Acts 17

Acts 17: The Unkown God

Paul goes to Amphipolis and Apollonia where he comes into Thessalonica and teaches Jews in a synagogue; “And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath day reasoned with them out of the scriptures.” (Acts 17:2) Many of the Jews listened and understood the scriptures and were converted, these Jews “…received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.” (Acts 17:11) And many of them believed, however an equal number of them did not believe and caused many to instigate a riot.

Some of those who believe ask Paul; “…May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is?” (Acts 17:19) Paul speaks to the men of Athens; “…I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKOWN GOD, Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him I declare unto you.” (Acts 17:22-23)

Paul then explains who God is; God… made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; Neither is worshipped with men’s hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; And hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation: That they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: For in him we life, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. Forasmuch then as we are the offspring of God, we ought not to think that the Godhead is like unto gold or silver, or stone, graven by art and the man’s device. And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent.  Because he hath appointed a day, in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained; whereof he hath given assurance unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead.” (Acts 17:24-31)

Paul explains that we are all the offspring of God, meaning we are His children, God created all men equally and the time of ignorance is over… God will no longer overlook worshipping false gods, the time is now to repent and turn to Him. God is not far from us, and Him being our Father we can turn to Him in prayer and receive guidance from Him. In today’s world we may not be worshiping a false god, but we might be worshiping Gold, Silver, Money or Fame.

John 7

John 7: The Father’s Doctrine

Jesus walked into Galilee, but His Apostles advised Him to carry out His ministry in Jerusalem during the Feast of the Tabernacles. Jesus tells His Apostles that they need to go up to the Feast, but for Him it is not His time yet.

During the feast, Jesus goes to the Temple to teach the Jews, and they marveled that Jesus could speak with so much wisdom, but Jesus reminded them; “…My doctrine is not mine, but his that sent me. If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine, whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself.” (John 7:16-17) Jesus goes on to explain that anyone who seeks after his own glory will not teach the truth, but he who comes seeking the glory of God will tell the truth. Jesus asks them; “Did Moses give you the law, and yet none of you keepeth the law?” (John 7:19) He continues to explain that Moses (through God) gave the law of circumcision, and on the Sabbath the Jews performed this ordinance. Jesus then asks them if they are still angry at Him for making someone whole on the Sabbath. He exclaims; “Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment.” (John 7:24)

Jesus continues His address in the Temple, some were saying that He was the Christ and others saying that if the Christ came, no one would know. Jesus tells them; “…ye know whence I am: and I am not come of myself, but he that sent me is true, whom ye know not. But I know him: for I am from him, and he hath sent me.” (John 7:28-29) Some try to lay hands on him, seeking to kill him… but they did not, for His hour had not come yet.

Jesus offers everyone there living waters, if they are to follow Him. The people continued to persecute Jesus and desired for Him to be killed. Nicodemus, however asked the question; “Doth our law judge any man, before it hear him, and know what he doeth?” (John 7:51) But the council that was gathered did not listen to him and chose to unlawfully persecute Jesus.

Luke 6

Luke 6: Blessing for the Obedient… woes for the Wicked

                On the second Sabbath, Jesus and His Apostles travel through a corn field and plucked ears of corn because they were hungry. Without having stepped much further the Scribes and Pharisees were ready to find fault and begin questioning Jesus; “…Why do ye that which is not lawful to do on the sabbath days?” (Luke 6:2) Jesus responds; “…Have ye not read so much  as this, what David did, when himself was an hungered, and they which were with him; How he went into the house of God, and did take and eat the showbread, and gave also to them that were with him; which is not lawful to eat but for the priests alone? …the Son of man is Lord also of the Sabbath” (Luke 6:3-5)

The Pharisees wanted to catch Jesus doing anything wrong, but even their so called mastery of the scriptures and the word of God was no match for the Son of God himself. The Pharisees did err, because they knew not the scriptures. How could they not see that Jesus was the Christ? The Son of God!?

Jesus continues His journey and enters into a Synagogue to teach, while He was there He saw a man whose right hand was withered. The Scribes and Pharisees again stood by waiting to see if Jesus would heal the man on the Sabbath, and therefore find fault for having healed on the Sabbath. Jesus of course knew their intentions and asked the man to come near and stand up, He then asked the man; “…Is it lawful on the sabbath days to do good, or to do evil? To save a life, or to destroy it?” (Luke 6:9) Jesus then asked the man to stretch forth his hand so he could heal it, and the hand was restored to a perfect condition.

The Pharisees were angered and communed with one another to figure out what to do with Jesus, for He was clearly violating what they had made up or misunderstood about His own law. The Sabbath day should be kept as a reverent, holy day unto the Lord. If at all possible we should avoid activities that draw away from the Savior or do not bring peace into our homes. Sabbath days are meant to be a day of rest, but also a day of service. The Sabbath is the time to go to church, worship God and spend time with Family. We should avoid working or shopping on this day, so that others can honor the Sabbath day.

Jesus leaves the Pharisees and goes to a mountain to pray (where He prays all night to decide who to call to be His Apostles), those chosen the next day are; Simon (who is also named Peter), Andrew, James, John, Phillips, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, Simon, Judas and Judas Iscariot. Jesus speaks to His apostles and those gathered;

“…Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh. Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man’s sake.” (Luke 6:20-22)

Jesus taught that all things will be made right for those trials we go through in life. Jesus continues to address the people gathered; “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you.” (Luke 6:27-28) Jesus taught that we should love our enemies, regardless of what they do to us.

Jesus explains that we must be charitable and give unto others. For what we sow, so shall we reap; “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful. Judge not, and ye shall not be judged: condemn not, and ye shall not be condemned: forgive, and ye shall be forgiven.” (Luke 6:36-37)

Jesus continues by explaining that:

  • The blind cannot lead the blind (Luke 6:39-40)
  • Do not judge others when you, yourself are not perfect (Luke 6:41-42)
  • Every tree brings forth its own fruit, and is known by that fruit (Luke 6:43-45)

Most importantly Jesus explains that those who follow Him, and actually do as He has taught will be like a wise man who built his house upon a rock, with a solid foundation. However, those who don’t listen to Jesus or follow His teachings will be like a foolish man who built his house upon the sand. When the floods come the one without a foundation will be washed away. This metaphor can be used in our own lives, if we do not ground ourselves in the doctrines of Christ and follow Him each day… when the storms of Satan come and he tempts us, we might just give into those temptations and wash away.

Jesus asks those who follow Him; “…why call me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46) Earlier in Matthew we read that Jesus taught; “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in haven.” (Matthew 7:21) Because of this, we are Saved by grace and good works. We cannot simply say we believe in Christ. To believe in Jesus, means that you believe His teachings, and if you believe His teachings you are a follower. Therefore if you follow Jesus, you believe in Him, are a follower of Him and do the will, and good works.

Psalms 95-96

Psalms 95-96

Chapter 95: Praise the Lord

This Psalm opens with an invitation to “…sing unto the Lord… to come unto his presence with thanksgiving… For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods.” (Psalms 95:1-3)

As we continue to read we learn about the Israelites and how they failed to enter into his rest when they tempted the Lord in the wilderness, which led to 40 years of pain, because they did not “…know my [The Lord’s] ways:” (Psalms 95:10)

Chapter 96: The Lord shall Judge His People

Sing praises unto the Lord and “Declare his glory among the heathen… he is to be feared above all gods.” (Psalms 96:3-4) We need to not only praise the Lord but bring offerings unto him.  For the Lord “…he cometh to judge the earth: he shall judge the world with righteousness…” (Psalms 96:13)

 

Psalms 93-94

 

Psalms 93-94

Chapter 93: The Lord is Everlasting

The Lord reigns, He reigns in majesty… forever. The world was established and it cannot be moved, because it too is everlasting. The Lord’s throne is everlasting.

Chapter 94: The Lord Shall Judge the Earth

The Lord God (Jesus) will judge the World and “…render a reward…” (Psalms 94:2) Those who are wicked will be put into a pit and those who love the Lord will be given a just reward.

“Blessed is the man whom thou [The Lord] chastenest…” (Psalms 94:12) In other words, the man who the Lord disciplines will be a blessed man. The Lord does not take joy in “disciplining” us, just like a mother or father do not like to punish their children. But God does it, because He loves us. He wants us to learn something from our situations to better ourselves.

The author has some of the best words for fools; “…ye fools, when will ye be wise? He that planted the ear, shall he not hear? He that formed the eye, shall he not see?” (Psalms 94:9-9) Essentially the author is telling us, you have eyes and ears… and yet you can’t see or hear? You are a fool.

Psalms 35-36

Psalms 35-36

Chapter 35: The Lord will Judge Thee

A Psalm of David.

                “Let them be confounded and put to shame that seek after my soul…” (Psalms 25:4)

David complains about his enemies and asks the Lord to help him in his dire situation.

He asks the Lord to bless him and to judge him for his righteousness and for his enemies to “…be ashamed and brought to confusion … that rejoice in my hurt…” (Psalms 35:26)

Chapter 36: The Fountain of Life

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David the servant of the Lord.

                The wicked have “…no fear of God before his eyes.” (Psalms 36:1)

Even though wickedness exists, those who are not wicked can find shelter and comfort with the Lord. David explains how he feels about the Lord; “Thy righteousness is like the great mountains; thy judgments are a great deep: O God! Therefore the children of men put their trust under the shadow of thy wings” (Psalms 36:6-7)

                Both of these chapters are very simple and straightforward… wickedness will never prevail and the Lord will provide protection from evil, Always!