Rightly dividing Acts 28 enables the bible student to understand God's will for our deportment in this age and give intelligent and credible answers to questions that become evident as we read the text of God's word. Confronting these issues should not be seen as an affront to our faith but rather an enlightenment that leads to edification.
There are two schools of thought in regard to the special revelation that God gave Paul regarding the Gentiles (Colossians 1:25-27.) There is a group of good, dedicated Christians who adhere to the Acts 13 position and there is another group of good, dedicated Christians who cling to the Acts 28 position. Having been in both groups at different times and having great respect for the leaders in both of these positions, I will list what I believe are the scriptural reasons I have selected one position over the other.
Last time we looked at the rules for speaking in tongues and mentioned the last portion of chapter 14 relating to women and their place within the church administration.
Today we will take this a little further starting from the gift of prophecy.
After Trusting In Christ ...
If you are saved there would have been a time in your life when you trusted in the finished work of Christ on the cross at Calvary to save you from the consequence of sin. This simple act of faith marks the start of your Christian life and should not be under-rated. The preaching of the cross is of vital importance and so we must strive to present the gospel of salvation in clear and unequivocal terms.
Scientific research seeks to make inference about population parameters from data. The way this is done is to gather data, and use it to test and investigate a particular theory. The theory will often be formulated in terms of parameters which are unknown and need to be estimated from the sample data. Of course scientists will have some prior belief about these parameters. The Bayesian view of statistics provides a paradigm that scientists can implement to establish their latest beliefs about the parameters of a model. If we allow theta to represent the parameters of interest then we can imagine that these parameters are the settings on a machine that produces x values (the data). That is x is made under the influence of theta. This is symbolized as x|theta (x given theta). This is theoretically what happens -- the truth is that we don't know the theta values, we only see their effects in x. So what we really need to do is infer from the data the values of theta from x -- that is theta|x (theta given x).
Last time we looked at the matter of going to the unrighteous for the settlements of differences between brothers and how this was utterly a fault.
7 Now therefore there is utterly a fault among you, because ye go to law one with another. Why do ye not rather take wrong? why do ye not rather suffer yourselves to be defrauded?
8 Nay, ye do wrong, and defraud, and that your brethren.
Today we will move into the seriousness of the actions performed by the Corinthians and the principle of judgment will be taken into the personal life of the believer finally concentrating on the body.
The place and purpose of Israel is central to the correct understanding of the Bible. Philosophy is not a Biblical subject but the Bible contains a philosophy of life in the form of a "world view" that has different instantiations dependent on assumptions made. The particular world view adhered to and promoted by various expositors and "defenders of the faith" comes directly or indirectly through an understanding of Israel, its extent, demise or otherwise and future. These conclusions (posteriors) have developed throughout christendom in time and geography and have very informative "priors" which should be investigated carefully.
We seek to challenge many of these posterior conclusive world views by an appeal to the place and position of Israel as exhibited by the prophets in the old testament scriptures and the apostolic ministries presented in the new testament. Understanding Israel and how the present economy differes puts us in a place where we can learn from Israel's mistakes without taking what does not belong to us. The right division of scriptures "frees" us to see in Israel truths that are not unique to any particular age but which are universal in their scope.
It is with this premise that I would like to look at the time of "provocation" where Israel was tested in the wilderness. Lets look at some of her mistakes and find parallels in these three areas:
- This age where PAul the prisoner is the chosen vessel to bring us enlightenment.
- The Acts period when Paul was going to the Jew first with a Jewish hope.
- The National difference that comes to America through its founding generation.
- What makes America "different" and "exceptional"?
- What is the federalist and anti federalist issue?
- Are states sovereign?
- Should we as christians be involved or is this another entanglement to avoid?
Last week we looked at Chapter 5:1-8 - a chapter that has parallels in the book of Revelation. Under the figure of a "rod", Paul warns them of impending discipline unless they change (implied in the question "what will ye?") their conduct. The apostles gifts were awesome and powerful and to sin against the holy Ghost could be met with death as the punishment. (See Acts 5:1-11, 1 Cor. 11).
Are we seeing these things today in this age? Surely we must say "No!!" -- and if this is so why not? It has been our labour to show the reader why these things are not happenning today and give a full and clear explanation of the Biblical account without the admixture of man's philosophy or eisogesis. The momentous events around Acts 28 cannot be over emphasized and we as students of the scriptures must clarify and teach the contextual truths that bring to light the revelation given to PAul the prisoner.
Last week we examined the remainder of Chapter 4 which ended in Paul addressing some of the Corinthians who were puffed up because they believed that he would not come to them -- he reasuures them that he will - if God wills it.
18 (AV) Now some are puffed up, as though I would not come to you.
18 ὡς μὴ ἐρχομένου δέ μου πρὸς ὑμᾶς ἐφυσιώθησάν τινες.
19 (AV) But I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power.
19 ἐλεύσομαι δὲ ταχέως πρὸς ὑμᾶς, ἐὰν ὁ Κύριος θελήσῃ, καὶ γνώσομαι οὐ τὸν λόγον τῶν πεφυσιωμένων, ἀλλὰ τὴν δύναμιν.
"Shortly" is the adverb ταχέως from whose stem we get tachometer which measures how fast an engine runs. Paul is not interested in "the word" of the puffed up ones but the power. Paul the apostle has power to correct these who are "blown up", he wants action not words and he is prepared to use his apostolic powers to quell the rebellion if needed.
20 (AV) For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power.
20 οὐ γὰρ ἐν λόγῳ ἡ βασιλεία τοῦ Θεοῦ, ἀλλ᾽ ἐν δυνάμει.
21 (AV) What will ye? shall I come unto you with a rod, or in love, and in the spirit of meekness?
21 τί θέλετε; ἐν ῥάβδῳ ἔλθω πρὸς ὑμᾶς, ἢ ἐν ἀγάπῃ πνεύματί τε πρᾳότητος; (1Co 4:15-21 TBT)
The kingdom of God is not in word but in power. The real rulership of the kingdom will be beyond the canniving and artful use of words from the mouths of those who are puffed up. The "rod" (r`a,bdoj, ou, h` rod, staff, stick) will be applied if needed and while not Paul's first choice he allows them to choose -- "what do you wish?", τί θέλετε;
Last week we looked at 4:1-7. This was a passage about not taking people above that which was written.
6 (AV) And these things, brethren, I have in a figure transferred to myself and to Apollos for your sakes; that ye might learn in us not to think of men above that which is written, that no one of you be puffed up for one against another.
Ταῦτα δέ, ἀδελφοί, μετεσχημάτισα εἰς ἐμαυτὸν καὶ Ἀπολλὼ δι᾽ ὑμᾶς, ἵνα ἐν ἡμῖν μάθητε τὸ μὴ ὑπὲρ ὃ γέγραπται φρονεῖν, ἵνα μὴ εἷς ὑπὲρ τοῦ ἑνὸς φυσιοῦσθε κατὰ τοῦ ἑτέρου. (1Co 4:6 TBT)
Paul had transferred the examples created by the miscrient persons of the Corinthian assembly (who formed divisive groups) to serve more noble and humbling examples as they were transformed to himself and Apollos. This week we will move the discussion forward as we get further into chapter 4.