I am an Orthodox Christian priest. I have been Orthodox my entire life and a priest since July 2007. From my perspective, in America at least, we have lost the functional understanding of our Orthodox Christian Faith. We must take seriously that our Traditions have purpose and are not a just a litany of tasks and obligations we must perform. To "boil down" the Faith to that creates an environment I believe is what the Apostle Paul taught against. Glory to God.
LIVE STREAM Bible Study Guide
The Book of Acts 28.17-31 – Homily 55
June 1, 2016
With Father Athanasios Haros
Wednesday at 7 p.m. EST
- When: June 1, 2016 at 7 p.m. EST
- What: A Bible Study on the Book of Acts
- Click on the Link Below to Download the Study Guide for June 1:
Are you looking for a Bible study about the ancient Christian Church, but can’t find a location in your city?
NOW you can join in with Father Athanasios C Haros, just as if you were in the room, to The Church of the Holy Apostles: A Bible Study on the Book of Acts.
The Orthodox Christian Network is proud to present this LIVE STREAM Bible Study on the Book of Acts, from Florence, SC. Join every Wednesday at 7 p.m. EST!
Study Guide to Prepare for LIVE Bible Study on June 1, 2016 – Session 56
THE CHURCH OF THE HOLY APOSTLES; A BIBLE STUDY ON THE BOOK OF ACTS
Based upon the Homilies of St John Chrysostom (SJC)
Study Guide – June 1, 2016, Acts 28.17-31 Homily 55
Prayer before reading of the Holy Scriptures: Shine within our hearts, loving Master, the pure light of Your divine knowledge, and open the eyes of our minds that we may comprehend the message of Your Gospel. Instill in us also reverence for Your blessed commandments so that, having conquered sinful desires, we may pursue a spiritual life, thinking and doing all those things which are pleasing to You. For You, Christ our God, are the light of our souls and bodies, and to You we give glory, together with Your Father who is without beginning and Your all holy, good and life giving Spirit, always now and forever and to the ages of ages.
Chapter 28 v. 17-31 And it came to pass after three days that Paul called the leaders of the Jews together. So when they had come together, he said to them: “Men and brethren, though I have done nothing against our people or the customs of our fathers, yet I was delivered as a prisoner from Jerusalem into the hands of the Romans, “who, when they had examined me, wanted to let me go, because there was no cause for putting me to death. “But when the Jews spoke against it, I was compelled to appeal to Caesar, not that I had anything of which to accuse my nation. “For this reason therefore I have called for you, to see you and speak with you, because for the hope of Israel I am bound with this chain.” Then they said to him, “We neither received letters from Judea concerning you, nor have any of the brethren who came reported or spoken any evil of you. “But we desire to hear from you what you think; for concerning this sect, we know that it is spoken against everywhere.” So when they had appointed him a day, many came to him at his lodging, to whom he explained and solemnly testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus from both the Law of Moses and the Prophets, from morning till evening. And some were persuaded by the things which were spoken, and some disbelieved. So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers, “saying, ‘Go to this people and say: “Hearing you will hear, and shall not understand; And seeing you will see, and not perceive; For the hearts of this people have grown dull. Their ears are hard of hearing, And their eyes they have closed, Lest they should see with their eyes and hear with their ears, Lest they should understand with their hearts and turn, So that I should heal them.” ‘ “Therefore let it be known to you that the salvation of God has been sent to the Gentiles, and they will hear it!” And when he had said these words, the Jews departed and had a great dispute among themselves. Then Paul dwelt two whole years in his own rented house, and received all who came to him, preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ with all confidence, no one forbidding him.
Paul calls the Jewish leaders to defend himself and to remove the guilt of others. It was God’s providence that all this takes place. SJC “His whole speech is of a forgiving nature.” (PATTERN of Christ)
It was only after the nonbelievers departed that Paul finally closes the door. SJC “When they departed, as they were opposed to each other, then he reproaches them, not because he wished to reproach those that believed not, but to confirm these that believe.”
Paul even attempts to make them feel jealous about the Gentiles (Remember Romans 11.11)
Jewish leaders looking for a way out… ‘Spoken against everywhere’ SJC “People are also everywhere persuaded as in fact here.”
Their wickedness is revealed in the constant plots despite Paul’s innocence. There were fighting against God, not man. (Remember Acts 5.39)
Saint Luke leaves us wanting more…..he simply states Paul lived, taught, preached, unhindered for two years. According to Holy Tradition, Saint Paul was martyred with Peter in Rome under Nero. (before 68CE)
Life Application Challenge – (Homily 55) Homage to Saint Paul
Why did you wish to learn what happened after these two years? Those too are such as these: bonds, tortures, fightings, imprisonments, lyings in wait, false accusations, deaths, day by day. You have seen but a small part of it? How much soever you have seen, such is he for all the rest. As in the case of the sky, if you see one part of it, go where you will you shall see it such as this: as it is with the sun, though thou see its rays but in part, you may conjecture the rest: so is it with Paul. His Acts you have seen in part; such are they all throughout, teeming with dangers. He was a heaven having in it the Sun of Righteousness, not such a sun (as we see): so that that man was better than the very heaven. Think you that this is a small thing— when you say The Apostle, immediately every one thinks of him (as), when you say The Baptist, immediately they think of John? To what shall one compare his words? To the sea, or even to the ocean? But nothing is equal to them. More copious than this (sea) are (his) streams; purer and deeper; so that one would not err in calling Paul’s heart both a sea and a heaven, the one for purity, the other for depth. He is a sea, having for its voyagers not those who sail from city to city, but those from earth to heaven: if any man sail in this sea, he will have a prosperous voyage. On this sea, not winds, but instead of winds the Holy and Divine Spirit wafts the souls which sail thereon: no waves are here, no rock, no monsters: all is calm. It is a sea which is more calm and secure than a haven, having no bitter brine, but a pure fountain both sweeter than * *, and brighter and more transparent than the sun: a sea it is, not having precious stones, nor purple dye as ours, but treasures far better than those. He who wishes to descend into this sea, needs not various, needs not oil, but much loving-kindness (φιλανθρωπίας): he will find in it all the good things that are in the kingdom of Heaven. He will even be able to become a king, and to take the whole world into his possession, and to be in the greatest honor; he who sails on this sea will never undergo shipwreck, but will know all things well. But as those who are inexpert in this (our visible sea) are suffocated (in attempting to dive therein), so is it in that other sea: which is just the case with the heretics, when they attempt things above their strength. It behooves therefore to know the depth, or else not to venture. If we are to sail on this sea, let us come well-girded. I could not, he says, speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal. 1 Corinthians 3:1 Let no one who is without endurance sail on this sea. Let us provide for ourselves ships, that is, zeal, earnestness, prayers, that we may pass over the sea in quiet. For indeed this is the living water. Like as if one should get a mouth of fire, such a mouth does that man get who knows Paul well: like as if one should have a sharp sword, so again does such an one become invincible. And for the understanding of Paul’s words there is needed also a pure life. For therefore also he said: You have become such as have need of milk, seeing you are dull of hearing. Hebrews 5:11-12 For there is, there is an infirmity of hearing. For as a stomach which is infirm could not take in wholesome food (which it finds) hard of digestion, so a soul which has become tumid and heated, unstrung and relaxed, could not receive the word of the Spirit. Hear the disciples saying, This is a hard saying: who can hear it John 6:60? But if the soul be strong and healthy, all is most easy, all is light: it becomes more lofty and buoyant: it is more able to soar and lift itself on high. Knowing then these things, let us bring our soul into a healthy state: let us emulate Paul,and imitate that noble, that adamantine soul: that, advancing in the steps of his life, we may be enabled to sail through the sea of this present life, and to come unto the haven wherein are no waves, and attain unto the good things promised to them that love Him, through the grace and mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ, with Whom to the Father and Holy Ghost together be glory, might, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.