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The Weekly Bulletin of the Livingston Church of Christ Meeting at 639 2nd Street, Livingston, CA 95334 Office: (209) 394-3511 | Preacher: Jovan Payes Subscribe & Email: info.livingstoncoc@gmail.com

Conversion in the Book of Acts – Part Seven | Jovan Payes
THE CONVERTS OF BEREA (Acts 17.10-15) After fleeing the politically charged uproar in Thessalonica, Paul and Silas began preaching the Gospel in Berean synagogue. They were met with an audience of rigorous Bible students, “they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so” (17.11). The result was a mass conversion: “Many of them therefore believed with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men” (17.12). Unfortunately, their stay was interrupted by Jews from Thessalonica. As a consequence, “the brothers” (17.14) sent the missionaries away by the sea. There is a transitional moment here in the narrative not to be overlooked. At some point, these Bereans were simply regarded as “Jews” (17.10-11); however that changed during the campaign, because as Paul departs these Bereans were described as “brothers”. The moment was when they “received” (17.11) the gospel message and “believed” it (17.12). In other conversion narratives, converts are described as “receiving the word” (Acts 2.41, 8.14, 11.1). In each of these cases in Acts, this phrase is followed by a note about belief, or repentance, with every case mentioning baptism (Acts 2.41, 8.12-13, 10.47-48). But here, the fact of belief is employed in a comprehensive sense, including all acts of faith which man is responsible for (faith, repentance, confession, and baptism, see also Acts 18.8). THE ATHENIAN CONVERTS (Acts 17.16-34) After Paul preaches an elegant religio-philosophical argument for the true God, playing off the Athenians altar dedicated to “an unknown god” (Acts17.23); moreover, Paul moves from that basis and affirms the gospel message of Jesus as the resurrected Christ and judge of the actions of humanity (Acts 17.24-31). Through this message God called them to repentance (Acts 17.30); the reception was mixed: “But some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite and a woman named Damaris and others with them” (17.34). As in the case of the Thessalonians, Luke describes the conversion of the Athenians with a note that “joined” (Acts 17.4) and “believed” Paul. These actions are two sides of the same coin. To join Paul is to believe his message, and so these terms are comprehensive in scope designed to fulfill the obligation of repentance which leads to baptism (Acts 2.38). THE CORINTHIAN CONVERTS (Acts 18.1-11) After spending some time providing for his needs employing himself as a tentmaker, Paul eventually began to focus all his attentions upon spreading the word (Acts 18.5).

November 28, 2010

News and Notes
A Note to Our Visitors: Welcome! We want you to know you are our honored guests. Let us know how we can serve you. We have free biblical literature and offer free home bible studies. Remember to turn in our Dream Sunday Packets. Hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving! Today | Birthday Fellowship after morning services & Men’s Meeting follow services. Daily Bible Readings, see schedule on back. Remember in Prayer: our Dreams, Fred (neck), Linda (knee), Gerald (recovery), Hazel (@ Emmanuel), LeAnne Figueroa (pregnancy), Rose Mary, Lucy (lungs) and Victor Barrios (work), Mike (back), Shelly (foot tendons), Connie Payes (dialysis), Elsa Avalos (Alzheimer’s). Dec. 4 | Ladies Tea Party hosted @ Mary O’Hara’s home. Please RSVP ASAP. Dec. 10-12 | Ripon church of Christ hosting meeting with Joe Wells on California Missions Seminar.

Schedule of Services
Sunday Services Bible Class 10 AM (Classes for All Ages) Morning Worship 11 AM Evening Worship 6 PM th Sunday Services 4 Bible Class 10 AM (Classes for All Ages) Morning Worship 11 AM Birthday Fellowship Meal Afternoon 1:30 PM Wednesday Services Bible Classes 7 PM (Classes for All Ages) Daily Bible Readings 11/28 Judges 7 11/29 Judges 8 11/30 Judges 9 12/1 Judges 10 12/2 Judges 11 12/3 Judges 12 12/4 Judges 13

Conversion in the Book of Acts (Continued)
Despite an initial rejection by the synagogue (Acts 18.5-6), and a reception by a gentile believer of God (“worshipper of God” 17.7), many Corinthians responded: “Crispus, the ruler of the synagogue, believed in the Lord, together with his entire household. Many of the Corinthians hearing Paul believed and were baptized” (18.8). Again, we see that basic, but comprehensive, terms are used to describe the conversion process. “Crispus believed in the Lord”, which is exactly what the Corinthians did: heard Paul’s message, believed that “the Christ was Jesus” (Acts 18.5), and were baptized (1 Cor. 1.16). The conversion process is clearly described. CONFUSION AND CONVERTS IN EPHESUS (Acts 18.24-19.10) John the Baptist’s Baptism versus Christian Baptism. It is no shock to readers of the Gospel Accounts that John the Baptist preached, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand” (Matt. 3.2). And this message leads him to baptize many. Mark says, “John appeared baptizing in the wilderness and proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (1.4). To his credit, John affirmed the transitional nature of his ministry, “He [=Jesus] must increase, but I must decrease” (John 3.30, Mark 1.7-8). The Gospel Accounts demonstrate that both the message and baptism of John is preparatory. In preparation for the coming kingdom, the resurrected Jesus affirms his authority, his message, and his age-lasting baptism: And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age" (Matt. 28.18-20). As a result of the new era, Paul would later affirm that there is “one baptism” (Eph. 4.4). This is the baptism of Jesus, empowered by his authority, which is to be distinguished from the baptism of John. Priscilla and Aquila, and Apollos (Acts 18.24-28). The significance of the story of Apollos is that he had the right message regarding Jesus; this is not in dispute (18.24-25). What the Scripture says, however, is that his message was flawed in that he “knew only the baptism of John”. It is to this issue, that Priscilla and Aquila address themselves too, “and explained to him the way of God more accurately” (Acts 18.26). If we were left with only this information, the nature of the correction would not be known, but we are not. Paul and Certain Learners (Acts 19.1-7). In Ephesus, Paul meets a group of twelve learners (“disciples”) and begins to ask about the reception of the Holy Spirit in their baptism (Acts 2.38-39). But they had not; the reason? They said, “we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit” (19.2). Ultimately, the learners admit that they were baptized “into John’s baptism” (19.3). The flaw Apollos propagated, is the flaw these learners had practiced – theirs was an outmoded baptism (19.4). Consequently, Paul baptized them “in the name of the Lord Jesus” (19.5), and he laid his hands on them to bestow them with the Holy Spirit (19.6-7). If baptism is not important to the Gospel message, why correct Apollos and these twelve learners? Theirs was wrong.