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- Session 31- The Book of Acts – 13 42-14 15 Homily 30
With Father Athanasios Haros
Every Wednesday at 7 p.m. EST
- When: SEPTEMBER 16, 2015 & 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 September 16:
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 September 16, 2015 – Session 31
The Church of the Holy Apostles; A Bible Study on the Book of Acts
The text below is to accompany the LIVE Bible Study by Father Athanasios C. Haros
- 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 – September 16, 2015, Acts 13.42-14.15 Homily 30 (Session 31)
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 13 v. 42-43 So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.
Paul’s method has succeeded in creating a longing for more. He planted the seed…. SJC “He told them the fact, that ‘through this Man is remission of sins announced to you,’ but the how he did not declare.”
Chapter 13 v. 44-48 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God. But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul. Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. “For so the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.’ ” Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.
From this point Saint Luke begins to list St Paul first
SJC “Why did they not baptize them immediately?…they were filled with envy.”
“Lo, we turn to the Gentiles.” Because of the contentious behavior of the Jews, Paul moves on to the Gentiles. Paul is justifying why the Gospel is being expanded to the Gentiles so Jerusalem doesn’t accuse him.
SJC “He does not say, ‘You are unworthy,’ but ‘have judged yourselves unworthy.’
At the same time, Paul is leaving the window open for repentance. SJC “The expression is full of gentleness. He does not say, We abandon you, but so that it is possible – he would say – that we may also turn hither again: and this too is not the consequence of the affront from you, ‘for so hath the Lord commanded us.”
Paul makes the Gentiles feel welcomed. This has always been the plan of God, so the Gentiles are glad and glorified the Lord.
Chapter 13 v. 49-52 And the word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region. But the Jews stirred up the devout and prominent women and the chief men of the city, raised up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. But they shook off the dust from their feet against them, and came to Iconium. And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
Jews are stirring up trouble. SJC “They did not stop at envy, but added deeds also. Do you see what they effected by their opposing the preaching? To what dishonor they brought these?
Another promise confirmed in Acts – SJC “Here now they used that terrible sign, which Christ enjoined, ,’If any receive you not, shake off the dust from your feet.’”
There is more temptation in city-life than village life. (same holds for today)
Pattern of Acts – Gospel spreads FIRST to Jews, THEN to Gentiles, FIRST to cities, THEN to villages. This is possible because of the Roman Empire.
There is joy in suffering and struggle.
Chapter 14 v. 1-7 Now it happened in Iconium that they went together to the synagogue of the Jews, and so spoke that a great multitude both of the Jews and of the Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren. Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. But the multitude of the city was divided: part sided with the Jews, and part with the apostles. And when a violent attempt was made by both the Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to abuse and stone them, they became aware of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region. And they were preaching the gospel there.
On to the next stop….pattern continues. Paul begins again with the Jews, but is was likely that some Greeks were present, because the Jews stirred up the Greeks too.
The constant opposition from the Jews made the Apostles even more bold. SJC “This caused their boldness, or rather their boldness indeed their own hearty good-will was the cause – therefore it is for a long while they work no signs – while the conversion of the hearers was the effect of the signs, though their boldness also contributed somewhat.”
Another promise fulfilled in Acts – SJC “No small matter this dividing. And this was what the Lord said, ‘I am not come to bring peace, but a sword.’”
Chapter 14 v. 8-13 And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked. Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes.
Persecution works for a great good. FINALLY a great miracle takes place in Lystra
Miracle reveals the great faith of the lame man. Paul saw into his heart that he had great faith. The “leaping” reveals the complete and total healing.
Chapter 14 v. 14-15 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them,
SUCH HUMILITY – SJC “See how on all occasions they are clean from the lust of glory, not only not coveting, but even repudiating it when offered.”
Teaching on “True Christian Humility” – (see Homily 30, p 192-194)
- Give NO credit to yourself for anything good you might accomplish
- Your actions should match your words
- You can’t always expect praises and not stern teaching. A good/loving father gives his children what they need, not always what they want.
- Show your admiration of the Church/Clergy not in words but in deeds.
Life Application Challenge – (Homily 30, p 194)
Live to please God and not to gain praises.
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.