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ACTS CHAPTERS 12 & 13

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1 Now about that time Herod the king laid hands on some who belonged to the church in order to mistreat them.

 

Act 12,1-11

(29h) Gift of God >> God is on our side >> He fights our battles for us – Peter walked right past the guards and nobody tried to stop him. There were other times when God put the guards in a deep sleep, so that Peter and John walked over them, but this time they walked passed them, meaning they were not sleeping on the floor, but in a deep trance unable to respond. Peter too was placed in a functional trance. Had he been fully awake he probably would have fudged the operation. Peter walked out of prison unhindered, thinking he was seeing a vision, not realizing what was happening to him was real. The experience punctuated the fact that these people were not going to kill anymore of God’s apostles. The beauty of this story is that instead of sensing freedom and running for the hills, he simply walked to the house where he knew many of his fellow disciples would be gathered and went there to tell his story and fellowship with them. To our knowledge the Jews never looked for Peter after this, but decided to drop the whole thing and hoped that he and his friends would disappear. God never commanded His apostles to run from their enemies, and the only one of the twelve who was killed among them was James, until later all the apostles met their fate as martyrs, only after their ministries were fulfilled.

Act 12,1-4

(18j) Sin >> Twisted thinking >> Unable to distinguish between good and evil >> God’s people are evil – It was the days of unleavened bread, that is, near Passover, meaning there were many people gathered in Jerusalem of both Jews and gentiles, which to an evangelist was an opportunity to spread the word, and this could have been Herod’s thought to persecute the Church prior to Passover, so the word would not be carried to the people, who would take the gospel home with them and continue spreading the word throughout the districts surrounding Jerusalem.

(25c) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Murder >> Persecution to the death >> Murdering for prestige – Had God not stopped him, Herod would have had his way with Peter as a form of entertainment, martyring the saints, even the apostles of the Church, the disciples of Christ. This was Herod steeped in arrogance, but God miraculously delivered Peter from his hand because he wasn’t through using him. He still needed to do a few things before his time would come, and they would hang him upside down on a cross at Peter’s request, according to lore. God delivered Peter to spite Herod, to show him that he was not as much in control as he thought. If Herod were to continue in this manner, God had his means of removing him, in any way that pleased Him. This is the message that God intended for Herod by delivering Peter from prison, but of course Herod did not accept the rebuke. Some people are so arrogant that they will never learn to fear God. It doesn’t matter what we do to them or for them, they are determined to commit their lives to spiting God’s wisdom and authority. God has given a will to man, and authority to use it however he wishes, and he most often chooses to use it to express his pride and arrogance, his rebellion and the rejection of all things pertaining to God. These things originate from hell itself, for the Old Testament testifies that rebellion is the sin of witchcraft (1Sam 15-23), and we know that witches perform their works through demons. So, Herod was a demon-controlled man who enjoyed the martyr of the saints to please the Jews. He was a man of immense wickedness, who was most noted for hedonism.

(48k) Judgment >> Levels of judgment >> God judges your enemies according to your faithfulness -- These verses go with verses 18-23

(49e) Judgment >> Enemies of God’s church are destroyed -- These verses go with verses 18-23. Herod’s intent was to kill Peter too, as though he were on a campaign to rid the world of Jesus’ disciples. God’s attitude was, ‘I let you kill one of My apostles, but that is all you get.’ God took measures into His own hands and he rescued Peter safely from prison, and later in this chapter it says that Herod did not give glory to God when he stood before the people when they began to worship them saying, “The voice of a god and not of a man.” Instead of curtailing the people, he let them chant his praises, and he was eaten by worms and died (Act 12,21-23). It is hard to see otherwise that God’s judgment on Herod was at least in part fueled by the taking of James. God called a different James to write an epistle in his place, the Book of James, who was the brother of Jesus, who brought a completely different perspective to the gospel of Christ. James saw how his big brother lived without an ounce of hypocrisy, and this is what he taught in his epistle, that as we believe so we are to live. This is how God compensated for His apostle James, the son of thunder, brother of John, falling to the sword.

(164b) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Entertaining demons by persecuting the Church – The evidence that proves Herod’s abject lack of reverence for God is the number of soldiers he used to guard Peter, four squads, that is sixteen soldiers to guard one man. One soldier would have been enough, but sixteen defines Herod’s contempt for God. He did this because he heard the disciples had been known to be slippery prisoners and have found a way to escape the Jews, hearing too that God had been helping them; the next morning they were preaching in the synagogue and no one knew how they got there. The beauty of this story is that God did not have them run for their lives, but brought them right back to the place where they were arrested a day earlier, which greatly intimidated the Jewish leaders (Act 5,17-26). Finally, the Pharisees gave up trying to silence the disciples (we don’t hear of them harassing Peter anymore); then it was Herod’s turn. Instead of fearing God, Herod thought using more guards would keep God from springing Peter from his cell. His whole mindset was atrocious, for if he really suspected God was helping Peter, which obviously he did, then Herod also understood that he was acting as God’s enemy. Later, this same King Herod gave a speech, and the people kept saying, “the voice of a god and not of a man” (v22), and he received their glory as though he were a god, and he got a case of the worms and died a miserable death. The fact that the Bible mentions this implies that it was a judgment from God. He went to hell; his punishment for sin, including murdering James, will never end.

(181g) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Lawlessness >> Having no regard for the law >> Being without law -- These verses go with verses 21-23. King Herod had James put to death with the sword and arrested Peter, supposedly intending to do the same to him the next day. What we can say about Herod is that he absolutely had no fear of God. That doesn’t mean he was brave; he was more like a coward; he was afraid to believe in God. To lack the fear of God is also to lack the laws of God. The person who does not fear God will not respect His laws, and a person who has no respect for the law is capable of anything. All that keeps him from doing more evil is the fear of man, the repercussions of his actions. The fear of man is a very poor deterrent; people look for all kinds of ways around the consequences that come to them from man, but the person who fears God knows that there is nothing he can do to avoid the consequences of sin. If he doesn’t feel the steely edge of God’s judgment in this life, he will in the next, and this is the wisdom that the law provides those who fear Him.

(242b) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Persecuting the kingdom >> Persecution to the death >> Martyrs – James was not the person who wrote the book of James; that was the Lord’s brother, but this James was one of the twelve disciples, the brother of John, the sons of Zebedee. As it turns out later in verse 12, John-Mark was not the same John mentioned in verse 2, but Mark who wrote the Gospel of Mark and accompanied Paul and Barnabas on some of their missionary journeys; he was cousin to Barnabas. Mark abandoned Paul at Perga in Pamphylia (Act 13-13) during one of his darkest hours, succumbing to a moment of weakness, and thus Paul refused to take Mark with him again, causing “sharp disagreement” between he and Barnabas, who for a while split up to do separate missionary journeys, Barnabas taking his cousin Mark and Paul taking Silas. Paul later patched up relations with Barnabas and relented of his anger with Mark, taking him again, who this time followed Paul into the trenches of evangelism in a violent and hostile world.

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Act 12,1-3

(24i) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Jews are envious of the gospel -- These verses go with verse 11

(44j) Judgment >> Transformed >> Fulfill your ministry according to the will of God – James the brother of John, the sons of thunder, together with Peter were Jesus’ inner circle of disciples among the twelve. Those three seemed to get Him better than anyone else on earth. When we think about God allowing King Herod to kill James, a man of great faith, it was a huge loss to the gospel of Christ, yet God allowed it, suggesting that we are not as indispensable as we might think. James would have brought many souls to the Kingdom of Heaven, and he no doubt would have written at least one epistle, but as it was John lost his brother. John happened to live the longest and contributed more to the New Testament than anyone except Paul. John’s contribution to spreading the gospel of Christ, and his contribution to the Scriptures was indispensable. James would have contributed much too, but God allowed him to be taken. What we have in the New Testament is sufficient, for God stands over His word to perform it (Jeremiah 1-12).

(189e) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Martyr >> Tested for faithfulness to the death – If we think we are vital to God’s plan, and that He can’t do without us, James, the brother of John, one of the sons of thunder, one of the closest disciples of Jesus, was killed shortly after Pentecost. Peter, James and John went with Jesus to the mountain of transfiguration, and Jesus took them in His inner circle on the Mount of Olives to pray in the Garden of Gethsemane, sitting His closest disciples around Him while He prayed before His execution. There is no doubt James would have written an epistle, at least one, and it would have been indispensable to the Church, possibly adding an entire dimension to our knowledge of God. We lost it, but we don’t need it; what we have in the Bible is enough.

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2-4 And he had James the brother of John put to death with a sword. 3 When he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. Now it was during the days of Unleavened Bread. 4 When he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out before the people.

 

Act 12,2-11

(118l) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Freedom >> Law of the spirit >> Spirit delivers you from the desire to sin

(209d) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Righteous saved with difficulty >> Righteous saved with hardship >> Righteous saved with adversity

Act 12,2-7

(117d) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Rest in Jesus (Sabbath) >> Let Jesus do the work >> Let Him work on your circumstances

Act 12,3-11

(246c) Kingdom of God >> Spirit realm imposed on the natural realm >> Literal manifestations >> Literally set free from bondage

Act 12,4-12

(227g) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> God working in you >> Depending on Jesus to have compassion >> Depending on Jesus to deliver us

Act 12,4-10

(196j) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Spiritual laziness >> Replacing God’s standard of excellence with yours >> Sleeping in the spirit

Act 12-4,5

(131b) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Interdependent on each other to pray

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5&6 So Peter was kept in the prison, but prayer for him was being made fervently by the church to God. 6 On the very night when Herod was about to bring him forward, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and guards in front of the door were watching over the prison.

 

Act 12,5-12

(29e) Gift of God >> God is our advocate >> Delivered from wicked rulers

(88d) Thy kingdom come >> Faith produces works >> The function of works in faith >> Faith doesn’t move God until it is manifested in the natural realm – The moment Peter was able to take care of himself, the angel departed. We don’t have angels at our side materialized in the natural realm for fun, but to get us out of our biggest jams and to help us during our hardest times. In heaven angels will be everywhere, and we will worship God with them, but until then God has given us our lives as an opportunity to live and walk by faith, to prove that we believe in Him. Apparently, this is the most important thing to God, for He has given us His creation. We have built huge telescopes that can peer millions of light-years into the past and see galaxies and massive clusters of stars that stagger the imagination, so He doesn’t ask us to believe in His creative ability; He has shown us these things. What is important to God is that we believe in His character, that He is flawless in His Spirit, that He loves us in spite of evidence to the contrary. The most important thing to God, His greatest attribute that He values most about Himself is His integrity, His justice, His righteousness, in short His truth. We all have an opinion; God has one too; His opinion is the truth. He has put us in an imperfect world full of evil and wickedness, pain and sorrow and asks us to believe in Him, that He is not as His creation depicts Him, but that these imperfections and blemishes are the result of sin.

(119d) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Freedom >> Freedom from satanic influence >> Free from bondage

(222k) Kingdom of God >> The elusive Kingdom of Heaven >> Do not give what is holy to dogs >> Give to him who has >> Whoever has shall more be given

Act 12,5-11

(30l) Gift of God >> God favors you through your prayers – Prayer again takes center stage in the Acts of the Apostles. God works through obedience, loyalty and faith, but there is one thing we can say about prayer; it is the highest form of obedience. All other forms of obedience fall well under our ministry of prayer. That actually fits with the illustration that we have from the old covenant tabernacle and the manner of worship they had back then. Their ministry toward God was extensive, while their ministry toward people was incidental by comparison, and that is the priority prayer should have in our ministry, meaning that a person who is disobedient to God has failed to develop a life of prayer. Everyone has a prayer life, even unbelievers have a prayer life. To develop a life of prayer means that it is the number one aspect of their lives, so that all other forms of obedience fall under prayer, which is how we invest ourselves in the Kingdom of God, and unless we are invested, we won’t obey.

(117i) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Eyes of your spirit >> Seeing visions – This gives us an idea of what it’s like to have a vision from God. Often when we’re in the moment, it doesn’t seem that we are actually having a vision from God, but as though we were having a dream, and dreams don’t often seem relevant until later. It is interesting that Peter’s vision was manifesting in the natural realm, freeing him from prison, suggesting that all vision have the effect of freedom, and if it had the power to effect the natural realm, it’s hard to even call it a vision, but more an angelic experience. Peter perceived his experience as it were a vision, as though he were still chained and sleeping on that cold jail floor, dreaming it. Peter was preparing his mind to meet Jesus again, only this time in eternity, but God had other plans for him. God often does not allow us to experience our dreams and visions on a cognitive level without chasing them away as we awake. Likewise, had Peter experienced this event fully conscious, he may have said or done something stupid to chase away the angel in mid-vision, and he would have been stuck in jail. Thus, God gives us dreams and visions to remove the human element of failure from the equation. God put Peter in a trance-like state, so he wouldn’t screw-up anything, for the angel would not have put up with Peter arguing with him. Therefore, if we have a fully conscious vision, like Mary did, the mother of Jesus, it is a huge compliment, indicating the confidence God has in us. Otherwise, we may be more like Zacharias, who had a vision in the temple and asked the angel a lot of stupid questions that got him in trouble, who emerged mute from the temple until his son, John the Baptist, was born. Evil things surface from our speech when we least expect it, especially when we are interacting with angels.

(217c) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> God’s will over man >> God Is Independent Of His Creation >> No one can walk in His glory without His consent

Act 12,5-10

(126d) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Peace >> Peacemakers avoid violence – in the process of protecting Peter from the hand of Herod, God did not kill anybody, but took passive measures, just like He called His church to behave throughout the age of grace. Nor did God instruct Peter and the Church to run for their lives, because they would have to eventually deal with their enemies if the truth were ever to become known. Once they hammered the truth home to the Jews, and those who were destined for eternal life received it and the rest were hardened, then the Church understood God’s plan and purpose for the age of grace, that it was meant for a time of peace and joy in the Holy Spirit, a time when God would use love to overcome the obstacles of the Church, and not forceful aggression. God use aggression during the old covenant, Israel as His hammer to destroy those nations that would disobey Him, but with the new covenant He used love instead, and it worked for a while, until the Church grew weary of doing good and got the false impression about the gospel of Christ that it was something to be physically defended by sword and club, until the rifle was invented so they could more efficiently slaughter their fellow man in the name of Jesus Christ. Had the Church continued to follow Christ throughout the age of grace, those who would refuse to receive the gospel would have at least known there was a God in heaven who loved them who only wanted us to believe and trust in Him for eternal life. As it is, the world doesn’t know that, because the Church did not show them. Instead, the Church showed the world their rifles, and when they invented TNT…. Christianity is not a fusion between the old and new covenants. Those who wish for violence think they would be happier in Old Testament times when God called Israel to destroy the nations living in their land that had rejected God, but Israel rejected God too, refusing to be His hammer to the disobedient nations, but instead became sympathetic to their gods, and began following the nations instead of destroying them. So whether we are of the old covenant or of the new, if we don’t have a heart of obedience, we cannot please God.

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Act 12,5-7

(234aa) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Seeking the glory of God >> God chooses us as we seek His glory >> As we appeal to Him

Act 12-5

(82e) Thy kingdom come >> Three elements of prayer >> Our approach >> Be devoted to prayer

(83k) Thy kingdom come >> We have the ministry of intercession >> Church intercedes for each other

(99l) Thy kingdom come >> Perseverance (Working to keep in motion) >> Persevere in prayer

(174k) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Form of godliness >> Lip service -- This verse goes with verses 12-16

Act 12-6,7

(96j) Thy kingdom come >> Attitude >> Having a peaceful attitude

(121a) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Content with your way of life >> Content in any circumstance -- The very fact that Peter was asleep under these conditions says a lot about his relationship with Jesus. He rested in his faith.

(126g) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Peace in the midst of the storm

(231b) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> Solving the mystery of godliness >> The mystery is solved in contentment

Act 12-6

(163b) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Bondage >> Being slaves of men >> Prison

(213b) Sovereignty >> God is infinite >> God is all powerful >> All things are possible with God

 

7-17 And behold, an angel of the Lord suddenly appeared and a light shone in the cell; and he struck Peter's side and woke him up, saying, "Get up quickly." And his chains fell off his hands. 8 And the angel said to him, "Gird yourself and put on your sandals." And he did so. And he said to him, "Wrap your cloak around you and follow me." 9 And he went out and continued to follow, and he did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. 10 When they had passed the first and second guard, they came to the iron gate that leads into the city, which opened for them by itself; and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel departed from him. 11 When Peter came to himself, he said, "Now I know for sure that the Lord has sent forth His angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting." 12 And when he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John who was also called Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. 13 When he knocked at the door of the gate, a servant-girl named Rhoda came to answer. 14 When she recognized Peter's voice, because of her joy she did not open the gate, but ran in and announced that Peter was standing in front of the gate. 15 They said to her, "You are out of your mind!" But she kept insisting that it was so. They kept saying, "It is his angel." 16 But Peter continued knocking; and when they had opened the door, they saw him and were amazed. 17 But motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had led him out of the prison. And he said, "Report these things to James and the brethren." Then he left and went to another place.

 

Act 12,7-11

(15c) Servant >> Ministering spirits >> Angels give help in time of need – Angels are called ministering spirits. They are servants, whose job it is to help unshackle the children of God, and then direct them to freedom. Miracles can occur in the presence of angels as they minister to our needs. They come in opportune times and help just long enough to get us out of a big scrape and then leave us to walk in faith again. God doesn’t send his angels into every human situation; rather, He wants the cards to fall as they may and allow faith to be the arbitrator between God and man, so the person who has faith is justified and those who prefer to walk in their flesh, their own circumstances will judge them. In this way they have judged themselves unworthy of eternal life. This was not the first time Peter escaped from jail through the help of angels, which is why they posted so many guards in front and behind him and chained him with two chains instead of only one, so it would literally take an act of God to escape, but little did they understand that by taking so many precautions they would have to admit that in fact angels were required to help Peter escape. This exposes the mental attitude of sinners, in that ungodly persons make accommodations for their unbelief but corner themselves whenever God reveals Himself through divine intervention. They left themselves no way to explain how Peter could have escaped without God’s help. They could not deny this fact based on the amount of security they imposed on him, yet they did deny it, being the kind of people the apostles never even tried to win to Christ, because they were beyond hope, reprobates. The men who hated the apostles knew God was with them, though they were unwilling to admit it. 

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Act 12,7-9

(93k) Thy kingdom come >> Following Jesus as He lights the way

Act 12-7

(112b) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Light >> Jesus’ light overcomes darkness >> The light of His power

(215j) Sovereignty >> God controls time >> Suddenly >> The Kingdom of Heaven appears suddenly >> Angels appear without warning -- This verse goes with verse 10

Act 12-10

(215j) Sovereignty >> God controls time >> Suddenly >> The Kingdom of Heaven appears suddenly >> Angels appear without warning -- This verse goes with verse 7

Act 12-11

(24i) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Jews are envious of the gospel-- This verse goes with verses 1-3. In the same way that no person has ever asked to be born, so neither did Israel ask to become a nation. They existed by the will of God when He spoke to Abraham, and by that simple act Israel was born in his heart. It was by his faith that Israel came into existence, and it was by that faith Israel was required by God to live, but they refused to do it, and that is why they missed Jesus when He came. Nevertheless, the Jews hated the maker of their nation, the maker of all things and now Christianity, because it flew in the face of their Judaism and against nearly every man-made custom of their religion. They crucified Him because of all the false doctrines they collected over the centuries and put in place of their Old Testament prophets. Their religion did not account for a suffering servant who would come to their nation and die for their sins and the sins of the whole world. Had they honed their hearts on the Scriptures, whether they recognized Jesus in them or not, they would have received Him simply based on their hearts being right before God. The saddest part, the Jews claimed that God was the most important aspect of their lives, yet the spiritual and religious leaders of Israel wanted every Christian martyred. There were some Jews being saved, but there were more gentiles, not because there were more of them, but because they were more open to the gospel. They didn’t have the hindrance of Judaism in their way that diametrically opposed Christianity.

Act 12,12-16

(20b) Sin >> Nature of sin >> Unbelief >> Unwilling to acknowledge the facts

(20i) Sin >> Doubting miracles – This is a story of the Church today. God set a man free, so he comes to church looking for those who would rejoice with him in his newfound freedom and finds no one but this servant-girl who will believe him. The rest of the congregation has rejected any possibility that this could happen, even though they are praying for this very thing. The contemporary church in principle does not believe in the freedom by which God longs to set us free, for when God supernaturally delivers a person to rise above the general malaise of accepted freedom, the person is silently persecuted, that is, ignored. They simply choose not to believe it for the same reason that the Church no longer believes in miracles: they reject all physical manifestations of God’s power, thinking that He has confined Himself to working solely in our hearts, even though Peter was knocking on the door, not on the door of their hearts, but on the physical door of their house! Peter even had a witness, but she was just a servant-girl, what does she know? She was trying to tell them about the miracle that God had performed for the sake of the whole church, yet no matter what she said, she could not get them to believe her. Finally, between her insistence and the loud pounding on the back door, they finally let him in the house. This is a classic example of being slow to believe (Lk 24-25); there is not a more accurate description of the Church today. For further commentary on these verses see: Why churches don’t spiritually mature.

(29bb) Gift of God >> God delivers us from our enemies >> Church assembles in people's houses (underground)

(54a) Paradox >> Opposites >> Unbelief in the presence of the power of God – Obviously they were not praying for Peter’s release, but for themselves, what they would do without him. Stop praying and go answer the door! Doesn’t the book of James say that God only answers the prayer of faith, yet when they answered the door they were all completely amazed and baffled? What kind of faith doesn’t expect God to answer their prayers? God delivered Peter in spite of their prayers. Perhaps the leaders didn’t want to believe God delivered Peter because they were already scheming in their hearts the possibilities that lie before them to take control of the Church and turn it into a personality contest and a money-grab now that Apostle Peter was soon to be taken from them, one of the main watchdogs of the Church (Act 20,28-31). Perhaps this was the reason God found it so important to deliver Peter from the hand of Herod, the Church needed Peter because there may have been people already infiltrating the Church no better than Herod. Then, perhaps God delivered Peter to spite their prayers. 

(174k) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Form of godliness >> Lip service -- These verses go with verse 5

Act 12-17 -- No Entries

 

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18-25 Now when day came, there was no small disturbance among the soldiers as to what could have become of Peter. 19 When Herod had searched for him and had not found him, he examined the guards and ordered that they be led away to execution. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and was spending time there. 20 Now he was very angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon; and with one accord they came to him, and having won over Blastus the king's chamberlain, they were asking for peace, because their country was fed by the king's country. 21 On an appointed day Herod, having put on his royal apparel, took his seat on the rostrum and began delivering an address to them. 22 The people kept crying out, "The voice of a god and not of a man!" 23 And immediately an angel of the Lord struck him because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and died. 24 But the word of the Lord continued to grow and to be multiplied. 25 And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had fulfilled their mission, taking along with them John, who was also called Mark.

 

Act 12,18-23

(48k) Judgment >> Levels of judgment >> God judges your enemies according to your faithfulness -- These verses go with verses 1-4

(49e) Judgment >> Enemies of God’s church are destroyed -- These verses go with verses 1-4. The soldiers suffered a similar fate as the Lord Jesus, for they were first examined with a whip before being led to execution, except that it doesn’t say they were crucified. The soldiers knew this would happen to them if they allowed Peter to escape; God did not spare them either, probably because there was no one among them who had a heart for God; instead, they were all in agreement with having their way with Peter, anticipating the next day to see him suffer, but they graciously took his place. This determined the level of commitment to guard Peter, for this escape was a repeat performance by the angels busting Peter out of jail (Act 5,17-20). Apparently being familiar with his previous jailbreak, they thought increasing the guard would ensure their success in holding him. There were four squads of soldiers (take the “s” off squad and you get quad), assuming there were sixteen in all, increase them to a hundred; would that have made a difference? Many men guarding one, who was chained to the floor and did not have a reputation for violence, they hoped that more guards would protect against angels, so they knew in their evil little hearts that they were persecuting the work of God. Who would volunteer for a job like this for any amount of money, taking their lives into their own hands? God could have struck the guards dead instead of temporarily putting them to sleep, and it would have been more merciful than falling into the hands of men, who likely flogged them with a cat of nine tails before ghoulishly executing them.

Act 12,21-23

(22n) Sin >> Pride comes before a fall – Jesus stood before Herod in His mock robe and crown of thorns, this same Herod who was full of pride and arrogance who did nothing to stifle the crowd. He received the people’s worship, “the voice of a god and not of a man,” but it ended in his own death and he was eaten by worms. Apparently Herod was saying things to the people that they enjoyed hearing. This happened when the Kingdom of God was growing by leaps and bounds and the Church was healthy, vibrant and strong, when the Church maintained its anointing, so when the world persecuted the Church, they knew it was God’s people. Probably Herod was saying something about what he intended to do with the Church, and it rang true with the people. He was probably making promises and edicts regarding his intensions of mistreating the saints, telling them that the world would benefit from their demise, but in fact the world benefited from his demise.

(56b) Paradox >> Lose by gaining >> Lose your place by seeking the first place

(156l) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Evidence of being hell-bound >> Living an ungodly lifestyle >> Associating with the world

(169h) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Seeking the glory of man >> Loving the approval of men rather than the approval of God >> Love to be noticed by men – Herod was keeping another country from starvation, which was asking favors from him. This was a very hedonistic and wicked man doing a good thing, and the only reason an evil man would do a good thing is for evil purposes, and being a narcissist he hoped his acts of kindness would be converted to worship. It was interesting that God did not strike Herod for martyring His saints but for his self-adulation. It was the last straw; God was counting up Herod’s sin and judged him for accepting the people’s flattery. These events are similar to the antichrist, who will also make many martyrs and be venerated by the people, and according to this story, his self-worship will destroy him. God is a very jealous God, who is willing to share His glory with no one; regardless, had he not martyred the saints, God may have endured his self-admiration. Conversely, had he turned down the admiration of the people, God may have endured the martyring of His saints, but the two together was intolerable. Killing his saints and being worshipped at the same time is a combination of sins that God has never tolerated, for it shows absolutely no remorse, no repentance, no humbling oneself before a mighty God.

(181g) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Lawlessness >> Having no regard for the law >> Being without law -- These verses go with verses 1-4

(185j) Works of the devil >> The result of lawlessness >> Blasphemy >> Responding with contempt to the Holy Spirit >> Replacing the Holy Spirit

(195f) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Idolatry >> Worshipping men >> Idolizing men

(218d) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> God’s will over man >> Reaping the harvest >> We choose our actions, not their consequences >> God controls the consequences of our actions

Act 12-24

(128i) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Bearing fruit >> Living a fruitful life >> Be fruitful and multiply >> Growing spiritually – The word of the Lord grew and multiplied in the mouths of the believers, who told others to believe in Jesus. Back then there was less fear of false doctrine, though there were false teachings attempting to find root in the Church from the very onset. However, this context refers to the true doctrines of the gospel of Christ, a simple faith revolving around a man who was crucified for the sins of mankind and rose from the dead to prove His place with God as savior and judge of all mankind.

Act 12-25

(77i) Thy kingdom come >> Tapping into the power of God through humility >> The most humble are the greatest servants – Mark was a significant person and his gospel plays a significant role in the four witnesses of Jesus Christ, the emphasis of his gospel was on the miracles He performed, elucidating details in the stories that we read in other gospels. Jesus amazed Mark to watch God at work through the weakness of human flesh, manipulating His creation however He saw fit, and to watch Him so effortlessly push back the power of the enemy. This same Mark was the one who wrote the gospel of Mark, and who was one of Jesus’ twelve closest disciples, highly favorable and treasured among Christians as an apostle. To allow his rendition of the gospel entrance into the cannon of scripture was an act of absolute trust. They did not accept writings from anyone who did not personally know Jesus in the flesh, except Paul who knew Him only in the Spirit and proved Himself as an apostle, faithful to his calling and walked with God without blame. Paul’s only claim to have personally known Jesus was a brief encounter with Him on the road to Damascus, yet this single moment changed his life to become a greater apostle even than the inner circle of three: Peter, James and John. Paul and Barnabas were probably the greatest evangelists of all time, and Mark went with them on missionary journeys as a helper. Imagine one of the twelve who had status to write a gospel, the significance of this man, yet Mark was a mere helper of Paul and Barnabas, the humility of Mark not to demand a leadership position because of his statues as one of Jesus' inner circle of twelve closest disciples.

 

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Scripture quotations taken from the New American Standard Bible ® (NASB), Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation Used by permission. www.Lockman.org

 

ACTS CHAPTER 13

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

1&2 Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." 

 

Act 13-1

(152ka) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> Witnesses of the father >> The Church holds the position of a prophet >> True prophets >> Called as prophets – There are some people who are genuine prophets. These are people whom God has personally elevated apart from anybody’s input, so that nobody can take credit for his knowledge, though he has learned many things from his fellow Christians. In contrast, those who walk in the gift of prophesy are completely under the tutelage of the Church. Prophets are able to tell the Church things they have never heard, known or even imagined. If the Church raised up the prophet, he couldn’t offer groundbreaking knowledge that the Church needs to grow, but since God has personally elevated him, the prophet can tell the Church things that can direct the body of Christ into His specific will. The advantage of the prophet is that God can use him to prepare His people for the future and warn them of things to come.

Act 13,2-4

(83d) Thy kingdom come >> Results of prayer >> Prayer ministers to God

(115i) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Laying on of hands >> Ordaining people to the ministry – This shows Barnabas and Saul (Paul) being ordained to the ministry by the Holy Spirit, meaning that this was not their idea. The significance of this cannot be overstated. There are many people who do a lot of their own ideas. Some become missionaries while others become pastors. The leaders and elders of the Church come together and lay hands on them and send them out, so they are ordained by men well enough but not by God. In their hearts they really don’t know what they are doing, which limits their faith. They are only guessing about the will of God, and their ministry reflects it, for everything they do is a guess. They’re not sure about anything; that’s because they didn’t wait for God to ordain them to the ministry. Paul and Barnabas never assumed God had ordained them until He did, and then they knew they were ordained by God, though they had been ministering together for a long time before God made it official, but today’s standard of induction is by the Church. The difference between being ordained by God and being ordained by man is the difference between doing your own thing and doing the will of God. It doesn’t matter how long we must wait, we will always be ahead if we don’t get ahead of God and let Him ordain us to whatever He has in mind for us.

(219j) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> Predestination >> God’s calling is our destiny – We are essentially predestined for eternal life, as Jesus said, “Many are called but few are chosen… You did not choose me, but I chose you…” Being ordained by God is just as much a gift as our salvation. All we can do is get out of His way and wait for Him. If God has chosen us, then we have a marvelous gift, a gift that some people would long to possess, but they don’t know how to believe. A person cannot choose on their own to believe in God; therefore, those who have been chosen by God should not choose on their own what they should do with their lives. 

(245j) Kingdom of God >> Spirit realm imposed on the natural realm >> Literal manifestations >> Manifestation of God’s righteous judgment >> Manifestation of God’s authority

Act 13-2,3

(106k) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Hearing from God >> Means of hearing from God >> Through prayer – Most people think the only way to serve God is to be a pastor, and so they trot off to seminary school without even questioning if this is God’s will. In their hearts they say, ‘I don’t know what to do, so I’ll do this, and in the process maybe I will stumble on the real will of God.’ However, they get so involved in the works of their own hands that they forget to listen for God’s voice. In other words, they give up on the question of God’s will and do whatever they want. The problem most of the time is they don’t ask God with a whole heart, so really they are asking His advice, but God doesn’t give advice. 

(189j) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Masochism (Self-made martyr) >> Fasting >> Fasting simulates dying to self A person should not go into a fast without drawing up a concise list of expectations, an agenda, which defines his reason for fasting. Is it just an experiment? He will have missed supper for nothing. Having an objective is crucial to our success in fasting. We fast to receive an answer from God; we fast in order to receive direction, mostly.

(191h) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Result of putting off the old man >> Set apart >> God sanctifies us through His calling

Act 13-2

(81c) Thy kingdom come >> Prayer >> The priesthood >> Ministering to God

(252g) Trinity >> You shall put no other gods before Me >> Worship God >> Worship God who is Spirit >> Worship God in prayer

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

3-5 Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. 4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 5 When they reached Salamis, they began to proclaim the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews; and they also had John as their helper.

 

Act 13-3,4

(71k) Authority >> Ordained by God >> We have His seal – Matters of the heart are not complicated, yet the ability to see one’s own heart in its true state is a gift from God. This is partly why the Bible depicts salvation as a gift. A person who trains his heart to want God, who devotes his entire soul to knowing Him, who forces his mind under subjection to the word of God, renewing it day by day, will hear and be ordained by God. There are only a few things that God asks from us; one is to be patient and the other is to be driven by the Holy Spirit to know these things, to search them out until we find them. This person will do what he has been ordained to do, and by doing it he will be walking on the narrow way that God has prepared for him before the foundation of the world, but those ordained by man know of no such trail.

(105i) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Led by the Spirit >> Into The will of God >> Led by the authority of the Church – An angel didn’t come down and ordain Paul and Barnabas to the ministry, but were ordained by the Holy Spirit. An angel delivered Peter from jail in the last chapter, so why not an angel in this case? God expected Paul and Barnabas to go where He would send them to fulfill their ministry of evangelism through the direction of the Holy Spirit. Hence, if their ministry is fulfilled through the calling of the Holy Spirit, then it is only fitting that He should ordain them.

(213e) Sovereignty >> God is infinite >> Jesus owns you >> We are his instruments >> We are tools in the hand of God >> We are transmitters of His kingdom – The Holy Spirit sent them after they fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them. Lots of people fast and pray and lay their hands on others and send missionaries on their way, but some fail to go with the Holy Spirit, because He didn’t send them. The process of being sent by the Holy Spirit happens long before anyone fasts and prays and lays their hands on them; in fact, this is the last thing that happens; being sent by the Holy Spirit is the very first thing. The person who is being sent by the Holy Spirit knows it, and for this reason they are very tenacious, because they know they are in the will of God, and obstacles that get in their way may be frustrating and discouraging but do not stop them, because they know God has sent them, and they know they live in a world that is controlled by Satan and know there will be obstacles. Some people go through far more than what others could possibly bear. Circumstances, people and negative coincidences oppose their ministry, but they don’t give up because they know they have been called. Giving up as missionaries and disciples of Jesus is not in their vocabulary, because they have a calling and are fulfilling it, and by that they know there will be victory, and they will accomplish great things, no doubt at great cost to them. Missionaries give confidence to those who send them, who trust the missionaries to be called by God. Those who sent Paul and Barnabas after they got on the boat and lifted sail knew the Holy Spirit was sending them, based on the confidence of Paul and Barnabas, so missionaries have to hold up everybody, even those who send them, in that their faith in the missionaries originate from the missionaries themselves. For this reason, anybody who goes to the mission field without knowing for sure what they are doing should not go, since it would do no one any good, for even if they were called, they haven’t sought God enough to develop confidence in their own calling. Besides, the calling of a missionary is something that is born in them in ways that are very mysterious, and their faith is interlaced throughout their lives between circumstances and people that could never happen on its own.

Act 13-5

(139g) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> We build the temple through Christ -- This verse goes with verses 14-44. In our own thinking we would assume Mark, the original disciple of Jesus, would be leader with Paul and Barnabas as his assistants, but this was not the case. In the days of the apostles, God raised up great men, greater even than Jesus’ own disciples, and He used only His Spirit to do it. God has His people prepared for a certain work that will require an anointing to finish it, and each of His people strive throughout their lives seeking to find God’s purpose and will in their lives. Once they find their place in the body of Christ, they are able to accomplish whatever God has called them to do, yet those who have received more don’t always do more. When we think of all that mark received, being chosen by Jesus to spend 3½ years at his side walking with Him every day and seeing the miracles performed and hearing the word of God, he received much, and so did the other disciples. All twelve walked with Him, only not all them accomplished the same amount. They all had different ministries and their ministries varied in significance. Mark wrote one of the four gospels that we read today in the New Testament.

(143d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> The public >> Paul ministered publicly -- This verse goes with verses 14-16

(149f) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Preaching the gospel to the world >> Preach "Thy kingdom come" – John Mark was one of the twelve original disciples of Jesus, and he came with Paul and Barnabas in the capacity of a helper. Imagine the power of Paul and Barnabas who never walked a day with the Lord but were more effective with the gospel than those that walked with Him for 3½ years. This is the power of the Holy Spirit to create men of faith from those who would yield their lives to Him. Later, Paul became upset with Mark because he abandoned them at a strategic time and would not allow him to accompany them in any missionary journeys for a long time, but later took him again. It caused Paul and Barnabas to separate, Barnabas taking Mark and Paul choosing Silas as his assistant (Act 15,36-41).

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

6-8 When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they found a magician, a Jewish false prophet whose name was Bar-Jesus, 7 who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence. This man summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the magician (for so his name is translated ) was opposing them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith.

 

Act 13,6-12

(40n) Judgment >> God is glorified >> God defends His truth through judgment

(46d) Judgment >> Spiritual warfare >> Subjecting your flesh >> Hindrances to the kingdom – Paul was experienced in wielding the power of God. He spoke a judgment against him by the Spirit and God honored it, temporarily blinding Elymas to match his spiritual blindness, hoping that he would take the hint and be saved with the proconsul. This was a type of spiritual warfare, but it was not something that God would honor on a regular basis. This case did not end at the words of Jesus who spoke to his disciples about wanting to call down fire on their enemies, “You don’t know what kind of spirit you are of…” (Lk 9-55). Rather, Elymas being quite a notable character in his time, who had already done much harm to the gospel of Christ, had this coming. God Himself had enough of him corrupting His gospel, being a leader of the Gnostic movement. Unfortunately, men like Elymas are a dime a dozen with people behind them always ready to believe a lie, simply because Satan offers an alternative to repentance along with a fleshly reward for believing his lies. These heretics led debauched lives; they weren’t regular Christians; they did not live in a state of repentance. The Gnostics were crooked, corrupt and evil, and their purpose in life was like so many people in the world today and throughout all of human history, to feed their flesh and to satisfy their natural instincts, and to pursue a worldly sense of happiness.

(64c) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Limits of God >> God has limited patience – Note that Paul was first patient with this Elymas, patience being a fruit of the Spirit. Rebuking him was not an act of kindness; praying for a person to become blind doesn’t seem very nice, so he was operating also in the gifts of the Spirit, and God honored his request through an environment of patience. Are we really supposed to put up with these demonically controlled people that spiritually and emotionally batter us day by day in the workplace and elsewhere? This was an unusual occurrence; God did not often condone people breeding the message that, ‘If you don’t listen to me you’re gonna get it.’ Paul was dealing with demonic entities when he rebuked Elymas; he was not playing with Elymas, and neither should we allow forces of evil to continually manifest, but put them in their place or they will never stop.

(69i) Authority >> Righteous judgment (Outcome of Discernment) >> Judging the flesh by the Spirit

(111h) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Kingdom of God revealed >> Word plus signs and wonders – Apparently Paul had been talking to the proconsul about the fact that God has availed His power to perform miracles for those who believe in Him, weaving it into the gospel, and then demonstrated it by rebuking Elymas. Where is the power of God in the gospel of Christ today? The only thing that remains is mere words that we are supposed to believe. The Church is unable to prove the gospel, yet Paul could prove what he was saying, because the power of God was displayed in him. We don’t see miracles like the early church. The reason for that is our doctrines have become distorted that God is unwilling to work with us, otherwise He would confirm His word with signs, wonders and miracles, just like He did in the early church. However, He is not about to confirm our false doctrines. If we were to get our doctrines straight, God would work through His church as He once did.

(147h) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> God uses His power to be destructive

(154f) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> God bears witness against the world >> Witness that the world is godless >> Witness that the world is of the devil -- These verses go with verses 44-48

(163k) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Entertaining demons >> Disciplined by the devil as a son – This should say something about the magicians of their day, that they delved in demonic activity, whereas those of our day mostly use slight of hand, though some are beginning to summon the demons to help them perform their magic arts. Those who want us to believe they have certain powers perform things with slight of hand also, but the magicians who lead us to believe they have certain powers invite demons to inhabit their magic arts, to inhabit their lives and potentially to inhabit the people who believe in them.

(176c) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Ignorance >> Ignorance lurks in darkness

(177g) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> False doctrine >> Doctrines of demons

(179f) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Wolves >> False prophets >> False prophets preach works to deny Christ

(184d) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Darkness >> God controls darkness >> God hides unbelief in darkness

(191d) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Extract the leaven of false doctrine – Falsifying the gospel in Paul’s day and a couple centuries after him was conducted by people called the Gnostics; these were the very first heretics to malign the gospel, and many of their teachings are still with us today. Many false teachings of the Gnostics centered around the composition of Jesus’ body, as 1Jn 4,1-3 addresses, “Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world.” All Gnostics had one thing in common; they mostly believed that Jesus did not come in the flesh, that he had an angelic form or possessed as it were a spiritual substance for a body that was something other than human flesh, suggesting that He didn’t actually die and therefore didn’t rise from the dead, which as we know is the crux of the gospel. Knowing that the gospel would be corrupted shortly after the demise of the original apostles by the likes of Elymas, made it all the more urgent to stop him from spreading his lies and deceptions, so it was top priority to keep the gospel pure so long as the apostles were alive.

(218e) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> God’s will over man >> Reaping the harvest >> We choose our actions, not their consequences >> Reaping the harvest of our works

(240i) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Hindering the kingdom >> Taking away the key of knowledge >> Hindering people from entering the kingdom -- These verses go with verses 44-46. As an example of the rarity of this event, Paul’s thorn in the flesh was the Jews (2Cor 12,7-10), probably consisting mostly of Pharisees, people like his old self, who followed him around and continually hounded him to the point of hindering the gospel, like he used to do prior to his conversion, yet God did not stop them, telling Paul that they were doing him a service by keeping him humble. Therefore the case with Elymas was relatively unique, whom Paul rebuked and sent on his way blind for a season. What’s the difference between his case and the case of the Pharisees? The Pharisees were in complete agreement with the demons they served, so it was impossible to separate spirit from flesh, whereas Elymas had no agreed alliance with the demons that were using him, so Paul was able to rebuke him.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

Act 13,6-11

(153f) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> God bears witness against the world >> Shame >> Hiding under a cloud of guilt >> Opposing the truth – This man, Elymas, was seeking to turn the proconsul from the faith. He considered himself a true prophet, for why would anyone consider himself a false prophet? This Bar-Jesus character contradicted many points of the gospel spoken by Paul and Barnabas, not surprising that a man led by such a spirit would disagree with the truth. Elymas put the apostles in a no-win situation, but Paul was not about to get into a debate with him, for as a Pharisee, Paul considered his fancy learning to be meaningful, but as an apostle of Christ, he counted his great leaning to be rubbish, so instead he gave the problem to God. Elymas, having no etiquette or manners, wasn’t even invited to this meeting, but invited himself and then tried to crash the party, resisting everything spoken by Paul, who devoted his entire life to preaching the gospel, risking his own life to do it. Paul was not about to just let this guy take over the conversation, which was exactly what Elymas thought he would do. His plan was to run roughshod over Paul and Barnabas and put them to silence, but it wasn’t their idea to speak to the proconsul; it was God’s idea. God Himself wanted the proconsul to hear the truth, and Paul knew this because God sent Him; he knew he was exactly in the will of God, so it was Elymas being completely in the wrong and resisting the purpose of God.

(158g) Works of the devil >> Essential characteristics >> Divide and conquer >> Division (Cliques) >> Special interest groups

(160d) Works of the devil >> Satan’s attitude determines our direction >> Led by the devil to suppress the word of God >>  Suppressing the truth with false doctrine

(212f) Sovereignty >> God is infinite >> He is the creator >> Evolution (Defaming God) >> God created atheists too – Sergius Paulus typifies the mind of faith, whereas Elymas the magician typifies the intelligentsia of our day, suggesting there is a marked difference between the intelligence of the ancient world in Paul’s day and the intelligence of our day. The intelligence of our day generally dismisses all things pertaining to God, whereas the intelligence of their day sought to hear the word of God, suggesting that this man, Sergius Paulus, was more open-minded than most people today who claim to be intelligent. The definition of intelligence has changed from curiosity in their day to arrogance in ours. His kind of intelligence paralleled wisdom, who wanted to hear the message of the gospel of Jesus Christ that Paul and Barnabas brought to his region. In contrast, our generation’s rendition of intelligence parallels knowledge that disqualifies God without first investigating the possibilities and spurning the Holy Spirit with the last days now befalling us. This describes an abject lack of curiosity and wisdom. Most people in our generation have never sought the truth of God, especially not the so-called wise and intelligent. Instead, they have been spoon-fed what they believe about God largely through their established institutions of higher learning, that are apparently striving to establish conformity of one mind against the knowledge of God among the intellectual elite. Obviously then, being educated and intelligent does not immune one from being brainwashed. There is something insidious about believing in the world; a person might as well believe in the devil himself. There are so many dimensions of it and places we can go to hear the many lies, but there is really only one, that there is no God, which is the message of the fool. They go to their colleges and sit at the feet of their professors, who fill their heads full of ideas about atheism. Their religion has no chance of being true, and evolution is printed on every page of their textbooks that they read as their Bible. To them the universe somehow created itself, but they don’t have to worry about the details, because there are other people working on the tougher questions, astrophysicists and nuclear physicists, who posit complex mathematical models that are unproven and virtually impossible to understand that theorize the outer and inner-workings of the universe. The rest of us just need to believe in their findings to pass each course until we graduate with atheistic evolution underpinning every field of knowledge. God stands outside His universe shaking His head wondering how these people could call themselves intelligent while man declares 'there is no god.' Therefore, everything man understands about this universe is in disregard of God, who stands outside of it, which is why they say He doesn’t exist. His physical presence doesn’t exist in this universe because He has cursed it, and the curse is His very absence. They say, ‘We know so much more than people in the ancient world,’ but maybe they knew something that we forgot. We may have a clearer view of our solar system and have invented a lot of gadgets to make our lives easier and to entertain us, but none of that says we know more about God. A person can fill his head full of facts and still not know the truth, for Truth is a matter of God's perspective.

Act 13,6-8

(18i) Sin >> Twisted thinking >> Unable to distinguish between good and evil >> God’s purpose is evil

(76g) Thy kingdom come >> Wicked motives >> Satan’s motives are inherent within him

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

9-13 But Saul, who was also known as Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, fixed his gaze on him, 10 and said, "You who are full of all deceit and fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease to make crooked the straight ways of the Lord? 11 "Now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and not see the sun for a time." And immediately a mist and a darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking those who would lead him by the hand. 12 Then the proconsul believed when he saw what had happened, being amazed at the teaching of the Lord. 13 Now Paul and his companions put out to sea from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia; but John left them and returned to Jerusalem.

 

Act 13,9-12

(113j) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> The anointing >> Filled with the Holy Spirit

(215h) Sovereignty >> God controls time >> Suddenly >> The judgments of God come suddenly >> Without delay

Act 13,9-11

(69d) Authority >> Righteous judgment (outcome of discernment) >> Righteous anger >> God is angry at sin

(183b) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Spirit of Error (Anti-Christ / Anti-Semitism) >> Witchcraft >> Sin is the incubator of witchcraft >> Through satanic influence

(194f) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Turn from sin to God >> Hate evil >> Condemning sin >> Judging evil

Act 13-9

(97f) Thy kingdom come >> Attention >> Facing in the direction of the Lord >> Focusing the attention of your mind’s eye

Act 13-11

(64l) Paradox >> Anomalies >> God helps Satan >> Jesus blinds the world

(245m) Kingdom of God >> Spirit realm imposed on the natural realm >> Literal manifestations >> Manifestations of the devil >> Manifestation of darkness – Elymas the magician whom Paul afflicted with physical blindness added to his spiritual blindness, reflecting his problem; he could not understand the things of God. Paul communicated to him, 'If you want to be willfully blind to the things of God, then your wish is granted, but you must temporarily accept literal blindness as an analogy to show you what it is like to be spiritually blind.'

Act 13-12

(146i) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Purpose of Miracles, Signs And Wonders >> Proof that Jesus is the son of God >> That the world may be saved

Act 13-13

(161d) Works of the devil >> Essential characteristics >> Satan’s attitude determines our direction >> Wandering from the character of God >> Wandering from the love of God – This is where John Mark abandoned Paul and Barnabas. It doesn’t say why he left; it just says he left. Paul’s anger toward him leaves little doubt that persecution was involved, for it is unlikely that he left for personal reasons or from boredom, but from fear.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

14&15 But going on from Perga, they arrived at Pisidian Antioch, and on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. 15 After the reading of the Law and the Prophets the synagogue officials sent to them, saying, "Brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say it." 

 

Act 13,14-52

(210ha) Salvation >> Jews and gentiles are being saved >> Salvation is from the Jews >> The Jew first >> Jesus was a Jew – It is important to know that the one who was raised from the dead, he only can forgive sins. Everyone else has died and underwent decay invalidating their ability to forgive sins, but needs his sins forgiven by the one who was raised. A person can be a sacrificial lamb for the people well enough, but if he doesn’t rise from the dead, he cannot forgive sin. The resurrection was God’s way of pointing out the man and validated His ministry of forgiveness as the Great High Priest. Paul is telling his audience of Jewish believers that another chapter in the one story of God’s connection with man has been written in the blood of a savior, Jesus Christ, that the Old Testament writers whom they have read time and again had prophesied would one day be mercilessly punished at the hands of sinners and nailed to a cross to die, has thus been fulfilled. There are not two stories, the old and the new, but one, and this event of the resurrection has brought continuity to them, suggesting that there is no sudden turn in direction, though a new covenant has come that seems different from the old, only because the Jewish people generally didn’t follow it, making the new covenant only seem incompatible with the old, but in reality they are a perfect fit. The fact that there is only one story means the gospel of Christ belongs to the Jews first, then also to the gentile nations in that order, because Jesus came specifically for them so that the gospel story happened within their Jewish lineage, Jesus supposedly being a descendent of the Davidic kingdom. So, the gospel of Christ is about the Jew, yet the promise of forgiveness that leads to eternal life extends to everybody in every nation under heaven.

Act 13,14-44 

(139g) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> We build the temple through Christ -- These verses go with verse 5

Act 13,14-43

(138g) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Exhortation >> Glorifying God in your exhortation

Act 13,14-23

(149d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Compel them to come in >> Forceful persuasion -- These verses go with verses 38-52. Whenever we do evangelism work, we are looking for people who fear God, for they are the ones most likely to believe our gospel message and be saved. In our day and age, those who fear God have already heard the message of the gospel and gotten saved, yet not everyone in our generation has heard the gospel. Just about everybody has heard about Jesus in all the developed countries of the world, unless they live under a rock, but not everyone has heard the gospel spoken in Spirit and truth, so that God-fearing people may not yet be saved, just as the people to whom Paul was preaching. Most God-fearing people will believe in Jesus when presented with the gospel if they don’t already believe something else, but this is usually the problem, they usually do believe in a different religion, making it very difficult to convert them to Christianity, but there have been times, such as in the days of Paul when people were ready to believe in something new. 

Act 13,14-16

(143d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> The public >> Paul ministered publicly – These verses go with verses 42-48

Act 13-15

(119h) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Freedom >> Having freedom to minister – Wouldn’t it be nice to have that kind of an introduction to hear the message of the gospel in the world today? The world is so close-minded to the gospel, but what can we expect after televangelists have used it to line their pocketbooks with the unrighteous mammon. Instead of converting men into saints, they have converted the treasures of the cross into the treasures of this world, yet it seems everybody is flocking to these mega-churches who are building their empires in pretense for God. These big-name pastors who are shepherds of thousands, obviously have huge personalities, but do they have anything to offer the sheep other than a name and a face to follow? What do they offer those who only want to know their Lord and master Jesus Christ and seek spiritual fellowship from their brothers and sisters in Christ? What can they hope to receive from these mega-churches? At the top of the list they are getting an opportunity to give their money away, and from there the deceptions cascade into a plethora of fraudulent promises that never see the light of day, but for those not seeking God, mega-churches are a place to hide, while at the same time they pretend to please God by going to church. Ironically, the mammoth size of these mega-churches represents the dimension and momentum of the apostasy that has enveloped the Church.

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16-23 Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said, "Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen: 17 "The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm He led them out from it. 18 "For a period of about forty years He put up with them in the wilderness. 19 "When He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land as an inheritance -all of which took about four hundred and fifty years. 20 "After these things He gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. 21 "Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 22 "After He had removed him, He raised up David to be their king, concerning whom He also testified and said, 'I HAVE FOUND DAVID the son of Jesse, A MAN AFTER MY HEART, who will do all My will.' 23 "From the descendants of this man, according to promise, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus,

 

Act 13,16-23

(151h) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> New Testament bears witness of the Old >> Men of faith – Israel possessed the land of Canaan that was filled with milk and honey, displacing its inhabitants through Joshua, which took 450 years. Then God gave them judges and they cried for a king so they could be like other nations, and God gave them Saul through Samuel the prophet, then God removed Saul and raised up David in his place. King David destroyed the majority of Israel’s enemies in the land of Canaan before he became king, so Israel lived in peace in the days of his son, Solomon, and for this reason the throne of David is depicted as most like the Kingdom of Christ who will come at the end of this age. Prior to becoming king He will also defeat His enemies during the Great Tribulation period according to endtime prophecy that is written in both Old and New Testaments, and He will reign for a thousand years. Before David, the nations Joshua removed were striving to regain their homeland, and there was constant resistance. David defeated the vast majority of Israel’s enemies, not destroying them all, as Christ will deal with an offense against His throne at the end of His reign, once Satan is released to tempt the nations to instigate a rebellion once more, and rebellion will be destroyed forever with Satan, who will be thrown into the lake of fire (Rev 20,7-11).

Act 13-16

(88k) Thy kingdom come >> Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom >> Revering God – When we think of some of the persecutors of Paul, most of them were Jewish rabbis; they didn’t fear God, and so it makes us wonder why they wanted to be spiritual leaders in the first place. Many of them could not make the connection between the old and new covenants; they just didn’t believe that God was going in the direction that Paul claimed. Apparently they thought Paul and the others risked their lives to spread made-up stories, or else they misinterpreted or misattributed the events that occurred and were attempting to turn their radical beliefs into a religion and propel it into society.

Act 13-18

(21b) Sin >> Disobedient to the call – This verse is in reference to Israel’s exodus from Egypt and the journey they made from Mount Sinai to the promise land, which could have only taken a couple weeks, but took forty years, because of the rebellion. There are many Christians who feel that God has been leading them in circles, and they are looking to find their way out of the wilderness, for they have been there for many years, and they keep asking God for direction, and the fact is He is the one leading them in circles, because of their disobedience and unbelief. They want to know their purpose and calling in life, and maybe God has revealed it to them, but they are not interested in that. How does a person come to the understanding of God’s calling in their lives? There is no recipe for coming to know this, though we do know the general will for everyone, which is outlined in the Scriptures, and so that would be a really good place to start our search for God’s specific calling. That is, if we obey His general will, maybe He will reveal His specific will for us, but the person who wanders in the wilderness throughout His life never bothered to obey His general calling, similar to what Jesus said in Lk 16-12, “If you have not been faithful in the use of that which is another's, who will give you that which is your own?”

(58d) Paradox >> Opposites >> God endures the lost for the sake of the elect – Israel was never given the opportunity to choose to become the nation that God would use for the rest of man’s time on earth, just like a baby never asked to be born. Destined for tribulation and distress, Israel experienced these things and more as a direct result of being God’s chosen people. Jesus said, “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Mat 11-29). God is straightforward with us, but our flesh doesn’t understand God, which makes Him appear complicated. God commanded the flesh of Israel to obey Him, and we all know they didn’t. Sinful flesh is disobedient, for its evil nature opposes Him in every respect. For example, Jesus spoke about loving our enemies; had someone else said this, nobody would have taken him seriously, but since a miracle-worker said it, the Son of God, we must listen to Him. Our flesh hates to hear that we must love our enemies; we would prefer that God gave us freedom to act according to the nature of our flesh, but God has spoken, and we must live by what He said. People wander in the wilderness for years, because they refuse to accept the will of God.

(126i) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Patience >> The patience of God >> God is patient – God was patient with the Israelites in the wilderness for forty years. God is eternal, and so the forty years went fast when He waited out the unbelievers, so He could lead those who were faithful into the promise land. The part that was difficult for God requiring patience was the fact that these were the very people who heard the voice of God on Mount Sinai and saw the fire and smoke and heard the commandment that if anyone touched the base of the mountain he should be stoned. These are the very ones whom God delivered from their enemies by His mighty power, plaguing the Egyptians with one curse after another, until He destroyed the firstborn son of every family in Egypt. He parted the Red Sea and drowned the Egyptians when they attempted to cross. They witnessed all these things, yet they refused to obey Him, which is a mystery in itself; Paul called it the mystery of lawlessness. God exercised His patience to avoid destroying them on the spot.

Act 13-22,23

(151e) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> New Testament bears witness of the Old >> The Patriarchs >> The Old Testament prophets – This reflection on the Old Testament incorporated many ancient books of the Old Testament to bring about the single story of the Bible that Paul’s audience knew so well. Paul reiterated this story to show that he too was very familiar to their rich heritage from the Lord. He was a Pharisee of Pharisees, having had more education and being more devout regarding faith in the Hebrew traditions than any one of his peers. It was important for his audience to know that he was familiar with the stories of the Old Testament, because it would be this platform that became the basis upon which he launched into the continuation of that story to include a man whom God sent to the people of Israel, who claimed to be God's very own Son, who died for the sins of Mankind. David was mentioned, the man who represents the Kingdom of Christ, who will reign with a rod of iron for a thousand years, but the psalmist spoke about Him as a gentle and loving son. The Father was very protective of Him, especially as a baby. He went through great pains to keep Him alive, often sending Mary and Joseph away, because Jesus had many enemies even as an infant. Having enemies as a newborn baby is evidence of being a great and mighty future king, and a threat to all other kings, and to mankind in general who will not submit to His authority. When it came time for Jesus to give His life a ransom for man's sin, it must have been very difficult for His Father, but His great love for mankind allowed it (Jn 3-16). The Father raised Him on the third day, never to die again, who had wisdom to see into the future, knowing this momentary affliction will result in rewards for all eternity.

(210e) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Jesus is our savior >> Especially of believers

Act 13-22

(87d) Thy kingdom come >> Obey all the will of God >> Church obeys all of the Father’s will

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24-28 after John had proclaimed before His coming a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25 "And while John was completing his course, he kept saying, 'What do you suppose that I am? I am not He. But behold, one is coming after me the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.' 26 "Brethren, sons of Abraham's family, and those among you who fear God, to us the message of this salvation has been sent. 27 "For those who live in Jerusalem, and their rulers, recognizing neither Him nor the utterances of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled these by condemning Him. 28 "And though they found no ground for putting Him to death, they asked Pilate that He be executed.

 

Act 13-24,25

(150e) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness of Jesus >> Confessing Jesus >> Making the good confession – John the Baptist said, “I am not He,” while Jesus, after being pressed to confess that He was the Son of God, said, “Yes, I am” (Lk 22-70). Both statements respectively represent their good confessions. John the Baptist said One was coming whose sandals he was unworthy to untie. He knew that Jesus was the divine Son of God, a man who came from heaven, who lived before he was born through Mary. He was a man who never had a beginning, whose position was at the right-hand of God throughout eternity past. He has always been the power of God, for God has never done anything without Him, but has always done everything through Him. God created the heavens and the earth through His Son Jesus Christ, the very man who came and visited us in human flesh, divested from His majestic glory, took on the weaknesses of our experience and dwelled among us. He lived not apart from us but just as we live with the only difference being that God Almighty was His Father and He was pleasing to God. He showed us that love is the way to the Father, being gentle and uncritical. Paul said in Rom 8-3 that Jesus came in the "likeness of sinful flesh." His body was the same as ours, so He did in fact live in sinful flesh, except that he never sinned. Had Paul said that Jesus came in sinful flesh, people would have gotten the idea that He too was a sinner, but He wasn’t. He was “holy, innocent, undefiled, separated from sinners and exalted above the heavens” Heb 7-26. He came as we are that we might live as He did.

Act 13-24

(193b) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Turn from sin to God >> Repent >> Turn from your evil ways >> Turn from sin

Act 13,26-37

(149a) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Three key messages in evangelism >> The resurrection – Our resurrection will be different from Jesus’ resurrection in some ways. For example, compare the person who dies just a couple days before the First Resurrection to the person who died thousands of years earlier, whose body simply doesn’t exist anymore. None of its atoms and molecules have deteriorated to inert matter. The idea of God gathering the dust that was once his body now dispersed to the four corners of the earth and putting it back together and “changing” the substance to an indestructible material is ridiculous. Go back and study the verses that talk about the resurrection, Paul said in 1Cor 15-51, “we will all be changed,” referring to the Rapture, which is part of the First Resurrection. In the very same chapter Paul said to the Corinthians that God will give us a body (v38) that can accommodate eternity. If living bodies are changed in the Rapture, how much more will dead bodies be changed? God will not resurrect a dead body without first changing its matter to a heavenly substance. Contrary to the stuff we know on earth that gets old and must be maintained until it dies, heavenly material never gets old or dies. So was Jesus’ resurrection a different body? No, it was the same body, but remember, He had to look recognizable to His friends and disciples; He was the only person of the resurrection who will need to do that. When He ascended to heaven, then His Father gave Him a heavenly body.

Act 13,27-30

(175j) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Ignorance >> Ignorant of what God means >> Ignorant of the meaning of God’s word – It wasn’t God who blinded the people to His predetermined plan; rather; Satan blinded the people, and helped God to fulfill His purpose. No matter what the devil does he loses. It is like he is playing checkers with God, and the hope of beating Him is futile. Every time he makes a move, God trumps him. If Satan, who is a spirit and the pinnacle of God’s creation, has no power to subvert God’s throne, how impotent is man’s rebellion? The cross of Christ completely nullified the power of Satan, though he still works in the world to blind people from the glory of Christ, and will one day overtake and rule the whole world through his antichrist and make it his own little domain for a brief moment, only to be throne into the lake of fire, tormented for the rest of all eternity. So, what is the point of Satan’s rebellion? What is the point of man’s rebellion? His worldly domain will crumble soon after he rises to power, even as every kingdom of man has crumbled by his own hand.

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Act 13,27-29

(136e) Temple >> Your spirit is the temple of God >> The body of Christ >> Jesus’ fleshly body >> The flesh of Jesus’ sacrifice

Act 13-27,28

(18a) Sin >> Unrighteous judgment >> Condemning Jesus – Rulers and governors of every nation and society of people have all been limited to public opinion, and this is why in our society they strive to control public opinion by brainwashing the people using the media. Even fascist, totalitarian dictators, without the public on their side have very little they can do when people revolt against the government. So, either they do things in favor of the people, or they must brainwash them to want the things the government favors. In this case, the leaders found nothing that Jesus did wrong, finding no grounds for putting Him to death; nevertheless they asked Pilate that He be executed. The only way they could have done this is to have public opinion on their side, and the public would have never wanted this if they knew that Jesus was their Messiah. 

Act 13-27

(53i) Paradox >> Opposites >> Contradicting your own standards >> Making accusations against things you believe

(141f) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Old Testament bears witness to the new >> It bears witness to Jesus >> Prophesy about Jesus’ death – For 3½ years Jesus roamed the countryside doing good, healing the people and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, proving to the nation of Israel that He was the Christ. What did Jesus say to John the Baptist when he became doubtful just before his execution? “The blind receive sight and the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, the dead are raised up, and the poor have the gospel preached to them, and blessed is he who keeps from stumbling over Me.” Much of Jesus’ answer was prophetically written in their Old Testament manuscripts that they read every Sabbath. The response of John the Baptist after hearing this was perfect contentment about his immanent beheading, knowing that he faithfully accomplished his purpose and calling from God. Therefore if it was proof enough for John the Baptist to go joyfully to his grave, then it was proof enough for the people to believe in Jesus.


29-37 "When they had carried out all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb. 30 "But God raised Him from the dead; 31 and for many days He appeared to those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, the very ones who are now His witnesses to the people. 32 "And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, 33 that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, 'YOU ARE MY SON; TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU.' 34 "As for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: 'I WILL GIVE YOU THE HOLY and SURE blessings OF DAVID.' 35 "Therefore He also says in another Psalm, 'YOU WILL NOT ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY.' 36 "For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay; 37 but He whom God raised did not undergo decay.

 

Act 13,29-38

(38c) Judgment >> Jesus defeated death (Satan) >> Resurrection overcomes death – Three and a half days is close to four days, when Mary Magdalene said of Lazarus her brother whom Jesus raised from the dead, “Lord, by this time there will be a stench, for he has been dead four days” (Jn 11-39). Go buy a beef roast and don’t refrigerate it; leave it on the counter for three and a half days in a comfortable temperature of 60 to 70 degrees and then decide if you want to cook it with vegetables. Raw meat intended for consumption is relatively bacteria free, compared to a body with the digestive system intact with three and a half days to spread its load of bacteria throughout the body. Just another half-day longer Lazarus was in the grave. Every physiological system shut down, and all the cells in His body dead, His body was in the process of undergoing decay, but God the Father reversed those effects in His body when He raised Him from the dead.

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Act 13,30-41

(136g) Temple >> Your spirit is the temple of God >> The body of Christ >> Jesus’ spiritual body – We are brothers and sisters of Christ, having come from the same Father, so all of His abilities before and after the resurrection were for our instruction. We will not be gods as Jesus is the Son of God; rather, by analogy Jesus will be the Master print through which all His children will be resurrected, who will have the characteristics of Christ. In the Resurrection God will give us bodies that will be made from a divine substance, bodily molded into His image, while maintaining unique physical and personal characteristics, even as we are now being molded into the image of Christ on a spiritual level. In this way, God has embedded within us a process of becoming free from sin through the new covenant, meaning that we unnecessarily suffer under bondage and addictions, and the basis of the new covenant is the indwelling Holy Spirit. God has given us the ability to obey His will that is specific to each person. The assumption of the indwelling Holy Spirit is that we will obey Him, and in that obedience He will impart an anointing that will grant us power to live as children of God (Jn 1-12), the ability to rise above our bondage and addictions. That is a vast advantage over the law, which only gave us commandment, but didn’t grant us power.

Act 13,33-41

(80k) Thy kingdom come >> Know the word to minister to people >> To evangelize the world

Act 13,33-37

(141g) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Old Testament bears witness to the new >> It bears witness to Jesus >> Prophesy about Jesus’ resurrection – Prophecy is yet another layer of confidence that we have in the word of God, possibly the most significant layer of all. It replaces Jesus’ miracles, signs and wonders while he is gone with the fulfillment of His word. The Scriptures have had an effect on humanity like no other writings. The Old Testament Scriptures are filled with prophecies; in fact, every book of the Bible after Lamentations is a book of prophecies in that almost every word pertains to a prophecy about something. The Jews recognized prophecy of the second coming of Christ, but overlooked His first coming, though the prophecies of His first coming are very numerous, this chapter citing some of the more important ones. The Psalms is full of prophecies about His first coming, being that Christ will fashion His kingdom after the throne of King David, who was the writer of many of the Psalms. Ironically, David the psalmist, though he was an icon of the millennial kingdom which is to come was more a prophet of His first coming, because David had the heart of God as Jesus did. God sent His very heart to mankind in His Son, His love, His mercy, His kindness, and Jesus was careful not to add anything to it. He was one hundred percent pure love and mercy from God, and David and the other psalmists recognized God as a person of these qualities, because they had the Spirit of God in them, sensing that God was this way by the anointing that God had given them.

Act 13-33

(238c) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Transferring the kingdom >> The kingdom is transferred to the Church >> Born again >> Born of the Spirit by the resurrection – It is unlikely God will treat one body different from another; rather, the resurrection will happen the same for each person. We like to imagine how the Resurrection will occur, but the only logical view is that God will recreate our bodies. God won’t fix one body and bring it back to life that has been dead only a few days as He did with Jesus. Instead, He will recreate our bodies, most of whose physical substance has disintegrated. Whatever physical remains God will use to create his resurrected body, supplementing it with other materials to complete the ensemble, and then give it a life that will never leave it again. The fact that Jesus could change His appearance suggests that He could change into an appearance that they recognized of Him. The fact that He could walk through walls and blink in and out of sight is no more miraculous than walking on water, which He did in the natural flesh. Jesus rose with the same body that died to show His disciples that it was actually Him and not a ghost.

Act 13-37,38

(120h) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Forgiveness >> Forgiveness is an act of mercy >> God forgives us through His power

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38-41 "Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses. 40 "Therefore take heed, so that the thing spoken of in the Prophets may not come upon you: 41 'BEHOLD, YOU SCOFFERS, AND MARVEL, AND PERISH; FOR I AM ACCOMPLISHING A WORK IN YOUR DAYS, A WORK WHICH YOU WILL NEVER BELIEVE, THOUGH SOMEONE SHOULD DESCRIBE IT TO YOU.' " 

 

Act 13,38-52

(149d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Compel them to come in >> Forceful persuasion -- These verses go with verses 14-23

Act 13-38,39

(114j) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Working God’s grace through Christ >> Salvation is through Christ

Act 13-39

(114b) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Obeying the Holy Spirit >> Believing the Father by obeying the Son >> Obeying Jesus’ will

(118l) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Freedom >> Law of the spirit >> Spirit delivers you from the desire to sin – There are two views of bondage to sin: that of unforgiven sin and that of addiction to sin; the law of God has no power to free us from either one. We are freed from our addictions by the same Spirit that He has forgiven us. We want to believe this, but many don’t know how to implement this freedom into their lives. There are many people even within the Church who are addicted to sin, and there doesn’t seem to be anything we can do about it, since the gospel has been reduced to mere words, not so much because we don’t believe them anymore, but because the doctrines we believe have been distorted over the centuries, so that though there may be a Bible setting in front of us and we read it, yet some of our doctrines are in the way, keeping us from believing the truth. Mostly we hear about miracles happening and the freedom in Christ employed in other countries where evangelists are incurring salvation and people are believing in the gospel for the first time, but in this godless nation where few people are being saved and the Church hardly believes the gospel anymore, miracles, signs and wonders are nowhere to be found, which includes deliverance from sin. People are not free to serve the Lord, which is the number one priority in God’s mind. “It is for freedom that Christ intended for us; "therefore, keep standing firm and do not become subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal 5-1). There are many other things Jesus said to indicate that freedom was His number one objective for His people. If we understood freedom, it would go a long way to understanding the rest of the gospel.

Act 13-40,41

(19m) Sin >> Nature of sin >> Unwilling to believe >> Spirit of unbelief – This is in reference to the reprobate mind; they are unwilling to obey Christ because they are unable. It is as Tit 1-16 says, “They profess to know God, but by their deeds they deny Him, being detestable and disobedient and worthless for any good deed.” Their hearts hardened, their minds made-up, the simple faith that Christians have that seems so easy is virtually impossible for others. Some have crossed a line and now it is too late, but for others it more resembles how Jesus described it; they simply were not chosen. They struggle with faith because they are in bondage to believing in their five senses. If we take them through the logic that this natural realm needs a creator, even atheists know this deep in their stony hearts, but they simple will not acknowledge it as a fact. Some want to believe, but they can’t. Maybe one day they will find peace and faith will become natural to them as it is to the children of God. Faith is not complicated. To those who believe it feels like faith believes in them, and their only input is to agree with it. This is really how divine faith works among His people. We can’t generate true faith; it is something that is God-given. It is our most valued possession that has set us free to know God, and if we don’t believe that, just observe the people around us who make faith look so hard; they are in bondage to their unbelief.

(142c) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Old Testament bears witness to the new >> Prophesy about evangelism

(168i) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> The world has deaf ears to God >> Deaf to the word of God from a lack of understanding

 

42&43 As Paul and Barnabas were going out, the people kept begging that these things might be spoken to them the next Sabbath. 43 Now when the meeting of the synagogue had broken up, many of the Jews and of the God-fearing proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, were urging them to continue in the grace of God.

 

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Act 13,42-48

(129d) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Bearing the fruit of evangelism >> Bearing the fruit of the gospel – The gospel is in the world today, but it is not changing too many people like it did in the first century, simply because there is nobody who believes the truth enough to publicly preach it as the original apostles did. There are so many enemies against the truth today and so few fellow believers that it is questionable just how effective it would be to preach the gospel according to the pattern we have in the first century, but if we managed to silence our enemies, we too could begin a revival that would change the world. We might think that it would be impossible to silence our enemies now, because they know so much about the Scriptures, as opposed to the days of Paul and Barnabas, when everything was new. The only battle they had was to prove that Jesus was crucified and rose from the dead and fulfilled all the Old Testament prophecies regarding Israel’s Messiah. Today, it is a given that Jesus is the Christ, but if He existed at all. Things are opposite the first century; the world gives us the Messiah Jesus, but virtually questions everything else, even the existence of God. Fact is, the enemies of the gospel today only know what they have been told about the gospel, which is mostly false based on the standard of the first century. The enemies of the gospel today are not students of the Scriptures, so we could bring the true doctrines of the gospel to the people and be fairly effective in saving souls to the kingdom by silencing the religious hypocrites, as they were in the first century. What is most effective in cutting through all the doubt and unbelief would be the return of signs, wonders and miracles. This will happen through a Jewish ministry led by the Two Witnesses, orchestrated by the 144,000, mentioned in the book of Revelation.

(143d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> The public >> Paul ministered publicly -- These verses go with verse 5. Paul and Barnabas ministered publicly as Jesus did, not preaching the gospel in a corner. The public preaching of the gospel is by far the most powerful way of bringing it to the world, and it happened to be Billy Graham’s method of evangelism. For this reason he was highly effective, but the people came to him, whereas Paul and Barnabas went to the people in the sight of both their friends and their enemies, and for this reason their ministry was all the more effective, for it displayed a divine boldness that is rarely seen in the world. This gave Paul and Barnabas an opportunity to publicly defend the gospel from their enemies, putting them to silence, so the only alternative they had was to arrest them and torture and release them. When they were released, the apostles went right back preaching and teaching. It was their boldness that confounded their enemies, being so effective they literally changed the world.

(240i) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Hindering the kingdom >> Taking away the key of knowledge >> Hindering people from entering the kingdom -- These verses go with verses 6-12. Many of the people who believed in Jesus were Jews in the very beginning, for the gospel was intended for the Jew first, for they had been believers in God from the very creation of their race through Abraham. For this reason Paul and Barnabas came to the Jew first as missionaries; their practice was to locate them in every nation and preach Jesus to them, until they renounced the gospel, then they turned their attention to the gentiles. Obviously these Jews whom Paul and Barnabas sailed across the ocean to evangelize were far from Jerusalem, suggesting they were not the ones chanting “Crucify, crucify Him.” It was a tremendous blow to the ego to humble themselves after committing the most heinous sin in human history. Those who had nothing to do with his crucifixion made it easier to believe in Jesus, who did not wrestle with the guilt feelings of having innocent blood on their hands. Those in Jerusalem’s assembly demanding His torture and death had to swallow their pride before they could receive the gift of forgiveness and eternal life through Christ, this being especially true for the religious leaders who orchestrated His death, and then to have Him rise from the dead and offering forgiveness of sin was their worst nightmare, but redemption for the rest of us.

(243e) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Sources of persecution >> Persecution from jealousy In case anybody questions whether the Jews were jealous of the gospel of Christ, it is fully answered in verse 45. The issue with jealousy was the unwillingness to share the gospel with the gentiles, thinking it belonged exclusively to them. This was the problem Israel had with the first covenant; the law did not exclusively belong to them but to everyone, just like Jesus belongs to everyone. When the gospel was first preached, many of the Jews couldn’t believe in Jesus fast enough, but when they noticed that the gentiles were also welcome, they lost the sense of exclusiveness and it enraged them that God did not intend to treat them as superior, so they rejected the gospel. Jealousy and blasphemy often go together in that both of them contradict the conscience, both of them are enemies of the truth, and both of them are equally destructive. It is very easy to say that blasphemy is based on jealousy; that is, whenever blasphemy occurs, jealousy is never far behind. Jealousy has levels of destructive potential. There is the envy of celebrities that people love to watch on TV, and then there is the jealousy of Cain and Abel. Cain could have approached God before killing his brother and asked why his sacrifice was inferior to his brother’s, and God might have told him that Abel’s sacrifice was the one that He chose for His future people Israel, who would sacrifice to Him as Abel did. Cain was a tiller of the ground, whereas Abel was a shepherd of flocks; consequently, Cain’s sacrifice was that of fruits and vegetables, while Abel’s sacrifice was that of a living, breathing animal that would later be involved in Israel’s ritual of temple service. It would be Abel’s sacrifice that God would use for His own Son one day. Had Cain gone to God and asked what he could do to improve his sacrifice, God may have told him some of these things to bring clarity so he would not feel inferior to his brother in the sight of God. The Jews felt the same way about the gospel of Christ. The gentiles believed and were bypassing the Jews. They were feeling inferior to the gentiles in the sight of God after sacrificing lambs for centuries according to the pattern they were given through Moses. Now the Son of God had been sacrificed, and after they had rejected Him, Paul turned to the gentiles, who received the gospel, and it became just like Cain and Abel, essentially destroying their conscience, making it that much more difficult to repent of their unbelief and receive the blessing of eternal salvation.

Act 13,42-44

(77c) Thy kingdom come >> Hunger for the essence of God >> Hunger for His truth

(93h) Thy kingdom come >> Following Jesus >> Through the leadership of men

(143i) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> Popularity >> Sought commendably >> Being sought for your relationship with God

Act 13-43

(32b) Gift of God >> God is our Father >> Grace >> Word of His grace – Paul may not have been right about everything he said and did, but he was right about everything he wrote in the Scriptures. The Holy Spirit inspired the words we read in Scripture. To the one who says there must be flaws in the Bible since it is a work of men, the Scriptures are the closest thing to the word of God that mankind will ever see. It is close enough that we can use it to reach into a world of darkness and find the hand of God who will safely lead us into His kingdom. For man to write something that divine was a privilege beyond compare.

(115e) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Through your ministry >> By the word of God

(139c) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Encouragement >> Urging the disciples to continue in the faith

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

44&45 The next Sabbath nearly the whole city assembled to hear the word of the Lord. 45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began contradicting the things spoken by Paul, and were blaspheming.

 

Act 13,44-51

(24i) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Jews are envious of the gospel – This was the biggest insult Paul could have given to the Jews. That in itself reveals a sadness about them, since it implies that they never did understand the call of God on the Jewish nation. They were called as beacons of light to the world, even though God initially used them as His hammer to squash the “–ites” in the land of Canaan, some of the most depraved people on earth that lived in the territories in which they were to inherit. Afterward, God’s intention for them was to become His guiding light to the world. This was to have the effect of reaching the world with the love of God and showing the nations by example how they ought to live. Instead, they interpreted the work of God as for their benefit only, seeing no application to the nations, viewing the gentiles as pigs and dogs, though God Himself called them dogs. God called them dogs because He didn’t want His Jewish people to mix their seed with the nations, but to keep themselves genetically pure. Israel was so disobedient that God could not use them to convert the nations to a life under their law. They should have been happy that Paul was finally reaching the gentiles with the gospel of Christ, performing the ministry that God intended for old covenant Israel, but the Jews resisted and instead became jealous, because they wanted the things of God to stay with Israel only. This was their big mistake, as though God didn’t care about the gentiles. This was a misinterpretation of their Scriptures and a misunderstanding of God’s purpose in general.

(180cb) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Wolves >> Be shrewd as wolves and more innocent than they appear >> Fighting off wolves with a clever innocence >> Being more bold than their cleverness

Act 13,44-48 

(27a) Sin >> Consequences of sin >> Curse >> Deeds that return to the doer >> Blasphemy – People nowadays think they know the truth without even seeking it; they are more like the Jews than the Jews. They don’t care about the truth; they only want to win an argument, and they want the gospel of Christ to go away. To resist the work of the Holy Spirit is the definition of blasphemy, to believe your own lies. The Jews were contradicting the things spoken by Paul, knowing they were lying. They may not have known they were resisting the Holy Spirit, but it didn’t matter; they knew God was working with Paul, because of the signs, wonders and miracles that followed him and all the apostles. Merely by their great success they should have known these men were of God, bringing an entire town to assembly. That was something the Jews couldn’t do. The gentiles couldn’t care less what the Jews had to say, because they were steeped in their own religion and had nothing to say of any importance. The Jews were so confused and mixed up, they had nothing to offer anyone, but Paul came to them by the Spirit of God and by a confidence they had never seen and by a word they had never heard. For the Jews to contradict Paul was obviously blasphemous to everyone in his hearing. Paul wasn’t the only one who knew they were blaspheming; the whole town knew it.

(50dc) Judgment >> Last Days >> Jewish Led endtime revival >> Israel prophesied to lead the gentiles to salvation

(71aa) Authority >> Believer’s authority >> We have authority from God to evangelize the world >> We have authority to preach the gospel

(122m) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Boldness to rebuke the world for unbelief

(154f) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> God bears witness against the world >> Witness that the world is godless >> Witness that the world is of the devil -- These verses go with verses 6-12

(200b) Denying Christ >> Man chooses his own destiny apart from God >> Rejecting Christ >> Rejecting the will of God >> Rejecting the gospel – Israel suffered tremendously after the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Within seventy years the Romans came and destroyed their temple and drove the Jews from their homeland, and they were dispossessed until 1948, without country, wandering throughout the world for nearly 2000 years. This didn’t happen because they crucified their Lord, but because they rejected the gospel afterward, for why would God punish them for something He predestined them to do? In many respects the crucifixion of Jesus Christ was like the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil in the Garden of Eden, in that they were not supposed to eat its fruit, just as they were not supposed to crucify their Lord, though God sent His Son for the express purpose that they should crucify Him, just as God set the forbidden tree in front of them that they should eat its fruit, setting in motion God’s eternal plan. Rev 13-8 says that the Lamb of God was “slain from the foundation of the world.” This was the only way God could give mankind everything we now possess. The Father could have just created us to possess the universe like He did with Lucifer, but He chose to give it to us through faith in the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ. This way we will appreciate His gifts, unlike Lucifer, who acted like a spoiled rich kid. Our appreciation will lead us into a greater understanding and depth of knowledge, so we won’t just do things but will understand what we are doing on a much deeper level.

(211c) Salvation >> Jews and gentiles are being saved >> Gentiles included >> Gentiles steal the kingdom from Israel through obedience – This was essentially the beginning of Paul’s ministry to the gentiles, and notice it doesn’t say that God told Paul to do this, though he had probably been thinking and praying about it for some time. The Scriptures didn’t depict this decision as a mandate from God, though it says elsewhere that Paul was called as a minister to the gentiles, so that when the moment came to officially transfer his focus, he was at the end of his patience with the Jews. People were hungry for the truth back then, suggesting that Jesus came when He did not just for the sake of the Jews, but also for the sake of the gentiles, who were eager to receive the gospel of Christ, for God had prepared many hearts to respond to the Word. The whole world had heard how God delivered the Jews from the hand of pharaoh so many centuries previously and how God used them to

(222g) Kingdom of God >> The elusive Kingdom of Heaven >> Do not give what is holy to dogs >> God shares no intimacy with dogs >> God does not speak to dogs – This was not the first time Paul and Barnabas had been persecuted by the unbelieving Jews, for they had been following the evangelists and disrupting their efforts to convert the gentiles since the onset of their ministry. They were the opposite of groupies, like demons assigned to them. The Jews had already jealously resisted believing the gospel for themselves and were thwarting the gentiles from receiving it too. After the entire city of the gentiles had assembled to hear the word of the Lord, Paul announced to the Jews that he and Barnabas were rejecting them and turning to the gentiles as their new focus of ministry, which increased their jealousy all the more. No longer were they going to waste their time, their voice or the grace of God on a people who have stopped up their ears from hearing their message of eternal life when there were people standing in line to hear the gospel. Jesus said, “Do not give what is holy to dogs, and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet and turn and tear you to pieces” (Mat 7-6). These people who would practice conceit, Paul throws it right back into their faces and becomes conceited toward them.

Act 13,44-47

(80a) Thy kingdom come >> Know the word as a sword in spiritual warfare >> To oppose religion

Act 13,44-46

(47l) Judgment >> God judges the world >> Eternal judgment against unbelief >> Rejecting the gospel

Act 13-44,45

(186c) Works of the devil >> The result of lawlessness >> Blasphemy >> Cursing the Holy Spirit >> Lying to the Holy Spirit – The Jews were arguing with Paul not necessarily to be right, but for Paul to be wrong in the eyes of the people. They didn’t care about proselyting the gentiles so much as they cared about Paul preaching the word to them. Instead of the Jews seeking the truth, they made up lies that contradicted what they believed. That is the very definition of blasphemy. It was bad enough to say these things to Paul, but it was far worse to say them in the hearing of an entire city.

Act 13-44

(106i) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Hearing from God >> Means of hearing from God >> Through prophets

(144a) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> Popularity >> Men who follow God are popular

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

46-48 Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, "It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 "For so the Lord has commanded us, 'I HAVE PLACED YOU AS A LIGHT FOR THE GENTILES, THAT YOU MAY BRING SALVATION TO THE END OF THE EARTH.' " 48 When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. 

 

Act 13,46-48

(112e) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Light >> Jesus light in us overcomes darkness >> The light of His truth

Act 13-46

(179j) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Wolves >> Unworthy servant >> Unworthy of eternal life – The Jews have received a bad rap for having Jesus crucified; many still hold this against them. Those that do may be some of the most ignorant people on earth, because had they not crucified Him, how could the world be saved? Had the Jews not crucified their Lord, it would indicate that the world didn’t need saving, which contradicts God’s view of the world. They were literally predestined to do this, just as sure as Adam and Eve ate the forbidden fruit. However, this is not why judgment has come upon them; instead, after they crucified Him, they rejected the gospel; the same condemnation will befall the gentiles who do not believe in Jesus. The very same people who stand in accusation against the Jews, who are just as guilty of rejecting the gospel will receive the same sentence of eternal damnation, for He is the savior of gentiles also. Israel may have done wrong in crucifying the Lord of glory (1Cor 2-7,8), but they were representing all mankind; therefore, God is able to forgive all mankind their sins through the blood of Christ; otherwise, God could have only forgiven the Jews. This means that any other nation would have done the same as Israel; therefore we owe the Jews a debt of gratitude for their services instead of persecuting them.

Act 13-47

(142b) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Old Testament bears witness to the new >> Prophesy about the dispensation >> Gentiles are included – This Old Testament passage that Paul quoted to the Jews was a prophecy for the new covenant era, though it could have been fulfilled before Christ had the Jews been faithful, for the law was a type of light. It was a dim light, but it was a light just the same. The psalmist wrote about the law of God being a light that illumined the pathway for his feet, “Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psalm 119-105). They viewed their covenant as something that pertained only to themselves, but there are many instances in Scripture where some of the surrounding nations had become familiar with Israel’s covenant with God and wanted to be a part of it. For example, Moses made allowances for gentile people who heard their Scriptures and wanted to be part of Israel and integrate into the Jewish faith, though they would not have access to various temple services. Some of these gentiles understood God’s plan for the Jew better that the Jews. They believed in the Jewish faith and were saved without the Jews even pursuing them. The fact is, this prophecy came to the Jew and was meant for the Jew. This prophecy will see its total fulfillment at the end of the age when God calls upon the Jews once more, and this time they will obey, all 144,000 of them with two witnesses leading the way. They will effect the great endtime revival of all the gentile nations, among whom billions will be saved, just as the antichrist is building his empire. Therefore, Paul used this verse as a microcosm of his own ministry toward the gentiles regarding what is to come.

Act 13-48

(30j) Gift of God >> He favors you by His gracious choice of you

(72b) Authority >> Ordained by God >> We walk in ordained reconciliation

(218k) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> The elect >> Man is a spectator of his own salvation >> We are chosen before the foundation of the world – The way Scripture puts it, salvation is a matter of God’s choice, making the point again that predestination is real and is happening all around us. For, while people are making decisions, God knows exactly what they will do, because He exists on both ends of eternity and knows the end from the beginning. It would seem to the people that these were all things that they controlled, but in God’s point of view they are what He is doing. He knows His children who will be with Him in heaven, and He also knows those who will reject His offer of forgiveness and eternal life. Therefore, salvation is something that must transpire on both ends, both on man’s part and on God’s part. Therefore, if man wants to be saved and God has not chosen them for salvation, they can’t be saved, no matter what they do, for the ability to believe in God is a gift, not to be confused with the gifts of the Spirit.

(237j) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Transferring the kingdom >> The Church is transferred to the kingdom >> Citizens of heaven

 

49-52 And the word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region. 50 But the Jews incited the devout women of prominence and the leading men of the city, and instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 51 But they shook off the dust of their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

 

Act 13,49-51

(3i) Responsibility >> To the Family >> God addresses both genders >> Women leaders

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

Act 13-49,50

(242c) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Persecution >> Persecuting God >> Persecuting the word of God – The Jews incited a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, using the authority figures of prominent women and leading men in their district. In that district there were also those who got saved representing the Church, and there were those who didn’t get saved, but were not part of the persecution either. The only people who were exempt from the apostles’ protest were those who got saved. They shook off the dust of their feet in protest against everybody who was involved in the persecution, not just the prominent women and leading men of the city, but also those who joined the persecution incited by the Jews.

Act 13-50,51

(181d) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Lawlessness >> Lawlessness is no excuse for sin >> Sinning under the law is still lawlessness – These Jews who did this were not God-fearing people; instead, they were jealous of the gospel because it opposed their religion that was based on the Law of Moses instead of the faith of Abraham. They recognized Abraham as their Father but failed to recognize His faith. They were more interested in Moses and became fixated on the Law, which represented the outward expression of their faith; i.e., if they kept the Law it meant they believed in God, and if they didn’t it meant they didn’t believe in God. These Jews thought they were keeping the Law and therefore they thought they were God-fearing people, but they were not; and If they weren’t God-fearing, then neither did they keep the Law. The advantage of the Law is that it acts as a standard of behavior so we can look at it and tell whether our behavior is good or evil, so why didn’t these Jews understand that their behavior was evil if they were serving God through the Law? The Law was not doing its job; it was not being the standard that it promised. Man’s ability to maneuver things in his mind had essentially nullified the Law. Man has an uncanny ability to turn black into white and light into darkness and vise versa, so it doesn’t honestly make a difference whether we are followers of the Law or not. If we are not followers of the Law, then we are law breakers, and if we use the Law to follow God, we will end up manipulating our minds to make it appear to ourselves and others that we are serving God when in fact we are not. This is why the Law failed, because man found ways around it.

(197f) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Man withers when he is in control >> Fruitlessness >> Neutral is unfruitful – On the one hand, there were many God-fearing people in that district who listened to the message of Paul and Barnabas and got saved, and it says that they were continuously filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. On the other hand, there were those who were neutral, who were neither part of the protest nor part of the Church; they were included in the curse that the apostles pronounced against that city (Mat 10,12-15). Many people take the neutral position, thinking that God will accept them, being neither enemies of God nor members of the Church, but God views neutrality as a position of hostility against His throne. Neutrality is just as much a rejection of the gospel as active persecution. People think they must do something excessively evil before they are in jeopardy of hell’s flame, but the fact is they must do something in order to go to heaven. There is one act of joining the Church and there is the other of joining the True Church. If we join our local church, it will not save us to be on their roster, but those whose names are written in the Lamb's Book of Life are the only ones who are being saved.

Act 13-52

(125g) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Joy >> Joy is the result of unity – Paul and Barnabas did not leave this entire city’s inhabitants in the lurch who were seeking to know the Lord just because there were certain Jews who demanded they leave. Those who wanted to hear the gospel would hear it regardless of what others might say and do. Paul and Barnabas may have left for a season, shaking off the dust of their feet as they went; however, they didn’t abandon the saints who believed in God, but no doubt sent them teachers to lead them in the ways of God, people of the caliber and reputation of Timothy, who would organize the people and help establish churches in their area, mostly held in people’s homes, and would teach them the true doctrines of the faith, so that they could assemble together as a body of believers to share their hearts and spirits and all things in the peace and joy of the Holy Spirit.

(132i) Temple >> Your body is the temple of God >> Holy Spirit is in God’s people >> Filled with the Spirit >> Filled with the blessing of God

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