Painting by Abraham Hunter –

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Saturday, November 20, 2010

Weekly Recap #46 (Part 1) - Acts 16-28

Let's finish up the Book of Acts!!

On Paul's second missionary journey, he met Timothy whose mother was a Jewish believer, but his father, A Greek.  Paul wanted Timothy to join him and Silas on their journey.
Lydia, a merchant of expensive purple  cloth, who worshiped God, accepted the Good News and was baptized at Philippi.

Paul commanded a demon to come out of a slave girl who was a fortune teller and earned a lot of money for her masters.  Since here master's hopes of wealth were shattered, they  grabbed Paul and Silas and brought them before the authorities.  They were stripped and severely beaten and thrown into prison, and their feet placed in stocks.  Around midnight, they were praying and singing hymns to God and the other prisoners were listening.  Suddenly, there was a massive earthquake.  The prison doors were opened and the chains fell off every prisoner.  When the jailer awoke and saw the doors all opened, he assumed the prisoners had all escaped, so he crew his sword to kill himself...but Paul stopped him.  
The jailer asked....
Acts 16:30....Sirs, what must I do to be saved?

Their answer....
Acts 16:31 - Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved.

The jailer cared for them and washed their wounds and he and all his household were baptized. 
This story reminded me of the song 
"Prayer Bells of Heaven"!

Paul went to Corinth where he met a Jew named Aquila and his wife, Priscilla.  Paul lived and worked with them  because they were tent makers, just like Paul.

 Paul returned to Antioch and he began his third missionary journey from there.

God gave Paul the power to perform unusual miracles.  When handkerchiefs or aprons that had merely touched his skin were placed on sick people, they were healed of their diseases and evil spirits came out of them.

Philip had 4 unmarried daughters who had the gift of prophecy.

All Jerusalem was in an uproar  concerning some of Paul's teachings, so he was grabbed and dragged out of the Temple and was beaten and arrested.  He asked the commander if he could speak to the crowd.  He explained to them that he was a Jew and how God had spoken to him on the road to Damascus. 
Paul's words....
Acts 22:3....I became very zealous to honor God in everything I did.
Paul explained how he had persecuted to the point of death followers of Jesus.  When he told the crowd that the Lord told him he would send him far away to the Gentiles....when he said the word "Gentiles"....the people went wild, shouting that Paul wasn't fit to live.  (because the Jews looked down on the Gentiles)
Paul was going to be lashed with whips....but he told the officer that he was a Roman citizen and he hadn't even had a trial....so he was released to stand trial.  The high council was made up of both Sadducees and Pharisees....so Paul shouted that he was a Pharisee and believed in the resurrection of the dead.  This divided the council....because the Sadducees said there was no resurrection.  The next morning a group of more than 40 Jews got together and planned to kill Paul.  Paul's nephew, his sister's son, heard of the plan and went to the fortress and told Paul.  He had his nephew sent to the commander to tell him about the plot to take his life.  Paul was then sent to Governor Felix in Caesarea so his accusers could take their charges to him,  Paul was accused of being a "troublemaker" who constantly stirred up riots among Jews.  As Paul spoke in his defense, he denied the charges saying there was no proof.  He admitted he followed "The Way"....which his accusers called a cult.  
Paul's words....
Acts 24:16 - I always try to maintain a clear conscience before God and all people.
Paul remained in prison for 2 years....until Felix was succeeded by Festus.  Three days after he  became governor, he met leading priests and other Jewish leaders in Jerusalem to hear their accusations against Paul.  About 10 days later, Festus returned to Caesarea and ordered Paul to be brought in .  Paul appealed his case to Caesar.  
King Agrippa and his sister arrived to pay their respects to Festus....who told the king all about Paul's case.  King Agrippa asked to meet Paul, so the next day he and his sister arrived at the auditorium and Paul was brought in.  Festus explained he didn't know what charges to specify when he sent  Paul to Caesar.  King Agrippa told Paul he could speak in his defense and he explained he was on  trial because of his HOPE in the fulfillment of God's promise (Jesus).  As Paul explained how God had spoken to him on the Damascus Road....Festus called him insane.  
King Agrippa asked Paul...
Acts 26:28 - Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian so quickly?
Paul told him his prayer was that  both King Agrippa and everyone there would come to know God.
King Agrippa told Festus that Paul had done nothing to deserve death, or going to prison....and could have been set free if he hadn't appealed to Caesar.
Publius.  This man's father was ill and Paul prayed and laid hands on him and he was healed.  All the other sick on the island came and were healed, also.  
Three months after the ship wreck, they set sail on another ship for Rome.  Three days after arriving in Rome, Paul called together local Jewish leaders and told them about Jesus, telling them he wanted them to know that "this salvation from God has also been offered to the Gentiles"....and they will accept it.

For the next two years, Paul lived in Rome at his own expense....boldly  claiming the Kingdom of God....and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ!!!

What an amazing example Paul can be for us today.  As mean as he was before his encounter with God on the road to Damascus....accepting and believing that Jesus is the Son of God....completely changed Paul's life!!!

In His Most Precious Love....and with mine!!!

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Gracious words are a honeycomb,
sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.
Proverbs 16:24