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 18.18 – 19.7 – Homily 40
January 13, 2016
With Father Athanasios Haros
Every Wednesday at 7 p.m. EST
- When: January 13, 2016 & Every Wednesdays 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 January 13:
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Study Guide to Prepare for LIVE Bible Study on January 13, 2016 – Session 41
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 – January 13, 2016, Acts 18.18 – 19.7 – Homily 40
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 18 v. 18-21 So Paul still remained a good while. Then he took leave of the brethren and sailed for Syria, and Priscilla and Aquila were with him. He had his hair cut off at Cenchrea, for he had taken a vow. And he came to Ephesus, and left them there; but he himself entered the synagogue and reasoned with the Jews. When they asked him to stay a longer time with them, he did not consent, but took leave of them, saying, “I must by all means keep this coming feast in Jerusalem; but I will return again to you, God willing.” And he sailed from Ephesus.
Notice how the Law is breaking up. Paul cut his hair for a vow, but did not make the sacrifice as required by the Law.
Why does Paul leave? SJC “Why does he desire again to come to Syria? It was there that the disciples were ordered to be called Christians Acts 11:26: there, that he had been commended to the grace of God Acts 14:26: there, that he had effected such things concerning the doctrine.”
Priscilla and Aquila accompany Paul to teach.
Paul praises the Ephesians in Romans 16.3
Christians were still assembling in the Synagogue
Paul departs with a promise to return. He is not abandoning them.
Chapter 18 v. 22-28 And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up and greeted the church, he went down to Antioch. After he had spent some time there, he departed and went over the region of Galatia and Phrygia in order, strengthening all the disciples. Now a certain Jew named Apollos, born at Alexandria, an eloquent man and mighty in the Scriptures, came to Ephesu5 This man had been instructed in the way of the Lord; and being fervent in spirit, he spoke and taught accurately the things of the Lord, though he knew only the baptism of John. So he began to speak boldly in the synagogue. When Aquila and Priscilla heard him, they took him aside and explained to him the way of God more accurately. And when he desired to cross to Achaia, the brethren wrote, exhorting the disciples to receive him; and when he arrived, he greatly helped those who had believed through grace; for he vigorously refuted the Jews publicly, showing from the Scriptures that Jesus is the Christ.
AGAIN Paul visits the places he has already been to strengthen them – a spiritual relationship
Even learned men are joining the Church and teaching. This is not just a group of fishermen anymore
Who is Apollos? SJC seems to think he was one of the One Hundred Twenty from Acts 1.15 SJC “It seems to me that this was one of the hundred and twenty who were baptized with the Apostles: or, if not so, then the same that took place in the case of Cornelius, took place also in the case of this man. But neither does he receive baptism.”
Priscilla and Aquila are “left behind” for Apollos’ sake. SJC “It was not for nothing that he left them at Ephesus, but for Apollos’ sake, the Spirit so ordered it, that he might come with greater force to the attack (ἑ πιβἥναι) upon Corinth.”
Apollos shows now envy or poor feelings at being corrected by Priscilla and Aquila. SJC “Now by this, that he publicly convinced them, his boldness was shown: by the clearness of his arguing, his power was declared: by his convicting them out of the Scriptures, his skill (of learning). For neither boldness by itself contributes anything, where there is not power, nor power where there is not boldness.”
Paul writes a letter to the Church in Achaia so they would welcome Apollos – CHURCH ORDER
Chapter 19 v. 1-7 And it happened, while Apollos was at Corinth, that Paul, having passed through the upper regions, came to Ephesus. And finding some disciples he said to them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” So they said to him, “We have not so much as heard whether there is a Holy Spirit.” And he said to them, “Into what then were you baptized?” So they said, “Into John’s baptism.” Then Paul said, “John indeed baptized with a baptism of repentance, saying to the people that they should believe on Him who would come after him, that is, on Christ Jesus.”When they heard this, they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus. And when Paul had laid hands on them, the Holy Spirit came upon them, and they spoke with tongues and prophesied. Now the men were about twelve in all.
It is possible the disciples Paul encountered didn’t even know about Jesus. Maybe they were baptized as they were just passing through. Once they learned the Baptism of John was not enough, they wanted baptism.
The Holy Spirit came upon them by the laying on of hands by Paul
As evidence that the Baptism of John was incomplete, they received the gift of tongues and prophesy.
Teaching on “The Power of Friendship and Unity” – (see Homily 40)
- The sum and substance of good things are received in Baptism
We have the sum and substance of the good things: through baptism we received remission of sins, sanctification, participation of the Spirit, adoption, eternal life.
- Finding fault is easy
For to find fault is easy, but how may one make friendship, this is the point to be studied; how we may bring together the scattered members. For be it so, that we have one Church, or one doctrine— yet this is not the (main) consideration: no, the evil is, that in these we have not fellowship— living peaceably, as the Apostle says, with all men Romans 12:18, on the contrary, we are at variance one with another.
- Make friends
First, let us put away the things which are subversive of charity, and then we shall establish this. Let none be resentful, none be envious, none rejoicing in (others’) misfortunes: these are the things that hinder love; well then, the things that make it are of the other sort. For it is not enough to put away the things that hinder; the things that establish must also be forthcoming.
- There is nothing good without friendship
For us, there is nothing good without friendship. Let there be good things without number, but what is the benefit— be it wealth, be it luxury— without friendship? No possession equal to this, even in matters of this life, just as there is nothing worse than men hating (us).
- Make your soul beautiful
Then let us also make our souls beautiful, and we shall be amiable one to another: for it is necessary, of course, not only to love, but also to be loved. Let us first achieve this point, that we may be loved, and the other will be easy. How to act that we may be loved? Let us become beautiful, and let us do this, that we may always have lovers. Let none make it his study to get money, to get slaves, to get houses, (so much) as to be loved, as to have a good name. Better is a name than much wealth.
- It isn’t because of too many people that we are not united
But many of us who come thereto do not even know one another. The reason, it may be said, is that there are so many of them. By no means; it is only our own sluggish indifference. (Once) there were three thousand Acts 2:41— there were five thousand Acts 4:4— and yet they had all one soul: but now each knows not his brother, and is not ashamed to lay the blame on the number, because it is so great!
- The unity of friendship is a strong wall
A wall it is indeed impregnable, this friendship; a wall, which not the devil himself, much less men, can overpower. It is not possible for that man to fall into danger who has gotten many friends. (Where love is) no room is there to get matter of anger, but only for pleasantness of feeling: no room is there to get matter of envying; none, to get occasion of resentment. Mark him, how in all things both spiritual and temporal, he accomplishes all with ease.
- The Church is changed by a few
Lo! I testify and declare to you, that if but ten of you would knit yourselves together, and make this your work, as the Apostles made the preaching theirs, and the Prophets theirs the teaching, so we the making of friends, great would be the reward.
Life Application Challenge – (Homily 40) Honor each other!
This, most of all, let us make sure of— in honor to prefer one another, to account others better than one’s self Romans 12:10, deem not this to be a lessening of yourself. If you prefer (another) in honor, you have honored yourself more, attracting to yourself a still higher extinction. On all occasions let us yield the precedence to others. Let us bear nothing in mind of the evil done to us, but if any good has been done (let us remember only that). Nothing so makes a man a friend, as a gracious tongue, a mouth speaking good things, a soul free from self-elation, a contempt of vain-glory, a despising of honor. If we secure these things, we shall be able to become invincible to the snares of the Devil, and having with strictness accomplished the pursuit of virtue, to 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 the Holy Ghost together be glory, dominion, honor, now and ever, world without end. Amen.
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.