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Bible Pathways - Nov. 17, 2008


November 17

Acts 23

Highlights In Today's Reading:

Paul continues his defense before the Sanhedrin (Chapter 23), before Felix (Chapter 24), before Festus (Chapter 25). It causes dissension between Pharisees and Sadducees (23:6-10). They conspire to kill Paul (23:12-35). Paul appeals to Caesar (25:10-12).

Whatever motive the Roman governor may have had when he summoned Paul to appear before him, he was aware of the intense hatred of some religious leaders who wanted Paul dead. But, it did not cause Paul to tremble or fail to witness for Christ — the very reason they had him arrested. Paul's purpose was not to defend himself or plead for leniency but to tell the good news that Christ died for sinners. There is none righteous, no, not one. . . . For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:10,23).

From the Old Testament Scriptures, Paul confirmed Christ's Messiahship. He spoke to them of righteousness that could only be received by faith in Jesus Christ and how Christ alone could bestow within men that righteousness required by the Law. No man can produce it in himself (3:24-25; 8:1-4; Isaiah 64:6; John 15:5). And the night following the Lord stood by him, and said, Be of good cheer, Paul: for as thou hast testified of Me in Jerusalem, so must thou bear witness at Rome (Acts 23:11).

Felix, this Roman judge, was summoned to preside in a matter which affected not only Paul but himself, for he was a guilty sinner, saying: Behold, now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation (II Corinthians 6:2). It appears that, at that moment, the Holy Spirit may have convicted him to repent of all his sins, but he said: Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee (Acts 24:25). He would postpone his own case as he had postponed Paul's. Let it be noted that whatever good intentions he may have had, no “convenient time” ever arrives for anyone.

Tomorrow he promised his conscience,
Tomorrow I mean to believe,
Tomorrow I'll live as I ought to, Tomorrow my Savior receive.
Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, Thus day after day it went on.
Tomorrow, tomorrow, tomorrow, Till youth like a vision had gone.
Till age and its passion had written,
The message of "fate" on his brow,
And forth from the shadows came death,
With that pitiful syllable, "now."

Whosoever was not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:15).

Thought for Today:

Many people are paralyzed by their good intentions. God's Word always says: Now is the day of salvation. Don't wait to serve Him; do it today.

Word Studies:

23:3 whited wall =b> whitewashed wall, meaning hypocrite (see Matthew 23:27); 23:23 third hour of the night =b> 9 p.m.

Cross Reference:

For Acts 23:5: See Exodus 22:28.

Prayer Needs:

Pray for International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by Bett Brown • Radio Sri Lanka International Shortwave Broadcasts sponsored by Martha Salths • Staff: Mike Moore • Government Officials: Rep. John Boehner (OH) and Sen. James Inhofe (OK) • Country: Nepal (24.3 million) a mountain-ringed Himalayan state between Tibet and India • Major language: Nepali • Limited religious freedom • 85% Hindu; 10% Buddhist; 3% Muslim; 2% Christian • Prayer Suggestion: Your prayer should always be to please the Lord (Psa. 73:25).

Memory Verse for the Week: 1 Peter 5:7

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