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ACTS 16

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The Bible Exposition Commentary Chapter Fifteen: More Open Doors (Acts 15:36–16:40)

For the Apostle Paul, the church at Antioch was not a parking lot: it was a launching pad. He could never settle down to a “comfortable ministry” anywhere as long as there were open doors for the preaching of the Gospel.

Paul would have agreed enthusiastically with the words of Robertson McQuilken from his book The Great Omission: “In a world in which nine out of every ten people are lost, three out of four have never heard the way out, and one of every two cannot hear, the church sleeps on. Could it be we think there must be some other way? Or perhaps we don’t really care that much.” Paul cared—and so should we.

OPEN DOOR (1-13)
Timothy
converted on Paul’s 1st trip to Lystra 1 Cor. 4:17; 1 Tim. 1:2
1 Corinthians 4:17 NASB95
For this reason I have sent to you Timothy, who is my beloved and faithful child in the Lord, and he will remind you of my ways which are in Christ, just as I teach everywhere in every church.
1 Timothy 1:2 NASB95
To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.
mother and grandmother prepared him 2 Tim. 1:5; 2 Tim. 3:15
2 Timothy 1:5 NASB95
For I am mindful of the sincere faith within you, which first dwelt in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice, and I am sure that it is in you as well.
2 Timothy 3:15 NASB95
and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
possibly witnessed Paul’s sufferings in Lystra Acts 14:19-20; 2 Tim. 3:10-11
Acts 14:19–20 NASB95
But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. But while the disciples stood around him, he got up and entered the city. The next day he went away with Barnabas to Derbe.
2 Timothy 3:10–11 NASB95
Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me!
kindred spirit with Paul Philippians 2:19-23
Philippians 2:19–23 NASB95
But I hope in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, so that I also may be encouraged when I learn of your condition. For I have no one else of kindred spirit who will genuinely be concerned for your welfare. For they all seek after their own interests, not those of Christ Jesus. But you know of his proven worth, that he served with me in the furtherance of the gospel like a child serving his father. Therefore I hope to send him immediately, as soon as I see how things go with me;
Why circumcise Timothy?
Gal. 5:2,6; 6:15
Galatians 5:2 NASB95
Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you.
Galatians 5:6 NASB95
For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision means anything, but faith working through love.
Galatians 6:15 NASB95
For neither is circumcision anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation.
Does this contradict the decision of the Jerusalem council?
Gal. 2:1-5 was a salvation issue
Galatians 2:1–5 NASB95
Then after an interval of fourteen years I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, taking Titus along also. It was because of a revelation that I went up; and I submitted to them the gospel which I preach among the Gentiles, but I did so in private to those who were of reputation, for fear that I might be running, or had run, in vain. But not even Titus, who was with me, though he was a Greek, was compelled to be circumcised. But it was because of the false brethren secretly brought in, who had sneaked in to spy out our liberty which we have in Christ Jesus, in order to bring us into bondage. But we did not yield in subjection to them for even an hour, so that the truth of the gospel would remain with you.
this is not
1 Cor. 9:19-23
1 Corinthians 9:19–23 NASB95
For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.
Rom. 14:13-15
Romans 14:13–15 NASB95
Therefore let us not judge one another anymore, but rather determine this—not to put an obstacle or a stumbling block in a brother’s way. I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself; but to him who thinks anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. For if because of food your brother is hurt, you are no longer walking according to love. Do not destroy with your food him for whom Christ died.
made him more effective in reaching Jews & Gentiles
would not be a stumbling block to the Jews
Why a closed door to Asia but an open one to Macedonia?
God’s plan was to get it there a different way.
Acts 18:19-19:41
Acts 18:19–19:41 NASB95
They came to Ephesus, and he left them there. Now he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. When they asked him to stay for a longer time, he did not consent, but taking leave of them and saying, “I will return to you again if God wills,” he set sail from Ephesus. When he had landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church, and went down to Antioch. And having spent some time there, he left and passed successively through the Galatian region and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples. Now a Jew named Apollos, an Alexandrian by birth, an eloquent man, came to Ephesus; and he was mighty in the Scriptures. This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he was speaking and teaching accurately the things concerning Jesus, being acquainted only with the baptism of John; and he began to speak out boldly in the synagogue. But when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he wanted to go across to Achaia, the brethren encouraged him and wrote to the disciples to welcome him; and when he had arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace, for he powerfully refuted the Jews in public, demonstrating by the Scriptures that Jesus was the Christ. It happened that while Apollos was at Corinth, Paul passed through the upper country and came to Ephesus, and found some disciples. He said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” And they said to him, “No, we have not even heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said, “Into what then were you baptized?” And they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Paul said, “John baptized with the baptism of repentance, telling the people to believe in Him who was coming after him, that is, in Jesus.” When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Spirit came on them, and they began speaking with tongues and prophesying. There were in all about twelve men. And he entered the synagogue and continued speaking out boldly for three months, reasoning and persuading them about the kingdom of God. But when some were becoming hardened and disobedient, speaking evil of the Way before the people, he withdrew from them and took away the disciples, reasoning daily in the school of Tyrannus. This took place for two years, so that all who lived in Asia heard the word of the Lord, both Jews and Greeks. God was performing extraordinary miracles by the hands of Paul, so that handkerchiefs or aprons were even carried from his body to the sick, and the diseases left them and the evil spirits went out. But also some of the Jewish exorcists, who went from place to place, attempted to name over those who had the evil spirits the name of the Lord Jesus, saying, “I adjure you by Jesus whom Paul preaches.” Seven sons of one Sceva, a Jewish chief priest, were doing this. And the evil spirit answered and said to them, “I recognize Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?” And the man, in whom was the evil spirit, leaped on them and subdued all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. This became known to all, both Jews and Greeks, who lived in Ephesus; and fear fell upon them all and the name of the Lord Jesus was being magnified. Many also of those who had believed kept coming, confessing and disclosing their practices. And many of those who practiced magic brought their books together and began burning them in the sight of everyone; and they counted up the price of them and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver. So the word of the Lord was growing mightily and prevailing. Now after these things were finished, Paul purposed in the Spirit to go to Jerusalem after he had passed through Macedonia and Achaia, saying, “After I have been there, I must also see Rome.” And having sent into Macedonia two of those who ministered to him, Timothy and Erastus, he himself stayed in Asia for a while. About that time there occurred no small disturbance concerning the Way. For a man named Demetrius, a silversmith, who made silver shrines of Artemis, was bringing no little business to the craftsmen; these he gathered together with the workmen of similar trades, and said, “Men, you know that our prosperity depends upon this business. “You see and hear that not only in Ephesus, but in almost all of Asia, this Paul has persuaded and turned away a considerable number of people, saying that gods made with hands are no gods at all. “Not only is there danger that this trade of ours fall into disrepute, but also that the temple of the great goddess Artemis be regarded as worthless and that she whom all of Asia and the world worship will even be dethroned from her magnificence.” When they heard this and were filled with rage, they began crying out, saying, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” The city was filled with the confusion, and they rushed with one accord into the theater, dragging along Gaius and Aristarchus, Paul’s traveling companions from Macedonia. And when Paul wanted to go into the assembly, the disciples would not let him. Also some of the Asiarchs who were friends of his sent to him and repeatedly urged him not to venture into the theater. So then, some were shouting one thing and some another, for the assembly was in confusion and the majority did not know for what reason they had come together. Some of the crowd concluded it was Alexander, since the Jews had put him forward; and having motioned with his hand, Alexander was intending to make a defense to the assembly. But when they recognized that he was a Jew, a single outcry arose from them all as they shouted for about two hours, “Great is Artemis of the Ephesians!” After quieting the crowd, the town clerk said, “Men of Ephesus, what man is there after all who does not know that the city of the Ephesians is guardian of the temple of the great Artemis and of the image which fell down from heaven? “So, since these are undeniable facts, you ought to keep calm and to do nothing rash. “For you have brought these men here who are neither robbers of temples nor blasphemers of our goddess. “So then, if Demetrius and the craftsmen who are with him have a complaint against any man, the courts are in session and proconsuls are available; let them bring charges against one another. “But if you want anything beyond this, it shall be settled in the lawful assembly. “For indeed we are in danger of being accused of a riot in connection with today’s events, since there is no real cause for it, and in this connection we will be unable to account for this disorderly gathering.” After saying this he dismissed the assembly.
1 Pet. 1:1
1 Peter 1:1 NASB95
Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, To those who reside as aliens, scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, who are chosen
not a “no” but a “later” answer 1 Cor. 16:8-9
1 Corinthians 16:8–9 NASB95
But I will remain in Ephesus until Pentecost; for a wide door for effective service has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.
“we” v. 10
3 we sections in Acts
16:10-17
20:5-15
27:1-28:16
Acts 17:1 “they” - seems as if Luke maybe stayed in Philippi
OPEN HEART
Paul shared the word v. 14
Lydia
worshipper of God v. 14
was listening Jn. 5:24
John 5:24 NASB95
“Truly, truly, I say to you, he who hears My word, and believes Him who sent Me, has eternal life, and does not come into judgment, but has passed out of death into life.
Lord opened her heart to respond 2 Thess. 2:14
2 Thessalonians 2:14 NASB95
It was for this He called you through our gospel, that you may gain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
she & her household was baptized v. 15
faithful to the Lord
hospitable
4 household conversions
Cornelius and His household 10:24-28
Lydia and her household 16:15
Philippian Jailer & his household 16:31-34
household of Stephanas 1 Cor. 1:16; 16:15
1 Corinthians 1:16 NASB95
Now I did baptize also the household of Stephanas; beyond that, I do not know whether I baptized any other.
1 Corinthians 16:15 NASB95
Now I urge you, brethren (you know the household of Stephanas, that they were the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves for ministry to the saints),
Crispus & his household 18:8; 1 Cor. 16:15
1 Corinthians 16:15 NASB95
Now I urge you, brethren (you know the household of Stephanas, that they were the first fruits of Achaia, and that they have devoted themselves for ministry to the saints),
OPEN DOOR
conflict of money & ministry
Acts 5:1-11 Ananias & Saphira
Acts 8:18-24 Simon buying the H.S.
Acts 19:23ff Demetrius the silversmith
Acts 20:33-34 Paul took no money
Paul & Silas put into prison
stripped & beaten 2 Cor. 11:23-25
2 Corinthians 11:23–25 NASB95
Are they servants of Christ?—I speak as if insane—I more so; in far more labors, in far more imprisonments, beaten times without number, often in danger of death. Five times I received from the Jews thirty-nine lashes. Three times I was beaten with rods, once I was stoned, three times I was shipwrecked, a night and a day I have spent in the deep.
praying & singing hymns
instead of complaining
instead of calling down judgment
winning a soul to Christ is more important than escaping
Matt. 5:10-12, 43-48
Matthew 5:10–12 NASB95
“Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. “Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:43–48 NASB95
“You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ “But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven; for He causes His sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. “For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? “If you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
what must I do to be saved?
believe (see baptism chart)
immediately baptized (household)
rejoiced v. 34
Roman citizen
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