IN VIA – 1 John 2:12-19 – Week 3 – Rob Covell

IN VIA

1 John 2:12-19

Week 3

Rob Covell

Introduction: In this Session, we will continue John’s theme of giving the Church in Ephesus encouragement for how to fellowship with a God who is Light. We will be exploring 1 John 2:12-19 in this Session, and we will see John addressing the following subjects:
1 – Spiritual Maturity

2 – The Examining our hearts to determine that which we love

3 – The definition of what antichrist is

John approaches these 3 subjects in 1 John 2:12-19, because fellowshipping with a God who is Light can only be accomplished by being in the Light, or by us being spiritually illuminated by Him. Jesus said that our approach God was to be in “spirit and in truth”. John highlights this by urging his hearers to be aware of the state of their spiritual development, examining their hearts to know whether they are in truth and in the Spirit, and to be able to discern truth from error about Jesus Christ. These things have a bearing on how much fellowship with the Lord we experience in walks with Jesus and our fellowship with the Father.

1 John 2:12-14

a) We should note the tone in which John continues to address his hearers, it is a tone of endearment, authentic love and concern for the church in Ephesus. In verses 12-14 we see a progressive revelation concerning the experiential knowledge of God in the life of the believer. John gives us 3 stages of our spiritual growth in the Lord.

b) The first stage of our spiritual development of faith is “children”. This is the entrance into discipleship; the knowledge of saving faith. The entry into relationship with Jesus Christ is the confession of our sins and our receiving the grace of Jesus Christ that He demonstrated on the cross. Our sins were forgiven on account of His Name, not the great things or works we have done. Titus 3:4-5 – “But when the kindness and love of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of righteous things we had done, but because of his mercy. He saved us through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit,”

c) The second stage of our spiritual growth is “young men”. This is where discipleship has grown to the point where fruit is being produced in our lives. Our lives are marked with authority, and our ability to sin less, and to manifest selfcontrol and the fullness of the fruit of the Spirit. 1 Corinthians 10:13 – No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you
are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. See Romans 8:9-13.

d) The third stage of spiritual maturity is “father”. This is the disciple who has developed deep intimate knowledge of the Lord. John describes this level of spiritual advancement in terms of “knowing Him who is from the beginning”. 1 John 1:1-2 defines this as being Jesus. We break into the realm of spiritual father or mother when we have experienced grace in its fullness, overcome the enemy, and have cultivated deep experiential knowledge of Jesus Christ.

1 John 2:15-17

a) As a faithful apostolic father, John presents truth to his spiritual children with a contrast between the world and kingdom culture values. The warning is to not love the value system of Babylon (corrupt world system). In John’s time the Roman Empire was the manifestation of the corrupt world system. Today it is our common culture. The exhortation is to love the value system of the rule of Jesus Christ in our lives. The temptation of God’s people from generation to generation to conform to the pattern of the world, is a temptation that all Christians in any culture need to overcome. Romans 12:2 – Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

b) John defines the love of the world in terms of the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes and the pride of life. Let’s look at the Greek words, so that we have clear definition of what love for the world is. Greek – Love – AGAPAŌ – to love dearly, be contented with, to be well pleased with a thing, to entertain.

c) Greek – Lust of the flesh – EPITHYMIA – desire, craving, longing, desire for what is forbidden, lust. Greek – Flesh – SARX – the sensuous nature of man, “the animal nature”, the flesh, denotes mere human nature, the earthly nature of man apart from divine influence, and therefore prone to sin and opposed to God. The Greek definitions of these words show us that this manifestation of love for the world relates to the pleasure of the sin nature. Galatians 5:19-21 – The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God.

d) Lust of the Eyes – Greek – EPITHYMIA OPHTHALMOS – metaph. the eyes of the mind, the faculty of knowing – This manifestation of love for the world relates to empty philosophies or sins of the mind. 2 Corinthians 10:5 – We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

e) Greek – Pride of Life – ALAZONEIA BIOS- empty, braggart talk, an insolent and empty assurance, which trusts in its own power and resources and shamefully despises and violates divine laws and human rights, an impious and empty presumption which trusts in the stability of earthly things.

f) John tells us that our depth and scope of love for the Father is measured by the amount love we give to Him or the amount of love we give to the world.

1 John 2:18-19

a) To understand 1 John 2:18-29 properly, one needs to understand the context of the occasion of this Epistle. 1 – John was writing to the church community of Ephesus that he dearly loved and they dearly loved him. They were intimately acquainted with each other. 2 – The Church of the Roman Province of Asia was struggling with the brand of Christian Gnosticism coming from Cerinthus who was a false teacher. His heresy was that Jesus was not fully Man and fully God. His heresy followed the Greek Platonic philosophical concept that the flesh was totally corrupt and the spirit was totally pure. This type of paradox allowed for immorality to be accepted because it was flesh. Cerinthus also taught that Jesus’ birth was not a supernatural event, and that Jesus became Christ at His baptism. Cerinthus denied Jesus being Immanuel/God in the flesh, from the beginning. The theological themes of 1 John are distinctly directed at the heresy of Cerinthus. John is quoted by Irenaeus saying, “”Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is inside!”, when John learned that Cerinthus was in the same building. 3 – John was leaving an apostolic record of truth that future generations of the Church would be able use to discern false teaching about Jesus, and to make judgments on doctrines to see if they agree with truth or not.

b) We should also know that there are only 4 instances of the word “antichrist” used in the Scriptures. They are 1 John 2:18, 1 John 2:22, 1 John 4:3, 2 John1:7. There is no mention of antichrist in Revelation. The Greek word for “antichrist” – ANTICHRISTOS – the adversary of the Messiah. We can see that definition of antichrist in the context of its 4 mentions in Scripture is as follows:

1. 1 John 2:18 – Children, it is the last hour; and just as you heard that antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have appeared; from this we know that it is the last hour. NASB – Antichrist is coming – the accumulative effect of things that oppose Jesus Christ are coming and are presently present when John wrote his Epistle. The last hour in the Greek is a reference to the New Covenant Era being God’s last arrangement with humanity before the Eternal Order at the Second Coming of Jesus. 1 John 2:19 tells us that antichrist came out from the body of believers. This is clearly a reference to false teachers like Cerinthus.

2. 1 John 2:22 – Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? This is the antichrist, the one who denies the Father and the Son. – Antichrist is
the lie that opposes the true revelation of the identity of Jesus Christ. This is a direct attack against the Gnostic Heresy of Cerinthus and others who presented Jesus through the lens of Greek Philosophy.

3. 1 John 4:3 – and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God; this is the spirit of the antichrist, of which you have heard that it is coming, and now it is already in the world. – Antichrist is a spirit/demonic that is a lying spirit regarding the true identity of Jesus Christ.

4. 2 John 1:7 – For many deceivers have gone out into the world, those who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh. This is the deceiver and the antichrist. – Antichrist are false teachers who do not acknowledge the Incarnation of Jesus Christ. They essentially deny that Jesus was both God and Man. This is another attack against Christian Gnosticism. The Apostles Creed and the Nicene Creed were developed as way to keep Apostolic truth regarding the virgin birth of Christ, His life, ministry and real death on a cross.

c) To summarize, we can see from each of the 4 mentions of antichrist in Scripture that the context and occasion of the use of antichrist is not eschatological. But its context and occasion is John, confronting Cerinthus and other false teachers from presenting Jesus Christ in a false way to people. Using Scripture to interpret Scripture, we can see that antichrist cannot have an eschatological context because antichrist originated in the Church of Jesus Christ (1 John 2:19). We can rest assured that the only antichrist we will war against is the demonic spirit of religion operating in false teachers and Christian cults.

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IN VIA – 1 John 2:1-11 – Week 2 – Rob Covell

In Via

1 John 2:1-11

Week 2

Rob Covell

Introduction: In this Session, we will continue learning to fellowship with a God who is Light. This theme of God is Light began in 1 John 1:5 and that theme continues through 1 John 2:29.

As we look at 1 John 2:1-11, John, The Beloved, speaks the Ephesian Church in terms of endearment that communicate John’s deep love for them. 1 John 2 begins with a loving, but challenging exhortation of truth about sin and our personal choices that affect our fellowship with the Lord. A good father teaches and warns his children about things that harm and hurt them. John, being the eldest living original Apostle, warns his spiritual children to examine their lives in the light of God’s truth.

My prayer for us as we travel through these verses, is that we would use our sanctified imagination and imagine ourselves, being part of the original community that received this loving letter from our Apostolic Father, John. I pray we would experience the power of receiving and hearing the word of God, like they did in AD90, approximately 60 years after the death, resurrection, and ascension of Jesus Christ.

Outline: 1 John has 4 theological movements in the text that revolve around God’s nature and character.

1 – Our Fellowship with God – 1 John 1:1-4

2 – How to Fellowship with God who is Light – 1 John 1:5 to 1 John 2:29

3 – How to Fellowship with God who is Love – 1 John 3:1 to 1 John 4:21

4 – How to Fellowship with God who is Life – 1 John 5:1-21

1 John 2:1-2

a) We should note that John addresses the community with tenderness when speaking about the subject of sin. He addresses them as his dear children. Good ministers always approach the subject of sin, first with encouragement and grace, and then with truth that either confirms or convicts. One of the most powerful manifestations of the Holy Spirit is to bring conviction to our hearts, because that is the door to freedom. See John 16:8.

b) John plainly tells the hearers that the exhortations in 1 John are to keep God’s people from a lifestyle of sin. However, when we do sin, John says that Jesus is our advocate. This is the same word that Jesus uses to describe the Holy Spirit as a Helper in John 15:26. Greek – Helper/Advocate – PARAKLĒTOS – summoned, called to one’s side, esp. called to one’s aid, one who pleads another’s cause before a judge, a pleader, counsel for defense, legal assistant, an advocate, one who pleads another’s cause with one, an intercessor.

c) The Scarlet Thread woven through the prophets all pointed to the Messiah,
Jesus Christ, who would be the atoning sacrifice for sin, and bring reconciliation between humanity and God. That is narrative of Scripture and the foundation of the Gospel. Consider how powerfully vast is the blood of Jesus Christ, that the power of the blood would sufficient for the sins of the whole world.

1 John 2:3-4

a) In verses 3-4, John deals with the spirit of self-deception and invites us to consider the course of our lives. John plainly tells us that whoever claims to know Jesus, but does not live according to His pattern or way, is living a lie, and they are not in the truth.

1 John 2:5-6

a) Being an obedient Son or Daughter proves that we love God. It is a lifestyle of hearing and responding to the Lord. How did Jesus live?

b) Jesus obeyed what He heard from the Father.

c) Jesus did the works of the Father.

d) Jesus walked in humility.

e) Jesus spoke the truth to people that were listening.

f) Jesus demonstrated the power of the Kingdom of God.

g) Jesus loved.

h) Jesus forgave.

i) Jesus revealed the heart of the Father.

j) John’s exhortation is not a discouragement, but an invitation to consider the state of our lives and partner with the Holy Spirit, who will help us live as Jesus did. Contrast the fruit of righteousness to fruit of sin. Obedience will produce joy in your life, because God is a happy God. The more we align our hearts and lifestyles with His ways, we will experience increasing levels of joy. Scripture tells us that sin produces death. There is no joy in death, only loss and grieving.

1 John 2:7-8

a) When we consider the old and new commands of Christ, we should look at the things that Jesus said to understand them.

b) When Jesus was asked, what was the most important commandment He gave the answer to us in Matthew 22:37 – And He said to him, “ ‘YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND.’ – This is an everlasting commandment because its foundation is relationship and intimacy with God. The New Covenant is glorious because humanity has never had access to God, like New Covenant believers enjoy.

c) The new commandment – John 13:34-35 – “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

d) No one ever loved like Jesus loved. David Guzik’s commentary describes the love of Jesus in the 4 points of the cross. Wide enough to include all humanity, long enough to last for eternity, deep enough to reach the most guilty sinner, and high enough to take us to heaven.

e) If this type of love is seen in Jesus, then it should be seen and be increasing in each one of us. As we live in the increasing illumination of Jesus, the darkness in our lives passes.

1 John 2:9-11

a) If God is love, then the antithesis of love is hate. Not living in the lifestyle of love, is synonymous with living in darkness. The Greek – darkness – SKOTIA – darkness, the darkness due to want of light, metaph. used of ignorance of divine things, and its associated wickedness, and the resultant misery in hell.

b) Romans 13:9 – The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,” and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Walking in darkness, sin, robs and robs others because there is no love in sin. Nothing agrees more with Satan, than hatred.

c) Scripture tells us that hatred is spiritual blindness, and in darkness there is no revelation, light. Walking in long term darkness will never lead to us into a purposed life of destiny.

In Via – 1 John 1:1-10 – Week 1 – Rob Covell

In Via

Introduction to 1 John 1:1-10

Week 1

Rob Covell

Introduction: As we start 1 John, I want to encourage us to put on our sanctified imagination, go back to the First Century, and approach this Epistle from the perspective of seeing and hearing these words in the context of a loving father of faith speaking to his children things that will sustain them after his departure. Of course, we recognize this Epistle as inerrant Scripture, and the subjects that are shared have the authority of Scripture; but to simply see this Epistle without considering the very personal nature of John’s relationship to his hearers is to miss the deep love from which the exhortations in the Epistle proceed.

I encourage all of us as we travel through 1John verse by verse, to place ourselves in the First Century and posture our hearts to receive from our Apostolic Father, John, the Apostle of Love, and allow the Holy Spirit to breathe life into our lives that will lead us into the deepest season of discipleship we have ever experienced.

Occasion: The occasion for this Epistle was to address the gnostic heresy that Cerinthus was putting forth. His heresy was that Jesus was not fully Man and fully God. His heresy followed the Greek Platonic philosophical concept that the flesh was totally corrupt and the spirit was totally pure. This type of paradox allowed for immorality to be accepted because it was flesh. Cerinthus also taught that Jesus birth was not a supernatural event, and that Jesus became Christ at His baptism. Cerinthus denied Jesus being Immanuel/God in the flesh, from the beginning. The theological themes of 1 John are distinctly directed at the heresy of Cerinthus. John is quoted by Irenaeus saying, “”Let us flee, lest the building fall down; for Cerinthus, the enemy of the truth, is inside!”, when John learned that Cerinthus was in the same building.

Church history tells us that John was in Ephesus when he wrote 1 John in approximately AD90. John was very old now, and wanted to write this Epistle as an exhortation for the Church in Ephesus and the Churches in the Roman Province of Asia. This Epistle was written from the approach of an Apostolic Father sharing truth that would guide the Church after his death. In many ways, though it was written to address a specific heresy from a specific person, 1 John is timeless because it’s truth is transcends its occasion. In addition to 1 John, the Gospel of John, and 2 John were written for the purpose of addressing the gnostic heresy of Cerinthus as well.

Author: Although John does not mention himself as the author directly, we have multiple reasons to conclude that he is the author. We can look at the following evidences for his authorship.

1 – The internal evidence and writing style. When one compares the themes of the Gospel of John, 1 John, 2 John and 3 John, we see universal themes of Light versus Darkness, the terms of endearment like Children, Friends and Beloved, the
presentations of God as Father and Christ as God the Son, all agree to be the work of the same person. The writing style is the same and the Greek texts all reflect a simple use of Greek that shares deep theological concepts and overarching thoughts about God.

2 – Church History – Polycarp, Irenaeus, Clement, Tertullian, Eusebius, Jerome and Augustine all present an unbroken line of apostolic agreement that John is author. These early church fathers show universal acceptance of John being the author of 1 John. In addition to this, we see the overwhelming evidence of the early church using this letter in the context of it having the authority of Scripture, and teaching it, quoting it and holding 1 John as being from God, through John. Every Apostolic Counsel in the history of the Church has endorsed this letter as being authentic and authored by John.
Outline: 1 John has 4 theological movements in the text that revolve around God’s nature and character.

1 – Our Fellowship with God – 1 John 1:1-4

2 – How to Fellowship with God who is Light – 1 John 1:5 to 1 John 2:29

3 – How to Fellowship with God who is Love – 1 John 3:1 to 1 John 4:21

4 – How to Fellowship with God who is Life – 1 John 5:1-21

1 John 1:1-2

a) John begins this Epistle in way that mirrors Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1. However, in 1 John 1:1, he introduces his hearers to the One which was from the beginning. John personalizes Jesus Christ. Jesus is God, the uncreated One in the flesh, eternal; and He is One who could be experienced personally, and was experienced by John personally. See Colossians 1:15.

b) John is giving his hearers a first-person account of one who actually has seen Jesus, touched Him, and has heard His words of life. Understanding the context of the occasion of 1 John, helps us see John’s case against the gnostic heresy of Cerinthus.

c) John calls Jesus, the Word of life. This is internal evidence showing us the same writing style between the gospel of John and this epistle. Beyond this, John says very plainly that we can experience the eternal God in the most intimate personal ways.

1 John 1:3-4

a) John gives us the invitation to have fellowship with God. Greek – Fellowship – KOINŌNIA – fellowship, association, community, communion, joint participation, intimacy, the share which one has in anything, participation, a gift that is shared that exhibits the proof of fellowship.

b) This is the great boast of Christianity. It is that we have actual personal and intimate experiential knowledge of the Godhead. We are all equals in our share of knowing the Lord. As much as the Apostle john knew Christ, so are his hearers invited into the same knowing.

1 John 1:5

a) John presents to us the keys to having fellowship with God who is Light. The first theological construct presented in 1 John is that God is Light. John uses the metaphors of light and darkness to communicate to us the very nature of God Himself.

b) Light is that which dispels darkness and speaks of the purity, holiness and omniscience of God. c) John does not leave any room for us to believe that there is anything but purity, and benevolent love at essence of God’s being. The Greek word for darkness (SKOTIA), is a metaphor for evil, spiritual darkness, or anything contrary to loving-kindness.

d) Meditating on the truth is God being Light, builds confidence and trust in the Lord.

1 John 1:6

a) The result of fellowship with God, is that we increasingly manifest Him in us. Our proof of fellowship with God, is that we reflect Him in our lives. See 1 Corinthians 6:9-10.

1 John 1:7

a) Walking in the light of God, or in the illuminated life that God gives us, unites in truth. Truth is exclusive to God, and as we fellowship with Him the natural result is fellowship with each other.

b) John does not leave us without hope, because the blood of Jesus is the on-ramp into fellowship with God. In Jesus, we find forgiveness of our sins and the acceptance of the Father. See Romans 8:35-39.

1 John 1:8-9

a) Denying our sin condition is a deception that keeps us from experiencing the forgiveness of God and the love of God. This condition is ultimate manifestation of the pride of human heart, which is to believe that we do not need redemption from the inheritance of Adam.

b) Only confession of sin, releases the forgiveness of God into our lives. Unconfessed sin continues the state of separation from God. How many of us who claim to be Christians, still have areas of our lives where we are in sin, yet are not convicted, and remain in a state of needing forgiveness from God?

1 John 1:10

a) John leaves us with a contrast in verse 10. Who is the one who is in truth? The God who is Light, or self-deceived person who claims to have no need for forgiveness? No person has ever been denied entry into the Kingdom of God by confessing their sin. But many have been kept out of the Kingdom by supposing they are good.

The Acts of the Apostles – Acts 28:1-31 – Week 47 – Rob Covell

The Acts of the Apostles

Acts 28:1-31

Week 47

Rob Covell

Introduction – In this Session, we will cover all of chapter 28. As the book of Acts concludes the narrative ends with excitement, encouragement and concludes with an open-ended anticipation of more to come.

Since this is a very long chapter and we have much to ground to cover, we will jump right in and pick up at the beach where Paul and the others were ship wrecked. Acts 28 covers a span of approximately 2 years (AD60/61-AD62).

Acts 28:1-2

a) Malta – This island is just south of Sicily and from ancient times this island has been a strategic naval outpost for the various empires that have ruled the Mediterranean region. This country today, is the most Christianized nation in the European Union. We know from Church History that from the time Paul was ship wrecked at Malta, Christianity swept through the island and is still strong today. Malta has a double meaning – “honey” and “refuge”. We could say that Paul and the ship wrecked crew found this island a “sweet refuge” after 14 days of raging storm.

b) Luke mentions in his Acts narrative that the islanders showed them unusual kindness. We are seeing a manifestation of God’s supernatural favor on Paul’s life. Through the last portion of Acts, in chapters 27 and 28, we see God prospering and protecting Paul in the worst of circumstances.

Acts 28:3-6

a) Paul is a great Apostle and clearly the leader of the Gentile Church in the Roman Provinces. But he is not above serving in the lowest place, gathering wood for the common good of the group. Mark 9:35 – “Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

b) It is interesting to consider all of the unusual circumstances that accompany Paul’s life. The beatings, the ship wrecks, the persecutions, the accusations, trials, storms and finally this snake bite. These are all manifestations of the spiritual attack and warfare that comes against ministers of the gospel. We should note that Paul never gives us an indication of anger against God, regret for serving the Lord, or the desire to abort his destiny. The Lord had appeared to Paul and told him directly that he would testify in Rome (Acts 23:11). Paul, being strengthened in God’s promise shook off the snake and threw it into the fire.

c) We should note that this last attack in the Acts narrative against Paul came in the form of a snake, the archetype of the devil, and that he shook it off into the fire. This is a prophetic act, prophesying the eternal end of the devil and demons to come. Paul was struck on the hand, symbolic of attack against the work of the
ministry, as the hand symbolizes work and utility.

d) The Maltese assume that Paul was under the curse of Justice. The Greek goddess Justice/Dike is portrayed as the woman holding the scales and downward facing sword symbolizing law, order and justice in civil and criminal matters. Idolaters take pieces of God’s nature and character and create deities that define. Furthermore, when Paul does not die from the snake bite they conclude he is a god. More evidence of that idolatry lowers the glory of God and forms it into a god that looks like us. See Romans 1.

Acts 28:7-10

a) Publius the Roman official received the Roman guards, crew, passengers and prisoners into his estate. We can see from Scripture he must have been very wealthy for him to be able to care for 276 people. Church history tells us that Publius became a Christian because of the healing miracles that he witnessed. As a result, Publius led the Church in Malta, and whole island was Christianized and still remains the most Christian nation in the EU. Publius was martyred for his faith in Jesus Christ by the Roman Emperor Hadrian at a very old age.

b) Signs, wonders, and healings prove the gospel and are the catalyst to releasing revival. We can see the strategic Providence of God in the healing of Publius’ father. The Lord in His mercy targeted the head of state in Malta and through his salvation experience, released revival to a whole people group with an impact that is still in existence to this day.

Acts 28:11-16

a) After their 3-month revival on Malta, they board an Alexandrian ship set to sail to Rome. This ship would have been an Egyptian grain ship bringing food to Rome. Luke mentions Castor and Pollux, they are synonymous with Gemini. According to Greek mythology they were the idols associated with sailors and navigation. Luke mentions them as a contrast to the true love, care and guidance of the Lord who by His faithfulness delivered the crew to Rome.

b) Verses 14 and 15 mention the Christians in Rome travelling a long way to greet Paul. This is because Paul had written to them the letter to the Romans approximately 5 years earlier. They were excited to meet their Apostle in person.

c) Paul was given a lot of favor despite him being a prisoner of Rome. This is internal evidence that the Roman authorities did not view Paul as a threat. Paul would have been chained to a Roman soldier waiting his trial before Nero. Philemon 4:22 – All God’s people here send you greetings, especially those who belong to Caesar’s household.

Acts 28:17-22

a) The local Jewish leaders did not receive any brief or letter from the Sanhedrin in Jerusalem regarding Paul’s case. Paul most likely was released from his first imprisonment because the opposing side never showed up at the trial.

Acts 28:23-28

a) As a large number of observant Jewish Romans came to hear Paul explain Messianic faith in Jesus Christ, he taught them covenant theology.

b) The Kingdom of God – Paul would have explained the Kingdom of God and its manifestation in the context of Jesus’ life and His works that prove Him being the eternal Davidic King who dwells in people’s hearts first and then seasons society with Kingdom Values as it grows in influence.

c) The Law of Moses – Paul most showed them how Jesus fulfilled the Law and was prophesied in the Law. Paul contrasted the frustration of the Law to the freedom and grace of the New Covenant we have in Jesus.

d) Prophets – It is amazing to consider the vast amount of prophecy of Scripture that Jesus fulfilled.

e) From the information given to us in verse 24, it seemed like there was about a half and half ratio of believers to rejecters. Paul, like Jesus, quotes Isaiah to them as warning to consider the hard condition of their hearts. The fruit of the spirit of religion is the hardness of heart that chooses not to respond to love of God in Jesus Christ.

Acts 28:29-31

a) Paul was under house arrest for 2 years. The Roman courts apparently had a massive backlog of cases that took 2 years for Paul’s case to be heard.

b) Paul may have been imprisoned for 2 years and chained to a Roman soldier, but that did not prevent him from being fruitful for God. During his first imprisonment, he writes these Epistles in order; Ephesians, Colossians, Philemon, and Philippians.

c) The Acts narrative ends abruptly and open-ended. Many scholars believe that Luke completed the narrative and submitted it as an exhibit of evidence to defend Paul in court. Our time stamp is Spring AD62. We know from Church History that Paul was released, travelled to Ephesus and Colossae, travelled throughout Macedonia and the Roman Province of Asia, probably travelled to Spain, writes 1 Timothy, goes to Crete, goes to Corinth, writes Titus from Nicopolis, Paul is arrested in Ephesus, sails to Rome, spends time in the Mamertine Prison, writes 2 Timothy, and is executed by Nero in AD68.

d) And here we are over 2000 years later still living the book Acts until it ends with the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.