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.

 

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”

Such a High Priest

I was away last week, and our study was led by Jana, who very faithfully and capably put in the work to walk us through this portion of the book of Hebrews, 8:1–9:14. I say “walk,” but getting to this chapter has taken a climb. Together with the author of Hebrews we have scaled the heights of Christ’s superiority over angels, Moses, and Aaron. We’ve seen the superiority of Christ’s revelation of the Father, of his great salvation, of the rest he offers, of his priesthood and intercession, and of the hope he offers as the sure and steadfast anchor of our souls. After the steep vertical climb learning about the superiority of his priesthood after the order of Melchizedek over the Aaronic priesthood we are now standing on the heights, taking in the majesty of Jesus our perfect high priest and all that means for us in the work he accomplished for his people once for all in securing our eternal redemption. Continue reading “Such a High Priest”

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”