cc13Journal-top-bar
CWJ_interior_header
Practicing the Kingship of Jesus



Acts 17:10-15
10
The brothers immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived they went into the Jewish synagogue. 11Now these Jews were more noble than those in Thessalonica; they received the word with all eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see if these things were so. 12Many of them therefore believed, with not a few Greek women of high standing as well as men. 13But when the Jews from Thessalonica learned that the word of God was proclaimed by Paul at Berea also, they came there too, agitating and stirring up the crowds. 14Then the brothers immediately sent Paul off on his way to the sea, but Silas and Timothy remained there. 15Those who conducted Paul brought him as far as Athens, and after receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they departed.

The Story: From 1 Thessalonians 1 we know that Paul’s ministry there was effective, even though the situation made it impossible for them to remain. They moved on to Berea and, as was their wont, to the synagogue as soon as possible. There, as we have seen, they would have argued from the Old Testament Scriptures the teaching about Christ in support of their claims. Paul’s constant use of the Scriptures drove his hearers to search them for themselves, which is a good result. The living Word of God is powerful to penetrate the souls of men, but they must be exposed to it for this to happen (Heb. 4:12). We note Luke’s reference to Paul’s preaching as “the word of God”. Indeed, it was, as his epistles would be also, and not simply because they were consistent with what the Scriptures teach. Paul was inspired by the Spirit of God, and Luke seemed to recognize this even before Paul began writing. Here again in Berea Paul and Silas leave the people searching the Scriptures, wrestling with the preached Word by consulting the written Word. This is a hallmark of Paul’s ministry. He was grounded in the Word and careful not to go beyond what was written there in any of his teaching (cf. 1 Cor. 4:6).

The Structure
: It’s interesting to see how the enemies of the Gospel frequently try to get someone else to do their dirty work. Someone is always appealing to “civic order” or “custom” or “Caesar” in order to take a whack at the believers. When arguments fail and hearts remain hardened, what can you expect? Jesus promised they would hate us. He didn’t say they’d have good reasons. Or the courage to face us on the strength of their own worldview. They can always find some court or statute to shut us up. Or so they think.

Paul would remind Timothy that the Word of God is sufficient for every good work (2 Tim. 3:15-17), especially the work of proclaiming the Gospel, building the Church, and advancing the Kingdom of God – the ongoing work of Christ. Whenever we ignore or go beyond that Word in any aspect of this ongoing work, we stray from the path marked out by Paul and his colleagues?

BookJobFor an excellent complement to our study of the book of Acts, order the book The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church, by Roland Allen, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth – the Framework of Christian Worldview – using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
Practicing the Kingship of Jesus


Acts 17:5-9
5But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd. 6And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, 7and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” 8And the people and the city authorities were disturbed when they heard these things. 9And when they had taken money as security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.

The Story: The actual charge levied here is that Paul and his team “practiced another King, saying Him to be Jesus.” Their message, their way of life, the nature of their companionship – all these spoke to the people of Thessalonica. They were different. They proclaimed a new Kingdom and a new King, and they lived as though what they preached was really true. Jealousy has a way of showing up when leaders see their followers being drained away in devotion to something other then their cause. Jealousy can lead to lies and all kinds of nasty things. This time they couldn’t find the apostles in order to beat them, so they laid hold on Jason, who had “received them” into his house – the first house church of Thessalonica? – and extracted money from him – also a breach of Roman public policy. The fear is that these people and this message would transform the world as the Romans knew it. As it turned out, they were right.

The Structure: It’s interesting to see how the enemies of the Gospel frequently try to get someone else to do their dirty work. Someone is always appealing to “civic order” or “custom” or “Caesar” in order to take a whack at the believers. When arguments fail and hearts remain hardened, what can you expect? Jesus promised they would hate us. He didn’t say they’d have good reasons. Or the courage to face us on the strength of their own worldview. They can always find some court or statute to shut us up. Or so they think.

What are some ways that the Gospel turns the world rightside-up? How might you include such things in your Gospel presentation?

BookJobFor an excellent complement to our study of the book of Acts, order the book The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church, by Roland Allen, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth – the Framework of Christian Worldview – using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
Explaining and Proving


Acts 17:1-4
1Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. 2And Paul went in, has was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” 4And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women..

The Story: Paul and his team move on to the west and south, stopping in Thessalonica. Because a Jewish community is there, they resort to the synagogue. We note their patient and deliberate approach: reasoning, explaining, proving from the Scriptures – the Old Testament – for three full days. Evangelism is about communicating, and communicating involves all the tools and methods of reason and human relations. As we’ve seen, and will see again, Paul was a master at adapting his message to his audience, without compromising the message in any way. We also note that the focus of his message was the historical facts regarding Jesus, not – as we might expect these days – the felt needs of the people or the moral and social issues of the day. The Good News is Jesus and His Kingdom. Get Jesus, like that Philippian jailer, and everything falls into place over time. We also note that Paul’s arguing from the Old Testament Scriptures was persuasive, not merely to Jews, but to Greeks and high-born women. The Word of God is living and powerful. We must keep it in the forefront of our witness for the Lord.

The Structure: We note that Luke seems to be focusing especially on the cities to which Paul would later write epistles – Philippi, Thessalonica, Corinth, Ephesus. Luke would have had the advantage both of Paul’s companionship and his writings in putting his history together in a way that would complement Paul’s ministry.

What do you consider to be the most important historical facts to include in a Gospel presentation? Talk with a Christian friend about this question.

BookJobFor an excellent complement to our study of the book of Acts, order the book The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church, by Roland Allen, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth – the Framework of Christian Worldview – using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
The Gospel and Public Policy


Acts 16:35-40
35 But when it was day, the magistrates sent the police, saying, “Let those men go.” 36And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Therefore come out now and go in peace.” 37But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.” 38The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens. 39So they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city. 40So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia. And when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed.

The Story: Paul and Silas spent the rest of the night in jail. Why? Why didn’t they flee? Why did they choose to continue to submit to injustice? Probably for the sake of the jailer and his family. They continued to suffer indignity so that their brethren would not suffer death. The city had quieted down by morning, so the magistrates sent the cops over to tell the jailer to let Paul and Silas go. Now the fun begins. You see, it was public policy in Roman cities to act pragmatically at times rather than always to follow the letter of the law. Roman magistrates had a good bit of power to ignore law when order was at stake. That was public policy. Paul rejected it. He would stand by the written public policy of Roman government, namely, that you don’t beat and jail Roman citizens without first trying, hearing, and formally condemning them. No. He would not go. Let them come and make nice to him. Let them be humbled by their own breach of Roman policy and their own terror of the law they so freely abused, just to maintain order in their town. Can you see these magistrates, hats in hands, heads bowed, muttering their “We’re sorry” and asking – asking, for crying out loud – the apostles to move on. Does the Gospel have power? It certainly emboldened Paul to enter the public policy arena, challenge local practice, and insist on justice. And it humbled those who in their hearts knew he was right and they were wrong. Paul and Silas did not immediately leave the city. First, they had to attend to the needs of the brethren. Do you suppose the strength they had shown made an impact on the Philippian believers? Paul and Silas would leave Philippi, but on the time-table of their Kingdom agenda

The Structure: Late in the fourth century an ostensibly Christian emperor, Theodosius, would pull that pragmatic bit in Philippi, slaughtering a bunch of folks who didn’t please him. When he showed up in church in Milan after that grisly event, he was publicly called out, humiliated, and excommunicated by the pastor, Ambrose. The Kingdom of God has rules, and not even emperors can act above them. Paul had made that clear in Philippi, and Ambrose was simply following suit.

Should Christians today expect their faith to have an impact on public policy? In what ways?

BookJobFor an excellent complement to our study of the book of Acts, order the book The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church, by Roland Allen, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth – the Framework of Christian Worldview – using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
Hospitality, Again


Acts 16:31-34
31And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.

The Story: The jailer probably lived at the jail, perhaps in an adjoining apartment. He had a family, and Paul’s response to his desperate question indicated that the grace of God would reach through the faith of the jailer to embrace all those within his household. Let’s not get into questioning how that happens; it is the power of God’s covenant and the promise of His Word. We also note that the whole house – all the family members – were baptized. Even the children? And hold on, surely these people didn’t own a pool or even a bathtub? We note again how the Gospel powerfully changes people. Just hours before, this jailer had thrown the apostles into the slammer without so much as a “Sorry ‘bout this, guys.” He was a brutal man, and that’s why he was a jailer! But now, how tenderly he and his wife and family care for Paul and Silas! How powerful is the grace of God! We can almost feel the rejoicing all around. Paul’s and Silas’ hymn/prayer had been answered right in front of their eyes, and a family of lost souls found a new and eternal reason to live and love. What could be more fun than this?

The Structure: Was it just something about the Philippians? Lydia had responded to the inward work of God’s grace with love and hospitality, and now here we see it again. No, it’s not the water supply in Philippi; it’s the “living water” supply of the Spirit and grace of God which, quickening lost souls, melts and renews their hearts and teaches them how to love.

How can we share the Gospel in such as way as to help people get off on the right foot – the loving and hospitable foot – in their new journey with the Lord?

BookJobFor an excellent complement to our study of the book of Acts, order the book The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church, by Roland Allen, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth – the Framework of Christian Worldview – using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
Jailed...Let's Sing!


Acts 16:25-30
25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone's bonds were unfastened. 27When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29And the jailer called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

The Story: Really, what would you and I have done? Probably sulked in our cell and feared what tomorrow might bring. Perhaps we would have prayed, but the prayers would have been for our safety and wellbeing, I suspect. Paul and Silas? They sing. Maybe Psalm 67, which is described as a “hymn” and focuses on the salvation of the Lord for the world. Beaten, bruised, and bound, Paul and Silas do not lose sight of their mission. Their focus is on the Lord and the salvation of lost sinners, even those jerks who’d beat them up that day. The jailer’s question suggests he’d asked around about the goings-on in his prison before he arrived at the “inner prison” where his most dangerous detainees sat clapped in iron. Or used to sit clapped in iron. Now no one was clapped in iron. The doors of the prison were all open and everyone’s chains had fallen off. How stupefied were those prisoners? No one bolted for the door. No one even seems to have moved. Does God like to hear his saints sing? I’d say that His thunderous, earth-shaking response to the hymn of Paul and Silas was a resounding indication of His approval of their faith. The jailer gets ready to kill himself because this would have been easier than the punishment he could have expected from the Romans. Paul stays his hand, and the jailer falls down before him with that classic question: “What must I do to be saved?”

The Structure: It does not please the Lord for His evangelists to be supplied with “earthquake in a jar” to set people up for the Gospel. It pleases Him for us to live by faith and to respond in faith to all the outward circumstances of our lives, be they ever so dire. Paul and Silas were singing about the salvation they possessed and they longed for others to know. The jailer did not ask about how they pulled off that earthquake or managed to set all those prisoners free. He was fixated on the larger, more important issue revealed by Paul’s and Silas’ unflappable faith.

How should we expect people today to see our “faith at work” in such a way as to provoke interest in the salvation we possess?

BookJobFor an excellent complement to our study of the book of Acts, order the book The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church, by Roland Allen, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth – the Framework of Christian Worldview – using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
Slandered, Beaten, Jailed


Acts 16:19-24
19But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. 20And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. 21They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.” 22The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. 23And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

The Story: As we might have expected, the owners of this now demon-free little girl became irate at Paul’s having brought their little gambit to an abrupt end. So they dragged him and Silas before the local authorities and trumped up some half-truth to get even with them. They weren’t mad because Paul and Silas were Jews and not Romans. The Roman world was very familiar with the Jews, and they knew they weren’t like everybody else! So they phrased their charges in a way designed to provoke the fury of the people and the rulers. Still, there was some truth in their charge. The Romans enslaved and exploited the helpless, the Gospel liberates them. As the crowd heated up, the magistrates stripped and beat Paul and Silas. Is that Roman justice? No, and Paul, of course knew it was not (he’ll play this trump card a bit later). So they beat them with rods and threw them in jail – no hearing, no trial, no opportunity to explain themselves. I bet Paul and Silas will write a letter to their Senator, protesting this breach of their religious rights!

The Structure: Paul and Silas are reminded of one important truth: Hatred of the Gospel is universal. Just as it is true that people from every tribe and tongue will come to faith in Jesus – the argument of chapters 11-15 – so it is true that among those same people are folks who will do anything to silence the Good News. Because the Good News is not good news to those who are devoted to self-interest above all else.

Should we hold back on talking about the Gospel and doing the good works it requires, just because some people don’t want to hear it? Explain.

BookJobFor an excellent complement to our study of the book of Acts, order the book The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church, by Roland Allen, from our online store.

The Worldview Bible examines the teaching of Scripture according to the Story and Structure of Truth – the Framework of Christian Worldview – using only other Scriptures for illumination. Information about The Framework of Truth is available on this site. Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture are from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
 
<< Start < Prev 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 Next > End >>

Page 1 of 264
You must be logged in to comment on Christian Worldview Journal articles.