Daily reading

Today’s reading is: Acts 15:36-18:11


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Acts Chapter Fifteen

(Outline continues from Day 325)

  1. With the legalism controversy settled in Antioch, Paul & Barnabas planned a second missionary swing through Cyprus and Galatia (Acts 15:36-41).
    1. Barnabas wanted to take John Mark along as well, but Paul adamantly disagreed.
    2. The simple solution was to split up.  The era of joint-ministry between Paul & Barnabas was over.
      1. Barnabas took John Mark and returned to the Cyprus churches.
      2. Paul took Silas and went by land to Galatia.

Acts Chapter Sixteen

  1. Derbe and Lystra had been a region of great conflict (Acts 14:8-20).
    1. Through that ministry, a grand-mother, mother, and young man were brought into the Church (2nd Tim. 1:5).
    2. Timothy joined Paul and Silas and began his training for the ministry (Acts 16:1-5).
  2. Paul, Silas, and Timothy faced one dead end after another until they finally arrived in Troas (Acts 16:6-8).
    1. In Troas, the “we” narrative begins (vv.10ff.).
    2. Luke joins the missionary team—consisting of an Apostle (Paul), Prophet (Silas), Evangelist (Luke), and Pastor-Teacher (Timothy).  This would seemingly be the ideal team for establishing local churches (Eph. 4:11-12).
    3. Paul receives a Divine message to cross over to Macedonia, and the great missionary team is prepared to bring the Gospel to Europe (Acts 16:9-12).
  3. On the Jewish Sabbath, Paul’s team went to the river, looking for a place of prayer (Acts 16:13).
    1. The Jewish population of Philippi was evidently not large enough to support a synagogue.
    2. There actually was a place of prayer (v.16), but on this day the Lord had Paul’s message designed for a woman named Lydia (Acts 16:14-15).
      1. Lydia was an Old Testament Gentile believer, who immediately accepted the Apostolic message and became a baptized member of the Church.
      2. With her gift of hospitality, she hosted Paul’s party in her Philippian home.
  4. Paul did succeed in finding the place where Jews met for prayer, and began a daily ministry there (Acts 16:16ff.).
    1. His “commute” each day from Lydia’s house was harassed by a demonic slave-girl.
    2. The demonic witness was similar to the witness the Lord experienced during His ministry.
    3. Paul endured the harassment for many days, but finally commanded the spirit to depart.
  5. Paul’s spiritual work in the slave-girl’s life resulted in a financial blow to the girl’s masters (Acts 16:19ff.).
    1. The Roman slave-owners convinced the Roman magistrates that the Jewish missionaries were a danger to their city-state.
    2. The Roman mob was stirred to beat Paul & Silas and throw them in prison.
    3. On this day, Lord had Paul’s message designed for a Philippian jailer.
  6. Paul & Silas conducted a praise & worship evangelistic service in their jail cell that night, and remained in jail until morning so that they might bear fruit with the jailer as well (Acts 16:25-34).
    1. The clear gospel message: “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved” was effective for the jailer, and for his household (vv.31-34).
    2. Faith in Christ was followed by the ritual of water baptism (v.33).
  7. The Roman officials tried to release Paul & Silas secretly only to discover the truth of the missionaries’ Roman citizenship (Acts 16:35-40).

Acts Chapter Seventeen

  1. Thessalonica had a large enough Jewish population to support a synagogue (Acts 17:1).
    1. The “we” narrative disappears as “they” traveled through Macedonia.  Luke apparently remained behind at Philippi.
    2. Paul spent three Sabbaths there reasoning with synagogue members, and teaching Bible class to the Jewish and Gentile crossovers who became the founding members of Thessalonica Bible Church✝︎.
    3. Some fruit was born, but the Jews who rejected the message of Jesus Christ set the city in an uproar.  They used Saul of Tarsus’ old riot methodology in order to drive Paul and his party out of town.
    4. A believer named Jason had been their host in Thessalonica.  He is forced to put up a bond and guarantee that Paul will not return to town.
    5. This entire episode is the motivation behind the writing of 1st Thessalonians.
  2. The believers of Berea Bible Church✝︎ establish an important principle for believers through the entire dispensation—search the Scriptures and see if these things are so (Acts 17:10-14a).
  3. The great missionary team has thus been scattered (Acts 17:14b).  When Paul arrives in Athens, he is alone (Acts 17:15; 1st Thess. 3:1-2; Acts 18:5).
  4. The remainder of Chapter 17 details Paul’s ministry in Athens apart from any personal assistants (Acts 17:16-34).
    1. The idolatry of Athens provoked Paul’s human spirit (v.16).
    2. Paul followed his typical routine in reasoning with the Jews in the synagogue and the God-fearing Gentiles associated with them (v.17).
    3. Paul also undertook public debates in the market place with the great Greek philosophers of his day.  Paul’s familiarity with their own poets and his willingness to debate with them opened the door for ministry (vv.18-21).
    4. The famous “Sermon on Mars Hill” was largely laughed at, but a few examples of positive volition did step forward (vv.22-34).

Acts Chapter Eighteen

  1. Paul arrived in Corinth at perhaps the lowest point of his entire career (Acts 18:1; 1st Cor. 2:3).
  2. The Lord was already preparing Paul’s encouragement, when He directed for the Jewish tent-makers Aquila and Priscilla to be driven out of Rome and settle in Corinth (Acts 18:2-3).
  3. When Silas & Timothy rejoined Paul in Corinth, they came with a grace gift from Macedonia, and Paul was able to devote himself completely to the Word (Acts 18:5; 2nd Cor. 11:9; Phil. 4:15).
  4. Corinth Bible Church✝︎ was established in the home of Titius Justus (Acts 18:7).
    1. He lived right next door to the Corinthian synagogue itself!
    2. The synagogue leader was even saved, starting a great evangelical avalanche.
    3. Paul was assured by the Lord that Corinth will be a place of safety for him to settle in for a while (Acts 18:9-11).  During this time, 1st & 2nd Thessalonians are written.

(Chapter Eighteen continues on Day 332)

✝︎ Pastor Bob’s nicknames for the local churches founded in Thessalonica, Berea, and Corinth. They didn’t really call themselves that.