Saturday, 31 January 2015
An Example for the way churches should function
What good examples do you see in Acts 20:1-21:16 for the way churches should function and the way believers should treat and feel about each other?
Local churches should or cannot exist in isolation. Believers cannot live in isolation. Believers must actively seek each other out and communicate. We have to spend time together. That's how we know about each other's needs, what God's plans are for each person, what God has and is doing around us. This is the only way we have the opportunity to serve one another.
Posted on 01/31/2015 9:45 PM by Larry G
Saturday, 31 January 2015
Thinking About Joseph
What beliefs and qualities does Joseph display in Genesis 50:1-26?
1 Then Joseph, leaning over his father's face, wept and kissed him. 2 He commanded his servants who were physicians to embalm his father. So they embalmed Israel. 3 They took 40 days to complete this, for embalming takes that long, and the Egyptians mourned for him 70 days.4 When the days of mourning were over, Joseph said to Pharaoh's household, "If I have found favor with you, please tell Pharaoh that 5 my father made me take an oath, saying, 'I am about to die. You must bury me there in the tomb that I hewed out for myself in the land of Canaan.' Now let me go and bury my father. Then I will return." 6 So Pharaoh said, "Go and bury your father in keeping with your oath." 7 Then Joseph went to bury his father, and all Pharaoh's servants, the elders of his household, and all the elders of the land of Egypt went with him, 8 along with all Joseph's household, his brothers, and his father's household. Only their children, their sheep, and their cattle were left in the land of Goshen. 9 Horses and chariots went up with him; it was a very impressive procession. 10 When they reached the threshing floor of Atad, which is across the Jordan, they lamented and wept loudly, and Joseph mourned seven days for his father. 11 When the Canaanite inhabitants of the land saw the mourning at the threshing floor of Atad, they said, "This is a solemn mourning on the part of the Egyptians." Therefore the place is named Abel-mizraim. It is across the Jordan. 12 So Jacob's sons did for him what he had commanded them.13 They carried him to the land of Canaan and buried him in the cave at Machpelah in the field near Mamre, which Abraham had purchased as a burial site from Ephron the Hittite. 14 After Joseph buried his father, he returned to Egypt with his brothers and all who had gone with him to bury his father.
15 When Joseph's brothers saw that their father was dead, they said to one another, "If Joseph is holding a grudge against us, he will certainly repay us for all the wrong we caused him." 16 So they sent this message to Joseph, "Before he died your father gave a command: 17 'Say this to Joseph: Please forgive your brothers' transgression and their sin-the wrong they caused you.' Therefore, please forgive the transgression of the servants of the God of your father." Joseph wept when their message came to him. 18 Then his brothers also came to him, bowed down before him, and said, "We are your slaves!" 19 But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? 20 You planned evil against me; God planned it for good to bring about the present result-the survival of many people. 21 Therefore don't be afraid. I will take care of you and your little ones." And he comforted them and spoke kindly to them.
22 Joseph and his father's household remained in Egypt. Joseph lived 110 years. 23 He saw Ephraim's sons to the third generation; the sons of Manasseh's son Machir were recognized by Joseph. 24 Joseph said to his brothers, "I am about to die, but God will certainly come to your aid and bring you up from this land to the land He promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." 25 So Joseph made the Israelites take an oath: "When God comes to your aid, you are to carry my bones up from here." 26 Joseph died at the age of 110. They embalmed him and placed him in a coffin in Egypt.
Joseph remains obedient and loyal to his father. He also shows his integrity and loyalty to Pharaoh in that he keeps his word and returns to his duties in Egypt after burying his father. We also see that he remains compassionate and forgiving toward his brothers. He tells them that it is not his place to seek revenge against them; he tells them that he is not God and they must deal with Him for their past sins. In the end Joseph still trusts God to carry out what He has said will happen.
Posted on 01/31/2015 11:32 AM by Larry G
Friday, 30 January 2015
The Communion/Fellowship of Believers
In the events of 20:1-21:16, how did the various believers show fellowship/partnership/communion with each other? What feelings did they express, and how?
1 After we had torn ourselves away from them, we put out to sea and sailed straight to Cos. The next day we went to Rhodes and from there to Patara. 2 We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, went on board and set sail. 3 After sighting Cyprus and passing to the south of it, we sailed on to Syria. We landed at Tyre, where our ship was to unload its cargo. 4 Finding the disciples there, we stayed with them seven days. Through the Spirit they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5 But when our time was up, we left and continued on our way. All the disciples and their wives and children accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray. 6 After saying good-by to each other, we went aboard the ship, and they returned home.
Wherever they are they seek out other believers and they spend time with each other. They also pray together.
7 We continued our voyage from Tyre and landed at Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and stayed with them for a day. 8 Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. 9 He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied. 10 After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 Coming over to us, he took Paul's belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, "The Holy Spirit says, In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.' "
Wherever they are, as they continue their journey, they seek out each other and spend time with each other.
13 We went on ahead to the ship and sailed for Assos, where we were going to take Paul aboard. He had made this arrangement because he was going there on foot. 14 When he met us at Assos, we took him aboard and went on to Mitylene. 15 The next day we set sail from there and arrived off Kios. The day after that we crossed over to Samos, and on the following day arrived at Miletus. 16 Paul had decided to sail past Ephesus to avoid spending time in the province of Asia, for he was in a hurry to reach Jerusalem, if possible, by the day of Pentecost. 17 From Miletus, Paul sent to Ephesus for the elders of the church. 18 When they arrived, he said to them: "You know how I lived the whole time I was with you, from the first day I came into the province of Asia. 19 I served the Lord with great humility and with tears, although I was severely tested by the plots of the Jews. 20 You know that I have not hesitated to preach anything that would be helpful to you but have taught you publicly and from house to house. 21 I have declared to both Jews and Greeks that they must turn to God in repentance and have faith in our Lord Jesus. 22 "And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there. 23 I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardships are facing me. 24 However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me-the task of testifying to the gospel of God's grace. 25 "Now I know that none of you among whom I have gone about preaching the kingdom will ever see me again. 26 Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. 27 For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. 28 Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. 29 I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. 30 Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. 31 So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears. 32 "Now I commit you to God and to the word of his grace, which can build you up and give you an inheritance among all those who are sanctified. 33 I have not coveted anyone's silver or gold or clothing. 34 You yourselves know that these hands of mine have supplied my own needs and the needs of my companions. 35 In everything I did, I showed you that by this kind of hard work we must help the weak, remembering the words the Lord Jesus himself said: It is more blessed to give than to receive.' " 36 When he had said this, he knelt down with all of them and prayed. 37 They all wept as they embraced him and kissed him. 38 What grieved them most was his statement that they would never see his face again. Then they accompanied him to the ship.
They continue to seek each other out and spend time with each other. They talk about things. They teach and learn from each other and they encourage each other. They aren't covetous or jealous of each other but they share a desire and responsibility to care for each other and the week. They are "giving" people, especially to each other.
1 After we had torn ourselves away from them, we put out to sea and sailed straight to Cos. The next day we went to Rhodes and from there to Patara. 2 We found a ship crossing over to Phoenicia, went on board and set sail. 3 After sighting Cyprus and passing to the south of it, we sailed on to Syria. We landed at Tyre, where our ship was to unload its cargo. 4 Finding the disciples there, we stayed with them seven days. Through the Spirit they urged Paul not to go on to Jerusalem. 5 But when our time was up, we left and continued on our way. All the disciples and their wives and children accompanied us out of the city, and there on the beach we knelt to pray. 6 After saying good-by to each other, we went aboard the ship, and they returned home. 7 We continued our voyage from Tyre and landed at Ptolemais, where we greeted the brothers and stayed with them for a day. 8 Leaving the next day, we reached Caesarea and stayed at the house of Philip the evangelist, one of the Seven. 9 He had four unmarried daughters who prophesied. 10 After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea. 11 Coming over to us, he took Paul's belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, "The Holy Spirit says, In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.' " 12 When we heard this, we and the people there pleaded with Paul not to go up to Jerusalem. 13 Then Paul answered, "Why are you weeping and breaking my heart? I am ready not only to be bound, but also to die in Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus." 14 When he would not be dissuaded, we gave up and said, "The Lord's will be done." 15 After this, we got ready and went up to Jerusalem. 16 Some of the disciples from Caesarea accompanied us and brought us to the home of Mnason, where we were to stay. He was a man from Cyprus and one of the early disciples.
The continuing theme of all of this is that wherever they are they seek out other believers and they spend time together. They had genuine concern for each other and they expressed that concern by spending time with each other.
Posted on 01/30/2015 12:10 PM by Larry G
Friday, 30 January 2015
The Attitude of Joseph: a model for all Christians
How is Joseph's desire in Genesis 50:24-26 a model for Christians? See Hebrews 11:22.
24 Joseph said to his brothers, "I am about to die, but God will certainly come to your aid and bring you up from this land to the land He promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob." 25 So Joseph made the Israelites take an oath: "When God comes to your aid, you are to carry my bones up from here." 26 Joseph died at the age of 110. They embalmed him and placed him in a coffin in Egypt.
By faith Joseph, as he was nearing the end of his life, mentioned the exodus of the sons of Israel and gave instructions concerning his bones.
In the last moments of his life, Joseph reaffirms his trust in God. He decides to trust God to fulfill the promises that He has made to Abraham, Isaac and finally to Joseph's father, Jacob. He decides to trust in God's promises even though, he would not live to see them fulfilled.
Posted on 01/30/2015 11:29 AM by Larry G
Thursday, 29 January 2015
Paul's Farewells -- Acts 20:1-21:16
Even before the silversmiths' riot, Paul had planned to leave Ephesus and go to Jerusalem (19:2). Although Luke barely mentions the reason (24:17), we know Paul's chief errand was to deliver money collected from his Gentile churches as a gift to the poor believers in Jerusalem (Romans 15:25-33, 1 Corinthians 16:1-4, 2 Corinthians 8-9:15). To gather this money, Paul intended to visit the churches in Macedonia, Berea, and Corinth
From acts 19:21 and Romans 1:8-15, 15:17-33, we also know that Paul was already convinced he "must visit Rome also" and that he hoped to bring the gospel to Spain thereafter. Thus, he already planned his visits with the disciples of Macedonia, Corinth, Troas, and Ephesus to be goodbyes as well as pastoral sessions. However, something told those who were spiritually sensitive that this might be a more serious farewell than they hoped. As you read 20:1-21:16, watch for signs of the bond of fellowship among the believers.
Posted on 01/29/2015 11:50 AM by Larry G
Thursday, 29 January 2015
Jacob Stands on the Promises of God
Why do you suppose that the writer of Hebrews, in chapter 11, verses 21 considers Jacob's actions in Genesis 48 as the supreme example of faith in Jacob's life?
21 Then Israel said to Joseph, "Look! I am about to die, but God will be with you and will bring you back to the land of your fathers. 22 Over and above what I am giving your brothers, I am giving you the one mountain slope that I took from the hand of the Amorites with my sword and bow."
By faith Jacob, when he was dying, blessed each of the sons of Joseph, and, he worshiped, leaning on the top of his staff.
At this point, Jacob/Israel is dying and would never have a chance to see the fulfillment of what God had told him would happen to and sons and their descendants. But Jacob trusted that what God had shown him would happen, would come to pass. Therefore, he passed along what God has revealed to him.
Posted on 01/29/2015 11:26 AM by Larry G
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
The Beginning of the Nation of Israel
What does God do in Genesis 49:1-28?
1 Then Jacob called his sons and said, "Gather around, and I will tell you what will happen to you in the days to come. 2 Come together and listen, sons of Jacob; listen to your father Israel: 3Reuben, you are my firstborn, my strength and the firstfruits of my virility, excelling in prominence, excelling in power. 4 Turbulent as water, you will no longer excel, because you got into your father's bed and you defiled it-he got into my bed. 5 Simeon and Levi are brothers; their knives are vicious weapons. 6 May I never enter their council; may I never join their assembly. For in their anger they kill men, and on a whim they hamstring oxen. 7 Their anger is cursed, for it is strong, and their fury, for it is cruel! I will disperse them throughout Jacob and scatter them throughout Israel. 8 Judah, your brothers will praise you. Your hand will be on the necks of your enemies; your father's sons will bow down to you. 9 Judah is a young lion- my son, you return from the kill- he crouches; he lies down like a lion and like a lioness-who wants to rouse him? 10The scepter will not depart from Judah, or the staff from between his feet, until He whose right it is comes and the obedience of the peoples belongs to Him. 11 He ties his donkey to a vine, and the colt of his donkey to the choice vine. He washes his clothes in wine, and his robes in the blood of grapes. 12 His eyes are darker than wine, and his teeth are whiter than milk. 13 Zebulun will live by the seashore and will be a harbor for ships, and his territory will be next to Sidon. 14 Issachar is a strong donkey lying down between the saddlebags. 15 He saw that his resting place was good and that the land was pleasant, so he leaned his shoulder to bear a load and became a forced laborer. 16 Dan will judge his people as one of the tribes of Israel. 17 He will be a snake by the road, a viper beside the path, that bites the horses' heels so that its rider falls backwards.18 I wait for Your salvation, Lord. 19 Gad will be attacked by [marauding] bands, but he will attack their heels. 20 Asher's food will be rich, and he will produce royal delicacies. 21 Naphtali is a doe set free that bears beautiful fawns. 22 Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine beside a spring; its branches climb over the wall. 23 The archers attacked him, shot at him, and were hostile toward him. 24 Yet his bow remained steady, and his strong arms were made agile by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob, by the name of the Shepherd, the Rock of Israel, 25 by the God of your father who helps you, and by the Almighty who blesses you with blessings of the heavens above, blessings of the deep that lies below, and blessings of the breasts and the womb.26 The blessings of your father excel the blessings of my ancestors and the bounty of the eternal hills. May they rest on the head of Joseph, on the crown of the prince of his brothers. 27 Benjamin is a wolf; he tears [his prey]. In the morning he devours the prey, and in the evening he divides the plunder." 28 These are the tribes of Israel, 12 in all, and this was what their father said to them. He blessed them, and he blessed each one with a suitable blessing.
Jacob, who now calls himself Israel assembles all of his sons, just before he dies. This may be considered the mandating of their unity as a family and henceforth, as a nation. He then reveals the personality and character traits of each individual son and the future tribes that will descend from them. He describes how these personality and character traits will fit into the development of the nation of Israel and the ultimate occupation of the Promised Land, Canaan. At this time, Jacob/Israel also lays out the scheme of authority for the nation, designating Judah's descendants as being the ruling tribe. In doing this, Jacob/Israel, also provides an indication that the Messiah will come from Judah. Lastly, through what he says to Joseph, reminds them that it is God who has watched over them in the past and who will continue to do so in the future.
Posted on 01/28/2015 11:22 AM by Larry G
Wednesday, 28 January 2015
The Relevance of the Church and its Witness in Our World
How is this episode (Acts 18:24-19:41) relevant to your life? (What does it reveal about the Church in the world? What attitudes and habits does it encourage you to adopt?)
The Church is actually a friend of civil authorities. By that I mean it is our responsibility to obey authority, to do what is right. Our responsibility or role is not to bring disorder to people's lives; people are living in enough chaos to begin with. I think the passage points out that people often do things as part of the crowd; they don't think about what they are doing. They don't think about what they see going on around them. It also seems to me that people may actually be worshipping what they do to make money, which may not actually make sense; it may actually be harmful. Often it is downright foolish. I think the Church's responsibility is not to get in people's faces and criticize what they do or believe. We are to talk to people, to have discourse with them, basically to help them look at the world and themselves. Our lives in Christ need to be examples of peace and order for them to see. They need us, as the body of Christ, to be anchors in the storms of life. Lord Jesus, may people see you in me today, may you live in me and your light shine. May people see in me the order and peace that you bring, may they see the life that is in You. May I look around me and be compassionate today, may I be a good listener and may I be a help to others whose lives are chaos and disorder.
Posted on 01/28/2015 2:14 PM by Larry G
Tuesday, 27 January 2015
Jacob and Joseph: Family Matters
What important decisions does Jacob/Israel make in the following Genesis passages?
(chapter 47) -28 Now Jacob lived in the land of Egypt 17 years, and his life span was 147 years. 29 When the time drew near for him to die, he called his son Joseph and said to him, "If I have found favor in your eyes, put your hand under my thigh [and promise me] that you will deal with me in faithful love. Do not bury me in Egypt. 30 when i lie down with my fathers, carry me away from Egypt and bury me in their burial place." Joseph answered, "I will do what you have asked." 31 And Jacob said, "Swear to me." So Joseph swore to him. Then Israel bowed [in thanks] at the head of his bedâ€¦â€¦..(chapter 49) -29 Then he commanded them: "I am about to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave in the field of Ephron the Hittite. 30 The cave is in the field of Machpelah, near Mamre, in the land of Canaan. This is the field Abraham purchased from Ephron the Hittite as a burial site.31 Abraham and his wife Sarah are buried there, Isaac and his wife Rebekah are buried there, and I buried Leah there. 32 The field and the cave in it [were purchased] from the Hittites."
He decides that he wants to be buried in Canaan with his ancestors and his wife Leah.
1 Some time after this, Joseph was told, "Your father is weaker." So he set out with his two sons, Manasseh and Ephraim. 2 When Jacob was told, "Your son Joseph has come to you," Israel summoned his strength and sat up in bed. 3 Jacob said to Joseph, "God Almighty appeared to me at Luz in the land of Canaan and blessed me. 4 He said to me, 'I will make you fruitful and numerous; I will make many nations [come from] you, and I will give this land as an eternal possession to your descendants to come.' 5 Your two sons born to you in the land of Egypt before I came to you in Egypt are now mine. Ephraim and Manasseh belong to me just as Reuben and Simeon do. 6 Children born to you after them will be yours and will be recorded under the names of their brothers with regard to their inheritance.
Jacob accepts or adopts Joseph's son, Manasseh and Ephraim as his own.
17 When Joseph saw that his father had placed his right hand on Ephraim's head, he thought it was a mistake and took his father's hand to move it from Ephraim's head to Manasseh's. 18 Joseph said to his father, "Not that way, my father! This one is the firstborn. Put your right hand on his head." 19 But his father refused and said, "I know, my son, I know! He too will become a tribe, and he too will be great; nevertheless, his younger brother will be greater than he, and his offspring will become a populous nation." 20So he blessed them that day with these words: Israel will invoke blessings by you, saying, "May God make you like Ephraim and Manasseh," putting Ephraim before Manasseh.
Jacob establishes that the descendants of Ephraim will be greater than those of Manasseh.
Posted on 01/27/2015 11:19 AM by Larry G
Tuesday, 27 January 2015
Theme and Purpose of the Book of Acts
The theme of the work is best summarized in 1:8 (see note there). It was ordinary procedure for a historian at this time to begin a second volume by summarizing the first volume and indicating the contents anticipated in his second volume. Luke summarized his first volume in 1:1-3; the theme of his second volume is presented in the words of Jesus: "You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth" (1:8). This is, in effect, an outline of the book of Acts (see Plan and Outline below).
The main purposes of the book appear to be:
To present a history. The significance of Acts as a historical account of Christian origins cannot be overestimated. It tells of the founding of the church, the spread of the gospel, the beginnings of congregations, and evangelistic efforts in the apostolic pattern. One of the unique aspects of Christianity is its firm historical foundation. The life and teachings of Jesus Christ are established in the four Gospel narratives, and the book of Acts provides a coordinated account of the beginning and spread of the church as the result of the work of the risen Lord and the Holy Spirit through the apostles.
To give a defense. One finds embedded in Acts a record of Christian defenses made to both Jews (e.g., 4:8-12) and Gentiles (e.g., 25:8-11), with the underlying purpose of conversion. It shows how the early church coped with pagan and Jewish thought, the Roman government and Hellenistic society.
Luke may have written this work as Paul awaited trial in Rome. If his case came to court, what better court brief could Paul have had than a life of Jesus, a history of the beginnings of the church (including the activity of Paul) and an early collection of Paul's letters?
To provide a guide. Luke had no way of knowing how long the church would continue on this earth, but as long as it pursues its course, the book of Acts will be one of its major guides. In Acts we see basic principles being applied to specific situations in the context of problems and persecutions. These same principles continue to be applicable until Christ returns.
To depict the triumph of Christianity in the face of bitter persecution. The success of the church in carrying the gospel from Jerusalem to Rome and in planting local churches across the Roman empire demonstrated that Christianity was not a merely human work. It triumphed under the rule of the exalted Christ and through the power of God the Holy Spirit.
Posted on 01/27/2015 2:08 PM by Larry G
Monday, 26 January 2015
Joseph's Impact on Egypt
What did Joseph do for Egypt during his career (Genesis 47:13-26)?
13 But there was no food in that entire region, for the famine was very severe. The land of Egypt and the land of Canaan were exhausted by the famine. 14 Joseph collected all the money to be found in the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan in exchange for the grain they were purchasing, and he brought the money to Pharaoh's house. 15 When the money from the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan was gone, all the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, "Give us food. Why should we die here in front of you? The money is gone!" 16 But Joseph said, "Give me your livestock. Since the money is gone, I will give you food in exchange for your livestock." 17 So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and he gave them food in exchange for the horses, the herds of sheep, the herds of cattle, and the donkeys. That year he provided them with food in exchange for all their livestock. 18 When that year was over, they came the next year and said to him, "We cannot hide from our lord that the money is gone and that all our livestock belongs to our lord. There is nothing left for our lord except our bodies and our land. 19 Why should we perish here in front of you-both us and our land? Buy us and our land in exchange for food. Then we with our land will become Pharaoh's slaves. Give us seed so that we can live and not die, and so that the land won't become desolate." 20 In this way, Joseph acquired all the land in Egypt for Pharaoh, because every Egyptian sold his field since the famine was so severe for them. The land became Pharaoh's, 21 and Joseph moved the people to the cities from one end of Egypt to the other. 22 The only land he didn't acquire was that of the priests, for it was their allotment from Pharaoh. They lived off the allotment Pharaoh had given them; therefore they did not sell their land. 23 Then Joseph said to the people, "Understand today that I have acquired you and your land for Pharaoh. Here is seed for you. Sow it in the land. 24 At harvest, you are to give a fifth of it to Pharaoh, and four-fifths will be yours as seed for the field and as food for yourselves, your households, and your dependents." 25 And they said, "You have saved our lives. We have found favor in our lord's eyes and will be Pharaoh's slaves." 26 So Joseph made it a law, still in effect today in the land of Egypt, that a fifth [of the produce] belongs to Pharaoh. Only the priests' land does not belong to Pharaoh.
He forces the Egyptians to set aside food during the good years which in turn provides food for not only them but the surrounding nations in the coming famine years. By taking control of all cattle and animals he also saves all of their livestock. He keeps the nation united during the famine. He literally saves their lives.
Posted on 01/26/2015 9:51 AM by Larry G
Monday, 26 January 2015
Christians and Governmental Authorities
In light of this episode (Acts 19:37-40) and the one in Corinth (Acts 18:12-17), explain why Paul and Peter considered it so important that Christians carefully obey the civil laws (Romans 13:1-7, 1 Peter 2:13-17).
12 While Gallio was proconsul of Achaia, the Jews made a united attack on Paul and brought him into court. 13 "This man," they charged, "is persuading the people to worship God in ways contrary to the law." 14 Just as Paul was about to speak, Gallio said to the Jews, "If you Jews were making a complaint about some misdemeanor or serious crime, it would be reasonable for me to listen to you. 15 But since it involves questions about words and names and your own law--settle the matter yourselves. I will not be a judge of such things." 16 So he had them ejected from the court. 17 Then they all turned on Sosthenes the synagogue ruler and beat him in front of the court. But Gallio showed no concern whatever.
1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4 For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
1 Peter 2:13-17
13 Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. 16 Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. 17 Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.
All civil authorities are established by God. Now that may seem funny. How could Mao and Joe Stalin have been established by God. Well, maybe that's what the Chinese and Russian people needed to have at the time, so that's what God gave them. But the point of these passages is that all officials are set in place to punish those who do wrong and COMMEND those who do right. Peter points out that the established authorites will recognize those who are just and obey the law and their commendation plus the truth of lawful lives will silence any foolish arguments that people might say about the Gospel and Jesus.
Posted on 01/26/2015 2:00 PM by Larry G
Sunday, 25 January 2015
The Growth of Jacob
Describe Jacob's personality in the following Genesis passages:
1 Israel set out with all that he had and came to Beer-sheba, and he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 2 That night God spoke to Israel in a vision: "Jacob, Jacob!" He said. And Jacob replied, "Here I am." 3 God said, "I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there. 4 I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you back. Joseph will put his hands on your eyes." 5 Jacob left Beer-sheba. The sons of Israel took their father Jacob in the wagons Pharaoh had sent to carry him, along with their children and their wives. 6 They also took their cattle and possessions they had acquired in the land of Canaan. Then Jacob and all his children with him went to Egypt. 7 His sons and grandsons, his daughters and granddaughters, indeed all his offspring, he brought with him to Egypt.
We see here that Jacob/Israel is fearful, still needing reassurance; still afraid or unwilling to totally trust God. This is why he takes all of his goods or material possessions with him.
Then Israel said to Joseph, "At last I can die, now that I have seen your face [and know] you are still alive!"
He is tired and exhausted but satisfied that God has indeed been looking out for him.
." 7 Joseph then brought his father Jacob and presented him before Pharaoh, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. 8 Then Pharaoh said to Jacob, "How many years have you lived?" 9 Jacob said to Pharaoh, "My pilgrimage has lasted 130 years. My years have been few and hard, and they have not surpassed the years of my fathers during their pilgrimages." 10 So Jacob blessed Pharaoh and departed from Pharaoh's presence.
He looks old and weathered; he is tired. He is also reflective of his life. He now has a perspective on what has happened. He actually asks God to bless Pharaoh, who is the benefactor for him that God has provided. He also seems to have come to some kind of realization regarding "eternity."
Posted on 01/25/2015 9:41 AM by Larry G
Sunday, 25 January 2015
God Protects Paul
What protected Paul from the violence of an outraged mob (19:31, 35-41)?
Acts 19:31, 35-41
31 Even some of the officials of the province, friends of Paul, sent him a message begging him not to venture into the theaterâ€¦..35 The city clerk quieted the crowd and said: "Men of Ephesus, doesn't all the world know that the city of Ephesus is the guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of her image, which fell from heaven? 36 Therefore, since these facts are undeniable, you ought to be quiet and not do anything rash. 37 You have brought these men here, though they have neither robbed temples nor blasphemed our goddess. 38 If, then, Demetrius and his fellow craftsmen have a grievance against anybody, the courts are open and there are proconsuls. They can press charges. 39 If there is anything further you want to bring up, it must be settled in a legal assembly. 40 As it is, we are in danger of being charged with rioting because of today's events. In that case we would not be able to account for this commotion, since there is no reason for it." 41 After he had said this, he dismissed the assembly.
Some of the Roman officials in Ephesus were friends with Paul and they protected him. The city clerk very effectively pointed out to the crowd that Paul and the Ephesian disciples had done nothing wrong. They had not robbed anyone or put down anybody's religion. That's interesting! He pointed out to them that they had committed no crime or offense.
Posted on 01/25/2015 1:55 PM by Larry G
Saturday, 24 January 2015
His Will Be Done!
What is Joseph's role in the events described in Genesis 45-47?
He is God's instrument or agent who facilitates His plan in Egypt for Jacob's family and its ultimate development into a nation. Interesting that this is line with what Isaiah tells us in Chapter 44-45 of his book and what Paul later tells the Athenians in Acts chapter 17â€¦."Thy will be done!"
Posted on 01/24/2015 9:39 AM by Larry G
Saturday, 24 January 2015
Just Talking with People
How should Christians deal with people whose livelihoods are threatened by the gospel?
This is a tough question. Apparently, Paul and the Ephesian disciples dealt with this. There were a lot of people who made big sacrifices or made big changes to their lives to accept the Gospel. But it doesn't appear that Paul made it a habit to point fingers at people; instead he just talked to them about life; and the people who listened to Paul, just connected the dots.
9 But some of them became obstinate; they refused to believe and publicly maligned the Way. So Paul left them. He took the disciples with him and had discussions daily in the lecture hall of Tyrannus. 10 This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord.
Somehow I don't think we are just suppose to whack them over the head with the Bible and try to lay big quilt trips on them. But it would seem to me that Paul and the Ephesian disciples talked with them about life, about what they were doing, what they were seeing. Getting people to look at what they saw around them and what they were experiencing in their lives. Paul helped them come to grips with reality and that reality led them to do what they did. Isn't that something? We are just suppose to talk to people about life, about their lives, our lives, what is it that we see, what does it meanâ€¦.just dialogue and that will lead where it will.
Posted on 01/24/2015 1:51 PM by Larry G
Friday, 23 January 2015
Watching God's Plan Come Together
What does God say and accomplish in Genesis 45:16-47:12?
16 When the news reached Pharaoh's house, "Joseph's brothers have come," Pharaoh and his servants were pleased. 17 Pharaoh said to Joseph, "Tell your brothers, 'Do this: Load your animals and go on back to the land of Canaan. 18 Get your father and your households, and come back to me. I will give you the best of the land of Egypt, and you can eat from the richness of the land.' 19 You are also commanded, 'Do this: Take wagons from the land of Egypt for your young children, your wives, and bring your father here. 20 Do not be concerned about your belongings, for the best of all the land of Egypt is yours.' " 21 The sons of Israel did this. Joseph gave them wagons as Pharaoh had commanded, and he gave them provisions for the journey. 22He gave each of the brothers changes of clothes, but he gave Benjamin 300 pieces of silver and five changes of clothes. 23 He sent his father the following: 10 donkeys carrying the best products of Egypt, and 10 female donkeys carrying grain, food, and provisions for his father on the journey. 24 So Joseph sent his brothers on their way, and as they were leaving, he said to them, "Don't argue on the way." 25 So they went up from Egypt and came to their father Jacob in the land of Canaan. 26 They said, "Joseph is still alive, and he is ruler over all the land of Egypt!" Jacob was stunned, for he did not believe them. 27 But when they told Jacob all that Joseph had said to them, and when he saw the wagons that Joseph had sent to transport him, the spirit of their father Jacob revived. 28 Then Israel said, "Enough! My son Joseph is still alive. I will go to see him before I die."â€¦(chapter 46) 1 Israel set out with all that he had and came to Beer-sheba, and he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 2 That night God spoke to Israel in a vision: "Jacob, Jacob!" He said. And Jacob replied, "Here I am." 3 God said, "I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for I will make you a great nation there. 4 I will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you back. Joseph will put his hands on your eyes." 5 Jacob left Beer-sheba. The sons of Israel took their father Jacob in the wagons Pharaoh had sent to carry him, along with their children and their wives. 6 They also took their cattle and possessions they had acquired in the land of Canaan. Then Jacob and all his children with him went to Egypt. 7 His sons and grandsons, his daughters and granddaughters, indeed all his offspring, he brought with him to Egypt.
8 These are the names of the Israelites, Jacob and his descendants, who went to Egypt: Jacob's firstborn: Reuben. 9 Reuben's sons: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. 10 Simeon's sons: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman. 11 Levi's sons: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. 12 Judah's sons: Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah; but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan. Perez's sons: Hezron and Hamul. 13 Issachar's sons: Tola, Puvah, Jashub, and Shimron. 14 Zebulun's sons: Sered, Elon, and Jahleel. 15 These were Leah's sons born to Jacob in Paddan-aram, as well as his daughter Dinah. The total number of persons: 33. 16 Gad's sons: Ziphion, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli. 17 Asher's sons: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, Beriah, and their sister Serah. Beriah's sons were Heber and Malchiel. 18These were the sons of Zilpah-whom Laban gave to his daughter Leah-that she bore to Jacob: 16 persons. 19 The sons of Jacob's wife Rachel: Joseph and Benjamin. 20 Manasseh and Ephraim were born to Joseph in the land of Egypt. They were born to him by Asenath daughter of Potiphera, a priest at On. 21 Benjamin's sons: Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard. 22 These were Rachel's sons who were born to Jacob: 14 persons.23 Dan's son: Hashum. 24 Naphtali's sons: Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem. 25 These were the sons of Bilhah, whom Laban gave to his daughter Rachel. She bore to Jacob: seven persons.26 The total number of persons belonging to Jacob-his direct descendants, not including the wives of Jacob's sons-who came to Egypt: 66. 27 And Joseph's sons who were born to him in Egypt: two persons. All those of Jacob's household who had come to Egypt: 70 persons.
28 Now Jacob had sent Judah ahead of him to Joseph to prepare for his arrival at Goshen. When they came to the land of Goshen, 29 Joseph hitched [the horses to] his chariot and went up to Goshen to meet his father Israel. Joseph presented himself to him, threw his arms around him, and wept for a long time. 30 Then Israel said to Joseph, "At last I can die, now that I have seen your face [and know] you are still alive!" 31 Joseph said to his brothers and to his father's household, "I will go up and inform Pharaoh, telling him: My brothers and my father's household, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me. 32 The men are shepherds; indeed they raise livestock. They have brought their sheep and cattle and all that they have. 33 When Pharaoh addresses you and asks, 'What is your occupation?' 34 you are to say, 'Your servants, both we and our fathers, have raised livestock from our youth until now.' Then you will be allowed to settle in the land of Goshen, since all shepherds are abhorrent to Egyptians."â€¦.(Chapter 47) 1 So Joseph went and informed Pharaoh: "My father and my brothers, with their sheep and cattle and all that they have, have come from the land of Canaan and are now in the land of Goshen." 2He took five of his brothers and presented them before Pharaoh. 3 Then Pharaoh asked his brothers, "What is your occupation?" And they said to Pharaoh, "Your servants, both we and our fathers, are shepherds." 4 Then they said to Pharaoh, "We have come to live in the land for a while because there is no grazing land for your servants' sheep, since the famine in the land of Canaan has been severe. So now, please let your servants settle in the land of Goshen." 5 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, "[Now that] your father and brothers have come to you, 6 the land of Egypt is open before you; settle your father and brothers in the best part of the land. They can live in the land of Goshen. If you know of any capable men among them, put them in charge of my livestock." 7 Joseph then brought his father Jacob and presented him before Pharaoh, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. 8 Then Pharaoh said to Jacob, "How many years have you lived?" 9 Jacob said to Pharaoh, "My pilgrimage has lasted 130 years. My years have been few and hard, and they have not surpassed the years of my fathers during their pilgrimages." 10 So Jacob blessed Pharaoh and departed from Pharaoh's presence. 11 Then Joseph settled his father and brothers in the land of Egypt and gave them property in the best part of the land, the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded. 12 And Joseph provided his father, his brothers, and all his father's household with food for their dependents.
God tells Jacob/Israel not to be afraid to go to Egypt. He promises to make him, Jacob/Israel into a great nation while in Egypt. He also promises that He will bring him, Jacob, i.e. his descendants back to Canaan. In causing Pharaoh to settle the Hebrews in Goshen, God also provides for their protection and sustainment. God also sets conditions that will keep Jacob and his family separate from the Egyptians and their pagan influence. Thus, God will prevent the Hebrews from being assimilated by the Egyptians and ensure their growth and survival as
Posted on 01/23/2015 9:32 AM by Larry G
Friday, 23 January 2015
A Worldview Opposed to God
Do economic interests set any groups against the gospel today? Is so, give an example.
The one example that comes to mind is Planned Parenthood and the abortion issue. The media industry or the whole entertainment industry for the most part probably is in opposition to the gospel. Unions also seem to be in opposition to the Gospel. I think they believe in something called the "Social Gospel". Probably all of the big business groups are against the gospel. There is a world-wide mindset that is inherently against God.
Posted on 01/23/2015 1:43 PM by Larry G
Thursday, 22 January 2015
Reasons for Opposing the Gospel
How was this reason for the opposition of the Ephesian trade guilds similar to the one that set some Philippians against Paul and Silas (16:16-21)?
16 Once when we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit by which she predicted the future. She earned a great deal of money for her owners by fortune-telling. 17 This girl followed Paul and the rest of us, shouting, "These men are servants of the Most High God, who are telling you the way to be saved." 18 She kept this up for many days. Finally Paul became so troubled that he turned around and said to the spirit, "In the name of Jesus Christ I command you to come out of her!" At that moment the spirit left her. 19 When the owners of the slave girl realized that their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace to face the authorities. 20 They brought them before the magistrates and said, "These men are Jews, and are throwing our city into an uproar 21 by advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept or practice."
It was the same worldview-it's all about money.
Posted on 01/22/2015 1:35 PM by Larry G
Wednesday, 21 January 2015
Who controls Events
What does Genesis 45:5-11 say about God's hand in the events?
5 And now don't be worried or angry with yourselves for selling me here, because God sent me ahead of you to preserve life. 6 For the famine has been in the land these two years, and there will be five more years without plowing or harvesting. 7 God sent me ahead of you to establish you as a remnant within the land and to keep you alive by a great deliverance. 8 Therefore it was not you who sent me here, but God. He has made me a father to Pharaoh, lord of his entire household, and ruler over all the land of Egypt. 9 "Return quickly to my father and say to him, 'This is what your son Joseph says: "God has made me lord of all Egypt. Come down to me without delay. 10 You can settle in the land of Goshen and be near me-you, your children, and grandchildren, your sheep, cattle, and all you have. 11 There I will sustain you, for there will be five more years of famine. Otherwise, you, your household, and everything you have will become destitute." '
It shows that God is in control of all events and uses the actions of all people to accomplish His will. In this case, we see how God protects Jacob and his family and establishes the conditions in which Abraham's descendants will become a great nation, in which He will fulfill the promises that He made to Abraham, Isaac and now Jacob.
Posted on 01/21/2015 9:21 AM by Larry G