verses for this week: Heb 3:13 But exhort one
another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be
hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.
Introduction: In Chapter 22, we saw Paul giving his defense to
the Jews there in Jerusalem.
He told of his conversion when Christ appeared to him on the
road to Damascus. Many
listened until he spoke of being called to preach unto the Gentiles,
and at that point they went into a rage.
We closed with Paul being taken in to be scourged, but due to
being a Roman citizen, they did not beat him.
The captain called the religious leaders in to find out what
evil Paul had done, and we pick up with that meeting in Chapter 23.
Paul Before the
And Paul, earnestly beholding the council, said, Men and
brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this
And the high priest Ananias commanded them that stood by him
to smite him on the mouth.
chief priest and the seventy elders of Israel made up the council
whom Paul stood before. We
see that he immediately points out how that he had lived in all good
conscience before God until this day.
We all need to do our best to live worthy of our calling.
Paul did not say he had lived with a good conscience since he
was saved, but all of his life.
Even when he was binding the Christians and bringing them to
Jerusalem, he truly thought he was serving God.
I verily thought with myself, that I ought to do many things
contrary to the name of Jesus of Nazareth.
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
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.
Whereupon as I went to Damascus with authority and commission
from the chief priests,
1 Tim 1:12
And I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who hath enabled me, for
that he counted me faithful, putting me into the ministry;
1 Tim 1:13
Who was before a blasphemer, and a persecutor, and injurious:
but I obtained mercy, because I did it ignorantly in unbelief.
1 Tim 1:14
And the grace of our Lord was exceeding abundant with faith
and love which is in Christ Jesus.
1 Tim 1:15
This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation,
that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am
should learn from Paul that even our conscience can fail us when we
look to it for our guide. The
only true and reliable point of reference is using Godís Word with
the leadership of the Holy Spirit to direct our daily actions.
verses concerning conscience:
1 Tim 4:1
Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times
some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits,
and doctrines of devils;
1 Tim 4:2
Speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared
with a hot iron;
1 Tim 4:3
Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats,
which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them
which believe and know the truth.
Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are
defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and
conscience is defiled.
They profess that they know God; but in works they deny him,
being abominable, and disobedient, and unto every good work
But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:
1 Cor 8:7
Howbeit there is not in every man that knowledge: for some
with conscience of the idol unto this hour eat it as a thing offered
unto an idol; and their conscience being weak is defiled.
see the conscience is truly not reliable, whereas the Holy Spirit
will never lead us to do things contrary to the Word of God.
see in verse 2 that Ananias commands them to smite Paul on the
mouth. He was the
leader of the people, and he should have show responsibility and
upheld the law in the high court of the Jews.
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?
And they that stood by said, Revilest thou God's high priest?
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
is outraged and says that God will smite the ones who had gave the
orders to have him struck.
In verse 4, they rebuke Paul for speaking in such a manner to
the high priest. We
see Paul acknowledges his error in doing this.
He goes to the Word of God and acknowledges that we should
have respect for those in rule.
Paul was not acquainted with this high priest, and we also
suspect that Paul could not see very well.
With poor eyesight, he most likely could not tell which
person had spoken out.
Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the
gospel unto you at the first.
And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor
rejected; but received me as an angel of God, even as Christ Jesus.
Where is then the blessedness ye spake of? for I bear you
record, that, if it had been possible, ye would have plucked out
your own eyes, and have given them to me.
Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with mine
As many as desire to make a fair show in the flesh, they
constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer
persecution for the cross of Christ.
Paul Appeals to the Pharisees
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.
And when he had so said, there arose a dissension between the
Pharisees and the Sadducees: and the multitude was divided.
For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, neither
angel, nor spirit: but the Pharisees confess both.
was wise in recognizing that the crowd was divided between Saducees
and Pharisees. These
where two of the leading religious orders of the day.
The Pharisees were strict followers of the law, and many
could quote the first five books of the bible by heart.
They believed in the resurrection of the dead, while the
Saducees denied both the resurrection, the existence of angels, and
the belief in spirits.
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.
gathered here against Paul were divided on the question about the
was doctrinal beliefs that divided the people, and it is the stand
for true doctrine that divides people still today.
John Calvinís commentary, he makes a good point about how these
people turn against one another.
ďWe see here the Nature of the wicked:
although they disagree among themselves, they forget their
own struggles when they have to fight against the Gospel.
Satan, the father of discord, manages to make his followers
agree on just one thing: the
destruction of godliness. Christís
disciples must join together in fostering the truth, so that they
may resist Satan better. Christ
says that the peacemakers are Godís children (Matthew 5:9), and
is true that they must do what they can to grow together like
brothers under the Lord. But
even if we fight together under the banner of the same Lord, that
does not stop us from stirring up the wicked to run on each other as
the Midianites did (Judges 7:22), provided we are led to do so by
pure zeal and the wisdom of the Spirit.Ē
is ironic how I agree so much with what Brother Calvin said, and yet
on what he is most known for, the doctrine of Calvinism, I totally
disagree. Our decisions
should be based wholly and totally on scripture, and that is where
it is so crucial for us to study to be sure that nothing contradicts
what we believe in the Word of God.
While I agree that the only ones that can be saved are those
who acknowledge their lost condition and are drawn by the Spirit to
God, I can not agree that our efforts mean nothing in spreading the
Gospel. I do believe
God is omniscient and knows all things, so He can and does know when
we will witness and when we will not.
But it still comes down to a decision that man must make, and
salvation is totally of grace by God.
2 Tim 2:15
Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that
needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
2 Tim 2:16
But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase
unto more ungodliness.
And the Spirit and the bride say, Come. And let him that
heareth say, Come. And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever
will, let him take the water of life freely.
doctrine was the dividing factor here.
One of the main reasons that many of the disciples quit
following the Lord was his doctrine.
I am that bread of life.
Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, and are dead.
This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man
may eat thereof, and not die.
I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man
eat of this bread, he shall live for ever: and the bread that I will
give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world.
The Jews therefore strove among themselves, saying, How can
this man give us his flesh to eat?
Then Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you,
Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye
have no life in you.
Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal
life; and I will raise him up at the last day.
For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed.
He that eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, dwelleth in
me, and I in him.
As the living Father hath sent me, and I live by the Father:
so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me.
This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your
fathers did eat manna, and are dead: he that eateth of this bread
shall live for ever.
These things said he in the synagogue, as he taught in
Many therefore of his disciples, when they had heard this,
said, This is an hard saying; who can hear it?
When Jesus knew in himself that his disciples murmured at it,
he said unto them, Doth this offend you?
What and if ye shall see the Son of man ascend up where he
It is the spirit that quickeneth; the flesh profiteth
nothing: the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they
But there are some of you that believe not. For Jesus knew
from the beginning who they were that believed not, and who should
And he said, Therefore said I unto you, that no man can come
unto me, except it were given unto him of my Father.
From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no
more with him.
Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away?
Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go?
thou hast the words of eternal life.
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.
verse 10, we see they bring Paul into the castle to keep his enemies
from killing him.
Godís Promise to Paul
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.
find that God encourages Paul and tells him that he is going to have
to opportunity to bear witness of the Lord at Rome. Satan and all his army could not stop Paul from going to
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.
And they were more than forty which had made this conspiracy.
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.
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.
And when Paul's sister's son heard of their lying in wait, he
went and entered into the castle, and told Paul.
find certain men decide to band together and decide that what ever
it took, they would kill Paul.
They are so driven by their zeal that they do not consider
that killing another person was in direct conflict with Godís Law.
Beware of people who will do anything to get their way.
We see they go to the religious leaders, and tell them what
they intend to do. You
would think that religious leaders would have nothing to do with a
plot of murder. But
they say nothing evil about it, and agree to go along with the plan. The vow the forty some odd Jews took was that they would not
eat nor drink until they completed their goal.
By Godís providential care, Paulís nephew overhears their
plans and goes and tells Paul.
We may not always understand the methods that God uses, but
we can acknowledge that His plan for our life is the best.
Not all things are good that happen to us, but God uses all
of it for our good. What
these men forgot is that it is God who gives us life, and no one
goes out without Godís knowledge.
See now that I, even I, am he, and there is no god with me: I
kill, and I make alive; I wound, and I heal: neither is there any
that can deliver out of my hand.
Unto thee it was showed, that thou mightest know that the
LORD he is God; there is none else beside him.
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.
So he took him, and brought him to the chief captain, and
said, Paul the prisoner called me unto him, and prayed me to bring
this young man unto thee, who hath something to say unto thee.
Then the chief captain took him by the hand, and went with
him aside privately, and asked him, What is that thou hast to tell
And he said, The Jews have agreed to desire thee that thou
wouldest bring down Paul to morrow into the council, as though they
would inquire somewhat of him more perfectly.
But do not thou yield unto them: for there lie in wait for
him of them more than forty men, which have bound themselves with an
oath, that they will neither eat nor drink till they have killed
him: and now are they ready, looking for a promise from thee.
So the chief captain then let the young man depart, and
charged him, See thou tell no man that thou hast showed these things
see Paulís nephew coming to the chief captain (At Paulís
request), and telling him what the Jews had conspired to do.
I believe this captain was a fine man, looking only to do
what was right. When
he finds out what is about to happen, he takes action.
Paul is Sent by night to Felix
And he called unto him two centurions, saying, Make ready two
hundred soldiers to go to Caesarea, and horsemen threescore and ten,
and spearmen two hundred, at the third hour of the night;
And provide them beasts, that they may set Paul on, and bring
him safe unto Felix the governor.
captain calls in two centurions, and has them prepare 200 soldiers
along with 70 horsemen and 200 spearmen at the third hour of the
night to leave with Paul to go to Caesarea.
He was taking no chances of the men overthrowing the soldiers
and taking Paul from them.
And he wrote a letter after this manner:
Claudius Lysias unto the most excellent governor Felix
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.
And when I would have known the cause wherefore they accused
him, I brought him forth into their council:
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.
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.
Then the soldiers, as it was commanded them, took Paul, and
brought him by night to Antipatris.
see the captain explains to Felix that he feels that Paul was
accused of some question of the Jewish law, but he had done nothing
worthy of death. And
that when he found out that they lay in wait to kill him, he sent
Paul to the governor. The soldiers do their job and brought him to
On the morrow they left the horsemen to go with him, and
returned to the castle:
Who, when they came to Caesarea, and delivered the epistle to
the governor, presented Paul also before him.
And when the governor had read the letter, he asked of what
province he was. And when he understood that he was of Cilicia;
I will hear thee, said he, when thine accusers are also come.
And he commanded him to be kept in Herod's judgment hall.
see that they leave the next morning and come to Caesarea and
deliver the letter and Paul to the governor.
Felix asks him what province he was from, and when he was
told it was Cilicia, he promises to hear both Paul and the accusers
when they come.
Vernon McGee said the captain of the centurions never truly
understood what Paul was accused of due to the nature of the mob. ďIt is clear Claudius Lysias never did know exactly what
the charge was against Paul. He
knew it pertained to their law.
Under Roman law Paul was not guilty of anything worthy of
death or of imprisonment.
When Paul arrives in Caesarea, we find his accusers were
quick to follow. As we
move along, I think you will detect that Paul is not defending
himself as much as he is witnessing for Christ.
The Lord Jesus had said he would witness before governors and
rulers and kings. He is
being brought before them. This
is Godís method. Paul
is in the will of God, and God is carrying out His purpose.Ē
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But the path of the just is as the shining light, that
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