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#116

A united testimony to the truth of God is the greatest possible blessing from on high.

ACTS 1

We saw in the book of Exodus that it was "the coming out of Egypt" book - so today we start the "coming out" book for the Christian life. As we continue to alternate from the Old to the New Testaments, we hope to show the progress for the believer's life. It is the bridge (or transition) between Judaism, with all its ceremonies, and rituals, priests, etc., and the complete revelation of Christianity in the Epistles. Those who make much of Acts and neglect heeding Paul's Epistles become unbalanced on baptism, worship and ecclesiastical order. If you read the closing chapters of Luke and the opening chapters of Acts, you will see a close link. The disciples in the first of Acts were still without the indwelling Holy Spirit. This book takes us from Judaism to Christianity.

Acts 1:1-14 The apostles were still hoping that the Lord was about to restore the kingdom to Israel. But the Lord had told them that it was not for them to know the time (verse 7). Mt 24:36 is plain. He ascended to heaven. This was necessary (Jn 16:7), otherwise the Holy Spirit would not come down. So they waited.

Acts 1:15-26 The apostles no doubt read Ps 109:8 and the surrounding verses. So they chose two men, and then possibly put the names in a box, took out one, and read which name was on it, taking this as the man God wanted. After the Holy Spirit came down on the day of Pentecost, we never read of any occasion when this method was used again. Remember that the Holy Spirit is just as much an individual Person as the Lord Jesus.

#117

When I have confidence in the Lord's goodness, I can wait on Him; when there is a problem, I must first feel my part in it; then I will see His hand clearly.

ACTS 2

Acts 2:1-13 The word "Pentecost" means "fiftieth". It was on the fiftieth day after the death of the Lord, that the Holy Spirit came down to earth. Seven weeks (7 Sabbaths - Saturdays) plus one day, bringing it to Sunday, the Lord's day. This is Christianity's day - the first day of the week. Christ is the end of the law - Gal 2:16-21. By the coming to earth of the Holy Spirit, (Who is a distinct Person) a very great change takes place. No longer is the Tabernacle or the Temple to be where God dwells. The Holy Spirit lives now in the body of every believer (1 Cor 3:16; 2 Cor 6:16; 2 Cor 5:17) - everything has changed.

Acts 2:3 "Cloven" means parted, implying the many languages spoken. Speaking in tongues means the sober, clear talking in another language which those who heard that tongue could understand. These were uneducated fishermen from Galilee. They demonstrated the power of God. Heb 2:3-4 clearly tell us that these signs and wonders were at the beginning of the preaching of the Gospel of the grace of God. "Of fire" would tell us the punishment ahead which the rejecters of Christ shall receive (see Jn 16:7-11).

Acts 2:5-13 Many people of different races and languages (tongues) who were at Jerusalem heard the apostles miraculously speak in these foreign languages the "wonderful works of God". The gospel could thus reach out quickly to many languages and nations. The Church of God on earth was formed this day. It is the church's birthday (1 Cor. 12:12-13). All believers in Christ were formed into "one body". God desires we would show that oneness today.

Acts 2:14-40 Peter preaches that Jesus of Nazareth was now both Lord and Christ - verse 36. He boldly confronts a great crowd, 3,000 at least (verse 41), and simply spoke the facts; Christ's death and resurrection and ascension to glory, constantly using the Old Testament Scriptures.

Acts 2:41-47 What a change took place in the life of these 3,000 souls. Notice 17 things about these believers. Can you find them all? These are the joys and privileges you may have today.

#118

To keep the flock together, good pasture does a better job than the best fencing.

ACTS 3

Acts 3:1-11 Peter and John had not yet learned that God was drawing them away from the temple. Full truth had not yet been revealed. The Jews were used to praying three times a day (1) at the 3rd hour (9 a.m.) Acts 2:15, (2) at the 6th hour (noon) Acts 10:9, (3) here the 9th hour (3 p.m.).

Acts 3:12-26 Peter makes one more appeal to the Jewish nation. He charges them with having killed the Prince of life, but at the same time shows that this fulfilled the Scriptures.

Acts 3:19-21 Even at this time if they would repent, Christ would come back, their sins as a nation would be forgiven, and the kingdom would be set up, according to all the Old Testament prophets. This offer was made even after the church was formed, showing how merciful God is.

#119

Often, when evil comes in among the Lord's people, it is found that they who are overcome with that evil are the most active. When I have a bad conscience, it forces me into activity; so to still my conscience.

ACTS 4

Acts 4:1-12 The religious leaders hated the name of Jesus, and did all in their power to stop the preaching of the death and resur-rection of Christ. Notice what they did to innocent men. In their religious activity, they show themselves to be the enemies of God, because they are acting according to their own will. (Think this over carefully). When Jesus was here on earth, they rejected Him in His humiliation, now they reject Him in His glory in heaven.

Acts 4:11 The builders were the religious leaders. (What a contrast to the builders of the tabernacle in Ex 37). Israel had refused their Messiah, and the kingdom was therefore deferred. But heavenly citizens are instead being gathered into a new, eternal, and heavenly body of people, called the church. God has become a Father to each one who believes. From here on we are going to read of the growth of the church, (the assembly, is the proper word), and also of the violent opposition Satan raised up against it. Had the disciples not been opposed by the leaders of the Jews, they would not have had the opportunity to preach the gospel in their council meeting.

Acts 4:13-22 They could not deny the miracles (verse 16), but they rejected the Word from God. They command them to stop preaching in the name of Jesus. Peter and John give a powerful answer.

Acts 4:23-30 Here we notice that the assembly was becoming seen as one group.

Acts 4:31-37 What a demonstration of the power of God. Great power and great grace, in one verse!

#120

The body of Christ on earth is composed of individuals, NOT of churches. Where this is recognized, unity will be found.

ACTS 5

Acts 5:1-11 This man and his wife try to deceive the others by pre-tending they had brought all the money. But in doing so, they bring out the power and presence of the Holy Spirit in the assem-bly. God does not overlook pretending. They were really lying to the Holy Ghost by their action.

Acts 5:12-16 There was so much power in the assembly that those in whom there was no reality feared to associate with them. The Lord was the Center of this newly-formed company of believers, and many more were added to them.

Acts 5:17-32 Envy and frustration fill the rulers; they imprison the apostles. The miraculous delivery. They do not stop preaching. They are filled with Christ. Peter makes a clear and powerful statement.

Acts 5:33-40 Murder rises in their heart! Jn 8:44 is worth turning to. God interferes, and delivers the apostles. But not without their being beaten. Notice the name of the Person which most bothers them!

Acts 5:41-42 But that Name has the opposite effect on the faithful apostles. They rejoiced... they suffered. Their main theme? "Jesus Christ".

#121

No position of privilege will keep me if the scriptures lose their power over me.

ACTS 6

Acts 6:1-7 When a person accepts Christ as Savior, he receives a new nature. He still has the old one which does not ever improve, but it only works when we let it. Don't forget this. Having a bad temper isn't a hindrance to me, but letting it work, is. Here we see the old nature complaining that the Greek-speaking Jewish widows were being neglected when food and things were distributed among the believers. The apostles chose seven Greek Jews (nice thoughtfulness), men of good reputation and full of the Holy Ghost to look after this work.

Acts 6:4 Tells us what took priority in the apostles' thoughts (It wasn't because they couldn't be bothered with the widows).

Acts 6:8-15 Stephen was one of these. The Lord is over all things to the church (Eph 1:22) and has additional work for Stephen. The 8th verse is the result of what it says of Stephen in the 5th verse. More about him shortly.

#122

When Paul wrote letters (Epistles) about appointing elders, deacons, etc., the letters were addressed only to individuals, (1 Tim ch. 2&3 and Titus 1:5), never to assemblies.

ACTS 7

One of the most remarkable summaries of Israel's history in the Bible. And what a sinful history it was! Joseph, Moses and David, the first time they presented themselves they were rejected by the Jew, but the second time, they were received. It was so when the Lord Jesus came. Stephen shows that it was but a rebelling, disobedient spirit which had always been seen. And when God sent His beloved Son, the same resistance continued.

Acts 7:43-53 From this resistance they went on to idolatry. They were guilty of four offences. (1) The fathers (Old Testament men) had not kept the law. (2) They had persecuted and slain the prophets. (3) They had betrayed and murdered the Just One - the Lord Jesus and (4) had resisted the Holy Ghost. So we see man's guilt and ruin in the most favored and privileged nation in the world.

Acts 7:54-60 This speech brought out the full fury against Stephen. They drag him out of the city (see Lev 24:11-16). They murder him. Like the Lord on the cross, Stephen prays for his murderers. Notice who was a witness to all this! No doubt it made a lasting impression on him, but he hated the name of Jesus.

#123

There never is collective power without individual faithfulness.

ACTS 8

Acts 8:1-3 Quite a change takes place. The church (assembly), mainly made up of Jewish believers, now starts to spread out to the Gentiles. But persecution spreads too. No difficulties can stand when God is there, and we believers cannot stand before our enemies when He is not there. Up until Stephen's martyrdom, Jerusalem had been the one center - (Deut 12:13-14). Now Israel had rejected the Holy Ghost by the murder of Stephen, so the message of the gospel of God's love and grace went out to all nations.

Acts 8:5-25 God uses another one of the men chosen to serve at the tables in chapter 6.

Acts 8:9-25 Simon "believed", but we see later that it was only with his head, for he proves himself to be in a lost condition. It must be with the heart - Rom 10:10. The miracles had affected him. People often say that if they saw, they would believe. This is just what Simon did, but it was not real.

Acts 8:26-40 Another example of the change. The man from Ethiopia receives Christ and goes on his way rejoicing, even though he lost Philip. When we are enjoying Christ, we are not dependent on outside contacts.

#124

Being gathered to the Lord's name is not the wisdom of a group of individuals but it is the enjoyment of that which is promised in Matt 18:20.

ACTS 9

Acts 9:1-22 The conversion of Saul (Paul). The Lord Jesus in heaven told Saul that the people he was persecuting were part of Him-self! The Lord Jesus was never seen by Saul on earth. But now He is revealed to him from the heavenly glory. Notice in the 20th and 22nd verses the subject of his preaching.

Acts 9:23-25 Would the conversion of Paul have a good effect on the other Jews, for he was a very active member of the sect? They try to kill him! Circumstances don't convince unsaved persons... only Christ, by the Holy Spirit.

Acts 9:26-31 Some years have gone by when this takes place - (Gal 1:15-19). The believers walked in the fear of the Lord. What a contrast with the unsaved person (Rom 3:18). They do not know "the Lord".

Acts 9:32-43 Peter's preaching continues. He cures Aeneas through the use of a name, not his own. Even though he did not use that name in the raising from the dead of Tabitha (Dorcas), notice to whom the people turned (verse 42).

#125

The Holy Spirit's presence and the Lordship of Christ individually, provide for all times.

ACTS 10, Verses 1-18

Peter, not Paul, is the means of opening the door of the kingdom to the Gentiles. In this way the unity of the assembly and of the work of all the apostles is maintained. Peter has to learn that God is breaking down the wall between Jew and Gentile. Cornelius has to learn that he needed to be saved.

Acts 10:1-8 Here is a very devoted man. But, though so God-fearing, so kind, so generous, he needed to be saved (11:14). Many people today are fine-living people, but they do not want Christ.

Acts 10:9-18 Peter, a good living Jew, was proud of law-keeping, not realizing that God was now reaching out in blessing to the Gen-tiles too. As a Jew, he would not eat any unclean animal. God had given very explicit instruction about this in Lev 11 and Deut 14. And he thought Gentiles were unclean too. We too can cling to traditions which are not according to the Scrip-tures.

#126

If men set up a group of believers to remember the Lord's death, it will be controlled either by one (or more men) or by an agreed-upon set of rules.

Acts 10, Verses 19-48

Acts 10:19-33 One man had been a Jew, the other a Gentile, brought together by the Spirit of God.

Acts 10:33 If each reader would be willing to listen and to obey God, what a unified and happy people we believers would be.

Acts 10:34-43 Peter gives a clear statement, showing Cornelius how he could be saved. And both were rewarded!

Acts 10:44-48 God, Who had directed all this wonderful work, now sends the Holy Ghost on all there. For the first time the Holy Ghost comes upon Gentiles. Eph. 2:13-16 was commencing to take place.

#127

While faithfulness sometimes requires me to walk in separation from those we love, it needs to break our heart. (Col 2:2).

ACTS 11

Acts 11:1-18 Peter is blamed at Jerusalem for associating and eating with Gentiles. They had not yet learned what Pet had. He re-hearses God's acts in the whole incident. They could not resist his testimony. The believing Gentiles have been brought in, and made one with the believing Jews! Wonderful fact! The truth of the one body is received.

Acts 11:19-26 The gospel goes far and wide now. The Gentiles receive the Lord Jesus as their Savior. The light of Christ is now starting to light up the civilized world. In very little time, Paul takes it through the Roman Empire, and assem-blies are established over a vast area.

Acts 11:27-30 Now the everyday problems are real, and Christianity has great care for the needs of other believers.

#128

The unity of the body is kept unbreakable by divine power... the display of this unity is the part of each assembly.

ACTS 12

Acts 12:1-19 God had allowed a great famine throughout the world at that time (11:28) but this catastrophe did not prevent the king from being occupied with destroying the Lord's poor servants. Stephen and James are killed - one by the mob, the other by King Herod, and now Peter is imprisoned, to be put to death shortly. What sorrows! What testing of their faith! But all these turned them to prayer! Peter, instead of making the story known everywhere, is sent to Caesarea for some time.

Acts 12:20-23 But, in contrast God sends an angel to this wicked king with a different mission. What a dreadful death.

Acts 12:24 What fruit from the seeds of death, sorrows, testing and prayers! These verses are showing us that when believers pass through troubles, that is when there is blessing. The Word of God grew because it is living!

#129

The church of God is, next to Christ, the Center of all God's counsels for His glory.

ACTS 13

Acts 13:1-3 The assembly at Antioch, sends out Barnabas and Saul (Paul), without consulting Jerusalem. This because the Holy Spirit, and not the apostles, is in charge. The assembly of believers is gathered to the name of the Lord Jesus, and He di-rects all by the Holy Spirit. The disciples lay their hands on these two men, showing that they had their fellowship.

Acts 13:4-12 The Holy Spirit was with them, thus stirring up Satan's opposition. Satan tried to turn away the official from the faith. One man is blinded for his wickedness; the other believes, re-ceives light (spiritual) and is astonished at the doctrine (teaching) of the Lord.

Acts 13:13 John Mark leaves the missionary group and returns to Jeru-salem. A loss to himself, and the cause of serious trouble later.

Acts 13:14-51 The long missionary journey, resulting in Jews and Gentiles being saved.

Acts 13:16-41 Paul gives a review of Israel's history as Stephen had done (in the 7th chapter). Stephen goes deeper into the guilt of Israel in rejecting prophet after prophet. Here Paul holds out individual salvation to any one who would believe - verses 38-39.

Acts 13:42 & 45-51 An amazing prophecy in Is 49:6, written over 500 years before, begins to be fulfilled! Do we Gentiles thank God for turning His grace toward us?

#130

If I am gathered by the power of the Holy Spirit to the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I am outside all religious organizations.

ACTS 14

Acts 14:1 Many Jews and Gentiles believed. (1) Much power - many believers. (2) Many believers - much opposition. (3) Much time - much growth. (4) Much Satanic work - much division (Mt 10:34-39). (5) Much stirring up - much violence. (6) They departed when they saw the refusal to accept the truth. But this only caused the Word of God to be preached in other places. Lystra seems to have been the birthplace of Timothy (16:1). Derbe was the home of Gaius (20:4).

Acts 14:8-18 Paul had the power of the Holy Spirit to discern what was in the poor cripple's soul, that he had faith to be healed. What a wonderful result to the man.

Acts 14:11-18 But there was no discernment in the unbelievers. They claimed that the gods had visited them in the likeness of men. The crowd is caught up in the wild excitement. But with no heart for Christ.

Acts 14:19 The crowd sides with the unbelieving Jews who stone Paul to death (as they supposed).

Acts 14:20-25 No difficulties can stand when God is there; and we cannot stand before our enemies when He is not there.

Acts 14:26-28 The journey which had begun with prayer (13:3), ends with praise.

#131

Christ has committed His glory on the earth to the church (assembly). John 17:22.

ACTS 15

More serious trouble... not stonings and persecutions by outsiders, but bad teaching by leaders, professing to be believers. How serious this danger is! Today error is preached openly, and many believers seem to have no concern, and keep on in these associations. These teachers were insisting that unless the people at Antioch were circumcised, they couldn't be saved! What would you have done had you been there? Would you say "Oh well, they should know what they are talking about, after all, we are not supposed to judge?" That is about what you are saying if you continue in association with those who allow things which the Scripture condemns.

Acts 15:2 Paul and Barnabas immediately protest, and a controversy follows. But the Spirit of God tells us in detail what they did to avoid it. There is no such a thing in the Scriptures as a voluntary association. The Spirit of God gathers us, we do not gather. Read Mt 18:20 carefully, noticing "are gathered together" particularly. He decides whether He is in the midst, or not. We cannot decide.

Acts 15:2-5 It is decided that some should be sent to Jerusalem to enquire there as to this teaching.

Acts 15:5 Notice the change in what these bad teachers were saying - they hide their teaching by softer suggestions than what they had insisted on at Antioch.

Acts 15:6-22 Finally, the whole assembly, in the presence of the Lord Jesus, makes its decision.

Acts 15:23-25 The result was that all at Antioch received the decision with joy. There is always joy, peace and unity when we listen to the Lord.

Acts 15:36-41 Though a sad contention developed between Paul and Barnabas, it is worthwhile noticing that later Paul speaks of Barnabas (1 Cor 9:6) and John Mark in Col 4:10 and 2 Tim. 4:11. But the assembly puts its commendation on Paul, and we hear nothing further of the work of Barnabas.

#132

The needed dealing with evil must be by the conscience in grace.

ACTS 16

Acts 16:1-3 Paul meets Timothy again. Timothy was brought to the Lord by Paul (1 Tim 1:2) probably on his first trip to Lystra the year before. Notice what is said of Timothy. He had grown fast in his soul. Timothy was the son of a mixed marriage between Jewish mother, and Gentile father, and therefore according to the Jewish law (Ezra 10) was considered unclean. So Timothy is circumcised to satisfy the Jews.

Acts 16:4-13 Paul was being carefully directed by the Spirit of God.

Acts 16:14-15 Sweet simplicity here. Her heart was opened - she be-lieved.

Acts 16:16-22 Satan, not succeeding by subtlety, now uses violence, and stirs up the authorities, and the crowd against Paul and Silas.

Acts 16:25-40 Badly beaten, with feet fastened in stocks, notice what they do in the prison. Power shows when God's people pray and praise.

Acts 16:30 The question which men and women, boys and girls still ask when in earnest.

Acts 16:31 The glorious answer rings out clearly, simply and plainly.

Acts 16:32 They spoke of the Lord, not of themselves.

Acts 16:33-34 The result! First he trembles, then cries out, then hears, believes, learns the word of the Lord, takes the prisoners home, washes their stripes, is baptized, sets food before Paul and Silas, rejoices, believing with all his house! What grace of God to a poor sinner!

#133

If the Spirit of God left an assembly because there was evil in it, how could there be power of the Spirit in that assembly to put out evil?

ACTS 17

Acts 17:1-9 From Philippi to Amphipolis - 33 miles; then to Apollonia another 30 miles, to Thessalonica - another 37. 100 miles - no cars, trains, buses or planes. They preach Christ over all those miles. If you have the time, read the two letters to the Thessalonians - you will understand better what Paul was preaching on those journeys.

Acts 17:2 He based all his talks on the Old Testament Scriptures... none other existed then.

Acts 17:10 Note the concern these brethren had for Paul.

Acts 17:11 No one ever searched the scriptures with a pure heart who wasn't richly rewarded.

Acts 17:16-34 Athens was renowned throughout the world for its philos-ophers, writers, poets, painters and architects - but Paul, by his word and pen, has left a deeper mark on mankind than any other man. The great servant of Christ and the great stronghold of old heathendom are brought face to face. As he went through the city he saw the monuments and buildings to the pride of man, and to the complete dishonor of God, "wholly given to idolatry" (verse 16). Immediately there is a clash between the superstition of philosophy with its earthly beauty and worldly wisdom... and the simple faith of the gospel.

Acts 17:18 These were the two main, contending schools of thought. To the Epicureans, pleasure was the highest good... the Stoics, accepted everything as it was, joy or grief. Neither could give peace.

Acts 17:23-24 Possibly this statement "God that made the world, heaven and earth", condemned the Stoics who claimed that the world was God.

Acts 17:25-31 Paul thoroughly condemned their imaginations by pointing to a living God Who shall judge the world in righteousness. The proof was in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus.

Acts 17:32-34 Only two are mentioned who believed from all this col-lection of the greatest wisdom of the world. So long as Paul spoke ideas they would listen, but when he spoke of a living God, they would hear no more. Now read 1 Cor 1:21-22.

#134

When my relationship with the Lord is not balanced with my relationship with others in spiritual matters in the assembly, there may be union, but not unity.

ACTS 18

Acts 18:1-17 Though we never read of an assem-bly of believers being formed at Athens, we learn that many in Corinth received the Lord Jesus - verse 10. So we have the instructive two letters (Epis-tles) to the Corinthian. Athens, the city of the intellect, Corinth the city of luxury and immorality. Which would turn to the Lord? Paul stays at Athens a few days - at Corinth 18 months.

Acts 18:18-23 Paul's tireless activity, preaching the unsearchable riches of Christ. He didn't miss any believers, "all" - verse 23.

Acts 18:21 Three important words "if God will". Do we say this?

Acts 18:24-28 Though Apollos was a very intelligent and educated man, and a believer, he did not know the whole gospel story. He was willing to receive instruction from tent-makers, Acquila and Priscilla. 1 Cor. 1:25-29 gives us the reason.

#135

It is not apostasy which characterizes Laodicea, nor heresy, nor Babylon, but much worse, I think; professed light from human sources, from the human mind.

ACTS 19, Verses 1-20

Acts 19:1-7 Paul finds more people like Apollos who had not received much Christian teaching and knew only that they were John the Baptist's disciples (John had been dead many years). They are again baptized, and then they receive the Holy Ghost.

Acts 19:8-10 A big change in church history takes place now. Previous-ly, the believers were in the synagogues, but hereafter Paul leads them to an outside position.

Acts 19:11-12 God confirms this by special miracles done by Paul. We never hear Paul preaching in the temple or synagogues after this.

Acts 19:13-20 Some Jews attempt to cast out evil spirits by the name of Jesus; but Satan knows the difference, and they are overcome and wounded.

Acts 19:17-20 Fear of God produces great results. Books of divination (fortune-telling) are burned, but THE BOOK grows.

#136

When discipline is carried out, if not done in the power of the Holy Spirit, nothing is accomplished.

ACTS 19, Verses 21-41

Acts 19:21-29 Demetrius's remarks are instructive to us, for we see the very same situation today. His trade (making silver images of the heathen goddess Diana) is a great money-maker.

Acts 19:25 He calls the tradesmen together and presents his reasons for getting rid of the gospel preachers. Notice that his own religious beliefs have no bearing on the case. First, he appeals to their pocketbook. (This has great force). Secondly, he men-tions that Paul has caused a lot of people to fall away from their heathen worship.

Acts 19:27 Thirdly, their trade was shrinking in consequence. Fourthly - not the goddess, but the building would be despised. Fifthly - Diana's magnificence would be destroyed. (Obviously they had never thought of Diana being able to defend herself).

Acts 19:28 These arguments succeed, for they appeal to their mind and their greed. What a contrast with Christ and Christianity! We follow a glorified Man, well able to lead, and protect and com-pletely satisfy us.

Acts 19:29-34 Utter confusion, with violence following.

Acts 19:35-41 The town clerk tries to calm the populace by telling them that everything would be well with their Diana. Diana is long since gone and forgotten, but Christ lives!

#137

"Egypt" is the state of nature... out of which the assembly is brought.
"Babylon" is the corruption and worldliness... into which she has fallen.

ACTS 20

Acts 20:1-12 Paul crosses the water into Macedonia (present day Greece).

Acts 20:7 The disciples gathered each first day of the week to break bread .. to remember the Lord in His death. Paul preaches till midnight, a young man falls asleep and falls to the ground from the third store. Now let's think of this story as representing the teachings of Paul to the church over the centuries. As the centuries went by, Christians got tired of Paul's preachings that we are one body, that we are heavenly (not earthly) citizens, that the Lord is coming to take us out of this world, and many more things. So the church fell asleep, and fell from its sepa-rated position (3 stores above the world or street level) and it looked as if it were dead. But toward the end of the 19th cen-tury, the truth of Paul's teachings were revived. (Paul goes to the young man and he comes back to life. He wasn't dead... he only looked dead). Paul starts to speak again, The truth of Paul's teachings become very precious to many believers once more. He continued till break of day. The Lord's coming will be the break of day for us. The truth of the teachings revealed to Paul, will go on until the Lord comes!

Acts 20:17-38 Paul calls the elder brethren from Ephesus to meet him and delivers one of his most serious warnings. A message which everyone should read carefully. Paul warns them of evil - reli-gious evil - coming in from two sources - from outside and from within.

Acts 20:27 The importance of all Paul's teachings. Many believers today quite refuse the whole truth of Paul's teachings.

Acts 20:29 Attacks from unbelievers... that of the world, such as we are seeing very much today.

Acts 20:30 Attacks from believers... those who refuse Paul's separat-ing teachings. We trust and pray, you are not one of these.

Acts 20:31 The degree of Paul's earnestness.

#138

The Person of Christ, and all that concerns Him is... the foundation of the assembly's existence... the object of its faith.

ACTS 21

Acts 21:1-17 Paul is warned by the Lord's disciples not to go to Jerusalem. We need to remember that it was not because he wanted to disobey the Lord, but because he loved his own people, the Jews, and he longed that they would be saved. He arrives in Jerusalem.

Acts 21:18-40 He isn't there long before the Jews stir up trouble against him. Things quickly go from bad to worse, and unless he had been rescued, he would have been killed.

Acts 21:35-40 On the stairs of the castle, Paul stops, and asks if he may address the crowd below. And so he starts to speak.

#139

When I'm separated from the Lord's corporate Presence... the heart becomes cold and I'm not conscious of the loss.

ACTS 22

Paul seems to have had such a commanding presence that the great crowd fell silent. He spoke a language they loved... the Hebrew.

Acts 22:1-5 He reviews his life again. In chapter 9 we read of the actual happenings. Here, and in chapter 26, he recounts it again, skillfully adapting the details to the audience before him. He tells of his Jewish birth, education at the feet of Gamaliel, (a renowned Jewish teacher of the law), his zeal for God (before he was saved, and when he was persecuting the believers). He conced-ed that his hearers possessed this same zeal. He reminds them he himself had persecuted "this way" even unto killing.

Acts 22:6-11 He recites the miracle which then transpired, how he heard the voice of Jesus from heaven speaking to him.

Acts 22:8 The Lord Jesus, even as a glorified Man in heaven, still takes this same lowly title - see Jn 19:19.

Acts 22:12-21 They listened in silence to all this, until the last sentence. And at this they let loose the cry of verse 22.

Acts 22:24-30 Paul is brought inside. Because he was born in a city which had the privileges similar to Rome itself, he was consid-ered a Roman citizen. Therefore they were very careful how they treated Paul.

#140

It is not enough that leaders do that which is right; the conscience of the whole assembly needs to be in operation.

ACTS 23

Acts 23:1 Many years before Paul had been a member of that council, and when Christians were tried for life or death, had given his vote against them (26:10). Now he was himself the accused at the bar of these self-righteous judges.

The Jews were trying to convince Lysius, the Roman officer, that he was a revolutionary or a disturber of the peace. He frankly confesses he had sinned greatly in his former life - see 26:9-10.

Acts 23:2-5 We must contrast Paul's unguarded remarks here, with the sublime perfection of our blessed Lord's divine meekness when He answered this same council in Jn 18:33. Paul was acting in the flesh (which we all have).

Acts 23:11 With Pharisees and Sadducees clamoring for his life, with-out the comfort of having believers close to him, even the brave heart of the powerful apostle might have sagged. Who came and stood beside him? What did the Visitor say? Is He close to us? Yes He is! Our night too is soon to change to everlasting day. He was fulfilling what God had appointed him to do at the time he had been saved. Read 9:15.

Acts 23:12-35 Over 40 people banded together and agreed that they would not eat or drink until they had killed Paul! Read Is 1:21 to see that the hearts of men had not changed toward God.

Acts 23:14-24 God had His boy at the right place to hear of this wicked plot. He was Paul's nephew. Paul sends him to Lysius, the chief captain.

Acts 23:25-30 A clever, deceptive letter, high-lighting his actions as if they were all taken to protect a Roman citizen.

Acts 23:34-35 Felix the governor reads the letter, and decides to hear the case when the accusers arrive.

#141

The assembly, (church) is never in the place of carrying out discipline until the sin of the guilty individual becomes the sin of the assembly.

ACTS 24

Acts 24:1-8 Possibly the language barrier caused the high priest to bring an orator with them to Caesarea to accuse Paul of flattery and falsehood.

Acts 24:10-21 Quite a contrast. Paul declares his complete belief in all the Scriptures of the Old Testament.

Acts 24:24-26 This poor man heard the glorious news of the gospel concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. But money was of more interest to him, though his conscience was bothered. So far as we know, there was never a "convenient season".

#142

Keeping the unity of the Spirit is to be gathered to His name.

ACTS 25, Verses 1-12

Acts 25:1-5 The Spirit of God knew their secrets, and tells them to us!

Acts 25:6-8 Again the religious leaders travel about 50 miles to try to have him condemned.

Acts 25:9-12 Festus is more anxious to please the Jews. Paul knowing that Festus had no right to give him up to those who hated him, appeals to the Roman emperor Caesar. They prove nothing.

#143

The church (assembly) of God is, next to Christ, the Center of all God's counsels for His glory.

ACTS 25, Verses 13-27

Acts 25:13-27 A higher authority, King Agrippa and his wife, come to Caesarea. To them governor Festus relates Paul's case. The king decided he would like to see Paul himself. Read again 9:15. This verse is fulfilled! When we read verse 11 of our chapter, we might have wondered if Paul wasn't going too far in appealing to Caesar in Rome. But just think of these results: - Paul preached (1) to the people at Jerusalem - 22:1-6; (2) to the Jewish leaders - 23:1-6; (3) to Felix and the Roman soldiers - 24:10-21; (4) to Felix and Drusilla privately - 24:24-25; (5) to many others who had free access to visit Paul - 24:23 (6) to Festus - 25:10; (7) to Festus, Agrippa and Bernice and the officers and the court there 25:23; (8) to the sailors and passengers on the voyage to Rome - chapter 27; (9) to the chief and people of Malta (Melita) - 28;7-10; (10) and lastly, the climax of all, to the capital of the world - 28:16-31.

#144

His NAME is as exclusive for gathering as it is for salvation. Acts 4:12, Matt. l8:20.

ACTS 26, Verses 1-18

Acts 26:2-23 How truthfully Paul replies! No flattery, nor exaggeration, nor fear of man colors his answers to king Agrippa.

Acts 26:4-5 He again mentions his earlier life; his enemies knew it well.

Acts 26:6-7 Paul knew that the Messiah (Jesus) had come. The 12 tribes were still waiting! And still are!

Acts 26:9 A warning! Unless we follow the Word of God, we can only follow our own conscience. We might be very sincere - but wrong - as Paul had been.

Acts 26:10 Stephen was not the only one who paid with his life for his faith in Christ.

Acts 26:14-18 The words of the Lord Jesus from heaven.

#145

Almost every division has come about through failure to bow to the assembly's decision. Though in weakness, or through failure, the decision is to be bowed to. If it is wrong, He will surely set it right in His time.

ACTS 26, Verses 19-32

Acts 26:19 Paul was obedient.

Acts 26:22-23 This shows that the Old Testament does not contradict the New. See Lk 2:32 and Is 49:6 and 42:6.

Acts 26:24 The unsaved do not understand truth when they hear it.

Acts 26:25-29 Paul speaks to both governor Festus and King Agrippa. The king was a Jew and therefore believed the Old Testament.

Acts 26:29 What a gracious, humble and pure answer Paul gives. He wouldn't wish them to have his chains, but he desired that they might have eternal life.

#146

God's unity is a center without a circumference.

ACTS 27, Verses 1-26

Acts 27:1 A centurion was a man in charge of 100 men. This Roman official, Julius, is returning to Rome, and so Paul and other prisoners are put in his charge. Augustus Caesar was the Roman Dictator. Paul took the gospel right to his palace.

Acts 27:2 The journey by sea towards Rome begins.

Acts 27:3 Julius permits Paul to visit other Christians.

Acts 27:10-11 The centurion seems to be giving orders and deciding matters over the captain and owner of the ship. He does not follow Paul's advice (really God's).

Acts 27:13-20 The Lord is the Lord of the weather. A great storm develops, and all hope of survival is given up.

Acts 27:21-26 Paul is a different man from Jonah... he is in communion with God. He assures them of God's promise that not one person would lose his life.

#147

We are walking and laboring in the midst of an immense network of systems, in which Paul's ministry is unknown.

ACTS 27, Verses 27-41

Acts 27:27-32 The gale continues. Paul, the prisoner becomes Paul the preserver. He only spoke ten words, but they were obeyed.

Acts 27:33-38 Two hundred and seventy six tired men without any natural hope. But Paul stands up to give them courage to hold on. He urges them to eat, having given thanks to God, and shows them an example.

Acts 27:39-44 They steer the ship toward an inlet, and run aground. Immediately the back end is smashed by the storm. The cruel soldiers suggest killing the prisoners. We may not be in a shipwreck, but we may encounter stormy days in our life. May we learn from Paul.

#148

We do not set a limit on what the Holy Spirit can do for us when we are in a low state, but we can take the place where He can do it.

ACTS 28

Acts 28:1-6 This island is known today as Malta. Paul is bitten by a poisonous snake, but the people of the island didn't know the power of God in Paul. From supposing Paul to be some wicked man, they turn to supposing him to be a god.

Acts 28:7-15 Italy at last! A long walk before them, but the Lord had His own people waiting to greet Paul.

Acts 28:16-24 Paul witnesses about Jesus. Some believed, some did not.

Acts 28:25-31 A very important statement here. God's salvation now goes out to the world! Read Rom 11:11. How sweet the last four words. So will it be in the life of each one who walks with God - a quiet repose, not in ourselves, or in our work, but in the Lord.

 

by Norman Berry - 1911-2001
Published by Mario Persona contato@mariopersona.com.br


 
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