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The Church of the Holy Apostles; A Bible Study on the Book of Acts – Session 29
The text below is to accompany the LIVE Bible Study by Father Athanasios C. Haros
- Based upon the Homilies of St John Chrysostom (SJC)
- Study Guide – September 2, 2015, Acts 13.4-15 Homily 28 (Session 29)
Chapter 13 v. 4-5 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. And when they arrived in Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. They also had John as their assistant.
Paul was “sent” by the Holy Spirit. This is why he is referred to as Apostle Paul. Απόστολος = the sent one
Preached FIRST to the Jews to keep the peace, in every town.
Paul was in Antioch for one year.
Chapter 13 v. 6-11 Now when they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus, who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him and said, “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? “And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.” And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand.
Saul is NOW Paul
The sorcerer wasn’t upset until Paul reaches “leadership” with the Word. The sorcerer doesn’t want to lose his influence over the leaders.
SJC “Everywhere, vainglory and love of power are a source of evils!”
Paul reveals the condition of the sorcerer’s heart, “You are warring against God.”
“For a season” – the blindness is only temporary to lead to repentance. If it had been for punishment, it would have been permanent.
Paul’s words are not out of anger, but for healing, SJC “His words were not prompted by anger, and to sho this, the writer premises, ‘filled with the Holy Spirit,’ that is, His operation. ‘And now behold the hand of the Lord is upon thee.’ It was not for vengeance, but healing: for it is as though he said, ‘It is not I that do it, but the hand of God.” (Homily p.179)
Paul taught more strictly WITHIN the Church. SJC “In respect of those of their own body they used severity, and with good reason, but in dealing with those without, not so; that the obedience of faith might not seem to be matter of compulsion and fear.”
Chapter 13 v. 12-15 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord. Now when Paul and his party set sail from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia; and John, departing from them, returned to Jerusalem. But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and sat down. And after the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying, “Men and brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.”
They were invited to speak. SJC “If they had not waited, there would have been no discourse….Observe his prudence: where the word was already sown, he passes on; but where there was none to preach, he makes a stay.”
Why did Paul not just stay and teach in Jerusalem? They hated him as a traitor. Even today, I heard a Rabbi refer to Paul as a traitor.
Teaching on “The Passions and Vainglory” – (see Homily 28, p 180-181)
- Vainglory is a deep passion
- What passion can accomplish, fear of God cannot [this is NOT a good thing]
- Don’t say, “I can’t” because you can if you want, and you should want…
- Seek after TRUE glory from God
- The Passions can blind us to the truth
Life Application – Seek only to please God. You will always be disappointed by people (Homily 28, p 181)
About Father Athanasios C. Haros
Father Athanasios C Haros is the Pastor at the Transfiguration of Our Savior Greek Orthodox Church in Florence, South Carolina. His sermon series, known as “Be Transfigured” are found each week on the Orthodox Christian Network. You can find more information about his parish at www.GoFlorence.org, and www.LiveANewLifeInChrist.org.