Earlier, Tim preached on why we should study the Old Testament. We see that it is profitable for us as explained in 2 Timothy 3:16, and it is written for our instruction. In Joshua 2, we look at Rahab and the Israelite spies that were sent into the promised land by Joshua. We can see […]
In the study of Acts 12, we see how earnest prayer is made for Peter when he was imprisoned by Herod. Throughout this story, we can start to see more clearly God’s purpose in prayer. Prayer is a way for us to make our desires known to God, and to trust that He will answer it accordingly to His will, which as believers, is in our best interest. When we pray to God for something, we are relying on Him to work, and teaching us to be dependent on Him.
As Martin Lloyd says, “To say it requires prayer is to say that it requires the direct intervention of God.” Growth in our lives depends on God’s work, and that requires prayer.
We now turn to Acts 12 and ponder what happened to both James, the brother of John and Peter. Why was it that James was killed by Herod, but Peter spared and then later rescued? We can know for certain that whatever the outcome may be, even when things don’t make sense, we can know for certain that all things happen to maximize the glory of God. When facing trials, we can ask ourselves “What can I learn from this trial?”, but most importantly we should additionally ask “How can I conduct myself in this trial in the way that brings God the most glory?”
We continue reading on in Acts 11 and get to see what was happening at the church in Antioch as people there turned to the Lord. We see that the hand of the Lord was with those at Antioch and that their salvation was based on his work in those people which brought forth faith and repentance. In his time in Antioch, we can learn from the rights and wrongs that he did there like separating himself from the Gentiles (Galatians 2:13). However, we also see that God’s’ people need encouraging, and that Barnabas’ delight in other believers and commendation is an important part of how we build up the body of Christ.
In Tim’s mini-series on Joshua 1, we see God’s faithfulness to Joshua and the Israelites as He commissioned Joshua to take charge and lead the Israelites into the Promise Land. God continually told Joshua to be strong and courageous and in obeying the law Moses brought, he would have good success. From this, we see that we can trust in God and His word and that we have nothing to fear if we are in Him.
Today, we took a look at Acts 10 and part of Acts 11 with the visions of Cornelius and Peter, and how these showed the understanding that God shows no partiality and that the Gentiles who fear God are also acceptable to him.
As we wrap up our study in Acts 9, we can look to the examples of Peter and Dorcas (or in Syrian, Tabitha), and how these two portrayed a servant’s heart in serving others, even those who may not seem to be like someone you would find hard to serve. We are told in scripture to put the interests of others above your own, and how we can love those and how we can do so by the power of the gospel.
As we continue in Acts 9, we read about how God used a man named Ananias in His calling of Saul. We can learn from Ananias’ response to God’s command for him to look for Saul and how in this life we are called to obedience to God, and the fact that we will suffer for His sake. But we do have a blessing and reward in Jesus Christ and how we can, knowing this, pursue the specifics of our lives in light of God’s gift to us.
We begin to read Acts 9 now, starting with the conversion of Saul and how he went from a man who was hostile to Jesus and His followers, to he himself being redeemed by God, and how God showed Saul grace and mercy, instead of seeking vengeance against him. We can see in this how we who believe were once spiritually blinded, but now by God’s grace can see.
As we continue to read through Acts 8, we can see how God acts sovereignly in the life of the Ethiopian Eunuch and how God ordained for Philip to speak to the eunuch, how Philip explained the scriptures he was reading, and the receptive response from the eunuch.