Paul’s Imprisonment

“You see, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law; but they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs. What then? The assembly must certainly meet, for they will hear that you have come. Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow. Take them and be purified with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads, and that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law. But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written and decided that they should observe no such thing, except that they should keep themselves from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality” (Acts 21:20-25).

When the Apostle Paul and his traveling companions arrived in Jerusalem in 57 CE for Pentecost, with the gifts from the churches of Greece and Asia Minor, the brethren “welcomed them gladly” (Acts 21:17). The next day he and his companions met with James, the presiding apostle at Jerusalem, and the headquarters elders. The sense of it is that this was a private meeting. Paul gave a full report telling “in detail those things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry” (Acts 21:19). The response by James and all the elders as recorded in Acts 21:20-25 deserves some thoughtful analysis. Luke appears to have summarized various comments and advice into a single overall statement as follows:

Introduction

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Lecture

  1. Second Apostolic Tour
  2. Ancient Corinth
  3. Third Apostolic Tour
  4. Arrest at Jerusalem
  5. Herod Agrippa II

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Conclusion

Apostolic Tour

When the Apostle Paul and his traveling companions arrived in Jerusalem in 57 CE for Pentecost, with the gifts from the churches of Greece and Asia Minor, the brethren “welcomed them gladly” (Acts 21:17). The next day he and his companions met with James, the presiding apostle at Jerusalem, and the headquarters elders. The sense of it is that this was a private meeting. Paul gave a full report telling “in detail those things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry” (Acts 21:19). The response by James and all the elders as recorded in Acts 21:20-25 deserves some thoughtful analysis. Luke appears to have summarized various comments and advice into a single overall statement as follows:

“You see, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law; but they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs. What then? The assembly must certainly meet, for they will hear that you have come. Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow. Take them and be purified with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads, and that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law. But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written and decided that they should observe no such thing, except that they should keep themselves from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality” (Acts 21:20-25).

Introduction

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Lecture

  1. Travels of Philip
  2. Saul’s Conversion
  3. First Apostolic Tour
  4. Apostolic Council

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Conclusion

The Church Begins

God gave the Holy Spirit to His Church on the Day of Pentecost in 31 CE. It had been an unforgettable 50 days for Christ’s disciples. Their Teacher had come back from the dead after a brutal execution, and had taught them for 40 days. More than 500 at one time had seen Him (1 Corinthians 15:6). The disciples ate with Him, talked with Him and even touched the wounds where His body had been pierced. But that was not all. After 40 dramatic days of instruction, the Savior ascended into the clouds, while His disciples watched with wonder and amazement. But He did not leave them alone—He promised to give them something that would empower them with spiritual vitality they had never before experienced (Luke 24:49).

Luke describes Christ’s encouraging words. “And being assembled together with them, He commanded them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the Promise of the Father, ‘which,’ He said, ‘you have heard from Me; for John truly baptized with water, but you shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now’” (Acts 1:4–5). This momentous 50th day was the day of Pentecost—the day of miracles—the day the New Testament Church began! What happened on that amazing Day of Pentecost in 31 CE?

On the day of Pentecost Jesus’ followers were seated (Acts 2:2) in a building. The notion of them meeting in the “Upper Room” where Jesus instituted the Christian Passover is a myth. The Temple Court, a single structure about one quarter of a mile in circumference, was a massive complex with hundreds of rooms. The colonnade at the southern wall, known as the Royal Stoa or Solomon’s Portico, was its probable venue as it was open toward the Temple court. Its exposed access allowed for people in the Royal Stoa to be easily seen and heard from the outside the colonnade. The apostles then were immediately accessible to Jews and proselytes gathered for the festival.


Introduction

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Lectures

  1. The Great Commission
  2. Equipping the Disciples
  3. The Work of God Begins
  4. The Jews and Gentiles

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Conclusion