Monthly Archives: November 2014

Acts 6-7 — A pattern of rejection

In this passage, we see the church’s first martyr, Stephen.  Stephen was one of the seven deacons that had been chosen by the apostles in the first part of chapter 6. But in preaching the Word of Christ, he came … Continue reading

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Acts 6:1-7 — What pastors and leaders cannot do

The early church was not without its growing pains.  And we see an example of it here.  Among the things the church did was provide for the needs of the poor among them.  But as the church grew, the responsibilities … Continue reading

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Acts 5:12-42 — Unstoppable

If there is one word that comes to my mind when I read this passage, it’s “unstoppable.”  Not the apostles. But the work of the Spirit. First, we see the apostles going out and performing miracles, and preaching the gospel, … Continue reading

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Acts 5:1-11 — The seriousness of sin

This is perhaps the most shocking story in the book of Acts. It also shows us the seriousness of sin. Two people in the church, Ananias and Sapphira, had seen Barnabas generously sell some of his land to help the … Continue reading

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Acts 4:32-37 — Unity, power, and grace

What is the church supposed to look like?  I think we get a picture of it here. Unity. All the believers were one in heart and mind.  No one claimed that any of his possessions was his own, but they … Continue reading

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Acts 4:1-31 — Filled and refilled with the Spirit

As I look at this passage, there are two things I notice.  First, the filling of the Spirit was not a one time thing.  Instead, time and again, the Spirit filled God’s people.  We see it in this chapter, and … Continue reading

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Acts 3:17-26 — Before we can receive blessing

Lots of people desire to receive blessing from God.  And God is a Father that gives his children good gifts.  We can expect blessings from him as his children. But before we can receive blessing, there is something we must … Continue reading

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Acts 3:11-16 — Not about us

As the man Peter and John had healed was making a ruckus in the temple courts, all the people gathered around, amazed first that this man who had been crippled for 40 years was walking, and then looking at Peter … Continue reading

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Acts 3:1-10 — Joining in with God’s work

I have to admit, too many times in my life I have missed opportunities God has given me to touch a life.  Why?  Because I’m too focused on my own agendas. I can’t count how many times I have had … Continue reading

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Acts 2:42-47 — Together and in one accord

As I wrap up this section, the words that strike me are in verses 44 and 46.  They were “together” and in “one accord” (KJV). It comes back to what was said in verse 42, really. They devoted themselves to … Continue reading

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Acts 2:42-47 — Devoted to praying…together

Before I get into today’s topic, a note. I’ve been thinking about the last few blogs I’ve written, and praying about whether I’ve been perhaps too harsh on those who are “Dones.”  I’m honestly not sure. Here’s what I can … Continue reading

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Acts 2:42-47 — Despising the body of the Lord

As I continue thinking about the “Dones” (see the previous two blogs), there is another issue I think that’s easy to forget:  communion.  And we forget it because we don’t really think about all that communion means and symbolizes. It says … Continue reading

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Acts 2:42-47 — Devoted to the fellowship

This is a continuation of the blog I started yesterday on “The Dones,” people who still follow Christ but have dropped out of the church.  I addressed the point of “being lectured to in sermons” and “having heard it all” yesterday. … Continue reading

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Acts 2:42-47 — Devoted to the Word

A friend of mine posted an article on Facebook talking about the “The Rise of the Dones” in the church.  It was talking about the “life-long believer, well-studied in the Bible, [who] gives generously, and leads others passionately,” yet who … Continue reading

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Acts 2:38 — The message of the gospel

This was the first ever gospel message preached in all its fullness.  All the preaching that had gone on before was prior to the death and resurrection of Christ.  Now, all things had been fulfilled, and Peter preached to the … Continue reading

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Acts 2:1-41 — This same Spirit

It’s hard for me to imagine the day that the Spirit came upon the church in power.  To hear that sound of a rushing wind (was it just as sound, or was there an actual wind?) come upon that house, … Continue reading

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Acts 1:12-26 — The One who knows our hearts

In this passage, we see the choosing of Matthias to take Judas’ place as one of the 12.  A couple of minor points before I get to my main point. Some people think that Peter and the other apostles made … Continue reading

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Acts 1:9-11 — Waiting for his return

It must have been awesome to see Jesus suddenly start ascending into heaven.  And I think it’s perfectly understandable that the disciples were standing slack-jawed looking into the heavens where Jesus disappeared.  I probably would have done the same. But … Continue reading

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Luke 24:46-53; Acts 1:1-8 — The power to change the world

And so with today’s blog, we exit the gospels and enter the book of Acts. I’m not sure if it ever occurred to me that what Luke referenced in Acts 1:4 was probably the same event that he talked about … Continue reading

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Matthew 28:20 — The one who is always with us

We are rapidly coming to the end of the gospels.  It certainly took a lot longer than I expected.  I thought harmonizing the gospels would make things go a lot faster.  Maybe it has, but it’s still taken nearly 11 … Continue reading

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Matthew 28:16-20 — Making disciples

Somehow in 35 years of reading scripture, it never really occurred to me that the events in Matthew 28 and Acts 1 were two separate events.  One happened in Galilee and the other on the Mount of Olives. It was … Continue reading

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John 21:18-23 — Keeping our eyes on Jesus

It must be disconcerting to hear about how you’re going to die.  And so after Jesus told Peter exactly how he was going to die, there probably was an awkward silence.  Peter then suddenly realized that John was walking not … Continue reading

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John 21 — A God who believes in us

This is another of my favorite stories in the Bible.  Here we have Peter.  Brash Peter.  Bold Peter.  But because of his failure in denying Jesus three times, a lot of that has been stripped away, leaving a man not … Continue reading

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John 20:24-31 — Though we have not seen him

Seeing is believing. At least sometimes it is.  The Pharisees and teachers of the law saw all the miracles Jesus performed and they still didn’t believe.  They saw Lazarus alive after he had died and they plotted to kill him because … Continue reading

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Luke 24:36-49; John 20:19-23 — Filled and sent out

It seems like there was quite a bit of confusion and disbelief among the 11 and the others gathered in the upper room that Sunday.  Here was Mary, the women, the two followers of Jesus, and Peter himself saying that … Continue reading

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Luke 24:13-35 — Slow to believe

This appears to be the third or fourth appearance of Jesus after his resurrection, depending on when Jesus showed himself to Peter. And here we see two followers of Jesus walking down to Emmaus, which was perhaps their hometown.  And as … Continue reading

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Matthew 28:1-20; Mark 16:1-8; Luke 24:1-12; John 20:1-18 — The One who is always with us

A couple of notes on the resurrection.  I think I will be cutting out Mark 16:9-20 from my commentary since it is considered by most scholars to not be in the original text.  It was apparently added on to Mark … Continue reading

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Matthew 28:11-15 — A people that will not be convinced

The hardness of heart that the priests and Pharisees had is simply unbelievable to me.  Despite all their efforts, the tomb was empty.  That is one thing even they did not dispute. They had the testimony of the guard who … Continue reading

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Matthew 27:62-66; 28:1-4 — A God who cannot be thwarted

This is perhaps one of the more humorous incidents in the Bible if you really think about it.  The Pharisees and chief priests were concerned that perhaps the disciples might come to steal the body and claim that Jesus had … Continue reading

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Matthew 27:32-61; Mark 15:24-47; Luke 23:32-56; John 19:18-42 — That scripture would be fulfilled

One thing that becomes crystal clear as we look at these passages is that Christ’s death was no accident.  It was no mistake on the part of God.  Rather, he had planned it from the beginning of time for our … Continue reading

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