Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 41/260: Read Acts 17

When Paul traveled, he always gravitated to people who were spiritually-minded. Usually that was at a synagogue; after visiting the synagogue in Athens, he was taken to the Areopagus where many pagan idols were worshiped. Luke says, “For all the Athenians and the foreigners who were there spent their time in nothing else but either to tell or hear some new thing.”

Paul directed their attention to the altar inscribed: “To The Unknown God.” He proceeded to tell the Athenians of the one, true God of heaven, who was unknown to them.

What was the result of Paul’s preaching? Some mocked him, but others were willing to listen more. When Paul left Athens, Luke says, “However, some men joined him and believed, among them Dionysius the Areopagite, a woman named Damaris, and others with them.”

Paul was doing what Jesus commanded: as he was going from place to place, he was sowing seed of the gospel. Results varied as each individual had to make his own decision, but Paul continued doing what he was meant to do.

Are you scattering seed wherever you go?

Memory (Read aloud 5-10 times)

Acts 20:28. Therefore take heed to yourselves and to all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.

Pray

Pray for open and honest hearts as you spread the Word to your family, friends, co-workers, classmates, neighbors, and everyone else within your sphere of influence.

The Old Gives Way to the New (Isaiah 66:1-24)

Isaiah A Study of Selected Texts

The Old Gives Way to the New (Isaiah 66:1-24)

  • 66:1-6 – Misplaced trust
    • The fallacy of trusting ancestry (Matthew 3:9) and location (1 Kings 8:27)
    • Offering in the wrong spirit (Acts 5:1ff; 8:9-13; 1 Corinthians 10:11; John 4:24)
    • Righteousness vs. wickedness (John 3:18-21; 9:35-40; 15:18-27)
  • 66:7-14 – Blessings in New Zion
    • The exaltation of the Son, the establishment of the new nation, the multiplication of children (Acts 2; 4:4)
    • Joy and mourning (1 Corinthians 6:9-11; Colossians 3:15)
  • 66:15-17 – Rejection of God’s plea
    • Fire as a symbol of divine punishment (Psalm 97;3; Jeremiah 4:4; Ezekiel 22:21; Nahum 1:6; Isaiah 29:5-6; 30:27-31; 42:25)
    • Attempt to sanctify and purify themselves
  • 66:18-21 – Worldwide spread of the gospel
    • The sign: Christ’s resurrection? Destruction of Jerusalem? Establishment of the church?
    • Gentiles are brethren (Galatians 3:26-28) and priests (1 Peter 2:9)
  • 66:22-24 – The promise of perpetuity
    • Daniel 2:44; Matthew 16:18
    • “New heavens and new earth” different than Peter and John’s (2 Peter 3:13; Revelation 20:15; 21:4, 8, 27; 22:4, 15, 19)
    • “It is only in the church where one ceases to fall short of the glory of God (Eph. 3:10-21; Isa. 66:18)!” (Keith A. Mosher, Sr.)

Discussion Questions

1. Do we trust in the God we worship or the way we worship? What’s the difference?

2. What is often the result of worshiping God as He has prescribed?

3. How can one mourn and be joyful at the same time?

4. What is the difference between a Jew and a Gentile in the church?

5. Contrast Isaiah’s “new heavens and the new earth” with Peter and John usage in the New Testament.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 40/260: Read Acts 16

How quick are you to obey when you learn what the Word of God says? How urgent are eternal matters to you?

When Paul and Silas taught the jailer in Philippi, he wasted no time in obeying the message. These men had been whipped and imprisoned, but instead of bemoaning the negatives of their current circumstances, they praised God. “But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.”

An earthquake hit, causing all the doors to open and all the chains to fall from the prisoners’ hands. The jailer knew his punishment would be severe and was ready to take his own life, but Paul prevented him, saying all the inmates were accounted for.

The jailer then asked, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” Paul and Silas “spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.”

The jailer understood the urgency of the gospel. Have we lost that sense of urgency today? Souls are at stake; may we urgently teach others to obey God.

Memory (Recite to a friend without looking)

Acts 16:33. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.

Pray

Pray for opportunities to teach others the gospel, showing them the urgency of the good news.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 39/260: Read Acts 15

Paul, along with his traveling companions, exemplified the spirit of the Great Commission. Jesus commanded, “Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20).

Through teaching, one makes disciples for Jesus. Paul and his colleagues went all over doing this very thing, baptizing those who believed. His work did not end there, however. Paul wanted to check in on those who had been converted. He said, “Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing.”

Our job in evangelism is not complete once a person comes up out of the water. Continual teaching is necessary. Those who decide to follow Jesus must make the commitment “to observe all things.”

Think about those that you have helped in their journey to Jesus. Have you checked on them lately? How are they doing?

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

Acts 16:33. And he took them the same hour of the night and _______________ their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were _______________.

Pray

Pray for those in whom you have planted the seed of the Word of God, and send them a note to let them know you have been thinking of them.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 38/260: Read Acts 14

Who are your heroes in the faith? Do you ever exalt them more highly than you should?

When Paul and Barnabas preached in Lystra, they performed a miracle to confirm that their words were truth (Mark 16:20). Those who witnessed the miracle, however, exalted Paul and Barnabas to the status of their mythological gods. They called Barnabas Zeus and thought Paul was Hermes, and intended to offer sacrifices to them as deity!

Paul and Barnabas discovered their plan and wasted no time in stopping them. They cried, “We are also men with the same nature as you!” Rather than accepting the worship and adulation of the people of Lystra, these men of God turned the focus upon the true God of heaven.

We must be careful that we do not elevate the servants of God to the level of God. Yes, we can look up to them, and imitate them in the faith, but recognize that as men, they are fallible and can commit sin, falling short of the glory of God.

God is God. Man is simply His servant. Whatever you read or hear from men, compare with the inspired, infallible Word.

Memory (Fill in the blanks)

Acts 16:33. And he took them the _______________ hour of the night and washed their stripes. And _______________ he and all his family were baptized.

Pray

Pray for wisdom to recognize and imitate those with strong faith, putting your hope in God of heaven. Pray for stronger faith when you witness the shortcomings of mortal man.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 37/260: Read Acts 13

“I was here first!” “That’s not fair!” “Don’t you know who I am?” “I deserve better!”

Do these thoughts ever cross your mind? The Jews were God’s chosen people to bring the Messiah into the world, but when Paul and Barnabas began teaching multitudes of Gentiles, “they were filled with envy.” They disputed the truth that the messengers of God spoke.

Paul’s response gives us an idea of the entitlement they may have been proclaiming. He said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles.”

Yes, the Jews were God’s chosen people, but they rejected the Almighty and His plan. They rejected the gospel. When God then sent the good news to the Gentiles, the Jews got mad. “I was here first!”

No one deserves everlasting life, but by the grace of God it is available. If you accept His grace for your sins, it is only right that others should have access as well, no matter how terrible we believe they have sinned.

Memory (Copy into a notebook 5-10 times)

Acts 16:33. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.

Pray

Pray for patience with others who are seeking God’s truth, and pray for opportunities to be gracious and helpful toward them.

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 36/260: Read Acts 12

James the brother of John had been martyred for the cause of Christ. Herod planned further violence against the church as the Jews reacted favorably to this action. Peter was arrested, but before Herod could strike him down, an angel rescued him from prison.

The church was offering “constant prayer” on Peter’s behalf. But did they really believe what they were praying? When Peter showed up at the door and John Mark’s mother told the others, they didn’t believe her. They thought she was crazy. “You are beside yourself!”

Finally they opened the door and saw the apostle standing there, “they were astonished.” Why? Hadn’t they been praying for this very outcome?

How confident are we in our prayers to the Almighty? Why are we often “astonished” when our prayers are answered? Do our doubts hinder the success of our efforts in the kingdom?

James tells us to ask God for wisdom, but warns, “But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.” We should never be amazed by the power of God.

Memory (Read aloud 5-10 times)

Acts 16:33. And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized.

Pray

Pray for more confidence in God’s ability and desire to answer the prayers offered according to His will.

A New Name (Isaiah 62:1-12)

Isaiah A Study of Selected Texts

A New Name (Isaiah 62:1-12)

  • 62:1-2 – A new name given
    • The importance of spreading the gospel (1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9; 2 Timothy 4:2)
    • The new name = Christians (Acts 11:26)
  • 62:3-5 – The marriage relationship
    • Crown of glory = victory over evil (1 John 5:4; Romans 8:37; 1 Corinthians 15:54-57)
    • Diadem = God’s royal family (Ephesians 3:14-15; 1 Peter 2:9)
    • Hephzibah = “My delight is in her”; Beulah = “Married” (Ephesians 5:23-28; 2 Corinthians 11:2)
  • 62:6-9 – The watchmen and God’s protection
    • The watchmen are godly saints who guard the truth (1 Peter 5:8; Philippians 1:17; 1 Timothy 4:1-6; 6:10; Acts 20:28; Jude 3; Ephesians 4:11-12)
    • Continual prayer (Luke 11:5-14; 18:1-8; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18)
    • God’s oath (Hebrews 6:13)
  • 62:10-12 – “Surely your salvation is coming”
    • Evangelism includes: preparing the way, building the highway, removing obstacles, and lifting the banner
    • Worldwide proclamation (Matthew 28:18-20; Mark 16:15-16)
    • Four identifications: The Holy People (Ephesians 2:21; 5:27), The Redeemed of the Lord (Galatians 3:13; 1 Peter 1:18-19; Acts 20:28), Sought Out (Luke 19:10), A City Not Forsaken (Hebrews 13:5)

Discussion Questions

1. What is the “new name” and where is it revealed in the Scriptures?

2. To what is the new relationship between God and the people likened?

3. Who are the watchmen?

4. How strong is the Lord’s oath to His people?

5. What is involved in evangelism, according to Isaiah 62:10-12?

Read the New Testament in a year, one chapter a day, five days a week

Day 35/260: Read Acts 11

“And the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” Wearing the name of Christ is an important part of the church’s identity.

When one opens the Yellow Pages, he can find all sorts of denominational names. Many of them exclude Christ from their identification.

The renowned Baptist preacher Charles Spurgeon, who lived in the 19th century, once said, “For I say of the Baptist name, let it perish, but let Christ’s name last for ever. I look forward with pleasure to the day when there will not be a Baptist living. I hope they will soon be gone.”

Christ prayed for unity in the Garden of Gethsemane (John 17:20-23). Paul commanded it in his first letter to Corinth (1 Corinthians 1:10). The rampant division of the religious world today is a far cry from the unity demanded by a love for the Savior.

May we all turn back to the Bible for our doctrine and for our daily living. May we all restore in our hearts the love for our fellow man and Christ and strive for unity based on the Lord’s revelation.

Memory (Recite to a friend without looking)

Acts 8:12. But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.

Pray

Pray for unity in the local congregation and the church at large. Pray that all may turn to the Scriptures for doctrine.

But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized. (Acts 8:12)