Lesson 16

Just a reminder: This is the last class of our Acts study. It has been a pleasure and a great personal blessing working through this wonderful book with you all…….Kathy

 

Conclusion 

Paul is now leaving Caesarea. He has been in prison, remember, in Caesarea for two long years. He has seen both Felix come and go, and now Governor Festus, and more recently we’ve seen him give his defense, or his apologia, before King Agrippa and his sister Bernice. And at the end of the twenty-sixth chapter, King Agrippa had come to this conclusion: that this man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.

 

Act 27:1-6

The use of the term “we” here shows that the author of this book, Luke, was with Paul. He had been his traveling companion, and though he had not been accused, yet it was resolved that he should still accompany him. Whether he went at his own expense, or whether he was sent at the expense of the Roman government, does not appear.

Continue reading “Lesson 16”

Lesson 15

Acts 24:27-25:12

Since Paul’s trial in Caesarea two years earlier, some of the faces have changed. Ananias, the high priest whom Paul had offended, has been replaced.  Felix has been replaced by Festus. Tertullus, the lawyer hired by the leaders of the Sanhedrin to prosecute Paul before Felix, is now out of the picture.

Felix was a veteran as governor of Judea, who ruled with an iron fist. But his methods greatly angered the Jews. Festus is not nearly as well known as Felix, but all indications are that he was a novice and not really equipped to handle Paul’s case. Felix was experienced and very familiar with Judaism (Acts 24:11). After all, his wife was a Jewess (Acts 24:24). In addition, Felix was familiar with Christianity (“the Way,” see Acts 24:22). Festus was probably lacking in all these areas. History does not have a great deal to tell us about Festus.

So Festus invites the men, the Jewish men, down to Caesarea for the trial. They rehearse the same old charges. There are no witnesses, and they cannot prove a single charge that is being made against the Apostle Paul. Continue reading “Lesson 15”

Lesson 14

Acts 21:40-22:21

Paul begins to speak, and he speaks in the Hebrew tongue — and probably Luke means by that, Aramaic. And that means that while the crowd can understand him — it was the currency language of the temple, everyone in the temple would have understood immediately what Paul was saying.

He begins by telling them of his conservative Jewish upbringing. He was the son of parents who had lived in Tarsus, but at an early age he had been brought to Jerusalem to study under the feet of this notorious Jewish scholar, Gamaliel, the leader of a certain section of Jewry, the so-called school of Hillel. We’ve already come across it in Acts 5. He talks about his zeal for Moses, his zeal for the Law of Moses, his zeal for the traditions of Moses. He talks about his conversion on the Damascus road. He mentions the fact that he went to Damascus and spoke with and was given instruction by Ananias — a devout Jew, a man known in Jerusalem and well-respected for his Jewishness. And then, as he comes back to Jerusalem, as he’s praying in the temple in the very precincts in which these accusers of his are standing, that he sees a vision and hears a voice from heaven that commands him to become the apostle to the Gentiles.

Saul of Tarsus had come to see that the one that he was really persecuting was not just Stephen and not just the Christians that he had imprisoned, but the One that he was really persecuting was Jesus Himself, who had laid down His life on behalf of sinners like Saul of Tarsus on the cross of Calvary. Continue reading “Lesson 14”

Lesson 13

We pick up with Paul in Ephesus after a 3 year stay, where he had a conflict with local artisans. He wrote about it in his first letter to the Corinthians. (1 Cor. 16:1-2).

Acts 20:1-6

This is the first reference (the first formal reference, at least) to the Lord’s Day in The Acts of The Apostles, and you get the impression that when Paul comes (and it is to Philippi that he eventually will come) and he’s there with Luke, you get the impression that they’re engaging in a certain activity that they’ve been engaging in for some time on the Lord’s Day.

he hears of a plot, a plot to kill him…a Jewish plot to kill him. And he heads back up to Macedonia, heads back towards the districts of Thessalonica and Berea, and eventually to Philippi, and eventually across the Aegean again to Troas.
Luke tells us that he didn’t travel alone. It was a wise policy, of course, not to travel alone. There’s a whole slew of people, there’s a group here of ten people that we know of in this party. One is Timothy, from Lystra; Aristarchus and Secundus come from Thessalonica in Macedonia; Tychicus comes from Asia; Sopater comes from Berea; Trophimus, from Ephesus; Gaius comes from Derbe; Titus and Luke come from Antioch. We’re not quite clear where Luke has been; all we can say is that when he gets to Philippi, Luke is there, because all of a sudden, you notice, we’re back to we again. And they were gathered together to break bread. Already, do you see, the church in Troas…of which we know almost nothing…but this little church, this little community that has gathered together in Troas on the first day of the week, on Sunday, they’re gathering together. And they’re gathering together for the purposes of breaking bread and, as we see here, of listening to preaching, of listening to the word of God being expounded. There’s no mention here of singing. We do have reference here to two things: preaching and the Lord’s Supper. Continue reading “Lesson 13”

Acts Lesson 12

Ministry in Corinth

We left Paul in Athens last week. We expected Timothy and Silas to join him. Actually, they did, but Luke doesn’t mention it in the account in The Acts of The Apostles, but Paul tells us in a letter to the church at Thessalonica that he will write from the city of Corinth. And he tells us that both Timothy and Silas came down from Berea to Athens, but he immediately sent them back, sending Timothy back to Thessalonica, and probably Silas. In chapters 18 and 19, Luke describes Paul’s visits to Corinth and Ephesus. They follow a similar pattern to what we have seen, namely the evangelization of the Jews, their opposition to the gospel, his deliberate turn to the gentiles and the vindication for his decision. Continue reading “Acts Lesson 12”

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”

A Body Prepared

The week before Thanksgiving we paused our study of Hebrews, just in time to turn and focus on the season of Advent. Our lesson covered 9:15–10:18, pausing at just the right place, for the author of Hebrews pivots at this point from teaching, to focus on application beginning in 10:19. It’s also a perfect spot for us to pause, because in our lesson we discussed the importance of Christ’s incarnation. For in the middle of our passage, the author of Hebrews writes:

“. . . when Christ came into the world, he said,

‘Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body have you prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
Then I said, “Behold, I have come to do your will, O God,
as it is written of me in the scroll of the book.”’” — Hebrews 10:5–7 Continue reading “A Body Prepared”

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.