Tag Archives: Religion

Acts 21- City of God

And the next day we that were of Paul’s company departed, and came unto Caesarea: and we entered into the house of Philip the evangelist, which was one of the seven; and abode with him. And the same man had four daughters, virgins, which did prophesy. And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles. And when we heard these things, both we, and they of that place, besought him not to go up to Jerusalem. Acts 21:8-12

While Paul was on his journey to Jerusalem, he stopped and visited Philip the evangelist. While he was staying there a prophet named Agabus, stopped and gave Paul a prophecy that he would be taken prisoner by the Jews and handed over to the Gentiles. The Christians who heard this pleaded with Paul not to go to Jerusalem.

Earlier in this chapter when Paul was visiting Christians in Tyre, by the Holy Spirit they pleaded with him also to not go to Jerusalem. It’s interesting though Paul still continued his journey despite several warnings by the Holy Spirit. Was Paul really doing the will of God or was God testing Paul? Its interesting to ponder, but Paul kept saying “Let the will of The Lord be done”

Then Paul answered, What mean ye to weep and to break mine heart? for I am ready not to be bound only, but also to die at Jerusalem for the name of the Lord Jesus. And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, The will of the Lord be done. And after those days we took up our carriages, and went up to Jerusalem. There went with us also certain of the disciples of Caesarea, and brought with them one Mnason of Cyprus, an old disciple, with whom we should lodge.Acts 21:13-16

Paul didn’t want anyone to weep over him, because Paul was ready to die for the Lord Jesus Christ! Paul ran his race and now was ready to finish his work, but it was only by the will of The Lord and not his own. Its amazing how focused Paul was on God’s eternal kingdom and not focused on this temporary world

Notice also how Jerusalem is the center of the world in Paul’s eyes. Even though Paul evangelized all throughout Asia Minor, he wanted to end his ministry in Jerusalem, the city of God. Just as the Bible said Jesus would return on the Mount of Olives (Zechariah 14:4) It’s interesting Jerusalem has and always will be the City of God and the center of prophecy

Acts 20- Paul Heads to Jerusalem

And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons, Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews: And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: Acts 20:18-22

 Paul was now saying farewell to the Church of Ephesus, as Paul’s mission was to be in Jerusalem for Pentecost. As we know from the Epistle of Ephesians and the book of Acts, Paul spent a great deal of time there, and made alot of relationships as the Church. Paul declared he had taught them all the doctrines of God that he knew and didn’t hold anything back

 One of the interesting references here is Paul said he taught from “house to house”. Displaying that the early Church worshipped in houses before Church buildings were established. This is another interesting fact about how today’s Church differs from the early Church. With all the pressures of mortgages of large buildings and budgets, could this issue easily be resolved if we used our houses as a place of worship?

Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me.But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. Acts 20:23-26

Paul is declaring to the Ephesians that he fulfilled his purpose by Christ to preach the gospel, and the Holy Spirit is his witness that he did all things with purity and there was no deceit or corruption with his ministry. He also makes the sad announcement that the Church of Ephesus will never see him again, as Paul knows he is probably going to die in Jerusalem.

For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them. Therefore watch, and remember, that by the space of three years I ceased not to warn every one night and day with tears. Acts 20:27-31

Paul reveals he was in Ephesus for 3 years, preaching the gospel and building the Church. As Paul declared, Christ purchased the Church with his own blood! As he reminded them to watch over the flock and feed them with the Word of God

Paul also gave a final warning about false prophets and teachers coming in to deceive the Church when he leaves. Remember Jesus warned his Apostles about the same thing, even today false prophets and teachers continue to invade the Church and lead many astray. 

Before Paul left the entire Church prayed together and wept, what a beautiful sight of unity and love with the Body of Christ!

Acts 20 – The Long Church Service

And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together. And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. Acts 20:7-9

There are many who will incorrectly claim that the Catholic Church changed the Sabbath to Sunday. First off the Sabbath will always be Friday evening to Saturday evening, but secondly we see the 1rst Century Christians worshipping on Sunday (the first day of the week)  This is documented multiple times throughout the New Testament. Why do Christians worship on Sunday? Because Jesus rose on Sunday morning, period. Put all the conspiracy theories to rest, its that simple

Now if someone fell asleep while you were preaching, don’t feel bad , it happened to Paul also. While Paul was preaching for a long time, a young man named Eutychus, fell asleep and fell off an upper level and died. Talk about a dramatic Church service!

And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him. When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed. And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted. Acts 20:10-12

This event of the young man Eutychus, coming back to life, is very interesting and mysterious. It doesn’t say that Paul resurrected the man or even prayed over him, just says Paul embraced (held) the man and he was alive. Did the man die at all? We don’t know for sure, but a miracle happened that day and prayers were answered

Secondly we see Paul and the Christians “broke bread” before the service and the next day before he left. Having communion together was alot different back in the 1rst Century. Typically the Christians would have a meal together called an “Agape Feast” and have communion during that time. It would be nice to see the modern day Church get back to this practice of having “Agape Feasts” instead of just lining up to take the sacraments

When we study the book of Acts and other books of the New Testament, we get an idea of how the early Church worshipped…however we worship make sure Christ is the center of it all and the foundation Amen!

Acts 19- The Great Disturbance

And the same time there arose no small stir about that way. For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth.Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth. Acts 19:23-27

During the 1rst Century, Christianity was known as “The Way”, and as we read today, Christianity was starting to cause a stir in the city of Ephesus. Why? Because there were many who made alot of money selling statues of false gods. As the scripture said “Paul turned away many people” meaning he converted alot of people in Ephesus to Christianity , as we have evidence with the Epistle of Ephesians.

But notice nobody really cared until it challenged their “way” of life. Once people’s money and lifestyle were threatened , they turned on Christianity. This is still the same today, many people reject Christ, not because of lack of evidence or desire, but because they love their life more than they love God

And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre. And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not. Acts 19:28-30

The entire city of Ephesus was in chaos, and they were looking to take it out on Gaius and Aristarchus. Paul wanted to go and help them but the disciples wouldn’t allow him in fear of his safety. But once everyone realized the Christians havent done anything to harm their temple or religion, they eventually settled down and let them go

For we are in danger to be called in question for this day’s uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse. And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly. Acts 19:40-41

Once the Ephesians understood the situation, they realized they were not justified in their hatred towards the Christians. This is the same in our world today, many people label Christians as hateful or bigots, however most of those people don’t understand God or Christianity at all

Through the chaos, great things were accomplished in the name of Jesus. The Church of Ephesus was born, and led many people to Christ through The Way Amen!

Acts 19- Do They Know You?

Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so.And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye? Acts 19:13-15

Again we see people trying to replicate the power of the Holy Spirit and use it for their own fame and glory. We seen this earlier with Simon the Sorcerer (Acts 8) and we still see this today, many false prophets trying to replicate the power of God, however this is blasphemy and comes at a serious price. But notice when these men tried to exercise demons in the name of Jesus, the demons said to them “Who are you”?

The question today is “Do the demons know your name”? Sounds like a strange question, but as the old saying goes “Know your enemy” When your a soldier for Christ, the demons will know your name because you are a threat to their kingdom. Don’t be surprised the more you are faithful and loyal to God, the more the demons will come after you and make your life miserable

And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. Acts 19:16-18

The demons attacked the false prophets and wounded them. Let this be a warning to everyone, messing with demons is serious! If you are not covered by the blood of Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit, you too can become overpowered by demonic forces. This is why playing with tarot cards and weegie boards is dangerous and should not be taken lightly.

If your going to battle with demons, you need to be equipped by God, otherwise you will be devoured like a lamb to the slaughter!

Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed. Acts 19:19-20

When the people of Ephesus witnessed all this, they burned all their evil books and items. The word of God prevailed and the name of Jesus was magnified according to the scriptures!

Be equipped to battle the spiritual warfare we are in today, get Born Again and covered by the blood of Jesus Amen!

Acts 19- Receive The Holy Spirit

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. And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John’s baptism. Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. Acts 19:1-4

There are two baptisms, the baptism of water for repentance and the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Christians Paul met in Ephesus, never heard of the Holy Spirit, and he was about to introduce them to this baptism. It makes me wonder, how many Christians today have probably never been baptised by the Holy Spirit? 

The Holy Spirit is an important part of the Triune God that we often fail to forget. We talk often about the Father and Son, but many fail to mention or give glory to the Holy Spirit. But the Bible tells us the Spirit of God lives inside of us as Born Again believers (Romans 8:11) Its only by the Holy Spirit that we can declare Jesus is Lord (1 Corinthians 12:3) Its only by the Holy Spirit that we can understand “Spiritual Things” (1 Corinthians 2:14) We need to the Holy Spirit in our daily lives to walk with Christ!

When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. And all the men were about twelve. Acts 19:5-7

When the Christians of Ephesus heard this, they wanted the Holy Spirit. So Paul laid his hands upon them and they received the Holy Spirit. Its interesting , how many Churches do this today? Has anyone ever laid hands on you to receive the Holy Spirit? This is one of the many reasons we need the Church, together in worship they received the Holy Ghost.

People wonder today why we don’t see more signs and miracles performed by the Holy Spirit. Are we doing the same things the first century Church did? No, so why do we expect to see the same results? If we want to see the power of God in the Church , we need the Holy Spirit!

Do you thirst for the Living Water of the Spirit? Do you cry out for the Holy Ghost to be poured down upon You? Receive The Holy Spirit in Jesus name Amen!

Acts 18- Remain Humble

And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples. And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. Acts 18:23-26

Here we see Paul beginning his 3rd mission trip. We see many of the Churches mentioned that Paul has written letters to Ephesus, Corinth, and Galatia. At Ephesus, Paul met a man named Apollos of Alexandria. He was described as an eloquent and well trained disciple of the scriptures. He preached the gospel of Christ accurately but he still had doctrines he was not aware of. Aquila and Priscilla took him aside and taught him further doctrine about Christ, as Apollos was only aware of the baptism of water, I imagine they taught him about the baptism of the Holy Spirit

This is a good lesson for all of us, even though Apollos was well trained in the scriptures and well respected, he still had more to learn. We all have alot more to learn about God, no matter how long you have been studying the scriptures or whatever your title or status is within the Church. We need to humble ourselves and be teachable. God resists the proud and gives grace to the Humble!

And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ. Acts 18:27-28

So what was the result of Apollos humbling himself and learning more about Christ through Aquila and Priscilla? He was highly respected among the Church and went on to preach Christ to the Jews and convinced many that Jesus is the Messiah. What would have happened if Apollos ego got in the way of him learning from Aquila and Priscilla? Apollos ministry may have gone in a whole different direction and many may have not heard the gospel. 

We need to learn to remain humble in all circumstances! Don’t allow your flesh to build your ego because God has blessed you! Just as God gave Pau a “thorn in his side” to keep him humble, we need to remain humble also. God’s grace is sufficient enough, we must decrease and Jesus must increase Amen!

Acts 18- Church of Corinth

After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers. And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. Acts 18:1-4

In this Chapter we see when Paul established the Church of Corinth, this is where we get the Epistles of 1rst and 2nd Corinthians. Again we see another large Jewish population because they were kicked out of Rome. We also see a large Greek pagan population, so Paul has his work cut out for him. 

Another thing we notice is Paul is a tentmaker for an occupation, this is how he bonded with Priscilla and Aquila. Paul worked this occupation so he didnt burden the Churches with financially supporting him, although some of the Churches did financially support him when possible. Brings up the topic, should Pastors be bi-vocational? Regardless Paul was very busy working his ministry and occupation as a tentmaker, not much time for feeling sorry for himself

And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles. And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man’s house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue. Acts 18:5-7

Paul preached to the Orthodox Jews every Sabbath, showing to them in the scriptures that Jesus Is the Messiah. However the Jews rejected Christ and Paul had enough he said “Your blood be upon your own heads” The Jews received the gospel of Christ yet rejected it, as Jesus said “Shake the dust off your feet and move on”. Paul declared he is now going to the Gentiles to preach the gospel

And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city. And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. Acts 18:8-11

Paul labored in Corinth for a year and a half, and Jesus gave Paul some words of encouragement “Be not afraid, keep on preaching, don’t be silent” These words should be great encouragement for us also! After toiling Paul had success and many people came to Christ

Remember the words of our Lord, Don’t be afraid, Keep preaching the gospel in Jesus name Amen!

Acts 17- The Birth of Apologetics

Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection.And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. Acts 17:16-20

Apologetics has become a popular tool for ministry today, but Apologetics is not a new strategy or concept, in fact Paul used the same strategy in his ministry. While evangelizing to Greek philosophers and Jewish religious leaders, Paul used logic and reasoning based on their worldview. This is exactly what Apologetics is, using logic and reasoning to show God exists and that Christianity is true

Notice these philosophers heard of Jesus and the resurrection, but they didn’t understand how this fit into their worldview. Often Apologetics, when done correctly, creates a pathway to the gospel of Christ. And we are going to see how Paul accomplished this by explaining there is one true God and the resurrection of Christ is the evidence that Christianity is true

(For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.) Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Acts 17:21-24

The Greeks worshipped many gods, including an unknown god , in case they accidently missed one. Paul pointed out their error as there is only one true living God. And the true living God does not live in temples or statues made by human hands. Next you will see how Paul builds a bridge to the gospel through this strategy

And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. Acts 17:30-31

Paul explained God has commanded everyone to come to repentance and affirmed He is the true living God by the resurrection of Jesus Christ! Remember the resurrection is the central theme of Christianity and our faith, if Christ wasn’t raised from the dead, then our faith is worthless

Good Apologetics should always lead to the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Build a case for God then lead them to Jesus Amen!

Acts 17- Paul preaches at Thessalonica

Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few.  Acts 17:1-4

Here we see Paul and Silas preaching in the city of Thessalonica, you might be familiar with this Church from the books of 1 Thessalonians and 2 Thessalonians, this is where it all began. Its very cool to be able to read the fruits of Paul and Silas labor in these books from the mission trip. What did they preach to Thessalonica, simply the gospel, Christ died, Christ is Risen, and Christ will come again

The city of Thessalonica had a large Jewish population as well as Greek. Paul reasoned with them through the Messianic scriptures in the Old Testament. The Church of Thessalonica was composed of Jew and Gentile including some prominent women of the city. 

But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.  Acts 17:5-7

Of course anywhere the gospel is preached, there is going to be resistance. The Orthodox Jews created an uprising against Paul and Silas. Its interesting , even though the Jews were persecuted by Caesar, they used Caesar to persecute the Christians. Of course Paul and Silas declared Jesus Is Lord and not Caesar! As we know the persecution of this Church only makes it grow!

And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things. And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go. Acts 17:8-9

As we’ve seen throughout Paul’s ministry, just when it seems like its the end, God delivers him again. Jason and others bail Paul and Silas out of jail and rescue them. Of course this is God’s sovereignty as he has bigger plans for Paul yet and the Church!

Doesn’t matter who is president , king , or ruler of your country, Jesus is always King of Kings! Stay faithful to God, because He will never leave or forsake us, Amen!