Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sermon notes from Sunday June 21st 2015

2015.06.21       Acts 22: 17-30; Acts 23: 1-11
               Paul appears before the Sanhedrin
We are studying the birth of the church in Acts…. As we pick up our text this morning we see Paul under arrest in Jerusalem… The commander has allowed Paul to address the crowd of angry Jews….
Paul is giving his testimony… he is reminding them he was also a hater of Christians… He says that Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus….. Jesus had radically transformed his life…. And Jesus had sent him to proclaim the Good News… Now as we pick up the testimony he said that he also had a vision in the very place where they were standing… In the Temple courtyards… Acts 22..v17…
Acts 22: 17-21                          NKJV  
17 “Now it happened, when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I was in a trance 18 and saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me.’ 19 So I said, ‘Lord, they know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believe on You. 20 And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’ 21 Then He said to me, ‘Depart, for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles.’”
Acts 22: 17-21   slt 2000
17 Es geschah mir aber, als ich nach Jerusalem zurückgekehrt war und im Tempel betete, daß ich in eine Verzückung geriet
18 und Ihn sah, der zu mir sprach: Eile und geh schnell aus Jerusalem fort, denn sie werden dein Zeugnis über mich nicht annehmen!
19 Und ich sprach: Herr, sie wissen selbst, daß ich die, welche an dich glaubten, ins Gefängnis werfen und in den Synagogen schlagen ließ,
20 und daß auch ich dabeistand, als das Blut deines Zeugen Stephanus vergossen wurde, und seiner Hinrichtung zustimmte und die Kleider derer verwahrte, die ihn töteten.
21 Und er sprach zu mir: Geh hin, denn ich will dich in die Ferne zu den Heiden senden!

v17… I was in a trance and saw Him saying to me… Paul had a vision of Jesus in the Temple shortly after his conversion…. He seems to only mention it now out of the desire to reach these Jews… He wanted them to understand that the Lord Himself had sent him to the Gentiles….. He didn´t think up the idea….
Paul's Christian life was founded on God's truth…. not spiritual experiences of any kind…  and he didn't even like to talk much about his spiritual experiences…
Paul made it very clear that it wasn't his idea to preach to the Gentiles….. He showed them that this was all God's plan….v22..
Acts 22: 22,23                         NKJV slt 2000
22 And they listened to him until this word, and then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he is not fit to live!” 23 Then, as they cried out and tore off their clothes and threw dust into the air,
22 Sie hörten ihm aber zu bis zu diesem Wort; und dann erhoben sie ihre Stimme und sprachen: Hinweg mit einem solchen von der Erde! Denn es darf nicht sein, daß er am Leben bleibt!
23 Als sie aber schrieen und die Kleider von sich warfen1 und Staub in die Luft schleuderten,
v22… And they listened to him until this word… The mob that had tried to kill Paul…. and had then listened carefully to his sermon…. Exploded again over the claim that God called him to go to the  "Gentiles."…. The Jewish mob was Ballistic at the idea that God's salvation could be given freely to believing Gentiles….
Until he said that bad word…. Gentiles… These angry people  could not stand the idea that God might save Gentiles without them first becoming Jews….
Think of their hatred and anger….  "  he is not fit to live!" They want to kill him because he took the Gospel to the Gentiles…. This is now the second riot in the space of a few minutes….
The Jews of that day did not have a problem with Gentiles becoming Jews….. That happened on a regular basis…. Sometimes Gentiles would realize that the Lord was truly God…. and they would become God fearers….  And some even went all the way to Judaism…. and were baptized and circumcised in order to become fully Jewish…  
Today…. many people are offended that "good people" must repent from their hearts to be saved….. Just like the  "sinners" are….. They decide that because they are “GOOD” people….. There is no need for repentance from them…. Repentence is only for bad…. Wicked people… v24..
Acts 22: 24      NKJV   slt 2000
24 the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, and said that he should be examined under scourging, so that he might know why they shouted so against him.
24 ließ der Befehlshaber ihn in die Kaserne führen und befahl, ihn unter Geißelhieben zu verhören, um zu erfahren, aus welchem Grund sie derart über ihn schrieen.
24a… The commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks…   The Roman commander must have been amazed at this turn of events… How bizarre… He saw Paul address this huge crowd in Hebrew… He didn't know what Paul said….. He had no clue as to how or why a new riot has broken out….  But he was determined to protect Paul….
v24b… Examined under scourging… It is suggested that Paul be beaten with a scourge to find out what happened….. The Chiliarch needed to know exactly what to charge Paul with…. This was already out of hand…. He was going to have some explaining to do… Scourging was quite different from being beaten with a rod or a normal whip…   Paul had been there and done that…  2 Corinthians 11:24-25….. He suffered beatings over and over again But… This was very severe… In fact after a scourging…. the victim  often died or was crippled for life…. V25…

Acts 22: 25-29                    NKJV 
25 And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who stood by, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned?”
26 When the centurion heard that, he went and told the commander, saying, “Take care what you do, for this man is a Roman.”
27 Then the commander came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman?”He said, “Yes.”
28 The commander answered, “With a large sum I obtained this citizenship.”And Paul said, “But I was born a citizen.”
29 Then immediately those who were about to examine him withdrew from him; and the commander was also afraid after he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.
Acts 22:25-29                        slt 2000
25 Als man ihn aber mit den Riemen festband, sprach Paulus zu dem Hauptmann, der dabeistand: Ist es euch erlaubt, einen Römer zu geißeln, und dazu noch ohne Urteil?
26 Als der Hauptmann das hörte, ging er hin und meldete es dem Befehlshaber und sprach: Hab acht, was du tun willst, denn dieser Mensch ist ein Römer!
27 Da kam der Befehlshaber herzu und sprach zu ihm: Sage mir, bist du ein Römer? Er antwortete: Ja!
28 Und der Befehlshaber erwiderte: Ich habe dieses Bürgerrecht für eine große Summe erworben. Paulus aber sprach: Ich dagegen bin sogar darin geboren!
29 Sogleich ließen die, welche ihn gewaltsam verhören wollten, von ihm ab, und auch der Befehlshaber fürchtete sich, nachdem er erfahren hatte, daß er ein Römer war, und weil er ihn hatte fesseln lassen.

v25… As they bound him with thongs… Paul knew that this was going to be very bad…. He was to receive a horrible beating….. It would not stop until he had confessed to a crime…. Now at that very moment he announces his Roman citizenship…. (Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned?)….
v26… Take care what you do, for this man is a Roman… When this became known to the Chiliarch…  the reaction was immediate…. Everything stopped…. Because it was a grievous wrong to even bind a Roman citizen without due process….   Now the commander was   afraid to do anything to Paul….  But how is it that this seemingly poor man…. is very well educated and a Roman Citizen….. He wanted to know… .v28…
v28… With a large sum I obtained this citizenship…
Paul reveals that he was born a citizen…. Paul was an extremely rare individual….. It was not normal to find such an educated and  devout Jew who was also a Roman citizen….. God used this unique background to use Paul in a special way…. You may not be a Roman citizen…. But you are unique…. The LORD will use you in a special way too…v30..
Acts 22: 30                        NKJV   slt 2000
30 The next day, because he wanted to know for certain why he was accused by the Jews, he released him from his bonds, and commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear, and brought Paul down and set him before them.
30 Da er aber mit Gewißheit erfahren wollte, weshalb er von den Juden angeklagt wurde, ließ er ihm am folgenden Tag die Fesseln abnehmen und befahl den obersten Priestern samt ihrem ganzen Hohen Rat, zu kommen; und er führte Paulus hinab und stellte ihn vor sie.
v30a… He wanted to know for certain why he was accused… All in all, this Roman commander seems to be a fair and good man….. Though he does not relate to the dispute between Paul and the Jews…. he does want a fair and just resolution of this conflict…
v30b… And commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear, and brought Paul down and set him before them… The opportunity to preach to the mob on the temple mount ended in another riot…. What a difficult day…. But now Paul hears that he will get what he believes is an awesome chance…. He would have the opportunity to speak before this same group that he was once a member of! The Sanhedrin was the Jewish government… They were the civil and Spiritual Government….
I think that he believed in his heart that this is his opportunity of a lifetime…. to preach to those he loves so much and knows so well…. who knew how God might use it!... Maybe revival and national repentance…  Paul didn't know how the Lord might use it…!
Paul knew the general plan…. Proclaim the Gospel to everyone who is willing to listen…  but just like us….. he didn't know how it would all work out…. It  is GOD who gives the increase….. He had to trust God step by step…. just like us….. Paul begins to preach… ch 23…v1..
Acts 23: 1-5                            NKJV 
1 Then Paul, looking earnestly at the council, said, “Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.”
2 And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth.
3 Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! For you sit to judge me according to the law, and do you command me to be struck contrary to the law?”
4 And those who stood by said, “Do you revile God’s high priest?”
5 Then Paul said, “I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’”

Acts 23: 1-5                             slt 2000
1 Da sah Paulus den Hohen Rat eindringlich an und sprach: Ihr Männer und Brüder, ich habe mein Leben mit allem guten Gewissen vor Gott geführt bis zu diesem Tag.
2 Aber der Hohepriester Ananias befahl den Umstehenden, ihn auf den Mund zu schlagen.
3 Da sprach Paulus zu ihm: Gott wird dich schlagen, du getünchte Wand! Du sitzt da, um mich zu richten nach dem Gesetz, und befiehlst, mich zu schlagen gegen das Gesetz?
4 Die Umstehenden aber sprachen: Schmähst du den Hohenpriester Gottes?
5 Da sprach Paulus: Ich wußte nicht, ihr Brüder, daß er Hoherpriester ist, denn es steht geschrieben: »Über einen Obersten deines Volkes sollst du nichts Böses reden«.
v1… Paul, looking earnestly at the council… Paul began his message before the Sanhedrin (what an opportunity… He has a captive audience of the most powerful rulers of Israel…  He said… "I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day…
Paul was not trying to say he was sinlessly perfect… Just that his heart and conscious were perfect… When he sinned… He repented and cried out to the Lord… Aber…  Paul's statement that he had lived in all good conscience before God…. Made the  high priest very angry…  v2…
v2… And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth… He was offended that someone like Paul could claim to have a clear conscience….. Paul had left the Sanhedrin to follow Jesus….
v3a… God will strike you, you whitewashed wall!... Paul was not afraid to speak out…
The high priest truly was a whitewashed wall…. Appearing godly and righteous….. Clean on the outside… but full of dead man’s bones…
His command to have Paul struck….. Was in fact against both the spirit and the letter of the law….
Ananias was high priest at this time…  He was well known for his greed… the ancient Jewish historian Josephus tells that Ananias stole the tithes that belonged to the common priests….
v3b… God will strike you… "Paul's words were more prophetic than he realized…. God did indeed strike Ananias….
Some think that Paul is being sarcastic when he apologized…. Basically saying surely the representative of God would not be so lawless and wicked… Ananias' final days were hard…  despite all his wealth and bribes…. His wickedness caught up with him… In 70 A.D. He was captured hiding in a sewer canal…. Back to Paul´s defense…. Apologia… v6…
Acts 22: 6-9                    NKJV
6 But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!”
7 And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the assembly was divided.
8 For Sadducees say that there is no resurrection—and no angel or spirit; but the Pharisees confess both.
9 Then there arose a loud outcry. And the scribes of the Pharisees’ party arose and protested, saying, “We find no evil in this man; but if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him, let us not fight against God.” 
Acts 22: 6-9        slt 2000
6 Da aber Paulus wußte, daß der eine Teil aus Sadduzäern, der andere aus Pharisäern bestand, rief er in die Ratsversammlung hinein: Ihr Männer und Brüder, ich bin ein Pharisäer und der Sohn eines Pharisäers; wegen der Hoffnung auf die Auferstehung der Toten werde ich gerichtet!
7 Als er aber dies sagte, entstand ein Streit zwischen den Pharisäern und den Sadduzäern, und die Versammlung spaltete sich.
8 Die Sadduzäer sagen nämlich, es gebe keine Auferstehung, auch weder Engel noch Geist; die Pharisäer aber bekennen sich zu beidem.
9 Es entstand aber ein großes Geschrei, und die Schriftgelehrten von der Partei der Pharisäer standen auf, stritten heftig und sprachen: Wir finden nichts Böses an diesem Menschen; wenn aber ein Geist zu ihm geredet hat oder ein Engel, so wollen wir nicht gegen Gott kämpfen!
v6a… Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees… Paul gives up on preaching the gospel… It is clear that they will not turn and repent…  He acts quickly because this council that wanted to stone him….. Paul's divides the Sanhedrin along their party lines…. He works to get the Pharisees on his side… He points the debate to issues of dispute between the Pharisees and the Sadducees…
The Sadducees were the "religious liberals" of their day… They denied most of the scriptures and anything supernatural…. They totally rejected the resurrection of the dead… They were very politically connected… and because of their power… They became generally very wealthy…
The Pharisees were the "fundamentalists" of their day…. They took the Bible seriously…. But they were very legalistic and loved rules…. And rules about rules…
Usually the Sadducees and the Pharisees were bitter enemies… but they were totally united against Jesus (Matthew 16:1, John 11:47-53) and of course all followers of the way…. It's interesting how people with nothing in common will unite to oppose God and His People… Psalm 2…
v6b… I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee… Knowing his audience… Paul reminds them that he was a Pharisee…. He says "concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged." He says they want to kill me because I believe in the resurrection of the dead… True…
The center of Paul's message is the Gospel…. Jesus is risen from the dead…. He is Lord and Savior
Paul picked the right issue…. By saying these things… he immediately gained the Pharisees as allies…  and he let them argue it out with the Sadducees… v 9… We find no evil in this man…. The Pharisees declare him innocent… And when they say "let us not fight against God"… They are returning to the previous attitude that their great leader Gamaliel had recommended in Acts 5:38-39...
Paul has prevented Himself from being stoned as a Heretic…. but he certainly cannot be happy about the whole thing… He had the chance to preach to a huge crowd of attentive Jews on the temple mount…. two Riots in the Temple…  and now an opportunity to preach to the Sanhedrin.... Turns into a Fight between the very judges that he hoped to persuade to follow Jesus…

Acts 23: 10,11  NKJV
10 Now when there arose a great dissension, the commander, fearing lest Paul might be pulled to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them, and bring him into the barracks.
11 But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.”
10 Da aber ein großer Aufruhr entstand, befürchtete der Befehlshaber, Paulus könnte von ihnen zerrissen werden, und er befahl der Truppe, herabzukommen und ihn rasch aus ihrer Mitte herauszuführen und in die Kaserne zu bringen.
11 Aber in der folgenden Nacht trat der Herr zu ihm und sprach: Sei getrost, Paulus! Denn wie du in Jerusalem von mir Zeugnis abgelegt hast, so sollst du auch in Rom Zeugnis ablegen.
v10a… Now when there arose a great dissension… The commander must have decided that these Jews are insane….  They were constantly having violent arguments…  Earlier they rioted over the word "Gentiles," now this riot is also over one word "resurrection." And now once again… Paul´s life is in danger…
v10b… fearing lest Paul might be pulled to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them… The commander removed Paul from the violent crowd of leaders for his own safety…. Crazy… huh…. The leaders of Israel are trying to kill Paul….. They are really still trying to kill Jesus…
v11a… But the following night the Lord stood by him and said… What a dark place Paul must have been in…. Three riots…. Two once-in-a-lifetime opportunities blew up in his face…. It is easy to understand that Paul was discouraged…
But….  the Lord stood by him…. God promised this… turn to Deut. 31…
Deuteronomy 31:6                   NKJV    slt 2000
6 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”
 6 Seid stark und mutig! Fürchtet euch nicht und laßt euch nicht vor ihnen grauen, denn der Herr, dein Gott, geht selbst mit dir; er wird dich nicht aufgeben noch dich verlassen!
What a comfort for all of us….  We can be strong…… We do not need to be afraid…. God Himself is the one who goes with us…… He will never leave us….he will never forsake us… Jesus knew where Paul was… He had not lost sight of Paul because he was in jail….
God knows where you are today… even if you are feeling lost and alone… Are you feeling abandoned by the Lord….? It may seem so in the darkness…
But my dear friends… God knows where you are….. And he wants you to be content in your circumstances…. and wait for him…. He will never leave you or forsake you… Hebrews 13…v5…
Paul was alone…. but he wasn't alone…. Jesus was there and Jesus was enough…..
We should remember that Paul had been miraculously delivered from jail before…. but this time… Instead of delivering Paul… Jesus is with him in his trial… That´s true for us too…
Sometimes we are delivered out of the storm…. Sometimes… He calms the storm…. But sometimes we endure the storm and find that the Lord is right there with us….
v11b… Be of good cheer, Paul… Jesus was not only with Paul… He comforted Him….  Jesus was there to comfort and encourage His faithful servant….
Jesus would not have said be of good cheer unless Paul needed to hear those words….
Paul knew his situation was bad…. but he didn't know what would happen the  next day….. forty Jewish assassins would gather together and vow to go on a hunger strike until they murdered Paul…..
Paul didn't know this would happen….  but Jesus did! Yet He can still say to Paul… be of good cheer….
I think that Jesus could have said…. Oh, Paul cheer up…. It is going to get worse…. But I will never leave you and I will never forsake you.
I know that some of you are going through some very hard times right now… You might think that things are really bad right now… but you may not even know the half of it! We cannot see the future….
But Jesus does…. and he still says to you…. be of good cheer….. Why? Well it is Not because everything is fine…. but because God is still on His throne…. Turn with me to Romans 8:28….
Romans 8: 28                      NKJV   slt 2000
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
28 Wir wissen aber, daß denen, die Gott lieben, alle Dinge zum Besten dienen, denen, die nach dem Vorsatz berufen sind.
The Lord Himself has allowed these circumstances and He has a plan in it… These disasters are for our good and His Glory…
Today is Father’s day… I want to wish all of you fathers a great day…. I want to remind all of us that no matter what our earthly fathers were like…. We have a great Heavenly Father…. He is perfect… He is always here for us…. Always…
Some of you know Peter Will…. He has preached here in CCW…. Just a few days ago his son Jason died…. I cannot imagine what that must be like…. Peter and he family have been greatly comforted by the Lord to know that Jason is a believer…. He is with the Lord…. As fathers and as parents …. There is nothing more important… than that we lead our children to the Lord Jesus Christ…..
Dad´s you have been given a great blessing to have children….. That blessing brings great responsibilities too……
Paul´s very difficult life was a part of God´s great plan… Today almost 2000 years later…. we are still benefitting from all of the beatings and sufferings…. All of hard times he went through were for his good and God´s glory…. I am sure that Paul had no idea how the Lord was going to use the disasters in his life… What a wonderful privilege it is to suffer for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ… Paul will spent the rest of his life in prisoned…. But that will not stop him from declaring the Good news to anyone who will listen… Back to Acts 23…v11…
Acts 22: 11  NKJV slt 2000
11 But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.”
11 Aber in der folgenden Nacht trat der Herr zu ihm und sprach: Sei getrost, Paulus! Denn wie du in Jerusalem von mir Zeugnis abgelegt hast, so sollst du auch in Rom Zeugnis ablegen.
v11c… For as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome…
Jesus said you have testified for me in Jerusalem…. Now you must do the same in Rome… Paul could have been discouraged about the lack of results from the sermon in Jerusalem…. But the results were not his responsibility….. His responsibility was to bring the Word of God and to testify of Jesus…. the results were God's responsibility….   The greatest words a faithful child of God can hear are I have more for you to do…. Those words bring joy to a faithful servant….
Listen to me…. It doesn´t matter if you are happy with the results of your ministry for the Lord so far or not… Results are the Lord´s business… We are called to follow and be faithful…  Dear child of God don´t be discouraged…  there is more for you to do! Reading ahead… Paul did get to Rome… As always…. Paul encouraged and exhorted the believers to serve the Lord and each other from the heart… turn with me to Romans 12…v9…
Romans 12: 9-13                              NLT
9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
Romans 12: 9-13       Neues Leben
9 Die Liebe sei ungeheuchelt! Haßt das Böse, haltet fest am Guten!
10 In der Bruderliebe seid herzlich gegeneinander; in der Ehrerbietung komme einer dem anderen zuvor!
11 Im Eifer laßt nicht nach, seid brennend im Geist, dient dem Herrn!
12 Seid fröhlich in Hoffnung, in Bedrängnis haltet stand, seid beharrlich im Gebet!
13 Nehmt Anteil an den Nöten der Heiligen, übt willig Gastfreundschaft!
This is very practical advice on how we live our Christian lives…. I used to NLT here because it is clear and simple… We see Paul´s love and encouragement to all believers at all times…. To close this morning…. turn to Phil…c2…v1…….
Philippians 2: 1-5                         NLT
1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?
2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.
4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

Philippians 2: 1-5                      Neues Leben
1 Ermutigt ihr euch gegenseitig, Christus nachzufolgen? Tröstet ihr euch gegenseitig in Liebe? Seid ihr im Heiligen Geist verbunden? Gibt es unter euch Barmherzigkeit und Mitgefühl?
2 Dann macht doch meine Freude vollkommen, indem ihr in guter Gemeinschaft zusammenarbeitet, einander liebt und von ganzem Herzen zusammenhaltet.
3 Seid nicht selbstsüchtig; strebt nicht danach, einen guten Eindruck auf andere zu machen, sondern seid bescheiden und achtet die anderen höher als euch selbst.
4 Denkt nicht nur an eure eigenen Angelegenheiten, sondern interessiert euch auch für die anderen und für das, was sie tun.
Die Erniedrigung und Erhöhung von Christus
5 Geht so miteinander um, wie Christus es euch vorgelebt hat.
Our work here is not finished…. There is more to do… More people to bring to Christ…. more ways for you to glorify Him…. more people to pray with…. more humble ways to serve His people…. more hungry to feed…. more weary saints for you to encourage!
The promise of more work to do was also a promise of continued protection…. For now Paul was invincible…. He could not die until he had finished his race with joy! God had appointed for him…..
Paul faced his enemies the next day with a smile…. He knew that they were powerless against him…. because God had more for him to do!....
You know… Anyone can be of good cheer when everything is going great… but the Christian can even be of good cheer when everything is rotten….  because he knows that he has a great God.... Let’s pray…

Sunday, June 14, 2015

2015.06.14            Acts 21: 27-40; Acts 22: 1-16
                         Paul is arrested
As we walk with Paul through the birth of the Early church…. We have seen one amazing thing after another…. We have witnessed the radical transformation of not only Paul…. But countless numbers of Jews and Gentiles…. Many  have repented and believed the Good News of the Gospel… Paul brings believing Gentile Leaders from Asia to Jerusalem…. They have come to show their love for the Jewish believers by giving them money and encouragement to help them in their hard times…
Paul hopes that in this  beautiful act of love… the Jewish and Gentile Christians will come together as one body… Paul hopes to bring together the two parts of the church…. Jew and Gentile…..
It is the great climax of his ministry….. He has evangelized everywhere he could…  from Jerusalem all the way to Greece and Asia… In all of those areas… he has established churches… He has taught them and loved them…. He has been a godly example to them…. And down through the years…. Paul has been a tremendous example to us as well… He has  encouraged and strengthened them… They have become strong in The Gospel…  And as he comes back to Jerusalem…. In his last act as a free man…. He works for the unity of the Spirit and the bond of peace… But there some unbelieving Jews from Asia…. Hey hated Paul and had tried to kill him before… Let´s pick up where we left off… Acts 21…v27…
Acts 21: 27- 30                       NKJV
27 Now when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, 28 crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, the law, and this place; and furthermore he also brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” 29 (For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.)
30 And all the city was disturbed; and the people ran together, seized Paul, and dragged him out of the temple; and immediately the doors were shut.

Acts 21: 27-30                                   slt 2000
27 Als aber die sieben Tage zu Ende gingen, brachten die Juden aus [der Provinz] Asia, die ihn im Tempel sahen, die ganze Volksmenge in Aufruhr und legten Hand an ihn
28 und schrieen: Ihr israelitischen Männer, kommt zu Hilfe! Das ist der Mensch, der überall jedermann lehrt gegen das Volk und das Gesetz und diese Stätte. Dazu hat er auch noch Griechen in den Tempel geführt und diese heilige Stätte entweiht!
29 Sie hatten nämlich vorher in der Stadt den Epheser Trophimus mit ihm gesehen und meinten, Paulus habe ihn in den Tempel geführt.
30 Da kam die ganze Stadt in Bewegung, und es entstand ein Volksauflauf; und sie ergriffen den Paulus und schleppten ihn zum Tempel hinaus, und sogleich wurden die Türen verschlossen.

v27… Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd… They claimed that Paul was against the people [Israel], the law, and this place [the temple], but this was unfounded. Paul simply rejected trust in any of these as a basis for righteousness before God, which comes only through Jesus Christ.

I want us to notice that the charges against Paul here is this text…. are like the charges that Stephen was executed for (Acts 6:13)….. He was there approving of the stoning of Steven… … Now he is accused of the same things…. And make no mistake…. They plan to kill him too….
v29… Trophimus the Ephesian … whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple… It was absolutely forbidden for Gentiles to go beyond the designated "Court of the Gentiles"…. Signs were posted (in both Greek and Latin)…. "No foreigner may enter within the barricade which surrounds the temple and enclosure…. Any one who is caught trespassing will bear personal responsibility for his ensuing death….. The Romans were  sensitive to this…. They authorized the Jews to execute anyone that offended in this way….  
v30… All the city was disturbed…. and the people ran together….The crowd was huge because it was feast-time (Acts 20:16)….. It was enraged because they believed Paul not only preached against the people, the law, and the temple….. but also that Paul profaned the temple by bringing a Gentile into the inner courts…  verse 31…
Acts 21:31-39                         NKJV
31 Now as they were seeking to kill him, news came to the commander of the garrison that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. 32 He immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down to them. And when they saw the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. 33 Then the commander came near and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and he asked who he was and what he had done. 34 And some among the multitude cried one thing and some another.

So when he could not ascertain the truth because of the tumult, he commanded him to be taken into the barracks. 35 When he reached the stairs, he had to be carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the mob. 36 For the multitude of the people followed after, crying out, “Away with him!”
37 Then as Paul was about to be led into the barracks, he said to the commander, “May I speak to you?”
He replied, “Can you speak Greek? 38 Are you not the Egyptian who some time ago stirred up a rebellion and led the four thousand assassins out into the wilderness?”
39 But Paul said, “I am a Jew from Tarsus, in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city; and I implore you, permit me to speak to the people.”

Acts 21: 31- 39                        slt 2000
 31 Als sie ihn aber zu töten suchten, kam die Meldung hinauf zu dem Befehlshaber der Schar3, daß ganz Jerusalem in Aufruhr sei.
32 Der nahm sogleich Soldaten und Hauptleute mit sich und eilte zu ihnen hinab. Als sie aber den Befehlshaber und die Soldaten sahen, hörten sie auf, den Paulus zu schlagen.
33 Da kam der Befehlshaber herzu und verhaftete ihn und ließ ihn mit zwei Ketten fesseln und erkundigte sich, wer er denn sei und was er getan habe.
34 In der Menge aber schrieen die einen dies, die anderen das; und da er wegen des Tumultes nichts Gewisses erfahren konnte, befahl er, ihn in die Kaserne4 zu führen.
35 Als er aber an die Stufen kam, mußte er von den Soldaten getragen werden wegen der Gewalttätigkeit der Volksmenge.
36 Denn die Masse des Volkes folgte nach und schrie: Hinweg mit ihm!
37 Und als Paulus in die Kaserne geführt werden sollte, sprach er zu dem Befehlshaber: Darf ich etwas zu dir sagen? Er aber sprach: Du verstehst Griechisch?
38 Bist du also nicht der Ägypter, der vor diesen Tagen einen Aufruhr erregte und die 4 000 Mann Meuchelmörder in die Wüste hinausführte?
39 Aber Paulus sprach: Ich bin ein jüdischer Mann aus Tarsus, Bürger einer nicht unberühmten Stadt in Cilicien. Ich bitte dich, erlaube mir, zum Volk zu reden!
v31a… Now as they were seeking to kill him… Paul has been seized by this crazy mob….   They wanted to kill him… right there in the outer courtyard area of the temple mount….. Paul had been attacked by murderous mobs before (Acts 14:5, 19)… and he must have thought, "Here we go again!"…..
v31b… News came to the commander of the garrison that all Jerusalem was in an uproar… The Tower of Antonia… Which is at the northwest corner of the temple mount…. The commander was a Chiliarch…. He had about 1000 Roman soldiers at his command… And they were only two flights of stairs from the court of the Gentiles…
v32… When they saw the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul… The Romans  arrested Paul both for his own protection…. They moved to stop the cause of the uproar…..
v33… Two chains…  Paul was chained to a solider on each side… Paul certainly remembered the prophecy of Agabus (Acts 21:11)…

v36… The multitude of the people followed after, crying out, "Away with him!"… When the mob cried out for his death…. Paul must have had de-ja-vu here…. I think Paul remembered when he was part of that stoned Stephen to death(Acts 7:54-8:1)…..
v37-39… At first, the Roman commander thought that Paul was a terrorist…. and was surprised that Paul was an educated man and could speak Greek…..
According to Josephus… The Egyptian mentioned here   led an army of four thousand rebels…. They declared they would take over the temple mount….. Roman soldiers had quickly defeated them but the leader got away…. Paul says no… v39…
v39… I am a Jew from Tarsus, in Cilicia, a citizen of no mean city… When Paul identified himself as a citizen of Tarsus…. The commander realized that he was not a terrorist… He was willing to let him speak… Even now with his life in danger from an angry mob…. Paul had one thing on his mind… He said to himself….What a crowd… Let me preach the gospel!"….. v40…
Acts 21: 40                      NKJV  slt 2000
40 So when he had given him permission, Paul stood on the stairs and motioned with his hand to the people. And when there was a great silence, he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, saying,
40 Und als er ihm die Erlaubnis gab, stellte sich Paulus auf die Stufen und gab dem Volk ein Zeichen mit der Hand. Und als es ganz still geworden war, redete er sie in hebräischer Sprache an und sagte:
v40a… So when he had given him permission… Why did the commander allow Paul to speak to the crowd? Because he had recognized that he had wronged Paul… and because he hoped that Paul's speech might quiet down the mob…
v40b… Paul stood on the stairs and motioned with his hand to the people. And when there was a great silence, he spoke to them in the Hebrew language… What a moment! Paul stood and looked at them…. The    rioting mob became silent….. Notice Paul spoke to them in Hebrew… He spoke Hebrew with his Jewish audience…. This was something Paul had long prayed for…. He had an incredible heart for the salvation of his fellow Jews Romans 9:1-5…. and He was the perfect man to effectively communicate the gospel to them…  
Paul's unbelieveable ministry shows us how to follow Jesus… With everything that we have…. In a way unlike most of us…. Paul really did know the fellowship of Jesus sufferings…. He was often being conformed to His death (Philippians 3:10)…. He followed Jesus no matter what it cost him….
My friends… we are called to follow Jesus to…. We shouldn't be surprised about our hard times…. Even when we are falsely accused…. Even when we are Hated for His great names sake…. Even when we are killed for Jesus´ sake… Jesus said that it would happen… Please turn with me to Luke 21… v16,17…
Luke 21: 16,17                       NKJV    slt 2000
16 You will be betrayed even by parents and brothers, relatives and friends; and they will put some of you to death. 17 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake.
16 Ihr werdet aber auch von Eltern und Brüdern und Verwandten und Freunden ausgeliefert werden, und man wird etliche von euch töten,
17 und ihr werdet von allen gehaßt werden um meines Namens willen.
The Gospel is powerful….. It causes everyone who hears it to choose…. Some will choose life and repent of their sins and cry out Jesus…. Some will refuse to repent…. They will become enemies of Jesus and enemies of all Christians…. We must choose to follow Jesus…. No matter what the cost… Once again Isil has taken Christians captive…. We need to pray diligently for our suffering brothers and Sisters… We need to pray for ourselves too… there may come  a time when we must lay down our lives for Jesus…. and trust God will gloriously raise us up….
Let´s continue as Paul proclaims the Gospel to his fellow Jews… ch22…. V1..
Acts 22:1- 5                                     NKJV
1 “Brethren and fathers, hear my defense before you now.” 2 And when they heard that he spoke to them in the Hebrew language, they kept all the more silent.
Then he said: 3 “I am indeed a Jew, born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, taught according to the strictness of our fathers’ law, and was zealous toward God as you all are today.
4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women, 5 as also the high priest bears me witness, and all the council of the elders, from whom I also received letters to the brethren, and went to Damascus to bring in chains even those who were there to Jerusalem to be punished.
Acts 22: 1-5                                     slt 2000
1 Ihr Männer, Brüder und Väter, hört jetzt meine Verteidigung vor euch an!
2 Als sie aber hörten, daß er in hebräischer Sprache zu ihnen redete, wurden sie noch ruhiger; und er sprach:
3 Ich bin ein jüdischer Mann, geboren in Tarsus in Cilicien, aber erzogen in dieser Stadt, zu den Füßen Gamaliels, unterwiesen in der gewissenhaften Einhaltung des Gesetzes der Väter, und ich war ein Eiferer für Gott, wie ihr alle es heute seid.
4 Ich verfolgte diesen Weg bis auf den Tod, indem ich Männer und Frauen band und ins Gefängnis überlieferte,
5 wie mir auch der Hohepriester und die ganze Ältestenschaft Zeugnis gibt. Von ihnen empfing ich sogar Briefe an die Brüder und zog nach Damaskus, um auch die, welche dort waren, gebunden nach Jerusalem zu führen, damit sie bestraft würden.

v1,2… Brethren and fathers, hear… Paul began his great sermon before the Jews the same way Stephen did: Men and brethren and fathers, listen. (Acts 7:2) He was very respectful to these who were trying to kill him just minutes before…. I don´t even know  if I would have said anything at all…
v3a… I am indeed a Jew… Paul is careful to lay the common ground between them….
v3b… Born in Tarsus of Cilicia, but brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel… Paul say that although he was born in Tarsus…  He was brought up in Jerusalem… And he told them that he learned at the feet of Gamaliel… one of the most respected rabbis of the day (Acts 5:34).
Paul still served the God of his fathers…. he had not rejected Judaism…. Judaism had rejected Jesus the Messiah…..
v3c… Zealous toward God as you all are today… Paul also reminds the crowd of his Zeal as a persecutor of the Way… I even traveled outside of Jerusalem seeking out these Christians… Paul is very clear…. "I understand your anger and Zeal… I was exactly like you….   I know where you are coming from… But something happened to Paul as he tried to kill Christians… v…6…
Acts 22: 6-11                              NKJV   
6 “Now it happened, as I journeyed and came near Damascus at about noon, suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me. 7 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’ 8 So I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’
9 “And those who were with me indeed saw the light and were afraid, but they did not hear the voice of Him who spoke to me. 10 So I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Arise and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all things which are appointed for you to do.’ 11 And since I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of those who were with me, I came into Damascus.
Acts 21: 6-11                     slt 2000
6 Es geschah mir aber, als ich auf meiner Reise in die Nähe von Damaskus kam, daß mich am Mittag plötzlich vom Himmel her ein helles Licht umstrahlte.
7 Und ich fiel zu Boden und hörte eine Stimme, die zu mir sprach: Saul! Saul! Warum verfolgst du mich?
8 Ich aber antwortete: Wer bist du, Herr? Und er sprach zu mir: Ich bin Jesus, der Nazarener, den du verfolgst!
9 Meine Begleiter aber sahen zwar das Licht und wurden voll Furcht, aber die Stimme dessen, der mit mir redete, hörten sie nicht.
10 Und ich sprach: Was soll ich tun, Herr? Der Herr sprach zu mir: Steh auf und geh nach Damaskus! Dort wird man dir alles sagen, was dir zu tun bestimmt ist.
11 Da ich aber wegen des Glanzes jenes Lichtes nicht sehen konnte, wurde ich von meinen Begleitern an der Hand geführt und kam nach Damaskus.

v6,7… Suddenly a great light from heaven shone around me… Paul was a determined persecutor of Christians…. and He rejected Jesus as Messiah until… This light from heaven shone on him….. It is as if Paul is saying: "I was just like you until I met Jesus…. In an instant… Jesus radically transformed my life….
v8-10… I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting… Paul realized that he was persecuting Jesus Himself…. This miraculous light was brighter than the noonday sun…..
v11… And since I could not see for the glory of that light… The brightness of that light made Paul blind…. Ironic because by persecuting Jesus…. This great Pharisee showed that he was spiritually blind…. now he is also physically blind… and This proud Pharisee must humbly be led by the hand into the city of Damascus….. v12…
Acts 22: 12 -16                     NKJV
12 “Then a certain Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews who dwelt there, 13 came to me; and he stood and said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that same hour I looked up at him. 14 Then he said, ‘The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will, and see the Just One, and hear the voice of His mouth. 15 For you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
Acts 22: 12-16                        slt 2000
12 Aber ein gewisser Ananias, ein gottesfürchtiger Mann nach dem Gesetz, der von allen Juden, die dort wohnen, ein gutes Zeugnis hat,
13 der kam zu mir, trat herzu und sprach zu mir: Bruder Saul, werde wieder sehend! Und zur selben Stunde konnte ich ihn sehen.
14 Er aber sprach: Der Gott unserer Väter hat dich vorherbestimmt, seinen Willen zu erkennen und den Gerechten zu sehen und die Stimme aus seinem Mund zu hören;
15 denn du sollst bei allen Menschen ein Zeuge für ihn sein von dem, was du gesehen und gehört hast.
16 Und nun, was zögerst du? Steh auf und laß dich taufen, und laß deine Sünden abwaschen, indem du den Namen des Herrn anrufst!
v12,13… Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good testimony with all the Jews… Paul notes that it was Ananias…. a man with credentials as a good Jew who received him into the Christian family…..
v14… The God of our fathers has chosen you that you should know His will… As we listen to Paul's speech… we see that God has ordained everything that has happened to Paul…  
v15… you will be His witness to all men of what you have seen and heard…. This is exactly the mission of very believer…. To testify to the grace and mercy of our great God and Savior The Lord Jesus Christ…. Like Paul… Jesus has also transformed our lives…. Because you and I have also seen Jesus…… We have seen Him in this book…. Jesus said that we are blessed…. Turn with me to John 20…v29…
John 20: 29-31                                   NKJV  
 29 Jesus said to him, “Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.
30 And truly Jesus did many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that believing you may have life in His name.
29 Jesus spricht zu ihm: Thomas, du glaubst, weil du mich gesehen hast; glückselig sind, die nicht sehen und doch glauben!  
30 Noch viele andere Zeichen tat Jesus nun vor seinen Jüngern, die in diesem Buch nicht geschrieben sind.
31 Diese aber sind geschrieben, damit ihr glaubt, daß Jesus der Christus, der Sohn Gottes ist, und damit ihr durch den Glauben Leben habt in seinem Namen.
Although we have not directly seen and touched the Lord Jesus….. We have seen Him here in this book….. We have heard the Good News of the Gospel…. We have repented of our sins….. Jesus has saved and transformed us… And we have everlasting life through His name… The Good News is that although we are lost in ours sins…. Jesus has paid the penalty and redeemed us so that we can live for Him….
Back to Acts 22…v…16..
Acts 22:16                 NKJV  slt 2000
16 And now why are you waiting? Arise and be baptized, and wash away your sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
16 Und nun, was zögerst du? Steh auf und laß dich taufen, und laß deine Sünden abwaschen, indem du den Namen des Herrn anrufst!
v16… Now Paul calls on his fellow Jews to get up and be Baptised….  This is a call to genuine repentance… He is asking for a public profession of faith in the Lord Jesus Christ as Messiah and Lord…. This was no raise your hand and pray the prayer altar call by Paul…. Paul called for a public display of repentance and conversion from them…. This was a direct assault on their pride and legalism…. You see…. Baptism was for Heathen converts to Judaism…. So that they could wash away their Gentileness…. Paul was saying…. Listen… you are not fooling me…. And you are not fooling God… He sees your pride and self righteousness…. You must show genuine repentance….
Humble your selves and be baptized now… Cry out to the Lord for mercy…. Wash away your sins once and for all… Can you see Paul´s deep love and care for these people…
Remember just a few minutes ago they were trying to Kill him… But that was Paul´s great example to us…. He faced the prospect of beating and death again….. and yet….. The only thing that he cared about was to seize the moment for the Gospel…. He took the opportunity to proclaim the Gospel to them….
We can clearly see his deep desire for their salvation by reading Romans ch 9 and 10…. A great place for your own quiet times…

I want to leave us with some very practical advice from Paul´s example on these temple steps…. We can apply these same principles to the disasters that we encounter in our lives… And we can use his pattern when we give our own personal testimonies…
1… Accept the Hard times that confront you as being God ordained…. The Lord was not surprised….. And The Lord has a plan for this disaster… We have nothing to be afraid of…
2… Know that this disaster is an opportunity….. It is an opportunity to trust the Lord and His unfailing love and mercy…. It is an opportunity  to testify to the great grace and mercy that He has shown you…. It is not a time to turn in fear…
3… build bridges to your enemies…. Show them that you can relate… Be loving and patient and gracious…
4… When you talk about Salvation magnify the LORD…. Talk about what the Lord did in your heart and life… Proclaim Gods´ desire and power to save and transform lives….
One last scripture this morning…. The whole reason for the conflict in the Temple that day…. was because some people continued to believe that they could obey the law of God…. and by perfect obedience become righteous on their own….. Impossible…. The reason for the law was to show us our sin filled hearts…. To point us to the need for a Savior…. To point us to Jesus…. turn to Galatians 2: 19…
Galatians 2 : 19-21                        NLT  
19 For when I tried to keep the law, it condemned me. So I died to the law—I stopped trying to meet all its requirements—so that I might live for God. 20 My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. 21 I do not treat the grace of God as meaningless. For if keeping the law could make us right with God, then there was no need for Christ to die.
Galatians 2: 19 -21                          Neues Leben
19 Durch das Gesetz werde ich verurteilt, weil ich es nicht erfüllen kann. Ich aber bin mit Christus gekreuzigt, sodass ich jetzt nicht mehr unter dem Gesetz stehe, sondern für Gott lebe.
20 Ich lebe, aber nicht mehr ich selbst, sondern Christus lebt in mir. Ich lebe also mein Leben in diesem irdischen Körper im Glauben an den Sohn Gottes, der mich geliebt und sich selbst für mich geopfert hat.
21 Ich gehöre nicht zu denen, die die Gnade Gottes gering achten. Denn wenn wir durch das Gesetz gerettet werden könnten6, hätte Christus nicht sterben müssen.