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Paul Spoke Boldly in Jerusalem

29 Jun

Luke tells us in Acts 9:29 that Paul spoke boldly in the Grecian (or Hellenist) synagogues at Jerusalem. When he was at Damascus and spoke there boldly (Acts 9:27) of the Lord, Jesus, Paul had to flee for his life, and it seems it was no different for him during his short stay in Jerusalem (Acts 9:29-30). The Greek word that Luke used is found in the New Testament only nine times and is used of Paul in eight of those occurrences. It means, according to Strong’s Concordance, “to be frank in utterance, or confident in spirit and demeanor” (G3955). In other words, Paul spoke clearly and openly, laying his fate in the hands of the Lord.

If Paul preached Christ with frankness and confidence, what would that have looked like, if we were present to hear him? If we were Jews and our ears were not tuned to the Lord, we would be angered by what Paul claimed (Acts 9:22-23, 27, 29). What would upset us in the words of a sermon today, while we listened attentively in our Christian churches? Something in the words of Paul upset the Jews, who listened attentively to him, and it wasn’t simply that Jesus was the Messiah; otherwise no one in Jerusalem, including the Apostles, could have preached him, had the name of Jesus as the Messiah been offensive to the Jews. Paul’s frankness of speech when preaching Jesus had something more to it than the mere identity of the Messiah.

Had we been gentiles listening attentively to Paul and our hearts were not ready to be attached to the Lord, we would have been angered by Paul’s claim, as well. In 1Thessalonians 2:2 Paul mentions how he had been shamefully mistreated at Philippi, but instead of cowering away when enemies contended with him at Thessalonica he rather spoke out boldly for Christ. This implies that Paul had been preaching Christ boldly at Philippi when he was arrested by the authorities there. What occurred immediately before his arrest?

In Acts 16:16 Paul and the disciples met for prayer probably near the riverside (cp. Acts 16:13), for there most likely was not a synagogue in Philippi at that time. A young girl met with them there and probably witnessed Paul’s preaching. She was a slave and a soothsayer who brought her masters much financial gain (Acts 16:16) and probably reported back to them, concerning what she had witnessed. Her masters must have understood that they could take advantage of Paul’s work after he left and derive financial profit from the group, if it appeared that they were in partnership with Paul, so they had the girl follow Paul and use her influence to attract people to him (Acts 16:17). However, after a period of time Paul could take it no longer and called out the spirit of divination from the girl. Once the owners of the slave girl realized what had occurred, they took hold of Paul and Silas and brought them before the magistrates, complaining that Paul was illegally preaching a new religion.

This presents us with a problem. If these men knew Paul was preaching illegally, why didn’t they report him in the beginning? Why, instead, did they wish to be his partner? Wasn’t it because they desired to diversify and become richer and even more powerful than they were? They already seemed to be very influential with the magistrates, since they had Paul punished even without their listening to Paul’s defense! The men who accused Paul of wrongdoing were very powerful people in the community. If they knew what Paul was doing and thought it was illegal, the only reason why they would want to attach themselves to him would have been to become even more powerful and influential than they were then. Perhaps they wished to extend their influence to other cities. But, all their plans came to naught through the boldness of Paul.

There seems to be something attached to the Gospel of Christ that is unnerving to those having power and influence over others—whether religious authorities or financial lords. Could it be that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, neither male nor female, bond nor free (Galatians 3:28); thus, implying no one has advantage over anyone else in Christ, no matter where on the social scale he fits in this world! This would be unnerving to the authorities at Jerusalem, having to admit they had no advantage with God over the gentile. The same would be true throughout the Empire where the rich and powerful had no advantage over the lower classes, including slaves! The economy of Christ, boldly preached, turns this world upside down!

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6 Comments

Posted by on June 29, 2012 in Paul's First Visit to Jerusalem

 

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6 responses to “Paul Spoke Boldly in Jerusalem

  1. Kubanji

    July 22, 2012 at 16:52

    Thank You for your response Sir…I also believe that Jesus is the Father,son and the Holy Spirit…as for believing in Doctrine…I believe Doctrine is an important part of our faith therefore I believe Jesus saves but its also important to believe the Doctrine taught in the Bible.

    Denominations are also not important…the most important thing is being right with God and being saved as the Bible teaches.When Christ comes back ,He is coming back for only one church…not necessarily denominations.

    God bless you too.

     
    • Ed Bromfield

      July 23, 2012 at 09:07

      Hello again, Kubanji,

      If Jesus is the Father and the Holy Spirit, was Jesus praying to himself when he prayed to the Father? What exactly did Jesus mean when he said the Comforter could not come if he, Jesus, didn’t leave? If Jesus is the Holy Spirit then the Comforter was already there, yet Jesus spoke of **another** Comforter. Indeed, doctrine is important, but not for our salvation. The robber on the cross next to Jesus knew little about doctrine, but Jesus invited him to paradise and be with him. I hold the Bible to be true and with out error in its original form. Copy-errors and the like can be found and the original seems to be there for all to see. Therefore, true knowledge is available for those who seek it. So, while it is important to be believe right doctrine, for freedom sake, only Jesus is able to save–period.

      I agree denominations are not important. Only the Church is important, and the Church is found without blemish and without division within all denominations. Jesus knows his wife and will come for her–us–all of us, wherever we may be found.

      Lord bless you, Kubanji,

      Eddie

       
      • kubanji

        July 25, 2012 at 14:20

        God bless you too .

        I still maintain that Doctrine is important and linked to our salvation even as according to 1
        Timothy4:16
        Take heed unto yourself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this you shall both save yourself, and them that hear you.

        Jesus is the one who saves us but what we believe is also important…the two cannot be separated.

         
        • Ed Bromfield

          July 26, 2012 at 07:04

          Greetings Kubanji, and thank you for responding. While I agree that what we believe is very important and has something to do with our salvation, life and death is solely in the hands of Jesus, and we can neither help nor diminish his work. Rather than explain this in detail, you and anyone who reads this may find my explanation HERE in the Three Tenses of Salvation. I blogged about this very matter back in August of 2009. Have a great day and Lord bless you, Kubanji.

          Eddie

           
  2. Kubanji

    July 22, 2012 at 01:16

    Hi Sir..I was looking up something about Paul and ended on your blog…I was interested to read that You do not believe in the Trinity…more so that that word is not used by the Bible to define God.I also do not believe in the Trinity but rather in one God whose name is Jesus.I was just gonna suggest a book that actually teaches about this subject of the oneness of God..its by David K Bernard and is titled “The Oneness of God”.

     
    • Ed Bromfield

      July 22, 2012 at 07:57

      Greetings,

      While it is true that I don’t refer to God as “Trinity”, I do believe in Father, Son and Holy Spirit. All are mentioned in the Bible and all are one God. I believe the word “Trinity” hides God’s message to us, as it refers to himself and found in the first few chapters of Genesis. The man and the woman–together–were the single **image** of God and they (the two) were one flesh, just as God is one Spirit.

      Thank you for your kind interest in me and my possible interest in David Bernard’s book. To be perfectly honest, however, I am not interested in anything that separates God’s people. We are one. Doctrine–any doctrine–will not save us. Jesus saves, period. Therefore, doctrine is not as important as belonging to him, and he is one with the Father and prayed that we would be one with him. The simple truth is. I love Jesus and will not separate myself from my brethren, no matter who they are or what denominational tradition they claim as their own–whether that tradition is “Unitarian” or “Trinitarian”. While I speak against the doctrine that would teach God is Unitarian, I do not see Unitarian believers as outside the Body of Christ. I don’t like the word “trinity”, not because it doesn’t succeed in showing truth, but because it hides the truth that mankind was created in God’s image. We are not a singularity, but we are destroying ourselves, because we are not a Unity. If we were **one** as God is **One**, we would love one another, and most of our problems would not exist. Hence the need for the truth of God.

      Lord bless you,

      Eddie

       

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