Acts 28:16 Are You Prepared?

Acts 28:16 (KJV)
And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him.

The word escaped is found twice before the word delivered.

  • Paul escaped the shipwreck
  • Paul escaped the snake
  • Paul escaped the rain, the cold and the barbarous people
  • Paul escaped the privations of imprisonment

But he was still a prisoner. He may have kept his own hired house but there was always a soldier with him and there would be a day that he would be delivered to the executioner.

God is gracious to us in this life. He over rules in much that the devil, the world and the flesh attempt against us. Many times we have our way and sometimes we could almost forget that we are strangers and pilgrims, in a way, prisoners on this planet. One day we will be delivered to the executioner. It might be illness, accident or old age. It could be a tragedy or an act of violence, but however it comes-it will come.

Are you prepared?

 

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Acts 28:16 Are You Prepared?

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Acts 25:27 Unreasonable

Acts 25:27 (KJV)
For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes laid against him.

Little this world does against Christianity is reasonable.

  • It was not reasonable for Felix to keep Paul bound
  • It was not reasonable for the Jews to conspire to kill him
  • It was not reasonable that Festus offered Him only these choices
  • It was not reasonable to continue holding him though Festus and Agrippa agreed he should have been let go.

The world, like the ancient Romans, likes to present itself as sophisticated, fair and given to sound law. These are merely facades. They bear no substance behind the walls. The world, like whited sepulchers, appears clean and sanitary. The truth is, it is filled with corruption. The best of men break the very laws they are sworn to uphold, often justifying themselves that they had to break the law to keep the law.

Christianity has done nothing worthy of the hatred it bears today. There have been errors, of course. But most Christian history is perverted. The evil that has been done in the name of Christianity has been done at the hands of those who never were true Christians.

The reasonable thing would be to let every man worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience and willingly hear out the preaching of the Word to try it’s truthfulness.

Little this world does against Christianity is reasonable.

 

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Acts 25:27 Unreasonable

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Acts 22:28 Christian Liberty – We Have An Advocate

Acts 22:28 (KJV)
And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born.

The Roman culture so valued liberty that to be Roman was synonymous with freedom.

  • Freedom was granted to people of various nationalities
  • Freedom could be inherited and
  • Freedom could be purchased

But liberty did not mean license. Romans were as obligated to law as anyone. The difference was that, should a conflict with the law arise, the free had a means of recourse. There was an equal obligation for the government to treat the free within the restrictions of law.

The Romans are not a great type for the Christian except for respect of this. Christians are free.

  • It is a gift paid for at great price (the blood of Jesus)
  • It is ours by birth, being born again and
  • It is ours no matter our nationality or background

But this liberty is not a license to live outside of law. We are bound to obey them that have the rule over us and we are bound to study the Word of God and obey it as we understand it.

Liberty does not mean license without consequence. God chastens His own as any father does.

What liberty does provide is an advocate. 1 John 2:1-2 (KJV)
My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not. And if any man sin, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous:
And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.

To my readers:
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For this and more than 3900 earlier Daily Visits with God visit http://bit.ly/18XDiAs. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Acts 22:28 Christian Liberty – We Have An Advocate

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Acts 21:4 Spiritual Gift of Discernment

Acts 21:4 (KJV)
And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem.

It happens frequently that I have some sort of impression about a particular decision either I or someone else is making and I have learned, by more than 30 years in the ministry, that more often than not, that impression is accurate. I believe it to be the spiritual gift of discernment. It carries no Biblical authority and I cannot make people follow my impressions. Most often I find it is more sensible not to even tell people what my impression of their decision is. Still, I have had maybe hundreds of opportunities to observe that these impressions prove true.

I see this passage in a similar light to that of my impressions. It was the Holy Spirit who gave these disciples that sense that danger awaiting Paul in Jerusalem. Out of love for Paul they expressed what the Holy Spirit told them would be the outcome of his trip. But they were not authorities over Paul’s own leading of the Spirit. Paul was responsible to follow the Spirit’s leadership in his life and not theirs.

Albert Barnes expresses the same understanding when he writes:
“…In solving this difficulty, we may remark:
(1) That it is evident that the Holy Spirit is meant, and that Luke means to say that this was spoken by His inspiration. The Holy Spirit was bestowed on Christians at that time in large measures, and many appear to have been under his inspiring guidance.
(2) It was not understood by Paul as a positive command that he should not go up to Jerusalem; for had it been, it would not have been disobeyed. He evidently understood it as expressive of their earnest wish that he should not go, as apprising him of danger, and as a kind expression in regard to his own welfare and safety.”

 

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For this and more than 3900 earlier Daily Visits with God visit http://bit.ly/18XDiAs. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Acts 21:4 Spiritual Gift of Discernment

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Acts 20:16 Our Spirit and the Holy Spirit

Acts 20:16 (KJV)
For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost.

Acts 20:22 (KJV)
And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there:

We witness in this chapter the marvelous melding of man’s will and God’s:

  • Paul was “bound in the spirit” to go to Jerusalem therefore
  • Paul had determined to do it before Pentecost

I note that “spirit” is lower case. The reference appears to be of his own spirit. He had to go because his spirit seemed forced to go.

But it is difficult to distinguish between the spirit and the Spirit. Paul could have easily been bound in his spirit because he believed himself to be bound by the Holy Spirit to go to Jerusalem. (The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit.[1])

We ought not determine we will do a thing unless we are certain it is the leading of the Holy Spirit. Once led of the Spirit we ought then to be determined to obey regardless of cost or consequence.

[1] Romans 8:16

 

To my readers:
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For this and more than 3900 earlier Daily Visits with God visit http://bit.ly/18XDiAs. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Acts 20:16 Our Spirit and the Holy Spirit

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Acts 19:1-2 Observations and Questions

Acts 19:1-2 (KJV)
And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.

I think it was Torrey who speculated that Paul questioned that these disciples were filled with the Holy Ghost because there were only twelve of them. Torrey fell into the same trap as most in that he equated numbers with the presence of God’s power. This idea has, in my opinion, created the environment of worldly compromise we see in churches today.

The more common error springing from this passage is that of the Pentecostals and Charismatics. They see this passage as instructing them to urge people who do not speak in tongues to be filled with the Holy Ghost.

The two errors are similar in that they both look for some outward evidence of an inward work. I believe the lesson of the passage is much more basic. Paul approached a group of professing believers and asked them questions to determine how he might most effectively help them.

The ministry ought to be about taking people from where they are spiritually to somewhere else. Whether it was the heathen philosophers of Athens or these would-be believers in Ephesus, Paul made observations and asked questions so that he might best determine how to preach to them and to help them spiritually.

 

To my readers:
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For this and more than 3900 earlier Daily Visits with God visit http://bit.ly/18XDiAs. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Acts 19:1-2 Observations and Questions

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Acts 18:14-17 No Business In Church Business

Acts 18:14-17 (KJV)
And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you:
But if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such matters.
And he drave them from the judgment seat.
Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. And Gallio cared for none of those things.

Gallio demonstrated both a strength and a weakness in his handling of this conflict.

He was absolutely correct that his authority did not extend into things that had to do with the Word of God and a believer’s understanding and practice of it. Some much evil has been committed because of this very thing. Government has no business in church business.

On the other hand, Gallio had every reason to intervene in the beating of Sosthenes. No religious entity has authority to punish an individual or to coerce them in spiritual matters. Faith is a matter of the heart and the spirit. Religion has authority to persuade through ideas – the preaching of truth as they understand it. It has no authority over the body.

Government ought not judge over doctrine and practice but must judge over the rights and protections of individuals.

 

To my readers:
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For this and more than 3900 earlier Daily Visits with God visit http://bit.ly/18XDiAs. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Acts 18:14-17 No Business In Church Business

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Acts 16:1 You Never Know

Acts 16:1 (KJV)
Then came he to Derbe and Lystra: and, behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timotheus, the son of a certain woman, which was a Jewess, and believed; but his father was a Greek:

Paul’s first visit to Lystra ended with his being:

  • Drug out of the city
  • Stoned and
  • Left for dead

Paul did not die and, when he revived, returned into the city. He then left to preach the gospel in Derbe. Having done that he went through Lystra, Iconium and Antioch once again, confirming the churches in those cities.

He is now on his second missionary journey and, passing through these cities once again, meets with Timothy. This young man becomes his “son in the faith” and a right hand man to the Apostle, Timothy was a fellowservant of the Lord and future pastor in Ephesus.

We can never tell what fruit God might produce out of the most difficult of circumstances.

 

To my readers:
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For this and more than 3900 earlier Daily Visits with God visit http://bit.ly/18XDiAs. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Acts 16:1 You Never Know

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Acts 14:15 Like Passions

Acts 14:15 (KJV)
And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:

The people of the city were just about to offer sacrifices and proclaim Paul and Barnabas gods.

These two were so far separated from the:

  • Character
  • Nature and
  • Worldliness

of the citizens of the city that they were inclined to see them as better than they. They could not imagine a human being capable of such concern for a fellow human being and of such an effective ministry.

Paul interrupted their worship with a basic truth. Both Barnabas and Paul were subject to the very same passions as these souls:

  • The same urges
  • The same temptations
  • The same desires
  • The same hopes
  • The same fears

As different as they seemed to be, they were no different, save this one thing; they had turned themselves and those passions over to the living God.

 

To my readers:
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For this and more than 3800 earlier Daily Visits with God visit http://bit.ly/18XDiAs. There you will find daily visits going back to 2006.

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Acts 14:15 Like Passions

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Acts 11:17 Our Mission

Acts 11:17 (KJV)
Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as he did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?

All of us have our prejudices. If it is not the color of one’s skin then it is:

  • The religion they grew up in
  • The social level they were raised with
  • The standard of living they have embraced Or
  • The character they possess

I have met a number of people who refuse to help a ministry that attempts to help the prisoner or the addict.

But the Bible is clear. God loves even those whose actions He hates. Christ’s death on the cross is sufficient to save them and all who come to Him will in no wise be cast out. Who are we to withstand God on this matter?

Our mission, should we accept it, is to go (into all the world and to every creature) and teach them, baptize those who believe and teach the believers to observe all things whatsoever Christ hath commanded.

 

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Acts 11:17 Our Mission

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