MORE FACTS TO UNDERSTAND ACTS
Later on in this series we will discuss the beloved physician Luke in detail, who wrote the Message generally called ‘THE THIRD GOSPEL’ and THE BOOK OF ACTS. The biography (mostly the autobiography) of this courageous, faithful, uncompromising servant of the LORD, true friend of the Apostle Paul, begins with Acts 16:10 , in about 53 A.D. and ends with 2 Timothy 4:11 , about 68 A.D.; “only Luke is with me” Note when Luke, the writer of Acts, joined the Apostle Paul, “WE endeavoured to go into Macedonia.” (Acts 16:10 ).
Several years later after that perilous, terrible, sea voyage on the stormy sea when the ship went all to pieces. Luke wrote, “when WE came to Rome.” (Acts 28:16 ). It will prove most interesting and instructive to trace the ministry of Luke by studying the ‘WE’ of Acts 16:11-15 ; Acts 20:6-15 ; and Acts 21:1-7 . Now note Acts 21:8-10 , that the Apostle Paul and Luke visited in the home of Philip, the evangelist, who was one of the 7 men of God chosen to receive and disburse the money in Israel’s ‘COMMUNISM’ of Acts 2:44-45 , Acts 4:34-35 , and Acts 6:3-5 . Stephen and Philip were among those chosen. Stephen was killed after a very short ministry. But how about that Philip! Still serving the risen Christ 25 years after Pentecost.
Then, also, note all of the WE’s of Acts 27:1-37 , and Acts:28:10-14. Several years after the Apostle Paul and Luke reached Rome, Paul wrote to the Colossians, “Luke the beloved physician greets you.” (Colossians 4:14 ). Paul wrote to Philemon, whose home was in Colosse, “There salute you Mark and Luke.” (Philemon 1:24 ). Note carefully that here we have with the Apostle Paul, who was in prison for the MYSTERY (Ephesians 6:19-20 , 2 Timothy 2:7-9 , and Colossians 4:3-4 ), Mark, the writer of the so called ‘SECOND GOSPEL’ and Luke, the writer of the so called ‘THIRD GOSPEL.” Of course the Apostle Paul, Mark, and Luke were all members of the ONE BODY of 1 Corinthians 12:13 , Romans 12:3-5 and Ephesians 4:4-5 ; and Mark and Luke were among the saints to whom God had made known the glorious truth; His ETERNAL PURPOSE. THE MYSTERY, which had been hid in God, hid from generations and ages. (Colossians 1:24-26 , and Ephesians 3:9 ).
About the time Mark and Luke were with the Apostle Paul, the Apostle Peter wrote concerning “our beloved brother Paul, in all his Epistles, in which are some things hard to be understood.” (2 Peter 3:14-16 ). Some Bible "teachers" have deduced from statements in Peter’s two Epistles, and other Scriptures, that Peter was not one of the saints of Colossians 1:25-26 , to whom the Holy Spirit had manifested the truth concerning THE MYSTERY. But this is more than a wild guess by these Bible "teachers". In 1 Peter 5:13 the Apostle Peter wrote of Mark as his son. From this it seems that Mark was saved hearing Peter’s preaching. We might believe that Luke was saved by Paul’s preaching, but positive proof is lacking.
Luke is the one writer of the earthly ministry of The LORD Jesus Christ, who tells us that Christ when He was dedicated as a little Child was in the arms of the devout, religious Jew who was waiting for the consolation of Israel; and that Christ after His death was likewise in the arms of such a Jew, waiting for the Kingdom of God. Compare Luke 2:25-35 and Luke 23:50-53 , concerning Simeon and Joseph of Arimathea. Note these words of Simeon concerning Christ, “set for the FALL and RISING AGAIN of many in Israel.” (Luke 2:34 ). Luke is the one writer who wrote, “the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10 ). Note the statement of Christ immediately preceding this statement, “forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham.” Zacchaeus was a despised publican, but he was a Jew, and belonged to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. Take a moment, now, to read Ezekiel 34:11-24 ; the prophecies that Jehovah will seek His sheep, Israel, and restore the kingdom to His sheep. However, lost, alienated Gentiles (Ephesians 4:18 ; Ephesians 2:11-12 ) were not called ‘sheep’ by the LORD. Christ called them, ‘dogs.’ (Matthew 15:26 , and Mark 7:27 ). Note what the twelve apostles did when they had the opportunity to preach the Gospel to a Gentile while Christ was on earth. They said, “send her away.” (Matthew 15:23 ). We certainly ought to understand this when Christ told the twelve not to go in the way of Gentiles (Matthew 10:5-6 ); that, The LORD Jesus Christ, He Himself, while He was here, was sent only to Jews (Matthew 15:24 ); but it is not so easy to understand why, seven years after the commission of Matthew 28:19-20 it was not lawful for the Apostles to go to Gentiles (Acts 10:28 ); or why the other apostles and disciples at Jerusalem contended with Peter for preaching to the household of Cornelius (Acts 11:1-5 ), or why the Christian Jews who left Jerusalem for some years preached to none but Jews. (Acts 11:19 ). We will explore these things later.
Moving on, in Luke 13:16 the LORD Jesus said that the afflicted woman should have been healed by Him on Israel’s Sabbath, because the woman was a daughter of Abraham. The Son of man came to seek and to save the sons and daughters of Abraham (ISRAEL). But Christ warned the sons of Abraham (ISRAEL) that, although they were the children, they would be cast out and Gentiles would sit down with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob. (Matthew 8:11-12 ). There is no record in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John that the Son of man, Jesus Christ, went out to seek the Gentiles. He must needs go through Samaria; but the Samaritans were not Gentiles. (Matthew 10:5-8 ). We would be more than foolish to say how many or how few Gentiles were saved while Christ was in the midst of Israel as Jesus of Nazareth (Acts 2:22 ), the Minister of the Circumcision (Romans 15:8 ). BUT, we can say positively that two Gentiles are mentioned as having received the blessing of Christ on earth, one Greek woman of GREAT FAITH (Mark 7:24-29 , and Matthew 15:21-27 ) and one Roman man of GREAT FAITH. (Matthew 8:10-12 , and Luke 7:1-12 ). To the Greek, Christ said, “let the children (the sons and daughters of Abraham, meaning ISRAEL) FIRST be filled.” To the Roman, Christ said, “the children shall be cast into darkness.” We must keep these two statements in mind as we move through the study of the Book of Acts. Note the ‘FIRST’ of Acts 3:26 ; Acts 13:46 ; Romans 1:16 . Then note that God’s ‘Grace’ Gospel of reconciliation was sent to Gentiles after the sons of Abraham (ISRAEL) were put in darkness by God. (Romans 11:1-15 ; Romans 11:25 ; Acts 13:7-15 ; and Acts 13:46 ).
Note, in addition to the GREAT FAITH of the Roman Gentile man, that that centurion loved the Jews and built them a synagogue and asked the sons of Abraham (ISRAEL) to go to the LORD Jesus to present his urgent appeal, because he thought himself unworthy. (Luke 7:4-9 ). These two Gentiles sought the Son of man: the Son of man did not seek them. He actually seemed to hide from the woman. (Mark 7:24 ).
It is more than difficult for us to find the record in the Book of Acts where the twelve apostles went out to seek and to save lost Gentiles. Peter preached to a company of SEEKING Gentiles, headed by a God fearing, Jew loving centurion (Acts 10:1-4 , and Acts 10:22 ), so much like the centurion of Luke 7:1-10 that some believe (without positive Scriptural proof) that Luke 7 and Acts 10 speak of the same Roman official Cornelius. Note carefully, ‘my mouth’ in Acts 15:7 . (Peter’s mouth preaching to Cornelius.) Note that the Gentile to whom Paul preached BEFORE he said that Israel had put God’s Word from them and he was turning to the Gentiles (Acts 13:46 ), that Gentile was SEEKING the LORD. (Acts 13:7-15 ). He, also, was a Roman official, a prudent man who desired to hear the Word of God. (Acts 13:7 ). His name was ‘PAULUS’ or ‘PAUL.’ So SAUL also became ‘PAULUS’ or ‘PAUL.’ (Acts 13:9 ). When God sent blindness for a season on the Jew, whose name ‘Barjesus’ means, ‘the child of Jehovah Saviour,’ the Gentile (Paulus) was astonished and believed. (Acts 13:10-12 ). This was God’s pattern for Israel’s blindness and the salvation of Gentiles as recorded in Romans 11:25 .
Thus we see how ‘THE TIMES OF THE GENTILES, SPIRITUALLY,’ began. After the blindness of Barjesus and the blindness of Israel (Romans 11:5-11 ) God began to deal with Gentiles in Grace as He had never dealt with them before. The FALL and diminishing of the Jews (Israel) meant riches for the Gentiles. (Romans 11:12 ). God will again deal with Israel in a manner that He is not NOW dealing with Israel when the FULNESS of the Gentiles comes in (Romans 11:25 ). THEN God will take Israel’s blindness away and save them according to His covenant of promise, which is irrevocable. (Romans 11:26-29 ).
In Ephesians 1:13 the Holy Spirit through the Apostle Paul declares that men are saved and sealed by hearing and BELIEVING the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation. Therefore, here, now, is declared unto you the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your Salvation: "that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures" 1 Corinthians 15:3-4 . BELIEVE today. The time is short.
So There You Have it!
Spread this message to everyone you know, far and wide.
Grace be to you and peace, from God: our Father, and The LORD Jesus Christ.
In The LORD Jesus Christ,
The Lion and Lamb Ministry
Pastor David Picos, D.D.
Minister and Ambassador for Christ in the Ministry of Reconciliation (2 Cor. 5:18-20 )