How do we receive the Holy Spirit? I doubt that anyone would have fallen before them, asking what they must do to be saved. Five hundred at once had seen Jesus after His resurrection, but only 120 were found at the prayer meeting when God's zero hour struck. They celebrated His death, burial, and resurrection. What does the Bible say to the church, and to the individual Christian, about the role of politics in the church? It is yet another ten-mile trek from Neapolis to Philippi, where the first church in Europe is soon to be founded. Would they have heard about the forgiveness of sins? This is the beginning of the Church – people coming to know the Lord and His will by hearing the Word, spoken by believers. 35 At daybreak the magistrates sent their police officers, saying, “Release those men.” 36 The jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent orders to release you. Read vs 1-4. There is no “due process of law” here, no inquiry into the charges, no opportunity given to Paul or Silas to speak in their own defense. Having witnessed more than one earthquake, I can imagine what it would have been like to experience this event from deep within that ancient prison. Paul indicates in this letter that the Philippians were the only ones to stand behind him financially in his times of need (Philippians 4:10-19). He either saw the silhouette of the jailer, who was about to kill himself, or he was divinely informed of his intentions. He was no longer required to incarcerate those who had brought the gospel to him. Bible Story: The Birth of Christ in the stable, based on Matthew 1:18-24 and Luke 2:1-7. The birth took place in Jerusalem, where thousands of people witnessed “the delivery.” It was a spectacular event, marked by supernatural signs, a powerful sermon, and an overwhelming response. We know that it was dark inside that prison, because the jailer had to call for a light (16:29). A Lasting Legacy: Choosing A Wife For Isaac (Gen. 24:1-67). Usually, Mr. Riddell was a very jovial fellow, making jokes and taking a very lighthearted approach to teaching. The account of the birth of the church at Philippi also instructs us regarding suffering. Jesus told them that He came to heal the sick, not to heal the well. While with them, he said: “Do not leave Jerusalem, but wait for the gift my Father promised, which you have heard me speak about. The Comforter came when the day had fully come. A through examination of the subject also reveals that virtually every month on the calendar has been proposed by biblical scholars as housing the birth of Christ. As we consider this earthquake and its aftermath, I want you to keep one thing in mind—the purpose of this earthquake was not to give Paul and Silas the chance to escape, and it was not God’s intent that any of the prisoners escape. Wind and fire are in the realm of nature. He certainly seems to have realized that the prison doors had been opened. Before: ₱ 340.00 Now: ₱ 40.00. Luke makes it very clear to the reader that Timothy was already a combat-proven disciple. New York: Harper & Row, 1956. No men seem to have been present when Paul and the rest came upon a small group of women who had gathered for prayer. It was likely in spring but the Bible does not reveal his birthday or the year of His birth. This indicates that they had never heard Paul claim to be a Roman citizen. The Holy Spirit would not allow Paul and those with him to preach either in Asia or Bithynia. Elsewhere we see a fair amount of instruction concerning the giving of gifts, but in this great epistle Paul gives us a unique perspective on the receiving of gifts, one that is both rare and refreshing. The word translated “church” comes from two Greek words that together mean “called out from the world for God.”. Copyright © Christian Assemblies International. Fifth, Philippians is a book that helps us get a proper perspective on unjust suffering, persecution, and even death. After they brought them out, they asked them repeatedly to leave the city. A CARING fellowship (v.44), with practical implications. They are the title deeds of your inheritance. 30 Then he brought them outside and asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, you and your household.”3 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him, along with all those who were in his house. He also spoke some German. What would they learn about God? Having encouraged these new Christians, Paul and Silas moved on to Thessalonica, where they would once again be persecuted, but this time by the Jews. For the jailer and the long-term inmates of that prison, this night offered nothing new. Fourth, the Book of Philippians helps us to define biblical fellowship. A disciple named Timothy was there, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but whose father was a Greek. I have always regarded this statement about Lydia’s salvation as being of great significance because it indicates that the Lord is the “first cause” of salvation. To Live Is Christ: A Study of the Book of Philippians, http://bible.org/series/acts-christ-work-through-his-church. Mary was a first-century Galilean Jewish woman of Nazareth, the wife of Joseph, and the mother of Jesus, according to the canonical gospels and the Quran.. True “koinonia” or fellowship will be defined in Philippians. Perhaps. And a rather unlikely bunch they are. I am sure that the jailer wondered what he would do with his prisoners, now that he had come to faith. The missionary party now turns northwest, taking the gospel into Europe. “The birth of God’s plan, The Church!”. 9 A vision appeared to Paul during the night: a Macedonian man was standing there urging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us!” 10 After Paul saw the vision, we attempted immediately to go over to Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to proclaim the good news to them. Riddell,” not even me. Paul and Silas were dragged before the civil authorities and charged with: (1) being Jewish, and (2) advocating practices which were illegal for Roman citizens (16:20-21). I wonder if there was a message in this for those who had falsely accused Paul and Silas. I don’t know why, but there are all too many saints in the church with long faces and sour spirits. They cared nothing for their slave, but only about their profits. 14 A woman named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth from the city of Thyatira, a God-fearing woman, listened to us. But it is of this woman that Luke writes, “the Lord opened her heart to believe…” This is most significant to me. Here we will give a biblical outline of how the New Birth is obtained. 6 This is the term the inmates use. But there were times when my classmates and I would get unruly, requiring Mr. Riddell to bring the class back under control. 15 After she and her household were baptized, she urged us, “If you consider me to be a believer in the Lord, come and stay in my house.” And she persuaded us. He directed also through the prohibition of the Holy Spirit (however that worked itself out on two occasions) and through the vision that Paul was given in Troas. logo is copyright and only for use by Christian Assemblies International. I wonder how the prisoners in that penitentiary would have responded if it were our prayers that were being offered up. Bible Bits are meant to be just a brief exploration into the major stories and themes of scripture. In Galatians, we find a very different Paul. In 1 Corinthians, for example, we see “Paul, the troubleshooter.” As Paul writes to the Corinthians, he deals with questions they have asked him, and with the problems he has discerned through his communication with others. 1. It may be through our suffering that others come to faith. “Steadfast… Tried & True” – August 23, 2020. The INDIVIDUAL experience - drinking in of the Spirit. The believer is plunged and immersed into the Body of Christ by the Holy Spirit. They could either turn south and head back to Antioch, or he could go north to Bithynia or Asia. Add to cart . Wind and fire had evidenced God's presence before in the Old Testament. Welcome to Lesson 4 of your Bible Study of Acts. The Ancestry of Our English Bible. The vision was given to Paul in the middle of the night. No doubt all the prisoners expected to be crushed under tons of falling stone. Amazing as it may seem, the church at Philippi began as the result of two heated arguments. These inmates had “seen it all,” or so they thought, but when they witnessed the response of Paul and Silas, they listened. Were there prayers of petition, asking for their release? Acts 16 begins with the arrival of Paul and Silas at Derbe and Lystra in southern Galatia. Barnabas wanted to salvage this young man and his ministry and insisted on taking him along. When such times occurred, Mr. Riddell’s face would suddenly darken into a frown, and that look was enough to stop bad behavior in its tracks. When should we receive the Holy Spirit? The jailer and his entire household heard the good news of the gospel and came to faith in Christ. It is safe to assume, then, that the three people whom Luke has chosen to include in his account in chapter 16 are but a sampling of the converts who came to faith due to Paul’s preaching. She was a businesswoman who dealt in purple fabrics. This is not because of any great success or due to the lack of difficulties in his life. 15:36 After some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let’s return and visit the brothers in every town where we proclaimed the word of the Lord to see how they are doing.” 37 Barnabas wanted to bring John called Mark along with them too, 38 but Paul insisted that they should not take along this one who had left them in Pamphylia and had not accompanied them in the work. What a time of rejoicing that must have been (16:34). The Catholic Church proclaims itself to be the church that Jesus Christ died for, the church that was established and built by the apostles. Luke’s account of the birth of the church at Philippi is one of the most extensive accounts of the planting of a church in all of the New Testament. From what I know about prisons, one of two things was likely to have happened. The article in the newspaper said that the other death row inmates called out to the two men who held this woman hostage, urging them to injure the female guard in very cruel ways. We can examine this critical event by attempting to answer the following questions: What was the original meaning of the Day of Pentecost? As Paul, Silas and Timothy made their way to the churches that had been previously founded, they delivered the decree of the apostles and elders in Jerusalem, which greatly encouraged the saints. This would not be a bad test for any music, old or modern. He spoke also of another day. The second was a debate between Paul and Barnabas over their next missionary journey (Acts 15:36-41). So come out now and go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to the police officers, “They had us beaten in public without a proper trial—even though we are Roman citizens—and they threw us in prison. I can see Lydia sitting there in the front row, along with others of her household who came to faith through the preaching of Paul. They strongly disagreed, and the result was that Barnabas took Mark along with him and went to Cyprus, while Paul chose Silas and set out from Syria and Cilicia. In spite of these circumstances, Paul is jubilant, joyful, optimistic. Related Topics: Ecclesiology (The Church), Introductions, Arguments, Outlines, Robert L. (Bob)Deffinbaugh graduated from Dallas Theological Seminary with his Th.M. The group of 120 were together, either in a large home or (more probably) at Solomon’s portico--when Jesus poured out his Spirit on them in a dramatic way (wind noise, fire light, and tongues). A Macedonian man appealed to Paul to “come over to Macedonia and help them” (16:9). It is my conviction that every book of the Bible has a unique contribution to make to the Bible as a whole—something that no other book accomplishes or contributes. In Matthew and Luke she is betrothed to Joseph. CHAPTER 9 The Birth of the Church. I can imagine what it was like when this letter was read aloud in church. They certainly had no way to escape. We shall see in this lesson how God providentially and more directly guided Paul and those with him to Macedonia, and specifically Philippi. From what Luke has told us, we know that Paul and Silas were being kept in “maximum security.” Security was so high that even though Paul and Silas were deep within the prison, their feet were still placed in stocks (16:24). Indeed, many things are quite the opposite of pleasant. Often, it is suffering which prompts the unsaved to come to Christ for salvation. We are not saved by an empty rite, but by God's grace through repentance and faith in Christ. The story of the angels announcement to the shepherds is an aspect of the Christmas story that should blow us away (one of many, actually). This would well explain why so few Jews were to be found there, so few, in fact, that the city did not even have a synagogue. They were willing to assume that because these men were Jews they were also criminals. In addition to not seeing any of the prisoners, the jailer must not have heard any noise, either, or he would have known that the prisoners were still inside. Their afflictions showed them that they could not heal themselves, but that they needed someone else—the Messiah—to heal them. When I was growing up, I had an English teacher named Clyde Riddell. Remember, Jesus Christ is our example. 16 Now as we were going to the place of prayer, a slave girl met us who had a spirit that enabled her to foretell the future by supernatural means. Here, the first church in Europe was planted. I suspect that Paul’s response to the jailer’s “good news” shocked him. The second thing that happens in prisons is that the prisoners may choose to use even momentary freedom to carry out violent acts toward one another. But God had much bigger things in mind. 1 CORINTHIANS 12:13 says, "For by one Spirit are we all baptized into one body... and have been all made to drink into one Spirit". All rights reserved. From there the truth about Jesus spread and God caused the Christian church to grow. Paul is not writing from the penthouse of a fancy hotel; he is writing from a prison cell. 1 review . Has your suffering shown you how helpless and needy you are? These were not songs of sorrow—“Nobody knows the trouble I’ve seen…”—these were songs of joy and of praise to God (16:25). The Birth of The Church in The Bible. Bob is a pastor/teacher and elder at Community Bible Chapel in Richardson, Texas, and has contributed many of his Bible study series for use by the Foundation. The unity that we see in the church at Philippi is not the result of uniformity, but is the result of becoming one in Christ. His job—and quite literally his neck—were on the line. It is possible that the young slave girl was there as well. I am sure that they had become calloused to the cries of pain, and the curses which came from the lips of beaten and bloody felons. Birth of the church is a good metaphor for the day of Pentecost although the Bible does not use it. What is very interesting to me is the way God providentially used the disagreement between Paul and Barnabas to prepare the way for a new and unexpected thrust of missionary activity. What a terrifying experience this must have been. One thing sticks out in my mind when I think of Clyde Riddell, something that contributed to his great skill as a teacher. August 23, 2020; Dean Carlson They had not listened to Paul or Silas, but only to those making accusations against them. This “other gospel” does not save, but condemns. I can almost see one of the older prisoners turning to a cellmate and asking, “Which God are they singing about?” The response of these two “foreigners” was so unusual that everyone in that prison must have strained to hear the words of each song. After Jesus had prayed for Himself in JOHN 17 and before He prayed for the church universal, He prayed for the little company of disciples with whom he regularly fellowshipped. They were frightened when they heard Paul and Silas were Roman citizens, 39 and came and apologized to them. Acts 16:32-33 indicates to the reader that both the jailer and his entire household believed in God and were baptized. It is in Lystra that Paul first encounters Timothy. Would the prisoners have learned much about God? Not by works, but by faith. That is the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus. They had completed their first missionary journey some time before, and Paul felt strongly that they should now make a return visit to the churches that they had established. This is why the apostle can add, “…and to die is gain.” The Book of Philippians spells out just how this expression should define our perspective. Barnabas agreed, but wanted to take John Mark along with them. He directed through Paul’s desire to revisit the churches that had been planted earlier in his ministry. They concluded that Gentile converts were not to be subjected to Judaism and laid down only minimal requirements of these converts. I would like to ask you to consider the impact of this night on those prisoners if certain types of contemporary Christian songs were to have been sung by Paul and Silas. As Dr. Haddon Robinson once remarked, this epistle does not come with a tear-out contribution card and a self-addressed, stamped envelope, with the hope of getting yet another gift from the Philippians. This city was certainly different from those Paul had visited earlier, as there appears to be only a few Jews living there. Paul and Silas are in the deepest part of that prison, so in order to release them it was necessary to “shake up” the entire prison. A History of the Church in the Middle Ages. You and I may have some difficulty appreciating the significance of this, but I doubt that Luke did. Let’s call him “Paul, the warrior.” Here, Paul reminds me a great deal of Clyde Riddell in his “mad mode.” As we read Galatians, we see a very animated and even angry apostle, incensed by the fact that some are turning from the true gospel of salvation by grace alone and embracing another “gospel,” a gospel of works. Pentecost is often spoken of as the “birth” of the Church. Luke informs us that the magistrates were shocked to learn that Paul and Silas were Roman citizens. It prepares us for what we are about to read and study in the Book of Philippians. 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