Sunday, September 27, 2020

Acts Study | Session 33 | 19:36-20:28

In today's study, we find Paul still in Ephesus ministering to both Jews and Gentiles, taking a closer look at the word church and its uses, a riot, the Feasts of Israel, a sleeping Eutychus, his address to the Ephesian elders which included words of endearment and warning, and Paul's determination to make it to Jerusalem by Pentecost.

VERSES 36-37: Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly. (37)  For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess. The townclerk continues to try to stop the mob by pointing out that they need not overreact to what was happening as a result of Paul's teaching that was causing such an uproar in the city as the people began responding to his message. Of course, as we stated earlier, his council proved to be wrong in that Diana is no longer worshipped. He goes to say that Gaius and Aristarchus are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of Diana. 

Note the word churches. He is obviously not talking about Kingdom or Grace churches as that would not have even been his frame of reference as an unbeliever. A better translation would be temples. Further proof that the word always needs context. Remember that the word church simply means a called-out assembly. 

There are four churches identified in the Bible and we also run into problems when we try to combine them. 1. Historically, there was the church in the wilderness mentioned in Acts 7:38 by Stephen, which was the assembly of the children of Israel that were called out of Egypt and assembled in the wilderness. 2. Then there was the Jerusalem church which was made of none but the lost sheep of the house of Israel and proselytes. This is the Kingdom Church. No one is a part of this church today. It stopped after the rejection was complete. 3. And today, we are a part of the Body of Christ made up of Jew and Gentile that was the mystery revealed to Paul. This is the Mystery Church that was revealed through Paul who are justified freely by grace (Col 1:18; Rom 11:25; Rom 16:25; Eph 3:1-2). 4. And finally, there is the Tribulation Church which is made up of those who sealed their fates in their own blood by not accepting the Mark of the Beast which is made up of the congregations mentioned in Revelation 2-3. It is those who overcome and sit with him on his throne. That is not us. We are already sitting in heavenly places (Eph 2:6). Those who eat of the Tree of Life (Rev 22:14) will be the reward for those who make it through the Tribulation. The Gospel of the Kingdom will be preached again by the 144,000 according to Mat 24:13-14. To interpret the churches any other way, as I did for years, is allegorizing the text which is exactly what dispensationalists do not do. 

VERSES 38-41: Wherefore if Demetrius, and the craftsmen which are with him, have a matter against any man, the law is open, and there are deputies: let them implead one another. (39)  But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly. (40) For we are in danger to be called in question for this day's uproar, there being no cause whereby we may give an account of this concourse. (41)  And when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly. The townclerk further warns them that if they did not handle this correctly, Rome would come down on them and dismisses the assembly. Again, assembly is ekklesia which is also translated as church. Further proof that we have to be careful with that word, even the pagans were a church! 

Chapter 20

VERSES 1-2 And after the uproar was ceased, Paul called unto him the disciples, and embraced them, and departed for to go into Macedonia. (2)  And when he had gone over those parts, and had given them much exhortation, he came into Greece, It is from Macedonia that Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans. He also wrote 2 Corinthians from Greece. 

VERSES 3-6: And there abode three months. And when the Jews laid wait for him, as he was about to sail into Syria, he purposed to return through Macedonia. (4) And there accompanied him into Asia Sopater of Berea; and of the Thessalonians, Aristarchus and Secundus; and Gaius of Derbe, and Timotheus; and of Asia, Tychicus and Trophimus. (5)  These going before tarried for us at Troas. (6)  And we sailed away from Philippi after the days of unleavened bread, and came unto them to Troas in five days; where we abode seven days. Unbelieving Jews still stirring up trouble against him. Notice that Luke mentions the Feast of Unleavened Bread. The feast lasted seven days and commemorated Israel's flight from Egypt (Exo 12:17-20; Exo 23:15). It spoke of the fact that the Israelites had no time to put leaven in their bread before their hasty departure from Egypt. 

There were Spring feasts and Fall feasts for Israel. The Spring feasts consisted of Passover, Unleavened Bread, First Fruits, and Pentecost. All fulfilled at Christ's 1st coming. Passover =  Crucifixion;  Unleavened Bread = Buried; First Fruits = Resurrection; Pentecost = The Holy Spirit. 

The Fall feasts are Trumpets, Atonement, and Tabernacles. These will be fulfilled at his 2nd coming. Trumpets = Rapture? Regathering?; Atonement = Judgement; Tribulation; Tabernacles = Millennium. 

It is said that the Body of Christ lives in the gap. Summer, if you will. Where we get into trouble today in the church is that we try to tie these feasts to us, when in reality they are all a part of the prophetic program for Isreal. No one today is required to keep the feast days because we have the Lord himself and not just the shadow of him in the feasts. However, they should be studied with great interest in that they are Israel's prophetic program, past, and future. Notice, I left at present. 

Notice Paul's traveling companions. The ones we are most familiar with is Tychicus (Eph 6:21; Col 4:7, 2Ti 4:12, and Tit 3:12). And also Trophimus from Act 21:29 and 2Ti 4:20. These went ahead of Paul and met up in Troas. 

VERSE 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. Bear in mind that we are in the midst of the Feast of Passover. 

Nisan 14 is Passover; Nisam 15 is Unleavened Bread; Nisan 16 is First Fruits; 50 days later was Pentecost. So, the phrase first day of week is speaking of the first of seven sabbaths that had to take place until Pentecost (Lev 23:15-16). 

So, Paul, the night before he was to head out for Jerusalem, preached until midnight. 

VERSES 8-9: And there were many lights in the upper chamber, where they were gathered together. (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. Well, ol' brother Eutychus was sleeping in the wrong place at the wrong time! 

Now, there has been some dispute about this event in that some say that the text does not specifically say that he was dead, they just supposed that he was based on what Paul says in the next verse.  

VERSE 10: And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him. Either way, Albert Barnes says, "The late hour of the night, and the length of the services, were the excuse. But, though the thing is often done now, yet how seldom is a sleeper in a church furnished with an excuse for it. No practice is more shameful, disrespectful, and abominable than that so common of sleeping in the house of God."

VERSES 11-12: When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of  day, so he departed. (12)  And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted. When the young man is revived, Paul eats and talks until daybreak and everyone was not a little comforted. 

VERSES 13-16: And we went before to ship, and sailed unto Assos, there intending to take in Paul: for so had he appointed, minding himself to go afoot. (14)  And when he met with us at Assos, we took him in, and came to Mitylene. (15)  And we sailed thence, and came the next day over against Chios; and the next day we arrived at Samos, and tarried at Trogyllium; and the next day we came to Miletus. (16)  For Paul had determined to sail by Ephesus, because he would not spend the time in Asia: for he hasted, if it were possible for him, to be at Jerusalem the day of Pentecost. Notice that Luke says we went before to ship, but they were pressed to make it to Jerusalem for the day of Pentecost. 

VERSES 17-20: 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: (20)  And how I kept back nothing that was profitable unto you, but have shewed you, and have taught you publickly, and from house to house, Paul calls for the elders in Ephesus to express how he served them with tears, temptations, and the Jews who spoke against him. 

VERSE 21: Testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Some will point to these verse to say that Paul ministered to both groups; Jews and Greeks. Also, the phrase repentance toward God for the Jew and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ for the Greeks. Either way, many apparently responded positively and a church was started. 

VERSES 22-23: And now, behold, I go bound in the spirit unto Jerusalem, not knowing the things that shall befall me there: (23)  Save that the Holy Ghost witnesseth in every city, saying that bonds and afflictions abide me. Now Paul tells them that he is going to Jerusalem bound in the spirit. Albert Barnes says of this verse, Paul is being "strongly urged or constrained by the influences of the Holy Spirit. Not by any desire to see the Jersusalem, and not urged merely by reason, but by the convictions and mighty promptings of the Holy Spirit. Some translations capitalize spirit in this verse which would make this the third person of the Trinity. The words abide me mean await me or facing me. 

VERSE 24: But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God. But Paul says nothing that awaits him will stop him because he does not count his life dear unto himself. The same thing came to be said for his when we are walking in obedience. Why? Because what he is doing and preaching had been received of the Lord Jesus which is to testify the gospel of the grace of God. I believe this is Paul stating once again that what he preached did not come from the other apostles, but from Jesus himself: the gospel of the grace of God today. 

VERSE 25: And now, behold, I know that ye all, among whom I have gone preaching the kingdom of God, shall see my face no more. Now he pivots back to the fact that he had preached the gospel of the Kingdom of God to the Ephesians though. The only assumption we can come to is that while Paul was given the Gospel of Grace (v.24), he still preached the Gospel of the Kingdom (v.25) because the Kingdom was still on the table at this point. 

Of course, today these two gospels are mixed because "evangelicals" have attempted to mix covenant and dispensational theology instead of rightly dividing the Word of Truth as they were told to. 

Notice and you shall see my face no more. Interesting that Paul knew that he would not see these people again in this life, and he also knew that he had honestly given to them the entire counsel of God.

VERSE 26: Wherefore I take you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. Some commentators say this blood that Paul is speaking of here is a reference to the second death. However, I believe that he is referring to them physically now that they are rejecting Christ and his Kingdom offer (Act 18:6). 

Ezekiel said something similar in Eze 33:1-9. Pretty sure that is physically blood and not spiritual.  He is merely warning them, or just emphatically saying, I can not be blamed for what is going to come upon you because of your lack of heeding the message. 

VERSE 27: For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God. This verse would seem to indicate that Paul shared with them everything that he knew, both national and personal salvation. It is obvious to me that he did just that in that he preached both a Kingdom (v.25) and Grace Gospel (v.24). Therefore, v.26 I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of all men. v.27 For I have not shunned to declare to you the whole counsel of God. Sounds like he was preaching both. This will become important to remember when we study the book of Ephesians, i.e. pronouns. We will even see it before we finish this chapter. 

VERSE 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. This reference to the flock here sounds like a distinctive Jewish analogy. If so, he is referring to Jewish leaders in this verse. Remember that the little flock is the one that is going to receive the kingdom and not the Body of Christ (Luk 12:32). Again, the shepherd and flock analogy refers to the Jews. 

By the way, the word shepherd does not appear in the Pauline epistles. Also, the word flock only occurs one time in the Pauline epistles, yet in context has nothing to do with Israel (1Co 9:7). Therefore, the church of God spoken of here would be the remnant of Israel, which he hath purchased with his own blood

Let's talk about words. Personally, I am starting to be very careful with my words when referring to Scripture. Remember that to purchase is to redeem or to ransom. Salvation on the other hand is a gift that was given as a result of what Christ did on the cross. Redemption is a purchase and salvation is a gift. I am beginning to believe that redemption refers to Israel and salvation refers to the Body of Christ. 

As a matter of fact, Paul only uses the word redeemed one time in his epistles (Gal_3:13) and it is referring to the Jews. We know this for a few reasons. 1. He uses the word us and instead of you. In the book, just like in Ephesians, he uses we/us to refer to Israel and you/ye to refer to the Gentiles. 2. We have never been directly under the curse of the law because it was given to Israel. Instead, the Gentiles were without hope in the world because we were aliens to the commonwealth of Israel (Eph 2:12). 

So, the context dictates, at least to me, that Christ redeemed the Jews from the curse of the law by taking the curse on himself (Gal 3:14). Therefore, I don't think that we, the Body of Christ, should be quoting this verse as a reference to us. 

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Acts Study | Session 32 | 19:1-35

In today's study, we find Paul back in Ephesus where he meets twelve men who had only knew of the baptism of John, the sons of Sceva attempting to cast out a demon, and creating another riot because the business and religious people there felt that his teaching was going to harm their livelihood there in Ephesus where they worshipped the goddess Diana.

Chapter 19 

VERSES 1-2: And it came to pass, that, while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul having passed through the upper coasts came to Ephesus: and finding certain disciples, (2)  He said unto them, Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed? And they said unto him, We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost. Paul, on his way to Ephesus, runs into twelve (v.7) men who were disciples of John the Baptist. It is apparent from the context that these men, despite the fact that Pentecost was twenty years prior, had no idea about the outpouring of the Holy Spirit that happened in Acts 2. This makes it obvious that these are Jews that Paul was dealing with here. They were under the baptism of John still. 

VERSE 3: And he said unto them, Unto what then were ye baptized? And they said, Unto John's baptism. It is interesting that Paul realized that they had received some kind of baptism, but just wanted to clarify. It seems from the text, at least to me, that he knew the answer before he even asked it based on their behavior. By acknowledging that they were under John's baptism, it means that they had accepted the message of repentance that John preached, but had not received the spiritual baptism that happened at Pentecost. So, they had no doubt repented, baptized, and were looking for the Messiah. 

Note: It was not the same baptism that we practice today which represents the death, burial, and resurrection and is not required for salvation. 

VERSES 4-7: Then said Paul, John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance, saying unto the people, that they should believe on him which should come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus. (5)  When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. (6)  And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied. (7)  And all the men were about twelve. I have been guilty of "overthinking" these verses and arriving at a bad interpretation for years. The bottom line is that these guys had accepted the teaching of John that the Messiah was going to come, but they did not know that Jesus was that promised Messiah, so Paul took the time to explain it to them. They needed to understand that Jesus was that promised Messiah and then receive the baptism of the Holy Spirit that was poured out in Acts 2 as prophesied by Joel as a sign (1Cor 1:22). This happened when Paul laid hands on them as Peter and John did with the kingdom believers in Samaria with Philip in Acts 8. 

These twelve Jewish disciples of John just received the long-overdue gift of the Holy Spirit that was promised to believing Israel in the book of Joel, and in the gospels, and in the early part of the book of Acts who believed that Jesus was their Christ.

Now, with that in mind, at least to me, the text clearly indicates that Paul did not preach the Grace Gospel to these twelve men. They were Kingdom believers and they stayed that way as that there is no mention of trusting in Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection to these twelve Jewish believers. These were kingdom saints and they would receive the baptism with the Holy Ghost after they had repented and were baptized in Jesus' name just like Peter said they should in Acts 2:38.

Finally, just another proof text, notice that it says that the Holy Spirit came "on" them. Not "in" them like he does for the Body of Christ, but "on" them. Again, this was a time of overlap in the Kingdom offer and the beginning of the age of grace. I believe this time of overlap officially ended at the destruction of the temple in 70 AD. 

VERSE 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. Remember that Paul had already been to Ephesus in Acts 18:19-20 when they desired for him to stay longer, but he couldn't because he was in a hurry to get to Jerusalem. Now he is back for three months and still disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. Again, this can not be taught today, not even to the Jews, because that offer is no longer on the table. 

VERSE 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. But, as usual, some did not believe, and Paul left the synagogue and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus. 

VERSE 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. So, over a space of two years, Paul taught the word of the Lord Jesus to both Jews and Greeks. Again, it is difficult to determine what Paul preached to whom, Kingom or Grace. Again, the word for Greeks is hellen which refers to non-Jews. The assumption would be that Paul would have been preaching the Kingdom Gospel to the Jews and the Grace Gospel to the Gentiles. However, as we look through this chapter, it seems that he only taught the Kingdom Gospel.

Randy White points out a few things. First, the says clearly that he was teaching the kingdom of God (v.8), and nowhere do we see that the message changed. It would require an assumption on our part to assume otherwise. Second, he is performing special miracles which is always associated with the Kingdom, not the Grace Gospel. Third, those who responded confessed and shewed their deeds. which is consistent with the Kingdom message. With this in mind, we would be hard-pressed to conclude that Paul preached anything other than a Kingdom message to the Ephesians. 

That is not to say that he didn't also preach the other, just that the text does not support it. Gentiles were present, and they accepted the message, but again, we see no indicator from the text that he went into a Grace message with them. We have to assume that during this unique time of overlap that both were effectual. 

Randy also offers some possible scenarios. First, Paul only preached the Kingdom message, and later Timothy continued and shared the grace message. As you remember, Paul wrote to Timothy who was in Ephesus in his first letter (1Tim 1:1-3). Second, Paul did preach both messages, but only the Kingdom is emphasized in the text. 

Of course, today, most mix the two anyway and naturally see no point in our discussion right now. 

VERSES 11-12: And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: (12)  So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them. Again, these verses seem to indicate a Kingdom message  (1Cor 1:22). Of course, the signs were so that the Jews would believe. It is also obvious that later on, Paul did not have the ability to perform miracles. They were temporary because they were a part of the Kingdom message. We do know that Paul was able to perform them up until at least Acts 28:1-9 when on his way to Rome, he was shipwrecked in Melita when he healed Publius' father, the islanders, and the snake bite that did not cause him any harm. 

Of course, it was at Rome that he pinned his prison epistles with new revelations in regards to the Body of Christ. Afterward, we see no miracles from Paul. Interestingly, on this same island, later Paul was not able to heal Trophimus later (2Tim 4:20). 

I am of the opinion now, haven't always been, that the sign gifts associated with the Kingdom message ceased with the rejection of the Kingdom. The next time these gifts will come back will be Daniel's 70th Week. In the meantime, the Bible does foretell of false signs that will accompany apostasy in the latter days (Mat 24:24). 

That is a hard one to settle on since so many today swear by them. I can only conclude that they are mistaken and overcome with emotion. 

VERSES 13-14: 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. (14) And there were seven sons of one Sceva, a Jew, and chief of the priests, which did so. Now we are introduced to some Jews that apparently specialized in exorcisms. And when they did it, they did so by Jesus whom Paul preacheth. Among these were the seven sons of Sceva. Sceva is said to be chief of the priests in Ephesus. So this would have made him a member of the Sanhedrin there. 

One teacher puts it this way, "they were not evil men, just ignorant of what they were getting themselves involved in. Their father was a chief priest and they were all wanting to serve the Lord with what knowledge they had. They no doubt had heard that Paul was casting out demons in the name of Jesus and they perhaps thought it may work for them being fellow Jews, but something was missing in their walk with God, salvation. They did not know that being a Jew like Paul was not enough, you had to know the Jesus that Paul preached before you could call upon his name."

VERSE 15: And the evil spirit answered and said, Jesus I know, and Paul I know; but who are ye?  Notice that the evil spirit said that he knew Jesus and Paul, but not them. That must have been just a bit scary I would think. The word ginosko speaks of intimate knowledge. 

VERSE 16: And the man in whom the evil spirit was leaped on them, and overcame them, and prevailed against them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. Well, that did not end well at all! Unusual strength seems to be the order of the day with evil spirits (Mar 9:14-29; Mar 5:1-5). The word wounded is interesting in that it means traumatized. 

Les Feldick points out at this point that Paul never addressed the issue of demonic possession; therefore, salvation is the only answer. Something to think about. I mean, all exorcisms occurred during the Kingdom offer. 

VERSE 17: And this was known to all the Jews and Greeks also dwelling at Ephesus; and fear fell on them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was magnified. No doubt, this further magnified the ministry of Paul. 

VERSE 18: And many that believed came, and confessed, and shewed their deeds. The result was that many believed, confessed, and shewed their deeds.  Again, this verse suggests a Kingdom response here. 

Notice that it says that they shewed their deeds. That literally means that they disclosed their deeds or openly confessed their deeds. 

VERSE 19-20: 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. (20)  So mightily grew the word of God and prevailed. Also, many who believed confessed to using curious arts. In context, the word is referring to magic and all of the accouterments associated with that. 

Historically, the city of Ephesus was ate up with magic and sorcery. History paints a picture of Ephesus as full of paganism and mysticism. One writer said, "Magic scrolls, rings, amulets, bracelets, and necklaces thought to have powers were all common in ancient Ephesus. The price of these magical documents and trinkets varied, but history tells us that there was a huge market for them in the commercial agora." It was altogether worth 50K pieces of silver. You talking about putting your money where your mouth is! This was going to lead to short term problems of course as we will see over idol worship. 

VERSES 21-22: 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. (22)  So he sent into Macedonia two of them that ministered unto him, Timotheus and Erastus; but he himself stayed in Asia for a season. Now, Paul feels led to pass through Macedonia and Achaia to Jerusalem, and then on to Rome. This would complete his third missionary journey. I believe that Paul felt that as to the Gentiles that Rome was the golden apple as the capital of the Gentile world. 

On a side note, I find it interesting that the Devil wants everyone to believe that Peter founded the church in Rome, thus thoroughly conflating and mixing the Kingdom with the Grace gospels and diminishing the role of Paul. The Devil is in the details for sure and has been trying to mix the two programs and cause division and confusion for quite some time. 

VERSE 23: And the same time there arose no small stir about that way. Notice that way. I believe that the way or that way is always a reference to the Kingdom program (John 14:6; Acts 9:2). Therefore, it has nothing to do with the Pauline gospel of grace. 

VERSE 24: For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; Diana was the Greek goddess Artemis. She was the daughter of Zeus and the twin sister of Apollo. Orion was who she loved. She was worshipped as one of the primary goddesses of childbirth and midwifery. Her temple in Ephesus was one of the seven wonders of the world at the time. Many connect her to Semiramis. 

VERSE 25: Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. (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. Of course, there is no doubt that Demetrius is first and foremost acting out of self-preservation, but who would really care about that. So, he makes it about their great goddess Diana. The same tactic is used today in society, i.e., make it about one thing while nothing could be farther from the truth. 

VERSES 28-30: And when they heard these sayings, they were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. (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. (30)  And when Paul would have entered in unto the people, the disciples suffered him not. Things are have just turned ugly. 

VERSE 31: And certain of the chief of Asia, which were his friends, sent unto him, desiring him that he would not adventure himself into the theatre. Albert Barnes says of this chiefs that they "were persons who presided over sacred things and over the public games. It was their business to see that the proper services of religion were observed, and that proper honor was rendered to the Roman emperor in the public festivals, at the games, etc. They were annually elected, and their election was confirmed at Rome before it was valid. Probably they were assembled on such an occasion now; and during their remaining there they had heard Paul preach, and were friendly to his views and doctrines." There is no indication from the text that they were believers. 

VERSES 32-34: Some therefore cried one thing, and some another: for the assembly was confused; and the more part knew not wherefore they were come together. (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. (34)  But when they knew that he was a Jew, all with one voice about the space of two hours cried out, Great is Diana of the Ephesians. However, Alexander was, he was prepared to speak on behalf of the Jews. Some associate him with Alexander the Coppersmith in 1Tim 1:20, but that is speculation. If would make sense that a Jew would be asked to defend what was going on because Paul's Kingdom message was to and about them. However, it doesn't appear that he was allowed to speak, and even if he had, we have no idea what he was prepared to say; for or against Paul. Of course, if this was in indeed the same Alexander mentioned to Timothy, it would seem that he spoke against.

VERSE 35: And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter? The townclerk appears to be just trying to calm the situation by saying basically that everyone knows that the image of Diana fell down from Jupiter. He is saying that there is nothing to worry about from these Jews. Of course, time proved him wrong! The word worshipper in this verse means a temple keeper. 

David Guzil points out at this point that what was going on in Ephesus as a result of Paul's teaching did not please the Devil at all and it may have been why he spoke of spiritual warfare in Eph 6:10-20. When God is at work, the Devil does get busy for sure. 

Monday, September 14, 2020

Acts Study | Session 31 | 18:9-28

In today's study, we find Paul receiving encouragement from the Lord, his continued ministry in Corinth, his vow, his decision to return to Antioch, ministry in Ephesus, the end of his second missionary journey, the beginning of the third. and are introduced to Apollos.

VERSES 9-10: Then spake the Lord to Paul in the night by a vision, Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace: (10)  For I am with thee, and no man shall set on thee to hurt thee: for I have much people in this city. There is no doubt in my mind that Paul was beginning to grow weary in well-doing and needed some encouragement that only God could give him. He may very well have been at the point of calling it quits based on the encouragement. It reminds me of the expression, "We are immortal until God is through with us."

VERSE 11: And he continued there a year and six months, teaching the word of God among them. Apparently, the encouragement helped! He stopped running and dug his heels in and stayed a year and six months. 

VERSES 12-13: And when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat, (13)  Saying, This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law. The fact that they were accusing Paul of persuading men to worship God contrary to the law makes it pretty clear that he was indeed teaching the Gospel of Grace that did not require the keeping of the Law. It is clear that the Jews saw Paul's message as contrary to the keeping of the Law. 

Now, some will say that the Jews were in the wrong here. No, not at all, what they were accusing Paul of was 100% correct. He was teaching salvation apart from works. The very acknowledgment of this fact is a nod to dispensationalism. Again, a dispensation is a given period in redemptive history that God deals with man in a certain way, i.e., Innocence (Genesis 1 -3); Conscience (Genesis 3-8); Civil Government (Genesis 9-11); Promise (Genesis 12-Ex. 19); Law (Exodus 20 - Acts 9); Grace (Acts 9 - Philemon); and Kingdom (Rev. 20:4-6).

VERSES 14-16: And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you: (15)  But if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such matters. (16)  And he drave them from the judgment seat. Gallio, who was apparently a part of the Roman government wanted nothing to do with this situation because Paul had obviously not done anything contrary to Roman law. He told them to handle it among themselves and threw them out from the judgment seat because he only dealt with matters of wrong and wicked lewdness. This is the word Bema that we are all so accustomed to hearing about who we will each appear before one ourselves (2Cor 5:10). 

VERSE 17: Then all the Greeks took Sosthenes, the chief ruler of the synagogue, and beat him before the judgment seat. And Gallio cared for none of those things. Greeks? Only the KJV uses this term. The other translations simply say something like and they all took hold of Sosthenes or then they all turned on Sosthenes. In the original, the word Greek is hellen which refers to non-Jews. Some will argue that it is actually the hellenist Jews, usually translated as Grecians, but the original does not support that in my opinion, e.g., Acts 6:1; Acts 9:29; Acts 11:20. Sosthenes is mentioned again in 1Cor 1:1. Maybe because of this event, he decided to leave the synagogue and team up with Paul? 

VERSE 18: And Paul after this tarried there yet a good while, and then took his leave of the brethren, and sailed thence into Syria, and with him Priscilla and Aquila; having shorn his head in Cenchrea: for he had a vow. Paul apparently stayed in Corinth in spite of the uprising a little longer and then decides to head back to Antioch. This journey would take him through Syria, Cenchrea, Ephesus, Caesarea, Jerusalem, and then to Antioch. 

Notice that it says that Paul had a vow. Whatever vow it was involved cutting his hair and the only one that requires that is the Nazarite Vow which was for a time of dedication to the Lord (Num 6:1-21). Five things about this vow: 1. It was voluntary, 2. It could be done by either men or women, 3. It had a specific time frame, 4. It had specific requirements and restrictions, and 5. at its conclusion a sacrifice was to be offered.

However, this is pure speculation on our part, and yet so many preach it dogmatically. One might speculate that this is what he was doing in v.21.

VERSES 19-21: And he came to Ephesus, and left them there: but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews. (20)  When they desired him to tarry longer time with them, he consented not; (21)  But bade them farewell, saying, I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem: but I will return again unto you, if God will. And he sailed from Ephesus. Still on his way to Antioch, Paul stops briefly in Ephesus and heads to the synagogue. Remember in v.5 that he left the synagogue in Corinth to go to the Gentiles. Obviously, that was a one-time situation and not a pattern for the rest of his ministry. 

And we find, as was his custom, he reasoned with the Jews no doubt about the ministry of Christ (Acts 17:3). They obviously wanted to hear more but he was pressed to keep moving to get to Jerusalem. The KJV says that he wanted to get to Jerusalem while the others leave this phrase out. 

VERSE 22: And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church, he went down to Antioch. Whatever he did in Jerusalem was short. Gone up is a reference to Jerusalem because it is the only place referred to as up in the New Testament. As I stated earlier, many believe he was fulfilling the sacrifice for the Nazarite Vow. 

Upon his return to Antioch, his second missionary journey is complete. 

VERSE 23: And after he had spent some time there, he departed, and went over all the country of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples. And just as quickly as the second journey ended, the third began. We do not know how long some time there was. Again, his goal was to strengthen all the disciples just like they did on the second journey (Acts 15:35-36). 

VERSE 24: And a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man, and mighty in the scriptures, came to Ephesus. Now we are introduced to Apollos from Alexandria. Again, remember that Luke is writing this account. 

Notice that he says that Apollos was an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures. The word eloquent means that he was a fluent orator. So not only was he knowledgable, mighty in the Scriptures, but he had the ability to share that knowledge in an understandable way. Believe me, that is a gift that not all men possess. The bottom line is that if you must understand it to explain it. That requires study that most Christians are simply not willing to do. 

In Bible College, we had to take a pulpiteering class in which they filmed us and offered feedback. As I look back on it, it was an awesome class. 

VERSE 25: This man was instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in the spirit, he spake and taught diligently the things of the Lord, knowing only the baptism of John. He had been instructed well in regards to the way of the Lord, was fervent, and diligent, but he only knew the baptism of John. This just means that he did not know about the Grace Gospel that had been given to Paul yet. So, it would seem that he was a Kingdom believer, just not fully aware of the mystery that had been given to Paul. 

VERSE 26: And he began to speak boldly in the synagogue: whom when Aquila and Priscilla had heard, they took him unto them, and expounded unto him the way of God more perfectly. After Aquila and Priscilla heard him speak in the synagogue, they pulled him aside and brought him up to speed in regards to what God had been doing through Paul's life and ministry so that he could understand the way of God more prefectly, or more exactly. 

VERSE 27: And when he was disposed to pass into Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him: who, when he was come, helped them much which had believed through grace: So now, Apollos, being more fully informed in regards to Pauline Theology, shared that with the brethren in Achaia. Apollos was now more prepared to rightly divide Law and Grace, the Kingdom Gospel, and the Grace Gospel. I have found in my ministry that that ability changes everything! We will find later that Apollos was effective at it because he had quite a following (1Cor 1:12). We do the same thing today by the way. 

VERSE 28: For he mightily convinced the Jews, and that publickly, shewing by the scriptures that Jesus was Christ. Again, we are in a time of overlap that makes it practically impossible to see hard lines between the one and the other in regards to the gospels. Today, this is not the case and should not be an issue, but sadly, we still blur the lines by not rightly dividing making it more difficult than it should be. 

Note: The point of the Kingdom Gospel was to show that Christ was the Messiah, while the point of the Grace Gospel is to show that Christ is the Savior. 

Why was it so important for Apollos to understand the difference? Because one was for national salvation and the other is for individual salvation. One was going away and another was just coming in. One would no longer eventually be effective, while the other will last until the Rapture. 

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Acts Study | Session 30 | 17:18-18:8

In today's study, we find Paul ministering in Corinth where he accuses the Epicureans and Stoics of being too superstitious in their worship. He then begins to identify The Unknown God that they have been ignorantly worshiping and encourages them to repent of their idolatry and to turn to the one true and living God.

VERSE 18: Then certain philosophers of the Epicureans, and of the Stoicks, encountered him. And some said, What will this babbler say? other some, He seemeth to be a setter forth of strange gods: because he preached unto them Jesus, and the resurrection. Paul's preaching caught the ear of certain philosophers. Epicureans were people who follow the philosophy of "eat, drink, and be merry for tomorrow we die". Epicurus taught ataraxia which means living with no need and no distress. It is the basic philosophy of the West today, e.g., the first article in the Declaration of Independence says contains the phrase when it says, "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

On the other side were the stoics who were the exact opposite. They believed that life should be lived with logic and one should not allow themselves to be controlled by the desire for pleasure or fear of pain, by using one's mind to understand the world. 

Some saw Paul as a babbler, and others saw him as a setter forth of strange gods. Babbler comes from the word spermologos which means seed picker or a gossiper or trifler in talk. 

VERSES 19-20: And they took him, and brought him unto Areopagus, saying, May we know what this new doctrine, whereof thou speakest, is? (20)  For thou bringest certain strange things to our ears: we would know therefore what these things mean. Notice that unlike the unbelieving Jews who simply responded with violence to things that Paul taught because they either didn't understand or agree, these wanted to hear more about this new doctrine. 

The Areopagus is the same as Mars Hill (v.22).  Mars is a reference to the Greek God. The Areopagus is a prominent rock outcropping located northwest of the Acropolis in Athens, Greece. It was the location of a court and was supposed to have been the site where Ares was tried by the gods for the murder of Poseidon's son Halirrhothius.

VERSE 21: (For all the Athenians and strangers which were there spent their time in nothing else, but either to tell, or to hear some new thing.) Notice that their motivation was to hear some new thing. Like our culture today, people were always looking for the next new thing. While there is nothing wrong with being willing to listen, we must ultimately take the evidence that is presented, which requires energy that most do not have, and make sure it is accurate. If I have learned anything, it is that we are constantly being presented with new information that requires the same process. 

VERSES 22-23: Then Paul stood in the midst of Mars' hill, and said, Ye men of Athens, I perceive that in all things ye are too superstitious. (23)  For as I passed by, and beheld your devotions, I found an altar with this inscription, TO THE UNKNOWN GOD. Whom therefore ye ignorantly worship, him declare I unto you. Notice he says that he perceives that they are too supersitious. In the Greek, it is deisi-daimon-esteros and is a compound word that means fearful of demons. Today, we would interpret it to mean simply a reverence for the supernatural. 

And as such, they even worshiped at the altar of THE UNKNOWN GOD in apparent ignorance (agnostic). In other words, they don't even know who this god is and yet they still choose to worship it. He is basically saying, you obviously acknowledge that you do not know "all" of the God's, so I am going to tell you about the one you are missing. 

VERSES 24-25: God that made the world and all things therein, seeing that he is Lord of heaven and earth, dwelleth not in temples made with hands; (25)  Neither is worshipped with men's hands, as though he needed any thing, seeing he giveth to all life, and breath, and all things; Interestingly, we are going to see that Paul was not very "seeker sensitive" nor did he try to when friends and influence people as he spoke to these Epicureans and Stoics. 

The first point that Paul makes is that God made the world and all things therein. This offended the Stoics because they are pantheistic and he is declaring monotheism. This offended the Epicureans who did believe in a diety, but a distant deity that keeps man at an arms-length. And he offended them all by saying that God dwelleth not in temples made with hands because the entire city and economy revolved around temples made with hands. However, Paul is saying that this Unknown God that they ignorantly worship does not. 

VERSES 26-28: 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; (27)  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: (28)  For in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring. The second point that Paul makes is that this God is very involved in the affairs of man. Again, offensive to both. 

Paul declares that God made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth. One blood is a reference to Adam and that all men came from him. I guess Paul didn't totally understand the science of evolution or the Christianized version called Theistic Evolution. By the way, there is only one race on earth and they are called men. The other translations omit the word blood, but the meaning is the same. 

God has also determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation. This literally means that God is sovereign over man and his boundaries. The word literally means limit placing or boundary line which means that men and their habitations have a predetermined shelf life. Of course, one only needs to read the 9th chapter of Daniel to see this.  

He goes on to say that this God has done these things so that the nations of men will seek him if haply they might feel after him, and find him because he is not far from every one of us. He goes on to be culturally relevant by quoting one of their own poets when he says for in him we live, and move, and have our being. This is a quote from a popular poem of the day written by Aratus (315-240 BC), "Phenomena", which was prose that described the constellations. Interestingly, it is that that he was from Tarsus in Cilicia just like Paul, which might explain why he was familiar with his work. 

In it, he wrote, "Let us begin with god, whom we mortals never leave unspoken. For every street, every market-place is full of god. Even the sea and the harbour are full of this deity. Everywhere everyone is indebted to god. For we are indeed his offspring."

VERSES 29-31: 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 man's device. (30)  And the times of this ignorance God winked at; but now commandeth all men every where to repent: (31)  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. He begins to wrap up with since 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 man's device. In other words, since they all came from God via Adam, they should not try to find God in 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 man's device. Again, not being very delicate in regards to their obvious idolatry. 

He goes on to point out in v.30 that while God has winked at their idolatry done in ignorance, he now commandeth all men everywhere to repent. From the context, he is speaking to Gentiles, which God did not deal with in times past, but the nation of Israel alone, but now, He is. This speaks of the new dispensation in which now both Jew and Gentile are to repent. Repent meaning to change their way of thinking, and turn from their idols to Lord of heaven and earth (v.24).

Why? - 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.

VERSES 32-34: And when they heard of the resurrection of the dead, some mocked: and others said, We will hear thee again of this matter. (33)  So Paul departed from among them. (34)  Howbeit certain men clave unto him, and believed: among the which was Dionysius the Areopagite, and a woman named Damaris, and others with them. Notice that the response to Jesus and his resurrection from the dead was either mocked or considered it. Understand that the resurrection is a key component or element of the Gospel. Under the Kingdom Gospel, had he not risen, the Kingdom could have never been legitimately offered. Under the Grace Gospel, one must believe it in order to be saved. The resurrection is essential to both. Paul spoke to this in 1Cor 15:12-19. 

In regards to those who did believe the Grace Gospel, they were Gentiles since that is the audience that he was addressing. They responded favorably just like the Philippian Jailer before. 

Chapter 18

VERSE 1: After these things Paul departed from Athens, and came to Corinth; Interestingly, Paul didn't get thrown out of Athens like so many times before, he appears to have left on his own accord and timing. Corinth is just south of Athens and was a very important city in that while Athens contained the academics, Corinth was the seat of government for the region. We are going to discover down in v.11 that Paul had quite a long ministry in this city. 

VERSES 2-3: And found a certain Jew named Aquila, born in Pontus, lately come from Italy, with his wife Priscilla; (because that Claudius had commanded all Jews to depart from Rome:) and came unto them. (3)  And because he was of the same craft, he abode with them, and wrought: for by their occupation they were tentmakers. Here he meets to Jews named Aquila and Priscilla. It says that they were there because of Claudius had kicked them out of Rome. This is also the first time that we learn that Paul was a tentmaker. 

This skill and trade would have most likely been passed down to him from his father. There is a Jewish proverb that says, "He that teaches not his son a trade is as if he taught him to be a thief." No doubt, he made these for shepherds and soldiers alike.

Today, the term has come to refer to someone who does not receive full-time pay from the ministry and has to do something else on the side to make ends meet. 

VERSE 4: And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. Again, we find him in the synagogue every sabbath persuading both Jews and Greeks. 

Note: Why does the church worship on Sunday and not Saturday today? 1. The Sabbath commemorates God's creation and provision (Exo 31:16-17). It was given to Israel under the Law. 2. Sunday, on the other hand, commemorates Grace in that Christ rose from the dead (Luke 24:1) on that day and it was the day the early church gathered (1Cor 16:2). The first commemorates God's creation while the second commemorates the Lord's resurrection. 

Kevin Sadler wrote that the "Sabbath speaks of rest after work and relates to the Law and the work required by those under the Law in Law-keeping, with the works, observation of feasts, and sacrifices that Israel was commanded to do continually by faith. The Sabbath foreshadows the rest that Israel will enjoy in her end times, in her millennial rest within the earthly kingdom.

Sunday worship on the first day of the week speaks to a rest that takes place before work and relates to Grace and the rest we, the Body of Christ, have in Christ and His finished work right up front. Having trusted that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again (1Cor 15:3-4), we are “complete in [Christ]” (Col 2:10).  Salvation is a “gift” that we receive the moment we believe; it is “not of works” (Eph 2:8-9). For most working people, our work week follows after the first day of the week. And under Grace, because we are saved, “works” follow after out of joy and gratitude for our accomplished salvation in Christ (Eph 2:10)."

Again, we see that Paul's tried and trued method was reason and persuasion. That is all that we can do today. Some will listen today, others tomorrow, and others never. 

VERSE 5: And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ. Now Silas and Timothy who he had left in Berea catches up with him (Acts 17:10). As such, Paul is pressed in the spirit. The KJV does not capitalize spirit, the NKJV does. Other translations do not use the word at all. In the end, it means that he was pressed or encouraged to teach the Word. 

VERSE 6: And when they opposed themselves, and blasphemed, he shook his raiment, and said unto them, Your blood be upon your own heads; I am clean: from henceforth I will go unto the Gentiles. This is the first time that we see Paul purposely abandoning the synagogue, but we will find that this was not permanent at all (Rom 1:16). 

VERSES 7-8: And he departed thence, and entered into a certain man's house, named Justus, one that worshipped God, whose house joined hard to the synagogue. (18) And Crispus, the chief ruler of the synagogue, believed on the Lord with all his house; and many of the Corinthians hearing believed, and were baptized. Justis was a Gentile that worshiped God but apparently had not converted to Judaism. It is then that many believe and the church of Corinth was begun. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Acts Study | Session 29 | 16:32-17:17

 In today's study, we Paul leading the Philippian Jailer to faith, being forced to use his Roman citizenship card again, and his ministry in Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens.

VERSE 32: And they spake unto him the word of the Lord, and to all that were in his house. After the jailer asks the question, Paul begins to answer it by sharing the word of the Lord with him. 

VERSE 33: And he took them the same hour of the night, and washed their stripes; and was baptized, he and all his, straightway. Afterward, the jailer took them to his home and washed their stripes. Afterward, he and all his were baptized straightway. 

VERSE 34: And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house. (35) And when it was day, the magistrates sent the serjeants, saying, Let those men go. (36) And the keeper of the prison told this saying to Paul, The magistrates have sent to let you go: now therefore depart, and go in peace. Can't help but note that by not leaving and allowing the jailer to minister to them, they saved his life. 

VERSES 37-40: But Paul said unto them, They have beaten us openly uncondemned, being Romans, and have cast us into prison; and now do they thrust us out privily? nay verily; but let them come themselves and fetch us out. (38) And the serjeants told these words unto the magistrates: and they feared, when they heard that they were Romans. (39) And they came and besought them, and brought them out, and desired them to depart out of the city. (40) And they went out of the prison, and entered into the house of Lydia: and when they had seen the brethren, they comforted them, and departed. Again, we see Paul playing his Roman citizenship card. Saul was both a Jew and a Gentile by citizenship. We spoke to this in regards to his calling to be the apostle to the Gentiles. He was the only one that had these certifications, but he was really the only one that needed them because the others never left Jerusalem. Only he uniquely met these qualifications that would enable him to reach the Gentiles. He uses this card again in Acts 21:37-40 and Acts 22:24-29.

Notice also that he demands justice. No where in the Bible does it say that Christians as supposed to be chumps. All of this passivism stuff comes from not rightly dividing. 

Chapter 17

VERSES 1-3: Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: (2) And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, (3) Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. Notice once again that Paul goes straight to the synagogue of the Jews in Thessalonica as his manner was and reasoned with them out of the Scriptures. That means that he was trying to convince them using the Old Testament Scriptures. This is something that each of us should be able to do and the only way to get better at it is to do it (Pro 27:17).

What was he trying to convince them of? That Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. Bear in mind that he is speaking to Jews, who like many in the church today, believe that Jesus' ministry was a failure because it ended with the cross. It wasn't a failure, it was the entire reason that he came! He had to fulfill the Old Testament prophecies in regard to his crucifixion in order for the Kingdom to be offered. 

Too many in the church see it the same way in that they view the rejection of the Messiah as the rejection of the Kingdom. No! The Kingdom was not offered in the Gospels. It couldn't have been offered prior to the crucifixion and resurrection. This misunderstanding is where the birth of the church in Acts 2 comes from. 

He did this for three sabbath days. I think that anyone who teaches the Scriptures to others totally understands this. It just does not happen overnight. It takes time to convince people using the Scriptures as to the truth of the Gospel. 

Note: I believe that Paul, being Jewish, still preached the Gospel of the Kingdom to the Jews because the full revelation of the postponement had not been made to him yet. 

VERSE 4: And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few. In the end, some of them believed, both Jews and proselytized Greeks (Rom 10:17). As a result, they consorted with Paul and Silas. That literally means to give a lot to or cast lots with.  In other words, they were all in! 

VERSE 5a: But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, Oops, here they go again! Can't just disagree and walk away. They gotta run or ruin it! Sorry, I am having flashbacks to my times of pastoring a church. Of course, troublemakers are never content to go it alone, they always precede to gather the discontented and confused around them. 

Notice that they were moved with envy. So instead of comparing Scripture with Scripture, they are just moved with fleshly jealousy against them and gathered unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort. This means that these people were easy to influence and bring them to their side to set all the city on an uproar. 

VERSES 5b-6: and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people. (6)  And when they found them not, they drew Jason and certain brethren unto the rulers of the city, crying, These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also; (7)  Whom Jason hath received: and these all do contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, one Jesus. Little is known about Jason, but he was apparently hosting Paul's party. He is also apparently mentioned in Rom 16:21. 

The accusation against Paul and Silas was insurrection. Some would say that this is proof that Paul was teaching a Kingdom Gospel here, for if it had been the Gospel of Grace which is spiritual and heavenly, this accusation would not have been laid against them. Remember that the Kingdom Gospel speaks of a future, physical, fraternal Kingdom that had been promised to the Jews. This is the only way in my opinion that they could have been accused of insurrection. An insurrection is an act or instance of  revolting against a civil government or authority. The Grace Gospel simply does not teach that. 

By the way, Jesus is exactly what Jesus was accused of (Luke 23:2). Why? Because he spoke of a Kingdom of which is is the King. The hypocrisy of it is that while accusing Jesus of being an insurrectionist, they asked the release of a known convicted insurrectionist by the name of Barabbas (Luke 23:18-19). Again, I just don't think they could have accused him of this had he been preaching simply the Grace Gospel. 

VERSES 8-9: And they troubled the people and the rulers of the city, when they heard these things. (9)  And when they had taken security of Jason, and of the other, they let them go. The lewd fellows of the baser sort continue to stir up the people and the rulers of the city with this accusation. 

VERSE 10: And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming thither went into the synagogue of the Jews. Once again, Paul is sent away by night. 

Berea is modern-day Veria in Greece. Historically, the last 460 Jews were removed on May 1, 1943, by the Germans and sent to concentration camps. 150 of them were children who were then taken to Thessaloniki by the Nazis and dropped off on Math 8 at Auschwitz where every one of them were put to death.

Notice he goes straight to the synagogue as his custom was. 

VERSES 11-12: These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so. (12)  Many of them therefore believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men. A compliment is made in that these Jews in Berea were nobler than those in Thessalonica in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, but also searched the scriptures daily to see whether those things were so.  

Of course, the Scriptures they used were the Old Testament. As a result, many of them believed. 

I really do believe that if people would just listen, and search the Scriptures, they will see just what these Bereans saw, that Jesus is the Messiah. As such we all must be students of Scripture. I posted the other day that every four years we get a front-row seat to see just how rampant Biblical illiteracy really is. Romans 10:17 says that faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of God. Notice also that once again not only did Jews respond but also Greeks. 

VERSES 13-15: But when the Jews of Thessalonica had knowledge that the word of God was preached of Paul at Berea, they came thither also, and stirred up the people. (14)  And then immediately the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea: but Silas and Timotheus abode there still. (15)  And they that conducted Paul brought him unto Athens: and receiving a commandment unto Silas and Timotheus for to come to him with all speed, they departed. And, here come the trouble makers! These are the same ones that stirred up trouble in Thessalonica. They obviously found Paul's preaching to be offensive in that it by default condemned the nation for rejecting their Messiah. Silas and Timothy stayed while Paul went to Athens expecting that they would join him there which they will in 18:5. 

Notice that the brethren sent away Paul to go as it were to the sea. This seems to indicate that they did a "pump fake" to shake the Jews that were coming after him off his scent (cf. NASB). 

VERSE 16: Now while Paul waited for them at Athens, his spirit was stirred in him, when he saw the city wholly given to idolatry. I so identify with this verse today. I too am stirred for our nation, like Athens, is truly wholly given to idolatry. The word stirred means provoked. By definition, provoked means to call forth, to stir up purpose, or to provide the needed stimulus for. 

I honestly believe that if anyone who claims to be a Christian does not fill the same way, there is a leak somewhere in their faith. If we are not careful, our passive and sinful nature can become calloused to what is going on around us. 

There is a progression to this: abhorrence, tolerance, and acceptance. I honestly believe that we go down this road naturally when we fail to not just read the Bible, but study it. I posted this yesterday, "A poor appetite or lack of desire for studying God’s word results in stunted spiritual growth, a weakened faith, and eventually disobedience to God."

VERSE 17: Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him. Notice that Paul put feet to his provocation. He did this by disputing with those in the synagogue, and with the devout persons, and in the market daily with them that met with him. We must do the same. It is not enough to simply pray and hope. 

I can't help but notice that he began in the synagogue. I firmly believe that the downward spiritual spiral that our nation is in is because of the spiritual apathy of God's people. Our churches are complacent, lazy, and for the most part, spiritually malnutritioned, and it reflects in our society. The lights have gone out of the lighthouses. 

Notice that hs disputed with them. We need to be willing to do the same, but that requires preparation, and most Christians are simply too Biblically illiterate to speak with any compassion, let alone knowledge.