New Testament History, Literature, and Theology
Session 22 Acts – Second and Third Missionary Journeys
By Dr. Ted Hildebrandt
back. We’re going to hopefully in this next hour going to complete the book of
Acts. We’ve been talking so far, with Peter and Paul early in the book of Acts,
when the church was started. We talked about Pentecost and Acts 2 and the
speaking of tongues and jumped over first Corinthians 14 for speaking in tongues
there versus prophecy. Then we got into the First Missionary Journey of the
apostle Paul. We traced Paul and Barnabas and John Mark through Cyprus and
Antioch, Iconium, Lystra and Derby and Paul beat almost to the point of death
and stoned at Lystra. Then coming back and after his First Missionary Journey
we said AD 50 was the date we are trying to remember. AD 50 is the Jerusalem Council.
The Jerusalem council is critical because that’s where the discussion of the whether
Gentiles and how the Gentiles are accepted into the church. So the First Missionary
Journey comes before the Jerusalem Council. Paul then writes possibly the
letter to the Galatians telling the Gentiles they don’t have to be circumcised.
Now Paul is going to on a Second Missionary Journey right after AD 50. So, we’re
going to start on the Second Missionary Journey and begin there.
B. Second Missionary Journey: Timothy from Lystra
all, we should say as the Second Missionary Journey launches from Antioch in Syria
where they all start, Barnabas is with Paul and says, “Hey, let’s go on a Second
Missionary Journey, and let’s take John Mark and let’s go again.” Paul says
“over my dead body.” Paul and Barnabas have such a rift that Barnabas takes John
Mark and apparently Barnabas and John Mark go back to Cyprus which was Barnabas’
home. Then they are out of the picture that is the last you hear of them.
Barnabas is gone. Paul takes Silas instead. So it’s now on Second Missionary Journey,
this is after AD 50, Paul and Silas set out. And when they set out they go to
Antioch. Rather than going to Cyprus they go up possibly passing through
Tarsus, Tarsus was Paul’s home. From Tarsus and then they went back up through Derby,
Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch in Pisidia that he had visited on the First Missionary
Journey. On the Second Missionary Journey he revisits those cities. At Lystra
it was interesting because this was the place where Paul was stoned, made gods
in terms of Hermes and Zeus at Lystra, because of healing that cripple person.
Timothy is actually picked up as a disciple of the apostle Paul. He comes with Paul
as a helper kind of like John Mark was on the First Missionary Journey.
But notice what it says here, it’s very interesting, this is in Acts 16:3 says, “so he circumcised him because of the Jews who lived in that area, for they all knew that his father was Greek.” Now it’s very interesting. The Jerusalem Council had just decided that the Gentiles do not have to be circumcised. But when Paul is at Lystra and picks up Timothy and the first thing he does to Timothy, is to circumcise him. His father was Greek, his mother was Jewish, and Paul circumcises Timothy. Why did he do that when the Jerusalem Council just the year previous made the statement that the Gentiles don’t have to be circumcised? This is not a circumcision of salvation that Timothy is saved. In other words, he wasn’t circumcised in order to be saved, to become a Christian. Now this is Timothy, he is not offensive to the Jewish people who knew that his mother was Jewish and his father was Greek. This does not have anything to do with salvation. This has more to do with getting along with the people that you're going to be around. So Timothy is circumcised for expediency purposes not salvation or necessarily any big theological statement. Other than that, it is a theological statement to say, “hey, we don’t want you to be offensive to people. You are going to be ministering to be circumcised.” So Timothy is circumcised at that point. So Timothy now joins him and they go to Antioch, Iconium, and Lystra.
C. Second Missionary Journey: Luke from Troas
Paul wants to head over here to Ephesus. Ephesus is in the province of Asia. Paul wants to go to the province of Asia, Ephesus is a big city and Paul wants to hit Ephesus. Instead, it says that the Spirit basically stops them from going to Asia. Paul then makes his way to Troas. Troas up in the north up here, in the northwest corner. It is up by Troy. If you guys have ever heard of Troy, you’ve got the Iliad and the Odyssey with Homer. So basically what happens at Troas? On the Second Missionary journey, Lystra he picks up Timothy, as he goes up to Troas all of sudden we get this “we” statement being made at the book of Acts.
During the night Paul had a vision of a man from Macedonia standing and begging him “come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, now here’s the one word important thing. After Paul had seen the vision, “we got ready at once.” This is Acts 16:10 at Troas there’s the Macedonian call. The man comes in a vision that Paul has at night and says, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” So Paul knows then that he’s supposed to go to Macedonia. But the interesting thing is that all of the sudden the “we’s” start here. So this is the Second Missionary Journey of the apostle. When he hits Troas apparently that is when Luke gets on board. So he picks up Timothy at Lystra and picks up Luke at Troas. All of the sudden the "we’s" start, that we talked about earlier. So Troas is important as it is where he gets this Macedonian call. He now is going to go over to Europe for the first European converts at Philippi. So you basically have him traveling over to Europe away from Asia Minor and Syria and Israel.
D. Second Missionary Journey: Philippi
what happens when he gets to Philippi? First of all, we know notice Philippi is
in Macedonia. Macedonia is up here. Who else is from Macedonia? If I say
Macedonia what comes to mind? Hopefully from earlier in the course you remember
Philip of Macedon. Philip of Macedon was Alexander the Great’s father. So the
place Philippi is named after Philip of Macedon. So they get into Philippi.
It’s interesting they go out by the river because there is no synagogue. There’s no synagogue in Philippi. What does that tell us? What does it take in order to make a synagogue. Now in those days, I believe you had to have ten elders, heads of household, in order to make a synagogue. In order to make a synagogue you had to have ten heads of households and apparently there weren’t that many Jews there so they didn’t have a synagogue.
So they are meeting out by the river and there’s this woman who is converted and the first European convert, her name is Lydia. She is a seller of purple. From Thytira and so she sells purple, which shows she is wealthy woman, a woman of means. Lydia is there, and then what happens? Just let me just narrate the story.
This is from Acts chapter 16:7 and following. I’ll just narrate the story, there are these guys and these guys have this girl who’s demon possessed. She can tell the future and so they work with this girl and they make money. They make money off the enslavement of this girl. She would come and tell people what’s going on in the future through this demon. Well, this girl comes after Paul and Barnabas. Paul finally gets tired that she’s announcing things about Paul and Barnabas. He gets upset a little and he turns around and casts the demon out of this girl. So now this girl is worthless to these guys who had used her to make money. When you hit somebody in the pocket book they’re going to do something. So basically this girl has the demons cast out of her. Now she can’t tell the future any more. So these guys are out of their job.
So they have Paul and Silas thrown into prison. So Paul is thrown into prison. What do they do in prison? They’re singing and praising God in prison “and when the owners of the slave girl this is Acts 16:19: “When the owners of the slave girl realized that the hope their hope of making money was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the market place, to face the authorities.” Now, apparently there’s an anti-Jewish bias there and if you read down a ways “these men are Jews” and there’s real negative bias against the Jews. There are less than ten heads of households there. “These men are Jews and throwing our city into an uproar by advocating customs on lawful for us Romans to accept or practice.” Remember how we said the early Christians were viewed as atheists because they worshiped a God you couldn’t see. They were rejected as cannibals because they ate the blood of their master and ate his body. They were viewed as incestuous because they married their brothers and sisters. So you can see this kind of misrepresentation “these men are Jews, throwing cities into an uproar advocating customs unlawful for us Romans to accept.”
Paul and Silas are in prison and they are singing hymns in the middle of the
night and all of a sudden an angel of the lord comes down and blows open the
doors and the shackles drop off. Paul and Silas are going free there and it is
interesting to see what happens. You’ve got a Roman guard. Now what’s the Roman
going to do? The prison door is open and their stripped and beaten by the way
on the process which is interesting. So suddenly there was such a violent earthquake.
At once all the prison doors flew open and everybody’s chains came loose. The
jailer woke up and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was
about to about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. It
was his responsibility to guard those prisoners. Those prisoners go free and if
they escaped, he’s dead. So he’s going to kill himself rather than be abused by
somebody else, by the governor or the governmental people. So what happened is
Paul shouted “don’t harm yourself, we are all here.”
The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas and now this is the classic line, this is chapter 16 verse 30 and following of the book of Acts. He then brought them out and asked and this is one of the clearest questions in Scripture, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” “What must I do to be saved?” Now you get one of the clearest answers, what must do I do to be saved, the guy asked just a straight up honest simple question right to the point. They replied, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved you in your household.” This is one of the clearest statements, what does it take? “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved.” And this is one of the clearest statements and it takes place at Philippi given to this guy who is known as the Philippian jailer.
We’ve got to ask then, what do other people always try to tag on, to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved? Everybody is “Yes, you’ve got to believe in Jesus plus you have to do this. You got to believe in Jesus yes but you got to do this too.” So everybody is already willing to tag something unto that statement of belief plus something, and so for example, I had a student friend of mine that got involved with this cult that said you had to be baptized by their church otherwise you were not baptized and if you were not baptized you were not saved. You needed to be baptized in order to have your sins forgiven you. And what they did is they worked off of Acts 2:38. Let me just read this. That you had to be baptized otherwise you were not saved. Acts 2:38 and it says “believe and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins.” So you’ve got to be baptized for the forgiveness of sins in order for your sins to be forgiven. Then what they said is: “No, you can’t be baptized by anybody you have to be baptized by our church.” You see how cultic that is? Anybody else’s baptism and any other church is not valid. You have to be baptized by our church. So they’re the ones who control whether someone gets into heaven or hell. They’re the ones that control it through their baptism. This is a very cultic orientation. This student friend of mine got involved with them and actually came back and gave me a lecture that I’m not saved because I haven’t been baptized by that church. His parents weren’t saved because they weren’t baptized by that church and so he went off with them and finally after four or five years he realized that this thing was a sham and basically got out of it. It was a very cultic practice. You’ve got to be in our group otherwise you are not a believer, you are not a Christian. A lot of churches try to pull that kind of stuff in a cultic kind of way.
another one that I mentioned before when we were doing tongues speaking. The
oneness movement that says you got to speak in tongues its believe on the Lord Jesus
Christ but you also have to speak in tongues otherwise you are not a real Christian.
The Holy Spirit hasn’t really come on you and baptized you. So you have to
speak in tongues in order to be a Christian. And so this is again a cultic kind
of thing. You’ve got to do our trick in order to make it into heaven. And Paul
says “No, No.” What is it that you need to be saved? You’ve got to believe in
the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.
I think one of the best examples, counter examples to this cultic kind of stuff do you remember the thief on the cross? There were two thieves next to Jesus on the cross and when Jesus was dying. Do you remember the one guy said, “Lord, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” Jesus said, “today you will be with me in paradise.” Was the guy baptized? No. Was the guy speaking tongues? No. Jesus said “today” why would Jesus say, “today you will be in paradise.” He believed in Jesus Christ. He was saved. So the thief on the cross did not do any works other than believe in Jesus Christ. That’s what it takes. That’s what salvation is about.
E. Nature of Belief
question comes now. What does belief mean? What is belief? What does it mean to
believe in Jesus? What does that actually mean? I want to kind of lay out three
things these are kind of traditional in the church. First of all, believing
requires knowing the facts. You’ve got to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. You
have to know who Jesus Christ is. Jesus Christ came, was born of a virgin,
lived in Palestine did many miracles before God and men. Jesus died for our
sins and he rose again on the third day and ascended into heaven and sat on the
right hand of the God the Father almighty and he’s coming to judge the quick
[living] and the dead. If any of you know the Apostles Creed you know those kinds
of things. That’s the essence of the gospel. You need to know those certain
facts. Jesus died for our sins; he rose again physically to life. He ascended
into heaven. There are certain facts you’ve got to know. So the first part of
belief is knowing facts. You’ve got to know who is Jesus. In order to believe
in something you got to know something about that something.
The second thing is that you’ve got to basically accept it as true. It’s not enough to just say I know these facts about Jesus but you got to say I accept these facts that Jesus rose from the dead, physically rose from the dead was seen by 500, was seen by 12, was seen by the two on the road to Emmaus, was seen by Thomas who doubted, and was seen by Paul later on. All different circumstances in various environments in Jerusalem in Emmaus and up in Galilee in all different places and different times of the day. He was seen by different people, women, men, various contexts. You’ve got to accept those facts are true. They are true for you that Jesus died not just generally, that Jesus died for your sins, and that your trusting in God for that forgiveness that comes through Christ’s great sacrifice on your behalf. This is what they call the substitutionary atonement, that Christ’s death was substitutionary for you. So, when you believe you’ve got to know the facts, and then you’ve got to accept that those facts are true.
And then thirdly, it’s what you call trust. Probably the best way I can illustrate this when I was a little kid what does it mean to trust in something to believe in it and trust being part of that belief.
I was young a place called Berkholtz in Niagara Falls New York there’s a house,
it was a very small house and the roof that was fairly flat. So my father took
me up on the roof. I must have been about three years old at the time. My
father and I were up on the roof. He was fixing some things on the roof and so
I was up there and my mother was down below. My father said jump down to your
mother. Jump off the roof and your mother will catch you. So what I did was I
figured “This is going to be really cool, I’m going to be able to fly through
the air, down and my mother will catch me.” So I got back and I got back on the
house and then all of the sudden I started running and so I’m trucking down and
I’m going to jump off the roof and I’m just going to fly and my mother is going
to catch me, I’m three years old. So I start racing down the roof of my house
and I’m going to jump off and all of a sudden I get this big hand and it’s my
father, reached down and grabbed the back of my shirt and just picked me up and
said “what are you doing?” I replied “You told me to jump down to mom so I’m
jumping down. I was going to fly out there.” He explained “I was just kidding.
I didn’t mean for you to jump off the roof. Your mother is not going to be
able to catch you.” So that was when I learned the lesson, never trust your
father. Anyways, that’s not the point. The point here is that was trust. Trust
is when you give yourself to the facts and so when actually you make a leap of
faith. You actually trust yourself to those facts. I know what the facts are; I
believe that the facts are true and they are for me and now I’m going to trust
myself to those facts.
So there are three aspects of faith, three different ways of looking at it. To believe in the Lord Jesus Christ then you should be saved. You don’t have to do this or that. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.
Now, question, do works follow from that? James tells us very quickly in James 2 it says “faith without works is dead.” So if a person tells you that they’ve got faith and they don’t seem to reflect Jesus in their lives that’s a major problem as well. So you’ve got to be very careful with that. Let me while I’m here mention in terms of believing and in what that means. One entrusts oneself to what one believes to be true and it affects the way one lives. Faith without works is dead as they say.
tell you a story about a man named Probo. I worked for ten years in a maximum-security
prison in the Indiana State Prison. I taught at Grace College during the day
and then at night Ken Taylor, a friend of mine, who taught at Grace, we would
get in the car and drive for an hour and a half up to this prison. Then we
would go in the prison through the seven gates, it was maximum security. 40
foot high walls about ten foot thick. It was built in I think 1863 or something
right around civil war times. It was really old. It was maximum security; this
is where all the big boys go. The life sentences against them, thirty-five
years, 25 years, those kind of sentences. I met a guy in the prison his name
was Probo [Jjohn Schultz]. His name was Probo in prison. He was a Vietnam vet.
Let me just tell you a little bit of the story. Its on tape, it could go a
little longer. He was a Vietnam vet he was trained in special services and so
there was a DMZ a demilitarize zone in Vietnam they basically would drop him on
the other side of the demilitarize zone where he wasn’t supposed to be. So this
guy is not supposed to be there but they drop him in there and they basically
gave him a knife in his hands, he didn’t have a gun. He couldn’t have a gun
because if he had a gun and he shot the gun would make a noise and people would
then discover that he was there. So they gave him a knife in his hands and
trained him how to kill people. So they dropped behind the demilitarize zone
and he just went in and killed some of these Vietcong people back in those
days. When he back to America, he was a hero. I mean this guy is very highly
trained, very good at what he did, he made it in and out alive and there’s something
to be said for that if you know anything about the Vietnam War.
He came back to America, he was in a bar one night and two guys jumped him. Well, I’ll tell you, you don’t want to jump Probo because this guy is very good at what he did and he did it many times. He was a highly decorated military guy and a parade and highly decorated by America. He’s in a bar, these two guys jump him and he flashes back he just does what he does because it’s just like reflexes with him and there it goes you got two guys dead next to him. He killed both of the guys with his hands. He’s up now for murder charges and he goes to prison for thirty-five years. He was in prison he was about 55 when he was in prison. When he was let out he was about 55 I knew him probably from when he was 45-55. Nobody in the prison messed with Probo everybody knew what he could do and it was “Yes, Mr. Probo.” He had tattoos all over his body, he was kind of a Hell’s Angel Harley Davidson type guy. Nobody messed with Probo because they knew what he was up to.
He took my class, he wasn’t a Christian, and he never took notes. It was an Old Testament class, never took a note in the class. He would always ask me these questions that were kind of anti- the Bible, as if he’s trying to disprove the Bible. For example, the Bible says that bats are birds and, of course, bats aren’t birds. So how can Leviticus be right because of the way it classifies things. He had several times confronted me with “errors” in the Bible. We talked through it and it was really good. It was good for me and hopefully it was good for him.
He got out of prison and I remember seeing fear in his eyes, the first time I ever saw fear in his eyes was when he mentioned, he was about 55 at the time and he knew. This guy was very smart. He never took a note in my Old Testament class. When I gave that test I thought, “Okay, Probo, I’m going to watch you eat crow because you’re going to take the test you didn’t take any notes. You’re going to flunk this test. He took the test, got the highest grade in the class. The problem with Probo was he had a photographic ear. Anything you said he could remember it word for word. He could quote me back what I said word for word. I couldn’t remember what I said. He could quote it back word for word. The military had trained him when he got orders nothing written down it was all in his head. The orders were there, he remember them. It was incredible what he could remember.
When he was going to get out of prison that was the first time I ever saw fear in his eyes because he knew that he had been in prison for thirty-five years. He knew that the world out there had changed. He was a very, very bright man. He got out of prison. I came to a place called Gordon College out in Massachusetts here. I prayed for Probo and he always told me that he was going to buzz me with his Harley and someday I was going to be listening and hear this Harley roar if you’ve ever heard you know what I’m talking about. He was going to buzz me and I thought he was coming back to Grace College but I had moved to Gordon so I always wondered one someday I’m going to hear up in Frost Hall I’m going to hear this Harley. It would scare the daylights out of the president or something when he sees this big tattooed guy. I never heard it and I prayed for him for years that Christ would come into his life and that he had become a Christian.
Turns out nobody told me because I’m now separated by a thousand miles from where I used to teach. Probo died he was riding his motorcycle his coat got caught and he was ejected off the motorcycle into a guard rail at 55/60 miles an hour and died instantly. Nobody told me, I was so angry. It was like well I’ve been praying for this guy who had been dead for two years and I’m still praying for him. What’s wrong with this picture? Why didn’t somebody tell me?
I was at a conference. I had to speak down at ETS conference down in Atlanta and there was guy named Ron Clutter who it was a friend of mine we went out for lunch and Ron and I talked about old times and as I was getting up from there he turned to me and says, do you remember John Schultz—old Probo? I said, “Yes, what do you think I was so angry at you guys at Grace for never telling me that he died and I was praying for him. I get choked up every time I think about it.
Ron and I sat back down and he said this is the way Probo worked. I could never figure out because he actually married a Christian girl. I couldn’t figure out why Probo marry a Christian girl. I thought something is not adding up here. Ron told me that Probo had become a Christian but he did not to tell anybody that he was a Christian. He wanted people to know he was a Christian by the change in his life. He wasn’t going to wear his religion on his sleeve and stick it in your face and say, “O, yes, I’ve said the little formula.” No, he said, “Christ had changed my life and people who know me will know that there is a difference because my life has changed.” He never really broadcasted that he became a Christian but his life had changed and that’s why he married a Christian girl. So Probo became a Christian. His belief in Christ he gave himself to those beliefs and those beliefs changed his life--changed his life. There’s something to be said for that. Words are cheap. Let your life, the change your life, reflect Christ. Then people can’t call you hypocrite. You’re walking in the footsteps of Jesus. And so Christ changed his life. So if when we get to heaven and you see some guy up there riding around in his Harley and he’s looking for me buzzing his Harley you just tell him Hildebrandt’s waiting over there waiting at the Pearly gates and tell Probo to come out and get me and I’ll ride in with him. Sorry, that was pretty weird.
point is, what must I do to be saved? Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and you
will be saved. It’s the gospel from Acts 16:9, the Philippian jailer. What must
I do to be saved? It’s interesting in our culture how we’ve shifted things
now. People don’t want to talk about the gospel or being “saved.” They want to
talk about things like social justice or doing other things and so what happens
is there’s been this big shift, it seems to me away from “traditional” gospel
that one must believe in the Lord Jesus Christ to be saved to now saving mother
earth or social justice or we get off on these causes. Then we try to link them
in and we are almost ashamed of the gospel anymore but champion social justice
is so agreeable to our culture. Our culture loves helping the poor and so we
are patted on the head as Christians as long as we keep our mouths shut about
the gospel. I think you’ve got to be really careful about the shifts that are
taking place in our culture now. What I’m asking: What is the gospel? Believe
in the Lord Jesus Christ and you will be saved. That’s really important okay.
Remember we said, “major on the majors.” That’s one of the majors. What does it
mean to believe in Jesus? What does it mean? Knowing the facts, accepting the
facts as true and trusting yourself on those facts then walking in the
footsteps of Jesus.
So that’s the Philippian jailer, Lydia’s the seller of purple. So what happens next? So he trucks out of Philippi. By the way, I forgot one thing, guess what happens, at Philippi the "we’s" stop. So apparently Luke went from Troas to Philippi. Then when he is at Philippi all of sudden the "we's" stop. Paul goes on to Thessalonica but then its “he” did this and “he” did that its not we anymore. So Luke apparently on the Second Missionary Journey Luke goes from Troas to Philippi and stops there.
E. Thessalonica and Berea
So what happens at Thessalonica? When they get to Thessalonica, as the custom was, Paul goes into the synagogue. This is Acts 17:5. On three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the scriptures explaining and proving that Christ had to suffer and rise from the dead. God fearing Greeks and prominent women believe when the God fearing women believe the Jews become jealous and what happens is, they assault the house of Jason where Paul is staying. Paul was staying at this house of Jason. The Jews then form a crowd, they come to assault the house of Jason. Paul basically beats it out the back door and escapes. So Thessalonica it’s pretty being called modern Thessaloniki today. They assault the house of Jason. Paul skedaddles, gets out of there and flees. Their accusation against him was that he was saying there’s another king, Jesus, instead of Caesar. So they are going after Paul on that basis.
Now when they get to Berea, Berea is this special place. Many of you have heard of Berean Bible Chapels. Berea is down the road from Thessalonica. These are the three cities in Macedonia north of Greece. It says, “Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians for they received the message with great eagerness.” This what the Bereans were known for. When you say Berean Bible Chapel or the Berean Bible Studies they are known for examining the Scripture every day to see if what Paul said was true. So the Bereans pride themselves in that they examine the scriptures to see whether things are true. That’s a noble thing. They were more noble than the people of Thessalonica who beat up on Jason’s house.
Paul then leaves Silas and Timothy there and Paul heads down to Athens. So Paul heads down from Macedonia down to Athens. Athens is the most famous Greek city. This is where Paul at Mars Hill speaks to the philosophers on Mars Hill in Acts 17. Let me just read some of this Acts 17:16. “All the Athenians and foreigners who lived there spent there time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas.” Athens was the great home of Socrates. Athens was the great place of Plato, Aristotle, the great thinkers, and the great philosophers. Paul then goes and says, “as I walked about I looked carefully at your objects of worship and I found an altar with the inscription ‘to the unknown God.’ Now what you worship as something unknown I am going to proclaim to you. The God who made the world is served not by human hands [making idols]. In him we live and move and have our being as some of your own poets have said we are his offspring.” This “in him we live and move and have our being” is a quote from Aratus one of the Greek poets. “We are his offspring. Therefore since we are gods offspring we should not think of the divine being is like silver or gold or stone.” He is quoting Epimenidis in those contexts as well.
the question is: what is Paul doing here? And then this is the big question
that Tertullian asks: What does Jerusalem have to do with Athens? This tension
is between Jerusalem, that is, the place of religion, and Athens, the place of philosophy.
It turns out that Paul seems to have interacting with Greek culture enough that
he takes, for example, the statue to the unknown god and he says I’m going to
declare it to you now. He uses what’s in their culture to proclaim Christ to
them using things that they are familiar with. So he quotes from Aratus and
quotes from Epimenides he quotes from these Greek writers. Paul is a very very
smart man and he picks up on this and then he uses it as a place of connection,
a nexus, between his Christ that he is going to preach and their culture. So
this suggestion is then important for Christians to be very aware of the culture
in which we live. Is it important as a Christian to be aware of the culture and
to be able to use the things in the culture to proclaim Christ?
Should we know philosophy? Should we know the philosophy of our day in order to proclaim Christ? The answer is: yes. That’s what a place like Gordon College is all about, liberal arts where we seriously study philosophy. We’ve got some phenomenal philosophers here. In your learning philosophy what is a culture saying and what are the major influences that under gird this philosophy. What are the basic philosophies of our age and how do you interact with them as a Christians. Some of the philosophies, even as Paul said, are true. Is it possible for an unregenerate non-Christian person to say some true things? Or course it is. So you study philosophy and you sort it out. What things are true, what things are not true? What are the things that are really hindering our culture’s understanding of Christ? At what point can we attack and make argumentations based on that?
Do you study history in order to understand our culture and proclaim Christ? We've got English classes here; we’ve got communication classes. Do we need to express the gospel in these new digital mediums? That’s one of the things I really argue strongly for that we as Christians need to understand this digital medium that is so important in our culture in terms of listening with buds in our ears and watching on television screens, on pads, on phones, on PCs and on laptops. Whatever it is we basically are taking this digital medium and we as Christians need to understand how do you communicate in this new medium so we study communication.
We use music here, art, and all sorts of forms that we understand and we work with. That’s the basis for Christian education is basically if you have to put it in one sentence I guess Arthur Homes probably did the best job. He was totally incredible at this. “All truth is Gods truth.” All truth is Gods truth and so we did sciences, we do biology, we do chemistry, and we do physics, not as people who are afraid of those disciplines in that they’re going to affect their religion. God is the author of science. So yes, I want to be able to understand science as a Christian from a biological, from a chemical, from a physics kind of perspective. This is true even in mathematics, which is the language of the universe. To understand that and give a handle on how the cosmos functions and how things are ordered and how we can construct things mathematically. It’s just incredible. That’s why we do the liberal arts.
Paul then at Athens he speaks to the philosophers very fluently in their language. He speaks in their language, the language of these idols that they were worshiping and in their language of their poets and their philosophers and so we also need to be aware of our culture. That’s kind of the bases for one of the basis of people on this campus who can argue it much better than I. This is the basis a substantial embrace of the liberal arts. What does Jerusalem have to do with Athens? Everything.
From Athens then Paul goes to Corinth. We’ve taken a little bit too long on some of these others. Corinth is where Paul stays for a year and a half on the Second Missionary Journey. This is where Paul settles down, at Corinth. So for the Second Missionary Journey he starts at Antioch in Syria, goes through all the cities picks up Timothy at Lystra. He goes up to Troas and picks up Luke. He goes over to Macedonia and Philippi and runs into this Philippian jailer. At Thessalonica Jason’s house is assaulted. Berea, they study of scriptures. He then comes down to Athens, does his thing there, then hits Corinth. When he hits Corinth, he stays there for a year and half. So Second Missionary Journey almost two years at Corinth. Now when he is at Corinth we are in Acts 18:1 and following it says, “After this Paul left Athens and went to Corinth. There he met a Jew named Aquila. He was a native of Pontius who had recently come from Italy.” Now why had Aquila come from Italy? His wife’s name was Priscilla. So this is where you have Aquila and Priscilla. Aquila is the man, Priscilla is the wife. Claudius was around AD 49, I’m not sure of the exact date. Claudius chose to expel the Jews from Rome. So here you get this anti-Semitism even in Claudius the Emperor ordering them to leave Rome. So Aquila and Priscilla left Rome, which would be over here and came to Corinth. Again remember the connection between Rome and Corinth. We said the sailors rather than sailing all around this Peloponnese, they sail in here in this nice harbor here and then they unload and cross this seven mile isthmus here form one side to the next and then they go over for Ephesus. You save yourself from traveling around this rocky shoreline and just go in here and unload and reload and you can cross. So he meets Priscilla and Aquila there.
Then we should say what does he do? He makes tents actually Priscilla and Aquila apparently makes tents. This is where Paul makes tents. Many Christian people say they’re tent makers. What does that mean? It means that, for example, in Afghanistan do you remember that there was a missionary there who was actually killed. This was a real shame. But he was missionary for 28 years I think in Afghanistan, he was an ophthalmologist. In other words, he helped the Afghani people with their sight. He was an ophthalmologist working in Afghanistan. I think the Talban got ahold of him and butchered him and killed him. That was just a couple of years ago. What happened was he was in Afghanistan doing what? Yeah, he was a missionary of sorts but he actually he was a tent maker. He actually worked providing them with services with ophthalmology.
I had some student friends from former college I worked at Grace who went to Germany, I think of them was an architect one of them was an engineer and I’m not sure what the third one was. These three guys got together said let’s go together and become missionaries to Germany. So what they did was they used their architectural background to work a job in Germany. The other guy was an engineer and he worked as an engineer in Germany. He was probably designing Mercedes Benz. He worked as an engineer there and then worked with the churches in Germany. It’s called “tent making.” It’s built off this passage in Corinth that Paul Priscilla and Aquila they made tents and that’s what they did.
kind of like, the Jewish way of education in America we educate. In schools.
The Jewish people educate their kids in Torah, but they also give their kids a practical
skill. So Jesus, for example, Jesus was called the son of the carpenter but if
you go into some of the passages I think it’s in Mark, it says Jesus himself
was a carpenter. So what happened is the father would have a trade and the kid
would learn the trade of his father. He would also learn Torah and the ways to
think. But they would also learn a skill. So I think in life it’s important to
get both of those.
I know when I was going through high school; the vocational track was put down as nonacademic and beneath us. Then you find out you can’t get a job. So it’s good to have some down-to-earth pragmatic skills. The Jewish people train people both in terms of their mind and also their hands with skills. So Paul was a tentmaker. Paul was a Rabbi and trained under Gamaliel but he also knew how to make to tents. He supports himself at Corinth. This is going to come up later in 2 Corinthians, he said I didn’t let you guys support me. Corinth was known for its wealth. He said, “I wouldn’t take any of your wealth because I don’t want that to hinder my ministry here with you guys. So some would think, “you guys came here to get money. I made tents and support myself while I was here.” So Paul was very independent. Paul was not an entitled missionary like I come in and I’m a missionary and you have guys have got to all support me because I’m a big missionary. No, Paul worked with his hands, supported himself and took care of business. So that’s at Corinth. Priscilla and Aquila, his ministry there with them and he spends a year and a half there at Corinth. So the church at Corinth is going to be a big deal.
when he’s at Corinth, Timothy and Silas come down from Thessalonica. So what
happens is, Paul then writes the Thessalonians on the Second missionary journey
from Corinth. He’s going to be there for over a year and he writes back 1 and 2
Thessalonians, up to the Thessalonian people. You’ve got this kind of thing
going on with Paul writing back to the Thessalonians from Corinth.
Another thing we should ask at this point too is why did Paul stay in Corinth for so long? Usually in others cities Paul got beat up and had to flee for his life. Here’s what happens at Corinth. He goes into the synagogue and preaches there and Crispus the synagogue leader becomes a Christian. The synagogue leader becomes a Christian. Sosthenes who wasn’t the synagogue leader but another guy comes and starts making trouble for Paul. So he tells Paul's tale in front of Gallio. Gallio is the governor. So Sosthenes has Paul dragged in before a Gentile court. But when Gallio the governor sees this he says, “these are a bunch of squabbling Jews.” He says, “I don’t want to get involved in this.” So he throws them out of court. He dismisses the charges. So Sosthenes comes with charges against Paul, the Gallio the governor throws him out of court and says, “get out of here. This is garbage. I don’t want to deal with this,” and throws him out. What happens to Sosthenes, rather than Paul getting beat up, Sosthenes gets beat up. So Paul is off the hook, the other guy got beat up that time. So Paul’s says hey I like this place we are going to stay here for a while. So Paul stays here for a year and a half. And he writes the Thessalonians from there.
That’s kind of the background for some of that and then he stays at Corinth a year and a half with Priscilla and Aquila. There’s another guy named Apollos who’s important later on. Apollos was a man mighty in Scripture he understood the Old Testament scriptures really well. He becomes a Christian and then he becomes a major force at Corinth. Paul knows of him and links up with him, as well as Priscilla and Aquila.
From Corinth he leaves and goes back to Israel. So that’s the Second Missionary Journey. When does the Second Missionary Journey take place? You don’t have to know the date, the only date you have to know is what? Jerusalem Council AD 50, First Missionary Journey right before that AD 48, 49, and the Second Missionary Journey right after at AD 51-52. So the order is: First Missionary Journey, Jerusalem Council, Second Missionary Journey largely at Corinth for two years, although he gets there through Lystra, Troas, Philippi, picking up Luke and Timothy. Now, we want to move to the third missionary journey and you will be happy to know there are only three missionary journeys of the apostle Paul.
H. Review of 1 & 2 Missionary Journey
what happens in the Third Missionary Journey? Let’s just run through this. Here’s
the actual PowerPoint. Let’s just run through this kind of as a quick review.
You’ve got Paul and Silas, on the Second Missionary Journey. He hits Lystra where
he is stoned [1MJ], he picks up Timothy [2MJ], he has Timothy circumcised, his
father is Greek, his mother is Jewish, after the Jerusalem Council. Why is Timothy
circumcised? Not to be saved but to fit in and not make himself an offense to
the Jewish people. He goes to Troas but can’t go into the province of Asia as the
Spirit will not let him to go to Ephesus. So he goes to Troas and that’s where
he gets the Macedonian call. “Come over to Macedonia, and help us” the vision
man says. This is following Gods leading contrary to our plans. Paul wanted to
go to Ephesus and the province of Asia but God didn’t want him to. Luke joins
at Troas and this is when the “we’s” start. The "we’s” go from Troas to
Philippi and then they stop. So apparently Luke went from Troas to Philippi and
stayed at Philippi. At Philippi, Lydia was the seller of purple. She is a woman
of means, a seller of purple from Thyatira. Then also there is no synagogue in
Philippi. We observed they were by the river; no synagogues there are very few Jews
there. Actually there were some anti-Semitic pressures it seems. Paul casts demon
out of the slave girl. Paul is beaten and thrown in prison where he’s singing
with Silas. The Philippian jailer asks “what must I do to be saved?” “Believe on
the Lord Jesus Christ and you shall be saved.” That is a tremendous passage
there. Then what does it mean to believe? We talked about three levels of
belief as well as works and how faith and works interact. At Thessalonica, they
go to synagogue, as was their custom. There’s negative Jewish jealousy and
reaction and then basically they assault the house of Jason. Paul escapes
before the crowd can get him. They go to Berea; the Bereans are more noble;
they search the scriptures. That’s a good thing. Next he goes to Athens on Mars
hill, on Mars hill, you know where the Parthenon is. The big thing in Athens
where we see Mars hill is just off from there. There is an altar for the
unknown God. Paul uses those to declare Christ. Paul quotes Epimenides and Aratus.
So knowing philosophy and the other disciplines; this is part of our rationale
for liberal arts. There’s many ways you can tackle the liberal arts question in
Athens and philosophy history. Must we believe before we can know? So there’s
a big debate on that, I don’t want to get into that now.
How can we use post-modern culture to proclaim Christ? This is a big thing, how can we use post-modern culture to proclaim Christ? We need to understand our culture. We need to know what its positives are, what its negatives are and how we can use it to present Christ. So on the Second Missionary Journey, he goes to Corinth. That’s where he is for a year and a half. This is the big place. You’ve got Priscilla and Aquila basically kicked out of Rome under Claudius and they are tent making with Paul. At that point Crispus, the synagogue leader, actually believes. This is kind of unique for Paul. Then Sosthenes accuses Paul and Sosthenes is beaten rather than Paul. So Paul says, “I like this place.” Gallio profoundly is flavorful dismisses the charges on Paul. Paul stays there for a year and a half. As he stays there, he meets this guy Apollos who’s a man mighty in Scripture and the Old Testament. This is where he writes 1 and 2 Thessalonians and basically sends it back up with Timothy who brought down some support from Macedonia to Paul.
I. Third Missionary Journey
now what happens? The Third Missionary Journey let me make a brilliant
statement, the Third Missionary Journey takes place after the Second Missionary
Journey. The Jerusalem Council AD 50, Second Missionary Journey is AD 50-52. This
3MJ is going to come after that, largely AD 53-57. I don’t want you to know the
dates. Actually the best way to remember the Third Missionary Journey is three
years at Ephesus. The Third Missionary Journey is three years at Ephesus.
Second Missionary Journey was two years at Corinth. It’s actually a year and a
half. Third Missionary Journey, three years at Ephesus. So what happens? Paul
wanted to go to Ephesus on the Second Missionary Journey but the Spirit
wouldn’t let him. This time he starts at Antioch in Syria again, all three
missionary journeys start there. He makes his way back through this Galatian
territory this time he makes a beeline straight for Ephesus. He is going to
stay at Ephesus which is in the province of Asia and he’s going to be there for
what happens at Ephesus? Let me just kind of walk through this. First of all he
meets some of the John the Baptist’s old disciples and what does he do to these
guys he says, “Hey, what’s the deal here? Do you know anything about the Holy
Spirit? Do you know anything about Jesus?” They say, “No, all we know is about
John the Baptist. He baptized us, we repented and got rid of our sins.” But he
tells them about Jesus he lays hands on them. They speak in tongues and they
become Christians. So that’s at Ephesus. You’ve got John the Baptist’s disciples
being converted there.
Paul then goes into the school of Tyrannus and he teaches there. Paul develops a teaching ministry here and what happens is so many people at Ephesus become Christian so they start burning their books. They had these books on magic and they start burning their books. Now what happens? They start burning their books and then there is a guy named Demetrius at Ephesus. Demetrius is a silver smith. He makes idols for Artemis the goddess of Ephesus. This is kind of a fertility god thing, love goddess kind of thing. All sorts of immorality was involved. If you’ve ever seen any of the goddesses that we’ve actually dug up archeologically you realize how very sensual and debauched this stuff was. But anyways, rumor has it that apparently a meteor came down and hit the ground. So a meteor came down and they dug up this meteor and this meteor was considered a god come down out of heaven. They called this god and the goddess Artemis. Then they made statues of Artemis for trade or Ishtar and some of the other gods, Baal and Ishtar. So he’s a silver smith and with all these people becoming Christians what happens? His business dries up. It’s not a good business model, these people become Christians. They don’t do idols anymore. I’m losing my business this a problem. So he starts a riot. He gets all the people together and the people start screaming, “Great is Artemis goddess of the Ephesians, great is Artemis goddess of the Ephesians.” It’s like Paul's telling all these people that they don’t have to worship these gods anymore and we’re losing money. So it’s like the unions are out against Paul and their trying to raise Cain. They are going to riot against Paul. So that’s what is going down. Are money and religion connected to this day? He then claims these Christians are doing all of these bad things.
do people in our culture proclaim Christianity is bad? People in our culture when
they don’t agree with us they’ll make accusations and I don’t whether you’ve
heard we are in the Boston area. If you’ve read the Boston Globe for a better
year, I cancelled my subscription to that crazy thing because for about five
years the front line in the newspaper was the same thing. They just rotated
words and just the same Anti-this anti-that kind of thing. They went after the Roman
Catholic Church. So all Roman Catholics are child molesters and so they were
really, really scathing on going after the Roman Catholic Church. Child molestation
is indeed really bad, I’m not excusing that. But I’m telling you the media was
just really on that. Over and over and over again. So I’m saying these kind of
There’s a guy, my son tells this story, he was in his high school class I think it was “Film, Food, and Fiction” and in this class. They read about an atheist person and then we have to be open to atheism so we need to be tolerant to a person who’s an atheist. You have to be tolerant to a person who is a Muslim; you’ve got to understand. Then here they read about this gay kid and he’s really struggling with his sexual identity and the teacher directs you to be understanding of that. Here they read about a Christian. That terrible stinking hypocritical Christian so the class discussion went. Isn’t this Christian disgusting? So here you’ve got tolerance for everybody but when you read about a Christian, all of a sudden they feel absolute freedom to go and say all these really nasty intolerant things. It’s okay to be intolerant against Christians. We even had this guy even came to Gordon’s chapel. I’ll just call him Franky, and he’s not very frank, he just needs his head examined. He would come in and make all these really terrible accusations against Christianity saying Christianity is just like the “Taliban.” Fundamental Christianity is just like the Taliban. So he makes all these kinds of things in terms of hate speech against Christians. So fundamental Christians are doing hate speech and all of this kind of stuff. The honest truth is I think we need to pray for the guy. It’s just he was raised in a very Christian home and totally rejected what he should have learned from his father Francis. Now he just goes around attacking Christians in the name of tolerance. You can see the irony of this. He’s supposed to be tolerant and he’s just making all these wild accusations that just shows he has no clue about many of the fundamentalist Christians that he was stereo-typing. I wish he just understood an ounce of what his father and mother taught. His father and mother really helped me personally and now their son is this kind of like Hezekiah in the Old Testament. He was a good king and then he had his son Manasseh who was the worst evil king. It’s kind of like that. You’ve got these parents, really godly parents now he’s a man and he’s my age and now he’s just going around ripping Christianity thinking that his father taught. That’s how he’s made a name for himself and you just say its really sad, really, really sad. So I guess I pity him. Pity is probably the worse thing and the thing this guy probably despises the most. But you’ve got to pity the man. He’s really lost in many ways.
K. Third Missionary Journey: Letters to Corinth
So what happens? So all these accusations come against Paul, he’s a Christian; he’s doing all these things. They yell, Artemis the goddess of the Ephesians. Now the important thing is he spends three years there at Ephesus. While he’s there he’s teaching at the school of Tyrannus. What’s his other favorite city’? His other favorite city is Corinth. So what’s going to happen is, from Ephesus on the Third Missionary Journey he’s going to write to Corinth. Corinth, the people have been traveling back and forth and they basically tell Paul, “Paul the church at Corinth is having big time problems here.” So Paul about hears about the problems. What are some of the problems? All these guys are getting drunk at communion. That’s not good. The guy’s sleeping with his father’s wife. That’s really bad. So Paul’s got this stuff going down and Paul says “I’m going to write this letter of 1 Corinthians.” So he writes 1 Corinthians. Now you understand, Paul wrote more letters to the Corinthians than we have. We know that there’s other Corinthian letters mentioned, the “tear letter.” Paul wrote many letters to the Corinthians. We have two of them. So this 1 Corinthians or whatever he writes to Corinth on the Third Missionary Journey. That’s a big deal; Corinth is a very big book.
L. Third Missionary Journey: Ephesus and Paul’s Epistles
Now what happens? He’s going to leave Ephesus and when he leaves Ephesus he’s going to go up through Macedonia and as he goes up through Macedonia. He goes back up through Troas and he’s going to hit Philippi again, Thessalonica, Berea and he’s going to come down to Corinth. When he’s up there he’s starting to raise money, for the poor people in Jerusalem. On the Third Missionary Journey this becomes a big mission thing with Paul. He’s heard that there’s a famine in Jerusalem where there is no food. So Paul is using the church to raise money to help feed the people in Jerusalem. So this is a social justice kind of the response of Christianity? Yes Paul’s helping now. He’s raising money in the church. So he’s going to hit the Macedonians. The Macedonians were really good givers. So he heads up here, and when he’s up there but who has really got a lot of money? The Macedonians have some money but who is known to be wealthy? The Corinthians. So what Paul does is from up here after he writes 1 Corinthians from Ephesus and then as he travels up to Macedonia and he sends 2 Corinthians down. He sends 2 Corinthians down from Macedonia telling them the message of 2 Corinthians. This is terrible, but, just to put it briefly. Paul is saying “hey, I’m coming and I’m going to raise money for the poor people in Jerusalem who have experienced a famine. Get your money ready so when I come you’re going to be ready to give.” Does anybody remember the passage where it says, “God loves a cheerful giver?” Where does that occur? 2 Corinthians. 2 Corinthians is where Paul is making a plea for money to help the poor people in Jerusalem. So if you want to get good passages for pleading for people to give money, 2 Corinthians is a great place to go. So 1 Corinthians from Ephesus over then he goes up there he hits the Macedonians and he writes 2 Corinthians on the Third Missionary Journey. So 1 and 2 Corinthians are both written on the Third Missionary Journey.
He comes down to Corinth then and meets the people there. He collects money for the poor people in Jerusalem. What happens then is he’s at Corinth and he realizes he’s raising money and revisits people and goes back to Israel with this money. But what catches his eyes is that his eyes are going west. Paul’s a missionary interested in a new territory, so from Corinth he’s going to look west and he’s going to write the book of Romans. From Corinth on the Third Missionary Journey he’s going to look and he says, “Romans, I haven’t started a church with you or anything but I’m going to go to Rome and I’m going to see you sometime. I’m going to send you a letter and so he writes from Corinth on the Third Missionary Journey. He writes the book of Romans telling them that he’s wanting to come to visit them. That’s the book of Romans. Why is this cool about the Third Missionary Journey? Third Missionary Journey is three years at Ephesus. What books are written on the Third Missionary Journey? 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians down to raise money and write the book of Romans as he is ready to leave Corinth. 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, the book of Romans are three huge books by the apostle Paul. Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians and they are all written on the Third Missionary Journey. So Paul’s very productive here. The books if you read them they are incredible.
what happens? There is just one other thing and I think this is in chapter 20
verse 9. Paul called, his money here goes back up to Macedonia and collects
the money, he wants to say goodbye to the people of Ephesus. He meets down here
but he stops back by. I believe he’s at Troas and he starts preaching, Let me
just read this in chapter 20 verse 9 some of my students you guys know what
this is all about. Chapter 20 verse 9 of Acts it says this, “Paul spoke to the
people and because he intended to leave the next day he kept on talking until
midnight. There were many lamps in the upstairs rooms where they were meeting.
Seated in the window was a young man named Eutychus who was sinking into a deep
sleep as Paul talked on and on and on. When he was sound asleep he fell to the
ground from the third story window and was picked up as dead.” So this is a picture
of Eutychus falling asleep as the apostle Paul is preaching on and on and on--kind
of reminds of you New Testament class sometimes doesn’t it? Anyways, he falls
out the third story window. He falls down and he’s asleep. They pick him up
for dead. Paul basically heals the guy and brings him back up and he comes back
alive. So that’s the story of Eutychus up at Troas. It is just kind of an
interesting funny story if you’ve ever done any public speaking and Paul had
people go to asleep on you, you’ll know what I’m talking about.
M. Paul’s Return to Jerusalem and Imprisonment
Paul then goes back to Israel and now what’s going to happen? This gets pretty serious with Paul and we’ll go through this quickly. Paul hits the Caesarea area and there’s a guy named Agabus there, he’s a prophet. Agabus takes off this belt and ties Paul’s hands and says “whoever wears this belt is going to be tied up when he gets to Jerusalem.” The Spirit speaking through Agabus. Agabus by the way is a prophet, not a writing prophet. Remember when we talked about Phillip. Phillip had four prophesying daughters and so these were people who gave God’s word but they weren’t writers of Scripture per se. We know even in the Old Testament Nathan who rebuked David in 2 Samuel 12 never really wrote any of the prophecies. Neither did Micaiah, neither did Hulda the prophetess. There were other prophets beside Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel who wrote actually the canonical prophets. There were other prophets who were writing prophets who just spoke things. Agabus is one of those prophets. He binds Paul; Paul says “don’t go up to Jerusalem Paul or you’re going to get into trouble.” Paul responds, “the Spirit is taking me I have to raise this money for the people of Jerusalem; I’m going up there.” So Paul goes up to Jerusalem and guess what happens? He’s on the temple mount and the Jews incite a riot and the Romans come in and Paul is captured there and is going to be put in prison.
So lets jump into Acts 24 now as we move through and lets see what’s going on with Paul actually there is one passage that I wanted to pick up and that is, let’s see if I can pull this here. There is a Roman guard when Paul’s arrested. Paul’s arrested and they are trying to kill him. One of the soldiers there, I’m losing it here, this in chapter 22. It is verse 25. There is a riot and Paul is on the temple mount. Whenever the Jews riot the Roman soldiers come out and they drag Paul away and so they took Paul straight to the Sanhedrin. He said, “‘my brothers I have fulfilled my duties to God in all good conscience to this day.’ At this the high priest Ananias ordered those standing near Paul to strike him on the mouth.” It gets bad for Paul. Just before that they were going to stretch Paul out directing that he be flogged, the Romans see Paul as causing this riot. So they drag him in probably to the Antonio fortress and they are going to flog him. As they stretched him out to flog him this is Acts 22:25, Paul said to the centurion standing there” “is it legal for you to flog a Roman citizen who hasn’t even been found guilty?” When the centurion hears this, this guy is over a hundred soldiers, when the centurion heard this he went to the commander. So this guy is a centurion and he goes to his commander. I’ve got some records in Jerusalem; the tenth legion was there. If you go in Jerusalem on the rocks you’ll see an “X” on the rocks outside the New Imperial Hotel. If you go into Get Lost in Jerusalem you can actually go there and walk the streets and go to the New Imperial Hotel and you’ll see a little “x” on this little marker there. That’s to say it’s the tenth legion. The Romans had their legions stationed there that’s from a later time. The commander went to Paul and asked “‘tell me, are you a Roman citizen?’ ‘Yes I am.’ He answered. Then the commander said, ‘I had to pay a big price for my citizenship.’ ‘But I was born a citizen’ Paul replied.” Paul said I was born a citizen. This guy said, “I had to pay big money to get my citizenship.” If you are a citizen of Rome you don’t get beat like that because you’re a citizen of Rome. It gives you status. This guy said, “I paid a big price for it I take Roman citizenship very seriously.” Do you remember when Peter, this isn’t in the Bible, but it’s in the early church Fox’s Book of Martyrs? Peter was crucified. Peter was a Jew and so he was crucified and when they went to crucify Peter he said, “I’m not worthy to die like the Lord.” So they crucified him upside down. I don’t recommend it. That must have been really bad. So they crucified Peter upside down. Paul however could not be crucified. Paul could not be crucified. He was a Roman citizen. So Paul probably died around AD 68 he would be beheaded. Peter probably died AD 64/65. Paul died about three or four years later. But the Roman citizenship was a big thing.
N. Review of the Third Missionary Journey
let me just run through these guys. So Paul is back he’s up in Jerusalem. Let’s
just run through the Third Missionary Journey. Three years at Ephesus on the Third
Missionary Journey. From Ephesus writes the book of 1 Corinthians first. John
the Baptist’s disciples receive the Holy Spirit at Ephesus. Magical books are
burned at Ephesus. Demetrius makes a riot of money and religion. He is losing
money as a silver smith nobody is buying his idols and so he gets upset. How
does religion fare in public square? We talked some about that. Paul revisits
Macedonia. When he is revisiting Macedonia, Macedonian people were good givers.
He writes 2 Corinthians down to the Corinthian church telling them to get their
funds ready for when he comes. He arrives at Corinth and at Corinth he writes
Romans. Romans is looking to the west, as he realizes he has got to go to the
east. He’s going back to Jerusalem. But he looks to Rome and he writes the book
of Romans with sixteen chapters there. He revisits Macedonia, Eutychus falls
asleep at Troas, and Asia, were Ephesus is. He heads back to Jerusalem with
this gift to the poor because of the famine in Jerusalem.
O. Paul’s Trials: Felix
Now at his trials then he’s captured. He’s almost flogged but they let him off. He goes in front of Felix. I’m just going to narrate this. This is in Acts 24. What Felix does is Felix has Paul come in. Felix wants to establish good relations with the Jews and Paul is hated by the Jews. So Felix makes some comments here. This is chapter 24. Both Felix refers to it as the Nazarene sect saying that Paul is part of the Nazarite sect. They were called the Nazarenes. The Pharisees, the Sadducees, and you had the Nazarenes. Christianity in its first part was feud under the umbrella of Judaism as another sect of Judaism. As long as they were under Judaism they were under the protective care of the Romans. Romans didn’t mess with the Jews that much. It’s when Christianity pulled out from under the umbrella of Judaism that’s when Christianity got into some trouble. Paul then mentions “people of the Way.” This Way, is also another way Christianity is labelled here.
what happened? Felix says mañana, tomorrow; tomorrow we will deal with this
problem. So they sent Paul down from Jerusalem to Caesarea to by tried by Felix.
Felix gets Paul and he just says you know there is no rush, tomorrow. Actually
in the text it tells us what Felix wanted was a bribe. Felix wanted a bribe
from Paul. Why? Paul was apparently able to raise money in Greece and other
places. Felix is trying to get a piece of this action. So he wants a bribe
from Paul and so Paul sits in jail for two years under Felix down in Caesarea
on the coast just north of Joppa [Tel Aviv]. So Paul imprisoned for two years.
By the way, what do we remember happening? Who is with him? Luke is with him so that means that Luke is in Palestine for two years. What does that mean? Is Luke probably interviewing Mary and the apostles and finding out stories of Jesus to write to most excellent Theophilus in his book of Luke. Luke is also going to write the book of what? Acts. So this is the very story here of Felix, Festus, and Paul has Luke with him. Luke is writing the story of Acts to most excellent Theophilius to help Paul with his court case when he goes to Rome. So anyway, Felix is a bad procrastinator, two years wanting a bribe out of Paul.
P. Paul’s Trials: Festus
Now what happens is Felix passes off the scene. Festus comes in as the next kind of governor. Festus, because he is the new kid on the block, wants to make good relations with the Jews. The Jews send down people from Jerusalem. They say “Hey, Festus you want to be good with us? You bring Paul back up to Jerusalem. We as the Sanhedrin, as the Jewish judicial body we are the ones that should try Paul. So bring Paul back to Jerusalem.” But little did Festus know that the Jews were making a plot that on the way up to Jerusalem from Caesarea which is right on the coast line up to Jerusalem the Jews were going ambush him and kill Paul on the way there. So there would be no trial Paul would be killed.
So what Paul does, Paul finds out about the trap and he says “I appeal to Caesar.” As a Roman citizen he had the right to make an appeal to Caesar so he makes an appeal to Caesar. Now Festus has got a problem. The problem is as a Roman governor he has got to send Paul to Caesar, but what’s the problem? He has no charges; on what charges is he going to send him to Rome. So because there are no charges this is where the next guy gets into the picture.
Q. Paul’s Trials: Agrippa
is a ruler named Agrippa. Festus and Agrippa are becoming friends over Paul’s.
Agrippa understands the Way, he understands the Nazarenes, and so in chapter 26
you have this back and forth between Paul and Agrippa. So Paul motioned with
his hands and began his defense. “King Agrippa, I consider myself fortunate to
stand before you today as I make my defense against all the accusations of the Jews
and especially so because you are so well acquainted with all Jewish customs.” So
Paul is coming before Agrippa, he flatters him and says, “I heard you know a
lot about our customs.” Paul says, “I’m a here because of the question of the resurrection”
Actually Paul gets a little aggressive with Agrippa and he actually starts
presenting the gospel to Agrippa. Notice what Festus does here is interesting,
Festus and Agrippa are both there. Paul is giving his speech before them. At
this point, Festus interrupted Paul’s defense. This is what Festus says, this
is Acts 26:24, “You are out of your mind, Paul!” he shouted, “Your great
learning is driving you insane.” Some people say that about Gordon College and
our students here that their great learning is driving them insane. Obviously
Festus knows Paul is a very, very educated person and so he says, “your great
learning is driving you insane.” Then Paul goes to Agrippa and actually starts
witnessing to Agrippa about Christ. Agrippa objects and he says, “Do you think
that in such short time you can persuade me to be a Christian, Paul?” This is
almost persuaded. Notice he calls him a “Christian.” So we’ve got the Nazarene,
we’ve got the Way, we’ve got Paul now being called a “Christian.” Agrippa says,
“almost you persuade me to become a Christian,” almost but lost.
R. Shipwreck – Acts 27
Now Agrippa can help Festus come up with the charges. They put Paul on a boat and they are going to ship him back. This is where the boat goes from. Caesarea goes across the Mediterranean Sea over to the isle of Malta and this is where in Acts 27 people say this is one of the best descriptions in the ancient world of a shipwreck. It’s describing the waves coming at the boat and throwing all the cargo overboard. They wanted to throw the prisoners overboard to lighten the boat and Paul says, “you do that and there is big trouble here.” So Paul gives the captain some advice, they end up shipwrecking on this isle of Malta, which is just below Sicily.
I think I’ve got a picture here, let me just describe what’s going on. They get on the isle of Malta and it’s really interesting. A snake comes and bites Paul’s hand. All the people conclude this guy must be a murder. They knew he was on charges to go to Rome so he must be a murderer. Now he got out of the sea but then this poisonous snake bites him and Paul should die. But then what happens is Paul doesn’t die. Paul throws the snake back in the fire kills the snake and nothing happens to Paul. The people said, “holy cow this guy must be a god.” So Paul goes from being a murderer that this receiving justice by this snake to being this god on this isle of Malta. Then eventually from the isle of Malta they catch another boat and go up to Rome. So now you’ve got Paul at Rome.
S. Roman Imprisonment
hit Rome about 60 AD this is called the First Roman Imprisonment. If there’s a First
Roman Imprisonment what do you figure? There’s got to be a Second Roman Imprisonment?
You’re right. So he’s in prison at Rome for about two years and this probably when
the book of Acts and most excellent Theophilius and people helps Paul get free.
Apparently Paul was freed after this First Roman Imprisonment and then there
was a period of freedom and then there a Second Roman Imprisonment and this is
the end, AD 67-68. Paul is then beheaded. This is when Paul dies with the Second
Roman Imprisonment. So there are two Roman imprisonments. There are three
missionary journeys, first, second, and third. Then the First Roman Imprisonment,
a little bit of freedom, and then back for a Second Roman Imprisonment at which
time he was probably beheaded.
Here is the map that actually runs through this and so you get this mapping out where they went. The boat sails form Caesarea and then they hit the storm and here’s the isle of Malta just below Sicily. Do any of you guy know of Sicily you eat Sicilian pizza? So they come up there and up in Rome is where the First Roman Imprisonment and the book of Acts concludes. What happens? Do we know the outcome of Paul’s trial at the end of the book of Acts? The answer is: No. We don’t know the outcome of that. The assumption is that the book Acts finishes before AD 64 because we don’t know the outcome of Paul’s trials before Caesar and certainly we don’t know that the temple was destroyed in AD 70. Those two silences tell us that the book of Acts is probably closed down before Paul's trial is actually over. My and others suggestion have been that this book was written to Theophilus so that Theophilus could have the information he need to help Paul. Most excellent Theophilus could throw his weight on Paul’s side and that would happen.
Now I think we will call it quits there when we pick up this next time I’d like to kind of go throw the books of Paul and when they were written and also ask the question of how do history and theology interact? And we’ll cover that next time as we kind of break our way into the book of Romans. Thank You.
by Leanna Dalfonso
Rough edited by Ted Hildebrandt