Category Archives: Acts

Acts 28:11-31 — A story that doesn’t end

We now come to the end of the book of Acts.  I can’t believe that with this, we come to the end of Biblical history.  All that remains are the letters that were written by the apostles and the Revelation … Continue reading

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Acts 28:1-10 — When the Spirit is working within us

There was an old action show I remember that was based on the phrase, “One man can make a difference.”   And we see that here.  I should probably amend that phrase, however, to,  “One man filled with the Spirit … Continue reading

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Acts 27:21-44 — A beacon in the storm

Jesus once said to let our light shine before men, and you really see Paul’s light shining through in this passage. At a time when everyone on the ship he was sailing on had lost hope because of the storm, … Continue reading

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Acts 27:1-20 — Following the majority

Following the majority is always the easy thing to do, especially when it happens to be what you want to do.  But it’s not always right.  And that’s what the centurion in charge of taking Paul (and the other prisoners) … Continue reading

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Acts 26:20-32 — Compelled

In this passage, we see three reactions to the gospel. One is persecution, like the Jews persecuted Paul. The second is people thinking we’re crazy, as Festus thought of Paul. The third is a patronizing attitude toward us and the gospel, as Herod … Continue reading

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Acts 25-26 — Obedient to the call

As we look at this passage, we see Paul’s appearance before Festus and Herod Agrippa II.  This last of the Herods that we see in the New Testament, was the son of Herod Agrippa I who had killed James, and … Continue reading

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Acts 24:26-27 — Integrity

Although Felix had been freaked out by Paul’s discussion of God’s coming judgment, he nevertheless, continued to call Paul in to chat.  Why? He was hoping that Paul would offer him a bribe.  (26) One wonders what kind of subtle … Continue reading

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Acts 24 — The whole counsel of God

Paul once told the Ephesians, I testify to you this day that I am innocent of the blood of all of you, for I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God.  (Acts 20:26-27 — ESV) What … Continue reading

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Acts 23:12-35 — A God whose purposes cannot be thwarted

I mentioned yesterday that God will accomplish his will in our lives and no power on this earth can stop him. We see an example of this in this passage.  Some men had taken an oath to kill Paul, and had … Continue reading

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Acts 23:11 — The God who stands near us

Sometimes, we tend to think of the apostles and other people in the Bible as superheroes.  That they always faced death courageously and without fear.  And certainly there were times they were like that.  (Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego certainly seemed … Continue reading

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Acts 22:30-23:1-10 — Shrewd as a serpent

I think in this passage, we see a perfect example of someone being as shrewd as serpents as Jesus told his disciples to be in Matthew 10:16. Surrounded by a pack of wolves, Paul shrewdly divided those who would attack … Continue reading

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Acts 21:37-22:29 — Blinded by our prejudices

It’s very interesting here to see Paul confronted by two groups that were blinded by their prejudices. The Jews, were so blinded by their prejudices as God’s people that they couldn’t see that God wanted to reach “Gentile sinners” too.  … Continue reading

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Acts 21:17-36 — Misunderstood

It’s interesting to me that while Paul was trying to clear up a misunderstanding between the Jewish Christians and himself, he caused another misunderstanding in the process. Apparently, the Jews, both Christian and non-Christian, were under the impression that Paul … Continue reading

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Acts 21:1-16 — No matter the cost

It’s a little tricky trying to interpret this passage.  Were the prophesies concerning Paul going to Jerusalem meant merely to warn him of what was ahead of him?  Or were they meant to turn him from the course he was … Continue reading

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Acts 20 — Finishing the race

There are several things that strike me about Paul’s final address to the Ephesians.  First his words in verse 24.  After talking about all the trials he had been warned by the Holy Spirit were coming, he said, I consider … Continue reading

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Acts 19:23-41 — Serving man-made gods

Here in this passage, we see a riot that started because of the worship of man-made gods.  It’s interesting to me, though, that it was the god of money that seemed to be the most important to Demetrius, the silversmith … Continue reading

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Acts 19:18-20 — Putting away the past

Happy New Year! After taking a day off from blogging due to a cold, I’m back.  🙂 I suppose as we head into a new year, it’s only natural to think of it as a time to start anew.  And … Continue reading

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Acts 19:11-17 — Second-hand relationship?

Jesus told his disciples before he went to the cross that they would do greater things than he did.  You see some of that in this passage where handkerchiefs and aprons that Paul had touched were taken to the sick … Continue reading

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Acts 19:8-10 — When to move on

It’s hard to see people we love and care about reject the gospel message.  But eventually there comes a time when we simply have to move on and leave them to God.  When does that point come?  I think we … Continue reading

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Acts 19:1-7 — Going beyond repentance

In this passage, we see some people that were similar to Apollos, but different.  Like Apollos, they had been disciples of John, but unlike Apollos, they were unaware of the one John had been pointing to. So while they had … Continue reading

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Acts 18:24-28 –A teachable heart

It is so easy sometimes to think we know it all.  We come to church on Sunday, and hear the message, and as we do, we say, “I knew that.”  This is especially a problem for those who have been … Continue reading

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Acts 18:1-23 — Fulfilling our responsibilities

One thing that Paul did was he preached the gospel.  Wherever he went, he preached to the people that Jesus is the Christ. Why did he do so?  One reason, of course, was that Jesus commanded him to.  And it … Continue reading

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Acts 17:29-34 — A second Christmas

Well, Christmas has come and gone here in Japan.  I hope you enjoyed yours as much as I did mine. As I read this passage though, it strikes me that there is still a Christmas we are yet waiting for. … Continue reading

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Acts 16:16-20 — Provoked

It can be easy, sometimes, to get numb to the evil that we see in the world.  Perhaps at first, the things we saw bothered us, but as time passed, we started getting “used to it all.”  Now we barely … Continue reading

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Acts 17:1-15 –Testing what we hear

In this day and age, we can get information from just about anywhere.  Radio, TV, and especially the internet has made it easy to get news and hear opinions coming from every possible angle.  This is also true concerning our … Continue reading

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Acts 16:11-40 — Set free

If there is one theme in this chapter, it’s being set free. Lydia and her household were set free from from their sin, and perhaps the Jewish requirements of the law as well. The girl was set free from the … Continue reading

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Acts 16:6-10 — When our plans are not God’s plans

We see a very interesting passage here in which time and again, Paul and his companions try to go to different places, and each time are told no by the Holy Spirit. Finally, after probably more than a few days and … Continue reading

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Acts 16:1-5 — Becoming all things to all people

In this passage, we find a very curious thing.  On one hand, Paul was going from city to city to tell the Christians about the council’s decision that the Gentile believers didn’t have to be circumcised.  But then he circumcised … Continue reading

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Acts 15:36-41 — Giving people a second chance

We see in this passage a break in the partnership between Paul and Barnabas.  And it came because of a young man named Mark.  Mark had initially joined them on their first missionary journey, but for some reason had decided … Continue reading

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Acts 15:1-35 — Grace alone

This was probably the biggest theological debate the early church faced, and it was a critical one. Paul and Barnabas had been taking the gospel to the Gentiles, but not everyone was happy about the gospel they were preaching.  They … Continue reading

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Acts 14 — Through many hardships

One thing you could say about Paul and Barnabas’ missionary journey:  it certainly wasn’t boring.  As well as having much success, they also went through many trials, even to the point of Paul getting stoned and left for dead.  It … Continue reading

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Acts 14:1-12– Only men

As I read this passage, I think of the number of high profile pastors that have fallen over the years.  People that were put on a pedestal only to be knocked down.  And with their fall, everyone was reminded that … Continue reading

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Acts 13:4-52 — Opposition

If there is one word that comes to mind as I read this passage, it’s “opposition.” As Paul and Barnabas preached the gospel, they faced opposition from Elymas and the Jews.  One was spiritual opposition, one was opposition sprung from … Continue reading

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Acts 12:24-13:3 — Set apart for God’s work

I remember the first time I ever considered being a missionary.  I was talking with a friend, and somehow we got on the topic of missions.  And I remember telling him, “I don’t think I’m called to be a missionary.” … Continue reading

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Acts 12:1-24 — A pride that leads to destruction

Solomon wrote, Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.  (Proverbs 16:18) We see this in the life of Herod Agrippa I, (not to be confused with Herod Antipas who had been involved with John the Baptist and Jesus in … Continue reading

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Acts 12:1-19 — God’s response to prayer, our response to him

This is a very interesting story on many levels.  The most amusing part of it is Peter showing up at the door after being released from prison, and Rhoda the servant girl being so excited that she left him at … Continue reading

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Acts 11:22-30 — Filled with the Spirit and full of faith

Barnabas was a remarkable man.  We saw him first in Acts 4 where he sold his land and gave the proceeds to the church so that they could help the needy.  We saw him again in Acts 9, when he … Continue reading

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Acts 11 — Opposing God

When Peter came back from Cornelius’ house, he returned to an uproar in Jerusalem.  Rumors had spread about how Peter, a leader of the church, had actually welcomed Gentiles into his house and then went to visit one of them. … Continue reading

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Acts 10:9-48 — Breaking through the barriers

God had to break through some pretty great barriers to get the gospel to the Gentiles.  Ironically, one primary barrier that he had to break through was one he had pounded into the Jews’ minds, the idea of clean and … Continue reading

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Acts 10 — Those who have not heard

One of the big conundrums Christians come up against when saying Jesus is the only way to heaven is the question, “What about those who have never even heard about Jesus?  Will they go to hell too?” And because of … Continue reading

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Acts 9:32-43 — The God who heals and raises the dead

In this passage we see two powerful stories.  The thing that struck me the most were Peter’s words to Aeneas and Dorcas (Tabitha). To Aeneas, who had been bedridden for eight years, and who had probably lost all hope of … Continue reading

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Acts 9:26-31 — Believing in people

Again, as I look at this passage, I try to imagine the reaction the believers had toward Saul when he first came to Jerusalem.  What was their first interaction with him?  The last time they had seen him publicly, he … Continue reading

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Acts 9:19-25 — When Christ changes your life

As I read this passage, I tried to imagine what was going on in the minds of those in Damascus.  After Saul’s conversion, he marched into the synagogue, and was probably asked to speak by those in charge.  They probably … Continue reading

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Acts 9:1-19 — Chosen…to go

I said yesterday there were two stories in Acts that shows both the election of God, man’s choice, and our need to go and spread the gospel.  Looking at today’s story, I think I should make that three stories.  (The … Continue reading

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Acts 8:26-40 — Unless we go

This is one of two stories in the book of Acts where we see the election of God, the choice of man, and our need to go as God’s witnesses all interacting with each other.  Many people wonder about the … Continue reading

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Acts 8:9-24 — A gift

One of the things that people have a hard time understanding about Christianity is that all that we have is a gift from God.  All that we have, and our very lives are gifts from God.  And of course, salvation … Continue reading

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Acts 8:1-8 — Spreading the joy

Well, Christmas season is upon us.  It is officially December 1st here in Japan, and my 5 year old daughter and yesterday I put up our Christmas tree and all the Christmas decorations.  I’ve probably mentioned this before, but this … Continue reading

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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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