Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Acts 28: 24-31
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Acts 28:24
v24: During the course of this discussion, some of these elders became convinced that what Paul was showing them in the Scriptures was true, and they believed, but others did not. And, once again, as had been true in city after city, the gospel divided this Jewish community. What began as an orderly presentation dissolved into a loud disagreement. Then Luke says, those who rejected what Paul was teaching “loosed themselves from Paul,” and as they departed Paul warned them that their rejection of Christ was a symptom of the fact that they had grown stubborn toward God and that it would produce in them further spiritual damage.

Monday: Acts 28:24
v24 (continued): To make his point, Paul quoted from a statement that God made to the prophet Isaiah when He first called him to his ministry (Isa 6:9-10). Isaiah responded to God’s question, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us?” by saying, “Here am I. Send me!” Then the Lord commissioned him and told him to “go,” but even as He gave him that assignment, He bluntly informed him he would fail to turn enough hearts to change the destructive course the nation was on. Most of the people he would speak to would not listen to him because they did not want to repent.

Tuesday: Acts 28:24
v24 (continued): Many in that generation closed their spiritual eyes so they would not see what God was trying to show them; they made their spiritual ears “heavy,” refusing to hear what He was trying to say to them; and their hearts had grown “fat” (literal), meaning they were satisfied with things as they were. In fact, their spiritual condition had grown so bad Isaiah’s preaching would only serve to make most of his listeners worse. They would grow more resistant to God, not less. Jesus used this same passage to describe the resistance He faced so often during His ministry (Mt 13:10-16).

Wednesday: Acts 28:25-28
vs25-27: These verses in Isaiah would have been extremely familiar to Paul’s audience. Not one of the elders would have missed the meaning behind this warning. Paul was telling them that they were reacting just like Isaiah’s generation. They were truly the spiritual children of those stubborn fathers. Paul told them, “The Holy Spirit spoke well (accurately) through the prophet Isaiah to your fathers…” v28: Then he added one more element to his prophetic warning: He informed them that God had already sent out this “salvation” to the nations (Gentiles).

Thursday: Acts 28:28
v28 (continued): By this point in time Paul had been preaching the gospel for almost 30 years, and everywhere he went, it was the Gentiles who came to Christ in large numbers. So, his words here are more than a simple statement of fact. They contain a warning that by rejecting Christ these elders are forfeiting their proper place of leadership in the kingdom of God. The tide of Gentiles pouring into the church was swelling, not declining, and as time went on they would vastly outnumber the very people to whom the Messiah, first of all, belonged. Paul is pointing to the same situation Jesus illustrated by a parable about guests invited to a dinner (Lk 14:15-24). Those who had been invited first had refused to come, so the master of the household (God) sent out his servants to invite others: the poor, the crippled, the blind and the lame—in other words the very people Israel’s leaders considered unworthy. But since there was still room after these came, he sent his servants out to the “highways” and along the “hedges” so that his house would be full. In this parable the Gentiles are those on the highways and along the hedges.

Friday: Acts 28:29-31
v29: Verse 29 is not found in many of the ancient manuscripts of the New Testament, but since it simply states what obviously happened, I see no reason to overlook it. It says, “And when he had said these things, the Jews departed, having much dispute among themselves” (literal). Can there be any doubt that’s exactly what occurred? vs30-31: For two full years Paul was allowed by the Roman government to stay in his own rented house or apartment while waiting for his case to be reviewed by Caesar Nero. It appears Luke stayed with him. Why Paul’s case took so long isn’t said. There may have been a long list of cases in front of him, but it’s also possible that the Roman court was waiting for someone to come from Jerusalem to press charges against Paul. Undoubtedly there was a limited window of time for the prosecution to present its case, and if no one arrived, Paul would have gone through some sort of formalities and then been released (F.F. Bruce, Acts, Eerdmans, 1974, pp.534-535).

Saturday: Acts 28:30-31
vs30-31 (continued): That the Roman government itself did not consider Paul dangerous is made clear by the fact that they allowed him to stay for years in some form of house-arrest. And it’s almost certain this would have meant a soldier had to be regularly assigned to guard him. Stationing a soldier with Paul everyday was expensive, if nothing else. It would have been much cheaper to throw him in a crowded cell. But they didn’t. Nor did they consider the message he preached to be dangerous because he was given complete freedom to proclaim his Christian faith to all who came to visit him. A few years later, after a fire swept through the city of Rome (AD 64), the emperor Nero would viciously turn against all Christians (F.F. Bruce, Acts, Eerdmans, 1974, p.535 footnote). But when the Book of Acts ends there is no sign of such hostility. Paul is still under arrest, “…proclaiming the kingdom of God and teaching the things concerning the Lord Jesus Christ with all boldness, unhindered (without any legal restraint)” (literal). 

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