|Vol. 15 No. 10 October 2013||
Jeffrey B. Tucker
When I was a child, I was to carry out two very similar chores with two very different goals in mind: both dealt with grass. In the summertime, it was my duty to pull the weeds from the driveway. When pulling weeds, you pull them out at the root so that they do not return. Sometimes a tool would need to be used. I was also responsible for cutting the grass. Provided the grass was not too tall, it would be mulched so it would seed itself. Keep these two illustrations in mind, and at the end of the lesson we will draw application.
In 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, Paul wrote a letter to the brethren to remind them of the change that had taken place in their lives. Paul discussed various sins to which the Corinthian brethren were privy: “neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with men, nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God” (vss. 9-10, ASV). Notice the transition in verse eleven in which Paul wrote, “And such were some of you.” The power that had changed their lives was the Gospel of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; “For I am not ashamed of the gospel: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth” (Romans 1:16).
Realizing that “all have sinned, and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23) and that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23), the brethren at Corinth looked unto the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ to wash them of their sins. As a result of their obedience to the Gospel, they “…were washed, [they] were sanctified, [they] were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God” (1 Corinthians 6:11).
What does all of this have to do with cutting grass and pulling weeds? The brethren at Corinth had merely cut the grass of sin in their lives, only to find it had returned and flourished! Now they had to use a “tool” to help them pull out this unrighteousness by the root; that “tool” is the Word of God, “the sacred writings which are able to make thee wise unto salvation” (2 Timothy 3:15). In the driveway of your Christian walk, have you used the Word of God to uproot the unrighteousness in your life or have you merely cut the grass of sin only to find it returning and flourishing in your life?
Gary C. Hampton
The author of the Book of Acts is the same as the author of Luke (Luke 1:1-4; Acts 1:1-3). Luke has been generally accepted as the author of Luke for centuries. The “we” passages of Acts show the author was a companion of Paul (16:10-17; 20:5-21:18; 27:1-28:16). Luke was with Paul when he wrote Colossians (4:14) and Philemon (24). The author had a special interest in diseases (Luke 4:38; 5:12; 6:6; 8:43-44, 55; 9:38ff.; 22:50-51), which might be explained by his being a physician (Colossians 4:14). Luke’s loyalty to Paul can be seen in his staying with the apostle during very trying times (2 Timothy 4:9-12).
The recipient of the book was a man named Theophilus, meaning “one who loves God.” He is addressed as “most excellent” in Luke. This was a title used for some in service of the Roman government (Acts 23:26; 24:3; 26:25). One author suggested Theophilus was Luke’s benefactor. He may have become a Christian between the writing of Luke and Acts, since the title is dropped in the latter.
Acts could be described as a continuation of the story of “all that Jesus began both to do and teach” (1:1). The church is, after all, the body of Christ (Ephesians 1:22-23). McGarvey wrote, “Much the greater part of Acts may be resolved into a detailed history of cases of conversion, and of unsuccessful attempts at the conversion of sinners.” Such a statement of purpose fits nicely with the Lord’s marching orders. He told the apostles, “It is not for you to know times or seasons which the Father has put in His own authority. But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (1:7-8).