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Friday, December 30 2011

Introduction

Last week we looked at the importance of believers' bonding and unity in God's church and that the more we see the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ approaching, the greater we need to fellowship with one another. That God always uses pure vessels especially as it concerns sexuality and every believer must purpose to stay undefiled. Finally, believers must be accountable to one another but with the purpose should be to please God and Him alone. This week we shall be considering these verses relating to Paul's encounter in Jerusalem; I pray that in the study of these 14 verses today, God will change our mind set about the story and open our eyes to a new light about this exciting encounter. Let us watch this interesting scenario unfold that has caused a few controversies over the years. But with our eyes opened to learn and know and be prepared.

1.      HELPING GOD - DOESN'T HELP

 26 The next day Paul took the men and purified himself along with them. Then he went to the temple to give notice of the date when the days of purification would end and the offering would be made for each of them.

Here was the problem: a report had been circulated widely that Paul went about constantly teaching that Jews, especially those who lived in Gentile lands, to "forsake" Moses. If we recall in Acts 16:3, Apostle Paul circumcised Timothy in order to prevent offense to the Jews. Paul had not opposed observing certain elements of the law ? provided the intent was not to seek justification on that basis.

I think the bottom line here is that Paul was not insensitive to the feelings of the Israelite brethren (which is a good thing). James and the brethren felt the matter needed remedy in some fashion. That ended up as a futile attempt to defuse a volatile situation.

My take is that they tried to help God by trying to appease unreasonable people (see Acts 22:22).  Possibly because the intent was an attempt to (unknowingly) alter God's plan.

What happened in verses 27-29 would have happened whether or not Paul purified himself. Remember Agabus' prophesy?

Man's plan was to avoid the situation; God's was to use it for His purpose

2.      PAUL ARRESTED BASED ON FALSE ACCUSATION - NOTHING NEW UNDER THE SUN

 27 When the seven days were nearly over, some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul at the temple. They stirred up the whole crowd and seized him, 28 shouting, "Fellow Israelites, help us! This is the man who teaches everyone everywhere against our people and our law and this place. And besides, he has brought Greeks into the temple and defiled this holy place." 29 (They had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with Paul and assumed that Paul had brought him into the temple.)

 

People can very easily, based on their prejudice accuse us falsely. So let's be aware and be prepared. Matt. 5:11-12 (Not a time to complain and fight back but rejoice!)

Man's plan for false accusation was to cause despair; God's purpose for it is our rejoicing

 

3.      ON TIME GOD! - HE WILL SHOW UP EVEN WHEN WE ARE NOT EXPECTING! VS. 30 - 33

 31 While they were trying to kill him, news reached the commander of the Roman troops that the whole city of Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32 He at once took some officers and soldiers and ran down to the crowd. When the rioters saw the commander and his soldiers, they stopped beating Paul.

In verse 30, they locked the Temple gates so he couldn't get back in and gain sanctuary. But God showed up on time for him. 2 Peter 3:9

Man's plan was to terminate Paul's life; God's purpose was to show Himself Sovereign

4.      IGNORANCE IS AN EVIL WEAPON OF THE ENEMY - STEER CLEAR! VS 34 - 38

34 Some in the crowd shouted one thing and some another, and since the commander could not get at the truth because of the uproar, he ordered that Paul be taken into the barracks.

The Bible says in verse 30 that people came running from all directions; not knowing what the matter was. Verse 34a says Some in the crowd shouted one thing and some another. We should be careful not to be sucked into a similar vortex of following the crowd. Can you imagine the embarrassment or the pain to be caught with the "wrong" crowd because we were not patient or wise enough to probe further?

 "Do you speak Greek?" he replied. 38 "Aren't you the Egyptian who started a revolt and led four thousand terrorists out into the wilderness some time ago?"

The rumors and lies have gone round the whole of Jerusalem and Paul had also been mistaken to be an Egyptian; the leader of a terrorist group! I am sure that the commander must have seen his name in lights as the one who finally caught "Osama Bin Laden" and "shot him"

Man's plan (the Devil's plan) was to use ignorance to eliminate Paul; God's purpose was to create a podium for him to share his testimony

CONCLUSION

History has taught us time and again that God's ways are not our ways. He is never late to fulfill His promises. So let's brace and go through whatever situations we find ourselves. 2 Cor. 4:8-9

Ignorance is a killer; Hosea 4:6. Let's not join the band wagon to do things without knowing what the purpose is for doing it.

The study of this chapter has also revealed that these men were mere mortals like us used by God; that have their frailties too. James and the brethren in Jerusalem seem to be in a constant struggle trying to understand Paul's mission to the Gentiles. They are examples that God can use anyone; and that they are not to be worshipped! It also shows us that we ourselves; frail as we may be can also be used by God.

So let's go beyond the controversies; who was right or wrong and learn virtue

"I went past the field of a sluggard, past the vineyard of someone who has no sense; thorns had come up everywhere, the ground was covered with weeds, and the stone wall was in ruins. I applied my heart to what I observed and learned a lesson from what I saw. . ." Prov24:30-32

 

Contributor: Isekhua Evborokhai

Posted by: Isekhua Evborokhai AT 05:27 pm   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email
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