Category: Acts–BibleTrekToday

Two years under house arrest!

Scripture reading for June 13th:  Acts 28

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Acts 28:30-31  “For two whole years Paul stayed there (Rome) in his own rented house and welcomed all who came to see him.  Boldly and without hindrance he preached the kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.”  

Paul made it to Rome as the Lord had promised him.  Although a prisoner of Rome in chains, he was met there by some brothers and they obviously helped him rent a house while he awaited trial before Caesar.  The court system there was also very slow, so Paul had time to visit, preach and write letters without hindrance!  God is amazing in how He supplies and uses even things we might view as a hindrance to bring about His purposes and care for His people.   Out of this time under house arrest, Paul wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon!  Also the whole Roman guard and some royal officials heard a bold proclamation of the Gospel.  What a wealth of understanding and truth came from Paul as he followed the “Way”, Jesus Christ!

Observations for over-comers:  We must never get worried over delays or circumstances that are not under our control.  God is always working out His plans and stands beside us to guide and direct His will to be accomplished.  “The Lord foils the plans of the nations; He thwarts the purposes of the peoples.  But the plans of the Lord stand firm forever, the purposes of His heart through all generations.”  (Psalm 33:10-11)

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Encouragement through breaking bread!

Scripture reading for June 10th:  Acts 27

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Acts 27:34-37 “”Now I urge you to take some food.  You need it to survive.  Not one of you will lose a single hair from his head.”  After he had said this, he took some bread and gave thanks to God in front of them all.  Then he broke it and began to eat it.  They were all encouraged and ate some food themselves.  Altogether there were 276 of us on board.”

Paul was a prisoner on a ship headed for Rome in the storm season of approaching winter.  He had given the ship’s captain some advice–a word of knowledge about the fate of the journey.  The advice was not taken and now trouble had come upon the ship and they had been storm-tossed for 14 days.  Paul again gave insight by the Spirit about how to survive.  They must all stay with the ship and they also must take some food.  Paul demonstrated his faith and courage by taking bread, giving thanks, breaking it, and eating!  This encouraged all on board and they all safely survived the breaking up of the ship!

Observations for over-comers:  Over-comers take notice the pattern of Paul: taking, giving thanks, breaking, and eating!  This was the pattern of Jesus at the Last Supper!  He did this in front of the whole company on the ship and they were encouraged!  “He spread out a cloud as a covering, and a fire to give light at night.  They asked, and he brought them quail and satisfied them with the bread of heaven.  He opened the rock, and water gushed out; like a river it flowed in the desert.”  (Psalm 105:39-41)

 

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Preaching repentance!

Scripture reading for June 9th:  Acts 26

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Acts 26:20-23  “I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds.  This why the Jews seized me in the temple courts and tried to kill me.  But I have had God’s help to this very day, and so I stand here and testify to small and great alike.  I am saying nothing beyond what the prophets and Moses said would happen–that the Christ would suffer and, as the first to rise from the dead, would proclaim light to His own people and to the Gentiles.”

Paul next stood before King Agrippa and gave his testimony of encountering Jesus.  He shared how he was compelled to share this testimony and the Gospel message of Christ’s suffering and resurrection to all who would listen, small or great! His message demanded repentance that was demonstrated by deeds. This message had so affected the Jews that they had tried to kill him and he was no imprisoned.  This message was one that Paul shared even with King Agrippa, in hopes that he would repent as well!

Observations for over-comers:  The Gospel cannot be preached without conviction of sin and a call to repent!  Repentance is always demonstrated by corresponding actions!  Over-comers preach repentance and faith in Jesus Christ!  “Against You, and You only have I sinned and done what is evil in Your sight, so that You are proved right when You speak and Justified when You judge.”  (Psalm 51:4)

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Religious bigotry!

Scripture reading for June 8th:  Acts 25

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Acts 25:1-3  “Three days after arriving in the province, Festus went up from Caesarea to Jerusalem, where the chief priest and Jewish leaders appeared before him and presented the charges against Paul.  They urgently requested Festus, as a favor to them, to have Paul transferred to Jerusalem, for they were preparing an ambush to kill him along the way.”  

Paul was imprisoned without facing trial for two years by Felix because he failed to give him a bribe!  Felix kept him in jail to appease the Jews as well.  Then a new governor took over and upon visiting Jerusalem, these same religious leaders again requested a “favor” of the governor.  They asked that Paul come to Jerusalem for a trial.  Their underlying plan was to kill Paul as he was traveling there because they knew they did not have a case!  It is interesting how wicked the “religious” can be to get what they want.  But God has His plans that will not be thwarted!

Observations for over-comers:  Believers must realize that religion and politics are tools of the devil to bring fear and worry on God’s people.  But God is in control, even though His timing is not always ours!  “But I trust in You, O Lord; I say, “You are  my God.”  My times are in your hands; deliver me from my enemies and those who pursue me.”  Let Your face shine on Your servant; save me in Your unfailing love.”  (Psalms 31:14-16)

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A follower of the Way!

Scripture reading for June 7th:  Acts 24

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Acts 24:14-16  “However, I admit that I worship the God of our Fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect.  I believe everything that agrees with the Law and the Prophets, and I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.  So I strive to keep my conscience clear before God and men.”  

Paul stood before Felix, the Roman governor in Caesarea and answered charges brought by the lawyer named Tertullus who represented the Sanhedrin.  Paul stated that he worshiped the God of the Jews and believed the Law  and the Prophets.  He admitted to serve God by following the “Way”, a name used at that time for disciples of Jesus Christ.  Followers of Jesus walked in the “Way” of their Master and lived by faith in His resurrection from the dead and the promise from the Old Testament Scriptures of a resurrection of the righteous and the wicked as taught by Jesus.  Paul was even here, following the “Way” of faith in Jesus and testifying before whoever would listen!

Observations for over-comers:  Believers don’t keep a set of religious rules, but follow a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ!  This walk of faith will often be branded by those outside the “Way” as a cult or sect! “As I watched, this horn was waging war against the saints and defeating them, until the Ancient of days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the the saints of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.”.  . .  “But the court will sit, and his power(the Anti-Christ) will be taken away and completely destroyed forever.  Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High.  His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom. . .” (Daniel 7:21-22; 26-27)

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God standing near us!

Scripture reading for June 6th:  Acts 23

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Acts 23:9-11 “There was a great uproar, and some of the teachers of the law who were Pharisees stood up and argued vigorously.  “We find nothing wrong with this man,” they said.  “What if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him?”  The dispute became so violent that the commander was afraid Paul would be torn to pieces by them.  He ordered the troops to go down and take him away from them by force and bring him into the barracks.  The following night the Lord stood near Paul and said, “Take courage!  As you have testified about Me in Jerusalem, so you must testify in Rome.”

Paul, the Apostle, found himself in the middle of a religious dispute that he had started by proclaiming that he was on trial because he believed in the resurrection from the dead.  This belief in the supernatural brought conflict between the Pharisees and Sadducees that became violent.  Troops had to rescue Paul and brought him to in their barracks.  The next night, the Lord Jesus stood near Paul and encouraged him with a word of knowledge about his mission and the need for courage!  God was in control and He would take Paul where He wanted the testimony of Jesus to be shared!

Observations for over-comers:  God is faithful to His word and the promise to never leave or forsake His people!  We can count on God standing by us, even if all others forsake us!  “For the Lord loves the just and will not forsake His faithful ones.  They will be protected forever, but the offspring of the wicked will be cut off; the righteous will inherit the land and dwell there forever.”  (Psalm 37:28-29)

 

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Assignment from Jesus!

Scripture reading for June 3rd:  Acts 22

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Acts 22:6-11  “”About noon as I came near Damascus, suddenly a bright light from heaven flashed around me.  I fell to the ground and heard a voice say to me, ‘Saul!  Saul! Why do you persecute Me?’  “‘Who are You, Lord?’ I asked.  “‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting,’ He replied.  My companions saw the light, but they did not understand the voice of Him who was speaking to me.  “‘What shall I do, Lord?’ I asked.  “‘Get up,’ the Lord said, ‘and go into Damascus.  There you will be told all that you have been assigned to do.'”

Saul had been on a mission to hunt down and bring to justice those who followed Jesus Christ.  He was on the road to Damascus when his journey was divinely interrupted by a flash of heavenly light that blinded him and got his attention.  A voice spoke to him that revealed that it was Jesus of Nazareth!  Jesus told Paul that his persecution of Christians was really persecution of Him!  As Paul processed this, Paul asked Jesus what to do next.  Jesus told him to go into Damascus and he would receive an assignment concerning what God wanted him to do.   As he got up, his companions led him by the hand into Damascus.

Observations for over-comers:  God knows how to get our attention and has assignments for each of His disciples.  We must humbly ask the Lord what to do next and He will show us!  “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.  He makes me lie down in green pastures, He leads me beside quiet waters, He restores my soul.  He guides me in paths of righteousness, for His names’s sake.”  (Psalm 23:1-3)

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Word of knowledge!

Scripture reading for June 2nd:  Acts 21

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Acts 21:10-11  “After we had been there a number of days, a prophet named Agabus came down from Judea.  Coming over to us, he took Paul’s belt, tied his own hands and feet with it and said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘In this way the Jews of Jerusalem will bind the owner of this belt and will hand him over to the Gentiles.'”

Paul received a prophetic word of knowledge concerning what would happen to him when he arrived in Jerusalem. This word was not meant to frighten Paul or the church, but to strengthen them all for the persecution that would surely come to Paul and also to them in due time.  The initial reaction of the church was to try and persuade Paul to avoid the journey to Jerusalem.  But Paul had already heard from God about this trip.  He informed them that he was ready to go and even to die for Christ if this was God’s will.

Observations for over-comers:  God uses His people to bring words of knowledge and prophetic utterances to strengthen and encourage believers.  Over-comers listen to what God is saying and press on to do His will!  “Today I have made you a fortified city, an iron pillar and a bronze wall to stand against the whole land—against the kings of Judah, its officials, its priests and the people of the land.  They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you,” declares the Lord.”  (Jeremiah 1:18-19)

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Overseers of the blood-bought Church!

Scripture reading for June 1st:  Acts 20

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Acts 20:26-28  “Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men.  For I have not hesitated to proclaim the whole will of God.  Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers.  Be shepherds of the church of God, which He bought with His own blood.”  

As he visited them again, Paul warned the elders and pastors that he had raised up to lead the new church at Ephesus about their need to be watchful and shepherd the flock of God.  Paul told them that “savage wolves” would arise from their own number and try to divide the flock. (Acts 20:29-30)  Paul had preached fully the whole counsel of God and had properly equipped them with all the truth.  The Holy Spirit had anointed and placed each person in the leadership role that they occupied.  Paul reminded them that it was God’s church that they were to watch over–purchased with Christ’s own blood!

Observations for over-comers:  Watchfulness is needed to live successfully against the hosts of darkness arrayed against us.  Stay under godly pastors and know God’s word!  “See, the Sovereign Lord comes with power, and His arm rules for Him.  See, His reward is with Him, and His recompense accompanies Him.  He tends His flock like a Shepherd; He gathers the lambs in His arms and carries them close to His heart; He gently leads those that have young.”  (Isaiah 40:10-11)

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Receiving the Holy Spirit!

Scripture reading for May 31st:  Acts 19

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Acts 19:1-2,5-7  “While Apollos was at Corinth, Paul took the road through the interior and arrived at Ephesus.  There he found some disciples and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”  They answered, “No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit.” . . .”On hearing this, they were baptized into the name of the Lord Jesus.  When Paul placed his hands on them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they spoke in tongues and prophesied.  There were about twelve men in all.” 

Nearly twenty years after Pentecost, Paul encountered some disciples of John who had believed in Jesus.   They had only received John’s baptism of repentance so Paul baptized them in the name of Jesus Christ and then placed his hands on them.  As he did this, the Holy Spirit fell on them and they began to speak in tongues and prophesy in the same manner as the original day of Pentecost.  Later in this chapter, Paul preached boldly and a revival of repentance broke out where many came and confessed their evil deeds and burned their occult and sorcery paraphernalia. Power was needed to confront the darkness in that city!

Observations for over-comers:  Over-comers are filled with the Holy Spirit and empowered to confront the forces of evil.  They seek to help other believers walk in God’s power and anointing as well.  “You have exalted my horn like that of a wild ox;  fine oils have been poured upon me.  My eyes have seen the defeat of my adversaries; my ears have heard the rout of my wicked foes.”  (Psalm 92:10-11)

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