ACTS 28- [Conclusion of the Act’s study]
Isaiah 25:7 And he will destroy in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and the vail that is spread over all nations.
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Acts 28 videos-
ON VIDEO- .Stranded on the island .Melita [Malta] founded by the Phoenicians around 1000 BC .Paul gets bitten by a snake .The ‘natives’ think he is being judged .Then when he doesn’t fall down sick and die- .They think he is a ‘god’ [Fickle] .Where did these ‘natives’ get the concept of justice? [natural law theory is true] .Paul functions in the gift of healing .The ship he takes to Rome has the names ‘Castor and Pollux’- who were they? .The mythical sons of Zeus .Paul at Rome .He makes his case to the Jews .Some believe- some don’t Note- when we study church history we realize there was already a church [believers] at Rome before Paul got there .So we often teach that Paul was not responsible for the church at Rome .Yet here we see he did introduce some Roman Jews to Jesus- so he certainly played a role .Paul quotes from Isaiah 6- which in a way sums up the last half of the book of Acts [see my teaching below] .Nero After thoughts- .Would you go to hell to save the world? .A talk I had with a homeless friend .Do we live with a self preservation mentality? .Are our churches centered around this mentality? .Your purpose is to fulfil the mission- even if it does not ‘save’ you [The Cross] .A polarized nation- our times .Yet- their is a redeemer- Jesus God’s own Son
TEACHING- As we end the Acts study- I’ll add my past teaching below- and just mention a few things. The last few chapters was the lead up to the climax- Paul was going to Rome to appeal his case to Nero-
His accusers have been on his trail the whole time- And as he arrives in Rome- he calls together the Jews to present his case first to them. He figured they heard all the rumors about him- and wanted to make a defense.
As it turned out- they were not aware of all the stuff he was going thru. So he presents the gospel to them- some believe- others do not- Then he quotes one passage out of Isaiah 6- Acts 28:25 And when they agreed not among themselves, they departed, after that Paul had spoken one word, Well spake the Holy Ghost by Esaias the prophet unto our fathers, Acts 28:26 Saying, Go unto this people, and say, Hearing ye shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing ye shall see, and not perceive: Acts 28:27 For the heart of this people is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes have they closed; lest they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. Acts 28:28 Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. It’s interesting- because the whole chapter of Isaiah 6 [posted below in the verses section] sort of sums up Paul’s whole experience in the last half of the book of Acts.
He has been going from city to city- desperately trying to persuade his fellow Jews that Jesus is indeed the Christ- the anointed one- the promise that they have been waiting for. And in this excitement of the reality that they were living in the time when the promise made to their father’s thru the prophets- has now been fulfilled-
Yet- he is dumbfounded that his fellow Jewish brothers refuse to believe it! And that sums up the chapter of Isaiah 6- God called the prophet to go and preach to his fellow Jews-
Yet it was thru this preaching of Isaiah that their hearts would be hardened- and they would not believe- Isaiah even asks God how long will this go on- God says until he makes a full end. Isaiah 6:9 And he said, Go, and tell this people, Hear ye indeed, but understand not; and see ye indeed, but perceive not. Isaiah 6:10 Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and understand with their heart, and convert, and be healed. Isaiah 6:11 Then said I, Lord, how long? And he answered, Until the cities be wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land be utterly desolate, Yet- there is still the promise of the remnant- which Paul himself speaks about in his letter to the Romans- Romans 11:5 Even so then at this present time also there is a remnant according to the election of grace. In Context | Full Chapter | Other Translations
Paul even quotes out of Isaiah again- Romans 9:27 Esaias also crieth concerning Israel, Though the number of the children of Israel be as the sand of the sea, a remnant shall be saved: In Context | Full Chapter | Other Translations
And God also speaks about the remnant to Isaiah- Isaiah 6:13 But yet in it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance thereof. Meaning there would be a period of time in the history of God’s dealings with the Jewish people- and during this period of time- there will always be a small group of Jews who believe. And in the fullness of time- they will embrace Jesus as their messiah as a whole nation of people.
There are many verses on this- but that is indeed what the bible teaches. So the process- in the frustration of a Paul- or Isaiah- or any one carrying the message to people who initially do not receive it-
Is the promise that there are indeed some who are listening- some who are seeing what’s going on- and this remnant will have an impact on others as well. The preaching of the gospel- the setting forth of the message of Christ- in the day we live in- it’s not always embraced at the start.
Sure- some have turned the message into a self help type thing- others have focused the message on material gain- https://ccoutreach87.com/house-of-prayer-or-den-of-thieves/ These messages do gain a following- because they appeal to the base nature of man-
But the message of the Gospel- and the teachings of Jesus- are not about popularity-
The message of the Cross is about sacrificing the temporary things of this life- to fulfill a greater purpose in God. Paul will go on to preach the gospel- the chapter [Acts 28] ends with Paul still waiting to appear before Nero.
Yet later on in the letters of Paul we see that he more than likely was released from jail- and possibly even made it all the way to Spain [There is a tradition that says this- from the writings of Clement] Paul sat in Rome from ad 60 to 62-
Then was released- did some more missionary work- then probably rearrested and executed around ad 67. Nero set fire to Rome in ad 64- he blamed it on the Christians- and a great persecution of the saints took place.
Paul finished his mission- he preached the gospel of Jesus and went thru much difficulty in his life- We continue to study his letters today- and the message he spoke- and wrote about- is still going strong. Yes- I guess you could say the small remnant has now become a multitude of people- too many to number- Revelation 7:9 After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands; Revelation 7:10 And cried with a loud voice, saying, Salvation to our God which sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb. Revelation 7:11 And all the angels stood round about the throne, and about the elders and the four beasts, and fell before the throne on their faces, and worshipped God, Revelation 7:12 Saying, Amen: Blessing, and glory, and wisdom, and thanksgiving, and honour, and power, and might, be unto our God for ever and ever. Amen.
PAST POSTS- [ My past teaching that relates- Verses below]
ACTS 28- After the shipwreck they wind up on an island called Melita. Paul meets the barbarous people and they welcome him. During a bon fire type thing, Paul is collecting wood and a poisonous snake bites him. The people think ‘surely this man is a murderer and ‘vengeance’ got him!’ Notice the fact that moral/natural law was imbedded in the consciences of these savage like people. Where in the world did they come up with such an idea of right and wrong and justice? The atheists say ‘well, all people simply come up with some type of code to live by. This is really not proof for moral law’. The Christian answers ‘so how come you never find some isolated tribe who rewards murder and punishes goodness’! Now, I realize there are distant tribes who practice violent stuff. The point is in all of these societies, there is a basic right and wrong that is honored. If the tribe is violent, they still don’t reward the cowardly killing of one of their own kids! These savages had the built in conscience of moral law that Paul teaches in Romans. Now after Paul doesn’t get sick or die from the bite, they ‘change their minds’ and say he is a god! People are fickle. Paul heals the father of the chief of the island, a small healing revival breaks out. Paul demonstrates the power of the gospel in word and deed. Even today, in many 3rd world countries you see healings and miraculous signs along with the preaching of the gospel. They launch off and land in a few more spots and finally make it to Rome! Paul calls the Jewish leaders and makes his familiar defense. He lists the accusations against him and defends himself. He thought the whole Jewish world knew about the gossip! The leaders tell him ‘we haven’t heard any stuff about you, but tell us more about this sect’. Leaders, don’t make the mistake of defending yourself over personal stuff from the pulpit! Often time’s people don’t know what you are talking about. Paul does set up a day and teaches the Jews in Rome from morning till evening showing them all the scriptures that testify of Jesus in the Law of Moses and the prophets. He ‘testified of the Kingdom of God and Christ’ [they go hand in hand!] Some Jews believe, others don’t. Paul then quotes the most quoted verse from the Old Testament in the New Testament ‘Isaiah was right about you! Having eyes you can’t see, ears you can’t hear…’ Luke ends the chapter [and book] with Paul living 2 years in a rented room and preaching the kingdom of God to all who will listen. Paul finished his days infecting the capitol city of the empire with the gospel! Church history tells us that Paul [and Peter] were martyred under Nero’s persecution. John [the apostle] writes about the beast making war against the saints and killing them. No wonder why the early church called Nero ‘the beast’. Paul writes one of his best letters to the Roman saints and the church will forever have an ‘eternal witness’ in the city of Rome. Paul got his wish.
(767) ACTS CONCLUSION- As we finish our study in Acts, I want to review a few things. The ‘church’ [ecclesia] as seen in Acts are without a doubt ‘organic’ this term describes the community of people in the various locations who believed the message of the Messiah. These people were not establishing ‘church meetings at the church on Sunday’ to compete with the Jewish meetings at the synagogues on Saturday. The transition from the old law into the new covenant was not only one of a change in message [law versus grace] but also a transition from shadows to reality. All the ways of worship and ‘liturgical’ form were part of the old law. The temple and priest and altar were important types and symbols of what was to come. But in the New Testament communities these ideas of physical worship changed. The actual praise of Gods people and doing good deeds will become the sacrifices that God is well pleased with [New Testament]. The Lords meal was actually a meal! The gathering on the first day of the week became a good tradition in memory of Christ’s resurrection. But as time went on many well meaning believers would return to the symbols and incorporate them into their worship. The church would be seen as the ‘church house’ the altar would be seen as a real place upon which the ‘bloodless sacrifice’ [Eucharist] would be re offered again for the sins of the world. The priest would be seen as having special powers given to him by Jesus, that during the mass the host becomes Jesus flesh and blood and as the people ‘eat’ him they are partaking, literally, of Jesus flesh and blood. Now, are all these believers wrong? Should we see the development of sacramental theology as pagan? I personally don’t think so. I prefer to view the changes that took place in the church as part of a process of Gods people grappling with doctrines and beliefs while at the same time struggling to maintain unity as the centuries progressed [I am not making excuses for wrong doctrine, I think well meaning church fathers grasped wrong ideas out of a fear of loosing their identity. The idea of a strong magesterium [teaching authority] gave room for wrong doctrines to become firmly entrenched in the collective mind of the early church]. For the first 1000 years of Christianity the people of God were primarily seen as Catholic. In 1054 the official split between eastern and western Christianity will take place. Another 500 years until the Catholic Church split again . The host of churches that came out of the Protestant Reformation are too innumerable to mention. Should we view all of these groups as deceived religionists? Of course not. Do we find a pattern in Acts that would allow us to trace ‘the true group’ and lay claim to being the most authentic? I don’t believe so. But as all the people of God strive for the unity that we actually posses in Christ, we have the great resource of the church fathers, the wisdom and insights of the reformers. The heritage of the outgrowth of the restorationist movements. The excitement of the Puritans as they launched out to found a new world free from religious persecution. If it weren’t for the strong institutional church we wouldn’t have had the opportunity to have even had a Luther [Wittenberg] Calvin [first Paris then Geneva] or Zwingli [Zurich]! Or the ‘pre reformers’ Wycliffe, Huss and Knox. These men were products of Catholic higher learning! It was the reality of Catholic institutional Christianity that allowed for these men to be trumpets of truth in their day! The university cities that they taught in as Catholic priests allowed for their influence to spread far and wide. In each generation of believers you have had Gods people progress so far and leave us with great treasures that were intended to be passed on to future generations If we severe ourselves from historic Christianity, then we lose the great gains that have been made in the centuries gone by! The book of Acts shows us the freedom of the people of God. ‘Where 2 or more are together in my name, I am in the midst’ isn’t some description of ‘local church’. As in if we copy the formulas of what happened in Acts [break bread, prayer, etc.] then you ‘have a church’. Jesus promise to be with us when we are together is the act of brotherhood. Surely we saw Jesus going along with the people of God all thru out Acts. The Spirit of God that indwelt them in chapter 2 was the promise that he would be with them. He legitimized them! Not some institution [‘local church’] that they were to start! So today all the people of God are striving to find a closer identity with each other as fellow believers in the Lord. I believe the book of Acts gives us a beautiful picture of the church in her infancy stage. I also believe the growth seen as we read Paul’s letters to these churches indicates the heart of God for his people to remain in grace. Paul warns the churches to not fall into the legalism of observing days and regulations and legalistic requirements. He wants them to live simply, free from sin and to be the people of God in society. Some branches of Christianity took hold of the strong ‘we are pilgrims’ view [which is true to a degree] and would separate from society. Not realizing we are pilgrims and strangers to the worlds system, but our Father is God of heaven and earth! We are here to impact this planet! So let’s run with the exciting message and revolutionary mindset that the early church possessed. They weren’t in this thing for what they could get out of it, they were really laying their lives down for the gospel. They were sharing their stuff with each other. They were loving God and their fellow man in ways that were uncommon for their time. It wasn’t only what they said that allowed them to ‘turn their world upside down’ it was who they were, the People of God.