The Disciples, Paul & Divisions Part 2

We have learned the apostles walking with Jesus were living under the law, the Old Testament law. After the resurrection of Jesus, were the apostles still living under the Old Testament law? Yes. Remember we pointed out last time –

But notice John 20:9 says, ” For as yet they knew not the scripture, that he must rise again from the dead.” Notice the word “scripture”.

We see from scripture now, things the apostles did not know or see right away because we have all of the scriptures now. And we see the book of Acts shows us transition. What happened?

Just as Jesus said, God sent the Holy Spirit. We see Peter and John are put in prison for speaking and teaching Jesus, Acts 4. Stephen is stoned to death, Acts 7 after giving a recap of Jewish history and preaching Jesus, the ( Just One verse 52). God sends Philip to preach to an Ethiopian eunuch who gets saved and baptized and then God miraculously transports Philip to Azotus, Acts 8.

In each of these situations we see these believers are using Old Testament scripture to explain to the people Jesus is the one those scriptures speak of. They explain by going back to Abraham and Moses. But remember,  now the Holy Ghost is inside them and we see they are doing great wonders and miracles and preaching Jesus. Then Saul gets saved and meets Ananias, a disciple in Damascus  (Syria), Acts 9.

Notice when Saul/Paul gets saved in Acts 9, who is speaking to Saul? Here you have this religious Jew who lives by the Old Testament law, who knows the scriptures, who knows God is One. He knows of Jesus but Saul is an Old Testament guy, a religious Old Testament guy. And on his way to Damascus, Syria to kill believers, God gets a hold of Saul/Paul. Notice Saul says, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And the Lord said, ” I am Jesus….” Acts 9:5. Then they talk and Jesus tells Saul what he is to do. Saul knew Jesus was crucified and buried in a tomb. Saul knew believers said Jesus rose from the dead and Saul/Paul was killing believers to stop them from preaching Jesus.

Do you think Saul was running through Old Testament protocols in his mind when Jesus spoke to him? No way and I do not mean that disrespectful either. Do you think Saul was thinking, wait a minute, I am from the tribe of Benjamin? No. Scripture tells us, Saul was trembling and astonished. Wouldn’t you be trembling and astonished? Jesus tells Saul go into the city and it will be told thee what thou must do. Sound familiar?

God told Moses where to bring Isreal, to the mountain of God,  but Abraham, God told him to leave and God would guide him where he was to go. Abraham had to move by faith. Moses was told what to do, each step.

Then the Lord speaks to Ananias about Saul and we see the Lord tells Ananias he has chosen Saul to bear his name to Gentiles, kings and Israel, Acts 9:15. Clearly we see a shift here. Unlike the Old Testament where God was focused on Israel. Yes we see God dealing with Gentiles in the Old Testament, we see prophecy and major events, but the focus is Israel, the law and the prophets. Unlike the four gospels where the focus is still Israel, the law and the prophets and now the Messiah had come and was crucified, just as the prophets said in the Old Testament. Now, God was telling Ananias he was going to use this man Saul, a Jew who knows the Old Testament and lives by the law of the Old Testament, to reach Gentiles? And kings? And Israel?

Question: Where are the disciples? What are they doing? After they were released from prison, they were preaching and teaching Jesus Christ. Where?  In the temple. To Jews. Acts 5:41-42 KJV  “And they departed from the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer shame for his name.
[42] And daily in the temple, and in every house, they ceased not to teach and preach Jesus Christ.”

Last time we asked if Saul/Paul was baptized. Acts 9:13-18 KJV
” Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:
[14] And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.
[15] But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:
[16] For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake.
[17] And Ananias went his way, and entered into the house; and putting his hands on him said, Brother Saul, the Lord, even Jesus, that appeared unto thee in the way as thou camest, hath sent me, that thou mightest receive thy sight, and be filled with the Holy Ghost.
[18] And immediately there fell from his eyes as it had been scales: and he received sight forthwith, and arose, and was baptized.”

Where does Saul go first to preach? Acts 9:20 KJV  “And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues, that he is the Son of God.” He goes to Jews in the synagogue. The Jews took counsel to kill Saul.

Then the Lord gets Peter’s attention in Acts 9 and 10. The Lord reveals to Peter, Gentiles are going to be saved. Then Peter witnesses Gentiles being saved and receiving the gift of the Holy Ghost. Acts 10:44-45 KJV  “While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
[45] And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.”

An interesting thing is in Acts 11:13,14 Peter recounts what happened with Cornelius in Acts 10:1-8 and Acts 10:19-23 but notice Peter says in Acts 11:14 he was telling Cornelius words whereby Cornelius and his house would be saved. What words did Peter say? Starting in Acts 10: 25 Peter reminds them of the law prohibits Jews from keeping company with Gentiles but God showed him things changed.

What were the words of salvation Peter preached?
Acts 10:38-48 KJV  “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.
[39] And we are witnesses of all things which he did both in the land of the Jews, and in Jerusalem; whom they slew and hanged on a tree:
[40] Him God raised up the third day, and shewed him openly;
[41] Not to all the people, but unto witnesses chosen before of God, even to us, who did eat and drink with him after he rose from the dead.
[42] And he commanded us to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of quick and dead.
[43] To him give all the prophets witness, that through his name whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins.
[44] While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.
[45] And they of the circumcision which believed were astonished, as many as came with Peter, because that on the Gentiles also was poured out the gift of the Holy Ghost.
[46] For they heard them speak with tongues, and magnify God. Then answered Peter,
[47] Can any man forbid water, that these should not be baptized, which have received the Holy Ghost as well as we?
[48] And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. Then prayed they him to tarry certain days.”

Question: Who was present when Peter was speaking? Jews and Gentiles. And we see Saul’s name is changed to Paul and he preaches at Antioch in Acts 13. And notice when Paul stands up to preach he addresses Israel and ye that fear God in Acts 13:16. Was Paul’s message different than Peter’s message? We will pick it up from here next time, Lord willing.

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