And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27
This week’s video is presentation 15 in our study of Acts, and looks at the work of theology in the ongoing work of Christ. You can view it by clicking here (scroll down to Lesson 15).
Read and meditate on Acts 16.19-24.
As we might have expected, the owners of this now demon-free little girl became irate at Paul’s having brought their little gambit to an abrupt end. So they dragged him and Silas before the local authorities and trumped up some half-truth to get even with them.
1. These men weren’t mad because Paul and Silas were Jews and not Romans. The Roman world was very familiar with the Jews, and they knew they weren’t like everybody else. So they phrased their charges in a way designed to provoke the fury of the people and the rulers. The charges were false, but for believers, what else is new? What are some half-truths that you hear people say about Christians and the Gospel?
2. Still, there was some truth in their charge. The Romans enslaved and exploited the helpless, the Gospel liberated them. The Roman economy ran on money, no matter how one made it. The Kingdom economy of God operates on grace. What other differences does the Gospel present that people today find objectionable?
3. As the crowd heated up, the magistrates stripped and beat Paul and Silas. Is that Roman justice? No, and Paul, of course knew it was not (he’ll speak to this a bit later). So they beat them with rods and threw them in jail – no hearing, no trial, no opportunity to explain themselves. Think Paul and Silas will write a letter to their Senator, protesting this breach of their religious rights! What would you do in such a situation?
4. Paul and Silas are reminded of one important truth: Hatred of the Gospel is universal. Just as it is true that people from every tribe and tongue will come to faith in Jesus – the argument of chapters 11-15 – so it is true that among those same people are folks who will do anything to silence the Good News. Because the Good News is not good news to those who are devoted to self-interest above all else. In what ways today should we expect to experience resistance and opposition because of our faith?
5. Should we hold back on talking about the Gospel, doing the good works it requires, and exposing the moral evils of our day, just because some people don’t want to hear it? Explain.
Living for and proclaiming Christ and His Kingdom always carries a certain amount of risk. We’ve seen that from the beginning of Acts; we see it here in Philippi; and we can expect to see it as long as the ongoing work of Christ continues in this world. How should we as Christians prepare and help one another to bear up under threats and risks associated with our faith?
Save me, O God, by Your name,
And vindicate me by Your strength.
Hear my prayer, O God;
Give ear to the words of my mouth.
For strangers have risen up against me,
And oppressors have sought after my life;
They have not set God before them. Selah
Behold, God is my helper;
The Lord is with those who uphold my life.
He will repay my enemies for their evil.
Cut them off in Your truth.
I will freely sacrifice to You;
I will praise Your name, O LORD, for it is good.
For He has delivered me out of all trouble;
And my eye has seen its desire upon my enemies.
T. M. Moore
Each week’s studies in Acts are bound together into a free PDF that you can download for personal or group use (click here). Each week also features a video related to the studies of the week, which you may find helpful as you work through our studies in Acts.
Acts is the record of Christ’s ongoing work as King and Lord. This is the work of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven. Read more about the implications of this work in our new book, The Kingdom Turn (click here).
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