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Acts 17 – 18

Acts 17

Paul preaches the Gospel of Salvation by Jesus Christ in Thessalonica.  I am emphasizing that the Gospel that was preached was about Salvation and the way into the Kingdom; not palliatives about how wonderful the Kingdom of God will be. 

Acts 17:1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: 17:2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, 17:3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.

Again the words of Christ are proven true

Matthew 10:34   Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword.

10:35 For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 10:36 And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household.

10:37 He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.

Brethren, many love their corporate entities and idols of men more than they love Jesus Christ.  They will do whatever the corporation or their idols say, regardless of what the scriptures say.

Acts 17:4 And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few. 17:5 But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.

Paul turned the world upside down by preaching Jesus Christ as the ONLY Mediator between humanity and God the Father in Heaven; and that God in heaven was the ONLY God.  This undercut the authority of the Roman Emperor as a god, and it undercut the authority of the Rabbins as Mosaic mediators and authorities BETWEEN men and GOD!

Brethren, do not allow anyone to insert himself between you and the Great God!  As  many false elders do today!

Do NOT let anyone steal your crown by coming between you and God the Father.  Follow men ONLY as they follow Jesus Christ in living by every Word of God, and test all men by the standard of the whole Word of God; regardless of their claims of authority.

Remember the commendable first love of the Ephesians; and reject false apostles for love of the Word of God!

Revelation 2:1   Unto the angel of the church of Ephesus write; These things saith he that holdeth the seven stars in his right hand, who walketh in the midst of the seven golden candlesticks;  2:2 I know thy works, and thy labour, and thy patience, and how thou canst not bear them which are evil: and thou hast tried them which say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them liars:

Anyone who claims to be an apostle and tries to come between the brethren and God, and wants people to follow them away from their zeal for God’s Word is a liar and a false apostle.  Brethren, today’s Ekklesia rejects much scripture to maintain their false traditions.  They reject Nehemiah and Moses as they call the Sabbath holy while routinely polluting it; and they reject Luke to maintain their false traditions about the Passover!

Acts 17:6 And when they found them [the apostles, Paul]  not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; 17:7 Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus.

The city leaders were afraid when they heard the false accusations, and taking bail of Jason, released him and his friends.

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

Paul and Silas go to Berea

17:10 And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews.

Brethren, let us be like Bereans and also search the scriptures, proving or disproving with a repentant mind open to the Holy Scriptures and open to the lead of God’s Spirit.  Let us have the attitude of: teach me, show me, the truth; and strengthen me to DO YOUR WILL; regardless of what any man says.

17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.

If we reject following false traditions and the false teachings of men like the Bereans did; turning to the truth of God and following the lead of God’s Spirit, to live by every Word of God:  We have found the KEY to salvation and a place in the resurrection to spirit!

17:12 Therefore many of them believed; also of honourable women which were Greeks, and of men, not a few.

Men then came from Thessalonica to try and stir up the people of Berea against Paul and the Gospel of Salvation

17:13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people.

Paul escaped to Athens while Silas and Timotheus remained in Berea for a time

17:14 And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus abode there still. 17:15 And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him [them] with all speed, they departed.

At Athens Paul again went to the Synagogues to preach Christ to the Jews many of who disputed with him

17:16 Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. 17:17 Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him.

Then after hearing of the preaching in the synagogues, the Epicureans, and the Stoics [who originated the theory of evolution] sent for Paul to also hear his teachings.

17:18 Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. 17:19 And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? 17:20 For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. 17:21 (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.)

Paul then preached the Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ at their invitation; using their altar to an UNKNOWN GOD as his starting point

17:22 Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars’ hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. 17:23 For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you.

17:24 God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; 17:25 Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; 17:26 And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; 17:27 That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: 17:28 For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.

Paul condemns idolatry and false gods.  Remember that we can make an idol out of anything, even out of our corporate churches, if we begin to exalt them and their teachings above the Word of God the Father in Heaven.  Not all idols are silver and gold; anything that separates us from Word of God the Father and Jesus Christ has become our idol.

The day of God’s correction and the day of the Lord are now extremely close at hand; let us therefore repent of making idols of men, false traditions and corporate entities or social circles of friends; and turn to a passionate love of every Word of God!

17:29 Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold, or silver, or stone, graven by art and man’s device. 17:30 And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: 17:31 Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he [God the Father] hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him [Christ] from the dead.

17:32 And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter.

17:33 So Paul departed from among them.

It is time for all of the called out to turn to God the Father and Jesus Christ in sincere repentance to remove every sin and appearance of spiritual uncleanness.  It is time to exalt our Beloved espoused Husband; for the time of our judgment, as to being  rejected or chosen as a part of the bride: is NOW!

Let us run like the deer to our Beloved, and cleave to him with all the passionate love of the Shulamite, DOING HIS WILL and PLEASING HIM IN ALL THINGS!

17:34 Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them.

 

Acts 18

Paul finds Aquilla and Priscilla at Corinth and they work together as tent makers.

Acts 18:1 After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; 18:2 And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. 18:3 And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought [worked together]: for by their occupation they were tentmakers.

Paul reasoned in the scriptures every Sabbath in the synagogues.

This being Greece, those would have included many Hellenized Jews, ancestors of the modern Rabbins.  Remember the big differences between the Mosaic Pharisees in Judea and the Hellenized Jews in the dispersion is that the Hellenizers interpreted the scriptures using the logic of Aristotle.  

Paul was continually condemned and persecuted by these Hellenizers throughout his ministry; ultimately the teachings of Paul and the apostles resulted in the Hellenized Rabbinic third century changes to the Passover and Pentecost dates and the development of the modern Rabbinic calendar [not finalized until 1178 A.D.] to fight the idea that Jesus Christ was Messiah.

18:4 And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.

When Silas and Timotheus joined Paul;  Paul was encouraged and began to preach Christ even more strongly. The Jews then began to strongly oppose him and to blaspheme Christ as the apostate Rabbins do to this day.

18:5 And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.

Paul then declared that he had warned them like a good watchman, and now they are personally responsible for their rejection of the truth.

18:6 And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean; from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles.

Nevertheless many of the Jews did repent as well as many Gentiles

18:7 And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man’s house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue. 18:8 And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized.

Paul sees a vision encouraging him to preach the Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ.

18:9 Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: 18:10 For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city.

Paul then preached for 18 months with the support of Crispus the chief elder of the synagogue.

18:11 And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them.

Then when an apparently new ruler came, a group rose up to bring Paul to the courts for teaching Christ. 

Junius Annaeus Gallio, the Roman proconsul of Achaia A.D. 53.

18:12 And when Gallio was [became]  the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat, 18:13 Saying, This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law.

The magistrate refused to rule in the religious matters of the Jews

18:14 And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you: 18:15 But if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such matters. 18:16 And he drave them from the judgment seat.

18:17 Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes [either a different name for Crispus or a new ruler], the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat [obviously Sosthenes also allowed Paul to preach]. And Gallio cared for none of those things.

Sosthenes appears to have accompanied Paul when Paul left Corinth.

I Corinthians 1:1 Paul, called to be an apostle of Jesus Christ through the will of God, and Sosthenes our brother [sent a letter to the brethren at Corinth], 1:2 Unto the church of God

Paul had taken a Nazarite vow.  (Num 6:1–21).

Acts 18:18 And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow.

After a short time in Ephesus, Paul went up to Jerusalem to keep the Feast

18:19 And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. 18:20 When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not; 18:21 But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus.

Paul then preached to the brethren throughout his journey

18:22 And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch. 18:23 And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples.

A man brought to repentance by John Baptist called Apollos, was traveling and evangelizing about John Baptist’s call to repentance and baptism.

18:24 And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. 18:25 This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John.

Aquila and Priscilla being taught by Paul, fully explained Christ and the Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ to Apollos

18:26 And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly.

The brethren at Ephesus wrote a letter commending Apollos to the other brethren in Achaia.

Neither Paul nor Apollos were ordained by any man; no not by James or even by Peter himself.  They were called of God and proven by their fruits of godliness and absolute loyalty to God the Father in heaven and to Jesus Christ.

Many who have been ordained by men, are loyal to men and not to God the Father or to Jesus Christ.  Ordination by men is no guarantee of godliness.  Remember to test even those calling themselves apostles and prophets for their complete loyalty to all the Holy Scriptures, God the Father in heaven and Jesus Christ.

Anyone who calls the Sabbath holy; and then permits people to pollute it:  IS A FALSE TEACHER AND IS NOT OF GOD!

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

3 Comments

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  1. I have wondered while reading through the book of Acts how many of the ministry among the corporate fellowships would have the nerve to evangelize a totally secular group (as did Paul at Mars Hill) or go into, perhaps, a corporate church of God or even a Protestant church and seek to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ to those people. That was the kind of “mission impossible” which Paul undertook willingly.

    When he was rejected, even beaten or jailed, it didn’t matter. Paul just kept on preaching Jesus Christ’s message of godly repentance as the only way to enter into the kingdom of God and every once in a while people responded.

    Okay, I understand that they were called to that evangelistic ministry, but as we have seen so far, many brethren actively assisted their efforts and their efforts bore the fruits of godly repentance. They did this through fervent prayers (which were answered by God), providing meeting places (which became places not dependent on the disbelieving Jews who ran the synagogues, and shared what worldly goods they had with those who had need.

    Since we know that God does not change (Heb 13:8) we ought to be asking ourselves why God isn’t doing such works today among us?

    Tim McCaulley
    Jacksonville FL

  2. I have similar thoughts Tim, and, apart from James, yearn for men of such calibre to stand up and preach/teach the Truth of the gospel as was delivered, led by the Holy Spirit and without any fear. Also, there is a common theme mentioned from the visitors of the Blog about the state of loneliness and the longing/desire to be with like-minded brethren to worship with on the Sabbath, the High Days, and especially during the Festivals. Yet, when James made FOT arrangements in the past, a bare few responded. Yes, some are scattered too far to meet regularly on the weekly Sabbaths, (however, there may be brethren in your immediate Community or nearby that one Is not aware of), sick, and others have financial difficulties, (which can be resolved if those that are able assist), but for the rest, I cannot under why there is no zeal, to step out from under the shadows, the fence-sitting, and a wait-and-see attitude.

    Are there any brave men, elders, deacon, and other helpers like those exemplified in the above Scriptures willing to stand up?!

  3. We know Jesus sent his disciples out without money and basic provisions. Obviously they lacked nothing because they were doing God’s work, and the Father miraculously provided for them. Later, Jesus told Peter to catch a fish in order to get the money for the temple tax from its mouth. God provides for his servants, and as was mentioned earlier, God does not change.

    In the past, to solicit greater donations, certain men have claimed (on many occasions) that unless people give very generously, God’s work will not be done. Such a mindset does not place much faith in God. Of course, maybe the problem, as has been previously alluded, is that some men who serve in the COG’s have become slaves of men, rather than slaves of Christ (1 Cor 7:23). As it says in Rom 6, you are the slave of the one you obey.

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