“After the disturbance had ended, Paul sent for the disciples, and after encouraging them and saying farewell, he left to go to Macedonia.”
After surviving a mob in Ephesus, Paul moves on. His last act is to encourage the disciples and say goodbye. It is a deliberate act. Greetings and farewells were important acts in first-century faith.
Greetings and farewells (in Greek, the same word) are not perfunctory functions, but moment to “spend time in warm exchange” (BGAD). How are your skills in this area?
#votd #Acts #greetings #farewells
“One of them, named Agabus, got up and predicted by the Spirit that a severe famine was about to come over the whole inhabited world. (This took place during the reign of Claudius.)”
Prophecy was inspired teaching and sometimes, as here, included revelation of future events. Even the latter served as a call to action. The Christians decided to send help, v. 29, and then did so, v. 30.
Barnabas was from Jerusalem. Perhaps through him it was revealed that the saints in Judeia would be especially affected. Prompt action was taken, before the famine hit, to benefit a specific set of people, and carried out according to a specific plan.
#votd #Acts #prophecy
“A vision appeared to Paul during the night: A Macedonian man was standing there urging him, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us!’”
God closed some doors to Paul and opened others. By this vision the Lord wanted his apostle to see the need in a new place.
We need no such miraculous visions today. The need is in the whole world, places that have yet to hear the gospel. It is good to be motivated by others’ need of salvation.
#votd #Acts #evangelism
“Then Peter started speaking: ‘I now truly understand that God does not show favoritism in dealing with people, but in every nation the person who fears him and does what is right is welcomed before him.'”
Peter finally began to get the idea of what God desired as he stood before Cornelius and his family. He speaks of Christ, vv. 37-43, but he begins by what God wants from us in order to draw near to him.
Never hesitate to put what God requires of man up front in your message to others. It’s as much a part of the gospel as the death of Christ. Make redemption clear, by sharing God’s part and man’s as well.
#votd #Acts #obedience #fear
“The Lord said to Paul by a vision in the night, ‘Do not be afraid, but speak and do not be silent, because I am with you, and no one will assault you to harm you, because I have many people in this city.'”
Many people had already been immersed in Corinth, and opposition was fierce. The door of opportunity, however, was still open. People were receptive. Paul should continue to proclaim the gospel. The Lord foresaw still more conversions.
We do not have today visions from the Lord about a city’s receptivity. We do have his mission. “… when God gives a man his task to do, he also gives him the power to do it. In the presence of God Paul found his courage and his strength” (Wm. Barclay).
#votd #Acts #mission
“These Jews were more open-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they eagerly received the message, examining the scriptures carefully every day to see if these things were so.”
“Open-minded” translates the word for “noble.” This nobility showed itself in willingness to learn and to consider the message, and compare it with what Scripture says.
The Bereans are properly used as a good example of what we should do today. Open-mindedness is not accepting everything that is said, but a critical ear that weighs all against the Word.
#votd #Acts #study
“So the churches were being strengthened in the faith and were increasing in number every day.”
The book of Acts contains several growth summaries, like this one. News of the Jerusalem letter about freedom from the law — the pure gospel — contributed to the church’s growth.
How may our congregations grow? By freedom from all additions to the gospel, for one. What additions have we acquired?
#votd #Acts #church-growth
“Peter said to them, ‘Repent, and each one of you be immersed in the name of Jesus Christ in order to have your sins forgiven, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.'”
Acts 2.38 TGOG
The terms of salvation given in the first gospel sermon, in order to establish the church as Jesus had promised, are clear. Jesus was preached, salvation was offered, and the conditions to receive it were a part of the message.
Forgiveness comes upon being immersed, not before. This is an essential understanding of the act. Have you obeyed the gospel this way?
#votd #Acts #immersion
“But stand up and enter the city and you will be told what you must do.”
Saul saw the Lord Jesus on his way to persecute Christians in Damascus. He asked what he should do. The Lord told him. To do for what purpose? To be saved.
Saul was not saved on the road to Damascus. He was saved in Damascus after he heard what to do to be saved. He was immersed in water and his sins were washed away, Acts 22.16.
#votd #Acts #baptism #salvation
“When [Apollos] arrived, he assisted greatly those who had believed by grace, for he refuted the Jews vigorously in public debate, demonstrating from the scriptures that the Christ was Jesus.”
In Achaia Apollos defended the gospel among the Jews. This greatly helped the saints, because he aided them in their mission and strengthened their faith. “For” identifies his preaching as the means of his assistance.
Evangelism benefits the whole church. It is central to her identity and edifies all in every way. The best one can do for the church is to teach others how to be saved.
#votd #Acts #evangelism
“But they covered their ears, shouting out with a loud voice, and rushed at him with one intent.”
The Jews refused to hear Stephen’s sermon which exposed their sins and challenged them to repent. They drowned him out with their shouting and stopped him by stoning him.
What the Jews did literally, covering their ears, we sometimes do figuratively. The command to hear urges us to welcome the word of God. Willingness to listen is the important first step to salvation.
#votd #hearing #Acts
“And so my judgment is that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God.”
Acts 15.19 NLT
James agreed with the others: Gentiles, whose hearts were purified by faith, should not be required to keep the law of Moses. It was not essential to salvation.
How are we making it difficult today for people to be converted to Christ, by traditions or other practices that put extra troubles upon those who hear the gospel?
#votd #Acts #conversion
“But God raised him from the dead,”
The resurrection of Christ is the fulcrum of all history. Paul preached it as proof of God offering forgiveness of sins, v. 38, and complete justification, v. 39.
Jesus was raised, so death has lost its sting. We need not fear the end, for it signals the new beginning. Jesus ascended into glory, and so shall the faithful be.
#votd #Acts #resurrection
“After calling the apostles back, they had them beaten. They ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, then let them go.”
Acts 5.40 CEB
From the beginning, the faith encountered opposition. The gospel challenges vested interests by calling all to repentance and offering Christ as the only way.
What now? When persecuted (or to avoid it to start with), do we keep quiet to keep from rocking the boat? Or do we proclaim Christ as fervently as ever?
#votd #Acts #gospel
“When they asked him to stay longer, he would not consent.”
Paul was headed to Jerusalem. Because of time and travel restraints, he could not tarry. Even though Ephesus provided him opportunities, his objective kept him focused on his task.
Many good things clamor for our attention. We must choose among them. God will bless spiritual objectives, if we follow through.
#votd #Acts #objectives