Hello everybody, and welcome in to episode 53 of the Bible 2021 podcast. We are reading Acts 23 today and our focus is on The Hope of the Resurrection + Why Paul was a Good Witness of the Gospel . We are a daily 10 minute podcast, where we will dig in to the truth of the Word of God by reading one Bible chapter a day and discussing it. Welcome to new listeners in Victoria, Australia, West Bengal, India, London, England, Ontario, Canada, Washington, Dc, Meridian, Mississippi, and Abilene, Texas. Thanks for listening! Our goal is to encourage DAILY Bible reading, so you can jump in at any time and join with us. We want to invite as many people as possible to join us in daily Bible reading, so help spread the word and share the podcast Don’t forget about our new web-page, Bible2021.com – contact page, show notes, transcript and more – Click here for our reading plan
Let’s launch with some feedback from our friend OG (the original gangster) on yesterday’s episode on Paul’s salvation and his testimony:
There are several reasons that God saved Paul, and we will not know them all on this side of eternity. First and foremost, because God even loves those who revile and hate him. The most vulgar atheist who deceives those weak in their faith … even that one is a person for whom Jesus died. But also, note how well suited Paul was to spread the gospel: We learn from yesterday’s lesson that Paul spoke Aramaic and Greek, and we also know that he spoke Hebrew and Latin. There would be few people in the empire to whom Paul could not speak. He was a Roman citizen, and as seen here, was thus protected from arbitrary abuses of power. Paul was well-versed in the scriptures, being a Pharisee of the Pharisees, and the son of a Pharisee. Paul was bold, result-minded, highly intelligent, and absolutely fearless. He wrote with authority and preached with power. Paul was carefully designed by God to be a powerhouse of the gospel. In addition to all of that, it often seems to happen that God reaches into a dark place and sets some random human on a path towards Him. I have heard many stories of people with no inkling of the Gospel suddenly deciding to pursue some course that led to God, or else set in a circumstance from which only God could lift them. God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance.
Great gospel notes there, OG!
Today’s passage is pretty interesting, and has lots going on. The Sadducees and Pharisees get into a debate, instigated by Paul, about resurrection and the existence of angels and spirits. A group of racist Jewish people, still incensed about Paul having the gall to suggest that the good news be taken to Gentiles, bind themselves together under a curse-oath to not eat or drink until they’ve killed Paul. Interestingly…they don’t kill Paul, and I’d love to have known the outcome of that. Did they indeed starve or die of thirst? Did they realize how silly they were being and just eat and drink? And, I love the way that these schemers are outmaneuvered here – clever Claudius – good job, commander. Let’s read our passage.
Side note: One thing I have in common with Paul: When I get hit in the face, I experience an immediate anger burst. I don’t usually have much of a temper, but getting hit in the face can cause a very brief and intense rise in anger. That said, unlike Paul, I rarely call people whitewashed walls when I am upset with them.
Here is our verse of the day, specifically, the last part: When Paul realized that one part of them were Sadducees and the other part were Pharisees, he cried out in the Sanhedrin, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. I am being judged because of the hope of the resurrection of the dead!” (Acts 23:6)
What is the hope of the resurrection of the dead? Paul explains it even more clearly later on in his defense:
I have a hope in God, which these men themselves also accept, that there will be a resurrection, both of the righteous and the unrighteous. (Acts 24:15)
6 And now I stand on trial because of the hope in what God promised to our ancestors, 7 the promise our twelve tribes hope to reach as they earnestly serve him night and day. King Agrippa, I am being accused by the Jews because of this hope. 8 Why do any of you consider it incredible that God raises the dead? (Acts 26:6-8)
This is core and crucial to the good news – God will raise to life all who have perished.
If there is any one truth that Christ proclaimed more often than another, it seems to me to be this,—that there shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and of the unjust, and that the actions of this life will be reviewed in another life, and that rewards and punishments will be meted out by the great Judge who cannot err. Kind and gracious as was the mighty prophet of Nazareth, who has ever described in more graphic words than he did the separation of the sheep from the goats, and the blessing of those on the right hand and the cursing of those on the left? What words could there be more terrible than his when he spoke of the worm that dieth not and of the fire that never shall be quenched? O sinner, your sin is immortal; at least, there is only One who can kill it, and put it away, even Christ Jesus. You shall live again, sir; it shall not be the end of you when you are carried to your grave, and green grows the grass above you. You shall live again, and your thoughts, and words, and actions shall live too.
C. H. Spurgeon, “The King’s Sharp Arrows,” in The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit Sermons, vol. 53 (London: Passmore & Alabaster, 1907), 231.
End of the Show: Bible memory verse for FEBRUARY: Acts 9:31 So the church throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and was strengthened. Living in the fear of the Lord and encouraged by the Holy Spirit, it increased in numbers.
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