Disclaimer: In posting these thoughts, questions, and ramblings I feel it wise to give a disclaimer. There are many people that are far more knowledgeable and gifted in expositing the Word of God than I. These thoughts are not intended to be in-depth analysis of the text. They are thoughts. They are questions. They are ramblings. It will be a display of what God is teaching me through His Word. In depth study will be done at a different time. It is also good to know the author's goal. 1) To be accountable in reading through Scripture. 2) To share these thoughts with others. Possibly for someone else's edification; possibly for my own. 3) To glorify God through His Word. 4) To spur one another on in taking up Scripture and reading! So without further ado, here are today's readings:
Today I plan on getting caught up on Acts. I will go to Chapter 14, now and perhaps be able to do 15 and 16 a little later. As it looks I will be caught up by next Tuesday if I keep following the schedule I have set. Regardless of whether or not I am caught up, my goal is to experience God.
verse 4, "those that were scattered went about preaching the word". Even persecution does not stop the preaching of the word; in fact is begins the spread of the gospel to the nations.
verse 6....what preacher would not want this: "And the crowds with one accord paid attention to what was being said". What was so arresting of their attention? Was it simply (simply is not nearly a big enough word) the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in power, accompanying His preaching? Is it the preaching that is accompanied with signs and wonders? Why does it seem that God accompanied His Word with such outward signs in the early church?
What happens with a manifestation of God's glory and kingdom? "So there was much joy in that city". But I'm certain that is not always the case.
verse 13, Luke seems to be careful as does John in displaying "signs-faith" as inferior to "saving-faith". Those that only believe the gospel because it's "cool" or seems to have awesome benefits are usually not legit converts. We must be careful how we preach the gospel. But this story is proof that even biblical Holy Spirit inspired preaching will sometimes result in false converts like Simon.
I've always been a little confused about the Holy Spirit not coming upon the believers in Samaria until Peter and John laid hands on them.
Even though I look at Simon's request to buy the Holy Spirit as utterly stupid, I must confess I've tried the same. I don't try to buy His favor and "anointing" with money but sometimes by my personal performance. Therefore, when this happens I must heed the apostles warning and repent and pray that God might forgive the sinful intents of my heart.
I wonder how sincere Simon is in verse 24. First of all I see that he himself doesn't pray. But that does not necessarily mean its not sincere. But it does seem that his fear is that the punishment might not come on him. He seems to have no desire to change. Nor does he see his sin for what it is.
"And the Spirit said to Philip"...I can only think of a handful of times when "The Spirit said to Mike" or at least in such a way that I heard and listened. Why is that?
It's awesome seeing how the Spirit leads men to salvation in the glorious Christ. He truly does seek to always exalt Jesus. If I were constantly aware of this desire of His I am certain I would be more bold in preaching the gospel to the nations. I must remember (as "duh" as it is) that the Godhead is more passionate about spreading His glory and exalting Jesus than I am.
If baptism is but a symbol and witness to the church and the world, why was the eunuch baptized with only he and Philip?
Encounters with the Lord always knock us off our horse.
You get the idea that God was not going to take no in the salvation of Saul. I don't see much of a "choice" here, as far as "choice" is termed in modern language.
That would have been tough for Ananias to obey the voice of God. I'd have to make sure it was God, before I followed something like that.
As soon as Paul got saved he began proclaiming Jesus in the synagogues. It appears that it is okay for new converts to "preach Jesus" but not necessarily to be pastors. (1 Tim. 3:6)
Every time I read verse 25, I remember Dr. Morgan's cheesy joke. "At this point Paul is literally a basket case".
Can you imagine the greeting of Paul and these believers in Jerusalem? That had to be scary, but once found out that he was legit it had to be a great cause for rejoicing.
How could you not believe the gospel when it is accompanied with the raising of the dead? (See Luke 16:31)
"He stared at him in terror". Apparently he was scared half to death, but so arrested he could not turn his head.
"What God has made clean, do not call common." If I understood this verse I would not slander those that God has made clean, nor would I desire that which He has not cleaned.
This happened three times...why does it always take Peter 3 times to get something? I feel as if some times it takes me 300.
I wonder if Peter was tempted with much pride and self-glorification when Cornelius began to worship him.
verse 28...is that really unlawful or had Peter stretched the Law?
All the prophets bear witness...Amen!
Oh, that the Holy Spirit might fall on the preaching of the Word, even tonight in New London!
I am really confused with the practice of baptism in Acts. This is a dangerous statement but it does not seem very Southern Baptist.
Ugh, legalism. (verse 2-3) Yes! Rescued from legalism (verse 18)
Verse 21 is phrased strange to me. "A great number who believed turned to the Lord". That sounds redundant. Is believing and turning to the Lord separate? Is it possible to believe without turning to the Lord?
"saw the grace of God". That's a pretty weighty statement. I wonder if people "see the grace of God" at our church.
It's pretty neat that as this man named Agabus had a prophesy the people listened and began preparing for the famine.
I wonder if an angel striking you in the side hurts.
Really weird question--did Peter sleep naked (or at least almost naked)? I know they didn't have pj's back in the day. Does the angel here stop Peter from dashing into the street naked (or at least almost so)?
I bet Peter was a heavy sleeper. He's already passed a couple of guards and is yet to "come to himself". He still thinks he's having a vision.
It's so funny that they were praying for Peter and when he showed up he got a door joyously slammed in his face and the men thought it was an angel instead of Peter. I am so ridiculous sometimes. I pray for things and then when God brings them to fruition I am surprised.
I bet a guy named Blastus has an amazing beard and huge muscles.
If I were struck with worms every time I took the glory instead of giving it to the Lord, I would have been dead a million times over. Thank you Lord for your grace!
They seem to have always started in the Jewish synagogues.
What amazing power was attended to Paul's preaching. And what bold words he spoke with. That is such a contrast from much preaching today. Certainly, we must be convinced that these "harsh" of words are from the Lord and not our fleshly hearts.
verse 13, is this John Mark leaving them?
It is certainly significant that many of the Acts sermons begin with a historical narrative of the OT. Is this how we should preach to those knowledgeable or should we do it with everyone? Does Paul do this in Acts 17?
"freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses". What amazing relief if you feel the weight of the Law.
verse 42. Again, what preacher would not love for the people to beg them to hear the word again!
"continue in the grace of God". There is something really significant about this statement and a sharp contrast to our quickly leading people to "pray the prayer".
verse 44. Almost the whole city was there. Bring that to New London, Lord! But through your grace we pray for different results. May the people not revile the Word as the Jews did here.
"We are turning to the Gentiles". Would this have been accompanied with an ouch to the heart, or with a prideful good riddance? We know the Gentile response. Woohoo! God's Word is given to us now. "as many as were appointed to eternal life believed". (That sounds like election to me).
Filled with joy and the Holy Spirit. Bring that to us, dear Jesus!
"poisoned their mind against the brothers". What a great statement.
"who bore witness to the word of his grace". How did he bore witness? By granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. Is this still necessary? How does God bear witness now? Is this just because the apostles where establishing the spread of the gospel, and now we are not granted this?
I keep seeing things like, "they continued to preach the gospel". That is so inspiring to me. May I always, "continue to preach the gospel" no matter where God takes me.
A true preacher of the gospel will "tear his clothes" whenever men worship them instead of the Triune God! May I always do the same.
What a sharp contrast. One moment Paul is being worshipped and they have to restrain people from offering sacrifices to them...the next moment Paul is getting stoned and dragged out of the city.
Thought to be dead one day, preaching the gospel the next!
Appointed elders. Notice the plurality. Even at the churches inception.