Jul 24, 2016
Fellowship Matters
Acts 28:11-15

Paul Arrives at Rome

11 At the end of three months we set sail on an Alexandrian ship which had wintered at the island, and which had [a]the Twin Brothers for its figurehead. 12 After we put in at Syracuse, we stayed there for three days. 13 From there we sailed around and arrived at Rhegium, and a day later a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli.14 [b]There we found some brethren, and were invited to stay with them for seven days; and thus we came to Rome. 15 And the brethren, when they heard about us, came from there as far as the [c]Market of Appius and [d]Three Inns to meet us; and when Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.

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  • Jul 24, 2016Fellowship Matters
    Jul 24, 2016
    Fellowship Matters
    Acts 28:11-15

    Paul Arrives at Rome

    11 At the end of three months we set sail on an Alexandrian ship which had wintered at the island, and which had [a]the Twin Brothers for its figurehead. 12 After we put in at Syracuse, we stayed there for three days. 13 From there we sailed around and arrived at Rhegium, and a day later a south wind sprang up, and on the second day we came to Puteoli.14 [b]There we found some brethren, and were invited to stay with them for seven days; and thus we came to Rome. 15 And the brethren, when they heard about us, came from there as far as the [c]Market of Appius and [d]Three Inns to meet us; and when Paul saw them, he thanked God and took courage.

  • Jul 17, 2016The Silent Sermon
    Jul 17, 2016
    The Silent Sermon
    Acts 28:1-10

    Safe at Malta

    28 When they had been brought safely through, then we found out thatthe island was called [a]Malta. 2 The [b]natives showed us extraordinary kindness; for because of the rain that had set in and because of the cold, they kindled a fire and received us all. 3 But when Paul had gathered a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire, a viper came out[c]because of the heat and fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the[d]natives saw the creature hanging from his hand, they began saying to one another, “Undoubtedly this man is a murderer, and though he has been saved from the sea, [e]justice has not allowed him to live.”5 However he shook the creature off into the fire and suffered no harm.6 But they were expecting that he was about to swell up or suddenly fall down dead. But after they had waited a long time and had seen nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and began to say that he was a god.

    Now in the neighborhood of that place were lands belonging to the leading man of the island, named Publius, who welcomed us and entertained us courteously three days. And it happened that the father of Publius was lying in bed afflicted with recurrent fever and dysentery; and Paul went in to see him and after he had prayed, he laid his hands on him and healed him. After this had happened, the rest of the people on the island who had diseases were coming to him and getting cured.10 They also honored us with many [f]marks of respect; and when we were setting sail, they [g]supplied us with [h]all we needed.

  • Jul 10, 2016“Arise and Build the Sanctuary of the Lord”
    Jul 10, 2016
    “Arise and Build the Sanctuary of the Lord”

    1 Chronicles 22:19

    19 Now set your heart and your soul to seek the Lord your God; arise, therefore, and build the sanctuary of the Lord God, so that you may bring the ark of the covenant of the Lord and the holy vessels of God into the house that is to be built for the name of the Lord.”

  • Jun 26, 2016Things to Think About Before You Jump Ship
    Jun 26, 2016
    Things to Think About Before You Jump Ship

    Acts 27:27-44 (NASB)

    27 But when the fourteenth night came, as we were being driven about in the Adriatic Sea, about midnight the sailors began to surmise that [a]they were approaching some land. 28 They took soundings and found it to be twenty fathoms; and a little farther on they took another sounding and found it to be fifteen fathoms. 29 Fearing that we might run aground somewhere on the [b]rocks, they cast four anchors from the stern and[c]wished for daybreak. 30 But as the sailors were trying to escape from the ship and had let down the ship’s boat into the sea, on the pretense of intending to lay out anchors from the bow, 31 Paul said to the centurion and to the soldiers, “Unless these men remain in the ship, you yourselves cannot be saved.” 32 Then the soldiers cut away the ropes of the ship’s boat and let it fall away.

    33 Until the day was about to dawn, Paul was encouraging them all to take some food, saying, “Today is the fourteenth day that you have been constantly watching and going without eating, having taken nothing.34 Therefore I encourage you to take some food, for this is for your preservation, for not a hair from the head of any of you will perish.”35 Having said this, he took bread and gave thanks to God in the presence of all, and he broke it and began to eat. 36 All of them [d]were encouraged and they themselves also took food. 37 All of us in the ship were two hundred and seventy-six [e]persons. 38 When they had eaten enough, they began to lighten the ship by throwing out the wheat into the sea.

    39 When day came, they [f]could not recognize the land; but they did observe a bay with a beach, and they resolved to drive the ship onto it if they could. 40 And casting off the anchors, they left them in the sea while at the same time they were loosening the ropes of the rudders; and hoisting the foresail to the wind, they were heading for the beach. 41 But striking a [g]reef where two seas met, they ran the vessel aground; and the prow stuck fast and remained immovable, but the stern began to be broken up by the force of the waves. 42 The soldiers’ plan was to kill the prisoners, so that none of them would swim away and escape; 43 but the centurion, wanting to bring Paul safely through, kept them from their intention, and commanded that those who could swim should [h]jump overboard first and get to land, 44 and the rest should follow, some on planks, and others on various things from the ship. And so it happened that they all were brought safely to land.

     

  • Jun 19, 2016How to Miss God’s Will
    Jun 19, 2016
    How to Miss God’s Will

    Acts 27:1-25

    Paul Is Sent to Rome

    27 When it was decided that we would sail for Italy, they proceeded to deliver Paul and some other prisoners to a centurion of the Augustan[a]cohort named Julius. 2 And embarking in an Adramyttian ship, which was about to sail to the regions along the coast of [b]Asia, we put out to sea accompanied by Aristarchus, a Macedonian of Thessalonica. 3 The next day we put in at Sidon; and Julius treated Paul with consideration and allowed him to go to his friends and receive care. 4 From there we put out to sea and sailed under the shelter of Cyprus because the winds were contrary. 5 When we had sailed through the sea along the coast ofCilicia and Pamphylia, we landed at Myra in Lycia. 6 There the centurion found an Alexandrian ship sailing for Italy, and he put us aboard it.7 When we had sailed slowly for a good many days, and with difficulty had arrived off Cnidus, since the wind did not permit us to go farther, we sailed under the shelter of Crete, off Salmone; 8 and with difficultysailing past it we came to a place called Fair Havens, near which was the city of Lasea.

    When considerable time had passed and the voyage was now dangerous, since even the [c]fast was already over, Paul began to admonish them, 10 and said to them, “Men, I perceive that the voyage will certainly be with damage and great loss, not only of the cargo and the ship, but also of our lives.” 11 But the centurion was more persuaded by the pilot and the [d]captain of the ship than by what was being said by Paul. 12 Because the harbor was not suitable for wintering, the majority reached a decision to put out to sea from there, if somehow they could reach Phoenix, a harbor of Crete, facing southwest and northwest, and spend the winter there.

    13 [e]When a moderate south wind came up, supposing that they had attained their purpose, they weighed anchor and began sailing alongCrete, close inshore.

    Shipwreck

    14 But before very long there rushed down from [f]the land a violent wind, called [g]Euraquilo; 15 and when the ship was caught in it and could not face the wind, we gave way to it and let ourselves be driven along.16 Running under the shelter of a small island called Clauda, we were scarcely able to get the ship’s [h]boat under control. 17 After they had hoisted it up, they used [i]supporting cables in undergirding the ship; and fearing that they might run aground on the shallows of Syrtis, they let down the [j]sea anchor and in this way let themselves be driven along. 18 The next day as we were being violently storm-tossed, [k]they began to jettison the cargo; 19 and on the third day they threw the ship’s tackle overboard with their own hands. 20 Since neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and no small storm was assailing us, from then on all hope of our being saved was gradually abandoned.

    21 [l]When they had gone a long time without food, then Paul stood up in their midst and said, “Men, you ought to have [m]followed my advice and not to have set sail from Crete and [n]incurred this damage and loss.22 Yet now I urge you to keep up your courage, for there will be no loss of life among you, but only of the ship. 23 For this very night an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve stood before me, 24 saying, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar; and behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.’ 25 Therefore, keep up your courage, men, for I believe God that [o]it will turn out exactly as I have been told.

  • Jun 13, 2016The Heavenly Vision for Every Believer
    Jun 13, 2016
    The Heavenly Vision for Every Believer

    13 Now when several days had elapsed, King Agrippa and Bernice arrived at Caesarea [i]and paid their respects to Festus. 14 While they were spending many days there, Festus laid Paul’s case before the king, saying, “There is a man who was left as a prisoner by Felix; 15 and when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews brought charges against him, asking for a sentence of condemnation against him. 16 I answered them that it is not the custom of the Romans to hand over any man before the accused meets his accusers face to face and has an opportunity to make his defense against the charges. 17 So after they had assembled here, I did not delay, but on the next day took my seat on the tribunal and ordered the man to be brought before me.18 When the accusers stood up, they began bringing charges against him not of such crimes as I was expecting, 19 but they simply had somepoints of disagreement with him about their own [j]religion and about a dead man, Jesus, whom Paul asserted to be alive. 20 Being at a loss how to investigate [k]such matters, I asked whether he was willing to go to Jerusalem and there stand trial on these matters. 21 But when Paulappealed to be held in custody for [l]the Emperor’s decision, I ordered him to be kept in custody until I send him to Caesar.” 22 Then Agrippasaid to Festus, “I also would like to hear the man myself.” “Tomorrow,” he *said, “you shall hear him.”

    Paul before Agrippa

    23 So, on the next day when Agrippa came [m]together with Bernice amid great pomp, and entered the auditorium [n]accompanied by the[o]commanders and the prominent men of the city, at the command of Festus, Paul was brought in. 24 Festus *said, “King Agrippa, and all you gentlemen here present with us, you see this man about whom all the people of the Jews appealed to me, both at Jerusalem and here, loudly declaring that he ought not to live any longer. 25 But I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death; and since he himself appealed to[p]the Emperor, I decided to send him. 26 [q]Yet I have nothing definite about him to write to my lord. Therefore I have brought him before youall and especially before you, King Agrippa, so that after the investigation has taken place, I may hav

    Paul’s Defense before Agrippa

    26 Agrippa said to Paul, “You are permitted to speak for yourself.” Then Paul stretched out his hand and proceeded to make his defense:

    “In regard to all the things of which I am accused by the Jews, I consider myself fortunate, King Agrippa, that I am about to make my defense before you today; [a]especially because you are an expert in allcustoms and [b]questions among the Jews; therefore I beg you to listen to me patiently.

    “So then, all Jews know my manner of life from my youth up, which from the beginning was spent among my own nation and at Jerusalem;since they have known about me for a long time, if they are willing to testify, that I lived as a Pharisee according to the strictest sect of our religion. And now I am [c]standing trial for the hope of the promise made by God to our fathers; the promise to which our twelve tribes hope to attain, as they earnestly serve God night and day. And for thishope, O King, I am being accused by Jews. Why is it considered incredible among you people if God does raise the dead?

    “So then, I thought to myself that I had to do many things hostile tothe name of Jesus of Nazareth. 10 And this is [d]just what I did in Jerusalem; not only did I lock up many of the [e]saints in prisons, havingreceived authority from the chief priests, but also when they were being put to death I cast my vote against them. 11 And as I punished them often in all the synagogues, I tried to force them to blaspheme; and being furiously enraged at them, I kept pursuing them even to [f]foreign cities.

    12 [g]While so engaged as I was journeying to Damascus with the authority and commission of the chief priests, 13 at midday, O King, I saw on the way a light from heaven, [h]brighter than the sun, shining all around me and those who were journeying with me. 14 And when we hadall fallen to the ground, I heard a voice saying to me in the [i]Hebrew dialect, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me? [j]It is hard for you to kick against the goads.’ 15 And I said, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ‘I am Jesus whom you are persecuting. 16 But get up and stand on your feet; for this purpose I have appeared to you, to appoint you aminister and a witness not only to the things which you have [k]seen, but also to the things in which I will appear to you; 17 rescuing you from theJewish people and from the Gentiles, to whom I am sending you, 18 toopen their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who have been sanctified by faith in Me.’

    19 “So, King Agrippa, I did not prove disobedient to the heavenly vision,20 but kept declaring both to those of Damascus first, and also at Jerusalem and then throughout all the region of Judea, and even to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, performing deedsappropriate to repentance. 21 For this reason some Jews seized me in the temple and tried to put me to death. 22 So, having obtained help from God, I stand to this day testifying both to small and great, stating nothing but what the Prophets and Moses said was going to take place;23 [l]that [m]the Christ was [n]to suffer, and [o]that by reason of Hisresurrection from the dead He would be the first to proclaim light both to the Jewish people and to the Gentiles.”

    24 While Paul was saying this in his defense, Festus *said in a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind! [p]Your great learning is [q]driving you mad.” 25 But Paul *said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I utter words [r]of sober truth. 26 For the king [s]knows about these matters, and I speak to him also with confidence, since I am persuaded that none of these things escape his notice; for this has not been done in a [t]corner. 27 King Agrippa, do you believe the Prophets? I know that you [u]do.” 28 Agrippa replied to Paul, “[v]In a short time you[w]will persuade me to [x]become a Christian.” 29 And Paul said, “[y]I would wish to God, that whether [z]in a short or long time, not only you, but also all who hear me this day, might become such as I am, except for these chains.”

    30 The king stood up and the governor and Bernice, and those who were sitting with them, 31 and when they had gone aside, they began talking to one another, saying, “This man is not doing anything worthy of death or [aa]imprisonment.” 32 And Agrippa said to Festus, “This man might have been set free if he had not appealed to Caesar.”

    e something to write. 27 For it seems absurd to me in sending a prisoner, not to indicate also the charges against him.”
     
  • Jun 5, 2016The Battle Over Bitterness
    Jun 5, 2016
    The Battle Over Bitterness

    Paul before Festus

    25 Festus then, having arrived in the province, three days later went up to Jerusalem from Caesarea. And the chief priests and the leading men of the Jews brought charges against Paul, and they were urging him,requesting a [a]concession against [b]Paul, that he might [c]have him brought to Jerusalem (at the same time, setting an ambush to kill him on the way). Festus then answered that Paul was being kept in custody at Caesarea and that he himself was about to leave shortly.“Therefore,” he *said, “let the influential men among you [d]go there with me, and if there is anything wrong [e]about the man, let them[f]prosecute him.”

    After he had spent not more than eight or ten days among them, he went down to Caesarea, and on the next day he took his seat on the tribunal and ordered Paul to be brought. After Paul arrived, the Jews who had come down from Jerusalem stood around him, bringing many and serious charges against him which they could not prove, while Paul said in his own defense, “I have committed no offense either against the Law of the Jews or against the temple or against Caesar.” But Festus,wishing to do the Jews a favor, answered Paul and said, “Are you willing to go up to Jerusalem and [g]stand trial before me on these charges?”10 But Paul said, “I am standing before Caesar’s tribunal, where I ought to be tried. I have done no wrong to the Jews, as you also very well know. 11 If, then, I am a wrongdoer and have committed anything worthy of death, I do not refuse to die; but if none of those things istrue of which these men accuse me, no one can hand me over to them. Iappeal to Caesar.” 12 Then when Festus had conferred with [h]his council, he answered, “You have appealed to Caesar, to Caesar you shall go.”

     
  • May 22, 2016Five Ways People Respond to the Truth
    May 22, 2016
    Five Ways People Respond to the Truth

    Paul before Felix

    24 After five days the high priest Ananias came down with some elders,[a]with an [b]attorney named Tertullus, and they [c]brought charges to the governor against Paul. After Paul had been summoned, Tertullus began to accuse him, saying to the governor,

    “Since we have through you attained much peace, and since by your providence reforms are being carried out for this nation, we acknowledge this in every way and everywhere, most excellent Felix, with all thankfulness. But, that I may not weary you any further, I beg you [d]to grant us, by your kindness, a brief hearing. For we have found this man a real pest and a fellow who stirs up dissension among all the Jews throughout [e]the world, and a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes. And he even tried to desecrate the temple; and [f]then we arrested him. [[g]We wanted to judge him according to our own Law.But Lysias the commander came along, and with much violence took him out of our hands, ordering his accusers to come before you.] By examining him yourself concerning all these matters you will be able to ascertain the things of which we accuse him.” The Jews also joined in the attack, asserting that these things were so. 10 When the governor had nodded for him to speak, Paul responded: “Knowing that for many years you have been a judge to this nation, I cheerfully make my defense, 11 since you can take note of the fact that no more than twelve days ago I went up to Jerusalem to worship.12 Neither in the temple, nor in the synagogues, nor in the city itself did they find me carrying on a discussion with anyone or causing [h]a riot.13 Nor can they prove to you the charges of which they now accuse me.14 But this I admit to you, that according to the Way which they call asect I do serve [i]the God of our fathers, believing everything that is in accordance with the Law and that is written in the Prophets; 15 having a hope in God, which these men cherish themselves, that there shall certainly be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked. 16 In view of this, I also [j]do my best to maintain always a blameless conscience both before God and before men. 17 Now after several years Icame to bring [k]alms to my nation and to present offerings; 18 in which they found me occupied in the temple, having been purified, without anycrowd or uproar. But there were some Jews from [l]Asia— 19 who ought to have been present before you and to make accusation, if they should have anything against me. 20 Or else let these men themselves tell what misdeed they found when I stood before the [m]Council, 21 other than for this one statement which I shouted out while standing among them, ‘For the resurrection of the dead I am on trial before you today.’” 22 But Felix, [n]having a more exact knowledge about the Way, put them off, saying, “When Lysias the [o]commander comes down, I will decide your case.” 23 Then he gave orders to the centurion for him to be kept in custody and yet have some freedom, and not to prevent any of his friends from ministering to him. 24 But some days later Felix arrived with Drusilla, his [p]wife who was a Jewess, and sent for Paul and heard him speak about faith in Christ Jesus. 25 But as he was discussing righteousness, self-control and the judgment to come, Felix became frightened and said, “Go away for the present, and when I find time I will summon you.” 26 At the same time too, he was hoping that money would be given him by Paul; therefore he also used to send for him quite often and converse with him. 27 But after two years had passed, Felix [q]was succeeded by Porcius Festus, andwishing to do the Jews a favor, Felix left Paul imprisoned.
  • May 15, 2016Take Courage!
    May 15, 2016
    Take Courage!

    Acts 23:11-33New American Standard Bible (NASB)

    11 But on the night immediately following, the Lord stood at his side and said, “Take courage; for as you have solemnly witnessed to My cause at Jerusalem, so you must witness at Rome also.”

    A Conspiracy to Kill Paul

    12 When it was day, the Jews formed a [a]conspiracy and bound themselves under an oath, saying that they would neither eat nor drink until they had killed Paul. 13 There were more than forty who formed this plot. 14 They came to the chief priests and the elders and said, “We havebound ourselves under a solemn oath to taste nothing until we have killed Paul. 15 Now therefore, you [b]and the [c]Council notify the[d]commander to bring him down to you, as though you were going to determine his case by a more thorough investigation; and we for our part are ready to slay him before he comes near the place.”

    16 But the son of Paul’s sister heard of their ambush, [e]and he came and entered the barracks and told Paul. 17 Paul called one of the centurions to him and said, “Lead this young man to the [f]commander, for he has something to report to him.” 18 So he took him and led him to the[g]commander and *said, “Paul the prisoner called me to him and asked me to lead this young man to you since he has something to tell you.”19 The [h]commander took him by the hand and stepping aside, began to inquire of him privately, “What is it that you have to report to me?”20 And he said, “The Jews have agreed to ask you to bring Paul down tomorrow to the [i]Council, as though they were going to inquire somewhat more thoroughly about him. 21 So do not [j]listen to them, for more than forty of them are lying in wait for him who have bound themselves under a curse not to eat or drink until they slay him; and now they are ready and waiting for the promise from you.” 22 So the[k]commander let the young man go, instructing him, “Tell no one that you have notified me of these things.”

    Paul Moved to Caesarea

    23 And he called to him two of the centurions and said, “Get two hundred soldiers ready by [l]the third hour of the night to proceed to Caesarea,[m]with seventy horsemen and two hundred [n]spearmen.” 24 They werealso to provide mounts to put Paul on and bring him safely to Felix the governor. 25 And he wrote a letter having this form:

    26 “Claudius Lysias, to the most excellent governor Felix, greetings.

    27 “When this man was arrested by the Jews and was about to be slain by them, I came up to them with the troops and rescued him, having learned that he was a Roman. 28 “And wanting to ascertain the charge for which they were accusing him, I brought him down to their[o]Council; 29 and I found him to be accused over questions about their Law, but [p]under no accusation deserving death or [q]imprisonment.

    30 “When I was informed that there would be a plot against the man, I sent him to you at once, also instructing his accusers to [r]bring charges against him before you.”

    31 So the soldiers, in accordance with their orders, took Paul and brought him by night to Antipatris. 32 But the next day, leaving the horsemen to go on with him, they returned to the barracks. 33 When these had come to Caesarea and delivered the letter to the governor, they also presented Paul to him.

  • May 8, 2016A Mother’s Example
    May 8, 2016
    A Mother’s Example

    John Is Born

    57 Now the time [a]had come for Elizabeth to give birth, and she gave birth to a son. 58 Her neighbors and her relatives heard that the Lord had[b]displayed His great mercy toward her; and they were rejoicing with her.

    59 And it happened that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child, and they were going to call him Zacharias, [c]after his father. 60 But his mother answered and said, “No indeed; but he shall be called John.”61 And they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by that name.” 62 And they made signs to his father, as to what he wanted him called. 63 And he asked for a tablet and wrote as follows, “His name is John.” And they were all astonished. 64 And at once his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he began to speak in praise of God. 65 Fear came on all those living around them; and all these matters were being talked about in all the hill country of Judea.66 All who heard them kept them in mind, saying, “What then will this child turn out to be?” For the hand of the Lord was certainly with him.