Sunday, September 30, 2012

From Acts to Revelation Part 46 – Berea

From Acts to Revelation
Part 46 – Berea
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

Last week we saw in scripture, Paul, Timothy and Silas, in Thessalonica. Paul, as was his custom, went directly to the Synagogue in town, and preached the Gospel of christ.

For three Sabbaths, he preached this message.

Scripture tells us that SOME Jews believed, a LARGE number of Greeks (Gentiles) and quite a few prominent women.

We also read how the Jews who did not believe, gathered a bunch of no-goods from the seedy part of town, and began to riot. They could not find Paul and his party, so they nabbed a few who gave Paul a place to sleep.

Taking them to the Magistrate, they blamed the men for taking Paul, whom they said was causing the riot, and inciting violence, because he taught against Rome.

Today's scripture will show us how Paul and his party leave Thessilonica, and head towards Berea.

We will learn from scripture today;

1)     Paul sticks with his game-plan, going to a town and preaching in the Synagogue.
2)     What the biblical definition of NOBLE is.
3)     How trouble (from the devil) will hunt us down, where ever we go and speak of Jesus being Christ.


Acts 17:10-15
10 As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. 12 As a result, many of them believed, as did also a number of prominent Greek women and many Greek men.
13 But when the Jews in Thessalonica learned that Paul was preaching the word of God at Berea, some of them went there too, agitating the crowds and stirring them up. 14 The believers immediately sent Paul to the coast, but Silas and Timothy stayed at Berea. 15 Those who escorted Paul brought him to Athens and then left with instructions for Silas and Timothy to join him as soon as possible.

a.      the brethren sent them off
i.       More than likely, this was Jason and the others who were taken to the Magistrate and forced to pay a bail to get out of prison.

b.     Paul, Silas and Timothy left at night to avoid more trouble

c.      they eventually arrived at Berea
i.       This was 50 miles from Thessalnoica

ii.    Once there, Paul did what was his custom, he went straight to the Synagogue and preached the message of Jesus Christ.

d.     Paul addressed those in the Synagogue first, simply because those who attended on the Sabbath already believed in the scriptures of God, whether Jew, Greek (Gentile), or prominent woman.

a.      The Bible now defines for us, exactly what NOBLE is
i.       Saying Berea was more noble than Thessilonica

ii.    Because, (vs.11) they received the Word with all readiness of mind.

iii. And, they searched the scriptures daily.

b.     This explains why they were so eager to accept the message of Jesus Christ!
i.       Their minds were READY for the Message!

ii.    Ready, because they searched the scriptures daily!

c.      The Results of Paul giving the Message he always gives;
i.       This is the same procedure at every town, but with different results

ii.    This time, instead of reading “...and some Jews believed...” as in verse 4 of Acts 17, we read, “...Therefore (because the previous verse said their minds were ready to receive the message because they read their scriptures daily), Therefore, MANY of them believed.”

iii. “...honorable women and Greeks (God-fearing Gentiles) as well.”

a.      However...
i.       The Thessilonian Jews (the ones who did not believe Paul in Thessilonica), heard that Paul, whom they were hunting to take before the magistrate, but did not find, was preaching the Message of Jesus Christ in Berea.

b.     So they traveled to Berea, and stirred up trouble once again.
i.       You see, Jesus says we cannot serve two masters.
a.      You WILL either serve Christ, or the enemy.

b.     These men were hunting Paul, lead by Satan's unholy spirits.

c.      Empowered by hate.

d.     Driven by demons.

e.      Lead to kill, and destroy anything to do with Christ and Salvation.

ii.    Such is many leaders who do not serve Christ.
a.      ANY leader who promotes, pushes, passes, or stands behind ANYTHING that is un-godly, whether it be the promotion of sins which are detestable to God, or things such as the murder of innocent, unborn children, those leaders are serving their master, Satan.

iii. These men, serving their master, Satan, traveled over fifty miles to try and put a stop to Paul preaching Christ.

c.      The believer's in Berea, trying to save Paul once again, tell him to leave.

d.     Timothy and Silas stay behind.
i.       We're not sure why, maybe to stump those looking for Paul, perhaps to provide assistance and further teaching to the Berean's until Paul found their next stop on this Second Missionary trip, the Bible does not say.

e.      Paul then traveled to Athens
i.       The Chief-City (Capital) of Greece
ii.    Famed for being a place of learning
iii. Once Paul arrived at his destination, he sent a letter to Timothy and Silas, telling them to come to Athens as soon as possible.


4)     Paul sticks with his game-plan, going to a town and preaching in the Synagogue.

5)     What is the biblical definition of NOBLE – to have a mind with all readiness to receive the Word of God, which comes from searching the scriptures daily!

6)     Trouble (from the devil) will hunt us down, where ever we go and speak of Jesus being Christ. However, God's Will is going to be done, regardless of what the devil throws at us.

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

From Acts to Revelation Part 45 – Thessalonica

From Acts to Revelation
Part 45 – Thessalonica
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |

Last week, we looked at the scriptures, and saw how God worked through Paul and Silas, and even though they were in prison, God used them and their example, to save the souls of the guards.

We see repeatedly through the second mission trip of Paul's, how he gives and gives to the people, and time and time again, some will receive, and others will reject.

Paul, however, like Jesus, does not chase people down, nor force the Gospel on anyone.

One must, as Jesus says, “Come to me...”

One must simply, “Call on the name of the Lord...”

It is our duty as a believer, to share this Gospel of Jesus, so that they know on whoms name they must call for salvation!

We will see from today's scripture, how Paul continues to preach the same message, and in doing so, a lot of the times gets the same response.

Some will listen, some will get saved, but in the end, someone will be angry, and because of “religion”, plot against the message of the Cross.

Last week we saw how important it is for us to remain faithful, regardless of our outward situation, so in those times, we may be a greater witness than when everything is going perfect in our lives.

This week, we will see how we are to stay steadfast on the path that Christ has laid before us, following the Holy Spirit and continuing in the work of sharing the gospel.

This is to take place, whether one person receives, 2,000 receives, or NONE receives.

The truth is the truth, and must be shared, regardless of the response.


Acts 17:1-9
17 When Paul and his companions had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah,” he said. Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women.
But other Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other believers before the city officials, shouting: “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.” When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil. Then they made Jason and the others post bond and let them go.

a.      Paul and his companions immediately begin sharing the gospel in the local synagogue.
i.       For three Sabbaths in a row, Paul shows scriptures about Jesus

ii.    Paul has been directed by the Holy Spirit, following the path from city to city, being led to the Synagogue to bring the truth of the Gospel to God's people.

iii. We see that Paul takes the Gospel, first to the Jews.

b.     Paul, using what we call the Old Testament, proves Jesus is the Messiah

c.      Everything needed to prove this is in the Old Testament, nothing more is needed!
i.       Verse 3 says that Paul explained, and proved that Christ the Messiah had to suffer. He probably used scriptures, such as;

ii.    Genesis 3:15And I will put enmity between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”

iii. Exodus 12:13 The blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are, and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.”

iv.   Isaiah 53

v.      Paul also said that he had to rise from the dead!

vi.   Leviticus 14:1-7 which is symbolic of resurrection

vii.   Psalm 16:10 because you will not abandon me to the realm of the dead, nor will you let your faithful one see decay.”

d.     Christ, the Messiah, the one that the Old Testament points to, is, and can only be Jesus.
i.       Remember, Jesus fulfilled over 400 prophecies from the Old Testament. Many of which were fulfilled by others actions!

a.      SOME Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas

b.     So did a LARGE number of God-fearing Greeks (Gentiles)

c.      and QUITE A FEW prominent women
i.       Which could have referred to the wives of some of the Civil Rulers of the city, or other influential men.

d.     BUT, other JEWS were jealous
i.       not God-fearing Greeks
ii.    NOT prominent women
iii. NOT Gentiles or Romans...but JEWS

e.      This is the perfect example of “religious” people;
i.       Refusing the light of the Gospel
ii.    Then, setting out to put a stop to the spreading of the light

f.       It is not just customary for Paul to preach in every synagogue when he gets to a town...
i.       but it also seems to be a running theme, that there are some Jews, or Sadducee, or Pharisee who become jealous at the teaching that Jesus is the Messiah.

a.      So these Jealous Jews formed a mob
i.       They recruited bad characters from town

b.     They proceeded to start a riot
i.       Blaming the mob they had created with bad characters, and the riot itself on what Paul and his company were preaching.

ii.    Sound familiar? Doesn't this still happen today?

c.      What this shows us, is that these men could NOT Scripturally counter Paul's message, so they resort to other measures.

d.     The mob could not find Paul and Silas, so they rounded up Jason and other believers and took them before the magistrate
i.       At this point, their anger was going to be taken out on someone, whether Paul or another believer.

ii.    This happens today, and was told to us in scripture. The Book of John tells us that Christ is the light, and darkness do not accept Him, and we have the light in us, who believe, and the world will not receive us either.

iii. What else does the scriptures say? “The world first hated me...”

e.      The Jews, once again as we have seen previously in the Book of Acts, did not charge the believer's with the real issue, which was teaching Jesus was the Messiah.
i.       Because they knew that this would make it a civil matter, a religious issue that had nothing to do with the power and authority of Rome.

ii.    So, they twisted the issue, and charged that they were breaking Roman laws.

iii. These men, because of their “religion”, had so much hate, that they lied, and knew they were lying, to put a stop to that which they did not want to accept. Jesus is the Messiah!

f.       They were imprisoned and had to pay bond to be released.


We need to remember that sharing the Gospel that Jesus is the Messiah, the Christ, on who’s name we MUST call to be saved, is not something we “should” do, rather, something that ALL followers of Christ MUST do.

We have a priority as a follower of Jesus Christ, ad that is to teach the Gospel, so that those who are still out of communion with the Lord, those who are at odds with our Heavenly Father, may restore that relationship, in the only way possible.

By having our sins, and their debt, paid.

This was done at the Cross, for those who will call on the name of Jesus, and be saved.

If you have never called on the name of Jesus to be saved, then your debt for sin is still owed, and payment will be collected when you die, for the wages owed for sin is death...not physical death, because you will already be dead when the payment is collected. No, this is referring to Spiritual death, where you will be cast into eternal hell.

Call on the name of Jesus, and receive the free gift, which is the payment for your sins, so that when you die, you will be with the Lord in Glory, forever, AMEN!

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!