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Default Day 318: Acts 19-21 - 10-21-2016, 02:27 PM

Acts 19
Being Born Again, Again

1And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples,
6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.

Paul comes to Ephesus and finds about twelve disciples (not the original). After their little meet and greet, he asks if they’d received the Holy Ghost. This confuses them. “What do you mean, ‘receive’ Him? He’s a ghost. How can someone receive a thing that defies the laws of physics, and logic? And who is this ghost anyway?” Paul says, “You clearly didn’t read the New Testament past the last scene with John the Baptist.” He fills them in on everything that happened after John the Baptist played his part and that convinces them. They're baptized again, this time the Holy Ghost is there. Then then speak in tongues and prophesy[See Dr. White’s notes on speaking in tongues and not confusing that with the Pentecostal nonsense of babbling gibberish.]

8 And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.
9 But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.
Paul spoke at the synagogue for three months, but the members there started fighting about whether he was right to bring them this news about the Christ, or a troublemaker trying to convince them to join his newly invented religion. Paul ran away.
10 And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.

Good thing Paul ran away, because in the course of the next two years, every last soul living in Asia finally gets to hear the Gospel and have the opportunity to be saved, thanks to Paul. Those who died before Paul got there were out of luck and that’s the way it goes.

Paul v. Spirits

11 And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul:
12 So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or

God doesn’t do this so much any more except in places like Africa and South America where people don’t have smart phones or video cameras to record it. One time though, I had a pretty bad head cold myself. When I shook Pastor Zeke’s hand, I would swear I felt something. Within the week, my cold was gone. I think God is more subtle today than He was back in the bible days, but no less effective.

13 Then certain of the vagabond Jews, exorcists, took upon them to call over them which had evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, We adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preacheth.

Some Jews think Paul’s touch is magic, and try the same thing. Unfortunately for them, the evil spirits camping out in the rectum of one guy aren't impressed and beat the hell out of those Jews. I’ll be that was funny, but the bible doesn’t say whether or not the man with the rectum full of evil spirits laughed (Acts 19:14-16)

19 Many of them also which used curious arts brought their books together, and burned them before all men: and they counted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver.

This is the first bonfire of the vanities in the name of Christ. In the future, such devoted acts would claim priceless works of art, jewelry, brilliant scholarly works, and Ozzy Osbourne albums.

The Goddess Artemis

21 After these things were ended, Paul purposed in the spirit, when he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, to go to Jerusalem, saying, After I have been there, I must also see Rome.

Paul announces he’ll be on the road again.

23 And the same time there arose no small stir about that way.
24 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen;

The “no small stir” is this guy Demetrius, who refuses to accept Christ, and instead complains that Paul is making converts out of the Ephesians, thus costing his business because people no longer want to buy his gold idols. He gets other idol makers worked up into a frenzy, too.

26 Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands:
27 So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth.

Demetrius recognizes pagans are now a minority in Ephesus, and practically in all Asia. He worries that soon his religion will be despised and he won’t be free to worship as he pleases.

29 And the whole city was filled with confusion: and having caught Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul's companions in travel, they rushed with one accord into the theatre.

The whole city is confused, which is to be expected since most of them are now Christians and don’t care if the Temple to Diana is torn down and made into a farmers’ market stall. Nevertheless, they get caught up in the mob against the Christians, who are themselves, and catch Paul’s friends and travelling companions. Paul wants to rescue them but is talked into running away instead (Acts 19:30-32).

33 And they drew Alexander out of the multitude, the Jews putting him forward. And Alexander beckoned with the hand, and would have made his defence unto the people.

Alexander gets pushed out to face the mob, but before he gets a chance to speak, the mob starts chanting “Great is Diana of the Ephesians!” (Acts 19:34) The mayor is super embarrassed. This, he knows, is going to hurt tourism. So he shames the crowd into going home, taking any disputes to court like civilized men (Acts 19:35-41).

Acts 20

And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia.
Paul’s companion records the travel itinerary in case anyone is interested (Acts 20:1-6).

7 And upon the first day of the week, when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them, ready to depart on the morrow; and continued his speech until midnight.
9 And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead.

In the first recorded case of being bored to death by a sermon, some poor schmuck falls out of a third story window and dies. With Paul’s help, he gets better. Then Paul preaches some more (Acts 20:7-12).

On to Jerusalem

17 And from Miletus he sent to Ephesus, and called the elders of the church.
18 And when they were come to him, he said unto them, Ye know, from the first day that I came into Asia, after what manner I have been with you at all seasons,
19 Serving the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears, and temptations, which befell me by the lying in wait of the Jews:

Here Paul delivers his farewell speech to the church at Ephesus. He reminds them how hard he’s worked, how tempting it has been to quit, and how much the Jews hate him and all Christians. He reminds them that he’s been a good preacher and teacher, showing them how to do everything right, suggests maybe as a rule preachers could cut down on the sermon length so they don’t bore people to death, and all that practical stuff. But now he’s off to Jerusalem and he knows only that things are going to get real hard, and he’s never coming back (Acts 20:20-27).

28 Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.

Not only is it going to be hard for Paul, but for everyone he’s leaving behind (Acts 20:29-34).

35 I have shewed you all things, how that so labouring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, It is more blessed to give than to receive.

It’s a great saying, and one none of the gospel writer thought to record, but it is Paul’s final words to his friends at Ephesus. You should keep Pastor Zeke’s Jet in mind when deciding how to budget your income .

Acts 21
Tyre and Caesarea

3 Now when we had discovered Cyprus, we left it on the left hand, and sailed into Syria, and landed at Tyre: for there the ship was to unlade her burden.
4 And finding disciples, we tarried there seven days: who said to Paul through the Spirit, that he should not go up to Jerusalem.

Meandering their way to Jerusalem, Paul and his party meet a few Christian disciples in Tyre, Syria who give a message from the Holy Ghost: Don’t Go to Jerusalem (Acts 21:1-4). This didn’t confuse or frustrate Paul, despite being told the opposite message from the same Holy Ghost earlier (Acts 19:21). They stayed for a while, then continued their long, meandering journey to Jerusalem, and the Holy Ghost wasn’t even mad (Acts 21:5-10).

10 And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus.
11 And when he was come unto us, he took Paul's girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.

One day, enjoying a stroll in Caesarea, Paul is stopped by a prophet who grabs Paul’s girdle (not the transvestite kind of girdle) and ties his hands and feet, saying this will happen to Paul if he continues on to Jerusalem. Paul says, “Why are you doing this, man? Don’t you think I know? Thanks for rubbing it in my face, brother.” But Paul is determined (Acts 21:12-14).

Paul finally gets to Jerusalem

18 And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present.

There is a big reunion in Jerusalem. Paul tells them how many Gentiles he converted as well as Jews, and the Disciples are thrilled (Acts 21:19-20).

21 And they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs.

There’s a problem in Jerusalem, the elders confess. “Some of the Christians here are so gung-ho about their Jewish culture they demand others adopt them before they can be Christians, which is what we thought we solved with our letter, but maybe we weren’t as clear as we thought and it’s too bad the Holy Ghost doesn’t clear it up for them, but it is what it is (Acts 15:23-29). Anyway, we’ve got an idea. There are four guys who have taken a vow involving ritual purification, but have no money to pay the expenses. Join these men in their vows and pay their expenses. Then everyone will know you don’t mind people keeping their Jewish culture (Acts 21:22-24).” That did the trick, and no mobs rioted that day.

Jews Persecute Paul

27 And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him,
28 Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place.

Jews from Ephesus catch up with Paul and were mighty angry with his habit of talking people into rejecting their Judaism. Being Jews, they think, “Let’s persecute him!” And so they start a riot in the streets and throw Paul into the middle of the mob where he is just about to get shanked, when the chief captain of the soldiers whisks Paul away in chains. The mob follows, yelling so violently that the chief captain has no idea what’s going on. He decides to bring Paul inside the building where it would be quieter (Acts 21:30-36).

37 And as Paul was to be led into the castle, he said unto the chief captain, May I speak unto thee? Who said, Canst thou speak Greek?

Paul speaks to the chief guard in Greek, which surprises the guard because he thought Paul was a local yokel. Paul tells the guard who he is, a Jew and a Roman citizen, and can he please address the crowd. The chief guard thinks, “Sure. Why not?” (Acts 21:38-40).
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