June 22, 2019
THE FIRST CHURCH MISSIONS REPORT Although the 72 disciples that Jesus sent out two-by-two were perhaps the first to offer a missions report, this report by Paul and Barnabas to the church at Antioch may have been the first to a church. While there was no mention of souvenirs brought back, nor a slide show… Read more »
June 20, 2019
HOW CAN WE BE MADE RIGHT WITH GOD? Paul and Barnabas preached justification by faith in Christ alone while visiting the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch, which was a prominent Roman city located in what is now SW Turkey. This was on Paul’s first missionary journey. They made it clear that what the law of Moses… Read more »
July 12, 2018
PAUL’S MALTA MISSION
Paul spent three months on the island of Malta after being shipwrecked there. He healed people from all over the island, including the chief official’s father, in the name of Jesus. What should’ve been a disaster turned out to be a divine opportunity. Paul had been rejected in Jerusalem, but he was honored in Malta. The gospel was going out to the Gentiles.
July 10, 2018
MIRACLE ON THE MED
When it appeared that Paul and the 276 people aboard the ship would survive the storm, he and his fellow prisoners were threatened by the soldiers. Yet, even in this, God protected Paul, giving him favor with the commanding officer. The storm, the sailors and the soldiers, all at different times, threatened Paul’s life, but God intervened every time. Not only did Paul survive, but all 276 passengers did as well. Many a ship and all aboard have lost their lives in lesser storms on the Mediterranean Sea, but God had called Paul to go to Rome, and to Rome he would go. The miracle on the Med gave Paul a platform to preach the gospel to every passenger with great credibility.
July 9, 2018
PAUL’S INFLUENCE GROWS THROUGH TRIAL
The Roman officer in charge of getting Paul and the other prisoners to Rome showed great favor to Paul, allowing him to travel with his friends, Luke and Aristarchus, and permitting him to go ashore at Sidon to visit friends and get personal supplies. However, his kindness didn’t extend to taking advice from Paul on maritime matters. Ignoring Paul’s warning not to sail, the Roman officer chose to follow the advice of the ship’s captain and owner, who preferred a more comfortable winter’s anchorage in nearby Phoenix. Yet, as soon as they set out on what should’ve been a short journey along the Southern coast of Crete, a “Northeaster” of typhoon force blew them far out to sea. As their condition grew more desperate, Paul’s prior warning must have continued to ring in the Roman officer’s ears.
Paul’s influence began to grow with the Romans and the sailors from that day. As their situation in the storm worsened, Paul’s voice would became the only voice of hope in their midst. The Lord gave a Paul a platform of influence everywhere he went, that he might share the gospel with everyone.
July 8, 2018
PAUL’S PURPOSE AND PRAYER FOR HIS AUDIENCE
After Paul gave his defense before Festus, King Agrippa, Bernice and a crowd of Roman military officers and Jewish dignitaries, Agrippa realized Paul’s purpose. It wasn’t only a defense of his innocence, but a testimony of his salvation through the resurrected Jesus Christ. Paul wanted to persuade his audience to join him in believing and trusting in Jesus. This is why Agrippa interrupted Paul, saying, “Do you think you can persuade me to become a Christian so quickly?”
Agrippa got the point. Paul’s purpose and prayer was that they believe the gospel and follow Jesus. Agrippa had used the name “Christian,” a name first used in Antioch to describe disciples of Jesus (See Acts 11:26). It was a new name, more respectful than that which Paul’s accusers had used, calling him a “ringleader of the cult known as the Nazarenes” (Acts 24:5).
The “Nazarene” is what they had called Jesus. And it is the name that ISIS recently used to label Christians in the Middle East, forcing them to wear the Arabic letter “N” on their clothes and painting it on their houses.
Paul was proud to wear either name, as long as they identified him with Christ. His purpose and prayer was that others would join him.