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: Thursday, December 14, 2023
Chapters: ACTS 26-28
Message: When The Storms Keep Coming
Hello My Brother/Sister/Friend,
As I was reading the chapters for today, this passage came to mind, [John 11:48-52 If we let him thus alone, all men will believe on him: and the Romans shall come and take away both our place and nation. 49 And one of them, named Caiaphas, being the high priest that same year, said unto them, Ye know nothing at all, 50 Nor consider that it is expedient for us, that one man should die for the people, and that the whole nation perish not. 51 And this spake he not of himself: but being high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus should die for that nation; 52 And not for that nation only, but that also he should gather together in one the children of God that were scattered abroad.]
This was the Pharisees response in how to deal with Jesus when people started believing that Jesus is the Messiah that they had been waiting so long for. More important to them than the Messiah coming to save them was the money and fame that they were getting. If they believed Jesus to be the Christ then it would be all over for them as every lie they had been telling the people would be exposed. Let me tell you, the most dangerous person is not the one who does not know Christ, it is the ones who know of Him and do everything they can to try and stop Him. This was why Paul was on trial, his entire ministry was Christ centered. As we come to the end of the reading of Acts, Paul, is standing before king Agrippa appealing his case, although it was not going to do him any good as he requested to take his appeal to Caesar in Rome.
[Acts 26:2-3,6-9 I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews: 3 Especially because I know thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently. 6 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: 7 Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. 8 Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead? 9 I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.]
[a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?] Why should any believer of God question His abilities? He is the Creator of all of our existence, He is certainly capable of raising someone from the dead. You see, before we understand exactly what Christ did for us personally, we do live life contrary to the name of Jesus. As Paul stands before king Agrippa he was excited to give his testimony, how he got saved and was told by Jesus that he would be a witness to the Gentiles.
[Acts 26:12-18 Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, 13 At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. 14 And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 15 And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. 16 But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; 17 Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, 18 To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.]
[At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven,] I can picture Paul as he stands there, kind of like a lawyer does before a judge and jury, giving his closing argument. He goes on to say that what he was saying in regards to Jesus sacrificing His life for both Jews and Gentiles was already written in the Scriptures.
[Acts 26:22-26 Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: 23 That Christ should suffer, and that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should shew light unto the people, and to the Gentiles. 24 And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad. 25 But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. 26 For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner.]
[I am not mad, most noble Festus…for this thing was not done in a corner.] While I can sincerely avouch that too much learning does make one go crazy, this was not the case. Anyone can deny that God exists, they can even deny that Jesus came here to die for man, but what no one can deny is the fact that Jesus was here in the flesh. Also, when Christ died on the cross, the entire world felt it, [Luke 23:44-46 And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. 45 And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst. 46 And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost.]
Well, they may not have liked Paul’s testimony, but none of them could prove that it was not impossible for God to raise someone from the dead. The king said something to Paul that the majority of people say when they hear the Gospel upon one’s testimony, [Acts 26:28-32 Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. 29 And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds. 30 And when he had thus spoken, the king rose up, and the governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them: 31 And when they were gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, This man doeth nothing worthy of death or of bonds. 32 Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar.]
[Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.] He was almost persuaded to receive Christ as his Saviour himself right there, but he did not. Why do people who know the truth refuse to accept it? I am thinking that the majority of people who deny Christ do so out of fear or ignorance. It does not matter, one can believe in what Jesus did all they want, but unless they receive Him as their Saviour, He will deny them, [2 Timothy 2:12-13 If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us: 13 If we believe not, yet he abideth faithful: he cannot deny himself.]
[This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed] Sometimes I think that we are a glutton for punishment. Had Paul just waited for the king instead of saying that he wanted to appeal to Caesar, then he would have been a free man and he could have went to Rome as he had planned. Now, he is a prisoner and must travel with other prisoners headed for Rome.
[Acts 27:1-3,6-9 And when it was determined that we should sail into Italy, they delivered Paul and certain other prisoners unto one named Julius, a centurion of Augustus’ band. 2 And entering into a ship of Adramyttium, we launched, meaning to sail by the coasts of Asia; one Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica, being with us. 3 And the next day we touched at Sidon. And Julius courteously entreated Paul, and gave him liberty to go unto his friends to refresh himself. 6 And there the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing into Italy; and he put us therein. 7 And when we had sailed slowly many days, and scarce were come over against Cnidus, the wind not suffering us, we sailed under Crete, over against Salmone; 8 And, hardly passing it, came unto a place which is called The fair havens; nigh whereunto was the city of Lasea. 9 Now when much time was spent, and when sailing was now dangerous, because the fast was now already past, Paul admonished them,]
[the wind not suffering us, we sailed under Crete,] Notice how even though Paul was as a prisoner, he still had some freedom. I will tell you this, the world will listen to us to some extent, but when it comes to accepting the fact that their souls are in danger they will not. Paul, tried to warn them that they should not go through the fair havens, but they refused to listen and headed straight for a hurricane.
[Acts 27:14-15,18-22 But not long after there arose against it a tempestuous wind, called Euroclydon. 15 And when the ship was caught, and could not bear up into the wind, we let her drive. 18 And we being exceedingly tossed with a tempest, the next day they lightened the ship; 19 And the third day we cast out with our own hands the tackling of the ship. 20 And when neither sun nor stars in many days appeared, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope that we should be saved was then taken away. 21 But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them, and said, Sirs, ye should have hearkened unto me, and not have loosed from Crete, and to have gained this harm and loss. 22 And now I exhort you to be of good cheer: for there shall be no loss of any man’s life among you, but of the ship.]
[But after long abstinence Paul stood forth in the midst of them,] Paul, left them alone while they were scrambling to save themselves. After giving them the famous, “I told you so” speech, he proceeded to tell them of all things, “Be of good cheer.”. Well, the reason he told them that was because he had gotten a visit from an angel. He makes sure to point out that he was an angel of the God of whom is his and whom he serves.
[Acts 27:23-27,30-31 For there stood by me this night the angel of God, whose I am, and whom I serve, 24 Saying, Fear not, Paul; thou must be brought before Caesar: and, lo, God hath given thee all them that sail with thee. 25 Wherefore, sirs, be of good cheer: for I believe God, that it shall be even as it was told me. 26 Howbeit we must be cast upon a certain island. 27 But when the fourteenth night was come, as we were driven up and down in Adria, about midnight the shipmen deemed that they drew near to some country; 30 And as the shipmen were about to flee out of the ship, when they had let down the boat into the sea, under colour as though they would have cast anchors out of the foreship, 31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.]
[Except these abide in the ship, ye cannot be saved.] Just like when the flood came and only those who were on the Ark we saved, Jesus is the ship that we must be on in order to be saved. If we do not abide in the ship we cannot be saved, and sadly, many do jump off, but those who endure until they breathe their last breath will be saved. Well, the men listened, they took up the anchors and let the storm guide the ship.
[Acts 27:34-37,41-44 Wherefore I pray you to take some meat: for this is for your health: for there shall not an hair fall from the head of any of you. 35 And when he had thus spoken, he took bread, and gave thanks to God in presence of them all: and when he had broken it, he began to eat. 36 Then were they all of good cheer, and they also took some meat. 37 And we were in all in the ship two hundred threescore and sixteen souls. 41 And falling into a place where two seas met, they ran the ship aground; and the forepart stuck fast, and remained unmoveable, but the hinder part was broken with the violence of the waves. 42 And the soldiers’ counsel was to kill the prisoners, lest any of them should swim out, and escape. 43 But the centurion, willing to save Paul, kept them from their purpose; and commanded that they which could swim should cast themselves first into the sea, and get to land: 44 And the rest, some on boards, and some on broken pieces of the ship. And so it came to pass, that they escaped all safe to land.]
[Then were they all of good cheer] There is something about knowing that God will see you through any storm that does bring good cheer. This tiny little island is about twelve miles broad, twenty miles long, and sixty sixty miles from Sicily to the south. It yields an abundance of honey, with much cotton, and is very fruitful, although it has only three feet depth of earth above the solid rock. They are received with great hospitality by the inhabitants when all of a sudden a viper comes out of the bundle of sticks, and grabs on to Paul’s hand.
[Acts 28:2–6 And the barbarous people shewed us no little kindness: for they kindled a fire, and received us every one, because of the present rain, and because of the cold. 3 And when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks, and laid them on the fire, there came a viper out of the heat, and fastened on his hand. 4 And when the barbarians saw the venomous beast hang on his hand, they said among themselves, No doubt this man is a murderer, whom, though he hath escaped the sea, yet vengeance suffereth not to live. 5 And he shook off the beast into the fire, and felt no harm. 6 Howbeit they looked when he should have swollen, or fallen down dead suddenly: but after they had looked a great while, and saw no harm come to him, they changed their minds, and said that he was a god.]
[No doubt this man is a murderer,] The first thing people think of when something bad happens after we have endured a storm is that we clearly must have done something wrong. And we do not need people to put that question in our heads, we are very good of it ourselves. That is when God reminds us and them that we belong to Jesus, we are not perfect, and even if we did die from some fluke accident, we will still be safe in God’s hands, [2 Corinthians 5:6-8 Therefore we are always confident, knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord: 7 (For we walk by faith, not by sight:) 8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.]
Paul, never lost his faith in God being right there with him, he witnessed the Gospel to anyone the Holy Spirit led him to no matter what he was going through. One of the main reasons why God allows tragedy in our lives is to lead others to Him, others that may have never known Him had we not gone through that storm. Paul finally arrived in Rome, and something strange happened.
[Acts 28:16-20 And when we came to Rome, the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but Paul was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier that kept him. 17 And it came to pass, that after three days Paul called the chief of the Jews together: and when they were come together, he said unto them, Men and brethren, though I have committed nothing against the people, or customs of our fathers, yet was I delivered prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. 18 Who, when they had examined me, would have let me go, because there was no cause of death in me. 19 But when the Jews spake against it, I was constrained to appeal unto Caesar; not that I had ought to accuse my nation of. 20 For this cause therefore have I called for you, to see you, and to speak with you: because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.]
[because that for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.] Paul, had a great burden to see the Jews get saved, and that was the chain that he kept with him until he was executed. Did you notice that the people did not even know that Paul was being sent there to appeal to Caesar? As much as we think that everyone is against us that is not true, and there are plenty of people who want to hear the Gospel. Not everyone is going to listen and get saved, in fact, most will not, but the important thing is that we keep preaching the Gospel wherever we are led. In fact, Paul remained a prisoner in Rome for two years.
[Acts 28:28-31 Be it known therefore unto you, that the salvation of God is sent unto the Gentiles, and that they will hear it. 29 And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves. 30 And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house, and received all that came in unto him, 31 Preaching the kingdom of God, and teaching those things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ, with all confidence, no man forbidding him.]
[And Paul dwelt two whole years in his own hired house,] While Paul had a good testimony to give on how he got saved, he also knew Scripture and that helped him be able to minister to more people. We do not need to know every line of Scripture to lead someone to Christ, we just need to tell our story, [2 Corinthians 1:5-7 For as the sufferings of Christ abound in us, so our consolation also aboundeth by Christ. 6 And whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation, which is effectual in the enduring of the same sufferings which we also suffer: or whether we be comforted, it is for your consolation and salvation. 7 And our hope of you is stedfast, knowing, that as ye are partakers of the sufferings, so shall ye be also of the consolation.]
Today’s Prayer: Jesus, Thank You for saving my life, You did the hard part when You died on the cross for me, my part was easy, all I had to do was believe in You. Thank You for seeing something in me that I never saw in myself, You have a purpose for me, and for that I am forever thankful, grateful, and humble as I know I am who I am because of what You have done in my life. Lord, forgive me for my lack of faith through my own storms, I know that You love me, and have a purpose for what I am going through. Give me Your power and strength to stay in the ship, moving slow and steady by faith, even if it is only the size of a mustard seed at times. Lift up my spirits, restore unto me the joy of my salvation, so that I may be of good cheer, and become a further witness wherever you send me. Help me to remove all the obstacles that keep me from hearing You, and let me not fear what man can do to me, but trust what You have done for me. I pray this in Your name, Jesus. Amen.
God Bless You, I am praying for you,
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