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Wally

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Lesson 12 September 15-21





Confinement in Caesarea







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 12--3rd Quarter 2018--Confinement in Caesarea
« Reply #1 on: September 15, 2018, 12:38:36 PM »
Sabbath Afternoon

Read for This Week’s Study: Acts 24, Acts 25, Acts 26, 1 Cor. 1:23.

Memory Text: “And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost, and altogether such as I am, except these bonds.“ Acts 26:29

Paul’s transfer to Caesarea began a two-year imprisonment in that city (Acts 24:27), more precisely in Herod’s praetorium (Acts 23:35), which was the official residence of the Roman governor. During those years, he had several hearings in which he would appear before two Roman governors (Felix and Festus) and a king (Agrippa II), thus further fulfilling the ministry that God gave him (Acts 9:15).

In all the hearings, Paul always claimed innocence, alleging that no evidence could be produced against him, as the absence of witnesses demonstrated. In fact, the whole narrative is intended to show that Paul had done nothing worthy of arrest and that he could be released had he not appealed to Caesar (Acts 26:32). These hearings, though, did offer him opportunities to witness about Jesus and the great hope found in the promise of the resurrection.

Yet, those were still years of deep anxiety, as well as of tedious confinement in which the apostle seems to have had no support of any kind from the church in Jerusalem, whose leaders “still cherished a feeling that Paul should be held largely responsible for the existing prejudice.”—Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 403.

This quote does not apply to the time when Paul was imprisoned. Read the statement in context. It was the state of the minds of the leaders when Paul arrived in Jerusalem when they plotted to have him participate in the purification ritual. We do not know the effect of their cowardice at the time Paul was in prison. Had they repented? These were the leaders in the church at Jerusalem. I am sure most had repented for their cowardly act.


Study this week’s lesson to prepare for Sabbath, September 22.
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 12--3rd Quarter 2018--Confinement in Caesarea
« Reply #2 on: September 15, 2018, 12:41:43 PM »
Sunday          September 16

Before Felix

Five days after Paul’s transfer to Caesarea, a group of important Jewish leaders—the high priest, some members of the Sanhedrin, and a professional lawyer named Tertullus—came down from Jerusalem and formally laid before Felix their case against the apostle (Acts 24:1-9).

This is the only trial in Acts in which the accusers employed a lawyer. In his speech, Tertullus tried an interesting strategy to win the governor’s favor. It was simply not true that, under Felix, the Jews had enjoyed a long period of peace. In fact, no other governor had been so repressive and violent, and this repression generated an enormous antagonism among the Jews toward Roman rule. With a lot of ingenuity, Tertullus used the governor’s own administrative policy to convince him that he would achieve political stability in this case also only by means of severe repression.

Then, he went on to press three specific charges against Paul: (1) that Paul was an agitator who was constantly fomenting unrest among Jews throughout the empire (Acts 24:5); (2) that he was a ringleader of the Nazarenes (Acts 24:5), which implicated Christianity as a whole as a kind of disruptive movement; and (3) that he had attempted to defile the Jerusalem temple (Acts 24:6).

Read Acts 24:10-19.

 24:10   Then Paul, after that the governor had beckoned unto him to speak, answered, Forasmuch as I know that thou hast been of many years a judge unto this nation, I do the more cheerfully answer for myself: 
 24:11   Because that thou mayest understand, that there are yet but twelve days since I went up to Jerusalem for to worship. 
 24:12   And they neither found me in the temple disputing with any man, neither raising up the people, neither in the synagogues, nor in the city: 
 24:13   Neither can they prove the things whereof they now accuse me. 
 24:14   But this I confess unto thee, that after the way which they call heresy, so worship I the God of my fathers, believing all things which are written in the law and in the prophets: 
 24:15   And have hope toward God, which they themselves also allow, that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust. 
 24:16   And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and [toward] men. 
 24:17   Now after many years I came to bring alms to my nation, and offerings. 
 24:18   Whereupon certain Jews from Asia found me purified in the temple, neither with multitude, nor with tumult. 
 24:19   Who ought to have been here before thee, and object, if they had ought against me. 


How did Paul answer each one of the charges?

Two further points raised by Paul were devastating to the accusers’ case: (1) the absence of the Asian witnesses (Acts 24:18, 19), which had the potential of rendering the trial invalid, and (2) the fact that the Jews there could speak only about Paul’s hearing before the Sanhedrin the week before (Acts 24:20), and as such they had nothing to accuse him of except that he believed in the resurrection of the dead (compare with Acts 23:6).

Felix immediately understood the weight of Paul’s arguments, also because he was somewhat acquainted with Christianity, probably through his Jewish wife Drusilla. The fact is that he decided to adjourn the proceedings until further notice (Acts 24:22).

Felix’s response (Acts 24:24-27) revealed much about his character: he procrastinated, he was able to be bribed, and he was opportunistic. Paul had little chance of a fair hearing with someone like Felix.

Read Acts 24:16.

And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and [toward] men. 


Paul said that he strove always to have a “conscience void of offence toward God, toward men.” What does that mean? What, if anything, would you have to change in order to say the same thing?

Paul made a statement that many pastors, leaders, and church members would not agree with. Why? Because a great multitude in the church do not believe we can be perfect in our keeping of the law. Therefore, Paul could not say he was "void of offence toward God, toward men." To many even if it were so, they would consider it to be proud and offensive to God and man.

Can you say you have not sinned lately? Is it possible for grace to be powerful enough to keep you from sinning, so as to not offend God nor man? If we do not believe it possible, then we surely will not be able to "not offend God."
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 12--3rd Quarter 2018--Confinement in Caesarea
« Reply #3 on: September 15, 2018, 12:43:35 PM »
Monday          September 17

Before Festus

After two years holding Paul in prison just to win the favor of the Jews, Felix was replaced by Porcius Festus as the governor of Judea (Acts 24:27). Festus ruled from A.D. 60 to 62.

Read Acts 25:1-5.

 25:1   Now when Festus was come into the province, after three days he ascended from Caesarea to Jerusalem. 
 25:2   Then the high priest and the chief of the Jews informed him against Paul, and besought him, 
 25:3   And desired favour against him, that he would send for him to Jerusalem, laying wait in the way to kill him. 
 25:4   But Festus answered, that Paul should be kept at Caesarea, and that he himself would depart shortly [thither]. 
 25:5   Let them therefore, said he, which among you are able, go down with [me], and accuse this man, if there be any wickedness in him. 


How does this help reveal the hatred that preaching the truth can cause in those who don’t want to believe it?

Probably because they had already failed once in their attempt to convince Felix of the charges against Paul, the leaders did not want to take any chances again. In what appears to have been Festus’ first visit to Jerusalem, they requested, as a favor to them, a change of jurisdiction, asking him to hand Paul back to them so he could be tried by the Sanhedrin in accordance with Jewish law.

Yet, the request was only a camouflage to conceal their real intent: to kill Paul. Although Festus was willing to reopen the case, he said that the hearing would take place in Caesarea, not in Jerusalem, which means that Paul would be tried by Roman law.

As soon as Festus was back in Caesarea, he convened the tribunal, and Paul’s opponents started laying out the charges against Paul (Acts 25:7). This time Luke does not repeat the charges, but based on Paul’s answer (Acts 25:8 ) we can see that they were similar to the ones of two years before, perhaps with the further emphasis that, for being an agitator, Paul also represented a threat to the empire.

Read Acts 25:9-12.

 25:9   But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me? 
 25:10   Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest. 
 25:11   For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar. 
 25:12   Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? unto Caesar shalt thou go. 


When sensing that Festus could use him for political reasons, how did Paul react?

In the end, Festus turned out not much different from Felix with regard to his political strategies (Acts 24:27). Unwilling to lose the Jews’ support so early in his administration by declaring Paul innocent, he thought of granting them their original request: to have the apostle tried by the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem.

This, however, was not acceptable to Paul, who knew he could not expect to be treated fairly there, left to the whim of his enemies. So, capitalizing on his Roman rights, he insisted that he was entitled to be tried by a Roman tribunal, and envisaging no other way out of that precarious situation, he resolved to appeal to the highest instance of Roman justice, which was the emperor himself.

Paul would then achieve two things he longed for, to reach those in Rome with the gospel, and to soon be with the Lord. We know this does not mean going to heaven when he died, but to him, it would be but a moment, for the dead know nothing and there is no passing of time for them. When Paul died, the next thing he will know is the second coming of Jesus. Paul did not fear dying, do we?

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 12--3rd Quarter 2018--Confinement in Caesarea
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2018, 12:44:37 PM »
Tuesday          September 18

Before Agrippa

Festus agreed to grant Paul’s request to be sent to Rome (Acts 25:12). Meanwhile, the governor took advantage of a state visit by Herod Agrippa II to consult him concerning Paul’s case, in particular regarding what kind of information he should send to the emperor in his official report. Festus was not yet acquainted enough with Jewish affairs, and Agrippa could certainly help him (Acts 26:2, 3).

Read Acts 25:13-22.

 25:13   And after certain days king Agrippa and Bernice came unto Caesarea to salute Festus. 
 25:14   And when they had been there many days, Festus declared Paul's cause unto the king, saying, There is a certain man left in bonds by Felix: 
 25:15   About whom, when I was at Jerusalem, the chief priests and the elders of the Jews informed [me], desiring [to have] judgment against him. 
 25:16   To whom I answered, It is not the manner of the Romans to deliver any man to die, before that he which is accused have the accusers face to face, and have licence to answer for himself concerning the crime laid against him. 
 25:17   Therefore, when they were come hither, without any delay on the morrow I sat on the judgment seat, and commanded the man to be brought forth. 
 25:18   Against whom when the accusers stood up, they brought none accusation of such things as I supposed: 
 25:19   But had certain questions against him of their own superstition, and of one Jesus, which was dead, whom Paul affirmed to be alive. 
 25:20   And because I doubted of such manner of questions, I asked [him] whether he would go to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these matters. 
 25:21   But when Paul had appealed to be reserved unto the hearing of Augustus, I commanded him to be kept till I might send him to Caesar. 
 25:22   Then Agrippa said unto Festus, I would also hear the man myself. To morrow, said he, thou shalt hear him. 


What did Festus tell Agrippa about Paul, and how did the king respond?

Agrippa II, the last of the Herodians, came to Caesarea with his sister Bernice to salute the new governor.

In his description of Paul’s case, Festus revealed his surprise that the charges against him were not related to any capital offense, whether political or criminal. Instead, they had to do with matters concerning Jewish religion, in particular a certain Jesus, “who was dead, but whom Paul asserted to be alive” (Acts 25:19, ESV). Paul had already stated before the Sanhedrin that he was on trial because of his belief in Jesus’ resurrection, and now Festus made it clear that this was indeed the real point at issue.

Read Acts 25:23-27.

 25:23   And on the morrow, when Agrippa was come, and Bernice, with great pomp, and was entered into the place of hearing, with the chief captains, and principal men of the city, at Festus' commandment Paul was brought forth. 
 25:24   And Festus said, King Agrippa, and all men which are here present with us, ye see this man, about whom all the multitude of the Jews have dealt with me, both at Jerusalem, and [also] here, crying that he ought not to live any longer. 
 25:25   But when I found that he had committed nothing worthy of death, and that he himself hath appealed to Augustus, I have determined to send him. 
 25:26   Of whom I have no certain thing to write unto my lord. Wherefore I have brought him forth before you, and specially before thee, O king Agrippa, that, after examination had, I might have somewhat to write. 
 25:27   For it seemeth to me unreasonable to send a prisoner, and not withal to signify the crimes [laid] against him. 
 


How does Luke describe the ceremony in which Paul appeared before Agrippa?

“And now Paul, still manacled, stood before the assembled company. What a contrast was here presented! Agrippa and Bernice possessed power and position, and because of this they were favored by the world. But they were destitute of the traits of character that God esteems. They were transgressors of His law, corrupt in heart and life. Their course of action was abhorred by heaven.”—Ellen G. White, The Acts of the Apostles, p. 434.

Amen. And more abhorred by God was the character of those who professed to serve Him, many who denied the power of grace to transform the character.


What should this story teach us about how outward appearances, which may be pleasing to human sight, can often be deceptive about the reality behind the appearance? What about ourselves, too? How different is the appearance from the reality?

Probably not much. Do we drive an expensive luxury car? Do live in a mansion down here on Earth? Do we spend our money on games instead of ministry for others? How about the way we dress? Do we enjoy the fashions of the day? Do we dress like the world, or are seen to be different? Can people think we may be Christians by our attire?

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 12--3rd Quarter 2018--Confinement in Caesarea
« Reply #5 on: September 15, 2018, 12:45:36 PM »
Wednesday          September 19

Paul’s Defense

With the scene set and the royal guests seated alongside the governor, the prisoner was brought in to present his defense, which was aimed primarily at Agrippa, as Festus had already heard it before (Acts 25:8-11).

Read Acts 26:1-23.

 26:1   Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Thou art permitted to speak for thyself. Then Paul stretched forth the hand, and answered for himself: 
 26:2   I think myself happy, king Agrippa, because I shall answer for myself this day before thee touching all the things whereof I am accused of the Jews: 
 26:3   Especially [because I know] thee to be expert in all customs and questions which are among the Jews: wherefore I beseech thee to hear me patiently. 
 26:4   My manner of life from my youth, which was at the first among mine own nation at Jerusalem, know all the Jews; 
 26:5   Which knew me from the beginning, if they would testify, that after the most straitest sect of our religion I lived a Pharisee. 
 26:6   And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: 
 26:7   Unto which [promise] our twelve tribes, instantly serving [God] day and night, hope to come. For which hope's sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. 
 26:8   Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead? 
 26:9   I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth. 
 26:10   Which thing I also did in Jerusalem: and many of the saints did I shut up in prison, having received authority from the chief priests; and when they were put to death, I gave my voice against [them]. 
 26:11   And I punished them oft in every synagogue, and compelled [them] to blaspheme; and being exceedingly mad against them, I persecuted [them] even unto strange cities. 
 26:12   Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission from the chief priests, 
 26:13   At midday, O king, I saw in the way a light from heaven, above the brightness of the sun, shining round about me and them which journeyed with me. 
 26:14   And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? [it is] hard for thee to kick against the pricks. 
 26:15   And I said, Who art thou, Lord? And he said, I am Jesus whom thou persecutest. 
 26:16   But rise, and stand upon thy feet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee a minister and a witness both of these things which thou hast seen, and of those things in the which I will appear unto thee; 
 26:17   Delivering thee from the people, and [from] the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, 
 26:18   To open their eyes, [and] to turn [them] from darkness to light, and [from] the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. 
 26:19   Whereupon, O king Agrippa, I was not disobedient unto the heavenly vision: 
 26:20   But showed first unto them of Damascus, and at Jerusalem, and throughout all the coasts of Judaea, and [then] to the Gentiles, that they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance. 
 26:21   For these causes the Jews caught me in the temple, and went about to kill [me]. 
 26:22   Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day, witnessing both to small and great, saying none other things than those which the prophets and Moses did say should come: 
 26:23   That Christ should suffer, [and] that he should be the first that should rise from the dead, and should show light unto the people, and to the Gentiles. 


What was Paul doing in his speech before Agrippa?

Paul’s speech was in fact an autobiographical report of his life both before and after his conversion. In terms of content, it recalls the one in Acts 22:1-21, which he spoke before the crowd in Jerusalem.

The apostle began by trying to secure Agrippa’s favor. He acknowledged his gratitude for the opportunity to state his case before such an eminent person, all the more so because Agrippa was well acquainted with all the customs and issues related to Jewish religion. For that reason, Agrippa could be of great assistance in helping the Roman governor understand that the charges brought against him had no merit and were false.

The speech can be divided into three parts. In part one (Acts 26:4-11), Paul described his former Pharisaic piety, which was widely known among his contemporaries in Jerusalem. As a Pharisee, he believed in the resurrection of the dead, which was essential to the fulfilment of Israel’s ancestral hope. The Jews, therefore, were being inconsistent in opposing his teaching, for there was nothing in it that was not fundamentally Jewish. But he understood their attitude quite well, and that was because he himself had once found it so incredible that God could have raised Jesus that even he persecuted those who believed that way.

In part two (Acts 26:12-18), Paul reported how his perspective had changed since his encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus and the call that he received to take the gospel message to the Gentiles.

Paul says, finally, that the impact of what he had seen (Acts 26:19-23) was such that he had no choice but to obey and to carry out his missionary activity, the only reason that he was now on trial. The real issue behind his arrest, therefore, was not that he had violated the Jewish law or desecrated the temple. Rather, it was because of his message of Jesus’ death and resurrection, which was in full harmony with the Scriptures and allowed believing Gentiles to have an equal share in salvation.

The Jewish leaders wanted to put Paul to death for the same reason they put Jesus to death. Why did they want Jesus dead? It was not because of the doctrine of the resurrection, not the salvation for Gentiles. Why were the Jewish leaders intent on putting Paul to death? And wanted Jesus dead also? Will we see the same in our day? Do we see the same already in some countries of the world?


Read Acts 26:18.

To open their eyes, [and] to turn [them] from darkness to light, and [from] the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. 


According to that text, what happens to those who have salvation in Christ?

They have turned from the power of Satan and receive power from God. All who have salvation have been forgiven and been sanctified. What does it mean to have been sanctified?


How have you experienced this reality?

How? How do we get salvation? We get salvation by grace through faith. If we do not have faith enough for salvation, how do we get it? Faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the Word. Why? Because we cannot trust God with all we are and all we have if we do not know Him. The Word is a revelation of God's character. If we would spend a thoughtful hour a day contemplating the life of Christ, we would know Him and trust Him with everything. If we do not know Him that well, then we need to study Him more. By beholding His character we shall be changed into His image (character). See 2 Cor 3:18.
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 12--3rd Quarter 2018--Confinement in Caesarea
« Reply #6 on: September 21, 2018, 12:34:19 PM »

Thursday         September 20

Paul Before the Leaders


Although Paul was speaking to Agrippa, Festus was the first to react, as seen in Acts 26:24. Festus would have had no problem if Paul had spoken about the immortality of the soul, but even the ancient Greco-Romans knew that both concepts—immortality and resurrection—do not go along well with one other. Thus, they kept the former and rejected the latter. This is why Paul says elsewhere that the gospel was foolishness to Gentiles (1 Cor. 1:23).

In a respectful manner, Paul defended the sanity of his ideas and turned to Agrippa, a Jew who could not only understand him but also who could confirm that what he was saying was in agreement with the Hebrew prophets (Acts 26:25, 26).

Read Acts 26:27, 28.

26:27   King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. 
 26:28   Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. 


What was Agrippa’s response to Paul’s pressing question?

Paul’s question put Agrippa in a difficult position. As a Jew, he would never deny his belief in the Scriptures; on the other hand, if he gave an affirmative answer, there would be no option but for him to accept Jesus as the Messiah. His reply was a clever escape from the logical trap he was in: “Are you so quickly persuading me to become a Christian?“ (Acts 26:28, NRSV; compare with ESV, NIV)—this is a better translation of the Greek than the traditional, “You almost persuade me to become a Christian“ (NKJV).

Paul’s rejoinder reveals an impressive level of commitment to the gospel: “Whether quickly or not, I pray to God that not only you but also all who are listening to me today might become such as I am—except for these chains“ (Acts 26:29, NRSV). In his last words in that hearing, the apostle did not plead to be free, free as were those listening to him. Instead, he wished they could be like him, except for the chains on his arms. Paul’s missionary zeal greatly surpassed his care for his own safety.

Read Acts 26:30-32.

 26:30   And when he had thus spoken, the king rose up, and the governor, and Bernice, and they that sat with them: 
 26:31   And when they were gone aside, they talked between themselves, saying, This man doeth nothing worthy of death or of bonds. 
 26:32   Then said Agrippa unto Festus, This man might have been set at liberty, if he had not appealed unto Caesar. 


How did Agrippa express his conviction of Paul’s innocence?

Festus needed Agrippa’s help only to fill in the report (Acts 25:25-27). Paul’s appeal to Caesar had already been formally granted (Acts 25:12). The prisoner was no longer under the governor’s jurisdiction.

Read Acts 26:24-28.

 26:24   And as he thus spake for himself, Festus said with a loud voice, Paul, thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad. 
 26:25   But he said, I am not mad, most noble Festus; but speak forth the words of truth and soberness. 
 26:26   For the king knoweth of these things, before whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him; for this thing was not done in a corner. 
 26:27   King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest. 
 26:28   Then Agrippa said unto Paul, Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. 


What did Paul ultimately appeal to, and what should this tell us about what our final authority in matters of faith should always be?

The Word of God through the prophets. Do we believe with the whole heart? There is no greater sin than "unbelief."  The devils believe, but that does not save them. They manifest unbelief. So it is with us. If we believe, but do not believe all with the whole heart, then we are not trusting Jesus with all we have and all we are.

We may even stand in the pulpit and preach the love of Jesus and attempt to bring conviction upon others, but if we have not repented (which brings about reformation) then we are playing church. If we refuse to undo our wrongs, then we stand before an all seeing God thinking He does not see our heart of unbelief. Such a deception! Lord I believe, take away all of my wicked "unbelief" that I might glorify you.
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 12--3rd Quarter 2018--Confinement in Caesarea
« Reply #7 on: September 21, 2018, 12:57:24 PM »

Friday         September 21


Further Thought: “Did the mind of Agrippa at these words revert to the past history of his family, and their fruitless efforts against Him whom Paul was preaching? Did he think of his great-grandfather Herod, and the massacre of the innocent children of Bethlehem? of his great-uncle Antipas, and the murder of John the Baptist? of his own father, Agrippa I, and the martyrdom of the apostle James? Did he see in the disasters which speedily befell these kings an evidence of the displeasure of God in consequence of their crimes against His servants? Did the pomp and display of that day remind Agrippa of the time when his own father, a monarch more powerful than he, stood in that same city, attired in glittering robes, while the people shouted that he was a god? Had he forgotten how, even before the admiring shouts had died away, vengeance, swift and terrible, had befallen the vainglorious king? Something of all this flitted across Agrippa’s memory; but his vanity was flattered by the brilliant scene before him, and pride and self-importance banished all nobler thoughts.”—Ellen G. White Comments, The SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6, pp. 1066, 1067.

Discussion Questions:

    In class, discuss Paul’s decision to appeal to Caesar. Was this decision correct (compare with Acts 25:25; 26:31, 32)? To what extent can we legitimately make strategic decisions to protect ourselves instead of relying entirely on God’s care?

Are we judging Paul's decision? Then, shall we be wrong in going to the doctor instead of relying entirely on God's care? Not sure where the author wants to go with this. We ought to pray about important decisions we have to make. I don't think it is a matter of "extent" when it comes to "strategic" decisions.


    Reflect on Paul’s statement to Agrippa: “Therefore, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the heavenly vision“ (Acts 26:19, NKJV). What does it tell us about Paul? How faithful are we to our missionary calling as Christians (1 Pet. 2:9, 10)?

    Paul had a passion for people—not for numbers, but for people. In his final hearing in Caesarea, he said to his audience that his heart’s desire was that all of them would be like him; that is, saved by God’s grace (Acts 26:29). He did not wish his own freedom or justice more than he wished them to experience God’s salvation. What can we learn from his example here? How much are we willing to sacrifice in order to see the gospel spread?

What is our purpose in life? Are we living for self or for God? Are we truly converted? Are we fully surrendered to Christ? If so, then self is dead and Christ has the whole heart. Nothing is being held back. Then how much will we sacrifice for others? What God's calls for. We are not able to make that decision. At times we are to leave where we are so we shall not be put to death. That may mean leaving precious souls behind. God knows best. We need to go to Him and trust Him always.


    Agrippa had a chance to hear the gospel right from the mouth of Paul. And yet, he rejected it. How can we be careful not to miss great opportunities when they appear right before us? That is, how can we stay spiritually attuned to the realities around us?

The answer is always the same. We need to be fully surrendered to Christ if we want to have spiritual discernment. Spiritual things are spiritually discerned. We need to maintain our connection with Christ if we want to stay spiritually attuned to the realities around us.
Jesus receives His reward when we reflect His character, the fruits of the Spirit......We deny Jesus His reward when we do not.