Archive for January, 2007

Acts 20:32-21:16 – February 4, 2007

FAREWELL TO THE EPHESIAN LEADERS (verses 32-38) and PAUL IS WARNED TO AVOID JERUSALEM (verse 1-16)

Each study will have an error in one of the questions. It is our duty as believers to test everything that we read or hear with the Bible. So this will be a mini exercise in testing what is being said in class.

Q1) In verse 32, do we have to wait until we get to heaven for our inheritance?

Discussion) No not at all. Remember that Paul here is still talking to the Ephesian elders and he is stating that everything has been done by the Holy Spirit and that the inheritance from heaven is not done by Paul, but by Jesus. Since this is the case and Jesus already has the victory in all things, we can participate in our inheritance now.

Q2) Read verses 33-35 and then read Acts 18:3 and Ephesians 4:19. What is Paul saying in these verses?

Discussion) Remember he is talking to the Ephesian elders here. Remembering back in chapter 19 of Acts we see that the main religion was that of Diana and that this religion was where you were more spiritual when you bought more idols. Paul did not take any money for himself in any city. When he had needs he worked as a tentmaker. He did this to show that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is free to everyone. It is not for sale. He received this freely so he freely gave it away.

Q3) {Tough Question} In verse 4, Paul is told by the disciples, in the Spirit, not to go up to Jerusalem. Was Paul going to Jerusalem to be defiant or was something else happening? Please explain.

Discussion) They were pleading for him not to go, but he knew that he needed to go to Jerusalem. Paul realized that everywhere he went that he would be persecuted or tortured. He also knew a higher reality is that a fire for the Lord God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit would start in every city that he was persecuted and tortured at, and not only a fire but faith would rise up inside of each new believer so that they could be bold in the face of persecution. He was not being defiant but showing us that he was bound in the Spirit to do this.

Q4) Of all the times that Paul sailed, verse 5 is the first time that people knelt at the shore and prayed before setting foot on a ship. Why is this important?

Discussion) This is kind of a tricky question. There are four main reasons that he did this. 1) He would never see these people again. 2) He was accepting their prayers for a safe journey to Jerusalem. 3) He was praying a blessing upon the people their for the beginning of their church. 4) Lastly he was showing of becoming a Greek to the Greeks. What is meant by this last one is that at this time many Gentile towns that were a port city prayed to the gods of the seas. Paul showed that it was good to pray for safe travelling but that they should be praying to the Lord Jehovah God, mighty Creator of all the universe and everything in it. In this he redirected them to God and not their false gods.

Q5) Paul was warned six times in this and the previous study to not go to Jerusalem. Write down these Scriptures.

Clues) It was actually three times, this was the trick question.

Discussion) These were in Acts 21:4, 21:21:11, and Acts 21:14

Q6) What did Agabus the prophet do in verse 11, and why?

Discussion) He took Paul’s belt off of him and bound himself up to show what the Spirit showed would happen to Paul. Here is a huge crossroads that Paul must make a choice and the first time that this ever happened to him. All of the people that he discipled that were with him were urging him NOT to go to Jersualem. He knew that he must go to Jerusalem. So his crossroads was this: was he going to listen to man and the fear that man had or listen to God and the destiny that God had on his life. This is a very interesting crossroads and as we each mature in our lives we will come to the same crossroads, will we believe God more than we believe man.

Name the seven places that Paul visits on the map below:

pauls-third-journey.gif

Verse 1 – Cos – Number 15 on the map

Verse 1 – Rhodes – number 16 on the map

Verse 1 – Patra – number 17 on the map

Verse 3- Cyprus – number 18 on the map

Verse 3 – Tyre – number 19 on the map

Verse 7 – Ptolemis – number 20 on the map

Verse 8 – Caesarea – number 21 on the map

Verse 15 – Jerusalem – number 22 on the map

LIFE APPLICATION: Why did Paul say, “why do you weep and break my heart”, in verse 13?

Discussion) He was being swayed in his human side to not go to Jersualem, for he loved the disciples. He knew though in his spirit that he must go to Jerusalem. This verse showed the intense crossroads that this was for him.

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January 29, 2007 at 12:00 am Leave a comment

Acts 20:17-31 – January 28, 2007

FAREWELL TO THE EPHESIAN ELDERS – PART 2

Each study will have an error in one of the questions. It is our duty as believers to test everything that we read or hear with the Bible. So this will be a mini exercise in testing what is being said in class.

Q1) In verse 17, why didn’t Paul go to Ephesus?

Discussion) Two reasons that he did not want to go to Ephesus. First he wanted to get to Jerusalem as quickly as possible, which leads into the second reason. He did not want to cause an uproar to the church at Ephesus like what had happened before he left Ephesus earlier in Acts.

Q2) What does it mean in verse 22, where Paul says, “I go bound in the Spirit to Jerusalem”?

Discussion) That Paul knew that the Holy Spirit was directing him towards Jerusalem and he did not fight it and he wholeheartedly agreed that he should go to Jerusalem.

Q3) Put yourself in Paul’s shoes. How would you feel about verse 23 and why?

Discussion) This was tough to wrap our minds around but Paul was almost happy about what was set before him. He knew that everywhere he would go that he would be persecuted but from that persecution faith would rise up in the believers in those churches and that increased his desire to be persecuted.

Q4) Why did Peter give the Ephesian elders their positions?

Clues) This was the trick question.

Discussion) It was the Holy Spirit who gave the Ephesian elders their positions. In this way Paul demonstrated that he need not be there anymore in Ephesus, in fact he states that they will no longer see him while here on earth. This way the would not put Paul upon a pedestal but instead would have to rely on God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. This is a great warning for us that we need to be careful not to put any person, no matter how influential or great that they are and have helped our church or us out, higher than God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. If we do this we are performing current day idolatry.

Q5) What is the strong warning in verse 29 that we need to heed?

Discussion) That everything needs to be checked out against what Paul had taught. For us today everything that we hear, no matter who it is from, needs to be tested against the Bible. 99% of the time if it points back to the Gospel of Jesus Christ it is true and correct, whereas if 99% of the time it points back to a person, opinion, or doctirine then it might be wrong.

Q6) What is it that Paul is telling the Ephesian elders – blessing, exhortation, or something else, and why?

Discussion) This is a huge exhortation on how they should start living and start being the pillars of the church in Ephesus.

LIFE APPLICATION: Compare what Paul says here, in Acts 20:24, to what he said in II Timothy 4:7. How can we apply the example he is to us here?

Discussion) The example that Paul sets before us is to finish the race known as the Christian life. Yes, we need to start out strong, but the Christian life is not a sprint but is a marathon, where we need to be strong and paced through the whole race and not be a flash in the pan.

January 22, 2007 at 12:15 am Leave a comment

Acts 20:7-16 – January 21, 2007

EUTYCHUS FALLS TO HIS DEATH AND IS RAISED (verses 7-12) and FAREWELL TO THE EPHESIAN ELDERS – PART 1 (verses 13-16)

Each study will have an error in one of the questions. It is our duty as believers to test everything that we read or hear with the Bible. So this will be a mini exercise in testing what is being said in class.

Q1) Why did they meet until midnight in verse 7?

Discussion) The people were hungry for what the Lord had for them through Paul. Paul did not act like a prima donna or a star, but shared with them EVERYTHING that the Lord had for them.

Much time was spent on verse 8 that there were many lamps in the upper room. The Bible never puts something in a verse that is not important. In verse 8 we see that this was not to be a dark mystical night, but a night that the light of what Jesus can and will do will shine throughout the earth. This is part of the kingdom of heaven coming down to earth.

Q2) What happened to Eutychus?

Discussion) Eutychus was in such a deep sleep that he fell from a three story window to his death. We had much discussion on this and we want to spend some time here on this. Imagine being Eutychus and being so sleepy while sitting on a ledge of a window three stories up that you fall asleep and fall out of the window to your death. This scene is a grisly scene. I am sure that there was much chaos going on and that many people were in horror that someone fell to their death. Down on the street below, the body of Eutychus was probably in such a horrible looking sight with blood and broken bones everywhere.

Q3) Paul embraced Eutychus’ dead body and told them his life is in him. Why did Paul do this and was this a resurrection of the dead?

Discussion) Paul did this to show that Eutychus was not dead but that through Jesus Christ he could be raised back to life. The part about the resurrection of the dead is that each one of us will be resurrected from the dead. This was a part of the resurrection of the dead in that Eutychus was brought back to life, but part of it was not, since the resurrection of the dead takes on the idea that we will have our new heavenly bodies.

Q4) In verse 11, after the incident with Eutychus, why did Paul leave for Phillipi?

Clues) This was the trick question. Paul never left for Phillipi but he went upstairs to eat.

Discussion) Paul was showing us several things. First of all, when the Lord uses us to heal the sick or raise the dead, we are not to boast about the event or rehash it over and over and over. Instead Paul was showing us by his actions that the raising of the dead whould be a normal occurence, to the point that when Eutychus came back to life that Paul went upstairs to eat and continue talking about Jesus.

Notice in verse 12, there is a negative entandre stating “not a little comforted” which means that the people in Troas were greatly comforted by what had just happened. Eutychus, undoubtedly, became a pillar in the church at Troas and was a living testament to being raised from the dead. Notice how Eutychus never followed Paul but stayed where he was at to build a solid church in his community.

Q5) In verse 13, what could be some reasons Paul’s friends sailed to Assos and he went on foot?

Discussion) There are many reasons that commentaries give such as that this was a difficult journey and Paul was denying himself the luxury of going on a ship in order to crucify the flesh towards God. Instead of this idea, we feel that this was a time for Paul to spend some quality time with God by himself. He had no one around asking questions and distracting him. This way he could get himself “charged up” with what was about to happen. I think that he showed us that we need alone time with God and that he was making sure that he was doing what God wanted him to do, especially in light of verse 23.

Q6) Who are the “we” in verse 13?

Discussion) Again this is the writer of Acts, which is Luke, who comes in and out of the picture of several chapters of Acts. There was a curve ball mentioned by the leader that the six places that Paul went took many months. If you look at verses 15 – 16 it mentions that each ship was the next day, so it took several days. This was done not to confuse or misguide the class, but it was done so that people would see that we need to watch what every person says about the Bible. It was caught that this was a mistake and then this error was expounded upon.

What were the six places that Paul and company went from the map below:

pauls-third-journey.gif

Verse 13 – Assos – place 10 on the map

Verse 14 – Mitylene – place 11 on the map

Verse 15 – Chios – place 12 on the map

Verse 15 – Samos – place 13 on the map

Verse 15 – Miletus – place 14 on the map

CHALLENGE: What is different in Paul in verse 16 compared to Acts 16:6-9?

Discussion) In Acts 16:6-9, Paul wanted to go to Asia in the worst way, but the Holy Spirit did not want him to go into Asia. Here in verse 16, Paul wants to get to Jerusalem very quickly and then go to Rome. He does not want to go to Asia anymore.

January 14, 2007 at 10:49 pm 1 comment

Acts 19:35-20:6 – January 14, 2007

THE GOSPEL CHALLENGES THE ECONOMY (verses 35-41) and MACEDONIAN BELIEVERS ARE REVISITED (verses 1-6)

We did not get to last week’s challenge:

CHALLENGE: In light of these verses that happen in Ephesus, read Ephesians 4:25-32. What is Paul saying to us now?

Discussion) This selections of verses challenges us to see that Paul did not want us to be like Demetrius and the mob at Ephesus. He was explaining to the Ephesians not to be like them by thoroughly going through what these people were like. This makes these passages come alive and jump off of the page.

Each study will have an error in one of the questions. It is our duty as believers to test everything that we read or hear with the Bible. So this will be a mini exercise in testing what is being said in class.

Q1) In verse 37, the town clerk mentions these men that you have brought forward. They weren’t robbers and they didn’t blaspheme against the goddess Diana. Who were these men and what was their crime?

Discussion) These men were Gaius and Aristrarchus and their crime was being around Paul when he was preaching. The town clerk saw through the thinly vieled charges that Demetrius brought against them.

Q2) Was the city clerk a Christian? What is the city clerk an example of? {This is a tough question so here is a clue: read Romans 13:1 – the last part of the verse}.

Clues) Think about all of the horrible rulers in the world when reading Romans 13:1.

Discussion) The city clerk was a man of high authority (he must have been to silence the mob with the wave of his hand). Since he was in authority he could control the proceedings of all acitivities. In this Paul knew that he should be prayed for and it is for sure that Paul silently was praying for him. The city clerk was not a Christian, as far as we can see, but also he did not believe in Diana, for it says in verse 37, “nor blasphemers of your goddess.” Of this we know that he said that if there was not a charge then everything should be dropped. One thing that was mentioned was that one of the rules in Ephesus was that the officials could loose their city to Rome if there was a mob uprising and also if the person that brought false charges during a mob uprising was found, that person would be put to death.

Q3) In Acts 20:1, Paul leaves Ephesus. Was he leaving due to fear or something else? Please explain.

Discussion) Definitely not. He was not afraid for himself, though it might look this way to the casual observer. Instead he knew that he was in the line of fire by many people in Ephesus, so in order for this new church here at Ephesus to flourish, he would have to be out of the way. He did this so that innocent bystanders of the church would not be persecuted due to Paul being there. If there was persecution, it would then be for the cause of Jesus Christ.

Q4) When Paul was ready to sail to Antioch, what happened?

Clues) This was the trick question. He was ready to sail to Syria.

Discussion) He decided, through the Holy Spirit, to return to Jerusaleam by going through Macedonia. It is knowledge that those that were on the ship to go to Syria were ready to try to “accidentally” throw Paul overboard so that he would never be heard from again. Whether Paul knew this or not, we do not know. What we do know is that God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit know men’s hearts and will change plans based upon the plans of men.

Q5) In Acts 20:5, it says, “the men went ahead of Paul and waited for him in Troas.” Does this mean that during this part of the journey Paul traveled alone?

Discussion) No, this is a trick question. In verse 6 there is a we, which means Luke, the writer of Acts, was with Paul.

What five places did Paul go from Ephesus? Please use the following map:pauls-third-journey.gif

He went five places:

Macedonia – verse 1 – place 5 on the map

Greece – verse 2 – place 6 on the map

Macedonia – verse 3 – place 7 on the map

Philippi – verse 6 – place 8 on the map

Troas – verse 6 – place 9 on the map

CHALLENGE: Romans was written during the three months at Corinth in Acts 20:3. Read Romans 15:22-29 and share how this letter is different than all the letters Paul has written.

Discussion) This letter is different in that it is sent to Rome before Paul got there and he states that he will be going to Rome to see them.

CHALLENGE: Read I Corinthians 15:32. Paul was at Ephesus only one time, in Acts 19:1-41, yet he talks about the “beasts of Ephesus.” What is he talking about here?

Discussion) The beasts mentioned are the demonic forces that overtake mobs that happened at Ephesus. Remember in question 2 that we mentioned there was a rule against mobs. Obviously this was not the first or only time that a mob had happened since there was a rule against it. These people must have had partaken in many mobs.

January 7, 2007 at 9:23 pm Leave a comment


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