Guarding Against Situation Ethics By Allan Turner

Guarding Against Situation Ethics

It is unfortunate that many who claim to be blood-bought are acting out a set of ethics not taught in God's Word. The influence of humanism has been devastating for God’s people. This has happened, in too many cases, without us even knowing it. Living in a society thoroughly saturated by materialism, humanism and hedonism has caused many of us to lose sight of those ethics clearly taught in the Bible. Consequently, many of us seem unable to distinguish between right and wrong, justice and injustice, responsibility and irresponsibility.
Evolutionism, situationalism, utilitarianism, behaviorism, psychoanalysis, psychotherapy, sociobiology, and all the other inventions of man that form the basis for secular ethics are all man-centered and "this-worldly" (i.e., humanistic). Subjected, as we are, to an educational system that administers heavy doses of humanism, while, at the same time, being constantly exposed to a media that has almost totally embraced humanistic philosophies, it is not surprising we are so infected.
Today, the churches are facing a serious assault. Unfortunately, many Christians have already surrendered to Satan’s onslaught. This has happened to many without them even knowing there’s a battle going on. In the midst of all this, some are claiming churches of Christ to be in better spiritual shape than they have ever been. It has been said that there are those who make things happen (this should be indicative of every Christian), those who watch things happen (more than a few Christians fit within this category), and those who, after everything is said and done, wonder "What happened?" We fear too many Christians fall into this last category.
It is time for preachers to speak out against humanism in all its many forms. There are more than a few Christians who have yet to hear a sermon on the subject. If preachers will not preach on the subject on their own initiative, then it is time for elders to demand that they do it. Watchmen who will not sound the alarm are nothing more than worthless good-for-nothings.

Discerning The Times
When our Lord stood before the Pharisees and Sadducees, they were unable to recognize Him as Messiah. The Anointed One they had waited for all their lives was in their midst and they were unable to recognize Him. In reply to their unbelief, the Lord said that even though they were able to detect meterological signs, "...can ye not discern the signs of the times?" (Matthew 16:1-3). This question is appropriate to Christians today. As a result of our technology, we have become very wise, but we are unable to properly discern the times in which we live. How much more abortion on demand, sexual permissiveness, di-vorce, pornography, homosexuality, secularization, erosion of the family, etc., before every vestige of those ethics taught in God's Word is erased from the collective memory of America? And if this occurs, how much longer will it be before the church is seriously persecuted? How much longer before the covert persecution some are already experiencing turns to open antagonism?

Watershed Generation
Our time has been called a watershed. Just as the mountains separate the rains, sending some to one valley and some to another, so this generation will proceed in one direction or the other. This decade, like a watershed, will set the tone of the Twenty-First Century. The American of the future will be a friend to God's people, or it will be their enemy. For my children's sake, I pray it will be the former.
Israel, unable to discern the times, paid a terrible price for their ignorance. As a nation, they were completely destroy-ed by the Romans in A.D. 70. Some, though, observant of their circumstances and familiar with God's Word, were able to avoid the conflagaration (cf. Matthew 24:1-35). Unfortunately, many in spiritual Israel today, like their counterparts in fleshly Israel, when asked about their ethics ("Whence [are they]? from heaven, or from men?") can only reply: "We cannot tell" (Matthew 21:23-27). Christians today must return to the only true, objective standard<197>the Word of God. The Scriptures have well said, "it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps" (Jeremiah 10:23). It is only through living out those ethics taught in God's Word that we can truly be the "salt of the earth" (Matthew 5:13). Christians must understand that it is our responsibility to "shine as light in the world, in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation" (Philippians 2:15).

From Heaven Or Men?
Your morality, is it a reflection of that which is taught by man, or is it a reflection of that which comes from above? Let us all determine to "Let [our] light so shine before men, that they may see [our] good works, and glorify [our] Father which is in heaven" (Matthew 5:16). When this is done, humanism is taken "into captivity to the obedience of Christ" (II Corinthians 10:5).

Christianity: Counterculture Or Subculture? By Allan Turner


Christianity: Counterculture Or Subculture?
By Allan Turner
As it out-thinks, out-lives, and out-dies the pagans around about it, the Christian community is to be a counterculture, not a subculture. Unfortunately, many modern churches of Christ have begun to blend in. Instead of acting like strangers and pilgrims (Hebrews 11:13; I Peter 2:11) whose citizenships are in heaven (Philippians 3:20), many Christians have become much too comfortable in our narcissistic, hedonistic, materialistic, and pluralistic society. Many are failing to live out the “in the world, but not of the world” mandate of John 17. Like the church at Laodecia, many of us, indulging ourselves in the material riches of our society (cf. Revelation 3:17), have become “neither hot nor cold” (verse 15). Consequently, if we do not repent, the Lord will eventually spew us out of His mouth. Because repentance is not possible without a change of direction and a turning from that which is wrong, the rest of this article will be devoted to identifying the process—namely, secularization—that has brought us to this critical point in time, and a defining of our terms—namely, narcissismhedonismmaterialism, and pluralism.
What Is Secularism?
Every society is made up of different people, different jobs, different values, and different classes. Nevertheless, students of history tell us that no society can survive or function without a unifying system of thought. The unifying system of thought that acts as a glue that makes the various parts of a society adhere is called a “world view.” This world view may be built on a philosophical system like Platonism, or on a religion like ancient Israel. It may be built on a common mythology, or on a devotion to the state, or on some political philosophy. In every society there is a competition between philosophy, religion, mythology, and politics for dominance. One of these elements will eventually emerge as the principal world view.
Originally, a Biblical world view was the unifying system that dominated American society; but, this is no longer true. In our modern topsy-turvy culture, the principal ism or system of thought that is being reflected in our creative arts, in our popular literature and music, on our TV screens, in our educational institutions, and even in our churches, is secularism. In secularism, all life, every human value, every human activity must be understood in view of the here and now. There are no windows into the eternal. If there is a God—and the secularist is either an atheist or agnostic—He is totally irrelevant. All that matters is now. In the secular world view, human beings are not created in the image of God. They are, instead, wholly physical. Consequently, humans are the outgrowth of an evolutionary process, and are, at best, nothing more than a chance collocation of atoms. Because there is no hope of life beyond this present physical world, the secular humanist declares that man's highest end is happiness, freedom, and progress for all mankind in this present world. To this end the secularist “assigns to man nothing less than the task of being his own savior and redeemer” (Corliss Lamont, The Philosophy of Humanism, page 283).
In stark contrast to secularism, which says, “Eat, drink, and be merry, for tomorrow you die,” stands Christianity, which says, “Lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven.” Christianity speaks of something more than the here and now. While secularism takes the short view, Christianity takes the long view. While secularists talk about the here and now, Christians speak of an eternal life beyond the grave. While secularism, which teaches man is the product of evolution, validates narcissism, hedonism, materialism, and pluralism, Christianity, which teaches man is created in the image of God, refutes all man-made isms with the admonition, “Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the whole duty of man” (Ecclesiastes 12:13).
The Bible tells us that faith comes as a result of hearing God's Word (Romans 10:17). In Hebrews 11:3, the writer says that faith has its starting point at Genesis 1:1. Consequently, the starting point for a Biblical world view is the first verse of the Bible. Before the here and now, God, who transcends this current time-space world, existed in eternity. This means there is more to reality than the here and now. But, there is more. Apart from “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth,” there are no real ethical obligations; no such things as absolute norms of conduct—no moral absolutes. If there is no Creator who is Sovereign of the universe, then man is under no moral obligations and is absolutely free to do as he pleases. It is here then that we arrive at the crux of the matter. Man, in his arrogant pride, does not want to do what God wants him to do. As a result, man attempts to suppress the truth about God in unrighteousness (Romans 1:18). Why? Because if man can be persuaded to believe the lie that there is no Sovereign God who lives in eternity, then he can be comfortable involving himself in all sorts of uncleanness and ungodliness (Romans 1:19-25). Secularism, of course, is the perfect vehicle for such unbelief.
The Gravedigger Effect
In the 20th century, the secularization of American has had a tremendous affect on Christians. It is as unfortunate as it is true that we have bought, nearly “lock, stock, and barrel,” the secularization lie. Consequently, we have given ourselves over to a traditional, uncritical, and unscriptural view of the separation of church (the sacred) and state (the secular). Although it is true that Christians ought to distinguish between the secular and the sacred, it is just as true that we must never try to separate them. To do so would be to deny the Lordship of Jesus Christ over all of life. Nevertheless, for the most part, we, as 20th century Christians, have given ourselves over to a view of church and state that has forced us to divide our lives into that which is sacred and that which is secular. This dichotomy has forced us to compartmentalize our religion. Within the confines of an ever decreasing arena, we unashamedly proclaim belief in, and reliance upon, God. But outside these parameters—cage might be a better word—we are reluctant to even mention His name. Although religion in the private sector may seem to be flourishing, in the public arena it has been almost totally neutralized. Today, Christianity may be privately engaging, but it is socially irrelevant. The central sectors of society (business, technology, science, medicine, law, politics, etc.) have been stripped of religious influence. As Americans, and, unfortunately, as Christians, we have thought it only proper to internalize our religion. This “privatization” or secret discipleship (i.e., the “Joseph of Arimathea Syndrome,” John 19:38) has contributed to the current secularization of America. But, more importantly, it has caused true Christianity to be without any real impact in public life. Afraid to mention the name of the Lord publicly, except within the limited confines of church and family, for fear of being thought un-American, uncivil, un-professional, anti-social, sectarian, and fanatical, we now find ourselves without any real impact in our communities. Instead of being the salt that savors and the light that shines out of darkness (Matthew 5:13-16), we have allowed the “Wall” the secularists have erected between church and state to force us to publicly blend in with the rest of society.
Embarrassing as it is, the secularists have actually become victors by default. They are occupying territory that Christians have withdrawn from. Thinking it our duty to espouse a principle that forces us to eliminate the Lord from ALL of government and MOST of society, we have created the monster called “Secularism.” This Frankenstein, which is now determined to destroy us, is an unnatural creation that should have never been fabricated in the first place. In essence, we have been digging our own graves, and it is this conduct that we have dubbed the “Gravedigger Effect.”
Seduced By A Metaphor
No student of the Bible would deny that Jesus taught there was to be a distinction between church and state. During His earthly ministry, Jesus said: “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's” (Matthew 22:21). Nevertheless, we feel confident in denying that the Lord wanted His disciples to believe there was to be a separation of God and the state, that is, a complete divorcement of God-based morality from civil government. The “Wall,” or in its more expanded form, “the wall of separation between church and state,” first articulated by Thomas Jefferson in a letter to the Danbury (Connecticut) Baptist Association, is a seductive metaphor that has subsequently misled many. The concept of an inseparable wall between church and state, whether one believes it to have been taught by Jesus or espoused in the Constitution, surrenders to a simplistic understanding of a complicated subject. It is, in fact, a gross hermeneutical error to use Matthew 22:21 as a prooftext for an absolute and inseparablewall between government and religion. Prooftexting or “Bumper Sticker Theology,” as I prefer to call it, must give way to a conceptual or over- all view of the Lord's teaching on any given subject. For example, the faith taught in John 3:16 cannot really be understood without the teaching found in James 2:14-26. Likewise, we would expect the truth taught in Matthew 22:21 to be amplified elsewhere in God's Word. For example, in Titus 3:1, the Christian is taught to be “subject to rulers and authorities.” Is not this really the same as, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's”?
Those who have supposed the state to be absolutely autonomous and free from a God-based morality have failed to consider many Bible passages, including Colossians 2:10, where Jesus is said to be “the head of all principality and power.” Not only is He “head over all things to the church,” but He is “far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come” (Ephesians 1:21-22). There is but one exception to the sovereignty of Jesus Christ, and that is the Father, “who put all things under Him” (I Corinthians 15:27). As Christians, there is simply no excuse for not knowing what Nebuchadnezzar had to learn the hard way; namely, “the Most High rules in the kingdom of men” (Daniel 4:25).
As we have already said, for the Christian to have believed that in order to honor Jesus Christ it was necessary for him to eliminate the Lord from ALL of government and MOST of society, is totally irreconcilable with the truth taught in the Bible. It is just such unquestioned allegiance to the erroneous doctrine of “the Wall” between church and state that has caused churches of Christ to be without any appreciable impact on society and, as a result, very ineffective in their evangelistic efforts. Having rested our hopes on apologetics (the defense of a doctrine), we have sorely neglected discipleship (the living of a doctrine), see Galatians 2:20. Jesus taught us that we are to be the “salt” and “light” of the world (Matthew 5:13-16). With but little thought given to the context, we can readily understand that the Lord was not referring to our “saying,” but our “doing.” Christians function as salt and light when others see our “good works and glorify (our) Father which is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16b). A world groping in darkness is benefitted by the disciplined lives of a “chosen generation, a royal nation, a peculiar people” (I Peter 2:9).
Unless we acknowledge our mistakes and repent, we will be no good to ourselves or others. Consequently, let us now examine some of the philosophies and values that exist under the larger umbrella of secularism and that affect us both personally and collectively.
Narcissism is one of secularism's false values. It says, “Me first.” It says, “I'm number one.” The narcissist is in love with himself. Other people matter only as they serve to fulfill and satisfy him. He is only concerned about his rights, his privileges, and his happiness. Wives, husbands, children, employers, employees, and fellow citizens all take a second seat to the narcissist. He or she is a “me first” kind of person. He is in love with the self-esteem, self-love, pull-your-own-strings, put-yourself-first, you're-number-one shibboleths of modern-day pop-psychology. When the Christian becomes infected with this spiritual disease, he begins to talk about doing something for himself. He talks of being tired of doing what God and everyone else wants him to do. He begins to complain about the sermons not being uplifting enough. He protests that Bible classes just aren't positive enough. He whines about the worship services of the local congregation just not doing anything for him anymore. It is not long before families, church unity, ethics in the marketplace, and community stability soon begin to play second fiddle to the “star” of the show—Numero Uno! By contrast, Jesus instructs us to crucify self and put others first (cf. Matthew 16:24,25; Philippians 2:3). He teaches us to give ourselves away to God and others (Matthew 22:34-40).
Closely related to narcissism, hedonism says that life ought to be lived solely for pleasure. It is personified in the Playboy philosophy of the 1950s and '60s and is summed up in the motto, “If it feels good, do it.” It fans the flames of pornography and homosexuality as it promotes anything and everything that supposedly gives “pleasure.” It replaces responsible living with a “thrill at any cost” approach to life. It is responsible for the proliferation of sexually transmitted diseases, including AIDS. Those given over to hedonism are addicted to lust and can never be satisfied. Nevertheless, in their attempts to satisfy their lusts hedonists usually become quite promiscuous. This, of course, destroys many marriages and homes. Finally, the pursuit of pleasure at any cost leaves men and women broken, lonely, and sad. On the other hand, those who follow God's Word will find true happiness and satisfaction in the “one flesh” relationship ordained by God, and will find ultimate satisfaction in pleasing Christ (II Corinthians 5:9).
Materialism says, “I am what I have” and “He who dies with the most toys wins.” Instead of concentrating on the spiritual and eternal things, materialism seeks after those things that can be seen, touched, tasted, smelled, and possessed. Everything and everybody takes a second seat to material-ism—the accumulation of things. In contrast to this, Christianity teaches that we ought to be laying up for ourselves treasures in heaven. In other words, life is an investment, and we can either invest for short-term benefits or long-term gains.
Modern America prides itself in its pluralism. Pluralism is modern culture's belief that there are many different right ways to live and believe. Find whatever works for you. If it's Jesus and Christianity, fine. If it's Hinduism, great. Whatever you want to believe is just fine. Find the church of your choice. Dogmatism is out. Absolutes are out. All paths lead to the same god. God wouldn't turn away sincere people. All this nonsense is pluralism. In pluralistic America, even witchcraft and devil worship are constitutionally protected religions. Many seem to think that the Creator of the universe is somehow limited by the Constitution of the United States. He is not! Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6). The apostle Paul taught, “Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Any culture totally given over to pluralism has forgotten that there is a Law above the law. America, both collectively and individually, will honor God and be blessed, or it will disobey God and pay the bitter consequences.
Allowing ourselves to have been seduced by a metaphor, we have unwittingly added to the void that has caused our current secularization. Surrendering to the enemy, we have even stooped to digging our own graves. Consequently, we believe it critical—for both the church and society—that the church of Christ respond to the God-given imperative: “Let your light shine.” But realizing some may misunderstand our thesis, we want to make it clear that we are not advocating the “social gospel” which still overshadows a majority of the Lord's church. We are not promoting the activation of the universal church, and would resist all efforts to do so. Every such effort has resulted in the dilution of the gospel message. On the contrary, ours is an appeal not to the church collectively, but to the church individually. As individual Christians, we must learn that there is no basic conflict between discipleship and political power. Biblical faith is more than a private pill to be swallowed; it is a prescribed regimen that must become a part of every facet of our lives.
As we approach the 21st century, secular values and their consequences will continue to permeate our culture and affect Christians. But, as always, there is a remedy. After repenting, we must turn to (1) strong Bible teaching (II Timothy 3:16; 4:4), (2) a rediscovery of our calling (I Thessalonians 2:12; Romans 12:1,2; II Peter 1:1-11), and (3) the development of a Bible-based world view (Ecclesiastes 12:13; Micah 6:8; Matthew 22:36-40). Ultimately, the battle is for the mind; therefore, we will either give ourselves over to a secular way of thinking or we will develop the “mind of Christ.”
It is our prayer that churches of Christ will stand up and courageously answer the Lord's bidding to be counterculture. With this in mind, we close with the apostle Paul's exhortation in Romans 13:12-14, which says: “The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in licentiousness and lewdness, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”

"ACTS OF THE APOSTLES" Chapter Thirteen by Mark Copeland

                         "ACTS OF THE APOSTLES"

                            Chapter Thirteen


1) To trace the route of Paul and Barnabas on their missionary journey

2) To give special attention to their evangelistic methods and message

3) To notice that people judge themselves unworthy of eternal life, not
   God; and that people ordained for eternal life are those with good
   and noble hearts, willing to listen and heed the gospel


With his attention now on the ministry of Paul, Luke narrates the
beginning of Paul's first missionary journey.  It started with the call
of the Holy Spirit, who instructed the prophets and teachers at the
church in Antioch of Syria to separate Barnabas and Saul for the work He
has called them.  With fasting, prayer, and the laying on of hands, the
two men were sent out on their journey (1-3)

Sailing from Selucia, they arrived at the island of Cyprus, the home
country of Barnabas (cf. 4:36).  Assisting them was John Mark (Barnabas'
cousin who had joined them earlier, and was later the companion of Peter
and author of the gospel of Mark; cf. 12:25; Col 4:10; 1Pe 5:13).  Here
they began what Luke later describes as Paul's custom:  preaching in the
synagogues of the Jews (cf. 17:1-3).  Starting in Salamis, they made
their way to Paphos, where they met the sorcerer Elymas Bar-Jesus along
with the proconsul Sergius Paulus.  When Sergius wanted to hear the Word
of God, Elymas tried to prevent Barnabas and Saul from speaking.  Filled
with the Holy Spirit, Saul rebuked the sorcerer and rendered him
sightless.  Astonished at the power behind the teaching of the Lord,
Sergius believes.  From this point forward, Saul is now called Paul and
also became the more prominent member of the missionary team (4-12).

From Cyprus they sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John Mark left them
to return to Jerusalem (later causing contention between Paul and
Barnabas; cf. 15:36-40).  Arriving in Antioch of Pisidia, they attended
the synagogue of the Jews on the Sabbath.  Invited to speak, Paul
preached Jesus by first reviewing the history of Israel from the Exodus
to the time of David.  Noting God's promise concerning the seed of
David, Paul summarized the ministry of John the Baptist and then
introduced Jesus as the Savior who was crucified, buried and raised from
the dead, and seen by eyewitnesses.  Offering further evidence of the
resurrection from Old Testament prophecy, Paul proclaimed forgiveness of
sins through Jesus with a warning against unbelief (13-41).

The response was positive, especially among the Gentiles, and Paul and
Barnabas were invited to speak the following Sabbath.  When unbelieving
Jews saw that the whole city came out to hear, they were filled with
envy and opposed the things spoken by Paul.  Declared themselves
unworthy of eternal life, Paul turned his efforts toward the Gentiles
who were much more receptive.  The word of the Lord spread through the
region, but eventually Paul and Barnabas were forced to leave and thus
went to Iconium.  Their work in Antioch was not in vain, for left behind
were disciples filled with joy and the Holy Spirit (42-52).



      1. Barnabas, Simeon (called Niger), Lucius of Cyrene
      2. Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod), Saul

      1. As the prophets and teachers ministered to the Lord and fasted
      2. The Holy Spirit commands that Barnabas and Saul be separated
         for His work
      3. With fasting, prayer, and laying on of hands, Barnabas and Saul
         are sent away


      1. Sent out by the Holy Spirit, Barnabas and Saul go down to
      2. From Seleucia they sail to Cyprus and arrive at Salamis
      3. In Salamis they preach the Word in the Jewish synagogue,
         assisted by John Mark

      1. Crossing the island of Cyprus they arrive at Paphos
      2. There they encounter Elymas Bar-Jesus, a sorcerer and false
         a. The proconsul, Sergius Paulus, wanted to hear the Word of
         b. Elymas sought to keep him from hearing Barnabas and Saul
      3. Saul (who is also called Paul from this point forward)
         confronts and confounds Elymas
         a. Filled with the Holy Spirit, Paul looked at him intently and
            saw that he was full of deceit and fraud
         b. Calling him a son of the devil and enemy of righteousness,
            Paul charged him with perverting the ways of the Lord
         c. Paul then foretells his blindness by the hand of the Lord,
            which happens immediately
      4. Seeing what happened, Sergius Paulus believes, astonished at
         the teaching of the Lord


      1. Setting sail from Paphos, they arrive in Perga of Pamphylia
      2. At Perga, John Mark leaves them and returns to Jerusalem
      3. From Perga, they come to Antioch of Pisidia

      1. Visiting the synagogue, they are invited to address the people
      2. Paul's sermon to the men of Israel and those who fear God
         a. He reviews Israel's history from the Exodus to the time of
         b. He proclaims Jesus as the seed of David who was introduced
            by John the Baptist
         c. He preaches the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus
         d. He offers evidence for the resurrection: eyewitnesses and
            messianic prophecies
         e. He announces forgiveness and justification available through
            Jesus Christ, not the law
         f. He warns them not to despise the wonderful work of God
      3. The response and follow up to his sermon
         a. The Gentiles beg that he will preach the same to them on the
            next Sabbath
         b. Many Jews and devout proselytes follow Paul and Barnabas,
            who persuade them to continue in the grace of God

      1. Almost the whole city gathers to hear the Word of God
      2. The Jews become envious, and begin contradicting and
         blaspheming Paul
      3. Paul and Barnabas boldly rebuke the Jews for rejecting the
         Word, and turn to the Gentiles as commanded by the Lord
      4. The Gentiles rejoice, many believe, and the Word of the Lord is
         spread throughout the region

      1. The Jews stir up devout and prominent women and chief men to
         persecute and expel Paul and Barnabas from their region
      2. Shaking the dust of their feet against them, Paul and Barnabas
         go to Iconium
      3. The disciples, meanwhile, are filled with joy and with the Holy


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Departure from Antioch of Syria (1-3)
   - Ministry on the island of Cyprus (4-12)
   - Preaching in Antioch of Pisidia (13-52)

2) Who were the prophets and teachers at the church in Antioch? (1)
   - Barnabas, Simeon (Niger), Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen, Saul

3) Who told them to send Barnabas and Saul on their journey? (2)
   - The Holy Spirit

4) What activities helped to prepare them for their mission? (3)
   - Fasting, prayer, the laying on of hands

5) From what city did they disembark, and to where did they sail? (4)
   - Selucia; the island of Cyprus

6) Where did they first preach?  Who was with them? (5)
   - Salamis
   - John (Mark); cf. 12:25

7) At Paphos, who wanted to hear the Word of God?  Who sought to prevent
   him? (6-8)
   - Sergius Paulus, proconsul
   - Bar-Jesus, a Jewish false prophet, also known as Elymas the

8) What did Saul do to Elymas?  What affect did this have on Sergius
   Paulus? (9-12)
   - Caused a dark mist to fall on him, resulting in blindness
   - Caused him to believe, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord

9) Setting sail from Paphos, where did they go?  Who left when they
   arrived? (13)
   - Perga in Pamphylia
   - John, who returned to Jerusalem

10) Where did Paul and Barnabas go next?  What did they do on the
    Sabbath day? (14)
   - Antioch of Pisidia
   - Attended the synagogue

11) Invited to speak, what periods of Israel's history did Paul first
    review? (15-22)
   - The exodus, wilderness wanderings, the judges, the kings Saul and

12) Skipping from David to his descendant Jesus, whose ministry does
    Paul review? (23-25)
   - That of John the Baptist

13) Focusing on the word of salvation, what does Paul proclaim
    concerning Jesus? (26-30)
   - His death, burial and resurrection

14) What evidence does Paul provide for the resurrection of Jesus?
   - Testimony of witnesses
   - Testimony of scripture

15) What does Paul preach in the name of Jesus? (38-39)
   - Forgiveness of sins
   - Justification not provided by the Law of Moses

16) With what does Paul conclude his sermon? (40-41)
   - A warning against unbelief, as forewarned in the Scriptures

17) Who begged to hear more the next Sabbath? (42)
   - The Gentiles

18) Who followed Paul and Barnabas? (43)
   - Many of the Jews and devout proselytes

19) What happened on the next Sabbath? (44-45)
   - The whole city came to hear the word of God
   - Envious Jews began to contradict and blaspheme, opposing Paul

20) What did Paul say of those who rejected the gospel? (46)
   - They judged themselves unworthy of eternal life (i.e., not God, cf.
     1Ti 2:3-4; 2Pe 3:9; Re 22:17)

21) What happened next, as foretold by the prophet Isaiah? (46-48)
   - Paul turned to the Gentiles, many who gladly received the word

22) What sort of people were ordained to eternal life and thus believed?
   - Those glad to hear and glorify the Word (i.e., those of good and
     noble hearts, willing to receive the seed of the gospel which
     produces faith, cf. Lk 8:15; Ac 17:11; Ro 10:17)

23) What two opposite effects did Paul's preaching have in Antioch?
   - The word of the Lord was spread throughout the region
   - Persecution by the unbelieving Jews forced Paul and Barnabas to

24) Where did Barnabas and Paul then go?  What about the disciples left
    behind? (51-52)
   - Iconium
   - They were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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"ACTS OF THE APOSTLES" Chapter Twelve by Mark Copeland

                         "ACTS OF THE APOSTLES"

                             Chapter Twelve


1) To note the martyrdom of James, and the miraculous release of Peter
   from prison

2) To review the untimely death of Herod, and the continued success of
   the word of God


This chapter records the efforts by King Herod to harass the church in
Jerusalem.  This Herod was Agrippa I, son of Herod Antipas (who beheaded
John the Baptist, Mt 14:1-12), and grandson of Herod the Great (who slew
the infants at Bethlehem, Mt 2:1-16).  Successfully killing James the
brother of John with the sword, Herod had Peter arrested and imprisoned,
intending to bring Peter before the people after the Passover.  Herod's
plans were thwarted when an angel of the Lord freed Peter from prison.
After meeting with brethren at the home of Mary, mother of John Mark,
Peter sent word to James and the brethren of his miraculous release.
When Peter was not found in the prison, Herod had the guards examined
and executed.  Herod then went down to Caesarea (1-19).

While at Caesarea, the people of Tyre and Sidon came to Herod to appeal
for peace.  When he gave them an oration, the people praised his speech
as "the voice of a god and not of a man."  Failing to give glory to God,
an angel of the Lord struck Herod and he died.  The word of God,
however, grew and multiplied.  Barnabas and Saul, having completed their
ministry to the saints in Judea (cf. 11:29-30), returned from Jerusalem
to Antioch accompanied by John Mark.  At this point in Luke's narrative
of the history of the church, the focus turns from the ministry of Peter
to the ministry of Paul (20-24).



      1. Herod begins to harass some from the church
      2. He killed James the brother the John

      1. Peter seized during the days of Unleavened Bread
         a. Since Herod saw that it pleased the Jews
         b. Intending to bring Peter before the people after Passover
      2. Peter released by an angel
         a. Constant prayer was being offered by the church
         b. Though bound with chains between two guards, with more
            before the door
         c. An angel stands before Peter, along with a shining light
         d. The angel strikes Peter on the side, and raises him; chains
            fell off
         e. Told to gird himself, tie his sandals, put on his garments,
            and follow
         f. Thinking it was a vision, Peter follows the angel past the
            guards and into the city
      3. Peter rejoined with his brethren
         a. He realizes that the angel has delivered him from Herod
         b. He comes to the house of Mary, mother of John Mark, where
            many are praying
         c. He is first left standing at the door by Rhoda, then
            astonishes the brethren when they come to the door
         d. He relates what happened, sends word to James and the
            brethren, and departs
      4. Peter's release causes a stir
         a. Herod is unable to find Peter
         b. Herod examines the soldiers and has them put to death
         c. Herod leaves Judea and goes to Caesarea


   A. HIS LAST ORATION (20-22)
      1. The people of Tyre and Sidon appeal for peace to Herod through
         Blastus, the king's aide
      2. On a set day, in royal apparel and on his throne, Herod gives
         them an oration
      3. The people praise him as having the voice of a god and not of a

      1. An angel of the Lord strikes him immediately because he did not
         give glory to God
      2. He is eaten of worms and dies

      1. The word of God grows and multiplies
      2. Barnabas and Saul return from Jerusalem with John Mark,
         fulfilling their ministry


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - The persecution by Herod the King (1-19)
   - The death of Herod the King (20-25)

2) How did Herod begin to harass the church? (1-3)
   - By having James the brother of John killed with the sword
   - By having Peter put in prison

3) When was Peter imprisoned?  When did Herod intend to present him to
   the people? (3-4)
   - During the Days of Unleavened Bread
   - After Passover

4) How did the church respond to Peter's imprisonment? (5)
   - They offered constant prayer to God in his behalf

5) How was Peter bound, the night before Herod intended to bring him
   before the people? (6)
   - With two chains between two soldiers, and guards before the door of
     the prison

6) As the angel freed Peter and led him out of the prison, what was
   Peter thinking? (7-9)
   - That he was seeing a vision

7) After the angel led Peter into the city and then left, what did Peter
   come to realize? (10-11)
   - The Lord had sent His angel to deliver him from Herod and the
     expectation of the people

8) Where did Peter first go?  What were the people there doing? (12)
   - The house of Mary, mother of John Mark
   - Praying

9) Who answered the door?  How did she react? (13-14)
   - A girl named Rhoda
   - She recognized Peter, but in her excitement left him standing at
     the door

10) What did the people think she had seen at the door? (15)
   - Peter's angel

11) After they finally went to the door and let him in, what
    instructions did Peter give? (16-17)
   - To tell what happened to James and the brethren

12) When Peter was not found in the prison on the next day, what
    happened? (18-19)
   - There was a big stir among the soldiers
   - Herod had the guards examined, then executed

13) Where did Herod then go?  Who came with an appeal for peace? (19-20)
   - From Judea down to Caesarea
   - The people of Tyre and Sidon

14) When Herod gave them an oration, what did the people say? (21-22)
   - "The voice of a god and not of man!"

15) What happened to Herod?  Why? (23)
   - An angel of the Lord struck him, so that he was eaten by worms and
   - Because he did not give glory to God

16) Despite Herod's effort to harass the church, what was the result?
   - The word of God grew and multiplied

17) Who returned from Jerusalem, and whom did they bring with them? (25)
   - Barnabas and Saul, having fulfilled their ministry
   - John Mark

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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"ACTS OF THE APOSTLES" Chapter Eleven by Mark Copeland

                         "ACTS OF THE APOSTLES"

                             Chapter Eleven


1) To glean from Peter's own account of the conversion of the household
   of Cornelius, what was the purpose of the baptism of the Holy Spirit
   on the Gentiles

2) To note the beginning of the Lord's church in Antioch, and the early
   ministry of Barnabas and Saul


The apostles and brethren in Judea soon heard of the Gentiles'
conversion.  When Peter returned to Jerusalem, brethren who were "of the
circumcision" (i.e., Jewish Christians) took issue with his eating with
uncircumcised men.  Peter carefully explained the sequence of events,
including the vision in Joppa and the manner in which the Spirit fell
upon the Gentiles as he began to speak to them.  The baptism of the
Spirit on the Gentiles was understood to indicate that Gentiles were now
allowed to hear the words of salvation, and that they could repent in
order to have life (1-18).

Luke then records how the gospel spread from Jerusalem to Antioch.
Those scattered after the persecution of Stephen (Ac 8:1,4) included
men from Cyprus and Cyrene who began preaching Jesus to the Hellenists
(Grecian Jews).  When a great number believed and turned to the Lord,
the news was soon heard by those in the church at Jerusalem.  Barnabas
was sent to Antioch, and rejoiced in what he saw.  He first spent
sometime encouraging them by himself, but later went to Tarsus to find
Saul. For a full year they worked together with the church in Antioch
and taught many people.  The disciples were first called Christians in
Antioch, and in hearing from the prophet Agabus that there was going to
be a famine, they displayed their Christ-like character by sending
relief according to their ability to brethren in Judea.  This they did,
sending it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul (19-30).



      1. Apostles and brethren in Judea hear that Gentiles received the
         Word of God
      2. Peter challenged upon his return to Jerusalem
         a. Those of the circumcision contend with him
         b. They accuse him of eating with the uncircumcised

      1. He explains the events in the order in which they occur
         a. His vision in Joppa with the sheet and the unclean beasts
         b. The voice from heaven:  "What God has cleansed you must not
            call common."
         c. The arrival of men from Caesarea at the conclusion of the
         d. The Spirit telling him to go with them, accompanied by six
         e. How Cornelius was told to by an angel to send for Peter who
            would tell him words by which they would be saved
         f. How as he began to speak, the Holy Spirit fell on the
            Gentiles just as upon the apostles
            at the beginning
      2. Peter's reaction to the events
         a. He remembered the Lord's promise of the baptism of the Holy
         b. He reasoned that if Gentiles received the same promise as
            they did when they believed, who was he to stand in God's
      3. The reaction by those who heard Peter's account
         a. They became silent, and then glorified God
         b. They concluded that God has granted Gentiles repentance to


      1. Those scattered by persecution preach the word
         a. They travel as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch,
            preaching only to the Jews
         b. Some from Cyprus and Cyrene preach to the Hellenists in
      2. They enjoy great success in Antioch
         a. The hand of the Lord is with them
         b. A great number believe and turn to the Lord
      3. Barnabas arrives in Antioch
         a. Sent by the church in Jerusalem
         b. Glad to see the grace of God
         c. Encouraging them to continue with the Lord with purpose of
         d. He was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith
         e. A great many people are added to the Lord
      4. Saul arrives in Antioch
         a. Brought from Tarsus by Barnabas
         b. Assembling with the church for a whole year, teaching a
            great many people
         c. The disciples are first called Christians in Antioch

      1. Prompted by prophets coming from Jerusalem to Antioch
      2. Agabus shows by the Spirit that there will be a famine
      3. The disciples determine to send relief to brethren in Judea
      4. They send it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Conversion of the Gentiles defended (1-18)
   - The ministry of Barnabas and Saul (19-30)

2) What had the apostles and brethren in Judea heard? (1)
   - That the Gentiles had received the word of God

3) When Peter returned to Jerusalem, who contended with him?  Why? (2-3)
   - Those of the circumcision (Jewish Christians)
   - Because he had eaten with the uncircumcised

4) How did Peter recount the events that had happened? (4)
   - In order from the beginning

5) What happened while Peter was praying in Joppa? (5)
   - In a trance he saw a vision with an object like a great sheet let
     down from heaven

6) What did he see as he observed it closely? (6)
   - All kinds of animals, creeping things and birds

7) What did a voice tell Peter to do?  How did Peter respond? (7-8)
   - "Rise, Peter; kill and eat."
   - "Not so, Lord! For nothing common or unclean has at any time
     entered my mouth."

9) What was Peter then told? (9)
   - "What God has cleansed you must not call common."

10) How many times was this repeated? (10)
   - Three times

11) What happened at that very moment? (11)
   - Three men stood before the house, having been sent to him from

12) What did the Spirit tell Peter to do?  Who went with him? (12)
   - To go with them, doubting nothing
   - Six brethren

13) Upon arriving at the man's house, what was Peter and his
    companions told? (13)
   - How he (Cornelius) had seen an angel, was told to send to Joppa for

14) What was Cornelius told Peter would tell him? (14)
   - Words whereby he and his household would be saved

15) What happened as Peter began to speak? (15)
   - The Spirit fell upon Cornelius and his household, as upon the
     apostles at the beginning (Ac 2:1-4)

16) What did that bring to Peter's remembrance? (16)
   - Jesus' promise of the baptism of the Holy Spirit (Ac 1:5)

17) What conclusion did Peter draw? What did those who heard him
    conclude? (17-18)
   - Who was he to withstand God?
   - God has granted Gentiles repentance to life

18) What did those who were scattered after Stephen's death do? (19)
   - Traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus, and Antioch, preaching to
     Jews only

19) What did some from Cyprus and Cyrene do when they came to Antioch?
   - Preached the Lord Jesus to the Hellenists (Grecian Jews)

20) What was the response? (21)
   - A great number believed and turned to the Lord

21) What did those in Jerusalem do when they heard the news? (22)
   - Sent out Barnabas to go as far as Antioch

22) When Barnabas saw what happened, what was his reaction? (23)
   - He was glad, and encouraged them to continue with the Lord with
     purpose of heart

23) What kind of man was Barnabas? What kind of results accompanied
    his ministry? (24)
   - A good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith
   - A great many people were added to the Lord

24) Who did Barnabas go to find in Tarsus?  What did the two men do?
   - Saul
   - Returned to Antioch and assembled with the church for a year,
     teaching many people

25) What were disciples called for the first time in Antioch? (26)
   - Christians

26) Who came to Antioch from Jerusalem?  What did one of them show by
    the Spirit? (27-28)
   - Prophets
   - Agabus showed that there would be a great famine throughout the

27) What did the disciples decide to do?  How did they do it? (29-30)
   - To send relief to the brethren in Judea, according to their ability
   - They sent it to the elders by the hands of Barnabas and Saul

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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"ACTS OF THE APOSTLES" Chapter Ten by Mark Copeland

                         "ACTS OF THE APOSTLES"

                              Chapter Ten


1) To study the conversion of Cornelius and his household, the first
   Gentiles to obey the gospel

2) To note the need for religious and devout people to be saved, despite
   their good works

3) To ascertain the purpose of the Holy Spirit falling upon the
   Gentiles, based on the context


Up to this time, the gospel had been preached only to Jews (also
Samaritans, who shared a Jewish ancestry).  With the conversion of
Cornelius and his household, Gentiles were now granted repentance that
leads to eternal life.  Because the Law of Moses for generations had
forbid socializing with Gentiles, it took a series of miraculous events
to help Jewish Christians realize that they should no longer consider
those of other nations as common or unclean.

We are told about Cornelius, a Roman soldier in Caesaria who was
extremely religious.  His fervent prayers and charity to the poor,
though not saving him, were noticed by God.  In a vision, an angel of
God instructed him to send men for Peter who would tell him what he
needed to do (1-8).

As Cornelius' men were on their way, Peter had a vision in which the
Lord told him to kill and eat unclean animals.  When he refused, Peter
was told what God has cleansed no one should call common or unclean.  As
Peter contemplated the vision, the Spirit told him that three men will
seek him with whom he should go without doubting.  The men arrived and
informed Peter about Cornelius. The next day, Peter and some brethren
from Joppa accompanied them back to Caesaria (9-23).

When he arrived, Peter found a waiting audience in home of Cornelius.
Cornelius fell down and worshipped at Peter's feet, but was kindly
rebuked for doing so.  Peter then explained how he has learned not to
call any man common or unclean, and Cornelius related his vision and
charge to send for Peter.  Now that Peter was there, Cornelius along
with his family and friends were ready to hear the things Peter had been
commanded by God to say (24-33).

Perceiving that God was no respecter of persons, but now accepts people
from every nation who fear Him and works righteousness, Peter proclaimed
the gospel of Jesus Christ.  He summarized the ministry of Jesus in
Judea, His crucifixion, and His resurrection from the dead, who was seen
by witnesses who ate and drank with Him.  These same witnesses were
commanded by God to preach that Jesus was ordained to be the Judge of
the living and the dead.  Also, the prophets bore witness that those who
believed in Him would receive remission of sins (34-43).

As Peter was speaking, the Holy Spirit fell upon those who heard the
word.  The Jewish brethren who had accompanied Peter were astonished,
because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the Gentiles
as evidenced by their speaking in tongues.  Peter saw the clear
implication of these events, that Gentiles could also be baptized (cf.
Mk 16:15-16; Ac 2:38; 8:12,35-38).  Thus he commanded them to be
baptized in the name of the Lord (44-48).



      1. Cornelius introduced
         a. A certain man in Caesarea, centurion of the Italian Regiment
         b. A devout man who feared God with all his family
         c. Who gave alms generously and prayed always
      2. Cornelius' vision
         a. About the ninth hour of the day he sees an angel of God
         b. Who tells him his prayers and alms have come up for a
            memorial before God
         c. He is told to send for Peter, who is lodging with Simon the
            tanner in Joppa
      3. Cornelius' action
         a. Calls for two of his servants and a devout soldier
         b. Tells them what happened and sends them to Joppa

      1. Peter has a vision
         a. The next day Peter goes to the housetop to pray, about the
            sixth hour
         b. Hungry, he falls into trance while food was being prepared
         c. He sees a great sheet bound at the four corners
            1) Descending down to the earth
            2) With all kinds of animals, wild beasts, creeping things,
               and birds
         d. He is told to kill and eat
            1) He protests that he is never eaten anything common or
            2) He is told "What God has cleansed you must not call
         e. This was done three times, and then it was taken back into
      2. Peter summoned to Caesarea
         a. As he wondered what the vision meant, the men from Cornelius
         b. The Spirit tells Peter to go with them, doubting nothing
         c. Peter hears their story about Cornelius, and provides them
         d. The next day Peter leaves with them, accompanied by some

      1. Cornelius welcomes Peter
         a. Waiting for Peter with family and close friends
         b. Falling down at Peter's feet, he is told to stand up
      2. Peter explains his presence
         a. It was unlawful for a Jew to keep company with those of
            another nation
         b. But God has shown him not to call any man common or unclean
         c. So he came without objection, and is ready to hear why they
            sent for him
      3. Cornelius recounts his vision
         a. Which occurred four days previously, while he fasted and
         b. When he was visited by a man in bright clothing and told to
            send for Peter
         c. So they are all present to hear whatever God has commanded
            Peter to say


   A. PETER'S SERMON (34-43)
      1. Introductory remarks
         a. He sees that God shows no partiality
         b. In every nation whoever fears God and works righteousness is
            accepted by Him
      2. The ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus
         a. God sent Jesus, Lord of all, to the children of Israel,
            preaching peace (as they know)
            1) Beginning from Galilee after the baptism of John
            2) Proclaiming throughout all Judea
         b. God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power
            1) Who went about doing good
            2) Healing all who were oppressed by the devil
            3) Witnessed by Peter and those who came with him
         c. God raised Jesus from the dead
            1) Who was killed by hanging on the tree
            2) Raised the third day, and shown openly to witnesses
               chosen before by God
            3) Who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead
      3. Concluding remarks
         a. Peter and others were commanded to testify that Jesus was
            ordained to the Judge of the iving and the dead
         b. All the prophets witness to Jesus, that through His name
            whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins

      1. The Holy Spirit's action
         a. He fell upon all those who heard the word
         b. Those of the circumcision who believed were astonished
            because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on
            the Gentiles also
         c. They heard them speak with tongues and magnify God
      2. Peter's reaction
         a. Questions whether anyone can forbid water baptism for those
            who received the Spirit just like they have
         b. Commands them to be baptized in the name of the Lord
         c. Invited to stay a few days


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Cornelius sends for Peter (1-33)
   - The conversion of the Gentiles (34-48)

2) What position did Cornelius hold? (1)
   - Centurion of the Italian Regiment

3) List the qualities that characterized Cornelius (2)
   - A devout man who feared God with all his household
   - Who gave alms generously to the people and prayed to God always

4) What did the angel of God say to him about his prayers and alms?
   - They have come up for a memorial before God

5) Why was he told to send for Peter? (5-6)
   - Peter would tell him what he must do (KJV) (i.e., to be saved, cf.
     Ac 11:14)

6) What happened the next day as Peter was praying? (10)
   - He fell into a trance

7) What did he see? (11-12)
   - Heaven opening and a great sheet descending, filled with all kinds
     of animals, insects and birds

8) What did a voice tell Peter to do?  How did Peter respond? (13-14)
   - "Rise, Peter; kill and eat."
   - "Not so, Lord! For I have never eaten anything common or unclean."

9) What was Peter then told? (15)
   - "What God has cleansed you must not call common."

10) How many times was this repeated? (16)
   - Three times

11) When the men from Cornelius arrived, what did the Spirit say to
    Peter? (19-20)
   - "Arise therefore, go down and go with them, doubting nothing; for I
     have sent them."

12) What did the messengers tell Peter regarding Cornelius? (22)
   - He was divinely instructed by a holy angel to summon Peter and hear
     words from him

13) When Peter went with the messengers from Cornelius, who accompanied
    him? (23)
   - Some brethren

14) When Peter arrived, who did Cornelius have waiting for him? (24)
   - His relatives and close friends

15) When Cornelius met Peter, what did he do?  How did Peter respond?
   - Cornelius fell down at Peter's feet and worshiped
   - Peter lifted him up, telling him that he also was a man

16) What did Peter say had been unlawful for a Jewish man? (28)
   - To keep company with or go to one of another nation

17) What did Peter say God had shown him? (28)
   - Not to call any man common or unclean

18) After recounting his vision to Peter, what did Cornelius tell him?
   - "We are all present before God, to hear all the things commanded
     you by God."

19) What two things did these circumstances lead Peter to conclude?
   - That God shows no partiality
   - In every nation whoever fears God and works righteousness is
     accepted by Him

20) What does Peter say about the preaching of Jesus? (36-37)
   - That God sent Him from Galilee to proclaim peace throughout all

21) What does Peter say about the miracles of Jesus? (38)
   - That God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and power to do good

22) What does Peter claim for himself and others to be in regards to
    such things? (39)
   - Witnesses of all that Jesus did in the land of the Jews and in

23) What did the Jews do to Jesus? (40)
   - They killed Him by hanging Him on a tree

24) What did God do? (41)
   - Raised Jesus on the third day

25) To whom did Jesus appear after His resurrection? (41)
   - To witnesses chosen before God
   - To those who ate and drank with Him after He arose from the dead

26) What did Jesus command His witnesses? (42)
   - To preach and testify that Jesus was ordained by God to be Judge of
     the living and the dead

27) What did the prophets bear witness to regarding Jesus? (43)
   - That through His name, whoever believes in Jesus will receive
     remission of sins

28) While Peter was still speaking, what happened? (44)
   - The Holy Spirit fell upon all those who heard the word

29) Who was astonished by this?  Why? (45)
   - Those of the circumcision who believed, who had accompanied Peter
   - Because the gift of the Holy Spirit had been poured out on the
     Gentiles also

30) How was the outpouring of the Spirit manifested? (46)
   - They spoke with tongues and magnified God

31) What was Peter's conclusion from this sequence of events? (47)
   - "Can anyone forbid water, that these should not be baptized who
     have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?"

32) What did Peter command the Gentiles? (48)
 - To be baptized in the name of the Lord

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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"ACTS OF THE APOSTLES" Chapter Nine by Mark Copeland

                         "ACTS OF THE APOSTLES"

                              Chapter Nine


1) To study the conversion of Saul, comparing Luke's account in this
   chapter with Saul's own words recorded later on in chapters 22 and 26

2) To note two miracles by Peter, and the affect they had on many people
   who heard about them


Not content with persecuting Christians in Jerusalem, Saul received
permission from the high priest to seek out those of the Way in Damascus
and bring them bound to Jerusalem.  It was near Damascus that Saul was
blinded by a vision of the risen Jesus.  Told to go into Damascus for
further instructions, Saul was led blind into the city where he waited
for three days, neither eating nor drinking (1-9).

The Lord then appeared to a disciple named Ananias and sent him to
restore Saul's sight and tell him what he would do as a chosen vessel
for Christ.  With his sight restored, Saul was baptized and resumed
eating.  For some days Saul remained in Damascus and began immediately
preaching in the synagogues that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of God,
to the amazement of those who knew that he had come to the city to
arrest Christians (10-19).

After many days had passed (during which Saul apparently spent about 3
years in Arabia, cf. Ga 1:17-18), Saul barely escaped a plot to kill him
by the Jews in Damascus (cf. 2Co 11:32-33).  He went to Jerusalem where
after Barnabas spoke in his behalf he was accepted by the brethren.
Another plot by the Jews to kill Saul prompted the brethren to bring him
to Caesarea and send him on to Tarsus.  The churches in Judea, Galilee,
and Samaria then enjoyed peace and grew as they walked in the fear of
the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit (20-31).

Luke then records two miracles performed by Peter.  The first in Lydda,
where Peter healed Aeneas, a man paralyzed and bedridden for eight
years.  This led many in Lydda and Sharon to turn to the Lord.  In
nearby Joppa, a disciple named Tabitha (Dorcas) became sick and died.
Having heard that Peter was in Lydda, the disciples sent for him to come
without delay.  Peter raised Tabitha from the dead,  leading many people
in Joppa to believe on the Lord.  Peter then remained in Joppa for many
days, staying with Simon, a tanner (32-43).



      1. Saul granted authority by the high priest
         a. While aggressive in persecuting disciples of the Lord
         b. With letters to the synagogues in Damascus
         c. To find those of "the Way" and bring them bound to Jerusalem
      2. The Lord's appearance on the road to Damascus
         a. Approaching Damascus, suddenly a light from heaven shone
            around him
         b. Falling to the ground, he hears a voice:  "Saul, Saul, why
            are you persecuting Me?"
         c. When he asks, "Who are you, Lord?", he is told:
            1) "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting."
            2) "It is hard for you to kick against the goads."
         d. When asked what to, he is told:
            1) "Arise, go into the city."
            2) "You will be told what you must do."
         e. His companions stand speechless, hearing a voice but seeing
            no one
      3. Saul's arrival in Damascus
         a. Getting up, he sees no one
         b. His companions lead him by the hand into the city
         c. There he waits for three days, without sight, neither eating
            or drinking

      1. The Lord appears in a vision to Ananias, a disciple in Damascus
         a. Instructed to go to house of Judas on the street called
            1) Where Saul is praying and has seen a vision in which
               Ananias restores his sight
            2) Ananias is reluctant, knowing of Saul's persecution of
               the saints
         b. Ananias is commanded to go, for Saul is a chosen vessel
            1) Who will bear the Lord's name before Gentiles, kings, and
               the children of Israel
            2) Who will be shown how many things he must suffer for His
               name's sake
      2. Ananias goes to Saul
         a. Laying hands on Saul as he explains his purpose in coming
            1) That Saul might receive his sight
            2) And be filled with the Holy Spirit
         b. Saul's sight is immediately restored, and is baptized
         c. He resumes eating and spends some days with the disciples

      1. Saul immediately preaches Christ as the Son of God in the
         a. To the amazement of all who heard and knew his background
            1) How he destroyed those in Jerusalem who called on His
            2) How he came to Damascus to bring them bound to the chief
         b. He increases in strength
            1) Confounding the Jews who dwelt in Damascus
            2) Proving that Jesus is the Christ
      2. Saul is forced to leave Damascus
         a. After many days, the Jews plot to kill him
         b. When the plot is revealed, they watch the gates day and
            night to kill him
         c. The disciples help Saul escape at night by letting him over
            a wall in a basket

      1. Saul joins himself to the disciples
         a. Though at first they were afraid and did not believe him
         b. Barnabas brought him to the apostles and told them:
            1) How he had seen the Lord on the road, who spoke to him
            2) Of his bold preaching in Damascus
         c. Saul is accepted and circulates freely among the disciples
            in Jerusalem
      2. Saul is forced to leave Jerusalem
         a. He speaks boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus
            1) Disputing against the Hellenists
            2) Who attempt to kill him
         b. The brethren learn of the attempt to kill Saul
            1) They bring him down to Caesarea
            2) They send him to Tarsus


      1. Peter comes to the saints in Lydda
      2. He meets Aeneas, paralyzed and bedridden for eight years
      3. Peter tells him that Jesus Christ heals him, and he arose
      4. All who dwelt at Lydda and Sharon saw him and turned to the

      1. At Joppa, a certain disciple named Tabitha (Dorcas) dies
         a. A woman full of good works and charitable deeds
         b. Her body was washed and laid in an upper room
         c. Two men were sent to Peter in nearby Lydda
      2. Peter raises Dorcas from the dead
         a. He is brought to the upper room, where weeping widows showed
            garments by Dorcas
         b. Sending the widows out, Peter kneels down and prays
         c. Telling her "Tabitha, arise", she opened her eyes and sat up
         d. Peter presents her alive to the saints and widows
         e. As it became known throughout Joppa, many believed on the
      3. Peter remains in Joppa with Simon, a tanner


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Conversion of Saul (1-31)
   - Miracles of Peter (32-43)

2) What was Saul doing when he went to the high priest? (1)
   - Breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord

3) What did Saul get from the high priest? (2)
   - Letters to the synagogues of Damascus, authorizing him to arrest
     and bring those of "The Way" to Jerusalem

4) As Saul came near Damascus, what happened?  What did he hear?  (3-4)
   - Suddenly a light shone around him from heaven
   - Falling down, he heard a voice saying, "Saul, Saul, why are you
     persecuting Me?"

5) When he asked "Who are You, Lord?", what was he told? (5)
   - "I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting."

6) What did Jesus tell Saul to do? (6)
   - To go to the city, where he would be told what to do

7) How did the men with him respond to what was happening? (7)
   - They stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no one

8) How was Saul led into the city?  What did he do for three days? (8-9)
   - By the hand, for he was blind when he arose from the ground
   - He did not eat or drink, and remained without sight

9) To whom did the Lord appear in a vision? (10)
   - A disciple at Damascus named Ananias

10) What did Jesus tell him to do? (11)
   - To go to the street called Straight
   - To inquire at the house of Judas for one called Saul

11) What had Saul been doing during this time?  What had he seen in a
    vision? (11-12)
   - Praying; a man named Ananias laying hands on him that he might
     receive his sight

12) Why was Ananias hesitant to go? (13-14)
   - He had heard what Saul had done to the saints in Jerusalem, and why
     he had come to Damascus

13) What did the Lord say about Saul to reassure Ananias to go to him?
   - Saul is His chosen vessel to bear His name before Gentiles, kings,
     and the children of Israel
   - He will be shown how many things he must suffer for the Lord's sake

14) When Ananias laid his hands on Saul, what did he say as to why the
    Lord sent him? (17)
   - That Saul might receive his sight
   - That Saul might be filled with the Holy Spirit

15) What happened immediately thereafter? (18)
   - Something like scales fell from his eyes and his sight returned
   - He arose and was baptized
   - He was strengthened when he ate

16) What did Saul then do? (19-20)
   - He received food and was strengthened
   - He spent some days with the disciples at Damascus
   - He immediately began preaching in the synagogues Christ as the Son
     of God

17) What was the reaction of those who heard him?  (21)
   - They were amazed, for they knew what he had done in Jerusalem and
     why he came to Damascus

18) As Saul increased in strength, what did he do? (22)
   - He confounded the Jews in Damascus, proving that Jesus was the

19) After many days had passed, who plotted to kill Saul?  How did he
    escape? (23-25)
   - The Jews, who watched the gates day and night
   - The disciples let him down through the wall in a large basket

20) When Saul came to Jerusalem, what did he try to do?  What was the
    reaction? (26)
   - To join the disciples; they were afraid of him, for they did not
     believe he was a disciple

21) Who brought him before the apostles?  What did he tell them about
    Saul? (27)
   - Barnabas; how Saul had seen the Lord who spoke to him, and how Saul
     preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus

22) What was Saul then permitted to do? (28)
   - To be with the disciples, coming in and going out

23) What did Saul do while at Jerusalem?  What then happened? (29-30)
   - He spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed with the
   - An attempt was made to kill him, but the brethren took him to
     Caesarea and sent him on to Tarsus

24) What was the condition of the churches in Judea, Galilee, and
    Samaria at that time? (31)
   - They had peace and were edified
   - Walking in the fear of the Lord and the comfort of the Holy Spirit,
     they were multiplied

25) Where did Peter go and what did he find there? (32-33)
   - He went to Lydda where he found Aeneas, paralyzed and bedridden for
     eight years

26) What did Peter do and what was the result? (34-35)
   - He healed him in the name of Jesus, all in Lydda and Sharon turned
     to the Lord

27) Who died at Joppa, and what did the disciples there do? (36-38)
   - A disciple named Tabitha (Dorcas), a woman full of good works and
     charitable deeds
   - They washed her body, laid her in an upper room, and sent two men
     for Peter

28) When Peter arrived, what did he see and what did he do? (39-41)
   - Widows weeping in the upper room, showing the garments Dorcas made
   - He sent the widows out, knelt and prayed, and then said "Tabitha,
   - After she opened her eyes and sat up, Peter called the saints and
     widows back into the room and presented her alive

29) What happened when this became known throughout all Joppa? (42)
   - Many believed on the Lord

30) What did Peter then do? (43)
   - Stayed in Joppa for many days with Simon, a tanner

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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"ACTS OF THE APOSTLES" Chapter Eight by Mark Copeland

                         "ACTS OF THE APOSTLES"

                             Chapter Eight


1) To note the spread of the gospel into Judea and Samaria, as foretold
   by Jesus (cf. Ac 1:8)

2) To review the conversions of the Samaritans and the Ethiopian eunuch

3) To examine the apostolic ministry of imparting the Spirit through the
   laying on of hands


Following the martyrdom of Stephen, the church in Jerusalem was severely
persecuted.  Prominent in leading the persecution was young Saul, going
so far as to enter homes and dragging men and women off to prison (1-3).

This led to the dispersion of the church throughout Judea and Samaria,
though the apostles remained in Jerusalem.  Those who were scattered
went everywhere preaching the Word, including Philip (one of the seven
men selected to help needy widows, cf. 6:5).  Preaching Christ and
performing miracles, many Samaritans believed and were baptized,
including a sorcerer named Simon.  When the apostles heard that the
Samaritans had received the Word, they sent Peter and John to impart the
Spirit through the laying on of hands.  When Simon tried to buy the
ability to impart spiritual gifts, Peter strongly rebuked him and told
him to repent and pray for forgiveness.  Peter and John eventually made
their way back to Jerusalem, preaching the gospel in many villages of
the Samaritans (5-25).

Philip was then told by an angel to go along the road between Jerusalem
and Gaza where he saw a man reading in his chariot, who happened to be a
eunuch and treasurer of Queen Candace of Ethiopia.  Told by the Spirit
to overtake the chariot, Philip heard him reading from the prophet
Isaiah.  Invited to explain the passage in Isaiah (cf. Isa 53:7-8),
Philip proceeded to preach Jesus to him.  When they came to some water,
the eunuch requested to be baptized and Philip did so upon hearing his
confession of faith.  When they came up out of the water, the Spirit
caught Philip away and the eunuch resumed his journey with great joy.
Philip was later found at Azotus, and continued to preach in the cities
until he came to Caesarea (26-40).



      1. Saul consents to Stephen's death
      2. A great persecution arose against the church in Jerusalem
         a. Christians scattered throughout Judea and Samaria
         b. Except the apostles
      3. Stephen buried and lamented by devout men
      4. Saul makes havoc of the church, imprisoning men and women

      1. Those scattered abroad went everywhere
      2. Preaching the word


      1. Preaches Christ to them
      2. Multitudes give heed to the word, seeing the miracles he did
         a. Casting out unclean spirits
         b. Healing the paralyzed and lame
         c. Creating great joy in the city
      3. Background on Simon the sorcerer
         a. Previously practiced sorcery, astonishing the people,
            claiming to be great
         b. To whom people gave heed, calling him "the great power of
      4. Many Samaritans converted
         a. Believed Philip preaching concerning the kingdom of God and
            the name of Jesus
         b. Were baptized, both men and women
      5. Simon also believes and is baptized
         a. Continued with Philip
         b. Amazed with the signs and miracles that were done

      1. Peter and John sent to Samaria
         a. By the apostles at Jerusalem
         b. Who heard the Samaritans received the word of God
      2. Peter and John impart the Holy Spirit
         a. Praying for the Samaritans, for they had only been baptized
            in the name of Jesus
         b. Laying hands on them, whereby they received the Holy Spirit
      3. Simon tries to buy the gift of imparting the Spirit
         a. He saw that it was imparted by the laying on of the
            apostles' hands
         b. He offered Peter and John money for the same gift
         c. Peter strongly rebukes Simon
            1) For thinking the gift of God could be purchased with
            2) He had no part in this matter, for his heart was not
               right in the sight of God
         d. Peter counsels Simon
            1) To repent and pray for forgiveness
            2) For he is poisoned by bitterness and bound by iniquity
            3) Simon pleads with Peter to pray for him
      4. Peter and John return to Jerusalem
         a. After testifying and preaching the word of the Lord
         b. After preaching the gospel in many of the villages of the


      1. An angel of the Lord tells Philip to go south toward Gaza
      2. In a desert area he sees a man in a chariot
         a. A man of great authority
            1) A eunuch from Ethiopia
            2) In charge of the treasury of Candace, queen of Ethiopia
         b. A religious man
            1) Had traveled to Jerusalem to worship
            2) Reading from Isaiah on his return home
      3. The Spirit tells Philip to overtake the chariot

      1. Philip approaches the eunuch
         a. Hears him reading from Isaiah - Isa 53:7-8
         b. Asks him if he understands what he is reading
         c. The eunuch desires help in understanding the subject of the
      2. Philip preaches to the Eunuch
         a. Beginning with that scripture, He preached Jesus to him
         b. Coming to some water, the eunuch requests baptism
         c. Baptism requires faith in Jesus, which the eunuch confesses
         d. Both go into the water, and Philip baptizes the eunuch
      3. Following the baptism
         a. The Spirit of the Lord caught Philip away so the eunuch saw
            him no more
         b. The eunuch went on his way rejoicing
         c. Philip was later found at Azotus, and preached in all the
            cities till he came to Caesarea


1) What are the main points of this chapter?
   - Aftermath of Stephen's death (1-4)
   - Conversion of the Samaritans (5-25)
   - Conversion of the Ethiopian Eunuch (26-40)

2) Who consented to Stephen's death? (1)
   - Saul

3) What happened at that time?  What was the result? (1)
   - A great persecution against the church
   - The church was scattered throughout Judea and Samaria, except the

4) What was Saul doing? (3)
   - Making havoc of the church, dragging men and women off to prison

5) What did those who were scattered do? (4)
   - They went everywhere preaching the word

6) Who went to Samaria and preached Christ to them? (5)
   - Philip (cf. Ac 6:5)

7) How did the multitudes respond? Why? (6)
   - They heeded the things spoken by Philip
   - Because of the miracles he did

8) What kind of miracles did Philip perform? (7)
   - Casting out unclean spirits, healing the paralyzed and lame

9) Who had the Samaritans previously heeded? (9-11)
   - Simon the sorcerer

10) What things did Philip preach that the Samaritans believed? (12)
   - The kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ

11) How did the Samaritans respond to Philip's preaching? (12)
   - With faith and baptism

12) Who else believed and was baptized? (13)
   - Simon the sorcerer

13) Who was sent to Samaria by the apostles?  Why? (14-16)
   - Peter and John; that the Samaritans might receive the Holy Spirit

14) How was the Holy Spirit imparted to the Samaritans? (17-18)
   - By the laying on of the apostles' hands

15) What did Simon try to do? (18-19)
   - Purchase the ability to impart the Spirit by the laying on of hands

16) Why did Peter refuse and then rebuke Simon for his offer? (20-23)
   - Thinking that the gift of God could be purchased with money
   - His heart was not right; he was poisoned by bitterness and bound by

17) What did Peter tell Simon to do in order to be forgiven? What did
    Simon ask? (22)
   - To repent and pray; for Peter to pray for him

18) As Peter and John returned to Jerusalem, what did they do? (25)
   - Preached the gospel in many of the villages of the Samaritans

19) Where was Philip told to go next?  Who told him? (26)
   - To go south along the road from Jerusalem to Gaza; an angel of the

20) Who did Philip see?  What was the man doing? (27-28)
   - An Ethiopian eunuch, the treasurer of Queen Candace
   - Returning from Jerusalem where he gone to worship, sitting in his
     chariot and reading from Isaiah

21) Who told Philip to overtake the chariot? (29)
   - The Spirit

22) When Philip heard him reading, what did he ask? How did the eunuch
    respond? (30-31)
   - "Do you understand what you are reading?"
   - "How can I, unless someone guides me?"

23) Where in Isaiah was the eunuch reading? (32-33)
   - Isaiah 53:7-8

24) What did the eunuch want to know? (34)
   - Was Isaiah writing of himself, or some other man

25) Beginning from that passage, what did Philip preach? (35)
   - Jesus

26) When they came to water, what did the eunuch ask?  How did Philip
    respond? (36-37)
   - "See, here is water. What hinders me from being baptized?"
   - "If you believe with all your heart, you may."

27) How did Philip baptize the eunuch? (38-39)
   - They both went down into the water, Philip baptized him, they both
     came up out of the water

28) What happened when they came up out of the water?  What did the
    eunuch do? (39)
   - The Spirit caught Philip away, so the eunuch saw him no more
   - He went on his way rejoicing

29) Where was Philip found?  What did he then do? (40)
   - Azotus; preached in all the cities until he came to Caesarea

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2016

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