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 21.18 – 21.38 – Homily 46
March 16, 2016
With Father Athanasios Haros
Every Wednesday at 7 p.m. EST
- When: March 16, 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 February 24:
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Study Guide to Prepare for LIVE Bible Study on February 24, 2016 – Session 47
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 – March 16, 2016, Acts 21.18 – 21.38 Homily 46
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 21 v. 18-25 On the following day Paul went in with us to James, and all the elders were present. When he had greeted them, he told in detail those things which God had done among the Gentiles through his ministry. And when they heard it, they glorified the Lord. And they said to him, “You see, brother, how many myriads of Jews there are who have believed, and they are all zealous for the law; “but they have been informed about you that you teach all the Jews who are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses, saying that they ought not to circumcise their children nor to walk according to the customs. “What then? The assembly must certainly meet, for they will hear that you have come. “Therefore do what we tell you: We have four men who have taken a vow. “Take them and be purified with them, and pay their expenses so that they may shave their heads, and that all may know that those things of which they were informed concerning you are nothing, but that you yourself also walk orderly and keep the law. “But concerning the Gentiles who believe, we have written and decided that they should observe no such thing, except that they should keep themselves from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality.”
James is the Bishop of Jerusalem, also known as Iakovos the Brother of the Lord
Paul gives a full report of his ministry just like he did in Acts 14.26)
James and rest honor God for Paul’ accomplishments rather than Paul. SJC “Observe with what modest deference they too speak: ‘they said to him:’ not James as Bishop discourses authoritatively, but they take Paul as partner with them in their view.”
Paul apologizes for even mentioning the scandal… “You see, brother…”
- a) So many were causing problems
- b) Someone has been teaching them lies about you
- c) The crowd believed in the first place
The Apostles ADVISE Paul rather than COMMAND him
Paul makes a PUBLIC display to eliminate any doubt of his sincerity
Chapter 21 v. 26-38 Then Paul took the men, and the next day, having been purified with them, entered the temple to announce the expiration of the days of purification, at which time an offering should be made for each one of them. Now when the seven days were almost ended, the Jews from Asia, seeing him in the temple, stirred up the whole crowd and laid hands on him, crying out, “Men of Israel, help! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against the people, the law, and this place; and furthermore he also brought Greeks into the temple and has defiled this holy place.” (For they had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian with him in the city, whom they supposed that Paul had brought into the temple.) And all the city was disturbed; and the people ran together, seized Paul, and dragged him out of the temple; and immediately the doors were shut. Now as they were seeking to kill him, news came to the commander of the garrison that all Jerusalem was in an uproar. He immediately took soldiers and centurions, and ran down to them. And when they saw the commander and the soldiers, they stopped beating Paul. Then the commander came near and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and he asked who he was and what he had done. And some among the multitude cried one thing and some another. So when he could not ascertain the truth because of the tumult, he commanded him to be taken into the barracks. When he reached the stairs, he had to be carried by the soldiers because of the violence of the mob. For the multitude of the people followed after, crying out, “Away with him!” Then as Paul was about to be led into the barracks, he said to the commander, “May I speak to you?” He replied, “Can you speak Greek? “Are you not the Egyptian who some time ago stirred up a rebellion and led the four thousand assassins out into the wilderness?”
Paul complies with the request of the Apostles.
Pattern of lies against the Church. SJC “Mark their habitual conduct, how turbulent we everywhere find it, how men who with or without reason make a clamor in the midst…For they wished to kill him; and therefore were dragging him out, to do this with greater security.”
This wasn’t just a Greek thing since Greeks also worshipped in the Temple,(See John 12.20) but they accused these Greeks of not wanting to worship.
The commander attempts to appease the crowd by arresting Paul.
“Away with him” = KILL HIM….just as they cried out to Pilate about Christ.
The “Egyptian” refers to a historical rebel that was known at the time.
Teaching on “Hospitality” – (see Homily 46)
- No reason to grieve about heresies
Then let us not grieve that heresies exist, seeing that false Christs wished to attack even Christ both before this and after; with a view to throw Him into the shade, but on every occasion we find the truth shining out transparent. So it was with the Prophets: there were false prophets, and by contrast with these they shone the more: just as disease enhances health, and darkness light, and tempest calm.
- God allows imposters to highlight the truth
It was the same in the case of Moses: God suffered the magicians, on purpose that Moses might not be suspected to be a magician: He let them teach all men to what length magic can go in making a fantastic show: beyond this point they deceived not, but themselves confessed their defeat. Impostors do us no harm, rather do us good, if we will apply our mind to the matter.
- We serve God, not man
To God we live, not to men: in heaven we have our conversation, not on earth: there lie the awards and the prizes of our labors, thence we look for our praises, thence for our crowns. Thus far let us trouble ourselves about men— that we do not give and afford them a handle against us. But if, though we afford none, those choose to accuse us thoughtlessly and without discrimination, let us laugh, not weep.
- If our serving God is offensive, sobeit
For when the offense is with us, then woe unto us, but when not with us, not so. And again, Woe to (that man) through whom the name of God is blasphemed. Romans 2:24 How then if I do what is right in anything, but another blasphemes? That is nothing to me, but only to him: for through him (God) was blasphemed.. For when anything of what is pleasing to God is hindered by another’s taking offense, it is right to take no notice: but then is the time to mind it, when we are not forced because of him to offend God… So then, the right thing is, neither to take no notice, nor to take too much, of the weakness of the many.
Life Application Challenge – (Homily 46) Consider whether or not it is justified to take offense
For let us not look to this only, whether some be offended, but whether they are justly offended, and so that it is no hurt to ourselves (to give way). If meat, says (Paul), offend my brother, I will eat no meat as long as the world lasts. 1 Corinthians 8:13 With reason: for the not eating did (him) no harm. If however it offend him, that I wish to renounce (ἀ ποτάξασθαι) (the world), it is not right to mind him.
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.