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SALT

Servant and Leadership Training Courses

Acts 13 – 28:
The Ministry of Paul

June 2004

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T able of Contents
INTRODUCTION................................................................................................................................4 CHAPTER 1 .........................................................................................................................................5 GOD OPENS DOORS (ACTS 13:1 - 3)...........................................................................................5 BACKGROUND----- ..............................................................................................................................5 Who were some of the Leaders in Acts? ........................................................................................5 Why did God Choose Paul as an Apostle? ....................................................................................6 How did the Jewish Religion Influence Paul? ...............................................................................6 How did the Greek Culture Influence Paul?..................................................................................7 What Do We Understand of Paul’s Personal Life? .......................................................................7 What do We Understand of Paul’s Conversion? ...........................................................................8 What Happened to Paul after his Conversion? .............................................................................8 STORIES IN THE BOOK OF ACTS-----....................................................................................................8 BACKGROUND----- ............................................................................................................................10 STORIES IN THE BOOK OF ACTS-----..................................................................................................12 CHAPTER 2 .......................................................................................................................................13 WHAT HAPPENED TO PAUL ON HIS FIRST MISSIONARY JOURNEY? (ACTS 13 - 14) HOW DOES PAUL DEFEND THE GOSPEL? (ACTS 15) .........................................................13 BACKGROUND----- ............................................................................................................................13 God opens Doors for Evangelism. ...............................................................................................13 STORIES IN THE BOOKS OF ACTS----- ................................................................................................15 BACKGROUND----- ............................................................................................................................17 Why did some people want to close the doors for evangelism to the Gentiles? ..........................18 There was a Disagreement between Paul and Barnabas (15:36 - 41) ........................................22 CHAPTER 3 .......................................................................................................................................24 PAUL’S SECOND MISSIONARY JOURNEY (16:1 – 18:22): MORE DOORS OPEN............24 BACKGROUND----- ............................................................................................................................24 Who are the new helpers God gives to Paul? (Acts 16:1 – 5) ...................................................24 What events occur on the second journey? (16:6 – 40)..............................................................25 STORIES IN THE BOOKS OF ACTS----- ................................................................................................28 BACKGROUND----- ............................................................................................................................29 God gives more new helpers, who are they? (Acts 18:1 – 3, 24 – 28) .......................................31 Paul starts another new assembly (Acts 18:4 - 17) .....................................................................32 Paul finishes his Second Journey (Acts 18:18 - 22) ....................................................................33 Let us review and discuss the lesson............................................................................................33 CHAPTER 4 .......................................................................................................................................34 PAUL’S THIRD MISSIONARY JOURNEY (18:23, 19:1 - 21:16)...............................................34 BACKGROUND----- ............................................................................................................................34 Paul and his Co-workers’ Ministry in Ephesus ...........................................................................34 Paul’s ministry in Macedonia and Greece ..................................................................................36
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CHAPTER 5 .......................................................................................................................................40 PAUL’S ARREST IN JERUSALEM AND HIS LATER IMPRISONMENT IN ROME (ACTS 21:18 – 28:31)......................................................................................................................................40 The Jerusalem Church Misunderstood His Message (Acts 21:18 - 26) ......................................40 The Jews Misunderstood Paul’s Ministry (Acts 21:27 - 22:29) ..................................................41 Paul before the Jewish Courts (Acts 23:1 – 26:32).....................................................................42 The Trip to Rome to stand Trial and Imprisonment (Acts 27:1 – 28:31) ....................................48

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I N T R O D U C T I O N

Welcome to SALT’s Leadership Training Courses. In the coming months, as you regularly study God’s Word and work through the courses in SALT, we hope that you will develop a closer walk with the Master and Author of the Bible. This manual is an interactive course inviting your personal involvement. This course has five lessons, which will each require 2 hours for completion. If you spend this kind of time in God’s Word, we assure you, He will change your life. While you are taking the course, ask God what He wants to say to you personally. This book introduces five principle questions. Each question is derived from one of the five lessons. Discussing the answers to these questions in a small group will help ensure each person’s basic understanding of the material. In addition to these five content-oriented questions, you will find personal discussion questions in each lesson. These learning activities help group members personally apply the material to their own lives. These are formatted for discussion. No one will ever be expected to share personal experiences with the group. Sharing is strictly voluntary and we hope no one will share anything causing himself/herself or others discomfort. Please answer the questions in each lesson whether or not you choose to share them in the small group. Any questions you skip will reduce the effectiveness of the study in your personal life. We want you to get the very most out of this journey! God will do amazing things among us if we grant Him full access to our minds, wills, and emotions. Each lesson will invite your full participation through Bible reading and various kinds of questions and activities. These interactive exercises are designed for your sake. Allow God to do a fresh work in your life for the courses ahead. Let every journey through His Word be a new experience, a new opportunity. Resist comparisons to other studies. Welcome change. Invite Him to have His perfect way in your life in the days you study these courses and His Word.

P I C T U R E

K E Y

Valuable information Test your knowledge Discuss Read

We conclude each lesson with a question asking you to consider how God wants you to respond to what He showed you today. Record what God does and teaches you as you pursue this journey. Pictures from the “Picture Key” will help you understand and locate practical exercises throughout the manual.

Five Questions We Will Consider:
How did God open doors for evangelism in the Apostle Paul’s first journey? What happened to Paul on his first missionary journey? How does Paul defend the Gospel? On Paul’s second missionary journey, did God open more doors? In the third missionary journey of Paul, what was the result of the excitement of evangelism in Ephesus? Why did Paul say farewell to the believers there? What was the reason for Paul’s arrest in Jerusalem and later his imprisonment in Rome?

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C H A P T E R

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God Opens Doors (Acts 13:1 - 3)
How did God open doors for evangelism in the Apostle Paul’s Life? Background-----

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cts is a book of action! It is about the initiative and action of the Holy Spirit in the lives of disciples who formerly were cowardly, unsure, and ignorant. Those men, who had learned to follow Jesus for three years, were now learning to lead.

In the SALT book # 14 – “Acts 1 - 12,” we discussed the fact that Acts is a sequel to the Gospel of Luke. We showed how those early disciples mobilized the church so effectively that they reached entire cities (Acts 9:35). Therefore, in this book we will see how the apostles, in particular, Paul, saturated whole countries with the gospel (Acts 19:10). The action described in Acts shows God empowering men and women who decide to stand for God in the power of the Holy Spirit. They determine to be “influencers.” Despite their lack of human qualifications, they begin to penetrate their society. God accomplished this through ordinary people who had little education, political power, or prestige (1 Corinthians 1:26). These leaders accomplished so much because they were governed by God’s priorities, God’s incarnate power, and were motivated by God’s purposes. Everyone gets involved in the task. Leaders equip followers and encourage the church as she marches into the culture. Miracles break out. As you read the Book of Acts, notice how many leaders emerge from within the church. Many are not apostles. We would consider most lay people. Yet, everyone seems committed to the vision of impacting the world for the Messiah. God filled these ordinary people with His Spirit and commanded them to influence the world. Miracles occurred as God confirmed His Word with signs following (Mark 16:17,18). Jesus personally appeared to Saul of Tarsus in order to call him to be an apostle (Acts 9:1 - 9). The Holy Spirit established this early church in purity so that He could empower it without limits. God entrusts His power to the pure. Note the sequence: First, purity, then power, then proclamation, and finally, penetration. Let us note some of the leaders found in the book of Acts. Who were some of the Leaders in Acts? Peter and the original apostles, Gamaliel and the Sanhedrin, Stephen, Philip, Aquila and Priscilla, Paul, Barnabas, Herod, Agrippa, Festus, Apollos, Silas, Simeon, Lucius, Manaen
Who were Missionaries in Acts?
Name Philip Peter and John Peter Journey’s Purpose One of the first to preach the gospel outside Jerusalem Visited new Samaritan believers to encourage them Led by God to go to one of the first Gentile families to become believers---Cornelius’ family Scripture Reference in Acts 8:4 – 40 8:14 – 25 9:32 – 10:48

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Barnabas Barnabas, Paul, and John Mark Barnabas and John Mark Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Luke

Went to Antioch as an encourager. Traveled to Tarsus to bring Paul back to Antioch. Took famine relief to Jerusalem. Left Antioch for Cyprus, Pamphylia, and Galatia on the first missionary journey. Left Antioch for Cyprus after a break with Paul Left Antioch to revisit churches in Galatia. Then traveled on to Asia, Macedonia, and Achaia on the second missionary journey. Left Alexandria for Ephesus. Learned the complete gospel story from Priscilla and Aquila. Preached in Athens and Corinth. Revisited churches in Galatia, Asia, Macedonia, and Achaia on the third major missionary journey.

11:25 – 30

13:1 – 14:28 15:36 – 41

15:36 – 18:22

Apollos

18:24 – 28

Paul, Timothy, and Erastus

18:23 and 19:1 – 21:14

We will now turn our attention to Paul as God’s chosen “servant leader” who will take the Gospel message to the Jews and to the Gentiles. First, let us look deeply into who Paul was and then let us discover how God opened doors for evangelism in the Apostle Paul’s life by answering some important questions below. Why did God Choose Paul as an Apostle? A person could say that no human being has impacted the Christian church as forcefully as the apostle Paul has. His missionary activity spread the gospel across the world of his day. His letters provided much of the theological base on which the church of Jesus the Messiah rests. God carefully prepared Paul for his role as the apostle to the Gentiles. Paul’s conversion on the Damascus Road (Acts 9:1 - 31) was spectacular and supernatural, but it was not the starting point in his preparation as God’s apostle to the Gentiles. The choice of Paul himself was the final step of a design, which had been long maturing in the purpose of God. God worked out systematically the process of events in the life of Paul. Already before his birth, God chose Paul and set him apart as the apostle to the Gentiles. When the proper moment arrived, the revelation of Jesus to Paul took place. In addition, at that moment in time, the Lord placed in the heart and mind of Paul the “purpose of God.” That purpose was to bring salvation to the Gentiles and to unify them with the believing Jews into the body of the Messiah. Has God chosen you to be a leader and a witness to those around you? Did he choose you from the foundation of the world to share the gospel message to the unbelieving world?
Write how God chose you---

How did the Jewish Religion Influence Paul?
Paul Was a Hebrew Although Paul was sent to the Gentiles, he always had a deep love for his own Patriot people Israel (Romans 3:1, 9:1 - 3). Paul’s early training in law and his learning
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of a trade (tentmaking) reveal that he came from a family who lived by true Israelite ideology.
Paul Was a Pharisee Paul’s father was a Pharisee (Acts 23:6) and Paul himself was a zealous

Pharisee (Philippians 3:5). He surpassed his contemporaries in his advancement in Pharisaism with its emphasis on the knowledge of the Scriptures, external righteousness, fasting, and tithing. Pharisaism gave Paul habits of discipline for his life as a believer in the Messiah. Christianity gave him freedom from the legality of his life as a Pharisee.
Paul Was a Student According to Jewish tradition, in the synagogue at Tarsus, Paul learned the of the Old Hebrew Scriptures. Up until the age of twelve he learned to write the Hebrew Testament characters, studied the Law and the Prophets, and mastered Jewish history. At

the age of thirteen, he was probably sent to Jerusalem to advance his education under the master teacher Gamaliel (Acts 22:3). During the next 5 or 6 years, he sat at the feet of Gamaliel. Paul learned to dissect a text until scores of possible meanings were disclosed. Paul learned to debate in the question-and-answer style that was well known in the ancient world. He learned to preach, for a rabbi was part lawyer who prosecuted or defended those who broke the sacred Law, and part preacher.
Paul Was a Missionary

As a pupil of Gamaliel, Paul would have known the goal of one proselyte per year for every Jew. The idea of spreading God’s truth to others was instilled in him from his youth. This idea later would be used by the risen Messiah in the propagation of the gospel during the adult years of Paul. How did the Greek Culture Influence Paul?

The City of Tarsus Paul was born and reared in Tarsus. Tarsus was the capitol of the Roman

province of Cilicia. Tarsus was founded as a Greek city-state in 171 BC by Antiochus Epiphanes. Evidence points to the fact that Jews settled in Tarsus from the founding of the city and were given rights as citizens. Paul clearly claimed to be a Roman citizen (Acts 21:39) and it could be that this citizenship had long been a part of Paul’s family. Paul’s Roman citizenship proved valuable as he traveled the Roman world preaching the gospel. Tarsus was also a center of learning, having a university there. Although it was probably not a key university, it was a place where philosophy was taught. Paul certainly became exposed to Greek thinking in a way that a Palestinian Jew would not be exposed (Titus 1:12). Tarsus was valuable in preparing Paul to be the apostle to the Gentiles.
The Mystery Religions

Paul must have been well acquainted with these religions, which promised a special relationship with the gods. Paul probably understood “mystery” terminology. He may have used some of those terms in a deliberate attempt to interest Greek readers in the Gospel of God’s salvation. There are significant differences between Paul’s teaching and the teachings of the “mystery” religions. From the religions around you, has your theology of God been affected by these religions? On the other hand, have you developed your own theology of God from God’s Word? Reflect on this and discuss this with your group. What Do We Understand of Paul’s Personal Life? It was common for an individual to be known by several names in the Roman world of Paul’s day. Paul was his Latin name and Saul was his Hebrew name. He always had these names and they are unrelated to his conversion. That is, his name was not changed to Paul after his conversion. It is the opinion of a number of scholars that Paul was married at one time but that his wife died or perhaps left him when he became a believer in the Messiah. While this is only speculation,
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Paul’s teachings on marriage and his presence in the Jewish Sanhedrin strongly suggest that he had been married. What do We Understand of Paul’s Conversion? Paul’s conversion was brought about suddenly when he met the risen Messiah on the Damascus Road (Acts 9). The conversion of Saul of Tarsus is one of the great examples of the believer’s faith. There is no adequate explanation, except the biblical one, for the dramatic change in the life of Paul. What Happened to Paul after his Conversion?
More Persecution

A new phase of evangelism begins to enter the life of the church as the gospel goes to the city of Antioch of Syria. The church at Antioch became the first church to be predominantly Gentile in its make-up.

At this time, another wave of persecution hit the Jerusalem church. This persecution, led by Herod Agrippa I (a grandson of Herod the Great), apparently was carried out in order to find favor with the Jews. The first apostle to be martyred was James (the brother of John). Peter was thrown into prison. These were dark days for the church, but God was still working mightily. The gospel continued to spread (Acts 12:24). Please look at Appendix A for Paul’s return journey to Tarsus.

Stories in the Book of Acts----Story #1

Saul comes to God and God gives him an assignment --Let’s continue with the story of Saul and see how God uses Saul for His Glory.

Transition

Biblical References Acts 9:29 – 31, Acts 22:6 – 21, 26:6 – 23, and Galatians 1:15 – 17

After his conversion, Paul spent about 3 years in Arabia (Galatians 1:16 – 18). Then, he went to Damascus. In Damascus, when Saul preached that Gentiles might be saved by Jesus the Messiah, it made the Jews angry, just as it had made Saul angry to hear Stephen preach this same gospel. They would not listen to Saul, and they wanted to kill him, as they had killed Stephen. One day, Saul was praying in the Temple. The Lord came to him once again, and Saul saw Jesus and heard His voice saying, “Hurry and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about Me!” Then Saul said to the Lord, “Lord, they know that in synagogue after synagogue I had those who believed in You imprisoned and beaten. And when the blood of Your witness Stephen was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and I guarded the clothes of those who killed him.” The Lord said to Saul, “Go, because I will send you far away to the Gentiles.” The great persecutor had become a powerful preacher of the faith he once tried to destroy. Then Saul knew that his work was not to preach the gospel to the Jews, but to the Gentiles, the peoples of other nations. The disciples helped him get away from his enemies through an opening in the city wall. Saul fled from Damascus. He then went to Jerusalem and stayed for 15 days (Acts 9:26 – 29 and Galatians 1:18). He was sent away to avoid capture, and sailed from Caesarea to the regions of Syria and Cilicia [Tarsus] (Acts 9:26 — 30 and Galatians1: 21).

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Tarsus was Saul’s birthplace and his early home. He went back to Tarsus and stayed for a period of 8 to 14 years, safe from the Jews. He was a tentmaker, and he worked at his trade while preaching the gospel in Tarsus. As time passed, a new phase of evangelism began to enter the life of the church as the gospel went to the city of Antioch of Syria. Many Jews and Gentiles worshiped together. As all of the followers of the Messiah in Jerusalem were Jews, they were not sure that Jews and Gentiles should worship together. It was decided that some wise men should go from Jerusalem to Antioch and see this new church of Jews and Gentiles. For this errand, they chose Barnabas, the good man who had given his land to help the poor and who had brought Saul to the church when the disciples were afraid of him. When he saw these new disciples so strong in their love for Jesus, so united in their spirit, and so earnest in the gospel, he was glad. He spoke to them all, telling them to stand fast in the Lord. This church was growing so fast that it needed men as leaders and teachers. Barnabas thought of Saul. Barnabas now went to search for him and they returned together to Antioch. They stayed for one year (Acts 11:25 and Galatians 1:21 - 2:1). During this time, Saul became an important part of Gentile evangelism (11:19 - 26), preaching to the people and teaching those who believed in the Messiah. It was at Antioch that the disciples were first called “Christians.” The church at Antioch became the first church to be predominantly Gentile in its make-up. It is at Antioch that Saul and Barnabas first ministered together to the Gentiles. Some prophets of the Jerusalem church came to Antioch. One of the men, named Agabus, said that a great famine was soon to come to all the lands. This came in the days when Claudius was the emperor at Rome. Over all the land, food was very scarce, and many suffered from hunger. When the followers of Jesus in Antioch heard that their brothers in Jerusalem were in need, they gave money to help them. They sent the money with Barnabas and Saul. The two men carried the gifts of the church to Jerusalem and stayed there for a time. When they returned to Antioch, they took along John Mark.
Review 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. Transition

After his conversion where did Saul go? Why? Why were the Jews angry when Saul preached that the Gentiles could be saved? Where did God send Saul next? What did he do there? What happened after Saul stopped being the church’s enemy? What was the Church at Antioch like? Why do you think the church at Jerusalem chose Barnabas to be the one to go and investigate what was happening in Antioch? List in order the first three actions of Barnabas. Was this order important? Why? What does Acts 11:24 tell us about Barnabas? Why do you think he went to get Saul? Barnabas recognized his limitations and sought help. Describe a circumstance in which you have needed to ask for help from someone better qualified than you. What were the disciples at Antioch called? Are there other names for “Christians” in the Bible? How did the church show its trust in Barnabas and Saul?
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The church was growing. The Lord wanted Barnabas and Saul as a team to do a special assignment for Him. As we continue to study, we can see what this assignment will be.

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Background----As the believers increased, names or titles were given to God’s redeemed people. We can find these references in Acts. Below is a list of the titles: Title
Believers The Church Disciples Brothers The Way The Lord’s people Christians Follower/s The Flock

References in Acts
1:15, 2:44, 4:32, 5:12, 9:41, 10:45, 15:2, 15:23, 16:1, 16:15, 21:25 5:11, 8:1, 8:3, 9:31, 11:22, 12:1, 12:5, 13:1, 14:23, 15:3 – 4, 15:41, 16:5, 18:22, 20:17 6:1 – 2, 6:7; 9:1, 10, 19, 26, 36; 11:29, 13:52, 14:20-22, 18:23, 19:9, 21:4-5, 21:16 6:3, 9:17, 9:30, 10:23, 11:1, 11:29, 12:17, 14:2; 15:3, 22, 32-33, 36; 16:2, 6:40, 17:6, 17:10, 18:8, 18:27, 21:7, 21:17, 28:14 – 15 9:2, 19:9, 19:23, 24:22 9:32 11:26, 26:28 17:34, 22:4, 24:14 20:28-29

Below is a chart of the life of Paul. Look at the events and see how the Lord worked through his life.

Chronology of Acts and the Epistles
Date – AD 1 14 34 34-37 37 -? 47 48 50 51-54 54-58 Events In Paul’s Life Birth Sent to Jerusalem to study under Gamaliel Conversion on Damascus Road Arabia, Damascus, Jerusalem Cilicia (Tarsus) and surrounding area for 8 – 14 years With Barnabas in Antioch; went to Jerusalem to take collection 1st Missionary Journey (6 – 9 months) Jerusalem Council 2 Missionary Journey 3rd Missionary Journey
nd

New Testament Letters written by Paul

Chapters in Acts None None 9 - 12

Galatians (from Antioch of Syria) 1 Thessalonians (from Corinth) 2 Thessalonians (from Corinth) 1 Corinthians (from Ephesus) 2 Corinthians (from Philippi) Romans (from Corinth)

13 – 14 15 – 18

15 – 21

58 58-60 60-63

Arrest in Jerusalem Held In Caesarea In under house arrest in Rome Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon, and Philippians (from Rome)

21 – 23 23 – 26 27 - 28

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63 64-68 64

Acquitted in the spring Final Travels – Macedonia, Asia, Spain The Great Fire of Rome (persecution of believers in Rome starts; Nero blamed fire on believers) Jewish Wars begin Imprisoned for the 2nd time in Rome Martyrdom Temple destroyed 2 Timothy (from Rome) 1 Timothy (from Macedonia - ?) Titus (from Macedonia - ?)

66 67-68 68 70

Leadership Principle 1: Send Out Leaders in Teams (Acts 13:1 – 3)
By Acts 13, God’s attention shifts to the church in Antioch. In Antioch, He is raising up leaders in order to spread His gospel. Jerusalem ceases to be the center of God’s activity. In fact, it becomes a needy church, requiring the help of churches in Asia and Greece. Antioch thrives because of its vision to send out leaders. It sends out its leaders in teams, members with complementary gifts and shared vision. This enables them to connect with people and produce results almost everywhere they go. God does His work by sending out teams of leaders. Jesus sent out His team of twelve (Luke 9:1-6), and the pattern continued in Acts. Most of these leadership teams came from the church in Antioch. The believers who were leaders learned many principles of leadership. Some of these principles are listed below: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Holy Spirit power plus obedient leadership equals church growth. God raises up leaders in order to bring all people to Himself. Leaders break down barriers and connect the familiar to the unfamiliar. When the church adds more leaders, it adds more followers. There is no success without sacrifice. As a result of unity, momentum comes.

Teams in Acts
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Peter and John (Acts 3) Philip, Peter, and John (Acts 8) Peter and certain brothers (Acts 10) Men from Cyprus and Cyrene (Acts 11) Paul and Barnabas (Acts 13 and 14) 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. Judas, Silas, and Paul (Acts 15) Barnabas and Mark (Acts 15) Timothy, Paul, and Silas (Acts 16) Paul, Aquila, and Priscilla (Acts 18) Timothy and Erastus (Acts 19)

During this time, the Gospel of the grace of God was preached to the Roman world. Local churches were established through the ministry of Paul and others. We witness a new beginning of a new ministry from a new spiritual center — Antioch in Syria.
In Antioch: Called by the Spirit (Acts 13:1-3)

Keep in mind that the center of the church’s operation had moved from Jerusalem and the Jews to Antioch and the Gentiles (Acts 11:19 - 30). Do not confuse Antioch in Syria, Paul’s “home church,” with Antioch in Pisidia (Acts 13:14 - 52). Note that as the servants of the Lord ministered in this local church, God
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called two of them to a world ministry. In verse 1, the first and last names on the list are Barnabas and Saul. Soon the last would become first. Let us remember, the servants who are faithful at home, God uses elsewhere. “Prophets” (verse 1) means New Testament prophets (Ephesians 4:11). These men spoke for God and they were led directly by the Spirit. Some suggest that Simeon was the man who carried the Messiah’s cross (Mark 15:21). It is possible that he was the father of Alexander and Rufus. Manaen was a close friend to the Herod who killed John the Baptist. Not many people of nobility are called, but thank God, some do find Jesus. Verses 1 - 3 describe the New Testament program for sending out missionaries: God calls those whom He chooses. The church certifies this call. The church and the Spirit send the missionaries forth, backing them with prayer and support. It is right that missionaries report to their churches (14:26 - 28). It is also biblical for local churches to band together and organize agencies for sending out missionaries.

Stories in the Book of Acts----Story # 2

“Barnabas and Saul set apart and sent out for service” After arriving in Antioch of Syria, Barnabas and Saul taught and preached for about one year. Let’s see what God had for them to do. Acts 13:1 – 3, [Show the picture – Appendix F ]

Transition Biblical References

While in Antioch in Syria preaching and teaching, the Lord called Barnabas and Saul to go out of Antioch and preach the good news of the Messiah to the people in other lands. One day, the members of the church were praying together and fasting. The Spirit of the Lord spoke to them, saying, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work that I have called them to do.” Then, after the believers had fasted, prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them off. They took along John Mark as their helper. They went down to the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. They boarded a ship at Seleucia and set out across the Mediterranean for Cyprus.
Review 2. Transition 1. How did the church choose Barnabas and Saul? What was the response of these two men to God’s call?

These men obeyed the Lord and started on their first journey together telling others about Jesus. As we continue to study, we will learn more details of Paul’s missionary journeys.
Homework---

Read Acts 13 – 15 for tomorrow and re-read chapter one of the SALT text. 1. List some interesting points about the background of Paul. 2. What did you learn about Paul from re-reading the chapter? 3. Name other missionaries in the Book of Acts. 4. How should missionaries be sent out? 5. Before planting a new church, where should your ministry begin? How does God want you to respond to what He has showed you?
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C H A P T E R

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What Happened to Paul on His First Missionary Journey? (Acts 13 - 14) How does Paul Defend the Gospel? (Acts 15)
Background----God opens Doors for Evangelism. Please look at Appendix B for Paul’s first missionary journey.
Paphos—Deception It was logical to go first to Cyprus, for this was the home of Barnabas (Acts 13:6 - 12) (Acts 4:36). Paphos was the capital of Cyprus, and the chief Roman official

there was Sergius Paulus, “an understanding man” who wanted to hear the Word of God. A Jewish false prophet named “Son of Jesus [Joshua]” opposed Paul. It is unusual to find a Jewish false prophet and sorcerer, for the Jews traditionally rejected such demonic activities. The name Elymas means “sorcerer” or “wise man” (the “wise men” of Matthew 2). This event is an illustration of the lesson that Jesus taught in the “Parable of the Tares” (Matthew 13:24 - 30, 36 - 43): wherever the Lord sows His true children (the wheat), satan comes along and sows a counterfeit (the tares), a child of the devil. Paul recognized that Elymas was a child of the devil (John 8:44). The Lord, through Paul, inflicted blindness on the false prophet as a judgment. This miracle was so evidence to Sergius Paulus that Paul and Barnabas were servants of the true God. They preached the true message of salvation (Hebrews 2:4). The Roman official believed and was saved. Acts 13:9 is the first place you find the use of the name Paul instead of Saul in the New Testament. When utilizing a church-planting team, wisdom dictates that someone needs to be the leader. As you follow this missionary journey closely, you will observe a subtle shift from Luke mentioning "Barnabas and Saul" (Acts 13:2, 7) to "Paul and Barnabas" (Acts 13:43, 50). In addition, the superstitious crowd at Lystra was planning to worship Paul because he was the chief speaker (Acts 14:12). It is like the old saying: "Too many cooks spoil the soup.” While every member of the church planting team has been uniquely gifted and prepared by the Lord to contribute to the cause, the responsibility ultimately belongs to the leader. This counsel becomes necessary and valuable when practical decisions will need to be made. Who makes them? What if there is a disagreement? Who decides? In addition to this, submission to spiritual leadership can be modeled in the process, which will prove to be helpful later when the church becomes more established. “Obey your leaders and submit yourselves, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give account, so that they can do this with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.” (Hebrews 13:17)
Perga—Desertion (Acts 13:13)

Why did John Mark desert his friends and return to Jerusalem? Perhaps he was homesick, or he may have become unhappy because Paul had begun to take over the leadership from Mark’s cousin Barnabas (note the use of “Paul and his companions” in
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Acts 13:13). Mark was a devoted Jew, and he may have felt uncomfortable with the saved Gentiles. Another possibility is the fear of danger as the party moved into new and difficult areas. Whatever the cause of his defection, John Mark did something so serious that Paul did not want him back on his “team” again (Acts 15:36). Later, Paul would enlist Timothy to take John Mark’s place (Acts 16:1 - 5). John Mark did redeem himself. Eventually, he was accepted and approved by Paul (2 Timothy 4:11).
Antioch in Pisidia— Paul and Barnabas traveled about 160 kilometers north to get to this important Received by the city on the Roman road. As you follow Paul’s journeys in Acts, you will notice Gentiles that he selected strategic cities, planted churches in them, and went on from (Acts 13:14 - 52)

those churches to evangelize the surrounding areas. You will also notice that, where it was possible, he started his ministry in the local synagogue, for he had a great burden for his people (Romans 9:1 – 5 and 10:1). Why did Paul go to the Jewish synagogue when his special commission was to the Gentiles? For several reasons: He knew he would get a hearing among the Jews in the synagogue, and this was the logical place to start. He had a personal burden for his people (Romans 9:1 – 3 and 10:1). He wanted his nation to hear God’s Word.

Paul’s Sermon In this section, we find the first of Paul’s sermons recorded in the book of Acts. As you read carefully Paul's sermon in the synagogue at Antioch in Pisidia, you will observe that he covers a brief history of the nation of Israel in order to preach Jesus the Messiah. Since this method was helpful to fellow Jews who were familiar with the Old Testament, would it not be even more imperative to do this with unsaved Gentiles?

The chronological approach provides a historical and logical sequence to learning Biblical truth. It also fills in the mental gaps and lays a solid doctrinal foundation both for evangelism to the lost and the edification of the saved. Furthermore, it helps resolve the potential problem of syncretism (mixing pagan beliefs with Biblical truths). The sermon may be divided into three parts, each part introduced by the phrase “brothers.” He begins by stating that the Messiah came “to the Jews first” (verses 23 - 27 and verse 46). However, he was careful to state that salvation is for “everyone who believes” (verse 39). In verses 17 — 22, Paul showed how the Old Testament was a preparation for the Messiah. In verses 23 – 37, he outlined the life and death of the Messiah. He proved His resurrection, pointing out that Israel (“the people of Jerusalem and their rulers,” verse 27) rejected their Messiah. In verses 38 — 41, Paul gives the personal conclusion of the message showing that salvation was not through obedience to the law, but through faith in the Messiah. Th e Results of Paul’s Sermon Some Jews and Gentile proselytes immediately believed. 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 crowd that Sabbath Day was Gentile. This provoked the Jews to jealousy and they hindered Paul’s ministry. Therefore, he turned from them to a ministry among the Gentiles. He explained his action in verse 46. According to God’s program outlined in the Old Testament, it was necessary that the Word go to the Jews first. Now, that they had (like their brothers in Jerusalem) proved themselves unworthy, the message would go to the
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Gentiles. Paul quoted Isaiah 49:6, where God said that the Messiah (the “I” does not refer to Paul) was a Light to the Gentiles. See also Luke 2:29 – 32. Of course, where the seed is bearing fruit, satan comes to oppose. Notice how satan can use “religious people” to do the work. True believers in Jesus do not persecute anyone, but religious people have persecuted and murdered in the name of the Messiah. (For Paul’s comment on persecution, see 2 Timothy 3:11.) The opposition did not stop Paul and his associates. They were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit and they continued to minister the Word.
Iconium—Division This city, more Greek culture than Roman culture, was in the Roman province of (Acts 14:1-7) Galatia. Paul’s ministry in the synagogue was blessed and a multitude of Jews

and Gentiles believed. Once again, the unbelieving Jews stirred up hatred and opposition, but the missionaries stayed on and witnessed boldly for the Messiah. What was the result? The city was divided and the believers were threatened with public disgrace and stoning. Wherever the Gospel is preached and some believe, you will find division and disturbance (John 7:43, 9:16, 10:19, and Luke 12:49 – 53). As you know, even today, many believers suffer at home because of loved ones who have rejected the Messiah. However, the opposition did not stop Paul and Barnabas. Instead, they stayed in the city and continued to preach. God also enabled the men to perform signs and wonders as “credentials” that they were indeed the servants of the true God (Acts 15:12, Galatians 3:5 and Hebrews 2:4). Faith is not based on miracles (Luke 16:27 – 31, John 2:23 – 25), but faith can be strengthened by miracles. The important thing is “the Word of His grace” that performs the work of His grace (Acts 14:26). When the men discovered a plot to stone them, they left for Lystra and Derbe and there preached the Word.
Lystra—Delusion (Acts 14:8 - 20)

Lystra was in the Roman province of Galatia, about 30 kilometers southwest of Iconium. Here we see that the missionaries suffered. Paul had healed a cripple man. The result of the healing was that the heathen citizens thought that Paul and Barnabas were their gods come down to earth. The local priest was ready to offer sacrifices when the missionaries publicly stopped them. Paul took advantage of the situation to preach the Word of God to the crowd. Notice that he did not use Old Testament Israelite history as he had done previously. Rather, he reasoned with these Gentiles on the basis of God’s works in creation. Paul’s message was rejected, and the people stoned him and left him for dead. Some students believe that Paul actually died and was raised from the dead miraculously. They suggest that Paul’s “third heaven” experience was at this time (2 Corinthians 11:25, Galatians 6:17, and 2 Corinthians 12:1 – 4). Have you ever been persecuted---either physically, emotionally, or financially---because you have witnessed for Jesus? In the box below, please explain some event of persecution in your life. Tell how you handled the problem.

Stories in the Books of Acts-----

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Story # 3

Paul and Barnabas’ Ministry Together --We have been learning about how God calls people to ministry. Barnabas and Saul were called to share the gospel in other lands. They obeyed God’s call. As we continue the study, let us see how God directs them and empowers them in the ministry He has call them to do.

Transition

Biblical References Acts 13:4 –12, 2 Timothy 2:23 – 26, 4:1 – 8

In Cyprus, they visited all the cities and preached about the Messiah in the synagogues of the Jews.
[Show picture – Appendix G - Acts 13:4 - 52]

At a town called Paphos they met the Roman ruler of the island, a man named Sergius Paulus. He was a good man, and sent for Barnabas and Saul, so that he might learn about Jesus. With the ruler was a Jew named Elymas, who claimed to be a prophet and opposed Barnabas and Saul in their teaching. He tried to persuade the ruler not to hear the gospel. Saul, full of the Holy Spirit, fixed his eyes on Elymas the false prophet (or sorcerer) and said to him, “You son of the Devil, full of all deceit and all fraud, enemy of all righteousness! Won’t you ever stop perverting the straight paths of the Lord? Now, look! The Lord’s hand is against you: you are going to be blind, and will not see the sun for a time.” At once, darkness fell on Elymas. He searched around, feeling for someone to lead him by the hand. When the ruler saw the power of the Lord, he was filled with wonder and believed the gospel of the Messiah. After leaving the proconsul, Paul, Barnabas, and John Mark departed on another ship for Perga. Their ministry starts in the power of the Holy Spirit. From this time on, Saul was called Paul. He was Paul the apostle, having all the power that belonged to Peter, John and the other apostles. Paul now becomes the leader of the group and they set sail again to Perga in Pamphylia. John Mark, however, left them and went back to his home in Jerusalem. After landing in Perga, they went on to Antioch in the region of Pisidia. There they went into the synagogue and Paul preached to both Jews and Gentiles. Not many of the Jews believed Paul’s words, but a great number of the Gentiles became followers of Jesus. This made the Jews very angry and they drove Paul and Barnabas away. They went to Iconium, and preached the gospel with such power that many Jews and Gentiles believed in Jesus. However, the Jews who would not believe stirred up the city against Paul and Barnabas. They gathered a crowd of people, intending to seize the apostles and kill them. But, Paul and Barnabas heard of the plan and quietly left the city. Next, the two of them went to the city of Lystra, in the land of Lycaonia, and preached the gospel. There were few Jews in that city, and they preached to people who were idol worshipers. Among those who heard Paul speak at Lystra was a lame man who had never been able to walk. After observing him closely and seeing that he had faith to be healed, Paul said in a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” At these words, the man leaped up and walked. When people say how the lame man had been healed, they were filled with wonder and said, “The gods have come down from heaven in the form of men!” The people of Lystra thought that Barnabas was Zeus, who they worshiped as the greatest of the gods. Because Paul was the chief speaker, they thought he was Hermes, the messenger to the gods. In front of their city was a temple to Zeus. The priest to the temple brought oxen and garlands of flowers, and he was about to offer a sacrifice to Barnabas and Paul as gods. After some time, the two apostles understood what the people were doing. When they saw that they were about to offer sacrifices to them, Paul and Barnabas rushed out among the people and cried out, “Men! Why are you doing these things? We are men also, with the same nature as you, and we are proclaiming good news to you, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything in
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them. In past generations He allowed all nations to go their own way, although He did not leave Himself without a witness since He did good: giving you rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, and satisfying your hearts with food and happiness.” Even with words like these, they could scarcely keep the people from offering sacrifices to them. After a time some Jews came from Iconium. These Jews stirred up the people against Paul, so that instead of worshiping him, they stoned him and dragged him out of their city. Moreover, they left him for dead. However, the disciples prayed for him and he was raised and went back to the city. The next day, they journeyed to Derbe. There they preached the gospel and lead many to become disciples of the Messiah. After this, they went back to the cities where they had preached----Lystra in Lycaonia, Iconium and Antioch in Pisidia, Perga in Pamphylia---and visited the churches they had founded.
Review 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. Transition

What did God call Barnabas and Saul to do? Whom did they take with them on their journey? Who was Sergius Paulus and why did he send for Barnabas and Saul? Who was with the ruler and what did he do? What was Saul’s response to the false prophet? Did God empower Saul to react to the false prophet? Do you know any false prophets? How does God help you to respond to false prophets? What parable of Jesus’ reminds us of what happened in Paphos? Why do you think John Mark left the team? What did Barnabas and Paul do in Antioch in Pisidia? What made the Jews angry? What happened at Iconium? What did the apostles do? What happened in Lystra? What did the people think about Paul and Barnabas? What did Paul say to them after he found out they were preparing sacrifices to the apostles? What did the Jews from Iconium do at Lystra? What happened to Paul? Why do you think the apostles returned to the cities they had already visited?
1.

As we continue study, I would like to tell you another story about a different journey of Paul.

Background----Return to the Churches and Appointing of Leaders (Acts 14:21 – 25)

Evangelism is not enough. Doing follow-up work is essential for spiritual stability and growth, doctrinal correctness and encouragement (Acts 14:21 – 22). There must be teaching and encouragement from the Word. This is why Paul established local churches wherever God led him. The local church is the one place the believer should be able to get a dependable diet of spiritual food, find godly fellowship, and discover opportunities for service.

Courageously, the missionaries returned to the very cities where their lives had been in danger. Paul and Barnabas retraced their steps in doing some crucial follow-up and discipleship work. They were not thinking of themselves but of those new believers who needed spiritual help and guidance. [At this point, they were only 257 kilometers from Paul’s home in Tarsus.] It is amazing that they went bask to Lystra. It was the very place where Paul had earlier been stoned and left for dead (14:19). Perhaps, Paul would have loved to visit his home again. Yet, he set his own desires aside to serve the Lord. In addition, on the trip back to Antioch, they bypassed Cyprus, which was the home of Barnabas.
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They saw the need to encourage and strengthen the new believers. This strengthening came primarily through feeding God's sheep the Word of God (Acts 15:32). Establishing believers became a standard practice of Paul (Acts 15:41, 18:23). It was the only means to get believers spiritually stabilized and able to stand on their own (1 Peter 2:2 and Romans 1:9 – 12). In new church groups, organize only as the need requires. Appoint qualified spiritual leaders at the proper time (Acts 14:23). Trust the Lord to do this for the planting and growth of the church (Acts 14:23). Paul and Barnabas appointed elders in the churches. The Greek word translated “appointed” has a double significance: it means “to designate” as well as “to elect by popular vote.” Apparently, the apostles appointed [designated] those qualified to lead (1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1:5). If you will compare Titus 1:5 and 7, and Acts 20:17 and 28, you will see that the terms “bishop” and “elder” refer to the same office, the office of the pastor. Paul did not lay hands upon the leaders until his return trip to the churches to give the men a chance to be tested. “Don’t be too quick to lay hands on anyone, and don’t share in the sins of others…” he warned (1 Timothy 5:22).
A Report about their Work – Then the missionary team gave an honest report back to the sending local (Acts 14:26 – 28) church, which magnified God's grace and brought glory to God

(Acts 14:26 - 27, 1 Corinthians 4:2, and Colossians 1:28 - 29). They had been gone at least a year, and it must have been exciting for them and for the church when they arrived back home. By the grace of God, they had fulfilled the work God had given them to do. They joyfully reported the blessings to the church family. Why did some people want to close the doors for evangelism to the Gentiles?
There is dissension at Antioch (15:1 - 5)
What the Judaizers said about Paul They said he was perverting the truth. They said he was a traitor to the Jewish faith. They said he compromised and diluted his message for the Gentiles. They said he was disregarding the Law of Moses. Paul’s defense He had received his message from the Messiah Himself (Acts 9:15, Galatians 1:11-12) He was one of the most dedicated Jews of his time. Yet, in the midst of one of his most zealous acts, God had transformed him through a revelation of the good news about Jesus (Acts 9:1 – 30, Galatians 1:13 – 16). The other apostles declared that the message Paul was preaching was the true gospel (Acts 9:28, Galatians 2:1 – 10) Far from disregarding the law, Paul put the law in its proper place. He wrote that it shows people where they have sinned and points them to the Messiah (Galatians 3:19 – 29).

As the debate raged between the Gentile believers and the Judaizers, Paul found it necessary to write to the churches in Galatia. During 49AD, Paul wrote his “Letter to the Galatians.” He made it clear that salvation is wholly by God’s grace, through faith in Jesus plus nothing. The Judaizers were trying to undermine Paul’s authority [see chart above]. Whenever God’s work is progressing, satan begins to oppose it, and he usually works through lies. Certain Pharisees from the Jerusalem church (15:5, 24) had gone to Antioch and told the
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Gentile believers that their salvation was not valid unless they were circumcised and obeyed the Law of Moses. Certainly, Paul had not preached that message (13:38 - 40). It was easy for these Jewish believers to be confused about God’s program. They knew the Old Testament teaching that the Gentiles could be saved only through Israel. The only Gentile believers that the Jerusalem church had known were lead to the Messiah by Peter, not Paul. This had been a special act of God (Acts 11:18). News traveled slowly in those days, and they did not know all that God had done through Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journey. These men were sincere, but they were wrong. As Paul explains in Galatians 1:6, these men preached a “gospel,” but it was an incomplete gospel. They believed in the death and resurrection of Jesus, but they had not yet progressed to see God’s program for the Gentiles through the Apostle Paul. There was a church crisis. There was opportunity for either God’s glory or great shame to the name of Jesus the Messiah. There were 3 major disputes that could give glory to God---Area of dispute Doctrine How the dispute was seen in Acts 15 Judaizers wanted Gentile converts to be circumcised and to keep the Mosaic law. Those from Jewish backgrounds (tending toward legalism) were in the same body with those from pagan backgrounds (tending toward license). Some Judaizers did not submit to the decision of the Jerusalem council. They defiantly continued their divisive campaign of deception and distortion (as seen in later letters, such as Titus). The root of the dispute Legalistic opinions How to solve the dispute and seize the opportunity Submit to the Word of God (rather than our own opinions). Submit to one another in love (rather than segregate from one another in suspicion). Submit to God appointed leadership (rather than demanding and advancing our own agenda). How the situation can glorify God if properly handled Purity

Diversity in membership

Prejudice

Unity

Decisions by authority

Pride

Humility

Paul and Barnabas disputed with them, and it was decided to take the issue to the apostles and elders in Jerusalem. Let’s look at these 3 groups who gathered in Jerusalem---

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Group

Position

Reasons 1. They were devout, practicing Jews who found it difficult to set aside a tradition of gaining merit with God by keeping the law.

Judaizers (some of the Jewish believers)

Gentiles must become Jewish first to be eligible for salvation.

2. They thought grace was too easy for the Gentiles. 3. They were afraid of seeming too non-Jewish in the practice of their new faith---which could lead to persecution and death. 4. The demands on the Gentiles were a way of maintaining control and authority in the movement. 1. To submit to Jewish demands would be to doubt what God had already done for them by grace alone.

Gentile believers

Faith in Jesus as Savior is the only requirement for salvation.

2. They resisted exchanging their pagan rituals for a system of Jewish rituals---neither of which had power to save. 3. They sought to obey Jesus by baptism (rather than by circumcision) as a sign of their new faith. 1. They tried to distinguish between what was true from God’s Word versus what was just human tradition.

Peter and James

Faith is the only requirement, but there must be evidence of change by rejecting the old life-style.

2. They had Jesus’ command to preach to all the world. 3. They wanted to preserve unity. 4. They saw that Christianity could never survive as just a sect within Judaism.

The Apostles hold a meeting at Jerusalem (15:6 - 29)

It appears that there were at least four different meetings involved in this strategic conference: A public meeting during which the church welcomed Paul and his party (15:4) A private conference between Paul and the key leaders (Galatians 2:2) A second public meeting at which time the strong Jewish party (converted Pharisees) presented their case (Acts 15:5 and Galatians 2:3 – 5) The Jerusalem Council, which made the final decisions (Acts 15:6 – 29) The debate continued and no progress was in sight until Peter arose and made his speech. It is interesting to note that Peter’s final action in Acts was to endorse Paul and his ministry (verses 7 – 11), as did also Peter’s last written words (2 Peter 3:15 -16). Peter reviewed God’s dealings with him concerning to the Gentiles (Acts 10 -11). He emphasized that God Himself had accepted the Gentiles by giving them the same Spirit He had given the Jews at Pentecost. They were saved by faith (verse 9) and grace (verse 11). Look what he says in verse 11: “…we [Jews] are saved just as they are.” It is not, “They should be saved the way we were,” but the reverse. Not only was the law not applicable to the Gentiles, but also it was no longer applicable to the Jews. “By grace, through faith” is the message, not “obey Moses, and be circumcised.” Paul and his party were the next witnesses, and their reports of God’s work among the Gentiles completely silenced the opposition. Then James gave the final decision. This is the Lord’s brother who had become the leader of the Jerusalem church instead of Peter.
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Concern over Doctrinal and Duty Issues (Acts 15:19-35)

The church concluded that Jews and Gentiles are all sinners before God and can be saved only by faith in Jesus the Messiah. There is one need, and there is but one Gospel to meet that need (Galatians 1:6 – 12). Today, God has but one program: He is calling out a people for His name. Israel is set aside but not cast away (Romans 11:1). When God’s program for the church is completed, He will begin to fulfill His kingdom promises to the Jews. All doctrine must lead to duty. James emphasized this in his letter(James 2:14 - 26), and so did Paul in his letters. It is not enough for us simply to accept a Biblical truth. We must apply it personally in everyday life. Church problems are not solved by passing resolutions, but by practicing the revelation that God gives us from His Word. James advised the church to write to the Gentile believers and share the decisions of the conference. This letter asked for obedience to two commands and a willingness to agree to two personal concessions. The two commands were that the believers avoid idolatry and immorality, sins that were especially prevalent among the Gentiles (1 Corinthians 8 – 10). The two concessions were that they willingly abstain from eating blood and meat from animals that had died by strangulation. The two commands do not create any special problems, for idolatry and immorality have always been wrong in God’s sight, for both Jews and Gentiles. However, was there a problem about the two concessions concerning food? Keep in mind that the early church did a great deal of eating together and practicing of hospitality. Most churches met in homes, and some assemblies held a “love feast” in conjunction with the Lord’s Supper (1 Corinthians 11:17 - 34). If the Gentile believers ate food that the Jewish believers considered “unclean,” this would cause division in the church. Paul dealt clearly with this whole problem in Romans 14 - 15.

The prohibition against eating blood was actually given by God before the time of the Law (Genesis 9:4), and it was repeated by Moses (Leviticus 17:11 – 14 and Deuteronomy 12:23). If an animal is killed by strangulation, some of the blood will remain in the body and make the meat unfit for Jews to eat---hence, the command against strangulation. The meat for the Jews and meat for the Muslims is meat that comes from clean animals that have been killed properly so that the blood has been totally drained from the body. It is beautiful to see that this letter expressed the loving unity of people who had once been debating with each other and who had opposing views about salvation and dietary laws. The final result was as follows: The legalistic Jews willingly gave up insisting that the Gentiles had to be circumcised to be saved. The Gentiles willingly accepted a change in their eating habits. God has opened a wonderful door of opportunity for us to take the Gospel of His grace to a condemned world. However, there are forces in the church even today that want to close that door. There are people who are preaching “another gospel” that is not the Gospel of Jesus the Messiah. Help keep that door open and do the work of evangelism! Be daring!

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There was a Disagreement between Paul and Barnabas (15:36 - 41) It is sad when believers agree doctrinally (verse 12) but not personally. Since he was related to Mark, Barnabas did have an obligation to help the young man. However, Paul felt that Mark was a failure. Perhaps both men were too severe. Later, Paul accepted Mark (2 Timothy 4:11), and God used him to write the second Gospel. Differences between God’s servants need not hold back God’s work. “There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord” (1 Corinthians 12:5).
Homework:

As you review Paul’s first missionary journey, write down some of the church planting principles by which he operated, principles that are still applicable today. Discuss with your group these principles and see if they match the ones below. In your local fellowship, what church planting principles are you practicing? Here are some helpful “Church Planting Principles” that have come from Paul the Apostle:
1.

2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

8. 9. 10.

11. 12.

13.

He worked primarily in the key cities and challenged the believers to take the message out to the more remote areas. The Gospel works in the population centers, and we must carry it there. Paul attacked the great centers of population. This was where his strategic evangelism began. Then his converts reached out to the smaller towns in the area. When doing church planting, remember that God uses believers who are already growing and ministering for Him (Acts 13:1 - 2). The Holy Spirit must direct and enable you from the very beginning in order for church planting to be successful (Acts 13:2 - 4). Church planters were confirmed by and sent out through the local church (Acts 13:3). There is great value in having a church planting team (Acts 13:4 – 5, 12). Church planters need to preach the Gospel publicly and privately. The objective of starting a new group is not to “steal sheep” from another group or to undermine the ministry of another Bible-teaching pastor. The objective is to reach the unsaved with the gospel of God's grace (Mark 16:15, 2 Corinthians 5:17 - 21). You need to expect opposition to the truths of God's Word, especially religious opposition (Acts 13:6 – 10, 45, and 50). The church planters utilized the chronological approach in their Bible teaching with a focus on the Gospel (Acts 13:17 – 37). The church planters preached Jesus as the Messiah, and told their audience specifically how to and how not to be justified before God (Acts 13:37 - 41). Paul preached this salvation message to religious Jews and God-fearing Gentiles at the synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia (13:14, 26). He wanted no syncretism of his Gospel with the prevailing Jewish traditions of that day. Paul practiced what he preached (Galatians 1:8 –10 and 1 Thessalonians 2:3 - 6). When church planting, work with the willing and do not worry about numbers (Acts 13:42 - 43). With the firm conviction that Jesus promised to build His church (Matthew 16:18), and believing that God will use the sword of the Spirit (which is the Word of God), a church planter must preach in a clear, accurate, practical, and simple fashion. He leaves the results with God. After time, the Lord will raise up individuals who are responding and use them to provide other contacts and open doors for the Gospel (Acts 13:44). Do not be surprised when religious opposition comes. Jesus our Messiah promised it would happen (John 15:18 - 16:4 and Acts 13:45 - 49).

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Do not be discouraged when the lost totally miss initially what you are seeking to communicate, for blind people can not well (Acts 14:6 - 18). Remember, God does the saving, we do the preaching, leaving the results in His hands (2 Corinthians 4:3-7). 15. Since church planting is a divine undertaking, believers need to be filled by the Holy Spirit to accomplish the task (Acts 13:8 – 10 and Acts 13:50 - 52). 16. It is vitally important to have a daily walk of grace through faith in Jesus the Messiah and be empowered by the Holy Spirit.
14.

Let us review and discuss the lesson.
1. What was the result of Paul’s ministry at each location? 2. How would you teach this chapter to others? How would you use maps, drama, story 3. 4. 5. 6. 7.

telling, discussion? Be specific. After looking at Paul’s method, how would you start a group in your area? Who was causing the disruption to the church in Antioch? Why where those people causing the disruption? What was the problem? Are there problems in your church similar to those at Antioch? How are they similar? How are they different? What was Peter’s view of the problem? What was James’ view of the problem? How do we agree with others? How do we to disagree with others? How do we solve problems and conflicts? How does God want you to respond to what He has showed you?

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Paul’s Second Missionary Journey (16:1 – 18:22): More Doors Open
In Paul’s second missionary journey, in what way did the Holy Spirit open more doors for evangelism among the Gentiles? Background----Follow the second missionary journey of Paul on Appendix C. Who are the new helpers God gives to Paul? (Acts 16:1 – 5) Silas and Timothy were Paul’s new helpers.
Silas

Silas was a prominent member of the early church at Jerusalem and companion of the apostle Paul. Silas accompanied Paul to Antioch of Syria to report the decision of the Jerusalem Council to accept Gentile believers into the church (Acts 15:22, 27, and 32). He was a prophet (15:32) and he had shared with Paul in the ministry at Antioch, so they were not strangers to one another. Paul chose Silas as his companion on his second missionary journey. During their travels, Paul and Silas were imprisoned at Philippi (Acts 16:19, 25, and 29). Silas and Paul were also together during the riot at Thessalonica (Acts 17:4). Later, Silas and Timothy were sent to Berea, where Silas remained with Timothy. Both Silas and Timothy soon followed Paul to Athens (Acts 17:14–15), although they may not have caught up with him until reaching Corinth (Acts 18:5). Silas played an important role in the early work in Corinth. In his letters, Paul referred to Silas as Silvanus (1 Thessalonians 1:1 and 2 Thessalonians 1:1). The time, place, and manner of his death are unknown.

Timothy

Timothy took John Mark’s place. Though Timothy’s mother was Jewish and taught him the Scriptures (2 Timothy 1:5 and 3:15), his father was Greek. Timothy grew up in Lystra (or possibly Derbe) in southern Galatia. He was a youth who had been born again when Paul visited Lystra on his first missionary journey (14: 6 – 22). Therefore, Paul called him “my true son in the faith” (1 Timothy 1:2). Timothy was dear to Paul’s heart. Timothy appears to be with Paul more than any other man. Timothy witnessed Paul’s sufferings in Lystra (2 Timothy 3:10 – 11). He had also proved himself worthy of God’s service. When Paul passed through on his second missionary journey, he chose Timothy to join him. Timothy not only served with Paul on the second and third journeys but also traveled with him to Jerusalem (20:4). He was with him during the Roman imprisonment (Colossians 1:1), and traveled with him on a fourth journey, staying on at Ephesus (1 Timothy 1:3). During Paul’s second Roman imprisonment (not recorded in Acts), Timothy is summoned (2 Timothy 4:9, 21) and is himself imprisoned. Timothy was a reserved young man whom Paul repeatedly encouraged to overcome his timidity and fear (1 Corinthians 16:10, 11 and 2 Timothy 1:7). In order for Timothy to serve Paul, Timothy needed to be circumcised. Timothy’s circumcision had nothing to do with salvation (Galatians 2:1 – 4). This was not an act of disobedience toward
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the council (Acts 15:1). Rather, it was done to remove a stumbling block from the Jews to whom Paul and Timothy would be ministering (1 Corinthians 9:20). Being the son of a Gentile father and Jewish mother, Timothy did not have to be circumcised. However, being a child of God, he wanted to do nothing that would cause the Jews to stumble. Write some of Timothy’s attributes from Philippians 2:19 – 23.

Leadership Principle 2: Discernment – Paul Changed His Plans as He Discerned the
Needs (Acts 16:1 –13)
All leaders need discernment. Paul had it and he used it to select new leaders, to know what to say in a courtroom, and to know where to go next on his journeys. As Paul’s team traveled through Asia, he must have been listening to the Holy Spirit in his quiet times. God prevented him from speaking any more in Asia and compelled him to move on. Next, the Spirit forbade Paul to minister in Mysia and Bithynia. In Troas, he had a vision in which a man begged him to visit Macedonia. Discerning leaders usually share some common traits. These leaders usually are good listeners. They are also intuitive, perceptive, flexible, and optimistic.

What events occur on the second journey? (16:6 – 40)
A New Team(Acts 15:40 – 41)

[Look at Appendix C for the map of the second missionary journey.]

Paul and Silas set out on a second missionary journey to visit the cities where Paul had preached earlier. This time they set out by land rather than sea, traveling the Roman road through Cilicia and the Cilician Gates---a gorge through the Taurus Mountains. Then they went northwest toward Derbe, Lystra, and Iconium. The Spirit told them not to go into Asia, so they turned northward to Bithynia. Again, the Spirit said no, so they turned west through Mysia to the harbor city of Troas. At Troas, Paul received the Macedonian call (16:9), and he, Silas, Timothy, and Luke boarded a ship. They sailed to the island of Samothrace, then on to Neapolis, the port city near Philippi. On this second missionary journey, we can

Troas - The Macedonian Call (Acts 16:6 - 10)

see ---How the Lord opened various types of doors How there were various reactions to the gospel How there were various attitudes toward the gospel.
We see three wonderful “openings at…...” Philippi – God uses …open the Way (Acts 16:6 - 12) the weak things to….. After visiting the churches he had founded, Paul tried to enter new territory for (Acts 16:12 - 41) the Lord by traveling east into Asia Minor and Bythinia, but the Lord closed the

door. We don’t know how God revealed His will in this matter, but we can well imagine that Paul was disappointed and perhaps a bit discouraged. Everything had been going so smoothly on the second journey that these closed doors must have come as a great surprise. However, it is
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comforting to know that even apostles were not always clear as to God’s will for their ministries. God planned for the message to get there another time (Acts 18:19 - 19:41 and 1 Peter 1:1). In His sovereign grace, God led Paul west into Europe, not east into Asia. It is interesting to speculate how world history might have been changed had Paul been sent to Asia instead of to Europe. At Troas, Paul, sensitive to the leading of the Spirit, was called to Macedonia by a man whom he saw in a night vision. In verse 10 it says, “we” rather than “they”, therefore, it is believed that Doctor Luke joined them at Troas. There are three “we sections” in Acts: 16:10 – 17, 20:5 – 15, and 27:1 – 28:16. Luke changed from “we” to “they” in Acts 17:1, which suggests that he may have remained in Philippi to pastor the church after Paul left. The next “we section” begins in Acts 20:5 in connection with Paul’s trip from Macedonia. Luke devoted a much of hi writing to Paul’s ministry in Philippi, so perhaps he was a resident of that city. Troas to Neapolis was a distance of about 241 kilometers, and it took them two days to make the journey. Later, the trip in the opposite direction would take five days, apparently because of contrary winds (Acts 20:6). Philippi was 16 kilometers inland from Neapolis. The way Luke described the city would suggest that he was indeed one of its proudest citizens. Next, God uses the weak things to……

….open Lydia’s Heart (Acts 16:13 - 15)
Paul and his friends did not plunge immediately into evangelizing the city, even though they knew God had called them there. No doubt, they needed to rest and pray and make their plans together. It is not enough to know where God wants us to work. We must also know when and how He wants us to work. The Jewish population in Philippi must have been very small since there was no synagogue there, only a place of prayer by the river outside the city. (It required ten men for the founding of a synagogue.) Paul had seen a man in the vision at Troas, but here he was ministering to a group of women. “It is better that the words of the Law be burned than be delivered to a woman,” said the rabbis. However, that was no longer Paul’s belief. He had been obedient and the Lord had gone before to prepare the way. Lydia was a successful businesswoman from Thyatira, a city renowned for its purple dye. She probably was in charge of a branch office of her guild in Philippi. God brought her all the way to Philippi so that she could hear the Gospel and be converted. She was “a worshiper of God,” a Gentile who was not a full Jewish proselyte but who openly worshiped with the Jews. She was seeking truth. Paul shared the Word with Lydia. God opened her heart to the truth, she believed and was saved. She boldly identified herself with Jesus by being baptized, and she insisted that the missionaries stay at her house. All of her household had been converted, so this was a good opportunity for Paul and his associates to teach them the Word and establish a local church. (We will deal with “household salvation” when we get to Acts 16:31.) We must not conclude that because God opened Lydia’s heart, Lydia’s part in her conversion was entirely passive. She listened attentively to the Word that brings the sinner to the Savior (John 5:24). The same God who ordained the end, Lydia’s salvation, also ordained the means to the end, Paul’s witness of Jesus the Messiah. This is a beautiful illustration of 2 Thessalonians 2:13 -14.
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Finally, God uses the weak things to …

……open the Jailer’s Doors and Heart (Acts 16:16 - 40)
No sooner are lost people saved than satan begins to hinder the work. In this case, he used a demonized girl who had made her masters wealthy by telling fortunes. As Paul and his team went regularly to the place of prayer, they witnessed to the lost. The slave girl repeatedly shouted after them, “These men are the slaves of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.” Paul did not want either the Gospel or the name of God to be “promoted” by one of satan’s slaves, so he cast out the demon. After all, satan may speak the truth one minute and the next minute, tell a lie. Notably, the unsaved would not know the difference. The owners had no concern for the girl. They were interested only in the income she provided. Now, that income was gone. [The conflict between money and ministry appears often in Acts: 5:1 – 11, 8:18 – 24, 19:23, 20:33 – 34.] Their only recourse was the Roman law. They thought they had a good case because the missionaries were Jewish and were propagating a religion not approved by Rome. Moved by both religious and racial prejudices, the magistrates acted rashly and did not investigate the matter fully. This neglect on their part later brought them embarrassment. Acts mentions nothing more about the fortune - telling slave girl. Why didn’t Paul and Silas plead their Roman citizenship? In Acts 22:25 – 29 and 25:11 – 12, Paul did use that privilege. What do you think? _____________. Paul and Silas were stripped, beaten (2 Corinthians 11:23, 25), and put in the city prison. It looked like the end of their witness in Philippi, but God had other plans. [Show picture - Appendix I for Acts 16:16 – 35.] Instead of complaining or calling on God to judge their enemies, the two men _____ and ____ God. Prayer and praise are powerful weapons (2 Chronicles 20:1 – 22 and Acts 4:23 – 31). God responded by shaking the foundations of the prison, opening all the doors, and loosening the prisoners’ chains. They could have fled to freedom, but instead they remained right where they were. For one thing, Paul immediately took command. No doubt, the fear of God was on these pagan men. The prisoners must have realized that there was something very special about those two Jewish preachers. Paul’s attention was fixed on the jailer. It was a Roman law that if a guard lost a prisoner, he was given the same punishment the prisoner would have received. The jailer would rather commit suicide than face shame and execution. A hard-hearted person seeking vengeance would have let the cruel jailer kill himself, but Paul was not that kind of a man. The jailer was the prisoner, not Paul. Paul not only saved the man’s life, but also pointed him to eternal life in the Messiah. “What must I do to be saved?” is the cry of lost people worldwide, and we must be able to give them the right answer. The legalists in the church would have replied, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved” (Acts 15:1). However, Paul knew the right answer—faith in Jesus the Messiah. In the Book of Acts, the emphasis is on faith in Jesus the Messiah alone (Acts 2:38; – 39, 4:12, 8:12, 37; 10:10 – 43, 13:38 – 39). The phrase “and your house” does not mean that the faith of the jailer would automatically bring salvation to his family. Each sinner must trust Jesus personally in order to be born again, for we cannot be saved “by a stand-in.” The phrase means “and your household will be saved if they will also believe.” We must not read into this statement the salvation of infants (with or without baptism) because it is clear that Paul was dealing with people old enough to hear the Word (Acts 16:32), to believe, and to rejoice (Acts 16:34).
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So-called “household salvation” — that is, that the decision of the head of the household brings salvation to the members of the household---has no basis in the Word of God The people in the household of Cornelius were old enough to respond to his call (Acts 10:24) and to understand the Word and believe (Acts 10:44, 11:15 – 17, and 15:7 – 9). The household of Crispus was composed of people old enough to hear and believe God’s Word (Acts 18:8). There is no suggestion here that the adults made decisions for infants or children. It is wonderful to see the change in the attitude of the jailer as he washed the wounds of these two prisoners who were now his brothers in Jesus. One of the evidences of true repentance is a loving desire to make restitution and reparation whenever we have hurt others. We should not only wash one another’s feet (John 13:14 – 15), but we should also “cleanse the wounds” we have given to others. No doubt, the jailer later joined with Lydia in the fellowship of believers. The city officials knew that they had no convincing case against Paul and Silas, so they sent word to the jailer to release them. Paul, however, was unwilling to “sneak out of town,” for that kind of exit would have left the new church under a cloud of suspicion. People would have asked, “Who were those men? Were they guilty of some crime? Why did they leave so quickly? What do their followers believe?” Paul and his associates wanted to leave behind a strong witness of their own integrity as well as a good testimony for the infant church in Philippi. It was then that Paul made use of his Roman citizenship. He boldly challenged the officials on the legality of their treatment of them. This was not personal revenge but a desire to give protection and respect for the church. While the record does not say that the magistrates officially and publicly apologized, it does state that they respectfully came to Paul and Silas, escorted them out of the prison, and politely asked them to leave town. Paul and Silas remained in Philippi long enough to visit the new believers and encourage them in the Lord. As you review this chapter, you can see how the work of the Lord progresses through difficulties and challenges. Sometimes workers have problems with each other, and sometimes the problems come from the outside. It is also worth noting that not every sinner comes to Jesus in the same manner. Timothy was saved partly through the influence of a godly mother and grandmother. Lydia was converted through a quiet conversation with Paul at a Jewish prayer meeting, while the jailer’s conversion was dramatic. One minute he was about to commit suicide, and the next minute he was a child of God. Different people with different experiences, and yet all of them changed by the grace of God. Others just like them are waiting to be told of God’s simple plan of salvation. Will you help them hear? In your own witness for Jesus, will you be daring? The nucleus of that first Philippian church was made up of a wealthy woman and a Roman jailer. Such is the grace of God: Jesus takes the weak things of the world and confounds the mighty.

Stories in the Books of Acts----Story # 4

The Macedonian Call---

Transition

We have been learning about how God calls people to ministry. Barnabas and Saul were called to share the gospel in other lands. They obeyed God’s call. Now, God speaks to Paul about where to minister.

Biblical References Acts 16:1-15 [Show Appendix H at this time.]

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When Paul came to Derbe and Lystra, he found a young man named Timothy, whose mother was of the Jewish race and a believer in the Messiah. Timothy had known the Word of God from his child hood. He had given his heart to Jesus. All the believers in Jesus at Lystra and Iconium knew him and spoke well of him. Timothy went and worked with Paul and became part of his team. Paul, Silas, and Timothy went through many lands in Asia Minor, preaching the gospel and planting the Church. The Spirit of the Lord would not let them go to some places that were not ready for the gospel. Instead, they came down to Troas, which was on the sea opposite the land of Macedonia in Europe. While they were at Troas, a vision came to Paul in the night. He saw a man of Macedonia standing before him and pleading with him, “Cross over to Macedonia and help us!” When Paul told this vision to his friends, they concluded that this was a call from the Lord to carry the Gospel of the Messiah to Macedonia. As soon as they could find a vessel sailing across the sea, they sailed. Doctor Luke joined the team and sailed with them. Luke stayed with Paul for many years, and Paul called him “the loved physician.” Afterward, Luke wrote two books of the Bible, the gospel according to Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. Paul and his three friends set sail from Troas. On the third day, they came to the city of Philippi, in Macedonia, where they stayed for a few days. There was no synagogue in that city and few Jews. On the Sabbath, Paul and his group went out of the city gate to the riverside, where there was a place of prayer. There they sat down and talked with a few women who had met together to pray. One of these was a woman named Lydia, who had come from Thyatira in what is now Turkey. She was a seller of purple dyes. She was seeking after God, and the Lord opened her heart to hear the words of Paul and she believed in Jesus the Messiah. She was baptized, the first one brought to the Lord in Europe, and all in her house were baptized. Lydia said to Paul and his friends, “if you consider me a believer in the Lord, come and stay at my house.” She urged them so strongly that they all went to her house and stayed there while they were ministering in the city.
Review 2. 3. 4. 5. Transition

Who was Timothy? Silas? What was the vision that Paul saw? Who was Luke? What did he write? Where did Paul preach in Philippi? How different was that place from where he usually preached? Who believed Paul’s message?
1.

Lydia and her whole family believed in Jesus. However, not everyone believes in Jesus. Sometimes, it was not so easy for Paul when he shared the gospel. As we continue to study, let us look at difficulties when we share the gospel.

Background----We will see “various reactions” to the gospel---

As we continue traveling with Paul on his second missionary journey, we see him in three different cities, and we see three different reactions to the Gospel.
Thessalonica: Thessalonica was a busy city situated on the main highway to Rome. There Opposing the Word were many Jews in the city, so Paul started (as was his policy) in the synagogue, (17:1-9) reasoning with them for three weeks. He opened the Scriptures to them, which

is the duty of all who teach or preach the Word (See Luke 24:32). Some Jews believed and a multitude of Greeks (Jewish proselytes) believed. Many of the leading women believed. However, as is always the case, satan brought opposition from the unbelievers. The Jews used “the rabble” from the marketplace to oppose Paul. The apostles had been staying with Jason, so it was on his house that the mob centered its attack. If he is the same
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Jason mentioned in Romans 16:21, then he was a relative of Paul, which would explain his hospitality and the reason for the attack. Note that their false accusation parallels the one made against Jesus in Luke 23:2. If you read 1 and 2 Thessalonians (which Paul wrote from Corinth a little while later) you can see what a broad scope of doctrine Paul had given these people in just a few weeks. He told them of the coming kingdom of the Messiah, the rise of the man of sin, and many other important matters. We must never feel that new believers are too immature to receive the whole counsel of God. Paul’s ministry must have been very effective, for the enemy accused him of turning the world upside down.
Berea: Receiving the That night, Paul, Silas, and Timothy (verse 10) set off for Berea, 64 kilometers Word away. They left behind a local church that continued to witness for Jesus. In (17:10-14) fact, Paul congratulated them for getting the Gospel out so effectively

(1 Thessalonians 1:6 – 10). This is the true New Testament pattern: evangelize converts, teach them (1 Thessalonians 2), and challenge them to evangelize others. Berea was not on the main highway, but it was where God wanted the missionaries to go. How refreshing it must have been to meet Jews such as those in Berea. God knew that Paul and his company needed encouragement and refreshment. They found both at Berea. We today should follow the example of the Bereans: They received the Word. They were of ready mind, prepared for the Word. They searched the Scriptures and tested what the preacher said. They studied the Word daily. While the Thessalonian believers were busy sending out the Gospel, satan was busy stirring up trouble. He sent some of his own workers to Berea. Satan hates the simple preaching of the Word of God. Paul departed for Athens, leaving Silas and Timothy behind to strengthen the brothers. The two men did not come to minister with him at Athens as planned, but joined him later at Corinth (18:5). Paul’s leaving at this time was not cowardice. Silas and Timothy could teach the church there while Paul carried the message on ahead.
Athens: Mocking the This famous city was a center of religion and culture, but all Paul could see was Word sin and superstition. One ancient writer said it was easier to find a god than a (17:15-34) man in Athens. Paul disputed with the Jews in the synagogue, but had little or

no success. He then followed the pattern of the Greek teachers and took his message to the market (agora) where the men assembled to discuss philosophy or to transact business. Two main philosophies controlled Athens at that time--The Stoics were materialistic and almost fatalistic in their thinking. Their system was built on pride and personal independence. Nature was their god, and they believed that all nature was gradually moving toward a great climax. We might say that they were pantheistic (many gods). The Epicureans desired pleasure, and their philosophy was grounded in experience, not reason. They were almost atheistic. Here we have two extremes in philosophy, and Paul confronted them both with the Gospel of the Messiah. The Athenians scorned him, calling him a “babbler” which means “a seedpicker.” They thought he was preaching two new gods when he spoke of “Jesus and the resurrection.” (“Resurrection” in Greek is anastasia, and perhaps they took this for a proper name.) The Greeks led him to the Areopagus, their official court, also called Mars’ Hill. It was there that Paul preached a great sermon.
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Leadership Principle 3: Connection--- Paul Was Effective in Athens (Acts 17:22 – 34)
Peter, Stephen, and Paul all practiced the Law of Connection in the four sermons that Luke records (Acts 2:14 – 36, 7:2 – 53, 13:16 – 41, and 17:22 – 31). The one Paul delivered in Acts 17 is a masterpiece. He connected brilliantly with people from a different culture, showing he understood both Greek society and human needs. Read his message and watch a master communicator in action: He began with affirmation (verse 22). How? He bridged his subject with the familiar (verse 23). How? He enlarged their vision of God (verses 24 and 25). How? He used inclusive language (verse 26). How? He gave them encouragement and hope (verse 27). How? He identified with Athenian poets (verse 28). Who? He gave them specific action steps (verses 29 – 31). What action steps?

When Paul had built relationship bridges with the people, he then issued a clear call to repent. What happened? According to the text, everyone acted. Some sneered at Paul; others said they wanted to hear more; and others followed immediately (verses 32–34). We have seen 3 different reactions toward the Gospel. We find these same reactions in the world today. Some people openly oppose the Word; some mock it or postpone making a decision; and some receive the Word and believe. Paul kept right on going as a faithful servant, and so must we. “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 In Corinth, we see another example where people receive the Word and believe. Let us now, study chapter 18.
Corinth: Receiving From Athens, Paul made his way to Corinth, one of the greatest cities of the Word that day. It was famous for several things: (18:1-28)

Its bronze and pottery works Its great sporting events that were comparable to the Olympics Its immorality and wickedness From a cultured, refined city like Athens, Paul took the Gospel to the wicked city of Corinth, and by the grace of God established a church there. In your small group, discuss this question: Is it easier to start a church among cultured , refined people or among immoral, wicked people? God gives more new helpers, who are they? (Acts 18:1 – 3, 24 – 28) It was customary for Jewish fathers to teach their sons a trade, even if the sons were going to be rabbis. Paul’s trade was tentmaking, a skill that he used profitably to support his ministry at

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Corinth (1 Corinthians 9:15). It was through his trade that he met a believing couple, Priscilla and Aquila, with whom he lived and ministered while establishing the church in Corinth. Priscilla and Aquila later went with Paul to Ephesus where they had a gathering in their house (1 Corinthians 16:19). They are good examples to us of believers who open their hearts and homes to serve the Lord. In 18:24 – 28, while living in Ephesus, we find Priscilla and Aquila explaining the Gospel of grace to the visiting speaker, Apollos. He knew only the baptism of John, which meant he had never learned of the baptism of the Spirit and the founding of the church. Instead of embarrassing him in public, Priscilla and Aquila took him home and taught him the Word. Apollos proves to us that it is possible to have eloquence, zeal, and sincerity, and still be wrong. Later, God led Apollos to Corinth, and there gave him a mighty ministry (see 1 Corinthians 3:6 and 16:12). We might add one word about Paul’s employment at Corinth. He himself recognized that his practice of earning his own bread was unique. The scriptural pattern is that “those who preach the Gospel should receive their living from the Gospel” (1 Corinthians 9:14). In his pioneer missionary work, Paul deliberately paid his own way so that no one could accuse him of

Leadership Principle 4: Leaders Who Trained More Leaders – Aquila and Priscilla
(Acts 18:24 – 28)
“preaching for money.” Read 1 Corinthians 9 for his clear explanation.
Leadership does not mean just getting others to follow. It also means equipping and preparing leaders to guide God’s people. The account of Aquila, his wife Priscilla, the apostle Paul, and Apollos illustrates this principle. Aquila and Priscilla, like Paul, were Jewish believers and tentmakers. They fled to Corinth from Rome when the Emperor Claudius ordered all Jews to leave the city. When Paul arrived in Corinth, he stayed with this couple and evidently taught them a great deal about the things of God. They took the teaching seriously. When they traveled to Ephesus, they instructed a minister named Apollos about the gospel of Jesus the Messiah. Apollos had heard and believed a portion of the gospel message and with great eloquence was vigorously teaching what he knew. However, when Aquila and Priscilla heard him preach, they realized he hadn’t heard the complete message. So they took him aside and explained the gospel more fully. After that, Apollos could preach with even greater effectiveness. When we come to Jesus for salvation, God calls us to “go……make disciples” (Matthew 28:19). Similarly, when God calls us to leadership, He directs us to help train others to lead more effectively and train other leaders.

Paul starts another new assembly (Acts 18:4 - 17) Paul began in the synagogue, but that witness lasted but a short time. Then, he turned to the Gentiles (18:6). At this same time, he moved out of the house of Priscilla and Aquila and moved in with a Gentile named Justus who was a Jewish proselyte and whose house was near the synagogue. Apparently, Paul did not want to bring difficulties to his Jewish host and hostess, now that he had turned to the Gentiles. In verse 8, we see that the chief ruler of the synagogue had believed, as did many of the Corinthians. Note the sequence in verse 8: hearing, believing, and being baptized. This is the pattern today. Paul informs us that he himself baptized some in Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:14 – 17), which proves that water baptism is commanded for this age.

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It is likely that Silas and Timothy (verse 5) did most of the baptizing, since Paul’s special commission was to evangelize. God gave Paul a special promise of success, and he continued for eighteen months in the city. A change in political leaders brought about new opposition, but Paul stayed (verse 18) to preach and teach. Note that there is a new ruler of the synagogue, Sosthenes (verses 8 and 17). It seems that Crispus’ salvation made it necessary for the Jews to elect a new ruler. However, if the Sosthenes of verse 17 is the same one named in 1 Corinthians 1:1, then he was also converted. Note that those who were baptized were believers (verse 8). Paul finishes his Second Journey (Acts 18:18 - 22) It is possible that this vow was taken after God had delivered Paul and his associates during the uprising described in verses 12 – 17. The vow may have been made in thanksgiving to God, since this seems to be a voluntary vow. For the Jews, Paul became as a Jew (1 Corinthians 9:19 – 23), not in compromise, but in courtesy. Certainly, Paul knew that there were no merits in taking vows, nor is he setting an example for us as believers today. The Apostle Paul clearly understood the meaning of God’s grace. He was not stepping back into legalism or ceremonial practices. Paul did not stay on at Ephesus even though the brothers asked him to stay. He set sail from Ephesus, landed at Caesarea, and went up and greeted the church. Then he went down to Antioch of Syria and reported to the church. Note: “1 and 2 Thessalonians” were written on this second journey. These letters were probably written in Corinth in late 52 AD or in early 53 AD. Please refer to page 9. Let us review and discuss the lesson. 1. Go back and look at each location. Discuss with your group what church planting principles Paul and his co-laborers used. 2. How can you use these principles in your own work? 3. What were the difficulties Paul experienced? How did he resolve the difficulties? Did Paul resolve all his difficulties? Have you had difficulties in your ministry? 4. In what way did God lead Paul? 5. How has God led you in your ministry? Discuss with your group. 6. How did Pricilla and Aquila minister God’s message while tent-making? 7. How can you work and minister at the same time? Does it take separate times to minister and work? Can you do most of your witnessing and discipling while you work?

How does God want you to respond to what He has showed you?

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4

Paul’s Third Missionary Journey (18:23, 19:1 - 21:16)
In the third missionary journey of Paul, what was the result of the excitement of evangelism in Ephesus? Later, why did Paul say farewell to the believers there?

Background----After some time (perhaps several months), Paul revisited the churches (Acts 18:23) to establish them in the faith. This was Paul’s third missionary journey. If you will review Galatians, you will see that the “Judaizing” teachers had invaded these young churches and were teaching the new converts that they had to obey the law of Moses. Paul was burdened for the churches and thus made the trip to teach them the Word and confirm them in the faith. Luke records this third journey in Acts 18:23, 19:1 - 21:16. Most of the record deals with his great ministry for three years in Ephesus. Paul and his Co-workers’ Ministry in Ephesus
Ephesus

This chapter tells of Paul’s contacts with three groups of people.

Paul and twelve ignorant disciples (19:1-12)

It is possible that these twelve men were converts of Apollos before he came to a full understanding of the Gospel (18:24 - 28). All that this eloquent preacher knew then was the teaching of John the Baptist. When Paul met these twelve men, he detected something lacking in their spiritual lives. Paul’s question was (verse 2), “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” To base a doctrine of “a second blessing” on this verse is wrong. The Spirit comes into our lives when we believe in Jesus, not afterward (Ephesians 1:13 – 14). The men replied, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” Now, John the Baptist had promised a future baptism of the Spirit (Matthew 3:11). What they did not know is that this baptism had already taken place, on the Day of Pentecost (Acts 1:5 and 2:4) and in the home of the Gentile Cornelius (10:44 – 45 and 11:15-16). Next, Paul asked about their baptism. Note that he assumes they had been baptized. This is another indication that water baptism is the expected thing for believers. Why did Paul ask about their baptism when the real issue was the presence of the Spirit in their lives? In the Book of Acts, there is a definite relationship between water baptism and the Holy Spirit. The only baptism they knew was John’s baptism. However, John’s baptism was no longer valid. In other words, these twelve men were not saved. They had believed an outdated message (“The Messiah is coming”) and had received an outdated baptism (the baptism of repentance). They were sincere, but they were wrong. When they told Paul they had been baptized with John’s baptism, he knew they were unsaved. They believed a message that was no longer valid, since the Messiah had come to the earth, died, and gone back to heaven. Of course, Luke does not record all that Paul told these men. They believed the message of the Gospel (that the Messiah had already come and died) and were baptized with believer’s baptism. They received the Spirit with the laying on of Paul’s hands and gave evidence of it by speaking with tongues. This is the last time you find in Acts speaking with tongues as proof of the receiving of the Spirit. These twelve men new believers probably became the nucleus of the
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church of Ephesus. The fact that God departed from the usual order and granted them the Spirit through the laying on of Paul’s hands was proof that Paul was equal to the other apostles and therefore God’s servant for establishing the church. This entire event points to several truths: Sinners must believe the right message before they can be saved Baptism is important, but the kind of baptism described in Acts 2:38 is not intended for the church today A believer can lead others only where he has been himself Paul was God’s messenger and had equal standing with the other apostles.
Paul and seven Jewish pretenders (Acts 19:8 – 20)

Paul spent three years in Ephesus (20:31): Three months in the synagogue Two years teaching in rented rooms at the lecture hall of Tyrannus About nine months in various places – Macedonia, Achaia and provinces of Asia [Turkey] (19:8 –10, 22) All Asia heard the Word, for Paul taught the believers to pass the Word on to others. God attested to Paul’s ministry with special miracles. Seven Jewish men tried to imitate Paul’s power (satan is a great imitator). Their plan backfired, the demon beat them and left them naked and wounded. This event helped spread the Gospel, and many former sorcerers and magicians (workers in spiritism and other satanic practices) brought their books and burned them. Ephesus was a city noted for magical arts, and satan was behind the whole program. It’s wonderful to see the Gospel penetrate satan’s strongholds.
Paul and the silversmiths (Acts 19:21 – 41)

Where satan could not succeed in hindering the Gospel through the ignorant disciples or the Jewish pretenders, he almost succeeded with the businessmen and merchants of the city. Ephesus prided itself on being custodian of the image of the goddess Artemis that was supposed to have fallen from heaven. Wherever you find superstition, you often find the exhibition and sale of such religious items. True Gospel preaching always runs head-on into superstitious moneymaking schemes, and Ephesus was no exception. The union of silversmiths pretended that their concern was for the religion of the city, but their real worry was loss of business. The Gospel had so stirred the city that people were turning from idols to the true God, and this was hurting their business. The silversmiths used religion to generate emotion among the people, and the result was an angry crowd. The whole city was filled with confusion (verse 29), which proves the situation was born of the devil, for God is not the author of confusion (1 Corinthians 14:33). The citizens rushed into the huge outdoor theater that seated at least 25,000 people. Wisely, Paul’s friends prevented him from entering, for it is likely that the apostle would have been arrested by the authorities or even killed by the crowd. The town clerk (city secretary) quieted the crowd, warned them that they were in danger of breaking the law, and sent them all home. Satan was anxious to prevent the establishing of a strong church in Ephesus. This city had been one of his strongholds for years, with its superstition, idolatry, and magical practices. Demonic activity had prevailed in Ephesus, but now the Spirit of God was at work.

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What if Paul had not detected the shallowness of the profession of those twelve men and had tried to build a local church on their testimony? The work would have failed. What if those Jews had been able to counterfeit Paul’s miracles? What if the crowd had taken Paul and the brothers and arrested or killed them? If those things had happened, would we have had the wonderful letter to the Ephesians? Satan did not want a church at Ephesus, yet God established one there. That wonderful letter outlines church truth in a clear way, and this is what satan did not want. Satan still hinders the work of the Lord in these three ways: False believers with inadequate spiritual experience Counterfeit believers Open satanic opposition However, we may overcome the adversary if we trust God, depend on the power of the Spirit, and preach the Word of God. Paul’s ministry in Macedonia and Greece
Paul and the local church (Acts 20:1 – 12) Macedonia and Soon after the riot , Paul left Ephesus and made his way toward Macedonia, just Greece as he had planned (19:21). At Troas, he expected to meet Titus and get a

firsthand report of the situation in Corinth. He had sent Titus there to help correct some problems (2 Corinthians 7:13 – 15 and 12:17 – 18). When Titus did not arrive, Paul continued to Macedonia, visiting the churches. There he met his fellow worker Titus(2 Corinthians 2:12-13). The report from Corinth encouraged him. He then spent three months in Greece, most of that time probably in Corinth. Here, he wrote the Letter to the Romans. The same Jewish opposition that had revealed itself in Corinth before (Acts 18:12) now appeared again (verse 3). Therefore, Paul left for Macedonia instead of heading for Syria. A number of believers accompanied Paul, representatives of the churches that were contributing to the relief offering he was taking to Jerusalem. Luke joined the company at Philippi (note the “we” in verse 6) and they went to Troas. They stayed at Troas seven days.
Troas, Assos, and Miletus

It is in Troas that we see Paul in a local church setting. The believers were accustomed to meeting together on Sunday, the first day of the week. Paul may have waited those seven days just to be with the church of Troas. He was burdened to get to Jerusalem, yet he put the Lord and the Lord’s Day first. His is a good example for all to follow. It is probable that Luke describes in verses 7 - 8 an evening assembly of believers. As the great apostle preached the Word of God, there was one man who fell asleep, fell out of the window, and died. Dr. Luke the physician reported that the man was dead. Paul, with faith in God’s power, announced that life was in him and raised him from the dead. Paul then talked (not preached, verse 11) a long time with the believers, possibly after the assembly was dismissed, and then sailed the next day. Is there a spiritual meaning behind this miracle? Eutychus (which means “fortunate”) had done nothing deserving of God’s help. Yet, because of God’s grace, he was restored to life. He had

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fallen (all have fallen in Adam), and he was dead (all are dead in sin). He was given life by grace alone.
Paul and the local pastors (Acts 20:13 – 38)

Then Paul decided to walk alone to Troas from Assos, for a distance of 32 kilometers. Perhaps he was seeking the mind of the Lord regarding his visit to Jerusalem. While he loved the fellowship of other saints (verse 4), he knew he must get alone with God and seek His mind. The exercise of “silence” was also good for his body. At Miletus, he sent for the elders of the Ephesian church. Keep in mind that the New Testament teaches that churches should have a plurality of pastors, and this would be especially true for a large church such as the one at Ephesus. These leaders are called elders and overseers (verse 28). Paul’s message to the Ephesian elders reveals the way he ministered to the local church. Note that there are three special messages by Paul in Acts: To the Jews in 13:16 - 41 To the Gentiles in 17:22 - 34 To the church in Ephesus 20:17
In this last message, his past ministry (verses 18 - 21) Paul speaks of--Paul did nothing in secret. All men knew his message and his methods. He

served the Lord, not man. He was a humble leader, not a proud dictator (see Peter’s admonition in 1 Peter 5). He knew what it was to water the seed of the Word with tears (verses 19, 31). Paul preached the whole Word of God publicly and from house to house. He preached to all the people and exalted Jesus the Messiah. This is the pattern for the pastor to follow today. his present burden (verses 22 – 24) Paul was bound in the Spirit to go to Jerusalem. He admits in verse 23 that the Holy Spirit had told him in city after city (probably through local prophets in the churches) that he would suffer at Jerusalem. In Acts 21:4 and 10 - 14, he was expressly warned not to go to Jerusalem. Years before, after his conversion, he was instructed by Jesus the Risen Lord that his witness would not be accepted in Jerusalem (22:18). Some say that Paul was out of the will of God in going to Jerusalem after the warnings of bonds and afflictions. However, there is no evidence that Paul was rebelling against God. On the contrary, Jesus Himself confirmed that the trip was part of His good and perfect will (23:11). While Paul was in a Jerusalem prison, Jesus appeared to him and told him to take courage. The Lord explained to Paul that just as he had solemnly witnessed for the cause of the Messiah in Jerusalem, he would do the same in Rome. There was no condemnation, but rather affirmation, of the fact that Paul bore witness to Jesus the Risen Lord in Jerusalem. his warning of future danger (verses 25 – 35) Paul was not concerned about himself. He was concerned about the church and its future. He warned the pastors to take heed, first to themselves. If they failed in their personal spiritual walk, the whole church would suffer. Later, Paul repeated this warning to Timothy (1 Timothy 4:16). Then he warned them to shepherd the church. As overseers, they were responsible for guiding the flock, feeding it, and protecting it from spiritual attacks. How precious the church is to Jesus. He purchased it with His own blood. Paul warned of two dangers: Wolves attacking from outside the flock (verse 29) False teachers arising from within the flock (verse 30) Both of these things have happened in the history of the church.
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giving himself as the example for the pastors to follow. He commended them to God (this is prayer) and to the Word (this is preaching and teaching), for “prayer and the Word” will build up a local church (Acts 6:4). He warned them not to be covetous. His unselfish attitude certainly can be imitated by all of God’s servants. He reminded them of a beatitude of Jesus’ that was never recorded in the Gospels: “It is more blessed to give than to receive.” BELIEVING SERVANTS SHOULD SEEK TO MINISTER TO OTHERS RATHER THAN HAVING OTHERS MINISTER TO THEM. his final blessing (verses 36 – 38) A very solemn moment happened in the lives of Paul and the leaders of the church. The brothers knelt down as the great apostle prayed with them and for them. They wept because they knew they would see his face no more. Paul left them, heading for Jerusalem. He carried with him the contributions for the Jewish believers, and in his heart was a burning desire to testify once more to his people. Paul the preacher would, in Jerusalem, become “Paul, the prisoner of Jesus the Messiah.”

Leadership Principle 5: The Heart of an Effective Leader (Acts 20:18 – 24)
Who you are comes before what you do. Leadership is “being” before “doing.” As Paul spoke to the
Ephesians, he described the ingredients of an effective leader. Paul led from his soul. He made difficult decisions. He shed tears in front of his people. One thing is sure: Leadership begins with the heart. Paul had a heart that was……..

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6.

Consistent---he lived steadily while moving among them (verse 18). Contrite---he acted humbly and willingly showed his weakness (verse 19). Courageous---he did not shrink from doing the right thing (verse 20). Bold---he communicated his convictions boldly (verse 21). Committed---he left for Jerusalem, willing to die for Jesus (verses 22, 23). Surrendered---he completely surrendered himself to Jesus (verse 24).

Paul’s trip to Jerusalem (Acts 21:1 – 16) Tyre, Ptolemais, and Trace this voyage on your map – Appendix E. Paul and his team waited in Tyre Caesarea while the ship’s cargo was unloaded. This gave them opportunity to fellowship

with the believers there. Again, the Spirit warned Paul of trouble in Jerusalem. The team stayed one day in Ptolemais, then went to the home of Philip in Caesarea. Philip had begun as a deacon (6:5). He became an evangelist (8:4). Now, he was settled in Caesarea with his family. His four unwed daughters had the gift of prophecy (Acts 2:17). God gives spiritual gifts to women, and their ministries are important in the church, but women must not take spiritual leadership over men (1 Corinthians 11:5, 14:33 – 40, 1 Timothy 2:9 – 15). When God had a message to give to Paul, he used the ministry of Agabus, and not that of any of Philip’s daughters. This same prophet had foretold the famine (11:27 – 30). In a dramatic way, Agabus warned Paul not to go to Jerusalem. But, Paul [bound in my spirit (20:22)] was willing to be bound and slain for Jesus’ sake. “I am ready!” was certainly his watchword: ready to preach the Gospel anywhere (Romans 1:15); ready to die for Jesus at any time (Acts 21:13); ready to be offered and meet the Lord (2 Timothy 4:6).

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The “Letter to the Romans” was written by Paul from Corinth on his third missionary journey about AD 56. Paul’s purpose in writing the letter is found in Romans 1:10 – 13 and 15:22 – 25.

Using the “Storying” format or drama, retell the story of the “Seven Jewish Pretenders” (Acts 19:13 – 20). Make sure you use the following: Introduction, Story, Review Questions, and Transition parts in your storying and drama. Using the “Storying” format or drama, retell the story of “Paul and the Silversmiths” (Acts 19:21 – 41). Make sure you use the following: Introduction, Story, Review Questions, and Transition parts in your storying and drama.

How does God want you to respond to what He has showed you?

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Paul’s Arrest in Jerusalem and His Later Imprisonment in Rome (Acts 21:18 – 28:31)
What were the reasons for Paul’s arrest in Jerusalem and later his imprisonment in Rome?
The Jerusalem Church Misunderstood His Message (Acts 21:18 - 26)
Jerusalem

[Please look at Appendix E for the map of Paul’s journey to Rome.]

When arriving in Jerusalem, his first meeting was devoted primarily to fellowship and personal matters. The second meeting was given to Paul’s personal report of his ministry to the Gentiles. Paul gave a full and accurate account, not of what he had done, but of what the Lord had done through his ministry (1 Corinthians 15:10). There is an impression that the legalists had been working behind the scenes. No sooner had Paul finished his report when the elders brought up the rumors that were then being circulated about Paul among the Jewish believers. What were his enemies saying about Paul? Almost the same things they said about Jesus and Stephen: he was teaching the Jews to forsake the laws and customs given by Moses and the fathers. They were not worried about what Paul taught the Gentile believers, because the relationship of the Gentiles to the Law had been settled at the Jerusalem Conference (Acts 15). The leaders were especially concerned that Paul’s presence in the city not cause division or disruption among the “thousands of Jews . . . zealous of the Law” (Acts 21:20). However, why were so many believing Jews still clinging to the Law of Moses? Had they not read Romans and Galatians? Probably not, and even if they had, old customs are difficult to change. In fact, one day God would have to send a special letter to the Jews, the Letter to the Hebrews, to explain the relationship between the Old and New Covenants. A theologian said, “The Book of Hebrews was written to the Hebrews to tell them to stop being Hebrews!” It was not until the city and the temple were destroyed in 70 AD that traditional Jewish worship ceased. Paul did warn the Gentiles not to get involved in the old Jewish religion (Galatians 4:1-11). However, he nowhere told the Jews that it was wrong for them to practice their customs, so long as they did not trust in ceremony or make their customs a test of fellowship (Romans 14:1 – 15:7). There was freedom to observe special days and diets, and believers were not to judge or condemn one another. The same grace that gave the Gentiles freedom to abstain also gave the Jews freedom to observe. God simply asked that they receive one another and not create problems or divisions. It seems incredible that Paul’s enemies would accuse him of these things, for all the evidence was against them. Paul had Timothy circumcised before taking him along on that second missionary journey (Acts 16:1 - 3). Paul had taken a Jewish vow while in Corinth (Acts 18:18), and it was his custom not to offend the Jews in any way by deliberately violating their customs or the Law of Moses (1 Corinthians 9:19 – 23). However, usually rumors are not based on fact. Instead, they thrive on half-truths, prejudices, and outright lies. The leaders suggested that Paul demonstrate publicly his reverence for the Jewish Law. All they asked was that he identify himself with four men [probably under a Nazarite vow (Numbers 6)], pay for their sacrifices, and be with them in the temple for their time of purification.
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He agreed to do it. If it had been a matter involving somebody’s personal salvation, you can be sure that Paul would never have cooperated. That would have compromised his message of salvation by grace, through faith. However, this was a matter of personal conviction on the part of Jewish believers. Paul reported to the priest the next day and shared in the purification ceremony, but he himself did not take any vows. He and the men had to wait seven days and then offer the prescribed sacrifices. The whole plan appeared to be safe and wise, but it did not work. Instead of bringing peace, it caused uproar. Paul ended up a prisoner. The Jews Misunderstood Paul’s Ministry (Acts 21:27 - 22:29)
Arrest in the Temple

Some of the foreign Jews, who knew Paul, had seen him in company with Trophimus, an Ephesian Gentile. When they saw Paul in the temple, they assumed he had brought his Gentile friend with him into the forbidden area. It was a lie, but satan is a liar and the father of lies. The very thing that James and elders were trying to prevent occurred just the same. Faith is simply trusting God without scheming, and the believer who walks by faith does not have to resort to plans and devices to influence or please others. Paul would have been taken out of the city and stoned had not the captain of the temple guard rushed on the scene and rescued him. Then the often-repeated prophecy was fulfilled: Paul was bound with two chains (verse 33, also verse 11). Note the confusion of the Jewish crowd, not unlike the confusion of the Gentile crowd in Ephesus (19:32). Satan is the author of confusion. The guard thought Paul was a notorious Egyptian who had caused trouble earlier. However, Paul once again used his Roman citizenship to protect himself. Standing there on the steps, Paul signaled to the crowd. When they heard him speaking in Hebrew, they quieted down. [Look at Appendix K for the picture of this incident.]
Paul’s defense – Acts 22:1 - 21

This is the second of three accounts in Acts of Paul’s conversion (see chapters 9 and 26). By speaking in Hebrew, Paul helped to quiet and interest the Jews. Below are the events in Paul’s life. He spoke of--His early conduct (verses 1 - 5) His amazing conversion (verses 6 -16) His special commission (verses 17 - 21).
The nation’s response – Acts22:22 – 30

The Messiah’s prediction came true: the nation did not receive Paul’s testimony. Instead, a riot broke out. The captain ordered Paul to be taken into the nearby barracks where they could examine him under scourging. However, Paul again used his rights as a Roman citizen to protect himself and his ministry. It was unlawful to treat a Roman citizen in this way (16:35 - 40), and Paul took advantage of these legal privileges. The chief captain had purchased his Roman citizenship and seemed proud of it, while Paul announced that he was born a citizen. The captain released the bonds and kept Paul in custody until the Jewish council could meet the next day (an event covered in chapter 23). At this point, it is good to review the history of Israel in the Book of Acts. The people of the nation had already been involved in three murders: John the Baptist, Jesus the Messiah, and Stephen. They would have committed a fourth had not God delivered Paul through the
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intervention of the Roman guard. However, Israel was now set aside. Jesus had previously told Paul to leave Jerusalem (verse 18). Paul before the Jewish Courts (Acts 23:1 – 26:32)
Paul and the Jewish Council – Acts 23:1 - 11

The next day the guard brought Paul to the official meeting of the Jewish council. This group had tried Peter and John (4:5), the twelve apostles (5:21) and Stephen (6:12). They had also tried Jesus. Paul felt at home in this meeting, having been an active Pharisee himself. He immediately spoke in his own defense, stating that his public life had been blameless and his conscience clear. This infuriated the high priest, Ananias, who ordered one of the men near Paul to hit him on the mouth. The Messiah suffered similar treatment (John 18:22). There is division of opinion concerning Paul’s reply in verse 3. Some say he spoke in haste by condemning the high priest. Others feel Paul was justified in his words since striking him was illegal, and the high priest was a wicked man. History tells us that Ananias was one of the worst high priests the nation ever had. He stole money from the other priests. He used every political trick to enlarge his power. He was finally assassinated. “White washed wall” (verse 3) may refer to Ezekiel 3:10, where the hypocritical rulers of the land are compared to walls painted over with whitewash but unable to stand up. Paul then used a “political” tactic, seeking to divide the council and set the conservative Pharisees against the liberal Sadducees. It is difficult to believe that the great Apostle to the Gentiles, the minister of the grace of God, would shout, “I am a Pharisee.” He would later call his Pharisaical life “garbage” (Philippians 3:1 – 11). He stated that the real issue was the hope of the resurrection, knowing that the Sadducees did not believe that doctrine. He hoped, no doubt, to be able to prove the resurrection of Jesus. However, the argument that came about put him in danger of his life and the captain had to rescue him again. It looked hopeless, but that night the Lord graciously stood by Paul and encouraged him. He knew he would go to Rome!
Paul and the conspirators – Acts 23:12 – 22

Israel was certainly spiritually far from God when more than forty men could conspire in the name of religion to slay a godly Jew! Even the chief priests and elders were a part of the crime. However, God was in control. He was going to take His messenger to Rome in spite of the opposition of men and satan. We know nothing about Paul’s sister or his nephew. We are not even sure they were believers. However, God used them to stop the conspiracy and get Paul away from dangerous Jerusalem. We must certainly admire the honesty and integrity of that Roman captain. He could have scorned the boy’s message or listened to the lies of the Jews. However, he did his job faithfully. Often God’s servants are helped and protected by unbelievers who are honest and faithful. Paul had now been delivered into the hands of the Gentiles, as was His Lord in Jerusalem years before.
Paul and the Captain - Acts 23:23 – 35

The captain’s name was Claudius Lysias. In his letter to Governor Felix, he told how he rescued Paul from the Jews because the apostle was a Roman citizen. He further stated that the issue was one of Jewish law and not Roman law. He also did not feel that Paul was worthy of arrest or death. But that Paul might be kept safe, Claudius sent him to Felix for trial.

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Caesarea

Paul was carried safely to Caesarea, where he would face his Jewish accusers before Felix the governor.

In see now why God used Paul as his great missionary to the Gentiles. First, his Roman citizenship gave him the protection of the Roman laws and army. It also gave him opportunities to witness to the Gentiles. How wonderful it is that God prepares His servants beforehand, even seeing to their birthplace and citizenship. It is interesting to note that on several crisis occasions, the Lord appeared to Paul to sustain him. During the Jewish attacks at Corinth, Jesus the Messiah assured Paul that He was with him and would give him many converts (18:9 – 11). Aboard ship, going to Rome, when the storm broke loose, Jesus assured Paul that He would not forsake him (27:21 – 25). We wonder if Paul leaned heavily on Psalm 23:4, “Even when I walk go through the darkest valley, I fear no danger, for You are with me.”
A false accusation – Acts 24:1 - 9

Paul next had a hearing before Felix the governor. He was the husband of Drusilla (verse 24), his 3rd wife. She was the youngest daughter of Herod Agrippa I and was not yet 20 years old. It was customary for the accusers to present oratorical arguments and try to flatter the judge. Tertullus, the orator-lawyer, certainly chose flattering words about Felix that sounded hollow and false. The “five days” [in verse 1] refer to the period since Paul’s arrest. The summary of Paul’s activities would look like this:
Day 1—arrived in Jerusalem, 21:17 Day 2—visited James, 21:18 Day 3—visited the temple, 21:26 Days 4, 5, and 6—in the temple with the vow upon him, 21:26, 27 Day 7—arrested in the temple, 21:27 Day 8—before the Council, 22:30-23:10 Day 9—the Jews’ plot and Paul’s trip to Caesarea, 23:12-31 Day 10—presented to Felix, 23:32-35 Days 11 and 12—waiting at Caesarea Day 13—the hearing before Felix

---You will note that there are five days (8 through 12) between Paul’s arrest and the trial. There were three accusations by the Jews against Paul: A personal accusation-----“we have found this man to be a plague.” A political accusation-----“an agitator among all the Jews throughout the Roman world.” A religious accusation-----“a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes! He even tried to desecrate the temple….” Compare the trial of Jesus and the accusations they made against Him (Luke 23:22). Of course, they had no proof for any of these matters. The political argument was also false. Paul never sought to change men’s politics, but he did preach the lordship of the eternal Messiah.
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This conflicted with Caesar’s demand that people worship him as a god. “We have no king but Caesar” is what the Jews cried to Pilate (John 19:8 – 15). These men considered the Christian faith a sect, a group of people alien to the true Jewish faith. Thousands of Jews had believed in Jesus and still participated in temple worship, so they were looked upon as a sect within Israel and not as a new religion. The term “Nazarene” was one of contempt. “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” asked Nathanael (John 1:46). Tertullus even lied about the courageous soldier Lysias. Note how he “softened” the story of the temple riot (verse 6) but exaggerated what Lysias did (verse 7). Men who oppose the truth will stop at nothing to distort the truth or promote a lie. God had used Lysias to rescue Paul, and the Jews hated him for this. Men pretend to obey the law, but these children of the devil (John 8:44) were murderers and liars.
A faithful answer – Acts 24:10 – 21

Felix had been governor about six or seven years. This was enough to be considered “many years” (verse 10) according to the records of those days. Paul answered their accusations with facts. Just twelve days before (recall the timetable given earlier) he had come to Jerusalem to worship. There was no way that he could have organized a revolt in such a short time. The accusers had no witnesses to prove that he had caused trouble or even raised his voice in the temple. Then the apostle began to use the court for a pulpit, giving witness of his faith in the Messiah. Paul believed the Law and the Prophets, that is, the entire Old Testament Scripture. He believed (as did the Pharisees) that there would be a resurrection of the dead. He tried daily to have a conscience void of offense to man or God. Was Paul anti-Jewish? How could he be, when he was now bringing a gift of love to his nation to help them in their time of trial? The “several years” of verse 17 would have been three or four years. Paul visited Jerusalem on five different occasions: these events are found in Acts 9:26 (AD 37); Acts 11:27 – 30 (AD 47); Acts 15 (AD 50); Acts 18:22 (AD 53); and Acts 21:17 (AD 58). It had been five years since his last visit to Jerusalem. The accusers could not prove with witnesses that he had caused any trouble. In fact, they were the ones who started the riot in the temple (21:27).
A foolish attitude – 24:22 – 27

Felix had an understanding of “the Way” (the Christian faith) but refused to make any decision. He postponed the decision with the excuse that the Roman captain would have to appear first. The governor was kind to Paul by allowing him liberty and access to his friends. Felix held another trial, this time with his teenage wife Drusilla [from the Herod family] present. Paul stood before them and spoke, not for himself, but for their own salvation. He had a threefold argument telling them why they should accept Jesus as the Messiah: Righteousness—they had to do something about past sin Temperance (self-control)—they had to overcome today’s temptations Judgment to come—they had to be prepared for tomorrow’s judgment. The message was so powerful that Felix became afraid. However, the governor had a foolish attitude, even though God had spoken to his heart. He delayed deciding for Jesus and used Paul as a “political pawn” with the hopes of getting money from him. Paul had admitted that he carried “charitable gifts” for the Jews (verse 17). Perhaps Felix thought the Apostle would bribe his way to freedom. Seeking to please the Jews, Felix left Paul in jail two more years, until Porcius Festus succeeded him.
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An example under persecution

We cannot help but admire Paul as he faced false charges from wicked men. What an example he is for us today. Paul faced facts honestly and demanded that the truth be presented. His concern was for the souls of men, not for the safety of his own life. God had promised that Paul would witness before Gentiles and kings (9:15), and this experience was a fulfillment of that promise. Paul could have gotten out of prison by giving the offering he was carrying. Are you willing to suffer for years even though there might be a quick, immoral way out of the situation?
Paul appeals to Caesar – 25:1 – 12 Imprisonment in It is now two years since the events of chapter 24. Luke did not record Paul’s Caesarea almost to activities at Caesarea since his purpose is to explain how Paul finally got from an end Jerusalem to Rome. Festus, the new governor, was an honorable man who was

unwilling to give Paul a false trial (verse 16). In a state visit to Jerusalem, Festus found “a community of Jews” (verse 24) who insisted that he do something with Paul. Even the high priest and the chief rulers lied about Paul, asking Festus to bring the prisoner to Jerusalem for trial. They wanted to attempt again to kill Paul along the way (23:12). God guided Festus to refuse the Jews’ suggestion, and in this way, He protected His servant. We must admire this pagan governor for his honesty and fairness. After a ten-day visit to the Jews in Jerusalem, Festus returned to Caesarea and held another trial for Paul. Again, the Jews came with their complaints, which they could not prove. Patiently Paul waited for God to fulfill His promise to take him to Rome. Like Joseph in the Egyptian prison, Paul was tested and tried as he waited for the Word to be fulfilled (Psalm 105:17 – 20). Festus, like Felix, wanted to please the Jews and make a good impression as the new governor (24:27). However, Paul clung to his Messiah’s promise that he would go to Rome. Years before, Jesus the risen Lord had told him not to stay in Jerusalem (22:17 – 18). God had sovereignly overruled Paul’s decisions. Paul was careful now to stay away from Jerusalem. Again, in this way God protected him and took His servant to Rome for his final years of ministry. Every Roman citizen had the right to appeal to Caesar and have his trial in Rome, and this right Paul now used.
Paul perplexes Festus - 25:13 – 22

The new governor now had a real problem on his hands. Paul was a notable prisoner and his trial involved the Jewish leaders and their whole nation. If Festus did the honest thing and released Paul, he would incur the anger of the Jews, and as a new governor, he desperately needed their goodwill. It seemed that his problem was solved with the coming of Agrippa and Bernice, two seasoned rulers and politicians. Agrippa was the son of the Agrippa of Acts 12, and Bernice was the older sister of Drusilla, Felix’s wife. The Herodian dynasty had intermarried and lived in sin for years. Festus did not give Paul’s case to Agrippa right away, but waited for the proper time. He explained the situation to his guest as though the problem were too much for him and called for experienced help. This approach undoubtedly appealed to Agrippa’s pride. Festus called the whole case a matter of “superstition” or “their own religion” (verse 19). The unsaved have no understanding of spiritual matters and see little difference between one religion and another. Festus also recognized the fact that Jesus was involved in the case: Paul said He was alive, but the Jews said He was dead. Then Festus gave the real reason for wanting Agrippa to hear Paul: the governor had to send Paul to Caesar, but he had no real accusation against him (verse 27).

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Paul faces royalty – 25:23 – 27

[Look at Appendix L to see what is happening.] With great ceremony, the royal party assembled in the judgment room on the next day. Note how Festus introduced Paul: “…you see this man (verse 24).” Yet, Paul was the noblest of all the people present at that meeting. He was the apostle of Jesus the Messiah, an ambassador in chains, a king, and a priest of Jesus the Messiah. Believers need never feel that the world has more than they do. Jesus has made us rich and given us a heavenly calling and a hope of glory. Paul’s trial was similar to the trial of Jesus in that all the people involved admitted that he was not worthy of death and should have been released. Captain Lysias admitted that he had no case against Paul (23:29); Festus here admitted that Paul had done nothing worthy of death (25:25); and even Agrippa agreed with this verdict (26:31). “How can I send a prisoner to Caesar if I have no crimes to accuse him of committing?” asked Festus, and then Agrippa gave Paul permission to speak.
Paul’s personal explanation – 26:1 – 23

Paul’s hands were bound (verse 29) so when he stretched them forth, it must have been a sermon in itself. Here was the great apostle, chained because of his faithfulness to Jesus. In Philippians 1:13, he said his chains were “in the Messiah” and were a blessing rather than a burden. Note the polite manner in which Paul addressed the king. Though Paul could not respect the man, he did respect his office (Romans 13 and 1 Peter 2:13 – 17). Agrippa was an “expert” in matters relating to the Jews, so Paul felt he would have a fair, intelligent hearing. Paul’s personal defense and explanation can be summarized with several key phrases:
“I lived as a Pharisee.” (Acts 26:4 - 11)

[See Acts 22:3, 9:1, and Philippians 3 for additional information about Paul’s early life.] So famous was Paul as a young rabbi that he could say, “all the Jews in Jerusalem” knew his life. Yet, in Philippians 3, Paul said that he considered all this position and prestige but “garbage” compared to knowing the Messiah and living for Him. In verses 6 – 8, he mentioned again the matter of resurrection. God had promised the nation a kingdom and glory. In Acts 13:27 – 37, Paul explained that the promises made to David were fulfilled through the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Had Israel received their Messiah, they would have received their kingdom. However, the Jews were sure that Jesus the Nazarene was dead (25:19). Paul stated that the Messiah’s resurrection is what gives hope to Israel. Paul went on to describe his days as a persecutor and murderer, taking the account up to the day of his conversion. Nobody else has ever experienced the amazing kind of conversion that Paul did. While engaged in his murderous plans, Paul saw the glory of God shining from the heavens. Surely, he had been in spiritual darkness up until then (2 Corinthians 4:1 - 6), but now the Son of God had been revealed to him.

“I saw a light.” (Acts 26:12 - 13)

“I heard a voice.” (Acts 26:14 - 18)

The Word of God is what convicts and converts the soul. All his life, Paul had heard the voices of the prophets from the Old Testament Scriptures. Now, he heard the audible voice of the Son of God. Paul had been persecuting Jesus, not simply His people. As members of His body, the believers were sharing in His sufferings and He in theirs. “It is hard for you to kick against the goads,” (verse 14) said Jesus, referring to the stick that farmers used to prod their cattle. Jesus was comparing Paul to a stubborn animal that would not obey. What “goads” were God using to bring Paul to Him? The death of Stephen was certainly one, for Paul never forgot it (22:17 – 20). The godly conduct of the saints he persecuted must have touched Paul’s heart. And surely, the Old Testament Scriptures spoke
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to his heart with new conviction. God used different means to bring Paul to repentance, just as He does with sinners today. Paul called Jesus “Lord,” (verse 15) and then the Savior revealed His name. Read Jesus’ commission to Paul very carefully, noting his special ministry to the Gentiles (verses 16 – 18). Compare these verses with other records in Acts of Paul’s conversion (chapters 9 and 22). Here in chapter 26, verse18 is a beautiful description of salvation.
“I was not disobedient.” (Acts 26:19 - 21) “I have obtained help that comes from God.” (Acts 26:22)

Paul saw the light and opened his heart to Jesus, and then immediately began to testify to others. Obeying God meant incurring the wrath of men, but Paul was faithful. These five phrases certainly summarize the life of Paul, and the life of any sinner who has trusted Jesus and seeks to serve Him. Paul was faithful to continue. Faithfulness to Jesus is an evidence of true salvation.

Paul’s passionate exhortation – Acts 26:24 – 32

Paul spoke the word “Gentiles” and Festus interrupted him, just as the Jews had done in the temple (22:21). Festus accused Paul of being out of his mind, just as the friends and relatives of Jesus had done to Him (Mark 3:20 – 21, 31 – 35). Festus attributed Paul’s “madness” to his great scholarship, which shows that Paul was a brilliant man and a great student. God never discredits learning unless it discredits His Word. Paul knew that Agrippa was expert in these matters, that he read and believed the prophets, and that he was acquainted with the events concerning the Messiah. The more light (understanding) a person has, the more responsible he or she is to make a right decision. Note that it is possible to have faith short of salvation. Agrippa believed the prophets, but this faith did not save him. Agrippa’s response has been variously interpreted. Some say that he was under real conviction and was about to be saved. He questioned Paul by saying, ”Are you going to persuade me to become a Christian so easily?” There is no evidence of conviction here, and Agrippa is using the word “Christian” as a term of contempt. “It will take more than this to make a Jew like me into one of those hated Christians,” is the idea behind his response. Paul used this remark as the basis for a passionate appeal in verse 29. He pleaded with the royal assembly to trust in Jesus the Messiah. There are two kinds of people—“almost believers” and “absolute believers.” Agrippa was an “almost believer”—he understood the Word, heard the truth, but refused to do anything about it. His intellect was instructed, his emotions touched, but his will was unyielding. This exchange of words closed the trial. The king and his party left the room with Festus and held a private meeting, at which all agreed that Paul was innocent. Agrippa’s words in verse 32 are a criticism of Paul’s request for a Roman trial. He is looking at the situation through the eyes of an unbeliever, not realizing that the burden of Paul’s heart was to go to Rome. This trial was God’s means of getting him there. The Jews would have killed Paul, but the Romans helped Paul fulfill God’s will.

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The Trip to Rome to stand Trial and Imprisonment (Acts 27:1 – 28:31) Be sure to consult your map [Appendix E] as you read this account of Paul’s voyage and shipwreck. In 2 Corinthians 11:25, written some three years before, Paul mentioned he had been in three shipwrecks. So, the one described in this chapter would be his fourth. Paul was willing to take any risk to carry the Gospel to the lost world. Are we willing?
The voyage to Fair Havens – Acts 27:1 – 8 Sidon, Myra, and Paul was accompanied by Luke and Fair Havens Aristarchus to Rome. How comforting it

must have been to Paul to have these men at his side. The centurion, Julius, was kind to Paul, and permitted Paul a visit to his friends at Sidon, which refreshed the apostle physically and spiritually. At Myra, they changed ships. From the very beginning, the voyage was not encouraging. “The wind did not allow us to approach it (Crete)” and they sailed slowly for many days. The ship finally arrived at Fair Havens.
Paul’s warning of danger – Acts 27:9 – 14

It was now October. This was “the fast” referred to in verse 9 - the Day of Atonement. Sailing was dangerous for several months after the fall season began, and there was some debate whether or not the ship should continue to Rome. Directed by God, Paul warned them that the voyage would be disastrous, but the centurion would not listen to him. However, “when a gentle south wind sprang up” (verse 13), it was the very wind they needed and seemed to prove how wrong Paul was. We must beware of “great opportunities” and “ideal circumstances” that seem to contradict the Word of God. We must be careful to obey God’s Word by faith, even when circumstances seem to prove us wrong.
The storm – Acts 27:15 – 26

The soft south wind soon turned into a terrible storm, as is usually the case when we disobey the Word of God. Note that Luke uses “we” in this section, indicating that all the crew and prisoners were busy trying to save the ship. First, they pulled in the little boat that was behind the ship (verse 16). Then, they put cables around the ship to help hold it together (verse 17). The next move was to pull down part of the sail, leaving enough to steady the ship (verse 17). The next day they began to lighten the ship by throwing out some of the cargo (verse 18). By the third day (verse 19), even the ship’s tackle or gear was thrown out. All of this was necessary because people did not believe the Word of God. By comparing verse 27 with verse 19, we learn that the “many days” of verse 20 amounted to eleven days. There was no light and no hope. Paul then stood up and took command, reminding the men that their plight was the result of not listening to God’s warning. However, he had more than a rebuke for them. He also had a message of hope from God (23:11). God had promised Paul that he would testify in Rome, and Paul believed God’s Word. It is faith in the Word of God that gives us hope and assurance in the storms of life. God had also told Paul that the ship would be wrecked upon a certain island, but that all the passengers and crew would be saved.

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The shipwreck – Acts 27:27 – 44)

[Look at Appendix M to see this event.] Three days later, at midnight, Paul’s words came true. The sailors heard breakers and knew they were getting near land. They took several soundings and learned that the water was indeed getting shallower and that land was near. Now a new fear arose: would the boat be dashed on the rocks and everybody killed? As a safety measure, four anchors were put out, only to be taken in later (verse 40). Some of the sailors tried to escape on the small boat that had been taken in before (verse 16), but Paul detected the plot and stopped them. Note that Paul said (verse 31) “you cannot be saved.” He was always thinking of others. For the first time in two weeks, light began to appear, and Paul encouraged the men to take some food. The effects of the storm, the necessity for constant watch, the lack of food from lightening the ship, and perhaps the desire to fast to please their gods had kept the passengers from eating. Without shame, Paul gave thanks before 275 people (verse 37) and set the example himself by eating.
The ministry at Malta – Acts 28:1 – 10

As day broke, they saw a bay with a beach on an island. They cut off the four anchors, hoisted the sail, and headed for land. The bow of the ship stuck in the mud, while the stern was beaten by the waves. Satan was again at work as the soldiers planned to kill all the prisoners (including Paul). However, the centurion believed Paul this time and told all on board to swim for land the best way they could. The last statement (verse 44) vindicates the truth of God’s promise in verses 22 and 34: “In this way, all got safely to land.” They were on the island of Malta. God spared 276 people because of one man—the Apostle Paul. How precious His saints are to Him. God was willing to spare Sodom and Gomorrah for ten righteous people (Genesis 18). He did not send His wrath until Lot and his family had safely escaped. God holds back His judgment on this wicked world because the church is still in the world. When we are taken away, His judgments will fall (2 Thessalonians 2). Satan tried to prevent Paul from getting to Rome, but God’s Word prevailed. “Not one word of all the good promises He made through his servant Moses has failed” (1 Kings 8:56). To the Greeks, “barbarians” were any people who did not speak Greek. For three months, Paul and the others stayed in Malta, and the local people treated them kindly. We can imagine how cold and wet the prisoners were when they arrived on shore. Though Paul was now the leader of the group, he still helped gather fuel for the fire. Satan, the serpent, attacked him but God protected him (Mark 16:18). Notice the reaction of the local people. Compare this to that of the people at Lystra (Acts 14:11 - 19). Beware of trusting the opinions of the crowd. The leading man on the island was Publius, who allowed Paul and his companions to lodge with him three days. Paul healed the man’s father and then cured many of the people who were diseased. God allowed Paul to perform these miracles to win the confidence of the people who, in turn, assisted Paul and his party when they left for Rome three months later (verse 10). God gave Paul “special miracles” at Ephesus (Acts 19) to witness to the Gentiles. Here at Malta, God gave Paul the power to heal. Yet, when Paul wrote from Rome two years later, he reported that Epaphroditus had been ill and had almost died (Philemon 2:25 – 30). In 2 Timothy 4:20, he stated that he had to leave Trophimus sick at Miletus. God does not always heal according to our own timing and desires.

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On the way to Rome – Acts 28:11 – 16 Syracuse, Rhegium, The party remained at Malta during November, December, and January. Then, Puteoli, Forum of taking a grain ship that had wintered on the island, they headed for Rome. The Appius, the Three “Twin Brothers” were “gods” of navigation, and their images were often carved Taverns, and Rome

on ships. At Puteoli, Paul fellowshipped with the believers for a week---probably while the ship was delayed with business.

When the word got to Rome that Paul had arrived (Puteoli was the principal port of Rome), the believers arranged to meet him. Since Paul remained at Puteoli a week, there was ample time to carry messages between the churches. “Appius Forum” is literally “the Market of Appius” and refers to a town about 64 kilometers from Rome on the famous Appian Way. Paul met one group of believers there and then, 16 kilometers further, he met another group at Three Taverns. (A Roman “tavern” was any kind of shop). Seeing these believers, to whom he had written his Roman letter about three years before, brought Paul courage.
The introduction to the Roman Jews – Acts 28:17 – 22

As in other cities, Paul wanted to begin with his own nation and seek to lead them to the risen Messiah. He began by stating his innocence and then told them the real reason for his calling them together. “The hope of Israel” in verse 20 refers to the resurrection of the Messiah, and verses 5:31, 23:6, 24:14 – 15, and 26:6 – 8 have resurrection themes. The resurrection proved that Jesus was the Messiah, and all of Israel’s blessings rested in Him. Paul preached the kingdom of God, which means the Gospel of the grace of God (verse 31). The Roman Jewish leaders had not heard any accusations against Paul, but they had heard about “the sect” of the Way, which had been criticized. Three sects are mentioned in Acts: the Sadducees (5:17), the Pharisees (15:5), and the Nazarene [Christian, the Way] (24:5 and 28:22). The Jews appointed a time to meet Paul and discuss the Word.
The Jews reject the Gospel – Acts 28:23 – 31

Paul was not in a prison, but rather in his own rented house (61 – 63 AD). [Show Appendix N for this event.] He was chained to a Roman soldier, but with liberty to have visitors. When the Jewish leaders arrived, Paul explained the Old Testament Scriptures and presented to them Jesus as the Messiah. Compare verse 23 with Luke 24:13 – 35. In these verses, Jesus used Moses and the Prophets to open the hearts and minds of those two dejected men on the road to Emmaus. There is a contrast in results, however: the Emmaus disciples believed the Word and became missionaries, while the Roman Jews for the most part rejected the Word and would not believe. For the fifth time in Israel’s history, the prophecy of Isaiah 6:9 - 10 was fulfilled (verses 26 and 27). Over 700 years before, God had told Isaiah that Israel would reject His Word and refuse His message. When the Messiah was accused of being in league with satan (Matthew 12), our Lord quoted this same prophecy as He gave the Parables of the Kingdom (Matthew 13:14 – 15). At the close of His ministry, Jesus spoke of this prophecy again (John 12:37 – 41). Paul paraphrased it in Romans 11:8 Now, Paul used it for the last time.

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God had been speaking to His people for over 700 years—what patience. Verse 28 does not mean that for the first time Paul went to the Gentiles. It simply means that, now that the Jews in Rome had been given an opportunity, and had refused, Paul would turn to the Gentiles. Paul’s hands were free of their blood. He had given them the opportunity to be saved. This had been Paul’s pattern from the very beginning (Acts 13:44 – 49). During Paul’s time as a prisoner, he freely preached and taught the Word. It was during this time that that he wrote the Letters to the Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, and maybe Hebrews. During this first Roman imprisonment, Paul actually he enjoyed a great deal of liberty. His first period at Rome lasted from A.D. 61 – 63.
After Paul’s imprisonment

We know that Paul had further journeys after he was released from the prison in Rome in 63AD. He wrote the First Letter to Timothy (67AD) and another letter to Titus (67AD). He probably visited Philippi, Colosse, and several other Asian churches during this time. He may have made his intended trip to Spain (Romans 15:24, 28). In about 100AD, Clement of Rome wrote (regarding Paul), “After preaching both in the east and west, he gained the illustrious reputation due to his faith, having taught righteousness to the whole world, and come to the extreme limit of the west, and suffered martyrdom under the prefects.” The source is: The First Letter of Clement to the Corinthians, Chapter 5. The “extreme limit of the west” very well could be Spain. He was imprisoned again in 67 – 68 AD, and this time his captivity was very difficult. As we read 2 Timothy, written at that time, we see the loneliness and suffering he endured in a Roman dungeon. He was martyred in the summer (May or June) of 68 AD, having finished his race and having kept the faith. The Roman Emperor Nero died about the same time. “For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time for my departure is close. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. In the future, there is reserved for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me on that day, and not only to me, but to all those who love His appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:6 - 8
Review

Discuss the three accounts in Acts of Paul’s conversion. Note the similarities and differences. Discuss the “goads” God used to bring Paul to Him. What “goads” did God use in your life to bring you to repentance and faith in Him? List the 5 New Testament passages which mention the fulfillment of the prophecy of Isaiah 6:9 – 10. To what group of people did Paul turn? Very specifically, to what group of people has God called you? At the conclusion of the Book of Acts, Paul was “proclaiming the Kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus the Messiah with full boldness….” Will you go and do the same? How does God want you to respond to what He has showed you?

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