King James Bible Study – [Mark 8:34 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.]
Date: Saturday, November 20, 2021
Chapters: Acts 9-10
Message: Removing The Scales
Hello My Friend,
I have been thinking a lot lately about religion as well as the current state of our nations. We all seem to be under this control of governments who are intent on keeping locked up and or forced to take a vaccine for a virus that is less deadlier than the flu, and no more effective then the flu vaccine. Now, I am not against vaccines, if you feel that you need one, then that is your choice, but vaccine or not, we cannot put the blame of the spread of this virus on anyone. People get sick, people get cancer, people get diseases, people die, that is life, and no matter how much we try to prevent it, if it is going to happen to us, then it will happen. I am not a pessimist, but I do have the tendency to think the worst case scenario would always happen to me so I do like to keep myself on guard in such cases, but there is such a thing as overly preparing ourselves, the Bible says, [Proverbs 7:2 Keep my commandments, and live; and my law as the apple of thine eye.]
Think about all these people under the influence of these overpaid extremists who want to keep people under their control, and this could be in the form of religion or government regulations. Think also about our own faith in Christ, what we believe and those who sort of believe what we believe. How is it that we are prone to believe one thing over another, and exactly how do we know what to believe? Well, as the experts will tell you, look at the facts, not what people are telling you, not what you want to hear, but the facts themselves. Why do faithful, born again Christians believe that Christ is their only way to salvation and He alone? We looked at the facts from the Word of God itself. Well, we also did something else, which is the only reason why Jesus even gave us a second look, [John 14:1,12,20 Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. 12 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do; because I go unto my Father. 20 At that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you.]
Paul (Saul) was a devout Jew, a Pharisee to be exact, and not only that, he was training to be a member of the Sanhedrin, the counsel of the Jews. He was like every person who is devout in their religion, they stand by their faith and defend it at all costs. It is very hard for someone who was brought up in a religion to see anything other than what they were taught, but there is no power greater than Christ, He will convert and use any soul, no matter what religion they were brought up in as long as they first had faith in God. I decided to start today’s study with a little a couple of verses from Acts 7 and 8 to remind you of how Saul was in the beginning.
[Acts 7:57-59 Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their ears, and ran upon him with one accord, 58 And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man’s feet, whose name was Saul. 59 And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord Jesus, receive my spirit. Acts 8:1-3 And Saul was consenting unto his death. And at that time there was a great persecution against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered abroad throughout the regions of Judaea and Samaria, except the apostles. 2 And devout men carried Stephen to his burial, and made great lamentation over him. 3 As for Saul, he made havock of the church, entering into every house, and haling men and women committed them to prison.]
[he made havock of the church,] These are actually the things that Saul was taught to do, he was literally conditioned to believe that anyone who believed in Christ was a blasphemer of God and needed to be persecuted. What I do not believe Saul was taught was the Scriptures, not very many knew the Scriptures as I am sure they were taught not to read them just like most religions still do today, but have made their own books that are said to contain the Scriptures in a way to help them understand them. Now, as we continue in the reading of the Book of Acts, we find Saul, headed for Damascus to capture more Christians, and received a visit that he would never forget.
[Acts 9:1-5 And Saul, yet breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of the Lord, went unto the high priest, 2 And desired of him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound unto Jerusalem. 3 And as he journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round about him a light from heaven: 4 And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? 5 And he said, Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.]
[it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.] [Prick; To sting, as in that of bees, or scorpions.] These creatures wound by their sting and can even cause death, Jesus attributes Paul’s persecution toward Christians as an attack on Him. And while Jesus could have persecuted him Himself, He did not, instead He was going to use him to serve Him, although he would spend the rest of his life under that Christian persecution that he had tormented so many with. Well, of course, when Paul sees this light and hears the voice of Jesus he was frightened as were the rest of the people with him, but Jesus had some instructions for him.
[Acts 9:6-9 And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do. 7 And the men which journeyed with him stood speechless, hearing a voice, but seeing no man. 8 And Saul arose from the earth; and when his eyes were opened, he saw no man: but they led him by the hand, and brought him into Damascus. 9 And he was three days without sight, and neither did eat nor drink.]
[And he was three days without sight,] Notice that Paul was without actual sight for three days, just as Jesus was in the tomb for three days. When we get saved, our sin gets buried in the tomb where Jesus laid, it is our soul that resurrects with the newness of life once we accept Christ as our Saviour. And that is why our faith, having been baptized with the Holy Spirit, is a picture of Christ’s death, burial, and resurrection, [1 Corinthians 12:13 For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body, whether we be Jews or Gentiles, whether we be bond or free; and have been all made to drink into one Spirit.]
Can you imagine what these men were thinking? People can actually hear the words of Jesus and never know that it is Him speaking. How? Because in order to hear Jesus, you must first fear God. You see, Paul feared God, he truly thought that he was doing the right thing by going after these lawbreakers, but what he did not realize was that everything he had been taught was a lie. I believe that Jesus pricked Paul’s heart first when he saw Stephen stoned to death. Would Paul suffer for what he had done to Christians through his ignorance? Yes, he would, and Jesus explains that to a man named Ananias, who would witness to Paul.
[Acts 9:11-16 And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the street which is called Straight, and enquire in the house of Judas for one called Saul, of Tarsus: for, behold, he prayeth, 12 And hath seen in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on him, that he might receive his sight. 13 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem: 14 And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name. 15 But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: 16 For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.]
[for he is a chosen vessel unto me,] We must not forget, if we are saved, that means, Christ chooses us as God has already seen our faith in Him. Jesus will never approach anyone who does not believe in His Father in the first place. Just knowing who Jesus is does not save us, it is our faith in who He is and what He has done for us that opens our eyes to accept Him as our Saviour. And that is exactly what Paul did to receive His sight.
[Acts 9:17-22 And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost. 18 And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized. 19 And when he had received meat, he was strengthened. Then was Saul certain days with the disciples which were at Damascus. 20 And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God. 21 But all that heard him were amazed, and said; Is not this he that destroyed them which called on this name in Jerusalem, and came hither for that intent, that he might bring them bound unto the chief priests? 22 But Saul increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.]
[immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales:] I love this because it always reminds me that the second we truly understand and believe in Jesus, those scales fall from our eyes. And just our salvation, Jesus manages to remove many scales from our eyes to things that we were once blind to, sin, people, His Word, we really are blind to so many things that we are not even aware of, but Jesus always knows how and when to get those scales off of our eyes, [Matthew 13:15-16 For this people’s heart is waxed gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and their eyes they have closed; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them. 16 But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.]
Now, just like every new convert, Saul was eager to give his testimony and when he arrived back to Jerusalem he immediately went up to some of the disciples to tell them what had happened to him, but that did not go over too well. They were all afraid of him and even brought him to some of the Apostles.
[Acts 9:26-31 And when Saul was come to Jerusalem, he assayed to join himself to the disciples: but they were all afraid of him, and believed not that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him, and brought him to the apostles, and declared unto them how he had seen the Lord in the way, and that he had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus. 28 And he was with them coming in and going out at Jerusalem. 29 And he spake boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus, and disputed against the Grecians: but they went about to slay him. 30 Which when the brethren knew, they brought him down to Caesarea, and sent him forth to Tarsus. 31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.]
[but they went about to slay him.] This is actually what convinced them that Saul was converted. Now, this would be the last time that Saul would be referred to as Saul, he would actually spend three years in Tarsus, then be known as Paul, which was his name to the Romans. In the meantime, Peter finds himself converting a few souls to Christ as he begins his travels, one of them being a man named Aeneas, [Acts 9:32-35 And it came to pass, as Peter passed throughout all quarters, he came down also to the saints which dwelt at Lydda. 33 And there he found a certain man named Aeneas, which had kept his bed eight years, and was sick of the palsy. 34 And Peter said unto him, Aeneas, Jesus Christ maketh thee whole: arise, and make thy bed. And he arose immediately. 35 And all that dwelt at Lydda and Saron saw him, and turned to the Lord.]
[and turned to the Lord.] There is nothing like the power of Christ opening your eyes to see that, whether or not He cures the physical infirmities, He is our true Physician, and makes us whole through our faith in Him alone, [Mark 2:17 When Jesus heard it, he saith unto them, They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.]
Peter stayed in Lydda for a while, in fact, people would come to him and plead with him to come with them to help them with someone who was sick, in this case, someone died, [Acts 9:36-40 Now there was at Joppa a certain disciple named Tabitha, which by interpretation is called Dorcas: this woman was full of good works and almsdeeds which she did. 37 And it came to pass in those days, that she was sick, and died: whom when they had washed, they laid her in an upper chamber. 38 And forasmuch as Lydda was nigh to Joppa, and the disciples had heard that Peter was there, they sent unto him two men, desiring him that he would not delay to come to them. 39 Then Peter arose and went with them. When he was come, they brought him into the upper chamber: and all the widows stood by him weeping, and shewing the coats and garments which Dorcas made, while she was with them. 40 But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed; and turning him to the body said, Tabitha, arise. And she opened her eyes: and when she saw Peter, she sat up.]
[But Peter put them all forth, and kneeled down, and prayed;] Peter did not touch the woman, he took all the clothes that Dorcas had made for the people, knelt down on top of them and prayed to God. As soon as he turned toward her body, he spoke her name, and to arise, and her eyes were opened. During his prayer with God, he had, undoubtedly, received confidence that she would be raised as soon as he spoke her name. That is kind of what I was talking about yesterday, God may not respond to me in the conventional way that I am thinking that He will, but He always gives me confidence that what I am seeing will happen. We must always have vision, for if we do not, we will perish, [Proverbs 29:18 Where there is no vision, the people perish: but he that keepeth the law, happy is he.]
Now, at this point, the only people who were getting saved were Jews, but God was about to change all that. God used a dream and Roman soldier, named Cornelius to show Peter that the Gospel of Christ eliminated the need for Jewish customs held under the Law, and that salvation was given to all who believe, not just the Jews.
[Acts 10:1-5 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, 2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway. 3 He saw in a vision evidently about the ninth hour of the day an angel of God coming in to him, and saying unto him, Cornelius. 4 And when he looked on him, he was afraid, and said, What is it, Lord? And he said unto him, Thy prayers and thine alms are come up for a memorial before God. 5 And now send men to Joppa, and call for one Simon, whose surname is Peter:]
[an angel of God coming in to him,] To show Peter that the Gospel was to be preached to all, not just the Jews, he showed him a vision when he nearly fainted from not eating anything, [Acts 10:9-16 On the morrow, as they went on their journey, and drew nigh unto the city, Peter went up upon the housetop to pray about the sixth hour: 10 And he became very hungry, and would have eaten: but while they made ready, he fell into a trance, 11 And saw heaven opened, and a certain vessel descending unto him, as it had been a great sheet knit at the four corners, and let down to the earth: 12 Wherein were all manner of fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air. 13 And there came a voice to him, Rise, Peter; kill, and eat. 14 But Peter said, Not so, Lord; for I have never eaten any thing that is common or unclean. 15 And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common. 16 This was done thrice: and the vessel was received up again into heaven.]
[What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.] [Common; Of no rank or superior excellence; ordinary.] Now, there are many who use these verses to account that we can now eat things like pork and shrimp, but there is a deeper message here. And Peter figured it out as soon as he saw Cornelius.
[Acts 10:19-20,25-28,35-36 While Peter thought on the vision, the Spirit said unto him, Behold, three men seek thee. 20 Arise therefore, and get thee down, and go with them, doubting nothing: for I have sent them. 25 And as Peter was coming in, Cornelius met him, and fell down at his feet, and worshipped him. 26 But Peter took him up, saying, Stand up; I myself also am a man. 27 And as he talked with him, he went in, and found many that were come together. 28 And he said unto them, Ye know how that it is an unlawful thing for a man that is a Jew to keep company, or come unto one of another nation; but God hath shewed me that I should not call any man common or unclean. 35 But in every nation he that feareth him, and worketh righteousness, is accepted with him. 36 The word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ: (he is Lord of all:)]
[I should not call any man common or unclean.] If you study the Law of Moses, you would discover that the Jews were not allowed to eat animals like pork and shrimp as they were told to unclean and forbidden to eat unless they wanted to be put out of the congregation, [Deuteronomy 14:8-10,21 And the swine, because it divideth the hoof, yet cheweth not the cud, it is unclean unto you: ye shall not eat of their flesh, nor touch their dead carcase. 9 These ye shall eat of all that are in the waters: all that have fins and scales shall ye eat: 10 And whatsoever hath not fins and scales ye may not eat; it is unclean unto you. 21 Ye shall not eat of any thing that dieth of itself: thou shalt give it unto the stranger that is in thy gates, that he may eat it; or thou mayest sell it unto an alien: for thou art an holy people unto the LORD thy God. Thou shalt not seethe a kid in his mother’s milk.]
God was showing Peter that he was no longer under the Law, that their faith made them clean, and that salvation was for all, Jew and Gentile. And as for the reason why God had deemed then unclean in the first place really had to do with heathen nations using them for idol worship and they were a holy people unto their God. Today, those who receive Christ as their Saviour are still holy people unto their God, they are rather peculiar because they are supposed to be that way. We are literally supposed to stick out like glue because that is the only way that the world is going to see Christ for who He is and remove the scales from their eyes. Maintaining good works after we are saved is not about keeping our salvation, and everything about showing the world who Christ really is, [Titus 2:7,12-14 In all things shewing thyself a pattern of good works: in doctrine shewing uncorruptness, gravity, sincerity, 12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world; 13 Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ; 14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.]
Let Us Pray: Jesus, Thank You for willingly giving Yourself as payment for the debt I owe for my sins, and thank You for seeing my faith in God to begin with so that the scales on my eyes would fall, and I would see You as my Saviour. Lord, I do not know why You have chosen me to be one to reach the lost, but I do know that You will be with me, guiding me along the way. Give me Your power, strength, and wisdom to know how to discern false doctrine, and let me know how to explain the truth to others, with boldness, having compassion on them as well. Keep me looking to You when I am tired and weary, and help me to get up when I feel like giving up the fight. I ask this in Your name, Jesus. Amen.
God Bless You, I am praying for you,
Are You 100% Sure You Are Going To Heaven?: http://readytofollow.com/
Receive The KJB Daily Devotions In Your Email: http://eepurl.com/2WMzT
Missed A Message: http://imfollowingjesus.com/Biblestudy/
Visit I’m Following Jesus Missions: https://imfollowingjesus.com/Biblestudy/welcome/
I’m Following Jesus On Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/readytofollowJesus/
Copyright © 2021 I’m Following Jesus, All rights reserved.