Lesson 13 – Moving Forward Despite Difficulties

////Lesson 13 – Moving Forward Despite Difficulties
Lesson 13 – Moving Forward Despite Difficulties2016-11-27T17:36:50+00:00

Please read the Missionary Report for Building Primary Schools at the end of this lesson

Sabbath, June 30, 2012

“… How much is due to the labors of Paul and his fellow workers, as with the gospel of the Son of God they made their unnoticed journey from Asia to the shores of Europe?

“What is it worth to any life to have been God’s instrument in setting in motion such influences of blessing? What will it be worth in eternity to witness the results of such a lifework?” –Education, p. 70.

Paul in Antioch and Ephesus

1. What was the theme of Paul’s preaching on his various missionary trips? What impact did this message have on the Jews and the pro-consul?
Acts 18:5 And when Silas and Timotheus were come from Macedonia, Paul was pressed in the spirit, and testified to the Jews that Jesus was Christ.
Acts 18:12-15 And when Gallio was the deputy of Achaia, the Jews made insurrection with one accord against Paul, and brought him to the judgment seat, Saying, This fellow persuadeth men to worship God contrary to the law. And when Paul was now about to open his mouth, Gallio said unto the Jews, If it were a matter of wrong or wicked lewdness, O ye Jews, reason would that I should bear with you: But if it be a question of words and names, and of your law, look ye to it; for I will be no judge of such matters.

“He told them of Christ’s life on this earth and of His cruel death of shame. He told them how the Lord of life had broken the barriers of the tomb and risen triumphant over death. He repeated the Saviour’s commission to His disciples: ‘All power is given unto Me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost.’ Matthew 28:18, 19. He told them also of Christ’s promise to send the Comforter, through whose power mighty signs and wonders would be wrought, and he described how gloriously this promise had been fulfilled on the Day of Pentecost….

“In consequence of these charges the disciples were repeatedly brought before the authorities; but their defense was so clear and sensible, and their statement of what they were teaching so calm and comprehensive, that a strong influence was exerted in their favor.” –The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 282, 178.

2. What accompanied Paul’s preaching?
Acts 20:9-12 And there sat in a window a certain young man named Eutychus, being fallen into a deep sleep: and as Paul was long preaching, he sunk down with sleep, and fell down from the third loft, and was taken up dead. And Paul went down, and fell on him, and embracing him said, Trouble not yourselves; for his life is in him. When he therefore was come up again, and had broken bread, and eaten, and talked a long while, even till break of day, so he departed. And they brought the young man alive, and were not a little comforted. 

“‘God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: so that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.’ These manifestations of supernatural power were far more potent than had ever before been witnessed in Ephesus, and were of such a character that they could not be imitated by the skill of the juggler or the enchantments of the sorcerer. As these miracles were wrought in the name of Jesus of Nazareth, the people had opportunity to see that the God of heaven was more powerful than the magicians who were worshipers of the goddess Diana. Thus the Lord exalted His servant, even before the idolaters themselves, immeasurably above the most powerful and favored of the magicians.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 286.

A riot against Paul

3. Why was Paul accused before the authorities of Ephesus?
Acts 19:24-27 For a certain man named Demetrius, a silversmith, which made silver shrines for Diana, brought no small gain unto the craftsmen; Whom he called together with the workmen of like occupation, and said, Sirs, ye know that by this craft we have our wealth. Moreover ye see and hear, that not alone at Ephesus, but almost throughout all Asia, this Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people, saying that they be no gods, which are made with hands: So that not only this our craft is in danger to be set at nought; but also that the temple of the great goddess Diana should be despised, and her magnificence should be destroyed, whom all Asia and the world worshippeth. 

“These words roused the excitable passions of the people ‘They were full of wrath, and cried out, saying, Great is Diana of the Ephesians.’

“A report of this speech was rapidly circulated. ‘The whole city was filled with confusion.’ Search was made for Paul, but the apostle was not to be found. His brethren, receiving an intimation of the danger, had hurried him from the place. Angels of God had been sent to guard the apostle; his time to die a martyr’s death had not yet come.

“Failing to find the object of their wrath, the mob seized ‘Gaius and Aristarchus, men of Macedonia, Paul’s companions in travel,’ and with these ‘they rushed with one accord into the theater.’…

“To those who believe, Christ is a sure foundation. Upon this living stone, Jews and Gentiles alike may build. It is broad enough for all and strong enough to sustain the weight and burden of the whole world. This is a fact plainly recognized by Paul himself. In the closing days of his ministry, when addressing a group of Gentile believers who had remained steadfast in their love of the gospel truth, the apostle wrote, ‘Ye … are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the chief cornerstone.’ Ephesians 2:19, 20.” –The Acts of the Apostles, pp. 292, 293, 175.

4. What was the deputy’s opinion concerning the case?
Acts 19:35-37 And when the townclerk had appeased the people, he said, Ye men of Ephesus, what man is there that knoweth not how that the city of the Ephesians is a worshipper of the great goddess Diana, and of the image which fell down from Jupiter? Seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against, ye ought to be quiet, and to do nothing rashly. For ye have brought hither these men, which are neither robbers of churches, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess.

“The decision of the recorder and of others holding honorable offices in the city had set Paul before the people as one innocent of any unlawful act. This was another triumph of Christianity over error and superstition. God had raised up a great magistrate to vindicate His apostle and hold the tumultuous mob in check. Paul’s heart was filled with gratitude to God that his life had been preserved and that Christianity had not been brought into disrepute by the tumult at Ephesus.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 295.

Paul in Jerusalem

5. What was prophesied concerning the apostle Paul? Did he give up the idea of traveling to Jerusalem?
Acts 21:10, 11 And as we tarried there many days, there came down from Judaea a certain prophet, named Agabus. And when he was come unto us, he took Paul’s girdle, and bound his own hands and feet, and said, Thus saith the Holy Ghost, So shall the Jews at Jerusalem bind the man that owneth this girdle, and shall deliver him into the hands of the Gentiles.
Acts 21:15 And after those days we took up our carriages, and went up to Jerusalem.
Acts 21:17, 18 And when we were come to Jerusalem, the brethren received us gladly. And the day following Paul went in with us unto James; and all the elders were present.
Acts 21:20 And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord, and said unto him, Thou seest, brother, how many thousands of Jews there are which believe; and they are all zealous of the law.

“Through the Holy Spirit these disciples were warned of the perils awaiting Paul at Jerusalem, and they urged him ‘that he should not go up to Jerusalem.’ But the apostle allowed not the fear of affliction and imprisonment to turn him from his purpose.

“At the close of the week spent in Tyre, all the brethren, with their wives and children, went with Paul to the ship, and before he stepped on board, they knelt upon the shore and prayed, he for them, and they for him.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 396.

“When Paul received the gospel of Jesus Christ, it made him a new creature. He was transformed; the truth planted in his soul gave him such faith and courage as a follower of Christ that no opposition could move him, no suffering daunt him.” –Faith and Works, p. 33.

6. How was the prophecy concerning Paul fulfilled? What wonderful promises did Jesus give for similar cases?
Acts 21:28 Crying out, Men of Israel, help: This is the man, that teacheth all men every where against the people, and the law, and this place: and further brought Greeks also into the temple, and hath polluted this holy place.
Acts 21:31 And as they went about to kill him, tidings came unto the chief captain of the band, that all Jerusalem was in an uproar.
Acts 21:36 For the multitude of the people followed after, crying, Away with him.
Matthew 5:11, 12 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

“Now as in former ages, the presentation of a truth that reproves the sins and errors of the times will excite opposition. ‘Everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.’ John 3:20. As men see that they cannot maintain their position by the Scriptures, many determine to maintain it at all hazards, and with a malicious spirit they assail the character and motives of those who stand in defense of unpopular truth. It is the same policy which has been pursued in all ages. Elijah was declared to be a troubler in Israel, Jeremiah a traitor, Paul a polluter of the temple. From that day to this, those who would be loyal to truth have been denounced as seditious, heretical, or schismatic. Multitudes who are too unbelieving to accept the sure word of prophecy will receive with unquestioning credulity an accusation against those who dare to reprove fashionable sins. This spirit will increase more and more. And the Bible plainly teaches that a time is approaching when the laws of the state will so conflict with the law of God that whosoever would obey all the divine precepts must brave reproach and punishment as an evildoer.” –The Great Controversy, p. 458.

Paul’s defense and hope

7. What was the defense of Heaven’s servant? With what assurance did he defend himself?
Acts 22:1-4 Men, brethren, and fathers, hear ye my defence which I make now unto you. (And when they heard that he spake in the Hebrew tongue to them, they kept the more silence: and he saith,) I am verily a man which am a Jew, born in Tarsus, a city in Cilicia, yet brought up in this city at the feet of Gamaliel, and taught according to the perfect manner of the law of the fathers, and was zealous toward God, as ye all are this day. And I persecuted this way unto the death, binding and delivering into prisons both men and women.

“Peter, James, and John felt confident that God had appointed them to preach Christ among their own countrymen at home. But Paul had received his commission from God, while praying in the temple, and his broad missionary field had been presented before him with remarkable distinctness. To prepare him for his extensive and important work, God had brought him into close connection with Himself, and had opened before his enraptured vision a glimpse of the beauty and glory of heaven.” –The Story of Redemption, p. 302.

“Paul also in his manifold labors was upheld by the sustaining power of His presence. ‘I can do all things,’ he said, ‘through Christ which strengtheneth me.’ ‘Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword?… Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through Him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing (Rotherham’s translation), shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ Philippians 4:13; Romans 8:35-39.” –Education, p. 69.

8. What other truths did this man of God proclaim?
Acts 26:6-8 And now I stand and am judged for the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers: Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God day and night, hope to come. For which hope’s sake, king Agrippa, I am accused of the Jews. Why should it be thought a thing incredible with you, that God should raise the dead?
Acts 23:6 But when Paul perceived that the one part were Sadducees, and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee: of the hope and resurrection of the dead I am called in question.

“And said Paul: ‘If the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised: and if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins. Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished.’ 1 Corinthians 15:16-18. If for four thousand years the righteous had gone directly to heaven at death, how could Paul have said that if there is no resurrection, ‘they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished’? No resurrection would be necessary.” –The Great Controversy, p. 546.

“Throughout his later ministry, Paul never lost sight of the Source of his wisdom and strength. Hear him, years afterward, still declaring, ‘For to me to live is Christ.’ Philippians 1:21. And again: ‘I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things,… that I may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith: that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings.’ Philippians 3:8-10.” –The Acts of the Apostles, p. 128.

“The words of the apostle Paul become the language of the soul: ‘I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord:… that I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings.’ Philippians 3:8-10.” –Education, p. 192.

For meditation

“You need now to understand as never before the softening, subduing power of true, Christlike character. You need to understand the warfare in which we are engaged. The power of holy living is far ahead of all doctrinal discourses….

“We need now as never before to pray with heart and voice for the Spirit of Christ to use us in His service through the sanctification of the Spirit. We need to pray that we may by uniting with our fellow workers build up God’s kingdom. We are never to be satisfied with self, but are ever to press upward, seeking to attain higher fervency and greater zeal. Our heart’s greatest desire should be to be found among the meek and lowly people of God. Then we can find souls and win souls.” –The Voice in Speech and Song, p. 305.

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