King James Bible Study – “And when he had called the people unto him with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.” – Mark 8:34
Date: Friday, December 13, 2019
Chapters: Acts 23-25
Message: Happiness Found In Reproach
Hello My Friend,
Reproach; Censure mingled with contempt or derision; To upbraid; to suggest blame for any thing. When we first decide that we are going to dedicate our lives to Christ, we do not realize the impact that it has on our lives. The more we walked with Him, the more He grew on us, literally turning us into something unimaginable. We are walking, talking, Christ living testimonies of the living God living inside of us, and let me tell you the world does notice. Dedicating our lives to Christ is going to bring some opposition because not everyone will accept our faith, even many loved ones, but the things we go through, the trials we endure, as Christians are not based on mere chance, they are allowed by God so we can get through them with Him and show the world who Christ truly is. “If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy are ye; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.” – I Peter 4:14.
“but on your part he is glorified.” There is no better testimony of someone who once rejected Christ than Paul, he use to capture Christians and watched them be executed for their faith. Once he got saved and dedicated his life to Christ, he became the apostle to the Gentiles. This is why Jesus used Paul, so that He could be glorified through such an amazing transformation. And let me tell you, the ones who fear our change the most are the very people that claim they love God. Now, Paul is standing before the Sanhedrin council, a board of men that ran the affairs of the temple, enforcing the Law of Moses, which by they way, none of them followed. Half of the men were Pharisee’s, the other were Sadducees. Of course, with this mix of religion, there were bound to be disagreements, and that is exactly what Paul used to cause a division among them as he stood before them.
“And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day. And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth, Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law? And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God’s high priest? Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people. But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question. And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring him into the castle. And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.” – Acts 23:1-6,10-11.
“And the night following the Lord stood by him,” We may not realize it, but Jesus stands beside us through every decision we make concerning Him. We may not always make the right decisions, but when God has a plan for us He will make it happen one way or another. Did you see this? “Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.” We may not like our rulers, but we are not speak evil of them. People have a right to their own opinion, but we need to respect each other as a person, and not speak evil of them, even if they speak evil of us and falsely accuse us. “Therefore if thine enemy hunger, feed him; if he thirst, give him drink: for in so doing thou shalt heap coals of fire on his head. Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.” – Romans 12:20-21.
Now, the Jews were determined to find someone who would testify against Paul so he could be sentenced to death, they even made a vow not to eat until he was dead. The interesting thing, no matter where Paul went he was able to speak in his defense, and he never stopped professing His faith. The council could not legally find anything to accuse him of so they sent him to Felix, the governor, and even though he believed that Paul did nothing wrong, because it pleased the Jews, he kept him locked up, and he was imprisoned for two years. Paul stands before Felix, this time knowing that Jesus was with him, pleading his case.
“Because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem for to worship. And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city: Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me. But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and toward men. And after certain days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, which was a Jewess, he sent for Paul, and heard him concerning the faith in Christ. And as he reasoned of righteousness, temperance, and judgment to come, Felix trembled, and answered, Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee. He hoped also that money should have been given him of Paul, that he might loose him: wherefore he sent for him the oftener, and communed with him.” – Acts 24:11-16,24-26.
“to have always a conscience void of offence toward God,” Before we even speak in reference to God we need to make sure that what we are saying is backed up with Scripture. And it does not matter where we are, or what we are doing, if we mention His name we need to be doing it with His Word in mind. We are the testimony that Jesus lives in us, and if He lives in us, we will not be ashamed to say that He does, and we will not question His Word. Being a testimony means knowing who God is, growing closer to Him as we get in His Word, and living through the example of Christ, not being ashamed to proclaim Him, even if that means it could cost us our lives. Now, Paul stands before Festus, the new governor in office, and pleads his case again.
“And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove. While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all. But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me? Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar’s judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest. For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar. Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go.” – Acts 25:7-12.
“I refuse not to die:” Paul is telling them if he had broken the law then he was worthy of death, but he did not so they have no to cause to kill him. Since Festus really did not what to deal with it himself he was all too willing to send him to Caesar. Paul lived by the Scriptures, and it was by doing so that he knew the truth and also trusted Jesus to get him to Rome. The second we receive Christ as our Saviour we are exempt from the Law, meaning, God has no cause against us, we are free and clear of any crimes because Jesus stands before us. “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.” – Romans 8:34-37.
Today’s Prayer: Jesus, It is sometimes hard to comprehend just what You did for us, and how easy it is for us to not only be saved from hell, but be one of Your own. As we grow closer to You we literally are transformed into something into the likeness of You. While we will never be perfect until we reach heaven or You return, we do have You to guide and keep us in the right direction. We are testimonies of what it is like to have the living God living inside of us, let us therefore, do what is pleasing to You, not live in fear of what man can do to us, and be the example You need us to be to reach others for You. I ask this in Your name Jesus, Amen.
God Bless You, I am praying for you,
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