Acts 21:12-14

When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem.  Then Paul answered, “Why are you weeping and breaking my heart?  I am ready not only to be bound but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus.”  When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, “The Lord’s will be done.”

Paul knew the work set before him, and the journey he must take.  The others were dismayed, in fear and in sorrow, so they tried in every way to persuade him not to go.  This reminds me of when Jesus first told the disciples He would suffer and die.  Peter rebuked Him, and with confidence said, “Surely not, Lord.”  When we love and respect someone we want to protect them from harm, but there are times when we must let them go, trusting God for the days of their lives.

Acts 20:32

Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified.

This passage just begged to be researched in the original language, so I studied out “word”, “house”, “inheritance”, and “commit”.  This is my understanding of this verse with all of its original meanings – full of promise and hope.

Now I entrust you to the charge of God, and I entrust you also to the very real expression of His friendship, which in no way was earned by you, but was given to you as a gift.  This promise of His unearned friendship will build you up in the same way a house is built – foundation to roof.  This unearned friendship which God bestows on you, will give you your position in Christ, and all of your possessions as a believer, when the new order of Christ is established on His return.

Acts 19:8 and 9

Paul entered the synagogue and spoke boldly there for three months, arguing persuasively about the kingdom of God.  But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way.  So Paul left them.  He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus.

Boldly…Paul spoke with confidence and with persuasiveness of speech, but some REFUSED to believe.  This is why it isn’t up to us.  God persuades men through us, but some will refuse to believe.  It is not that God didn’t answer our prayers.  It is not that we didn’t do enough.  Some will REFUSE to believe.

Pray for friends, family, co-workers and neighbors that they will not become obstinate and refuse to believe.

 

Acts 18:4, 19, 24, 28

vs. 4 Every Sabbath he reasoned in the synagogue, trying to persuade Jews and Greeks.  vs. 19.  They arrived at Ephesus, where Paul left Priscilla and Aquila.  He himself went into the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews.  vs. 24.  Meanwhile a Jew named Apollos, a native of Alexandria came to Ephesus.  He was a learned man, with a thorough knowledge of the Scriptures.  vs. 28.  For he vigorously refuted the Jews in public debate, proving from the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ.

Today, when we use the word Scripture we are speaking of the entire Bible.  These folks did not have the New Testament because they were living it, so they were proving Jesus was the Messiah using only the Old Testament, the fact of Jesus’ resurrection and  His crucifixion.  No one, then, today, Jew or Gentile,  has any excuse because the plan of salvation through a sinless Saviour is clearly presented in the Old Testament and the New.

Acts 17:16 and 17, 27 and 28

vs. 16 and 17 .While Paul was waiting for them in Athens, he was greatly distressed to see that the city was full of idols.  So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.

The first missionary, and the first street evangelist,   Paul took advantage of every opportunity to share the Gospel – synagogues, market places, jail, think tanks.

vs. 27 and 28 God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.  For in him we live and move and have our being.  As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’

Now, put these two things together.  We live and move in Him, so watch for every opportunity God gives us to share this amazing Gospel, the Good News.  God inviting man to live with Him forever because He, the Offended One, the Injured Party has forgiven all of our sins through the death of His Son Jesus Christ.  Corinthians says we are His ambassadors.  We represent His interests here on earth.  He has entrusted us with the invitation.

 

Acts 16:22-24, 40

The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten.  After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully.  Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.  vs. 40  After  Paul and Silas came out of the prison, they went to Lydia’s house, where they met with the brothers and encouraged them.  Then they left.

SEVERELY flogged, imprisoned, lived through an earthquake (vs. 26), yet when they are released, they go to visit their new brothers in Christ and encourage them.  This often happens to us.  In the midst of a severe trial, God will put someone in our path who needs encouraging. When we feel the least able to be an encouragement, God wants us to let Him be the Encourager through us.  This is the work of the Holy Spirit, ministering to others  though us.   It isn’t necessary to “muster up” this encouragement.  Be a willing vessel and watch God do the work.

Acts 15:5, 7-9

vs.5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, “The Gentiles must be circumcised  and required to obey the law of Moses.  vs. 7-9 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe.  God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us.  He made no distinction between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith.

God made no distinction between Jew and Gentile when the Spirit came upon them.  God didn’t wait until the Gentiles were adopted into the Hebrew faith, learned the rules, and began practicing them.  The manifestation of the Spirit was proof enough for the elders and apostles to understand that nothing was necessary except repentance and God’s grace.  A short time into my walk with the Lord, a respected Christian said to me, “You don’t need to get cleaned up to take a bath.”

Acts 14:15

“Men, why are you doing this?  We too are only men, human like you.  We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them.

What a great definition of discipleship or mentoring.  Encouraging people to let go of bitterness, of anger, of hopelessness, to turn from those things and embrace the living God.  Its GOOD NEWS.  The old bitterness, and grudges are worthless to your life in Christ.  They do not add anything, but rather hold you back from life at its fullest.  Embracing the God of the universe by turning from those things, is like turning a light on in a very dark place.

Acts 13:46

Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first.  Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.

Paul makes it clear.  THEY are deciding they are not worthy of eternal life.  God’s free gift is for all, but if you reject that gift, you are choosing not to be saved, to be justified, to be reconciled.  Rejecting the Gospel is actually choosing damnation for yourself.  Imagine going into eternity with that!

Acts 12:6 & 7

The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance.  Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in that cell.  He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.

I’m sure the authorities were convinced that Peter was securely imprisoned, but it was God’s will that Peter should be free, so chains, guards and prison doors meant nothing in God’s scheme of things.  What a great passage to remember when we feel bound by the circumstances of life.  If it is God’s will for us to be free of them, it will happen.  If not, He will meet us in the midst of those circumstances giving us hope, strength, and mercy to endure them.