Anyone who has faith will never doubt the power of God to protect and save. The examples in the bible are numerous where God has exercised His power to prevent calamity and death among His people. Paul recognized this power and shows us how the people of God are unbreakable in God's power.
These few verses are testimony to the depth of the power of God and how it works within us to protect and save. We are shown that even in the fragility of the human condition, and the weakness of our flesh, we become unbreakable.
This is testimony also to how we are being watched by God. It does not mean we will not go through troubles, trials and tribulations. Rather, He oversees all aspects of our lives so that we are not taken beyond our abilities to handle any crisis that may arise.
We see in this section how the actions of two men, acting as individuals, have changed the fates of all humanity. One brought death and destruction to all of mankind. The other promises reconciliation and life to all mankind.
Both of these men began in similar circumstances but the outcomes of their lives and the impact of what they did were vastly different. Both began life as perfect creations of God. One fell from Gods grace and so doomed all of mankind to a life of sin and death. The other brought a process of reconciliation and transformation to lift man from the depths of this doom and to be able to walk in the glorious light of gods love, grace and salvation.
I am of course speaking of the first man Adam and Jesus Christ for the fate of the world as we know it rests on the actions of these two men. Adam, through whom we inherited the nature of sin and death and Jesus through whom we receive grace and the promise of life.
The Lord will have the word of the gospel delivered to those who wish to hear it. All obstacles to the preaching of the word will be removed.
Sometimes this is more dramatic than at other times as this short section of scripture testifies to. But regardless of how it is done, the will of God will prevail and His word shall be proclaimed.
Let’s look at this short section which describes one of the more dramatic moves of The Lord to ensure those to whom the word would come received the gospel. In this case Paul and Barnabas had gone down to the island of Paphos and had been proclaiming the word. They then met up with the proconsul Sergius Paulus who was the governor of the region. Continue reading “No Stopping the Word”
What is it that man seeks more than anything else? And what is it that in spite of all the advances in medicine and science he simply cannot achieve?
In a word…LIFE!
Man has learned how to prolong life and repair many sicknesses, illnesses and physical conditions, but once a person is dead, they’re dead and nothing man can do will bring them back to life. Oh sure they are doing remarkable things now to preserve human bodies by cryogenics in the hope that at some future time science will be able to restore life…but it won’t ever happen.
Why? Because life is a spiritual thing, not a physical thing. The life force of every person is a matter of spirit, not electricity or radiation or chemical reactions or whatever else man has attempted. The creation and maintenance of life is about keeping the spirit of a person in their body so that they live, and man does not have the power or authority to do that. Only God can do it.
But sometimes God allows the spirit of a person to re-enter the person so they live again. This is what happened in this section of scripture and from it we learn that with God there is nothing impossible.
There are some old sayings that say you can’t change something or someone. For example, a leopard can’t change it’s spots. You can’t make a silk purse out of a sow’s ear. Once a (fill in the blank) always a (fill in the blank).
But while these sayings may have some truth for people in this world, it does not always have to be the case. There are people who started out one way or thinking a certain way but who met circumstances that stopped them dead and turned them around 180 degrees. Many such people have a life changing event or moment that is so significant that everything they previously thought, believed or understood about some matter was rejected in favour of the new information.
One of the greatest examples of such a person, and one whom we as Christians should all listen to was the Apostle Paul. The Damascus road event where Jesus appeared to Paul as he was travelling to imprison the followers of Christ was so sudden, significant and amazing that Paul immediately turned from Judaism to become one of the greatest among the early apostles and disciples of the early church. And his example should still strengthen and encourage us today. Let’s look at the spots on this leopard and see how he became a lamb.
We live in a virtual world these days. Much of what we do and how we connect with one another is done online. We have instantaneous access to information and people across the world by using the Internet. We make friends, find partners, do work and find entertainment in the virtual world.
The virtual world allows us to do things, see things and find things without actually being there physically. We can almost live our whole lives without leaving the comfort and security of our own homes.
And people think this is such an amazing and new thing that they do not even realise that the virtual world existed and was operating thousands of years ago. Yes this same instant and immediate activity was working back in the time of Jesus and the apostles, and we can see a good example of it in practice in these scriptures.
In this world there are many religions, cults and sects. They all operate in the name of some so called deity or god and they invoke the name of their so called gods for all manner of things.
By their gods they seek help, wealth, power and so on. But their gods are deaf and silent and give them nothing for they are not true gods. Rather they are the fiction and fantasies of men.
But there is one name known among men that is all powerful. There is one name given among mankind that has great power for the owner of that name is neither deaf, dumb or blind to what occurs in this earth. This name is the only name by which a person can be saved and find salvation for it is through faith in this name that all good things are received, and in due time, eternal life.
As Peter and John came to the temple at the hour of prayer, they came upon a beggar laying at the temple gate seeking alms from the people. This beggar had not asked to be healed but simply looked at Peter and John asking them in the hope they may give him some money.
Peter looked intently at the man, as did John, and Peter said to him these words.
6 But Peter said, “I have no silver and gold, but what I do have I give to you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!”
7 And he took him by the right hand and raised him up, and immediately his feet and ankles were made strong.
This was a miraculous healing for the man had been lame from birth and he was well known and recognised, for he came to this gate of the temple every day seeking alms. As a result, all the people who were there and saw what was happening were amazed at this incredible miracle.
The Gospels covered the message of Jesus Christ and bore witness to His work, His death and His resurrection. In the book of Acts we begin to see the work of the Apostles and those who followed Jesus and how the message was taken to the world.
This message is still expanding in the world today, and there is much that we must understand and learn from the way it all began. Jesus commissioned His first Apostles to commence the work and to build the church. That same commission flows down to the church today and we have a tremendous responsibility to ensure we follow the message, structure and plan as it was presented and devised by Jesus. To do otherwise is not following His way and can only be troublesome and cause great difficulty.
So let us consider this as we commence and go through the book of Acts to see how the church was structured and built, and to learn the lessons they learned and wrote down for our education and benefit.
After Jesus had risen from the dead He appeared to the disciples many times. In these scriptures we see Him appear to His closest disciples, the eleven (bearing in mind that Judas had gone).
This particular appearance is interesting for several reasons. Firstly, it was where He proved to the disciples that it was actually Jesus who was there and that He was there in the flesh. He showed them the nail holes in his hands and the place where His side was speared.
It was important that the disciples knew Jesus had truly arisen. After all, they were called to go out to the world and to preach the resurrection of the dead, so they had to know it was truth and that it was real. But there were four other things that The Lord showed the disciples in this appearance.