Friday, April 20, 2012
Please forgive this rough draft format, as these are my raw study notes on the book of Acts. I felt a great sense of urgency to publish them rather than waiting until I had the time to pretty them up. Thank you and I pray that God blesses and encourages you through this material. Stay strong. Live in the Spirit. Encourage each other. Pray. Jesus is coming…
Take a few minutes to pray and savor chapter 28 of the book of Acts. Read it with the thought in mind that this is the first display of the power of the Holy Spirit working through man – aside from Christ, that is. Imagine what the Spirit can do through you if you let Him! Then return here and ponder the thoughts, answer the questions, and be sure to leave comments about your own revelations…
28:16 – Do you think that Paul had minimal supervision because no one could find fault with him? His prison was a rented house…and he paid the rent!
28:17 – Paul had to preach, but God had to bring the audience to him! These men were probably intrigued by what they heard about him.
Paul maintains his innocence of breaking Jewish law. Remember when he was accused of bringing a Greek man into the restricted part of the temple? See Acts 21:28.
28:20 – Paul wanted to meet with these Jewish leaders to share the gospel, the hope of Israel.
28:22 – The leaders calling The Way a sect implies that this movement was heresy.
28:23 – Paul witnessed persuasively day and night using the scriptures to point his visitors to Christ.
28:30 – During this period of time, Paul wrote his letter to the Philippians.
Paul never got to see Rome. He arrived there in chains. Rome had to visit him in the form of individuals wanting to hear what Paul had to say.
The martyred disciples (Fox’s Book of Martyrs):
Stephen – see 7:54-60.
James – see 12:2.
Philip – “Was born at Bethsaida, in Galilee and was first called by the name of "disciple." He labored diligently in Upper Asia, and suffered martyrdom at Heliopolis, in Phrygia. He was scourged, thrown into prison, and afterwards crucified, A.D. 54.”
Matthew – “Whose occupation was that of a toll-gatherer, was born at Nazareth. He wrote his gospel in Hebrew, which was afterwards translated into Greek by James the Less. The scene of his labors was Parthia, and Ethiopia, in which latter country he suffered martyrdom, being slain with a halberd in the city of Nadabah, A.D. 60.”
James the Less – “Is supposed by some to have been the brother of our Lord, by a former wife of Joseph. This is very doubtful, and accords too much with the Catholic superstition, that Mary never had any other children except our Savior. He was elected to the oversight of the churches of Jerusalem; and was the author of the Epistle ascribed to James in the sacred canon. At the age of ninety-four he was beat and stoned by the Jews; and finally had his brains dashed out with a fuller's club.”
Matthias – “Of whom less is known than of most of the other disciples, was elected to fill the vacant place of Judas. He was stoned at Jerusalem and then beheaded.”
Andrew – “Was the brother of Peter. He preached the gospel to many Asiatic nations; but on his arrival at Edessa he was taken and crucified on a cross, the two ends of which were fixed transversely in the ground. Hence the derivation of the term, St. Andrew's Cross.”
Mark – “Was born of Jewish parents of the tribe of Levi. He is supposed to have been converted to Christianity by Peter, whom he served as an amanuensis, and under whose inspection he wrote his Gospel in the Greek language. Mark was dragged to pieces by the people of Alexandria, at the great solemnity of Serapis their idol, ending his life under their merciless hands.”
Peter – “Among many other saints, the blessed apostle Peter was condemned to death, and crucified, as some do write, at Rome; albeit some others, and not without cause, do doubt thereof. Hegesippus saith that Nero sought matter against Peter to put him to death; which, when the people perceived, they entreated Peter with much ado that he would fly the city. Peter, through their importunity at length persuaded, prepared himself to avoid. But, coming to the gate, he saw the Lord Christ come to meet him, to whom he, worshipping, said, "Lord, whither dost Thou go?" To whom He answered and said, "I am come again to be crucified." By this, Peter, perceiving his suffering to be understood, returned into the city. Jerome saith that he was crucified, his head being down and his feet upward, himself so requiring, because he was (he said) unworthy to be crucified after the same form and manner as the Lord was.”
Paul – “Paul, the apostle, who before was called Saul, after his great travail and unspeakable labors in promoting the Gospel of Christ, suffered also in this first persecution under Nero. Abdias, declareth that under his execution Nero sent two of his esquires, Ferega and Parthemius, to bring him word of his death. They, coming to Paul instructing the people, desired him to pray for them, that they might believe; who told them that shortly after they should believe and be baptised at His sepulcher. This done, the soldiers came and led him out of the city to the place of execution, where he, after his prayers made, gave his neck to the sword.”
Jude – “The brother of James, was commonly called Thaddeus. He was crucified at Edessa, A.D. 72.”
Bartholomew – “Preached in several countries, and having translated the Gospel of Matthew into the language of India, he propagated it in that country. He was at length cruelly beaten and then crucified by the impatient idolaters.”
Thomas – “Called Didymus, preached the Gospel in Parthia and India, where exciting the rage of the pagan priests, he was martyred by being thrust through with a spear.”
Luke – “The evangelist, was the author of the Gospel which goes under his name. He travelled with Paul through various countries, and is supposed to have been hanged on an olive tree, by the idolatrous priests of Greece.”
Simon – “Surnamed Zelotes, preached the Gospel in Mauritania, Africa, and even in Britain, in which latter country he was crucified, A.D. 74.”
John – “The "beloved disciple," was brother to James the Great. The churches of Smyrna, Pergamos, Sardis, Philadelphia, Laodicea, and Thyatira, were founded by him. From Ephesus he was ordered to be sent to Rome, where it is affirmed he was cast into a cauldron of boiling oil. He escaped by miracle, without injury. Domitian afterwards banished him to the Isle of Patmos, where he wrote the Book of Revelation. Nerva, the successor of Domitian, recalled him. He was the only apostle who escaped a violent death.”
Barnabas – “Was of Cyprus, but of Jewish descent, his death is supposed to have taken place about A.D. 73.”
“And yet, notwithstanding all these continual persecutions and horrible punishments, the Church daily increased, deeply rooted in the doctrine of the apostles and of men apostolical, and watered plentously with the blood of saints.” (Fox’s Book of Martyrs)
• The book of Acts teaches us much about what the Holy Spirit is capable of doing through a mortal life. What have you learned about how He wants to work through you today? What will you do to give up a bit of control to Him?
• What attributes of God do you see in this book?
• What verse of scripture seemed to be God speaking directly to you? What is He teaching you in these verses? How does He want you to respond?