I have been working on making some changes that you will soon see on this blog, which is why I have not posted as much as usual. I wanted to pick back up in the Book of Acts. In my last post, I left off on Acts 21:36 which is where Paul was attacked in Jerusalem and taken to the barracks.
In verses 37 thru 40, we see that Paul asks the commander if he is permitted to speak, the commander is surprised by Paul’s use of the Greek language. In verse 40 it says Paul spoke to the people in Hebrew, he was likely to be speaking in Aramaic since this was considered the new Hebrew. Paul also states that he is a Roman citizen from Tarsus, a city of importance.
This is where we see Paul’s first apologetic speech that is documented in the Book of Acts. Apologetics is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as, “reasoned arguments or writings in justification of something, typically a theory or religious doctrine.”. Many Christians do not realize the importance of apologetics today. Apologetics is necessary to defend the faith, there are many great people in this field who serve God. An example of this would be defending the Biblical account of creation over the theory of the Big Bang or Evolution. If you are going to be going to a college in the fall, I would highly recommend to you to study some apologetics on Genesis. We must stand strong on our faith!
During Paul’s speech, he first introduces himself and provides his background. We then see that he talks about how before he became a Christian, he was involved with ordering persecutions of Christians. This right here is an example that we must pray for our enemies. Even though we cannot tolerate what our enemies do, we must pray for their Salvation.
Paul goes on and talks about the encounter he had with Jesus, which you can read the full account in Acts chapter nine. Those who were around Paul when this happened, as he recounts what took place had great fear over the light, which was the Glory of God, that they saw. When the presence of God came in Acts chapter nine, during Paul’s encounter, the presence of God was taken seriously. People were not joking around or taking it lightly, they were fearful of what they were experiencing.
The Presence of God
In John 8:12 (ESV), Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”. Jesus is the light of the world. This light they saw in Acts during Paul’s encounter was referring to Jesus being the light of the world. The light of Jesus is brighter than anything we can ever imagine. The people that were around when this took place in the Book of Acts became fearful of what was going on because the presence of God was there. They were not joking among themselves or carrying on like they normally would, they were afraid. Yet today when God’s presence supposedly shows up in many churches, people are still on their cell phones. Really? I would honestly question what type of presence showed up at your church. I can say with assurance that most churches today do not really know what the true presence of God is like. Why do I say that? I say that because a lot of what I have seen, and other people have seen shows that the church in America on average has little to no reverence for our Lord.
Let us look at Exodus 3:5 (ESV), “Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.”. Now let us look at Leviticus 19:30 (ESV), “You shall keep my Sabbaths and reverence my sanctuary: I am the Lord”. Why am I pointing these Scripture out? Because if we want the presence of God to truly show up in our church services to convict and reveal people’s sin, then our houses of worship must give reverence to God. Why are so many churches in America and around the world looking like the bars and night clubs of the world? Why are so many churches making it casual to come to worship Jesus? The new norm in the church is “go grab your favorite drink and get comfortable”. Really? That is not the God of the Bible, and that is not the God I worship.
Proverbs 1:7 (ESV) tells us, “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge; fools despise wisdom and instruction.”. Having true knowledge from God is reflected in a sincerely God-fearing character. We have too many people who claim to be Bible-believing Christians and are concerned about going against the trends and customs of this world more than they are fearful of the Living God. Hebrews 12:28 (ESV) instructs us, “Therefore let us be grateful for receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, and thus let us offer to God acceptable worship, with reverence and awe,”. If we are profoundly grateful for the gift of Salvation, then it should be reflected by how we worship God. We need to get back to having total reverence to God.
Going back to the Book of Acts we see that Paul also talks about meeting Ananias. He is the one who baptizes and converts Paul. We then see the people listening to Paul speak tell him to stop speaking and condemn him and want him to be put away. The leaders realize that since Paul is a Roman, they are unable to put him away or mistreat him. Because of this the Sanhedrin council becomes divided and Paul is put in the protection of Roman soldiers.
This chapter gives us another opportunity to review Paul’s conversion to Christianity. Before he became a Christian, he was in a position of power, after he became a Christian he was in a position of persecution and poor health. Yet he still pushed on. He did not live his best life now; he was not prosperous in the sense of earthly things. Yet why do so many Christians think they are entitled to chase these things? Christianity is not built on the wealth of men, but on the blood of men. Let us take the time to really re-evaluate how we view our Christian walk. Are we seeking power for our own gain, or are we seeking God alone diligently because we need a Savior?