SESSION 2 — “To a Church in Crisis, With Love,” a Bible study of 1 & 2 Corinthians

Text: 1Corinthians 1:18-31

The young church at Corinth was loved greatly by Paul, even with God’s own love, His very agape that had filled Paul’s heart. He rejoiced with them when they showed signs of spiritual growth and was quick to come to them or write to them to admonish them when they were in crisis because they had turned to false teachings.

I want to go back just a verse from Session 1 —

Verse 17b – Paul did not proclaim the Gospel in cleverness (sophia) of speech, not in terms of worldly wisdom, not so that he would be seen as a great orator!  If he did that, the cross of Christ would be made void (kenoo), emptied of power, abased, neutralized.

Do you see it? Using man’s wisdom and great oratory to preach the cross of Christ is an oxymoron — the cross is the picture of selflessness, and those who use only “head knowledge” and great speaking skills are the picture of self-centeredness. All you see is the preacher. The message of the cross is powerful indeed, beloved. But never will that power go forth from a professional pulpiteer.

Beloved, how often does the church go after those who are great orators, but who lead them astray! Do not be swayed by impressive speech and worldly wisdom! People who do not know the Lord follow worldly wisdom.

But when someone speaks in the power of the Holy Spirit and with God’s wisdom, speaking the very Word of God, listen to them! That one will preach the whole Word of God without apologies, and call believers to repent (see Revelation 2 and 3, where Jesus Christ calls five of seven churches to do so)!

Again, I will say this, along with others who have said it in the past. You might be able to win someone to Christ with a good argument using worldly wisdom, but that person will doubt and leave the faith if someone comes along with a better one.

But if you have been saved by the power of God and then filled with God’s Holy Spirit, no argument against God will move you, because the Father and the Son fully and permanently dwell in you (John 14:23)! When that happens, no question or doubt remains! You are steadfast, immovable, always abounding in His work!

Now, 1Corinthians 1:18-31 —

If I were to give this a title, it would be, “Whose Wisdom are YOU Following?”

Verse 18 – To the world —  those who have refused Christ and are perishing — the word of the cross is foolishness. Literally, the “word” is logos 3056, the spoken word, and also the name of Jesus Christ, from John 1:1 and forward.

They reject the Word of God, and Christ Himself. They reject the idea that a cross is necessary, because it means that they are sinners, in need of a Savior. “How absurd! I am a good person,” they assert. Paul replies —

Romans 3:9   What then? Are we (Jews) better than they (Gentiles)? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks (Gentiles) are all under sin;

10  as it is written,

“There is none righteous, not even one;

11  There is none who understands,

There is none who seeks for God;

12  All have turned aside, together they have become useless;

There is none who does good,

There is not even one.”

13  “Their throat is an open grave,

With their tongues they keep deceiving,”

“The poison of asps is under their lips”;

14  “Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness”;

15  “Their feet are swift to shed blood,

16  Destruction and misery are in their paths,

17  And the path of peace they have not known.”

18  “There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

No one but God is good, and only He can make us right before Him, by believing into His Son, and then asking Him to purify our hearts by filling us with His Spirit. Then, He has made us good!


Now we learn about those who are being saved. Why “being saved?” Salvation is “in an instant” as well as ongoing as we move toward entire sanctification, a.k.a. being filled with the Spirit in an instant!

We continue to work out our salvation with fear and trembling, knowing it is God who is working in us (Philippians 2:12)!

We have been saved by believing in the Christ who went to the cross for us. Oh, the power of God, to raise His Son, and to raise us to eternal life!

Then, by the power of God in us, we begin a transformation that culminates in entire sanctification. And then we continue on, no longer sinning against Him, but going from one degree of Christ-likeness to the next, and one degree of glory to the next (2Corinthians 3:18). How wonder-full!

This is the power, the dunamis, the miracle-working power of God! Only He can make a dead man live! Only He can bring the spiritually dead to eternal life in Him! And only He can make a believer’s heart pure!

Verse 19 — So, the appropriate question to ask is this, because we do care for the lost — what will happen to those who are wise in a worldly way, who scoff at Christ and reject Him?

God will destroy their wisdom — it will be lost, it will perish, as will they if they do not repent. And the cleverness (intellect) of the clever (mentally “put together”) will be brought to nothing (rejected)! Paul quotes from Isaiah 29:14, where Isaiah speaks the same warning.

In no situation would Paul use man’s wisdom in sharing the Gospel, and neither should we! We do not want to in any way empty the Gospel of its power, neutralizing it and abasing it, belittling it and degrading it by assuming that we can convince people of its truth by logical, philosophical, or psychological argument or debate.

May it never be! God cannot honor the words we speak when we try to argue people into the kingdom, for we are saying that man’s wisdom can be an effective tool. We cannot use man’s hands to shape God’s truths; that is how error in teaching begins!

Verse 20 — In comparison to the wisdom of God, where is the wise man who is wise only with this world’s wisdom?

Where is the scribe — the lawyer who knows the law of God — or the expert Biblical scholar, who knows what the Word says, and can quote it from memory, but does not know God at all?

Where is the debater (disputer) of this age, who knows only the wisdom of this age?

God has made foolish (insipid, silly) the wisdom of the world! It is foolish compared with His wisdom. It cannot save, it cannot sanctify, it cannot make righteous. There is a reality far greater than that which is seen with the naked eye, and God and Christ are that Reality!

Why does Paul say this to the believers at Corinth? Because they are cosmopolitan, they are worldly. They are knowledgeable in Greek wisdom and philosophy, and they are listening to the world’s wisdom.

But that is foolishness to God! They are making judgments about men of God, using man’s wisdom to make their judgments.

Verse 21 Here is God’s wisdom:

— You cannot know Me and be saved from hell through your worldly wisdom. Worldly wisdom is foolishness to Me. I am the Creator, you are the creature. Those who are wise in their own estimation are full of pride. They rely on their own wisdom, which is lilliputian compared with Mine!

— But there is a way to know Me and to be saved. It is through My Son, Jesus Christ, who died on a cross for you.

— My message sounds foolish to the worldly –– a Man, the Son of God, died on a cross so you can be forgiven and put in right relationship with Me. And His resurrection (even more foolish) entitles those who believe to eternal life!

— But it is My great pleasure to save those who believe the message. Those who believe have set aside worldly wisdom and pride in human intellect. I will say it again. Those who believe have set aside (disposed of) worldly wisdom and pride in human intellect.

— My servant, Isaiah, said, “Who has believed our message, and to whom has the arm of the Lord been revealed?” (See Isaiah 53:1.) It is when you believe My message that you see my arm, My strength, My Son, My salvation!

NOTE: When I was sick with MS (an incurable disease, according to man’s wisdom), and Pastor Doc was leading me toward healing, there came a point where I prayed, “That’s what THEY say, Lord, but what do You say?” And He said, “With God, all things are possible!” (See Matthew 19:26 and all of the gospels and New Testament, beloved!)

Verse 22 – The Jews always asked Jesus to show them a sign. Prove to us that You are the Messiah! But everything Christ did was proof of His Messiahship. They did not want to believe that He was the Son of God, even though His signs and wonders abounded and could only have been done by God. And as for Gentiles, with the worldly wisdom they possess, they say that the message of the Cross is foolishness.

Verse 23 – Jesus Christ is a stumbling block, He is a stone over which they stumble (Romans 9:33, 1Peter 2:8, Isaiah 8:14). To the Gentiles, He is foolishness. But we (Paul, Peter, Apollos, and the rest of the sent ones) preach Christ crucified!

To preach Christ crucified is this:

— To proclaim the cross of Christ, on which He took the punishment we deserved for our sin, so if we believe into Him, we are reconciled to God and forgiven for our past sins. And we proclaim that Christ fulfilled all prophesies about Him in the Old Testament.

— To proclaim His resurrection, for it is proof that He is the Christ, and it is the means by which we are given eternal life. His resurrection is the declaration that He is the Christ, with power, the very power of God (Romans 1:4). Hallelujah!

— To proclaim that He is exalted to the right hand of God, and the Holy Spirit is poured out as proof of it. And we proclaim mankind’s sin nature is crucified when we are filled with the Spirit (Galatians 5:24). We proclaim that we no longer live but Christ lives in us (see Galatians 2:20). And we proclaim that we have become partakers of His divine nature, proven because we walk as He walked and are as He is (2Peter 1:4, 1John 2:6, 4:17)!

— To proclaim that a day of judgment is coming, when Christ will return to judge the world, so now is the time to repent!

Many of us know Galatians 5:17, but have you contemplated Galatians 5:24?

Verse 24 – But glory to God, we are those who have eyes to see and ears to hear, who are the called! For us, Christ is the miracle-working power of God, and the wisdom of God.

Christ is the epitome (complete expression) of the wisdom of God, for God knew what was needed in order for man to be saved from his sinful condition –– the perfect sacrifice of the perfect Man, the Son of God, Jesus Christ. And Christ is the epitome of the power of God, His life, death and resurrection a demonstration of God’s miracle-working power.

The Corinthians have, in their midst, many Gentiles and Jews who say that Christ is foolishness. And there is much evidence that some are listening to those voices rather than the voice of Christ, as spoken through God’s appointed apostles.

Verse 25 – Paul closes this set of verses by saying that God’s foolishness (in sending His Son) is much wiser than all of man’s wisdom, for only by God’s “foolishness” are humans saved.

And though He is perfect, and not at all weak, some men see the Gospel of His Son as weak, as a sign that God is weak, and scoff at Christ’s followers, who they say are weak. But God’s strength is far above that of mere humans —

Isaiah 55:8 “For My thoughts are not your thoughts,

Nor are your ways My ways,” declares the Lord.

9  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

So are My ways higher than your ways

And My thoughts than your thoughts.

So men are foolish to think He is weak. His strength is so great that even His weakness is stronger than that of humans! He has the power to save, which no human can do!

Verse 26 – Paul now reminds the believers at Corinth of their humble beginnings.

There were not many in their midst who had wisdom that was worldly (according to the flesh). There were few considered mighty or noble (of high rank), by the world’s standards.

So why do they boast? Why do they think they know more than God?

Verse 27-29 – Thanks be to God! He has chosen

— the foolish . . . to shame the (worldly) wise

— the weak . . . to shame what is strong by the world’s standards

— the base (not of noble descent) the despised, and

— the things that are not (the things the world doesn’t value) . . .

Why? So that He may nullify (abolish and destroy) the things that are (the things the world values)!

Why? So that no man may boast before God! Boasting is evidence of pride. The believers at Corinth are immature. They have put on airs! Pride is a sin against God, and division in the church has resulted from that sin. We will see further evidence of pride, as we continue on through 1Corinthians.

So, because Paul loves them as God the Father and God the Son love them, he exhorts them to remember where they came from. None of us were anything in God’s eyes, until we believed into His Son. Then, He made us something!

The believers at Corinth were nothing in the world’s eyes. But that is who God chooses. Their position was lowly. But the believers at Corinth have forgotten their beginnings. Now they are boasting about their ability to discern who is the greatest leader because they are so wise, even wiser than the Lord who sends Spirit-filled leaders to them!

As I noted in Session 1, you will find “boast” and “boasting” to be a recurring word in both letters to the church at Corinth. These words are used 31 times!

Verse 30 – In this and the final verse of Chapter 1,  Paul gives them a closing admonition. First, he writes —

#1 —  You are not in Christ Jesus by your own doing –– You are in Christ Jesus by God’s doing! You didn’t believe on your own, but God gave you the gift of faith (Ephesians 2:8).

#2 — And it is Christ who became wisdom from God for you, he tells them! God, in His wisdom, knew that Adam would fall and that all mankind would need a Savior and Heart-Changer, even before time began! So why were they paying attention to the wisdom of this world?

By God’s wisdom in sending His Son, the names of the believers at Corinth are written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world — that is, from before the world was made (Revelation 13:8)!

[NOTE: And God gives His wisdom to those who ask Him to fill them with His Holy Spirit. Jesus promises that when you are baptized with the Holy Spirit whom He will send, the Holy Spirit will teach you all things! ALL things!]

Verse 31 – That being true, the believers at Corinth have nothing about which they may boast, except in what the Lord has done! As Paul said to the boasting Galatians —

Galatians 6:14 But may it never be that I would boast, except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, through which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.

May it be so in Your church, Lord Jesus! May your people turn from the wisdom of this world and be filled with Your Spirit, who will teach them all things, so that just as you promised —

Luke 21:14 “So make up your minds not to prepare beforehand to defend yourselves; 15 for I will give you utterance and wisdom which none of your opponents will be able to resist or refute.”

Amen. So be it, Lord Jesus!

In Session 3, Paul will continue on man’s wisdom versus God’s, Paul will continue to lead the believers at Corinth to see their immaturity, and to understand what it is to be mature (perfect) and to have the mind of Christ.



[SW319] 02/23/2018 message notes by

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2018

Blind Obedience

It is possible to be a dutiful man or woman of God, and yet blindly obey false prophets who speak words that are entirely contrary to the Word of the Lord. But there is a solution! I will show it to you as the Lord has shown me.

Text: 1Kings 13:1-18

Verse 1 — Now behold! Look! See! This is important! Here is a man of God, one who names himself as belonging to God — what we in the church would call a believer. He lives in Judah (southern Israel). By the word of the Lord, he dutifully went to Bethel, just over the border of northern Israel.

Two golden calves and altars were made and were being worshiped in northern Israel — one was made for the southern border of northern Israel, in Bethel, and another was made for the northernmost border, in Dan.

And by the word of the Lord — that is, he received a command from the Lord —he dutifully went to King Jeroboam. The man of God found Jeroboam offering incense at the altar of the golden calf in Bethel.

Note that “by the word of the Lord” is not commonly used for prophesying. This man of God received a command from the Lord and was able to speak what he heard, but there is no indication that he had a back-and-forth conversation with the Lord, as Samuel did from his youth and throughout his leadership of God’s people, per 1Samuel 3:3 (speak for Your servant is listening) and 1Samuel 8:7 (they have not rejected you, but they have rejected Me as their King).

Verse 2 — And by the word of the Lord, the man of God dutifully cried against the altar of the golden calf. He spoke to it, saying a son shall be born to the house of David, named Josiah.What will Josiah do? He will sacrifice the idolatrous priests, who burned incense on you, O altar, and human bones will be burned on you, O altar (to defile you).

It was a powerful word. and indeed, it came to pass in 2Kings 23:15-16, when King Josiah did just according to the word the Lord had spoken to the man of God, and he had dutifully repeated.

Verse 3 — And the man of God dutifully spoke of a sign the Lord had spoken. He said, Behold, the altar shall be split apart and the ashes which are on it shall be poured out.

Verse 4 — Upon hearing this judgment, Jeroboam stretched out his hand and ordered the man of God to be seized. But as he stretched out his hand, it dried up (was withered). He could not pull it back into his robe, to hide God’s judgment upon him.

Verse 5 — At the same time, the sign came to pass. The altar was split and the ashes poured out. The sign confirmed that the words of the man of God were from the Lord.

Verse 6 — Jeroboam asked the man of God to entreat (soften the face of) the Lord YOUR God (for the Lord was not Jeroboam’s God), to pray that  his hand be restored. So the man of God entreated the Lord, and the king’s hand was fully restored. The Lord permitted it, using it as a powerful sign that the man of God was speaking the Lord’s words to Jeroboam.

Verse 7 — Then King Jeroboam tempted the man of God. Come home with me, be refreshed (that is, strengthened, i.e., with food and drink), and I will give you a reward (gift).

NOTE: It is the same today. Satan will offer you a reward if you will agree to disobey what God has said, just as he did with Jesus Christ in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). But you will do as God the Son did, if you intimately know Him. Think on that!

Verse 8 — The man of God dutifully refused Jeroboam’s offer, saying he would not do so, even if the king gave him half the king’s house, nor would he eat bread or drink water in that place. Why?

Verse 9 — The man of God had received a specific command from the Lord to him, by the word of the Lord, “You shall eat no bread, nor drink water, nor return by the way which you came.”

Verse 10 — So the man of God dutifully left, and started on his way back to Judah, going a different way than the way he had come to Bethel.

Verse 11 — But that is not the end of what you are to behold, look at, and see!

An old prophet was living in Bethel. He was not identified as a man of God, nor as a prophet of the Lord. He was a false prophet, living in the southern worship center of the golden calves.

There is no evidence that the old prophet warned Jeroboam and the people of Northern Israel of their sin, nor was there any evidence that he ever urged them to repent. Such is the way of false prophets.

But the old prophet’s sons told him about the deeds that the man of God did on that day in Bethel. And so he was curious. He was not seeking fellowship with the man of God, for he was not a man of God.

The old prophet did not worship the Lord. Instead, he compromised with, participated in and celebrated the worship of the golden calf at Bethel, by not warning the people and urging them to repent. Thus, there could be no fellowship between him and the man of God.

Verses 12-14 — The old prophet had his sons saddle a donkey, and he left to find

the man of God. He found him sitting under an oak, and asked, “Are you the man of God who came from Judah?” The man of God said, “I am.” Certainly, the Lord had worked great things and spoken great words through him!

Verse 15 — But the old prophet, who was not of God, then asked him to come home with him, and eat bread. Note that the man of God did not warn the old prophet of his sin, nor did he urge him to turn from it and repent.

Verses 16-17 — The man of God told him he could not eat bread or drink water in that place, and repeated the command the Lord had given him, that he was not to eat bread nor drink water, and not to return to Judah by going the way by which he came.

Verse 18 — But now the old prophet, who was not a man of God, lied to him. He claimed to be a prophet like the man of God. But he was a false prophet. It was obvious by his actions. But the man of God had been shown to be dutiful to the Lord.

Then the false prophet lied to him again, saying that an angel spoke to him by the word of the Lord (it sounded legitimate) and that the angel said to bring the man of God back to the old prophet’s house, that he may eat bread and drink water.

Verse 19 — So the man of God went back with the false prophet, even though the old prophet’s words directly contradicted the command that the Lord had given him. Why did he go with the old prophet, after having dutifully obeyed the Lord up to that point?

Blind obedience. He had no discernment that this man was a false prophet, and that the false prophet’s words contradicted the command of the Lord. He should have known that the Lord never contradicts Himself.

But the man of God did not know the Lord intimately. There was no back-and-forth communication between the Lord and him. So he had no spiritual discernment, and blindly obeyed the false prophet’s lie.

The man of God could not discern that

1) the old prophet was a false prophet, which was obvious by the situation,

2) that God does not contradict Himself, and

3) therefore, he should never obey a so-called “word” that is directly contrary to what the Lord commanded him to do.

So, by blindly obeying the false prophet, he sinned against the Lord. The man of God disobeyed the direct command of the Lord.

Beloved, when you have no spiritual discernment, it is because you do not intimately know the Lord. So, you may dutifully serve the Lord, but then blindly obey whoever else comes along with a “Thus says the Lord,” even though it directly contradicts the Word of God. And you will sin again the Lord. But there is a solution!

Verses 20-22 — After the man of God disobeyed the Lord’s command to him, a true word from the Lord came through the false prophet (the Lord can even speak through a donkey, as His angel did to Baalam in Numbers 22:28).

What was the word? It was a judgment from the Lord, upon the man of God!

Because he disobeyed and did not observe the Lord’s commandment to him, the man of God would not be buried in Judah, in the grave of his fathers. That meant the man of God would die in Bethel! It never would have happened if the man of God knew the Lord intimately, and thus had the Lord’s discernment.

Verses 23-24 — Once you disobey a direct commandment of the Lord, it snowballs. You disregard further words from the Lord, having no sense of having sinned. Behold!

The man of God disregarded this word of Lord’s judgment upon him. He was confident that he was a man of God. The Lord had used him mightily! He was sure that he would be able to return home. Note that the man did not repent, nor did he cry out for mercy from the Lord. He thought he was still a man of God.

How ironic! He believed a false word from the false prophet, but did not believe a true word spoken by the Lord through the false prophet. It is evidence that he had no intimacy with the Lord, and thus, no spiritual discernment or sense of wrongdoing.

So, after disobeying the Lord’s command by eating and drinking, he decided to return to Judah. Again, he still did not repent for returning and eating and drinking. He did not ask the Lord to have mercy on him.

And the false prophet assisted him in his continued disobedience, giving him a donkey so the return to Judah would be easier and faster. But the Lord, and the false prophet through whom He spoke, had told the man of God that he would not be buried in Judah!

So, on the man of God’s journey back to Judah, a lion killed him, just as the Lord had said. The lion did not kill the donkey, and both the lion and the donkey stood over him. Lions kill and eat, but the lion did not kill and eat the donkey. Lions leave and look for other prey, but the lion did not leave. It was a sign from the Lord, of His judgment on the man of God for disobeying His direct command.

Verses 25-31 — When the old prophet heard he had been killed by a lion, he went to the scene and brought the man of God’s body back to Bethel. Note that the false prophet never repented for lying to the man of God.

And people came and mourned the man of God there — alas, my brother! He had not been their brother, but now he was. Why? Like them, he disobeyed the Lord!

They even made a monument to him, and 276 years later, King Josiah asked about (see 2Kings 23:17) and was told about the man of God.

Verse 32 — Despite all of this, the old false prophet knew that the words spoken by the man of God to Jeroboam would come to pass. But note that even knowing the word would come to pass, the false prophet never repented, nor did he warn the people of their sin and urge them to repent.

Verses 33-34 — And Jeroboam remained unrepentant and sinned even greater sins. The Lord had given the word. Jeroboam and his house would be blotted out and destroyed from the face of the earth, for He knew Jeroboam would never repent.

So, what is the solution for you, today, so that you have a 24/7 back-and-forth conversation with the Lord, and so that you have spiritual discernment and do not fall for the lies of false prophets?

By being transformed FROM being a dutiful servant of the Lord INTO a servant of the Lord who intimately knows Him! But how does that transformation happen?

Now, behold, look, see! This is important!

Ask your Father in heaven (Luke 11:13) to give you the Holy Spirit. Then, stay and wait for His promise — the baptism and infilling of the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5). When the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit dwell within you, large and in charge (John 14:23), you are no longer blind, but are able to clearly behold, look and see!

The Holy Spirit teaches you all the truth (John 16:13). He gives  you a purified heart that serves only the Lord, and He gives you the Lord’s  discernment — spiritual discernment —  so you immediately detect the lies of false prophets and their boss, who is Satan himself.

Beloved, my fellow believer, cry out today, for we live in a day of many false prophets who lead many dutiful but blind servants astray. Amen, Lord Jesus. So be it!


SESSION 1 — “To a Church In Crisis, With Love,” a Bible study of 1 & 2 Corinthians

Text: 1Corinthians 1:1-17

The young church at Corinth was loved greatly by Paul, even with God’s own love (agape) that had filled Paul’s heart! He rejoiced with them when they showed signs of spiritual growth and was also quick to come to them or write to them to admonish them when they were in crisis because they had turned to false teachings.

First, a little background on Corinth, for which I thank the Holman Bible Dictionary and Expositor’s Bible Commentary. It will help you understand the external influences on the church in Corinth.

Corinth was both cosmopolitan and known for licentiousness (promiscuous intercourse), even to the point that in other cities and countries, you were called a “Corinthian” (korinthaizomai) if you were sexually immoral!

In Paul’s day, Corinth was under Roman rule, but many Greek gods were worshiped there. Shrines were built for Apollo, Hermes, Hercules, Athena, Poseidon, Asclepius and Hygieia. The most significant pagan cult was that of Aphrodite (Latin: Venus). Worship of her included intercourse with her priestesses.

Corinth was a large Grecian city located on the western coast of a narrow isthmus that connects northern and southern Greece. Because it was on the coast of the Ionian Sea, a busy shipping lane, ships docked there and were carried eastward across the isthmus from the Ionian Sea to the heavily traveled Aegean Sea, using rollers placed under the vessels. This ingenious method cut the sailing time (and saved money) for the shipping companies. So, Corinth controlled east-west trade. NOTE: A canal is now located in Corinth, which was begun in 1 A.D. but not completed until 1893.

As a result, people from all over the known world traveled through it. What a great place to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ! And Paul had done so, staying at Corinth for 18 months to proclaim Christ to them and to establish the church there (Acts 18:1-18). But there were others spreading false teaching there, too, and Paul was persecuted by those Jews in Corinth who rejected Jesus Christ (Acts 18:12 and forward).

After Paul’s 18 months with them, he traveled on. But the church at Corinth began listening to false teachers (Gnostics, Epicureans and others) who encouraged them to sin. As a result, they became hostile toward him and harshly attacked him, even questioning his apostleship. The church was in crisis. So Chloe and her household sent word to Paul (1Corinthians 1:11).

In response, Paul wrote 1Corinthians to instruct and admonish them. Then Paul made a painful visit to Corinth (2Corinthians 2:1), and wrote a letter of strong rebuke, which is not included in the Bible but which Paul refers to in 2Corinthians 2:2-4.

Because Paul loved the church there, he corrected them as a loving father, urging them to turn from false teachers and return to the true gospel.

Finally, though there were still problems in Corinth, Titus reported some improvement in the spiritual condition of the church at Corinth. Paul wrote 2Corinthians in response to Titus’ report, and it is there that you will see the remaining problems.

I did a study of the most-used words in 1 & 2 Corinthians. It provides some insight into not only the crisis at Corinth, but what was needed to resolve it —

Love 27 times

Spirit (that is, the Holy Spirit) 54 times

Foolish/foolishness/fool(s) 19 times

Immoral/immorality 9 times

Idols/idolatry 17 times

Boast/arrogant 26 times

Do you not know 10 times

Wisdom19 times

Do you see Paul’s emphasis on love (agape in all cases) — not love FOR God but His actual love? And do you see his extreme emphasis on the Holy Spirit, who is the means by which we are filled with that love? And can you detect his concern about the foolishness of man’s wisdom, and of idols, and of boasting?

1Corinthians 1

If I were to give this a title, it would be “Pride Divides.”

Verse 1 — Paul wastes no time, immediately confirming to the Corinthians that he is called by God. He is an apostle (a sent one) by the will of God (implying “not by my own will”). Here is the first hint that the church at Corinth and the false teachers have begun to question Paul’s apostleship, and that the believers at Corinth are immature, lacking spiritual discernment.

Paul also mentions that Sosthenes, a brother in Christ, joins him in this letter to Corinth. Sosthenes had been the ruler of the synagogue at Corinth, per Acts 18:17, but had come to faith in Jesus Christ through Paul’s ministry there.

Verse 2 – Now Paul calls them to be what they should be — a church of God, sanctified (made holy, consecrated to God) in Christ Jesus, saints by calling (that is, appointed by God). He calls them to fulfill God’s calling upon them.

The believers at Corinth have been saved, but are infants in Christ (see 1Corinthians 3:1). As such, they are not yet holy on the inside, though they are called to be so. By faith in Christ, they have been separated FROM the world and separated TO God by faith in Christ. Paul again calls them to fulfill God’s calling upon them.

QUESTION: Are you separated to God? Have you fulfilled His calling upon your life, to be holy and separated from the world?

Paul continues, reminding the believers at Corinth that they call on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ (worship Him, invoke His name, and appeal to Him), who is Paul’s Lord AND their Lord. It appears that they are calling on other lords!

Verse 3 – Paul then speaks “grace and peace” upon them from God our Father (theirs and his), and the Lord Jesus Christ. It is a prayer that the believers in Corinth receive God’s grace (charis) — His divine influence on their hearts and its reflection in their lives. And it is a prayer for  them to seek to have the actual peace of Christ (not mere human peace), which will happen when they are filled with His Holy Spirit — essential for every believer so they become Christ’s witnesses!

Verse 4 –  Paul continues to encourage the church at Corinth — and “encourage” means to call near, implore, exhort, and beseech, just like any Spirit-filled pastor who loves the church with God’s love!

Paul thanks his God (an indication of his personal relationship with God), because in Christ Jesus, the grace (again, charis), of God was extended to them.

Verse 5 – What richness there is in this new life they have been given! They were spiritually destitute, dead, without God in the world (Ephesians 2:1 & 12), and destined for hell (Mark 9:47). But now they have Christ’s riches. He reminds them that they have been made co-heirs with Christ, and sharers of His inheritance. But they must turn from their waywardness and return to Him.

The understanding of “in all speech and all knowledge,” per the Expositor’s Bible Commentary (EBC) is that God had so enriched the lives of these people in spiritual perception and expression that they had been given increased ability in speaking.

But I disagree, because their condition at the time of Paul’s letter is critical and dire, with little or no evidence of spiritual perception and expression in their actions and words. So, this enrichment in all speech and knowledge must refer to the teaching of Paul, Apollos, and Peter at Corinth.

Verse 6 – How was faith in Christ confirmed (the truth of it established) among the believers at Corinth? Paul saw the testimony of Christ in them, when they were converted to Christianity.

Verse 7 –  They do not lack any gift (I believe the gifts of the Spirit are in view here), and are eager to have Christ revealed — that is, to see His full revelation at the end of things.

But here is further evidence of the immaturity of the believers at Corinth — we will find that they misuse the spiritual gifts; their attitude is in error regarding them (see Gordon Fee in the New International Commentary on the New Testament (NICNT).

Verse 8 –  Paul now assures them that Christ will confirm them to the end. This is the same word as in Verse 6, but in this case, I believe that its second meaning is in view –– STRENGTHEN!

It is Paul’s hope that the wayward believers will repent and return to Christ and be strengthened by Him so they are blameless (not called to account and found wanting) in the day of the Lord (see 2Corinthians 13:5)!

What? Aren’t they saved? But in 1Corinthians 15:2, Paul exhorts them to hold fast so that they remain in the faith, and in 2Corinthians 13:5, Paul exhorts them to test and examine themselves to be sure they are in the faith.

What is this “strengthening?” It is to be filled with the Holy Spirit (entirely sanctified, per 1Thessalonians 5:23-24). Then, their hearts will no longer be rebellious toward God, but will be filled with God’s actual love. And His love in their hearts will be the motivation for all they do. That is what it is to be blameless before God.

May today’s church ask Christ to strengthen them in this way!

Verse 9 – Who will strengthen them by entirely sanctifying them? God! He who called you is faithful, and He will do it (see 1Thessalonians 5:23-24)!

But take heed! If you are faithless, He will remain faithful, and you will receive according to your deeds (2 Timothy 2:13).

Verse 10 –  Now, Paul gets to the first great problem in the church at Corinth –– divisions. I tell you, beloved, pride divides!

He commands them that there must be no divisions (tears in the fabric, splits schisms) among them, but ALL must agree with one another. It is the same today!

Why have these divisions happened? They lack the unity that only comes by way of the infilling of the Holy Spirit.

When you are filled, your sin nature is crucified (Galatians 5:24) and you become a partaker of the divine nature (2Peter 1:4)! Then prideful hearts are changed to humble hearts!

Paul exhorts them that they are not yet “made complete” (katartizo, thoroughly made perfect, which will happen when they are filled), and do not yet have the same mind or judgment.

Verse 11 – How does Paul know there are divisions? He has received word from Chloe’s people that there are quarrels (strife, wrangling, contention) among the believers at Corinth. It is the same today.

What are they fighting about? Paul is about to tell us, and the nature of their division will give us more evidence of their immaturity.

Verse 12 – The Corinthians have “taken sides,” regarding who they like, and who they don’t, among those apostles who have been sent to them. They are playing favorites, some even going so far to say that they reject Paul AND Apollos AND Cephas (Peter).

Do you see it?  Who sent Paul? The Lord! Who sent Apollos? The Lord! Who sent Cephas (Peter)? The Lord! They are all equally great teachers, because they are filled with His Spirit! To say that they are not is to say that you know better than the Lord!

So Paul exhorts them (beseeches, implores, very strongly corrects)! He invokes the name of “our Lord Jesus Christ,” to remind them that Jesus Christ is their Lord, and must be made the Lord of their lives.

Some say they are Christ’s, and He’s the only One they will listen to. But all three men — whom they have taken turns rejecting — are Christ’s and are filled with God’s Holy Spirit. They have the mind of Christ, and have been appointed by God (Ephesians 4:11). They are His, and they speak His words.

Do you see their immaturity? The believers at Corinth are unwilling to submit to all of these leaders, and even go so far as to judge them — but God has sent them!

Verse 13 – Paul goes on to say that Christ is not divided. He is One (with the Father and the Spirit), and the church is called to be One with Him, just as He is One with His Father (John 17:21-23).

To say that Paul and Apollos and Peter are not worthy of being followed is to say that those three men are not One with Him.

Paul rebukes those who favor HIM, asking, Was I crucified for you? Were you baptized in my name? Of course not! Christ was crucified for them, and it is in His name that they are baptized.

Those who select Paul above the others reject the Christ who is in all three! Paul uses shocking words in these verses, to bring them to their senses!

Verses 14-16 – Paul goes on to confirm that yes, there were a few baptized by him, but not in him! He thanks God that he only baptized a few, so he would not be seen as “better!”

NOTE: Beloved, Satan rubs his hands together with glee, as he watches churches fall apart because of such divisions! And we who love the church grieve for her and speak the truth to her, that she may repent!

Verse 17 – Paul reminds the Corinthians that he was not sent by Christ to baptize, but to preach the truth. So they are even arguing about baptism! And it was not in cleverness (sophia) of speech, not in terms of worldly wisdom, not so that he would be seen as a great orator!  If he did that, the cross of Christ would be made void (kenoo), emptied of power, abased, neutralized.

Beloved, how often does the church go after those who are great orators, but who lead them astray! Do not be swayed by impressive speech and worldly wisdom! People who do not know the Lord follow worldly wisdom.

But when someone speaks in the power of the Holy Spirit and with God’s wisdom, speaking the very Word of God, listen to them! That one will preach the whole Word of God without apologies, and call believers to repent (see Revelation 2 and 3, where Jesus Christ calls five of seven churches to do so)!

Beloved, how often do Christians try to win people to Christ using worldly wisdom, philosophy, psychology, or human reasoning? It seems like a good idea, from a natural point of view.

I will say this, along with others who have said it in the past. You might be able to win someone to Christ with a good argument using worldly wisdom, but that person will doubt and leave the faith if someone comes along with a better one.

But if you have been saved by the power of God and then filled with God’s Holy Spirit, no argument against Him will move you, because the Father and the Son fully and permanently dwell in you (John 14:23)! When that happens, no question or doubt remains! Glory to God!

Next time, we will review the remainder of the first chapter of 1Corinthians, in which Paul condemns the world’s wisdom in comparison with God’s, and continues to expose the false teachers who are influencing the believers at Corinth.

Lord Jesus, may today’s church have ears to hear what the Spirit says through Paul,  that they may repent from their waywardness! So be it. Amen!


[SW317] 02/16/2018 message notes by

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2018

Whom Does God Reward?

I testify that the Lord is a Rewarder!  But whom does He reward? Are His rewards conditional? The Spirit-inspired Psalmist, King David, will show us.

Text: Psalm 103, etc.

Verse 1 — Bless the Lord, O my soul (kneel, adore, praise, thank humbly with all my breath), and all that is within me, bless His holy name (His holiness, purity, as being holy and pure)!

Do you see, in these words, that David reveres the Lord, that he is in awe of the Lord, and loves Him? He is a man after the Lord’s own heart (1Samuel 13:14)!

Verse 2 — Bless the Lord, O my soul (kneel, adore, praise, thank humbly, with every breath) and forget none of His benefits (rewards);

David can’t stop blessing the Lord! He has experienced the rewards of the Lord. Taken from shepherding the flock, anointed as king, victory over those who hated him, and ultimately, established as the king and shepherd of the Lord’s people, Israel.

Verse 3 — Who pardons (forgives) all your iniquities (moral evil), Who heals all your diseases (thoroughly makes you whole, from maladies and sickness);

These are His rewards — forgiveness of sin, healing of diseases. David had times of sickness, cried out to the Lord, and the Lord healed Him. The Lord forgave him for his sin against Bathsheba, when David repented from his heart.

And I know the Lord forgave me of my sin! I was far from Him, but when I repented and turned from my sin and to God, and believed into Jesus Christ, He forgave all my past sins. He gave me a heart like King David’s heart, and even more — when I asked Him to fill me with the Holy Spirit, He gave me His own heart!

And Jesus Christ did and still does heal all my diseases — from secondary progressive MS, 16 years ago, and from other things that come along! He is glorified by healing me, because MS is an incurable disease that only He can heal. And in 2011, he healed Jeff of massive damage to his heart muscle from a heart attack. There is no evidence of that damage now! Jesus Christ is the only One who could do it, so He is glorified!

Verse 4 — Who redeems (buys back) your life from the pit (ruin, destruction, hell),

Who crowns you (encircles you) with lovingkindness and compassion (mercy)

(lovingkindness is chesed, and the New Testament equivalent to chesed is agape, God’s actual love) . . .

He bought me back, when I was in ruins and being destroyed by my sin! It happened when I turned to Him and believed into His Son. He surely encircled me with His love and mercy! He will do it for anyone who will turn and believe!

Verse 5 —Who satisfies your years with good things (satisfies your desire with good), so that your youth is renewed (rebuilt) like the eagle (symbolizing vigor).

King David lived to a ripe old age. The Lord satisfied him with good, and until he was very old, King David was full of youthful vigor. And He made me vigorous, when He healed me! But even more, He filled me with His power and love when He filled me with His Spirit. Though my mortal body is aging, my spirit is renewed every day! Oh, He satisfies.

Verse 6 —The Lord performs righteous deeds, and judgments for all who are oppressed (pressed upon, defrauded, wronged).

As with King David, if I am oppressed by persecution, even though I have done no wrong, He comes to my aid and judges in my favor, because I fear Him, revere Him, love Him, and obey Him!

Verse 7 — He made known His ways to Moses, His acts to the sons of Israel.

He rescued Israel out of slavery in Egypt (often used in the Bible as a symbol of sin). He rescued me and will rescue ANYONE out of sin, if they turn to Him and believe into His Son.

Then, when they find that their sin nature still plagues them, like I did, they obey His command for them to be filled with His Spirit, so sin no longer rules over them! He did it in me! He will do it in you!

Verse 8 — The Lord is compassionate (merciful) and gracious (bestowing favor), slow to anger and abounding in lovingkindness (again, chesed, His love).

He does not anger easily, He bestows favor, and He is full of His love toward those who are like King David — who revere Him, are in awe of Him, love and obey Him.

He shows favor to such ones! What we ask, He will do, for we always ask according to His will!

John 14:13 “Whatever you ask in My name, that will I do, so that the Father may be glorified in the Son.

John 15:16 “You did not choose Me but I chose you, and appointed you that you would go and bear fruit, and that your fruit would remain, so that whatever you ask of the Father in My name He may give to you.

Verse 9 — He will not always strive (contend and chide) with us, nor will He keep His anger forever.

O Christian, if you are in a desert of your own making, because your sin nature is still alive and well, He has given you the way out of your desert! If you will repent, He will receive you back!

But then you must obey His command to be filled with the Holy Spirit. When you do, He will set you free from slavery to sin (John 8:31-36)! Then He will always be pleased with you! I tell you the truth, I have found that there are no deserts for those who have obeyed this command!

Verse 10 —He has not dealt with us according to our sins (crimes), nor rewarded us according to our iniquities (moral evil).

For all I had done to Him, for my entire rejection of Him and His Son, and for the way I rebelled against Him, I deserved hell. But He kept calling. He is patient, not wanting any to perish, but for ALL to come to repentance (2Peter3:9). So when I repented, I was saved from perishing.

Verse 11 — For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His lovingkindness (chesed, love) toward those who fear Him.

Now, David tells us the condition to receive God’s rewards. If you fear Him, He will reward you. What is it to fear Him? It is to revere Him, to be deeply awestruck by Him, to love and obey and worship Him alone as God.

And what is the reward for those who fear Him? He loves them with His love, His chesed, His agape, the same love that He has for His Son!

Verse 12 —  As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions (rebellion) from us.

David’s rebellion with Bathsheba was removed far, far away from him, when he repented from the depths of his heart.

Now, for those who believe into His Son and fear Him, He rewards them by removing their rebellion from their hearts!When I asked Him to baptize me with the Holy Spirit and fire, He removed rebellion from my heart! It is His reward to any who fear Him!

Verse 13 — Just as a father has compassion on his children, so the Lord has compassion (chesed, love) on those who fear Him.

The great reward of God’s love is for His children, those who fear Him, who are reverent, who are in deep awe of Him, who love and obey and worship Him alone as God!

The commentator for the Expositors Bible Commentary says it well — “The love of God is not indiscriminate. He loves those who fear him.”

But you will say, “What about John 3:16?” His expression of love to all mankind was to send His Son. But they must turn from their sin and receive His Son, in order to receive His love.

Verse 14 — For He Himself knows our frame (He built it); He is mindful that we are but dust (He created us from it).

God’s love sustains those of us who believe in Jesus Christ, even though we are but dust. And when we obey Him and are filled with His Holy Spirit, we exchange our strength for His. Then He sustains us to the full!

Verse 15-16 — As for man, his days are like grass; as a flower of the field, so he flourishes. When the wind has passed over it, it is no more, and its place acknowledges it no longer.

That is the state of all mankind. We are not everlasting. We live and die and are no longer seen on the earth. But now the contrast —

Verses 17-18 — But the lovingkindness (chesed, love) of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him, and His righteousness to children’s children, to those who keep His covenant and remember His precepts to do them.

God’s love is from everlasting to everlasting toward those who fear Him, who revere and are deeply awestruck by Him, who love and obey and worship Him alone as God! Even from generation to generation, when we lead our children to fear Him, His everlasting reward is for them!

Who receives the great reward of His love? Those who keep His covenant and remember (memorialize, make a part of them) His precepts, to do them.

Those who fear the Lord obey BECAUSE they revere and are deeply awestruck by Him, and love and worship Him alone as God! They obey BECAUSE they love Him (John 14:23).

And they obey Jesus’ command to stay (Luke 24:49) and wait (Acts 1:4-5), and He fills them with His own love, when He fills them with the Holy Spirit! Oh, beloved! Then His commands are not burdensome (1John 5:3)!

Verse 19 —The Lord has established His throne in the heavens, and His sovereignty rules over all.

Whether you fear Him or do not fear Him, He is rules over you. Therefore, it is foolish not to fear Him!

Verses 20-22 —Bless the Lord, you His angels, mighty in strength, who perform His word, obeying the voice of His word!

Bless the Lord, all you His hosts, You who serve Him, doing His will.

Bless the Lord, all you works of His, in all places of His dominion;

Bless the Lord, O my soul!

Angels obey, hosts obey, and you will obey, if you fear Him! And then you will bless the Lord, you will kneel before Him, adoring, praising, thanking Him humbly, with all your breath!

And for those who fear Him, the Spirit-inspired David says these also are His rewards to them —

Psalm 25:14  The secret (intimacy with) the Lord is for those who fear Him, and He will make them know (perceive and fully understand) His covenant (promise).

Psalm 33:18  Behold, the eye (face) of the Lord is on (toward) those who fear Him, on those who hope for (wait for and trust in) His lovingkindness . . .

Psalm 34:7 The angel of the Lord encamps (pitches his tent) around those who fear Him, and rescues them (fights for them and delivers them).

Psalm 34:9  O fear the Lord, you His saints; for to those who fear Him there is no want.

Fear Him by obeying His command to seek first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, His kingdom! If you do, and ask Him to fill you with His Holy Spirit, His kingdom and His righteousness will be established inside of you (Matthew 6:33)!

You will want for nothing, though you may be physically hungry and thirsty and persecuted for your faith in Christ. All that you need  — Him in you — will be given to you. He supplies all your needs!

Psalm 85:9  Surely His salvation is near to those who fear Him, that glory may dwell in our land.

His glory will dwell in you, if you fear Him, revere and are awestruck by Him, love and obey Him!

Psalm 145:19  He will fulfill the desire of those who fear Him; He will also hear their cry and will save them.

Psalm 147:11  The Lord favors those who fear Him, those who wait for (trust in) His lovingkindness (chesed).

The question is this — do you fear the Lord? If you do, you have seen David’s Spirit-inspired words come to pass in you! God has rewarded you with His actual love, even in you, because you have obeyed His command to stay (Luke 24:49) and wait (Acts 1:4-5), and He has filled you with His Spirit!

If you do not fear Him, God will not reward you with His love, the same love He has for His Son. I speak this as a warning to those who seek Him for earthly rewards, who seek Him for selfish reasons.

I tell you the truth, it is impossible to worship Him alone as God, if you do not fear Him. Why? If you do not fear Him, you have made yourself your god. For the first 45 years of my life, I made myself my god. But I repented turned to Him after 45 years of rebellion against Him.

I tell you the truth,  if you do the same as I did, He will then bring you into His life, eternal life! You will fear Him, revere Him, be awestruck by Him, love obey Him and worship Him and Him alone as God.

And He will reward you by loving you with His love. You will seek to be filled with His love, because you will obey Jesus Christ’s command! Then He will be glorified, because you will walk like Jesus, and be like Him in this world. Only God could do such a thing in a human heart! And He will!

SESSION 41 — “Being the Church,” a Bible study of the Book of Acts

It has been quite a ride, going through the Book of Acts, from Jesus’ promise of the Holy Spirit in John 14-16, to His prayer that believers be filled in John 17, to His command to stay in the city until they were clothed with power from on high (Luke 24:49), to Jesus command to wait for the promise of the Father — baptism with the Holy Spirit (Acts 1:4-5), and the fulfillment at Pentecost (Acts 2).

We have seen that, to be the church, the church must be baptized with the Holy Spirit and power! Through the Twelve and then others, thousands were convicted of sin and saved, many were baptized with the Holy Spirit, and amazing works of God were done through them, by the Holy Spirit within them. And we have seen

the persecutions and trials of the Twelve, and then of Paul.

A review of our sessions thus far can be found in my previous posts on my blog, And again, you will find each of the 41 sessions on YouTube and Vimeo. I pray it has blessed you, and that you have learned much. I know I have!

So, we come to the final chapter!

Acts 28

If I were going to give this a title, I would call it, “Paul Ministered Unhindered!”

In our last session, we saw Paul, Luke and Aristarchus, on the way to Rome. We saw the kindness of the centurion towards Paul, the storm and the shipwreck, and swimming or floating to the shore of the island of Malta, just 58 miles south of Sicily, which is just off the toe of the boot of Italy. As I said, it has been quite a ride!

And now, Paul will reach Rome, just as the Lord Jesus Christ commanded him (Acts 23:11)!

Verse 1 — So, Paul and the 275 others on board had been brought safely through (saved thoroughly) onto the beach, after the shipwreck. It was just according to the words of an angel of God, in the vision Paul was given by the Lord (27:23-24) They then learned that the island was called Malta, again, just 58 miles due south of Sicily, which is just off the toe of the boot of Italy. The Lord delivers with precision!

Malta was founded in 1000 B.C. by the Phoenicians. When Paul landed there, it was a densely populated island, with well-developed cities, and it was controlled by Rome. A Roman governor lived on the island.

Verse 2 — The natives showed Paul and the rest extraordinary kindness (they exhibited more than a little fondness, benevolence and love towards them). How? Because it had begun to rain and it was cold, they kindled a fire and received (in hospitality and friendship) all 276 of them!

NOTE: The literal Greek-to-English for “natives” is “barbarians.” It meant something quite different than today’s definition. To Greeks and Romans, strange languages sounded like, “bar bar bar.” It was in no way a derogatory term. Today, “barbarian” means a crude or uneducated, savage or primitive person.

Verses 3-4 — So Paul went to gather a bundle of sticks and laid them on the fire. But a viper was in the midst, and was driven out by the heat of the fire. It fastened itself on Paul’s hand. So the natives said Paul must have been truly been a murderer. Why? Though he had been saved from the sea, Justice (a reference to a Greek/Phoenician goddess) had judged him and sent a viper, so he would die for his crime after all.

Verses 5-6 — But after the viper had fastened itself to him, Paul simply shook the creature off into the fire, and he suffered no harm! The Lord had said, You must go to Rome. And certainly, Paul would go! Even a viper’s deadly venom couldn’t stop God’s plan from going forth!

Meanwhile, the islanders were expecting him to swell up or drop dead, but after they waited a long time, and Paul seemed fine, they began to say that he was a god (this also could be translated, “a favorite of the gods.”). At any rate, he did not rebuke them because they did not attempt to worship Paul as the people at Lystra had, in Acts 14:15-18.

Verse 7 — Publius, a leading man (“first man,” i.e., the Roman governor of Malta), owned lands (literally, a place) nearby, and welcomed them and hosted them for three days, in a friendly and kindly way.

Verses 8-9 — It just so happened that Publius’ father was laid on a bed with a recurrent fever and dysentery —possibly “Malta fever,” which was common to the island, caused by a microorganism passed on to man by the milk of Maltese goats.

Paul went in to see him, prayed for him and laid hands on him, and Publius’ father was immediately healed! Word got around quickly, and the rest of the people on the island who had diseases came to him and were healed! Through Paul’s words and this witness of the power and mercy of God, many surely came to faith in Jesus Christ!

Verse 10 — And indeed, the islanders honored Paul and the rest with many honors. They saw that he was a messenger of the one true God, carrying the good news of the gospel of Jesus Christ!

As another honor and act of hospitality, when Paul and the rest set sail after winter, the islanders provided food and all that they needed.

Verse 11 — Paul and the rest wintered on Malta for three months. Around mid-February of 61 A.D., they all sailed for Italy via an Alexandrian (Egyptian) ship that had wintered on Malta. Luke described the figureheads on the bow of the

ship — Castor and Pollux, the twin sons of Zeus also known as The Gemini, of which there was a very predominant cult in Egypt. I believe he did this — along with many other historical references throughout the Book of Acts — so that the accuracy of the Book of Acts could be confirmed.

Verses 12-13 — They landed at Syracuse on the East coast of Sicily, stayed there for three days, then sailed around and arrived at Regium. When favorable winds came up, they continued the 180 miles to Puteoli, an important Italian resort city.

Verses 14-15 — It was in Puteoli that they found some brethren (believers), and stayed with them for seven days, and thus they came to Rome! God is faithful!

Paul’s stay with these brethren was more evidence of the centurion Julius’ favor and fondness toward Paul, because prisoners were not commonly released to visit friends! Paul was, of course, in chains and accompanied by a Roman guard, though this verse doesn’t include that bit of information.

Believers came to Puteoli from the Market of Appius (43 miles from Rome) and Three Inns (33 miles from Rome). Before he ever set foot in Italy, Paul’s reputation as a powerful witness of Jesus Christ had traveled there!

When Paul saw the brethren, he thanked God, for He had certainly been faithful to Paul. And Paul “took courage” (literally, he was bold)!

Verses 16-17 — When they entered Rome, Paul was shown more favor! He was allowed to stay by himself in private quarters — again, chained (see Verse 20), with the soldier guarding him.

After three days, he called together the leaders of the Jews in Rome. And when they came together, he began by explaining why he had been brought to Rome, that he had done nothing against “our people” nor the customs of “our fathers,” emphasizing he was one of them. And yet he had been delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into Roman custody.

Verses 18-19 — Paul continued, saying that the Romans examined him, As a result, Paul said, the Romans were willing to release him, since they could find no grounds for putting him to death (which was what the Jewish leaders wanted).

Paul continued, explaining that the Jews objected (disputed and contradicted Paul), so he was forced to appeal to Caesar, because the charges were unjust.

Verses 20-22 — And that is why Paul wanted to see and speak with the Jewish leaders in Rome, for Paul was wearing “this chain” for the sake of the hope of Israel. This was a reference to the prophetic words from the Law and the Prophets (their Tenakh), fulfilled in Jesus Christ, but disputed by the Jewish leaders.

The Jews in Rome said they had not heard any bad reports about Paul via letters or by Jews coming from Judea to Rome. But they expressed  desire to hear what Paul’s “views” were. They said they only knew that Christianity was a sect (heresy) and it was spoken against, everywhere!

Verse 23 — So a day was set for a large number of them to meet at Paul’s lodging. Abundant numbers of Jews came to hear Paul! What an opportunity to speak the gospel once again!

So, Paul solemnly (earnestly) testified (declared and expounded upon) from morning to evening, about the kingdom of God, persuading them (not “trying to persuade,” as my NASB says) concerning Jesus, both from the Law of Moses and from the Prophets, both of which speak of Jesus. And all that was spoken and written was fulfilled by Jesus!

Verses 24-27 — Some were persuaded, but others refused to believe. When they could not agree, they left, but not until Paul had spoken one parting word —

Paul quoted from the Greek Old Testament (Septuagint) and said, The Holy Spirit rightly spoke through Isaiah the prophet to your fathers saying,

‘Go to this people and say,

“You will keep on hearing, but will not understand;

And You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;

For the heart of this people has become dull,

And with their ears they scarcely hear,

And they have closed their eyes;

Otherwise they might see with their eyes,

And hear with their ears,

And understand with their heart and return,

And I would heal them.”’

Verses 28-29 — Paul said, “Therefore, because of your response (that of the ones who refused to believe) to the hearing of the gospel, this salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles — they will also listen.”

And as he spoke these words, there was a great dispute among the Jews, and they departed.

Verses 30-31 — But as for Paul, he stayed two full years in his own rented quarters, with the Roman guard and in chains. And Paul welcomed all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all openness (all out, frankly, bluntly, with assurance), unhindered (freely, with no man prohibiting him)!

We know that Nero eventually became angry with Paul and beheaded him, but until then, Paul spoke as he always had. Glory to God, nothing hindered him, ever!

And as I have said before, he still speaks today — to the church-at-large and individual believers — through the Book of Acts, and through his letters to the Romans, 1 & 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, 1 & 2 Timothy, Titus, Philemon, and perhaps, Hebrews!

He would not and will not keep silent, for the sake of the Jews and the church, until the Lord establishes and makes Jerusalem and the church a praise in the earth —

Isaiah 62:1   For Zion’s sake I will not keep silent,

And for Jerusalem’s sake I will not keep quiet,

Until her righteousness goes forth like brightness,

And her salvation like a torch that is burning.

Isaiah 62:6    On your walls, O Jerusalem, I have appointed watchmen;

All day and all night they will never keep silent.

You who remind the Lord, take no rest for yourselves;

7  And give Him no rest until He establishes

And makes Jerusalem a praise in the earth.

O church, O believer, may you see that Paul and Peter and the rest are examples to you, that you might ask your Father in heaven for the Holy Spirit, so you may be what Jesus has commanded you to be — the church! So be it, Lord Jesus. Amen.


[SW316] 02/09/2018 message notes by

Pastor Susan J. Wynn ©2018

Are You Holding Fast?

Beloved, are you holding fast, standing firm, keeping your vital connection to Jesus Christ, the Head of the Body of Christ? Only IN Him, WITH Him and THROUGH Him is it possible!

Text: Colossians 2, etc.

Paul exhorts the believers at Colossae to hold fast! He is in his own “rented quarters” in Rome, chained to a Roman guard, so he cannot go and visit them.

But  he has received reports they are being swept away by a flood of false teaching. The Christians in Colossae must hold fast! So in his letter to the Colossians, “in Him,” “in Christ,” “with Him,” and “through Him” are written 18 times, 9 of which are in Colossians 2 alone!

I asked the Lord how a Christian is able to hold fast to Him, to stand firm, to maintain their vital connection to Him. And by His word, He says you must remain IN His Word, remain WITH Him, and act upon what He commands you to do —

Matthew 7:24   “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, may be compared to a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 “And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and slammed against that house; and yet it did not fall, for it had been founded on the rock.”

Then, THROUGH Him, He will fill you with His Spirit, so you have His strength and His wisdom to withstand the storm of false teaching that swept through the church at the time of Paul, and sweeps through the church now. Everything in Paul’s letter to the Colossians points to the fullness that every Christian needs.

These are indeed perilous times, as Paul spoke in 2Timothy 3:1! False teachers, who have not held fast to Christ our Head. will use a portion of His Word, but twist it to rob it of its truth, i.e., hyper grace, the prosperity message and success theology. Thus, they speak perverse (distorted) things.

Wolves in sheep’s clothing, who look and sound like believers, have always come in among the church, not sparing the flock, but snatching up and devouring many! False teachers even come from among believers (see Acts 20:29-30). But it is more perilous today than in Paul’s day because of today’s technology, by which they can defraud and steal from a much wider audience.

In the Colossian church, the twisted beliefs of Gnostics, Stoics, and Judaizers led to a distorted view of Christian life. Here are some examples —

— The Judaizers used elements of Judaism (the Law of Moses). Do not handle, do not taste, do not touch! And you must be circumcised in order to be saved.

— Some Jewish rabbis taught that there was a hierarchy of angels which must be known and followed precisely, in order to reach God.

—The Gnostics taught that there was a pagan system of spiritual beings who must be worshiped, and taught that the flesh is evil but the spirit is pure, so you are free to sin in your body. They taught that God could not come in the flesh, because flesh is evil. They denied the Deity of Christ.

And some of the believers at Colossae were listening to them!

So how does Paul minister to them? By reminding them of the truth of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and exhorting them to hold fast to Him!

In Colossians 1:22-23, he reminds them that Christ is the One who reconciled them, through His fleshly body, so they may be presented to Him holy and blameless. But that will only happen IF they continue in the faith, firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel which they have heard.

And now, from Colossians 2 —

Verse 1 — First, he wants them to understand that he struggles (fights, contends) on their behalf, and for the church at Laodicea who have not seen him face-to-face. His struggle is not done in the natural, but on his knees, in spiritual warfare!

Ephesians 6:12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places.

And his struggle is done not done in his own power —

2Corinthians 10:4 for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. 5 We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ . . .

Verse 2 — What does Paul desire for all of the churches?

— That their hearts be encouraged (called near). Called near to what? To the Lord!

— That their hearts be knit together in the actual love of God (they must be filled with His love)

— That they have all the wealth (riches) that come with a FULL assurance of understanding (FULLY confident because of FULL comprehension). And that FULL confidence results in a TRUE knowledge (intimate knowledge). The word is epignosis, the FULL knowledge that comes after first knowledge. His desire is that they come to know Christ with a holy intimacy!

All of what Paul says points to their need to be filled with the Holy Spirit in order to hold fast to Him! Why? Because only IN Him, WITH Him, and THROUGH Him will they be able to hold fast!

Verses 3-5 — Paul next reminds them that IN Christ are all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge, so that no one will delude (deceive) them with persuasive argument (enticing words). Therefore, there is no such thing as the “hidden” wisdom that the Gnostics teach. All wisdom and knowledge are IN Him and no other!

The false teachers speak enticing words. If flesh is evil, then what you do in your flesh does not matter. Your spirit remains pure, because it is separate from your flesh. God wants you to be rich. He wants you to be successful. His grace covers all the sin you will ever commit, so there is no need to repent. Sounds good, but it is contrary to the Word of God!

Paul rejoices in their good discipline (order in the church) and stability (steadfastness) of their faith in Christ. But he continues to exhort them because they are in danger!

Verse 6-7 — Therefore, since they have received Christ, they are to walk (live) IN Him, and no other! They are being built up IN Him. They have been firmly rooted and established in the faith, through Paul’s teaching. And having heard and believed, they were overflowing (superabounding) with gratitude for their salvation!

Verse 8 — Therefore, Paul says, See to it (beware)! Beware that no one takes you captive (seducing you), stealing you and leading you away into spiritual slavery! He paints a picture of the false teachers as thieves and robbers who want to enslave them.

To what would they be taken captive and enslaved? Philosophy and empty (hollow) deception according to man’s traditions (that is, self-made traditions) and the basic principles of the world.

The false teaching did not match up with the truth of Christ. He is the standard by which all teaching must be measured. Do you know His voice today, and do you do what He says? Only then will you have His strength to withstand the flood of false teaching —  IN Him, FROM Him, and THROUGH Him alone!

Verses 9-15 — IN Him is the fullness of the Deity! Jesus Christ is fully God. If you know Him, you know that He is God the Son. If you deny that He is God, then you do not know His Father, and you do not know Him (John 8:42).

And IN Him you have been made complete (full)! He has made the way for all believers to be filled with His fullness!

And HE is the Head over all rule and authority — He is the Head to whom we must hold fast!

And IN Him, believers hearts are circumcised, for the removal of their sin nature by the circumcision done by Christ!

And WITH Him, you are buried, through baptism, and WITH Him you are resurrected through faith in God’s works, because you believed that He raised Christ, and THROUGH Him, you are baptized with the Holy Spirit and fire. Glory to God!

WITH Him you are made alive, for you were dead in your sins and uncircumcised hearts, but now you are forgiven through His death and resurrection.

He reminds the church at Colossae that Jesus canceled out the Law, which showed us we were sinners and condemned us. But Christ nailed those commandments to the cross (though He was indeed nailed to the cross), because He is the One who makes us able to keep them, when our sin nature is crucified and we are filled with His Spirit.

And through the cross, He disarmed the powers, principalities and rulers of their power (divested them of it). He made a public display of them (stripped THEM naked) by hanging naked on the cross. And He triumphed over them on the cross (though the world and Satan saw His death as His defeat).

Verses 16-17 — Therefore — because of these truths —  the false teachers have no right to judge the lives of the believers at Colossae. Why? Their judgments are about things that are a mere shadow of what is to come, a shadow of Jesus Christ, things like avoidance of unclean food and drink, and observing the Jewish festivals. These things foreshadowed Christ. They pointed to Him. Now that He is here, they are no longer required.

Verse 18 — Let no one keep defrauding you, O believers at Colossae, O church. Of what are they being defrauded (bewitched)? Of their prize (that is, salvation)!

False teachers delight (love) to do the things that they teach. They are inflated (puffed up, i.e., prideful), boastful in their own fleshly (carnal, unspiritual) minds!

Verse 19 — Those who teach such things have not held fast to the Head who is Christ. They have no vital connection to Him. Because they are disconnected from Him, they have no connection to the Body of Christ, His church.

The Body of Christ is held together by all its parts, and can only grow that way. Thus the false teachers and those who follow them cannot grow up (become perfect) in Christ, nor can those who are swept away in the floods of their false words. Do not detach yourself from Him by heeding them, O believers at Colossae, and believers today!

Verse 20-22 — He asks those who have been listening to the false teachers, Haven’t you died to all those elementary things — do not handle, do not taste, do not touch, be circumcised for salvation, keep your body under by treating it harshly?

Then why, as if you were living in the world and not in Christ, do you submit yourselves to them? Their salvation is in jeopardy! He tells the Galatians, who have been bewitched into thinking they must be circumcised —

Galatians 5:1   It was for freedom that Christ set us free; therefore keep standing firm and do not be subject again to a yoke of slavery. 2 Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you. 3 And I testify again to every man who receives circumcision, that he is under obligation to keep the whole Law. 4 You have been severed from Christ, you who are seeking to be justified by law; you have fallen from grace.

Verse 23 — The false teachings have the appearance of wisdom — self-abasement and severe treatment of the body seems wise, in order to “keep down” the flesh. But it is self-made religion, a religion where one must do works to be saved and to keep from sinning, rather than be saved and filled with the Holy Spirit through the work of Christ!

How are you freed from slavery to our sin nature and its lusts? Through the baptism of the Holy Spirit, when your heart is purified and you become a partaker of the divine nature, so you are no longer slaves to lust (strong desire for sex) and for all the other things the world chases after (2Peter 1:4, Galatians 5:24).

IN Him, FOR Him, THROUGH Him comes the cure for the believers at Colossae, and for the wandering church today. It is by His strength that He makes us able to hold fast to Christ — to Him and no other, beloved!

Hold fast! Hear and do His words! He says —

Luke 24:49 “And behold, I am sending forth the promise of My Father upon you; but you are to stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.”

Acts 1:4 Gathering them together, He commanded them not to leave Jerusalem, but to wait for what the Father had promised, “Which,” He said, “you heard of from Me; 5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now.”

Hear and do His words! Then you will no longer be taken captive by the storms of false teaching that continually flood the church today! For only IN Him, WITH Him, and THROUGH Him, is it possible to hold fast!

Amen, Lord Jesus! So be it!

SESSION 40 — “Being the Church,” a Bible study of the Book of Acts

I am excited to offer you a video Bible study of the Book of Acts, and I invite you to watch the video of “Being the Church” on Youtube OR Vimeo . . . for Vimeo, see the link in the Blogroll in the right column on my blog screen. Just as with my sermons, I’ll post notes to accompany each Bible study video.

A review of our sessions thus far can be found in my previous posts on my blog,

Acts 27

If I were going to give this a title, I would call it, “No Storm Can Stop the Lord’s Plans!”


In our last session, we saw Paul testify powerfully before King Agrippa, and the conclusion from Agrippa, Festus and the rest that Paul had done nothing worthy of imprisonment, let alone death. But Paul had appealed to Caesar.

And now, the ocean portion of the journey to Rome! Luke would join Paul on his journey, along with Aristarchus.

Why? Paul was entitled to such things, as a Roman citizen. It wasn’t by chance that he was born in a Roman province. That was all part of God’s plan.

But much more, beloved, Paul was a powerful witness of the Lord. People responded to him — even his captors! Oh, the Lord’s provision to Paul, from start to finish, in every way!

Special thanks to the commentators and historians in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary for their help in “navigating” this portion of scripture.

Verse 1 — So it was now decided that Paul and the other prisoners would sail to Italy. And Paul and the rest were delivered to a centurion named Julius, of the cohort (600-1,000 men) Augustan. Luke was with Paul, for this journey.

Verse 2 — After traveling by land from Caesarea to Sidon, Julius found a coastal vessel (a ship of Adramyttium, an ancient city of Mysia) for the first leg of the trip. The ship was about to sail to the regions along the coast of Asia Minor.

Well, that was just where they needed to go! Did that just “happen to happen?” I see the Lord’s hand in it. And yet I know I do not see the half of all the places and circumstances where He is at work! Do you see Him at work around you?

And along with Luke, Aristarcus, a Macedonian from Thessalonica, also was  permitted to accompany Paul.

Verse 3 — The ship arrived at Sidon the next day, and then they put out to sea again. Julius treated Paul with consideration (fondly, humanely, courteously), as I mentioned in the introduction.

Paul had already made an impression on Julius. And no doubt, he was made aware by Festus that Paul was a Roman citizen and entitled to special treatment.

What was it that Julius allowed, in Paul’s case? Paul was allowed to go to his friends and receive care (kind attention and refreshing).

Verses 4-5 — At Sidon, they put out to sea again, but because the winds were contrary (antagonistic, against them), they sailed close to the shore of Cyprus, then the coasts of Cilicia and Pamphylia. They next landed at Myra in Lycia.

Verse 6 — The centurion found an Alexandrian grain ship there, headed for Italy, and he arranged for Paul, Luke, and Aristarchus, along with the rest of the prisoners, to be put aboard it, along with the Roman soldiers and Julius himself.
Verses 7-8 — The voyage became difficult because of the wind. They managed to sail on, under the shelter of Crete, an island off the southern coast of Greece. They continued on, with difficulty, to Fair Havens, on the southern coast of Crete.

Verses 9-10 — Considerable time had passed since the beginning of their voyage, and it was now a dangerous time to sail. The fast Luke referred to was associated with the Day of Atonement, a fall feast at the end of September or beginning of October, depending on the variations between the Jewish (lunar) vs. Roman (solar) calendar.

And Paul began to admonish them (by the wisdom of the Holy Spirit, I believe) urging them not to continue the journey. He said to them, Men, I see that the voyage will be one of damage and loss, not only of cargo and the ship, but also our lives.

Verses 11-13  — But the ship’s pilot and captain were able to persuade Julian to continue, despite Paul’s argument. But this harbor was not good for wintering, having only a small town where finding shelter would be difficult.

Therefore, they decided to try to make it to Phoenix, which would be more suitable. So they began sailing along the coast of Crete, attempting to reach that port.  A favorable, moderate south wind came up, and they began sailing along Crete, close to shore.

Now, for the most harrowing part of the trip —

Verses 14-17 —But before long, a hurricane began, originating from Mount Ida, which was to the North. And even though they were sailing along the coast, the ship was caught in the hurricane (think Hurricane Harvey, which afflicted the Texas coast for several days) and could not face the wind, so they gave way to it and were driven along by it.

They ran under the shelter of Clauda, but they were scarcely able to get the ship’s boat (dinghy) under control (because it had filled with water, per the commentary). So they hoisted it up onto the ship and ran cables under the ship, to try to reinforce it and hold it together. They were afraid they might run aground in shallows, so they let down the anchor and were again driven along by the wind.

Verses 18-19 —The next day, they were still being violently tossed by the storm. The cargo was jettisoned, and on the third day, they threw the ship’s tackle overboard, by hand. It must have been a struggle to do amidst a ship tossed by wind and waves! All of these were a last-ditch effort to lighten the ship’s load and thereby stabilize it.

Verse 20 — But neither sun nor stars appeared for many days, and the storm continued assailing them. So they gradually began to abandon all hope of being saved.

Verses 21-22 — For a long time, the crew had abstained from food while trying to stabilize and reinforce the ship. Then Paul stood in their midst and said, Men, you ought to have obeyed me! Now you have incurred this damage and loss. It was just as Paul had warned, by the Holy Spirit’s wisdom.

But then Paul urged them to keep up their courage (exhorted them to be cheered), for Paul said there would be no loss of life among them, but only loss of the ship.

Verses 23-24 — How did Paul know that? Paul said, This very night, an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I serve — this angel stood before me, saying, Do not be afraid Paul; You must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who are sailing with you.

When Jesus told Paul he must go and powerfully testify of His gospel in Rome, nothing was going to stop it from happening. He MUST stand before Caesar. God’s purposes cannot be thwarted!

Verses 25-26 — So Paul exhorted them to keep up their courage, for Paul said, I believe God! It will turn out exactly as I have been told. But we must run aground on a certain island.

Amen! When we are being the church, when we are filled with the Holy Spirit, God will give us heavenly visions, or specific words of wisdom and knowledge, and we know these things are from Him, so we speak them and say, I believe God!

How is it with you?

Verses 27-28  — It had been 14 days, and they were still being driven about in the Adriactic Sea. [NOTE: This is an incorrect translation, per the commentary. It was the Ionic Sea, which is now called the Sea of Hadria.]

Around midnight, the sailors surmised that they were approaching some land, so they took soundings and found the water was becoming more and more shallow.

Verses 29-30 — Rocks became visible along a coastline they could not identify in the darkness, so they cast four anchors, because they were afraid the ship would run aground on the rocks. And they wished (literal translation “prayed to God”) for daybreak.

But then some sailors tried to escape, saying that they needed to drop anchors at the bow. Paul knew, writes the commentator, that this was a ruse — no one would drop anchors at the bow in such a situation. And indeed, the sailors had let down the dinghy into the sea as their means of escape.

But Paul was not a sailor or ship’s captain, so I disagree with the commentator. Again, the Spirit gave Paul wisdom and discernment in this situation!

Verses 31-32 — And as they were doing so, Paul alerted the centurion and the soldiers, saying, Unless these men remain in the ship, you yourselves cannot be saved. And the soldiers cut away the ropes of the dinghy and it fell away.

The commentator’s explanation of Paul’s words in Verse 31 is that Paul knew that trying to make shore in the morning without a full crew would be disastrous. So Paul warned Julius that all would be lost if the sailors deserted the ship.

But here is what the Lord has shown me. The sailors might well have lost their lives in their attempt to escape, and God had granted them ALL to Paul, as a favor to Paul. So he wasn’t going to give any of them up, to be swallowed by the sea! Amen!

Verses 33-34 — Paul encouraged them until just before dawn, urging them to take some food. He said, Today is the fourteenth day that you have been constantly watching and going without eating, having taken nothing. So take some food, for this is for your preservation (health and salvation), for not a hair from the head of any of you will perish!

Again, remember that God had granted them ALL to Paul!

Verses 35-38 — Paul then took some bread and GAVE THANKS TO GOD in the presence of all! He would have said, Blessed are You, O Lord, our God, King of the universe, who brings forth bread from the earth. Hallelujah! What a witness! And then he broke the bread and began to eat. They were all encouraged and also took food. Luke noted that there were 276 on board.

Then, when they had eaten enough, they began to throw the cargo of wheat into the sea, in order to lighten the ship.

Verses 39-40 — At daybreak, they did not recognized the land that they could now see, but they saw a bay with a beach, and resolved to drive the ship onto it, if they could.

So they cast off all the anchors, leaving them in the sea, at the same time loosening the ropes that they had tied to the rudders and hoisting the foresail to the wind. And the ship headed for the beach!

Verse 41 — But they struck a reef (more likely a sandbar, per the commentary), and the ship ran aground. The prow (front) stuck fast, and the stern (rear) began to be broken up by the pounding waves!

Verses 42-44 — So the soldiers planned to kill all the prisoners so they would not swim away and escape. Keep in mind that in the Roman army, an escaped prisoner meant death to his guards!

But Julius wanted to bring Paul safely through, so he prevented the solders from killing the prisoners and  commanded that those who could swim should throw themselves overboard, and the rest should use planks and other bouyant objects from the ship, in order to reach the shore.

And so it happened! They were all brought safely to land, just according to Paul’s vision and the words spoken by the angel from God!

And next time, you will see that the Lord ensured they would reach their destination, for the island on which they had landed was Malta — just south of Sicily, which is just off the toe of the boot of Italy!

God will surely accomplish His purposes. Do you believe Him? May it be so in today’s church, Lord! Amen!