ACTS 21 Acts 21:10 And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.Acts 21:11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.
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Acts 21 videos-
https://youtu.be/wObmN7404hs Can you see them? [Saw some dolphins at North Beach]
ON VIDEO- .Paul’s travels .Many ports .Phillip the evangelist .Had 4 unwed daughters- who prophesied .The strange prophet Agabus appears again .Luke the historian .James .The Holy family .The feds intervene! .Paul speaks Greek [or Aramaic] and Hebrew [next chapter] .James confronts Paul- again .Paul writes about it in his letter to the Galatians .The Nazarite vow- they burned their hair at the end! .Customs passed away .Salvation by Grace and faith in Jesus Christ is the issue
I’m sitting here on Saturday reviewing this teaching video I made last week. It’s funny in a way- because I made this video on a day where I made lots of other ones https://ccoutreach87.com/2017/08/25/thursday-night/ .
Yes- this was the day I wound up walking from Rockport to Corpus. On the video I talked about Paul’s travels- Port cities- etc. Yes- I walked thru Port cities later in the day. And of course I did teach this chapter on the video as well. I’ll add my past teaching below.
Few notes- The famous port of Tyre was conquered by Alexander the Great a few hundred years before Paul passed thru. We also read of Agabus- the strange prophet who used signs- parables- as God spoke thru him [Grabbing Paul’s belt in this chapter].
We also saw him earlier in this study- prophesying of a famine to come [Acts 11: 27-28]. And I mentioned the Nazarite vow- which Paul joined himself to some brothers in this chapter- I think he sort of compromised- The vow is found in Numbers 6:1-21.
The main issue in this chapter is Paul’s message of grace. James- the lead elder at the Jerusalem church- had many believers in the congregation who also kept [tried to] the law.
These were the judaizers who went behind Paul’s back and taught the gentile converts that they too had to keep the law in order to be saved. We read about this issue earlier in Acts [chapters 12-15].
At this stage Paul gained a reputation among these Jewish law keepers as being against Moses and the customs. So when Paul showed up at Jerusalem James got him to compromise- by having Paul join into the Nazarite vow- sort of saying ‘see- I too keep the customs of the law’.
So the issue is about grace and faith- and the uprising against Paul- came from those Jewish believers- who quote ‘kept the law’- more below.
PAST POSTS [ Past teaching I did that relates to this post- ACTS 21- verses below]
ACTS 21- Paul goes to Tyre and the saints prophesy for him not to go to Jerusalem. He makes it to Caesarea and Phillip has 4 daughters who also prophesy. Agabus shows up, he is a prophet, and he takes Paul’s garment and does one of those weird prophetic actions and wraps it around him and says ‘the Lord says whoever owns this garment will be bound like this at Jerusalem’. A few things, many good men teach that the word for ‘Prophecy’ [to prophesy] is simple preaching. Now, true simple preaching of the gospel is a function of the prophetic. Paul says in Corinthians that whoever says the name of Jesus is speaking mysteries that only the Spirit knows. So preaching does fall into this category. But a simple reading of the text shows you that Agabus, who functioned in the office of a Prophet, was doing more than simple preaching. There obviously was a predictive element to what he did. Agabus is an ‘ascension gift Prophet’. In Ephesians Paul teaches that after Jesus ascended he gave gifts unto men. Some of these gifts are Prophets. Why would Jesus establish an entire class of New Testament Prophets, and take them away as soon as the New Testament was complete? Now Paul makes it to Jerusalem despite the warnings. Right away James and the Elders call him to a meeting. They rejoice over all the Lord is doing with Paul’s gentile outreach, but they tell him ‘look, we have many Jews. They are all believing in Messiah, and they all keep the law’. There is a fundamental rift between James and Paul. Most preachers do not say or admit this, they feel to admit it would violate the Canon of scripture. First, read my commentary on Hebrews 11 on this site. Second, I believe we are simply seeing the historic development of truth as we progress thru Acts. Peter, James and Paul [later we read Johns epistles] never contradict each other as far as the overall message of the Cross is concerned. But God does allow us to peer into the different insights that these key 1st century elders were seeing. So James might really be seeing things from a different vantage point than Paul. Paul might not fully see James reasoning. They are both being used of God, their writings will harmonize. But they don’t necessarily see it yet! James pressures Paul to take a vow with some brothers to basically show he isn’t teaching Jews against the law. Paul does it. The city finds out Paul is in town and they drag him out of the Temple and they beat the guy! The local police come and rescue Paul. As he is being carried away he speaks Greek to the soldiers, they are surprised he speaks Greek. He then addresses the Jews and speaks Hebrew. Paul used positioning and all the influence he had in any area [even language] to make his point. In the next chapter we will read his defense. I want to close with us seeing that Paul was being accused of teaching Jews against Moses and the law and Temple. Was he? Actually as Paul’s understanding of the gospel of grace increases, he does teach this. If you believe Paul wrote Hebrews [the letter] then you see it there. But Paul initially was only preaching grace to the gentiles. James even says ‘show the people that the rumors about you are wrong, show them that you too are keeping the law like all Jews’ and basically Paul gives in by agreeing to join in the vow with the brothers. Some times we read Acts [as well as the bible] as if it were a single book written at one sitting. When you do it like this you don’t leave room for the development and growth of the characters themselves. God is allowing Peter to preach in a more limited way in the first few chapters, after Peter hears from Stephen and Paul he seems to leave more room for believing and being justified. He is learning and growing as the story progresses. The same with James. His epistle is obviously a different view point from Paul. Do they contradict? No. But some commentators do not honestly look at the different angles. James will actually say ‘see how a man is justified by his works, and not faith only’. Now, he does say ‘faith without works is dead’. And many good teachers say ‘all James was saying was you need active faith at the time of conversion’ [James isn’t speaking about the ‘time of conversion’!] Well actually , he was saying more. Was he teaching justification by works? No, at least not in the way most theologians see ‘justification’. But James was seeing justification thru the lens of the future result of the believer actually becoming just! [What some believers call sanctification] He was seeing the Genesis 22 justification of Abraham offering Isaac, not the Genesis 15 account that Paul emphasizes. So James is teaching ‘justification by works’ that is, Gods grace that legally justified you when you believed, actually changes you to the point where you do good works, and at that point God continues to say ‘good job son- you are doing what’s right’ [another word for doing what’s just/right- justification!] Now, I can’t explain the whole thing here, the point is James is dealing with Jewish believers and he is seeing things from a different timeline than Paul. The strife between the early Jewish believers and Paul is intense. Ultimately the Temple will be destroyed and the future of the Christian church will be shaped by Paul’s theology. James writes a great letter! But Paul will carry the day. NOTE- I see James saying ‘see how a man is justified by works’ meaning the future act of God being pleased with the changed life of the believer. We see ‘see how a man is justified by works’ and try to make that fit ‘see how a man is initially saved/born again’ but James, in my view, is not speaking of the initial act of justification [which is solely by faith] when he says ‘see how a man is justified by works, and not by faith only’ James is working on a different timeline!
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ACTS LINKS Acts 1