OPENING AND ALLEGING
Acts 17:1 Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where was a synagogue of the Jews: 2 And Paul, as his manner was, went in unto them, and three sabbath days reasoned with them out of the scriptures, 3 Opening and alleging, that Christ must needs have suffered, and risen again from the dead; and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ. 4 And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas; and of the devout Greeks a great multitude, and of the chief women not a few. 5 But the Jews which believed not, moved with envy, took unto them certain lewd fellows of the baser sort, and gathered a company, and set all the city on an uproar, and assaulted the house of Jason, and sought to bring them out to the people.
The Apostle Paul writes of this time, and these events to those of Thessalonica in his first letter to them. Here is a portion of what he wrote concerning this account: 1 Thessalonians 2:1 For yourselves, brethren, know our entrance in unto you, that it was not in vain: 2 But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention. 3 For our exhortation was not of deceit, nor of uncleanness, nor in guile: 4 But as we were allowed of God to be put in trust with the gospel, even so we speak; not as pleasing men, but God, which trieth our hearts. 5 For neither at any time used we flattering words, as ye know, nor a cloke of covetousness; God is witness: 6 Nor of men sought we glory, neither of you, nor yet of others, when we might have been burdensome, as the apostles of Christ. 7 But we were gentle among you, even as a nurse cherisheth her children: 8 So being affectionately desirous of you, we were willing to have imparted unto you, not the gospel of God only, but also our own souls, because ye were dear unto us.
Even after being wrongfully accused and publicly beaten, being lied upon, by having hateful prejudice leveled against him, the apostle still has a gracious spirit, determining to give these the benefits of the gospel! He compares himself to a devoted, nursing mother in verse seven, in his gentleness to the believers in Thessalonica. And in verse eleven of this same passage he claims the faithfulness of a father to his children in his exhorting, comforting and charging them in spiritual matters. Truly, as the Lord told Ananias, he was showing Paul how great things he must suffer for my name’s sake. (Acts 9:16). Here is how the apostle states it: Colossians 1:24 Who now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body’s sake, which is the church:
Opening – But just what is meant by this word, “opening?” First, let us see how it is used in other passages. We find it translated from the Greek into this same English word in verses 26 and 27 of Acts sixteen. In verse 26 it states, all the doors were opened. And in verse 27 it also reveals, seeing the prison doors open. So although it is the same English word, we can learn from how it is used. Here the word is used in the Lord’s miracle of opening the doors of the prison and loosing all the shackles that held the prisoners. Therefore we learn that the scriptures are a sealed book, until the Holy Spirit opens them to our hearts as he did these prison doors! (See Revelation 5:1-7 & 6:1).
Remember the account of the Ethiopian Eunuch returning from his pilgrimage to Jerusalem? All he found there for the reward of his long, dangerous and tiring journey was a torn veil in the temple, with no one to open the scriptures to him! Then the Holy Spirit sends Philip down to the chariot where the traveler was reading a rare, (and assumably very expensive) hand copied Book of Isaiah. Here is how that conversation was reported: Acts 8:30 And Philip ran thither to him, and heard him read the prophet Esaias, and said, Understandest thou what thou readest? 31 And he said, How can I, except some man should guide me? And he desired Philip that he would come up and sit with him. 34 And the eunuch answered Philip, and said, I pray thee, of whom speaketh the prophet this? of himself, or of some other man? 35 Then Philip opened his mouth, and began at the same scripture, and preached unto him Jesus.
With all the disappointments that the eunuch had experienced on this trip, he also had come to the conclusion that there was no way he could have these scriptures opened to him without some guiding servant of the Lord.
The Apostle Paul writes of this to the Roman church. Romans 10:13 For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? 15 And how shall they preach, except they be sent? as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!
Even those whose religious duty included the maintaining of the law in order to make it available to the Jews, didn’t have an understanding without this “opening!” For although they read the scriptures every sabbath day, they still fulfilled them in condemning Christ! Acts 13:26 Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent. 27 For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.
And as already stated, this is outside the ability of man, to open them! Revelation 3:7 And to the angel of the church in Philadelphia write; These things saith he that is holy, he that is true, he that hath the key of David, he that openeth, and no man shutteth; and shutteth, and no man openeth; And he choses to do so in these gospel days by the foolishness of preaching. 1 Corinthians 1:21 For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
Revelation 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.
Revelation 22:7 Behold, I come quickly: blessed is he that keepeth the sayings of the prophecy of this book. 10 And he saith unto me, Seal not the sayings of the prophecy of this book: for the time is at hand. 14 Blessed are they that do his commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life, and may enter in through the gates into the city.
This was also the issue with those two sheep of the Lord’s straying away from Jerusalem on the road to Emmaus. The risen Shepherd comes forth to return them to Jerusalem and to open both their understanding and the scriptures! Here is that account.
Luke 24:26 Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory? 27 And beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself. 30 And it came to pass, as he sat at meat with them, he took bread, and blessed it, and brake, and gave to them. 31 And their eyes were opened, and they knew him; and he vanished out of their sight. 32 And they said one to another, Did not our heart burn within us, while he talked with us by the way, and while he opened to us the scriptures?
Then we also read of those assembled at Jerusalem when these two wandering sheep had rejoined them. Luke 24:44 And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. 45 Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures,
This is a glorious blessing! But what a curse it turns out to be to those who do not have any love of the truth! For those without this blessed hunger then receive, not a blessing, but a damnation from the same Lord! 2 Thessalonians 2:10 And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved. 11 And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: 12 That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness. (Do not fail to notice that it is the very God who alone opens the scriptures, in the case of this rejection, who is the very God who sends a lie for their damnation!)
For one can judge themselves unworthy of the gospel, and speaking ill against it, can have those who could have brought it to them silenced in regards to their souls! Amos 5:10 They hate him that rebuketh in the gate, and they abhor him that speaketh uprightly. 13 Therefore the prudent shall keep silence in that time; for it is an evil time.
Acts 13:46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.
And just what was Paul opening and alleging? Listen to Acts 17:3 again. Opening and alleging, 1.) that Christ must needs have suffered, 2.) and risen again from the dead; 3.) and that this Jesus, whom I preach unto you, is Christ.
There were three things addressed in his message to them. First that the Messiah would be a suffering servant! Isaiah 53:3 He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.
His second point was that after his death, God would raise him back to life again! Romans 8:11 But if the Spirit of him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, he that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by his Spirit that dwelleth in you.
And the third point was that Jesus Christ was the only one who fit this description! John 5:39 Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me. Hebrews 1:1 God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, 2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds; 3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;
Hebrews 10:12 But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;
For unto that exact same, Jesus, – that very God-man, shall all created beings bow the knee and confess with the tongue that he is Lord of all! Philippians 2:7 But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men: 8 And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. 9 Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: 10 That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;
Thank God that the temple of God is open to us at present, allowing bright revelations of gospel truth to go forth, with reverberations of gospel thundering to be heard! Make sure you take advantage of it, dear soul! Revelation 11:19 And the temple of God was opened in heaven, and there was seen in his temple the ark of his testament: and there were lightnings, and voices, and thunderings, and an earthquake, and great hail.
Pastor Gene Breed
April 18, 2013