Southern Christian University

Acts Class Session 08

James A. Turner


Hello students.  The first thing we want to do this evening is follow the missionary journeys of Paul as recorded by Luke beginning with the thirteenth chapter of the book of Acts.  In Acts chapters thirteen and fourteen, we read about the establishment of the churches of Galatia, and I would like for you to try to get those churches in mind.  And then we will move from that to show that Paul revisited these churches again on the second journey and again on his third journey.  All three journeys went forth from the home church at Antioch of Syria which was the first Gentile church. In the first three verses of Acts thirteen, we read that there were certain prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch, and they were ministering to the Lord and fasting when the Lord said, "Separate me Barnabas and Saul, for the work whereunto I have called them."  And they fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them and sent them away.  They went down to Seleucia, the seacoast, and from there they sailed to the isle of Cyprus. Please watch the video if possible. If not, look at the map of Paul’s journeys in your Bible. They preached the word in the synagogue at Salamis on the east side of the island, evidently with no real results because Luke does not record any other than they preached in the synagogue. 


Then they went through the island of Cyprus unto Pathos on the west side of the island.  At Pathos there was a proconsul by the name of Sergius Paulus.  He was a man of understanding, a prudent man, and he wanted to hear the teaching of Paul and Barnabas,  but Bar Jesus a false prophet tried to prevent Sergius Paulus from hearing the gospel.  And Paul was filled with the Holy Spirit and said, “thou Son of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord,” and told him he would be blind, not seeing the sun for a season.  So Paul was filled with the Spirit, and used miraculous power and struck the false  prophet blind.  And when Sergius Paulus “saw what was done, he believed, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord 


Then they left the island of Cyprus and sailed up to Perga of Pamphylia, and there John Mark, their helper or attendant, decided that he did not want to go any further on that journey, and he went back to his home in Jerusalem.  Paul and Barnabas went on up from Perga of Pamphylia to Antioch of Pisidia.  Where they went into the synagogue of the Jews.  They were given an opportunity by the rulers of the synagogue to speak to the people. Paul beckoned with his hand and got their attention. After a very brief introduction about the children of Israel, God choosing them, he said, “of this man's seed (David’s) God had brought a Savior Jesus,” and he taught them about the death, the burial and resurrection of Christ, the primary facts of the gospel.  As they were going out of the synagogue, there were those who sought him to speak to them again the next Sabbath day,   and we read that there were many Jews and proselytes that followed them.  Paul and Barnabas must have been very busy that whole week.  The next Sabbath day, almost the whole city came out to hear them and remember that this is Gentile territory, and .  The Jews were moved with jealousy because so many Gentiles had turned out to hear them, and they contradicted the things that were spoken by Paul. 


Paul and Barnabas spake out against them, and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should first be spoken to you. Seeing that you thrust it  from you and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles  I want to remind you that the gospel, even by Paul going to the Gentiles, was first carried to the Jews.  When he went to a city, and there was a synagogue there, he went to the synagogue first (Acts 17:1-2).  And here is the statement that “it was necessary that the word of God should first be spoken to you,” the Jewish people. There were some Jews that believed ,  but the Jews, as a whole, in that synagogue rejected the word of the Lord.  So Paul and Barnabas said, “seeing you thrust it from you and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles  When people reject the gospel of Christ today, they do the same thing that those Jews in the synagogue at Antioch of Pisidia did; they “judge themselves unworthy of eternal life.”  


When the Gentiles heard that, they were glad, and Luke says,  “as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.”  I want you to go back and give careful attention to last week's comments on Acts 13:48, “as many as were ordained to eternal life believed  So the Jews stirred up trouble against Paul and Barnabas and cast them out of their borders and they shook off the dust of their feet against them.  So Antioch of Pisidia is the first church in the Roman providence of Galatia. The churches of Galatia that Galatians was written to were established by Paul and Barnabas on this first journey as recorded in the thirteenth and fourteenth chapters of Acts. These churches were Antioch of Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. From Antioch they went to Iconium, and there were more good people in the synagogue at Iconium.  There were many Jews and Gentiles that believed.  And they were really making progress and they taught the gospel for many days at Iconium.  But then the unbelieving Jews at Antioch of Pisidia and those unbelieving Jews at Iconium stirred up the rulers of the Gentiles, and they were ready to stone them, and they left Iconium and went to Lystra. 


At Lystra Paul healed a man who had been impotent from his mother's womb.  And the priest of Jupiter brought oxen and garlands and was going to worship them as gods.  Paul and Barnabas rent their garments, which showed their great alarm about their attempt to worship them, and said, “we are of like passion as you are  We want you to know that you are to turn from these idol gods and worship the true God, and they restrained them from worshiping them.  Then after that the Jews came from, Antioch and Iconium, and stirred up trouble for them at Lystra, and they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city for dead.  And as I mentioned, I still wonder if this was the time that Paul was caught up into paradise that he speaks of in II Corinthians 12:1-7, and heard unspeakable things.  He said, whether in the body or out of the body I know not. 


But anyway while the disciples were watching, he got up and they went from Lystra to Derbe and established a church at Derbe.  And then they turned around and retraced themselves.  They went back to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch.  We read that they were further teaching the disciples and exhorting them that it would be through “many tribulations that they would enter into the kingdom of God meaning the eternal kingdom of God.  When they obeyed the gospel, they became a part of the earthly kingdom of God, but it would be through many tribulations that they would enter into the eternal kingdom of God.  At each church they fasted and prayed, and then they appointed elders in each one of the churches.  Then they went down from Antioch to Pamphylia again, and then they sailed back and went back to the home church at Antioch, Antioch of Syria.  So the first missionary journey begins there in Acts thirteen, about verse three and it goes down to 14:26.  We will read, "And thence they sailed to Antioch from whence they had been committed to the grace of God for the work which they had fulfilled.  And when they were come, and had gathered the church together."  It looks like they must have gotten back home sometime during the week rather than the first day of the week.  So they gathered the church together.  "They rehearsed all things that God had done with them, and that he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles."  Now the same way that God opened a door of faith to the Gentiles on this first missionary journey is the same way that he opened the heart of Lydia that we will be studying about tonight.  "And it says and they tarried no little time, verse twenty-eight, with the disciples."  Please mark in your Bible at chapter thirteen, chapters thirteen and fourteen, the first journey, and the establishment of the churches of Galatia: Antioch of Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe.


Then during that time in between, the first journey and the second journey, there were certain brethren that went up to this Gentile church and told them that they would have to be circumcised and keep the law of Moses in order to be saved.  Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension with them, and the Holy Spirit guided Paul and Barnabas to go to Jerusalem to meet with the apostles and elders about the matter, and they took Titus with them “being brought on their way by the church” at Antioch. Keep in mind that Acts chapter fifteen and Galatians 2:1-10 are parallel accounts concerning that meeting at Jerusalem.  Galatians 2:1-10 shows that Paul and Barnabas had a private meeting with those who were reputed to be pillars in the church at Jerusalem:  Cephas, James, and John.  They did not add anything to them, but they gave them the right hand of fellowship, that they should go to the Gentiles like they were going to the Jews, but they did request that they remember the poor in Jerusalem, which thing Paul said I was very zealous to do. 


Do you remember the conclusion of the conference at Jerusalem that the apostles and elders were guided by the Holy Spirit wrote a letter to those brethren in the church at Antioch, telling them that they had not sent forth those false teachers, and that it was necessary for them to just refrain from those four things: from the pollution of idols, and fornication, and things strangled, and from blood.  The church at Jerusalem also sent two of their members to tell them by word of mouth, Judas and Silas.  Paul and Barnabas delivered the letter from the church at Jerusalem, and Judas and Silas were prophets, and they also talked to the brethren.  They exhorted these brethren and stayed for sometime, and then they were dismissed to go back home.  Luke does not tell us why, but, anyway, Silas did not go back home. 


It was after the Jerusalem conference, and they are still at Antioch, that Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return now and visit the brethren in every city where we proclaimed  the word and see how they fare (Acts 15:45).”  Barnabas was ready to do that, but he wanted to take John Mark with them.  Paul did not want to carry him because he turned around and went not with them to the work.  And the contention became so sharp that they separated.  And Barnabas chose John Mark, and went the same direction as they had gone on the first journey, they sailed to the isle of Cyprus.  Paul chose Silas and went by land back to these same churches.  And we read that as he went through Syria and Cilicia, he was confirming the brethren in those churches.  Evidently while Paul was at Tarsus, he must have done a lot of missionary work in this area.  Let us read from Acts 15:39, "And there arose a sharp contention, so that they parted asunder one from the other:  And Barnabas took Mark with him, and sailed away unto Cyprus; but Paul chose Silas, and went forth, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God.  And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches."  See, this light yellow is Syria and this little darker area is Cilicia.  And so there were already churches in this area.  And as they went through, they were confirming those churches.  So you need to write by verse forty, the beginning of the second journey. 


So Paul and Silas go by land back to these churches.  The first church, of course, would be Derbe.  And we read in Acts 16:1, "Then came he also to Derbe and to Lystra."  Which means that they must have stayed some time at Derbe strengthening that church, and then they went to Lystra.  At Lystra a young man by the name of Timothy that Paul had converted on that first journey, was well recommended by the brethren at Lystra and at Iconium.  Paul decided to take him as another companion on this second journey.  So it starts out with Silas, and then at Lystra Timothy is added.  Timothy’s mother was a Jew, but his father was a Greek, and Timothy had not been circumcised.  To avoid trouble over the matter of circumcision, Paul just saw that it would be a wise thing to have Timothy circumcised.  Of course, it would be sometime then before they could leave on the journey, but then they go to Iconium, and then to Antioch of Pisidia.  And then Paul wanted to go into Asia.  He probably wanted to go to Ephesus then, but he was forbidden by the Holy Spirit to go there.  And he wanted to go into Bithynia, and he was forbidden by the Holy Spirit to go there.  And Luke says passing by Mysia they came to Troas, where Paul received a vision in the night, a man standing over in Macedonia, saying, come over and help us. 


And it is that point that Luke joins the company, so now there are four in that company.  We know that Luke  joins the company by him saying, “We assuredly gathered that God had called us forth to preach the gospel in Macedonia.  Acts 16:10, "When we had seen the vision, straightway we sought to go forth into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel unto them.  Setting sail from Troas, we made a straight course to Samothrace  From Troas to Samothrace was an island here, and then they went to Philippi.  And at Philippi they went down by the riverside where they thought that a prayer service was going to be held, and they talked to the women that had resorted thither.  And that is where we will begin with our lesson tonight.  But we will go ahead and trace briefly the churches that they established in Macedonia and Achaia.  The first church established was the church at Philippi.  Luke stayed at Philippi until the end of the third journey when they were ready to leave Corinth to carry the bounty of those Gentile churches to Jerusalem.  And then he joined the company again. After establishing the church at Philippi,  Paul and Silas were beaten and thrown in prison at Philippi, and after that they left the city.  And Luke tells us that they, and by the pronouns, you can tell whether Luke is with them or whether he is not with them, “they passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia.”  There must not have been a synagogue in either of those cities, and they came to Thessalonica.  And as Paul's custom was, he went into the synagogue at Thessalonica.  There were only a few Jews that believed in that synagogue, but there were many devout Gentiles that believed.  And again those unbelieving Jews were stirred up trouble, and the brethren had to send Paul and Silas away by night. 


They went to Berea, and that is the synagogue where Luke says that, “these were more noble than they in Thessalonica, in that they received the word of God with all readiness of mind, and they searched the scriptures daily to see whether or not those things were so, therefore, many of them believed.”  And anytime people start searching the scriptures with that good attitude, you can expect conversions.  They were doing a great work at Berea when Jews from Thessalonica came and stirred up trouble against them.  Paul went next to Athens, which resulted in the establishment of a small group of Christian,  and then he went to Corinth. So three churches were established on the second journey in Macedonia:  Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea, and three churches in Achaia or Greece: Athens,  Cenchrea, and Corinth.  And on the return part of this second journey, Paul does go to Ephesus.  He went into the synagogue and spoke in the synagogue of the Jews at Ephesus.  They wanted him to stay longer, but it was not his will to do so, and he told them that, “if it was the Lord’s will”, that he would return to them.  And then he went back to the home church, at Antioch of Syria.  The second journey ends with Acts18:22.  Please look at chapter 18:22, "And when he had landed at Cesarea, and went up, and saluted the church  (Jerusalem as usually regarded) and went down to Antioch."  So verse twenty-two of Acts eighteen is the end of the second journey, and verse twenty-three is the beginning of the third journey.  "And having spent some time there, he departed, and went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia in order, establishing all the disciples."  And, of course, this would be the region where they had established those churches on that first journey, and so Paul revisited them again on the third journey. 


And then it looks like Luke purposely puts in there about Apollos coming to Ephesus during that time between the time that Paul had gone there on the return part of the second journey.  He told them then that if it was the will of the Lord, he would return.  It was and after Paul had revisited those churches established on the first journey he returned to Ephesus. Acts 18:24-28, Luke must have put those verses in to show why the disciples needed to be baptized again that we read about in Acts 19:1-7. They had been baptized by Apollos with the baptism of John after John's baptism was no longer valid.  John's baptism was valid until the baptism of the great commission was given by Peter on that first Pentecost after the ascension of Christ.  Paul stayed at Ephesus, as he speaks of it in Acts twenty, for three years during which time the people throughout all Asia, both Jews and Greeks, heard the gospel.  Evidently that was the time when the seven churches of Asia were established that we read about in chapter two and three of the Revelation..  But I guess that is about as far as we need to go for now.  I plan on coming back and reading these verses at a later date. 


So now we begin with the reading as given in Acts 16:14, "And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, one that worshipped God, heard us:  Whose heart the Lord opened, to give heed unto the things which were spoken by Paul.  And when she was baptized, and her household, she besought us, saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there.  And she constrained us." 


Now, there are those who believe in baptizing infants who try to get infants in the households that we read about in the book of Acts.  And some have tried to get infants in this household of Lydia.  But notice that Lydia's household is a business household.  She was from the city of Thyatira, and she is engaged in selling very expensive purple garments that only the very rich, or kings and governors would wear.  The purple dye was obtained from shellfish, and it was a very tedious process in getting enough dye to do much dyeing, and so they were very expensive garments.  Lydia and her household must have been the ones whose prayers were answered when Paul received that vision at Troas, “a man standing over in Macedonia, saying, come over and help us.”  And remember that Luke says that they decided a prayer service was going to be held by the riverside, and they go there, and speak to the women that resort there for prayer.  And it looks like those women consisted of Lydia and her business household.  Let us read verse fourteen again, "And a certain woman named Lydia, a seller of purple, of the city of Thyatira, one that worshipped God, heard us:  Whose heart the Lord opened, to give heed to the things which were spoken by Paul.  And when she was baptized, and her household."  Would not her household be the other women that made up that business household?  If she had had a husband and children, would she not have said to Paul and company, come into our house and abide?  "And when she was baptized and her household, she besought us saying, If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and abide there.  And she constrained us." 


Evidently they were a little hesitant about accepting her invitation, but Luke says, "And she constrained us."  She insisted that they stay in her house.  And so those four men then were given a place to stay.  And I would guess that she provided meals and other things for them as long as they were there.  And when Paul wrote the letter to this church at Philippi more than ten years later during that first Roman imprisonment, he thanked God,  “for your fellowship in the furtherance of the gospel from the first day even until now (Philippians 1:5).” Is he not talking about what Lydia did on that first day when she invited those four men to stay at her house?  And evidently in other ways, she assisted them as long as they stayed there.  And that must have been considerable help in the furtherance of the gospel. Think of it, free rent, free meals and etc., and Paul thanks God for their fellowship in the gospel, from the first day even until now. 


But going back to the matter of Lord opening the heart of Lydia, some would tell you that the Holy Spirit operated in a miraculous way, that in order for people to be saved, the Holy Spirit has got to operate in some miraculous way to open the hearts of the people.  Well, this is during the miraculous period of the church all right, and sometimes the Holy Spirit did have a part.  In fact, it had a part here in that it guided them to go over there by that vision in the night.    And you remember how Paul had wanted to go to Asia and wanted to go to Bithynia, but the Holy Spirit forbid them to do that, and so the Holy Spirit had a part in the conversion of Lydia and her household in that it got these men there to teach them, and how did the Lord open her heart?  By the teaching of Paul.  “Whose heart the Lord opened to give heed unto the things which were spoken by the Lord.”  The gospel is God’s power to save (Romans 1:16).


And going back to that statement in chapter fourteen and verse twenty-eight, Paul and Barnabas rehearsed what God had done with them, and that he had “opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.”  God had opened a door of faith unto the Gentiles by the Holy Spirit saying, Separate me, Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I had called them, by sending them forth and then by their preaching  the gospel of Christ to the Gentiles.  And thus a door of faith had been opened unto the Gentiles.  The miraculous period is over! All of the New Testament has been given and confirmed (I Corinthians 13:8-10; James 1:25. The childhood age of the church is over (I Corinthians 13:11-12; Ephesians 4:7-16)! The only way that a person’s heart is opened is by the power of the gospel (Romans 1:16). If a person will not hear and obey the instruction of the word of God then he, or she, can not be saved (Romans 1:6, 2:13, 10:12-14, 16: 19, 16:25-26; James 1:25).


Paul, Silas, Timothy, and Luke stay at Philippi for sometime.  And verse sixteen, "And it came to pass, as we were going to the place of prayer."  So notice the pronoun we.  All of them were going to the place of prayer, it looks like on a regular basis, going every day.  "That a certain maid having a spirit of divination met us, who brought her masters much gain by soothsaying."  She had a demon or a spirit that was bringing her masters gain.  "And the same followed after Paul and us, crying out saying, These men are servants of the most high God, who proclaim unto you the way of salvation.  And this she did many days."  Finally Paul got tired of them being associated with one of the devil's advocates, and he decided to cast out the evil spirit.  "But Paul being sore troubled, turned and said to the spirit, I charge thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.  And it came out that very hour.  When her masters saw that the hope of their gain was gone."  When that evil spirit went out of her, their hope of gain was gone.  "And they laid hold on, Paul and Silas, and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers.  And when they had brought them unto the magistrates, they said, These men, being Jews, do exceedingly trouble our city.  And set forth customs, which it is not lawful to receive, or to observe, being Romans."  And, of course, this is Gentile territory.  They recognized them as Jews, and so these men are troublemakers.  Do you see why they did that?  Because they cast out the evil spirit of that damsel that was bringing to them probably a lot of gain.  Anyway, they stirred up the people.  "And the multitude rose up together against them:  And the magistrates rent their garments off them, and commanded to beat them with rods."  In II Corinthians 11:22-23 Paul mentions some of the things that he had suffered for the cause of Christ prior to the writing of Acts. Acts was written in about 62-63 A.D. and II Corinthians around 57 AD.  In that list he said that he had been beaten five times of the Jews forty strips, save one, and of the Gentiles, he had been beaten with rods three times.  So Paul and Silas are beat with the rods on this occasion.  Verse twenty-three, "And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailer to keep them safely."  Think of it, they are both Roman citizens, and they are beaten contrary to the law.  It was a great crime for law enforcement officials to beat Roman citizens without a trial, and here they had no trial.  They were severely beaten.  and cast into prison charging the jailer to keep them safely.  "And upon receiving such a charge, he put them in the inner prison.  And made their feet fast in the stocks." 


Acts 16:25, "But about midnight Paul and Silas were praying, and singing hymns to God:  And the prisoners were listening to them."  Think about such a thing as that.  They had been terribly beaten and that was done unlawfully, and their stripes had not been treated, and their feet are made fast in the stocks, and they are in a very uncomfortable position.  But at midnight, Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns unto God, and the prisoners were listening to them.  How could they pray and sing after such treatment as that?  They had that peace of God then, that more than ten years later when Paul wrote to the church at Philippi, as recorded in Philippians chapter four beginning with verse four, he said, "Rejoice in the Lord always:  And again I say Rejoice.  Let your forbearance be made known unto all men.  The Lord is at hand.  In nothing be anxious; but by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.  And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding shall rule your hearts and minds by Christ Jesus."  So Paul and Silas back here had that peace of God that passes all understanding.  And as he told the Philippians he is assuring us today that we can have the peace of God that passeth all understanding.  And here they were at midnight praying and singing hymns unto God, and the prisoners were listening to them.  Wouldn't we like to know how they were praying in that prayer?  Their prayer surely had something to do with what happened!  And wouldn't we like to know what the prisoners were thinking about, those men praying and singing hymns at midnight. 


And look at verse twenty-six, "And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison house were shaken:  And immediately all the doors were opened, and every one's bands were loosed."  Sometimes it is a little hard to tell the difference between God's working in a miraculous way and in a providential way.  You know earthquakes can come without any of the natural laws of God being violated, but it looks like the fact that not only did that earthquake come immediately, but the fact that the prison doors were opened and every man's bands were loosed, there must have been a miracle involved in it.  "And so the jailer being roused out of sleep."  Did he go to sleep on the job listening to the praying and singing of Paul and Silas?.  "And so the jailer being roused out of sleep, seeing the prison doors open, drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped."  We will stop there for this portion of this ninth Class Session and begin then with verse twenty-eight. A brief break was taken.


Let us pick up with 16:27, "And the jailer being roused out of sleep, seeing the prison doors open, drew his sword, and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had been escaped."  Of course, he was reasoning that I will not wait for the authorities to put me to death because the prisoners are escaped, I will do that myself.  If Paul had not cried out with a loud voice, he would have been dead in a matter of seconds.  "Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm:  For we are all here."  So the prison doors had been jarred open.  Every man's bands are loose, but all the prisoners are still there, and doesn't that sound unusual too?  "And he called for lights  (the jailer) " and sprang in, and trembling with fear, and fell down before Paul and Silas, and brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" Does this not indicate that he knew that they were servants of God?  This makes the third time that we have had that question asked meaning the same thing, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 


There is not a more important question that an unredeemed sinner can ask than, “What must I do to be saved?” That question was asked by some of those Jews on Pentecost when Peter told them that Christ had been raised to the right hand of God exalted, hath poured forth this which you hear, and “this Jesus whom you have crucified hath become both Lord and Christ.”  They recognized they were guilty, and they said, “men and brethren, what shall we do  And Peter said to them,  “repent, and be baptized, every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins, and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.  For the promise is unto you and your children, to them that are afar off even as many as the Lord our God shall call.”  So the people on Pentecost were told to repent and be baptized.  Then in Acts the ninth chapter, when Christ appeared to Saul, Saul asked the question, when he tells about it as recorded in Acts22:10-16, asking “what must I do And the Lord told Saul of Tarsus to go on into the city, and there “it shall be told thee what thou must do  And God sent Ananias to him to restore his sight and to tell him what to do to be saved.  And that is recorded in Acts 22:16.  Ananias said to him, "Arise, and be baptized and washing away thy sins calling on the name of the Lord."  And here with the Philippian jailer, he is told to “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved thou and thy house  So three different times the question is asked and three different answers are given. 


How do we account for the three different answers?  The answer is given from the standpoint of where a person is.  On Pentecost they manifested their faith when they said, men and brethren, what shall we do?  But they had not repented and they had not been baptized, so they were told to repent and be baptized.  In regard to Saul of Tarsus, he had seen the Lord in the way.  So there was no question about his believing, and for three days and for three nights, he had not taken anything to eat and was praying during that period of time.  That surely shows his repentance, and so the only thing that he lacked was to “arise and be baptized and wash away thy sins  Here with the Philippian jailer, this man is a Gentile person.  Evidently he has never even heard about the facts of the gospel, and he is told to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house.  And, of course, belief here is used in the same way as used in a number of passages, meaning to believe with that kind of faith that causes one to do according to God’s instruction..  But there are a lot of preachers that will use a reference like this out of context.  Paul just said to the jailer, “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved, thou and thy house,”  but most of them would not dare read verses thirty-two through thirty-four because it shows that there is more to it than that.  He did not know what to believe, so they had to preach the gospel to him.  They had to preach at least the primary facts of the gospel about the death, the burial, and the resurrection of Christ for him to have proper faith, and to know what to do to be saved.  They had to further teach that the Lord had commanded to believe the primary facts of the gospel (I Corinthians 15:1-4; John 8:24; Hebrews 11:6) and that he must believe and he needed to repent (Acts 2:38, 17:30) and he needed to be baptized for the remission of his sins (Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3-7). 


In Romans 10:12-14, where Paul quotes from the prophet Joel, Joel 2:32, about that time when God would pour out his Spirit upon all flesh, meaning Jews and Gentiles, as first recorded in Acts 2:17-21.  And then verse thirty-two says, "And it shall be that, whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."  And then he raises the question, “how shall they call on him whom they have not believed?  How shall they believe on him whom they have not heard?  And how shall they hear without a preacher?"  This is showing that the facts and commands of the gospel must be taught a person before he knows what to believe, before he can call on the name of the Lord in such a way as to be saved.  When Ananias told Saul of Tarsus to arise, and be baptized and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord, then he would be doing what the Lord through Annias told him to do. Actually that calling on the name of the Lord, “whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved” means then that a person must learn what to do to be saved, and then he must do it.  And so Saul when he was baptized completed his obedience to the first principles of the gospel and was saved.


But here the Philippian jailer must first be taught, and verse thirty-two shows that, "And they spake the word of the Lord unto him, with all that were in his house."  And again there are those who try to get infants in the jailer's house.  But can infants, be rightly spoken of as having the word spoken unto them?  That infant child cannot believe and obey!  "And they spake the word of the Lord to him, with all that were in his house."  So they were all old enough to hear and believe the gospel.  Verse thirty-three shows his repentance.  "And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, immediately."  With all the conversions, notice that they were interested in being baptized like the Philippian jailer here immediately!  In the case of the Ethiopian eunuch when they came to certain water, and the eunuch said, “see, here is water, what doth hinder me to be baptized?”  Please remember that Phillip began at Isaiah 53:7 and “preached unto him Jesus.” A preacher or teacher can not preach Jesus to an alien sinner without telling him that Jesus has commanded water baptism for the remission of sins (Mark 16:16; Acts 2:38; Romans 6:3-7). The Philippian jailer here was baptized immediately.  The fact that he carries them and washes their stripes shows repentance.  And, of course, it also shows that he recognized from the teaching that he needed to be baptized.. 


Acts 16:33, “And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their strips, and was baptized he and all his, immediately. And he brought them up into his house and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly with all of his house, having believed in God."  And so verse thirty-four implies they had to go out of his house to be baptized, so he brought them up into his house and set food or a meal before them and rejoiced greatly with all his house, having believed in God.  A footnote by food in my Bible says, set a table.  Of course, that means that they had a meal together.  "And rejoiced greatly."  Why?  Again like the Ethiopian eunuch, he knew that they had done what was necessary to be saved,  he and all in his house, and they had great reason to rejoice. And again if there were infants in the household, that occurrence took place after midnight, probably one or two o'clock in the morning by this time, by the time they spake the word of the Lord to him, and they are baptized.  Do you think infants would be rejoicing at two o'clock in the morning?  Not likely, is it?  "And he brought them up into his house, and set food before them, and rejoiced greatly with all in his house, having believed in God.  But when it was day, the magistrates sent the sergeants, saying, Let these men go.  And the jailer reported the words to Paul, saying, The magistrates have sent to let you go:  Now therefore come forth, and go in peace. 


Acts 16:37, But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us publicly uncondemned, men that are Romans, and have cast us into prison; and, lo, do they now cast us out privily?  Nay verily; but let them come themselves and bring us out.  And the sergeants reported these words unto the magistrates:  And they feared, when they heard that they were Romans.  And they came and besought them, and when they had brought them out, they asked them to go away from the city."  Notice that it says that when the sergeants told the magistrates that they were Roman citizens, that those magistrates feared when they heard they were Romans.  They had committed a crime  when they beat Paul and Silas,  Roman citizens without a trial..  Paul and Silas could have brought a legal case against these magistrates.  But the only thing that they said was, they have beaten us publicly uncomdemned , and they cast us into prison, and now they are going to bring  us out privily.  Nay verily, let them come themselves and bring us out to show the public that they had not committed any crime, and the magistrates themselves are releasing them. 


We also find Paul on another occasion when he was about to be beaten, asked the question, “is it lawful to beat a Roman uncondemned  And so he appealed to his citizenship to some small degree, but never did carry it to the limit.  And surely that shows how that he was following the way of the Lord.  In Matthew the twelfth chapter, Matthew records the statement from Isaiah about Jesus, that said, “he shall not strive nor cry aloud, neither shall his voice be heard in the streets”, quoting from Isaiah 42:7.  I believe that is verse nineteen in Matthew twelve.  Jesus was not a rabble raiser.  He did not go out and get the people to rise up against law enforcement and cause a lot of trouble.  He did not lead any sit-down strikes in the street.  And we know that there are those that claim to be following the Lord today that do such things.  That is not the proper thing to do!  Christian people can appeal to their citizenship to avoid certain things and should, but should never carry it to any extreme.  The magistrates did ask them to leave the city. 


Acts 16:40, "And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia:  And when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed."  Think of what all has happened to them, and they go to the house of Lydia, which shows that they are still staying at Lydia's house, and they comfort the brethren and departed.  But from the standpoint of what Luke has said, the only two cases of conversion that we read about are the two household conversions.  Lydia and her household was a business household, but the jailer's household was a family household, but there were no infants in that family household.  Reckon what percentage of houses today do not have any infants or real small children in the household?  So Luke stays behind at Philippi.  We know that to be the case because he starts using the pronoun they.  "Now when they."  That includes at least Paul and Silas, and it may be that Timothy joined them real soon. But Luke stays behind at the church at Philippi and stays there until a number of years later until on the end of that third journey, and they are carrying that bounty of the Gentile churches to Jerusalem, and he joins the company again. 


Chapter Seventeen

"Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews."  And as I mentioned awhile ago, I would guess the reason they passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, is that there were not synagogue in those cities, but they probably received news that there was a synagogue in Thessalonica.  If not when they got there, they found out there was one there.  "Where was a synagogue of the Jews:  And Paul, as his custom was, went in unto them, and for three sabbath days reasoned with them from the scriptures."  Of course, that would be the Old Testament scriptures.  He would be taking some of those prophecies concerning Christ and how that he would suffer on the cross, and use them and show how they had been fulfilled. He could have used from the book of Psalms and from Isaiah fifty-three and many, many others about Christ and how he was the chief cornerstone that the builders rejected.  There are just numerous Old Testament references from the prophets that he could have used that would be included in what he did here when verse three says, opening and alleging for three Sabbath days and reasoning  with them from the scriptures.  "Opening and alleging that it behooved that Christ must suffer, and rise again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I proclaim unto you, is Christ."  Again those are the facts of the gospel that must be preached to alien sinners.


Acts 17:4, "And some of them were persuaded."  Notice carefully that statement.  That refers to the Jews in the synagogue at Thessalonica.  Some of them, and that does not give the impression that a big percentage of them believed.  "And some of them were persuaded and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude."  So see the difference in the reading there.  Some of the Jews believed, and of the devout Greeks a great multitude.  The devout Greeks would be those that were worshiping with the Jews in the synagogue.  "And of the chief women, not a few."  And those again would be Greek women.  This is Gentile territory, and they were probably wives of some of the civil officials.  "And of the chief women, not a few."  And the Jews being moved with jealousy."  Again, note how  those unbelieving Jews tried to prevent the preaching of the gospel.  "But the Jews being moved with jealousy, took unto them certain vile fellows of the rabble, and gathering a crowd."  Now, see that is the kind of things they do.  They took unto them fellows of rabble.  "Gathering a crowd, and set the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, they sought to bring them forth to the people.  And when they found them not, they dragged Jason and certain brethren before the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; whom Jason hath received:  And these all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus."  Well, they are Jews, and they are under Roman authority.  Do you think that they were very concerned about the decrees of Caesar? They did not want Paul and Silas to be preaching the gospel.  They were not teaching that Jesus was an earthly king, but a king of an eternal kingdom.  "And they troubled the multitude and the rulers of the city, and when they heard these things."  Of course, those were false charges, and you can see why the people  might be troubled by such charges.  


Acts 17:9, "And when they had taken security from Jason and the rest, they let them go."  So verse nine, in modern day terms, would mean they had to put up bond to be released.  But when they had taken the security from them to guarantee that they would -- that Jason would not have them in his house any longer.  And Paul and Silas were in danger as shown by verse ten.  "And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea."  Does not that strongly indicate that they recognized that their lives were in danger, that those unbelieving Jews would kill them if they got a good opportunity?  And so the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea. 


Now, let me talk a little bit about that they stayed there more than three Sabbath days.  If we did not have anything but what is recorded here in these nine verses, it might be that we would conclude that Paul just stayed at Thessalonica for three Sabbath days.  But notice that they are staying in the house of Jason, and when they assaulted it, they are looking for Paul and Silas, and they were not there.  That gives time for them to have spent time in the house of Jason.  But the epistles of Paul to the Thessalonians, I and II Thessalonians, show that Paul had stayed there long enough to teach them on a number of different subjects, and on such a wide scale of important subjects of the Bible, that would indicate that they stayed there longer than that referred to as three Sabbath days in the synagogue.  In Philippians 4:15-16, he speaks of how the church at Philippi had sent to his needs once and again while he was at Thessalonica.  It was about a hundred miles from Philippi to Thessalonica, and in those slow days of travel, that would have taken considerable time, and they had sent once and again to his needs.  I am reading from Philippians chapter 4:15, "Ye yourselves also know, ye Philippians, that in the beginning of the gospel, when I departed from Macedonia,  Meaning in the context from Philippi.  no church had fellowship with me in the matter of giving and receiving, but ye only.  For even in Thessalonica ye sent once and again unto my need."  So they had sent from Thessalonica once and again.  So that would be at least twice.  A hundred miles from Philippi to Thessalonica would indicate a longer period of time than three weeks, and so does all of the teaching that Paul had given them..  And in the beginning of the gospel at Thessalonica, it was some of the Jews that believed, Acts 17:4, and of the devout Greeks, a great multitude, and of  the chief women, not a few. 


In the beginning the church at Thessalonica was made up primarily of devout Greeks.  Greeks that had turned away from idolatry and were worshiping with the Jewish people in the synagogue.  But by the time Paul wrote I Thessalonians, he speaks of how they had turned to God from idols to worship the living God, which shows that the church at Thessalonica had taught Gentiles that were still worshiping idols Gods.  So by the time Paul wrote the epistles, I and II Thessalonians, the church was made up primarily of those who had been idol worshipers.  They had,  “turned to God from idols to worship the true and living God 


Back to 17:10, "And the brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas by night unto Berea:  Who when they were come in thither went into the synagogue of the Jews."  Now this synagogue is much like that synagogue at Iconium.  Remember that a multitude of Jews and Greeks in that synagogue believed.  "Now these were more noble  Talking about the people in the synagogue.  Sometimes this is quoted and referred to as Christians.  But verse eleven is talking about before the gospel is preached to them, the people in the synagogue. than those in Thessalonica."  At Thessalonica just some of the Jews were persuaded there.  "In that they received.  Notice how that they were more noble.  In that they received the word with all readiness of mind, examining the scriptures daily, whether these things were so."  Of course, they would be examining the Old Testament scriptures, the many prophecies that Paul would be telling them about and the meaning of them, so their faith would be properly based.  They searched the scriptures daily or they examined the scriptures daily.  "They received it with readiness of mind  They wanted to hear.  and they examined the scriptures daily, whether these things were so."  When they examined the scriptures they found out that their teaching was true.  And look at verse twelve, "Many of them therefore believed; also of the Greek women of honorable estate, and of men, not a few."  So many of them, in verse twelve, would refer to the Jewish people, “Many of them therefore believed  "Also of the Greek women of honorable estate, and of the men, not a few."  So there were many Jews and Gentiles in the synagogue at Berea that believed. 


But notice what those unbelieving Jews do.  "But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was proclaimed of Paul at Berea also, they came thither likewise, stirring up and troubling the multitudes."  The unbelieving Jews from Thessalonica go over there and stir up trouble against Paul, Silas, and Timothy. Anytime people start very sincerely examining the scriptures, I think you will find that that pattern will follow, that many will believe.  But let is read verse thirteen again.  "When the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was proclaimed of Paul at Berea also, they came thither likewise, stirring up and troubling the multitudes.  And then immediately, the brethren sent forth Paul to go as far as to the sea:  And Silas and Timothy abode there still."  So we see that Timothy is at the church at Berea, left behind with Silas at first, and he may have been at Thessalonica. 


Acts 17:15, "But they that conducted Paul, brought him as far as Athens:  And receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timothy that they should come to him with all speed, they departed."  Now, some have raised the question as to whether or not Silas and Timothy joined Paul at Athens.  And we will take time to turn to I Thessalonians chapter three when we study about their joining Paul at Corinth.  It shows very definitely that they did.   Luke had stayed behind at Philippi.  Paul sent Timothy back to the church at Thessalonica, and if he sent Silas to Berea, then all three of those churches would have had men with real ability to teach and who evidently had gifts of the Spirit to aid them in that teaching process.  So very definitely Timothy joined Paul at Athens.


When Paul went to Athens, he went to one of the great intellectual centers of that day as would be counted by worldly men.  They spent their time “hearing and learning some new thing every day.”  But like a lot of university towns today, with a number of people there with doctors' degrees, but usually they do not know much about the true and the living God.  Athens was counted as a great intellectual center, but the people at Athens did not know anything about the true and the living God.  They had statutes to all of the gods that they knew about, and they had even erected an altar to the unknown god, which gave Paul the opportunity to speak to them about the true and the living God.  Verse sixteen, "And while Paul waited for them at Athens (Silas and Timothy) his spirit was provoked within him as he beheld the city full of idols."  I guess everywhere he turned, he saw a statue of an idol god, and it stirred Paul to see how the city was full of idolaters. "So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews, and the devout persons."  And that would refer to the Gentiles again.  "And in the market place every day with them that met him."  Those Jews and Gentiles in the synagogue had been in that environment so long, that evidently they had become a part of that idolatrous environment, and it looks like that they were indifferent to all of the idolatry. Paul was trying his best to find people that he could teach, so he reasoned in the synagogue to the Jews, and devout persons, and in the market place.  You have seen on TV market places.  Many countries of the world today have them in a similar fashion as they were in the days of Paul. A lot of people would be at the market places buying food, etc., and Paul was even trying to teach the people in the market place.  "And the market place, every day with them that met with him.  And certain also of the Epicureans and Stoick philosophers encountered him.  And some said, What will this babbler say?  Others, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods."  They are concerned about worshiping all of the gods.  "Because he preacheth Jesus and the resurrection.  And they took hold of him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new teaching is, which is spoken by thee?"  The next verse is going to tell us about that.  They spent their time hearing and learning some new things.  So these philosophers take hold of Paul and carry him into the Areopagus. 


The American Standard Version says Areopagus, and the King James Version says, Mars' hill. The Areopagus was an amphitheater arrangement cut out in stone on Mars' hill, and it was a place where they had the big court cases and other big public events.  Evidently the situation was where a voice would carry in a good way, and  they carried him into it.  "And saying may we know what this new teaching is, which is spoken by thee?  For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears:  We would know therefore what these things mean."  Now notice how intellectual they thought they were.  "For all the Athenians and the strangers sojourning there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing  So very modern, they thought.  And Paul stood up in the midst of Areopagus, and said, Ye men of Athens, in all things I perceive that ye are very religious."  I think the reading in the American Standard is better than the King James, that you are “too superstitious.” That would not make  a very good introduction.  And the American Standard says you are very religious, "For as I passed along, and observed the objects of your worship, I found an altar with this inscription, to an unknown god."  They were so zealous, wanting to give honor to all the idol gods, that they were afraid that they might leave out one and had one altar to the unknown God. 


And so Paul uses that as an opportunity to talk to them about the God that they did not know about.  They did not know about the God that made the heavens and the earth and all things therein. Think about what Paul does here.  How would you go about teaching people that do not know anything about the true God, that have worshiped idol gods all their lives, and do not know anything about the true God?  The altar to the unknown God gave Paul a good beginning place, that you are very religious and you have even erected an altar to the unknown God.  "What therefore ye worship in ignorance, this I set forth unto you.  The God that made the world and all things therein, he being Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands."  Athens was the intellectual and cultural center of the Roman Empire, but the people worshiped “in ignorance.” Is that not true today? Paul said, “Lord of heaven and earth dwelleth not in temples made with hands.” I guess that every way a person would look there would be a massive temple with many of them overlaid with gold.  Several years ago a military man showed me a number of pictures that he had taken of temples overlaid with gold. So you can imagine in Athens, there must have been a lot of such temples that would shine from afar.  "The God that made the world and all things therein, he being Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands."  So the true God does not dwell in temples made with hands.  I believe we will stop there.  I would like to talk a little more about that in the next class period. A brief recess was taken.  


We were reading from Act Acts 17:22, where Paul said to the people of Athens, in this assembly in the Areopagus at Mars' hill.  "The God that made the world and all things therein, he being Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands."  That reminds me of a statement that Solomon made at the time that the temple that he built, was dedicated.  He talked about how God had fulfilled the promise that he had made to his father David.  David wanted to build the temple, but God said that he had fought so many wars and shed so much blood, that he would not build the temple, but his son Solomon would build the temple, and  Solomon built a fine temple, but he knew that God does not  dwell in a temple made with hands.  I am reading from I Kings chapter 8:27, "But will God indeed dwell on the earth?  Behold, heaven and the heaven of heavens cannot contain thee; how much less this house that I have builded?  Yet have thou respect unto the prayer of thy servant, and to his supplication, O Jehovah my God, to hearken unto the city, and the prayer which thy servant prayeth before thee this day:  That thine eyes may be open toward this house night and day, even toward the place of where thou hast said, My name shall be there:  To hearken unto the prayer which thy servant shall pray toward thee this place."  Solomon went ahead in that prayer of dedication to say that whatever the people of Israel did that was wrong, if they turned and prayed toward the house that he had built, the temple in Jerusalem, that God would hear and forgive.  And God heard Solomon's prayer and promised that he would do according to his prayer.  I think that is surely the reason why we read in the sixth chapter of the book of Daniel that after his enemies had gotten king Nebuchadnezzar to make the foolish decree that if any man prayed to any person other than the king would be thrown to the lions.  And then, of course, they knew that they had Daniel framed because they knew that he prayed on a regular basis.  After Daniel knew that the king had signed that ridiculous decree, he still continued to pray three times a day with his window opened toward Jerusalem, and that goes back to Solomon's prayer, I Kings chapter eight. 


Some of the idolaters in worship of their Gods would put out food to their gods as though their gods needed to be fed, and what he says in verse twenty-five would be a strike to their idolatry.  "Neither is he served with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath and all things.  And he hath made of one every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, having determined there appointed seasons, and the bounds of their habitation."  I am going to stop there.  Verse twenty-six, made of one.  That would mean from the one-man Adam, would it not?  God took a rib from Adam's side and made woman, so she was made of one, so all nations have come from one.  All people have come  from the one man, Adam, and Eve, the mother of the living.  "And he made of one every nation to dwell on the face of the earth, having determined their appointed seasons, and the bounds of their habitations."  Does the King James read a little differently there?  Made of one blood, and if any person has got the same type of blood as the person that needs a transfusion, it does not make any difference what race or what color, and that shows that God had made one blood all nations of men from Adam.  The King James says one blood.  The American Standard made of one.  "That they should seek God, if haply they should feel after him, and find him, though he is not far from each one of us:  For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain even of your poets have said, For we are his offspring."  And that would be kind of uplifting to them, wouldn't it?  We are the offspring of God.  And that gives opportunity to press the point that since we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is liken to gold or silver or stone graven by the art and device of man.  You see how that is the strong point there.  If we are the offspring of God, how do we think that we can make a god out of gold or silver or stone, graven by art and device of man?  We are the offspring of God, and how could we make the true God? 


Acts 17:30, "The time of ignorance God overlooked; but now he commandeth all men that they should all everywhere repent."  So God has commanded all men everywhere to repent.  No man can be saved unless he repents.  And you remember going back to chapter eleven when Peter told them the whole story about how that the Holy Spirit fell on those Gentiles like on the apostles on the day of Pentecost.  The Jewish brethren  were ready to contend with Peter, but he reviewed the story, and then they were glad when they heard  the whole story, and they said,  “that God hath granted unto the Gentiles repentance unto life”.  So God is showing his favor toward men when he gives them opportunity to repent and obey.  In respect to verse thirty, do you remember from Romans 1:18 ff, how that the Gentiles, although they knew God, they tried to put God out of their knowledge, and they served the creature rather than the creator, and they were ready to exchange the truth of God for a lie.  And three times the writer says in that reference, Romans 1:18-32, that God gave them up.  Does that not fit in there with verse thirty, the times of ignorance therefore God overlooked?  "But now he commandeth men that they should all everywhere repent."  That does not mean that God saved men back there who did not repent.  It was during that period of time, that God sent Jonah to preach to the Ninevites that short message, “yet forty days and Nineveh shall be overthrown  They repented from the least to the greatest of them, and God spared Nineveh for a long period of time, until they became wicked again. 


Verse thirty-one, "In as much as he hath appointed a day, in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he hath ordained:  Whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead."  So God has appointed a day, a day as judgment day.  Matthew 24:36 Jesus says, “of that day and that hour knoweth no man.  And even the angels in heaven nor the Son, but the Father only”.  So God has appointed a day.  And when that day comes, then the world will be judged.  So God has appointed a day in which he will judge the world in righteousness by the man whom he has ordained.  And, of course, that man is Christ.  John 5:22 reads, “that God has given all judgment unto his Son.”  Many references in the gospel accounts show that Jesus will be the judge of all men.  Matthew25:32, "Before him will be gathered all nations.  He shall separate them one from the other, as the shepherd separated the sheep from the goats."  And so Christ will be the judge.  He does not know the day that that judgment day will come, but God does.  And so God has appointed a day when he will judge the world by Christ whom he has ordained, “whereof he has given assurance unto all men in that he has raised him from the dead.”  The resurrection of Christ from the dead is the crowning miracle of all miracles.  It gives all believers the assurance that God is going to raise all men from the dead.  Christ is spoken of as the firstfruits of them that slept because he is the first that was raised from the dead to die no more. 


Many were raised from the dead prior to the time Christ was raised, but he is the firstborn of them that are asleep in that assurance of that final resurrection of all men. All of the other people who were raised died again, but Christ arose to die no more, therefore he is the first fruit of the great resurrection day. Jesus speaks of that great resurrection in John 5:28-29, "Marvel not at this:  For the hour cometh, when all that are in the grave shall hear his voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation."  And there is the Old Testament reference in Daniel that talks about that same resurrection.  Daniel 12:2 reads, "And many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt."  Daniel 12:2 is saying essentially the same thing as John 5:28-29.  And so even the Old Testament testifies that there is going to be the resurrection of all the dead.  In Romans 1:4, Paul said that Christ “was declared to be the Son of God with power by the resurrection from the dead."  Christ had been declared to be the Son of God by a voice from heaven on two different occasions.  Why then did Paul say that he  was declared to be the Son of God with power, by the resurrection from the dead?  Because the resurrection of Christ from the dead is the crowning miracle of all miracles.  It gives testimony that all are going to be raised.  It gives that assurance that all men are going to be raised from the dead.  "And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead."   


Acts 17:32, "And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked; but others said  Many of those idolaters had probably concluded that death is just an eternal sleep, and so they did not want to hear about the resurrection of the dead.  Some mocked, but others said.  We will hear thee concerning this yet again.  Thus Paul went out from among them."  It looks like they just cut him off.  They were evidently listening to him well until he spoke of the resurrection of the dead, and then some began to mock, and they must have interfered in such a way that he left.  He did not try to reason with them anymore so far as that situation was concerned.  "But some said we would hear thee concerning this yet again.  Thus Paul went out from them.  But certain men clave unto him, and believed:  Among whom also was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them."  So at least there were some converts even in this city given over to idolatry.  So a church is established at Athens. 


Chapter Eighteen

 "After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; and he found a certain Jew named Aquila, a man of Pontus by race, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; because Claudius had commanded all the Jews to depart from Rome:  And he came unto them.  And because he was of the same trade, he abode with them."  So Paul was of the same trade as Aquila and Priscilla, and I guess they invited him to stay in their house and engage in the business of tentmaking with them.  "And because he was of the same trade, he abode with them, and they wrought:  For by their trade they were tentmakers."  One good thing about the Jewish people of that day, and I believe it is pretty well true today, they believe in their children being trained to do something.  They had a trade by which they could make a living.  And every person today needs to be trained where they can, put up shop most anywhere they go and make a living.  Preachers need to be included in that number.  It is dangerous for preachers not to be equipped to make a living in a number of different things.  Their family may increase with several children, and the children are in school, and they are depending on what they get from the church to live on.  And some times for no good reason the church cuts them off and tells them to move immediately, or else preach what we want to hear, and they be tempted to do that  if they are not well prepared to make a living at something else.  But if they are prepared to teach school or a number of different things, they can still say no when they need to say no.  A lot of times they would not even have to move, all they would have to do is start doing something that they were well-prepared to do and stay right where they are. 


Tentmaking would compare favorably to say being any kind of good mechanic like auto mechanic, diesel mechanic, plumber, electrician.  Any person well-trained might go to almost any city, and there is plenty of work to do in nearly all of our cities today?  Paul fitted into that category, and when he went  from Athens to Corinth, he was without funds, and during the first part of his stay, he has to engage in this trade of tentmaking, staying with Aquila and Priscilla, and preached in the synagogue on the Sabbath day.  So in the beginning of his work at Corinth, he was a part-time preacher.  I wonder how many big churches today would be ready to hire a part-time preacher.  It is not that he wanted to be a part-time preachers, but he did not have the funds to be a full time preacher, and he wanted to preach the gospel to the people at Corinth. 


When Paul went to Corinth from Athens he went to a commercial city. Corinth really had harbors on two seas. The Aegean  Sea and the Ionian Sea.  Please look on the map of Paul’s journeys. It was many years before a canal was dug through that small isthmus between the seas, but in Paul’s day they pulled some of the vessels across that short distance to save that long journey to go around to the other sea.  They had a way that they could pull boats or small ships from one sea to the other. Corinth was a seaport city, and any seaport city usually has a lot of what kind of people in it? Corrupt people, right?  You would expect quite a number of Satan’s  camp to be in any seaport city, and Corinth was surely a very corrupt city.  There was a temple there that had thousands prostitutes, and they were ready to give themselves for the upkeep of their religion, and you can imagine how many sailors were glad to go to Corinth.  The Gentile people were very immoral in regard to sex, probably  more so than the worst of American cities today.  We have some places today that are very corrupt, but in some of their temples the idolaters would have homosexual prostitutes and lesbian prostitutes.  Adam Clark says that they would even pray to their gods to give them more prostitutes.  So not only did they not think that it was wrong, but they thought that that was the right thing for them to engage in, in all kinds of immoral sexual relationships. 


Paul goes there thinking that he could  preach the gospel to the Corinthians!  And he was very successful in preaching the gospel to the Corinthians, which shows that the gospel really has power to save sinners (Romans 1:16). And even though it was a very corrupt city, Paul was able to establish a great church in the city of Corinth;  But his first work was done in the synagogue.  Verse four, "And he reasoned in the synagogue every Sabbath, and persuaded Jews and Greeks."  So Greeks, meaning in the synagogue of the Jews at Corinth.  But remember we have already read, as his custom was, he entered into the synagogue at Thessalonica.  So as his custom was, he went into the synagogue at Corinth,  and he has an opportunity to preach in the synagogue on the Sabbath day until Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia.  And verse five in the American Standard 1901 version reads, "But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul was constrained by the words, testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ."  The New American Standard and the New International Version reads a little different than that.  Let me read from the New American Standard Version.  You need to remember this.  Acts 18:5, "But when Silas and Timothy came down from Macedonia, Paul began devoting himself completely to the word, solemnly testifying to the Jews that Jesus was the Christ."  So according to the reading from the New American Standard, Paul became a full-time preacher when Silas and Timothy joined him in the work at Corinth.  And the New International Version reads essentially the same way, "And devoted himself exclusively to the word."  Well, that says he stopped his tentmaking, right? 


Well, at least Silas and Timothy, when they came to him, they brought support from the churches of Macedonia, and you see that that would have made it possible for him to become a full-time preacher when they joined him.  Turn to II Corinthians chapter eleven.  In this reference Paul is rebuking the Corinthians for not standing up for him more than they had.  Verse five he says, "For I reckon that I am not a whit behind the very chiefest apostles."  Verse six shows that they had accused him of being rude in speech.  II Corinthians 11:6, "Though I be rude in speech, yet I'm not in knowledge; but in every way we are made manifest among you in all things."  So he had not come short on teaching them.  "Or did I commit a sin in abasing myself?"  (doing without)  That ye might be exalted, because I preached to you the gospel of God for nought  (for nothing)  I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, that I might minister unto you."  Now, in verse seven, I think I can remember the day when I thought that maybe he had done wrong.  But that is not the case, verse seven is sarcasm, as shown by the following verses.  "I robbed other churches, taking wages of them, that I might minister unto you.  And when I was present with you and was in want, I was not a burden on any man.  For the brethren when they came from Macedonia  (Silas and Timothy)  when they came from Macedonia supplied; the measure of my wants:  And in everything I kept myself from being burdensome unto you, and so will I keep myself."  You see that shows very plainly that he did not actually commit sin when he preached to them for nothing, because he said I am going to continue to do it.  "As the truth of Christ is in me, no man shall stop me of this glory in the regions of Achaia.  Wherefore?" 


Or why I am not going to take anything from you?  "Is it because I love you not?  God knoweth."  God knows that I love you.  Well, why am I doing it?  Verse twelve begins and gives the answer, "But what I do, that I will do, that I may cut off occasion from them that desire occasion; that wherein they glory, they may be found even as we."  They had false teachers at Corinth.  And false teachers, usually one of the reasons why they teach false doctrine for is for pay.  And Paul speaks of them here as false apostles in verse thirteen.  He says, "For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, (the devil's workers)  fashioning themselves into apostles of Christ.  And no marvel; for even Satan fashioned himself into an angel of light.  It is no great thing therefore if his ministers also fashioned themselves as ministers of righteousness; whose end shall be according to their works."  So one reason given in that reference is why Paul would not take any pay from the Corinthians, he wanted to cut off those false teachers, do away with their gravy train.  If anything would stop them from false teaching, cutting off their pay would stop a lot of them. 


By Acts 18:5 you need to write down I Thessalonians to remind you that while Paul was at Corinth on this second journey, he began the writing of all of the epistles that he wrote.  We know definitely that Paul wrote thirteen of the New Testament epistles, and if we add Hebrews to that number, and I surely think that he was the author of that book, then he wrote fourteen of the twenty-seven New Testament epistles.  And this marks the beginning of his writing of those New Testament epistles.  And if you ask how do we know?  Then let us turn to I Thessalonians chapter three, and we will read to get the proof.  Just about as soon as the church was established, as we have read from Acts 17,  persecution broke out against the church at Thessalonica.  And remember Paul and Silas had to leave by night.  And so they were very concerned about the church at Thessalonica as to whether that church would endure the great persecution that broke out against it. 


So I Thessalonians chapter three, let us read, "Wherefore when we could no longer forbear, we thought it good to be left Athens alone; and sent Timothy our brother, and God's minister in Christ, to establish you, and to comfort you concerning your faith."  So Timothy we know joined Paul at Athens.  And it looks like Timothy would have joined him when Silas joined him.  "And that no man be moved by these afflictions, for yourselves know that we are thereunto appointed."  So one of the subjects that Paul had taught them was that just as surely as they remained faithful to the Lord, they would suffer persecution.  "For verily, when we were with you, we told you beforehand that we are to suffer affliction; even as it came to pass, and ye know.  For this cause, I also when I could no longer forbear  He was very concerned about whether or not they were remaining faithful to the Lord.  sent that I might know your faith, lest by any means the tempter had tempted you, and our labor shall be in vain."  If they turned away because of persecution, then all of Paul's labor among the Thessalonians would have been in vain. 


Verse six is the clincher.  "But when Timothy came even now unto us from you, and brought us glad tidings of your faith and love, that ye have good remembrance of us always, longing to see us, even as we also to see you:  For this cause, brethren, we are comforted over you in all our distress and affliction through your faith:  For now we live, if ye stand fast in the Lord."  So verse six shows that Paul wrote the first letter to the Thessalonians immediately after Silas and Timothy joined Paul in the work at Corinth.  And “Timothy came even now” and he brought the good news.  And as we have already reasoned, Paul probably sent Silas back to Berea  so that all three of those churches would have good teachers.  And in the II Thessalonian letter, written evidently just a few months after the first, in chapter two of II Thessalonians, he tells that they should not be disturbed about the second advent of Christ, that they were still disturbed after that first letter.  But they should not be disturbed about the second advent of Christ, that he would not come until there had been a great falling away, and men seeing and men believed.  So Paul wrote both letters.  And Silas and Timothy are included in the salutation of both I and II Thessalonians which shows that they were with Paul when he wrote both of those letters.  Both I & II Thessalonians were written from the city of Corinth, and the date would be around 52 AD when those letters were written. 


Acts 18:6, When Paul began his full-time preaching, verse six, "And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook out his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean:  From henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles."  I can remember the day when I did not begin to know the meaning of the statement that he makes there, your blood be upon your own heads, I am clean, from henceforth I will go to the Gentiles.  What did Paul mean by that statement?  He will not be guilty.  Why?  Because he knew he had taught them correctly, and they were rejecting the Lord’s instruction, and he was no longer under responsibility.  Do you remember where that is taken from in the Old Testament?  Ezekiel.  Turn first to the third chapter of Ezekiel.  Ezekiel chapter three, picking up with verse sixteen, "And it came to pass at the end of the seven days, that the word of Jehovah came unto me, saying, Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto the house of Israel:  Therefore hear the word at my mouth, and give them warning from me.  When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand."  So do you see why Paul says I am free from your blood?  He had done as God had instructed him to do.  "Yet if thou warn the wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul."  And so Paul had delivered himself because he had been given them warning from God.  "Again when a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness, and commiteth iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him he shall die  (die spiritually)  because thou hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin, and his righteousness deeds which he hath done shall not be remembered; but his blood will I require at thine hand.  Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man, that the righteous sin not, and he doth not sin, he shall surely live."  It does not mean that he is going to live on earth physically forever, but he would have spiritual life.  People are separated from God because of sin as given in Isaiah 59:1-2 when the prophet said, "Behold, the hand of the Lord is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:  But your sins separated between you and your God, and your iniquities have hid his face from you, that he will not hear."  So sin separates men from God.  And all accountable people who have not obeyed the gospel of Christ are dead in sin, separated from God because of their sin.  And to the Ephesians, chapter 2:1, "And you did he make alive, when you were dead in your trespasses and sins."  By their obedience to the gospel, they had been made alive in Christ. 


While we are here, turn to chapter eighteen, and this is a very important reference.  Not only does the New Testament teach that salvation is conditional, turning on the free moral agency of man all the days of his life, but that was true under the Old Testament law as well.  God raised up Ezekiel as a prophet among the captives in Babylon, of the southern kingdom.  The tribes of Judah and Benjamin had been carried into Babylonian captivity because they turned away from God and served idol Gods.  And those people in captivity were blaming their punishment on their fathers.  If you look at verse two, they had this proverb going; the fathers have eaten sour grapes.  They are trying to blame all of their troubles on their fathers.  Okay.  Look now at verse nineteen, Ezekiel 18:19, "Yet say ye, wherefore?  Doth not the son bear the iniquity of the father?"  So you see they were saying that we are bearing the iniquity of our fathers.  We are in these circumstances because our fathers did wrong.  "When the son hath done that which is lawful and right, and kept all my statutes and done them, he shall surely live.  The soul that sinneth, it shall die.  The son shall not bear the iniquity of the father, neither shall the father bear the iniquity of the son:  The righteous of the righteous shall be upon him, and the iniquity of the wicked shall be upon him."  Verse twenty-one, "But if the wicked turn from all of his sins that he hath committed, and keep all my statutes, and do that which is lawful and right, he shall surely live, he shall not die."  This verse means that he will have spiritual life, that he will be no longer separated from God because of his sins I believe we will turn back to this passage to begin our next lesson with.  I would like to talk a little more about it.  And we were down to verse seven in Acts eighteen.