verses for this week: Psa 46:6 The heathen
raged, the kingdoms were moved: he uttered his voice, the earth
melted. Psa 46:7 The
LORD of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge.
Introduction: In Chapter 21, we saw Paul go into Jerusalem even
though he was warned at least twice not to go.
Both times the text indicated that the Holy Spirit had led
those who were asking him to not go.
However, with Paul’s life virtually on the line, Paul went
on. I asked a couple of preachers this week about chapter 21,
because it appeared that Paul might have on his own (out of the Will
of the Lord) went to Jerusalem.
Both men told me that they did not think Paul ever went
against the leadership of the Holy Spirit in his ministry, and that
those who attempted to get him to not go were put there to tempt him
to not do the Lord’s Will.
Perhaps this was the case.
When Paul did arrive in Jerusalem, his life was truly on the
line. This week, we
pick up when Paul is about to speak after having been beaten and the
Roman soldiers had saved his life.
He is speaking to the crowd who was against him.
22:1 Men, brethren, and
fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you.
22:2 (And when they
heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more
silence: and he saith,)
22:3 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.
should never underestimate the power of our personal testimony.
If you think you can’t witness about Jesus Christ, then
just go and tell the person what Christ did for you when you got
saved. The relief
of the burden of sin, the solid rock that he sets under our feet,
these are powerful witnesses to the truth of the gospel.
Paul starts his testimony by saying “Men, brethren,
fathers…” These are his people, those of his own background.
He asks them to simply listen to his defence.
And by speaking in the Hebrew tongue, Paul would be more
effective in speaking to the Jews.
They would be much more likely to listen to him by speaking
in their native language.
In verse 3, Paul declares that he, like them, was a Jew.
He goes on to say he was born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia.
While being born in Tarsus, most of his childhood life was
lived in Jerusalem. He
was blessed to have been taught under the great teacher, Gamaliel.
Paul had been taught according to the perfect manner of the
law of the fathers.
22:4 And I persecuted
this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both
men and women.
22:5 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.
goes on to say how zealous he was for the law.
How for the love of God (he thought), he brought men and
women back bound for being Christians.
He had a great zeal to serve God as did those in his
audience. The high priest of the people knew of his great zeal, and had
granted him letters to Damascus to the synagogues giving him
permission to bring back any Christians to Jerusalem.
Acts 9:2 And desired of
him letters to Damascus to the synagogues, that if he found any of
this way, whether they were men or women, he might bring them bound
Acts 9:3 And as he
journeyed, he came near Damascus: and suddenly there shined round
about him a light from heaven:
Acts 9:4 And he fell to
the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why
persecutest thou me?
Acts 9:5 And he said,
Who art thou, Lord? And the Lord said, I am Jesus whom thou
persecutest: it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.
22:6 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
22:7 And I fell unto
the ground, and heard a voice saying unto me, Saul, Saul, why
persecutest thou me?
22:8 And I answered,
Who art thou, Lord? And he said unto me, I am Jesus of Nazareth,
whom thou persecutest.
22:9 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.
22:10 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.
22:11 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.
time Paul talked of his conversion to Christianity, he always
pointed to that road to Damascus.
I believe anyone who knows Jesus as Lord and Savior can point
to the day and time they were saved.
We might not know the exact date, but we will know where we
were and what Jesus did when he saved us.
This was the greatest thing that ever happened to Paul.
He met the Lord and was saved.
There is nothing greater that could happen to any man or
woman than to find Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
22:12 And one Ananias,
a devout man according to the law, having a good report of all the
Jews which dwelt there,
22:13 Came unto me, and
stood, and said unto me, Brother Saul, receive thy sight. And the
same hour I looked up upon him.
22:14 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
22:15 For thou shalt be
his witness unto all men of what thou hast seen and heard.
are some important things to note about Ananias. He was a devout man according to the law.
He had a good report of all the Jews which dwelt there.
When Paul came unto him, the sight in his eyes was restored.
Acts 9:12 And hath seen
in a vision a man named Ananias coming in, and putting his hand on
him, that he might receive his sight.
Acts 9:13 Then Ananias
answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he
hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
Acts 9:14 And here he
hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy
Acts 9:15 But the Lord
said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to
bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of
Acts 9:16 For I will
show him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.
see in verses 14 and 15 that God chose Paul, and would later reveal
His Will for Paul’s life.
Paul would see the Just One, and would be a witness unto all
men of what he had seen and heard.
2 Cor 12:1 It is not
expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and
revelations of the Lord.
2 Cor 12:2 I knew a man
in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot
tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such
an one caught up to the third heaven.
2 Cor 12:3 And I knew
such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell:
2 Cor 12:4 How that he
was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it
is not lawful for a man to utter.
22:16 And now why
tarriest thou? arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins,
calling on the name of the Lord.
is one of the verses that have been used to teach baptismal
regeneration. We need
to ask ourselves this question?
Can we truly wash away our sins?
I think the following verses make it clear where salvation
scribes and Pharisees were very upset with Christ, and said that
only God could forgive sins. This
was true, but Jesus was God and they did not believe Him.
Luke 5:21 And the
scribes and the Pharisees began to reason, saying, Who is this which
speaketh blasphemies? Who can forgive sins, but God alone?
Titus 3:5 Not by works
of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he
saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy
Titus 3:6 Which he shed
on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour;
Titus 3:7 That being
justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the
hope of eternal life.
Isa 43:10 Ye are
my witnesses, saith the LORD, and my servant whom I have chosen:
that ye may know and believe me, and understand that I am he: before
me there was no God formed, neither shall there be after me.
Isa 43:11 I, even I, am
the LORD; and beside me there is no saviour.
Isa 43:12 I have
declared, and have saved, and I have showed, when there was no
strange god among you: therefore ye are my witnesses, saith the
LORD, that I am God.
the most simple and direct scripture concerning salvation was what
Paul told the Philippian jailer.
Acts 16:27 And the
keeper of the prison awaking out of his sleep, and seeing the prison
doors open, he drew out his sword, and would have killed himself,
supposing that the prisoners had been fled.
Acts 16:28 But Paul
cried with a loud voice, saying, Do thyself no harm: for we are all
Acts 16:29 Then he
called for a light, and sprang in, and came trembling, and fell down
before Paul and Silas,
Acts 16:30 And brought
them out, and said, Sirs, what must I do to be saved?
Acts 16:31 And they
said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and
blood of Jesus Christ is what washes us and cleanses us from sin.
Rev 1:5 And from Jesus
Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the
dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved
us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,
Rev 1:6 And hath made us
kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and
dominion for ever and ever. Amen.
1 John 1:7 But if we
walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one
with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us
from all sin.
is always important to remember that baptism is a symbolic washing
away of the sins. Jesus
paid for our sins with his own blood, and the act of baptism is the
picture of the old man dying to the old way of life, and the new man
rising up to walk in newness of life.
We are new creatures in Christ once we are saved.
Paul was warned to stay away from Jerusalem
22:17 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;
22:18 And saw him
saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem:
for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me.
22:19 And I said, Lord,
they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that
believed on thee:
22:20 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
22:21 And he said unto
me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles.
Paul tells the angry group how
that the Lord had come to him in the temple and told him to flee
from the city. Paul
says they will not believe the testimony about Christ.
And Paul talks of the stoning of the martyr Stephen,
something he could never forget.
In his last words, Stephen declared a risen Lord.
And said, Behold, I see the heavens opened, and the Son of
man standing on the right hand of God.
Then they cried out with a loud voice, and stopped their
ears, and ran upon him with one accord,
And cast him out of the city, and stoned him: and the
witnesses laid down their clothes at a young man's feet, whose name
And they stoned Stephen, calling upon God, and saying, Lord
Jesus, receive my spirit.
And he kneeled down, and cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay
not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this, he fell
Paul speaks of how God had
sent him to preach unto the Gentiles, and this made the mob very
upset and they were ready to kill him.
This caused such an uproar that the chief captain bought Paul
into the castle to be scourged.
22:22 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
22:23 And as they cried
out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air,
22:24 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
We see the crowd was so upset
that they would no longer listen to Paul at all.
In his commentary on Acts, J.
Vernon McGee said this on these verses.
“Paul never forgot that he had been present a the stoning
of Stephen and actually had had charge over it.
It left an indelible impression on his mind and prepared him
for his own conversion. When
Paul mentioned the Gentiles because he had been out in the Gentile
world preaching Christ unto them.
The Jews knew that. The
minute he mentions the Gentiles, it was like lighting a fuse.
They will hear him no longer.”
Paul, a Roman Citizen
22:25 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?
22:26 When the
centurion heard that, he went and told the chief captain, saying,
Take heed what thou doest: for this man is a Roman.
was not lawful for the Romans to scourge a Roman citizen without him
having a trial and being condemned.
When the centurion heard this, he went to the chief captain
and warned him.
22:27 Then the chief
captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said,
22:28 And the chief
captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul
said, But I was free born.
22:29 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.
22:30 On the morrow,
because he would have known the certainty wherefore he was accused
of the Jews, he loosed him from his bands, and commanded the chief
priests and all their council to appear, and brought Paul down, and
set him before them.
Calvin said this about Paul being a Roman.
“First of all, Paul asserted the rights of citizenship;
then he defended himself by a general right.
Although the second point was the more important (namely,
that it is unlawful to flog someone before hearing his case), he
would not have prevailed if the commander had not been more moved by
the honor of the Roman Empire.
Nothing was then more heinous than to do anything that was
contrary to the liberty of the Roman people.
The laws of Valerius, Porcius, Sempronius, and others forbade
anyone to inflict punishment on the body of a Roman citizen without
the command of the people. The
privilege was so sacred that flogging a Roman citizen was considered
not only a capital offense, but an inexpiable one.”
was a lot of difference in the captain’s citizenship than
Paul’s. It says by a
great sum of money the chief captain had obtained his freedom.
Paul was free born. His
Roman citizenship brought fear upon the captain, and he is loosed
from his bonds. The
chief priest and all their council were commanded to appear and Paul
is brought before them. We will cover those proceedings in next weeks
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But the path of the just is as the shining light, that
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