Tuesday, 30 June 2015
Paul's Actions during the Trip to Rome
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What did Paul say and do during the trip to Rome?

Acts 27:9-10

9 Much time had been lost, and sailing had already become dangerous because by now it was after the Fast. So Paul warned them, 10 "Men, I can see that our voyage is going to be disastrous and bring great loss to ship and cargo, and to our own lives also."

Acts 27:21-26

21 After the men had gone a long time without food, Paul stood up before them and said: "Men, you should have taken my advice not to sail from Crete; then you would have spared yourselves this damage and loss. 22 But now I urge you to keep up your courage, because not one of you will be lost; only the ship will be destroyed. 23 Last night an angel of the God whose I am and whom I serve stood beside me 24 and said, Do not be afraid, Paul. You must stand trial before Caesar; and God has graciously given you the lives of all who sail with you.' 25 So keep up your courage, men, for I have faith in God that it will happen just as he told me. 26 Nevertheless, we must run aground on some island."

Acts 27:30-32

30 In an attempt to escape from the ship, the sailors let the lifeboat down into the sea, pretending they were going to lower some anchors from the bow. 31 Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, "Unless these men stay with the ship, you cannot be saved." 32 So the soldiers cut the ropes that held the lifeboat and let it fall away.

Acts 27:33-36

33 Just before dawn Paul urged them all to eat. "For the last fourteen days," he said, "you have been in constant suspense and have gone without food-you haven't eaten anything. 34 Now I urge you to take some food. You need it to survive. Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head." 35 After he said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all. Then he broke it and began to eat. 36 They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves.

Acts 28:1-6

1 Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. 2 The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. 3 Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, "This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live." 5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6 The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead, but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.

Acts 28:7-10

7 There was an estate nearby that belonged to Publius, the chief official of the island. He welcomed us to his home and for three days entertained us hospitably. 8 His father was sick in bed, suffering from fever and dysentery. Paul went in to see him and, after prayer, placed his hands on him and healed him. 9 When this had happened, the rest of the sick on the island came and were cured. 10 They honored us in many ways and when we were ready to sail, they furnished us with the supplies we needed.

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Posted on 06/30/2015 12:17 PM by Larry G
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Monday, 29 June 2015
Paul's Miraculous Sea Voyage
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Briefly summarize what happened on the voyage to Rome (Acts 27:1-28:16).

Paul is turned over to a Roman centurion who will be responsible for taking him to Rome.  He is allowed to have several companions who travel with him throughout the trip.  The ships they board try to stick close to the coast of Asia minor.   But weather conditions actually force the grounding of the ship and they wind up on along the south side of Crete.  Paul advises the crew and the centurion not to continue because he sees that the conditions are quite hazardous and he knows things will end badly.  But the centurion decides to continue the sea voyage.  A storm comes up with a Northeast wind which drives the ship off course toward the Libyan course.  It appears that the vessel will flounder but Paul speaks to the crew and the centurion and encourages them by telling them that even though the vessel will flounder and the cargo will be lost but God will save them.  They decide to follow his advice.  The ship flounders just like Paul has said and the crew and passengers wind up on the island of Malta where Paul miraculously survives the bite of a poisonous viper and then winds up ministering to the chief Roman of the island and eventually all of the islanders.  They spend three months on the island and then go on to Syracuse and then to the port of Puteoli in Italy. 

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Posted on 06/29/2015 12:09 PM by Larry G
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Sunday, 28 June 2015
Paul's trip to Rome -- Jesus declaring the End from the Beginning
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Why did Luke describe the ship voyage to -Rome at such length-longer than Paul's time in Corinth or Ephesus?  What was so important about this episode?

I think that Luke wanted us to see that God told Paul that he would be His witness in Rome and it all came to pass even though there were huge obstacles along the way.  But in keeping with the rest of what had happened throughout Acts, God's will is done and His provision is evidenced all along.  There was nothing that was going to prevent His will from being done and all of the obstacles all resulted in the furtherance of the Gospel.  Every incident resulted in Paul testifying about the Lord Jesus.

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Posted on 06/28/2015 12:04 PM by Larry G
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Saturday, 27 June 2015
Superhuman Paul? -- Or just a man of God
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Does Luke imply in 28:3-6 that there is something superhuman about Paul?  Why or Why not?

Acts 28:3-6

3 Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, "This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live." 5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6 The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead, but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.

Luke doesn't imply that Paul was god-like or something.  He just describes what happens to Paul and how the islanders reacted.   They were the ones who came to the conclusion that Paul was something special, a god.

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Posted on 06/27/2015 11:33 AM by Larry G
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Friday, 26 June 2015
The Maltese View of Justice
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What do you think of the Maltese view of Justice?  Does God always give retribution like this?  Why or Why not?

It would seem that the Maltese believe in karma or something like it.  They thought Paul was just receiving his come uppance when the snake bit him.  But actually God was using this event to fulfill prophesy spoken by Jesus to His disciples.  This event also made the Maltese realize that Paul was special.

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Posted on 06/26/2015 11:30 AM by Larry G
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Thursday, 25 June 2015
JOURNEY TO ROME -- Acts 27:1-28:31
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The story of Acts does not end with the death of Paul, for he is not the only witness Jesus sent "to the ends of the earth" (1:8).  But for Luke, who accompanied Paul on his voyage to face Caesar's court, Paul typifies the ambassador of Jesus representing his Lord in every circumstance.  Paul has faced a king, governors, scornful philosophers, and lynch mobs; the next stage of his journey holds no more terror for him than those.

As you read Acts 27:1-28:31, imagine how you would have felt and acted on board ship, on Malta, and in Rome with Paul.

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Posted on 06/25/2015 11:21 AM by Larry G
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Wednesday, 24 June 2015
Ultimate Expectations of Civil Authority
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In your judgment, does this section of Acts in any way illustrate what Christian should expect from a governmental system and how he or she should deal with it?  If so, explain.

The thought that comes to mind is that it doesn't matter what the system is.  If it is administered by ungodly men, it will fail.  However, because these men or women are sinners they too need to hear the Gospel message; they too need to turn toward God and repent. 

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Posted on 06/24/2015 11:18 AM by Larry G
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Tuesday, 23 June 2015
Luke's perspective on government and Christianity
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Why do you think Luke was so interested in detailing the relationship between Christianity and the government (the Sanhedrin, the Philippians and Thessalonian magistrates; the governors Sergius Paulus, Gallio, Felix and Festus; and King Agrippa)?

I think that Luke's underlying motivation may have been to show that all the world is subject to God's will.  In each and every instance, involving all of the above named officials, what happened is what God wanted to happen to further the spreading of the Gospel where and when He wanted.  In every instance involving these government officials, what we see is God's provision at work to make happen what He said would happen.

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Posted on 06/23/2015 11:14 AM by Larry G
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Wednesday, 17 June 2015
Practical Application from the Book of Acts
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What one aspect of Paul's example or another insight from Acts 23:12-26:32 would you like to apply?

Paul remained focused on the Gospel message, that being that the Messiah, Jesus, died for our sins, just like the scripture said He would; He was buried and three days later He rose from the dead, just like the scriptures said He would.   While Paul remained focused on the Gospel, he also remained constant in his testifying what this had meant to him personally.  He also always testified regarding the Gospel as it applied to the lives of those around him, he provided a backdrop for the question: How does this apply to individuals?  Evidence of this is provided in the accounts of his testifying before Felix, Festus and Agrippa.

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Posted on 06/17/2015 2:19 PM by Larry G
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Tuesday, 16 June 2015
A Changed Life -- Proof of Salvation
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In Acts 26:17-18, Jesus tells what He will do for people.  What must they do in response (Acts 26:20)? 

Acts 26:17-18, 20

17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'……20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.

Jesus will forgive them, sanctify them and provide a place for them.  Those who repent and turn to God must prove that their repentance is real by doing only one thing, and one thing only-their lives must show that they have truly changed their minds and the direction of their lives.

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Posted on 06/16/2015 2:15 PM by Larry G
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Monday, 15 June 2015
The Significance of Acknowledging the Resurrection
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Why was the Resurrection the decisive issue between Paul and the Jews?  Is it the decisive issue between you and anyone?  Why or why not?

It's a funny thing, the Jews were looking for a Messiah who would come and overthrow the Romans.  They had the scriptures regarding what the Messiah would do, how He would die and God's view of the problem of sin.  But in acknowledging that Jesus had rose from the dead, this would have been their acknowledgment that He was in fact the Messiah.  In acknowledging this, they would have to acknowledge that they were in fact sinners who needed a savior. In doing this they would have to acknowledge that they had been wrong and that they were now going to follow God.  In their refusal to acknowledge Jesus' Resurrection, they denied reality, they denied the truth.  They decided on a course that was insane.  Reality and truth are the same; it is what it is.  Is this a decisive issue between men and anybody else?  No, it may be a decisive issue between an individual and God.  This is the bottom line.  What are you going to do with what God has said and done? 

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Posted on 06/15/2015 2:10 PM by Larry G
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Sunday, 14 June 2015
Thinking about the Roman Government
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What overall impression of the Roman system do you get from Acts 23:12-26:32?  Summarize both the good and the bad points.

Superficially it looked like a functioning system of government that had the potential to be fair and equitable.  But like all governments it was made and administered by men who were less than good public servants. The system did provide for the public safety and maintained order; and it did provide for a system of justice.  However, as good as they structures were intended to be they were still administered and short-circuited by men who were morally flawed and incapable of implementing a just governmental system;  like the government officials of today.

GOOD:

  • Provided for the public safety

  • Maintained Order

  • Provided a system of justice

BAD:

  • Officials were men of dubious integrity, with all too common foibles of pride, greed and self-interest.

  • System was politically oriented; justice often administered with what was politically expedient rather than what was actually moral and just.

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Posted on 06/14/2015 2:05 PM by Larry G
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Saturday, 13 June 2015
The Example of Paul
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How does Paul set an example for you as a Christian in Acts 23:12-26:32?  (Consider especially Acts 24:10-26, 25:8-11, 26:1-29.)

Paul sticks to the truth of reality; he sticks to the facts, things which people can see for themselves.  I think he was a compassionate man; he was also a focused man-focused on the gospel of our Lord Jesus.  He is reasonable and he sees clearly and he trusted Jesus. 

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Posted on 06/13/2015 2:02 PM by Larry G
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Friday, 12 June 2015
Seeing Jesus
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Meditate on Acts 26:16-18.  What difference do these truths make to your life, your actions, and your attitudes?

Acts 26:16-18

16 Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.'

Several things come to mind: all of us who have accepted Jesus have seen Him.  We saw Him in the person or persons who led us to Him.  We saw Him when we saw His followers or disciples acting kindly, compassionately, justly, mercifully, truthfully, loyally, lovingly to those around them.  Yes, their words were a witness, but even more so were their actions.  Not everyone can be a Billy Graham and maybe Paul wasn't one either.  Maybe he just had the ability to talk to people about what he had seen and learned from the Lord Jesus.  What I say is one thing; what I do is often something entirely different.  Paul was able to talk to people about their world, their lives and just get them to be able to see clearly.  Are we all servants?  Obviously the answer is yes.  We all have a purpose in life.  All servants don't all serve in the same capacity; all are working toward the same goal but each has a different related task toward reaching that goal.  Finally, I was thinking that all of us have seen Jesus and He has shown or taught things to each and every one of us.  Maybe that's what our testimony is-just talk about how we've seen Him and what He's taught or shown us.

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Posted on 06/12/2015 1:59 PM by Larry G
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Thursday, 11 June 2015
The Truth Never Fails
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Agrippa could do nothing to free Paul since he had appealed to Caesar.  Why did Paul give this speech and the words in Acts 26:25-27?  (See Acts 26:29.)

It all comes down to this-everything in Paul's discourse to Festus and Agrippa is based on verifiable fact-what the prophets have said regarding the Messiah, the personal transformation of Saul to Paul.  It all made sense; it was reasonable for Paul to believe and do what he did.  Festus accuses Paul of being insane but Paul points out that he has been pointing out the truth and it is not insanity to believe and live the truth.  It is insanity to see the truth and deny it.  Why did Paul give this speech and use these words?  He wanted Festus, Agrippa and Bernice to be confronted with the truth; he wanted to lead them on the path to the logical conclusion; he wanted them to turn to God and Jesus.  He wanted them to be able to see.  He was pointing out that it was they and not him who were acting insanely.  He wanted them to be saved.

Acts 26:25-27, 29

25 "I am not insane, most excellent Festus," Paul replied. "What I am saying is true and reasonable. 26 The king is familiar with these things, and I can speak freely to him. I am convinced that none of this has escaped his notice, because it was not done in a corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know you do."…. 29 Paul replied, "Short time or long-I pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains."

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Posted on 06/11/2015 1:53 PM by Larry G
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Wednesday, 10 June 2015
The Value of Personal Testimony
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Why do you think Paul so often told about his conversion in his defenses (22:2-21, 26:2-23)?  Why is this a good evangelistic technique?

Paul was called to be a witness of all that he had seen and heard.  The people that he talked to, knew what he had been prior to his becoming a follower of Jesus.  These were verifiable facts.  These facts lent credibility to his testimony about Jesus, they were illustrative of the fact that Jesus had turned him into something new.  Only something truly significant, powerful and dynamic could have changed him and turned Paul/Saul to a new direction.  I am offended by the author's implication that this is a "good evangelistic technique".  We aren't salesmen like so many tv evangelists.  We aren't peddling anything.  Were just suppose to tell people what happened to us and let the Holy Spirit do His work. 

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Posted on 06/10/2015 1:51 PM by Larry G
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Tuesday, 9 June 2015
Why does God use defective people
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Why do you suppose God put the gospel at the mercy of people like Felix, Agrippa I, and Agrippa II?  Why does this tell you about God?  Does He still do this today?

The actions of these men actually fostered the spread of the Gospel.  Agrippa I persecuted the early church and created the impetus or environment that caused the early disciples who were concentrated in Jerusalem to leave and consequently take the message with them.  Felix was a cruel and nasty Roman ruler, but as a political animal and one who was profit-driven he also was placed in a position to give an audience to Paul and therefore, the Gospel message.  Upon hearing the message, this morally defective man had a lapse into a moral perception of his life and somehow, he decided to protect Paul and the Gospel message.  Agrippa II may also be seen in the same light as Felix; the only difference being that his background afforded him more intimate knowledge of Paul's message and what it meant.  He like Felix recognized the legitimacy and imperative of the Gospel message even though he chose not to act on it personally.  People in watching these men were also driven to the Gospel message and its hope for mankind.  I think that God uses such men today in the same way.

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Posted on 06/09/2015 1:48 PM by Larry G
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Monday, 1 June 2015
Paul to Agrippa: Here is the way it is, the Bottom line!
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Summarize the gist of what Paul said to Agrippa (26:2-23).

Acts 26:2-23

2 "King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews, 3 and especially so because you are well acquainted with all the Jewish customs and controversies. Therefore, I beg you to listen to me patiently. (King, you know about things here in Judea; you know about the Jewish people and their beliefs and the events that have been going on.)4 "The Jews all know the way I have lived ever since I was a child, from the beginning of my life in my own country, and also in Jerusalem. 5 They have known me for a long time and can testify, if they are willing, that according to the strictest sect of our religion, I lived as a Pharisee. (These are the facts about who I was and how I lived and you can verify them.)9And now it is because of my hope in what God has promised our fathers that I am on trial today. 7 This is the promise our twelve tribes are hoping to see fulfilled as they earnestly serve God day and night. O king, it is because of this hope that the Jews are accusing me. (I am in trouble because I am simply carrying out my belief in what God has promised the Jews, promises which you, King Agrippa, are familiar with.) 8 Why should any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead? (If it is possible that God exists and that He has created all things, maintains all things, why would it be so hard to believe that such a God could raise Jesus from the dead?) 9 "I too was convinced that I ought to do all that was possible to oppose the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And that is just what I did in Jerusalem. On the authority of the chief priests I put many of the saints in prison, and when they were put to death, I cast my vote against them. 11 Many a time I went from one synagogue to another to have them punished, and I tried to force them to blaspheme. In my obsession against them, I even went to foreign cities to persecute them. (I use to really hate this idea and I did everything I could to oppose Jesus and His believers.) 12 "On one of these journeys I was going to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. 13 About noon, O king, as I was on the road, I saw a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, blazing around me and my companions. 14 We all fell to the ground, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me? It is hard for you to kick against the goads.' 15 "Then I asked, Who are you, Lord?' " I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,' the Lord replied. 16 Now get up and stand on your feet. I have appeared to you to appoint you as a servant and as a witness of what you have seen of me and what I will show you. (God came to me in a miraculous way while I was going to kill and persecute believers in Damascus and totally changed the way I thought.  ) 17 I will rescue you from your own people and from the Gentiles. I am sending you to them 18 to open their eyes and turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, so that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.' (Jesus told me that I would be His witness not only to the Jews but the Gentiles, to turn them toward God and His offer of forgiveness through Jesus the Messiah.) 19 "So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. (I did what I was told by God to do.) 20 First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds. 21 That is why the (I have told people to turn to God and prove that they were really following Him by acting right.)Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me. 22 But I have had God's help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike. I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen-(Jesus told me He would rescue me from my own people and others and keep me safe.  Well, King Agrippa, here I am in spite of everything that the Jews and Gentiles have done to try and kill me simply because I am saying that what the prophets said would happen, has happened.)23 that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to his own people and to the Gentiles." (And here's the bottom line: Christ died for our sins just like the scriptures said would happen, He would be buried and three days later He would rise from the grave, just like the scriptures said He would.)

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Posted on 06/01/2015 7:35 PM by Larry G
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