Week #142; Wed, Sep 16: Acts 25:1–Romans 2:29


Acts 25:1, I. Paul Appeals to Caesar; II. Paul Before Agrippa and Bernice

I. KEY TEXT (Paul Appeals to Caesar): “Now three days after Festus had arrived in the province, he went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. And the chief priests and the principal men of the Jews laid out their case against Paul, and they urged him, asking as a favor against Paul that he summon him to Jerusalem–because they were planning an ambush to kill him on the way.” (25:1-3)
A. INFERENCE: “Festus replied that Paul was being kept at Caesarea and that he himself intended to go there shortly. ‘So,’ said he, ‘let the men of authority among you go down with me, and if there is anything wrong about the man, let them bring charges against him.’ After he stayed among them not more than eight or ten days, he went down to Caesarea. And the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought. When he had arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many and serious charges against him that they could not prove. Paul argued in his defense, ‘Neither against the law of the Jews, nor against the temple, nor against Caesar have I committed any offense.’” (25:4-8)
1. FINDINGS: “But Festus, wishing to do the Jews a favor, said to Paul, ‘Do you wish to go up to Jerusalem and there be tried on these charges before me?’ But Paul said, ‘I am standing before Caesar’s tribunal, where I ought to be tried. To the Jews I have done no wrong, as you yourself know very well. If then I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything for which I deserve to die, I do not seek to escape death. But if there is nothing to their charges against me, no one can give me up to them. I appeal to Caesar.’ Then Festus, when he had conferred with his council answered, ‘To Caesar you have appealed; to Caesar you shall go.’” (25:9-12)
2. CRITERIA: “See how restless malice is. Persecutors deem it a peculiar favor to have their malice gratified. Preaching Christ, the end of the law, was no offense against the law. In suffering times the prudence of the Lord’s people is tried, as well as their patience; they need wisdom. It becomes those who are innocent, to insist upon their innocence. Paul was willing to abide by the rules of the law, and to let that take its course. If he deserved death, he would accept the punishment. But if none of the things whereof they accused him were true, no man could deliver him unto them, with justice. Paul is neither released nor condemned. It is an instance of the slow steps which Providence takes; by which we are often made ashamed, both of our hopes and of our fears, and are kept waiting on God.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “How inveterately must these Jews have hated Paul, when after two years they still thirsted for his blood! It would never have done for the trial to be transferred to Jerusalem, as the Jews had requested. If Paul had been brought thither, many plots might have been set on foot for the purpose of ending his life, especially if Festus proved as amenable to a bribe as had his predecessor. Festus was quite prepared to humor the Jews by granting such a transference, and there was no way of averting it other than Paul’s availing himself of his right as a Roman citizen to be tried by the emperor himself.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “It would not be agreeable to him to have his jurisdiction superseded on this the first occasion of holding a public inquiry. But there was no question that the appeal was admissible, and Festus had therefore no alternative. How strangely God was fulfilling His own word, ‘So must thou bear witness also at Rome!’ Paul had always desired to visit the imperial city, to bear thither the message of the Cross; but he never expected to go under the safeguard of Roman soldiers and at Roman expense. “Deep in unfathomable mines of never-failing skill” God fulfills His purposes.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The “Appeals to Caesar” (25:11) was one of the most ancient and cherished rights of a Roman citizen. The right applied only to extraordinary cases, that is, those not specifically defined by statute laws. It was usually used to appeal the verdict of a lower court but could be exercised at any stage in the proceedings. The case would then be transferred to Rome and a verdict rendered by the emperor. This allowed Paul to realize his ambition to witness in Rome. At this time, the ruling Caesar was Nero.” (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Press on under adverse conditions; abide in Jesus and trust the Holy Spirit.

II. KEY TEXT (Paul Before Agrippa and Bernice): “Now when some days had passed, Agrippa the king and Bernice arrived at Caesarea and greeted Festus. And as they stayed there many days, Festus laid Paul’s case before the king, saying, ‘There is a man left prisoner by Felix, and when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews, laid out their case against him, asking for a sentence of condemnation against him.” (25:13-16)
A. INFERENCE: “I answered them that it was not the custom of the Romans to give up anyone before the accused met the accusers face to face and had opportunity to make his defense concerning the charge laid against him. So when they came together here, I made no delay, but on the next day took my seat on the tribunal and ordered the man to be brought. When the accusers stood up, they brought no charge in his case of such evils as I supposed.” (25:17-18)
1. FINDINGS: “Rather they had certain points of dispute with him about their own religion and about a certain Jesus, who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive. Being at a loss how to investigate these questions, I asked whether he wanted to go to Jerusalem and be tried there regarding them. But when Paul had appealed to be kept in custody for the decision of the emperor, I ordered him to be held until I could send him to Caesar.’ Then Agrippa said to Festus, ‘I would like to hear the man myself.’ ‘Tomorrow,’ said he, ‘You will hear him.’” (25:19-22)
2. CRITERIA: “So on the next day Agrippa and Bernice came with great pomp, and they entered the audience hall with the military tribunes and the prominent men of the city. Then, at the command of Festus, Paul was brought in. And Festus said, ‘King Agrippa and all who are present with us, you see this man about whom the whole Jewish people petitioned me, both in Jerusalem and here, shouting that he ought not to live any longer.” (25:23-24)
3. CONDITION: “But I found that he had done nothing deserving death. And as he himself appealed to the emperor, I decided to go ahead and send him. But I have nothing definite to write to my lord about him. Therefore I have brought him before you all, and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that, after we have examined him, I may have something to write. For it seems to me unreasonable, in sending a prisoner, not to indicate the charges against him.” (25:25-27)
4. CAUSE: “The questions about God’s worship, the way of salvation, and the truths of the gospel, may appear doubtful and without interest, to worldly men and mere politicians. See how slightly this Roman speaks of Christ, and of the great controversy between the Jews and the Christians. Acts 25:13” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “But the day is at hand when Festus and the whole world will see, that all the concerns of the Roman empire were but trifles and of no consequence, compared with this question of Christ’s resurrection. Those who have had means of instruction, and have despised them, will be awfully convinced of their sin and folly. Acts 25:13” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Be in the world, but not part of the world.

Acts 26:1, I. Paul’s Defense Before Agrippa; II. Paul Tells of His Conversion

I. KEY TEXT (Paul’s Defense Before Agrippa): “So Agrippa said to Paul, ‘You have permission to speak for yourself.’ Then Paul stretched out his hand and made his defense: ‘I consider myself fortunate that it is before you, King Agrippa, I am going to make my defense today against all the accusations of the Jews, especially because you are familiar with all the customs and controversies of the Jews. Therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.’” (26:1-3)
A. INFERENCE: “’My manner of life from my youth, spent from the beginning among my own nation and in Jerusalem, is known by all the Jews. They have known for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that according to the strictest party of our religion I have lived as a Pharisee. And now I stand here on trial because of my hope in the promise made by God to our fathers, to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly worship night and day. And for this hope I am accused by Jews, O King! Why is it thought incredible by any of you that God raises the dead?” (26:4-8)
1. FINDINGS: “I myself was convinced that I ought to do many things in opposing the name of Jesus of Nazareth. And I did so in Jerusalem. I not only locked up many of the saints in prison after receiving authority from the chief priests, but when they were put to death I cast my vote against them. And I punished them often in all the synagogues and tried to make them blaspheme, and in raging fury against them I persecuted them even to foreign cities.” (26:9-11)
2. CRITERIA: “He (Paul) was sound in the faith. He always had a holy regard for the ancient promise made of God unto the fathers, and built his hope upon it. The apostle knew very well that all this would not justify him before God, yet he knew it was for his reputation among the Jews, and an argument that he was not such a man as they represented him to be.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “See here what Paul’s religion is; he has not such zeal for the ceremonial law as he had in his youth; the sacrifices and offerings appointed by that, are done away by the great Sacrifice which they typified. Of the ceremonial cleansings he makes no conscience, and thinks the Levitical priesthood is done away in the priesthood of Christ; but, as to the main principles of his religion, he is as zealous as ever.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Christ and heaven, are the two great doctrines of the gospel; that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. These are the matter of the promise made unto the fathers. The temple service, or continual course of religious duties, day and night, was kept up as the profession of faith in the promise of eternal life, and in expectation of it. The prospect of eternal life should engage us to be diligent and steadfast in all religious exercises. Yet the Sadducees hated Paul for preaching the resurrection; and the other Jews joined them, because he testified that Jesus was risen, and was the promised Redeemer of Israel.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “Paul acknowledged, that while he continued a Pharisee, he was a bitter enemy to Christianity. This was his character and manner of life in the beginning of his time; and there was every thing to hinder his being a Christian. Those who have been most strict in their conduct before conversion, will afterwards see abundant reason for humbling themselves, even on account of things which they then thought ought to have been done.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (Paul Tells of His Conversion): “In this connection I journeyed to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests. At midday, O king, I saw on the way a light from heaven, brighter than the sun, that shone around me and those who journeyed with me. And when we had all fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the Hebrew language, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is hard for your to kick against the goads.’ And I said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. But rise and stand upon your feet, for I have appeared to you for this purpose, to appoint you as a servant and witness to the things in which you have seen me and to those in which I will appear to you, delivering you from your people and from the Gentiles–to whom I am sending you to open their eyes, so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified by faith in me.’” (26:12-19)
A. INFERENCE: “’Therefore, O King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision, but declared first to those in Damascus, then in Jerusalem and throughout all the region of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deeds in keeping with their repentance.” (26:20)
1. FINDINGS: “For this reason the Jews seized me in the temple and tried to kill me. To this day I have had the help that comes from God, and so I stand here testifying both to small and great, saying nothing but what the prophets and Moses said would come to pass: that the Christ must suffer and that, by being the first to rise from the dead, he would proclaim light both to our people and to the Gentiles.” (26:21-23)
2. CRITERIA: “And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, ‘Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.’ But Paul said, ‘I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words.” (26:24-25)
3. CONDITION: “For the king knows about these things, and to him I speak boldly. For I am persuaded that none of these things has escaped his notice, for this has not been done in a corner. King Agrippa, do you believe the prophets? I know that you believe.’” (26:26-27)
4. CAUSE: “And Agrippa said to Paul, ‘In a short time would you persuade me to be a Christian?” (26:28)
5. EFFECT: “And Paul said, ‘Whether short or long, I would to God that not only you but also all who hear me this day might become such as I am–except for these chains.’ Then the king rose, and the governor and Bernice and those who were sitting with them. And when they had withdrawn, they said to one another, ‘This man is doing nothing to deserve death or imprisonment.’ And Agrippa said to Festus, ‘This man could have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.’” (26:29-32)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Speak truth as the Holy Spirit reveals it.

Acts 27:1, I. Paul Sails for Rome; II. The Storm at Sea; III. The Shipwreck

I. KEY TEXT (Paul Sails for Rome): “And when it was decided that we should sail for Italy, they delivered Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan Cohort named Julius. And embarking in a ship of Adramyttium, which was about to sail to the ports along the coast of Asia, we put to sea, accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica. The next day we put in at Sidon. And Julius treated Paul kindly and gave him leave to go to his friends and be cared for. And putting out to sea from there we sailed under the lee of Cyprus, because the winds were against us. And when we had sailed across the open sea along the coast of Cilicia and Pamphylia, we came to Myra in Lycia. There the centurion found a ship of Alexandria sailing for Italy and put us on board.We sailed slowly for a number of days and arrived with difficulty off Cnidus, and as the wind did not allow us to go farther, we sailed under the lee of Crete off Salmone. Coasting along it with difficulty, we came to a place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasea.” (27:1-8)
A. INFERENCE: “Since much time had passed, and the voyage was now dangerous because even the Fast was already over, Paul advised them, saying, ‘Sirs, I perceive that the voyage will be with injury and much loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.’” (27:9-10)
1. FINDINGS: “But the centurion paid more attention to the pilot and to the owner of the ship than to what Paul said. And because the harbor was not suitable to spend the winter in, the majority decided to put out to sea from there, on the chance that somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing both southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there.” (27:11-12)
2. CRITERIA: “It was determined by the counsel of God, before it was determined by the counsel of Festus, that Paul should go to Rome; for God had work for him to do there. The course they steered, and the places they touched at, are here set down. And God here encourages those who suffer for him, to trust in him; for he can put it into the hearts of those to befriend them, from whom they least expect it. Sailors must make the best of the wind: and so must we all in our passage over the ocean of this world.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “When the winds are contrary, yet we must be getting forward as well as we can. Many who are not driven backward by cross providences, do not get forward by favorable providences. And many real Christians complain as to the concerns of their souls, that they have much ado to keep their ground.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Every fair haven is not a safe haven. Many show respect to good ministers, who will not take their advice. But the event will convince sinners of the vanity of their hopes, and the folly of their conduct.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The we indicates that the good physician, Luke, had rejoined the party. Separated from Paul by the Apostle’s imprisonment, he now accompanied him on the ship to Rome. The centurion was indulgently disposed toward Paul. He may have been one of the brilliant crowd who had listened to Paul’s last address. The season for navigation with sailing vessels was drawing to a close, and Paul counseled delay, but his words were unheeded. The man who knew God was wiser than the men who knew the sea.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Trust in the Lord.

II. KEY TEXT (The Storm at Sea): “Now when the south wind blew gently, supposing that they had obtained their purpose, they weighed anchor and sailed along Crete, close to the shore. But soon a tempestuous wind, called the northeaster, struck down from the land. And when the ship was caught and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and were driven along.” (27:13-15)
A. INFERENCE: “Running under the lee of a small island called Cauda, we managed with difficulty to secure the ship’s boat. After hoisting it up, they used supports to undergird the ship. Then, fearing that they would run aground on the Syrtis, they lowered the gear, and thus they were driven along. Since we were violently storm tossed, they began the next day to jettison the cargo. And on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. When neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small tempest lay on us, all hope of our being saved was at last abandoned. ” (27:16-20)
1. FINDINGS: “Since they had been without food for a long time, Paul stood up among them and said, ‘Men, you should have listened to me and not have set sail from Crete and incurred this injury and loss. Yet now I urge you to take heart, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’ So take heart, men, for I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told. But we must run aground on some island.” (27:21-26)
2. CRITERIA: “When the fourteenth night had come, as we were being driven across the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors suspected that they were nearing land. So they took a sounding and found twenty fathoms. A little farther on they took a sounding again and found fifteen fathoms. And fearing that we might run on the rocks, they let down four anchors from the stern and prayed for day to come.” (27:27-29)
3. CONDITION: “And as the sailors were seeking to escape from the ship, and had lowered the ship’s boat into the sea under pretense of laying out anchors from the bow, Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, ‘Unless these men stay in the ship, you cannot be saved.’ Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it go.” (27:30-32)
4. CAUSE: “As day was about to dawn, Paul urged them all to take some food, saying, ‘Today is the fourteenth day that you have continued in suspense and without food, having taken nothing. Therefore I urge you to take some food. For it will give you strength, for not a hair is to perish from the head of any of you.’” (27:33-34)
5. EFFECT: “And when he had said these things, he took bread, and giving thanks to God in the presence of all he broke it and began to eat. Then they all were encouraged and ate some food themselves. (We were in all 276 persons in the ship.) And when they had eaten enough, they lightened the ship, throwing out the wheat into the sea.” (27:35-38)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Let us never expect to be quite safe till we enter heaven.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

III. KEY TEXT (The Shipwreck): “Now when it was day, they did not recognize the land, but they noticed a bay with a beach, on which they planned if possible to run the ship ashore. So they cast off the anchors and left them in the sea, at the same time loosening the ropes that tied the rudders. Then hoisting the foresail to the wind they made for the beach.” (27:39-40)
A. INFERENCE: “But striking a reef, they ran the vessel aground. The bow stuck and remained immovable, and the stern was being broken up by the surf. The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, lest any should swim away and escape.” (27:41-42)
1. FINDINGS: “But the centurion, wishing to save Paul, kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and make for the land, and the rest on planks or on pieces of the ship. And so it was that all were brought safely to land.” (27:43-44)
2. CRITERIA: “The ship that had weathered the storm in the open sea, where it had room, is dashed to pieces when it sticks fast. Thus, if the heart fixes in the world in affection, and cleaving to it, it is lost.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Satan’s temptations beat against it, and it is gone; but as long as it keeps above the world, though tossed with cares and tumults, there is hope for it. They had the shore in view, yet suffered shipwreck in the harbor; thus we are taught never to be secure.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Though there is great difficulty in the way of the promised salvation, it shall, without fail, be brought to pass. It will come to pass that whatever the trials and dangers may be, in due time all believers will get safely to heaven. Lord Jesus, thou hast assured us that none of thine shall perish. Thou wilt bring them all safe to the heavenly shore.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “And what a pleasing landing will that be! Thou wilt present them to thy Father, and give thy Holy Spirit full possession of them for ever.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Blessed assurance.

Acts 28:1, I. Paul on Malta; II. Paul Arrives at Rome; III. Paul in Rome

I. KEY TEXT (Paul on Malta): “After we were brought safely through, we then learned that the island was called Malta. The native people showed us unusual kindness, for they kindled a fire and welcomed us all, because it had begun to rain and was cold. When Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and put them on the fire, a viper came out because of the heat and fastened on his hand.” (28:1-3)
A. INFERENCE: “When the native people saw the creature hanging from his hand, they said to one another, ‘No doubt this man is a murderer. Though he has escaped from the sea, Justice has not allowed him to live.’ He, however, shook off the creature into the fire and suffered no harm. They were waiting for him to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But when they had waited a long time and saw no misfortune come to him, they changed their minds and said that he was a god.” (28:4-6)
1. FINDINGS: “Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the chief man of the island, named Publius, who received us and entertained us hospitably for three days. It happened that the father of Publius lay sick with fever and dysentery. And Paul visited him and prayed, and putting his hands on him healed him. And when this had taken place, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases also came and were cured. They also honored us greatly, and when we were about to sail, they put on board whatever we needed.” (28:7-10)
2. CRITERIA: “Accidents are not punishments. The clinging of the viper to Paul’s hand was not an evidence of the anger of God, but was permitted in order to give these simple-hearted people an evidence which they would appreciate of God’s care for His own.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “Let us not judge by appearance, but righteously. Because Paul cast off the viper, they accounted him divine; if he had died, they would have thought him a felon. Let us also shake off temptation. We cannot prevent its attacking us, but we need not take the viper into our heart.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “But though little dependence is to be placed upon the tradition that Publius became bishop of Malta and afterwards of Athens, we may well believe the accredited tradition that the beginnings of the Christian Church at Malta sprang out of this memorable visit.” (Jamieson, Fausset & Brown Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The Christians found honor and respect (28:10) on Malta. That is, they did nothing to support the accusations that they were criminals.” (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: God’s plan for Paul would not be hindered by a shipwreck or a viper.

II. KEY TEXT (Paul Arrives at Rome): “After three months we set sail in a ship that had wintered in the island, a ship of Alexandria, with the twin gods as a figurehead. Putting in at Syracuse, we stayed there for three days. And from there we made a circuit and arrived at Rhegium. And after one day a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli. There we found brothers there, when they heard about us, came as far as the Forum of Appius and Three Taverns to meet us.” (28:11-15)
A. INFERENCE: “On seeing them, Paul thanked God and took courage. ” (28:15)
1. FINDINGS: “And when we came into Rome, Paul was allowed to stay by himself, with the soldier that guarded him.” (28:16)
2. CRITERIA: “Good men often are greatly afflicted in this life, for the trial and increase of their faith and patience. Observe Paul’s deliverance from the danger. And thus in the strength of the grace of Christ, believers shake off the temptations of Satan, with holy resolution.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “When we despise the censures and reproaches of men, and look upon them with holy contempt, having the testimony of our consciences for us, then, like Paul, we shake off the viper into the fire. It does us no harm, except we are kept by it from our duty. God hereby made Paul remarkable among these people, and so made way for the receiving of the gospel. The Lord raises up friends for his people in every place whither he leads them, and makes them blessings to those in affliction.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Paul’s unfailing influence for good shows what a blessing even one Christian man can be wherever he goes, if he lives in the power of God.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “When God does not soon deliver his people out of bondage, yet makes it easy to them, or them easy under it, they have reason to be thankful.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Give thanks at all times.

III. KEY TEXT (Paul in Rome): “After three days he called together the local leaders of the Jews, and when they had gathered, he said to them, ‘Brothers, though I had done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans. When they had examined me, they wished to set me at liberty, because there was no reason for the death penalty in my case.” (28:17-18)
A. INFERENCE: “But because the Jews objected, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar–though I had no charge to bring against my nation. For this reason, therefore, I have asked to see you and speak with you, since it is because of the hope of Israel that I am wearing this chain.’ And they said to him, ‘We have received no letters from Judea about you, and none of the brothers coming here has reported or spoken any evil about you. But we desire to hear from you what your views are, for with regard to this sect we know that everywhere it is spoken against.’” (28:19-22)
1. FINDINGS: “When they had appointed a day for him, they came to him at his lodging in greater numbers. From morning till evening he expounded to them, testifying to the kingdom of God and trying to convince them about Jesus both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets. And some were convinced by what he said, but others disbelieved. And disagreeing among themselves, they departed after Paul had made one statement: ‘The Holy Spirit was right in saying to your fathers through Isaiah the prophet: ‘Go to this people, and say, You will indeed hear but never understand, and you will indeed see but never perceive. For this people’s heart has grown dull, and with their ears the can barely hear, and their eyes they have closed; lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears and understand with their heart and turn, and I would heal them.’” (28:23-27)
2. CRITERIA: “Therefore let it be known to you that this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles; they will listen.’” (28:28)
3. CONDITION: “He lived there two whole years at his own expense, and welcomed all who came to him, proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching about the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness and without hinderance.” (28:29-30)
4. CAUSE: “A few were convinced; the rest disagreed. Probably the debate toward its close became somewhat stormy, and the Apostle felt at liberty to quote Isaiah 6:9-10.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “He, thereafter, turned to the Roman Christians, who had already been addressed in his memorable Epistle, in the last chapter of which is a list of names of those whom he loved in Christ. They were constantly coming in to cheer his loneliness and to hear his words, while Tychicus, Epaphras, Epaphroditus, and others brought news, greetings, and gifts from the churches he had founded.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Preach to all who will listen.

Romans 1:1, I. Greeting; II. Longing to Go to Rome; III. The Righteous Shall Live by Faith; IV. God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness

I. KEY TEXT (Greetings): “Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God, which he promised beforehand through his prophets in the holy Scriptures, concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Christ our Lord, through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations, including you who are called to belong to Jesus Christ, to all those in Rome who are loved by God and called to be saints: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” (1:1-7)
A. INFERENCE: “The doctrine of which the apostle Paul wrote, set forth the fulfillment of the promises by the prophets. It spoke of the Son of God, even Jesus the Savior, the promised Messiah, who came from David as to his human nature, but was also declared to be the Son of God, by the Divine power which raised him from the dead.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “The Christian profession does not consist in a notional knowledge or a bare assent, much less in perverse disputing, but in obedience. And all those, and those only, are brought to obedience of the faith, who are effectually called of Jesus Christ.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “The privilege of Christians; they are beloved of God, and are members of that body which is beloved.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “The duty of Christians; to be holy, hereunto are they called, called to be saints.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Because both Jews and Gentiles were used to thinking of salvation in terms of religious merit through works.” (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The subject of the gospel is Jesus from two perspectives. He was the human seed of David (1:3) and the divine Son of God (1:4). As such, he is the ultimate King according to Davidic promise (2 Sam. 7)—eternal, divine, and exalted at God’s right hand (Ps. 110:1; Acts 2:33–35). But he is also the Son of God in the flesh. Christ’s identity as a human being will be foundational for the comparison between Adam and Christ in Romans 5 and the role of the Spirit in the Christian’s life (Rom. 6–8).” (Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Paul describes himself as a bond-servant.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary) Be like him.

II. KEY TEXT (Longing to Go to Rome): “First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed in all the world. For God is my witness, whom I serve with my spirit in the gospel of his Son, that without ceasing I mention you always in my prayers, asking that somehow by God’s will I may now at last succeed in coming to you.” (1:8-10)
A. INFERENCE: “For I long to see you, that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you–that is, that we may be mutually encouraged by each other’s faith, both yours and mine.” (1:11-12)
1. FINDINGS: “I want you to know, brothers, that I have often intended to come to you (but thus far have been prevented), in order that I may reap some harvest among you as well as among the rest of the Gentiles. I am under obligation both to Greeks and to barbarians, both to the wise and to the foolish. So I am eager to preach the gospel to you also who are in Rome.” (1:13-15)
2. CRITERIA: “We must show love for our friends, not only by praying for them, but by praising God for them. As in our purposes, so in our desires, we must remember to say, If the Lord will, James 4:15. Our journeys are made prosperous or otherwise, according to the will of God.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “We should readily impart to others what God has trusted to us, rejoicing to make others joyful, especially taking pleasure in communing with those who believe the same things with us. If redeemed by the blood, and converted by the grace of the Lord Jesus, we are altogether his; and for his sake we are debtors to all men, to do all the good we can. Such services are our duty.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “Long before Paul saw the faces of these Christians in Rome, he had been led out in prayer for them. He had won the battle before entering the battle-field. How noble it was on the Apostle’s part to say that his faith was strengthened by their faith, as theirs by his! Romans 1:12. There is a wonderful give-and-take in the service of God. Each of us helps or hinders. None is neutral.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “It is quite evident that prayer counted for much with the Apostle. This journey of his was the subject of continual supplication. He knew that much was to be obtained through prayer, which would otherwise be missed. Romans 1:10.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Remember that your journeys must also be in the will of God” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

III. KEY TEXT (The Righteous Shall Live by Faith): “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, ‘The righteous shall live by faith.’” (1:16-17)
A. INFERENCE: “In these verses the apostle opens the design of the whole epistle, in which he brings forward a charge of sinfulness against all flesh; declares the only method of deliverance from condemnation, by faith in the mercy of God, through Jesus Christ; and then builds upon it purity of heart, grateful obedience, and earnest desires to improve in all those Christian graces and tempers, which nothing but a lively faith in Christ can bring forth.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
1. FINDINGS: “God is a just and holy God, and we are guilty sinners. It is necessary that we have a righteousness to appear in before him: there is such a righteousness brought in by the Messiah, and made known in the gospel; a gracious method of acceptance, notwithstanding the guilt of our sins. It is the righteousness of Christ, who is God, coming from a satisfaction of infinite value. Faith is all in all, both in the beginning and progress of Christian life.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
2. CRITERIA: “It is not from faith to works, as if faith put us into a justified state, and then works kept us in it; but it is all along from faith to faith; it is faith pressing forward, and gaining the victory over unbelief.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
3. CONDITION: “We owe everything to our Lord, but since we can make Him no direct return, He has made men His residuary legatees. We are to think of others as having a claim upon us for His dear sake. In helping them, we repay Him.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
4. CAUSE: “The high culture of the Roman world was appreciated by the student of Gamaliel for what it was worth; but he was not ashamed to preach the gospel in its capital because it carried with it the divine dynamic. It was power unto salvation. The Stoic, for instance, had a high ethical code, but it was ineffective for want of the driving power of Pentecost.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)
5. EFFECT: “The one condition is faith-to everyone that believeth.” (F. B. Meyer Commentary)

IV. KEY TEXT (God’s Wrath on Unrighteousness): “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.” (1:18)
A. INFERENCE: “For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in things that have been made. So they are without excuse.” (1:19-20)
1. FINDINGS: “For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” (1:21)
2. CRITERIA: “Claiming to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.” (1:22-23)
3. CONDITION: “Therefore God gave them up in the lusts of their hearts to impurity, to the dishonoring of their bodies among themselves, because they exchanged the truth about God for a lie and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever! Amen.” (1:24-25)
4. CAUSE: “For this reason God gave them up to dishonorable passions. For their women exchanged natural relations for those that are contrary to nature; and the men likewise gave up natural relations with women and were consumed with passion for one another, men committing shameless acts with men and receiving in themselves the due penalty for their error.” (1:26-27)
5. EFFECT: “And since they did not see fit to acknowledge God, God gave them up to a debased mind to do what ought not to be done. They were filled with all manner of unrighteousness, evil, covetousness, malice. They are full of envy, murder, strife, deceit, maliciousness. They are gossips, slanderers, haters of God, insolent, haughty, boastful, inventors of evil, disobedient to parents, foolish, faithless, heartless, ruthless. Though they know God’s decree that those who practice such things deserve to die, they not only do them but give approval to those who practice them.” (1:28-32)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Acknowledge God. Do what He says.

Romans 2:1, I. God’s Righteous Judgment; II. God’s Judgment and the Law

I. KEY TEXT (God’s Righteous Judgment): “Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you, the judge, practice the very same things.” (2:1)
A. INFERENCE: “We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man–you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself–that you will escape the judgment of God?” (2:2-3)
1. FINDINGS: “Or do you presume on the riches of his kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.” (2:4-5)
2. CRITERIA: “He will render to each one according to his works: to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury.” (2:6-8)
3. CONDITION: “There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek.” (2:9-10)
4. CAUSE: “For God shows no partiality.” (2:11)
5. EFFECT: “Nothing speaks more terror to sinners, and more comfort to saints, than that Christ shall be the Judge. Secret services shall be rewarded, secret sins shall be then punished, and brought to light.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)
6. RECOMMENDATION: “Remember conscience is a witness.” (Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary)

II. KEY TEXT (God’s Judgment and the Law): “For all who have sinned without the law will also perish without the law, and all who have sinned under the law will be judged by the law.” (2:12)
A. INFERENCE: “For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified. For when Gentiles, who do not have the law, by nature do what the law requires, they are a law to themselves, even though they do not have the law.” (2:13-14)
1. FINDINGS: “They show that the work of the law is written on their hearts, while their conscience also bears witness, and their conflicting thought accuse or even excuse them on that day when, according to my gospel, God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus.” (2:15-16)
2. CRITERIA: “But if you call yourself a Jew and rely on the law and boast in God and know his will and approve what is excellent, because you are instructed from the law; and if you are sure that you yourself are a guide to the blind, a light to those who are in darkness, an instructor of the foolish, a teacher of children, having in the law the embodiment of knowledge and truth–you then who teach others, do you not teach yourself?” (2:17-20)
3. CONDITION: “While you preach against stealing, do you steal? You who say that one must not commit adultery, do you commit adultery? You who abhor idols, do you rob temples? You who boast in the law dishonor God by breaking the law. For, as it is written, ‘The name of God is blasphemed among the Gentiles because of you.’” (2:21-24)
4. CAUSE: “For circumcision indeed is of value if you obey the law, but if you break the law, your circumcision becomes uncircumcision.” (2:25)
5. EFFECT: “So, if a man who is uncircumcised keeps the precepts of the law, will not his uncircumcision be regarded as circumcision? Then he who is physically uncircumcised but keeps the law will condemn you who have the written code and circumcision but break the law. For no one is a Jew who is merely one outwardly, nor is circumcision outward and physical. But a Jew is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not by the letter. His praise is not from man but from God.” (2:26)
6. RECOMMENDATION: Seek praise from God.

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