It is completely unnatural for us to respond to hate with love. In our sin we want to persecute those who persecute us. However, that is not life we have in Christ as a new creation. Loving the lost is a mark of the Christian and manifestation of the Spirit. In our passage today, we see how to respond to spiritual warfare.
Spiritual warfare. The term is used often and often improperly. In this first of two messages from Acts 21:27-36, we look at a real instance of spiritual warfare that is taking place and how to handle it. Paul is undergoing intense persecution and will only survive if equipped with the armor of God. What does that look like?
It is often misunderstood how Christians are to relate to the Old Testament. Contributing to that confusion are situations like we look at today, where James and the elders of the church tell Paul to observe the Law of Moses so that others would see... that he observes the Law! Today we unpack the relationship of the Old Covenant to a New Covenant People.
In the beginning of our passage in Acts 21:15-20a, we are reminded of an integral function of the local church. Missions. This entire passage is packed with some important truths to discern carefully. Principally, we see the response of the church when it comes to participating directly in the Great Commission. Worship. What happens when this form of worship is removed?
Paul is on his way to Jerusalem. While visiting with other churches on the way, they all tried to dissuade him from going where he felt led and convicted to go. With this at the forefront of the passage today, we look at why the congregations and leaders of the churches likely tried to stop Paul and whether Paul was right or wrong for ignoring their exhortations.
Should pastor's be paid? If so, who should pay them? Do they have to receive a salary or can they forgo it and provide for themselves? It is no secret that money is a controversial topic in our day... particularly as it relates to the Church. Today we look at what is commonly one of the largest expenses of the local church and what God has to say about it.
In Acts 20:28-32 we see Paul spend time carefully warning the elders of the Ephesian church to watch out for coming false teachers. He says they will come and warns how and why. Today we take some time learning how to identify false teachers and false teaching and look at some examples of it in our world today.
Paul is in a hurry to get to Jerusalem. He wants to see his friends from the Ephesian church so he sends for the elders to come to him for one last meeting. Paul made two very focused points in his conversation with them, 1) he dedicated his life to deliver to them the whole council of God; and 2) wolves are coming to pervert and divide the church. This week we look at what drives Paul in his mission. Next week we'll be learning more about these wolves he warns of.
The church is gathered. Paul is preaching into the night. Lamps are burning throughout the room. It is then we see a young man named Eutychus fall three stories to his death... until he is given life. It is this tangible miracle that points us to the true work of God in Christ in bringing us from eternal death to eternal life. It is in this newness of life that we rejoice as the church. It is because we are loved by God that we go out into all the world.
Today we take a momentary break in our study through Acts as we reflect on the passion of the Christ. We take some time to reflect on what Holy Week is and why many celebrate it throughout the world. Our focus concludes in Luke 23 as we see the compassion, mercy, and forgiveness of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.