Over the last few weeks, the journey through the Bible took me through the study of Acts 19-21 as Paul continued to spread Christianity. In the greatest commercial center called Ephesus, the disciples show their faith in Jesus by being baptized into His name. They then received the gift of the Holy Spirit. Extraordinary miracles occurred as Paul received power to heal people and after two years, plans began for his next steps to spread God’s Word.
Paul faced opposition by those who made idols because they felt the Way taught by Paul was a threat to their lucrative business. The thought was that once people were saved, they would get rid of their silver images. It’s not that much different today, when someone has a good idea that could change many lives for the better, there are those that see this as a threat to their income and fight to keep the status quo.
From Ephesus, Paul set out for Macedonia and ultimately to Greece. There were plots out to kill him so he decided to go back through Macedonia and over to Troas. Through it all, God was there to protect and give Paul the energy needed to carry out the mission. As we go through the challenges that life throws our way, there are days when we get tired, confused, or kind of down but if we keep going and make some progress for that day, we can wake up the next day feeling revived with the momentum needed to get back up to full speed.
Through it all, Paul gives us a vivid picture of a good example to follow in service for Jesus Christ. Though Paul is a good example to follow, he was not perfect. Our perfect example to follow is Jesus Christ. When we put Jesus back to where He belongs as head of our churches, then our country, other nations, and the world will get back together too.
As soon as Paul and his party set foot in Tyre, they immediately set out to seek a Bible teaching church. As we live out each day, we can take this lesson of actively seeking out other Christians at the place where we work, in our neighborhood, or at the school we attend. With the Internet, we can also seek out other Christian blogs and take every opportunity to learn from each other.
Paul then goes to Jerusalem where a conflict still existed with the Jewish leaders about salvation by grace alone or by keeping the Law of Moses. He tried to work things out but it didn’t work out. One thing led to another and a mob gathered against Paul. If not for a Roman commander stepping in, Paul would have been beaten to death.
Just as in the times of Paul, many may disagree about Christianity. Some may see the Christian faith as being too strict and intolerant. Others may see the Christian faith as being the most adaptable movement there is, allowing individuals to accommodate other’s attitudes and convictions without compromising principle.
This day, let us remember that Jesus died for all. Let us not judge but edify. The objective of any Bible study should be to not only learn the main principles of the Word but to keep the Word in our thoughts in order to apply them in our life. I will continue this objective with a study over the next few weeks of Acts 22-25. The aim is to plant the seeds of faith, hope, and love in order to yield fruit that nourishes others.
I invite you to join me over the next few weeks as I step ahead using the questions below to inspire thoughts and ideas. God will give us the upper hand by producing in us the heart of a champion.
What is the content and basis of Paul’s defense? What can you learn from this defense about giving a testimony? How does the crowd respond to Paul’s speech?
How do the Pharisees and Sadducees differ theologically? What special encouragement does God give Paul at this time? In what times of need have you been encouraged by God?
How does God rescue Paul from the guerrilla attempt to kill him? What does this incident reveal about God’s work in the world? What is the basis of your confidence amidst turmoil and unrest?
What are the accusations against Paul (see verses 2-5)? How does Paul answer the charges against him? What do you think are the main reason for the charges being brought out against Paul?
What kind of person is Festus? What type of influence is Paul having on authorities? Can you think of instances in present times when people have been falsely accused because of their stand for the Lord?
The above reading plan will be used as I share over the next few posts. It’s important to have a plan. I’m thankful that Jesus is God’s plan for us and by accepting Him as Savior; we have taken the steps necessary to make this day with Him amazing! At this link: God’s Plan for Us, is a post about accepting God’s plan or reaffirming our “YES” for Christ.
With God, we can get through anything, we can patiently grind it out during difficulties or give Him credit when the impossible is made possible. Beyond that, we can celebrate because of the victory we will always have with Him.
Feel free to respond with a short note or a comment about any of the questions above. Also, I welcome any other thoughts or ideas, favorite inspirational videos, photos, or favorite Bible verses. Just add them to the comments or to a Facebook page I’ve set up at this link: This Day with God.
Resources and Supplementary Helps Used in Posts
Adeney, Carol. This Morning with God. Downer Grove Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1978
First United Methodist Waco Podcast