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Wally

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Lesson 11 September 8-14




Arrest in Jerusalem







Commentary in Navy                  Inspiration in Maroon








So likewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say, We are unprofitable servants:  we have done that which was our duty to do.  Luke 17:10

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 11--3rd Quarter 2018--Arrest in Jerusalem
« Reply #1 on: September 08, 2018, 08:22:30 PM »

Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study: Acts 21; Rom. 2:28, 29; Gal. 5:6; Acts 22; Acts 23:1-30; Matt. 22:23-32.

Memory Text: “And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome.” Acts 23:11

Soon after Paul’s first missionary journey, it became clear that there was a fundamental disagreement in the church on how the Gentiles were to be admitted into the faith (Acts 15:1-5). Perhaps sensing a growing conflict, Paul conceived a plan to promote unity in the church. Because at the council he was asked to remember the poor (Gal. 2:10), he decided to invite the Gentile churches to provide financial aid to the brethren in Judea, the “collection for the saints” (1 Cor. 16:1), perhaps hoping that it could help build bridges between the two groups.

This could explain his determination to go to Jerusalem at the end of his third journey, despite the risks. On one hand, he had a genuine love for his fellow Jews (Rom. 9:1-5); on the other, he longed for a united church (Gal. 3:28, 5:6). As Jews and Gentiles were equally saved through faith, not through the works of the law (Rom. 3:28-30), any social alienation between them based on the ceremonial requirements of the law was against the inclusive nature of the gospel (Eph. 2:11-22).

Paul also had a great burden from the time he was converted on the road to Damascus. He had been a Pharisee, a persecutor of the Son of God. He had a lot of friends in Jerusalem who were also Pharisees who remained steeped in false religion. They had no idea the sheep being slaughtered represented God's Son, Jesus Christ. He wanted to help them understand the gospel message. And, we too understand what Paul did. Thus we too can shed light to Jews who are still waiting for their Messiah. Was it right for Paul to make this trip to Jerusalem? Was it right for him to follow the apostle's request to take part in the purification rites?


Let’s follow Paul as he enters this new phase of his life and mission.

Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, September 15.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 11--3rd Quarter 2018--Arrest in Jerusalem
« Reply #2 on: September 08, 2018, 08:48:23 PM »
Sunday         September 9

Meeting the Jerusalem Leaders


When Paul arrived in Jerusalem, he was warmly received by believers associated with Mnason, with whom he was to stay (Acts 21:16, 17).

In Acts 21:18-22, James and the Jerusalem elders expressed their concerns about Paul’s reputation among local Jewish believers zealous of the Mosaic law. They had been informed that he was teaching the Jewish converts who lived abroad to forsake Moses, telling them “they ought not to circumcise [their] children, neither to walk after the customs” (Acts 21:21).

This, of course, was not really true. What Paul did teach was that, in terms of salvation, neither circumcision nor uncircumcision meant anything, as both Jews and Gentiles were equally saved by faith in Jesus (Rom. 2:28, 29; Gal. 5:6; Col. 3:11). This is different from explicitly encouraging Jews to disregard the law and its requirements. Obedience is not, of course, in itself a synonym for legalism, though it could deliberately be twisted to mean just that.

Read Acts 21:23-26.

 21:23   Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them; 
 21:24   Them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave [their] heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but [that] thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law. 
 21:25   As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written [and] concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from [things] offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication. 
 21:26   Then Paul took the men, and the next day purifying himself with them entered into the temple, to signify the accomplishment of the days of purification, until that an offering should be offered for every one of them. 


How was Paul to demonstrate he still was a faithful Jew?

Paul was advised to be politically correct. He should show the falsity of the rumors about him by doing something very Jewish: sponsor the Nazirite vow of some Jewish believers. This vow was a special act of piety through which a Jew would consecrate himself to God.

Unfortunately, Paul yielded. Heroes, including the biblical ones, have their flaws, as we can see in the lives of Abraham, Moses, Peter, and several others. It could be argued that Paul was just following his principle of behaving like a Jew when dealing with Jews (1 Cor. 9:19-23), or that he himself is reported to have taken a vow not long before (Acts 18:18), though the precise nature of this vow is not clear. This time, however, it was a compromise, as it signified his endorsement of the legalistic motives behind the recommendation. The implication of such an attitude was exactly the one the apostle vigorously tried to oppose: that there are two gospels, one for Gentiles, of salvation by faith, and another for Jews, of salvation by works. “He [Paul] was not authorized of God to concede as much as they asked.”—Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 405.

There is more to the story that we need to know. Why did the apostles want Paul to go through the rites? Because they feared the Jews would persecute them all because Paul was teaching against keeping the ceremonial laws. It was not the believers in Christ they were concerned about, but those who murdered Christ and would soon  be turning on the Christians. They had reason to fear Paul's return to Jerusalem if they did not believe God would protect them. Read the rest of the story and see that it was cowardice on the part of some of the leading brethren at Jerusalem that caused them to ask Paul to take part in the rites.


After the presentation of the gifts, Paul “declared particularly what things God had wrought among the Gentiles by his ministry.” This recital of facts brought to the hearts of all, even of those who had been doubting, the conviction that the blessing of heaven had accompanied his labors. “When they heard it, they glorified the Lord.” They felt that the methods of labor pursued by the apostle bore the signet of Heaven. The liberal contributions lying before them added weight to the testimony of the apostle concerning the faithfulness of the new churches established among the Gentiles. The men who, while numbered among those who were in charge of the work at Jerusalem, had urged that arbitrary measures of control be adopted, saw Paul’s ministry in a new light and were convinced that their own course had been wrong, that they had been held in bondage by Jewish customs and traditions, and that the work of the gospel had been greatly hindered by their failure to recognize that the wall of partition between Jew and Gentile had been broken down by the death of Christ.

This was the golden opportunity for all the leading brethren to confess frankly that God had wrought through Paul, and that at times they had erred in permitting the reports of his enemies to arouse their jealousy and prejudice. But instead of uniting in an effort to do justice to the one who had been injured, they gave him counsel which showed that they still cherished a feeling that Paul should be held largely responsible for the existing prejudice. They did not stand nobly in his defense, endeavoring to show the disaffected ones where they were wrong, but sought to effect a compromise by counseling him to pursue a course which in their opinion would remove all cause for misapprehension.

“Thou seest, brother,” they said, in response to his testimony, “how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law: and they are informed of thee, that thou teachest all the Jews which are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs. What is it therefore? the multitude must needs come together: for they will hear that thou art come. Do therefore this that we say to thee: We have four men which have a vow on them; them take, and purify thyself with them, and be at charges with them, that they may shave their heads: and all may know that those things, whereof they were informed concerning thee, are nothing; but that thou thyself also walkest orderly, and keepest the law. As touching the Gentiles which believe, we have written and concluded that they observe no such thing, save only that they keep themselves from things offered to idols, and from blood, and from strangled, and from fornication."

The brethren hoped that Paul, by following the course suggested, might give a decisive contradiction to the false reports concerning him. They assured him that the decision of the former council concerning the Gentile converts and the ceremonial law, still held good. But the advice now given was not consistent with that decision. The Spirit of God did not prompt this instruction; it was the fruit of cowardice. The leaders of the church in Jerusalem knew that by non-conformity to the ceremonial law, Christians would bring upon themselves the hatred of the Jews and expose themselves to persecution. The Sanhedrin was doing its utmost to hinder the progress of the gospel. Men were chosen by this body to follow up the apostles, especially Paul, and in every possible way to oppose their work. Should the believers in Christ be condemned before the Sanhedrin as breakers of the law, they would suffer swift and severe punishment as apostates from the Jewish faith.

Many of the Jews who had accepted the gospel still cherished a regard for the ceremonial law and were only too willing to make unwise concessions, hoping thus to gain the confidence of their countrymen, to remove their prejudice, and to win them to faith in Christ as the world’s Redeemer. Paul realized that so long as many of the leading members of the church at Jerusalem should continue to cherish prejudice against him, they would work constantly to counteract his influence. He felt that if by any reasonable concession he could win them to the truth he would remove a great obstacle to the success of the gospel in other places. But he was not authorized of God to concede as much as they asked.

When we think of Paul’s great desire to be in harmony with his brethren, his tenderness toward the weak in the faith, his reverence for the apostles who had been with Christ, and for James, the brother of the Lord, and his purpose to become all things to all men so far as he could without sacrificing principle—when we think of all this, it is less surprising that he was constrained to deviate from the firm, decided course that he had hitherto followed. But instead of accomplishing the desired object, his efforts for conciliation only precipitated the crisis, hastened his predicted sufferings, and resulted in separating him from his brethren, depriving the church of one of its strongest pillars, and bringing sorrow to Christian hearts in every land.  AA 405.




In our attempts to be relevant, how can we be careful not to make a similar kind of error?

Paul did not pray about his decision. We ought to not run ahead of Jesus, but stay behind Him. Our wisdom is foolishness.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 11--3rd Quarter 2018--Arrest in Jerusalem
« Reply #3 on: September 08, 2018, 09:11:49 PM »
Monday          September 10

Riot in the Temple


Having accepted the church leaders’ suggestion, Paul would need to undergo a seven-day ritual purification to assist the completion of the men’s vow (Num. 19:11-13). At the same time, Jewish tradition stipulated that any person coming from Gentile lands would be unclean and so unable to enter the temple. This is why Paul had to purify himself before going to the priests to give notice of his purification process related to the Nazirites (Acts 21:26).

Read Acts 21:27-36.

 21:27   And when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews which were of Asia, when they saw him in the temple, stirred up all the people, and laid hands on him, 
 21:28   Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all [men] every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place. 
 21:29   (For they had seen before with him in the city Trophimus an Ephesian, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.) 
 21:30   And all the city was moved, and the people ran together: and they took Paul, and drew him out of the temple: and forthwith the doors were shut. 
 21:31   And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. 
 21:32   Who immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down unto them: and when they saw the chief captain and the soldiers, they left beating of Paul. 
 21:33   Then the chief captain came near, and took him, and commanded [him] to be bound with two chains; and demanded who he was, and what he had done. 
 21:34   And some cried one thing, some another, among the multitude: and when he could not know the certainty for the tumult, he commanded him to be carried into the castle. 
 21:35   And when he came upon the stairs, so it was, that he was borne of the soldiers for the violence of the people. 
 21:36   For the multitude of the people followed after, crying, Away with him. 


What happened to Paul at the end of his seven-day period of purification?

A riot ensued, caused by those who stirred up the crowd against Paul, accusing him of attacking the most sacred symbols of Jewish religion, in particular of having desecrated the temple. As one of Paul’s travel companions was a Gentile believer from Ephesus named Trophimus (Acts 21:29), they thought the apostle had introduced him into the temple’s inner court, where only Jews could enter. If the accusation were legitimate, Paul would be guilty of a most serious offense. Along the wall that separated the outer from the inner court, there were signs in Greek and Latin warning Gentile visitors not to enter farther in, otherwise they would be personally responsible for their ensuing death.

“By the Jewish law it was a crime punishable with death for an uncircumcised person to enter the inner courts of the sacred edifice. Paul had been seen in the city in company with Trophimus, an Ephesian, and it was conjectured that he had brought him into the temple. This he had not done; and being himself a Jew, his act in entering the temple was no violation of the law. But though the charge was wholly false, it served to arouse the popular prejudice. As the cry was taken up and borne through the temple courts, the throngs gathered there were thrown into wild excitement.”—Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 407.

When the news of the riot reached a Roman fortress, the Roman commander, Claudius Lysias (Acts 21:31, 32; 23:26), came with troops and rescued Paul before the crowd could kill him.

As the target of the attacks, Paul was arrested and bound with chains while the commander tried to inquire about what was going on. At the hysteric shouting of the crowd, he ordered the apostle to be taken to the fortress.

Rumors, false ones at that, helped start this riot. Why must we be so careful with the kinds of rumors we listen to or, even worse, spread?

Will we bear false witness against someone? Not if we love Jesus supremely.

More important regarding today's lesson is will we be cowards as were some of the leaders at Jerusalem? "The Spirit of God did not prompt this instruction; it was the fruit of cowardice. The leaders of the church in Jerusalem knew that by non-conformity to the ceremonial law, Christians would bring upon themselves the hatred of the Jews and expose themselves to persecution." Will we let fear cause us to hurt another? Troublesome times are coming. Are we faithful in the little things today so that when great trials come our characters will be formed so that we shall not cave in to fear? Today we are forming characters one way or the other.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 11--3rd Quarter 2018--Arrest in Jerusalem
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2018, 10:06:38 AM »
Tuesday          September 11

Before the Crowd


Acts 21:37-40 tells what happened next. As Paul was being taken into the Roman fortress for interrogation, he asked the commander for permission to address the people, who were still frantically clamoring for his death.

As he addressed the commander in the Greek language, the latter thought Paul might have been a certain Jew from Egypt who had some three years before initiated a revolt in Jerusalem against Roman occupation. The revolt, however, was put down by the Roman forces; many of his followers were either killed or arrested, while the Egyptian escaped.

After saying that he was from Tarsus, not from Egypt, Paul was granted permission to speak. In his speech, he did not offer a detailed response to the accusations raised against him (Acts 21:28) but told them the story of his conversion, highlighting his devotion to Judaism, to the point of having persecuted believers in Jesus. When confronted with a number of revelations from the Lord, he had no choice but to follow them. This explained the complete turnaround in his life and his call to preach to the Gentiles. Rather than get into a theological discussion, Paul recounted to them his own experience and why he was doing what he did.

Read Acts 22:22-29.

 22 And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live.
23 And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air,
24 The chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade that he should be examined by scourging; that he might know wherefore* they cried so against him.
25 And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said unto the centurion that stood by, Is it lawful* for you to scourge a man that is a Roman, and uncondemned?
26 When the centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying, Take heed what thou doest*: for this man is a Roman.
27 Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me*, art thou a Roman*? He said, Yea.
28 And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born.
29 Then straightway they departed from him which should have examined him: and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.


How did the mob react to Paul’s statement that he was an apostle to the Gentiles?

The decision to let Paul speak did not work out well. By referring to his commitment to the Gentiles, Paul seemed to be confirming the truth of the charges against him (Acts 21:28), and the crowd got riled up again.

The Roman commander may not have understood everything Paul said; so, he decided to have him examined by flogging. Yet, besides being a pure-blooded Jew (Phil. 3:5), Paul also had Roman citizenship, and when he mentioned this, the commander had to back down. As a Roman citizen, Paul could not be subject to that kind of torture.

Read Paul’s speech (Acts 22:1-21).

 1 Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you.
2 (And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,)
3 I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day.
4 And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.
5 As also the high priest doth bear me witness, and all the estate of the elders: from whom also I received letters unto the brethren, and went to Damascus, to bring them which were there bound unto Jerusalem, for to be punished.
6 And it came to pass, that, as I made my journey, and was come nigh unto Damascus about noon, suddenly there shone from heaven a great light round about me.
7 And I fell unto the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me,Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?
8 And I answered, Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me,I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom thou persecutest.
9 And they that were with me saw indeed the light, and were afraid; but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me.
10 And I said, What shall I do, Lord? And the Lord said unto me,Arise, and go into Damascus; and there it shall be told thee of all things which are appointed for thee to do.
11 And when I could not see for the glory of that light, being led by the hand of them that were with me, I came into Damascus.
12 And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there,
13 Came unto me, and stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the same hour I looked up upon him.
14 And he said, The God of our fathers hath chosen thee, that thou shouldest know his will, and see that Just One, and shouldest hear the voice of his mouth.
15 For thou shalt be his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.
16 And now why tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins, calling on the name of the Lord.
17 And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance;
18 And saw him saying unto me,Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.
19 And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned* and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee:
20 And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him.
21 And he said unto me,Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.


What evidence do you see that besides defending himself Paul was also preaching to his fellow Jews? Why would he tell his conversion story? What is it about conversion stories that can have so much power?

Often sinners will argue against the truth, but who can argue with one's experience. We are to be His witnesses of the power of God's love (grace) to transform sinners into saints. Paul certainly had a great testimony as to this power. WE who have made a full surrender to Christ have a similar testimony to share with a world soon to perish. Are we sharing that testimony, or do we too often end up arguing over truth?
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 11--3rd Quarter 2018--Arrest in Jerusalem
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2018, 09:08:11 PM »

Wednesday         September 12

Before the Sanhedrin

When the Roman commander realized that Paul did not represent any threat to the empire; that is, that the issue involved internal disputes of the Jews, he asked the Sanhedrin to take up the case (Acts 22:30; 23:29).

Read Acts 23:1-5.

 23:1   And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men [and] brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day. 
 23:2   And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth. 
 23:3   Then said Paul unto him, God shall smite thee, [thou] whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law? 
 23:4   And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God's high priest? 
 23:5   Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people. 


How did Paul start his defense before the Sanhedrin?

Paul’s introductory statement was met with a slap on the mouth, perhaps because, as a prisoner, his reference to God sounded blasphemous. His impulsive reaction gives us a glimpse of his temperament.

Was this an impulsive statement, or was it given us after much study and with a surety that Paul was given to impulsive statements without thinking or praying? If I call someone a "whited sepulcher" am I to be called impulsive? And, if I were impulsive in one statement, am I to be believed to have an impulsive temperament? This is not right to label Paul as having an impulsive temperament. To the contrary, he was a godly man who throughout much of the New Testament we see to be led by God and not impulsive at all.

(In reading for Friday's lesson, I came across this which confirms the truth that Paul was not impulsive all. "As he stood before the Jewish rulers, his bearing was calm, and his countenance revealed the peace of Christ. “Earnestly beholding the council,” he said, “Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.” Upon hearing these words, their hatred was kindled afresh; “and the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him to smite him on the mouth.” At this inhuman command, Paul exclaimed, “God shall smite thee, thou whited wall: for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?” Acts of the Apostles, pg 410.)


By calling the high priest a “whited wall” (Acts 23:3), he could be echoing Jesus’ condemnation of the Pharisees’ hypocrisy in Matthew 23:27.

"Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye are like unto whited sepulchres, which indeed appear beautiful outward, but are within full of dead [men's] bones, and of all uncleanness. 
Was Jesus impulsive? Was this a sign of Christ having an impulsive temperament? No, not at all.


Yet, since Paul did not really know he was addressing the high priest, the possibility that he had bad eyesight is not to be entirely ruled out.

Read Acts 23:6-10.

 23:6   But when Paul perceived that the 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: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question. 
 23:7   And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided. 
 23:8   For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both. 
 23:9   And there arose a great cry: and the scribes [that were] of the Pharisees' part arose, and strove, saying, We find no evil in this man: but if a spirit or an angel hath spoken to him, let us not fight against God. 
 23:10   And when there arose a great dissension, the chief captain, fearing lest Paul should have been pulled in pieces of them, commanded the soldiers to go down, and to take him by force from among them, and to bring [him] into the castle. 


How did Paul ingeniously try to disrupt the proceedings?

The Sanhedrin was comprised of both Sadducees and Pharisees who were opposed to each other on a number of issues, doctrine being one of them. The Sadducees, for example, whose scriptural canon included only the first five books of Moses (the Pentateuch), did not believe in the resurrection of the dead (Matt. 22:23-32).

Paul’s statement (Acts 23:6), however, was more than a clever tactic to distract the Sanhedrin. Since his encounter with the resurrected Jesus on the Damascus road lay at the foundation of his conversion and apostolic ministry, belief in the resurrection was the real issue he was being judged for (Acts 24:20, 21; 26:6-8). Nothing else could explain how he had changed from his former zeal to become what he was now. If Jesus had not been raised from the dead, then his ministry was pointless, and he knew it, too (1 Cor. 15:14-17).

That night, as Paul was in the fortress, the Lord appeared to him with this encouragement: “Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness also at Rome” (Acts 23:11). Given the circumstances, such a promise might have been particularly meaningful to Paul. His long-cherished wish to preach in Rome (Acts 19:21, Rom. 1:13-15, 15:22-29) would still come to pass.

God did indeed turn Satan's work in condemning Paul to good. We are promised that "all" things work together for our good as we abide in Christ and He in us. This truth if believed makes it easier for us to glory in our tribulations!

Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

Richard Myers

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 11--3rd Quarter 2018--Arrest in Jerusalem
« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2018, 09:22:51 PM »
Thursday          September 13

Transfer to Caesarea

Upset with the fact that they had not yet gotten rid of Paul by legal means, a group decided to orchestrate a plan through which they would ambush and kill him on their own.

Read Acts 23:12-17.

 23:12   And when it was day, certain of the Jews banded together, and bound themselves under a curse, saying that they would neither eat nor drink till they had killed Paul. 
 23:13   And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy. 
 23:14   And they came to the chief priests and elders, and said, We have bound ourselves under a great curse, that we will eat nothing until we have slain Paul. 
 23:15   Now therefore ye with the council signify to the chief captain that he bring him down unto you to morrow, as though ye would inquire something more perfectly concerning him: and we, or ever he come near, are ready to kill him. 
 23:16   And when Paul's sister's son heard of their lying in wait, he went and entered into the castle, and told Paul. 
 23:17   Then Paul called one of the centurions unto [him], and said, Bring this young man unto the chief captain: for he hath a certain thing to tell him. 


What was their plan, and how was it thwarted? What does this teach us about how passionate people can be for causes that are wrong?

That more than forty Jews conspired together against Paul and bound themselves with an oath reveals how much hatred the apostle had aroused in Jerusalem. Luke does not give us the identity of these men, but they were extremists willing to do whatever it took to protect the Jewish faith from its alleged traitors and enemies. Such a level of religious fanaticism, coupled with a revolutionary and nationalistic fervor, was not uncommon in first-century Judea and its environs.

In some providential way, however, the news about the plot reached the ears of Paul’s nephew. It is somewhat disappointing that we know almost nothing about Paul’s family, but apparently he and his sister had been brought up in Jerusalem (Acts 22:3), where she married and had at least one son. Anyway, Paul’s nephew—the diminutive neaniskos (Acts 23:18, 22) and the fact that he was taken “by the hand (Acts 23:19) imply he was still a teenager—was able to visit him in the fortress and tell him the story.

Read Acts 23:26-30.

 23:26   Claudius Lysias unto the most excellent governor Felix [sendeth] greeting. 
 23:27   This man was taken of the Jews, and should have been killed of them: then came I with an army, and rescued him, having understood that he was a Roman. 
 23:28   And when I would have known the cause wherefore they accused him, I brought him forth into their council: 
 23:29   Whom I perceived to be accused of questions of their law, but to have nothing laid to his charge worthy of death or of bonds. 
 23:30   And when it was told me how that the Jews laid wait for the man, I sent straightway to thee, and gave commandment to his accusers also to say before thee what [they had] against him. Farewell. 


What message did commander Lysias send governor Felix about Paul?

The letter provided Felix with a fair report of the situation. In addition, it shows how Paul was benefited by his Roman citizenship. The Roman law fully protected its citizens, who had the right, for example, to have a legal trial, in which they could appear before the court and defend themselves (Acts 25:16), and the right to appeal to the emperor in case of an unfair trial (Acts 25:10, 11).

Irrespective of Felix’s reputation, he treated Paul in the proper legal manner. After a preliminary interrogation, he ordered him to be kept under guard until the accusers arrived.

Think about God’s providence in Paul’s life. How often have you humbly acknowledged God’s providence in your own life despite the trials and suffering you might have gone through?

When we look around us at the world where Satan has been allowed to destroy men, women, and children, we don't have to doubt that God is protecting us from much worse things than we suffer. After all, we are promised God will not allow us to be tempted beyond what we can bear (1 Cor. 10:18).
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.

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Re: SDA Sabbath School Lesson 11--3rd Quarter 2018--Arrest in Jerusalem
« Reply #7 on: September 14, 2018, 10:25:40 PM »

Friday          September 14


Further Study: “On this occasion, Paul and his companions formally presented to the leaders of the work at Jerusalem the contributions forwarded by the Gentile churches for the support of the poor among their Jewish brethren. …

“These freewill offerings betokened the loyalty of the Gentile converts to the organized work of God throughout the world and should have been received by all with grateful acknowledgment, yet it was apparent to Paul and his companions that even among those before whom they now stood were some who were unable to appreciate the spirit of brotherly love that had prompted the gifts.”—Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 399, 400.


Why would this be? Why would some not appreciate this sacrifice from Gentile to Jews?


“Had the leaders in the church fully surrendered their feeling of bitterness toward the apostle, and accepted him as one specially called of God to bear the gospel to the Gentiles, the Lord would have spared him to them. God had not ordained that Paul’s labors should so soon end, but He did not work a miracle to counteract the train of circumstances to which the course of the leaders in the church at Jerusalem had given rise.

Notice that it was not one insignificant church member, but church leaders who were "bitter" against Paul. We also understand that Paul's death was the result of cowardess on the part of church leaders who feared persecution from the Jews. "The brethren hoped that Paul, by following the course suggested, might give a decisive contradiction to the false reports concerning him. They assured him that the decision of the former council concerning the Gentile converts and the ceremonial law, still held good. But the advice now given was not consistent with that decision. The Spirit of God did not prompt this instruction; it was the fruit of cowardice. The leaders of the church in Jerusalem knew that by non-conformity to the ceremonial law, Christians would bring upon themselves the hatred of the Jews and expose themselves to persecution." Acts of the Apostles, pg 405.


“The same spirit is still leading to the same results. A neglect to appreciate and improve the provisions of divine grace has deprived the church of many a blessing. How often would the Lord have prolonged the work of some faithful minister, had his labors been appreciated! But if the church permits the enemy of souls to pervert the understanding, so that they misrepresent and misinterpret the words and acts of the servant of Christ; if they allow themselves to stand in his way and hinder his usefulness, the Lord sometimes removes from them the blessing which He gave. … ”

Amen. Ellen White is pointing out that the church leaders often did not appreciate the work she was doing. They so despised her that they sent her to Australia to keep her away from the work being done at Battle Creek. The same is true today. There are church leaders who go to great lengths to make sure the truth is buried out of sight. Many a church has lost a faithful pastor because they rejected the truth being presented by the man.


“After the hands are folded upon the pulseless breast, when the voice of warning and encouragement is silent, then the obdurate may be aroused to see and prize the blessings they have cast from them. Their death may accomplish that which their life has failed to do.”—Pages 417, 418.


Discussion Questions:

    By going to Jerusalem despite knowing he would not be welcome, Paul put the interests of the church above his own personal interests. To what extent should we follow his example?

Paul's personal interests were aligned with the burden he had to share the gospel with not only the Gentiles, but those who were still deceived about the gospel has he had been. He longed to reach the Pharisees and leaders of the Jews with the gospel message.


    What can we learn from Paul’s compromise in Jerusalem? How can we be politically correct without surrendering the principles we live by? Or can we?

Who wants to be "politically correct"?  Those who do are politically corrupt. We need to pray before we make these life changing decisions.


    Church unity is always so important. How can we learn to work together, unified, even when we have different views of things?

God does not want all church members to work together no matter what. "Can two walk together, except they be agreed?" Amos 3:3. We may have some different ideas, but we ought to stand together on the gospel truth. Those who bring another gospel into the church are creating division in the church. There are those in rebellion against God and His truth. They want a "big tent" where everyone can believe what he wants. Like the Roman Church, there is no unity on the platform of Bible truth. What does God have to say about those who bring "another gospel" into His church. He spoke through Paul about the subject: "But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. As we said before, so say I now again, If any [man] preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed." Galatians 1:8,9.

The all important issue involves the heart. If the heart is not fully given to Christ, there is no unity of Spirit, so how can there be unity of doctrine? The only unity that exists for those outside of Christ is the unity working against God and Bible truth. We may allow the tares to grow with the wheat, but there will be no unity between wheat and tares. There will be unity between wheat and wheat even though there is not perfect unity of doctrine. It is the purpose of the church to bring about unity of doctrine for those who love God supremely.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.