Acts Lesson 11

 

Paul’s Second Missionary Journey

In the last chapter, we saw a brewing controversy develop between two of the pillars of the church. Paul and Barnabas had a falling out. It became so divisive that they split and each went his own way. The most notable feature of Paul’s 2nd missionary journey was that the gospel was planted on European soil. There was no line of demarcation between Asia and Europe at that time, since everything belonged to the Roman Empire. In the first journey they concentrated on Cyprus and Galatia, in the second they would reach Macedonia and Achaia, northern and southern Greece, and Asia by visiting Ephesus. In each case the capital city was part of their itinerary, Thessalonica being Macedonia’s capital, Corinth being Achaia’s and Ephesus being Asia. Paul would later write letters to these churches. In this lesson we will see visits to Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea.

Acts 16:1-5

As Paul and Silas, and perhaps a few others, leave Antioch heading north to the region of Syria and Cilicia, and then (by land this time) westward to the region of Galatia where they had been on their first missionary journey — places like Lystra and Derbe, and then Pisidian Antioch and Iconium  the last time Paul was in Lystra. The last time he was in Lystra, they had clubbed him almost to death and left him at the side of the road as though he were dead. Continue reading “Acts Lesson 11”

Acts Lesson 10

We pick up in Chapter 14 of Acts as we see Paul’s first missionary journey result in the planting of new churches and the Gentiles becoming a big factor in the growth of Christianity.  The kingdom of God never advances but that it experiences trials and tribulations at every step, at every point along the way. Paul and Barnabas have been driven out (at the end of chapter 13) of Pisidian Antioch, and now they move in an easterly direction towards the great city of Iconium, in the Phrygian region.

 

And a summary of what took place in the city of Iconium is given to us in verses 2 and 3: “Jews who disbelieved stirred up the minds of the Gentiles.” Trouble comes in the city of Iconium.

Read Act 14:1-7.

In Iconium they first of all go to the synagogue. Continue reading “Acts Lesson 10”

Christmas Decorating Instead of Classes!

Come one, come all!

As previously announced, our Bible study classes are taking a pause during the holidays and will resume in January.

However, this Wednesday, December 1, before the routine falls away, we will be returning to church to decorate for Christmas! There being no Christmas Elves available to beautify our sanctuary, we hope you will join us from 10 am – 12 pm to trim the trees and deck the halls.

There will be nursery available for those of you with littles. Please sign up here so they are prepared to care for your precious children.

Lunch is not provided, but if you’d like to bring a sack lunch you are most welcome.

Contact Kerri Pinault, Beth Riggs, or Stefanie Bennett for more information.

 

Acts Lesson 8

Reminder: We are on break until January. 

Acts 11:1-18

Trouble is brewing in Jerusalem. If you will remember, Peter was in Joppa at the house of Simon the tanner and he had a vision-like experience that had animals and creatures, and God taught him that he was to longer call anything clean or unclean. The Jewish distinction of separating from the world is gone. Peter spends time with Cornelius and his gentile household, and a great blessing comes upon these Gentiles. We will see this as a beginning of the the church opening up to all the earth. Continue reading “Acts Lesson 8”

Acts Lesson 7

In this lesson we see some very important events. The efforts of Phillip, the conversion of Saul and the events around the gentile Cornelius and the apostle Peter will herald a change in direction of the spread of the gospel. We will see God’s plan unfolding for the gospel reaching to the ends of the earth and to all people, not just the Jews! Do not miss how radical this would be. 

Acts 8:1-4

The book of Acts is often a study in contrasts.  We have been seeing a contrast between the inner struggles of the church versus the outward struggles of the church.  This chapter continues some of those contrasts. The last chapter closes with the martyrdom of Stephen. The church has already been under some persecution, but until now there had been a boundary line beyond which the Jewish authorities had not been willing to cross. Things were very bad. Stephen had been executed. Others were being arrested and imprisoned. But we see that the persecution drove the Christians to disperse, and in doing so they were reaching others with the message of the Messiah. Another example of God using evil to bring about good!

Acts 8:5-8

This chapter gives us a transition. It is a pivotal point in the history of the Church. Up to this time, the knowledge of God had been primarily focused in Jerusalem. Jerusalem was the single beacon of light which was to draw all the nations to herself. This is what happened at Pentecost. Jews from all the nations gathered together to meet the Lord. But this will now all change. Instead of the world coming to the church, now the church will go to the world.

Philip is a Greek name. It was a fairly common name among the Greeks and had been ever since the days of Philip the father of Alexander the Great. This is not the same Philip who was one of the apostles. This is a different Philip. He was first introduced to us when the first deacons were chosen. He was named immediately after Stephen (Acts 6:5). Continue reading “Acts Lesson 7”

Acts Lesson 6

Up to this point, our focus in the book of Acts has been upon the Twelve and upon Peter and John. But now there is a change. With the appointment of the first seven deacons in Acts 6:1-6, there are new leading figures within the church.

Acts 6:8-11

Stephen’s ministry to the Hellenistic (Greek) widows put him into contact with many of the Greek-speaking Jews. While there were many who believed the gospel, there were many others who did not and who viewed this new sect of Christians with suspicion. The debates between the two parties grew heated and the Jews began to cast accusations at the church and specifically at Stephen.

These antagonists came from the Synagogue of the Freedmen, literally, the Synagogue of the Libertarians. This was evidently a synagogue which had been started for Greek-speaking Jews who had once been Roman slaves but who had now been released and allowed to return to Palestine to live.  (Here is a brief article about the Septuagint, the Greek translation of the Old Testament).

These men spoke the same common language as Stephen. And yet, there was a great and bitter disagreement. Stephen was accused of blasphemy and this soon led to civil proceedings. Continue reading “Acts Lesson 6”

Acts Lesson 5

Reminder: We will be off on Wednesday the 27th for the Reformation Festival.

We picked up at Acts 4:36-37 at the first mention of a man who would become a familiar figure in the early church. His Hebrew name was Joseph, a cousin of John Mark, and a Levite. We know him as Barnabas. The next chapter, begins with the word “but”. We see in Acts 5:1-2 there is a contrast with the preceding passage. The contrast is between Ananias and Sapphira over against Barnabas. In Acts 5:3-11, Peter confronts Ananias with his sin. Notice what Peter says is the motivating force behind the sin of Ananias. He is called “Satan.” The scene of three hours earlier is repeated. Peter asks her about the gift they had given. He is giving her the opportunity to repent. But she does not. She repeats the lie that her husband had told earlier. And suddenly she falls to the floor. Why did God kill these two people? It is because God takes His church and the vows made within His church very seriously, even if we don’t. Continue reading “Acts Lesson 5”

Acts update

Last week we had some tech difficulties and cut our lesson short. This week I will have a post that will cover last and this week’s lessons together. Thank you for your patience. As we are coming up to Reformation day, I thought you would enjoy and benefit by reading this short article from Ligonier, What Is Reformation Day All About?

Just a reminder: we will be meeting as usual this Wednesday Oct 20, but we will be off the 27th for our Reformation Day celebration at the church.

Acts Lesson 3

Acts 3:1- 4:5-22

 

The healing of the lame man—3:1-10

The proclamation of the gospel—3:11-26

The results of Peter’s preaching—4:1-4

The trial of Peter and John—4:5-22

 

Setting, 

Herod’s Temple

Originally, Israel did not have a temple. Instead, they had a tent (called the tabernacle in some versions of the Bible) which was the centre of their worship and the place where God was said to dwell (Exodus 25:8). King David wanted to build a temple but God said that his son Solomon would build it instead (1 Chronicles 17:4).

When the Jews returned from captivity, they built a new temple under the leadership of Zerubbabel and Jeshua (Ezra 3:8-11starting in 536 BC and finishing in 520 BC (Ezra 6:15). This temple was on the same site as Solomon’s temple and was in use until about 20 BC. Continue reading “Acts Lesson 3”