“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
“But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and proclaiming (along with many others) the word of the Lord.”
After Judas returned to Jerusalem with the letter about Jewish-Gentile relations, more teaching was needed. Paul, Barnabas and many others taught and evangelized.
Teaching is one of the primary functions in the church of God. It strengthens the church and prepares saints to be proclaimers themselves. The Lord’s word is central to Christians’ experience.
#votd #Acts #Bible
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the farthest parts of the earth.”
The book of Acts follows this program of witnessing to the world. The verse is key to the book. The Holy Spirit empowered the church to proclaim the gospel. They spoke about Jesus.
We continue the work of proclaiming Christ to the world. This is Jesus’ mission for the church in every age. It is an essential identifying mark of the church.
#votd #Acts #mission
“They stood these men before the apostles, who prayed and placed their hands on them.”
In the Jerusalem church, seven men were chosen to see to the needs of all the widows among them. The apostles set them apart by prayer (part of their work, v. 4) and laying hands upon them.
Were they deacons, in the official sense? It’s a big controversy. Perhaps because we get hung up on titles and positions. They served the church. That is enough. (But there was an official ceremony!)
#votd #deacons #Acts
“There we found some brothers and were invited to stay with them seven days. And in this way we came to Rome.”
In Roman custody, on his way to appear before the emperor in his defense, Paul and his companions were shown hospitality by brethren in Puteoli.
Hospitality was above all a missionary activity in the first century. Homes of saints were a major factor in church growth. Let them become so again!
#votd #hospitality #Acts #church-growth