This Week’s text James 3:17 – 4:6

But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.
What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you? You desire and do not have, so you murder. You covet and cannot obtain, so you fight and quarrel. You do not have, because you do not ask. You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, to spend it on your passions. You adulterous people! Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Therefore whoever wishes to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God. Or do you suppose it is to no purpose that the Scripture says, “He yearns jealously over the spirit that he has made to dwell in us”? But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”

(James 3:17-4:6 ESV)

Preparing for the Lord’s Day – Making Sunday Special – Sept. 23rd

Texts of the Week:

2 Timothy 4:9-19 ESV    [9] Do your best to come to me soon. [10] For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia. [11] Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry. [12] Tychicus I have sent to Ephesus. [13] When you come, bring the cloak that I left with Carpus at Troas, also the books, and above all the parchments. [14] Alexander the coppersmith did me great harm; the Lord will repay him according to his deeds. [15] Beware of him yourself, for he strongly opposed our message. [16] At my first defense no one came to stand by me, but all deserted me. May it not be charged against them! [17] But the Lord stood by me and strengthened me, so that through me the message might be fully proclaimed and all the Gentiles might hear it. So I was rescued from the lion’s mouth. [18] The Lord will rescue me from every evil deed and bring me safely into his heavenly kingdom. To him be the glory forever and ever. Amen.

 

Acts 1:6-12 ESV    [6] So when they had come together, they asked him, “Lord, will you at this time restore the kingdom to Israel?” [7] He said to them, “It is not for you to know times or seasons that the Father has fixed by his own authority. [8] But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” [9] And when he had said these things, as they were looking on, he was lifted up, and a cloud took him out of their sight. [10] And while they were gazing into heaven as he went, behold, two men stood by them in white robes, [11] and said, “Men of Galilee, why do you stand looking into heaven? This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven.”
[12] Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day’s journey away.

Taking the Good News into Your Week! “Making Sunday Special” Monday thru Wednesday!

Reflecting on Sunday’s passage!  Acts 28:17 – 31

1. What are the three main points that Paul affirmed to the Jewish leaders in vv. 17-20? Luke has been establishing these points for much of the narrative (chapters 22-28). What do you think is so important about them?

2. What familiar pattern do you see both in Paul’s ministry to the Jewish crowds and in their response, in vv. 23-28?

3. There has been much evidence in these chapters of God’s sovereign activity. How do we see that especially in the last two verses of Acts? Why is v. 31 such an appropriate ending to Luke’s narrative?

4. Drawing on what you know of how Paul spent his time in prison, what main advantages were there in Paul being a prisoner?

5. What do you think Luke’s ‘theme sentence’ was as he sat down to write Acts?

6. What are some of the big lessons of Acts?

7. What impact has studying the book of Acts had on your understanding of Jesus and the gospel? How will this affect your life and decisions as you live as a disciple of Christ? 

Preparing for Sunday, “Making Sunday Special” Acts 28:17 -31

[17] After three days he called together the local leaders of the Jews, and when they had gathered, he said to them, “Brothers, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. [18] When they had examined me, they wished to set me at liberty, because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case. [19] But because the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar—though I had no charge to bring against my nation. [20] For this reason, therefore, I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is because of the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain.” [21] And they said to him, “We have received no letters from Judea about you, and none of the brothers coming here has reported or spoken any evil about you. [22] But we desire to hear from you what your views are, for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against.”
[23] When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. [24] And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved. [25] And disagreeing among themselves, they departed after Paul had made one statement: “The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet:
[26] “‘Go to this people, and say,
“You will indeed hear but never understand,
and you will indeed see but never perceive.”
[27] For this people’s heart has grown dull,
and with their ears they can barely hear,
and their eyes they have closed;
lest they should see with their eyes
and hear with their ears
and understand with their heart
and turn, and I would heal them.’
[28] Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.”
[30] He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, [31] proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hindrance.

(Acts 28:17 – Romans 1:1 ESV)

Reflections on Acts 28:10 – 16

We know that since 19:21, Paul has determined to take the gospel to Rome, the centre of the known world. In the face of strong human opposition and natural catastrophe, the Lord himself has greatly encouraged Paul by assuring him of his safe arrival in Rome (23:11, 27:24). As they set sail from Malta, Paul is on the last leg of his journey, and in keeping with Jesus’ mandate of 1:8 to the apostles, to be his witnesses ‘to the ends of the earth’.

1. Why was it so ironic that Paul should arrive on the coast of Italy under the figurehead of two pagan deities, viewed as gods who protected seamen (v. 11)?

2. Describe Paul’s welcome in vv. 14-16. What effect did it have on Paul? 

3.  What is the main theme of this text?

 

Taking the Day off! – Making Sunday Special / Sunday Sept. 9th, ’12

Acts 28:11-16 ESV / Luke 7:1 – 10 ESV

After three months we set sail in a ship that had wintered in the island, a ship of Alexandria, with the twin gods as a figurehead. Putting in at Syracuse, we stayed there for three days. And from there we made a circuit and arrived at Rhegium. And after one day a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli. There we found brothers and were invited to stay with them for seven days. And so we came to Rome. And the brothers there, when they heard about us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us. On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage. And when we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier who guarded him.

Luke 7:1 – 10
After he had finished all his sayings in the hearing of the people, he entered Capernaum. Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.