This Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's transcription/ location
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http://www.theseason.org/plough.htm


The

Acts of the Apostles

Chapter 11

"Dissension in the Assembly, Ministry at Phenice."

 

Acts 11:1 "And the apostles and brethren that were in Judaea heard that the Gentiles had also received the word of God."

This was shocking news that reached Jerusalem. This is because up until this time a Gentile could go into the Porch of Solomon, which is not in the temple. A Gentile simply could not enter the Temple, for only an Israelite could enter the Temple of God. The Gentiles could only have what little knowledge they could from the Israelites that passed. This is one of the reasons that an Israelite was forbidden from even socially mixing with an Israelite, or a Jew.

But here in Caesarea, in the house of Cornelius, Peter not only taught them the Word of God, but each of them became filled with the Holy Spirit.

Acts 11:2 "And when Peter was come up to Jerusalem, they that were of the circumcision contended with him."

The Circumcision are those of the Jews and Israel. These men heard what Peter had done, and they were filled with indignation that Peter would do such a thing as give the Gospel of Christ to the Gentiles. They wanted to know why Peter would even go into a Gentile house? They don't eat as we eat and believe as we believe. There was great contention with Peter in Jerusalem.

Any time a person is so deep in the traditions of men, it is very difficult for God to reach that individual. The traditions of men are what they have been taught, lived and believed, and very few men or women have the ability to fight their own conscience to check out their traditions, and question what they had accepted before as absolute truth. There are many sayings that are of tradition, that are believed to be in the Word of God, and are not.

An example of that is the word "rapture", when the entire concept is opposed to the teaching of both the Old and New Testaments. The word rapture is not in the bible, but it is a tradition that has built up since May of 1880, when Margaret McDonald dreamed it, that the majority of Christ take that tradition as being of the Bible. They are to lazy to look into the Word of God, and see that the whole idea of a rapture is a fairy tale.

Sure Christ is coming back, just as Christ rose from the dead, so do all dead. If you believe in the name of Jesus and have repented of your sins, you will go exactly where Jesus is at death. People have taken passages like I Thessalonians chapters four and five, where Paul is answering the question of "Where the dead are"; and from that they have twisted Miss McDonald's words to fit their fairy tale. The dead are not saved they are spiritually dead, and there is a great gulf between them and where Christ is.

Christ is coming back at the last trumpet, and then we will be gathered as a cloud, meaning in a large group, all of God's children gathered together here on earth, but we will be in the "air", meaning spiritual body, the "breath of life" body. We will meet Jesus at his return in our eternal bodies. It doesn't say anything about flying out of here, but it does speak of those that teach such a fairy-tale, God speaks of what He thinks of those that would teach such a thing in Ezekiel 13:18-21.

Ezekiel 13:18 "And say, `Thus saith the Lord God; Woe to the {women} that sew pillows to all armholes, and make kerchiefs upon the head of every stature to hunt souls! Will ye hunt the souls of My People, and will ye save the souls alive that come unto you?"

"The women" are the preachers and people that consider themselves the "bride of Christ" that preach it traditional doctrine, and the "pillows are the false doctrine, while the "stature" is the places that they hunt the souls, your church houses. When they "hunt souls" the are asking, "are you saved?", when the person has no idea of what you are talking about.

Ezekiel 13:19 "And will ye pollute Me among My People for handfuls of barley and for pieces of bread, to slay the souls that should not die, and to same the souls alive that should not live, by your lying to My People that hear your lies?"

God is asking, "Are you going to pollute My Word for money [barley] and for the taking of vows [bread]. Those "Souls that should not die", are the ones that are studing God's Word, and hunting for the truth.

Ezekiel 13:20 "Wherefore thus saith the Lord God; `Behold, I am agaist your pillows, wherewith ye there hunt the souls to make them fly, and I will tear them from your arms, and will let the souls go, even the souls that ye hunt to make them fly."

Have you ever wondered what God thinks of your fly-away doctrine? Well, there it is.

God said, Behold, wake up, I am against your false doctrines [pillows], wherewith ye hunt the souls to make them fly. Did you get that, God is against it when you go out to teach the souls of men and women and tell them they are going to fly out of this world age.

What you are doing is using your whitewash religion to paint over what the Bible teaches to prepare them for the time of the Great deception of Antichrist. You are covering over the signs of the end times that is a must to prepare them to stand against Antichrist and his one world religious system, by telling them it is not necessary to understand the part of the Scriptures dealing with the Great deception. The "rapture doctrine" is a lie, and God will judge you severely for that lie. Wake up.

The "rapture doctrine" is taught in most of the Christian churches today, and it seems they don't know any better, nor do they care. Why? They are steeped in traditions. It only took a couple of generations to accept this lie as the truth, and you are pulled away from the Word of God when you believe it. Most Christians today would swear that "this is what the Bible says". Don't let these men deceive you.

So here in Jerusalem we have this great contention. God appeared to Peter in this vision, and to Cornelius through the angel, and from these visions God has given us a lesson for one and all times. The contention then is because Peter has not yet told of those visions and what happened because of them. In any group there are always a few that have crept in that will contend to save a tradition, no matter how far off it is.

Ezekiel 13:21 "Your kerchiefs also will I tear, and deliver My People out of your hand, and they shall be no more in your hand to he hunted; and ye shall know that I am the Lord."

Peter went in to explain what had happened, and before he could speak, they accused Peter of eating with those non-Israelites, the uncircumcised.

Acts 11:3 "Saying, "Thou wentest in to men uncircumcised, and didst eat with them."

Acts 11:4 "But Peter rehearsed the matter from the beginning, and expounded it by order unto them, saying,"

Peter retold, or rehearsed what had happened from the beginning, when he was sitting on the roof at Simon the tanner's house.

Acts 11:5 "I was in the city of Joppa praying: and in a trance I saw a vision, A certain vessel descend, as it had been a great sheet, let down from heaven by four corners; and it came even to me:"

This vessel came down from heaven to earth. The number four in biblical numerics means "earth". It is this flesh earth age.

Acts 11:6 "Upon the which when I had fastened mine eyes, I considered, and saw fourfooted beasts of the earth, and wild beasts, and creeping things, and fowls of the air."

I looked in the sheet and saw all these beasts.

Acts 11:7 "And I heard a voice saying unto me, `Arise, Peter; slay and eat.' "

This is not tradition that Peter would not eat scavenger foods, because they are part of the food laws that will never change. The sin of violating them will not condemn your soul, but they do not deal with the health and condition of your physical body. When you are in the flesh, there are certain things that God did not intend to be eaten by man, for they are the garbage collectors of the earth. The scavengers are created for that purpose, and eating them is like eating the filth out of your garbage can.

Friend, flesh hasn't changed, and the same things that made the flesh sick two thousand years ago will still make it sick today.

Acts 11:8 "But I said, `Not so Lord: for nothing common or unclean hath at any time entered into my mouth.' "

Why? Peter liked to be healthy. The law guided Peter to stay away from them.

Acts 11:9 "But the voice answered me again from heaven, `What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.' "

Pay close attention to what is talked about here. It has nothing to do with eating any food, for God is giving Peter a lesson, and He will not allow Peter to even touch those things that are in the sheet. God is using this as an analogy, to show that the different peoples, called the uncircumcision, will be acceptable through salvation by Jesus the Christ.

Acts 11:10 "And this was done three times: and all were drawn up again into heaven."

It was done three times for emphesis. Those scavengers were not left there for Peter to eat, but this was in reference to people. It was a triple witness.

Acts 11:11 "And, behold, immediately there were three men already come unto the house where I was, sent from Casarea unto me.' "

Acts 11:12 "And the spirit bade me go with them, nothing doubting. Moreover these six brethren accompanied me, and we entered into the man's house:"

That angel told Peter to go with Him, "nothing doubting", was the words of the angel to Peter. The angel told Peter to go and don't let doubt enter your mind. Peter went with six men; three were the ones that Cornelius sent, and three were of the brethren from Jappa, and entered into Cornelius' house. So with the six, and with Peter makes seven men, and in biblical numerics the number seven means, "spiritual completeness".

This "spiritual conpleteness" of the seven will establish salvation for all Gentiles by order from God, given three times for emphisis.

Acts 11:13 "And he shewed us how he had seen an angel in his house, which stood and said unto him, `Send men to Joppa, and call for Simon, whose surname is Peter:' "

Cornelius explained to Peter how the angel of God came into His house, and what that angel said to Peter.

Acts 11:14 "Who shall tell thee words, whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved."

Peter was to go and tell Cornelius how to receive true salvation through Jesus the Christ. How Jesus had paid the price on the cross, and raised from the dead, to join His Father in heaven, and now sits on the right hand of the Father. There Jesus will remain until all His enemies will be made His footstool.

If Christ is on the His throne in heaven, then who will make His enemies His footstool? Friend, you are starting to catch on. Those that make Christ's enemies His footstool are God's elect. It is you and I, armed with the Word of God and the power of the Holy Spirit. We go into that battle with all our armor on and in place, ready to stand for the battle that is upon us even today. That battle is a spiritual warfare, fought with words from the Scriptures, with ideas, and concepts according to God's Word, and the battlefield is in your mind. The sooner you know where the battle is, and how it is to be fought, the sooner you can start to prepare for it.

Our gospel armor is the truth of every part of God's Word, from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21, it is truth, and not traditions and fairy-tales. Ephesians 6:10-20 tells us how we put that armor on to protect us from our head to our feet. Our armor is facts and not false doctrine, it is truth and understanding, and not confusion and babbling.

Acts 11:15 "And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning."

Peter goes on to tell these men at Jerusalem, how that the Holy Spirit of God fell upon them, exactly as the Holy Spirit fell on them in Jerusalem in the beginning [recorded in Acts 2:6]. These men at Jerusalem knew what that evidance was, for most of them were part of that group that was filled with the Holy Spirit. Friend, when that Holy Spirit speaks with the cloven tongue, where when it is spoken, every man hears those words clearly and with understanding as it was spoken in his home dialect. There is no need of an interperter when the Holy Spirit speaks through any person. That cloven tongue went out in many direction, in many languages, all understanding at the same time.

Acts 2:6 "Now when this was noised abroad, the multitude came together, and were confounded, because that every man heard them speak in his own language."

Acts 11:16 "Then remembered I the word of the Lord, how that He said, 'John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost.' "

Peter is no remembering what Jesus said, way back when Jesus was teaching all the disciples, when He was on earth, before the crucifixion. The Holy Ghost is the Comforter, and is better translated "the Holy Spirit". You must know the Holy Spirit to understand John 14, the promise from God that He would sent the Comforter, and He still remains to this day. We need Him to lead and guide us in prayer and living our daily lives, and in understanding God's Word.

When one is baptized with the Holy Spirit, usually they are given a gift, and when man uses his gift given him, there will be success in doing that work that the gift was intended for, and it is God that gets all the credit for that gift. The fall of man comes when he attributes his successes to himself, and not to where it belongs, to God.

Acts 11:17 "Forasmuch then as God gave them the like gift as He did unto us, who believed on the Lord Jesus Christ; what was I, that I could withstand God?"

That is the qualifier in receiving the Holy Spirit of God, you must "believe on the Lord Jesus Christ". Peter is telling these other Apostles, `Who am I that I could argue with God?' God said give it to them, and I gave it to them.

Acts 11:18 "When they heard these things, they held their peace, and glorified God saying, "Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life." "

When the men that called Peter to Jerusalem had heard Peter they understood fully what had happened. They knew that God had now offered eternal life to all Gentiles, that upon repentance they also could be saved. The word "Gentile" is "ethnos" in the Greek and means all peoples. These Gentiles would have eternal life, if they believed and if they repented of their sins in Jesus name. It is so simple and so wonderful that god loves all of His children that He created, so why should He not offer all men salvation equally.

Acts 11:19 "Now they which were scattered abroad upon the persecution that arose about Stephen travelled as far as Phenice, and Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching the word to none but unto the Jews only."

Remember that the ten tribes were scattered long before Judah went into Captivity, and because of this, the term "but to the Jews only", should read "but to Israel only." Jesus spoke of this in Matthew 10:6 "But rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." This is not the house of Judah, the Jews, but to the "House of Israel". The house of Israel includes Judah. Judah is only one tribe of twelve.

So we see that the Christians that were scattered at the time of Stephen's death, were preachig to only those of the scattered Israelites, all twelve tribes, thirteen when you consider Ephraim and Manasseh, Joseph's double portion.

Today this house of Israel is scattered over all the world, and Hosea has told us long ago how we would recognize them, in Hosea 1:10; "Yet the number of the children of Israel shall be as the sand of the sea, which cannot be measured nor numbered; and it shall come to pass, that in the place where it was said unto them, `Ye are not My People,' there it shall be said unto them, `Ye are the sons of the living God'. "

Where ever those people are in the world today, two thing is for sure in identifing these people. First is that they do not know that they are of Israel, they call themselves something other then Israel, like Americans, British, French and so on. Secondly those people will call themselves Christians, a Christian nation. Jesus Christ is the Living God, and those that are of Christ are sons of the Living God.

Acts 11:20 "And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus."

Where ever they went they spoke of the salvation through Jesus Christ, the eternal life that only comes by beliving in Him and obeying His Word.

Acts 11:21 "And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord."

When you are doing the work of the Lord, the hand of the Lord is always with you.

Acts 11:22 "Then tidings of these things came unto the ears of the church which was in Jerusalem: and they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch."

Remember that Barnabas was the person that the angel of God appeared to, assuring them that Saul, [Paul] was truly converted. That Paul was of the way.

Acts 11:23 "Who, when he came, and exhorted them all, that with purpose of heart they would cleave unto the Lord."

To "cleave unto the Lord", is to remain with the in the Lord, and in His Word. It is quite common that when the full Word of God is not taught, those that receive the Word and repent, will drift away, back into the old worldly ways. When the times get tough and even when there is great prosperity, they abandon the way of the Lord.

God's Word will stand on it's own merits, when taught properly. When it is taught properly there will never be any need for the begging bag. Beggers are works of men, and if a teaching is of God there is no need to beg to have the sheep of the flock to give, they will automatically give them joy. It doesn't matter how tempted you are to teach tradition, and say things that the others want to hear, teach the Word of God, as it is given in the Word; Chapter by chapter, and verse by verse, with understanding.

Acts 11:24 "For he was a good man, and full of the Holy Ghost and of faith: and much people was added unto the Lord."

The people loved Barnabas.

Acts 11:25 "Then departed Barnabas to Tarsus, for to seek Saul:"

So now we see the real mission of Barnabas, to seek Saul.

Acts 11:26 "And when he had found him, he brought him unto Antioch. And it came to pass, that a whole year they assembled themselves with the church, and taught much people, And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch."

Paul had left Jerusalem when the Jews had sought to kill him, and went to Tarsus, the place of his birth. Barnabas went to Paul, and brought him back to Antioch were Paul taught the people the Word of God. Before this church that started in Antioch, the Christians were either called "Israelites, or Gentiles". The thing that seperated the Israelite from the Gentile was circumcision. But now they were both believers, and Christ became their circumcision. They were now called "Christ's mans" which is to say, "Christians". It all started at this church where Paul was preaching and teaching in Antioch. They were followers of the way, Christ.

Acts 11:27 "And in these days came prophets from Jerusalem unto Antioch."

Acts 11:28 "And there stood up one of them named Agabus, and signified by the Spirit that there should be great dearth throughout all the world: which came to pass in the days of Claudius Caesar."

"Agabus" means "locust" and that should give us a clue to look out for what is coming. This time period would be from 41 A.D. to 54 A.D., in the reign of Claudius Caesar.

Acts 11:29 "Then the disciples, every man according to his ability, determined to send relief unto the brethren which dwelt in Judaea:"

Acts 11:30 "Which also they did, and sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul."

It is true that the elders in the Church at Jerusalem had a rough time, because of both the Romans and the Kenites. The Romans gave a political persecution, the othera the religious persecution. Christianity was not popular in Jerusalem, because it brought into question the very traditions of the Kenites, and pointed out their laws and customs, from that taught by the prophets of the Old Testament, and Jesus Christ Himself. Those Christians that lived in Jerusalem were the ones that were called "the poor".

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