Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Isaiah 26:1-3 1
1 In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; God makes salvation its walls and ramparts. 2 Open the gates that the righteous nation may enter, the nation that keeps faith. 3 You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

clip_image167Background 2

The Book of Isaiah was written at a crucial time in history when the people whom God had brought out of Egypt, and had formed into a covenant community possessing His Law, were facing one of their greatest ever threats. For the first time since they had entered the land of Canaan and had settled there, ISRAEL, which had split into two nations, were being threatened by a powerful and cruel empire, the empire of Assyria, even to the point of extinction.

It was at this point in time that God raised up a prophet named Isaiah to guide them through this troubled period of their history, and in this Book we are brought face to face with his message. But the reason why it is so important is not only because it describes a turning point in history, but also because in revealing the future that lay ahead Isaiah explained in some detail both how in that future God would bring judgment on the world, and how He was going to send into the world His King and Servant Whose power and ministry would transform the world and offer it righteousness and salvation. It was He Who was to be the hope of generations yet to come, and Who would bring that righteousness and salvation to all who responded to Him. Indeed He would bring it not only to those of Israel who responded to Him, but to the world, for He would not only bring Israel back to God, but would be a light to all nations.

Written over seven hundred years before the coming of Jesus Christ it explains in some detail precisely what He would come to do, and how He would accomplish it, first through suffering, and then by being crowned in glory. It reveals Him as the crowning point in history, and as the hope of all nations.

Biblical Truths 3

“That day,” seems to mean when the New Testament Babylon shall be leveled with the ground. The unchangeable promise and covenant of the Lord are the walls of the church of God. The gates of this city shall be open. Let sinners then be encouraged to join to the Lord. Thou wilt keep him in peace; in perfect peace, inward peace, outward peace, peace with God, peace of conscience, peace at all times, in all events. Trust in the Lord for that peace, that portion, which will be forever. Whatever we trust to the world for, it will last only for a moment; but those who trust in God shall not only find in him, but shall receive from him, strength that will carry them to that blessedness which is forever. Let us then acknowledge him in all our ways, and rely on him in all trials.

Items for Discussion

  • How would you describe “Perfect Peace?”
  • How is Isaiah’s peace different and similar to the peace you seek?
  • Why hasn’t our world found peace yet?
  • If faith in God will bring us peace, why is so much of the world involved in religious wars?
  • Where does mankind go wrong with regard to Isaiah’s call to “trust God?”

 

Acts 17:1-9
1 When Paul and his companions had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a Jewish synagogue. 2 As was his custom, Paul went into the synagogue, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, 3 explaining and proving that the Messiah had to suffer and rise from the dead. “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Messiah,” he said. 4 Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women. 5 But other Jews were jealous; so they rounded up some bad characters from the marketplace, formed a mob and started a riot in the city. They rushed to Jason’s house in search of Paul and Silas in order to bring them out to the crowd. 6 But when they did not find them, they dragged Jason and some other believers before the city officials, shouting: “These men who have caused trouble all over the world have now come here, 7 and Jason has welcomed them into his house. They are all defying Caesar’s decrees, saying that there is another king, one called Jesus.” 8 When they heard this, the crowd and the city officials were thrown into turmoil. 9 Then they made Jason and the others post bond and let them go.

Background 4

Chapter 17 – Paul and his company, passing through Amphipolis and Apollonia, come to Thessalonica, were they preach the Gospel to the Jews, several of whom believe, 1-4. Others raise a mob, and bring Jason, who had received the apostles, before the magistrates, who, having taken bail of him and his companions, dismiss them, 5-9. Paul and Silas are sent away by night unto Berea, where they preach to the Jews, who gladly receive the Gospel, 10-12. Certain Jews from Thessalonica, hearing that the Bereans had received the Gospel, come thither and raise up a persecution, 13. Paul is sent away by the brethren to Athens, where he preaches to the Jews, 14-17. He is encountered by the Epicureans and Stoics, who bring him to the Areopagus, and desire him to give a full explanation of his doctrine, 18-20. The character of the Athenians, 21. Paul preaches to them, and gives a general view of the essential principles of theology, 22-31. Some mock, some hesitate, and some believe, and, among the latter, Dionysius and Damaris, 32-34.

Bible Truths 5

The drift and scope of Paul’s preaching and arguing, was to prove that Jesus is the Christ. He must needs suffer for us, because he could not otherwise purchase our redemption for us; and he must needs have risen again, because he could not otherwise apply the redemption to us. We are to preach concerning Jesus that he is Christ; therefore we may hope to be saved by him, and are bound to be ruled by him. The unbelieving Jews were angry, because the apostles preached to the Gentiles, that they might be saved. How strange it is, that men should grudge others the privileges they will not themselves accept! Neither rulers nor people need be troubled at the increase of real Christians, even though turbulent spirits should make religion the pretext for evil designs. Of such let us beware, from such let us withdraw, that we may show a desire to act aright in society, while we claim our right to worship God according to our consciences.

Items for Discussion

  • Why do you believe that Jesus had to suffer in order to become the Messiah?
  • After hearing Paul’s arguments, how many different groups emerged? How would you compare them to our world today?
  • What were the rights of each group?
  • Paul gives a peaceful message and Jason is thrown into jail – What were the motivations affecting the crowds and how does this compare to today’s contemporary headlines?
  • What motivations are in play here that drive one group to attempt to take away the freedoms of another group?
  • How is Luke’s story in Acts similar to today’s battles within governments?
  • Is there ever a time when peace is not the answer?

Discussion Challenge

  • What’s the answer? 
Share