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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 Peter and John walked over them, but this time they walked passed them, not sleeping but in a 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 that what was happening to him was real. 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 (except the apostle John), 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 too as a form of entertainment, martyring the saints, even the apostles of the Church. Herod was steeped in arrogance, and God miraculously delivered Peter from his hand, for he still needed to do a few things before his time would come, and they would hang Peter upside down on a cross at his request, according to early Christian lore. God delivered Peter to spite Herod, to show him that he was not in control as he thought. Had Herod continued in this manner, God had his means of removing him, which was the message He intended for Herod, delivering Peter from prison. Of course Herod did not accept the rebuke; some people are so arrogant they will never learn to fear God, who has given man a will and authority to use it as he pleases, and most often he uses it to express his pride and arrogance. 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. Herod was a demon-controlled man who enjoyed martyring the saints to please the Jews. He was a man of immense wickedness, who was most known 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 Christians. 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 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 and let them chant, “The voice of a god and not of a man,” instead of curtailing the people, and he was eaten by worms and died (Act 12,21-23). God’s judgment on Herod was at least in part fueled by taking James. God called a different James to write an epistle in his place, the Book of James, the brother of Jesus, who brought a completely different perspective to the gospel of Christ. He saw how his big brother (Jesus) lived without hypocrisy, and this is what he taught in his epistle, that as we believe so we are to live. This may be how God compensated for His apostle James, one of the sons of thunder, brother of John, dying before his time.

(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's sixteen soldiers to guard one man; one guard would have been enough. He did this because he heard the disciples had been known to be slippery prisoners and have found ways of escaping, hearing too that God had been helping them. God never had His people run for their lives, which greatly intimidated their enemies (Act 5,17-26). Instead of fearing God, Herod thought using more guards would keep God from springing Peter from his cell. This mindset was atrocious, for if he really suspected God was helping His apostles, it was like trying to keep God in prison. Later, King Herod gave a speech, and the people worshipped him (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 persecuting the Church 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, probably 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 a coward, afraid to believe in God. To lack the fear of God is to lack the laws of God, and a person who does not respect the law is capable of anything. All that keeps him from doing more evil is the fear of man, which is a poor deterrent, but the person who fears God knows there is no way to circumvent Him. If he doesn’t feel the steely edge of God’s judgment on 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, 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 and for a while embarked on 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. See also: Act 12,1-3; 44j

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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, one of the sons of thunder, one of Jesus' closest disciples was killed shortly after Pentecost. Peter, James and John went with Jesus to Mount Transfiguration, and Jesus sat them around Him while He prayed before His execution. They seemed to understand Jesus better than the others. When we think about King Herod killing James, a man of great faith, it was a huge loss, 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 no doubt he would have written at least one epistle, which 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, for what we have in the Bible is enough. John lost his little brother. John lived the longest of all the original apostles, possibly to make up for his brother's early death, and contributed more to the New Testament than anyone except Paul. What we have in the New Testament is sufficient, for God stands over His word to perform it (Jeremiah 1-12). See also: Act 12,1-4; 242b

(189e) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Martyr >> Tested for faithfulness to the death

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, that we might continue serving the Lord. 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. We have built huge telescopes that can peer millions of light-years into the past that can 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 and that we understand He loves us in spite of evidence to the contrary. What is most important to God are His greatest attributes: integrity, justice, righteousness and truth. We all have an opinion; God has one too, and His opinion is the Truth. He has put us in an imperfect world full of sin and wickedness, pain and sorrow and asks us to believe in Him, that He is not as His creation depicts Him, 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; unbelievers have a prayer life even if they don't pray at all, but to develop a life of prayer means that it is the number one aspect of our lives, so all other forms of obedience fall under prayer, which is how we invest ourselves in the Kingdom of God.

(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 we are actually having a vision from God, but having a dream, and dreams don’t often seem relevant until later. Peter’s vision manifested in the natural realm, freeing him from prison, suggesting that all visions from God have freedom as a goal, and visions that have the power to effect the natural realm is not a vision at all but an angelic experience, but Peter perceived his experience as though it were a vision. We often cannot experience our dreams and visions on a cognitive level without chasing them away as we awake; in the same way, Peter experienced this event fully conscious but thought it was a vision, so he didn't say or do something stupid to chase away the angel in mid-vision. Thus, God gives us dreams and visions to remove the human element of failure from the equation, putting 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 stupid question that got him in trouble, who emerged mute from the temple until his son, John the Baptist, was born.

(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 as He called His Church to behave. Moreover, He did not instruct Peter and the Church to run from their enemies, because they would eventually have to face them. The Church eventually 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 obstacles and not forceful aggression. God used aggression during the old covenant; He used Israel as His hammer to destroy the inhabitants of Canaan that worshipped other gods and refused to repent, but with the new covenant He used love, and it worked for a while, until the Church grew weary of doing good and got the false notion that the gospel was something to be physically imposed on others and defended by sword and club, until the rifle was invented so they could more efficiently slaughter their fellow man in the name of Christ. Had the Church followed Christ throughout the age of grace, those who refused 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. As it is, the world doesn’t know this because the Church did not show them. Conversely, Israel refused to be God's hammer and destroy the disobedient nations, instead became sympathetic to them and their gods, and followed the nations into sin. So whether we are of the old covenant or the new, if we don’t have a heart of obedience, we cannot please Him.

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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

(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 The jailer didn’t just throw them in prison; he fastened Peter in chains, because the apostles of the early church were developing a reputation of being slippery fellows, and the jailers were being charged with their lives to keep them, which became a monumental task. These God-people who carried the message of eternal life from the Most High were able to escape prison many times, and no one figured a way to keep them there, and they are unwilling to believe that God was helping them.

(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 God's people and direct them to freedom. Miracles 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 scrape and then leave us again to walk with our God in faith. He doesn’t send his angels into every situation; rather, He wants the cards to fall as they may and allow faith to be the arbitrator between God and man. In this way He justifies the person of faith and judges the sinners through their unbelief. 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 God did help Peter escape. This exposes the mental attitude of sinners, in that ungodly persons make accommodations for their unbelief but corner themselves when God intervenes. They left themselves no way to explain how Peter could have escaped, and they could not deny this fact, yet they did deny it, being the kind of people the apostles never even tried to win to Christ, because they were beyond hope, being reprobates. The men who hated the apostles knew God was with them, but 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 because God willed so when He spoke to Abraham, and by that simple act Israel was born. It was by faith that Israel came into existence, and it was by faith that Israel was to live and walk with God, but they mostly resisted, being the reason they missed Jesus when He came. The Jews hated their maker as much as any nation because they were plagued with the same curse of sin as all the nations, and because He opposed their Judaism and 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 the Old Testament. Their religion did not account for a suffering servant who would come to them and die for the sins of the whole world. Had they obeyed the Old Testament, whether they recognized Jesus in it or not, they would have received Him simply based on their hearts seeking God. 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, 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 recognized him. The rest of the congregation has rejected any possibility that this could actually be Peter, though they were praying for him. The contemporary church in principle does not believe in the freedom of Christ, for when God supernaturally delivers a person to rise above the general malaise of worldly enchantments, the person is silently persecuted and ignored. They simply choose not to believe it; in fact, they reject all physical manifestations of God’s power, thinking that He has confined Himself to working solely in our hearts. In contrast, Peter was knocking on the door, not on the door of their hearts, but on a 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 and in the power of God – Apparently they were not praying for Peter’s release, but for themselves, that God would help them 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? 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! There are other cases when we pray for the desires of our flesh and never see our prayers answered, because we want to spend His grace on our pleasures, but here we see just the opposite, the disciples praying for the will of God without faith and seeing the hand of God move on their behave. This should be a clue to pray for the will of God, so we may see our prayers answered more often, instead of wasting our time praying for things that don't interest God and consequently never get answered.

(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. This escape was a repeat performance of the angels busting Peter and John from jail (Act 5,17-20). The soldiers suffered a similar fate as the Lord Jesus, for they were first examined with a whip before 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 Herod, anticipating the next day to make sport of Peter, but they graciously took his place. Apparently being familiar with his previous jailbreak, they thought increasing the guard would ensure success in holding him. Many men guarding one man chained to the floor, who did not have a reputation for violence, they hoped more guards would protect against angels, so they knew in their hearts they were persecuting God. Who would volunteer for a job like that? 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.

Act 12,21-23

(22n) Sin >> Pride comes before a fall – Jesus once stood before Herod in His mock robe and crown of thorns; this time Herod stood before the people, 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. It says that Herod fed their country, probably in some kind of a trade deal, and apparently the people were appreciative and praised Herod, though God is ultimately responsible for our food. This happened when God's kingdom was growing by leaps and bounds and the Church was vibrant and maintained an anointing, so when the world persecuted the Church, they knew it was God’s people. Herod was probably saying something about what he intended to do with the Church, and it rang true with the crowd. 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. Herod was a very hedonistic and wicked man doing a good thing, and the only reason an evil man would do good is for evil purposes. 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 as in this story his self-worship will destroy him too. Had he not martyred the saints God may have endured Herod's self-admiration; conversely, had he turned down the admiration of the people, God may have endured him martyring the saints, but together Herod became odious to God. Apparently, killing his saints and being worshipped at the same time is a combination of sins that God cannot tolerate, for it shows no repentance or humility before Almighty 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 among the believers, who reached into the world and made converts. Back then there was less fear of false doctrine, though there were some false teachers attempting to find root in the Church from the very beginning, but this context refers to 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 (Acts 5-31).

Act 12-25

(77i) Thy kingdom come >> Tapping into the power of God through humility >> The most humble are the greatest servants – This same Mark was the one who wrote the gospel of Mark. He was a significant person and his gospel plays a significant role in the four witnesses of Jesus Christ, the emphasis of his gospel expounding on the miracles He performed, elucidating details in the stories we read in other gospels. To allow his rendition of the gospel entrance into the cannon of scripture was an act of absolute trust. Mark was not one of the twelve disciples; it is questionable if he even saw Jesus in the flesh, like Paul, being the only person who saw and heard Jesus Christ after Pentecost, who proved Himself an apostle extraordinaire, faithful to his calling. 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 the significance of Mark who had status to write a gospel, yet he was a mere helper of Paul and Barnabas, the humility of Mark not to demand a leadership role.

 

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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

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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 trace their knowledge back to a source, though they have learned many things from their 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 known or even imagined. If the Church raised up the prophet, he couldn’t offer groundbreaking knowledge that the Church doesn't already know, but since God has personally taught him what he knows, 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 – How significant was it that Paul and Barnabas were sent by the Church? It was fundamental to their success! Conversely, how significant was it that they were divinely ordained to the ministry? What they accomplished together was to nobody's credit but God's! The significance of these two endorsements cannot be overstated. Some have become missionaries while others have become pastors, the leaders and elders of the Church having laid hands on them and send them on their way; they were ordained by men well enough, but they were not ordained by God. In their hearts they don’t really know what they are doing, which limits their faith. They can only guess about the will of God, and their ministry reflects that fact, because they didn’t wait for God to ordain them. Paul and Barnabas had been ministering together for a long time before God made it official, but today’s standard of induction into the ministry is by the Church only, and God's input is assumed. The difference between man's ordainment and God's is the difference between doing the works of men and doing the works 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 in His time, and He will empower us to fulfill His purpose.

(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 to work through us. 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 in God's personal endorsement. 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 I should 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. That is, they give up on the question of God’s will and just do what they want. The problem most of the time is that they don’t ask God with a whole heart what they should do, so if He told them, they would not try with a whole heart to do His will, which would result in failing to do His will at all, being why He never told them.

(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 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 experience in fasting. 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

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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 is ordained by God. There are only a few things that He 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, 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, because angels have no authority to do so, for we belong to God, not to angels. God expected Paul and Barnabas to go where the Holy Spirit sent them to evangelize the world; hence, if their ministry is fulfilled through His endorsement, then it is only fitting that He should send 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 – Missionaries are born and divinely shaped in ways that are very mysterious, and their faith is interlaced throughout their lives between circumstances and people that could never happen on their own. The Holy Spirit sent Paul and Barnabas after they fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them. Many people fast and pray and are sent as missionaries, 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 or lays hands on them; in fact, this is the last thing that happens, whereas being sent by the Holy Spirit is the very first thing. Those who are sent by the Holy Spirit know it, and for this reason they are tenacious, because they know the will of God, and obstacles that get in their way may be frustrating and discouraging but do not stop them, because God has sent them. Those who are divinely ordained can endure far more than what others can bear whom God has not endorsed. Circumstances, people and misfortunes oppose their ministry, but they don’t give up because they know who is with them. Giving up as disciples of Jesus is not in their vocabulary, because they have a calling that they received from Him and know they will succeed regardless of the circumstances, no doubt at great cost to themselves. Missionaries give confidence to those who send them, as those who sent Paul and Barnabas; they hold up everybody, even those who sent them. 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.

Act 13-5

(139g) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> We build the temple through Christ -- This verse goes with verses 14-44. In the days of the apostles, God raised up Paul, who was greater even than the original twelve disciples (apostles after Pentecost), and God used only a unique visitation to Paul on the road to Damascus and His Spirit to do it. God prepares His people for a certain work that will require an anointing to complete it. Once they found their place in the body of Christ, they were able to accomplish everything God had called them to do. Those who receive more don’t always do more. All twelve walked with Him, but not all accomplished the same amount. They all had different ministries that varied in significance.

(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 came with Paul and Barnabas in the capacity of a helper. Imagine the strength of spirit in these two apostles who never walked a day with the Lord but were more effective in preaching the gospel than the twelve original apostles. 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 while, but then later took him again. It caused a schism between Paul and Barnabas and they separated, Barnabas taking Mark and Paul choosing Silas as co-apostles (Act 15,36-41).

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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 – Elymas being quite a notable character in his time, having already done much harm to the gospel of Christ, had this coming. Paul, being experienced in wielding the power of God, spoke judgment against Elymas by the Spirit, and he was temporarily blinded to match his spiritual blindness, hoping he would take the hint and be saved with the proconsul. When James and John tried to bombard their enemies with fireballs from heaven, Jesus stopped them, saying, “You don’t know what kind of spirit you are of” (Lk 9-55). These circumstances were different in that the Samaritans in the gospel of Luke were not blaspheming God as Elymas was doing. 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.

(64c) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Limits of God >> God has limited patience – Paul was first patient with Elymas, being one of the fruits of the Spirit. He was also operating in the gifts of the Spirit, and God honored his request through the fruit of patience. Are we supposed to put up with these demonically controlled people that spiritually and emotionally batter us day after day in the workplace and elsewhere? Paul was dealing with demonic entities when he rebuked Elymas; he was not playing with him, and neither should we allow forces of evil to continually manifest in our presence. Instead, we should 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 today? All that remains of it is mere words that we are supposed to believe. The Church is unable to prove the gospel, yet Paul proved what he was saying, because God displayed His Power in him. We don’t see miracles like the early church, because our doctrines have become so distorted that God is unwilling to work with us, otherwise He would confirm His word in the world with signs and wonders, as He did with the early church, but He is not about to confirm false doctrine.

(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 into demonic activity, whereas those of our day mostly use slight of hand, though some are beginning to summon demons to assist in their performance. Those who want us to believe they have certain powers invite demons to inhabit their magic arts, to inhabit their lives and to potentially inhabit 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. 1Jn 4,1-3 addresses this, “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 did not believe that Jesus came in the flesh, but that he had an angelic form, or that His body was of a spiritual substance, 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. Since the apostles have fallen asleep, the gospel has been overrun by heretics and false prophets, so that trying to protect the gospel now is like fixing a board on a dilapidated building that needs a complete renovation and a new paintjob.

(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 God afflicting people through signs and wonders, Paul’s thorn in the flesh was the Jews (2Cor 12,7-10), mostly Pharisees, people like his old self, who followed him around and continually hounded him, attempting to hinder 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 keeping him humble. Therefore the case with Elymas was relatively unique, since Elymas would easily fall under the description of a thorn in Paul's side.

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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, unsurprisingly a man led by such a spirit would disagree with the truth, but Paul was not about to get into a debate with him. 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 the 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 God Himself wanted the proconsul to hear the gospel, and Paul knew this because God sent Him; he knew he was exactly in the will of God, so it was Elymas out of place, 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 – Intelligent Sergius Paulus and arrogant Elymas the magician represent two schools of thought, marked by the difference between the mindset of the ancient world in Paul’s day and the mindset of our day. Intelligence of our day more resembles Elymas, who generally dismissed all things pertaining to God, whereas the intelligence of Paul's day sought to hear the word of God, suggesting that Sergius Paulus was open-minded as opposed to people today. That is, the definition of intelligence has changed from curiosity in their day to arrogance in ours. Sergius Paulus' 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 seeks to remove God from His creation and spurn the Holy Spirit. This bespeaks of 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 oneself to 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 places we can go to hear the many lies, but there is really only one lie: there is no God. This is the message of the fool. They go to their colleges and sit at the feet of their professors and fill their heads full of ideas about atheism, which has no chance of being true. 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 answers, 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, which brings us full circle back to faith. Meanwhile, God stands outside His universe shaking His head wondering how these people could call themselves intelligent when everything they understand is in disregard of their creator. He stands outside the universe, because He has cursed it, and the curse is His very absence. We claim to know so much more than people in the ancient world, but maybe they knew something that we don't know. We may have a clearer view of our solar system and have invented a lot of gadgets to make our lives easier, but knowing more is not the same as knowing better. A person can fill his head full of facts and still not know the truth, for Truth is a matter of adopting 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

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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 your mind on God

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. Paul communicated to him that if he wanted to be willfully blind to the things of God, then his wish is granted, but he must temporarily accept literal blindness as an analogy to show his what his spiritual blindness is doing to him.

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 but from fear.

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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 undergone decay, proving their need to be saved from death 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 validating His ministry as the Great High Priest. Paul is telling his audience of Jewish believers that another chapter in the story of God’s connection with man has been written in the blood of a savior, Jesus Christ. The Old Testament writers whom they had read time and again, who prophesied that one day would come has come, and the prophecies of Him being mercilessly tortured at the hands of sinners and nailed to a cross until dead 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 between them, suggesting there is no sudden turn in direction. Although the new covenant seems different from the old, it is only because the Jewish people didn’t follow it. Nevertheless, being there is only one story means the gospel of Christ belongs to the Jew first, because Jesus came through their Jewish lineage, supposedly as 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 all nations 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 gospel and have gotten saved. 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, as was the case with 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 already have a religion, making it difficult to convert them to Christianity. There have been times when people were ready to believe in something new, such as in the first century, for their old pagan views didn't offer eternal life.

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 introduction to deliver the gospel to eager ears? Today the world is 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 are converting the treasures of the cross into the treasures of this world, yet it seems everybody is flocking to empires built 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 can the people hope to receive from these mega-churches? At the top of the list they have the opportunity to give their money to a man who is wealthier than them, and from there the deceptions further cascade into a plethora of fraudulent promises that never see the light of day. Ironically, these mammoth churches represent the dimension of apostasy that has enveloped the world in these last days.

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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, taking 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 was crowned 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 and destroy the enemies of His righteousness and sit on his glorious throne. That is, prior to becoming king He will defeat His enemies during the Great Tribulation, according to endtime prophecy that is written in both Old and New Testaments, and He will reign in peace for a thousand years. David defeated the majority of Canaan's inhabitants, but those that were allowed to remain became a thorn in Israel's side, and at the end of Christ's thousand-year reign resistance will form in attempt to take over Christ's throne after Satan is released from his prison, and he will once again instigate a rebellion, but it will come to nothing, and then Satan, death and hell will be throne 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 would go in that direction. They must have thought Paul and the others risked their lives to spread made-up stories.

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, instead took forty years because of the people's 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 it seems they have been there for many years. They keep asking God for direction, and it could be that 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? There is no recipe for coming to know this, though we do know His general will, which is outlined in the Scriptures. That would be a really good place to start our search for God’s specific will, in that if we obey His general will, maybe He will reveal His specific will, 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. 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. God needed patience in 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 were 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. These could have had the greatest faith of all who saw God work His power on their behalf, but just the opposite occurred; they had the least faith of all. People say God should reveal Himself once in a while just to let us know He is still there, but it doesn't help. We either believe in Him or we don't. 

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 of its ancient prophets to bring about a history of the Bible that Paul’s audience knew so well. He reiterated this story to show that he too was familiar to the rich heritage of Israel. He was a Pharisee of Pharisees, having more education and being more devout in the Hebrew traditions than any of his peers. It was important for them to know that he was familiar with the Old Testament, being the basis upon which he launched into the continuation of that story to include a man whom God sent to the Israeli people, who proved through innumerous signs and wonders to be God's own Son, whom He sent to die for the sins of mankind. David was mentioned, who signifies the Kingdom of Messiah, though the psalmist spoke about Him as a gentle shepherd. The Father was very protective of Him, especially as a baby. He went through great pains to keep Him alive, sending Mary and Joseph away, because Jesus had many enemies even as a newborn, being evidence of a great and mighty King, and a threat to all other kings, and to mankind in general who would not submit to His authority.

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

Act 13-22

(87d) Thy kingdom come >> Obedience >> Church obeys all 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 the power of God throughout past eternity, for God has never done anything without Him, but has done all things 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 dwelt among us. He lived as we live with the difference being that God Almighty was His Father. He showed us that love is the way to the Father. Paul said in Rom 8-3 that Jesus came in the "likeness of sinful flesh," except that He never sinned, being “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 – 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; all its atoms and molecules have returned 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 then “changing” it into an indestructible body seems 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 consistency to that of a heavenly substance. Contrary to the stuff we know on earth that gets old and dies, heavenly material never gets old or dies. So was Jesus have a a different body at His resurrection? No, it was the same body but one that could not die, and then when He ascended to heaven, His body was glorified into 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 world through his antichrist and have his own little domain for a brief moment, only to lose it all and be throne into the lake of fire, tormented there for 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, just like every kingdom of man has crumbled throughout history.

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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 chance of accomplishing their agendas if they fear a revolt against the government. So either they do things in favor of the people, or they must brainwash them to want things the government wants. In this case, the leaders found nothing that Jesus did wrong, finding no grounds for putting Him to death; nevertheless they required of 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 Jesus was their Messiah. In fact, they had every evidence to believe this, but they sided with their worldly leaders anyway, because the world, the flesh and the devil are all people really know. For this reason, people who claim they would never take the mark of the beast may in fact take it if their faith isn't strong enough to resist these three forces. 

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.” All 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. This denotes the power of prophecy to boost our faith; it was proof enough for John the Baptist to go peacefully to his grave, and it is proof enough for us 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 of which 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 temperature of 50 to 60 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 a digestive system that is soon to spread its load of bacteria throughout the body. 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 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 one Father. We will not be gods as Jesus is the Son of God, but by analogy Jesus will be the Master print through which all His children will be resurrected. Our resurrected bodies will be made of a divine substance, molded to His image and retaining His unique physical and personal characteristics, even as we are now being spiritually molded to His image. In this way, God has embedded within us power to be free from sin through the new covenant, in that the assumption of the indwelling Holy Spirit is that we obey Him, and in that obedience He imparts an anointing that grants us power to live as His children (Jn 1-12). That is a vast advantage over the law, that consisted merely of commandments but granted no power to fulfill them.

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 probably the most significant layer of our confidence in the word of God. 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. Old Testament Scripture is filled with prophecies; in fact, every book of the Bible after Lamentations is a book of prophecies. The Jews recognized prophecy of the second coming of Christ, but overlooked His first coming, this chapter citing some of the more important references. The Book of Psalms is full of prophecies about Jesus first coming, King David being the writer of many of them, whose kingdom most resembles the coming kingdom of Christ in the Millennium. God sent His very heart to mankind in His Son, His love, His mercy, His kindness, and psalmists recognized God as a person of these qualities, because they had His Spirit.

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 – People like to quote Rom 6-5 when thinking about the resurrection, "For if we have become united with Him in the likeness of His death, certainly we shall also be in the likeness of His resurrection." Paul said here that our resurrected body will be in the likeness of His, but we need to realize that there is something different about our bodies before we're resurrected; it will have undergone decay. We like to imagine how the Resurrection will occur, but the only biblical view is that God will recreate our bodies in the likeness of His own. God will station our souls in the last known location of our bodies and will use what remains of it and use other local materials to complete the ensemble, wrapping us in it so that our bodies take on the image of our souls, as our souls have taken on the image of Christ. Jesus could change His appearance and walk through walls and blink in and out of sight, which is not that much more miraculous than walking on water, which He did in His earthly body. Jesus rose from the dead with the same body 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 main views of bondage to sin, that of unforgiven sin and that of addiction to sin, and 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. 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 that we don’t believe them anymore but that the doctrines we believe have been distorted over the centuries. The Bible may be setting in front of us and we may be reading it, yet our doctrines get in the way of understanding it and keeping us from believing the truth. People are not free to serve the Lord, freedom being top priority in God’s mind. “It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery” (Gal 5-1). If we understood freedom, it would go a long way to understanding the rest of the Bible.

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 seems so easy to Christians 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. We can take them through the logic that this natural realm needs a creator, even atheists know this deep in their stony hearts, but they simply 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. 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 it, just look at 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 – People today question everything, even the existence of God. The gospel is still in the world today, but it is not changing too many people like it did in the first century. There are many enemies against the truth, but if we managed to silence them, we too could begin a revival that would change the world. We think it would be impossible to silence our current enemies, because they know so much about the Scriptures, as opposed to the days of Paul and Barnabas when everything was new, but all people really know is what they have been told, which is most likely false.

(143d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> The public >> Paul ministered publicly -- These verses go with verse 5. Paul and Barnabas did not preach the gospel in a corner but ministered publicly as Jesus did. The public preaching of the gospel is by far the most effective way to bring the truth to the world, and it is also the most likely way to get verbally and possibly even physically persecuted. In the case of Billy Graham the people came to him, whereas Paul and Barnabas went to the people, and their ministry was very 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 resumed 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. In the beginning many people who believed in Jesus were Jews, for the gospel was intended for them first. For this reason Paul and Barnabas came to the Jews as missionaries; their practice was to locate them in every city and preach Jesus to them, until they renounced the gospel, then 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 in attendance at Jesus' crucifixion. It was a tremendous blow to the ego to humble themselves after committing the most heinous sin in human history, but those who had nothing to do with it made it easier to believe in Him, who did not wrestle with the guilt 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, yet many came to Christ seeking freedom from their guilt. For the religious leaders who orchestrated His death, and to have Him rise from the dead and offer forgiveness of sin to all who would believe in Him was their worst nightmare, but it was redemption for 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, it is fully answered in verse 45. The issue with jealousy referred to an unwillingness to share the gospel with the gentiles, thinking it belonged exclusively to them, being also a problem with the old covenant in that the Law of Moses did not belong to them but to everyone, just like Jesus belongs to everyone. The partial explanation of Jewish rejection of the gospel was that they noticed the gentiles were also welcome to it, and the Jews lost their sense of exclusiveness, and it enraged them that God would not treat them as superior, so they rejected the gospel. Jealousy and blasphemy both contradict the conscience, they are both enemies of the truth, and both are equally destructive. It is easy to say that blasphemy is based on jealousy, for whenever blasphemy occurs, jealousy is never far behind. Jealousy has various levels of destructive power. 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 and asked why his sacrifice was inferior to his brother’s, and God would have consoled him, through He would not have told Him that Abel’s sacrifice was in line with that which He would one day institute in Israel’s temple services, which symbolized His Son's planned sacrifice. Had Cain gone to God and asked what he could do to improve his sacrifice, God would have brought clarity so he would not feel inferior to his brother. The Jews felt the same jealousy about the gospel, but instead of going to God about it, they rejected the gospel, and it became like Cain and Abel, making it that much harder to repent 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 lost world of darkness and find the hand of God who will safely lead us into His eternal 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

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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 the Jews, in that it implied they never understood the call of God on their 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, who were some of the most depraved people on earth; but afterward God intended them to become His guiding light to the world. This was to have the effect of showing the nations by example how they ought to live. Instead, they interpreted the work of God as intended for their benefit only, seeing no application to anyone else. Israel was disobedient, so God could not use them to convert the nations to their law. Paul was reaching the gentiles with the gospel and performing the ministry that God intended for old covenant Israel, but the Jews resisted and instead became jealous, wanting the things of God to stay only with them, though they had rejected the gospel. Their big mistake was in thinking God didn’t care about anybody but them, being a misinterpretation of Scripture 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 ever seeking it; like the Jews, they don’t care about the truth. To resist the work of the Holy Spirit is the definition of blasphemy. The Jews were contradicting the things spoken by Paul, knowing that he was in the right and that they were lying. They knew God was working with Paul, because of the signs and wonders that followed his ministry and all the apostles. The Jews were steeped in their own religion, and so the gentiles knew they had nothing to say of any importance, having 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 restore 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 them from their homeland, and they were dispossessed until 1948, without a 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 of it, 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 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 His Son. This way we will appreciate His gifts, unlike Lucifer, who acted like a spoiled rich kid. Our appreciation will lead to 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, which God intended according to Act 9-15, "[Paul] is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel." People were hungry for the truth back then, suggesting that Jesus came when He did, not for the sake of the Jews only, 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.

(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 from the beginning, like demons assigned to them. The Jews had already jealously resisted believing the gospel for themselves and were thwarting the gentiles from believing in Jesus too. After the entire city of the gentiles had assembled to hear the word of the Lord, Paul announced that he and Barnabas were rejecting the Jews 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 and God's grace on those who would not listen, 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). To those who practiced conceit Paul threw it right back in their faces and became 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 so much to be right, but for Paul to be wrong in the eyes of the people. They didn’t care about proselytizing 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, much 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

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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 would eat the forbidden fruit. However, this is not why judgment has come upon them to the utmost; rather, after crucifying 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 too. 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 mankind their sins through the blood of Christ; otherwise, God could have only forgiven the Jews. This means any 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 was a prophecy for the new covenant era, though it could have been fulfilled before Christ came, 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 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 than the Jews. This prophecy came to the Jew and was meant for the Jew, and it will see its fulfillment at the end of the age when God calls upon the Jews once more, and this time they will obey, 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. 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 – Scripture teaches that salvation is a matter of God’s choice, meaning that predestination is a real thing. While people are making choices, God exists on both ends of eternity and knows exactly what they will do. Man feels he is in control of everything, but God, "causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose" (Rom 8-28). He knows those who belong to Him, and He knows those who will reject His offer of forgiveness and eternal life. Salvation occurs on both ends, God and man working together. 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. However, no man knows another in this way, nor does he know himself, for predestination occurs in the mind of God, and there are some things God will not reveal.

(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

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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. 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 were not God-fearing; rather, 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 his 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 did not believe in God. These Jews thought they were keeping the Law and therefore thought they were in God's favor, but they did not keep the Law. The advantage of the Law is that it acts as a standard of behavior, so why didn’t these Jews understand that their behavior was evil? They were not obeying their law but their religion! 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, so it doesn’t help to follow the law, in that if we don't follow it, we are lawless, but if we do follow it, we prove to be law breakers. 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 they were continually filled with joy of 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 their neutrality as hostility against His throne. Neutrality is just as much rejection of the gospel as active persecution. People think they must do something excessively evil before they are in jeopardy of hellfire, but the fact is they must get saved to go to heaven or else hell is guaranteed. There is one act of joining the Church and there is another act 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 truly 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; they didn’t abandon the saints who believed in God but established a church in their area, mostly held in people’s homes, and sent them teachers to lead them in the ways of God, people of the caliber and reputation of Timothy, who taught them the true doctrines of the faith, so they could assemble together as a body of believers and share their hearts 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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