Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sermon notes from Sunday June 21st 2015

2015.06.21       Acts 22: 17-30; Acts 23: 1-11
               Paul appears before the Sanhedrin
We are studying the birth of the church in Acts…. As we pick up our text this morning we see Paul under arrest in Jerusalem… The commander has allowed Paul to address the crowd of angry Jews….
Paul is giving his testimony… he is reminding them he was also a hater of Christians… He says that Jesus appeared to him on the road to Damascus….. Jesus had radically transformed his life…. And Jesus had sent him to proclaim the Good News… Now as we pick up the testimony he said that he also had a vision in the very place where they were standing… In the Temple courtyards… Acts 22..v17…
Acts 22: 17-21                          NKJV  
17 “Now it happened, when I returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, that I was in a trance 18 and saw Him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, for they will not receive your testimony concerning Me.’ 19 So I said, ‘Lord, they know that in every synagogue I imprisoned and beat those who believe on You. 20 And when the blood of Your martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by consenting to his death, and guarding the clothes of those who were killing him.’ 21 Then He said to me, ‘Depart, for I will send you far from here to the Gentiles.’”
Acts 22: 17-21   slt 2000
17 Es geschah mir aber, als ich nach Jerusalem zurückgekehrt war und im Tempel betete, daß ich in eine Verzückung geriet
18 und Ihn sah, der zu mir sprach: Eile und geh schnell aus Jerusalem fort, denn sie werden dein Zeugnis über mich nicht annehmen!
19 Und ich sprach: Herr, sie wissen selbst, daß ich die, welche an dich glaubten, ins Gefängnis werfen und in den Synagogen schlagen ließ,
20 und daß auch ich dabeistand, als das Blut deines Zeugen Stephanus vergossen wurde, und seiner Hinrichtung zustimmte und die Kleider derer verwahrte, die ihn töteten.
21 Und er sprach zu mir: Geh hin, denn ich will dich in die Ferne zu den Heiden senden!

v17… I was in a trance and saw Him saying to me… Paul had a vision of Jesus in the Temple shortly after his conversion…. He seems to only mention it now out of the desire to reach these Jews… He wanted them to understand that the Lord Himself had sent him to the Gentiles….. He didn´t think up the idea….
Paul's Christian life was founded on God's truth…. not spiritual experiences of any kind…  and he didn't even like to talk much about his spiritual experiences…
Paul made it very clear that it wasn't his idea to preach to the Gentiles….. He showed them that this was all God's plan….v22..
Acts 22: 22,23                         NKJV slt 2000
22 And they listened to him until this word, and then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth, for he is not fit to live!” 23 Then, as they cried out and tore off their clothes and threw dust into the air,
22 Sie hörten ihm aber zu bis zu diesem Wort; und dann erhoben sie ihre Stimme und sprachen: Hinweg mit einem solchen von der Erde! Denn es darf nicht sein, daß er am Leben bleibt!
23 Als sie aber schrieen und die Kleider von sich warfen1 und Staub in die Luft schleuderten,
v22… And they listened to him until this word… The mob that had tried to kill Paul…. and had then listened carefully to his sermon…. Exploded again over the claim that God called him to go to the  "Gentiles."…. The Jewish mob was Ballistic at the idea that God's salvation could be given freely to believing Gentiles….
Until he said that bad word…. Gentiles… These angry people  could not stand the idea that God might save Gentiles without them first becoming Jews….
Think of their hatred and anger….  "  he is not fit to live!" They want to kill him because he took the Gospel to the Gentiles…. This is now the second riot in the space of a few minutes….
The Jews of that day did not have a problem with Gentiles becoming Jews….. That happened on a regular basis…. Sometimes Gentiles would realize that the Lord was truly God…. and they would become God fearers….  And some even went all the way to Judaism…. and were baptized and circumcised in order to become fully Jewish…  
Today…. many people are offended that "good people" must repent from their hearts to be saved….. Just like the  "sinners" are….. They decide that because they are “GOOD” people….. There is no need for repentance from them…. Repentence is only for bad…. Wicked people… v24..
Acts 22: 24      NKJV   slt 2000
24 the commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks, and said that he should be examined under scourging, so that he might know why they shouted so against him.
24 ließ der Befehlshaber ihn in die Kaserne führen und befahl, ihn unter Geißelhieben zu verhören, um zu erfahren, aus welchem Grund sie derart über ihn schrieen.
24a… The commander ordered him to be brought into the barracks…   The Roman commander must have been amazed at this turn of events… How bizarre… He saw Paul address this huge crowd in Hebrew… He didn't know what Paul said….. He had no clue as to how or why a new riot has broken out….  But he was determined to protect Paul….
v24b… Examined under scourging… It is suggested that Paul be beaten with a scourge to find out what happened….. The Chiliarch needed to know exactly what to charge Paul with…. This was already out of hand…. He was going to have some explaining to do… Scourging was quite different from being beaten with a rod or a normal whip…   Paul had been there and done that…  2 Corinthians 11:24-25….. He suffered beatings over and over again But… This was very severe… In fact after a scourging…. the victim  often died or was crippled for life…. V25…

Acts 22: 25-29                    NKJV 
25 And as they bound him with thongs, Paul said to the centurion who stood by, “Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned?”
26 When the centurion heard that, he went and told the commander, saying, “Take care what you do, for this man is a Roman.”
27 Then the commander came and said to him, “Tell me, are you a Roman?”He said, “Yes.”
28 The commander answered, “With a large sum I obtained this citizenship.”And Paul said, “But I was born a citizen.”
29 Then immediately those who were about to examine him withdrew from him; and the commander was also afraid after he found out that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him.
Acts 22:25-29                        slt 2000
25 Als man ihn aber mit den Riemen festband, sprach Paulus zu dem Hauptmann, der dabeistand: Ist es euch erlaubt, einen Römer zu geißeln, und dazu noch ohne Urteil?
26 Als der Hauptmann das hörte, ging er hin und meldete es dem Befehlshaber und sprach: Hab acht, was du tun willst, denn dieser Mensch ist ein Römer!
27 Da kam der Befehlshaber herzu und sprach zu ihm: Sage mir, bist du ein Römer? Er antwortete: Ja!
28 Und der Befehlshaber erwiderte: Ich habe dieses Bürgerrecht für eine große Summe erworben. Paulus aber sprach: Ich dagegen bin sogar darin geboren!
29 Sogleich ließen die, welche ihn gewaltsam verhören wollten, von ihm ab, und auch der Befehlshaber fürchtete sich, nachdem er erfahren hatte, daß er ein Römer war, und weil er ihn hatte fesseln lassen.

v25… As they bound him with thongs… Paul knew that this was going to be very bad…. He was to receive a horrible beating….. It would not stop until he had confessed to a crime…. Now at that very moment he announces his Roman citizenship…. (Is it lawful for you to scourge a man who is a Roman, and uncondemned?)….
v26… Take care what you do, for this man is a Roman… When this became known to the Chiliarch…  the reaction was immediate…. Everything stopped…. Because it was a grievous wrong to even bind a Roman citizen without due process….   Now the commander was   afraid to do anything to Paul….  But how is it that this seemingly poor man…. is very well educated and a Roman Citizen….. He wanted to know… .v28…
v28… With a large sum I obtained this citizenship…
Paul reveals that he was born a citizen…. Paul was an extremely rare individual….. It was not normal to find such an educated and  devout Jew who was also a Roman citizen….. God used this unique background to use Paul in a special way…. You may not be a Roman citizen…. But you are unique…. The LORD will use you in a special way too…v30..
Acts 22: 30                        NKJV   slt 2000
30 The next day, because he wanted to know for certain why he was accused by the Jews, he released him from his bonds, and commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear, and brought Paul down and set him before them.
30 Da er aber mit Gewißheit erfahren wollte, weshalb er von den Juden angeklagt wurde, ließ er ihm am folgenden Tag die Fesseln abnehmen und befahl den obersten Priestern samt ihrem ganzen Hohen Rat, zu kommen; und er führte Paulus hinab und stellte ihn vor sie.
v30a… He wanted to know for certain why he was accused… All in all, this Roman commander seems to be a fair and good man….. Though he does not relate to the dispute between Paul and the Jews…. he does want a fair and just resolution of this conflict…
v30b… And commanded the chief priests and all their council to appear, and brought Paul down and set him before them… The opportunity to preach to the mob on the temple mount ended in another riot…. What a difficult day…. But now Paul hears that he will get what he believes is an awesome chance…. He would have the opportunity to speak before this same group that he was once a member of! The Sanhedrin was the Jewish government… They were the civil and Spiritual Government….
I think that he believed in his heart that this is his opportunity of a lifetime…. to preach to those he loves so much and knows so well…. who knew how God might use it!... Maybe revival and national repentance…  Paul didn't know how the Lord might use it…!
Paul knew the general plan…. Proclaim the Gospel to everyone who is willing to listen…  but just like us….. he didn't know how it would all work out…. It  is GOD who gives the increase….. He had to trust God step by step…. just like us….. Paul begins to preach… ch 23…v1..
Acts 23: 1-5                            NKJV 
1 Then Paul, looking earnestly at the council, said, “Men and brethren, I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day.”
2 And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth.
3 Then Paul said to him, “God will strike you, you whitewashed wall! For you sit to judge me according to the law, and do you command me to be struck contrary to the law?”
4 And those who stood by said, “Do you revile God’s high priest?”
5 Then Paul said, “I did not know, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, ‘You shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.’”

Acts 23: 1-5                             slt 2000
1 Da sah Paulus den Hohen Rat eindringlich an und sprach: Ihr Männer und Brüder, ich habe mein Leben mit allem guten Gewissen vor Gott geführt bis zu diesem Tag.
2 Aber der Hohepriester Ananias befahl den Umstehenden, ihn auf den Mund zu schlagen.
3 Da sprach Paulus zu ihm: Gott wird dich schlagen, du getünchte Wand! Du sitzt da, um mich zu richten nach dem Gesetz, und befiehlst, mich zu schlagen gegen das Gesetz?
4 Die Umstehenden aber sprachen: Schmähst du den Hohenpriester Gottes?
5 Da sprach Paulus: Ich wußte nicht, ihr Brüder, daß er Hoherpriester ist, denn es steht geschrieben: »Über einen Obersten deines Volkes sollst du nichts Böses reden«.
v1… Paul, looking earnestly at the council… Paul began his message before the Sanhedrin (what an opportunity… He has a captive audience of the most powerful rulers of Israel…  He said… "I have lived in all good conscience before God until this day…
Paul was not trying to say he was sinlessly perfect… Just that his heart and conscious were perfect… When he sinned… He repented and cried out to the Lord… Aber…  Paul's statement that he had lived in all good conscience before God…. Made the  high priest very angry…  v2…
v2… And the high priest Ananias commanded those who stood by him to strike him on the mouth… He was offended that someone like Paul could claim to have a clear conscience….. Paul had left the Sanhedrin to follow Jesus….
v3a… God will strike you, you whitewashed wall!... Paul was not afraid to speak out…
The high priest truly was a whitewashed wall…. Appearing godly and righteous….. Clean on the outside… but full of dead man’s bones…
His command to have Paul struck….. Was in fact against both the spirit and the letter of the law….
Ananias was high priest at this time…  He was well known for his greed… the ancient Jewish historian Josephus tells that Ananias stole the tithes that belonged to the common priests….
v3b… God will strike you… "Paul's words were more prophetic than he realized…. God did indeed strike Ananias….
Some think that Paul is being sarcastic when he apologized…. Basically saying surely the representative of God would not be so lawless and wicked… Ananias' final days were hard…  despite all his wealth and bribes…. His wickedness caught up with him… In 70 A.D. He was captured hiding in a sewer canal…. Back to Paul´s defense…. Apologia… v6…
Acts 22: 6-9                    NKJV
6 But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!”
7 And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the assembly was divided.
8 For Sadducees say that there is no resurrection—and no angel or spirit; but the Pharisees confess both.
9 Then there arose a loud outcry. And the scribes of the Pharisees’ party arose and protested, saying, “We find no evil in this man; but if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him, let us not fight against God.” 
Acts 22: 6-9        slt 2000
6 Da aber Paulus wußte, daß der eine Teil aus Sadduzäern, der andere aus Pharisäern bestand, rief er in die Ratsversammlung hinein: Ihr Männer und Brüder, ich bin ein Pharisäer und der Sohn eines Pharisäers; wegen der Hoffnung auf die Auferstehung der Toten werde ich gerichtet!
7 Als er aber dies sagte, entstand ein Streit zwischen den Pharisäern und den Sadduzäern, und die Versammlung spaltete sich.
8 Die Sadduzäer sagen nämlich, es gebe keine Auferstehung, auch weder Engel noch Geist; die Pharisäer aber bekennen sich zu beidem.
9 Es entstand aber ein großes Geschrei, und die Schriftgelehrten von der Partei der Pharisäer standen auf, stritten heftig und sprachen: Wir finden nichts Böses an diesem Menschen; wenn aber ein Geist zu ihm geredet hat oder ein Engel, so wollen wir nicht gegen Gott kämpfen!
v6a… Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees… Paul gives up on preaching the gospel… It is clear that they will not turn and repent…  He acts quickly because this council that wanted to stone him….. Paul's divides the Sanhedrin along their party lines…. He works to get the Pharisees on his side… He points the debate to issues of dispute between the Pharisees and the Sadducees…
The Sadducees were the "religious liberals" of their day… They denied most of the scriptures and anything supernatural…. They totally rejected the resurrection of the dead… They were very politically connected… and because of their power… They became generally very wealthy…
The Pharisees were the "fundamentalists" of their day…. They took the Bible seriously…. But they were very legalistic and loved rules…. And rules about rules…
Usually the Sadducees and the Pharisees were bitter enemies… but they were totally united against Jesus (Matthew 16:1, John 11:47-53) and of course all followers of the way…. It's interesting how people with nothing in common will unite to oppose God and His People… Psalm 2…
v6b… I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee… Knowing his audience… Paul reminds them that he was a Pharisee…. He says "concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged." He says they want to kill me because I believe in the resurrection of the dead… True…
The center of Paul's message is the Gospel…. Jesus is risen from the dead…. He is Lord and Savior
Paul picked the right issue…. By saying these things… he immediately gained the Pharisees as allies…  and he let them argue it out with the Sadducees… v 9… We find no evil in this man…. The Pharisees declare him innocent… And when they say "let us not fight against God"… They are returning to the previous attitude that their great leader Gamaliel had recommended in Acts 5:38-39...
Paul has prevented Himself from being stoned as a Heretic…. but he certainly cannot be happy about the whole thing… He had the chance to preach to a huge crowd of attentive Jews on the temple mount…. two Riots in the Temple…  and now an opportunity to preach to the Sanhedrin.... Turns into a Fight between the very judges that he hoped to persuade to follow Jesus…

Acts 23: 10,11  NKJV
10 Now when there arose a great dissension, the commander, fearing lest Paul might be pulled to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them, and bring him into the barracks.
11 But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.”
10 Da aber ein großer Aufruhr entstand, befürchtete der Befehlshaber, Paulus könnte von ihnen zerrissen werden, und er befahl der Truppe, herabzukommen und ihn rasch aus ihrer Mitte herauszuführen und in die Kaserne zu bringen.
11 Aber in der folgenden Nacht trat der Herr zu ihm und sprach: Sei getrost, Paulus! Denn wie du in Jerusalem von mir Zeugnis abgelegt hast, so sollst du auch in Rom Zeugnis ablegen.
v10a… Now when there arose a great dissension… The commander must have decided that these Jews are insane….  They were constantly having violent arguments…  Earlier they rioted over the word "Gentiles," now this riot is also over one word "resurrection." And now once again… Paul´s life is in danger…
v10b… fearing lest Paul might be pulled to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them… The commander removed Paul from the violent crowd of leaders for his own safety…. Crazy… huh…. The leaders of Israel are trying to kill Paul….. They are really still trying to kill Jesus…
v11a… But the following night the Lord stood by him and said… What a dark place Paul must have been in…. Three riots…. Two once-in-a-lifetime opportunities blew up in his face…. It is easy to understand that Paul was discouraged…
But….  the Lord stood by him…. God promised this… turn to Deut. 31…
Deuteronomy 31:6                   NKJV    slt 2000
6 Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the Lord your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you.”
 6 Seid stark und mutig! Fürchtet euch nicht und laßt euch nicht vor ihnen grauen, denn der Herr, dein Gott, geht selbst mit dir; er wird dich nicht aufgeben noch dich verlassen!
What a comfort for all of us….  We can be strong…… We do not need to be afraid…. God Himself is the one who goes with us…… He will never leave us….he will never forsake us… Jesus knew where Paul was… He had not lost sight of Paul because he was in jail….
God knows where you are today… even if you are feeling lost and alone… Are you feeling abandoned by the Lord….? It may seem so in the darkness…
But my dear friends… God knows where you are….. And he wants you to be content in your circumstances…. and wait for him…. He will never leave you or forsake you… Hebrews 13…v5…
Paul was alone…. but he wasn't alone…. Jesus was there and Jesus was enough…..
We should remember that Paul had been miraculously delivered from jail before…. but this time… Instead of delivering Paul… Jesus is with him in his trial… That´s true for us too…
Sometimes we are delivered out of the storm…. Sometimes… He calms the storm…. But sometimes we endure the storm and find that the Lord is right there with us….
v11b… Be of good cheer, Paul… Jesus was not only with Paul… He comforted Him….  Jesus was there to comfort and encourage His faithful servant….
Jesus would not have said be of good cheer unless Paul needed to hear those words….
Paul knew his situation was bad…. but he didn't know what would happen the  next day….. forty Jewish assassins would gather together and vow to go on a hunger strike until they murdered Paul…..
Paul didn't know this would happen….  but Jesus did! Yet He can still say to Paul… be of good cheer….
I think that Jesus could have said…. Oh, Paul cheer up…. It is going to get worse…. But I will never leave you and I will never forsake you.
I know that some of you are going through some very hard times right now… You might think that things are really bad right now… but you may not even know the half of it! We cannot see the future….
But Jesus does…. and he still says to you…. be of good cheer….. Why? Well it is Not because everything is fine…. but because God is still on His throne…. Turn with me to Romans 8:28….
Romans 8: 28                      NKJV   slt 2000
28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
28 Wir wissen aber, daß denen, die Gott lieben, alle Dinge zum Besten dienen, denen, die nach dem Vorsatz berufen sind.
The Lord Himself has allowed these circumstances and He has a plan in it… These disasters are for our good and His Glory…
Today is Father’s day… I want to wish all of you fathers a great day…. I want to remind all of us that no matter what our earthly fathers were like…. We have a great Heavenly Father…. He is perfect… He is always here for us…. Always…
Some of you know Peter Will…. He has preached here in CCW…. Just a few days ago his son Jason died…. I cannot imagine what that must be like…. Peter and he family have been greatly comforted by the Lord to know that Jason is a believer…. He is with the Lord…. As fathers and as parents …. There is nothing more important… than that we lead our children to the Lord Jesus Christ…..
Dad´s you have been given a great blessing to have children….. That blessing brings great responsibilities too……
Paul´s very difficult life was a part of God´s great plan… Today almost 2000 years later…. we are still benefitting from all of the beatings and sufferings…. All of hard times he went through were for his good and God´s glory…. I am sure that Paul had no idea how the Lord was going to use the disasters in his life… What a wonderful privilege it is to suffer for the sake of our Lord Jesus Christ… Paul will spent the rest of his life in prisoned…. But that will not stop him from declaring the Good news to anyone who will listen… Back to Acts 23…v11…
Acts 22: 11  NKJV slt 2000
11 But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.”
11 Aber in der folgenden Nacht trat der Herr zu ihm und sprach: Sei getrost, Paulus! Denn wie du in Jerusalem von mir Zeugnis abgelegt hast, so sollst du auch in Rom Zeugnis ablegen.
v11c… For as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome…
Jesus said you have testified for me in Jerusalem…. Now you must do the same in Rome… Paul could have been discouraged about the lack of results from the sermon in Jerusalem…. But the results were not his responsibility….. His responsibility was to bring the Word of God and to testify of Jesus…. the results were God's responsibility….   The greatest words a faithful child of God can hear are I have more for you to do…. Those words bring joy to a faithful servant….
Listen to me…. It doesn´t matter if you are happy with the results of your ministry for the Lord so far or not… Results are the Lord´s business… We are called to follow and be faithful…  Dear child of God don´t be discouraged…  there is more for you to do! Reading ahead… Paul did get to Rome… As always…. Paul encouraged and exhorted the believers to serve the Lord and each other from the heart… turn with me to Romans 12…v9…
Romans 12: 9-13                              NLT
9 Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. 10 Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. 11 Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. 12 Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. 13 When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality.
Romans 12: 9-13       Neues Leben
9 Die Liebe sei ungeheuchelt! Haßt das Böse, haltet fest am Guten!
10 In der Bruderliebe seid herzlich gegeneinander; in der Ehrerbietung komme einer dem anderen zuvor!
11 Im Eifer laßt nicht nach, seid brennend im Geist, dient dem Herrn!
12 Seid fröhlich in Hoffnung, in Bedrängnis haltet stand, seid beharrlich im Gebet!
13 Nehmt Anteil an den Nöten der Heiligen, übt willig Gastfreundschaft!
This is very practical advice on how we live our Christian lives…. I used to NLT here because it is clear and simple… We see Paul´s love and encouragement to all believers at all times…. To close this morning…. turn to Phil…c2…v1…….
Philippians 2: 1-5                         NLT
1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from his love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?
2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.
4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

Philippians 2: 1-5                      Neues Leben
1 Ermutigt ihr euch gegenseitig, Christus nachzufolgen? Tröstet ihr euch gegenseitig in Liebe? Seid ihr im Heiligen Geist verbunden? Gibt es unter euch Barmherzigkeit und Mitgefühl?
2 Dann macht doch meine Freude vollkommen, indem ihr in guter Gemeinschaft zusammenarbeitet, einander liebt und von ganzem Herzen zusammenhaltet.
3 Seid nicht selbstsüchtig; strebt nicht danach, einen guten Eindruck auf andere zu machen, sondern seid bescheiden und achtet die anderen höher als euch selbst.
4 Denkt nicht nur an eure eigenen Angelegenheiten, sondern interessiert euch auch für die anderen und für das, was sie tun.
Die Erniedrigung und Erhöhung von Christus
5 Geht so miteinander um, wie Christus es euch vorgelebt hat.
Our work here is not finished…. There is more to do… More people to bring to Christ…. more ways for you to glorify Him…. more people to pray with…. more humble ways to serve His people…. more hungry to feed…. more weary saints for you to encourage!
The promise of more work to do was also a promise of continued protection…. For now Paul was invincible…. He could not die until he had finished his race with joy! God had appointed for him…..
Paul faced his enemies the next day with a smile…. He knew that they were powerless against him…. because God had more for him to do!....
You know… Anyone can be of good cheer when everything is going great… but the Christian can even be of good cheer when everything is rotten….  because he knows that he has a great God.... Let’s pray…

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