Showing posts with label apostles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label apostles. Show all posts


Love & Hatred - 31 Days in Acts

This is Day 24 of our 31 Days in Acts.

We have reached chapter 14  having seen at the end of the previous chapter that Barnabas & Paul had to leave Antioch (in Pisidia) because of the harsh opposition of the Jews

50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and prominent women and the chief men of the city, raised up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. 51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them, and came to Iconium.

Hence we start now with the two Apostles having arrived in Iconium.

verses 1 - 7

They again followed their previous pattern of going to the synagogue and here they preached to both Jews and Greeks so new believers came from both the Jews and the Gentiles.
The Bible tells us that signs and wonders were experienced as God worked through Barnabas & Paul.

The other Jews were not happy and they turned the other Gentiles against Barnabas & Paul.

Eventually the city was divided in two; those for the Apostles and those against and when the people got so angry that they wanted to stone them they fled to Lystra & Derbe.

Love from some but hatred from others.

The focus should have been on God but here the devil wanted the focus away from the 
preaching of the Word and unto the Apostles.

The focus should always be on God and the preaching of the Word.

verses 8 - 18

In Lystra they saw a man who had been crippled from birth and could not walk and in a similar situation to that of Peter & John in chapter 3 Day 5  What Happened at the Gate?  and as in that previous time God healed the man.

The outcome of this however was not the same as in chapter 3 because here the people decided that Barnabas & Paul were gods and called them Zeus & Hermes.  This leads to an attempt to make sacrifices to the Apostles which they could not allow to happen.  Attempting to explain that they are men and human like all the rest of the city they also had the opportunity to talk about God as the living God and the creator of the world.  Yet again there is the opportunity and the Word of God is preached.

At this point the people of Lystra seemed to love the Apostles.

verses 19 - 20

Going from being treated as gods we now see that the people wanted to kill Paul. 

They dragged him outside the city, stoned him and left him to die.  
The disciples came and helped him and the next day Paul and Barnabas left Lystra to go to Derbe.

But why would that happen?

Simply because of the influence of people who came to Lystra from Iconium to bring hatred into that city. 

verses 21 - 28

We know they stayed in Derbe for a while because they preached the gospel and made disciples.  These were not just converts but people they would have spent time with teaching them more about God and the Christian life.

Now here is where they differ from most of us.  We probably would have said it was too dangerous to go back to the cities where people wanted to kill us but this chapter ends with Paul & Barnabas doing exactly that going back to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch (Pisidia) and encouraging the disciples there by teaching how they must keep faithful even through hard times.  Then spending time in prayer & fasting (setting a good example) and raising up leadership for the churches in these cities by appointing elders.

They eventually returned to Antioch (Syria) from where they had been sent out in chapter 13 Day 23  A Specific Job for the Kingdom but had not bypassed the dangerous places or the difficult circumstances along the way back.

Always encouragers and good examples to the new believers.

We should always be encouragers and good examples to new believers.

Hatred drove people away and will do the same today.

However Love can still prevail and must do today also because as a people of God we should reflect His love and not the evil or hatred that originates with the devil and never with God.

I'm reading and writing about the Book of Acts so please come back and join me for some more notes & thoughts from other chapters. 

You can find all my posts on the Book of Acts at


What's The Outcome? - 31 Days n Acts

Today in our 11th Day in Acts I'm continuing on from yesterday's post in chapter 5.

We are now looking at verses 22 to the end of the chapter

In the first section verses 22-32 it is discovered that Peter & John are not in the prison but no-one saw them leave it even though the guards were still in place.

The reaction of the leaders was concern about the final outcome.

My reaction would have been so different.
I would have been focusing on the question How did they get out? wanting to know the solution to the mystery.

Someone then has news that the two Apostles are teaching in the Temple; the very thing that they had been told not to do.
When the soldiers go to bring them to the leaders the soldiers are afraid of the reaction of the people.

Now the council know where they have been but still they don’t ask about the means of getting there.
They must have accepted the fact that it was another miracle but didn't want to draw more attention to it.

Then council fear that they may be seen as guilty for the death of Jesus because Peter and John are continuing to talk about him.

This doesn’t deter Peter and John from the truth because they go straight ahead to accusing the council of killing Jesus.  No fear with Peter and John.
They simply keep on talking about Jesus.

No Fear! Just talking about Jesus.

The council now react with anger and want to kill Peter & John.

Throughout this episode the council have had no interest in God's dealings with the Apostles, they are more concerned with what is going to happen and obviously how they will be affected.

Two completely different viewpoints.

  • One with people only thinking about themselves
  • One with people still bringing the focus on Jesus

This brings us to the second section verses 33-42

A sensible voice is required at this stage and it comes from one of the council so not all of them were consumed with anger.

Gameliel  says:

“Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men. 36 For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing. 37 After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed him were dispersed. 38 And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; 39 but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.”

They take his advice which is the most sensible thing they could do so that they are not now adding to a possible bad outcome for themselves.

Of course they could never see far enough to know that the result or outcome of this event is still having great effect in the world today and if they could have they would probably view this as a very bad outcome for them.

1 Event - 2 Different Viewpoints.

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Who Does The Miracles? - 31 Days in Acts

The Book of Acts has the full title of the Acts of the Apostles but sometime I feel that can be a misleading title and may draw our attention to the Apostles so that we may give them the credit for the miraculous acts we read of in this Book.

The book itself shows us that the Holy Spirit was the instigator of everything and the Apostles were the people through whom the Holy Spirit worked.

After reading the first section of Acts chapter 5 in yesterday's post where we see the work of the Holy Spirit in uncovering sin today we cover a section which focuses us back to how Christian life should be.

 Acts 5 v 12-16

Reminds us of previous references of one accord, one heart or one soul together as in

Acts 1: 14;    Acts 2:1;    Acts 4:32-36

12 And through the hands of the apostles many signs and wonders were done among the people. And they were all with one accord in Solomon’s Porch. 13 Yet none of the rest dared join them, but the people esteemed them highly. 14 And believers were increasingly added to the Lord, multitudes of both men and women, 15 so that they brought the sick out into the streets and laid them on beds and couches, that at least the shadow of Peter passing by might fall on some of them. 16 Also a multitude gathered from the surrounding cities to Jerusalem, bringing sick people and those who were tormented by unclean spirits, and they were all healed.

Solomon's Porch was a certain part of the Temple. 
Although we know that in the Temple there were different parts for the women and the men when we read of the people being saved here there is no difference between men and women.

Believers added in multitudes also reminds us of other places with similar mentions such as
Acts 4 v 32

and now adding miracles of healings and from yesterday we can remember

Who did the healing? 
The healings were not done by the Apostles who were men.
The healings were done by God.
The Apostles were used of God by the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit was obviously evident in the Apostles and Peter was used in Healings.
It was not Peter who did the healing here but God the Holy Spirit.

It is good to be reminded of the Work of the Holy Spirit.

Acts 5 v 17-21

This is a passage that is not preached about as often as those similar passages in Acts 16 with Paul and Silas and Acts 12 with Peter.

17 Then the high priest rose up, and all those who were with him (which is the sect of the Sadducees), and they were filled with indignation, 18 and laid their hands on the apostles and put them in the common prison. 19 But at night an angel of the Lord opened the prison doors and brought them out, and said, 20 “Go, stand in the temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.”
21 And when they heard that, they entered the temple early in the morning and taught. But the high priest and those with him came and called the council together, with all the elders of the children of Israel, and sent to the prison to have them brought.

Who arrested them? 
High Priest & Sadducees

Why?   Indignation!
Such a strange reason to arrest someone.

Who brought them out? 
An Angel

What were they to do?   
Stand in the Temple and speak to the people all the words of this life.

What are the words of this life?
Words of the resurrection of Jesus because these are words of life in Jesus.

Another instance where we can remember a similar incident when Peter & John went to pray in the Temple is in Acts ch 3 which resulted in the healing of the lame man and speaking to all the people about the resurrection of Jesus which leads to salvation of souls.

It is good to be reminded of the importance of the Work of the Holy Spirit and the important work Of the Apostles but we must also be constantly reminded of the important work believers are expected to do to spread the Gospel.

Yes it is important for us to preach the Gospel which includes the powerful message of the resurrection of Jesus and the salvation offered to all.

It is good to be reminded of our role as believers.

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Because of a Lie - 31 Days in Acts

Day 9 of our 31 Days in Acts brings us to ch. 5 v. 1-11

Another very well-known passage about the Apostles.

I think most people would say it is well-known about Ananias & Sapphira but here I would like to look at the role of the Apostles and the work of the Holy Spirit through them.

In the end of ch. 4 in verse 36 you can read about a man who sold some land and gave the money to the Apostles for the use of the believers

36 And Joses, who was also named Barnabas by the apostles (which is translated Son of Encouragement), a Levite of the country of Cyprus, 37 having land, sold it, and brought the money and laid it at the apostles’ feet.

and in the start of ch. 5 we have another story about people selling something and giving the money to the Apostles.
But here in contrast to the end of ch 4 we have a completely different outcome.

A husband and wife bring money to the Apostles.  We are not told that this couple were ordered to sell anything and give all of their money to the Apostles, we are simply told that they did sell a possession as did others which is obvious from the end of ch. 4.

At first Ananias & Sapphira may appear to have done the same thing as Joses until we see the story in detail.

Ananias comes to the Apostles and gives them some of the money v. 1-2

Peter does not ask him him why he has not brought all of the money.
Instead he asks him why he has lied to God v. 3-4

The important part being that he lied.

Here we see the Gift of Knowledge in Peter through the Holy Spirit.

The Holy Spirit is God and cannot look on sin.   Habakkuk 1 v 13

The death of Ananias is the consequence of his sin.
Not a decision made and carried out by the Apostles but by God. v5-6

Then we have the words of his wife proving they had decided to lie and because she had been in on this agreement to lie to the Apostles she too suffered the same consequences.  v 7-10

3 Things to Note:

  • The couple lie to the Apostles 
  • The Holy Spirit brings the truth through Peter
  • God punishes the couple

First there is a lie but God always knows the truth because God is truth

 John 17 v 3
"This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent."

Then there are the words brought by the Holy Spirit but spoken out by Peter & these are the truth because God's word is truth 

John 17 v 17
"Your word is truth." 

Then there are the consequences of the sin of untruth.

The role of Apostle was very important here
not to accept the money and deal with that 
but to know the truth through God's Holy Spirit 
and be a spokesperson for God.

Sin, Truth & Consequences

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