What I Learned from Acts Today: Part 1
Posted by justicetabernacle on May 24, 2011
in many of paul’s epistles that are incorporated in the new testament, he wrote a lot about the gifts of the Holy Spirit as well as the sovereignty of God. and while these passages are at times difficult to read and understand and cause a lot of debate in the church today, he seems to have been able to write them with ease and conviction. today, as I read in the book of acts, i think i discovered a little bit of the reason why.
this is going to be a two part post.
Discernment from the Holy Spirit
in acts chapter 23, i was amazed by the way that paul used the Spirit of discernment in the face of grave danger. around this time, we are seeing that paul is causing quite a ruckus among the religious community of the jews, due to his teaching and preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. in this scene, he is being held in front of a religious council under the protection of the roman officials. as he examined the angry mob around him, which was trying to have him silenced and killed, he perceived something in his spirit:
Now when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Brothers, I am a Pharisee, a son of Pharisees. It is with respect to the hope and the resurrection of the dead that I am on trial.” And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees, and the assembly was divided. For the Sadducees say that there is no resurrection, nor angel, nor spirit, but the Pharisees acknowledge them all. Then a great clamor arose, and some of the scribes of the Pharisees’ party stood up and contended sharply, “We find nothing wrong in this man. What if a spirit or an angel spoke to him?” And when the dissension became violent, the tribune, afraid that Paul would be torn to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him away from among them by force and bring him into the barracks.
this is brilliant- because he perceived that the crowd was a mix of pharisees and sadducees, he spoke out a clever statement about the resurrection that ended up causing discord and confusion among those who were gathered to do harm upon him. he created disunity in the group, distracting them, and in essence exposing their unorganized case against him. as the crowd got more an more out of hand, the roman guard decided to remove him, thus most likely saving his life.
how often do we have the opportunity to spoil the evil plans of the enemy, merely by being perceptive and listening to the Spirit? would we not be able to be more effective in the mission we are on if we were to employ the gifts available to us? let this be a challenge to us to be open, especially in moments of trouble, to the gifts of the Spirit.