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 32- The Book of Acts 14.14-28 Homily 31
With Father Athanasios Haros
Every Wednesday at 7 p.m. EST
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- When: SEPTEMBER 23 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 23:
- The Book of Acts 14.14-28 Homily 31 (Session 32)
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Study Guide to Prepare for LIVE Bible Study on September 23, 2015 – Session 31
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 23, 2015, Acts 14.14-28 Homily 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 14 v. 14-18 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, “who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. “Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.”And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them.
Being considered gods was totally repulsive to Paul and Barnabas. If they had not torn their garments, they could have been accused if showing false humility.
Since the initial reaction was to think they were gods, the immediate importance is to direct them to the True God. This True God, even on the sinful, does great benefits. (Rain & fruitful seasons)
Paul invokes the Prophets by quoting Jeremiah 5.24 “They do not say in their heart, “Let us now fear the LORD our God, Who gives rain, both the former and the latter, in its season. He reserves for us the appointed weeks of the harvest.”
Chapter 14 v. 19-20 Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.
There is a great difference between how the Jews respond and how the Gentiles respond. SJC “Indeed children of the devil, that not in their own cities only, but also beyond them, they did these things, and as much made it their study to make an end of the preaching, as the Apostles were in earnest to establish it.”
Paul returns to the city once everything is calmed down. SJC “He came into the city itself again: for proof that if on any occasion he did retire, it was because he had sown the word, and because it was not right to inflame their wrath.”
Chapter 14 v. 21-25 And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed. And after they had passed through Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. Now when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia.
Through tribulation…. SJC “That may stand nobly, not idly gaping for the miracles.”
Persecutions are equally powerful in converting the faithful as miracles.
“Appointed” = χειροτονήσοντες = laying on of hands = ordination / accompanied by prayer and fasting
Presbyters ordained in outskirts since the areas ‘near’ to the city had the city-elders to watch over and guide them
Chapter 14 v. 26-28 From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed. Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. So they stayed there a long time with the disciples.
This is laying the groundwork for the Council in Jerusalem (Acts 15.6-21)
Paul and Barnabas report the events to show how it was providence and not their selfish will being done. SJC reminds us of Acts 13.2 “the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.”
SJC “It was not for nothing that they come here, nor to rest, but providentially guided by the Spirit, to the end that the preaching to the Gentiles might be firmly established.”
Teaching on “Working with Others” – (see Homily 31, p 198-199)
- Do not be fooled. The battle is real, and requires endurance and diligence. It doesn’t end.
- Words ARE more painful than stones
- Return anger with peace. Return insult with praise.
- Step away from others when anger arrives
- An abusive person is worse than a dog who returns to his vomit
Life Application Challenge – (Homily 31, p 200-201) BE ABOVE SIN!
“Wherefore I beseech you, considering how the wickedness is come to such a height, that many boast of it, let us return to our senses, let us recover those who are thus mad, let us take away these councils out of the city, let us make out tongue gracious, let us rid it of all evil speaking, that being clean from sins, we may be able to draw down upon us the good-will from above, and to have mercy vouchsafed unto us from God, through the grace and compassion of His only-begotten Son, with Whom to the Father, together with the Holy Spirit, be glory, might, honor, now and ever, world without end.”
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.