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     A Pregnant Church’s Execution of Evangelism:

    The Call – Ephesians 4:11

    The Great Commission – Matthew 28:18-20

    The Purpose For Evangelism – Ephesians 4:12-16.


    Song: Sweet Holy Spirit

    Verse 1

    There’s a sweet, sweet Spirit in this place,

    And I know that it’s the Spirit of the Lord;

    There are sweet expressions on each face,

    And I know that it’s the presence of the Lord.


    Chorus

    Sweet Holy Spirit, Sweet Heavenly Dove,

    Stay right here with us, filling us with Your Love.

    And for these blessings we lift our hearts in praise;

    Without a doubt we’ll know that we have been revived,

    When we shall leave this place.

    Verse 2

    There are blessings you cannot receive

    Till you know Him in His fullness and believe;

    You’re the one to profit when you say,

    “I am going to walk with Jesus all the way.”


    Chorus

    Verse 3

    If you say He saved you from your sin,

    Now you’re weak, you’re bound and cannot enter in,

    You can make it right if you will yield,

    You’ll enjoy the Holy Spirit that we feel.

    Chorus


    Prayer Requests: Salvation and Rest to All who Believes.

    Do we need to update our list?

    Pastor Garrett and Family Pastor’s Leadership Team

    The New Life Family

    Michaela Anderson and Gloria Shaw, New Members Amanda Bowers

    Lou Mason Lily Murphy Lewis

    Deacon William Butler and Family Miriam Renee Helton

    Deacon John Kitchen and Family Thomas Likely

    George and Bobbie Laws Lonetta Dorsett

    Ann Buckner Anne Edwards

    Tonya McCall Cora Norwood

    Monroe Nickles Etta Spencer

    Deacon Robert Jones is home from the hospital, improving and the Jones Family. Toniesha Blythe

    Mary Willis Family Minister Sidney, Surgery pending and Jayna Frazier in enduring Chemo and Family

    Jennifer Edwards Kenneth Hogan

    Vanessa Gaines Kelli Thomas, Virtual New Member

    Leon Murray Loniece Smith

    Minister Luther Black William Day, Jr., Surgery pending in March

    Canesha Curray Hattie M Paige

    Africa Horton Deacon George and Connie Shelton

    Levi Munlyn Brother Walter and Sis Carole Dunn

    Aunt Esther Clements, pending Right of Fellowship Bereaved: The Kitchens and Evans Families; the Butler Family, death of Bro. Greg Butler; Betty Monford in the death of her Children’s Father Family; let’s not forget, The Turner Family, the Graham Family, the Mary Irby Family. They can still feel the void. 

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    PRAYER:

    SCRIPTURE: “And Jehovah shall be King over all the earth: in that day shall Jehovah be one, and his name one” – ZECHARIAH 14:9.


    This is HOMEWORK FOR YOU! Some of you already know it, but it’s a good review. The more you review, the more the fear of teaching it, removes itself. 

    Look up the Scriptures, please.

    Man was made in the Image of God, in that he is a Triune Being (Spirit, Soul and Body); he was created a Spiritual Being, in that, he was HOLY, SINLESS, and MORALLY SOUND. He was capable of being in the very presence of God, walking in the Spirit, Talking with God (Genesis 3:8-19); Sin was made manifest in the Garden when Eve engaged in conversation with the Serpent and disobeyed God. Adam, in order to save his bride, Eve, disobeyed, intentionally (I Timothy 2:14); they lost the Spiritual (Holiness, Sinlessness, and Morality), but retained the body (the body consists of the Mind (thoughts are born), the Will (decisions are made) and the Emotions (love/hate), these he needs to function in a world without God in it). God, not willing that any should perish (II Peter 3:9), saved Adam and Eve (Genesis 3:21). 

    Adam and Eve were put out of Paradise (Heaven and God’s Home, Gen.3:22-24) because Sin Defiles. Because sin is against GOD’s Will, GOD Hates SIN. GOD is completely HOLY, which means that He is entirely set apart from all of Creation. GOD is RIGHTEOUS and JUST. Because GOD hates SIN and GOD is Righteous, Just and Holy, His Nature disallows Himself from coexisting with sin in His presence. 

    When Adam sinned, he inherited an Evil Nature (Galatians 5:19-21; Colossians 3:5-9). Therefore, everyone born after Adam is born in SIN (inherited from Adam, Psalm 51:3, and is born in the image of Adam, Genesis 5: 1-3 and MUST BE BORN AGAIN. in order to be in the Image of God, John 3:3, 6. 

    We receive the Image of God when we REPENT (acknowledge that we have Adam’s evil nature); SURRENDER BY FAITH (give our lives to Christ (we take these two without coercion); the moment you take these two steps, the HOLY SPIRIT Regenerates us (Titus 2:5,6; or simply said, He Baptizes us into the Body of Christ, I Corinthians 12:13; He Seals for God, Ephesians 1:13, 14, 30 which is our down payment on our Eternal Salvation; once this is done, God Himself JUSTIFIES (He stamps your record “NOT GUILTY” of Adam’s SIN; not “sins” which we commit after we are saved. These sins must be confessed (called by their name, and a plea for forgiveness made, I John 1:9. He then SANCTIFIES us (Sets us APART from the world (evil) II Timothy 2: 19-26, focus on Verse 21).


    And the God of peace himself sanctify you wholly; and may your spirit and soul and body be preserved entire, without blame at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ – I Thessalonians 5: 23.


     A Pregnant Church’s Execution of Evangelism

    The Call – Ephesians 4:11

    The Great Commission – Matthew 28:18-20

    The Purpose For Evangelism – Ephesians 4:12-16.

     

    Prayer Requests: Salvation and Rest to All who Believes.

    Bereaving Families: The Kitchen Family. Irby Family, Maedean Turner Family (Sister Turner has lost her Sister since the death of her daughter, Mary Graham)          

    Do we need to update our list?

    Pastor Garrett and Family

    Leadership Team and New Life Family

    Mary Irby Family

    Amanda Bowers

    Lou Mason

    Lily Murphy Lewis

    Deacon William Butler and Family

    Miriam Renee Helton

    Deacon John Kitchen and Family

    Thomas Likely

    George and Bobbie Laws

    Lonetta Dorsett

    Ann Buckner

    Anne Edwards

    Tonya McCall

    Cora Norwood

    Monroe Nickles

    Etta Spencer

    Deacon Robert Jones and Family

    Toniesha Blythe

    Mary Willis Family

    Minister Sidney and Jayna Frazier and Family

    Jennifer Edwards

    Kenneth Hogan

    Vanessa Gaines

    Kelli Thomas, Virtual New Member

    Leon Murray

    Loniece Smith

    Minister Luther Black

    William Day, Jr.

    Uncle Charlie Murray

    Hattie M Paige

    Canesha Curry, preparing for Baptism

    Deacon George and Connie Shelton 

    Sis Africa Horton

    Brother Walter and Sis Carole Dunn

     

    Levi Munlyn

     

    Bereaved: Betty Monford Family, death of their father

    Butler Family, death of Bro. Greg Butler

     

     

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    Acts 13, The Period of Triumph

    REVIEW

    Chapters 1-7 have described the “Period of Testing,” during which the Kingdom of God was offered to Israel for the third time. Chapters 8-12 describe the “Period of Transition” during which the following changes take place:

    1. The center of activity moves from Jerusalem to Antioch.

    2. The message goes from the Jews to the Samaritans and then to Gentiles.

    3. Peter’s activities assume less importance as Paul becomes leader.

    4. The communism of the “kingdom economy” is replaced by the activity of the Church. The Church had been in existence since Pentecost, but its meaning and place in God’s Program were now revealed through Paul’s Ministry of Grace.

    5. The Gospel of the Kingdom of God is replaced with the Gospel of the Grace of God.

    If the Ethiopian Eunuch was black (as some say he was), then in chapters 8-10 you have three remarkable conversions paralleling the three sons of Noah in Genesis 10:18. The Ethiopian would have descended from Ham; Paul, a Jew, from Shem; and Cornelius, a Gentile, from Japheth. Thus we have a picture of the Gospel going to the whole of humankind.

    Acts 13 begins the third and final section of Acts, “The Period of Triumph”.

     Luke clearly stated his purpose at the beginning of the Gospel of Luke: Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I also have decided to write an accurate account for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught” – Luke 1:3-4 NLT. Luke wanted Theophilus (and other readers) to be certain of God’s Truth. So he acted as an investigative journalist. He checked all the facts and closely interviewed eyewitnesses to prepare a thorough, detailed, and reliable account. Some scholars believe Luke may have even interviewed Jesus’ Mother Mary.

     

    Things I may or may not have made clear from the Book as we studied, and some things we may learn later as we continue this study of the Book of Acts.

    1.    Acts is the Only Biblical History of the Church – The book of Acts is unique. Historically, it picks up where the four Gospels end. Acts records the fulfillment of Jesus’ Promise of the Holy Spirit, the birth of the Church on the Day of Pentecost, and the Spread of the Gospel all the way to Rome.

    2.    Acts Covers about 30 years – The events recorded in Acts cover roughly a thirty-year period – from just after the Resurrection of Jesus around 30 AD to the early 60’s. When Acts ends, Paul is under house arrest in Rome. But based on Scripture and Church tradition, Paul was released, Philemon 22Philippians 1:19-262:24 and continued his Evangelistic work for a few more years, I Timothy 1:3;Titus 3:12. Then, Paul was arrested a second time in the mid-60’s AD, II Timothy 4:6-7 and was beheaded by order of Emperor Nero.

    3.    The book of Acts Probably was originally one book with Luke – Acts and Luke were written by the same author, to the same recipient, as two halves of one work. Most scholars believe they were originally circulated as one book and intended to be read together. Later, when the Gospels were grouped together, Luke and Acts was separated.

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    4.    Likely written by a Gentile – A first-century Christian named Luke is widely accepted as the Author of the two-volume collection of Luke and Acts. In addition to the internal evidence, strong external evidence also exists. For instance, a very early and unwavering Church tradition holds to Luke’s authorship. Although we have few details about Luke, we do know he was a traveling companion of the Apostle Paul and probably a Doctor. In one of his letters, Paul described him as the “beloved physician” – Colossians 1:14. Some scholars believe Luke may have been a Gentile, Colossians 4:11.

    5.    Acts was written to Theophilus – Although the book of Acts is for all Believers of all time, Luke specifically addressed a man named Theophilus – Luke 1:3Acts 1:1. Luke’s use of “most excellent” to describe him – Luke 1:3 suggests that Theophilus was highly respected and perhaps a high-ranking Roman official. He may have even financially supported Luke’s investigation and writing.

    6.    Acts Records Two Resuscitations – Twice Acts reports the exciting miracle of God resuscitating someone from the dead. In the city of Joppa, Peter resuscitated Dorcas, a Believer who faithfully served the widows, Acts 9:36-43. In Troas, Paul resuscitated a teenage boy named Eutychus who fell through an upper window to his death during a long sermon, Acts 20:7-16.

     

    Acts Chapter 13 through chapter 28, the Gospel of the Grace of God was preached to the Roman world and the Local Churches were established through the Ministry of Paul and others. Paul becomes the dominant figure and Peter, the Apostle to the Jews is phased out of the Ministry because the Jews had been set aside.  

    We witness, a new beginning of a New Ministry from a New Spiritual Center – Antioch in Syria.

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    We read of Paul’s First Missionary Journey and his First Sermon. We hear for the first time in Acts that wonderful word “Justified” found Acts 13:39 “And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. 

    OBJECTIVES IN STUDYING THIS CHAPTER

    1.    To trace the route of Paul and Barnabas on their Missionary Journey

    2.    To give special attention to their Evangelistic Methods and Message

    3.    To notice, a) people judge themselves unworthy of eternal life, and not God (if anyone misses Heaven, it is the individual’s decision, not God’s because He has provided THE WAY for all to get back to Heaven and a way to live a successful Christian life on earth, representing Heaven); and b) people ordained for eternal life are those with good and noble hearts, willing to listen and heed the Gospel. When we studied in Chapter 4, Peter is being challenged about the lame man who was healed at the Beautiful Gate and in preaching to the Jews, this was made clear: “8Then Peter, filled with the Holy Ghost, said unto them, Ye rulers of the people, and elders of Israel,9If we this day be examined of the good deed done to the impotent man, by what means he is made whole;10Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole.11This is the stone which was set at nought of you builders, which is become the head of the corner.12Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” – Acts 4:8-12.

     

    TODAY’S STUDY SHOWS WHEN FIRST MISSIONARIES WERE CALLED:

    I.               In Antioch, Syria: Called by the Spirit – verses 1-3.

    1Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.2As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.3And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away” – Acts 13:1-3.

    Keep in mind that the Center (Headquarters) of the Church’s Operations had moved from Jerusalem, Judea, and Samaria where most of the Jews resided to Antioch and the Gentiles, (this occurred in Acts 11:19-30 when Barnabas and Saul set up the first Local Church in Antioch and Believers were called Christians first. Do not confuse Antioch in Syria, Paul’s “home Church”, a Hellenistic Greek city with Antioch in Pisidia – Acts 13:14-52.

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    Note that as the Servants of the Lord Ministered in this Local Church, God called two of them (the first and last names on the list in Acts 13:1 – and soon the last would become first) to a world ministry. It is the servants who are faithful at home that God uses elsewhere.

    “Prophets” in Acts 13:1) means New Testament Prophets whom Christ appointed in Ephesians 4:11 saying, “And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers.”

    Acts 13:1-3 describe the New Testament Program for sending out Missionaries:

    1.     God Calls those whom He chooses.

    2.     The Church certifies this Call.

    3.     The Church and the Spirit send the Missionaries forth, backing them with prayer and support. It is right that Missionaries report to their Churches – Acts 14:26-28.

    It is also not unbiblical for Local Churches to band together and Organize Agencies for sending out Missionaries.

    Everywhere God plant His Seed, Satan plants his seeds.

    THE MISSIONARIES ENCOUNTER SATAN RIGHT AWAY.

    II.            IN CYPRUS: OPPOSED BY THE DEVIL Acts 13:4-12.

    4So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.5And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.6And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus:7Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God.8But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.9Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,10And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?:11And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.12Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.”

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    In the parable of the tares (Matthew 13:24-30 and Matthew 13:36-43) Christ promised that, wherever the true Children of God were planted, Satan would plant counterfeits. This is what happened at the Missionaries’ first stop. Satan came in the person of an apostate Jew, a false prophet, a child of the devil. God identified him immediately through Saul, (9Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,10And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? – Acts 13:10). Today, God may not call the Devil out, but He points him out, so that by Faith, His Children can recognize him. It is the responsibility of God’s People to call them out. The Missionaries didn’t have a Bible, so God used their mouths to Speak His Word. But now, The Bible has been written. We must know God’s Word in order to

    operate God’s Church according to His Will. Jesus stated His Mission on earth in Luke 4:18, 19 – He said, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,19To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.”

    Jesus authorized His Followers to continue His Mission on earth. When Believers stand before The Judgment Seat of Christ in Heaven, it is to give account of our Work while we were in His Body. Believers give account of sins (iniquities) in the human body. That is why you leave it in the earth for decomposition to take place. When Christ comes back for His Church, He restores the Compost to its Spiritual form, which means that it is from that moment forward, Sinless, Holy, having Moral Standards, this is the perfection for which we strive; these are they which Adam lost in SIN, and everyone born after Adam and Eve inherited this sinful nature and therefore, Must be Born Again in order to receive the Moral Standards of God’s Standards. Adam had been in a perfect environment, but being tempted by Satan, he sinned.

    1. Holy What does It mean to be Holy? Holiness is a word that can make us feel uneasy.  It seems lofty, threatening, alien to our nature. When applied to mankind, it means to be separated to God from all that is unclean. When applied to God, it means not only that He is separated from all that is evil but also, He is completely pure and distinct from all other beings.

    We instinctively sense that God’s Holiness has dangerous overtones. His Purity calls our sinful attachments into question, demanding that we forsake them in order to enjoy the greatest of all goods – belonging to a God of Infinite Love and Power. To come casually to Christ with our hearts grasping tightly to the sins we cherish or to come lightly as though they are no big deal (“oh, but I just got one vice”; but if that vice offends God, let it go, because “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?17If any man defile the temple of God, him shall God destroy; for the temple of God is holy, which temple ye are” I Cor. 3:16,17, when we don’t heed this warning, it is like throwing ourselves onto a roaring fire with the expectation we will not perish. How, then, can we – sinful and broken human beings – hope to come into the presence of a Holy God and survive the experience? We must Practice Holiness!

    Remember Peter, the guy who denied Jesus three times? The dude who was supposed to have met Jesus in Galilee after the Resurrection, but instead went fishing in the Ocean butt-naked? – when he was “Converted from sinner to Saint”, he began and continues until this day, to tell Believers everywhere: 13Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ;14As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:15But as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;16Because it is written, ‘Be ye holy; for I am holy” – I Peter 1:13-16, see also Leviticus 11:44.

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    What Can Be Holy? Time, space, objects, and people – all can become Holy if they belong to God. That’s why Peter said, “gird up the loins of your mind…”

           Sinless – We love to say, “Christianity is a process”, It is TRUE! Because there are  three stages of the Christian’s Salvation:

    1.    Justification: This is the initial stage of Salvation, which begins when we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior. after Regeneration (the Baptism of the Holy Ghost into the Body of Christ. In this stage, God declares the guilty sinner, “Not Guilty” of the sinful nature that was inherited from Adam.

    2.    Sanctification: This is a lifelong process that follows Justification. It involves the ongoing Work of the Holy Spirit in the life of the Believer, conforming them to the image of Christ (For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son … Rom. 8:29)

    3.    Glorification: This is the final stage of Salvation, which occurs when we meet Christ in Heaven.

    Paul, who is running this Missionary Journey is establishing Local Churches so that Believers can gather together for worship on the First Day of The Week. Paul admonishes Believers: “… let us lay aside every weight, AND the sin which doth so easily beset us, AND let us run with patience the race that is set before us.” How can we do this? We can do it by “Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” What’s happening when we lay aside the sins that so easily beset us? we SIN LESS AND LESS until we reach PERFECTION ([Not without mistakes] Perfection is maturity in your Faith in God)! Which we will experience in Heaven. Too many of us are 82 Years on earth and have not reached Perfection! That means that there are more people assigned to us to tell “come to Jesus”. “He gave some’… evangelists, some pastors and teachers;12For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ:13Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ …” 

           

    MORALITY

    – having Moral Principles means we have been given

    guidelines that people live by to make sure they are doing the right thing

    . These guidelines include things like honesty (Martin Luther King, Jr. died, trying to get people to be truthful about how they treat black/brown folks picking up garbage and more); to be fair in the treatment of black and brown people; and to treat all people with equality. We get a month to deal with the physical, psychological, emotional, etc. of Moral Principals… but God gives us a life-span: “

    10

    The days of our years are threescore years and ten; and if by reason of strength they be fourscore years yet is their strength labor and sorrow; for it is soon cut off, and we fly away” – Psalm 90:10. 

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    Why does He give us this life-span?

     FOR THE SPIRITUAL aspect of how to live out Moral Principles. Other examples:


    1.      Treating others with kindness, respect, compassion, and honesty.

    2.      Being responsible for your own actions and keep your word.

    3.      Do not harm, steal, lie or cheat others.

    4.      Respect the rights, property, and dignity of others.

    5.      Help those who are in need, such as children, elderly, sick and injured.

    Moral principles are taught behaviors by parents, teachers, and Pastors, and can be different for everyone because they depend on how a person was raised, what convictions have they been taught about Christ, and what is important to them in life.

    The Jewish false prophet Bar-Jesus, who shows up on behalf of Satan. Luke gives a threefold identification before recording the man’s name: “a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew” – v. 6. He opposed the preaching of the Gospel for fear of losing his influential position with the governor. Paul’s empowered denunciation, exposing his character and deeds (“10And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?:11And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand”, Vv. 10, 11 defeated the opposition. His announcement of Divine Punishment on Bar-Jesus was immediately fulfilled in Verse 6. He had hidden the Truth of God’s light, is now literally blinded.

    Paul and Barnabas are on the island of Cyprus, Acts 13:2–4, speaking to a Roman proconsul about Jesus in verses 7–8. The government official, in a search for the True God, has come under the influence of a fraud who promises Spiritual Light and provides only darkness. Irritated by the magician’s opposition and filled with the Holy Spirit, Paul declares Bar-Jesus will be blind.

    Blindness was a significant contributor to Paul’s Conversion. On the road to Damascus for the purpose of arresting Jewish Jesus-followers, Paul was confronted by Jesus in a bright light. Jesus told Paul to go into the city and wait for instruction. When Jesus left, Paul was blind and “they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus” –
    Acts 9:8. Now, the magician that led Sergius Paulus into spiritual darkness is unable to see light.

     

    Paul’s blindness was temporary, as well as Bar-Jesus’ “… thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season.” “A time,” also translated “season,” is from the Greek root word Kairos. It refers to a set amount of time during which a defined qualification is fulfilled. Paul was blind for only three days (that was his season). When he heard (hearing constitutes obedience) the Gospel, he was healed and he began to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the person he had persecuted. We say we have heard the Gospel, what are we doing with it? Our authorization was given in Matthew 28:18-20. Although Paul seems to say Bar-Jesus will be physically blind temporarily, it’s not known if the false prophet opens his Spiritual eyes and accepts the truth about Jesus.

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    When Jesus heal any ailment, it is Eternal. The Church cannot heal, but the Church can bring Souls to Christ for healing. When you can, get them into the Fold, “Teach them to observe all that Christ Commanded.”

    The Spirit of God has anointed you and me. And we are to carry Christ’s Mission to the end of the Age (Rapture).

    The People of God are responsible for keeping the Devil at bay. How? Know the Word (Jesus is the written Word [Bible]; Jesus is the Living Word [in you]), He said, “If you love Me, KEEP My Commandments.”

     

     In the Power of the Spirit, Paul smote the deceiver with blindness. Isn’t this like the nation of Israel, having rejected Christ, now smitten with blindness? (“For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in” – Romans 11:25). Note, from this point forward, “Saul” uses his better-known name “Paul,” which means “Little.” 

     

    THE MISSIONARIES ENCOUNTER TROUBLE WITHIN THE RANKS

    II. In Perga: Deserted by Mark (Acts 13:13)

    13 Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.”

    Note that it is no longer “Barnabas and Saul” as in Acts 13:2) but now, it is “Paul and his company.” We are not sure why John Mark left the party, but Paul considered his leaving as an act of desertion (“But Paul thought not good to take him with them (John Mark), who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work” – Acts 15:38). Was it because Paul had become prominent and Mark’s cousin Barnabas was no longer leader? Was it because of the dangerous situations that lay ahead? Was the youth homesick? Whatever the reasons, his deed later caused the two Missionaries to part company, although Paul later did forgive and receive Mark (“Only Luke is with me. Take Mark and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry” – II Timothy 4:11). How wonderful it is that God gives us another chance! More than one servant of God has failed in his early ministry, only to be successful later.

    THE FIRST MISSIONARY JOURNEY CONTINUES

    III.         In Antioch of Pisidia: Received by the Gentiles Acts 13:14-52.

    14But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.15And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.16Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience.

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    Paul tells the history of the Jews from Egypt up to the Rejection of the Savior

    17The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it.18And about the time of forty years suffered he their manners in the wilderness.19And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Chanaan, he divided their land to them by lot.20And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.21And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years.22And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.23Of this man’s seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Savior, Jesus:24When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.25And as John fulfilled his course, he said, Whom think ye that I am? I am not he. But, behold, there cometh one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose.26Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.27 For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.28And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain.29And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.30But God raised him from the dead:31And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people.32And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,33God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.34And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.35Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.36For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: 37But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.38Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:39And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.40Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets;41Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.42And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.43Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.44And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.45But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.

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    46Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.47For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.48And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.49And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.50But the Jews stirred up the devout and honorable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.51But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.52And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost. 

     

    Why did Paul go to the Jewish Synagogue when his Special Commission was to the Gentiles? For several reasons: 1) he knew he would get a hearing among the Jews in the Synagogue, and this was the logical place to start; 2) he had a personal burden for his people (“I say the truth in Christ, I lie not, my conscience also bearing me witness in the Holy Ghost,2That I have great heaviness and continual sorrow in my heart.3For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen according to the flesh”- Romans 9:1-3 and Romans 10:1); 3) he wanted his nation to hear God’s Word and so be without excuse. We cannot help but admire Paul’s burden for Israel. [As we should be burdened by our own families.] His words remind us of Moses in Exodus 32:31-35, And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold.32Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.33And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book.34Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them.35And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made.”

    This should help us to appreciate GRACE AND MERCY. Do we have that kind of a burden for lost Souls? Acquaintances? Christ loved us so much He became a curse for us.

    In this Sermon, he stated that Christ came “to the Jews first”Acts 13:23-27 and Acts 13:46, but he was careful to state that Salvation is for “all that believe” – Acts 13:39.

    In Acts 13:17-22, Paul showed how the OT was a preparation period for the coming of Messiah. The Old Testament Saints had to be taught what sin is, how God expected it to be dealt with, personally and as a Nation because before the giving of the Law, every man did what seemed right in his own eyes. The key point was and is: “when people serve God, they prosper” versus “again and again falling away from God into the worship of idols.” An idol can be anything that you put before God, whether you drink it, smoke it, touch it, etc. God says, “come out from among them and touch not the unclean thing, and I will be a father unto you, and you will be my sons and daughters.”

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    The Old Testament Saints’ experiences are our examples and encouragements so we can know what to do or not to do – I Corinthians 10:11.

    What does it say?

    (The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it.18And about the time of forty years suffered he their manners in the wilderness.19And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Chanaan, he divided their land to them by lot.20And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.21And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years.22And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.

    Egypt and the wilderness are pictures or types of the world. The Israelites went down for food and got trapped for 430 years because of slavery until God delivered them. They were trapped in the wilderness because of their disobedience and lack of trust in God. Only two people who left Egypt who were twenty years or older made it to the Promised Land.

    Things we learn from the wilderness journey:

    1.      The way to our promised land is not always easy, in fact, it rarely is. But always worth it.

    2.        God will make a way where there doesn’t seem to be a way.

    3.      God will lead us day and night.

    4.      God fights on behalf of his people

    5.      God provides in miraculous ways

    6.      Sin will always take us farther than we want to go.

    7.      We may feel forgotten and left on our own, but God is always with us.

     

    Paul showed how the OT was a preparation period for the coming of Messiah. Christianity is a Journey. It lasts for a lifetime. This journey includes a journey through wilderness journeys.

    23Of this man’s seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Savior, Jesus:24When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.25And as John fulfilled his course, he said, Whom think ye that I am? I am not he. But, behold, there cometh one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose.26Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.27 For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.28And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain.29And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.30But God raised him from the dead:31And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people.

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    32And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,33God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.34And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.35Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.36For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: 37But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.

     

    Acts 13:38-41 give the personal conclusion of the message showing that Salvation was not through obedience to the law, but through faith in Christ.

    38Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:39And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.40Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets;41Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.

    The warning in Acts 13:40-41 comes from Habakkuk 1:5. The work” referred to here is God’s Program of saving the Gentiles. How unbelievable this must have been to the Jews! When the Prophet Habakkuk spoke these words, the Gentile ruler Nebuchadnezzar was rising to power and would be invading nation after nation.

    Paul used these words to warn the Jews that, if they did not believe and receive the Gospel, they would perish like the unbelieving Israel of days past. He preached the Gospel of the Grace of God (43Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God – Acts 13:43), the message we are to proclaim today.

    What were the results? Some Jews and Gentile proselytes immediately believed. It is obvious that these religious people, trained in the Scriptures, would be best prepared to receive the message. The next week the whole city was gathered together! This meant that the Gentile Believers had spread the word among their friends, so that the majority of the congregation that Sabbath Day was Gentile. This provoked the Jews to jealousy, and they hindered Paul’s Ministry, so he turned from them to a Ministry among the Gentiles. He explained his action 46Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles, Acts 13:46; according to God’s Program outlined in the OT, it was necessary that the Word go to the Jews first; but now that they had (like their brethren in Jerusalem) proved themselves unworthy, the message would go to the Gentiles. Paul quoted Isaiah 49:6, where God said that Christ was a Light to the Gentiles. See also Luke 2:29-32.

    Do not “tone down” the phrase in 48And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed – Acts 13:48 that indicates that certain people were “ordained to eternal life.”  The Gk. word actually means “enrolled,” and has the idea of names written in a book.

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    While Salvation is by Grace, through Faith, there is also that mysterious working of God whereby we are “chosen in Christ” (Ephesians 1:4). We do not know who God’s elect are, so we offer the Gospel to all and have confidence that the Spirit will Work.

    Of course, where the seed is bearing fruit, Satan comes to oppose; and note that he can use “religious people” to do the Work. True Christianity does not persecute anyone, but religious people have persecuted and murdered in the name of Christ. (For Paul’s comment on persecution see II Tim. 3:11, (Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me.) The opposition did not stop Paul and his associates; filled with joy and the Holy Spirit, they continued to minister the Word.

     

    OUTLINE

    DEPARTURE FROM ANTIOCH OF SYRIA (1-3)

    PROPHETS AND TEACHERS AT ANTIOCH (1)

    Barnabas, Simeon (called Niger), Lucius of Cyrene

    Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod), Saul

    BARNABAS AND SAUL SEPARATED AND SENT (2-3)

    As the prophets and teachers ministered to the Lord and fasted

    The Holy Spirit commands that Barnabas and Saul be separated for His work

    With fasting, prayer, and laying on of hands, Barnabas and Saul are sent away

    MINISTRY ON THE ISLAND OF CYPRUS (4-12)

    JOURNEY TO SALAMIS (4-5)

    Sent out by the Holy Spirit, Barnabas and Saul go down to Seleucia

    From Seleucia they sail to Cyprus and arrive at Salamis

    In Salamis they preach the Word in the Jewish synagogue, assisted by John Mark

    CONFRONTATION AT PAPHOS (6-12)

    Crossing the island of Cyprus they arrive at Paphos.

    There they encounter Elymas Bar-Jesus, a sorcerer and false prophet

    The proconsul, Sergius Paulus, wanted to hear the Word of God

    Elymas sought to keep him from hearing Barnabas and Saul

    Saul (who is also called Paul from this point forward) confronts and confounds Elymas.

    Filled with the Holy Spirit, Paul looked at him intently and saw that he was full of deceit and fraud.

    Calling him a son of the devil and enemy of Righteousness, Paul charged him with perverting the ways of the Lord.

    Paul then foretells his blindness by the hand of the Lord, which happens immediately,

    Seeing what happened, Sergius Paulus believes, astonished at the teaching of the Lord.

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    PREACHING IN ANTIOCH OF PISIDIA (13-52)

    FROM CYPRUS TO ANTIOCH, BY WAY OF PERGA (13-14)

    Setting sail from Paphos, they arrive in Perga of Pamphylia

    At Perga, John Mark leaves them and returns to Jerusalem.

    From Perga, they come to Antioch of Pisidia.

    THE FIRST SABBATH IN ANTIOCH (14-43)

    Visiting the synagogue, they are invited to address the people.

    Paul’s Sermon to the men of Israel and those who fear God.

    He reviews Israel's history from the Exodus to the time of David.

    He proclaims Jesus as the seed of David who was introduced by John the Baptist

    He preaches the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus.

    He offers evidence for the resurrection: eyewitnesses and messianic prophecies

    He announces forgiveness and justification available through Jesus Christ, not the law

    He warns them not to despise the wonderful work of God.

    The response and follow up to his sermon.

    The Gentiles beg that he will preach the same to them on the next Sabbath.

    Many Jews and devout proselytes follow Paul and Barnabas, who persuade them to continue in the Grace of God

    THE SECOND SABBATH IN ANTIOCH (44-49)

    Almost the whole city gathers to hear the Word of God.

    The Jews become envious and begin contradicting and blaspheming Paul.

    Paul and Barnabas boldly rebuke the Jews for rejecting the Word, and turn to the Gentiles as commanded by the Lord.

    The Gentiles rejoice, many believe, and the Word of the Lord is spread throughout the region.

    PERSECUTION AND EXPULSION TO ICONIUM (50-52)

    The Jews stir up devout and prominent women and chief men to persecute and expel Paul and Barnabas from their region.

    Shaking the dust of their feet against them, Paul and Barnabas go to Iconium.

    The Disciples, meanwhile, are filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

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  • Introductory Plans for November 15, 2023, Bible Study

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    The Body of Christ is made up of people from all walks of life. God has put each of us in His Body as it pleases Him, so we should not think that we, as, say, the toe are better than the knee because the toe cannot do the knee’s job –- I Corinthians 12:13-31.

     

     

    Ephesians 4:1

    Prayer Requests:

    Pastor Garrett and Family

    Leadership Team and New Life Family

    Mary Irby Family

    Amanda Bowers

    Lou Mason

    Lily Murphy Lewis

    Deacon William Butler and Family

    Miriam Renee Helton

    Deacon John and Betty Sue Kitchen and Family

    Thomas Likely

    George and Bobbie Laws

    Lonetta Dorsett

    Ann Buckner

    Anne Edwards

    Harold Abernathy

    Cora Norwood

    Monroe Nickles

    Etta Spencer

    Wanda Butler

     

    Mary Willis Family

    Minister Sidney Frazier and Family

    Jennifer Edwards

    Kenneth Hogan

    Vanessa Gaines

    Patricia Robinson

    Leon Murray

    Bereaving Families

    Upcoming Holiday Season

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Song: We Are One In The Spirit

    We Are One In The Spirit
    We Are One In The Lord (2)
    And We Pray That All Unity
    May One Day Be Restored
    And They’ll Know We Are
    Christians By Our Love, By Our Love;
    Yes, They’ll Know We Are Christians
    By Our Love!

     

    We Will Walk With Each Other
    We Will Walk Hand In Hand (2)
    And Together We Will Spread The News,
    That God Is In Our Land
    And They’ll Know We Are
    Christians By Our Love, By Our Love;
    Yes, They’ll Know We Are Christians
    By Our Love!

     

    We Will Work With Each Other
    We Will Work Side By Side (2)
    And We’ll Guard Each Man’s Dignity,
    And Save Each Man’s Pride.
    And They’ll Know We Are
    Christians By Our Love, By Our Love;
    Yes, They’ll Know We Are Christians
    By Our Love!

    Prayer:

    Scripture: Romans 12:3-8

    3For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith.4For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office:5So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another.6Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, whether prophecy, let us prophesy according to the proportion of faith;7Or ministry, let us wait on our ministering: or he that teacheth, on teaching;8Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness.

    These six verses are all tied together by humility – Paul tells us to think soberly, logically, seriously, that as God has dealt to each a measure of faith, that we in faith can consider our place in the Church and deal with it. So, whatever we are to do, do that! Do it with all the gifts and skills that God has given – but do not try to do another person’s job. It is his job to do diligently, not ours. God put us in the Body to do a specific job, our job not his, otherwise He would have given us his job!

    If we have been given the job to exhort (encourage), then we should exhort, faithfully according to the amount of Faith you’ve been given. The Christian’s Walk is seen in the following Scriptures (Eph. 4:1, Eph. 4:17; Eph. 5:2, Eph. 5:8, Eph. 5:15). The Christian life is compared to a Walk because it starts with one step of faith, it involves progress, and it demands balance and strength. If we do not learn to walk, we will never be able to run: “Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us,2Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God – Heb. 12:1-2 or stand in the battle “Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil” – Eph. 6:11). If it is our job to minister and serve others, serve – but do not take another’s job to prophesy. Paul is saying, “In lowliness of mind, be content where you are, because obviously God has put you there for a reason. If you do the job that God has given to you, you are fulfilling His will.” The Church, then, can be united in keeping the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace because the members are not competing over each other’s responsibilities.

     

    Acts 10

    This chapter is one of the most important in the entire Book of Acts, for it records the opening of the door of Faith to the Gentiles. Peter had used “the keys of the kingdom” to open the door of Faith to the Jews  on the Day of Pentecost, Acts 2:1-47 and the Samaritans Acts 8:14, and now will complete his Special Ministry by opening the door to the Gentiles, “But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses.6And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter.7And when there had been much disputing, Peter rose up, and said unto them, Men and brethren, ye know how that a good while ago God made choice among us, that the Gentiles by my mouth should hear the word of the gospel, and believe.8And God, which knoweth the hearts, bare them witness, giving them the Holy Ghost, even as he did unto us;9 And put no difference between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.10Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?11But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they” – Acts 15:6-11. You should also read Acts 11:1-18 to get Peter’s picture of this momentous event.

    If you can recall Acts 8:1-40, when God wants to do a Work, He Calls a man/woman of God, He’s speaking of Mankind, not the anatomy, not race, color or creed, He died for the whole world, and this is what He means:


    He clothes you with His Righteousness. According to the Bible, God clothes us in His Righteousness. Ephesians 2:8-9 states that we are saved by grace through faith, and that this is a gift of God, not a result of (man’s) works or they would boast. “Psalm 132:9 says, Let thy priests be clothed with righteousness; and let thy saints shout for joy”, If you are one of God’s People and are trusting in Christ Alone, God makes a declaration that you are clean, your sins have been removed from you, and you are wearing the Righteousness of Christ. To further show when one has put on the clothes of Righteousness, Paul says, “For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.29And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” – Gal. 3:27-29. When one is clothed in Righteousness, He empowers the individual with the Spirit of God, and enables him/her to preach/teach the Word of God.

    This same program that we saw in Acts 8: 1-40 where Philip Proclaims Christ in Samaria is in operation in this chapter. His Work moves out of Jewish territory into all the world. (And like the little commercial bunny “still going.”) Until every Gentile who will come, comes, the world will continue, and the Gospel will go forth.

    This is how we will proceed in Chapter 10

     

    I Preparation by the Spirit of God – Acts 10:1-22.

    At the heart of edification of the Body of Christ lies preparation. This lesson shows the Holy Spirit at work preparing two men in different cities to build up the Church, simultaneously.

     

    The Spirit prepares Cornelius (Acts 10:1-8)

    1There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band,2A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people and prayed to God alway.3He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius.4And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God.5And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:6He lodgeth with one Simon a tanner, whose house is by the sea side: he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do.7And when the angel which spake unto Cornelius was departed, he called two of his household servants, and a devout soldier of them that waited on him continually;8And when he had declared all these things unto them, he sent them to Joppa.

     

    The Spirit Prepares Peter to Give The Gospel to The Gentiles – Vv. 9-22

    9On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour:10And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance,11And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth:12Wherein were all manner of four-footed beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air.13And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat.14But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.15And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.16This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.17Now while Peter doubted in himself what this vision which he had seen should mean, behold, the men which were sent from Cornelius had made enquiry for Simon’s house, and stood before the gate,18And called, and asked whether Simon, which was surnamed Peter, were lodged there.19While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee.20Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them.21Then Peter went down to the men which were sent unto him from Cornelius; and said, Behold, I am he whom ye seek: what is the cause wherefore ye are come?22And they said, Cornelius the centurion, a just man, and one that feareth God, and of good report among all the nation of the Jews, was warned from God by an holy angel to send for thee into his house, and to hear words of thee. 

    There’s a saying, God prepares you for what He has prepared for you. what we should say is, God prepares us for Christ because without Him, we can do nothing and God will not dwell in an unclean place. Cornelius had never experienced God in the manner he about to experience Him; Peter had never experienced God in this manner, as well. That Holy Angel was Jesus. Anytime you read of the “Angel of the Lord,” it is Jesus. In the Old Testament, He is Pre-Incarnate (He hasn’t taken on flesh yet), in the New Testament, He is manifesting Himself from the Throne. Don’t forget, Christ Jesus is Head of the Church. If there’s no Head, the Body dies, whether it is by choice or lack of knowledge. There is NO excuse because “The heavens declare the glory of God…” Ps. 19. (go there)

    Also remember, Angels can change their forms; in Acts to the New Disciples, Jesus is in the form of the Holy Spirit. You cannot divide them. Jesus wasn’t on the Cross without the Father and The Spirit. Jesus DIED, Christ, His Spirit did not!

    Understand this! You were created Body, the house where YOU live; Soul is YOU; and Spirit, God in YOU.

    When God removes His Spirit, the Body dies because it is the Spirit that makes the body come alive. John tells us in 6:63, “It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life.” “Quickeneth” in the Word of God means to “MAKE ALIVE”. When the Physician in the Delivery Room stimulates the New born at birth or when the baby takes its first breath this is the “The Breath of Life” and UNTIL God says, “SPIRIT COME”, breathing continues until death finishes its process. But Solomon explains that process, Then shall the dust return to the earth as it was: and the spirit shall return unto God who gave it” – Ecclesiastes 12:7. Notice, nothing is said there about the SOUL (YOU). First of all, YOU need a home! If you haven’t prepared for it before God takes back His Spirit, YOU have assigned yourself to hell. God gave YOU (SOUL) His Spirit in preparation for LIFE; He gives us all the time that we need to prepare, instead you chose to LIVE! When you choose to live as others do vs. preparation for LIFE, you will continue living after the death of the body with Satan and his angels. Living is temporary on earth; Life is eternal with God in Heaven. SOUL, YOU will NEVER DIE! It was created to live forever, always conscious of your surroundings – with Him. The Body was created to die and return to the dust from whence it came.

    God’s Purpose for mankind in the BEGINNING: Genesis 1:27, “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them. (man and woman has God’s Spirit living in them from birth, waiting for him/her to make Jesus their Choice; the first man and woman have Moral Character, waiting to be exercised; they had the ability to live HOLY; the ability to live SINLESS; OH NO! Satan said, “nobody’s perfect”. Jesus said, “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” because humanity was/is born in the image of Adam. To be born in Adam’s image is not only a character flaw, but also a loss of Holiness, and a loss of sinlessness, because Adam lost the image of God when he sinned… God’s image is a MUST in Heaven. Adam retained his intelligence (MIND), his ability to choose good and evil (WILL), and his ability to love or hate (EMOTIONS). These three, (mind, will and emotions) are a MUST to live on earth. “This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day that God created man, in the likeness of God made he him;2Male and female created he them (i.e. Eve was inside Adam. Every specie that God created has “the seed in itself”, [the seed is in the man, the egg is in the woman for the purpose of reproduction] therefore, He created the man from the dust of the earth, but the human seed was in the man, i.e., woman and not made manifest until Genesis 2:21); and blessed them, and called their name Adam, in the day when they were created.3And Adam lived an hundred and thirty years, and begat a son in his own likeness (human – having the tendency to make a choice to be in God’s image or Satan’s image), after his image; and called his name Seth” – Gen. 5:1-3. When your Repent of Sin (Adam’s), Surrender your whole being to Christ as Savior and Lord, you are regenerated (saved), i.e. your sins have been washed away (Gal.5:15-19), then Justification. Anyone who Repents and Surrenders to Christ has the STATUS of “SONS” of God! “He came to His Own, but his own received Him not, but as many as received Him to them gave He POWER to become Sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name” – John 1:12. God’s Image is again restored.  Back to Genesis 1:28

           28And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth (reproduce Sons of God), and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth. (Replenish the earth with Godly People) Parents are responsible for those little gun toting children being out there because we have not obey God’s Word.

           And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord” – Eph 6:4.

            Spare the rod; spoil the child…

            Ps. 127:3–5,Lo, children are an heritage of the Lordthey shall not be ashamed, but they shall speak with the enemies in the gate.”

            Train up a child in the way he should go, Prov. 22:6.

            Suffer little children, and forbid them not to come unto me, Matt. 19:14.

     

    II Obedience of the Man of God (Acts 10:23-33)

    Keep in mind that, up to this time, the Apostles had not preached to the Gentiles. Even the Samaritans – Acts 8:1-40 were “half-breed”, only to Jews with reverence for the Mosaic Law. Peter did not go to the Gentiles because he was obeying the Great Commission, but theoretically, he was, but he went to them because the Spirit had distinctly commanded him to go. In fact, when he arrived at Cornelius’ house, he asked, “For what reason have you sent for me?” – Acts 10:29, NKJV. And when he preached, God had to interrupt him in order to accomplish His purpose – “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word” – Acts 10:44 also in Acts 11:15-16. Like the other Apostles, Peter was still clinging to the Jewish outlook, and he thought that the Gentiles could not be reached until the Jews had accepted their Messiah and He had set up His Kingdom. But now Peter was going to learn that God was introducing a New Program – The Church! Please do not assume that Peter understood all about this New Program; in fact, Paul later had to rebuke Peter for his inconsistency (see Gal. 2:1-21). Chapters 1-7 was a Testing Period. Jewish Believers were Tested for their Faith in God’s Plan to save mankind.

    During this Period of Transition – Chapters 8-12, we see Peter disappearing from the scene and with him the Kingdom Message to Israel.

     

    III. The Preaching of the Word of God (Acts 10:34-48)

    34Then Peter opened his mouth, and said, Of a truth I perceive that God is no respecter of persons:35But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him.36The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)37That word, I say, ye know, which was published throughout all Judaea, and began from Galilee, after the baptism which John preached;38How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.39And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:40Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;41Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.42And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.43To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.

     

    The Holy Spirit Falls on the Gentiles

    44While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.45And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.46For they heard them speak with tongues and magnify God. Then answered Peter,47Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we? 48And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days. 

    A prepared preacher and a prepared congregation make a wonderful TEAM! Heb. 11:6, But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him in connection with 35But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him” – Acts 10:35; Peter did not say that all who “do good” are saved. He began with the Message of Christ to Israel, starting with the Ministry of John the Baptist. He stated that Cornelius and his friends knew already the Message about Christ’s Miracles, His Death, and His Resurrection and that these events were related especially to Israel.

    In Acts 10:42 he said, And He commanded us [Jewish witnesses] to preach unto the people” (meaning the Jews), which is what the Apostles did up to that time. What Peter had said was simply that Christ came to save the Nation of Israel, but now he realized that with God there is no difference between Jews and Gentiles. He spoke the key truth in Acts 10:43 when he said, whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.”

    At this point the Spirit interrupted Peter and wrought a Miracle in the hearts of these Gentiles. They believed the Word! And when they believed, the Spirit was poured out upon them, the evidence being that they spoke with tongues. (See Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?” Gal. 3:2.) The Jews with Peter were astonished that God would save the Gentiles without first making them Jewish proselytes. Led by the Spirit, Peter commanded that they be baptized; and Peter and his friends stayed and ate with these New Believers (Acts 11:3).

     

    Review once again the relationship in Acts between the Spirit and Baptism. In Acts 2:1-47 (The Day of Pentecost), the Jews believed and had to be baptized in order to receive the Spirit (by the Spirit, i.e. Regeneration.)

    In Acts 8:1-40, the Samaritans believed and were baptized, they did not received the Spirit until the laying on of the Apostles’ Hands because Phillip was not an Apostle.

    But here in Acts 10:1-48 we are on TRUE “Church Ground,” meaning that Gentiles heard the Word, believed, received the Spirit, and then were baptized.

    The events of Act_2:38 and Act_8:14-17 are NOT the pattern for the Church Today.

    Eph 1:13-14 reads, “In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise,14Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory should be read carefully. The Spirit’s coming was actually a Baptism, as Peter explained in Acts 11:15-16, And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.16Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that he said, John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost. Only two times is the word Baptism” used in Acts with reference to the Spirit: in Acts 2:1-47, when the Spirit came upon the Believing Jews, and in Acts 10:1-48, when He came upon the Believing Gentiles. This fulfills what Paul describes in I Cor. 12:13, “For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles.” This “one Body” is the Church Eph. 2:11-22.

    In fact, in Acts 11:15 Peter stated that the Baptism in the home of Cornelius was identical to the one at Pentecost. Today, when sinners accept Christ, the Spirit comes into their bodies, and they are baptized into the Body of Christ.

    As we will see in Acts 11:1-30 and Acts 15:1-41, the Conversion of the Gentiles created a great problem for the Jewish Believers, not because they were guilty of prejudice, but because they did not understand “the mystery” of the Church – Eph. 3:1-21.

    They thought that the Gentiles could be saved only through Israel’s rise as a kingdom; but God revealed through Paul that it was through Israel’s fall that the Gentiles were saved Rom. 11:11-25. The Message of the Kingdom given through the Prophets – Acts 3:18-26 was replaced by the Message of the Grace of God, revealed in its Fullness through Paul – Acts 13:38-43. Israel was set aside and will not be prominent in God’s program on earth again until after the Church has been raptured. (Read carefully Acts 15:13-18 And after they had held their peace, James answered, saying, Men and brethren, hearken unto me:14Simeon hath declared how God at the first did visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name.15And to this agree the words of the prophets; as it is written,16After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David, which is fallen down; and I will build again the ruins thereof, and I will set it up:17That the residue of men might seek after the Lord, and all the Gentiles, upon whom my name is called, saith the Lord, who doeth all these things.18Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world.

    To mix Kingdom Truth and Church Truth is to confuse the Word of God and hinder the Work of God.

    The Church’s Commission today is found in Matt. 28:19-20. We are to Make Disciples, which Calls for Evangelism; we are to Baptize, which implies Fellowship in a Local Assembly; and we are to Teach the Word (All that Christ Commanded), which the Spirit uses to Convict the lost. Let us be busy sowing the Seed of the Word, Watering it with our Prayers and Tears – Ps. 126:5-6; Acts 20:19) and patiently waiting for the harvest.

     


  • August  23, 2023

    Israel in the Time of Jesus – Bible Maps | Bible mapping, Bible history ... 


    Chapter 8 


    Acts_8:1-40 


    Chapters 1-7 have described the “Period of Testing,” during which the kingdom was offered to Israel for the third time. Chapters 8-12 describe the “Period of Transition” during which the following changes take place: 


    1. The center of activity moves from Jerusalem to Antioch. 



    1. The message goes from the Jews to the Samaritans and then to Gentiles. 



    1. Peter’s activities assume less importance as Paul becomes leader. 



    1. Communism of the “Kingdom economy” is replaced by the activity of the Church. The Church had been in existence since Pentecost, but its meaning and place in God’s Program were now revealed through Paul’s Ministry of Grace. 



    1. The Gospel of the Kingdom is replaced by the Gospel of the Grace of God. In other words, chapter 7 ends the preaching of The Kingdom of God because the Jews have been set aside. The Kingdom of God was to the Jews. Had the Jews accepted Christ, they would have been spreading the Gospel to the Gentiles, instead of the Gentiles spreading the Gospel to the world. one of the major players in chapter 8 is the Ethiopian. If the Ethiopian eunuch was black (as some say he was), then in chapters 8-10 you have three remarkable conversions paralleling the three sons of Noah in Gen. 10. The Ethiopian would have descended from Ham; Paul, a Jew, descended from Shem; and Cornelius, a Gentile, from Japheth. Thus, we have a picture of the Gospel going to the whole of humankind. 


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    Saul Ravages the Church 

    Act 8:1And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles.2And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him.3As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison. 


    We see our first glimpse of Saul in Chapter 7 as they stoned Stephen: “…and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul” – verse 58b.  


    Saul was consenting to Stephen’s death. In Philippians 3:6, Saul, who became Paul, said of his life before Jesus that he was so zealous in his religious faith that he persecuted the Church. Saul’s supervision of the execution of Stephen was just one example of this persecution. 


    Consenting describes Saul’s attitude. Paul approved, even was pleased with the activities that caused Stephen’s death. Some people are reluctant persecutors, but Saul wasn’t one of those people, he took pleasure in attacking Christians. Saul of Tarsus, we know him by his Roman name, Paul, later deeply regretted this persecution of the Church. And wrote many times saying, “I punished them often in every Synagogue and compelled them to blaspheme; and being exceedingly enraged against them, I persecuted them even to foreign cities” – Acts 26:11; I Corinthians 15:9. Paul was exposed for what he was, and he paid the consequence in spite of God’s using him to set up Churches throughout the known world. 


    Sin, however, is an equal opportunity offender, like a cancer, it spreads, it divides and subdivides, so, Saul was not alone in his persecutory drive. A great persecution arose against the Church. Stephen’s death was only the beginning.  


    At first glance, Stephen’s death might have seemed meaningless. His young Ministry of power and eloquence was cut short, abruptly. His Ministry also seemed to end in failure because no one was immediately brought to the Faith, and all that came was more persecution against the Church. But as always, the case has been, the blood of the martyrs became the seed of the Church. (this phrase emphasizes that the Church grows through the blood of those who have died for their faith. 


    Page 3

    Christians were now forced to do what they had been reluctant to do, and still is today, that is to get the Message of Jesus out to the surrounding Regions. 


    In Acts 1:8, Jesus clearly told His followers to go beyond Jerusalem and bring the Gospel to Judea, Samaria and to the rest of the world, but up to now, the Disciples had not done this. So, what good was Stephen’s suffering? It was the Will of God. And if necessary, God can and will use pressuring circumstances to guide us into His WillI’ve heard for a long time at New Life that we need to “move out of our comfort zone and outside of these four walls,” but do we honestly believe this? 


     

    2. Acts 8:2, we see “The Burial of Stephen. 


    And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. 


    1. And devout men: seemingly, these Jews were horrified at Stephen’s murder. Perhaps this was Luke’s way of reminding us that not All Jewish people of that time were enemies of Christianity. 

    1. Made great lamentation over him: Since Jewish law prohibited open mourning for someone that had been executed, Luke’s record suggests that these devout men publicly repented of Stephen’s murder. 


    3. Acts 8: 3, 4, Saul did more than consent to Stephen’s death, continues his persecution. 


    As for Saul, he made havoc of the church, entering every house, and dragging off men and women, committing them to prison. Therefore, those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word. 


    He made havoc: when thinking of the word Havoc, it is a Greek word. Think in terms of an army destroying a city or a wild animal tearing at its meat. He viciously attacked Christians, Not only did he not spare the women, but he did not stop short of seeking – and securing his victims’ death.”  


    Paul testified many times how he had wreaked havoc on the Church: And Saul yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 9:1; And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women”Acts 22:4; “Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them. Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against them” – Acts 26:10. 


    He not only did he ravaged it, but he also kept on and on ravaging it.”  


    Page 4

     Those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the Word: meaning they Preached Jesus Christ crucified, risen, and coming again everywhere they went. The end result was for the Glory of God because the persecution simply served to spread the message. We shouldn’t think that those who left Jerusalem left as formal preachers. Most were Missionaries” who talked about Jesus wherever they went. 


    Let’s not be misled by the statement “Preached the Word.”  The statement does not necessarily mean anything more than “shared the Good News of Jesus Christ.”  


    We can share the good news of what Jesus has done just as they did. Most people don’t come to Jesus through a Licensed Preacher or an Evangelist; they come to Jesus through people just like you and me. 


    In every Church where the Power of the Spirit of God, the Lord will cause it to grow The Church can only grow when we Go, Teach and Nurture the Saints. He never means that a Church should be like a nut shut up in a shell; nor like ointment enclosed in a box. The precious perfume of the Gospel must be poured out. 


    The Gospel Moves From Jewish Territory Into Samaria 


    Samaria was part of David and Solomon’s United Kingdom of Israel in the tenth century. After Solomon died, there was a Civil War between the Twelve Tribes in choosing a new King. The Tribes split. Ten tribes chose to follow Jeroboam and went North to Samaria. and became the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. This Tribe became known as half Jews or Samaritans because of: 1. They worshiped in the mountains, instead of the Temple. Jeroboam was jealous that they would stay if he permitted them to go back to Jerusalem three times a year as required, he therefore built altars in the mountains, 2. They intermarried with cultures outside of the Jewish Faith, which was forbidden by God. Satan used these things to promote isolation of God’s Family. The other Two Tribes chose to follow Rehoboam and went South to Jerusalem, called the Kingdom of Judah, they became God’s Remnant. 


    Generally speaking, the Jews of that day hated the Samaritans. They considered them to be compromising half-breeds who corrupted the Worship of the True God. “There was deep-seated prejudice, mounting hatred, standing between the Jews and the Samaritans.” (LaSor) 


     

    Page 5

    James and John (and the other disciples as well) once thought that the Samaritans were only good for being burned by God’s judgment, and asked the question of Jesus, And when his disciples James and John saw this, they said, Lord, wilt thou that we command fire to come down from heaven, and consume them, even as Elias did?55But he turned, and rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of” –Luke 9:54-55. Think about Jesus’ experience with the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4) and His story about the kindness of a Samaritan man who rescued the man who went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves…  Luke 10:25-37 illustrate the natural tension between the Jews and Samaritans of that time. 


    Phillip, the Evangelist Proclaims Christ in Samaria. 


    Philip, one of the seven men called to be a Deacon in Acts 6:5 (along with Stephen) became Evangelists. 


    Acts 8:4 Therefore they that were scattered abroad went every where preaching the word.5Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria, and preached Christ unto them.6And the people with one accord gave heed unto those things which Philip spake, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.7For unclean spirits, crying with loud voice, came out of many that were possessed with them: and many taken with palsies, and that were lame, were healed.8And there was great joy in that city.  


    Philip had a different attitude. Hepreached Christ to them. Because Jesus had changed his heart. He was full of faith and power. When Christ comes into your life, there is no room for this any kind of prejudice in the heart or mind of anyone in the Body of Christ. Philip wasn’t a racist towards the Samaritans. 


    Hearing and seeing the miracles which he did: Philip came presenting the Gospel, with signs and wonders following as an impressive confirmation. When the people found Jesus, there was great joy in that city. 


    Undoubtedly, one reason for so much fruit was that Jesus had sown the seed in Samaria during His Ministry in John 4. Now Philip reaped the harvest. 


    The great joy in that city came about because of the great sorrow and pain left in Jerusalem. It came from the reality of Spiritual Power in the miracles which Philip   did. But the miracle came as Philip preached Christ to them. 


    I love to teach to you all the Doctrines which I find in God’s Word; but more than that, I love always to teach the Person of Christ above the doctrine. Spurgeon says, “the Doctrine is just the chair in which Christ sits as a Prophet to instruct us 


     

    Page 6

    Satan again attacked the Church as a lion, seeking to devour the Believers. Saul was the chief leader in this great persecution. We saw that he admitted it later several times (Acts 26:10-11; Acts 22:4-5 and Acts 22:18-20; I Timothy 1:13; I Corinthians 15:9; Galatians 1:13). Note that Paul definitely stated that he persecuted the Church of God, which proves that the Church was in existence before Paul’s conversion, though its place in God’s Plan had yet to be revealed.  


    Some teach that God had to send persecution to force the Apostles to leave Jerusalem and fulfill His Commission, but this is entirely wrong.  


    To begin with, the Apostles did not leave the city, but courageously remained to give their message to the Jewish Leaders and to witness to the lost. The Apostles were hoping against hope that Israel would repent and be saved.  


    They could have this Ministry only in Jerusalem. Christ’s Commandment to them was to remain there; it was Paul who would take the Gospel “to the uttermost parts.” 


    Persecution is an opportunity for service, and Philip is given here as an example of an Evangelist (Eph. 4:11). Philip discovered added Spiritual Gifts and became a mighty Evangelist. He took the Gospel to Samaria, just as Christ had done in John 4:1-54; and thus, for the first time in Acts we see the Ministry of the Word moved from Jewish territory 


    COMING TO SAMARIA, 5-8 


    5Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them. 6And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did. 7For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed, and lame were healed. 8And there was great joy in that city. 


    Persecution only opened the door for Soul-winning; what began as “great persecution” in Acts 8:1 became “great joy” in Acts 8:8. 


     

    Page 7

    What Satan could not accomplish through destruction he here sought to accomplish through deception; the lion becomes the serpent (Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.  John 8:44.  


    Simon the Magician Believes 

    Act 8:9 But there was a certain man, called Simon, which beforetime in the same city used sorcery, and bewitched the people of Samaria, giving out that himself was some great one:10 To whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, This man is the great power of God.11And to him they had regard, because that of long time he had bewitched them with sorceries.12But when they believed Philip preaching the things concerning the kingdom of God, and the name of Jesus Christ, they were baptized, both men and women.13Then Simon himself believed also: and when he was baptized, he continued with Philip, and wondered, beholding the miracles and signs which were done.14Now when the apostles which were at Jerusalem heard that Samaria had received the word of God, they sent unto them Peter and John:15Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost:16(For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.)17Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.18And when Simon saw that through laying on of the apostles' hands the Holy Ghost was given, he offered them money,19Saying, Give me also this power, that on whomsoever I lay hands, he may receive the Holy Ghost.20But Peter said unto him, Thy money perish with thee, because thou hast thought that the gift of God may be purchased with money.21Thou hast neither part nor lot in this matter: for thy heart is not right in the sight of God.22Repent therefore of this thy wickedness, and pray God, if perhaps the thought of thine heart may be forgiven thee.23For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquity.24Then answered Simon, and said, Pray ye to the Lord for me, that none of these things which ye have spoken come upon me.25And they, when they had testified and preached the word of the Lord, returned to Jerusalem, and preached the gospel in many villages of the Samaritans.  

     

    Page 8

    Simon the sorcerer made a profession of faith in Christ and was even baptized; but subsequent events proved that his heart was never changed. His “faith” was like that described in John 2:23-25Now when he was in Jerusalem at the Passover, in the feast day, many believed in his name, when they saw the miracles which he did.24But Jesus did not commit himself unto them, because he knew all men,25And needed not that any should testify of man: for he knew what was in man. That Simon was never saved is evident: (1) Peter said, “Your money perish with you”  Acts 8:20); 2. He also said, “You have neither part nor lot [fellowship] in this word” (translated “matter” in Acts 8:21; 3. Acts 8:23, “For I perceive that thou art in the gall of bitterness, and in the bond of iniquitythat verse indicates, Simon was a Satanic counterfeit, a “child of the devil.” Wherever the true seed (Christians) is sown, Satan sows his counterfeitssee Matt. 13:36-40. 


    Peter’s first use of “the keys of the kingdom” was at Pentecost, when he opened the door of faith to the Jews; he uses them for the second time here when he imparts the Spirit to the Samaritans. Until now, the people had to be baptized to receive the Spirit; but now the gift (of the Spirit) was given through the laying on of hands (see Paul’s case in Acts 9:17 where Ananias laid Hands on Him and he received the Gift of the Spirit and his sight). Those who teach that Peter’s command in Acts 2:38, “Then Peter said unto them, Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghostis God’s demand today have a hard time explaining how these Samaritan Believers received the Spirit several days after they were baptized.  


    When we reach Ae 8cts 10:1-48, concerning the Gentiles, we have God’s order for today: Hear the Word, Believe the Gospel, Receive the Spirit, Be Baptized. 


    In God’s New Order, “Faith comes by Hearing the Word of God.”  


    Believing Gospel constitutes Salvation; Hearing the Word of God constitutes OBEDIENCE. Constitute means “equivalent to.” 


     II. Philip the Personal Worker and the Ethiopian Eunuch – Acts 8:26-40. 


    Act 8:26 And the angel of the Lord spake unto Philip, saying, Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.27And he arose and went: and, behold, a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship,28Was returning, and sitting in his chariot read Esaias the prophet.29Then the Spirit said unto Philip, Go near, and join thyself to this chariot.30And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest?31And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him.32The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:33In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.34And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man?35Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.36And as they went on their way, they came unto a certain water: and the eunuch said, See, here is water; what doth hinder me to be baptized?37And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.38And he commanded the chariot to stand still: and they went down both into the water, both Philip and the eunuch; and he baptized him.39And when they were come up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught away Philip, that the eunuch saw him no more: and he went on his way rejoicing.40But Philip was found at Azotus: and passing through he preached in all the cities, till he came to Caesarea.  


    Any Christian would enjoy a revival such as that which God gave in Samaria, but not everyone would leave such a meeting to lead one Soul to Christ! Philip obeyed the Lord and found an Ethiopian, undoubtedly a proselyte to the Jewish faith, a man who was a high officer in his land. We see in this event the factors necessary for effective personal work and Soul-winning. 


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    A. The man of God. 


    Philip was obedient to the Spirit, going where God led him. He knew Christ as his own Savior. God’s method for winning others does not use organizational machinery, worldly attractions, or high-powered promotion. God uses people — dedicated men and women who will obey the Spirit. Philip was the kind of Evangelist who was willing to leave the public meeting with its excitement to help a Soul find peace in a private place where only God could see. 


    B. The Spirit of God. 


    The Holy Spirit is the Lord of the Harvest, and it’s through Him that we have the Power to Witness, Acts 1:8. The Spirit opened the way for Philip to come to the man; He opened the Scriptures to the seeking sinner; and He opened the sinner’s heart to the Savior. A man cannot be saved who does not understand what he is doing, and only the Spirit can teach the sinner the Truths of the Gospel. When the Spirit brings a Prepared Servant and a contrite sinner (ONE WHO IS SORRY FOR HIS SIN) together, there will be a harvest. 


    C. The Word of God. 


    “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God” Roman 10:17. 

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    Isaiah 53:1-12 was the chapter Philip used in Acts 8:32-33 which says, “32The place of the scripture which he read was this, He was led as a sheep to the slaughter; and like a lamb dumb before his shearer, so opened he not his mouth:33In his humiliation his judgment was taken away: and who shall declare his generation? for his life is taken from the earth.”  


    That wonderful picture of the Lamb of God; from that chapter Philip preached Christ. He began where the man was and took him through the Scriptures, explaining who Jesus was and what He had done. There can be no real conversion apart from the Word of God. Consider these Scriptures: John 5:24; Ephesians 1:12-14; I Thessalonians II Thessalonians 2:1-6; II Thessalonians 3:1; II Timothy 4:1-5; Titus 1:3. The personal witness that finally bears fruit is the witness that plants the seed of the Word and exalts Jesus Christ. 


    The Ethiopian proved his faith by his baptism, in Obedience to the Word of God. Philip was caught away for a Ministry elsewhere; but the treasurer went on his way rejoicing! When Philip preached Christ in the city, there was great joy Acts 8:8, and when he presented Christ in the desert, he sent the new Believer on his way rejoicing. Joy is one of the evidences of True Conversion Ex. “And when he hath found it, he layeth it on his shoulders, rejoicing.6And when he cometh home, he calleth together his friends and neighbors, saying unto them, Rejoice with me; for I have found my sheep which was lost.7I say unto you, that likewise joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, more than over ninety and nine just persons, which need no repentance” – Luke 15:5-7, Luke 15:9-10, Luke 15:23-24, Luke 15:32. 


     

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