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Act 18,1-8

(148l) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Obligation to preach the gospel >> Slave laborers – Imagine the contribution to the word of God that came about because Paul went to Corinth and preached Jesus to them. The books of first and second Corinthians probably do more to talk about Christianity as it is today than any other epistles of the New Testament. First Corinthians is the longest epistle in the New Testament, and in it he severely rebuked the Corinthian Church for its immaturity, but he also made some of the most profound statements in the Bible about God in relation to this world.

Act 18,1-5

(14k) Servant >> Ministry of helps >> Helpers are indirectly in charge of the word >> They relieve church leaders of menial duties – Paul made friends with Aquila and Priscilla, a husband and wife team. He was a Jew evicted from Rome through persecution, for Claudius had commanded all Jews, Christian and non-Christian, to leave Rome. Unbelieving Jews were stirring up trouble in Rome and blaming their own behavior on Christian Jews and non-Jews, complaining to the authorities that if it weren’t for the Christians they wouldn’t be causing these skirmishes. Christians were not the troublemakers, but those who fought against the faith were to blame, in attempt to extinguish the flame that kept burning brighter in every place. The number one objective of every Roman leader was to stamp out all disturbances before they became riotous in as easy and efficient manner as possible, for riots and insurrections reflected poorly on them in the eyes of Caesar, making them appear to be ineffectively rulers, and since most of the latest upheavals seemed to involve Jews, he determined that all Jews should leave Rome, whether they were causing the skirmishes or not. Paul met Aquila and Priscilla at Corinth and they became friends, being faithful Christians who served the brethren, giving what they could to those of greater poverty. Paul enjoyed people who were deeply committed to the faith in a practical way and made themselves available for service and ministry. Aquila and Priscilla were evangelists to some degree, but their forte was hospitality, contributing to the needs of the saints, opening their house to anyone in need.

(119g) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Freedom >> Debt free

(241g) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Hindering the kingdom >> Obstacles in the way of the kingdom >> Distractions

Act 18-1,2

(170a) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Seeking the glory of man >> Stepping on people to get to the bottom >> Those who seek glory from men discard others – Caesar commanded all Jews (Christian and non-Christian) to leave Rome because the unbelieving Jews were making a stink about Christianity that was forming in their region. This caused great hardship in the lives of Roman believers who were forced to resettle, imprisoning some and martyring others. All it did was promote Christianity all the more. The people looked upon all this commotion and deduced that there must be something to this Christianity; otherwise so many people would not be devoting their efforts to it and suffering hardship for its cause. Christianity was a cause to which people affixed themselves for the hope of eternal life.

Act 18-3

(101j) Thy kingdom come >> Ambition >> Be an ambitious businessman for God >> Ambitious in the business world of this life – A man named Aquila worked with Paul as a tent maker. Churches supported Paul, and when funds were low, he supported himself when needed, and when the opportunity arose to save souls, he devoted himself exclusively to the ministry. Fulltime pastors today are not apostles who establish churches or evangelists who win souls, as Paul did. Instead, they stay within the confines of their own churches and wait for worshippers to come to them. This is a far cry form Paul’s ministry. Many pastors live better than most of the members of their church, which is a grievous sin in the eyes of God. He will ask them one day why they lived more lavishly than the majority of those who supported him.

Act 18-4,5

(6k) Responsibility >> Protecting the Gospel >> Persuade men that Jesus is the Christ -- This verse goes with verses 19. For the first century Church, especially in the beginning when it was fresh and new, the greatest hurdle of the evangelist was to convince the Jews that Jesus was their Messiah through their Old Testament writings. The New Testament is filled with Old Testament references that spoke about Jesus as the Christ, and these were the very verses that first century Christians used in their evangelism. The problem today is that if we convinced somebody that Jesus was the Christ, it probably wouldn’t affect their salvation. People already assume this about Him, or at least they know that other people believe it. It might still have an affect on some Jews, but gentiles never believed in a Messiah until Jesus came. What influences gentiles today is the preaching of God's love, and the biggest hurdle evangelist have today is convincing people they are sinners. People have a tendency to compare themselves with other people to determine whether they are good or bad, but the gospel is about saving people from the wrath of God, not from each other. Without putting our faith in Jesus for the forgiveness of sin we will trust something else to make us righteous before God, which is an offense after He suffered and died for us. See also: First century Church; Act 18,24-28; 80a

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Act 18-5,6

(27a) Sin >> Consequences of sin >> Curse >> Deeds that return to the doer >> Blasphemy – Someone might say to the evangelist, ‘What you believe may seem real to you, but it isn’t real to me.’ People could not say that to Paul, anymore than they could speak to an oncoming train without either moving off the tracks or else getting run over. With the level of zeal that Paul employed in his preaching, he was able to answer every question who challenged him about his faith. If we developed a commitment like Paul, who had a miraculous commitment and a miraculous relationship with God, we could reshape Christianity as they did. By the time Paul finished speaking with the Jews, they could not deny what he was saying without blaspheming, but whether they actually believed it was another thing. It is possible to know something without believing it, though it is one of the definitions of blasphemy, being a very dangerous way of thinking and an attempt to override the conscience.

(69i) Authority >> Righteous judgment (Outcome of Discernment) >> Passing judgment by the authority of God

(71a) Authority >> Believer’s authority >> We have authority from God to evangelize the world >> We have an anointing to preach the gospel

(185h) Works of the devil >> The result of lawlessness >> Blasphemy >> Responding with contempt to the Holy Spirit >> Resisting the Holy Spirit – It is one thing to resist but another to blaspheme, saying things they didn’t mean just to win an argument. The things they said to Paul they would have said to God, lying to their own hearts to avoid believing in the gospel. On any other subject, science, politics, etc., a person can lie to his opponent during a debate to win an argument, and it is not technically a grievous sin, but it is when someone pulls this on God. There is a word devoted to those who would lie to their own conscience: blasphemy against the Holy Spirit, which Jesus said is an unpardonable sin, for if they would lie to Paul, they would just as well lie to God (Mat 10-40).

(200b) Denying Christ >> Man chooses his own destiny apart from God >> Rejecting Christ >> Rejecting the will of God >> Rejecting the gospel

(202g) Denying Christ >> Man chooses his own destiny apart from God >> Running from God >> Running from the word of God >> Running from the gospel

(211c) Salvation >> Jews and gentiles are being saved >> Gentiles included >> Gentiles steal the kingdom from Israel through obedience – Paul shook off the Jewish dust from his feet many times, but he always found himself going back to the them, because the gospel of Christ belonged to them first and foremost, and then secondly to the gentiles. Paul had a heart for them, being also a Jew. Eventually, though, the thrust of his ministry would turn almost exclusively to the gentiles; after all, why would he forsake those who sought to receive the gospel only to preach to those who rejected it? He often gave the Jews an opportunity to receive the gospel, but if they resisted, he would turn from them to the gentiles in that area. This would often incite jealousy in the Jews, leading to his persecution, so it was in a sense doing himself a disservice by approaching them with the gospel. He felt an obligation to them at the risk of his life, but these verses may be spelling the death knell of his ministry to the Jew when he finally made up his mind to name his ministry after the gentiles (Eph 3-1). His efforts toward the Jews became less and less after this, simply because many of them were resistant to the point of hostility, while many gentiles were ready to receive the gospel.

(222d) Kingdom of God >> The elusive Kingdom of Heaven >> Do not give what is holy to dogs >> God does not entrust his treasures to dogs >> Do not give to dogs who will not receive you

Act 18-5

(130l) Depend on your brother (Key verse)

(130m) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Interdependent on each other >> Depend on your brother to walk in the gifts of God’s calling

(147h) Solemnly testify (Key verse)

(147i) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Solemnly testify about Jesus -- This verse goes with verses 9&10. Evangelism groups try to reach their communities with the gospel; meanwhile, the people have their own beliefs, and they think their beliefs are just as valid. However, when Paul and Silas came and completely devoted themselves to preaching the word of God, they turned the world upside-down for Jesus. Paul had a commitment to his faith that went far beyond the average Christian. To what lengths was he willing to bring the word of God to the known world? There were obviously other evangelists, but Paul had a large sphere of influence in the world because of his commitment and his knowledge of many subjects, especially of the Old Testament that he used to speak to the Jews about Jesus as their Messiah. His level of commitment to fulfilling God’s purpose and calling in his life was no less profound than the signs, wonders and miracles he performed through Christ. He was a living marvel; nobody could stop him though they tried. Paul’s commitment to the gospel acted as a witness that what he was saying was the truth, for no lie ever conceived by man or demon was worth the trouble, pain and suffering that he endured to convey his passion to the world. This is the kind of relationship and commitment that God would like us all to enjoy, so people around us would realize that we have come to know God.

Act 18-6

(180ca) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Wolves >> Be shrewd as wolves and more innocent than they appear >> Fighting off wolves with a clever innocence >> Being more clever than their sin – By this statement Paul bypassed the Jewish nation of Israel, who initially were the intended recipients and rightful stewards of the gospel of Christ, but they rejected the will of God for themselves, so Paul had no choice but to go over their heads, and the gentiles became stewards of the gospel instead. This was never meant to be, and the Church suffered greatly because of it, not that the Jews would have done a better job managing the gospel, since they fouled up the first covenant, but that Jesus was their Messiah. When they rejected Him to the point of nailing Him to a cross, God did not hold it against them. In fact, Christ’s death was the predetermined plan of God. However, afterward they rejected the gospel that resulted from His resurrection, and at that point there was nothing else Paul could do except bypass them, for no one can force anybody to believe in Jesus. This was a very clever move on Paul’s part, though it saddened Him to the point of despair, because the Jews were his countrymen. In the beginning many Jews were being saved, but there were unbelieving Jews that finally won over Israel and convinced the Jewish population to reject the gospel. Paul could not stop them; he prayed fervently, yet God did not answer his prayer. God has His own ideas; He has His own set of priorities, answering some prayers and not others. He chose not to answer Paul’s prayer to make these Jewish unbelievers stop harassing him, who followed Paul everywhere in attempt to hinder the gospel, and they spread their blasphemy as far as Asia, so when the gospel came to them, they rejected it. This is something that has transpired since time began, leaders having a negative influence on people. It is all because those who put themselves in leadership positions are the ones who know how to fight for the things they want. Having the gift of gab and other relevant talents, they beat off other people on their rise to the top of the dung pile.

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Act 18-7,8

(90c) Thy kingdom come >> Keeping the law >> Law is our tutor >> It prepares your heart to receive Christ

(208b) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Salvation verses >> The kindness of God >> You and your household shall be saved – The Corinthian Church was a very carnal group of believers, being that their city was the hub of paganism. It was difficult to live there as a Christian because of all the seduction and worldliness. The Corinthians struggled with their culture, clashing between the world and God’s kingdom that was growing in their hearts. Many Corinthian people believed in the Lord and were baptized, and Paul was happy to make converts of them though they were a secular people, and he greatly struggled with them, yet he was more than happy to accommodate their faith and bring the gospel to them that they might believe and be saved.

(252j) Trinity >> You shall put no other gods before Me >> Worship God >> Worship God by your lifestyle – Titus was a worshipper of God. There are some Christians who are not technically worshippers, though they might praise the Lord and sing the songs, tithe and do other things. Worship is the difference between a regular Christian and someone who is truly dedicated to the faith. When we get to heaven, we will all worship God, but in this life there are many who have substituted religious beliefs for genuine faith.

Act 18-9,10

(2m) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God >> Get out of His way >> Let Him do His work – It was the work of God that Paul should continue speaking and not be intimidated. It was not only the work of God to protect the mouth piece of His gospel, God also took the credit for what Paul did, since he preached the gospel by the power of the Holy Spirit.

(6c) Responsibility >> Advocate God’s cause >> Jesus’ yoke of evangelism

(28a) Gift of God >> God is our advocate >> The protector of our faith – These verses go with verses 16,17

(77c) Thy kingdom come >> Hunger for the essence of God >> Hunger for His truth – The Corinthians engorged their fleshly appetites, and it left them hungry. This is the deception of the world, the flesh and the devil: they promise to satisfy but never deliver. In fact, they take more than they give. We can ask any person who has gone on a pleasure binge ten years later and ask him what advantages he enjoys of those days in contrast to the consequences that are still hounding him. If he told the truth, he would say there are no advantages that remain of that time but plenty of shame. Whatever the flesh dictates, like faithful servants they surrendered to its whimsical desires. Solomon did this, the man of so-called great wisdom. He performed an experiment of sorts, indulging his flesh for a period of years seeking utopia, striving to experience every possible form of pleasure, and he said, “everything is futility and striving after wind” (Ecclesiastes 2-17). He testified that carnal pleasure is uncontainable, and if we did manage to corral it, would destroy us. The Corinthians conducted a similar experiment and came to the same conclusion, and now they were ready to hear about Jesus. Carnal passions and desires are insidious; when the Corinthians got saved, their sin didn’t die; instead, the Corinthians had to die to their sinful passions and desires in order to make separation between themselves and their lusts, for sin looks for inroads that it might continue living through the flesh. Although they gave Paul a great reception, he struggled with them throughout his ministry to keep them on the straight and narrow path of faith and love. They remained the most carnal people of all the churches, according to Paul’s epistles. See also: Sin is like a bubble in a rug; Act 22,24-30; 97h

(100b) Thy kingdom come >> Perseverance >> Persevere in preaching the gospel

(102j) Thy kingdom come >> Faithfulness (Loyalty) >> Consistency >> Loyalty

(105h) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Led by the Spirit to the will of God >> Led to the right people – Paul spent a year and half with the Corinthians, which was probably longer than he spent with anyone else. He had to dedicate more time to them because of their "carnal faith" (oxymoron). They wanted to walk in the gifts of the Spirit, inadvertently de-emphasizing the fruits of the Spirit, and Paul devoted a considerable effort in his letters trying to persuade them to emphasize the fruits over the gifts. The Corinthians welcomed him well enough and enjoyed their new faith in the Lord, but they were immature in their practice of love, compared to many of the other churches. We can say the same about any church today that emphasizes the gifts over the fruits that they are acting like the Corinthian Church.

(117b) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Rest in Jesus (Sabbath) >> Rest in His yoke through obedience Paul rested in the words that the Spirit of Jesus spoke to him, but the only way he could abide in His word was to do them. That put Paul in a vulnerable position in that Christ commanded him to do the very thing that made his enemies hate him. However, Paul was content with preaching the gospel, even though he knew it would someday cost him his life. It was the only thing that would satisfy God, and with that Paul would be content.

(117i) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Eyes of your spirit >> Seeing visions – As a result of Paul’s vision, the Corinthian Church was born, resulting also in two epistles written of them. The Lord said to Paul in the night, “Do not be afraid… for I am with you;” God was always with him, even while he was mercilessly whipped five times, and when he was three times beaten with rods and when he was stoned, and all the other things that happened to him according to 2nd Corinthians chapter eleven. God was with him while he preached the gospel in Corinth without hindrance, for He has “many people in this city.” He put the words in his mouth that would lead the Corinthians to salvation, so Paul could confidently say, “I was with you in weakness and in fear and in much trembling, and my message and my preaching were not in persuasive words of wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, so that your faith would not rest on the wisdom of men, but on the power of God” (1Cor 2,3-5). The Lord told Paul not to be afraid, yet he still was afraid, showing the difference between obedience and disobedience, that is, between ability and debilitation.

(122a) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Confidence in the word of God

(126b) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> God is at peace >> The Peace of God

(139e) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Encouraged by the word of God – God spoke to Paul in a night vision (it apparently wasn’t a dream), and in the vision told him not to be afraid any longer. Paul the great evangelist was terrified. The Jews had whipped him on five separate occasions, and three times he was beaten with rods, among many other punishing circumstances (2Cor 11-24,25), and he was afraid the Jews would have their way with him again. That would put fear into anybody; he would wish 39 lashes with a cat-o-nine-tails had killed him just to be over the suffering and horror of it, yet Paul was willing to endure it for the sake of the gospel and for the sake of those who would inherit eternal life. Thus, when God told him not to be afraid anymore, that no harm would befall him, it was like getting a free pass to preach the gospel in Corinth. After the vision he could preach without fear, so long as he remained on the path that God had designated for his feet as an apostle and evangelist and prophet.

(147i) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Solemnly testify about Jesus -- These verses go with verse 5. Corinth was one of the most carnal cities in the known world at the time. Paul had a huge uphill battle trying to bring faith to them, since there was nothing in their culture that could relate to the gospel, yet Paul played that to his advantage. For example, how many times has the devil posed a counterfeit gospel through religion and used thoughts and ideas that resembled the truth but were skewed in some way to confuse us? The Corinthians didn’t have this problem, since the gospel was brand new to them. Paul’s challenge was to introduce a new idea to them, but that had an upside; they didn’t have the experience base to misconstrue what he was saying. Paul came demonstrating the gospel in power, so even if they didn’t have a mind to understand it, they could see the miracles God performed through him and recognize the significance of his message.

(148e) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Natural advantage of the public eye – Paul used the popularity of Christianity to protect himself from persecutors, which was a trick Jesus often used. The Pharisees wanted to kill Jesus; meanwhile, all His followers gathered around Him, who would be eyewitnesses of anything the Pharisees did to Him. If the Pharisees raised their hand against the Lord, the people would take it upon themselves to seek justice. The same thing happened in Corinth; it became a popular place for Christianity almost immediately, and God was telling Paul to use that popularity as a buffer against his enemies. God said to Paul in his vision, “I am with you… for I have many people in this city.” God was saying that He would be with Paul through the people who believed in his message. Far as we know the city of Corinth had not been previously evangelized until Paul arrived, so Christ was saying to Paul in the vision, ‘I have many people predestined to inherit eternal life, who will listen to your message.’ This indicates happened to Paul many times when he was manhandled and brutally tortured throughout his missionary journeys; the people did not receive his message and their rejection placed him in a lonely place in a dark corner of the world with many enemies and no protection. The Jews would take him into custody, persecute and torture him, and then release him, because they were not allowed to execute a person outside of Roman authority. However, in Corinth it would be different; he would receive a large reception of believers.

(247h) Priorities >> God’s priorities >> God’s interests >> God is interested in the gospel

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Act 18,11-17

(18c) Sin >> False Judgment lacks evidence >> Charges not defined as crimes >> Accusing Paul without formal charges – Paul settled in Corinth teaching them for a year and a half, and then continued his missionary journeys to Syria, and later wrote the Corinthians a letter telling them how carnal they behaved. After devoting a year and a half to them they tried to portray him as an enemy, making up lies about him regarding his motives for wanting to be their spiritual leader (2Corinthians chapter 10).

(24i) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Jews are envious of the gospel – Christianity has never caused riots and upheavals in society; rather, it has been counterfeit Christians pretending to believe in God. Hecklers rarely get the blame for social unrest, though they are always responsible for it. The manner in which governments respond to social unrest is usually to grease the squeaky wheel; that is, instead of punishing the rioters as we would expect, they punish their enemies to placate the complainers. In other words, they give them what they want just to shut them up. This is how it works in society today; however, Gallio stood firm against the Jews and did not give them what they wanted. He was a wise governor.

(166a) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Wisdom of the world >> Man’s wisdom excuses his sinful nature >> Man’s wisdom rationalizes his sin

(242c) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Persecuting the kingdom >> Persecuting God >> Persecuting the word of God – The unbelieving Jews grabbed Sothenes and started beating him in front of Gallio, the proconsul, and he was unconcerned about it. The Jews were trying to make Gallio react to their behavior, hoping he would tell them to stop. His reaction would have been all the Jews needed to interject their case against Paul, so if he didn’t tell him to stop, then they couldn’t tell him why they were beating Sothenes.

Act 18,11-16

(75k) Thy kingdom come >> Motives >> Jealously manipulating people

(175f) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Ignorance >> Dodging the issue (willful ignorance) >> Evading the word of God

(200g) Denying Christ >> Man chooses his own destiny apart from God >> Excuses for rejecting Christ >> Selfish ambition >> Putting your own personal interests above God

Act 18,11-13

(65g) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Satan brings unity >> Satan unites the world for the cause of persecution

Act 18-11

(33n) Gift of God >> Believers are special to God >> God receives us – A couple verses earlier it said that God told him not to be afraid anymore but to go on teaching and preaching, saying, “I have many people in this city,” meaning there were many people who were believing in Jesus in Corinth, and since it was a hub of worldly paganism and carnal sensuality, it indicated just how sick and tired people were of it, yet they also had a hard time letting it go, which is characteristic of all addictions. Based on some of the things Paul said in his letters to them, tired as they were of their phony paganism and burned out as they were of mining their bodies for pleasure, when they heard about the gospel and the love of God and the fellowship of the brethren and the commitment to the faith and to each other that the gospel teaches, it was a pleasant change from their former religion that allowed them to use their bodies however they wished. When the Corinthians discovered Christianity, they found that God loved them and wanted a relationship with them through obedience instead of sacrifice.

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Act 18,12-17

(42d) Judgment >> Be like Jesus >> Innocent >> No evidence against you in a court of law

Act 18,12-16

(182f) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Deception >> Three causes of interpreting Scripture falsely >> Because they do not understand the Scriptures – These vicious Jews hated the gospel of Christ, though they endlessly studied the Scriptures. These were probably not the same Jews that had Jesus crucified, but were of the same spirit. Instead of grabbing Paul and murdering him, they were clever and sought the legal system on their side, but there was disparity between Jewish law and Roman law that merely tolerated many of their Jewish traditions and customs. This man Gallio was familiar with their pet issues, that they wrangled about words and started huge controversies over jots and tittles, which made Paul write, “Solemnly charge them in the presence of God not to wrangle about words, which is useless and leads to the ruin of the hearers” (2Tim 2-14). Paul is commanding Christians not to choose a pharisaical manner of interpreting the Bible, which is not edifying, that feeds on controversy, arguments and dissension. This was not Paul’s manner of teaching; he did not teach about words, yet how many sermons have we heard that were based on a single word? The enemies of Paul focused on single words and controversial issues and disputes about the law. In Christendom today we see devoted Christians spreading out their favorite reference books around the table, Bible dictionaries, Greek and Hebrew lexicons and word studies, where they look up words and break them into their primitive roots to find out exactly what they mean. This is rarely edifying. Bible scholars who translated the Bible from the original Greek and Hebrew languages were not hillbillies. They knew more about the process of translation than most of us will ever know, so how the Bible reads is usually very accurate. For us to do a word study is largely a waste of time, for this has already been done, and it is like reinventing the wheel. 

Act 18,14-16

(239k) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Pursuing the knowledge of the kingdom >> Teachers >> Let not many of you become teachers >> Dividing accurately the word of truth – Gallio wouldn't touch the issues of the Jews with a ten-foot pole, and neither should we. However, if you want to do a study on words the best thing to do is find a program on the Internet that offers multiple Bible translations ( What makes language complicated is the constant fluctuation of the way we use words, connotation. The words our favorite translation uses will most likely be the best words available; nevertheless, there are occasions when doing a word study is productive; for example, the King James Version is a translation of antiquity; we don’t talk or think or read or write that way anymore (yet I use it on my website because it is the only translation that is not copyrighted, imagine copyrighting the Bible; they should be ashamed of themselves). The newer translations are much better (I prefer the NASB). If we don’t understand the way a word is used in one translation, we can read the verse in a different translation. One note of caution, stay far away as possible from paraphrased versions of the Bible, which are translations of a translation, often written by amateurs. English dictionaries are designed to render the denotation of a word, what it means, which is what all word study tools do, whereas more often we need to know the connotation of the word, how it was used, and sometimes only God can tell us that. The context is usually far more helpful when studying a word. The more accurately we interpret the Bible as a whole, the more accurately we can interpret a verse or a word in a sentence, because we use words to interpret words and verses to interpret verses. Conversely, the more off-base we get in understanding the Bible, the more off-base we get in understanding the words and verses it contains, because we use one misinterpretation to misinterpret the next. See also: Misinterpreting the Bible; Mat 26,57-63; 160da

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Act 18-16,17

(28a) Gift of God >> God is our advocate >> The protector of our faith -- These verses go with verses 9,10. They didn’t beat Paul but they beat Sosthenes in front of the proconsul, showing the veracity of God’s word to Paul in a vision that He would protect Paul (v9). Paul is the one they hated, but they beat up the other guy, so there are benefits to having a special commitment to the Lord, yet God will always be more committed to us than we are to Him.

Act 18-18

(2e) Responsibility >> Keep your commitments >> it is better not to vow at all – Aquila and Pricilla went with Paul to Ephesus, and it says that Paul cut his hair because he was keeping a vow. Vows were big in olden days, and Jesus put the kibosh on it; nevertheless, vows still have their place, such as in marriage. Paul was a righteous and holy man and very knowledgeable, and he knew what Jesus said about vows that it was better not to vow at all, so we must assume he had a good reason for vowing. He most likely cut his hair for the sake of someone else to avoid offending the person. Ephesus was the city of the great goddess Artemis, and it is possible that to a make a contrast, men didn't wear long hair in Ephesus.

(150b) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Instructions on evangelism – Paul usually had somebody with him; if it wasn’t Barnabas or Mark, it was Silas or Timothy, or in this case Aquila and Pricilla. He needed help preaching the gospel and he also needed support and encouragement. He needed someone beside him who believed in Jesus as a witness, so he wouldn’t feel alone in what he was doing. It was the reason Jesus sent them two-by-two.

Act 18,19-21

(105g) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Led by the Spirit into the will of God >> Led to the right place – This is Paul weakening his commitment to the Jews. He went and spoke to them, and though they received him and asked him to stay, he refused, because his heart was being solidified to the gentiles. He left a group of believing Jews in search of gentiles, because this was the direction that God was leading him. Even so, Paul always preached Christ to the Jews first, for they would always remain in his heart.

(143i) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> Popularity >> Sought commendably >> Being sought for your relationship with God – Paul had such a heart for the Jews; he wanted desperately to reach them with the gospel. The Jews asked Paul to stay longer, indicating that they had received the gospel, yet Paul did not consent, but took his leave of them. This suggests that Paul had a place more pressing to go than ministering to his fellow Jews; He continued to encourage the gentile churches further along his journeys. He went land and sea, region to region strengthening the churches, led by the Spirit. He loved to preach the gospel and see people being saved, but it was even more important to him that they remained saved, “For this reason, when I could endure it no longer, I also sent to find out about your faith, for fear that the tempter might have tempted you, and our labor would be in vain” (1The 3-5). Paul went around strengthening the churches to ensure his investment in the Kingdom of Heaven, and for this reason he did not consent to remain with the Jews. There were many occasions when the Jews did not receive Paul’s message but vehemently persecuted him, so it must have been a breath of fresh air to hear the Jews ask him to stay and teach them the word of God. Numbers mattered to him; he wanted as many souls as possible saved, regardless if they were Jew or gentile. This attitude was also true of Jesus, “And the master said to the slave, 'Go out into the highways and along the hedges, and compel them to come in, so that my house may be filled'” (Lk 14-23).

Act 18-19,20

(150a) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Invitation to the Kingdom of God

Act 18-19

(6k) Responsibility >> Protecting the Gospel >> Persuade men that Jesus is the Christ – This verse goes with verses 4 & 24-28

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Act 18,22-28

(80k) Thy kingdom come >> Know the word to minister to people >> To evangelize the world – If there is one thing we can say about this chapter, it is the travels of Paul through so many of the regions that he visited, preached and later wrote letters to the new converts, which have become the epistles of the New Testament. It is a wonderful account how all these things came to pass, for these were some of the first people to believe in Jesus. We don’t have to imagine it; we can read for ourselves the summary of events that occurred and can even trace his steps.

Act 18-23

(9h) Responsibility >> Strengthened by the sword of His Spirit >> Through His word

(130g) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Committed to caring for the needs of the body >> Caring for spiritual needs

(139c) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Encouragement >> Encouragement strengthens our faith -- This verse goes with verses 27,28. The Bible speaks of Christians as disciples; they were students of the word of God and disciples of prayer, but in today’s Church it is difficult to find Christian disciples. Basically, what we have in Christendom today are a lot of religious people who get involved in church activities but don't often read their Bible or pray. This is not discipleship but churchianity. They believe a set of doctrines, hoping that believing them will guide them safely to heaven, but as far as actually being disciples of their beliefs, not so much. Our greatest hope should be in eternal life, but if our faith does not have an application in this life, then most likely our faith cannot get us to heaven either. When Paul preached the gospel, he told them beforehand what to expect, and when they got saved, they knew what kind of faith they would follow. Paul and Barnabas told them, “Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God” (Act 14-22). This is what it means to be a disciple, a person whose faith means more to him than his life. When Paul went about strengthening the disciples, they were glad to see him, and they soaked up the word of God that Paul spoke to them.

(139g) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> We build the temple through Christ – Paul was in the construction business, working with Christ to build the temple, searching the countryside for willing bricks to be used for God’s divine purposes  “to will and to work for His good pleasure” (Phi 2-13). Paul traveled from church to church strengthening the disciples, doing the footwork around the regions of Galatia preaching and teaching the word of God to the new converts and strengthening their faith. When we get to heaven, everyone there will be a brother and a sister to us. There are many families on the earth, and each family is distinct and unique, but in heaven there will be only one family and one church and Christ will be head of it.

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Act 18,24-28

(6k) Responsibility >> Protecting the Gospel >> Persuade men that Jesus is the Christ – These verses go with verses 4 & 19

(72k) Authority >> Hierarchy of authority >> Authority makes you accountable >> You are accountable to the one who gave it to you

(80a) Thy kingdom come >> Know the word as a sword in spiritual warfare >> To oppose religion – We have something the first century Church didn’t have, and they had something we don’t have. We have the New Testament in its entirety, and for this reason we have the knowledge and confidence that Jesus is the Christ, but they had a fledgling newness to their faith and the original outpouring of the Holy Spirit. People back then were excited about their faith, and they literally established the Church in the world. They had another advantage over us: more accurate doctrines. Over the two millennia people have interpreted and reinterpreted the Bible until they misinterpreted it to mean something other than what it says. For us the truth is buried under a sludge of denominations and false teachings, making it difficult to know the truth and a hindrance to people getting saved. See also: History of the Church (First century Christians); 176i / Rom 16,1-16; 88b

(111b) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Spirit and evangelism – Without believing in the baptism of the Holy Spirit there is no formal acclaim to His power to live a godly life. Some people literally run from the baptism of the Holy Spirit, being scary to a lot of people, yet their fear is based on ignorance. That is, they don’t resist Him in wisdom. All aspects of communing with God and receiving from Him and walking in His grace are a matter of faith that produces the fruits of the Spirit. The mercy of God’s unmerited favor and the grace of His unmerited power are two different things. Apollos was already walking in the power of God and didn’t know how he was doing it, and for this reason God had given an anointing without him knowing it. He powerfully refuted the Jews in public, and he was doing it by the Spirit of God, though he didn’t understand the teachings behind the anointing. God was still able to use Apollos because he was faithful, for all he wanted was God’s will and to be a faithful servant. With this in place, God worked His power into Apollo’s life, regardless of his beliefs, but note that it was important to teach him a more accurate version of the truth. The grace of God is available to us, so we should seek it. According to the example of Apollos, obedience makes the power of God available to us regardless of our beliefs, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t pursue the knowledge of these things.

(123a) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Boldness to speak the word by the Spirit

(149d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Compel them to come in >> Forceful persuasion

(176i) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Zeal without knowledge (Spirit w/o the word) >> Passion without principles – When Pricilla and Aquila heard Apollos preaching the gospel, they turned him aside and explained to him a more accurate version of the truth. Essentially, they told him about the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The people who taught him the gospel did not embrace the anointing, so this rejection of the anointing was already beginning to take hold of the Church. Mercy was Apollos’ forte, just like it is for the Evangelicals and Baptists today. Apollos only understood the baptism of John, suggesting that he was unfamiliar with baptism of the Holy Spirit, which was the very theme of earlier chapters in the book of Acts. It appears the Church today has regressed to the Apollian belief system, which understands the baptism of John, but not the baptism of the Holy Spirit. The Evangelicals and Baptists are mostly at fault for this, those who have throne out the baby with the bathwater just to be safe, but there is nothing safe about throwing out God’s truth and power. They say they don’t trust people who seek the anointing, but we could say the same about them: we don’t trust people who reject the power of God. They are afraid they will fall into false doctrine and become a statistic of another cult, but according to the standards of the first century Church, those who reject the anointing are a cult. We don’t see the Evangelicals and Baptists as cults because they take up so much of the Christian tapestry, but they in a sense resemble a cult in that they reject God’s truth and have replaced it with their own beliefs. They never thought they had to pay a price for rejecting the anointing, but they have; the Church has sunken into a state of easy-believism and have drunk the blood of Christ like kool-aid, refusing to balance His mercy with repentance, for unbalanced truth is no truth at all. The Evangelicals would say, ‘If I must pick one, then I choose mercy,’ but no one said we had to choose one or the other. Embracing the mercy of God sounds noble, but discarding any part of God’s truth defeats all nobility. See also: First century Church; Act 18-27,28; 210j

(190k) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Baptism >> Baptism of the Holy Spirit – Apollos was a man of great power and spirit, yet he didn’t know about the anointing. This suggests that a person can have an anointing without being properly educated about it. Pricilla and Aquila took Apollos aside and instructed him more accurately in the Scriptures to teach him about the baptism of the Holy Spirit, which refers to the anointing. Baptism of the Holy Spirit is a very controversial subject, and so is the anointing; everybody has a different opinion about it, and that is why most people have dropped it, which is precisely what Satan wanted them to do. We almost never hear about it anymore, since it is a point of contention, though the Bible speaks clearly enough about it.

(239d) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Pursuing the knowledge of the kingdom >> Teachers >> Teachable students >> The teachable submit to the word

(239k) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Pursuing the knowledge of the kingdom >> Teachers >> Let not many of you become teachers >> Dividing accurately the word of truth

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Act 18-27,28

(31h) Gift of God >> Grace >> Salvation >> The ministry of reconciliation

(139c) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Encouragement >> Urging the disciples to continue in the faith -- These verses go with verse 23. The word “encouragement” comes from “edifice”, which means house or structure, so when we encourage someone in the faith, we are acting as construction workers, and when we encourage the entire church, we are constructing a spiritual building made of people, each person representing a brick of the temple. For this reason, encouragement is a very important tool; everybody should be involved in building up the body of Christ. When Apollos came to the brethren in Achaia and encouraged them to continue in the faith, how did he encourage them? Was it by jaw-jacking them for hours about the Scriptures, long sermons every day? Eventually it is just more tiring information that does not encourage anyone. Instead, Apollos powerfully refuted the Jews in public. This did three things: (1) the saints heard the word of God with the Jews, and (2) the fact that he rebuked them publicly demonstrated a boldness that is characteristic of the anointing, which encouraged the saints; and most importantly, (3) he demonstrated by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ. 

(142i) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> Having a reputable ministry >> A reputation of ministry in the word

(210j) Salvation >> Jews and gentiles are being saved >> Gentiles included >> Fellow heirs with Israel (Spiritual Jew) >> God welcomes the Gentiles to the promise of Israel – Many Christians back then were gentiles, but when Apollos refuted the Jews and demonstrated that Jesus was the Christ through their own Scriptures, even many of the Jews were being saved. Pointing out Old Testament prophecies about Jesus as the Christ had a profound effect on the Jews who had a deep faith in these writings. They were familiar with these verses from their youth, yet having never known their relevance. Most Jews back then were believers in the Torah (the first five books of the Old Testament, the laws of Moses). Israel as a whole never saw the first coming of Christ in their Scriptures; they weren’t expecting their Messiah to come as the meek and mild Lamb of God to die for the sins of the world. They didn’t see any of this coming, but when Apollos took them through the Scriptures and showed them things that were written, they remembered these verses; they had read them a hundred times, though never seeing Jesus in them. Some of the more explicit passages they read less often, since they didn’t know what they meant, being obscure passages and almost forgotten, such as Isaiah chapter 53. In the first century proving Jesus as the Christ was of utmost importance. Jesus of Nazareth as the Christ was the question of the day. Although it is answered for us in our time, still it wouldn’t hurt to go back to the Old Testament and study for ourselves what the OT says about our prophesied Messiah (see: See also: First century Church; Act 19,2-6; 95d

Act 18-28

(141h) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Old Testament bears witness to the new >> It bears witness to Jesus >> Prophesy about Jesus’ life

(143c) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> The public >> The disciples ministered publicly







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Act 19,1-7

(35i) Gift >> God gives Himself to us >> Receiving the Holy Spirit as a form of baptism – This passage reveals the difference between the baptism of John and the baptism of Jesus. There are several issues in the Church these days regarding baptism, one of them being in whose name we baptize someone. In this case Paul said we should baptize them in the name of Jesus. What did John the Baptist say about the baptism of Jesus? “He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire” (Mat 3-11). Nobody is baptized in the name of John these days, though baptism in fact signifies repentance; and people are baptized in the name of Jesus, though most of them never walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. Some people get very dogmatic about the words they say over a person being baptized; i.e. “I baptize you in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.” Most will agree to that, though some would say, "Jesus only". And so there is a debate, but the nagging question is not so much what we say over the person being baptized, but whether the person repents of his sin and whether they walk in the power of the Holy Spirit. When we baptize someone in the name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, we are saying that these three persons come to dwell in the believer being baptized (Jn 14-23), and they will remain in him for eternity. This may not have begun at the baptism ceremony, for he may have gotten saved before that, indicating that the baptism ceremony merely represents what divine thing God has wrought by faith. The Father sent the Son, Jesus died for our sins and the Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts, so they all three are involved in salvation.

(110k) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Spirit of revelation >> Effect of the spirit on the word

Act 19,2-6

(86d) Thy kingdom come >> Belief demands a response – People in the Church are trying to serve God in the flesh and it’s not going very well. It was the problem of the old covenant, suggesting that to subtract the anointing from Christianity is to revert to the old covenant law. They of the old covenant looked forward to their Messiah coming to deliver them from their enemies, not knowing that their greatest enemy was sin, while we of the new covenant see that the Lord has established a new and living way through His own blood, but we are trying to fulfill that covenant through the flesh. The blood of His covenant inaugurated the gift of the Holy Spirit, who is the true advantage of the new covenant. If we subtract the anointing from the new covenant, we regress to old covenant worshippers. We observe this in the Church today; people are not living better than Israel did in ancient times.

(95d) Thy kingdom come >> Positive attitude >> Speaking in tongues >> Tongues are a sign of obedience – If these twelve men never heard that there was a Holy Spirit, how would they know to fake the gifts of the Spirit? This reveals a tremendous advantage of the First Century Church: they were innocent and ignorant of our loose theology. 2000 years later people and demons have refined their strategies to replicate Christianity in all its religious forms. Now, just because we see and hear the gifts of the Spirit from someone doesn’t mean the person has had an encounter with God. See also: First century Church; Act 18-4,5; 6k

(115h) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Laying on of hands >> Bestowing the Holy Spirit

(190k) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Baptism >> Baptism of the Holy Spirit – When Paul asked whether they received the Holy Spirit when they believed, he wasn’t asking about the indwelling Holy Spirit, but about the anointing. The indwelling Holy Spirit takes up permanent residence in a person’s heart the moment he believes in Jesus, and this indwelling Holy Spirit acts as the seal of his salvation and the substance of eternal life. The question Paul asked them, though, was whether they received the anointing that envelops the believer and helps him obey the Lord. The anointing is the manifestation of the indwelling Holy Spirit (Mat 13-33). There is only one Spirit, and He dwells both inside and outside His people. He dwells inside to seal us for the day of redemption (Eph 1-13,14), and He dwells upon us as a covering for for obedience (Rev 19-8). The twelve men in this passage had already believed and had been water baptized into John’s baptism of repentance, and then Paul re-baptized them in the name of the Lord Jesus. The symbolism of water baptism doesn’t pertain to the inner person unless he drinks the water, which is not part of the ceremony, but soaks the person’s extremities; therefore, baptism symbolizes what God does to our outer form. This external emersion causes us to emerge wet from the water, reminiscent of the anointing of the Holy Spirit, whose ministry is to manifest the kingdom of God through godliness, exercising the gifts of the Spirit, which are meant to promote unity in the body of Christ. We can take this anointing into the world to show those who are coming to Christ that the kingdom they are seeking reveals itself in power to perform miracles through the same Spirit who indwells us. John’s baptism of repentance was a symbol of Him who was to come, so Paul re-baptized them in the Holy Spirit’s ministry to effect repentance and endow them with power to manifest the Kingdom of God in the world. There is no ceremony that has the power to transfer spiritual authority, otherwise unbelievers could be baptized and access to the power of God; rather, the transfer comes through faith and obedience. So, the baptism of the Holy Spirit, referred to as the anointing, has three purposes: He gives us power to lead a godly life, He promotes unity in the body of Christ, and He persuades people to believe in Jesus. Godliness is missing in the Church today, suggesting that the anointing is also missing.

Act 19,2-5

(176a) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Ignorance >> Misguided -- These verses go with verse 32

Act 19-5

(67m) Authority >> Jesus delegates authority >> There is authority in Jesus’ name

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Act 19,8-12

(111h) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Kingdom of God revealed >> Word plus signs and wonders

Act 19,8-10

(129d) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Bearing the fruit of evangelism >> Bearing the fruit of the gospel – Paul established a private school, yet the whole of Asia heard the word of God of both Jews and gentiles. How did everyone hear about the word of the Lord? Tyrannus was probably a private school of evangelism knowing Paul. He was raising up people for evangelism, teaching them the deep things of God, so that his students became renown in the faith. They were not just believers; they became great preachers and teachers thanks to Paul.

(149d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Compel them to come in >> Forceful persuasion

(191e) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Extract the leaven from the Church – The concept of sanctification is to be separate from the world. Paul taught to be a single lump of dough (1Cor 5-6), referring to the individual, that we should extract the leaven from our hearts and from our works and from our doctrines. We should also extract the leaven of people from our assemblies, only in this case Paul extracted himself and his fellow believers from those who did not believe, making it clear that they were not welcome in their private school of Tyrannus. This is what churches should do who are seeking to excel in the faith and feel they are held back by unbelievers in their assemblies, who are making a contribution only of leaven, having no interest in serving the Lord at all. Churches who are seeking to spiritually grow should establish private groups, meeting in a neutral place or in people’s homes, excluding troublemakers. Paul’s school of Tyrannus did not involve tuition but required the entrance criteria of a teachable and sincere in heart, creating an environment of faith that allowed the Holy Spirit to work His truth into people without hindrance.

(222d) Kingdom of God >> The elusive Kingdom of Heaven >> Do not give what is holy to dogs >> God does not entrust his treasures to dogs >> Do not give to dogs who will not receive you – Paul started preaching and teaching in the synagogue, a public setting where everyone was welcome, which was the equivalent of church, but all the nare-do-wells showed up alongside the sincere believers, like tares among the wheat, and Paul found it difficult to teach the true believers with blasphemers present. Paul said, ‘We don’t need to do this in a public setting; we can assemble in a private place for members only, like a club.’ Paul separated himself from the unbelievers, establishing the school of Tyrannus, where everyone who sought to live for Jesus with an earnest heart came and heard the word of God without interference in an orderly manner.

(236i) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Invest in the kingdom >> Invest in the treasures of the kingdom >> Invest in the gospel

Act 19-8,9

(70h) Authority >> Sin of familiarity >> Familiar with the truth (enemy of discernment) >> Familiar with Jesus in the Spirit

(74l) Thy kingdom come >> Let not your heart be hardened >> Insensitive to the things of God

(89b) Thy kingdom come >> Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom >> Wisdom corresponds with logical reasoning

Act 19-8

(6k) Responsibility >> Protecting the Gospel >> Persuade men that Jesus is the Christ

(123a) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Boldness to speak the word by the Spirit

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Act 19,11-20

(229a) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> Kingdom grows by itself >> Growing In Numbers Corresponds With Spiritual Growth >> Kingdom slowly spreads and overtakes darkness – This is the teacher showing his students how it's done. Whenever we obey the Holy Spirit we accomplish much, in contrast to those who have a propensity for doing things their own way. The fruit they bear will be their own, not divine, and their proselytes will reflect their teaching.

Act 19,11-17

(133k) Temple >> Your body is the temple of God >> Holiness >> Having an awareness of God’s holiness >> The fear of God makes us aware of His holiness

Act 19,11-16

(71c) Authority >> Believer’s authority >> We have authority over demons

Act 19,11-15

(146d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Demon possession >> Human state >> They know the Holy Spirit

Act 19-11,12

(145b) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Healing >> Methods of healing >> Unique methods of healing – Paul walked through that area and God healed people through handkerchiefs that Paul had touched; and with Peter even his shadow was healing people (Act 5-15); in this way God made a definitive connection between His miracles and His message. The miracles essentially said, ‘This is my beloved evangelist, listen to him’ (Mat 17-5). There were no special powers in the handkerchief; it did not transfer spiritual virtue; it only made the connection between Paul and God's message. What about the handkerchiefs that the religious reprobates advertised on TV in the 80's at exorbitant prices, were they a scam? Of course they were! The power of God is not in our faith, but in God’s faith. We have God’s faith when we walk on His path and perform His works that He designated for us, living the life that He has chosen and speak the words He has graced on our lips. When God is in absolute control through faith, creating an environment for miracles, people will associate them with all that is good and right. What would happen if God performed miracles today? God doesn’t just want to heal people; He wants the healing to increase people’s faith. However, faith is broken in today’s world, even in the Church, and God is not about to give credence to that which has replaced faith.

(146h) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Deliverance from demon possession >> Disciples have authority to cast out demons

Act 19,13-20

(65i) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Satan Glorifies God

(88j) Thy kingdom come >> Fear of God causes repentance

(183f) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Spirit of Error (Anti-Christ / Anti-Semitism) >> Nursery for the Spirit of error >> Ignorance – The devil glorified God by tearing up these seven sons of Sceva, who were not Christians yet tried to cast out a devil, naming an incantation over it, thinking it would scare the devil when it is the devil that invented the incantation. They wanted to control the power of God without making a commitment to be genuine and sincere.

(187j) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Die to the flesh >> Spirit versus the flesh >> Trying to work the Spirit by the flesh – Observe the connection between witchcraft and demon possession in this passage. It says that the people became fearful after they realized their religious behavior was communing with demons. One example of new-age magic arts in our contemporary world can be found in Christendom in the prosperity movement, being an entire denomination that teaches people to follow certain formulas to become wealthy, and in the same way they teach physical healing. Card tricks are just slight of hand, but when they claim there are spirits involved, that is another story, especially when they believe it, much more when they ask other people to believe it. Witchcraft diametrically opposes Christianity, seeking to explain the spirit realm apart from God’s word and denying biblical truth, accounting for the Prosperity movement and the seven sons of Sceva. See also: Prosperity teachers; 1Cor 4,7-13; 23e

Act 19,13-16

(187j) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Die to the flesh >> Spirit versus the flesh >> Trying to work the Spirit by the flesh – When the devil said to the seven sons of Sceva, ‘I don’t know you,’ it was a sign that God didn’t know them either, and if we didn't know God, then they were no one to the devil. Christians have this non-spiritual worldview nowadays, because they are steeped in the flesh. The devil complained that these guys didn't know God, and they certainly didn't have an anointing, for the anointing operates the gifts of the Spirit, one gift being the effecting of miracles (casting out demons). Therefore, we have a picture in these men devoid of the anointing, wanting to move the finger of God, but not wanting anything else to do with Him. Christians devoid of an anointing are an enigma, since "Christ" literally means Anointed One; Christians then meaning “anointed ones.” Un-anointed Christian is an oxymoron.

(198i) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Ordained by man >> Ministries ordained by men will falter – These seven sons of Sceva were not saved. People toy with straddling the fence without falling out of grace with God. They decline the anointing and the baptism of the Holy Spirit and decline the expectation of godliness, used as evidence of their salvation, leaving the rest of us wondering if the Holy Spirit dwells in them. The only thing left of their faith is a hollowed-out skeletal structure of a neglected belief system. The seven sons of Sceva represent modern-day Christianity that has rejected God from ruling over them, yet seek to walk in His authority. They lean heavily on the grace of God because of their inclinations to sin, and they emphasize the grace of God to the exclusion of the anointing that would empower them to lead a godly life in a state of repentance.


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Act 19-15

(46m) Judgment >> Spiritual warfare >> Demons are subject to the word of God – It was a very revealing statement this demon made to the seven sons of Sceva, who recognized Jesus as the Son of God and knew that Paul was a servant of Christ. Therefore, anybody who is a disciple of Jesus has authority to cast out demons, but these seven sons of Sceva didn’t have any success trying to cast out demons from the man, saying, “We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.” What was the difference between these seven wise-guys and Paul? If they named Jesus over the demon possessed man, what did they do wrong? Demons are afraid of the word of God that we believe; they are not afraid of the Bible that sets on a shelf, and nor are they afraid of us if we don’t believe what the Bible says. The seven sons of Sceva must have known the word of God to some degree, but apparently it was not in their hearts. Jesus’ disciples sometimes had a hard time casting out demons, and the Lord rebuked them for their littleness of faith, instructing them to fast and pray before attempting an exorcism. What are we doing when we fast and pray? We are putting the word of God in our heart. Fasting says that God’s word is more important to us than our food; it asks God to nourish us spiritually before we take another bite. Some people will yell and scream at the devil and do all kinds of calisthenics trying to get the devil’s attention, and it doesn’t leave, but the one who loves God with all his heart, soul, mind and strength and his neighbor as himself, can calmly tell the devil to leave, and it won’t have a choice. The devil runs in fear from those who live like Jesus. What scares the devil is not just a belief in the Bible but an anointing from the Holy Spirit who helps us believe the truth that is in Jesus.

Act 19,16-20

(183b) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Spirit of Error (Anti-Christ / Anti-Semitism) >> Witchcraft >> Sin is the incubator of witchcraft >> Through satanic influence – Magic is returning to the stage of human fascination in these last days. Note the connection the Scriptures indicate between magic arts in the books they burned and demon-possession, but also keep in mind the difference between the books they burned in the public square and the magicians we commonly see on television today. The magic associated with demonic activity is the kind that the magician claims to be “real” as though a spiritual entity were at work and they were controlling it, such as with the magicians of Egypt in the days of Moses. The magician who calls himself an illusionist admits that his tricks are accomplished through mirrors and slight of hand, but the one who claims his magic is real wishes he could control demons, but he is deceived in that the demons would control him.

Act 19-16,17

(146a) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Demon possession >> Human state >> Their behavior >> Superhuman strength – This story is in reference to the seven sons of Sceva who went to a certain demon-possessed man to cast out the devil, and they said, ‘I rebuke you in the name of Jesus, whom Paul preaches.’ The devil answered, ‘I know Jesus and I am aware of Paul, but who are you?’ and at that the demon-possessed man pounced on those seven men and subdued them all, and they ran from that house naked and wounded. It says that it scared the people in that area so much that they were getting saved; that is, the devil scared them to God; he inadvertently promoted the gospel. This suggests that during times of revival no matter what the devil does all his tactics explode in his face.

Act 19,17-20

(143d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> The public >> Paul ministered publicly

Act 19,17-19

(194j) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Turn from sin to God >> Yielding >> Confessing your sin to God – Fifty thousand pieces of silver was equivalent to approximately 138 years pay for a rural worker (Ryrie Study Bible notes). This indicates the level of witchcraft that existed in the area, and also the level of repentance that transpired among the people. The whole community was being saved. All the books that were burned represented a lot of spiritualism, and it was quite a bonfire, representing also a tremendous reception of the gospel in Ephesus, meaning that people were happy to believe in Jesus.

Act 19-17,18

(67j) Authority >> Jesus delegates authority >> Glorifying the name of Jesus

Act 19-21,22

(8h) Responsibility >> Preparing to interact with God >> Preparing for revival – Paul sent Timothy and Erastus ahead of him to Macedonia to prepare the way. This is a common theme that runs throughout Scripture. John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus, and Jesus sent out his disciple ahead of him to the places He intended to visit, so when Jesus arrived, they had already heard the gospel.

(251a) Priorities >> God’s prerequisites >> Making plans >> Making plans according to the will of God >> Making plans within the boundaries of God’s will – Paul proposed in the Spirit to journey back to Jerusalem, meaning that going to Jerusalem was God's plan. It slowly rose to the surface in his heart; a desire was kindled in Him what he should do. Jerusalem was basically off-limits to him; it was a death sentence to go there, because that is where all Paul's enemies lived, and they were looking for him, and they wanted to kill him. If he had the audacity to go there, it would just fuel their anger, like stalking a bear in the woods without a gun. Paul went to Jerusalem and years later that decision led him to Rome, and it is likely he stood before Caesar (Act 9-15; 25-11,12). He knew these were things he must do. Going to Jerusalem essentially ended his ministry as a missionary; he spent many years in prison after this, where the authorities planned to prosecute him, and each time his accusers never showed their faces at the hearing. He appealed to Cesar, leading him to Rome, and they said that if he had not made the appeal, they probably would have released him (Act 26-31,32). There were never any formal charges brought against him, simply because he had not committed a crime. See also: Paul going to Jerusalem; Act 20-16; 248c

Act 19-21

(70b) Authority >> Righteous judgment (outcome of discernment) >> Sensitivity To The Spirit

(105g) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Led by the Spirit into the will of God >> Led to the right place

Act 19-22

(14i) Servant >> Ministry of helps >> Helpers are Indirectly in charge of the word >> They minister to God's leaders – Paul sent these two men ahead of him, similar to John the Baptist who prepared the soil for the seed; so Timothy and Erastus introduced the word to the community and paved the way for Paul when he arrived.

(14o) Servant >> Ministry of helps >> Position of helpers is anointed

(142j) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> Having a reputable ministry >> A reputable ministry of helps

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Act 19,23-41

(179d) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Wolves >> Stir up the crowd >> Stir up the crowd through jealousy – The whole town got in a uproar over their beliefs, and Demetrius the scoundrel behind it all didn’t have one speck of faith for this goddess they worshipped, but cared only about the money he was making as a silver smith. This is so typical of the world to find incongruence at the heart of society's pet issues.

(181g) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Lawlessness >> Having no regard for the law >> Being without law

(195h) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Idolatry >> Worshipping other gods >> Worshipping other gods as a servant – There are Christian doctrines and even whole denominations that are not founded on the Bible that God equates to idol worship, in that He wants us worshipping Him the way He dictates and not how we want to worship Him. There are Christians dime-a-dozen who think it is unnecessary to study the Bible, that knowing just enough to get saved is sufficient, yet every aspect of our belief system that is not founded on the truth is a form of idolatry, for God has called us to worship Him in Spirit and truth. 

Act 19,23-36

(164g) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> The world system >> Satan’s system of authority >> His elementary principles of the world

(183h) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Spirit of Error (Anti-Christ / Anti-Semitism) >> Spirit of the broad road >> Spirit of unbelief – The way the mind works is a scary thing. We are able to design and create machines that do amazing things, yet man is completely in the dark and ignorant about God. He is in our blind spot, and largely the cause of this is Satan using our sin against us. He puts thoughts in our heads, so the things that are easily observable come into question and are no longer straightforward. For example, we look into the sky on a clear night and see the twinkling stars, and they are all testifying that God exists and that He is big, yet atheism still persists. It shouldn't even be on the table. If we can believe there is no God, in spite of all the evidence, then what else is the human mind capable of believing? The truth in the mind of a sinner is like pounding a square peg into a round hole. We need the Holy Spirit to teach us the truth, otherwise we will never come to know Him, but if we resist the Holy Spirit, what hope have we of ever believing the truth? We can make computers that can process millions of bits of information per second and cell phones that work almost anywhere in the world, but we cannot find it in ourselves to understand some of the simplest things about God. See also: Atheism (Chess game, computer program analogy of creation); 1Tim 6-20,21; 212d

Act 19,23-34

(18l) Sin >> Twisted thinking >> Evil is good >> Loving bondage – The assembly soon forgot the reason they assembled, so really, how deep were their convictions? Paul knew why he was there. The riot originated from Demetrius, a lover of money, coaching the people to defend their traditions against the truth of the gospel.

(160g) Works of the devil >> Satan determines the world's direction >>

(168g) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> The world listens to itself >> The world speaks it’s own language

Act 19,23-32

(163g) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Used by Satan to destroy the word of God >> Used to suppress the truth

Act 19,23-29

(16i) Sin >> Continuing in sin to avoid the light >> Deny the truth – At least this Demetrius fellow was honest enough to prioritize the things he believed when he listed his trade first and then his so-called faith in the idols he fashioned (v27). This man was not religious at all; he believed in money, and he was becoming wealthy making and selling idols of "The great goddess Artemis." Demetrius was worried he would lose his job if the gospel caught on, because there were no silver shrine prospects in Paul’s theology. When it comes to the world, it is always about money.

(19l) Sin >> Worshiping idols will twist your mind 

(54h) Paradox >> Opposites >> From motives of financial gain to religious conviction – Demetrius the silversmith suddenly developed strong convictions about his faith in the idols he made for a living after Paul threatened to dismantle his business. Making silver shrines was just a job, but when Paul arrived, a significant portion of his business was being de-popularized, and when he saw that his margin for profit was diminishing, Demetrius suddenly became very religious in defense of his so-called god. Demetrius equated his failing business with the conviction of his goddess “dethroned from her magnificence,” but his only real conviction was to stir up the minds of the people to fight for his real cause, so his business would not be ‘dethroned from its magnificence.’ Demetrius never contemplated the gospel that Paul preached, but placed all his convictions on money, using religion as a front, which was really no different from what the Pharisees did, who had the Lord Jesus crucified. Demetrius was a secular man who couldn’t care less about his own god, much less the truth. All he knew was that Paul was influencing people to give up a belief system that he was exploiting, and in that way he was just like the Pharisees. People came close to dying in the riot he caused, and would that have bothered him? He would have considered them collateral damage!

(154b) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> God bears witness against the world >> No excuse >> There is no excuse for rejecting the Father

(166i) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Carnality/Secularism (mindset of the world) >> The carnal mind cannot discern between good and evil >> The world’s perspective on wealth  – When this man’s money was being threatened, he suddenly became very religious, but before that he was just a craftsman; he knew better than anyone that the works of his own hands were no gods at all. Demetrius was a wealthy man, making a huge profit designing and building idols to Artemis the so-called great goddess of the Ephesians that all of Asia worshipped. He appealed to the people on a religious platform, proposing that he had a semblance of faith and a conscience toward his work. The world ascribes faith to the wealthy man, since God is blessing him, assuming he must have some connection with God or he wouldn’t be rich; hence, there is a false connection between wealth and religion. These are subliminal thoughts; the normal direction is, ‘He is wealthy, therefore he must believe in God,' but Demetrius reversed that idea saying, ‘Our religion is coming into disrepute and breaking our business.’ So whether it is money that makes us religious, or religion that makes us money, both are the same to God, crooked, evil and full of deceit.

(180a) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Wolves >> Wolves lead people into a cult >> Leading people for sordid gain

(186i) Works of the devil >> The result of lawlessness >> The reprobate >> Man’s role in becoming a reprobate >> Having a perverted sense of justice

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Act 19,23-28

(96l) Thy kingdom come >> Having a negative attitude about sin >> Having an attitude of unbelief

(139j) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Tearing down the temple through disobedience

(154i) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> God bears witness against the world >> Witness that the world is rebellious against God >> Witness against hypocrisy

(177e) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> False doctrine >> Doctrine that tickles your ears

Act 19,23-27

(17e) Sin >> Judging in the flesh >> Judgment based on greed

(156l) Witness >> Validity of the believer >> Evidence of being hell-bound >> Living an ungodly lifestyle >> Associating with the world

(166e) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Wisdom of the world >> Nature Of Man’s Wisdom >> Man’s wisdom is fixed on gaining personal advantage – There are all kinds of prosperity preachers who teach that God wants us to have it all in this life, and if a verse needs bending to fit their theology, they bend it; if it needs a little twisting, they twist it; and if it needs a little interpretation, they misinterpret it, until they have a hefty collection of passages that say what they want to believe, but the heart of Scripture does not speak this way. Even if we had everything the nations craved, we would be better to give it all to the poor, and then come follow Jesus. Some prosperity teachers would say that Jesus was a wealthy man; Judas was treasurer, and money continually flowed into the ministry by the bucketfuls. If money poured into the ministry as they claimed, then Judas stole it all, and Jesus gave the rest to the poor as He taught, or else we would have to say that Jesus taught by the adage, ‘Do as I say and not as I do.’ Instead, Jesus was a model Christian, and He lived what He preached.

(170d) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Seeking the glory of man >> Greed and lust are the glory of man >> Earthly riches are the glory of man

(186g) Works of the devil >> The result of lawlessness >> The reprobate >> Man’s role in becoming a reprobate >> After they reject God’s faith how can they believe? – Demetrius the silversmith rejected the gospel because there was no money in it. He was an example of a secular reprobate who had blasphemed the Holy Spirit to such an extent that he could not be saved. Most reprobates we understand originate from the Church, people who claim to believe in God but are depraved as worldly sinners. Demetrius was not like that; that is, he wasn't religious, but he did build idols for religious people to worship. There was great hypocrisy with a man like him who did not worship his own shrines but advocated that others should for the sake of his business. He was willing to sacrifice his soul and any potential to believe the truth for the sake of money and materialism and for the honor he enjoyed among society as CEO of Silver Shrines Incorporated. He was no different from Esau who sold his own birthright for a single meal, twisting his conscience into knots, so that he was no longer able to believe the truth.

(198g) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Ordained by man >> Having evil motives for seeking leadership positions >> In the ministry for personal gain

(249k) Priorities >> God’ s preeminence >> Wealth >> World’s perception of wealth >> The world's wealth erodes good values >> The world attains wealth by hook and crook

Act 19-23,24

(160g) Works of the devil >> Essential characteristics >> Satan’s attitude determines our direction >> Led by the devil to fight against God

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Act 19,24-34

(200g) Denying Christ >> Man chooses his own destiny apart from God >> Excuses for rejecting Christ >> Selfish ambition >> Putting your own personal interests above God

Act 19-27

(248k) Priorities >> God’ s preeminence >> Values >> The Highest Values >> Some things take precedence over others

Act 19,28-31

(7c) Responsibility >> Protecting the gospel >> Defending the word of God >> Protecting the men who carry the gospel – Paul saw an opportunity for evangelism and was headed into the theater to talk to this lynch mob about Jesus, who whipped themselves into a frenzy, and his friends wouldn’t let him go in there. Whether he was led by God and the people stopped him or the people were led by God to stop Paul, obviously he was not to be a martyr just yet, since his story didn’t end here. It wasn’t worth the risk of any Jew venturing into the theater, for the Jews at that time were being persecuted for believing in Jesus, being it was their gospel in that all the apostles were Jews. Whether Paul lost the opportunity to save a few souls that night, the fact remains, the people’s ears were shut tight. He was hoping to reason with them and try to turn them around to see that believing in Jesus held more promise than this goddess of theirs, and knew that what he had was better than what they had, and for that reason he saw the possibility of talking them out of their unbelief and into faith in Christ, but it wasn’t going to happen that night. 

Act 19,29-31

(131a) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Unity >> Interdependent on each other to do the will of God – There was a great disturbance, and they were after Paul and were ready to kill any Christian on the spot after the people had become riotous and out of control. Paul’s friends literally arrested him, refusing to let Paul enter the theater where the mob had gathered, where he would have been immediately killed. Who was right; was it Paul who wanted to enter the theater and preach Jesus to them and ensure his death, or was it his friends who stopped him? Paul wanted to be a martyr more than anything, and he eventually got his wish. He was ready to be with the Lord, but his friends needed him (Phi 1,21-25). What was God’s will in this case? The fact is God needed Paul too! He had many more years of ministry intended for Paul, for he was not done writing epistles; it would have been a waste of life to have died that night, so the people were right, and they were being led by the Spirit to rescue Paul from his tomfoolery. Paul was thinking selfishly, wanting to go out in a blaze of glory; instead, years later, he was taken quietly to a lonely place and they chopped off his head.

Act 19-29

(65h) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Satan unites the world for the cause of deception -- This verse goes with verse 34

Act 19-30,31

(89f) Thy kingdom come >> Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom >> Deeds of wisdom – Paul’s helpers barely restrained him from venturing into the theater because of his uncanny zeal, being willing to sacrifice himself for the sake of the gospel. His friends must have told him, ‘It is good that you are willing to die for the cause of Christ, but don’t get in such a hurry to leave us.’

Act 19,32-34

(53j) Paradox >> Opposites >> Contradicting your own standards >> Believing in something you don’t understand

(210i) Salvation >> Jews and gentiles are being saved >> Salvation is from the Jews >> Jews are believers >> Gospel belongs to the Jew first – What was it about Alexander being a Jew that incited the riot? They associated Christianity with the Jews! That association is not as clear today. Christianity was initially a Jewish-held faith; it originated from the Jews, and in the beginning many Jews believed in Jesus. People were hostile against the Jews back then because they brought the gospel of Christ to the people, so anyone who was of Jewish descent was automatically labeled a Christian. Now people are hostile against the Jews for other reasons that no one really knows, yet in many ways things have remained the same.

Act 19-32

(176a) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Ignorance >> Misguided -- This verse goes with verses 2-5

(176e) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Zeal without knowledge (Spirit w/o the word) >> Devotion without direction

Act 19-34

(65h) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Satan unites the world for the cause of deception -- This verse goes with verse 29

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Act 19,35-41

(126e) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Peace >> Peacemakers avoid unnecessary confrontation – Had Paul been allowed to speak, he wouldn’t have said what the town clerk said to quiet the crowd. The town clerk appeased the people, saying that Paul, the person with whom they were angry, didn’t commit any crimes; “he is neither a robber of temples nor a blasphemer of our goddess” (actually, he probably was a blasphemer of their goddess). Paul never took the low road and mocked or ridiculed or condemned people for their pagan rituals, but he did say, “Idols made with human hands are no gods at all.” This was a blanket statement he pronounced against all forms of idol worship, including Artemis of the Ephesians.

(148g) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Natural advantage regarding the Church

Act 19,35-37

(182e) Works of the devil >> The origin of lawlessness >> Deception >> Three causes of interpreting Scripture falsely >> Because they have no regard for God’s word

Act 19-35,36

(177g) Presumption (Hinduism) (Key verse)

(178b) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Presumption (Hinduism) >> Presuming the facts about the circumstances >> Presumption is not founded on facts – The God of the universe visits mankind in person, performs countless miracles, is killed by His own people and then rises from the dead, yet people can’t find it in themselves to believe in Him. Instead, the worship a piece of junk that fell from the sky, probably a meteorite. This level of human reasoning is less than reasonable. Chipmunks and horses are spiritually further ahead than idol worshippers in their reasonability about God in that they cannot reason at all. The bears and the squirrels and the deer are generally more in tune with God in that they act in ways that God intended, whereas man does not know his place in the world. We would actually be much further ahead not having a mind than using it to come to all the wrong conclusions.

Act 19-37

(1e) Responsibility >> Avoid offending God and people >> Do not criticize in the flesh – Paul and some of the people who were affiliated with him got into a lot of trouble that day preaching the gospel to a lot of idol worshipers. Had they made derogatory remarks about their idolatry, their situation would have been exponentially worse. Instead, Paul concentrated on preaching the gospel without getting swayed into preaching against their idols, being the fact that the town clerk used to quiet the people. Therefore, it pays not to be critical of people, even when they are wrong. Preaching the solution is always better and promises to bear fruit, but preaching the problem is a no-win situation that does not bless God or man.

(62g) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Being clever >> Maintaining a blameless reputation

Act 19,38-41

(17m) Sin >> Unrighteous judgment >> Discerning by the flesh >> Judging the sins of others that you practice – Demetrius was a wicked builder of shrines, who saw his chance for profit fleeting with the preaching the gospel of the true God of heaven, who condemns the worship of anything but Him. It is just as evil for Christians to fight against opposition as it is for opposition to fight against Christians. Therefore, we are called to set the standard in behavior and not fight our battles according to the ways of the world. God has His own ways that we Christians are obligated to observe, because His ways work to preserve our faith and reputation in the world as peacemakers.

(18c) Sin >> False Judgment lacks evidence >> Charges not defined as crimes >> Accusing Paul without formal charges

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