The One Year® Chronological Bible, NKJV (Tyndale, 2013), November 10
Saul shamelessly tracks down and arrests gospel-adherents. A dangerous gospel indeed! So dangerous, that after meeting the resurrected Christ, Saul becomes a gospel-adherent and a gospel-proclaimer. He too will experience the dangerous nature of the Gospel, “He is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. For I will show him how many things he must suffer for My name’s sake” (Acts 9:15-16).
Saul immediately begins preaching the gospel, and it proves dangerous: “Now after many days were past, the Jews plotted to kill him. But their plot became known to Saul. And they watched the gates day and night, to kill him” (9:23-24). Later, in Jerusalem, “he spoked boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed against the Hellenists, but they attempted to kill him” (9:29).
The gospel burns the hands and hearts of those it touches:
Jesus dies at the hands of those He came to save.
The apostles’ preaching brings them public flogging and jail.
Stephen dies beneath the hail of stones hurled by those to whom he preaches.
Persecution for gospel living scatters the first century Gospel-adherents.
The gospel, the message of the love of Christ and His redemption of guilty sinners, has left a bloody path throughout the annuals of history. Jesus’ glorious message of forgiveness is not “safe,” but rather so powerful and so supernatural that it repels natural men who believe in their own goodness and ability.
The Gospel is dangerous, as it:
- Exposes the ugliness of sin and the need for a Savior.
- Challenges the insubordination of the human heart to its Master.
- Reveals the pride of religion and good works as fraudulent and hateful.
- Changes the lives of those who receive its message.
- Angers those who refuse its message.
- Commands all men everywhere to repent.
- Calls its messengers to proclaim its message boldly and to leave the results to God.
Questions from today’s chronological Bible reading (Acts 8:1b-9:43):
Why does Philip rebuke Simon (the one who formerly practiced sorcery)? Why can’t those who are bitter and bound by iniquity (think, addictions) be trusted with certain spiritual gifts?
What does the Lord’s sending Philip into the desert reveal about God and those who seek Him? How does the eunuch demonstrate his faith? What did baptism symbolize for him?
Describe Saul’s conversion experience. List the ways in which God works to bring about Paul’s salvation and inclusion by the church. What does this reveal about God’s method of operation?