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: Wednesday, November 24, 2021
Chapters: Acts 15-16
Message: Saved By Grace. Now What?
Hello My Friend,
I have had such a hard time getting out the devotions on time these past couple of weeks, and for that I am very sorry. Between this sickness, losing my job, and so many other things that I have not been able to get them out until the afternoon. I really wonder why God has me doing this when I fail Him so much, I mean, he had warned me not to even take that job, and here I am left with no job, no income, and still cannot get the devotions out before 9am. By the way, I did get a job yesterday, and I know I should be happy about that, but there is just something not quite right. God is so great, I keep counting my blessings this year alone, and they are incredible, I have so much to be thankful for, but why am I feeling that it is not right. Well, God let me know why I am feeling the way that I am feeling, [Luke 12:29-31 And seek not ye what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, neither be ye of doubtful mind. 30 For all these things do the nations of the world seek after: and your Father knoweth that ye have need of these things. 31 But rather seek ye the kingdom of God; and all these things shall be added unto you.]
No joke, as I was reading a comment from someone yesterday about feeling so cheated and stressed about having dinner with family for fear of eating something with gluten in it, God literally told me that it was time to stop obsessing over food. Actually what He told me that it was time for me to stop obsessing over what foods I can and cannot eat, and start reminding myself that man cannot live on bread alone. You see, as Christians, we really do not realize that we can actually get so caught up in what we need to be doing or not doing for God that we forget the bigger picture here, we are saved by grace. Now, as we continue in the reading of Acts, Paul and Barnabas have become quite the evangelists, going from town to town, leading many to Christ and even starting churches. However, that caused a big stir when some believing Jews kept telling the people that they were not saved unless they got circumcised and followed the Law of Moses.
[Acts 15:1,3-6,10-11 And certain men which came down from Judaea taught the brethren, and said, Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved. 3 And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles: and they caused great joy unto all the brethren. 4 And when they were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and of the apostles and elders, and they declared all things that God had done with them. 5 But there rose up certain of the sect of the Pharisees which believed, saying, That it was needful to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses. 6 And the apostles and elders came together for to consider of this matter. 10 Now therefore why tempt ye God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they.]
[and to command them to keep the law of Moses.] Where do people come up with this stuff? No where in the entire Bible, Old or New Testament, does it even say that you must get circumcised and follow the Law in order to be saved. If they could not even obey one command, how did they expect the Gentiles to obey the over six hundred as well? This is actually what Peter was trying to tell them. Now, we know that salvation is by the grace of God through our faith alone in Jesus Christ, but we also must not get ourselves caught up in the Law. Yes, it is our guide, but think about it, out of the six hundred and thirteen commands that God had given Israel, the majority of them had to do with that specific time, they had different commands while crossing through the dessert than when they crossed over into the promised land. Now, James was there also, and he chimes in after Peter, who is also Simon.
[Acts 15:18-20,22,27-28 Known unto God are all his works from the beginning of the world. 19 Wherefore my sentence is, that we trouble not them, which from among the Gentiles are turned to God: 20 But that we write unto them, that they abstain from pollutions of idols, and from fornication, and from things strangled, and from blood. 22 Then pleased it the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas; namely, Judas surnamed Barsabas, and Silas, chief men among the brethren: 27 We have sent therefore Judas and Silas, who shall also tell you the same things by mouth. 28 For it seemed good to the Holy Ghost, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;]
[to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things;] The Bible proves time and time again, even from the Old Testament, that salvation has always been given by the grace of God. God certainly knows that we never could obey one command let alone hundreds of them, and promised from the first sin committed that He would send someone to save our soul. James included that Gentile converts ought not to be troubled with Jewish rites, but that they should abstain from meats offered to idols as well as cautioned them against fornication, but should never be pressured to follow rites that even they could not follow. We are to use our Christian liberties as a vessel of honor, and to refrain from all appearances of evil, [1 Thessalonians 5:15-23 See that none render evil for evil unto any man; but ever follow that which is good, both among yourselves, and to all men. 16 Rejoice evermore. 17 Pray without ceasing. 18 In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. 19 Quench not the Spirit. 20 Despise not prophesyings. 21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good. 22 Abstain from all appearance of evil. 23 And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.]
You see, abstaining from certain things that God finds offensive is not about keeping our salvation, it is about giving thanks to God for all that He has done for us, and for Jesus sacrificing His own life to save our soul. It is also a good idea sometimes to separate ourselves from those who might cause some friction, even if they are Christians. John, who is Mark, if you recall, joined Paul and Barnabas in the beginning, but stayed behind [Acts 12], maybe out of fear, nevertheless, Barnabas wanted to take Mark with them while Paul did not. After some disputing on who they should take along with them to further their ministry, Paul and Barnabas separate.
[Acts 15:36-41 And some days after Paul said unto Barnabas, Let us go again and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they do. 37 And Barnabas determined to take with them John, whose surname was Mark. 38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work. 39 And the contention was so sharp between them, that they departed asunder one from the other: and so Barnabas took Mark, and sailed unto Cyprus; 40 And Paul chose Silas, and departed, being recommended by the brethren unto the grace of God. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, confirming the churches.]
[But Paul thought not good to take him with them,] You see, Paul did not think that Mark was worthy of the honor, nor fit for the service, who had departed from them without their knowledge, or without their consent. It does not matter how strong our faith or how faithful we are to God, we are all just sinners saved by grace and subject to like passions. While we are in this imperfect state, we will never be all of one mind until we see Jesus, therefore, it may be best to agree to disagree and move on where the Holy Spirit leads us, [Ephesians 4:11-13 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; 12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: 13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:]
Grace is the most powerful gift that God instills upon us, without grace we would all be in hell for it is the unmerited favor of God. When you stop to think about grace, you can really understand that God gives much grace to all mankind, as with the snap of His fingers He would wipe out the entire earth. However, grace only goes so far, we are all given the opportunity to know who God is and His Son. So, why do so many die and end up in hell, not having known Jesus Christ ever existed? Well, there are only two reasons one; they never believed in the one and only living God in the first place as you cannot know the Son unless you first know the Father. And two; they trusted their religion over Christ. While all are given the opportunity to be saved, some will never hear the Gospel. In fact, God passes them straight by? This is proved as Paul and Silas were actually forbidden to go into certain cities.
[Acts 16:4-10 And as they went through the cities, they delivered them the decrees for to keep, that were ordained of the apostles and elders which were at Jerusalem. 5 And so were the churches established in the faith, and increased in number daily. 6 Now when they had gone throughout Phrygia and the region of Galatia, and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost to preach the word in Asia, 7 After they were come to Mysia, they assayed to go into Bithynia: but the Spirit suffered them not. 8 And they passing by Mysia came down to Troas. 9 And a vision appeared to Paul in the night; There stood a man of Macedonia, and prayed him, saying, Come over into Macedonia, and help us. 10 And after he had seen the vision, immediately we endeavoured to go into Macedonia, assuredly gathering that the Lord had called us for to preach the gospel unto them.]
[but the Spirit suffered them not.] Why would God deny anyone salvation? The truth is, He denies no one, it is them who deny Him that He has no choice, but to pass up. Every person born is born with the knowledge of God from the start, and are in fact, predestined to be saved. However, freewill, and a corrupt knowledge of everything evil that you could think of, God gives them up to a reprobate mind, [Romans 1:20-21,28,32 For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse: 21 Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. 28 And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; 32 Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.]
Think it not strange that these fools try to convince the world that there are more than two genders. Think it not strange that these fools are portraying abortion as merely a procedure rather than murder. Think it not strange that these fools are causing riots over thugs who were killed, yet persecuting those defending themselves from the thugs. All of these evils are God giving them up to their reprobate minds. Now, as Paul and Silas are traveling back through the towns they witnessed in to check on them, hey were traveling through Philippi where they ran into a woman possessed by an evil spirit, which enabled her to have physic abilities.
[Acts 16:16-19,23 And it came to pass, as we went to prayer, a certain damsel possessed with a spirit of divination met us, which brought her masters much gain by soothsaying: 17 The same followed Paul and us, and cried, saying, These men are the servants of the most high God, which shew unto us the way of salvation. 18 And this did she many days. But Paul, being grieved, turned and said to the spirit, I command thee in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her. And he came out the same hour. 19 And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone, they caught Paul and Silas, and drew them into the marketplace unto the rulers, 23 And when they had laid many stripes upon them, they cast them into prison, charging the jailor to keep them safely:]
[And when her masters saw that the hope of their gains was gone,] Do you see by this how corrupt the world is, and why God does not give us these abilities? They will exploit them, and use them for their own gain. But let me tell you, God uses every opportunity to reach the unsaved who do believe in Him with the Gospel. Paul and Silas got arrested that day simply because these men were losing money as the girl was no longer useful to them, but God uses this opportunity to reach the prison guard, and his family with the Gospel. Now, here they were, dragged down to the deepest part of the prison and chained. Were they worried? No. In fact, they began praying and signing praises to God.
[Acts 16:25-31,34 And at midnight Paul and Silas prayed, and sang praises unto God: and the prisoners heard them. 26 And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken: and immediately all the doors were opened, and every one’s bands were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself, supposing that the prisoners had been fled. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all here. 29 Then he called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down before Paul and Silas, 30 And brought them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved? 31 And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. 34 And when he had brought them into his house, he set meat before them, and rejoiced, believing in God with all his house.]
[what must I do to be saved?] There is only one way be saved, and it is as easy as A, B, C; A) Admit you are a sinner, and understand that the price for sin is death and hell. B) Believe that Jesus died to pay that price for you. C) Confess that you believe in and accept Jesus as the payment. To be saved, all you have to do is Ask Jesus to save you, believing these three things, and it is that simple, [Romans 10:9-10 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.]
Let Us Pray: God, Thank You for Your grace, it is sufficient enough to save me from hell and from every trial I face. While I know I cannot work my way to salvation, I can show You my love and thanks by living my life as a faithful witness of Your Son living in me. Lord, Lead me, and guide me in Your will, and help me to serve You in all You call me to with contentment, reverence, and respect for You. Let me not do anything or get around anyone that would cause a division, and let me be a fruitful witness that will lead others to Your Son. I love You Lord, and ask this in Your name, Jesus. Amen.
God Bless You, I am praying for you,
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