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Posts Tagged ‘law’

first

Once the Jews have finished rebuilding and securing the wall of their city under the direction of Nehemiah and Nehemiah has taken a count of all who were there, we find out what their priorities really were.

The very first thing the people of God do once they are protected and counted is gather together and hear God’s Word.  Both community and God’s perfect law are so important to these people that they make these two things their number 1 priorities.

“And all the people gathered as one man into the square before the Water Gate.  And they told Ezra the scribe to bring the Book of the Law of Moses that the Lord had commanded Israel.  So Ezra the priest brought the Law before the assembly, both men and women and all who could understand what they heard, on the first day of the seventh month.  And he read from it facing the square before the Water Gate from early morning until midday, in the presence of the men and the women and those who could understand.  And the ears of all the people were attentive tot he Book of the Law.” ~Nehemiah 8:1-8

Not only do they make listening and learning God’s law together their first priorities, they literally stay and listen the entire morning attentively.

These people were gathered in the public square, in the street, all morning listening to God’s law.  They weren’t falling asleep.  They weren’t checking their watches.  They weren’t watching Youtube on their iphones while Ezra read God’s Word to them.  They were respectfully, attentively listening and learning what God’s expectations of them were.

They stood up in respect for God’s Word.  They answered “Amen, Amen,” lifted up their hands, bowed their heads, and worshiped the Lord with their faces to the ground.  This was serious business and they treated it so.

Interestingly, this event took place on the first day of the seventh month.  On the Jewish calendar, this day marked the end of the year.  It was called the Feast of Trumpets.  No work was to be done and the people were to be preparing for atonement.  Likewise, we must always look intently at the law and our own hearts before our sins can be atoned for.

The significance of the trumpets were that of alarm.  This particular day was to be followed by 10 days of introspection and repentance.  The sounding of the trumpets also pointed to future judgement.

This was their call to ready themselves.

How do we ready ourselves for future judgement?  We ready ourselves by preparing our hearts the same way these people did.  We cease from self-sufficiency and works-based efforts of religion.  We gather with other believers in community.  We listen and learn God’s perfect law.  We look introspectively at ourselves and repent.  We wait for grace and we keep always in mind the reality of our future judgement.  Doubtless this is why Christ’s return is also signified by the blowing of trumpets (1 Corinthians 15:51-52, 1 Thessalonians 4:16-17.)

These actions must be our first priorities.  We must be attentive to do them if we would have a strong community of believers.

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ark
In Exodus 25:10-22, the Lord describes how he wants the Ark of the Covenant to be constructed.  What we find is gold, gold, and more gold was to be used to build this “box” or sorts.  Little wonder why God asked the people to offer their gold.

By making the Ark of gold, God was conveying its great importance.  Not only that, but being the very first item built for God’s house spoke volumes on its great importance.

So what exactly was this Ark and why was it so important?

The Ark housed the testimony of God.  This is where the Ten Commandments were to be kept.  There were angels to be carved out on top and in between the angels is where the Lord promised to meet with man.  This in-between place was called the “mercy seat.”

The mercy seat was, “the place at which estranged parties reconciled,” says R.C. Sproul.  It was the place of atonement or covering for sin.  Therefore, because we know that inside this Ark the law was carefully kept, we ought to remember that because we are now all a temple of the living God we must hide God’s Word in our hearts in the innermost places – just like the Ark was kept in the innermost part of the tabernacle – and learn to keep it carefully.

Israel carried the Ark wherever they went.  Likewise, we are to carry God’s Word in our hearts with diligent constance.

Still, when we sin against God’s laws, we have a covering.  Jesus Christ meets us at the mercy seat and atones for our sin.  Now that’s good news!

 

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sinai

In Exodus 24:1-10, God has just given the most important guidelines for human behavior ever given to man.  After Moses receives the ten commandments and the promises of God, he immediately begins working to share them.  Good leader Moses told the people what God expected of them.  Good leader Moses wrote it all down.  Good leader Moses got up early and worshipped.  Good leader Moses read the words aloud to the people.  Then, he covered them with the blood of the sacrifices.

Notice that Moses did not cut the people up into pieces, burn them on the altar and sacrifice them in order to please God.  No.  He covered them with the blood of another as they came to the place of worship.  Likewise, when we go to a place of worship, we should not be beaten, killed, and left to bleed on the altar for our sin by the leaders.  A sacrifice was already made for us for that very reason.  The blood of Jesus Christ should be applied to us by the servants leading worship.

After God reveals himself to the leaders, he calls Moses back up the mountain.  Then, he tells him to do something very difficult: wait.

The Lord said to Moses, “Come up to me on the mountain and wait there, that I may give you the tablets of stone, with the law and the commandment, which I have written for their instruction.”  ~Exodus 24:12

Wait, Moses.  Go where I tell you and wait there.  The reason for the waiting given to Moses was, “that I may give you the tablets of stone…”  Moses was to wait so God could physically give him the tablets with the commands written on them.

Moses obeyed.  He took his young friend Joshua and he went where God sent him.  He put two others in charge over the people while he was gone.  He is told to wait, and he in turn tells those under him to wait as well.

Note, good leaders do not leave those they have been given responsibility and charge over without delegating that responsibility and leadership to someone else first.  He who is not faithful with what he has been given will not be given more.  What he does have will be taken away.  (Matthew 25:29)

Moses goes up and a cloud covers the mountain.  God’s presence descended and for six days Moses waited upon God.  It was not until day seven that Moses heard God call out to him.

Note, even when we obey God’s commands and instructions perfectly and without delay, he often still calls us to wait upon him for further instructions.

When God does appear, the text says, Now the appearance of the glory of the Lord was like a devouring fire on the top of the mountain in the sight of the people of Israel.” When God appeared after all Moses’s waiting and righteous obedience, it was not just him that saw God.  All the people below saw God appear.  Moses wasn’t making this stuff up and they knew it.  There could be no mistake.  God was doing something of unmitigated importance.  They all saw and they all knew.  Makes you wonder how they could ever choose to make and worship and idol while this was still going on.  But, as we all know they did just that with the golden calf.

Anyway, Moses is no stranger to the fire of God.  When he was called to deliver God’s people out of Egypt, it was a burning bush that God chose to reveal himself and speak through.  Make no mistake, Our God is a consuming fire and he will not be sold out as a dry and lifeless ember as some would seek to have him be.  Little wonder the Bible says, “Quench not the Spirit.” (1 Thessalonians 5:19)

God kept Moses forty days and forty nights as he elaborated upon all the laws and also gave Moses the physical tablets of stone with the law written down on them by His very own finger.

Note, when God is giving instruction to leaders that he has placed over his people, he often does so for a great amount of time that they may be duly prepared for the difficult business he is about to employ them in.

Just to recap, here is what Exodus 24:12-18 gives us practically to apply in our lives today:

1. Moses did not cut the people up into pieces, burn them on the altar and sacrifice them in order to please God.  No.  He covered them with the blood of another as they came to the place of worship.  Likewise, when we go to a place of worship, we should not be beaten, killed, and left to bleed on the altar for our sin by the leaders.  A sacrifice was already made for us for that very reason.  The blood of Jesus Christ should be applied to us by the servants leading worship.

2. Good leaders do not leave those they have been given responsibility and charge over without delegating that responsibility and leadership to someone else first.  He who is not faithful with what he has been given will not be given more.  What he does have will be taken away.  (Matthew 25:29)

3. Even when we obey God’s commands and instructions perfectly and without delay, he often still calls us to wait upon him for further instructions.

4. Make no mistake, Our God is a consuming fire and he will not be sold out as a dry and lifeless ember as some would seek to have him be.

5. When God is giving instruction to leaders that he has placed over his people, he often does so for a great amount of time that they may be duly prepared for the difficult business he is about to employ them in.

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Looking at Exodus 20:18-21 which are the words spoken immediately after the 10 commandments are given.

 If we look back to just prior in chapter 19, we see that strict rules are given by God about being purified and not going too close to the mountain.  The mountain is then enveloped in smoke and people see thunder, lightning, and hear trumpets.  It is then that the Lord comes down and Moses is first called up.  Moses goes up the mountain and God sends him right back down to tell the people to stay back and warn them again.

 The Lord came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. And the Lord called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.

21 And the Lord said to Moses, “Go down and warn the people, lest they break through to the Lord to look and many of them perish. 22 Also let the priests who come near to the Lord consecrate themselves, lest the Lord break out against them.” 23 And Moses said to the Lord, “The people cannot come up to Mount Sinai, for you yourself warned us, saying, ‘Set limits around the mountain and consecrate it.’” 24 And the Lord said to him, “Go down, and come up bringing Aaron with you. But do not let the priests and the people break through to come up to the Lord, lest he break out against them.” ~Exodus 19:20-24

At this point, Moses is probably like dude, I just climbed up here and you’re sending me back down to tell my guys what I just told them.  We have been preparing for this for three days.  They are consecrated already, God. I warned them already.  You made me draw lines around the mountain, remember?

So that’s where we are when God begins to speak the ten commandments.  The people have been warned twice and consecrated and Moses is somewhere at the foot of the mountain with them because it does not appear that he has had time to go back up the mountain with Aaron yet.  The ten commandments are given and immediately afterward is where we pick up today.

18 Now when all the people saw the thunder and the flashes of lightning and the sound of the trumpet and the mountain smoking, the people were afraid and trembled, and they stood far off 19 and said to Moses, “You speak to us, and we will listen; but do not let God speak to us, lest we die.” 20 Moses said to the people, “Do not fear, for God has come to test you, that the fear of him may be before you, that you may not sin.”21 The people stood far off, while Moses drew near to the thick darkness where God was. ~Exodus 20:18-21

These supernatural events – thunder, lightning, smoke, the trumpets alongside the voice of God Himself produced absolute terror in the people – as they would any and all of us.  The text says they stood “far off.”  They elected Moses their mediator.  “You talk to God Moses.  Don’t let him talk to us! We will die for sure!” 

Moses answers them and says, essentially, “Fear not; fear God.”  This is so cool.  Exodus 20:20.  Here is our clear vision.  Here’s 20/20 guys.  Don’t fear death and the judgement of sin.  Fear the God who command you not to sin!  If you do the latter, you will no longer have to fear the former.  If you refuse to do the latter, you better fear the former.  Therefore, fear not; fear God.

What was happening right before the eyes of these people was fearful.  Just close your eyes and consider it.  Consider standing in the wilderness and witnessing these events.  It was indeed terrifying and meant to be so.  But what were they ultimately afraid of?  That the fire and fury of God would consume and destroy them.  Moses says, “No.  Don’t fear that.  Fear God and you will live.”

The truth is, our sin and guilt will destroy us and his judgment will consume us if we fail to fear God, believe the promises of the Savior, and trust in his mercy.  So fear not; fear God is what Moses says to them and then, this is amazing, Moses walks towards the darkness.  Everyone else is getting as far away from God’s presence as humanly possibly and Moses is drawing near.  The first question that came to my mind when reading this passage was, “Why wasn’t Moses afraid?”  He’s just a man like the rest of them, right?  And the answer is, Moses was not afraid because Moses knew his calling.  Moses heard God’s call and nothing was going to stop him from doing that which God had purposed for his life.  He wasn’t afraid to draw near to the most powerful being in the universe because Moses had heard directly from God himself on numerous occasions and God had graciously instructed him.  Moses knew his call.  He knew the voice of His Master and it gave him great confidence and assurance to do all that which God expected of him – fearful or not.  Moses was courageous because he knew and understood his call.

In all of this we see how the law was given.  This was quite an epic event – one not soon forgotten.  This was God’s way of making absolutely clear to us that His law is of utmost importance.  He wants us to learn to fear Him first, above all else, that we might not sin, lest, as we deserve, we die without mercy.  The law was given in such a way that it might startle, wake, and humble sinners in preparation for Christ and the gospel.  Without understanding the wrath and judgement we all deserve for transgressing this law, we cannot understand and desire the mercy and forgiveness of the gospel.

If you are sharing a gospel that only includes love, mercy, and forgiveness while leaving out the law, you are not sharing the true gospel.  Without the law, sinners do not have a need for a Savior.  The law, the Bible teaches, is the schoolmaster meant to bring us to Christ.  We must realize the seriousness of God’s holy law, understand how thoroughly we have broken it, and feel the weight of God’s coming judgement before we feel any read need for a Savior or commit to Him as Lord.

So share the gospel.  Don’t forget to talk about the law, first, though.  Amen.

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perfection

God has just sent his people into a brand new wilderness.  He has told them two very important instructions: to remember his extreme grace and mercy toward them, and to obey Him.  He has promised that if they would but listen to Him, that he is ready and waiting to make them a kingdom of priests; a holy nation; his very own treasured possession.  Talk about making a deal they can’t refuse!  Of course, they agreed.

The next step in this “process of becoming” as we will call it, it for the prophet to instruct the people on how to prepare themselves for the coming of God Himself.

 And the Lord said to Moses, “Behold, I am coming to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever.”

When Moses told the words of the people to the Lord, 10 the Lord said to Moses, “Go to the people and consecrate them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments 11 and be ready for the third day. For on the third day the Lord will come down on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people. 12 And you shall set limits for the people all around, saying, ‘Take care not to go up into the mountain or touch the edge of it. Whoever touches the mountain shall be put to death. 13 No hand shall touch him, but he shall be stoned or shot;[a] whether beast or man, he shall not live.’ When the trumpet sounds a long blast, they shall come up to the mountain.” 14 So Moses went down from the mountain to the people and consecrated the people; and they washed their garments. 15 And he said to the people, “Be ready for the third day; do not go near a woman.” ~Exodus 19:9-15

God said that these people were to be consecrated.  The way in which God instructs this to be accomplished is that they:

1. Wash their garments.  Matthew Henry notes, “When we are to attend upon God in solemn ordinances it concerns us to sanctify ourselves, and to get ready beforehand.  Wandering thoughts must be gathered in, impure affections abandoned, disquieting passions suppressed, nay, and all cares about secular business, for the present, dismissed and laid by, that our hearts may be engaged to approach unto God…It becomes us to appear in clean clothes when we wait upon great men; so clean hearts are required in our attendance on the great God, who sees them as plainly as men see our clothes.  This is absolutely necessary to our acceptably worshiping God.”

2. Have established limits set.  They must be told with an extreme amount of clarity that these are the lines we do not cross lest we receive the severest of consequences.  No compromises will be made past these lines.  No blind eyes will be turned when any person – even any animal!!!- crosses.  No grace whatsoever will be given if there is injustice done to these unbreakable rules.  The message God was conveying here through the work of his prophet’s line drawing?  YOU DO NOT PRESUME UPON GOD’S MERCY – EVER. You want stoned?  Shot?  If you cross these lines that’s exactly what is going to happen.  Try me.

3.  Do not go near a woman.  This was a matter of purity of mind and heart.  Henry says, “In token of their devoting themselves entirely to religious exercises, upon this occasion, they must abstain even from lawful enjoyments during these three days, and not come at their wives.”

This was how they were to prepare for the coming of God.  These were the things necessary to truly “be ready” to meet him.  Here, before the law was given, God came down on the third day.  In the future, before grace was given, God was raised on the third day.  In the former, God came down to tell us what he expects of us – absolute perfection.  In the latter, God is raised up to tell us what we can expect from Him – unmitigated grace.

You simply cannot get the magnitude of that without falling down to worship Him.  WOW!!!  There are no words to aptly describe what a beautiful God we serve!

Hey world!!!  Look at HIM!!!  How awesome!  How amazing!  How merciful!  How good and great and strong and wise!  That’s MY Dad!!!

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Paul has warned and exhorted the Galatians extensively concerning legalism, liberty, and in-fighting.  He goes on to make himself even clearer.  He calls out specifically what they are to do and how they are to do it.  Notice, as a gracious good leader, Paul starts by telling his people not just what to do, but how to do it.  

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. ~Galatians 5:16-18

Paul has just finished telling these guys not to fight with one another.  He gives them a specific alternative: fight sin.  If these guys would just put half the effort they had invested in disputing with one another into disputing with their own hearts, they would be on to something.  He tells them specifically how to fight sin: walk in the Spirit – the Holy Spirit that is.

At first glance, Galatians 5:19-23 may seem like a simple list of do’s and don’ts.  Look carefully and it is obvious that this is not the case.  Notice Paul does not say, “do this list of things” or “don’t do this list of things.”  Surely, that is his hope and prayer, but it is not his instruction.  Rather, his instruction is only this: walk in the Spirit.  Walk in the Spirit.  

Walking involves action; movement; forward motion.  Christians cannot sit around passively waiting for God to make them holy any more than obese people can sit around the gym passively waiting for God to make them fit.  Instead, we are called to move forward through his power by actively obeying his Spirit.  And, yes, that takes effort and willingness on our part.  It takes blood, sweat, and tears just like physical fitness does.  No, that is not a works mentality; it is a Biblical exhortation given and demonstrated by both Jesus and Paul repeatedly.

If we do this, Paul says we, consequently, will not do what is contradictory to it.  It is not, “Do this, don’t do that.”  No.  It is, “If you do this, you won’t do that.”  Ceasing to sin is a natural outflow of submitting to the Holy Spirit.  Because sin is antithetical to the Spirit’s every prompting, our submission to Him trumps our inclination to sin.  It is simply more desirable; more powerful; more influential; more able to lead us than the empty, fleeting desires we used to obey.  Considering the magnetic force and draw of sin, I’d say this should give us great encouragement and comfort.  We are in able hands.  “It is our duty and interest in this struggle to side with the better part, to side with our convictions against our corruptions and with our graces against our lusts.” ~Matthew Henry

Because the Spirit’s works and sin’s works are in diabolic opposition, doing one automatically cancels the other.  The best part, Paul adds after his painstaking discourse on “legal” troubles within the church, is that when we are led by the Spirit, we are altogether free from the law!  We do not need it to be hammered at us over and over and over again because we are walking in the very light of its author!  Not because we don’t have to obey it!  God forbid!  On the contrary!  Of course we want to do right and follow God’s laws; we love him!  It is natural to obey when your heart’s desire is to follow your ferociously fascinating Father!  Who needs a scolding law enforcer to make them obey?  Not God’s kids!

“If you act under the guidance and government of the Holy Spirit and of that spiritual nature and disposition he has wrought in you, if you make the word of God your rule and the grace of God your principle, it will hence appear that you are not under the law, not under the condemning, though you are still under the commanding, power of it.” ~Matthew Henry

It is only after Paul describes how Christians are to avoid sin that he tells them what sin generally looks like.  He tells the Galatians that sin is very obviously recognizable.  The works of the flesh are not mysterious.  Know what they are and, if you are practicing them or the like, know that you are not currently walking in the Spirit – or headed for heaven for that matter, because, as Matthew Henry says, “Christ will never own those who yield themselves servants of sin.”

Therefore, he urges, consider the fruits of the Spirit and examine yourself.  If you do these things, you need not worry about the law.  There is no law against doing right!  Fleshly works have been crucified in those who belong to Christ!  Let’s act like it, guys!  This isn’t rocket science!  We needn’t go from one extreme to the other!  It is not, “Oh, no law?  I guess I’ll sin and prove it.”  NO!  It’s “Oh!  The law is not the boss!  Jesus is!  Hallelujah!  I want to please him every minute because of his amazing grace!!!”

Paul concludes with another warning against pride, disputing, and envy.  These, also, are in direct opposition to our spiritual jaunt.  Doubtless, these are the very things that foster most feuds and divisions in the church.  If it hadn’t been for the presence of these attitudes, Paul wouldn’t even be having this conversation.

Hear him.  Christianity is not complicated.  It is not do this; don’t do that.  It is walk this way.  If we walk in the Spirit, we will be following Jesus and supernaturally avoiding lawlessness and sin.  

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Since I’ve been studying in Galatians, I thought it might be helpful to take a little detour into Acts for a moment in order to better understand this whole law/liberty issue.  In Acts chapter 21, Paul submits to taking a vow.  Paul – the freedom fighter.  Some may wonder why Paul agrees to do so when he is known for his insistence regarding liberty and freedom in Christ.  Why this external ritual?  Why the Old Covenant tradition keeping?  Isn’t he trying to prove that these things have passed?  Why is he taking a vow?  I mean, it’s one thing to graciously allow for vow-taking by those who are still bound by conscience to it, but for him, why?  Why isn’t he teaching New Covenant grace and freedom in this case?

And when they heard it, they glorified God. And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many thousands there are among the Jews of those who have believed. They are all zealous for the law, 21 and they have been told about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses,telling them not to circumcise their children or walk according to our customs. 22 What then is to be done? They will certainly hear that you have come. 23 Do therefore what we tell you. We have four men who are under a vow; 24 take these men and purify yourself along with them and pay their expenses, so that they may shave their heads. Thus all will know that there is nothing in what they have been told about you, but that you yourself also live in observance of the law. ~Acts 21:20-24

At a time when Paul knew he did not ever have to observe this kind of law, Paul not only vowed to do so, but also paid for all the other men as well (like Jesus.)  He did everything he possibly could to submit to and respect those whom he was trying to reach with the true gospel.  He went above and beyond his “legal” obligations for the sake of peace and the furtherance of Christianity.  He sought to prove himself true in the face of the lies and misunderstandings that had been circulating about him in this place.

Even this was not enough to curb the hateful appetites of those who were “zealous for the law” and who had “been told about” Paul.

Rumors and hate speech about Paul had circulated prior to his coming to this city.  These religious authorities had made up their minds about Paul long before he ever showed up.  They were decidedly angry at, afraid of, and opposed to him from the get-go.  Nothing he did to prove himself sincere softened their attitude in the least.  When his unnecessary vow is almost complete, these guys pounce.  The last thing they want is for Paul to be accepted, esteemed, and listened to by their counterparts and peers.  They were the leaders, remember?  This town wasn’t big enough for them and Paul both.  They weren’t about to lose their authority or respect on account of this guy on their turf no matter how true what he was teaching was.  So what do they do about it?

 When the seven days were almost completed, the Jews from Asia,seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, 28 crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who is teaching everyone everywhere against the people and the law and this place. Moreover, he even brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” ~Acts 21:27-28

They lie.  They misrepresent Paul publicly.  They assume the worst of Paul and tell the world that he has broken the law.  They publicly accuse him when he indeed was innocent.  They stir up a mob against an innocent man and they seek to kill him claiming that he is guilty of that which they are actually doing.  Oh, didn’t that happen to Jesus, too?  Yeah.  Scare tactics, intimidation, false charges, and mob mentality without a trial.  Sounds about right.

Fortunately, Paul was ready.  He knew he had been called by God to this city.  He knew he would suffer here.  He knew he was innocent.  Therefore, when Paul was taken into custody, he knew what he must do.

And when he had given him permission, Paul, standing on the steps, motioned with his hand to the people. And when there was a great hush, he addressed them in the Hebrew language, saying: “Brothers and fathers, hear the defense that I now make before you.” ~Acts 21:40-22:1

Paul defends himself.  He uses their language and he speaks in his own defense.  He gives his testimony.  He tells those who love to hate him that he, too, used to do the same.  He gives glory to Christ for his conversion.  He explains how the Lord sent him to the Gentiles.  Paul is completely honest and straightforward with the men who seek to destroy him out of jealousy, fear, and pride.  Instead of recognizing his truth as truth, they more adamantly attack him.

Meanwhile, the legal authorities are still trying to figure out why he’s being accused and attacked (Acts 22:30.)  It really makes no sense at all.  He defends himself truthfully once more and is disregarded (Acts 23:2.)  Paul is exposing their hypocrisy (Acts 23:3.)  No religious gurus like that.

Everyone is furious with Paul at this point.  Funny thing, Paul is the only one here who is walking in the Spirit and doing the will of God in this situation.  Even his own friends and fellow disciples had heard the Holy Spirit concerning his journey here and begged him not to go.

Paul went, though.  Paul preached.  Paul did all he could to avoid giving offense.  His mission was to be a witness, though, not a celebrity.  Witnesses don’t need fans, fortunate circumstances, or favorable winds.  Witnesses just need facts.  And facts Paul had.  So, God used Paul in a place where fiction and fallacy was running the show.

 for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard ~Acts 22:15

Preaching the true gospel in heavily religious places may find us being dismissed as dangerous, defamed as derelicts, and disregarded as devils.  Do not worry, though.  Paul and the Holy Spirit  have a solution for us:

But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. ~Galatians 5:16

…”Take courage…” ~Acts 23:11

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