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ACTS CHAPTERS 8 & 9

KJV    NAS

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1-3 Saul was in hearty agreement with putting him to death. And on that day a great persecution began against the church in Jerusalem, and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 Some devout men buried Stephen, and made loud lamentation over him. 3 But Saul began ravaging the church, entering house after house, and dragging off men and women, he would put them in prison.

 

Act 8,1-8

(8k) Responsibility >> Responsible to defend Godís cause >> Preparing for the ministry Ė The Romans came and scattered the nation of Israel to the far ends of the earth. Comparing the dispersion of the early Christians to the disbandment of Israel, the fact that the Church was dispersed is what brought the gospel of the kingdom to every doorstep in the world, but the unbelieving Jews have suffered persecution from every doorstep, until it crescendoed in the holocaust of World War II. So the dispersion was good for the Church but a nightmare for the unbelieving Jew.

Act 8,1-4

(216b) Sovereignty >> God controls time >> Suddenly >> Satan uses the element of surprise

Act 8,1-3

(11n) Servant >> Paulís example of devotion Ė We all know Paul as a very unique person who had distinct gifts; he was more zealous for the gospel than anyone except Jesus Himself. Saul was not like the Pharisees who persecuted and condemned Jesus to a cross, because in their hearts they knew the truth that Jesus was in fact the expected one, the man for whom the children of Israel had been waiting for centuries, nor was Saul like the priests who were being saved in that he persecuted the Church. Many of the Pharisees who hated the gospel did not actively persecute the Church as Saul did, not after Gamaliel's speech (Act 5,34-42). The Jews were afraid of the gospel, knowing there was a curse involved with anyone who would reject it and who persecuted Godís people. They tried persecuting Peter and John, and it was like they were being poked in the eyes, plus they received good advice not to persecute the Church. Gamaliel said that if it is a false religion, it will crumble on its own, but if it is divine, you might even find yourself fighting against God. Saul obviously was an outsider, who was not in the region when Jesus walked the earth in the flesh during His 3Ĺ-year ministry, nor did he attend His crucifixion; He had never personally met the Lord, until the next chapter. He only heard about the sect they were calling the Way, which was led by a man whom its followers claimed to have risen from the dead and is now seated at the right hand of God, and Saul considered this to be heresy and treason against the traditions established by his forefathers. He led the dispersion of Christians from Jerusalem.

(155a) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Witness of the believer >> Conscience >> Having a good conscience >> Doing right to the best of our knowledge Ė Although Saul was a learned man, he still didnít see Jesus in the Scriptures. No one did except the prophets who wrote about Him. There were others who saw Him, but almost everyone who saw Jesus in the Scriptures was a prophet or had a prophetic ministry, and beyond that, Jesus was scripturally shrouded in darkness, hidden in plain sight in the Jewish manuscripts, written by men they upheld with utmost respect, though their fathers martyred most of them. When Jesus came in the flesh he hid in plain sight too. Saul was different from both those who hated Jesus and those who believed in Him in that Saul had two things in higher concentrations than anyone else: conscience and zeal. Saul lived by his conscience even before he met Christ. He was not trying to destroy the Church knowing it was the work of God; he was working against it in total ignorance. Had He known it was the divine work of God, he would not have been in hearty agreement with stoning Steven. Saul was a man of action; he didnít sit around and wait for someone else to get motivated or postulate how something should be done; he just went and did it. He had zeal for God that transcended that of everybody else. He was defending what he believed.

(243f) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Persecuting the kingdom >> Persecuting the Church of God

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

4-8 Therefore, those who had been scattered went about preaching the word. 5 Philip went down to the city of Samaria and began proclaiming Christ to them. 6 The crowds with one accord were giving attention to what was said by Philip, as they heard and saw the signs which he was performing. 7 For in the case of many who had unclean spirits, they were coming out of them shouting with a loud voice; and many who had been paralyzed and lame were healed. 8 So there was much rejoicing in that city.

 

Act 8,4-8

(14o) Servant >> Ministry of helps >> Position of helpers is anointed

(101c) Thy kingdom come >> Zeal >> For the manifestation of Godís kingdom >> Zealous for Godís works

(143c) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> The public >> The disciples ministered publicly Ė The way the early disciples lived was by its very construction a temporary situation (see Act 4,32-37); it couldnít have lasted indefinitely, because people would have sold their property, given to the apostles and distributed to the disciples as needed and spent the money and eventually run dry. They would have had no means to support themselves without having to disperse on their own. What were they thinking? It is a known fact that socialism is a temporary political/economic system, suggesting that the apostles were banking on the hope that Jesus would return in their lifetime, and so this is how they were waiting for Him. Ironically, the Church in the last days is going to do the same thing with one giant difference: Jesus will actually return! The disciples were apparently not disappointed when He didnít come and were to dispersed among the surrounding countryside, since they evangelized the people, leading many thousands of souls to the Kingdom of God. It must have been extremely stressful for them, since they had no idea what was happening, but they didnít lose their faith over it. Godís purpose for having them all together focusing on their faith was that He created a strong nucleus of people, highly committed to the faith, taught directly by the apostles, and when they were forced to disperse, they were prepared to take on the world with the tools necessary to reach their communities for Jesus wherever they landed, making a big splash, and the Church blossomed. This was Godís answer to launching the gospel of the kingdom into the surrounding nations.

Act 8-4,5

(149fa) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Preaching the word to the world >> The gospel of the kingdom >> Preach the gospel of salvation -- These verses go with verse 25. The dispersion of Christians was the direct result of the persecution of Saul, which had the effect of spreading the word of God throughout the regions surrounding Jerusalem (Act 1-8). Saul was trying to clean up a biohazard with a washcloth (that's how the world views Christianity), but he just succeeded in spreading the Christians to the four winds. God used Saulís persecution for good, and then He later harnessed him and turned him into Paul, transforming not only his name but also his person into the greatest apostle the world has ever known. This is Godís calling card; He uses the greatest obstacles of the Church for His purposes, pulling every drop of benefit from every negative situation and always gives more than He takes. The sphere of the Churchís influence continued to grow in popularity and numbers, until finally at the end of the age it seems everyone has heard about Jesus, thanks in part to the efforts of the early church. This must have been really bad news to Saul when he heard what his efforts had done; it seems he was destined for this.

Act 8,5-8

(125f) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Joy >> Joy is the result of partaking of the Holy Spirit >> Joy is the result of receiving from God -- These verses go with verse 39

Act 8-5,6

(111h) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Kingdom of God revealed >> Word plus signs and wonders Ė Once Jesus ascended to heaven and sent His Spirit at Pentecost, His twelve apostles performed miracles and preached the gospel and established the Church. The reason we donít see many miracles these days is that there is no age that is about to be revealed, but when God wants to get our attention in the last days, signs and wonders will return. Certain people will be able to lay hands of the sick and they will immediately recover, getting peopleís attention in order to speak the word of God to those listening that they may be saved. Therefore, whoever has the word of God deeply embedded in his heart in the last days God may call to perform miracles in conjunction with preaching the word of God to save many. They donít have to be apostles or prophets; they only need to love the Lord and know the Scriptures by the Spirit. As we know, there has been a two-thousand-year period where few miracles by comparison have occurred, though people occasionally were healed.

Act 8-6,7

(145d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesusí works bear witness of Himself >> Healing >> Jesus heals through the Church Ė What would it take in our society to get people's attention to hear the gospel? We sit in our homes and watch TV and are in that sense in one accord, thoroughly brainwashed, yet standing on a street corner and telling people about Jesus will not draw a crowd, unless of course there are signs and wonders involved; then we might get someone to listen. Why doesnít God work with His people today the way He worked with the early church, giving us signs and wonders to perform? the Church canít hardly agree on a single element of the truth; there is no unity in the body of Christ, so if someone were to perform a miracle and preach the gospel and people were saved, all it would do is create more confusion. They would go to one church and hear one thing, then go somewhere else and hear another. There is no solidarity in the Church, and God does not want to contribute to the confusion that already exists. The Church is mostly unproductive and unfruitful in relation to the gospel, because people believe more in money than they do in God. Itís a lack of unity in the Church that is the cause of signs and wonders lacking among the people. If we could go into multiple churches and hear the same gospel, there would be hope, but we could go from church to church and hear all kinds of ideas, mostly contradicting each other, and some even contradicting the Scriptures.

Act 8-7

(146h) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesusí works bear witness of Himself >> Deliverance from demon possession >> Disciples have authority to cast out demons

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

9-13 Now there was a man named Simon, who formerly was practicing magic in the city and astonishing the people of Samaria, claiming to be someone great; 10 and they all, from smallest to greatest, were giving attention to him, saying, "This man is what is called the Great Power of God." 11 And they were giving him attention because he had for a long time astonished them with his magic arts. 12 But when they believed Philip preaching the good news about the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, they were being baptized, men and women alike. 13 Even Simon himself believed; and after being baptized, he continued on with Philip, and as he observed signs and great miracles taking place, he was constantly amazed.

 

Act 8,9-24

(183e) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Spirit of Error (Anti-Christ / Anti-Semitism) >> Nursery of the spirit of error >> Selfish ambition >> Seeking to control the truth Ė These verses referring to the baptism of the Holy Spirit are a huge point of contention in the Church today from the Pentecostals to the Evangelicals, though these words are very well spelled-out. The problem is not in understanding them, but in accepting them. There are not varying interpretations but varying applications as to how to incorporate this truth into our belief system. Whole denominations have spun-off resulting from these words, such as the Pentecostals. In contrast, the Evangelicals reject any manifestation of the Spirit, though they are more than willing to receive the seal of their salvation, the indwelling Holy Spirit, so long as it has no personal affect on their lives. They disregard these verses to their own shame.

(187j) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man>> Die to the flesh >> Spirit versus the flesh >> Trying to work the Spirit by the flesh Ė This passage does not pertain to our eternal salvation, but to our earthly salvation. The one thing the vast majority of Christians want from God is simply to go to heaven when their physical life on earth is over, but in the meantime they donít want the Holy Spirit trying to change their lives. Their excuse for rejecting the baptism of the Holy Spirit is that they say it would only create confusion, and they donít want to risk being led astray. They want to be in control, though the Holy Spirit is not of this world, and this is what they donít like about Him. Many Christians feel they would be committing some kind of treason by collaborating with a Spirit who in not of this world, suggesting they are more comfortable collaborating with spirits of this world (demons) than with the Holy Spirit. Does that sound overstated? For centuries the Israelites were uncomfortable worshipping the God of heaven, but continually went astray seeking foreign gods and emulating their neighboring nations that were rooted in the spirit of this world. God gave Israel an opportunity to be a special nation for His glory, but they instead continually sought commonality with the world. That sounds just like the Church today.

(195e) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Idolatry >> Serving two masters >> Being double minded

Act 8,9-13

(159k) Works of the devil >> Essential characteristics >> Counterfeit God >> Counterfeit anointing >> Counterfeit signs and wonders Ė God had enough of Simon corrupting the gospel, being a leader of the Gnostic movement. The Gnostics were crooked, corrupt and evil, and their purpose in life was like so many people in the world today and throughout all of human history, to feed their flesh and to satisfy their natural instincts, and to pursue a worldly sense of happiness. The fact that Simon the magician was amazed says a lot about his magic arts, that he used slight of hand to fool the people, which should clue us also to the Egyptians, that they imitated the miracles of Moses in much the same way when God delivered Israel from pharaoh and his army. It doesnít say what kind of magic Simon performed, but apparently it didnít resemble anything he saw Philip doing. Pharaoh called his wise men sorcerers and magicians, suggesting that Simon too was a sorcerer, but after seeing real signs and wonders performed through Philip, being a magician he knew this was not slight of hand, in that Simon was not capable of healing anybody, nor was he able to cast out demonic spirits. Simon was probably native to that area and knew some of the people being healed, that possibly some were lamb from birth and knew that this was not a trick. Read more about Simon (Megus) the magician.

Act 8,9-11

(70f) Authority >> Sin of familiarity >> Familiarity-enemy of discernment >> Familiar with the spirit of error -- These verses go with verses 18-24

(181i) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Deception >> Self deception >> Imaginary perception of self >> Pretending to be someone youíre not

Act 8-12,13

(67i) Authority >> Jesus delegates authority >> Preaching the gospel in Jesusí name Ė It got Simonís attention when the people started believing in the gospel that Philip preached, suggesting that if no one believed the gospel, signs and wonders would have also ceased. Sometimes people believe in Jesus because of other people believing, suggesting that in times of revival there is a snowball effect that occurs: when more people believe, the more people are willing to believe. It works the opposite direction too, the fewer people believe, the less people are willing to believe, which is the case in our own generation. We can hardly talk to anyone about Jesus and expect to convert them to Christianity. Most people have already heard about Jesus and know enough to get saved, so what can we tell them that they donít already know? In our generation it is questionable whether signs, wonders and miracles would even make an impact. People are so desensitized by television that if God were to start working among His people again through miracles, it is questionable whether people would even react to it, but in the days of the early Church, signs and wonders had a huge impact on people. They knew there was no other explanation except what Philip was telling them, that it was the work of God who sent His Son, Jesus Christ, who gave His life to avail His Spirit to us.

Act 8-13

(147e) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesusí works bear witness of Himself >> Divine works of God >> Signs and wonders Ė When we look into the history of the gentile church, there were many throughout the centuries who had faith in God, who were truly noble. The early martyrs were: Polycarp of Smyrna, Justin Martyr, Perpetua and Felicity, Ptolemaeus and Lucius just to name a few. These didnít think twice about giving their lives for their faith and suffering ill-treatment for the cause of Christ, but their numbers pale to the millions of gentile Christians who lived and died over the centuries and believed in Jesus, who scarcely lived out their faith to eek through the pearly gates. Most people live for God in this way today, just enough to elude the flames of hell. Those who love God are an exception, and Paul is saying that gentile Christians of this caliber in the last days will see what it means to be a Christian when they look at their Jewish brothers performing signs and wonders. When we go back to the first century, we see Paul, Peter and John and many other apostles performing signs and wonders, and they were all Jews. The Jews will head the endtime revival that is coming, and signs and wonders will return.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

14-17 Now when the apostles in Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent them Peter and John, 15 who came down and prayed for them that they might receive the Holy Spirit. 16 For He had not yet fallen upon any of them; they had simply been baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. 17 Then they began laying their hands on them, and they were receiving the Holy Spirit.

 

Act 8,14-24

(110m) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Spiritual substance and truth >> Spiritual substance follows obedience

(115h) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Laying on of hands >> Bestowing the Holy Spirit Ė It has been said that the early church was a dispensation of its own that has come and gone, and these verses do not apply to us, but that idea is entirely contrived. Those who believe this want to remain in the theological realm and believe in the saving grace of Jesus' blood sacrifice for the propitiation of our sins, but want nothing to do with any manifestation of the Spirit. The seal of Godís eternal salvation came and dwelt in their hearts, who promised to never leave them or forsake them, and from that point they were saved by the grace of God and were destined for heaven. When they came and heard that the people believed and were baptized in the name of Jesus, Peter and John laid their hands on the believers and they received the Holy Spirit. If they had previously received the indwelling Holy Spirit through faith in the gospel, then what is this Holy Spirit they received at the hands of Peter and John? God gives us the indwelling Holy Spirit to save us for eternal life in heaven, but He gives an anointing to save us in this life. We donít need an anointing to get to heaven, but without it, living for God in this world is very difficult. Without an anointing we risk living a defeated life, but with the anointing we can victoriously walk over sin.

(200c) Denying Christ >> Man chooses his own destiny apart from God >> Rejecting Christ >> Rejecting the will of God >> Rejecting Godís purpose

Act 8,14-21

(190k) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Baptism of the Holy Spirit Ė Peter and John came and laid their hands of the people and they were receiving an anointing from God; this anointing is the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The title ďChristĒ literally translated means anointed one; therefore ďChristiansĒ means anointed ones? This implies that all Christians should have an anointing from God, and this is what Peter and John were doing when they laid their hands on the believers and prayed for the Holy Spirit to come upon them. What is the purpose of the anointing? This treasure teaches us about God and empowers us to do His will. There are many people who totally reject the baptism of the Holy Spirit, yet they no less have an anointing from God, though they never sought it or prayed for it. They have a theological problem with the Scriptures, though they believe in Jesus and love Him with all their hearts, and God gives them an anointing in spite of them. This tells how much God desires His anointing to clothe us. They listen to the Holy Spirit and consistently obey Him, which is the manner of keeping the anointing. The anointing is shy like a dove that comes to rest on us, and unlike an actual dove that would fly away if we moved too fast, the anointing leaves when we sin, until we repent, then He will return. However, if we never repent, the anointing will leave and not return. This does not mean we are no longer saved. The anointing is not a requirement of salvation, any more than baptism, but just as baptism is a sign that we believe, so is the anointing. Baptism is the emblem of the anointing, being a ceremony that we perform in the physical realm leaving no mark on our bodies, contrary to circumcision of the old covenant that did leave a mark. Along those same lines, the anointing also leaves a spiritual mark, but unlike circumcision that is a private mark, the anointing is made for everyone to see the glory of God beaming from our countenance. Without the anointing all we have is inkblots dabbed on paper, but the anointing lifts those inkblots off the page and places them in our hearts, so that we know we belong to God by the Spirit of truth. The anointing does all these things, and Philip was performing miracles, signs and wonders through the anointing that he received directly from Christ Himself. The anointing gives us a taste of heaven, making us long for home where we will enjoy forevermore the things the anointing is teaching us about heaven. The anointing gives us a conviction against sin, so whenever we do evil, there is a pain that the anointing greatly enhances, because of our closeness to God. It is this pain of conviction against sin that makes us feel closer to God.

Act 8,14-20

(133c) Temple >> Your body is the temple of God >> Holiness >> God is holy >> The Holy Spirit

Act 8,14-17

(35i) Gift >> God gives Himself to us >> Receiving the Holy Spirit as a form of baptism

(83b) Thy kingdom come >> Receiving from God through prayer >> Ask and it shall be given

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

18-24 Now when Simon saw that the Spirit was bestowed through the laying on of the apostles' hands, he offered them money, 19 saying, "Give this authority to me as well, so that everyone on whom I lay my hands may receive the Holy Spirit." 20 But Peter said to him, "May your silver perish with you, because you thought you could obtain the gift of God with money! 21 "You have no part or portion in this matter, for your heart is not right before God. 22 "Therefore repent of this wickedness of yours, and pray the Lord that, if possible, the intention of your heart may be forgiven you. 23 "For I see that you are in the gall of bitterness and in the bondage of iniquity." 24 But Simon answered and said, "Pray to the Lord for me yourselves, so that nothing of what you have said may come upon me."

 

Act 8,18-24

(2n) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God >> Get out of His way >> Do not abuse His grace

(19i) Sin >> Hardened heart will twist your mind

(22j) Pride (craving authority; Key verse)

(23a) Sin >> Pride closes the windows of heaven

(48h) Judgment >> Levels of judgment >> Judged according to your type of sin

(70f) Authority >> Sin of familiarity >> Familiarity-enemy of discernment >> Familiar with the spirit of error -- These verses go with verses 9-11

(76b) Thy kingdom come >> Motives >> Seeking authority for security >> Motives based on desire for power

(79b) Thy kingdom come >> Renewing your mind >> Satan will control your mind if you donít

(83j) Thy kingdom come >> We have the ministry of intercession >> Church prepares itself to meet Jesus

(88g) Thy kingdom come >> Fearing the judgment of God is the beginning of wisdom >> Fear the consequences of your disobedience

(96m) Thy kingdom come >> Having a negative attitude about sin >> Having an attitude of greed

(138f) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Reproof >> Reprove your brother for not thinking right

(167c) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Carnality/Secularism (Mindset of the world) >> The carnal mind is set on the flesh >> Wanting authority without responsibility Ė Intrinsically we know what Simon wanted was evil; we cannot pay money for rights to the Spirit of God. Simon perceived the mechanism of transfer and wanted access to the Spirit and was willing to pay money for it, suggesting that he intended to charge people for laying his hands on them and bestowing the gift of God and turning the grace of God into a business. However, laying on of hands is a mere visual aid to bolster the faith of those involved more than it does to transfer the anointing. Jesus proved this by healing people in various ways. For example, no doctrine has yet been created whereby the clergy coats the recipient with mud as a means of transferring the healing virtue, as Jesus did in Jn 9-6.

(175a) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Form of godliness >> Trying to bend kingdom principles

(178e) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Hypocrisy >> Hypocrisy of the Church is rebuked >> The Church is rebuked for rebellion

(179i) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Wolves >> Unworthy servant >> Unworthy because of unfaithfulness

(181b) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Rebelling against God >> Rebelling against the witness of God

(183c) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Spirit of Error (Anti-Christ / Anti-Semitism) >> Witchcraft >> Ignorance is the incubator of witchcraft

(184h) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Abusing the grace of God >> Spending His grace on your pleasures >> Abusing the anointing Ė Simon craved authority, being a form of pride, indicating it was simply a matter of time that Simon would have set up a stand and charged exorbitant prices to receive the Holy Spirit through the laying on of his hands, but the gift is not for sale. He saw this as an investment venture and the seed of a lucrative business, an opportunity to profit from the gospel. How many church leaders have seated themselves in the pulpits of contemporary Christianity seeking to profit from the gospel? What Peter said to Simon is what God says to all who do this, ďMay your money perish with you.Ē They are in the gall of bitterness and the bondage of iniquity, having no part or portion in this matter. We can always tell someone is trying to profit from the gospel, for his heart is not right before God, hence he has nothing to offer. They might erratically wave their arms and be talented in speech with charisma coming out their ears, but weeding through all that and listening to the message itself, there is no substance to what they say, like chasing rainbows. People leave their churches awe inspired, but five minutes later theyíre back in the dumps, their lives depreciated by yet another weeks-worth of sterility.

(193h) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Turn from sin to God >> Repent >> Repent from not renewing your mind

(198g) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Ordained by man >> Having evil motives for seeking leadership positions >> In the ministry for their own personal gain Ė Donít seek to be the pastor of a church for sordid gain; nowadays this is a major problem. There are some church leaders who decided to become pastor as a career move, but Peter is saying donít do it for the money; instead, do it for the sake of Christ and with a zeal that comes from God. Paul said that it was acceptable for the pastor to get his living from the gospel (1Cor 9-14), but Paul also said in the very next verse, ďI have used none of these thingsĒ (v15). Paul most often chose not to be supported by the Church, but to support himself so he wouldnít be a burden on people. He took donations from the Church whenever needed, but he was a tentmaker by trade and continued his work in order to support his own ministry, so more resources could be funneled to the progress of the saints. This should be the attitude of every pastor, yet some pastoral attitudes about money are not much like Paul but more like Simon. That doesnít mean they shouldnít accept support from the Church, but their attitude should fall somewhere between Paulís attitude and pulling down fifty thousand dollars a year with perks.

(241c) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Hindering the kingdom >> Obstacles in the way of the kingdom >> Ask but donít receive >> Asking with wrong motives

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

Act 8-20

(173h) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Catholicism >> Unholy sacrifice >> Offering sacrifice without Godís approval >> Sacrifice against the ways of God

Act 8-22,23

(68i) Authority >> Discernment >> Judging truth and error >> Perceiving wicked motives

(120c) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Forgiveness >> God forgives us when we become accountable to Him >> As we confess our sin

Act 8-24

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

(173b) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Catholicism >> Scripture that contradicts the Catholic faith >> Relationship between Jesus and His mother >> Jesus is our mediator, not Mary (or the apostles) Ė Prayer is essentially how we interact with God and how we intercede for others, but what Simon wanted was different from the ordinary ministry of intercession. What he wanted was similar to what the Catholics do when they pray to Mary, the mother of Jesus. The are asking her to mediate to God for them, but this is evil. Also, Simonís answer was typical of people who depend on their pastor for their relationship with God. Simon should have accepted Peterís initial command to repent and pray for himself, but Simon didnít know how to pray, having no confidence in God. This is so often the case with people in the Church; they have no relationship with God, and so they ask the minister to intercede for them, though the Bible explicitly says in 1Tim 2-5, ďFor there is one God, and one mediator also between God and men, the man Christ Jesus.Ē When we think of the formation of the Catholic Church, it basically congealed around the people's desire for their pastor to conduct their relationship with God for them, to take responsibility for their spiritual lives, so they could focus on their life in this world and on their jobs to bring home more money to give to the Church, and so Catholicism accommodated them. People wanted humans to be in charge of the divine, and for this reason it was immediately corrupted. So many people are addicted to this natural realm, to their five senses; they donít want to live by faith; they want the pastor to pray for them, to intercede on their behalf, and that is why they give their money to the Church, and the Church unabashedly requires it from them.

 

25-29 So, when they had solemnly testified and spoken the word of the Lord, they started back to Jerusalem, and were preaching the gospel to many villages of the Samaritans. 26 But an angel of the Lord spoke to Philip saying, "Get up and go south to the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza." (This is a desert road. ) 27 So he got up and went; and there was an Ethiopian eunuch, a court official of Candace, queen of the Ethiopians, who was in charge of all her treasure; and he had come to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and he was returning and sitting in his chariot, and was reading the prophet Isaiah. 29 Then the Spirit said to Philip, "Go up and join this chariot."

 

Act 8,25-27

(222b) Kingdom of God >> The elusive Kingdom of Heaven >> Do not give what is holy to dogs >> God does not entrust his treasures to dogs >> God retrieves his treasures when sheep revert to dogs Ė Phillip was between two people, the Samaritans and the Ethiopians. Philip was passing through Samaria preaching to some of its villagers, and God told him to go to this Ethiopian eunuch and preach Jesus to him. Something occurred between Jesus and the Samaritans during His ministry. Jesus spoke to the Samaritan woman about God, and she ran into her town and everybody followed her back to the well (Jn 4,5-27). There He stayed in Samaria for a few days and further spoke with them, and the Samaritans gladly received Him rejoicing, because they thought the focus of His ministry was on them. Later at the end of His ministry He passed through Samaria again, headed toward Jerusalem, and the Samaritans took offense at Him, because His interest was toward the Jews instead of them. If the gospel revolved around the Samaritans, they would receive Him, but if they had to receive the gospel through the Jews, they didnít want it.

Act 8-25

(149fa) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Preaching the word to the world >> The gospel of the kingdom >> Preach the gospel of salvation -- This verse goes with verses 30-40

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

Act 8,26-40

(220d) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> Predestination >> Divine appointments Ė It wasnít a coincidence that he happened to be reading this passage that was referring to Jesus, and it wasnít a coincidence that Philip met him there, for this was a divine appointment. The eunuch went back to Ethiopia and influenced his queen. There are many such divine appointments.

Act 8,26-35

(50dc) Judgment >> Last Days >> Jewish Led endtime revival >> Israel prophesied to restore the gentiles to salvation Ė The Ethiopian was reading Isaiah and God told Philip to join his chariot, and Philip asked him if he understood what he was reading, and in essence he said, ĎHow could I unless a Jew guided me.í Who else knew more about the Jewish manuscripts than the Jews? Wouldnít it be nice to find someone this honest who could say, ďI donít know what the Bible means; could you explain it to me?Ē When we try to tell people about Jesus in these last days in America, nobody needs any help understanding the Bible, yet when they tell us what they believe, it is a mishmash of religious ideas that they heard from various sources, half of which is false and the other half a cobble-job of detached ideas that scarcely resemble the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. Paulís missionary journeys led him into Asia, and he was heatedly persecuted there. In fact, Asian Jews were the ones who persecuted him most (Act 21,27-36). He was not well received there, and as a result Asia is largely un-Christianized to this day. Now 2000 years later, though they have an oppressive government, the people are becoming open minded to the gospel, and all of Asia will respond like no other nation during the Great Endtime Revival that is coming.

(106m) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Hearing from God >> Purpose of hearing from God >> God gives us direction (Attitude) Ė God will work with his people in the last days in much the same way that He worked with Philip in this passage. Signs and wonders will be common in those days, but what will be far more important is the ability to hear the voice of the Holy Spirit. He will direct His people in ways that will protect them from the antichrist, if they can but hear His voice. The problem with many Christians is they haven't developed the hearing ear, and they have no relationship with God, so they don't know His plan and purpose for His people.

Act 8,26-29

(149i) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Authority of the rhema given to evangelism >> Receiving authority from God personally

Act 8-26,27

(106c) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Hearing from God >> Attaining the hearing ear >> Knowing the sound of His voice >> Flowing with the wind of His voice Ė God had control of Philip; He could guide him any way He wanted. An angel of the Lord spoke to Philip because he had a hearing ear and was used to obeying the Lord. The more we obey Him, the better we can hear His voice. Therefore, the person who cannot hear the Holy Spirit is living and walking in disobedience. When God gives instruction to the person with a hardened heart, he almost never does it, and he becomes all the more hard of hearing. What we donít use, we lose. Creatures that live in caves, some of them have eyes, but they are blind; their eyes donít work anymore; they canít use them in a cave because there is no light, so their eyes become blind from disuse. Same with our ears, if we donít obey the Holy Spirit, our ears will grow deaf to His voice.

Act 8-26

(15e) Servant >> Angels are messengers from God >> They are sent to impart information

(105lb) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Led by the Spirit into the fire >> Into the wilderness >> Wilderness is the true nature of this world -- This verse goes with verse 35

Act 8,27-35

(120l) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Contentment >> Content with your way of life >> Content with remaining single

(232l) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Seeking the kingdom >> Seek the essence of his kingdom >> Seeking the truth Ė This court official was a trustworthy man with a good heart, having come to Jerusalem to worship. He believed in Israel's God, knowing that the Jews had been given a tremendous gift as keepers of divine truth, as he was keeper of the queenís treasures. He respected the Jews, having been chosen by God to represent Him in the world and to disseminate the message of eternal life to any who would receive it. Although this Ethiopian could never be a Hebrew, he sought their God for His favor. He was returning to his homeland and sitting in his chariot and Philip heard him reading the Bible and invited him to help interpret the prophet Isaiah. Willing to admit that he didnít understand what he was reading, he hoped Philip the Hebrew would teach him the ways of his God, one who was chosen not just as a Jew but also as a believer in Israel's Messiah. This Ethiopian eunuch was willing to humble himself and receive instruction, having all the qualities that are required for salvation, suggesting that perhaps our sexuality gets in the way of the gospel. 

Act 8,27-29

(194b) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Turn from sin to God >> Run to God >> Run to Jesus when He calls for you

Act 8-29,30

(215a) Sovereignty >> God controls time >> Godís timing >> God Has Good Timing >> God is always right on time

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

30-40 Philip ran up and heard him reading Isaiah the prophet, and said, "Do you understand what you are reading?" 31 And he said, "Well, how could I, unless someone guides me?" And he invited Philip to come up and sit with him. 32 Now the passage of Scripture which he was reading was this: "HE WAS LED AS A SHEEP TO SLAUGHTER; AND AS A LAMB BEFORE ITS SHEARER IS SILENT, SO HE DOES NOT OPEN HIS MOUTH. 33 "IN HUMILIATION HIS JUDGMENT WAS TAKEN AWAY; WHO WILL RELATE HIS GENERATION? FOR HIS LIFE IS REMOVED FROM THE EARTH." 34 The eunuch answered Philip and said, "Please tell me, of whom does the prophet say this? Of himself or of someone else?" 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and beginning from this Scripture he preached Jesus to him. 36 As they went along the road they came to some water; and the eunuch said, "Look! Water! What prevents me from being baptized?" 37 [And Philip said, "If you believe with all your heart, you may." And he answered and said, "I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God."] 38 And he ordered the chariot to stop; and they both went down into the water, Philip as well as the eunuch, and he baptized him. 39 When they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord snatched Philip away; and the eunuch no longer saw him, but went on his way rejoicing. 40 But Philip found himself at Azotus, and as he passed through he kept preaching the gospel to all the cities until he came to Caesarea.

 

Act 8,30-40

(149fa) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Preaching the word to the world >> The gospel of the kingdom >> Preach the gospel of salvation -- These verses go with verses 4&5. Ethiopia was open to the gospel, so God told Philip to accompany the man in the chariot who was reading the Bible, and Philip preached Jesus to him, and so the eunuch was converted on the spot. When the Ethiopian returned to his homeland, he had a profound influence on the queen. He had rights to her presence and was able to speak with her and to the influential people of her kingdom. The eunuch took the gospel home with Him and told the queen about the salvation that Jesus bought for mankind with His own blood. The eunuch received the gospel and Ethiopia learned about Jesus Christ through Philip, so when we trace Christian history to Ethiopia and discover what happened there, we credit Philip with the onset of the gospel in their land. When the gospel came to them in earnest, the soil of the peopleís hearts was ready for the seed.

Act 8-30,31

(157j) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Evidence of being hell-bound >> Unable to know the truth

Act 8,32-35

(141f) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Old Testament bears witness to the new >> It bears witness to Jesus >> Prophesy about Jesusí death

Act 8-35

(105lb) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Led by the Spirit into the fire >> Into the wilderness >> Wilderness is the true nature of this world -- This verse goes with verse 26

(150h) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness of Jesus >> Speak the word of the Spirit >> Speaking the words that God speaks Ė Philip opened his mouth and God filled it with the words that he spoke to the Ethiopian. God desires to relate the gospel to people through us. The donít need to hear our prepared speeches; they need to hear the words that come from heaven. These words are anointed and inspired and they come from the heart. There is nothing wrong with preparing an outline for evangelism, but at some point we need to just open our mouths and let the Holy Spirit speak through us.

Act 8,36-38

(191ba) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Baptism >> Baptism symbolizes death, burial and resurrection >> Baptism is a sign of faith Ė This is an excellent passage that absolutely determines the most important thing to believe for salvation. Peeling away the dross, what matters most is believing Jesus is the Son of God. Everything else by comparison is immaterial. Every cult that denies Jesus the Son of God came in the flesh would love to rip pages like this from the Bible, and there are others too, such as those who believe in infant baptism. That is not to say that infant baptism is a sin or evil, but neither is it biblical. Once a person becomes old enough to know what he believes and turns to the Lord, if his parents baptized him as an infant, he should be baptized again as a believer. This passage teaches that baptism is a ceremony that we perform after we believe. There is a sequence we must follow: believe and then be baptized. If a person doesnít believe in Jesus, why would he want to be baptized? We know a baby doesnít believe in Jesus; it doesnít know anything; people should not say they are ensuring the childís salvation by baptizing it as an infant. Here lies the harm in infant baptism: It could be a source of confusion if a person depends on his infant baptism to get to heaven.

Act 8-39,40

(147d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesusí works bear witness of Himself >> God exercises authority over every living thing Ė We could almost say this was a kind of rapture, the difference being the actual Rapture will catch people away into heaven whereas God set Philip back on the earth in a different location. We know God can do anything, and we know Jesus disappeared before the eyes of the two guys He met on the road to Emmaus at the breaking of the bread (Lk 24,13-32), so why doesnít God do this more often, especially for His people who are being persecuted or in danger, just snatch them from their troubles and place them out of harms reach? God is not in the business of protecting us from suffering; He doesnít share our sentiments that suffering is evil and should be avoided at any cost; rather, He uses our fiery circumstances to shape us and mold us closer to His image. In Philipís particular case God relocated him because signs, wonders and miracles were commonplace in the early days of the Church. Plus, God worked with large resources of faith, whereas in today's Church an environment of unbelief is mostly what we find, which is hardly conducive to seeing miracles. If God performed miracles in the Church today, they would be misinterpreted and abused, which would be Godís opposite purpose for performing them.

Act 8-39

(125f) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Joy >> Joy is the result of partaking of the Holy Spirit >> Joy is the result of receiving from God -- This verse goes with verses 5-8

 

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

 

ACTS CHAPTER 9

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

1&2 Now Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest, 2 and asked for letters from him to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, both men and women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. 

 

Act 9,1-8

(110e) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Spirit speaks through you >> God chooses men to speak through Ė God chose Paul in a way that he didn't choose anybody before or after him. The amazing thing about this, while still on the road to Damascus, Paul could have denied the whole thing and resumed the life he had before this experience, but when Paul saw the person who was speaking with him, he realized how far off-course he had become. The wrongness of his way soaked into his spirit, not being the kind of person to put up defense mechanisms, thinking one thing, saying another and doing something else, but was actually a man of conscience, though he was sincerely wrong. He was taught by Gamaliel, the man who advised the religious authorities not to persecute the saints, lest they be found fighting against God (Act 5-34), in stark contrast to the Pharisees who had Jesus crucified, who were clearly not of Saul's caliber. They literally denied everything, used every imaginable defense mechanism and were self-deceived by their own trickery. They knew Jesus was the Son of God, their Messiah, the expected One, but they denied Him. This Paul did not do.

Act 9,1-6

(238aa) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> The kingdom is transferred to the Church >> Born again by the will of Christ

Act 9-1,2

(243f) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Persecuting the kingdom >> Persecuting the Church of God Ė Saul made arrangements with the high priest, tying his malevolent behavior to the religious authorities, but he was the only one scouring the countryside in search of Christians with the intent of ridding them from the earth. There was no other active posse chasing them because of Gamaliel; however, Saul was not the only one with an interest in the matter; rather, he was the only one still in the dark about God's protective hand on His beloved people, believing he had authority from God to persecute the Church. The high priest didnít feel he had authority to do what Paul was doing, because he had already interacted with these people and felt the cold hand of God slapping him in the face. The high priest realized, though he wasnít willing to admit it, that Christianity was an act of God, while Paul believed Christianity was a sect that threatened Judaism and their ancient customs, going all the way back to Moses, who said, ďHe that sacrificeth unto any god, save unto the LORD only, he shall be utterly destroyedĒ (Exodus 22-20). It may not have seemed like it to some, but Christians were in fact worshipping the God of Moses, proving the many differences between the old and new covenants. Paul was trying to snuff out Christians to protect what he perceived to be the truth; he really believed he was doing the Lordís work. This proves that Paul never came in direct contact with the disciples or with Jesus when He was alive in the flesh. Paulís conviction to destroy Christianity was so hostile that the Lord Himself confronted Paul, but more than this, God had plans for him that He had established before He made the world; He had prepared Paul for the days in which he lived to reach a sad and sinking world with the transformative gospel.

Act 9-1

(84l) Thy kingdom come >> Your words can lead to your own demise >> They can be destructive

Act 9-2

(57c) Paradox >> Opposites >> Vision impairs sight, but the blind can see -- This verse goes with verses 4-6

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

3-6 As he was traveling, it happened that he was approaching Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him; 4 and he fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to him, "Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?" 5 And he said, "Who are You, Lord?" And He said, "I am Jesus whom you are persecuting, 6 but get up and enter the city, and it will be told you what you must do."

 

Act 9,3-17

(117i) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Eyes of your spirit >> Seeing visions

Act 9,3-9

(23n) Sin >> Poverty (Oppression) >> Fear of the unknown >> Fear the appearance of Jesus

Act 9,3-7

(30i) Gift of God >> Favor by His grace >> He does not take your sins into account -- These verses go with verses 15&16

(40i) Judgment >> Judgment of Christ >> Godís word executes judgment by the Spirit Ė Jesus took it very personally that Saul was persecuting His believers; He ask Saul why he was persecuting Christ Himself. Jesus made a statement corresponding to this in Lk 10-16, ďHe who listens to you listens to me; he who rejects you rejects me; but he who rejects me rejects him who sent meĒ (see also: Mat 25,41-46). We could take it step further and say, ĎHe how persecutes you persecutes Me,í for this is how Jesus felt about it and He voiced it to Saul on the road to Damascus. 

(111j) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Word and the judgment of God Ė The Bible does not divulge the names of the people who were traveling with Saul, indicating that they were incidental to the story, except to emphasize that they heard the voice but didnít see the vision, emphasizing the fact that the word without the Spirit is useless. The Spirit and the word, when they come together are very powerful, but alone are relatively ineffectual. Saulís companions may have heard a voice, but it didnít change their lives because they didnít see the light. In another rendering of the story, Paul testified that the men with him saw the light but understood nothing (Act 22-9). Like them, had Saul seen the light but heard no voice, that too would have been ineffectual, but together, seeing the light and hearing the voice, changed Saulís life so profoundly that he changed the world with the influence of Christ on his life. The Spirit without the word is the stuff of cults, and the word without the Spirit is the very definition of apostasy in which the Church is currently living, but the two together is the power of God that He placed in Paul, who turned the world upside down for Jesus.

Act 9,3-6

(106g) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Hearing from God >> Attaining the hearing ear >> Hearing His voice

(154d) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> God bears witness against the world >> Witness that the world is godless >> Witness that the world does not know God -- These verses go with verses 15&16

Act 9,3-5

(112b) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Light >> Jesusí light overcomes darkness >> The light of His power Ė When Saul came along and started persecuting Christians before his conversion, after the other Pharisees had given up trying to silence the gospel, God had determined to make him His own, so He revealed Himself to Saul on the road to Damascus. Not all Jewish leaders of Israel would have become Christian had Christ revealed Himself to them as He did to Paul, who was willing to change His heart about everything when presented with the Truth (Phi 3,5-8). Had Saul been one of those who initially persecuted the apostles and saw some of the miracles that God was doing, he may have gotten saved earlier; instead, God revealed Himself to Saul later and had such a profound conversion that it drove him to preach the gospel of Christ under all levels of duress. He suffered persecution that no other man was willing to endure for Christís sake and for the sake of the gospel, because He saw Jesus in his glorified state.

Act 9-3

(215i) Sovereignty >> God controls time >> Suddenly >> The Kingdom of Heaven appears suddenly >> Without warning >> God brings His kingdom to pass in its time

Act 9,4-6

(57c) Paradox >> Opposites >> Vision impairs sight, but the blind can see -- These verses go with verse 8

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

7-14 The men who traveled with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. 8 Saul got up from the ground, and though his eyes were open, he could see nothing; and leading him by the hand, they brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither ate nor drank. 10 Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias; and the Lord said to him in a vision, "Ananias." And he said, "Here I am, Lord." 11 And the Lord said to him, "Get up and go to the street called Straight, and inquire at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying, 12 and he has seen in a vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him, so that he might regain his sight." 13 But Ananias answered, "Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much harm he did to Your saints at Jerusalem; 14 and here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on Your name."

 

Act 9-7,8

(169a) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> The world is blind to God >> Blind to Jesus >> Blind to the glory of God in Christ Ė Had Paul opened his eyes and read the Scriptures for what they said, he could have seen Jesus in them, but this is not as easy as it sounds. Human nature can be easily duped. Cultural evolution has the power to lead the masses to wrong conclusions, and virtually no one is exempt from this. What are the chances that these very forces are influencing the belief systems of our own generation, that we too strongly believe in things that are not true? Figuratively, we are each wearing blindfolds, and making up the truth as we perceive it, but if we untied them, we would realize we were lost. Every society believes their own perceptions, and whenever we find it difficult to integrate Godís truth into ours, we should realize that society today is just as skewed as Israel back then, who could not see their own Messiah. This is what Saul didnít understand; the most educated man was the most blind of all. When we look at Paul and his writings, he had tremendous insight, but not before he met Jesus on the road to Damascus.

Act 9,8-12

(245d) Kingdom of God >> Spirit realm imposed on the natural realm >> Literal manifestations >> Literal manifestation of Jesus Christ >> Jesus literally gives sight to the blind -- These verses go with verses 17&18. Jesus said to the Pharisees in Jn 9,39-41, "'For judgment I came into this world, so that those who do not see may see, and that those who see may become blind.' Those of the Pharisees who were with Him heard these things and said to Him, 'We are not blind too, are we?' Jesus said to them, 'If you were blind, you would have no sin; but since you say, 'We see,' your sin remains.'" So long as Saul could see, his sin remained, but once he became blind he had no more sin. when God reopened his eyes, he could see for the first time the things that God wanted him to see. He viewed God, himself and the world through a different set of eyes. God temporarily removed Paulís vision as a literal manifestation of his spiritual blindness. He was a highly intelligent, learned man, but he was brainwashed in the orthodox tenets of Judaism. He was blinded by Israel's belief system that had mutated over the centuries. The prophets wrote about Jesus and spoke about Him in their day as the Lamb of God, yet no one was listening, not in their day, not in Paulís day and not in our day. Israel turned a deaf ear and became blind, and they passed down their blindness throughout the generations until it came to Paul, who fought to maintain his traditions and heritage. The Christians who made waves he thought had no grounds for their beliefs, but it was Paul who had no grounds for his beliefs.

Act 9-8

(57c) Paradox >> Opposites >> Vision impairs sight, but the blind can see -- This verse goes with verse 2

(93h) Thy kingdom come >> Following Jesus >> Through the leadership of men Ė In order for Paul to see, he had to become blind. Isnít that what Jesus said to the Pharisees (Jn 9-41) and wasnít Paul a Pharisee? While he was blind he needed assistance and leadership, someone to take him by the hand and walk him to Damascus to an apartment building, where he would refresh and rest and think about what had happened to him. Eventually he regained his sight, but he needed help; someone had to pray for him. Paul eventually became a leader of men, but before that he needed leadership, someone small and insignificant, a Christian man who loved the Lord with a quiet spirit, who understood God with a simple faith in Jesus, who had a hearing ear with eyes to see. Eventually Paul received all these things and much more, becoming the most profound apostle, evangelist and teacher the world has ever known. He received gifts from God far above his companions because of the calling that he received to become a man possessed by God, who could not be silenced, who was relentless in his zeal, who would suffer mistreatment more than perhaps any man before or after him for the cause of Christ. For this reason he received grace, which was sufficient for the calling he fulfilled and for the souls he won by the truth he believed from God.

Act 9-9

(189k) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Masochism (Self-made martyr) >> Fasting >> Fasting is a state of mourning

Act 9,10-19

(214k) Sovereignty >> God controls time >> Godís timing >> God Has Good Timing >> God synchronizes events in His time

Act 9,10-17

(20j) Sin >> Doubt is based on past experience Ė Ananias at first had trepidation about going to Saulís aid, hearing about His reputation as a vial persecutor of the Church, incarcerating Christians and treating them with disdain. Ananias argued with the Lord at first, though he didnít say, 'No', but explained what he knew about Saul to the Lord. There is a difference between that and how other people in the Bible have answered the Lord with skepticism such as Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist, who basically told the angel, ĎHow do I know you are telling me the truth?í (Lk 1,8-23), which was the ultimate insult to an angel. This is not what Ananias did. He didnít refuse to go, but merely stated what he knew about Saul, and then the Lord informed him, saying, ĎYes, he was a persecutor of the Church, but I have chosen him to be a spokesman for My gospel to both the Jews and the gentiles.í This was something Ananias did not know, and after learning about it he was perfectly happy to obey the Lordís command. Those who would argue with the Lord and hold His word in contempt and doubt what He said, their punishment is deserved. We all have past experience about things, and some of our experiences make us question the future, but to obey the Lord's command always ends in a blessing. See also: Act 9-13,14; 75e

(75g) Thy kingdom come >> Motives >> Being manipulative >> Questioning God from a good heart

(106m) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Hearing from God >> Purpose of hearing from God >> God gives us direction (Attitude)

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

Act 9,10-12

(152i) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> Witnesses of the father >> Prophets >> The Church holds the position of a prophet >> Church operates under a prophetic anointing >> Receiving a prophetic word from God

Act 9-13,14

(75e) Thy kingdom come >> Motives >> Being manipulative >> Questioning Godís judgment Ė The Lord was speaking to Ananias, the man whom God chose to lead Saul/Paul by the hand to a safe haven, where he would recuperate from his encounter with Christ on the road to Damascus. Ananias argued with the Lord, which is not always a bad thing. Some motives for arguing with God merely seek clarification and others are based on doubt and unbelief. For example, there were differences in motive between the questions Mary, the mother of Jesus, asked the angel Gabriel and the questions Zechariahs asked the angel, the father of John the Baptist (Lk 1,11-38). Mary asked how these things could be since she was a virgin; this was merely a science question, whereas Zechariahs raised allegations against the Lord, questioning his authority. What made Ananiasí question so interesting is that he questioned the Lordís judgment for choosing Saul, something that not even Zechariahs did, yet it was a legitimate question, considering Saul's reputation as a ringleader in persecuting the saints, being responsible for many Christian imprisonments and martyrs. The Lord did not rebuked Ananias for his question, since perhaps even the angels of God were a little surprised by His choice of Saul. Ananias wondered how this could be, and the Holy Spirit told him that Saul was a chosen instrument of His. Ananias didnít really want to argue with the Lord, yet he was confused, thinking this couldnít be right, until the Lord told him how much he must suffer for His namesake, then he understood the justice of God. He must have realized that the Lord was performing a miracle by choosing a man who appeared least likely to become a Christian, but God knows the heart, Saul being a man of great conviction. Had Jesus not appeared to Saul, he probably would have never gotten saved; then again, Christ could appear to many who still would not believe. Saul had genuineness of heart; he was sincere but sincerely wrong, until it was revealed to him that Jesus was in fact the Christ. See also: Act 9,10-17; 20j

Act 9,13-16

(188e) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Suffering >> Suffering the will of God in your life Ė God sees us as mere instruments, as though we were of no more value than a violin or a shovel, just a tool, but He also loves us more than we will ever know. We need to understand that God has more passion and zeal for the gospel of Christ than all of us put together, and when He wants something done, He doesnít care how we feel, because there are souls at stake. For this reason He wants us seeking His kingdom and His righteousness and striving to make as many disciples as possible for His namesake.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

15-18 But the Lord said to him, "Go, for he is a chosen instrument of Mine, to bear My name before the Gentiles and kings and the sons of Israel; 16 for I will show him how much he must suffer for My name's sake." 17 So Ananias departed and entered the house, and after laying his hands on him said, "Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus, who appeared to you on the road by which you were coming, has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit." 18 And immediately there fell from his eyes something like scales, and he regained his sight, and he got up and was baptized;

 

Act 9-15,16

(6c) Responsibility >> Advocate Godís cause >> Jesusí yoke of evangelism Ė Paul had been a criminal against the saints in many persecutions and fear-mongering, having done so much damage to the saints that Jesus said to Ananias, ďI will show him how much he must suffer for my nameís sake.Ē In other words, Paul had to make amends to the Church, showing the justice of God whenever somebody touches the apple of His eye. Martyrdom is the only sin that God is unwilling to forgive without a price. When people make amends for things they have done, they might give money back that they have stolen or do public service or serve a prison term, but when God demanded that Paul make restitution for his persecutions, He demanded that he become instrumental in multiplying the saints. He had already been an inadvertent catalyst, spreading Christianity in the dispersion from Jerusalem, and now Christ was sculpting him into a tool that will intentionally spread Christianity throughout the world, inducting him into service as chief of the evangelists. Not even Jesus reached numbers with the gospel like Paul, who traveled the world. Paul suffered greatly at the hands of his pharisaical colleagues; being a Pharisee himself, they followed him from town to town, persecuting him in attempt to thwart the gospel throughout the span of his ministry, even as he did to the saints prior to his conversion. He asked if this thorn in his flesh would be removed and the Lord answered, ďMy grace is sufficient, for power is perfected in weakness.Ē God was unwilling to lower the price for what he did to the Church in his former life before Christ saved him. God was also using Paul's suffering to keep him spiritually sharp (2Cor 11,23-30); suffering was his yoke.

(30i) Gift of God >> Favor by His grace >> He does not take your sins into account -- These verses go with verses 3-7

(61j) Paradox >> Two implied meanings >> God will show Paul how much he must suffer: Consequence of preaching the gospel/Reciprocity for persecuting the Church Ė The lord told Ananias that He will show Paul how much he must suffer as a result of preaching the gospel of Christ. On the one hand, the paradox of Christ showing Paul how much he must suffer for His namesake was that it would not be recompense for the evil he had done to His people, but as a consequence of preaching the gospel in a world of evil. On the other hand, it was indeed recompense for the evil he had done to the Church. Paul would have to pay for the martyrs he had made by the stripes on his back and the beatings he would take that resulted in whole nations becoming christianized and the years of imprisonment that he would endure, wherein he would write the epistles that we read today. So which one was it: consequence or recompense? Is it possible that God had both in mind?

(67i) Authority >> Jesus delegates authority >> Preaching the gospel in Jesusí name

(99f) Thy kingdom come >> Endurance (Thorn in the flesh) >> Enduring our circumstances Caused by other people

(152a) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> Witnesses of the father >> Apostles >> Enduring hardship proves apostleship

(154d) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> God bears witness against the world >> Witness that the world is godless >> Witness that the world does not know God -- These verses go with verses 3-6

(209h) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Righteous saved with difficulty >> Fulfill your calling with difficulty

(210k) Salvation >> Jews and gentiles are being saved >> Gentiles included >> Fellow heirs with Israel (Spiritual Jew) >> Ministry to the Gentiles Ė Paulís ministry was to the gentiles, making that fact very clear in his epistles, yet we see throughout the book of Acts that he was constantly appealing to the Jewish community with the gospel, and it was constantly getting him in trouble. The majority of Paulís suffering came from the Jews, indicating that it was the will of God that Paul took the gospel to the Jews first, though Christ called him to the gentiles. Paul always had a heart for the Jew, because he was one himself, a retired Pharisee, and he wanted desperately to turn on the light in the hearts of his fellow countrymen and see them converted to Christianity. He was intimately familiar with the legacy of his Jewish roots that their 2000-year journey started with Abraham, but Israelís disobedience beginning at the time of Moses distorted what they believed about God. Paul felt they deserved God's grace, not because of any righteousness they elicited, but because Jesus came for the Jew first, so the gospel belonged to them, and Paul earnestly desired them to receive it. He knew the gospel fit in their hand better than it fit with the gentiles, but God was calling the gentiles and left the Jews for a season, remembering the promise made to the fathers that "the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable" (Rom 11-29). Jewish rejection of the gospel would haunt them for the next two millennia, but God will call them again in the last days, and this time they will respond favorably to the gospel.

(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

(219d) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> The elect >> God transforms the world into the Church >> God chooses to speak to whomever He wishes

(247h) Priorities >> Godís priorities >> Godís interests >> God is interested in the gospel

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

Act 9-15

(213d) We Are His Instruments (Key verse)

Act 9-16

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

Act 9,17-19

(191ba) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Baptism >> Baptism symbolizes death, burial and resurrection >> Baptism is a sign of faith Ė This is for all the Pentecostals who think there is a certain sequence that must take place, who say that a person must believe and be baptized, then the clergy lays their hands on him and he receives the Holy Spirit exactly in that order, but look at Paul. Ananias laid his hands on him and he received the Holy Spirit before he was baptized. Moreover, there are some Pentecostals who say we must be baptized in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, others say Jesus only, and if we donít do it their way they say the baptism doesnít count, and the list goes on and on about the things people believe. We all know we are being baptized for heaven's sake, the home of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, for no one gets baptized in the name of Ala or Buddha. We get baptized in the name of Israel's God. We know about baptism from the Bible; therefore, we are baptized in obedience to the Bibleís God, baptism being an emblem of faith and obedience. We gentiles think Jesus is our God, but He is actually Israel's God, so when we believe and are baptized and receive the Holy Spirit according to Scripture, we are entering a Jewish faith.

Act 9-17,18

(245d) Kingdom of God >> Spirit realm imposed on the natural realm >> Literal manifestations >> Literal manifestation of Jesus Christ >> Jesus literally gives sight to the blind -- These verses go with verses 11&12. It wasnít a surprise to Paul that the zealots of his colleagues of Judaism persecuted him, who considered Christianity heresy and a huge threat to their faith. Christianity diametrically opposed many of the things they believed. For example, circumcision was no longer a sign of being sons of Abraham; baptism replaced it as being a sign of members of the growing Church, and there were other customs and practices of Judaism that were abolished that Moses charged the Israelites to maintain as perpetual ordinances throughout their generations. This whole story about a man risen from the dead, ascended to heaven and seated at the right hand of God, having forgiven the world of sin and commanded both Jews and gentiles alike to believe and be saved, were not part of Israel's heritage. Moreover, they rightly knew that whatever God would do next must be written in the Old Testament prophets, and according to their knowledge none of these things existed in their manuscripts, yet they were written in plain sight. They didnít see it coming because the prerequisite for seeing them was to have a heart of flesh, which Israel didn't have, Moses testifying against them in his day. Paul had a heart for God, though he was misled, and God was in the process of fixing him.

 

19-23 and he took food and was strengthened. Now for several days he was with the disciples who were at Damascus, 20 and immediately he began to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues, saying, "He is the Son of God." 21 All those hearing him continued to be amazed, and were saying, "Is this not he who in Jerusalem destroyed those who called on this name, and who had come here for the purpose of bringing them bound before the chief priests?" 22 But Saul kept increasing in strength and confounding the Jews who lived at Damascus by proving that this Jesus is the Christ. 23 When many days had elapsed, the Jews plotted together to do away with him,

 

Act 9,19-31

(149d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Compel them to come in >> Forceful persuasion

Act 9,19-25

(164i) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> The world is at enmity with God >> The world hates God

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Act 9,19-22

(193e) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Turn from sin to God >> Repent >> Bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance >> Testimony of Paulís life Ė Paul began immediately after his conversion to proclaim Jesus in the synagogues and confounding the Jews. He had been a student of the Old Testament decades prior to meeting Jesus, so immediately he was able to argue his point and prevail upon his audience, proving that the Old Testament makes more sense with Jesus than it does without Him. Nevertheless, they needed a revelation from the Holy Spirit to see it. Not even Paul could see it until his revelation on the road to Damascus. Suddenly the light flashed before Paulís eyes, and after meeting Jesus the scriptures became opened to him and he could see Jesus throughout the entire word of God. He knew the Scriptures backward and forward, but he just didnít see Jesus in them, but now he did, and it read like a brand new Bible. When Jesus gave him back his eyesight, figuratively He gave him a new set of eyes so he could see into the spiritual realm.

Act 9,20-30

(88e) Thy kingdom come >> Faith produces works >> The function of works in faith >> Faith doesnít move men until it is manifested in the spiritual realm

Act 9,20-29

(154e) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> God bears witness against the world >> Witness that the world is godless >> Witness that the world hates God Ė The people who were part of this plot to destroy Saul (later named Paul) were all Jews. They were Scribes and Pharisees, some of his own colleagues, religious leaders of Israel, people of renown with high degrees of education. Paul was preaching Jesus to them who knew the Scriptures, and they rejected what He said in a cross between not understanding what he was saying through influences of satanic darkness and not willing to accept the truth about themselves and about God. Somewhere in their darkened hearts they knew Paul was right but refused to believe him. Had they fought off the devil with an open mind and listened to Paul, they may have had a chance to believe in God and be saved, but since they had an allegiance to a corrupt way of believing the Law and the Prophets and thus believed the tenets of the devil, their hearts remained darkened. Moses left Israel with God's laws intact, but it was like building a house of cards in a hurricane. Man's sinful nature replaced God's expectation with a facsimile of the truth, distorting the word of God until it was unrecognizable, though in their minds they were believing the same truth their fathers understood in the days of Moses. For example, Exodus 22-20 says, "He who sacrifices to any god, other than to the LORD alone, shall be utterly destroyed," so the Jews were trying to keep this verse by attempting to kill Paul, but they didn't realize that their understanding of the Old Testament had slowly drifted into error, so that they were protecting a potpourri of concoctions that steadily mutated into something not at all resembling their ancient manuscripts. We think this would never happen to us, just like the Jews in Paul's day didn't think it happened to them, but it did happen to them, and it happened to us too. We don't understand the New Testament the way the first century Christians did when they wrote it.

Act 9,20-23

(143d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> The public >> Paul ministered publicly -- These verses go with verses 27-29. Paul immediately stove to integrate into the Church, and in Galatians he gave an account of this, ďRecognizing the grace that had been given to me, James and Cephas and John, who were reputed to be pillars, gave to me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship, so that we might go to the Gentiles and they to the circumcisedĒ (Gal 2-9). Paul received acceptance from the top level of leadership. He told his story that he met the Lord on the road to Damascus, and based on his early, zealous achievements to carry the gospel into the world, and seeing that he had already risked his life for the cause of the Christ, they believed him.

Act 9-20

(215k) Sovereignty >> God controls time >> Suddenly >> Working quickly

Act 9,22-25

(29b) Gift of God >> God delivers us from those who want to silence the word

(62a) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Responding cleverly to your enemies >> Outwit them

Act 9,22-24

(25d) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Murder >> Persecution to the death >> Murder is the way of the world -- These verses go with verses 29&30

(201e) Denying Christ >> Jesus is an offense >> Truth offends error >> The gospel offends the religious establishment -- These verses go with verse 29. Saulís companions plotted together to do away with him; these were his fellow colleagues in Judaism. He was in total agreement with their hatred of Christians prior to his conversion to Christianity, but now he has become their enemy, because he now believes in Jesus. We think we have friends who will go through the fire with us, but if we have a change in heart that contradicts their beliefs, they will drop us like a hot potato, and in Saulís case they came after him to destroy him. We understand how Saul so quickly turned; he had an encounter with the God of heaven, but Saulís fellow Pharisees turned against him. The only revelation they had was of the flesh, and all they understand was murder. Moses taught that if anyone worshipped a god contrary to the doctrines they had heard from him, they should be destroyed from among the people (Ex 22-20; Deut 17-3), but what about all the rest of the things God said to do? They didnít do any of them, but when it came to killing, they were always faithful; this is human nature.

Act 9-22,23

(175f) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Ignorance >> Dodging the issue (willful ignorance) >> Evading the word of God -- These verses go with verse 29. Who knows what the Jews thought about some of the passages of the Old Testament that speak so plainly about Jesus, how they put a spin on them to make them say something entirely different? We do the same thing to the New Testament. For example, a Great Endtime Revival is coming and the Church is mostly unaware of it and doing almost nothing to prepare for it. Those who would confess to an endtime revival would say it is coming after the Rapture, so it does not pertain to them; however, the Great Endtime Revival is coming before the Rapture, so it does indeed pertain to us. Many things are coming before the Rapture, but we donít see it; we only see what we want to see, just like the Jews did, and they missed their Messiah when he came. We gentiles better remain vigilant or the same fate may befall us, for if the Jews were completely caught off guard and in the dark about the word of God, indicating their lack of commitment to the truth, the very same thing could happen to us, for we we are no different or better than them. Jesus warned us time and again, being the one thing he most reiterated whenever He spoke about endtime prophecy, ďBe on the alert (Mk 13-33)! He said this because he knew we would not understand His plan and purpose for the Church in the last days, but if we stayed on the alert it wouldnít matter if we didnít understand, suggesting that complacency is the enemy. Jesus was familiar with cultural blindness; it had afflicted His own generation; His own people didnít see Him coming and knew the very thing would happen to the gentiles in the last days.

Act 9-22

(9h) Responsibility >> Strengthened by the sword of His Spirit >> Through His word Ė The Holy Spirit alone has the power to shut the mouths of the enemies of the gospel, and He was at work in Paul. The Holy Spirit can help us think fast on our feet, always be ready with a word and cast down the lies of those who would subvert the truth.

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

(89i) Thy kingdom come >> Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom >> Increasing in wisdom Ė It was really no wonder the Israelites rejected the gospel, since it was so different from the first covenant. For one thing, it included the gentiles; that may have been the biggest insult of all. The Jews wanted Godís covenant to remain only about them. They wanted His special treatment to continue, but when the new covenant included the gentiles, the Jews were offended to the point of wanting to kill anybody who even breathed the name of Jesus. Paul immediately got in touch with certain Christians who revealed to him many verses in the Old Testament that pertained to Christ that he hadnít realized. Everything they said to him clicked. Paul experienced a paradigm shift; his whole world pivoted around Christ; He suddenly saw the Old Testament in a whole new light, for everything about Jesus was foreshadowed in the Old Testament. He suddenly realized that everything he formerly believed was wrong. Paradigm shifts of this magnitude are not easy to accept; many of Paulís colleagues if this happened to them would not have humbled themselves and admitted their fault. After working so hard at what he believed, Paul spent many years studying his religion and had recently graduated, and he had to throw everything he learned straight into the dumpster. He saw the world, himself and the Scriptures in a whole new light and used this new knowledge to confound his opponents; he immediately began preaching Jesus after recovering from His visitation on the road to Damascus. He had heard the gospel prior to His conversion but persecuted it because he didnít believe it, considering it blasphemous, since it put Israel to shame, making them look like fools for crucifying their own Messiah. He considered the apostles' preaching spurious, seeking to silence the dissent, but the moment he met Jesus in Spirit and in Truth, he realized he was wrong about everything and the Church was teaching the truth. He had already done tremendous damage to the Church arresting many Christians, throwing them in prison and stoning some to death, and so Paul had a lot of undoing of his previous works that he perpetrated against the Christians. It was time to make amends for what he took from God and His people.

(121l) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Confidence >> Confidence in God >> Confidence in God as you fulfill your ministry -- This verse goes with verses 27-29

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

24-30 but their plot became known to Saul. They were also watching the gates day and night so that they might put him to death; 25 but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a large basket. 26 When he came to Jerusalem, he was trying to associate with the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took hold of him and brought him to the apostles and described to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had talked to him, and how at Damascus he had spoken out boldly in the name of Jesus. 28 And he was with them, moving about freely in Jerusalem, speaking out boldly in the name of the Lord. 29 And he was talking and arguing with the Hellenistic Jews; but they were attempting to put him to death. 30 But when the brethren learned of it, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him away to Tarsus.

 

Act 9-24

(210j) Salvation >> Jews and gentiles are being saved >> Gentiles included >> Fellow heirs with Israel (Spiritual Jew) >> God welcomes the Gentiles to the promise of Israel

Act 9,26-28 

(127b) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Kindness >> Be kind like God >> Kindness is meeting the needs of the saints

Act 9-26,27

(69h) Authority >> Righteous judgment >> Meditate on discernment >> Judging what is pure Ė This is how Paul and Barnabas became comrades in the faith; Barnabas believed Paul while the rest did not. What made Barnabas believe Paul? He ignored Paulís past and just listened to his words and watched his actions and soon realized that Paul had indeed experienced a genuine conversion. Barnabas had discernment and wisdom to recognize that Paul was a child of God (Rom 8-16), but to the rest of the disciples, all that mattered to them was Paulís reputation. They never bothered to listen to his words, his zeal, his sincerity of heart. They never even noticed that he was risking his life for the sake of the gospel just days after his conversion. God was pleased with the number of people who were coming to the Lord, but they needed a shepherd. They couldnít think for themselves; people have not changed over the centuries; we have not evolved for the better. We still need of a shepherd to lead us into the ways of truth, and for this reason we are suffering under apostasy, because we have no shepherds that genuinely care about the flock (Phi 2,19-24).

Act 9-26

(17c) Sin >> Unrighteous judgment >> Judging in the flesh >> Evaluating circumstances by the carnal mind Ė We donít have leadership like the early church with the original apostles, and some of the other great men of God like Barnabas, and with Paul who later came. Gal 2-9 says that the apostles gave Paul and Barnabas the right-hand of fellowship, so they too had wisdom enough to understand Godís purposes, but do our leaders today have discernment to identify those in their assemblies who are faithful to God and are gifted, who have been called by God as chosen instruments to do His will. Does leadership in the Church today have wisdom to establish men and women in ministries that befit their giftedness? No, the only thing that matters to them is perpetuating their business of religion! The only thing the Church recognizes is degrees in theology from cemetery school. A dedicated believer may come to the preacher seeking a ministry and be met with indifference, because the pastor doesn't see the needs in his own church and dismiss the believer with his request.

(143b) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> Having a bad reputation Ė Imagine Paul entering the church for the first time; instead of going there to arrest them, he went to worship God with them, pray, read Scripture and seek fellowship with the brethren, though in the past he had arrested Christians, imprisoned many and executed others. It was no wonder they didnít want to associate with him; not only were they afraid of him, they were probably angry with him that he had done these things, so even if he had some kind of encounter with God, it didnít matter after all the damage he had already inflicted on some of the people they knew and loved. They probably didnít understand why he was there, but neither were they particularly interested in learning. It didnít raise a lot of curiosity in the people for him to suddenly show a genuine interest in them, asking questions and trying to gain their confidence. Instead of preaching the gospel right away, for fourteen years he went away and studied the Scriptures on his own and developed a hearing ear and listened to the voice of God speaking to him about his ministry to which he was being called, so when he returned to the Church, people had forgotten his past and they readily accepted him, and he was prepared as a minister of the gospel.

Act 9,27-29

(121l) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Confidence >> Confidence in God >> Confidence in God as you fulfill your ministry -- These verses go with verse 22

(143d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> The public >> Paul ministered publicly -- These verses go with verses 20-23. Saul of Tarsus got saved and immediately began preaching Jesus to his fellow Jews; He didnít need anyone to teach him the gospel, for he knew the Scriptures better than anyone; he just didn't know what any of it meant, until Jesus met him on the road to Damascus. Only days after this spiritual birth he was confounding the Hellenistic Jews, frustrating them to the point of wanting to kill him as he proved their religion wrong on every point. This suggests how close Paul was to the gospel before he got saved; God opened his eyes and he could then see the footprints of Jesus throughout the Old Testament manuscripts that he knew backward and forward. Suddenly passages such as Isaiah 53 became crystal clear that spoke about Jesus as the suffering servant. Being an authority on the Old Testament he understood the gospel probably better than the apostles who walked with Jesus for three years. This shows how well the prophecies documented Jesusí life hundreds of years before He was born. The moment he realized that Jesus was the Christ, everything clicked into place. He must have gone through the Old Testament in his mind and recalled hundreds of passages that Jesus fulfilled, and he made all the subtle amendments in his thinking, and the revelations kept building, his perspective on the Old Testament turning 180 degrees, and just a week earlier, prior to his conversion, he was completely in the dark about God. Much of Paulís epistles resulted from long periods of meditation and prayer, having spent the first fourteen years of his salvation in quiet search and inquiry, coming to know God and learning the sound of His voice, studying the Scriptures and preparing for a ministry that would change the world.

Act 9-27,28

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

Act 9-29,30

(25d) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Murder >> Persecution to the death >> Murder is the way of the world -- These verses go with verses 22-24

Act 9-29

(175f) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Ignorance >> Dodging the issue (willful ignorance) >> Evading the word of God -- This verse goes with verses 22 and 23

(198a) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Man withers when he is in control >> Unteachable >> Resisting the knowledge of God

(201e) Denying Christ >> Jesus is an offense >> Truth offends error >> The gospel offends the religious establishment

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31&32 So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria enjoyed peace, being built up; and going on in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it continued to increase. 32 Now as Peter was traveling through all those regions, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda.

 

Act 9-31

(88k) Thy kingdom come >> Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom >> Revering God

(126a) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Peace >> God is at peace >> The peace from God Ė The moment of Paulís conversion, persecution of the Church ended, being that Saul was leading it, thinking the Church harmless, being a peaceful religion, though a threat to Judaism, and being the only one ignorant enough and zealous enough to pursue the Christians after God busted His apostles out of jail on several occasions, completely demoralizing His opponents. The fact is they had God on their side, so they were by no means harmless, and Paul was the only one in the dark about this, the others not believing God was on their side, though they knew He was. Paul learned that God was on their side the hard way, and he became the greatest advocate of Christians the Church has ever known.

(128ia) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Bearing fruit >> Living a fruitful life >> Be fruitful and multiply >> Growing numerically

(137j) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Maturity >> Stages of maturity are levels of accountability >> Maturity is working with God

(228c) Kingdom of God >> Godís kingdom is a living organism >> God working in you >> Comforted >> We are comforted in the presence of God >> Holy Spirit is our comforter Ė The Holy Spirit is given a number of titles, such as "comforter" (KJV). Then there is the ďParacleteĒ, which means Advocate or Counselor. If Christians needed comforting before they got saved, they definitely needed comforting after they got saved, because of the kind of life that God was calling them to lead, for He has not called us to hide our light under a basket, but to proclaim our faith from the housetops, and that means evangelism, which often brings persecution. Sometimes it takes pain and suffering to win souls to the Kingdom of Heaven, and persecution is just one of many reasons we need comforting in this world.

(229b) Kingdom of God >> Godís kingdom is a living organism >> Kingdom grows by itself >> Growing in numbers corresponds with spiritual growth >> Kingdom grows in strength Ė There are undoubtedly other nations in the world that feel a greater obligation than America to believe in Jesus and commit their lives to the establishment of the Church, and for this reason they are enjoying revival. Maintaining status quo in the Church doesnít work, for if we are not growing, weíre dying. The Church has not spiritually grown since the 1970ís. There are those who would disagree, who would point to a lot of hype as evidence of revival, new songs and new dance moves, banner waving, jumping, twirling and howling at the moon, but almost none of this defects from the flesh. There are waves of people flooding into certain mega-churches, and we might think that is revival, but when we listen to their gospel, we can hardly recognize it coming from the Scriptures. Their concept of revival is grace, grace, grace without any accountability, coupled with emotionalism. If this could get a person to heaven, that world be fine, but it canít; and if emotionalism guaranteed holiness, that would be fine, but it doesnít. Positive emotions go to negative emotions in a flash; they might be singing and dancing on minute and screaming at their family members the next. True revival always involves repentance and a return to the true doctrines of the faith.

Act 9,32-35

(4f) Responsibility >> Advocate Godís cause >> From him who has shall much be required Ė Miracles, signs and wonders would probably not have the same effect on our society today. We have become jaded by television, seeing false miracles everyday in our living room through the special effects of moviemakers. The difference between right and wrong becomes a thin red line when certain people have a gun in their hand have lost touch with the boundaries of sanity. We have become desensitized to reality with people seeking infamy go to public settings and shoot up the place with their semiautomatic weapons, spattering people all over the walls. This is what they have trained themselves to do through their video games and violent movies that they incessantly watch. ďWe are the greatest nation in the world,Ē or so we say, yet we donít believe in Jesus anymore. Weíre not great. We have scattered our military to the far ends of the earth, claiming to be the worldís watchdog, but we are merely masking our imperialistic pursuits. When Peter came to Lydda and healed Aeneas and preached the gospel to his community, they all believed in Jesus. The world today is hardening its heart against the things of God. If a person could perform miracles, maybe he would see a handful of people get saved from an entire community, and most of them would fall away after only a few months. This is how depraved we have become as a society. When those who are being saved fall below a certain threshold, God will drop the curtain and begin a new age of Millennium, and that day is fast approaching.

(146i) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesusí works bear witness of Himself >> Purpose of miracles >> Proof that Jesus is the son of God >> That the world may be saved -- These verses go with verses 40-42. The man had to go through eight long years of suffering before being healed, so his healing would have a greater impact on his community, for virtually everyone knew him. Therefore, to see Aeneas on his feet walking again was a miracle that no one could deny, and for this reason they believed God had come to visit them, and the whole community was saved. They easily made the connection between Peter the apostle, who was known for performing miracles and this man who had been healed.

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33-43 There he found a man named Aeneas, who had been bedridden eight years, for he was paralyzed. 34 Peter said to him, "Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; get up and make your bed." Immediately he got up. 35 And all who lived at Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord. 36 Now in Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which translated in Greek is called Dorcas ); this woman was abounding with deeds of kindness and charity which she continually did. 37 And it happened at that time that she fell sick and died; and when they had washed her body, they laid it in an upper room. 38 Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, having heard that Peter was there, sent two men to him, imploring him, "Do not delay in coming to us." 39 So Peter arose and went with them. When he arrived, they brought him into the upper room; and all the widows stood beside him, weeping and showing all the tunics and garments that Dorcas used to make while she was with them. 40 But Peter sent them all out and knelt down and prayed, and turning to the body, he said, "Tabitha, arise." And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter, she sat up. 41 And he gave her his hand and raised her up; and calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. 42 It became known all over Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. 43 And Peter stayed many days in Joppa with a tanner named Simon.

 

Act 9,33-42

(145d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesusí works bear witness of Himself >> Healing >> Jesus heals through the Church Ė There are two cases when God confirmed his word through signs, wonders and miracles. The first case is when God is transitioning to another age, such as the coming of Messiah and His gospel through the apostles. The Church needed a good send-off in order for it to last two thousand years, like when a child pushes his sailboat into a lake. During transition to the next age of Millennium, miracles will return. The second case when God performs miracles is as it speaks in James, ďIs anyone among you sick? Then he must call for the elders of the church and they are to pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord; and the prayer offered in faith will restore the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up, and if he has committed sins, they will be forgiven himĒ (Jm 5-14,15). James wrote this as though it were a hard and fast rule, that if we follow this recipe, the person will invariably receive his healing, but that is not always the case.

Act 9-33,34

(67f) Jesus delegates authority >> Name of Jesus >> Performing miracles in Jesusí name

Act 9,36-42

(9k) Responsibility >> Strengthen one another >> Tend to the widows Ė It doesn't say that Tabitha was a widow, but we can assume so, and she was held in high honor, unlike our society, where they dump widows in nursing homes and forget about them. She was a good person, loving the Lord with all her heart and loved her neighbor as herself, sufficing the law. She was a great encouragement to those who knew and loved her. They wanted her back and learned that Peter could raise the dead through the power of God, so they sent for him. That took real faith. Jesus taught that if we ask anything in His name, He will do it (Jn 14-14). 

(70jb) Authority >> Believerís authority >> We have been given authority over all creation >> We have authority over the elements Ė While Peter was praying he was no doubt searching his memory for all the experiences he had with the Lord and all the words Jesus spoke regarding the authority He had given us (Jn 14,9-14). He no doubt also spent some time repenting, knowing God would only work with vessels that have been cleansed from sin. When Peter was ready, instead of praying he spoke the words to the woman as though she were merely asleep, saying, ďTabitha arise.Ē He didnít make a scene; his prayer was not an incantation, he made no dramatic speeches; it was not a ritual but a simple prayer and a word to the deceased and she came back to life. This means faith is something we donít understand. God consists of faith, which is why He commands us to walk in faith, that we might be like Him.

(94k) Thy kingdom come >> Godís perspective on death Ė The only people who understand death are those who have died; there has been no description in the Bible from anyone raised from the dead who have explained his experiences, not even Lazarus, possibly because there was really nothing to say. It may have been an experience similar to sleep.

(147g) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesusí works bear witness of Himself >> Raising the dead Ė When Peter arrived, he sent them all out of the room so that he was with the body alone. They had a longing to see their friend returned to them and they had the faith that Peter could pray and God would answer him. Peter showed them the door, because he needed to concentrate and couldnít afford any doubts present in the room. Not even Jesus could perform miracles in the presence of doubt and unbelief. In the story of Jesus raising the little girl (Lk 8,51-56), He sent out everyone from the room except Peter, James and John and the girlís parents before He raised their daughter, eliminating doubt and unbelief. Note that the girlís parents didnít necessarily believe, but they were full of hope that they would see their daughter alive again and this incentive goes a long way to cultivate faith. Peter didnít pray facing the body, for the body presented the problem; Peter was praying for the solution. He faced away from the body and prayed to God, and when He was ready, he turned to the body and commanded Tabitha to arise.

Act 9-36

(124b) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Love >> Acts of love >> Love takes from the rich and gives to the poor >> love is the act of giving to the poor

Act 9,40-42

(146i) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesusí 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 -- These verses go with verses 32-35. The primary purpose of miracles is that they are tools of the evangelist. Some say that in the early days of the Church God performed miracles to help establish it during a dispensation that has come and gone, and they say God doesnít work that way with us anymore. That sounds more like an excuse, because God is unwilling to work through them. Not even Jesus, could perform miracles in an environment of unbelief but preached the gospel of the kingdom before attempting to perform miracles, giving time for His word to create faith in the people. There needs to be faith before miracles can occur, and the people need to hear the word before there can be faith, but the word that people preach these days can hardly engender faith in the truth.

Act 9-43 -- No Entries

 

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