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23—ACTS 9:13-16

SAINTS AND THEIR SUFFERINGS
Acts 9:13-16 Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:  (14) And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.  (15) But the Lord said unto him,  Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:  (16) For I will shew him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.

v13 - SAINTS - Believers in the New Testament are called SAINTS — Rom 1:7; 1Cor 1:2 (Acts 26:10) And this I also did in Jerusalem: and I both shut up many of the saints in prisons, having received authority from the chief priests, and when they were put to death I gave my vote against them. — (Rev 13:7) And it was given unto him to make war with the saints, and to overcome them: and there was given to him authority over every tribe and people and tongue and nation. — (Rev 19:8) And it was given unto her that she should array herself in fine linen, bright and pure: for the fine linen is the righteous acts of the saints.

  1. The basic idea of the term SAINT [Gk hagios] is separation from sin and separated unto God.
  2. SAINTS are "God's separated ones" or "God's holy ones." Rom 1:7 saints. The basic idea of the Greek for this word is "holiness." All Christians are saints in that they are as to position "set apart" to God and are in the Christian walk being made increasingly "holy" by the Holy Spirit.
  3. This implies – being led and sanctified by the Holy Spirit 
  • (Rom 8:4) That the ordinance of the law might be fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.
  • (1Cor 6:11) And such were some of you: but ye were washed, but ye were sanctified, but ye were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, and in the Spirit of our God.
  • (2Thes 2:13) But we are bound to give thanks to God always for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, for that God chose you from the beginning unto salvation in sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth:
  • (1Pet 1:2) according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace be multiplied.
  • Turning one's back on the world to follow Jesus — (John 17:15-17) I pray not that thou shouldest take them from the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil one. {16} They are not of the world even as I am not of the world. {17} Sanctify them in the truth: thy word is truth. —
  • (1Cor 1:2) unto the church of God which is at Corinth, even them that are sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints, with all that call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ in every place, their Lord and ours:
  • 1Cor 1:2 sanctified. Set apart for the Lord. It can also mean "made holy," which is done by —
  • being declared holy through faith in Christ's atoning death on the cross (sometimes called positional sanctification),
  • being made holy by the work of the Holy Spirit in the lives of Christians (sometimes called progressive sanctification).
  • In spite of the fact that Paul found much in the Corinthian Christians to criticize, he still called them "sanctified" — not because of their conduct, but because of their relationship to Christ (positional sanctification).
  • the Scriptural expectation that all believers conform to God's way of righteousness –
  • (Eph 5:3) But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not even be named among you, as becometh saints.
  • 5:3 not . . . even named. Any kind of impurity, or of greed. Paul moves from specifically sexual sins to more general sins, such as greed. These include sexual lust but refer to other kinds of excessive desire as well. holy people. We are also a "holy temple" (2:21; cp. 2Cor 6:16; 1Pet 2:9).
  • (Eph 5:4 ASV) nor filthiness, nor foolish talking, or coarse jesting, which are not befitting: but rather giving of thanks.
  • 5:4 foolish talk or coarse joking. The context and the word "obscenity" indicate that it is not humor as such but dirty jokes and the like that are out of place.
  • Giving thanks. By being grateful for all that God has given us, we can displace evil thoughts and words.
  • (Eph 5:5 ASV) For this ye know of a surety, that no fornicator, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and God.
  • 5:5 immoral, impure or greedy. See v3. idolater. Cp. Col 3:5. The greedy person wants things more than he wants God, and puts things in place of God, thereby committing idolatry.
  • inheritance. The person who persists in sexual & other kinds of greed has excluded God, who therefore excludes him from the kingdom.
  • and the necessity that Holiness be an internal reality for all who belong to Christ — 1Cor 1:30 (NAS) But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,
  1. However, the term SAINT does not mean that the believer is already perfect, or incapable of sin – 1John 2:1 AMP My Little children, I write you these things so that you may not violate God's law and sin. But if anyone should sin, we have an Advocate (One Who will intercede for us) with the Father--[it is] Jesus Christ [the all] righteous [upright, just, Who conforms to the Father's will in every purpose, thought, and action].
  2. Calling believers SAVED SINNERS is not a New Testament practice.
  3. As the common Biblical term for believers SAINT emphasizes.

v16 - SUFFER FOR MY SAKE -- Paul's conversion and salvation meant –
1. Not only a commission to preach the Gospel,
2. But also a call to suffer for Christ.
3. Paul was told from the beginning that he must undergo much suffering for the cause of Christ.
4. Suffering for His sake is a sign of God's highest favor – Acts 14:22; Mt 5:11-12; Rom 8:17 (2Tim 2:12) If we endure, we shall also reign with Him; if we deny Him, He also will deny us;
5. And also the means to a fruitful ministry – 2Cor 1:3-16 (John 12:24) Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a grain of wheat fall into the earth and die, it abideth by itself alone; but if it die, it beareth much fruit.
6. The principle of life through death is seen in the plant world.
7. The kernel must perish as a kernel if there is to be a new plant.   
8. Suffering results in an abundant reward in heaven – 2Tim 2:12; (Mat. 5:12) “Rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
9. Suffering must work in believer's in order that God's blessings and life flow from them to others –

  • (Rom. 8:17-18) and if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified with him. {18} For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed to us-ward.
  • (Rom. 8:36-37) Even as it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; We were accounted as sheep for the slaughter. {37} Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.
  • Rom 8:36. Ps 44:22 is quoted to show that suffering has always been part of the experience of God's people.
  • Rom 8:37 who loved us. Referring especially to Christ's death on the cross.
  • (2Cor 4:7) But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the exceeding greatness of the power may be of God, and not from ourselves;
  • 4:7 this treasure. The gospel.
  • earthen vessels. It was customary to conceal treasure in clay jars, which had little value or beauty and did not attract attention to themselves and their precious contents. Here they represent Paul's human frailty and unworthiness. all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. The idea that the absolute insufficiency of man reveals the total sufficiency of God pervades this letter.
  • (2Cor 4:10-12) always bearing about in the body the dying of Jesus, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our body. {11} For we who live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh. {12} So then death worketh in us, but life in you.
  • 4:10 We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus. The frailty of the "clay jar" of Paul's humanity (v7) is plainly seen in the constant hardships and persecutions with which he is buffeted for the sake of the gospel and through which he shares in Christ's suffering (Rom 8:17; Php 3:10; Col 1:24).
  • 4:11 that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. The reference is to Christ's resurrection life and power. Once again human weakness provides the occasion for the triumph of divine power, and daily "dying" magnifies the wonder of daily resurrection life (see 1:9).

Other Scriptures on Paul’s sufferings – Acts 20:23, 2Cor 4:8-18; 6:3-10; 11:23-27; Gal 6:17; 2Tim 1:11-12; 2Cor 1:4; 11:23:

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