Bible Discussion — Acts 8

September 10, 2008, 1:00 pm; posted by
Filed under Bible, David, Josh J, Steve  | No Comments

This week, Bweinh.com heads on to the next chapter of Acts.

PREVIOUS DISCUSSIONS:
Genesis: 1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18 | 19-22 | 23-26
27-29 | 30-32 | 33-36 | 37-39 | 40-43 | 44-46 | 47-50
Exodus: 1-4 | 5-8 | 9-11 | 12-14 | 15-18
19-22 | 23-26 | 27-30 | 31-34 | 35-40
Romans: Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch. 5 | Ch. 6 | Ch. 7 | Ch. 8 (I)
Ch. 8 (II) | Ch. 9 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12 | Ch. 13 | Ch. 14 | Ch. 15-16
Luke: 1:1-38 | 1:39-2:40 | 2:41-3:38 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7 | 8 | 9 | 10
11 | 12 | 13 | 14-15 | 16-17 | 18 | 19 | 20 | 21 | 22 | 23 | 24
Esther: 1-2 | 3-5 | 6-8 | 9-10
Acts: 1 | 2 | 3-4 | 5 | 6-7

 
INTRODUCTION:
David:
An expanded translation of Saul\’s participation in the martyrdom of Stephen says, “And Saul was together with the others approving of his death, taking pleasure in his death, and applauding it.” This chapter gives us a glimpse of the rest of his short career persecuting the church of God.

 
SOMETHING YOU’D NEVER NOTICED BEFORE:
Steve:
Advertising was kind of lame ’round the turn of the AD, no? Simon says he’s “someone great,” fires off a few magic tricks, and suddenly the crowd is all, “This man is the divine power known as the Great Power!” Imagine how scruffy old David Blaine could have done back then.

 
BEST BAND NAME FROM THE PASSAGE:
David: Make Havoc
Steve: Someone Great
Josh: Havoc

 
STORY IT REMINDS YOU OF:
Josh:
The time I had to dress up as Philip for Sunday School, but showed up late because of Daylight Savings Time — you can read all about it right here!

David:
I once heard a guy preaching from this text — Saul persecuting the church. In true Southern Pentecostal fashion, while reaching for something to say from a section he obviously had not studied or prayed over, he hesitated, then shouted, “Well, at least he was doing something for God!! What are you doing??” He was greeted with a raucous chorus of “Amen,” and “Preach it, brother!”

 
WHERE IS JESUS IN THIS PASSAGE?:
David:
Waiting patiently for Saul on the road to Damascus.

Josh:
In Isaiah.

 
DEEP THEOLOGICAL MEANING:
David:
In Acts 8:1 and 8:4, the second scattering (diaspora) took place. The word means “to scatter like seed,” or “to sow” — it wasn\’t a random scattering.

In the Old Testament, God scattered the Jews because of their unfaithfulness. Now Saul scattered the church in the same pattern, the seeds landing on ground God had carefully prepared centuries earlier.

Did you never marvel that when Saul became Paul and took up the Gospel, he was able to find a synagogue, the Scriptures, and an audience in every gentile nation he visited? Even through failing or persecution, God puts us exactly where He wants us to be.

 
RANDOM THOUGHT:
David:
The Ethiopian converts who came to worship in Jerusalem still exist; they claim to have the Ark of the Covenant in safekeeping. They trace their lineage to the Queen of Sheba\’s visit to Solomon.

Steve:
The text doesn’t actually say that Philip was transported from the desert to Azotus — it just says he was taken away by the Spirit after they came out of the water, and that he later “appeared” at Azotus and traveled about. I wonder if Luke ever got to ask Philip what happened.

 
VERSE TO REMEMBER:
Josh:
8:39 — “Now when they came up out of the water, the Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away, so that the eunuch saw him no more; and he went on his way rejoicing.”

Steve:
8:1 — “Now Saul was consenting to his death. At that time a great persecution arose against the church which was at Jerusalem; and they were all scattered throughout the regions of Judea and Samaria, except the apostles.”

 
PORTION YOU’D MOST LIKE EXPLAINED IN HEAVEN:
Steve:
What exactly is meant by vv. 14-19? The apostles heard that Samaritans had “accepted the word of God” after Peter preached the Gospel; the fruit included miraculous healings, baptisms, and confessions of faith. So they sent Peter and John, who prayed for these new converts to receive the Holy Spirit at the laying on of hands, which occurred — in a way so tangible that local sorcerer Simon offered them money for the “trick.”

What is the true distinction between salvation and receiving the Holy Spirit? And what was that obvious manifestation that so impressed Simon?

 
LESSON TO TAKE AWAY:
Josh:
“But Peter said to him, ”˜Your money perish with you, because you thought that the gift of God could be purchased with money!\’ ”

A reminder for the church — to say nothing of televangelists and chain letters — as much as for potential buyers: the Lord\’s blessings are not for sale.

David:
Philip was not content to “wait on tables”; he not only made himself available to the Holy Spirit, but he had studied Scripture enough to recognize where the eunuch was reading and be able to explain it to him.

 
CONCLUSION:
David:
Saul\’s days were numbered. The church was about to get its most energetic convert. It was no empty boast when Paul later wrote to the Corinthians about the Apostles, saying, “I labored more abundantly than they all.”


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