Week #139; Wed, Aug 26: Acts 9:1–13:52

CHAPTER OBSERVATIONS:

Acts 9:1, I. The Conversion of Saul; II. Saul Proclaims Jesus in Synagogues; III. Saul Escapes from Damascus; IV. Saul in Jerusalem; V. The Healing of Aeneas; VI. Dorcas Restored to Life

I. KEY TEXT (The Conversion of Saul): “But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem.” (9:1-2)
A. INFERENCE: “Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ And he said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said, ‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.’ The men who were traveling with him stood speechless, hearing the voice but seeing no one. Saul rose from the ground, and although his eyes were opened, he saw nothing. So they led him by the hand and brought him into Damascus. And for three days he was without sight, and neither ate nor drank.” (9:3-9)
1. FINDINGS: “Now there was a disciple at Damascus named Ananias. The Lord said to him in a vision, ‘Ananias.’ And he said, ‘Here I am, Lord.’ And the Lord said to him, ‘Rise and go the street called Straight, and at the house of Judas look for a man of Tarsus named Saul, for behold, he is praying, and he has seen in vision a man named Ananias come in and lay his hands on him so that he might regain his sight.’ But Ananias answered, ‘Lord, I have heard from many about this man, how much evil he has done to your saints at Jerusalem. And here he has authority from the chief priests to bind all who call on your name.’” (9:10-14)
2. CRITERIA: “But the Lord said to him, ‘Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.’ ” (9:15-16)
3. CONDITION: “So Ananias departed and entered the house. And laying his hands on him he said, ‘Brother Saul, the Lord Jesus who appeared to you on the road by which you came . . .’” (9:17)
4. CAUSE: “. . . has sent me so that you may regain your sight and be filled with the Holy Spirit.’” (9:17)
5. EFFECT: “And immediately something like scales fell from his eyes, and he regained his sight. Then he rose and was baptized; and taking food, he was strengthened.” (9:18-19)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “’the Lord, even Jesus’—This clearly shows in what sense the term “Lord” is used in this book. It is JESUS that is meant, as almost invariably in the Epistles also.” (Jamieson, Fausset, & Brown Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (Saul Proclaims Jesus in Synagogues): “For some days he was with the disciples at Damascus. And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, ‘He is the Son of God.’ ” (10:19-20)
A. INFERENCE: “And all who heard him were amazed and said, ‘Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?’” (10:21)
1. FINDINGS: “But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.” (10:22)
2. CRITERIA: “How graciously God makes use of prepared souls as partners in the work of salvation! It would have been easy for the risen Lord to have Himself completed what He had begun; or He might have brought a Philip or an Apostle upon the scene. But instead of this He called a comparatively obscure man who was to give Saul the help and counsel he needed, Gal_4:19. ” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “See to it that you are of such a temper that Jesus may commission you to heal the wounds with which He brings His predestined servants to the ground. ” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Though not a great man Ananias was pre-eminently a good man, Act_22:12. He had his strong prepossessions, but laid them aside at the bidding of Christ.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “What a comfort Act_9:15 must have been to Paul in after-days! It was a noble act of faith for Ananias to call him brother.” (F. B Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Be alert to a commission from Jesus; you will definitely hear a voice.

III. KEY TEXT (Saul Escapes from Damascus): “When many days had passed, the Jews plotted to kill him, but their plot became known to Saul.” (9:23)
A. INFERENCE: “They were watching the gates day and night in order to kill him, . . . ” (9:23-24)
1. FINDINGS: “. . . but his disciples took him by night and let him down through an opening in the wall, lowering him in a basket.” (9:25)
2. CRITERIA: “He who feeds on Scripture must wax strong. The new convert started at once to testify of the Savior. We have no right to keep to ourselves the great treasures that we have discovered, but must copy the lepers of 2Ki_7:9.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Luke here makes no mention of Paul’s journey into Arabia, which he tells us himself was immediately after his conversion, Gal. 1:16-17.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “He had been such a remarkable deserter, and his being a Christian was a testimony against them.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “Now Saul was no sooner a Christian than a preacher, no sooner a preacher than a sufferer.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Where God gives grace he commonly exercises it with great trials.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)

IV. KEY TEXT (Saul in Jerusalem): “And when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple.” (9:26)
A. INFERENCE: “But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus.” (9:27)
1. FINDINGS: “So he went in and out among them at Jerusalem, preaching boldly in the name of the Lord. ” (9:28)
2. CRITERIA: “And he spoke and disputed against the Hellenists.” (9:29)
3. CONDITION: “But they were seeking to kill him.” (9:29)
4. CAUSE: “And when the brothers learned this, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him off to Tarsus.” (9:30)
5. EFFECT: “So the church throughout all Judea and Galilee and Samaria had peace and was being built up. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, it multiplied.” (9:31)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “There is the need of the wisdom of a serpent, to keep the balance between the extremes of suspicion on the one hand and credulity on the other; yet I think it is safer to err on the charitable side.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)

V. KEY TEXT (The Healing of Aeneas): “Now as Peter went here and there among them all, he came down also to the saints who lived at Lydda. There he found a man named Aeneas, bedridden for eight years, who was paralyzed.” (9:32-33)
A. INFERENCE: “And Peter said to him, ‘Aeneas, Jesus Christ heals you; rise and make your bed.’” (9:34)
1. FINDINGS: “And immediately he rose. And all the residents of Lydda and Sharon saw him, and they turned to the Lord.” (9:34-35)
2. CRITERIA: “He (Peter) traveled about the country. As an apostle, he was not to be the resident pastor of any one church.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
3. CONDITION: “He was, like a his Master, always on the move, and went about doing good; but still his headquarters were in Jerusalem, . . .” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “. . . for there we shall find him imprisoned. (12:4)” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “The cure Peter performed on Aeneas was very deplorable: He was a paralytic, the disease was extreme, for he was bedridden; it was inveterate, for he was bedridden eight years; and we may suppose that both he himself and all around him despaired of relief for him.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Err on the charitable side.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)

VI. KEY TEXT (Dorcas Restored to Life): “Now there was in Joppa a disciple named Tabitha, which, translated, means Dorcas. She was full of good works and acts of charity. In those days she became ill and died, and when they had washed her, they laid her in an upper room.” (9:36-37)
A. INFERENCE: “Since Lydda was near Joppa, the disciples, hearing that Peter was there, sent two men to him, urging him, ‘Please come to us without delay.’” (9:38)
1. FINDINGS: “So Peter rose and went with them, And when he arrived, they took him to the upper room. All the widows stood beside him weeping and showing tunics and other garments that Dorcas made while she was with them. But Peter put them all outside, and knelt down and prayed; and turning to the body he said, ‘Tabitha, arise.’ And she opened her eyes, and when she saw Peter she sat up. And he gave her his hand and raised her up.” (9:39-40)
2. CRITERIA: “ Then calling the saints and widows, he presented her alive. And it became known throughout all Joppa, and many believed in the Lord. And he stayed in Joppa for many days with one Simon, a tanner.” (9:41-43)
3. CONDITION: “Tabitha was a disciple, eminent above many for works of charity. She showed her faith by her works, her good works.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “She showed her faith by her works.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “She was remarkable for helping the poor, not only her works of piety, but works of charity and beneficence, flowing from love for her neighbors.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Follow Tabitha’s example.

Acts 10:1, I. Peter and Cornelius; II. Peter’s Vision; III. Gentiles Hear the Good News; IV. The Holy Spirit Falls on the Gentiles

I. KEY TEXT (Peter and Cornelius): “At Caesarea there was a man named Cornelius, a centurion of what was known as the Italian Cohort, a devout man who feared God with all his household, gave alms generously to the people, and prayed continually to God. About the ninth hour of the the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, ‘Cornelius.’” (10:1-3)
A. INFERENCE: “And he stared at him in terror and said, ‘What is it, Lord?’ And he said to him, Your prayers and your alms have ascended as a memorial before God. And now send men to Joppa and bring one Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging with one Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea.’” (10:4-6)
1. FINDINGS: “When the angel who spoke to him had departed, he called two of his servants and a devout soldier from among those who attended him, and having related everything to them, he sent them to Joppa.” (10:7-8)
2. CRITERIA: When God talked, Cornelius listened. “The gospel was never yet preached to the Gentiles on purpose, nor any of them baptized–Cornelius was the first.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
3. CONDITION: Cornelius obeyed.
4. CAUSE: “Cornelius was the first-born of the Gentiles to Christ.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “It was humiliating to the Jews that not only the Gentiles were taken into the church, but that the first who was taken in was an officer of the Roman army.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Like Cornelius, follow orders.

II. KEY TEXT (Peter’s Vision): “The next day, as they were on their journey and approaching the city, “Peter went up on the housetop about the sixth hour to pray. And he became hungry and wanted something to eat, but while they were preparing it, he fell into a trance and saw the heavens opened and something like a great sheet descending, being let down by its four corners upon the earth. In it were all kinds of animals and reptiles and birds of the air.” (10:9-12)
A. INFERENCE: “And there came a voice to him: ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’” (10:13)
1. FINDINGS: “But Peter said, ‘By no means, Lord; for I have never eaten anything that is common or unclean.” (10:14)
2. CRITERIA: “And the voice came to him again a second time, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’ This happened three times, and the thing was taken up at once to heaven.’” (10:15-16)
3. CONDITION: “Now while Peter was inwardly perplexed as to what the vision that he had seen might mean, behold, the men who were sent by Cornelius, having made inquiry for Simon’s house, stood at the gate and called out to ask whether Simon who was called Peter was lodging there.” (10:17-18)
4. CAUSE: “And while Peter was pondering the vision, the Spirit said to him, ‘Behold, three men are looking for you. Rise and go down and accompany them without hesitation, for I have sent them.’” (10:19-20)
5. EFFECT: “And Peter went down to the men and said, ‘I am the one you are looking for. What is the reason for your coming?’ And they said, ‘Cornelius, a centurion, an upright and God-fearing man, who is well spoken of by the whole Jewish nation, was directed by a holy angel to send for you to come to his house and to hear what you have to say.’ So he invited them in to be his guests. The next day he rose and went away with them, and some of the brothers from Joppa accompanied him. And on the following day they entered Caesarea. Cornelius was expecting them and had called together his relatives and close friends. When Peter entered, Cornelius met him and fell down at his feet and worshiped him. But Peter lifted him up, saying, ‘Stand up; I too am a man.’ And as he talked with him, he went in and found many persons gathered. And he said to them, ‘You yourselves know how unlawful it is for a Jew to associate with or to visit anyone of another nation, but God has shown me that I should not call any person common or unclean. So when I was sent for, I came without objection. I ask then why you sent for me.’ And Cornelius said, ‘Four days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the ninth hour, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing and said, ‘Cornelius, your prayer has been heard and your alms have been remembered before God. Send therefore to Joppa and ask for Simon who is called Peter. He is lodging in the house of Simon, a tanner, by the sea.’ So I sent for you at once, and you have been kind enough to come. Now therefore we are all here in the presence of God to hear all that you have been commanded by the Lord.” (10:21-33)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Faithful ministers do well to come to people who are desirous to receive instruction from them; to come when they are sent for.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)

III. KEY TEXT (Gentiles Hear the Good News): “So Peter opened his mouth and said: ‘Truly I understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.” (10:34-35)
A. INFERENCE: “As for the word that he sent to Israel, preaching good news of peace through Jesus Christ (he is Lord of all), you yourselves know what happened throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee after the baptism that John proclaimed: how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power. He went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him.” (10:36-38)
1. FINDINGS: “And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. ‘They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.’” (10:39-43)
2. CRITERIA: “We have here Peter’s sermon. It is intimated that he expressed himself with a great deal of seriousness and gravity, but with freedom and copiousness, in that phrase, ‘he opened his mouth, and spoke.’” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
3. CONDITION: “Because they were Gentiles to whom he preached. He shows that they were interested in the gospel of Ghrist, and entitled to the benefit of it, on an equal footing with the Jews.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “He therefore lays down this as an undoubted principle, that God does not show favoritism.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “But God accepts men from every nation who fear him and do what is right.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Peter preached that Cornelius must also believe in Jesus Christ.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)

IV. KEY TEXT (The Holy Spirit Falls on the Gentiles): “While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word.” (10:44)
A. INFERENCE: “And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles.” (10:45)
1. FINDINGS: “For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, ‘Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?’ And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days.” (10:46-48)
2. CRITERIA: “God bore witness to what he said, and accompanied it with a divine power.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
3. CONDITION: “God’s acknowledging Peter’s word, by conferring the Holy Spirit on the hearers of it.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “The Holy Spirit came on others after they were baptized, for their confirmation; but on these Gentiles before they were baptized: to show that God is not tied to a method, nor confines himself to external signs.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “They were all brought home to Christ.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Instruct others to come home to Christ.

Acts 11:1, I. Peter Reports to the Church; II. The Church in Antioch

I. KEY TEXT (Peter Reports to the Church): “Now the apostles and the brothers who were throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcision party criticized him, saying, ‘You went to uncircumcised men and ate with them.’ But Peter began and explained it to them in order: ‘I was in the city of Joppa praying, and in a trance I saw a vision, something like a great sheet descending, being let down from heaven by its four corners, and it came down to me. Looking at it closely, I observed animals and beasts of prey and reptiles and birds of the air. And I heard a voice saying to me, ‘Rise, Peter; kill and eat.’ But I said, ‘By no means, Lord; for nothing common or unclean has ever entered my mouth.’ But the voice answered a second time from heaven, ‘What God has made clean, do not call common.’ This happened three times, and all was drawn up again into heaven. And behold, at that very moment men arrived at the house in which we were, sent to me from Caesarea. And the Spirit told me to go with them, making no distinction. These six brothers also accompanied me, and we entered the man’s house. And he told us how he had seen the angel stand in his house and say, ‘Send to Joppa and bring Simon who is called Peter; he will declare to you a message by which you will be saved, you and all your household. As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on them just as on us at the beginning. And I remembered the word of the Lord, how he said, ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ If then God gave the same gift to them as he gave to us when we believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I that I could stand in God’s way?” (11:1-17)
A. INFERENCE: “When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, ‘Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life.’” (11:18)
1. FINDINGS: “Information was presently brought of it to the church in Jerusalem, and thereabouts. Before he himself had returned to Jerusalem the apostles and the brothers there and in Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God, that the Gentiles also themselves, with whom it had thus far been thought unlawful to hold common conversation, had received the word of God.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
2. CRITERIA: “They looked on them as not inclined to religion, and therefore were surprised to hear that they had received the word of the Lord.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
3. CONDITION: “Offence was taken at it by the believing Jews.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “He went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them; and they think he has stained in this way, if not forfeited, the honor of this apostleship.” (And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius).)
5. EFFECT: “Peter gave such a full and fair account of the matter of fact as was sufficient both to justify him, and to satisfy them. ‘He explained everything to them precisely as it happened.’” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Those who are zealous and courageous in the service of Christ must expect to be censured by those who, under pretense of being cautious, are cold and indifferent.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)

II. KEY TEXT (The Church in Antioch): “Now those who were scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who on coming to Antioch spoke to the Hellenists also, preaching the Lord Jesus.” (11:19-20)
A. INFERENCE: “And the hand of the Lord was with them, and a great number who believed turned to the Lord.” (11:21)
1. FINDINGS: “The report of this came to the ears of the church in Jerusalem, and they sent Barnabas to Antioch. When he came and saw the grace of God, he was glad, and he exhorted them all to remain faithful to the Lord with steadfast purpose, for he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.” (11:22-24)
2. CRITERIA: “So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul, and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church and taught a great many people. And in Antioch the disciples were first called Christians.” (11:25-26)
3. CONDITION: “Now in these days prophets came down from Jerusalem to Antioch.” (11:27)
4. CAUSE: “And one of them named Agabus stood up and foretold by the Spirit that there would be a great famine over all the world (this took place in the days of Claudius).” (11:28)
5. EFFECT: “So the disciples determined, everyone according to his ability, to send relief to the brothers living in Judea. And they did so, sending it to the elders by the hand of Barnabas and Saul.” (11:29-30)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Send relief according to your ability.

Acts 12:1, I. James Killed and Peter Imprisoned; II. Peter is Rescued; III. The Death of Herod

I. KEY TEXT (James Killed and Peter Imprisoned): “About that time Herod the king laid violent hands on some who belonged to the church. He killed James the brother of John with the sword, and when he saw that it pleased the Jews, he proceeded to arrest Peter also. This was during the days of Unleavened Bread.” (12:1-3)
A. INFERENCE: “And when he had seized him, he put him in prison, delivering him over to four squads of soldiers to guard him, intending after the Passover to bring him out to the people.” (12:4)
1. FINDINGS: “So Peter was kept in prison, but earnest prayer for him was made to God by the church.” (12:5)
2. CRITERIA: “Ever since the conversion of Paul, we have heard no more of the agency of the priests in persecuting the saints at Jerusalem. Here the storm arises from another point. The civil power acts by itself in the persecution.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
3. CONDITION: “Herod arrested some who belonged to the church; he had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword; and he imprisoned Peter.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “At the Passover, when the Jews came from all parts to Jerusalem to keep the Feast, they irritated one another against the Christians, and were then more violent than at other times.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “Herod intended to put Peter on public trial after the Passover feast.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Pray for those in prison.

II. KEY TEXT (Peter is Rescued): “Now when Herod was about to bring him out, on that very night, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries before the door were guarding the prison.” (12:6)
A. INFERENCE: “And behold, an angel of the Lord stood next to him, and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him, saying, ‘Get up quickly.’” (12:7)
1. FINDINGS: “And the chains fell off his hands. And the angel said to him ‘Dress yourself and put on your sandals.’ And he did so. And he said to him, ‘Wrap your cloak around you and follow me.’ And he went out and followed him. He did not know that what was being done by the angel was real, but thought he was seeing a vision. When they had passed the first and the second guard, they came to the iron gate leading into the city. It opened for them of its own accord, and they went out and went along one street, and immediately the angel left him.” (12:7-10)
2. CRITERIA: “When Peter came to himself, he said, ‘Now I am sure that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from the hand of Herod and from all that the Jewish people were expecting.’” (12:11)
3. CONDITION: “When he realized this, he went to the house of Mary, the mother of John whose other name was Mark, where many were gathered together and were praying. And when he knocked at the door of the gateway, a servant girl named Rhoda came to answer. Recognizing Peter’s voice, in her joy she did not open the gate but ran in and reported that Peter was standing at the gate. They said to her, ‘You are out of your mind.’ But she kept insisting that it was so, and they kept saying, ‘It is his angel!’ But Peter continued knocking, and when they opened, they saw him and were amazed. but motioning to them with his hand to be silent, he described to them how the Lord had brought him out of the prison. And he said, ‘Tell these things to James and to the brothers.’ Then he departed and went to another place.” (12:12-17)
4. CAUSE: “Now when day came, there was no little disturbance among the soldiers over what had become of Peter.” (12:18)
5. EFFECT: “And after Herod searched for him and did not find him, he examined the sentries and ordered that they should be put to death. Then he went down from Judea to Caesarea and spent time there.” (12:19)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Stay alert for the work of the Lord and continue to knock.

III. KEY TEXT (The Death of Herod): “Now Herod was angry with the people of Tyre and Sidon, and they came to him with one accord, and having persuaded Blastus, the king’s chamberlain, they asked for peace, because their country depended on the kings country for food. On an appointed day Herod put on his royal robes, took his seat upon the throne, and delivered an oration to them.” (12:20-21)
A. INFERENCE: “And the people were shouting, ‘The voice of a god, and not of a man!” (12:22)
1. FINDINGS: “Immediately an angel of the Lord struck him down, because he did not give God the glory, and he was eaten by worms and breathed his last.” (12:23)
2. CRITERIA: “But the word of God increased and multiplied.” (12:24)
3. CONDITION: “And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem when they had completed their service, bringing with them John, whose other name was Mark.” (12:25)
4. CAUSE: “Herod’s pride.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “Now Herod was reckoned with for vexing the church of Christ, killing James, imprisoning Peter, and all the other harm he had done.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “We should not pamper our bodies, for this is but feeding the worms, and feeding them for the worms.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)

Acts 13:1, I. Barnabas and Saul Sent Off; II. Barnabas and Saul on Cyprus; III. Paul and Barnabas at Antioch in Pisidia

I. KEY TEXT (Barnabas and Saul Sent Off): “Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a member of the court of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.” (13:1)
A. INFERENCE: “While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, ‘Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.’ Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.” (13:2-3)
1. FINDINGS: “We have here a divine commission to Barnabas and Saul to go and preach the gospel among the Gentiles.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
2. CRITERIA: “The matter was settled between them at Jerusalem before this, that as Peter, James, and John worked among those of the circumcision, so Paul and Barnabas should go to the heathen.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
3. CONDITION: “Christ’s ministers are set apart for him and for the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “Their ordination, not to the ministry in general, but to a particular service in the ministry. Simeon, and Lucius, and Manaen, after they had fasted and prayed, placed their hands on Barnabas and Saul and sent them off. When good men are going forth about good work, they ought to be solemnly and particularly prayed for.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
5. EFFECT: “They gave them their discharge from the present service, in the church of Antioch, acknowledging that they went off not only fairly and with consent, but honorably and with good report.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Pray and bless those being sent.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)

II. KEY TEXT (Barnabas and Saul on Cyprus): “So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God.” (13:4-7)
A. INFERENCE: “But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith.” (13:8)
1. FINDINGS: “But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, ‘You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.’ Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.” (13:9-12)
2. CRITERIA: “A general account of the coming of Barnabas and Saul to the famous island of Cyprus. Barnabas was a native of that country and he was willing they should have the first fruits of his labors.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
3. CONDITION: “Their being sent forth by the Holy Spirit was the great thing that encouraged them in this undertaking.” (Matthew Henry Commentary In One Volume)
4. CAUSE: “This is one of the greatest chapters in the New Testament, making a new departure in the ministry of the gospel, which henceforth begins to pass out to the uttermost part of the earth, Act_1:8. It is likely that the mother church at Jerusalem was too conservative to lend herself to the pressure of the Holy Spirit, urging to world-wide evangelization, and that he had to employ the more mobile church at Antioch, which was more susceptible to the passion for humanity, since it stood out on the edge of the great heathen world, like a lighthouse on the shore of a desolate sea.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “This momentous prayer meeting had apparently been convened to discover the Lord’s will as to further developments. As the names indicate, it was composed largely of Hebrew Christians. Note that the Holy Spirit speaks with authority as Christ’s Vicegerent, Act_2:33. ” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Modern missions are His work and He selects His own agents. We should ever seek to co-operate with Him in discovering and setting apart chosen men and women for His work.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

III. KEY TEXT (Paul and Barnabas at Antioch in Pisidia): “Now Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia. And John left them and returned to Jerusalem, but they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. And on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. After reading from the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent a message to them, saying, ‘Brothers, if you have word of encouragement for the people, say it.’” (13:13-15)
A. INFERENCE: “So Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said: ‘Men of Israel and you who fear God, listen. The god of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it. And for about forty years he put up with them in the wilderness. And after destroying seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance. All this took about 450 years. And after that he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’ Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised. Before his coming, John had proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. And as John was finishing his course, he said, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he No, but behold, after me one is coming, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to unite. Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation. For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him. And though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed. And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people. And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm. ‘You are my Son, today I have begotten you.’ And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way, ‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’ Therefore he says also in another psalm, ‘You will not let you Holy One see corruption.’ For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the Prophets should come about: ‘Look, you scoffers, be astounded and perish; for I am doing a work in your days, a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.’” (13:16-41)
1. FINDINGS: “As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.” (13:42-43)
2. CRITERIA: “The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, ‘It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, saying. ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’” (13:44-47)
3. CONDITION: “And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region.” (13:48-49)
4. CAUSE: “But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district.” (13:50)
5. EFFECT: “But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” (13:51-52)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Proceed with caution in delivering God’s word.

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