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Posts Tagged ‘Jesus Christ’

Verses 29-31: “For I know this, that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Also from among yourselves men will rise up, speaking perverse things, to draw away the disciples after themselves. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease to warn everyone night and day with tears.”

“The concept behind Airwolf was a supersonic armed helicopter that could be disguised as a civilian vehicle — “a wolf in sheep’s clothing”. Andrew Probert designed the Airwolf uniform insignia patch worn by the flight crew members, a snarling bat-winged wolf’s head wearing a sheepskin.” This statement is taken from the Wikipedia page on the TV series Airwolf (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airwolf). On the TV show, the Airwolf super-copter looked like civilian aircraft, but it was nothing of the sort. Armed with offensive and defensive weaponry, incredible speed and maneuverability, Airwolf was more than a match for anything in the air. Part of its attack capability was the look of it; it didn’t look threatening (well, not with its weapons systems housed), thus it could blend in and attack with devastating effectiveness.

Paul spoke of equal ferocity of attack against the church, both within and without. He spoke of those who would attack the church like “savage wolves” trying to tear down what the Lord had built up through the apostle. He also spoke of men from within “will rise up, speaking perverse things”. You would have to be an isolated hermit not to see how pervasive perversion has infiltrated our media and communications nowadays in this century. You can’t even turn on any telecommunications device without being almost bombarded by it.

The apostle gave two commands: watch and remember. The church’s work on earth is not done; I’d almost scarce say it’s only begun, and time grows short.

Something to think about.

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Verse 7: “Now on the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul, ready to depart the next day, spoke to them and continued his message until midnight.”

A good many years back, I received word from my old college friends that our beloved campus minister, who I befriended during my time with the Baptist Student Union, was dying of cancer. His wife and kids put together a “reunion” of sorts, so that all the kids whom Clete had mentored and ministered to, could come and visit with him…probably for the last time. My wife and I came and were one of the first in line to speak with Clete. This man had helped guide me a lot when I was in college, and it was bittersweet to see him, and yet see him in pain. He still smiled and listened as I proudly introduced my wife to him and told him about our family and life since college. I could’ve spent hours talking to him…however, there was a mile-long line of old friends wanting to have the same time with Clete! He touched a lot of students’ lives in college. Sheepishly, we stepped back to let the next folks visit with him, as we took time to talk to Nelda and their kids. He went on to Heaven not too long after that visit.

Acts is starting to draw to a close here. Paul is spending time with the disciples. Whether they asked him to preach long, or he chose to, or both, Paul taught and spoke with the gathered disciples well into the night (and to think, we complain nowadays when the pastor goes past noon in his preaching!) Later on in this chapter, we’ll see where he gathers the Ephesian elders to speak with them in person one last time…knowing that he may not see them again. He knows he must go to Rome, and is unafraid that his life may be forfeit in this endeavor.

The memory of campus minister Clete and the parallel to Paul speaking with some folks for the last time struck a chord in my head to make me stop and think. Don’t assume that you are guaranteed tomorrow. Get to work today in the work of Jesus Christ in your life. Reach out to others: family, friends, those you see every day, or those you haven’t seen in a while. God may use you to deliver a timely message to someone who needs to hear it…and might not hear it tomorrow.

Have a blessed day in the Lord!

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Verse 5: “When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.”

Years ago, Marvel Comics published a comic series entitled What If ___? and then would fill in the blank. The first story was entitled “What if Spider-Man had joined the Fantastic Four?” In the original storyline, Spider-Man tried to join, but was rejected by the FF when he was told they didn’t get paid salaries (Spidey was trying to find a way to earn more money to support him and Aunt May). In this “what if” story, the FF does accept Spider-Man, and the story unfolds following the new Fantastic Five. The ending is not a happy one, as history takes a different path for the participants. Serving as the narrator of these alternate reality stories was Uatu, a member of the alien race of Watchers, who monitor and observe reality…but are not supposed to interfere. Uatu framed the storyline by using a device in his home on the moon that allowed him to see alternate realities, and how certain actions had different consequences.

Having just read about Apollos in the previous chapter, and how Aquila and Priscilla mentored him in understanding the full Gospel message, we are reminded that, up to then, Apollos taught about Jesus, but only understood the baptism taught by John the Baptist. We don’t know if the disciples that Paul encounters were taught by Apollos or by someone else. The actions of Apollos in the previous chapter frame the consequences that these men were under in this chapter. Nevertheless, Paul instructs them and completes their understanding of the Holy Spirit and baptism in the name of Jesus Christ. Now, the men, after this action, faced better consequences, since they received the Holy Spirit and were truly complete in their salvation.

Actions and consequences. God has given us a sacred mission; to tell the world the Good News of Jesus Christ. We can’t trust the world to tell them; Christians need to share the knowledge of this gift so that all may come to know Jesus as Lord and Savior.

Something to think about.

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Verse 26: “So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately.”

My family recently upgraded to using smartphones. Now, when you get through laughing or rolling your eyes at how long it took me and my family to “join the 21st century” 🙂 let me explain why I mention this. I know a little about smartphones from having to deal with them via my workplace’s oncall phones. However, as my wife and I fumble through learning all the new stuff, sometimes my sons have to show “dad” how something is done (or a quicker way to do something.) A good friend at work, who also is my manager, is my new “Master Yoda” when it comes to answering questions or telling me the whys and wherefores of how apps work on my new phone. Sometimes, too, he just completes my understanding on what I thought I knew well.

Today’s verse refers to Apollos, “an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures”. The passage tells us that he was “instructed in the way of the Lord” and he was “fervent in spirit”. Sounds like a missionary just like Paul, eh? Well…not quite. You see, Apollos only knew of the baptism of John; he didn’t know about post-Pentecostal knowledge and being filled with the Holy Spirit in Jesus Christ. He was still “new” to all this. Aquila and Priscilla, being Christians more mature and experienced in the faith, took Apollos “under their wing” to teach and to instruct him in the complete knowledge of Jesus Christ. They helped to complete his understanding; now fully equipped, Apollos was on fire even more for Jesus! He went to Corinth and “greatly helped those who had believed through grace”.

Even modern evangelists don’t quit studying God’s Word, even if they have read the Bible through several times. They don’t quit praying. They keep listening to God and His Word through the Holy Spirit. So don’t be afraid, young Christian, of listening to wise counsel of older, more experienced Christians. Sometimes, how will you ever know unless you ask? Or to put it Biblically: Matthew 7:7.

Something to think about.

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Verse 15: “[“]But if it is a question of words and names and your own law, look to it yourselves; for I do not want to be a judge of such matters.””

This past Sunday, I heard a wonderful testimony from a young family in our church, regarding tithing. As most young families are, when they are starting out, they have had struggles to make ends meet. Add 2 children to the mix, and family needs become greater in priority. Through it all, they testified, they have remained faithful to tithe on their income; no matter the ups and downs, especially with them both feeling God’s leading for the wife/mother to stay at home with the children. It hasn’t been easy, but they cited God’s promised provision; they backed this up with Malachi 3:10. The husband shared how they’ve seen God work in opening heretofore unknown resources to bless them with the income they need to support their family; circumstances that one could clearly see the hand of God in, as they relayed instance after instance. God promised to protect and to provide for them, and He did, even doing it in EXACT ways that they had prayed about needing.

In the previous passage, God had promised the same for Paul: protection and provision to allow Paul to continue God’s work in Corinth. Not long after, here came the familiar mob of Jews, attempting to get Paul in trouble with the law. Verse 14 states that, even as Paul was about to open his mouth to give his defense, God used the proconsul, Gallio, to literally suck the fire out of their accusations; he figuratively told them, “Look, this is your world and your laws…handle it yourself. Now get out of my office!”

Paul didn’t have to do anything…God had him covered! So when God tells you, O Christian, that He has your back…why do you keep looking over your shoulder?

Something to think about.

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Verse 9: “Now the Lord spoke to Paul in the night by a vision, “Do not be afraid, but speak, and do not keep silent; for I am with you, and no one will attack you to hurt you; for I have many people in this city.””

Among the collection of movies made around the comical group of misfits known as “The Bowery Boys” was a 1946 movie called Mister Hex. In it, Slip Mahoney and his crew came to the rescue to raise some money for a girl who wanted to try for her big break in show business. They had a hypnotist mesmerize Slip’s sidekick, the tall lanky Sach, into thinking he was an invincible boxer; this way, they could enter him in a local boxing competition and win the prize money.

More than just hypnotized into incredible self-confidence, the cowardly Sach was transformed whenever hypnotized into a boxing juggernaut! Other fighters would wade into him, laying punches into him, and he stood there taking it without flinching! Then, all he would do is unleash one haymaker of a punch, and knock his opponents flat out! Of course, pandemonium ensued when crooks hired their own “hex man” to undo the hypnosis…

I remember this movie, because more than just believing in himself, Sach was untouchable while hypnotized…he couldn’t be beaten.

Paul had a much stronger force in his corner: the Lord God Almighty. Here Paul was, and God told him to go and speak the Word. He was not to be afraid. God was already at work, clearing obstacles and knocking out opponents to Paul’s ministry for Him. You’ll see in the next set of verses, that in this case, Paul didn’t even have to defend himself!

More to come!

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Verse 32: “And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked, while others said, “We will hear you again on the matter.””

Between high school and moving out on my own, I lived with my grandmother; this allowed me to stay “at home”, and at the same time, gave me some “freedom”, since I was in college. I was still living with my grandmother when I got my first job in the Information Technology department of a textile company. I would come home from work that first year of employment, and my grandmother would ask, “How was your day?” “Oh, it was fine.” “Good! So…what did you do?” Now, my grandmother was not technical in any sense; she was one of those people that couldn’t program the clock on her VCR. At first, I was in a quandary; how do I explain to my grandmother that I dealt with mainframe jobs, using procedure modules, COBOL code, and job control language (JCL)? Well, I resorted to what I like to use in such cases: analogies. My grandmother was one of the best cooks in the world, and she knew recipes! Therefore, I described what I did in a way that sounded like I was following a recipe and cooking in the kitchen. She understood perfectly.

We find Paul here with the rare opportunity to speak to the men of Athens at the Areopagus. He wanted to make the most of this chance to witness to these people, but this was not his usual audience. He had to reach them in a way that would hold their attention. I marvel at how he seized on their very idol worship, to explain that the unknown god whom he saw an altar set up for, was the One he spoke of. He then proceeded to explain the Good News in a manner that focused on God as the Creator and eventually led to the saving grace of Jesus. Paul had to explain this to them in a manner that they could understand.

Some did understand Paul; others mocked him. Still others said, “We will hear you again on this matter.” According to some text I’ve read in my Holman commentaries, this merely indicated curiosity, or even polite acknowledgment. While Paul’s stay in Athens didn’t result in a crusade-like coming to salvation, there were those who did hear and believe, such as Damaris and Dionysius. Remember, even if you tell masses of people about Jesus Christ, don’t be discouraged if the number of responses don’t tally up to what we think is successful. To the Lord, every soul is precious, and all need to hear the Good News!

Have a blessed day in the Lord!

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