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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 its crescendo 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 Christ 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 since Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians took them into captivity, nor was Saul like the priests who were being saved in that he persecuted the Church. Many of the Pharisees who hated the gospel of Christ did not actively persecute the Church like Saul did, because they were more afraid of it, knowing there was a curse involved with anyone who persecuted Godís truth. 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 saying in Act 5,33-39, ĎIf it is a false religion, it will crumble on its own, but if it is divine, you may be found even fighting against God.í 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. He only heard about the sect that they were calling the Way, which was led by a man whom its followers claimed to have risen from the dead and was seated at the right hand of God, and Saul considered this to be heresy and treason against the traditions established by his forefathers.

(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 very manuscripts that Israel studied and worshipped and written by men they upheld with utmost respect, though their fathers martyred most of them. In this way Saul was no different, yet he was different from those who hated Jesus and from those who believed in Him among the religious leaders of Israel, in that Saul had two things in higher concentrations that they did not have: 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 ignorance. Had He known it was the work of God, he would not have put anybody in prison, nor would he 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 out and did it. He had a zeal for God that transcended everybody elseís. He was trying to defend what he believed to be the truth.

(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 they predicted Jesus would return in their lifetime, so they were waiting for Jesus! Were they disappointed when He didnít come? Apparently not if they were able to disperse among the surrounding countryside and evangelize 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. What was Godís purpose for having them all together, focusing on their faith? God created a strong nucleus of people, highly committed to their 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); he just spread the Christians around. God used Paulís persecution against the Church for good, and then He later used Paul for good, transforming Him into the greatest apostle the world has ever known. This is Godís calling card; He uses and reuses His resources, pulling every drop of benefit from every negative situation from those who will serve Him, always giving more than He takes. The sphere of the Churchís influence continued to grow as it grew 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 that he was responsible for spreading the gospel; 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 so men could be saved in order to establish the Church. The reason we donít see miracles every day 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. God always operates in the same way, because it works. 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 them that they might be saved. Therefore, if anybody has the word of God deeply embedded in his heart, in the last days God may call him to perform miracles in conjunction with preaching the word of God that those who hear can be saved. They donít have to be apostles or prophets; they only have to love the Lord and know His word in truth by the Spirit. As we know, there has been a two-thousand-year lag period where very few miracles have occurred, yet people were occasionally healed, as Jm 5-14,15 says, 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 him.Ē These are miracles that God has performed throughout the centuries among those who believe, so the pastor can preach the word and people will believe in Jesus all the more.

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 to pay attention to 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 someoneís ear. Why doesnít God work with His people today the way He worked with the early church, giving us signs and wonders to perform through our hands? the Church canít hardly agree on a single element of the truth; there is no unity in the body of Christ, no agreement, so that if someone were to perform a miracle and preach the gospel and people be 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, most contradicting the others, 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 for the spirit of error >> Selfish ambition >> Seeking to control the truth Ė These verses 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 these verses, but accepting them. There are not varying interpretations, yet there are myriads of applications as to how to incorporate this truth into our belief system. Whole denominations have spun-off from these words; in fact, if they were blotted from the Scriptures, it is questionable whether the Pentecostal movement and its subsequent denomination would have ever come to pass. There are many people who are simply unwilling to work with the Holy Spirit, though they are more than willing to receive the seal of their salvation, that is the indwelling Holy Spirit, so long as there is no net effect or change in their lives. Those who reject the baptism of the Holy Spirit would probably try to sell it if they could. 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 The thing to which this portion of Scripture is alluding 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 when it comes to these verses, many put on the breaks, emphatically rejecting them. They donít want the Holy Spirit changing 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 or losing their eternal salvation. They donít want the Holy Spirit leading them into false doctrine, what? The Holy Spirit would never do that! Rather, they want to be in control; they donít trust God. If they donít trust God, then how do they know they are saved?í The Holy Spirit is not of this world; that is what they donít like about Him. This suggests that Christians who reject these verses are tied to this world and to the spirit of the world. They feel they would be committing some kind of treason by collaborating with a Spirit who in not of the world. This further suggests that they are more comfortable collaborating with 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, not only to be like the nations, but also to be rooted in the spirit of this world. God gave Israel an opportunity to be a special nation for His glory, but they continually sought commonality with the world instead. Rejecting the Holy Spirit does not even sound like a genuine Christian. Therefore, anyone who rejects these verses out-of-hand, especially verses 14-17, their eternal salvation is in question!

(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 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, and that should clue us to the Egyptians, that they imitated the miracles of Moses in the days 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; maybe he had a deck of cards, a pigeon and a handkerchief. Pharaoh called his wise men sorcerers and magicians, suggesting that Simon also was a sorcerer, yet there is good reason to believe that he experienced a genuine conversion to Christianity. Simon, after seeing actual signs and wonders performed through Philip, being a magician he knew this was not slight of hand. Philip was not capable of healing anybody and 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; he knew that this was not a trick, so Simon believed in Jesus and became a Christian and was probably baptized.

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 if no one believed the gospel that perhaps not even Simon would have believed. Sometimes people believe in Jesus because of others, suggesting that in times of revival there is a snowball effect that occurs when the 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 through signs, wonders and miracles, it is questionable whether people would even react to it, but in the days of the early church before TV and all the special effects that we see every day, signs, wonders and miracles made 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, to give His life to create an avenue by which He might 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 age of grace who had faith in God that was truly noble, the earlier 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, and so 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 counterparts daily performing signs, wonders and miracles, just like Jesus said we could do. 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. They want to remain in the theological realm and believe in the saving grace of the blood sacrifice of Christ for the propitiation of our sins, which is good, and this is what Philip was preaching, and the people we believing in Jesus. 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 destined for the Kingdom of Heaven before Peter and John came to Samaria. 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 of Christ, then what is the Holy Spirit they received at the hands of Peter and John? God gives us the indwelling Holy Spirit in order to save us for eternal life in heaven, but He gives us an anointing to save us in this life. We donít need the anointing to get to heaven, but without it, living for God in this world is very difficult. Without the anointing we risk living a defeated life and by that possibly losing our eternal salvation, but with the anointing we can victoriously walk over sin. The anointing can cause a lot of trouble too if we live in a generation that despises the anointing both in the world and in the Church, yet we still hold a better chance of living victorious over sin with added persecution than living without the anointing.

(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, performs signs, wonders and miracles 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 prayed for one. 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 us to be anointed. 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 never to 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 open our mouths for evil there is a pain that accompanies it that the anointing greatly enhances, because of our closeness to God. It is this pain of conviction against sin that makes us feel all the closer to God. What is more important than hating sin is loving righteousness that God instilled in us. What did Jesus say to John the Baptist prior to being baptized by him? ďJesus replied, "Let it be so now; it is proper for us to do this to fulfill all righteousness." Then John consentedĒ (Mat 3-15).

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) >> Ė Intrinsically we know that what Simon wanted was evil; we cannot pay anybody with unrighteous mammon for rights to the Spirit of God. Simon perceived the mechanism of transfer, not knowing that God could transfer His Spirit any way He wanted; laying on of hands was just Peterís method of choice at the moment. In fact, laying on of hands is more a visual aid to bolster the faith of everyone involved than it does to transfer the anointing. Jesus proved that by healing people by various means. 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 his hands, had this gift been 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, and what Peter said to Simon is what God has to say to all who do this, ďMay your money perish with youÖ.Ē They are in the communal gall of bitterness and the shared bondage of iniquity, having no part or portion in the truth. We can always tell someone is trying to profit from the gospel: their hearts are not right before God, hence they have 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, and five minutes later, theyíre back in the dumps, their lives depreciated 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 (v15), ďI have used none of these things.Ē Paul most often chose not to be supported by the Church, but to support himself so he wouldnít be a burden on the 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 that more resources could be funneled back to the progress of the saints. This should be the attitude of every pastor, yet some pastoral attitudes about money are very much the opposite of Paulís. 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 way 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 intercede for people, 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 himself, but Simon didnít know how to pray; he had no confidence before God, being the reason he asked Peter to pray for Him. 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 desire of the people. They wanted the Church to conduct their relationship with God for them, to become their mediator, and Catholicism simply 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 over 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 instead. Something occurred between Jesus and the Samaritans during His ministry. With the Samaritan woman all was well (Jn 4,5-27); He told her things about God and things about herself, and she ran into her town and everybody followed her back to the well. Jesus stayed in Samaria for a while and talked to them about God, and the Samaritans received Him and rejoiced because they thought Jesusí ministry was about them. Later at the end of His ministry He passed through Samaria again, headed toward Jerusalem, and the Samaritans could see that He was intent on going there, and they took offense at Him, because His interest was toward the Jews. If the gospel revolved around the Samaritans, then 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

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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 that was included in Godís holy word, emphasizing the importance of this particular visitation. The eunuch went back to Ethiopia and influenced his queen. There are many such divine appointments that occur every day.

Act 8,26-35

(50dc) Judgment >> Last Days >> Jewish Led endtime revival >> Israel prophesied to lead 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, we get the hand. 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 totally misconstrued, a cobble-job that hardly resembles the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ.

(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 that they wonít have developed the hearing ear, and they wonít have the relationship to communicate with God, so they will not know His plan and purpose for His people in the last days.

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 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 still 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 and had 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, even 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 that he might go to His heaven. He was returning to his homeland and sitting in his chariot and Philip heard him reading the Bible and invited this Spirit-filled Jew to help him interpret the prophet Isaiah. Willing to admit that he didnít understand what he was reading, he hoped Philip the Hebrew, one who was chosen of God not just as a Jew but also as an apostle, would teach him the ways of his God. He was willing to humble himself and receive instruction, having all the qualities that are required for salvation. This Ethiopian eunuch is suggesting to us 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

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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. Acceptance of the gospel in Samaria was not great, but 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 right then and there. 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 had been plowed and 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 would speak to the Ethiopian. God desires to relate the gospel of Christ to people through us. People donít want to hear our prepared speeches; theyíre ineffective. People 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. 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 came in the flesh would love to rip pages like this from the Bible, and there are others too, 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. There is no harm in infant baptism, but it could be a source of confusion if a person depends on it to get to heaven. This passage teaches that baptism is a ceremony that we perform only after we have believed. There is a sequence we must follow: believe and be baptized in that order, otherwise we are being baptized in ignorance. 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. There lies the harm in saying the child is now saved and guaranteed heaven because it was baptized as an infant; that is evil and wrong and unbiblical, and it can cause problems down the road. The person may form the attitude that he doesnít need to seek God because he was baptized as a child, as though his eternal destiny has been written in stone because he was baptized. That is tantamount to witchcraft.

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 bad and evil and should be avoided at any costs; 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, and especially with his chosen apostles. God worked with large resources of faith, joy and obedience in the Holy Spirit, with the hope that the miracles God performed would not be misinterpreted or abused. The reason we donít see many miracles today is that we would misinterpret them and use these divine works for evil, which is 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

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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 The Lordís relationship with Paul was based on an agreement they made when Jesus visited Him on the road to Damascus, who literally chose Paul in a way that he never chose anybody else before or after him, essentially branding him as His property. 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 realized who this person was who contacted him from heaven; He was the very one he had been persecuting. He then realized just how far off-course he allowed himself. The wrongness of his ways soaked into his spirit to the very core of his soul. Paul was the kind of person who did not put up defense mechanisms or use self-trickery, thinking one thing, saying another and doing something else. Paul was actually a man with a conscience; he was sincerely wrong. This is in stark contrast to the Pharisees who had Jesus crucified. They were not of Paulís caliber. They literally denied everything, used every imaginable defense mechanism and were deceived by their own trickery. They knew Jesus was right, and they even knew in their hearts that he was the Son of God, their Messiah, the expected One, but they denied Him. This Paul would 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 Paul made arrangements with the high priest, tying his malevolent behavior to the religious authorities, but Paul 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; however, that is not to say Paul was the only one with an interest in this 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 slap him in the face. The high priest realized, though he wasnít willing to admit it, that Christianity was an act of God, though Paul believed that 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 (Ex 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, but also revealing many similarities the closer we compare them. 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 apostles 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 prior to the foundation of the world; He had prepared Paul for the very purpose of revealing Himself to Paul to demonstrate His transformative power in him.

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

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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 didnít ask Saul why he was persecuting Christians, but 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, both reminiscent of the Spirit and the word, emphasizing the fact that the word without the Spirit is useless. The Spirit and the word, when they come together, they are very powerful, but alone are relatively ineffectual. Paulís companion may have heard the heavenly message and could quote the voice that spoke to Saul, but it didnít change their lives because they didnít see the light. Had Saul seen the light but not heard the voice, that too would have been ineffectual, but together, both seeing the light and hearing the voice, changed Saulís life in such a profound way that not only was he changed, so was the world that he influenced with the gospel of Christ, and it all started on the road to Damascus. The Spirit without the word is the stuff of cults, and the word without the Spirit is the 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 Paul came along and started persecuting Christians before his own conversion after the other Pharisees had given up trying to silence the gospel, God had determined to make Paul His own, so He revealed Himself to Paul on the road to Damascus and he became a Christian right then and there. Not every Jewish leader of Israel would have become a Christian had Christ revealed Himself to them as He did to Paul, who was willing to change His mind about everything when presented with the Truth (Phi 3,5-8). Had Paul 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 Paul later, and he had such a profound conversion that it drove him for the rest of his life to preach the gospel of Christ under any and 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

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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 the 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 took off our blindfolds, we would realize we were lost. Every society believes their perceptions are the truth. Whenever we find it difficult to integrate Godís truth with ours, we are attempting to pound a square peg into a round hole. There is an automatic conflict, suggesting that our society is just as skewed as Israel and their Judaism, which kept them from understanding their Messiah as the Lamb of God. This is what Saul didnít understand; the man most likely to see these things was the most blind of all. When we look at Paul and his writings, he had so much 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, who were no doubt some of Paul's colleagues, "'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 Paul could see, his sin remained, but after 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 eyesight 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 were making waves he considered having no grounds for their beliefs, though 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 in his own life, 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, ĎNo, Iím not going,í 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 said to the angel, ĎHow do I know you are going to do what you said?í (Lk 1,8-23), which was a direct attack on his word. 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 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 says will come to pass, their punishment is deserved. We all have past experience about things, and some of our experiences give us trepidation about the future, but to obey the command of the Lord always ends in a blessing.

(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)

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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 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; there are some motives for arguing with God that merely seek clarification and others that are based on doubt and unbelief. For example, there were differences in motive between the questions Mary asked and the questions Zechariahs asked, the father of John the Baptist (Lk 1,11-38). Mary, the mother of Jesus, asked the angel 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 he did not get in trouble over it. Paul was 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 this choice of Saul. Ananias wondered how this could be, and the Holy Spirit told him that Paul 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 at that point that the Lord was performing a miracle by choosing a man who appeared least likely to become a Christian, but God knows the heart that Saul was a man of great conviction. Had Jesus not appeared to Paul, he probably would have never gotten saved; then again, Christ could appear to many who still would not believe, which says something about Saul. He had a deep genuineness of heart. He was sincere, but sincerely wrong, until Christ came and revealed to him the truth that Jesus was in fact the Christ.

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 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 any of us, and when He wants something done, He doesnít care how we feel, because there are souls at stake, and He wants them in His kingdom. Then we can be merry and rejoice and pay attention to our feelings, but until then He wants us seeking His kingdom and His righteousness and striving to make as many disciples as possible for His namesake.

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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 the Church. He had done so much damage 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 vindictiveness of God whenever anybody touches the apple of His eye, His saints. 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 God, when He demanded that Paul make restitution for his past, demanded he become instrumental in multiplying the saints. As much as he hindered the Church from growing in popularity and numbers, Christ inducted him into service for the growth of the body of Christ as the chief evangelist. In fact, there has never been an evangelist like Paul before or since him. Not even Jesus reached numbers with the gospel like Paul, who traveled the world. Paul suffered greatly at the hands of the Jews, the very people and culture from which Paul originated. He was a Pharisee of Pharisees, and it was the Pharisees and Sadducees and Scribes who followed him form 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 could be removed and the Lord answered, ďMy grace is sufficient, for power is perfected in weakness.Ē In other words, God was unwilling to lower the price for what he did to the Church in his life before Christ. Also, God was using Paul's suffering to keep him spiritually sharp. He provided a list in 2Cor 11,23-30 of all the things he suffered over the years for the cause of Christ, many of which came through the Jews; this 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: As a consequence of preaching the gospel/As a recompense for persecuting the Church Ė The lord told Ananias that He will show Paul how much he must suffer by 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 his suffering would not be recompense for the evil he had done to His people, but as an natural consequence of preaching the gospel in a world of evil. On the other hand, it was recompense for the evil he had done to His church. Paul would have to pay for the martyrs that 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: recompense or consequence? It was both!

(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 Jews with the gospel, and it was constantly getting him in trouble, according to the next verse, ďFor I will show him how much he [Paul] must suffer for My nameís sake.Ē The majority of Paulís suffering came at the hands of the Jews, indicating that it was the will of God that Paul took the gospel to the Jew first, though the direction of his ministry was to the gentiles. Paul always had a heart for the Jew, because he was one himself, a Pharisee at that, and he wanted so desperately to turn on the light in the hearts of his fellow Jews regarding Jesus and see them converted to Christianity. He was so familiar with the legacy of the Jewish experience, and how their 2000-year journey started with Abraham formed their thought processes, but also Israelís disobedience beginning at the time of Moses distorted what they believed about God. Paul felt they deserved the grace of God, not because of any righteousness they performed, but because Jesus came primarily to the Jew, so the gospel belonged to them, and Paul so earnestly desired them to receive it. God knew the Jews would not receive the gospel, perhaps because he too had been disobedient to avoid breaking tradition, so God called Paul a minister to the gentiles and temporarily left the Jew, remembering the promise made to the fathers: Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Their rejection of the gospel would haunt them for the next two millennia.

(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 regained his sight and he received the Holy Spirit before he was baptized. There are some Pentecostals who go as far as to 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. The list goes on about the things people believe. We all know we are being baptized for the sake of Jesus Christ, for His kingdom and glory. No one gets baptized in the name of Ala or Buddha; it is a Christian ceremony, so we know we are doing it in the name of Israel's God. If we know about baptism from the Bible, then we are baptized in obedience to the Bibleís God, who just says to believe and be baptized in that order, baptism being an emblem of our faith and the act of baptism being an emblem of 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 belief system, even though the Jews donít particularly believe.

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 when the zealots of his former colleagues of Judaism, who considered Christianity heresy and a huge threat to their faith, endlessly persecuted him, because Christianity diametrically opposed many of the things they believed. For example, circumcision was no longer the sign of being sons of Abraham, but the sign has now become baptism, and there were other customs and practices of Judaism that were abolished, many of which Moses commanded as a perpetual ordinance. 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 repent, believe and be saved, none of these things were a part of Israel's heritage. Moreover, they rightly knew that whatever God would do next must be written in their Old Testament manuscripts, and according to their knowledge, none of these things were prophesied, yet they were there, hidden in plain sight. They didnít see it coming because the prerequisite for seeing them was to have a heart for God, which Israel never had, being Mosesí complaint against them in his day. However, Paul had a heart for God, though he was misled, and God was in the process of fixing that.

 

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

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

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 out of the box sort-a-speak he was able to argue his point and prevail upon his audience, proving that the Old Testament makes more sense with Jesus inserted into it than it makes 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, 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 from a cross between not understanding what he was saying through influences of satanic darkness and an unwillingness to accept the truth about God as it was revealed to them. Somewhere deep inside their hearts they knew that what Paul was saying was true, but they refused to believe it. Had they fought off the devil and commanded him to depart from them with an open mind that wanted to hear Paul, they may have had a chance to believe in God and be saved, but because they had an allegiance to the devil, their hearts remained darkened. This is the nature of the world; it is partially the reason the world is evil and has rejected God, not just because Satan dwells on the earth and influences mankind, but also because people themselves are unwilling to admit the truth about God. Both of these are happening at the same time, reinforcing each other, satanic influences of spiritual darkness interacting with manís willful ignorance and obstinate rejection of God and His Truth.

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 brothers in the faith of 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 companions turned against him just as fast, and this is without a revelation. The only revelation they have is in their flesh, and the only thing they understand is murder. Moses taught that if anyone worships a god contrary to the doctrines that they have 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: we pick our favorite doctrines and the ones we donít like we ignore and the ones we overlook invariably matter most to God.

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 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 the gentiles. We we are no better. Jesus warned us time and again, being the one thing he most reiterated whenever He spoke about endtime prophecy, ďBe on guard! Stay alertĒ (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 was happening in 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 wicked, was at work in Paul. The Holy Spirit can help His servants think fast on their feet, be always ready with a word to cast down the lies that propagate in the saliva of those who want to subvert the truth. But most of all, it is the Holy Spirit at work making people like Paul who made such a commitment to the word of God, committing it to memory, solidifying it in the frontals of his mind, blocking out the deceptive light of this world so that all he sees is the truth emanating from Godís book through the Holy Spirit and through his own spirit who has sweet fellowship with God.

(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 was probably the biggest insult of all. The Jews wanted Godís covenant to be only about them. They wanted His special treatment to continue, though His special treatment was also the reason the world hated them. When the new covenant came along and included the gentiles, the Jews were cut to the quick, so deeply offended that they wanted to kill everybody who even breathed the name of Jesus. Then Paul got saved. When it says that Paul increased in strength, it wasnít talking about his physical strength but his spiritual strength through the knowledge of God. He immediately got in touch with certain Christians, who began revealing 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 turned upside-down; He suddenly saw the Old Testament in a whole new light, for everything about Jesus was foreshadowed in the Old Testament. He suddenly realized everything he believed was wrong. Not everybody could have taken this slam to his ego; many of Paulís colleagues if this would have happened to them would not have humbled themselves and admitted their fault after working so hard at what they believed. Paul used this new knowledge to confound his opponents, being the kind of person to immediately begin preaching Jesus after he recovered from His visitation on the road to Damascus. He had heard the gospel prior to His conversion, but he persecuted it because he didnít believe it, considering it blasphemous, since it put his nation Israel to shame, making them look like fools for crucifying their own Messiah. He considered the apostles preaching spurious; God commanded Israel to extinguish all messengers that contradicted the Law of Moses, according to their interpretation of it, and so Paul figured that he was doing the will of God by seeking to silence the dissent, but the moment he met Jesus in the Spirit, he realized he was wrong that the Church really was of God. 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 Church. It was time to make a return on 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 of 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 past. 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 anymore than we can think for ourselves; people have never changed over the eons; after thousands of years we have not evolved for the better at all. We are still sheep-le, and we still need a shepherd to lead us into the ways of truth, and for this reason we are suffering under the apostasy, because we have no shepherds that genuinely care about the flock, as Paul said in 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 apostles, and some of the other great men of God like Barnabas, and finally 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 and gifted, who have been called by God as chosen instruments to do His will, and do they have the wisdom to establish them in ministries that befit their abilities? No, they do not!  The only thing that matters to them is their business of religion. They must give a good showing in their sermons, so people will return with hefty tithes, and anything beyond that is immaterial to them. A dedicated believer may come to the preacher seeking a ministry in the word of God and give an account of his time with God, and the leader would meet him with indifference, because he wouldnít see how it could benefit him, and if he doesnít see any potential, he will dismiss the believer and deny 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 the Scriptures, commune and seek to be friends with the brethren, though in the past he had arrested Christians, imprisoned and executed many of them. 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 an encounter with God, it didnít matter to them because of 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 partially interested in learning. It didnít raise a lot of curiosity in the people of him suddenly being kind to the Christians, showing a genuine interest in them, asking them 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 to be a blessing.

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 the people; He didnít need anyone to teach him the gospel, and he knew it well enough that only days after this spiritual birth he was confounding the Hellenistic Jews, frustrating them to the point of wanting to kill him. He was proving their religion wrong on every point and positing a new way of looking at the Scriptures that he discovered just days earlier. This suggests how close Paul was to the gospel even before he got saved. God opened his eyes and he could then see into the Old Testament manuscripts that he knew backward and forward the footprints of Jesus throughout its contents. Suddenly verses became crystal clear to him, such as Isaiah who spoke more about Jesus than any other prophet. Being an authority on the Old Testament he understood the gospel probably better even than the apostles who walked with Jesus the whole time of His ministry, because of Paulís mastery of the Old Testament. 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 revelation kept building in his heart, so his perspective on the Old Testament turned 180 degrees as he developed his understanding of the gospel. However, the day before He met Jesus he was completely in the dark about why Christians believed in a crucified savior that they asserted had risen from the dead. Much of Paulís epistles resulted from long periods of meditation and prayer. Paul 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 ministry that he knew God had for him.

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

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

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, Paul being the only one bold enough and with enough zeal to persecute the Church, yet also the most ignorant, thinking the Church was physically harmless, being a peaceful religion, though a threat to Judaism. The fact is they had God on their side, so they were by no means harmless, and Paul was the only one who didnít know that. The others may not have believed God was on their side, though they knew He was. Paul leaned the truth that God was on their side by becoming a fellow believer, and it changed the world forever, for he became the greatest advocate the Church has ever known, hence the difference between the old and new covenants: in the old, if God didnít like what someone was doing, He would have them killed, but in the new He would have them converted.

(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, depending on the verse and translation we are reading; at times He is called the comforter (KJV). Then there is the ďParacleteĒ, which means Advocate or Counselor. If Christians needed comforting before they got saved, they definitely need comforting after they got saved, because of the kind of life that God is calling us to lead. God has not called us to hide our light under a basket, but to proclaim it from the housetops, and that means evangelism, which often brings persecution both by those who will forever reject the grace of God and also by those who later get saved because of our testimony. Sometimes it takes pain and suffering to win souls to the Kingdom of Heaven. 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 in their region of the world, and for this reason they are enjoying revival. The idea of maintaining the Church at its current status without seeking increase just doesnít work. If we are not growing, weíre dying, and the Church has not grown spiritually or numerically in America since the 1970ís. That is a really long period of apostasy. There are those who would disagree, who would point at a lot of hype as evidence of revival, new songs and new ways of worship at certain churches, but almost none of it goes beyond 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 from the Scriptures. Their concept of revival is grace, grace, grace without any accountability, coupled with emotionalism. If emotionalism 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 and twirling on minute, and then screaming at their family members the next.

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 that it had on Lydda. We have become jaded by the television set, seeing false miracles everyday in our living rooms through the special effects that moviemakers have devised. We have become so desensitized that we can hardly separate fiction from reality anymore. This is why a new fad of people seeking infamy is gaining popularity among reprobates who may or may not be mentally ill, going into public facilities and shooting up the place with their shotguns, semiautomatic weaponry and pistols, spattering peopleís blood all over the walls. This is what they have been trained to do through their video games that they incessantly watch. ďWe are the greatest nation in the world,Ē or so it is said, yet we donít believe in Jesus anymore. Weíre not great. We have scattered our military to the ends of the earth, claiming to be the worldís watchdog, protecting people with our guns and ammunition, so when someone without the ability to discriminate between the good guys and the bad guys shots up a public facility, emulating their video games and US military we are a-gasp. The difference between right and wrong becomes a thin line when certain people have a gun in their hand, and they seem to have lost touch with that boundary marker. Our society did nothing to thwart these violent products from being legally sold, because they saw money in it, so this is what we get. 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 to the things of God. A person could perform a genuine miracle from God and maybe 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 reach an all-time low beyond a certain threshold, God will drop the curtain on this age of grace 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 than had he been paralyzed for only a few days, 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. Had a man who had no such reputation performed the miracle, they would have been dumfounded, but as it was they immediately attributed it to the work of God.

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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 basically two cases when God performs healing and other 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, so God confirmed his word through signs, wonders and miracles. During transition of the next age, signs, wonders and 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 it is this kind of widow that was held in high honor among society, unlike our society. She was a good person, loving the Lord with all her heart, soul, mind and strength and her neighbor as herself, sufficing the law. She was a great encouragement to those around her who knew and loved her. They wanted her back and learned that Peter could raise her from the dead through the power of God, so they sent for him. That was real faith. Jesus taught that if they had the faith to get Peter, they had the faith to see this womanís life return to her. 

(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 He spoke regarding our authority to effect miracles like this (Jn 14,9-14). He no doubt also spent some time repenting, knowing that God was only willing to work through vessels that have been cleansed from sin before using them. 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 big thing of it; there were no incantations spoken over her, no dramatic speeches, no rituals, just a prayer to God and a word to Tabitha and she came back to life. This means faith is something we donít really understand; neither do we understand death. God consists of faith, which is why He commands us to walk in it, that we might be sons and daughters of the most high.

(94k) Thy kingdom come >> Godís perspective >> His 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 be 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 his prayer. Nevertheless, 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 desire to 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, signs and wonders is they are tools of evangelism and they are meant to keep the body healthy. Some say that in the early days of the Church God worked through signs, wonders and miracles to help establish it during a dispensation that has come and gone; they say God doesnít work in the realm of miracles anymore. How could that be, since it has the potential to lead many people to Christ? That sounds more like an excuse for living a life that is less than victorious. On the contrary, it is not Godís fault that miracles donít happen, but our fault, partly because we rarely even ask for them. Who prays for a miracle anymore, and when we do, we often receive the miracle for which we asked. When we donít receive the miracle, James explains it this way, ďWhen you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasuresĒ (Jm 4-3). In terms of evangelism it is no longer a tool of choice. The problem is that no one, not even Jesus, could perform miracles in an environment of unbelief. Jesus preached the gospel of the kingdom for a while prior to adding miracles to the menu, giving time for His word to create faith needed to perform miracles. So, there needs to be faith before miracles can occur. The problem is often those preaching the gospel donít know enough about Godís truth to create faith among the people. They can lead them to a saving knowledge of Christ, which is most important, yet it is how we live our lives through the power of God that people have forgotten. Most churches teach that we are supposed to suffer through this life somehow by the strength of our flesh, so when we die, we will go to heaven, but who wants to believe in a gospel like that? Where is the victory in it? This is partly why the gospel is ineffective. How else are we supposed to get through this life if we donít live through the power of God? There are so many people trying to live for God through the arm of the flesh, and they end up abandoning their faith, because our flesh canít do it. They donít understand the true doctrines of the gospel of Christ that leads to instilling godliness in the life of the believer.

Act 9-43 -- No Entries

 

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