From Jim McGuiggan... Jesus Christ and Creation

Jesus Christ and Creation

   John and others have taught us that God must be understood through Jesus Christ—if you've seen and known me you see and know the Father, Jesus taught us (John 14); and if we've come to know Jesus we've come to know the Holy Spirit who is the Spirit of God's Son as well as the Spirit of God (Galatians 4:6).

When we think of knowing God by looking at Jesus I would suppose that we automatically think of God's character and the kind of heart he has; no bad thing that. But I think we need we should spare a thought for God's purposes. His purposes reflect his character too, don't you know, but Jesus came to accomplish things in his Father's name and as his Father's servant and when we see Jesus we see the one in whom the purposes of God are focused.

Colossians 1:15-17 makes us think of Genesis 1:26-28. The echo of the "image of God" and then the notion of dominion and power in which Jesus is said to be preeminent and the one in whom all things hold together. Colossians 1 echoes Genesis 1 but it takes us light years beyond it. Three distinct prepositions tell us how and why the creation came to be. It came to be "through" him as the agent of creation (1 Corinthians 8:6). As surely as election and redemption is "in" Jesus so also was the world created "in" him (see Ephesians 1:4). He is the conceptual sphere within which God worked to create; creation was created in light of Jesus, with Jesus as its driving thought and inspiration. And the creation was created for (or "unto") him—he was creation's goal. In the glorious and immortal Jesus, the Son of God and the last Adam the creation found its completion. What went before was real and wonderful but it was all moving toward him. This God purposed in creation before the human family rebelled and our rebellion did not change his mind. The redeeming life and person of Jesus Christ completes the two tasks—he sets the world right in redemption and brings it to its purposed climax with him as its glorified Lord.

The Incarnation, redeeming life, death, resurrection and exaltation confirm God's eternal creation purposes by bringing about redemption and reconciliation. The creation is not destined for destruction in "the great fire"—it was created for Jesus.

This has ramifications for how we look at, work with and relate to the creation.

Was Jonah Swallowed by a Fish or a Whale? by Eric Lyons, M.Min.


Was Jonah Swallowed by a Fish or a Whale?

by  Eric Lyons, M.Min.

The book of Jonah reveals that “[t]he Lord had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights” (1:17, emp. added). About 800 years later, Jesus alluded to this amazing event (Matthew 12:39-41). According to the King James translation of Matthew 12:40, Jesus referred to Jonah being “three days and three nights in the whale’s belly” (emp. added). Since fish and whales are different creatures, skeptics accuse Jesus and the Bible writers of making a mistake (cf. Wells, 2012). Longtime Bible critic Dennis McKinsey alleged that Matthew 12:40 is “[p]robably the most famous scientific error by Jesus” (1995, p. 142). “Apparently Jesus hadn’t read the Old Testament very closely… Anyone with even a minimum of biological knowledge knows that a whale is not a fish and a fish is not a whale” (pp. 142-143).
Such a criticism of Jesus and the Bible writers epitomizes the impotence of skeptics’ attacks on God and His Word. McKinsey bases his criticism solely on an English translation made nearly 1,600 years after Jesus spoke these words. The skeptic never bothered to compare translations. He never asked about the word that Jesus originally spoke or that Matthew recorded. He did nothing but make a cursory criticism that might sound sensible on the surface, yet with only a little investigation, is easily and rationally explained.
What was the underlying Greek word that is translated “whale” in the KJV (as well as a few other versions)? A brief look in various respected Greek dictionaries quickly reveals that the word is ketos and is defined broadly as a “large sea creature” (Newman, 1971, p. 100), “sea monster” (Danker, et al., 2000, p. 544), or “huge fish” (Vine, 1952, p. 209). Jesus indicated that Jonah was swallowed by a “large sea creature,” which was not necessarily a whale, but may have been.
Nearly 300 years before Jesus spoke of Jonah being swallowed by a ketos (Matthew 12:40), translators of the Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament) used this same Greek word (ketos) to translate the Hebrew word (dahg, fish) found in Jonah 1:17, 2:1, and 2:10. The fact is, as Hebrew and Greek scholar Jack Lewis concluded, both dahg and ketos “designate sea creatures of undefined species” (1976, 2:178). In no way did Jesus, the Creator of all things (John 1:3), make a mistake about what kind of animal God “had prepared” to swallow Jonah. The animal was a great sea creature, and not necessarily a great “fish” according to our modern, more limited, definition of the word. It may very well have been a type of fish (e.g., shark), water-living mammal (e.g., whale), or extinct, dinosaur-like, water-living reptile. We simply cannot be sure. As Dave Miller concluded: “Both the Hebrew and Greek languages lacked the precision to identify with specificity the identity of the creature that swallowed Jonah” (2003).
Finally, one crucial truth that many (especially the Bible critics) miss in a discussion about God and the Bible writers’ naming and classifying of animals is that God did not classify animals thousands of years ago according to our modern classification system. As far back as Creation, God divided animals into very basic, natural groups. He made aquatic and aerial creatures on day five and terrestrial animals on day six (Genesis 1:20-23,24-25). Just as God sensibly classified bats with “birds,” since they both fly (Leviticus 11:13-19; see Lyons, 2009), He could classify whales as “fish,” since they both maneuver by swimming. To accuse Jesus or the Bible writers of incorrectly categorizing an animal based upon Carolus Linnaeus’ 18th-century classification of animals, or any other modern method of classifying animals, is both illogical and unjust.
[NOTE: For more information on the Hebrew and Greek words dahg and ketos, see Miller, 2003.]


Danker, Frederick William, William Arndt, and F.W. Gingrich, (2000), Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Chicago, IL: University of Chicago Press).
Lewis, Jack P. (1976), The Gospel According to Matthew (Austin, TX: Sweet).
Lyons, Eric (2009), “Did the Bible Writers Commit Biological Blunders?Reason & Revelation, 29[7]:49-55, July.
McKinsey, Dennis (1995), The Encylopedia of Biblical Errancy (Amherst, NY: Prometheus).
Miller, Dave (2003), “Jonah and the ‘Whale’?” Apologetics Press, http://www.apologeticspress.org/apcontent.aspx?category=6&article=69.
Newman, Barclay M., Jr. (1971), A Concise Greek-English Dictionary of the New Testament (London: United Bible Societies).
Vine, W.E. (1952), An Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words (Old Tappan, NJ: Revell).
Wells, Steve (2012), Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/contra/whale.html.

From Mark Copeland... The Twelve Disciples Of John (Acts 19:1-10)

                   "CONVERSIONS IN THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                 The Twelve Disciples Of John (19:1-10)


1. In our survey of "Conversions In The Book of Acts", we have 
   considered the following examples of conversion...
   a. The 3000 on Pentecost - Ac 2:1-41
   b. The 2000 at Solomon's Porch - Ac 3:1-4:4
   c. The Samaritans - Ac 8:4-25
   d. The Ethiopian Eunuch - Ac 8:26-40
   e. Saul Of Tarsus - Ac 9:1-19; 22:6-16; 26:12-18
   f. Cornelius And His Household - Ac 10:1-48; 11:1-18
   g. Two Households At Philippi - Ac 16:6-34
   h. The Athenians - Ac 17:16-34
   i. The Corinthians - Ac 18:1-11

2. There were others that we might have considered, but did not...
   a. Those at Antioch of Syria - Ac 11:19-21
   b. Sergius Paulus on the island of Paphos - Ac 13:4-12
   c. Those at Antioch of Pisidia - Ac 13:13-48
   d. Those at Iconium, Lystra and Derbe - Ac 14:1-20
   e. Those at Thessalonica and Berea - Ac 17:1-12
   f. Apollos, who was taught by Aquilla and Priscilla - Ac 18:24-28

3. But in those we examined, I shared the following observations:
   a. The gospel message was one that focused on Jesus...
      1) Who died for our sins
      2) Who was raised from the dead
      3) Who is both Lord and Christ, returning again one day to judge
         the world
   b. The response expected of those who heard was one of...
      1) Faith in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God (which included
         confessing that faith)
      2) Repentance of one's sins
      3) Baptism for the remission of sins

4. Before we conclude this series, I wish to examine one more case of
   a. It is the last example of conversion in Acts (with the possible
      of exception of some in the audience when Paul spoke at Rome 
      - Ac 28:23-24)
   b. It is unique for several reasons, one of which is that it 
      describes a "re-baptism"

[I am referring to "The Twelve Disciples Of John", recorded in Ac 19: 1-10.  As we begin this study, let's review the Biblical record...]


      1. He had just started his third journey - Ac 18:22-23
      2. At the end of his second journey, he had made a quick stop at
         Ephesus - Ac 18:19-21
      3. True to his word, he returned to Ephesus - Ac 19:1

      1. He finds some "disciples", who were twelve in number - Ac 19:
      2. Upon questioning, he learns they were disciples of John the 
         Baptist - Ac 19:2-3
         a. He asked them if they had received the Holy Spirit when 
            they believed
            1) As explained in the conversion of "The Samaritans" (Ac 8:4-25), I believe the phrase "receive the Holy Spirit"
               to be a metonymy for receiving a miraculous gift from 
               the Spirit
            2) As an apostle, Paul had the ability to impart spiritual
               gifts - Ro 1:11; 2Ti 1:6
            3) Assuming the "disciples" to have been baptized into 
               Christ, he desired to give them gifts from the Spirit 
               (such as the gifts of tongues and prophesy, cf. 1Co 12:10)
         b. Their immediate answer sparks another question from Paul
            1) They had not heard about a Holy Spirit
               a) They must not have known much of John's own teaching,
                  for he taught about the Holy Spirit - cf. Mt 3:11
               b) They clearly could not have been properly baptized
                  into Christ, for it is a baptism into the name of the
                  Father, Son and Holy Spirit! - cf. Mt 28:19
            2) So Paul inquires into their baptism
               a) He learns that it was John's baptism
               b) Some have suggested that these 12 may have been 
                  converted by Apollos before Apollos himself learned 
                  the truth - cf. Ac 18:24-25

      1. Paul explains that while John did teach a baptism of 
         repentance, he directed people to believe on Jesus who would
         come after him - Ac 19:4
      2. The twelve are then baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus 
         - Ac 19:5
         a. This would be the baptism commanded by Jesus - Mt 28:18-20
         b. And the baptism expected of all would-be disciples of Jesus
            - Ac 2:38; 22:16
      3. Following their baptism, Paul laid hands on them and the 
         Spirit imparted gifts of tongues and prophesy - Ac 19:6-7

[Such was the beginning of a very successful period for the gospel (cf.
Ac 19:8-10).  Again we see what was considered the normal response of
one who wished to become a disciple of Jesus (faith and baptism).

The example of "The Twelve Disciples Of John" does raise an interesting
question concerning "re-baptism":  Under what circumstances should one
be baptized again?  Here are some thoughts regarding this question...]


      1. They had been previously "baptized"
      2. Their baptism, however, was lacking in some way
         a. Even though it was immersion
         b. Even though it was "for the remission of sins" - Mk 1:4
         c. But baptism was not in the name of Jesus - Ac 2:38; 10:48;
            1) That is, by His authority
            2) Which would have been a baptism into the name of the 
               Father, the Holy Spirit, and the Son - Mt 28:19
      3. Because their first baptism LACKED AN ESSENTIAL ELEMENT, 
         "re-baptism" was necessary!
      -- May we not conclude that if an earlier baptism lacks some 
         essential element, then "re-baptism" is necessary?

      1. There are four "essential elements" of Bible baptism
         a. The proper MODE:  a burial (immersion) - Ro 6:3; Col 2:12
         b. The proper AUTHORITY:  in the name of Christ - Ac 19:5
         c. The proper PURPOSE:  remission of sins - Ac 2:38; 22:16
         d. The proper SUBJECT:  penitent believer - Ac 2:38; 8:37; 
            Mk 16:16
      2. When just one of these "essential elements" was lacking, 
         "re-baptism" was commanded
         a. In Ac 19:1-5, the proper AUTHORITY was lacking
         b. Even though their previous baptism had the right MODE, 
            PURPOSE, and SUBJECT
      3. Some cases where "re-baptism" would seem appropriate
         a. If we were baptized by SPRINKLING OR POURING, for the 
            proper mode is immersion
         b. If we were baptized by THE AUTHORITY OF ANYONE OTHER THAN
            JESUS, for the proper authority is Jesus Christ
         c. If we were baptized AS A PUBLIC CONFESSION OF FAITH
            (thinking that we were already saved), for the proper 
            purpose is the remission of sins
         d. If we were baptized BUT WERE NOT PENITENT BELIEVERS, for a
            proper subject is one who believes "with all their heart"
            1) E.g., when one is baptized just because their friends
               are doing it
            2) E.g., Because their spouse, fiance‚ or parents are 
               pressuring them to do it (and they do it to please them,
               not God)
      4. But let me be sure to clarify:
         a. When one is baptized because their "first" baptism lacked
            an essential element...
            1) It is not really "re-baptism!"
            2) For in the strictest sense, that person is finally being
               baptized scripturally for the FIRST time!
         b. When one has been scripturally baptized ONCE...
            1) There is never a need to be baptized again!
            2) Once we have clothed ourselves with Christ in baptism:
               a) The blood of Christ continually cleanses us of our 
               b) As we REPENT and CONFESS our sins to God in prayer 
                  - Ac 8:22; 1Jn 1:9


1. The example of "The Twelve Disciples Of John" certainly illustrates
   that one can...
   a. Be religious
   b. Have undergone some baptismal experience
   ...and still not be a true disciple of Jesus Christ!

2. One can rest assured that they are a true disciple of Jesus when 
   their baptism had...
   a. The right MODE - immersion
   b. The right AUTHORITY- Jesus Christ
   c. The right PURPOSE - remission of sins
   d. The right SUBJECT - penitent believer
   -- Lacking any of these "essential elements", one should consider 
      being baptized again in order to "make your calling and election

3. If we desire to truly be disciples of Jesus Christ, then let's make
   a. We proclaim the pure gospel of Jesus Christ, as preached by His
      apostles in the first century A.D.
   b. We have responded to that gospel in the same manner as those who
      heard the good news preached in its purity and simplicity

I pray that this study, "Conversions In The Book Of Acts", has been
beneficial toward that end.

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... The Corinthians (Acts 18:1-11)

                   "CONVERSIONS IN THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                       The Corinthians (18:1-11)


1. Following his limited success at Athens, Paul went to nearby 
   a. An economic center of Greece, known for its immorality
   b. It became an important focus of Paul's ministry
      1) Where he stayed a year and a half on his second missionary 
      2) Where he visited once and possibly twice on his third journey
   c. A well-known church was established, the recipient of at least 
      two epistles by Paul

2. The establishment of the church is described in Ac 18:1-11 in which
   we read of...
   a. Paul's work in the local synagogue
   b. The conversion of many Corinthians, including the ruler of the 

3. We also read something about their conversion in 1Co 1:14-17...
   a. Where Paul expresses thanks for personally baptizing just a few 
      of the Corinthians
   b. In which some have concluded that Paul was declaring the 
      non-essentiality of baptism

4. In this study we shall examine the conversion of "The
   a. Once again, to glean what we can about the gospel's message and
   b. To determine whether Paul was actually demeaning the importance 
      of baptism in his epistle to the Corinthians

[Turning to Ac 18:1-11, let's review Luke's account of...]


      1. He meets up with Aquila and Priscilla - Ac 18:1-2
      2. Of the same trade (tentmakers), Paul stays with them - Ac 18:3

      1. He goes to the synagogue, as was his custom - Ac 18:4; cf.
         a. He "reasons" with the people, as he did with...
            1) Those at Thessalonica - cf. Ac 17:2
            2) Those at Athens - Ac 17:17
            3) Those at Ephesus - Ac 18:19; 19:8-9
            4) Felix the governor - Ac 24:25
            5) Festus and Agrippa - Ac 26:25
            -- The gospel is designed to appeal to the mind as well as
               the heart! - cf. Mt 22:37
         b. He "persuades" both Jews and Greeks...
            1) As he did at Thessalonica - Ac 17:4
            2) As he did at Ephesus - Ac 19:8
            3) As he came close to doing with King Agrippa - Ac 26:28
            -- Again, the gospel appeals to the reasoning processes of
               the mind
      2. When Silas and Timothy arrive, Paul is constrained to preach
         even more - Ac 18:5
         a. He "testified" to the Jews that Jesus is the Christ 
            - cf. Ac 20:21,24; 23:11; 28:23
         b. Such testimony likely involved:
            1) Using the Messianic prophecies of the  Old Testament 
               - Ac 17:2-3
            2) His eyewitness testimony as an apostle - cf. Ac 26:16
      3. Rejection by some of the Jews sends him to the Gentiles 
         - Ac 18:6-7
         a. Just as it did at Antioch of Pisidia - Ac 13:45-46
         b. In Corinth, Paul has only to go next door, to the home of
      4. The gospel bears fruit in Corinth - Ac 18:8
         a. Crispus, ruler of the synagogue, believes with all his 
            household - cf. 1Co 1:14
         b. Many of the Corinthians believe and are baptized
      5. Encouraged by the Lord in a vision, Paul stays for a year and
         a half  - Ac 18:9-11

[With Luke's description, we see a similarity with what we have read 
before.  Upon hearing the gospel, those persuaded both believe and are
baptized (cf. Ac 8:12; 18:8). This is certainly in keeping with the
commission of our Lord (cf. Mk 16:15-16).

But often people will use Paul's comments in 1Co 1:14-17 to say that
baptism has nothing to do with conversion (salvation).  Is that true?
Let's take a close look at...]


      1. The church at Corinth was badly divided - 1Co 1:10-11
      2. People were aligning themselves as followers of different men
         (perhaps based upon who baptized them) - 1Co 1:12-13
      3. Paul illustrates the absurdity of calling themselves after men
         with several rhetorical questions
         a. "Is Christ divided?"
         b. "Was Paul crucified for you?"
         c. "Were you baptized in the name of Paul?"
         -- The implied answer to each question was "NO!"
      5. But notice what else is implied by each question...
         a. Christ is not divided
         b. It was Christ (not some man) who was crucified for you
         c. You were baptized, not in the name of some man, but in the
            name of Christ!
      -- So the context itself implies what we read in Ac 18:8 
         ("...many of the Corinthians, hearing, believed and were 

      1. "I thank God that I baptized none of you except..."
         - 1Co 1:14
         a. Paul should be understood in light of the context
         b. Since some of the Corinthians were dividing over who may 
            have baptized them, Paul was grateful that he had not 
            PERSONALLY baptized many of them
         c. His reason?
            1) Not because he did not consider baptism important
            2) But as he states himself:  "...lest anyone should say
               that I had baptized in my own name." - 1Co 1:15
         d. The Corinthians had been baptized - cf. Ac 18:8; 1Co 1:13
            1) As a result of Paul's preaching, by the way
            2) But not many by Paul personally, for which he was later
      2. "For Christ sent me not to baptize, but to preach the 
         gospel..." - 1Co 1:17
         a. Are we to understand Paul to say that he did not preach 
            1) Clearly he did to Lydia and the Philippian jailor 
               - Ac 16:14-15; 32-33
            2) Clearly he did to the Corinthians - Ac 18:8
            3) He taught baptism as the means by which one puts on 
               Christ - Ga 3:27
            4) He taught baptism as the means by which one dies to sin 
               - Ro 6:1-7
         b. Rather, we are to understand that Paul was emphasizing his
            function as apostle
            1) He was sent to preach the gospel (which includes the 
               command to be baptized - Mk 16:15-16)
            2) It was not his primary function to perform the baptisms
               of those who responded to the gospel!
               a) Though he did in some cases - 1Co 1:14,16
               b) But he was often accompanied by others (e.g., Silas,
                  Timothy, Luke), and they were likely the ones to 
                  handle the physical act of immersing people
            3) In view of what later occurred at Corinth, he is simply
               thankful that his involvement in the act of baptizing
               others was rather limited
         -- Such was the point of Paul's comments, and they should not
            be understood as Paul demeaning the value or place of 
            baptism in the process of conversion!


1. The conversion of "The Corinthians" confirms what we have seen in
   previous examples of conversions in the book of Acts...
   a. The gospel concerning Jesus as the Christ was proclaimed
   b. Those "persuaded" by the gospel message believed and were 
      baptized immediately

2. The conversion of "The Corinthians" also stands out because of the
   impact the gospel had in their lives...
   a. As mentioned, the city of Corinth was known for its immorality
   b. Many of the members of the church had lived immoral lives - cf. 
      1Co 6:9-11a
   c. Yet through their faith and obedience to the gospel of Christ, 
      Paul could write:

   "But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were 
   justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of
   our God." (1Co 6:11)

Such is the power of the gospel of Christ to the obedient believer.  
Have you been "washed", "sanctified", and "justified"?  Let the
conversions in the book of Acts show you how!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland...The Athenians (Acts 17:16-34)

                   "CONVERSIONS IN THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                        The Athenians (17:16-34)


1. Our next example of conversion is another often overlooked...
   a. It is the conversion of "The Athenians", two of whom are
      specifically mention by name
   b. Yet they are usually not listed in charts showing examples of
   c. Again, it likely because little is said, other than that they
      "believed" - Ac 17:34

2. But our purpose in this series is to also consider the sermons which
   led people to Christ...
   a. In this case we have a remarkable sermon by the apostle Paul
   b. A sermon proclaimed not to Jews or even Gentile God-fearers (like
      Cornelius), but to pagan philosophers and polytheists

3. So our focus in this lesson will be more on the sermon itself, with
   attention to...
   a. How Paul addressed those who did not know the God of Israel
   b. The themes Paul addressed in this sermon

[We begin our study with a look at...]


      1. Following a hasty departure from Berea - Ac 17:13-15
      2. Provoked by the idolatry rampant in the city, he began 
         preaching at every opportunity - Ac 17:16-17
         a. Reasoning in the synagogues with the Jews and Gentile 
         b. Reasoning daily with any who happened to be in marketplace

      1. In particular, certain Epicurean and Stoic philosophers 
         - Ac 17:18
         a. Some of which viewed him as a proclaimer of foreign gods
         b. Because Paul was preaching of Jesus and the resurrection
      2. They brought him to the Areopagus and invited him to speak
         - Ac 17:19-21
         a. A rocky hill about 370 feet high, not far from the 
            Acropolis and the Agora (marketplace) in Athens - Holman 
            Bible Dictionary
         b. As Luke explains, it was a place where Athenians and 
            visitors spent their time discussing any new idea or thing
            that came along
         c. Not having heard the doctrine of Christ, they wanted to 
            know more

[With such an invitation, you can imagine that Paul was delighted to 
accommodate them...]


      1. Acknowledging their religious devotion, he made mention of
         one altar in particular - Ac 17:22-23a
         a. An altar with the inscription:  "To The Unknown God"
         b. So devout, they sought to worship a god they did not know
      2. He used this as an opportunity to preach concerning the True
         God they did not know! - Ac 17:23b

      1. God is the creator of the universe - Ac 17:24
         a. He made the world, He is Lord of heaven and earth
         b. As such, He does not dwell in temples made with hands
            - cf. 1Ki 8:22-30
      2. God is the sustainer of life - Ac 17:25
         a. He gives to all life their breath and what they need
            - cf. Jm 1:17
         b. Therefore God is not worshipped as though He needs it
      3. God is the ruler of all the nations - Ac 17:26-27
         a. He has created every nation and determined their rise and 
            fall - Dan 2:20-21; 4:17
         b. Everything is designed to prompt men to seek God, who is 
            not far from any of us
      4. God is the Father of mankind - Ac 17:28-29
         a. From God we come; and in Him we live, move, and have our 
            very being
         b. Therefore we should not think that God is like any idol of
            gold, silver or stone
      5. God is the Judge of the world - Ac 17:30-31
         a. What ignorance He may have overlooked in the past, such is
            no longer the case
         b. He now commands all men everywhere to repent
         c. Why?  Because of the coming Judgment, in which...
            a. God will judge the world in righteousness
            b. God will judge the world through Jesus Christ - Jn 5:22,
               26-27; 12:48
         d. As proof such will occur, God raised Jesus from the dead
      -- These five points are from John Stott's book, The Spirit, The
         Church, And The World

      1. The mention of the resurrection provoked a response - Ac 17:32
         a. Some mocked (to many philosophers, the idea of a bodily
            resurrection is foolishness)
         b. Others were more cordial, offering to listen again at 
            another time
      2. But as Paul left, some joined him and believed - Ac 17:33-34
         a. Specifically mentioned are Dionysius the Areopagite, and
            Damaris, a woman
         b. Others also joined Paul and believed


      1. Paul used tact - Ac 17:22-23
         a. He acknowledges their spirituality, though misdirected
         b. We should not hesitate to acknowledge the devotion one 
            might have; if in error, our task is to explain "the way of
            God more accurately" - e.g., Ac 18:24-26
      2. Paul began with the present spiritual condition of his 
         audience - Ac 17:23-27
         a. They believed in supreme beings, but didn't know the True 
         b. With the Jews he began with the Law, with the Gentiles he 
            began with the nature of God; we too should take into 
            consideration where one is spiritually
      3. Paul made use of an accepted authority - Ac 17:28-29
         a. He quotes from one of their own prophets to make his point
         b. When appropriate, we can appeal to an uninspired authority
            accepted by others (when in harmony with God's Word)
      4. Paul led his audience to the main themes of the gospel - Ac 17:30-31
         a. Such as the need to repent, the coming Judgment - cf. Ac 2:38; 3:19
         b. So our ultimate goal in preaching should be the gospel 
      5. Paul used the resurrection of Jesus as the ultimate proof 
         - Ac 17:31
         a. God has given assurance of the coming Judgment by raising 
         b. Indeed, if Jesus did rise from the dead, it is proof of:
            1) The existence of God
            2) The truthfulness of all of Jesus' claims
            3) The reality of sin, judgment, and the need to repent
         c. This is why we need to develop a strong apologetic for the
            resurrection of Jesus

      1. People responded in three different ways - Ac 17:32-34
         a. Some mocked what they heard
         b. Some put off making a decision until later
         c. Some decided to follow with Paul and believed
         -- Since we have no promise of tomorrow, the only safe course
            is the last!
      2. Of those who responded favorably, it is only said that they
         "believed" - Ac 17:34
         a. Are we to conclude from this that was all they did?
         b. Did they not also "repent", as commanded in Ac 17:30?
         c. The term "believed" encompassed more than simply an 
            acceptance of the facts that had been proclaimed
            1) It involved a complete reception of the message preached
            2) It included an obedience to whatever conditions had been
               proclaimed by the apostles (such as repentance, baptism)
         d. Just as faith was not explicitly mentioned in Acts 2, or 
            repentance in Acts 16, but is fairly inferred from what 
            we know from other passages, so also with baptism here
            1) "There is, indeed, much to be said for the contention,
               independently advocated by theologians of varied 
               schools, that in the New Testament faith and baptism 
               are viewed as inseparables whenever the subject of 
               Christian initiation is under discussion, so that if 
               one is referred to, the other is presupposed, even if 
               not mentioned." - G. R. Beasley-Murray, Baptism In The
               New Testament, p. 272
            2) "Baptism and faith are but the outside and inside of 
               the same thing" - James Denny (as quoted by 
               Beasley-Murray, ibid.)
            3) "Where baptism is spoken of faith is presumed, and 
               where faith is spoken of baptism is included in the 
               thought" - N. J. Engelsen (as quoted by Beasley-Murray,


1. Whether Jew or Gentile, philosopher or simpleton, the gospel of 
   Christ is for all...
   a. Where we begin may vary with the spiritual condition of our 
   b. Where we end must always be the same:
      1) Proclaiming the reality of sin, judgment, and the need for 
      2) With Jesus as the only way to salvation!

2. When one becomes convicted of their sinful condition and their need
   for Jesus, the proper response should also be the same no matter who
   we are...
   a. Faith in Jesus as the Son of God, who died for our sins and was 
      raised from the dead, whom we are willing to confess before men
   b. Repentance from sin
   d. Baptism into Christ for the forgiveness of sins through His blood

One's reaction to the gospel will always be one of three ways:

   * Rejection ("some mocked")

   * Reluctance ("others said, we will hear you again on this matter")

   * Reception  ("some men joined him and believed")

In Athens, people such as Dionysius and Damaris exemplified the proper
response; are you willing to imitate their example?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland.. Two Households At Philippi (Acts 16:6-34)

                   "CONVERSIONS IN THE BOOK OF ACTS"

                  Two Households At Philippi (16:6-34)


1. With "The Conversion Of Cornelius", we were introduced to an event
   that was not uncommon in the early church...
   a. A situation where an entire family, or household, was converted
   b. We have three similar cases recorded in Acts
      1) The conversion of Lydia and her household - Ac 16:15
      2) The conversion of the Philippian jailer and his household
         - Ac 16:33-34
      3) The conversion of Crispus and his household - Ac 18:8

2. Such households likely consisted of both family and servants...
   a. Cornelius sent two of his household servants to Peter - Ac 10:7
   b. He had gathered his family as well as friends to hear Peter 
      - Ac 10:24,33
   -- Some wonder whether such families included infants as well, and 
      if so, were they were baptized too

3. As the gospel spread to Europe, the first two examples of conversion
   involved "Two Households At Philippi"
   a. With the conversion of Lydia - Ac 16:11-15
   b. With the conversion of the Philippian Jailer - Ac 16:25-40

[As we continue our study in the book of Acts, we shall examine both of
these examples in this lesson, to glean whatever we can about 
conversion, including the issue of "infant baptism".

Let's first consider...]


      1. Paul and his travel companions had been making their way 
         through modern day Turkey, with the Spirit limiting their 
         options - Ac 16:6-8
      2. Paul has a vision of a man of Macedonian pleading, "Come over
         to Macedonia and help us" - Ac 16:9
      3. Taking the vision as a sign that the Lord wanted them to go 
         there, they travel to Philippi (a chief city of Macedonia) 
         - Ac 16:10-12

      1. Paul and his companions go down to the riverside on the 
         Sabbath - Ac 16:13
         a. It was Paul's custom to find a synagogue and on the Sabbath
            to reason with Jews about Christ - cf. Ac 17:1-3
         b. Evidently there were not that many Jews in Philippi, and no
         c. But at least there were some women who met at the river to
      2. Paul speaks to them, and Lydia heeded his word - Ac 16:14
         a. She was evidently a successful business woman, yet one who
            worshipped God
            1) Her name is Greek, perhaps a convert to Judaism
            2) From Thyatira, she was seller of purple dye
         b. The Lord "opened her heart" to heed the things spoken by
            1) In what way the Lord opened her heart is not stated
            2) But she had "heard" what Paul was speaking (cf. Ac 16:
               13c,14a), and we know that "faith comes by hearing the
               word of God" - Ro 10:17
            3) Through the gospel, then, one's heart can be opened to
               be receptive
         c. She was willing "to heed the things spoken by Paul"
            1) I.e., to do or obey whatever Paul had said
            2) We can infer from what follows that it included baptism
      3. Lydia and her household are baptized - Ac 16:15

      1. Once again we see things gleaned from earlier examples of 
         a) Very religious people are being receptive to the gospel 
            - Ac 2,3,8,9,10
         b) Baptism occurs immediately, after hearing just one lesson
            - Ac 2,8,10
      2. In begging Paul and his companions to stay with her, she asks
         "If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord..."
         a) What evidence was there to determine whether she was 
         b) At the very least, there was her willingness to be 
      3. Did her "household" include infants?
         a. Proponents of infant baptism often appeal to the example of
            a "household" being baptized as evidence of infant baptism
            in the early church
         b. They say it is plausible to assume infants were present, 
            but is that the case here?
            1) Lydia was a businesswoman, with no mention of a husband
            2) She was from Thyatira, possibly in Philippi only on
               business (though she did have a home)
         c. We can just as easily assume that her household was made up
            of servants, or at the least, children old enough to travel
         -- The burden of proof rests upon those seeking to support 
            infant baptism, and the evidence in this case simply isn't 

[From the example of one who was evidently a truth-seeker, we now turn
to the conversion of one who appears to have "stumbled" onto the 


      1. Paul exorcises a spirit of divination from a slave girl 
         - Ac 16:16-18
      2. Her masters have Paul and Silas beaten and imprisoned 
         - Ac 16:19-24

      1. Events leading to the jailer's conversion - Ac 16:25-29
         a. Paul and Silas are singing in prison at midnight, with 
            others listening
         b. An earthquake shakes loose the doors and everyone's chains
         c. The jailer, fearing the prisoners escaped, is about to
            commit suicide
         d. He is stopped by Paul, who reassures him that all the 
            prisoners are present
         e. Trembling, he falls down before Paul and Silas
      2. The conversion of the jailer and his household - Ac 16:30-34
         a. He asks, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved"
         b. Paul responds, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you
            will be saved, you and your household"
         c. Paul then proceeds to speak the word of the Lord to him and
            those in his house
         d. In the same hour of the night, the jailer washes the 
            stripes of Paul and Silas, and is baptized along with all
            his family
         e. He then brings Paul and Silas into his home, feeds them, 
            and rejoices that he and his family have believed in God

      1. This example of conversion does not teach salvation by "faith
         a. It is common for some people to simply note verses 30-31
            1) They offer this verse as containing the whole plan of 
            2) Denying therefore the necessity of baptism
         b. Of course, this verse says nothing about repentance, 
            confessing Jesus, etc., which the Bible requires elsewhere 
            - cf. Ac 3:19; 17:30; Ro 10:9-10
         c. The context must be taken into consideration
            1) Salvation requires faith, so it is natural that would be
               the first thing to tell someone who asks "What must I do
               to be saved?"
            2) Without faith, one is not a suitable subject for baptism
               - cf. Ac 8:36-37
            3) Having established the necessity of faith, Paul 
               proceeded to speak "the word of the Lord to him and to
               all who were in his house." - Ac 16:32
               a) Though not mentioned, would this not have included 
                  the need to repent?
               b) What is mentioned, though, is that they were baptized
               -- Clearly the "word of the Lord" included baptism 
                  - Mk 16:16
            4) It is not until after he and his family were baptized,
               that Luke describes them as "having believed in God with
               all his household" - Ac 16:34
         d. Taken out of context, one might use verses 30-31 to teach
            salvation does not involve baptism, but in the context it 
            certainly appears to play a significant role!
      2. This example of conversion reveals something about the 
         "purpose" of baptism
         a. Contrary to the doctrine of many churches, the purpose of 
            baptism is not to make a public profession of one's faith
         b. As we saw in the conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch, 
            baptism can occur when there is only the baptizer and the 
            baptizee - Ac 8:36-38
         c. In this case, a family is baptized in the wee hours of the
            morning (after midnight, in the same hour) - Ac 16:25,33
         d. The purpose of baptism is hinted at by the fact...
            1) It was done immediately, even in the pre-dawn hour
            2) It was done whether in private or public
         e. This example of conversion is consistent with the purpose 
            1) By Peter ("for the remission of sins") - Ac 2:36
            2) By Ananias ("wash away your sins") - Ac 22:16
            -- As such, you don't delay, and it doesn't matter if done
               in private!
      3. This example of conversion provides no evidence of infant 
         a. Again, some appeal to the mention of "household" to infer 
            infants were included in the baptism
         b. Yet the text states that:
            1) Paul "spoke the word of the Lord...to all who were in 
               his house", implying that all were able to listen and
               understand what was said - Ac 16:32
            2) The jailer rejoiced, "having believed in God with all 
               his household"; i.e., everyone believed, implying the 
               ability of all to believe what they heard - Ac 16:34
         c. There is nothing here to preclude what we have already 
            concluded as necessary requirements to be a subject 
            qualified for baptism:
            1) Repentance - Ac 2:38
            2) Whole-hearted faith - Ac 8:37
            -- Both of which infants are incapable


1. With the conversion of "Two Households At Philippi", a wonderful 
   church was born...
   a. The church at Philippi, to which the epistle to the Philippians
      was written
   b. A congregation that supported the apostle Paul and the preaching
      of the gospel throughout Macedonia and into Achaia - Php 1:3-5;
   c. A congregation that was mindful of Paul even toward the end of
      his life, as he awaited trial in Rome - Php 4:10,14,17-18
   -- Never underestimate the effect of the gospel in the life of a 

2. The conversion of "Two Households At Philippi" are illustrative of
   what Jesus taught in two parables...
   a. "The Hidden Treasure" (Mt 13:44) depicts one who stumbles onto
       the truth; the Philippian jailer was such a person
   b. "The Pearl Of Great Price" (Mt 13:45-46) depicts one who is 
      searching for the truth; Lydia of Thyatira was certainly seeking
      to please God
   -- What is important to note is that the Lord knew such people 
      existed at Philippi (cf. the "Macedonian Call"), and saw to it 
      that they had an opportunity to hear the gospel

What kind of person are you?  Whether you are one who has been on a 
life-long search for truth, or have simply stumbled across the gospel,
are you willing to allow God to open your heart through the gospel and
heed the word of the Lord?

Only God knows, but perhaps you will save not only yourself, but your
whole family as well...

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

From Mark Copeland... Cornelius And His Household (Acts 10:1-48; 11:1-18)

                   "CONVERSIONS IN THE BOOK OF ACTS"

             Cornelius And His Household (10:1-48; 11:1-18)


1. Up to this point, the gospel had been somewhat limited in its
   a. It had spread throughout Judea, Galilee and Samaria - Ac 9:31
   b. But other than the Samaritans (who were half Jewish), it had gone
      only to the Jews

2. With the conversion of "Cornelius And His Household" the first
   Gentiles are saved...
   a. A conversion noted not only because they were the first Gentiles
   b. But also because of the miraculous events that precipitated the
      1) An angel appearing to Cornelius
      2) Peter's vision, followed by the Spirit's instruction
      3) The Spirit falling upon Cornelius, his family, and close 
      4) Cornelius and his household speaking in tongues

3. As in the case of Saul of Tarsus, we have more than just one account
   of the conversion...
   a. There is Luke's description - Ac 10:1-48
   b. There is Peter's description, as he is called to defend his 
      actions - Ac 11:1-18

4. Important questions are raised as we consider the events of this 
   a. Exactly when did the Spirit fall upon Cornelius and his company?
   b. What was the purpose of the Spirit falling upon them?
   c. Were they saved when the Spirit came upon them, or later when 
      they were baptized?

[These are some of the questions I intend to answer as we examine the
conversion of "Cornelius And His Household".  Since we have two 
accounts, let's consider them together as we start with...]


      1. Cornelius, a centurion, is a very religious man - Ac 10:1-2
      2. The angel appears to him - Ac 10:3-6
         a. With an announcement that his prayers and alms have been 
            noticed by God
         b. With instructions to send for Peter; please note:
            1) The angel said, "He will tell you what you must do."
               - Ac 10:6
            2) As Peter recounts it, "...who will tell you words by 
               which you and all your household will be saved." 
               - Ac 11:14
      3. Cornelius then sends two servants and a devout soldier to 
         Peter - Ac 10:7-8
      1. While the three men are traveling toward Peter, he has a 
         vision - Ac 10:9-16; 11:4-10
         a. It involves a sheet descending from heaven, containing all
            sorts of creatures
         b. A voice tells Peter to "kill and eat"
         c. Peter objects, for he has never eaten anything common or 
         d. The voice tells him, "What God has cleansed you must not
            call common."
      2. Three times the vision is repeated

      1. The men from Cornelius arrive as Peter contemplates the vision
         - Ac 10:17-18; 11:11
      2. The Spirit tells Peter to go, "doubting nothing, for I have 
         sent them" - Ac 10:19-20; 11:12
      3. Peter receives the men and takes six with him as they go to
         Cornelius - Ac 10:21-23; 11:12

      1. Cornelius has gathered his family and close friends - Ac 10:24
      2. Peter deflects an attempt by Cornelius to worship him - Ac 10:
      3. Peter explains his presence a violation of Jewish custom, but
         now understands "I should not call any man common or unclean"
         - Ac 10:27-28
      4. Asked by Peter to explain why he was called, Cornelius 
         recounts the appearance and instructions of the angel 
         - Ac 10:29-32; 11:13-14
      5. Cornelius and his household were ready "to hear all things
         commanded you by God" - Ac 10:33

      1. At this point, we need to carefully note the actual sequence
         of events
      2. Luke's record gives attention to the sermon first, and then 
         the Spirit coming upon the Gentiles - cf. Ac 10:34-44
         a. But Luke also says that "while Peter was still speaking...
            the Holy Spirit fell"
         b. From this we do not exactly when the Spirit fell
         c. It could have been at the beginning, in the middle, toward
            the end, of his sermon
      3. Peter, however, explained what happened "in order from the 
         beginning" - Ac 11:4
         a. He describes the events as they happened
         b. He says "as I began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell upon 
            them" - Ac 11:15
      4. So we learn from Peter that the Spirit actually came upon the
         Gentiles at the BEGINNING of the sermon!
      5. With the Spirit falling upon the Gentiles, they began speaking
         with tongues, which amazed Peter and his Jewish companions 
         - Ac 10:45-46; cf. Ac 2:4,6,8,11

      1. He begins with a full perception that God shows no partiality
         - Ac 10:34-35
         a. A perception started with the vision of the sheet and 
            unclean beasts
         b. A perception continued with the Spirit's instruction to go
            with the messengers
         c. A perception made clear with the Spirit falling upon the 
            Gentiles - Ac 11:15-17
      2. Peter then proceeds to proclaim Jesus Christ - Ac 10:36-43
         a. As Lord who was anointed with the Holy Spirit and power 
            - Ac 10:36-38
         b. Who was killed, but then raised from the dead and seen by
            eyewitnesses who knew Him well - Ac 10:39-41
         c. Who has commanded the apostles to proclaim Him as ordained
            by God to be the Judge of the living and dead - Ac 10:42
         d. Through Whom remission of sins is offered to those who 
            believe - Ac 10:43
      1. How could anyone forbid water to those who had received the 
         Spirit just as the apostles did? - Ac 10:47; cf. 11:17-18
      2. So Cornelius and his household were commanded to be baptized
         in the name of the Lord - Ac 10:48

[The events surrounding this conversion are certainly remarkable.  They
evidently were intended to convey important truths.  As we endeavor to
glean what those truths were, here are some...]


      1. Many people believe that if you are religious, you will be 
         a. That if you go to church, do good, etc., you have a hope of
         b. That you will have earned the right to enter heaven
      2. Yet, though Cornelius was a man who...
         a. Was a devout man
         b. Feared God with his whole family
         c. Gave alms generously
         d. Prayed to God always
         ...he still needed to be told "words by which you and all your
            household will be saved"
      3. Clearly, being religious isn't what saves you (it's the blood
         of Christ!)

      1. Peter perceived that God is no respecter of persons - Ac 10:
      2. Indeed, God desires that ALL men be saved - cf. Jn 3:16; 1 Ti 2:3-6; 2Pe 3:9
      -- Therefore He has not predestined some to be saved and others 

      1. Some presume that the purpose was to save Cornelius and his
         a. That therefore they were saved before obeying the command 
            to be baptized
         b. But the Spirit came upon them as Peter "began to speak", 
            before they could hear words by which they could be saved! 
            - cf. Ac 11:14-15
      2. The purpose of the Spirit can be gleaned from the following:
         a. The effect it had on the Jewish brethren who were present,
            and Peter's response - Ac 10:45-47
         b. The reaction of the Jewish brethren in Jerusalem when Peter
            told them what happened - Ac 11:17-18
         c. Peter's explanation at the council held later in Jerusalem 
            - Ac 15:7-11
      3. The purpose of the Spirit falling on them was therefore to 
         show Jewish brethren...
         a. That God was no respecter of persons - Ac 10:34-35
         b. That God was willing to grant them opportunity to repent 
            and have life - Ac 11:18
         c. That Gentiles could be saved in the same way as Jews...
            1) By faith, repentance, and baptism - Ac 15:9,11; cf. 2:38
               with 10:48
            2) Which faith comes through hearing the word of God - Ro 10:17

      1. Remember that Cornelius was told to send for Peter, who would
         tell him:
         a. "what you must do." - Ac 10:6
         b. "words by which you...shall be saved." - Ac 11:14
      2. From this, and from what we have already seen in other 
         a. Cornelius was not saved until he heard the "words" (i.e., 
            after the sermon)
         b. Cornelius was not saved until he obeyed what he was told to
         c. What were the words he was told to do?
            1) Certainly they were told to believe, as implied in 
               Ac 10:43
            2) Clearly they were told to be baptized, as commanded in 
               Ac 10:48
      3. Thus Cornelius and his household were not saved until they 
         "believed and were baptized"! - cf. Mk 16:16; Ac 8:12,13


1. So while miraculous events surrounded the conversion of "Cornelius
   And His Household", their salvation was no different from what we
   have already seen...
   a. They heard the gospel of Jesus Christ
   b. They were taught to believe and be baptized
   -- Thus they were saved "in the same manner" as all those previously

2. As Peter said at the council, it is "through the grace of the Lord
   Jesus Christ" that both Gentiles and Jews are saved - cf. Ac 15:11
   a. We are saved by grace, not works - cf. Ep 2:5,8; Tit 3:4-5
   b. For it is not enough to be religious...
      1) Who could be more religious than Cornelius?
      2) Or even the 3000 at Pentecost, or the Ethiopian eunuch?

3. The grace of God which saves does require a response, however...
   a. A response of faith - Ac 10:43
   b. A faith in Jesus that comes by hearing the gospel - Ac 10:42
   c. A faith which expresses itself in obedience - cf. He 5:9
      1) E.g., repentance and baptism - cf. Ac 2:38; 3:19; 10:48
      2) Not as works of merit, but as acts of faith by which one
         receives God's grace

Those of us who are not descended from Israel can rejoice in what God 
revealed with the conversion of "Cornelius And His Household". As 
properly concluded by the Jewish brethren in Jerusalem:

   "...God has also granted to the Gentiles repentance to life." 
                                                   (Ac 11:16)

Have you taken advantage of this wonderful gift, by responding to the 
gospel of Jesus Christ?

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011