson we saw as Paul had defended himself against Felix and against Festus of the false things that had been accused of him by the Jews and the high priest.

Festus had discovered that he had no real reason to send Paul before Caesar.

Another opportunity came when Herod Agrippa II and his sister Bernice arrived in Caesarea to pay their respects to him.

This Agrippa was the son of Herod Agrippa I. He had been appointed king of the region around the Sea of Galilee by the emperor Nero.

He was also known as Marcus Julius Agrippa and was only 17 when his father died and he was the last of the Herod Dynasty.

Let’s begin I looking back to some verses that we did not cover from last week:

*****Act 25:24  And Festus said, King Agrippa, and all men which are here present with us, ye see this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews have dealt with me, both at Jerusalem, and also here, crying that he ought not to live any longer.
Act 25:25  But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and that he himself hath appealed to Augustus, I have determined to send him.
Act 25:26  Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto my lord. Wherefore I have brought him forth before you, and specially before thee, O king Agrippa, that, after examination had, I might have somewhat to write.
Act 25:27  For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.

Festus the governor was at a complete loss as to what to report to the Emperor. He actually had no reason to continue to hold Paul and neither would King Agrippa.

The Jews still demanded Paul’s life but he was required by Roman law in his report to Caesar to specify the crimes which to prisoner was accused and this he could not do.

King Agrippa was part Jew and knew much more about the Jews religion than Festus did and according to tradition he had made considerable study of his own of that religion.

So even though Festus, as the Roman official in charge of this occasion, deferred to Agrippa after Paul had been brought before them.

*****Act 26:1  Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself:

Without asking Paul any questions he allowed Paul to explain what he had been doing and why he had been arrested.

*****Act 26:2  I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews:
Act 26:3  Especially because I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently.

Paul immediately acknowledged Agrippa’s title as King and said he was glad to answer all charges the Jews had brought against him.

Remember Paul had been accused of violating Jewish law.

Paul had been accused of desecrating the Temple.

And Paul had been accused of actually breaking Roman laws.

None of these things were true nor was there any evidence to prove such things.

We should not forget that the Herodians were Edomites, which were the descendents of Esau.

There is a great prophecy that was given to Esau by his father Isaac and I believe it was fulfilled by these Herod’s:

Gen 27:40  And by thy sword shalt thou live, and shalt serve thy brother; [and it shall come to pass when thou shalt have the dominion, that thou shalt break his yoke from off thy neck].

So let’s hear Paul’s response:

*****Act 26:4  My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews;
Act 26:5  Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee.
Act 26:6  And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers:
Act 26:7  Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews.

Many of Paul’s accusers were familiar with Paul’s early life. The phrase "manner of life" means not only how Paul lived but the real reasons for his actions.

The Greek word for "youth" not only means "young" but it also means "lack of experience".

Paul as a young adult, was being trained by Gamaliel to become a Pharisee and Paul knew that these Jewish leaders knew about all these things.

Paul had become a strict Pharisee and he observed all the Mosaic dietary laws and certainly all commandments as written by Moses.

But not only that, Paul had observed those things that had been added by the traditions of the Pharisees themselves.

That phrase "the most straightest sect" means that the Pharisees were uncompromising on their standards.

Then Paul mentioned the main issue from which he was being judged.

"His hope in God’s promise" was the hope of the "resurrection" of the Messiah!

That term "Messiah" is a Jewish title for Israel’s future King who would bring salvation at the end of the age or what we know as the "Millennial Kingdom".

This is the promise that all the prophets had presented to the fathers of Israel!

The Book of Galatians gives us a clear picture of how Paul understood the Old Testament Scriptures.

Gal 3:16  Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.
Gal 3:17  And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect.
Gal 3:18  For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.

Paul insisted that it was the"promise of this Messiah" that held together the scattered tribes of Israel as a nation.

And Paul insisted that he was accused, because he believed in this hope and in his belief that this hope was fulfilled in Jesus.

And that Jesus had demonstrated this truth by His own resurrection!

Paul also makes us recognize "that representatives from all 12 tribes were still in Judea" and were still adhering to their ancient religion.

"This gives us proof that there is no suggestion in the New Testament that there are 10 lost tribes somewhere else in the world"!

It is a fact that Israelites were scattered all over the world but there are no lost tribes of Israel!

*****Act 26:8  Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?

The Sadducees did not believe in any "resurrection" but Paul still asked this simple question of King Agrippa.

All the Jews believed in a sovereign God so this would only be incredible if anyone but God or those that God empowered should claim to raise the dead for God only is the Creator of life!

Most every Jew of that time had no problem in believing "in creation" as written in the Book of Genesis.

To Paul it was a sad thing that the Jews, whose hope was in the coming of the Messiah and the promised resurrection, should now denied Jesus who had proved he was the true Messiah.

Most all, but the Sadducees, believed in the "doctrine of the resurrection" and many Pharisees including Paul had converted to Christianity yet the Jewish nation still rejected Jesus as the Messiah.

But we now know that they are blind to this fact.

Rom 11:7  What then? Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh for; but the election hath obtained it, and the rest were blinded
Rom 11:8  (According as it is written, God hath given them the spirit of slumber, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear;) unto this day.

*****Act 26:9  I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
Act 26:10  Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them.
Act 26:11  And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted them even unto strange cities.

Paul was not only a Pharisee but he had also been a zealous persecutor of the church. He had punished the believers and tried to force them to deny Jesus Christ and some of them he had even helped to send to their death.

But, Paul took full responsibility for his actions and Paul had voted in favor of the death penalty for all Christians.

Paul had been relentless in his persecution of the believers on Jesus Christ.

Paul had gone from synagogue to synagogue arresting or otherwise harassing those who embraced Jesus and His ways.

Paul said he was "exceedingly mad" and was "enraged" and it became Paul’s intention to eradicate Christianity not only from Jerusalem and not only from Israel but from all the world.

Sadly there are many today that have the same purpose because this is the purpose of Satan and all his followers!

*****Act 26:12  Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests,
Act 26:13  At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me.
Act 26:14  And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.

Paul had been one of the reasons early Christians had left Jerusalem. His zeal had driven out many of the believers and they had taken their message to the Jews in other communities.

Paul gives us a vivid description of what he saw. The light that Paul saw was a supernatural light.

What Paul saw was a Shekinah glory of God!

Listen to the words of Isaiah:

Isa 60:1  Arise, shine; for thy light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen upon thee.
Isa 60:2  For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee.

Even at the brightness of noontime, the earth is a dark place when compared to the glory of God!

This actually blinded Paul for three days but the important thing was that Paul’s "spiritual eyes" had been opened, for he was beholding the living Christ.

Paul had written these words to the Corinthians:

2Co 4:3  But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:
2Co 4:4  In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.
2Co 4:5  For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.
2Co 4:6  For God, [who commanded the light to shine out of darkness] , hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Paul had not only seen the Shekinah glory of God but he had also heard His voice!

Those that were with Paul had heard a sound but they had not understood the voice of God and they all fell to the earth but only Paul remained there.

To explain that phrase " kicking against a prick"  we should understand that when an ox was too stubborn for the farmer, the farmer used a long, sharp, pointed stick.  this was called an "ox goad". This encourage the animal to be obedient.   If the animal kicked against the goad it would cause more severe wounds.

Jesus was using His heavenly "ox goad" to push Paul to conversion and the more that Paul resisted the more severe his wounds would be.

We know that Holy Ghost conviction can be very painful and in some cases will leave scars.

*****Act 26:15  And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest.
Act 26:16  But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee;
Act 26:17  Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee,
Act 26:18  To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

The very best thing we can do when we are under Holy Ghost conviction is to realize that it is Jesus calling us to repent. 

We cannot understand the "Grace of God" until we realize God loves every sinner.

Paul was an enemy but God does speak to His enemies.

It is very clear in this passage that God had been dealing with Paul for some period of time "But" it is also very clear that Paul had been resisting all that time!

It should also be very clear in this passage that Judaism was not enough for salvation!

And it is just as clear that no religion of the Gentiles had any means of salvation!

And these things have not changed!

There is no means for evolution to bring anyone to the saving power of God!

All false religions are in fact under the power of Satan who leads all false religions!

It is the "god of this world" who have blinded the minds that believe not and the apostle Paul had been chosen by the Lord Jesus to open their eyes to the truth.

The Lord Jesus Christ died to deliver us all from the power of darkness and into the light of the glorious gospel!

The Bible teaches us:

Col 1:13  Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:

*****Act 26:19  Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision:
Act 26:20  But shewed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and then to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance.
Act 26:21  For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill me.

Paul explained that he could not be disobedient to such a heavenly vision!

When Paul asked the Lord what he would have him do, he meant it sincerely and he obeyed immediately!

The changes Paul experienced involved such a radical change of his life that no one could understand at this time.

During Paul’s time in Damascus he preached mostly to the Jews that Jesus Christ was the true Son of God.

Later he went to Jerusalem where he continued to witness for Jesus and still later Paul preached to the Jews through out Judea.

Paul preached to the Gentiles primarily on his three missionary journeys after his meeting with Peter.

And Paul explained to Agrippa "that it was for these reasons" that the Jews caught him in the Temple and wanted to kill him.

*****Act 26:22  Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come:
Act 26:23  That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles.

Paul had had a great beginning with visions and voices.

Paul was sure in his mind and his heart that it was the Lord that had saved him throughout his ministry from those that would cause him harm.

For us the fact that Paul continued is proof of his conversion and evidence of the faithfulness of God!

Paul will say "by God’s grace" and God had enabled him to serve "by His perfect grace".

The book of Psalms teaches us:

Psa 34:19  Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the LORD delivereth him out of them all.

And Paul himself knew this to be true:

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.

Jesus Christ was the very first one to resurrect from the dead!

There had been some before him that had been raised from the dead, but only to a physical body!

Jesus was raised in a glorified body!

The church will be raised in glorified bodies!

The book of Romans teaches us this fact:

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

Our Lord Jesus currently sits at the right hand of God in Heaven!

It is a fact that Christ Jesus suffered for our sins!

It is a fact that Christ Jesus sits at the right hand of God in control of this world we live in!

It is a fact that Christ Jesus will leave this position and descend back earth!

It is a fact that the dead in Christ will be resurrected from the dead and will join the Christians who are living at that time and will meet The Lord Jesus Christ in the clouds!

"This is the Rapture the church".

And it is a fact that after this time, Christ Jesus will return to the earth this will be the second coming of Christ!

We must be ready for the return of the Son of God!

The Gospel of Jesus Christ is all about facts!

*****Act 26:24  And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad.
Act 26:25  But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness.

Is at this point that Festus interrupted Paul. Festus was a Roman and knew nothing of the Jewish Scriptures and probably cared even less, so all these words presented to Agrippa meant nothing to him.

He suggested that Paul must have gone mad through so much study of the Jewish fables.

But Paul was not speaking to Festus, he was speaking to Agrippa, and he knew that Agrippa understood his words.

Agrippa would also understand why the Jews were so incensed at the thought that Paul was leading the Gentiles to the Lord.

These Jews were more afraid that the Christian Gentiles would soon be known as God’s chosen people and they would lose all privileges with Rome!

Paul declared that his words were true and that word "soberness" means being of a sound mind!

None of these things had been kept secret in Jerusalem.

The death, the burial, and the resurrection of Jesus Christ was common knowledge!

Paul had written to the Corinthians that there were more than 500 eye witnesses, of the resurrected Christ including himself.

There was no attempt to hide the resurrection of Jesus by the early Christians!

In fact it was and is the theme of every gospel message!

And it should be so today!

*****Act 26:27  King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest.
Act 26:28  Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.

By asking Agrippa if he believed the prophets, Paul wanted him to acknowledge that he believed what the Old Testament Scriptures taught about the Messiah.

But before he could respond to this question, Paul answered for him, declaring "I know that thou believest the prophets".

Agrippa may not of totally understood about all these matters but he was certainly aware of them as King of Judea and he responded.

Many have laughed at this response from Agrippa. Many have said he was being sarcastic to Paul.

BUT,  by his use of the word Christian this cannot be true!

The term Christian was at that time only a term of reproach and Agrippa would not have considered it a title he would endure. 

There will always be those that are "almost persuaded" but praise the Lord there will always be those that are "fully persuaded"!

And Paul said:

*****Act 26:29  And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.

There may have actually been some that day that heard the words of Paul and were persuaded but all those we will meet Heaven and they can tell us of this day.

The apostle Paul had turned this trial into an example of effective witnessing.

He had done this with his own personal testimony and the truth of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

Agrippa had resisted the divine will of God as many others do that reject the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.

BUT, We know that being almost saved is still being 100% lost!

Questions?

Let’s Pray!