Partakers Bible Thought

2 June 2021

Paul's Final Journey Completed

In our previous podcast, we saw Paul imprisoned in Caesarea and while there, appealed directly to Caesar. Today we look at the events of his journey to Rome. Come and listen to find out what happens on this journey, involving snakes, shipwrecks and proclaiming salvation through Jesus Christ.

39 When daylight came, they did not recognise the land, but they saw a bay with a sandy beach, where they decided to run the ship aground if they could. 40 Cutting loose the anchors, they left them in the sea and at the same time untied the ropes that held the rudders. Then they hoisted the foresail to the wind and made for the beach. 41 But the ship struck a sand-bar and ran aground. The bow stuck fast and would not move, and the stern was broken to pieces by the pounding of the surf.
42 The soldiers planned to kill the prisoners to prevent any of them from swimming away and escaping. 43 But the centurion wanted to spare Paul’s life and kept them from carrying out their plan. He ordered those who could swim to jump overboard first and get to land. 44 The rest were to get there on planks or on other pieces of the ship. In this way everyone reached land safely.
28:1 Once safely on shore, we found out that the island was called Malta. 2 The islanders showed us unusual kindness. They built a fire and welcomed us all because it was raining and cold. 3 Paul gathered a pile of brushwood and, as he put it on the fire, a viper, driven out by the heat, fastened itself on his hand. 4 When the islanders saw the snake hanging from his hand, they said to each other, ‘This man must be a murderer; for though he escaped from the sea, the goddess Justice has not allowed him to live.’ 5 But Paul shook the snake off into the fire and suffered no ill effects. 6 The people expected him to swell up or suddenly fall dead; but after waiting a long time and seeing nothing unusual happen to him, they changed their minds and said he was a god.(Acts 27:39–28:6)

 

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Partakers Bible Thought

31 May 2021

Forward in Unity

In our previous podcast, we saw together a new problem arising for the early Church and looking at how it was dealt with. Today, we see together James, delivering the final blow to that problem, with a direct appeal to what God had already said on the matter! What was is that God had spoken concerning it? Download and listen to the podcast to find out!

12 The whole assembly became silent as they listened to Barnabas and Paul telling about the signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them. 13 When they finished, James spoke up.
‘Brothers,’ he said, ‘listen to me. 14 Simon has described to us how God first intervened to choose a people for his name from the Gentiles. 15 The words of the prophets are in agreement with this, as it is written:
16 ‘“After this I will return and rebuild David’s fallen tent.
Its ruins I will rebuild, and I will restore it,
17 that the rest of mankind may seek the Lord,
even all the Gentiles who bear my name,
says the Lord, who does these things” – 18 things known from long ago.

19 ‘It is my judgment, therefore, that we should not make it difficult for the Gentiles who are turning to God. 20 Instead we should write to them, telling them to abstain from food polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from the meat of strangled animals and from blood. 21 For the law of Moses has been preached in every city from the earliest times and is read in the synagogues on every Sabbath.’
22 Then the apostles and elders, with the whole church, decided to choose some of their own men and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They chose Judas (called Barsabbas) and Silas, men who were leaders among the believers. 23 With them they sent the following letter:
The apostles and elders, your brothers,
To the Gentile believers in Antioch, Syria and Cilicia:
24 We have heard that some went out from us without our authorisation and disturbed you, troubling your minds by what they said. 25 So we all agreed to choose some men and send them to you with our dear friends Barnabas and Paul – 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 Therefore we are sending Judas and Silas to confirm by word of mouth what we are writing. 28 It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us not to burden you with anything beyond the following requirements: 29 You are to abstain from food sacrificed to idols, from blood, from the meat of strangled animals and from sexual immorality. You will do well to avoid these things.
30 So the men were sent off and went down to Antioch, where they gathered the church together and delivered the letter. 31 The people read it and were glad for its encouraging message. 32 Judas and Silas, who themselves were prophets, said much to encourage and strengthen the believers. 33 After spending some time there, they were sent off by the believers with the blessing of peace to return to those who had sent them. 35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, where they and many others taught and preached the word of the Lord. (Acts 15:12-35)

 

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Partakers Bible Thought

30 May 2021

A New Problem Arises

1 Certain people came down from Judea to Antioch and were teaching the believers: ‘Unless you are circumcised, according to the custom taught by Moses, you cannot be saved.’ 2 This brought Paul and Barnabas into sharp dispute and debate with them. So Paul and Barnabas were appointed, along with some other believers, to go up to Jerusalem to see the apostles and elders about this question. 3 The church sent them on their way, and as they travelled through Phoenicia and Samaria, they told how the Gentiles had been converted. This news made all the believers very glad. 4 When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and elders, to whom they reported everything God had done through them.
5 Then some of the believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees stood up and said, ‘The Gentiles must be circumcised and required to keep the law of Moses.’
6 The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7 After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: ‘Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles should hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8 God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9 He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10 Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11 No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.’(Acts 15:1-11)

 

The very early church at the time of this event, does not seem to have had any very formal authority structure. Elders don’t appear until Acts 11:30; also the ‘deacons’ of Acts 6:2 were probably not carrying out anything except the specific function of ‘waiting on tables’ or administering the available charity. In Acts 12:17 Peter sends a message to James and the other brothers and sisters, not James and the elders; in Acts 13:1-3 the whole church seem to be acting together, not the leadership.

However they organised themselves discipline was exercised, in which members who had fallen into sin and remained unrepentant were excluded from the church. The church was never individualistic: that is to say, people did not suddenly decide to 'join' or 'leave' the church, as is too often the case in modern churches. The church was a corporate entity, in which pastoral oversight and spiritual authority were exercised by the leadership or somebody. They had a leadership raised up by the Lord and set apart according to a church policy mediated by the divinely inspired guidance of the apostles. This did not mean that there was neither controversy nor the threat of disunity.

From the beginning, problems arose which needed to be resolved with pastoral, spiritual and judicial authority. It is therefore no surprise to find early on in Church history, a question arising about the nature of membership in the church and to see the matter being dealt with through the collective leadership of the church, the apostles and elders, who met together in a deliberative assembly (Acts 15:6) but who also reported back to the whole church (Acts 15:4, 22).

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Partakers Bible Thought

29 May 2021

Paul Is Sent

10 In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. 11 The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. 12 In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.”
13 “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. 14 And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” 15 But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. 16 I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.”
17 Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” 18 Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, 19 and after taking some food, he regained his strength.
Saul spent several days with the disciples in Damascus. 20 At once he began to preach in the synagogues that Jesus is the Son of God. 21 All those who heard him were astonished and asked, “Isn’t he the man who raised havoc in Jerusalem among those who call on this name? And hasn’t he come here to take them as prisoners to the chief priests?” 22 Yet Saul grew more and more powerful and baffled the Jews living in Damascus by proving that Jesus is the Messiah.(Acts 9:10-22)

 

From the conversion of Paul, we go to the consequences of his conversion. The first consequence was that he changed his name: changed from Saul of Tarsus to Paul of Tarsus. Paul's conversion was seemingly a total transformation. His attitudes, character & relationships with God, fellow believers and the unbelieving world were utterly transformed. As we have seen, a changed life is the ultimate proof that conversion is real and the Holy Spirit is working.

Now that through Jesus and his cross, Paul had been put right with God, Paul, as with all believers, enjoyed direct access to the Father. The Spirit witnessed with his spirit that he was the Father's child (Romans 8:16). The mouth that had breathed murderous threats like a roaring lion against Jesus’ followers, was now breathing prayers & praises to God like a lamb. Paul's life was changed from self-righteousness to righteousness through Jesus. The evidence of this was a change in the way he lived his life.

Ananias went to meet Paul, after having been sent by God. Upon Ananias laying hands upon Paul and identifying with him (Acts 9:17), calling him brother, and ministering the love of Jesus to his former enemy, the Holy Spirit entered Paul (Acts 9:17), and Paul could see again (Acts 9:18).

Whenever he preached to the unbelieving Jews, they were confused. Paul however did not settle down in Damascus, and according to Galatians 1:17-18, spent 3 years in Arabia. Paul then returned to Damascus and while there, the Jewish leaders plotted to kill him. So he escaped with the help of the other believers back to the city of Jerusalem. Download or listen to the Podcast to discover more.

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Partakers Bible Thought

28 May 2021

Conversion of Paul

1 Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest 2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. 3 As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. 4 He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?’
5 ‘Who are you, Lord?’ Saul asked.
‘I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,’ he replied. 6 ‘Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.’
7 The men travelling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. 8 Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. 9 For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything.(Acts 9:1-9)

 

The conversion of Saul (his name was changed to Paul later) is one of the most notable in the history of the Church. Certainly within the Bible itself. Luke tells us the story three times. But was Paul's conversion special?

Many people say things like, "I have not had a Damascus Road experience like Paul did". There were, it is true, special events on that day, which make Paul's conversion unique. However are they in any sense so special that they constitute an example for us today? Let us look together at Paul’s conversion experience. Download or listen to the Podcast to discover more.

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Partakers Bible Thought

26 May 2021

Evidence for the work of the Holy Spirit

G’day and welcome to Partakers Podcasts! Yesterday, we finished with the question “What is the best evidence for the work of the Holy Spirit?” We concluded by saying it is where people’s lives were being transformed and becoming more like Jesus Christ.

Today we look together at an example of the evidence for the work of the Holy Spirit in the New Testament Church. Tomorrow, we will start to go on to look at the New Testament church and the story of Stephen.

1 In those days when the number of disciples was increasing, the Hellenistic Jews among them complained against the Hebraic Jews because their widows were being overlooked in the daily distribution of food. 2 So the Twelve gathered all the disciples together and said, ‘It would not be right for us to neglect the ministry of the word of God in order to wait on tables. 3 Brothers and sisters, choose seven men from among you who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom. We will turn this responsibility over to them 4 and will give our attention to prayer and the ministry of the word.’
5 This proposal pleased the whole group. They chose Stephen, a man full of faith and of the Holy Spirit; also Philip, Procorus, Nicanor, Timon, Parmenas, and Nicolas from Antioch, a convert to Judaism. 6 They presented these men to the apostles, who prayed and laid their hands on them.
7 So the word of God spread. The number of disciples in Jerusalem increased rapidly, and a large number of priests became obedient to the faith. (Acts 6:1-7)

 

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PulpTheology Book

A Glimpse of God

The WOWFactor of Jesus Christ! It’s all there in black and white. To be agog is to be filled with excitement and expectation! Hence our title of this book exploring the man who splits history - Jesus Christ! Looking primarily at what the Bible says about him but also glimpsing briefly at the evidence from outside the Bible said about this most amazing of men! His birth we celebrate worldwide at Christmas and his death & resurrection we celebrate at Easter.

 

For many people today, as well as down through history, Jesus Christ is the most important figure in human history. Almost everybody has an opinion about him - whether positive, negative or indifferent. Come inside and let us explore together the primary documents about him, the Bible, who people say he was, what he did and the relevancy of Jesus Christ for you today! Suitable for those exploring Christianity as well as those who have been a Christian for a short while or for many years! come inside this book and find out more about this amazing God-man - Jesus Christ.

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PulpTheology Book

God, Internet Church & You

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Due to lockdown or quarantine due to the CoronaVirus / COVID-19 Pandemic, Church has moved to using the Internet for its services to the world.  In this little book we seek to answer why the Church is using the Internet, as well as exploring together ways in which we can respond.

Here are some of the questions we will explore together:

  • What is Digital Space & the Internet?
  • Why should the Church be on the Internet and how?
  • Isn't Church on the Internet just a modern form of the ancient heresy of gnosticism?
  • Is God able to interact there?
  • For the Christian, what are some of the liabilities and virtues of the Internet?
  • Could an internet based church be part of the historical church?
  • What can a Church service on the Internet look like?
  • How can this technology be used, so that you as a Christian, can use your talents and serve God on the Internet in the 21st century?

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February 7, 2021

God, Internet Church and you

PulpTheology Book

God, Internet Church & You

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Due to lockdown or quarantine due to the CoronaVirus / COVID-19 Pandemic, Church has moved to using the Internet for its services to the world.  In this little book we seek to answer why the Church is using the Internet, as well as exploring together ways in which we can respond.

Here are some of the questions we will explore together:

  • What is Digital Space & the Internet?
  • Why should the Church be on the Internet and how?
  • Isn't Church on the Internet just a modern form of the ancient heresy of gnosticism?
  • Is God able to interact there?
  • For the Christian, what are some of the liabilities and virtues of the Internet?
  • Could an internet based church be part of the historical church?
  • What can a Church service on the Internet look like?
  • How can this technology be used, so that you as a Christian, can use your talents and serve God on the Internet in the 21st century?

Click or Tap here to listen to or save this as an audio mp3 file

~

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PulpTheology Book

Exploring The Bible

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Have you ever noticed the first thing a baby does when it is born? It cries! The crying shows that it is alive. Or how about when it needs help? It cries, wanting attention. A baby crying is symbolic of humanity's need of God and life with Him. That is the message of the Bible. The Bible also shows how God has intervened in human history - by becoming one of us and getting His hands dirty! WOW!

That is the message of Christmas and Easter! What is the best way to learn about God and follow Him? It is by reading the Bible regularly. Now, admittedly, this can lead to confusion! However, help is at hand within the pages of this little book. Christians think that through the Bible, God has spoken to our world because He loves this world which He made.

Written over a period of about 1,500 years by people of different nationalities, cultures and backgrounds, the Bible has a central message: God is love. Come inside and spend a short time each day, working your way through each book of the Bible, to see the development of this love. After all, it is the story of God & humanity. It is a story of ancient beginnings through to new beginnings! Are you ready? Come on in!

As well as looking at each book of the Bible, there is also a study guide looking at best practise to interacting with the Bible. In this section, we look at how God speaks through the Bible, some keys to understanding the Bible, how the Bible helps equips you for service, helps you to know God better and to discover His will for you, as one of His children...

Here is what one 5* Amazon Review said:

This is the best book I have read for a simple straightforward analysis of what the Bible is all about. It gives a clear breakdown of the different sections of both Old and New Testament for those who are seeking enlightenment on what the Christian faith bases its teaching. There are just enough Scripture references to whet the appetite for more. Also for the believer whose Bible knowledge has always been, or through lack of regular study has become bit sketchy, there is help. There is also ample space throughout for the reader to express their own thoughts and reflections. Highly recommendable reading.

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