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Posts Tagged ‘gospel’

Verse 27: “For it seems to me unreasonable to send a prisoner and not to specify the charges against him.”

Some time back, I recall reading an interesting tidbit of an article in Uncle John’s Biggest Ever Bathroom Reader, on page 402 of the “Odd Elvis Quiz” regarding Elvis Presley. It seems that Elvis was once approached about performing at a party at the White House hosted by President Richard Nixon. It is considered quite an honor to perform at the White House. However, when Colonel Tom Parker, Elvis’s manager, heard that Elvis wouldn’t be paid for performing (that is the caveat; performers enjoy the honor and prestige, but no monetary pay), he reportedly growled, “Elvis doesn’t play for free.” Thus the deal fell through, and Elvis was never invited back. Thus Elvis missed his chance of performing for the President of the United States.

Some time back, I mentioned how Paul, in his captivity, would have extraordinary opportunities to share the Gospel with individuals he might not otherwise have had the chance to (God works in mysterious ways). Already he had spoken with 2 governors, and now he had the chance to address King Agrippa, who came to visit Governor Festus. Festus had to send some official charge of Paul’s offense when he sent him to Rome, but was having trouble expressing just what the charge was. Part of the ceremony of hosting King Agrippa was for Festus to have Paul lay his case out before the king as well. Agrippa expressed that he would like to hear the case.

Opportunity knocks through the divine Hand of God on the door. And in this case, Paul wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass without preaching the Good News of Jesus Christ! Today, as you go about your way through life, Christian, pray that God would show you those “open doors” that He wants you to knock upon.

Something to think about.

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Verses 1-2: “”Brethren and fathers, hear my defense before you now.” And when they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, they kept all the more silent.”

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me,
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

As Christians, we all claim sentiments to the meaning of this old hymn. Paul, probably more so than anybody, lived this hymn almost verbatim. Here he is now, laying out his defense, by telling the mob where he came from, how he persecuted Christians, how he was saved, and how he lived and preached for Christ now. Just the story, the witness, of Paul is incredible. Maybe the mob might have been calmed had he left it at that…but Paul must tell them all the story, of how God has called him to spread the Gospel to not just the Jews, but the Gentiles, too. In the next few verses, this is where circumstances take an interesting turn.

More to come.

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Verses 25-26: “He called them together with the workers of similar occupation, and said: “Men, you know that we have our prosperity by this trade. Moreover you see and hear that not only at Ephesus, but throughout almost all Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away many people, saying that they are not gods which are made with hands.”

It never fails: I’ve heard people complain when their favorite sports teams, pro or college, raise ticket prices. Seems like some prices never go back down, but always go up! Fans get enraged, film themselves burning the jersey of their team, or appear on news segments up in arms about it. However, this doesn’t seem to bother the sports teams…they make their money anyway! Many times I’ve heard that the only way to get their attention is to “hit them in the pocketbook” and refuse to buy tickets. When such organized efforts rarely happen, the owners of these teams finally sit up and take notice.

Paul, with his preaching and spreading of the Gospel in Ephesus and elsewhere, had attracted a new opposition. A man named Demetrius, a silversmith by trade, had organized a group of his fellow craftsmen together. Why? Because thanks to the spread of Christianity, the pagan worship of Diana, who had temples in Ephesus, was threatened. No temples, no silver worship articles that were made by…guess who? Yep, the local craftsmen. They were being “hit in the pocketbook”.

A quote by Mel Brooks from Blazing Saddles sums it up pretty well (and I’m referring to the edited version of the movie via ClearPlay! http://www.clearplay.org ) When he, as the bumbling Gov. William J. LePetomane, heard the request by the citizens of Rock Ridge demanding a new sheriff to combat the violence thrust upon their town, the governor declares to his cabinet members, “Gentlemen, we got to protect our phoney-baloney jobs! We gotta do something!” (paraphrased). That’s the bottom line of what Demetrius was talking about: ignoring the pagan worship, they were worried that their income was going to be severely impacted!

So what happened next? That’s a continuation…for another day!

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Verse 27: “Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.”

1 of 2 things always happens when you get back from a trip (sometimes even both things):

1. Everyone is always asking how your trip was: what did you see? who did you meet? Anything interesting happen? got any pictures? Everybody wants a report of what you encountered.
2. Even if no one asks, you’re still anxious to tell folks what happened…the good times, the interesting things, even bad things that happened, oh, and don’t forget the photos! (In my day, we had to endure the carousel of…photo slides…from trips!)

So that was also in common with Paul and Barnabas’s first missionary trip. Boy, what a trip! Even where Paul and Barnabas had encountered resistance (Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch) they still swung back by to strengthen the disciples there and help set up elders in each church. They went through Derbe, Pisidia, Pamphylia, Perga, Attalia, and then back home. If Paul and Barnabas had carried suitcases like you and I are used to, they’d be covered in stickers of all the places they visited (at least, that’s what we used to do in my day.) In this case, both things happened when they returned to Antioch: the church wanted to hear how their journey went, and Paul and Barnabas were eager to give their report.

This wouldn’t be the first “road trip” for these two, but it left a lasting impression on the spread of the Gospel in the early years of Christianity.

So…do you have a report to give about witnessing for Jesus? Or is it time to get busy?

Something to think about.

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Verse 20: “For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.”

You Are There was a television program based on a radio show on CBS that ran from 1953 to 1957. It starred then correspondent Walter Cronkite hosting reenactments of major world events, complete with reports and interviews being broadcast as the event “happened”. The program’s closing lines were memorable: “What sort of a day was it? A day like all days, filled with those events that alter and illuminate our times…and you were there.” (information here gathered from The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows 1946-Present 4th edition, copyright 1988, by Tim Brooks and Earle Marsh.)

The program apparently showed famous events as they were just happening, showing the viewer the action as if it were happening NOW…and that they saw it and heard it with their own senses.

Peter and John didn’t have to have a reenactment. Not only did they walk with Jesus as His disciples, there WERE there, doing miracles in His name, and preaching the Good News. They couldn’t help but tell what they had seen and heard, even in the face of persecution from the authorities. Praise God for their boldness that they even outright TOLD them that.

May we be as bold today when we share the Gospel of Jesus Christ, that “we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard”.

Something to think about.

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verse 21: “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”

“What a perfect day”; I think all of us may have heard that phrase at one time or another. Usually, someone will say it when “everything is going his/her way” or he/she didn’t have to confront a problem or negative situation the whole day. Sometimes it is said concerning the weather; it’s similar to the last 2 days for me, when we have had a cold front come through and remove most of the oppressive humidity and heat that is common in July around here. The day felt like it was autumn (sigh, unfortunately it won’t last, but it was nice to have for a couple of days!)

This verse sums up the gospel message, well, perfectly! God loves us so much that He sent His Son, Jesus, to be the perfect sacrifice for our sinful lives. If anyone never deserved the cross, it was Jesus! Yet He willingly took the penalty and agony of all the sins of the world, so that you and I can become right in the eyes of God. I’ve known Jesus as my Lord and Savior for over 20 years now….and I still marvel that God loves me so much. No wonder that the Good News is still called the greatest story ever told!

Have a blessed day in Him!

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