Some Thoughts From The Cost Of Discipleship From Dietrich Bonhoeffer

“Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating. By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are.”

“The will of God, to which the law gives expression, is that men should defeat their enemies by loving them.”

“It is only because he became like us that we can become like him.”

“Fruit is always miraculous, the created; it is never the result of willing, but always a growth. The fruit of the Spirit is a gift of God, and only He can produce it. They who bear it know as little about it as the tree knows of its fruit. They know only the power of Him on whom they life depends.”

“So many people come to church with a genuine desire to hear what we have to say, yet they are always going back home with the uncomfortable feeling that we are making it too difficult for them to come to Jesus.”

Some Thoughts About Sin From Anonymous

“It is the sin we try to excuse that finally gets us down.”

“You simply can’t put your sins behind you until you face them.”

“The other fellow’s sins, like the other fellow’s car lights, always seem more glaring than our own.”

“Some think they are saints because they are selective in their sins.”

“Confess your sins, not your neighbor’s.”

Commentary On The Book Of Acts Chapter 17:16-21

Chapter 17:16 Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was being provoked within him as he was observing the city full of idols.

Chapter 17:17 So he was reasoning in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles, and in the market place every day with those who happened to be present.

Chapter 17:18 And also some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers were conversing with him. Some were saying, “What would this idle babbler wish to say? Others, “He seems to be a proclaimer of strange deities,”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection.

Chapter 17:19 And they took him and brought him to the Aeropagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is which you are proclaiming?

Chapter 17:20 For you are bringing some strange things to our ears; so we want to know what these things mean.”

Chapter 17:21 [Now all the Athenians and the strangers visiting there used to spend their time in nothing other than telling or hearing something new.]

The thing in verse 16 that impresses me is how Paul is in tune with the Holy Spirit and immediately does His bidding. We have noticed numerous times in the past chapters, how in sync he is with the Holy Spirit. I wonder how much time in prayer and solitude, Paul spent and allowed the Holy Spirit to permeate his thoughts and actions. He notices the idols at the end of the verse and takes action in the next verse by visiting in the synagogue with the Jews and the Gentiles.

He speaks with the Epicureans who were followers of Epicurus (341 B.C.), who believed that happiness was the major end of life. The Stoic philosophers, which was founded by Zeno (340-265 B.C.) emphasized the rational over the emotional. They were worshipers of nature, in other words, pantheists. They had a very high sense of duty as well as moral earnestness. The felt like their conduct should be according to nature.

These men brought Paul to the Areopagus, which was the council that was in charge of religious and educational matters in Athens at the time. As you can see in verse 20, we have a group of intelligent men who did not understand what Paul was teaching them and they were very curious to hear more since at the time they were interested in all things curious and new.

Commentary On The Book Of Acts Chapter 17:11-15

Chapter 17:11 Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so.

Chapter 17:12 Therefore many of them believed, along with a number of prominent Greek women and men.

Chapter 17:13 But when the Jews of Thessalonica found out that the word of God had been proclaimed by Paul in Berea also, they came there as well, agitating and stirring up the crowds.

Chapter 17:14 Then immediately the brethren sent Paul out to go as far as the sea; and Silas and Timothy remained there.

Chapter 17:15 Now those who escorted Paul brought him as far as Athens; and receiving a command for Silas and Timothy to come to him as soon as possible, they left.

The people in the synagogue at Berea were more open-minded about the Scriptures and we see in verse 12, that many of them became believers. The Jews at Thessalonica would have none of this, and came to Berea causing problems just like they had done at Thessalonica. Isn’t it the case that when we are bold for the cause of Christ and are doing His will, that there is opposition. We need to be prepared for it!!! We must remember that God is in control and to remember Romans 8:28:

And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.

So Paul and his escorts left and went as far as Athens. We will see God working in miraculous ways in Athens in the remaining verses of Chapter 17.

Commentary On The Book Of Acts Chapter 17:5-10

Chapter 17:5 But the Jews, becoming jealous and taking along some wicked men from the market place, formed a mob and set the city in an uproar; and attacking the house of Jason, they were seeking to bring them out to the people.

Chapter 17:6 When they did not find them, they began dragging Jason and some brethren before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have upset the world have come here also;

Chapter 17:7 and Jason has welcomed them, and they all act contrary to the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.”

Chapter 17:8 They stirred up the crowd and the city authorities who heard these things.

Chapter 17:9 And when they had received a pledge from Jason and the others, they released them.

Chapter 17:10 The brethren immediately sent Paul and Silas away by night to Berea, and when they arrived, they went into the synagogue of the Jews.

In verse 5, the Jews are irritated and are using men who are heathens to form a mob and attack the house of Jason, presumably where Paul, Silas and Timothy were staying. The mob wanted to bring them out so that they could most likely stone them for throwing their city into chaos because of beliefs in which they disagreed. After not finding them, the mob went to the city officials and plead their case, and in which we see that the officials were told that Paul was speaking that their was another king, Jesus as well as Caesar. In verse 9, the authorities made Jason put up a bond, which would be forfeitable if there were more trouble. The brethren sent Paul and Silas away to Berea to avoid further trouble.

Notice at the end of verse 10, what Paul and Silas immediately do. They go right back to the synagogue of the Jews in Berea. When we are bold for the cause of Christ and face adversity, what do we do? Do we go out immediately and do God’s will. The question for today is this: Are you doing what God is calling you to do? ┬áIf not, what is holding you back? Paul knew without question what was his calling. I pray for each reader of this, that you will find and accept what God is calling you to do without question.

Commentary On The Book Of Acts Chapter 17:1-4

Chapter 17:1 Now when they had traveled through Amphipolis and Apollonica, they came to Thessalonica, where there was synagogue of the Jews,

Chapter 17:2 And according to Paul’s custom, he went to them, and for three Sabbaths reasoned with them from the Scriptures,

Chapter 17:3 explaining and giving evidence that the Christ had to suffer and rise again from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus who I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.”

Chapter 17:4 And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large number of the God-fearing Greeks and a number of the leading women.

Thessalonica was approximately 100 miles from Philippi and was the second place the gospel was preached in Europe. In verse 2, we see that Paul was in Thessalonica for less than a month but he must have had an extended ministry outside the synagogue and the Jewish community since there were a large number of Greek believers. We will see in the upcoming verses the conflict between the believers and the Jewish community with their close-mindedness.

Commentary On The Book Of Acts Chapter 16:35-40

Chapter 16:35 Now when day came, the chief magistrates sent their policemen, saying “Release those men.”

Chapter 16:36 And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The chief magistrates have sent to release you. Therefore come out now and go in peace.”

Chapter 16:37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us in public without trial, men who are Romans, and have thrown us into prison; and now are they sending us away secretly? No indeed! But let them come themselves and bring us out.”

Chapter 16:38 The policemen reported these words to the chief magistrates. They were afraid when they heard that they were Romans,

Chapter 16:39 and they came and appealed to them, and when they had brought them out, they kept begging them to leave the city.

Chapter 16:40 They went out of the prison and entered the house of Lydian, and when they saw the brethren, they encouraged them and departed.

After all the events with the jailer and his family in the previous verses, in verse 35 we see that the chief magistrates want to release Paul and Silas. The jailer relays the message to Paul and Silas and then Paul reveals that he is a Roman Citizen! This is God’s timing, Paul was born a Roman citizen, which gave him certain rights such as having a public hearing. Roman citizens were prohibited by law to be scourged so therefore the rights of Paul and Silas had already been violated.

The chief magistrates begged them to leave in order to cause no more problems in Phillipi. So in verse 40, Paul and Silas went to the house of Lydia to see the fellow Christians in order to give them encouragement before they left the city. I have always wondered at the end of this chapter how many Christians were actually at the house of Lydia when Paul and Silas left the city?