Canvey Methodist Church Bible Studies-17th May 2022

Canvey Methodist Church Bible Study 17th May 2022

Acts 16:9-15.     New International Version

During the night Paul had a vision of a man of Macedonia standing and begging him, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” After Paul had seen the vision, we got ready at once to leave for Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

Lydia’s Conversion in Philippi

From Troas we put out to sea and sailed straight for Samothrace, and the next day we went on to Neapolis. From there we traveled to Philippi, a Roman colony and the leading city of that district[a] of Macedonia. And we stayed there several days. On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of prayer. We sat down and began to speak to the women who had gathered there. One of those listening was a woman from the city of Thyatira named Lydia, a dealer in purple cloth. She was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to respond to Paul’s message. When she and the members of her household were baptized, she invited us to her home. “If you consider me a believer in the Lord,” she said, “come and stay at my house.” And she persuaded us.

Comment:

St Paul was a well travelled man and following his dramatic encounter with the risen Jesus on the road to Damascus dedicated the remainder of his life to the task of convincing other people that they too could have their lives changed for the better by Jesus. St Paul went on three missionary journeys in all, four, if his final sea voyage to Rome is included.

St Paul’s Second missionary journey is the one we are looking at today and this happened between 49-52 A.D.and is recorded in Acts 15:30 right the way through to 18:21. Paul started this journey in Jerusalem and traveled north to Antioch of Syria which became the home base for all his missionary journeys. During this second missionary journey, St Paul was accompanied by Silas following a rift he had had with Barnabus, his earlier travelling companion, concerning bringing along John Mark, whom Paul considered to be unreliable (15:37-38). As they travelled west into the towns of Derbe and Lystra they were joined by young Timothy (16:1).

These three disciples (Paul, Silas, and Timothy) then continued their travels via Phrygia and Galatia, Bithynia and on to Troas, a port city on the northwest coast of Asia Minor (Turkey). Troas is located on the Aegean Sea (the sea that separates Asia Minor and Greece). They then boarded a vessel and sailed into Macedonia (now Greece) and on to Neopolis and Philippi.

This second missionary journey of St Paul  to Macedonia therefore represented the introduction of Christianity to the European continent.

Why was Philippi an important city?

Why might Paul, Silas and Timothy have looked by a riverside outside of the town for a place of prayer?(v13).

If this was where the Jewish people who lived in Philippi went to worship on the sabbath, then there was most likely no synagogue in Philippi. A synagogue would require the presence of ten Jewish men to constitute a minyan (the quorum required for Jewish worship). Perhaps there are not ten Jewish men in Philippi. Certainly they appeared to find only women there. (“and spoke to the women who had come together” (v. 13d).)

John Calvin noted an incongruity to this discovery. Paul and his companions were called to Macedonia by a man, but in Philippi they encountered only women—”and the one woman there who was converted turned out to be not Macedonian” but rather from Thyatira, a city in Asia Minor (Turkey).

Lydia was described as being a trader of purple dye or cloth, (a seller of purple) and someone who worshiped God.

What do we know about Lydia?

She owned a house that she invited them back to and as a seller of purple cloth, Lydia may have been wealthy.

Thyatira was apparently famed for its purple dyes. They were extracted from a particular kind of snail. The limited supply of these snails and the tedious process of extracting the dye made purple dye quite expensive. Only wealthy people such as royalty could afford purple cloth, so purple became associated with royalty. As a seller of a luxury item to wealthy people, it seems likely that Lydia was a prosperous woman.

What prompted her to become a Christian?

The real action took place at the prompting and action of God! . Paul told Lydia about Jesus, but it was the Lord who, we read, opened her heart to listen and respond.

A reminder perhaps that in our conversations with people, the really significant work also takes place between the hearer and the Holy Spirit.

Was Lydia married?

Most likely not because St Paul wrote of her, “When she and her household were baptized” (v. 15a)………..Apparently Lydia was the head of her household—meaning that she, almost certainly, had no husband.

There is no indication whether she was single, divorced, or widowed but her household would likely have included servants, and maybe also children.

“she begged us, saying, ‘If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house, and stay.’ So she persuaded us” (v. 15b).

This was not to be the last time that Paul and his companions were to benefit from Lydia’s hospitality as later, after being jailed and released, we read that they, once again, gravitate to her home. (16:40)

John 5:1-9.   New International Version

The Healing at the Pool.   5 Some time later, Jesus went up to Jerusalem for one of the Jewish festivals. 2 Now there is in Jerusalem near the Sheep Gate a pool, which in Aramaic is called Bethesda[a] and which is surrounded by five covered colonnades. 3 Here a great number of disabled people used to lie—the blind, the lame, the paralyzed. [4] [b] 5 One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”

7 “Sir,” the invalid replied, “I have no one to help me into the pool when the water is stirred. While I am trying to get in, someone else goes down ahead of me.”

8 Then Jesus said to him, “Get up! Pick up your mat and walk.” 9 At once the man was cured; he picked up his mat and walked. The day on which this took place was a Sabbath.

 

Footnotes

a.John 5:2 Some manuscripts Bethzatha; other manuscripts Bethsaida

b.John 5:4 Some manuscripts include here, wholly or in part, paralyzed—and they waited for the moving of the waters. 4 From time to time an angel of the Lord would come down and stir up the waters. The first one into the pool after each such disturbance would be cured of whatever disease they had.

Comment:

How long do we live with trouble before we’re on our knees, asking God for healing of any sort—physical, emotional, or spiritual? Jesus walked over to a man who couldn’t walk and healed him on one of the porches of the Pool of Bethesda. There was a crowd of people at the Pool of Bethesda, but this lame man was the only person healed by Jesus that day, according to the Gospel of John. Maybe this man’s healing was an example. Maybe more people were healed that day by their own faith in God. The Gospel of John doesn’t tell us what happened next.

Your thoughts please on this passage.

Question 

1)What was going on at this time in Jerusalem (5:1)?

2)What place was positioned near to the Sheep Gate (5:2)? Describe what it might look like.

3)What was its name? (Note: versions slight differ on its spelling). (John 5:2).

4)What was thought special about this pool?(5:3)?

5)Why did these certain people gather around the pool (5:4)

6) Who does John introduce in verse 5? What do you know about him (5:5)?

7)What did Jesus ask the man (5:6)? What is the significance of this question? Do you think he still had hope to get better?

8)What did Jesus tell the man to do (5:8)? Be specific

9)What did the man do (5:9)? What might have encouraged the man to stand?

10).Where do people around you put their hope? What might cause their hope to fade away?

Revelation 21:10,21; 22:1-5; New International Version

10 And he carried me away in the Spirit to a mountain great and high, and showed me the Holy City, Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God.

21 The twelve gates were twelve pearls, each gate made of a single pearl. The great street of the city was of gold, as pure as transparent glass.

Eden Restored:  22 Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever.

Comment: A Vision of future hope and healing.

The apostle John saw in this heavenly vision a future of hope for those who trust in God’s love, grace and mercy through Jesus Christ. His vision was seen from the vantage point of a high mountain and he describes in vivid word pictures the sight before him. He sees the new Jerusalem city - also called the bride of the lamb (21.9) - coming from heaven. This new city is beautiful, it is a holy place filled with God's generous love- in contrast to the great cities of human greed and ambition.

John sees no Temple in this city, since the Temple is the place where God dwells, and we have already been told (21.3-4) that God now lives with and among his people- that it is the people whose names are written in the book of life. John also sees a river, the water of life flowing from the throne of God and the lamb (Jesus) out into the streets of the city. The tree he sees he describes as “the tree of life” once denied to Adam but now given to all who depend on God. Their 12 kinds of fruit suggest fulfilment for Israel (A fruit for each of the 12 tribes of Israel), and their leaves heal not only people but “the nations”. All will see Jesus up close rather than by faith only and there will be no more darkness in the radiance of God's closer presence

To Conclude, a prayer of blessing.

Psalm 67[a]

For the director of music. With stringed instruments. A psalm. A song.

1 May God be gracious to us and bless us

    and make his face shine on us—[b]

2 so that your ways may be known on earth,

    your salvation among all nations.

3 May the peoples praise you, God;

    may all the peoples praise you.

4 May the nations be glad and sing for joy,

    for you rule the peoples with equity

    and guide the nations of the earth.

5 May the peoples praise you, God;

    may all the peoples praise you.

6 The land yields its harvest;

    God, our God, blesses us.

7 May God bless us still,

    so that all the ends of the earth will fear him.

 

Footnotes

a.Psalm 67:1 In Hebrew texts 67:1-7 is numbered 67:2-8.

b.Psalm 67:1 The Hebrew has Selah (a word of uncertain meaning) here and at the end of verse 4.

 

Refs:https://www.foundationsforfreedom.net/References/NT/Gospels/John/John05.01-9_Questions.html.https://sermonwriter.com/biblical-commentary/new-testament-acts-169-15/ http://rolandf.info/bible/acts16-17.pdf, Roots Magazine,