Tag: The Way

A follower of the Way!

Scripture reading for June 7th:  Acts 24

Key Scriptures for over-comers:  Acts 24:14-16  “However, I admit that I worship the God of our Fathers as a follower of the Way, which they call a sect.  I believe everything that agrees with the Law and the Prophets, and I have the same hope in God as these men, that there will be a resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked.  So I strive to keep my conscience clear before God and men.”  

Paul stood before Felix, the Roman governor in Caesarea and answered charges brought by the lawyer named Tertullus who represented the Sanhedrin.  Paul stated that he worshiped the God of the Jews and believed the Law  and the Prophets.  He admitted to serve God by following the “Way”, a name used at that time for disciples of Jesus Christ.  Followers of Jesus walked in the “Way” of their Master and lived by faith in His resurrection from the dead and the promise from the Old Testament Scriptures of a resurrection of the righteous and the wicked as taught by Jesus.  Paul was even here, following the “Way” of faith in Jesus and testifying before whoever would listen!

Observations for over-comers:  Believers don’t keep a set of religious rules, but follow a Person, the Lord Jesus Christ!  This walk of faith will often be branded by those outside the “Way” as a cult or sect! “As I watched, this horn was waging war against the saints and defeating them, until the Ancient of days came and pronounced judgment in favor of the the saints of the Most High, and the time came when they possessed the kingdom.”.  . .  “But the court will sit, and his power(the Anti-Christ) will be taken away and completely destroyed forever.  Then the sovereignty, power and greatness of the kingdoms under the whole heaven will be handed over to the saints, the people of the Most High.  His kingdom will be an everlasting kingdom. . .” (Daniel 7:21-22; 26-27)

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Rid the earth of him!

Scripture reading for July 3rd: Acts 21:37-22:16

Paul asked permission from the commander to speak to the violent crowd.  The request was granted and Paul spoke to them in Aramaic, the native language of the Jews.  They became very quiet and listened as he testified about his experiences as a Jew and how he became a persecutor of those who followed the “Way”, putting them in prison and even to death.  God had opened a door for Paul to preach and he seized the opportunity to again reach these who were so opposed to the Way of Jesus.

Paul shared his testimony of the encounter with Jesus on the road to Damascus.  Jesus told Paul that he had been persecuting Him, not just the followers of the Way.  He was struck blind for a time and a godly man, Ananias, came and prayed for him.  He received his sight and was told that God would use him to share his testimony of Jesus with many.  (Acts 22:8-16)

Paul shared how God warned him to leave Jerusalem earlier because they would not accept his testimony.  “Lord,” I replied, “These men know that I went from one synagogue to another to imprison and beat those who believe in You.  And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I stood there giving my approval and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.”  ” Then the Lord said to me, ‘Go; I will send you far away to the Gentiles.” (Acts 22:19-21) It was this final statement that again brought the crowd to life for Paul’s death! “Rid the earth of him!  He’s not fit to live!” (Acts 22:22)

The uproar caused the commander to order Paul flogged and questioned.  As they were preparing to do this, Paul asked the centurion if it was legal to flog a Roman citizen.  When Paul brought this fact up, he was spared him the beating and arranged a meeting with the Sanhedrin the next day.

The idea that God would send a Jew to the Gentiles was outside the thinking of the Jews of Paul’s day.  Even though God had made His people to be a testimony to the whole earth, they had become proud and selfish.  When they heard the truth, they tried to get rid of it by shouting, violence, and even murder!  Followers of  Jesus can expect some of this same  treatment!

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The narrow door!

Scripture reading for April 10th: Luke 13:23-14:6

“Someone asked Him, “Lord, are only a few people going to be saved?”  He said to them, “Make every effort to enter through the narrow door, because many, I tell you, will try to enter and will not be able to.  Once the owner of the house gets up and closes the door, you will stand outside knocking and pleading, ‘Sir, open the door for us.’ “But He will answer I don’t know you or where you come from.” ” (Luke 13:23-25)

A popular topic of discussion among the religious people of Jesus’ day was how many people would make it through the ‘pearly gates’! Speculation about who would be saved and not saved often revolved around having Jewish blood in the veins.  Just descending from Abraham was thought to guarantee salvation.  Attending the synagogue regularly and going to the feasts was a part of being ‘Jewish’. Many, including the religious leaders, were under this delusion.  Jesus tried to jar their thinking to a personal level!

“What about you?” Jesus was asking them.  Have you been saved yourself?  Have you entered through the ‘narrow door’? Are you striving now to enter while it is open?   Jesus was helping them to see that the ‘narrow door’ would not always be open.  Those that thought they could enter at any time would be left outside, looking in at Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the prophets enjoying the feast of the redeemed.  (Luke 13:28-30)

Jesus had taught them that He alone was this ‘door’.  “I am the gate, whoever enters through Me will be saved.” (John 10:9)  “I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.” (John 14:6)  Jesus was and is that door and these people had Him right there with them.  Many religious leaders were looking to get rid of Him instead of find salvation through Him.  Jesus was concerned for their souls.  They should have been the first to enter because of the Word of God delivered to them, but many would be left outside where there would be weeping and gnashing of teeth!

Have you entered through the narrow door of faith in Jesus Christ?   Have you repented of your sins, embracing what Jesus did on the cross for you?  Today the door is still open!  Many will try to enter, but find the door shut for their lack of faith!

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Close encounters with conversion

Scripture reading for November 14th: Acts 24-26

Are you focused on your mission of taking Jesus Christ with you today wherever you go?  Are you ready to share your testimony and share the Gospel?  We are to bring close encounters with Jesus to others in a lost world!

The Apostle Paul visited Jerusalem even though he had been warned prophetically about ending up in jail.  (Acts 21:10-14)  Angry Jews falsely accused Paul and he was imprisoned in Caesarea under the Roman governor Felix.  Jews from Jerusalem came there to present their case against Paul with a lawyer named Tertullus.  The charges had no proof and Paul, with the help of the Holy Spirit, spoke convincingly to Felix.  Later, Felix and his wife asked to have Paul brought before him for a private audience.  Paul preached the Gospel and sought to convince Felix that Jesus was the “Way” for him as well.  (Acts 24:24-26)  Scripture records that Felix became afraid and cut Paul off.  His real motive was a bribe!  Money blinded Felix and his wife from finding the true treasure of eternal life in Jesus Christ!

Two years passed and a new governor, Porcius Festus, was appointed.  The Jews came before him to have Paul transferred to Jerusalem for trial.  They planned to kill him as he was being transferred.  (Acts 25:3)  Again, Paul spoke by the Holy Spirit and appealed to Caesar.    (Acts 25:10-12)

Royal visitors, King Herod Agrippa and his wife Bernice, arrived to pay respects to Porcius Festus.  They stayed a few days and Festus told Agrippa about Paul’s case that he had inherited from Felix.  Agrippa asked to hear from Paul.  The leading men of the city, high-ranking officers, and King Agrippa and his wife had Paul brought in chained as a prisoner.  Paul was invited to speak to the King in front of all these!  He passionately appealed to the King, preaching Jesus as the Christ!  The King listened carefully, but in the end stopped the discussion with: “Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?” (Acts 26:28)

The heart is deceptive and often has satanic blinders to receiving the Gospel.   Many are like King Agrippa and his wife.  God granted them the  privilege of hearing the Gospel but the close encounter did not bring conversion or life eternal!  We must go all the way and embrace Jesus Christ as Lord!

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