Category Archives: Bible Men

Bible Men: Stephen, Martyred For His Faith

Acts 6:5 -8:2

Stephen, by his life and death, is a most wonderful testimony of faith and grace.
Stephen was chosen, along with six others, to minister to daily needs of others so that the apostles could continue their work of prayer and ministry of the Word. The men desired for this job were to be “of honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom” (Acts 6:3), and Stephen is said to be “a man full of faith and of the Holy Ghost.” Stephen may have been chosen to minister to the needs of others, but Acts 6:8 tells us that he “full of faith and power, did great wonders and miracles among the people“. But there arose V9-11 “certain of the synagogue….and they were not able to resist the wisdom and the spirit by which he spoke.”  And they “suborned (bribed) men to say “we have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.” They stirred up the people and Stephen was caught and taken to the council.  Then  V12-14 These men set up false witnesses to say that Stephen spoke blasphemous words against the synagogue and the law.

The Lord Jesus spoke of a time when his disciples would be taken and persecuted, and we are not to even think beforehand what we will say, his promise was as surely for us as it was for Stephen “For I will give you a mouth and wisdom, which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist.” (Luke 21:15)

But when Stephen was before the council “all that sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.” (Acts 6:15) Surely it must have shone with that inner beauty and glow of peace and joy of one who is so devoted to the Lord Jesus that His light is seen by others. Have you ever seen such a one? I have seen many elderly saints whose faces shone with that inner peace and beauty. What an example this should be to us, and cause us to examine our own lives to see how devoted we are to the Lord Jesus so that others see that light in us.

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Bible Men: The Ethiopian Eunuch, Acts 8:26-40

Isaiah 56:3-5 “…..neither let the eunuch say, Behold, I am a dry tree. For thus saith the LORD unto the eunuchs that keep my sabbaths, and choose the things that please me, and take hold of my covenant; Even unto them will I give in mine house and within my walls a place and a name better than of sons and of daughters: I will give them an everlasting name, that shall not be cut off.”

The Lord provided the means for salvation of this man by Philip, a disciple chosen by the apostles. He was one of seven men of “honest report, full of the Holy Ghost and wisdom” (Acts 6:5) who were to help in the work of furthering of the gospel. One day “the angel of the LORD spoke unto Philip, saying Arise, and go toward the south unto the way that goeth down from Jerusalem unto Gaza, which is desert.“(Acts 8:26) A pause to meditate upon the angel of the LORD speaking to Philip, guiding him for the work of the Lord. Oh to be so following Jesus that we would be guided into wonderful work.

Obediently, Philip went and there he found “a man of Ethiopia, an eunuch of great authority under Candace queen of the Ethiopians, who had the charge of all her treasure, and had come to Jerusalem for to worship” (V27) But this man, even though he had such responsibilities, was not as interested in “treasures of earth” as he was in storing up “treasures in heaven”, and as such, he had come to worship. As yet he did not know the Lord Jesus as his Saviour, but our Lord had provided Philip for just such a moment.. “for whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. 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? And how shall they preach, except they be sent…? So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.(Romans 10:13-15,17)

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Bible Men: Jonah Part 3, Going to Nineveh and Learning More Lessons

In Jonah 1 we learned that  the prophet Jonah was called by God to go to the city of Nineveh and tell them that God knew of their wickedness, but Jonah did not want to do this, and tried to flee from the presence of God.  Jonah boarded a ship bound for Tarshish and during the voyage a great wind arose that caused Jonah to ask to be thrown overboard so that the wind would be calmed by God and the lives of the mariners would be spared.  In Jonah 2 we learned how Jonah was swallowed by the great fish, whom the Lord Jesus called a whale, that the LORD had prepared for this task. We learned how Jonah came to the end of himself, and prayed to the LORD his God. We learned how Jonah made that great statement “Salvation is of the LORD.” and how upon this word by Jonah, the LORD spoke to the fish, and Jonah was vomited on dry land. We don’t know if Jonah’s appearance was altered or not, the bible is silent on this point, so I will not speculate.

And so again 3:1 “the word of the LORD came unto Jonah the second time saying Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.” This time Jonah is obedient. He went to Nineveh “according to the word of the LORD” V3 also tells us that Nineveh “was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey.” This does not mean that Nineveh was three days away from Jonah, for the next verse tells us “And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, V4 “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.” It took three days to walk through the city of Nineveh, so great a city was it, it was filled with wickedness, and for three days Jonah walked through the city preaching God’s message V4 “yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown..

The response of the people of Nineveh is completely different from the response of the people in Noah’s time who watched him build the ark, or the sons of Lot, when he told them that Sodom and Gomorrah would be destroyed and to flee. The people of Nineveh V5 “believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them.” They were so convicted by the words this stranger preached to them, that they believed God, and repented. The words Jonah spoke came to the king of Nineveh, and he believed Jonah also, V6 “he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. V7 “he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by th decree of the king and his nobles saying let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water:” V8 “but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands” V9 “who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?” Wouldn’t it be a wonderful thing if we could preach the gospel with such boldness that people would believe and receive the Lord Jesus? We are not prophets as Jonah was it’s true, but we have been given the command to preach the gospel and let every man know what the Lord Jesus has done..

And so God V10 “saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not.

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Bible Men: Jonah Part 2 – Swallowed by the “Great Fish” (Jonah 1:17)

In the previous study of Jonah (click here) we learned how Jonah attempted to flee from the presence of the LORD after he was told to go and warn the people of Nineveh that the LORD knew of their wickedness. We learned how he got about a ship sailing to Tarshish, and how the LORD brought a great wind and caused the mariners to throw Jonah overboard at Jonah’s request (Jonah 1:12) so that the sea would be calmed. And most of all, we learned how Jonah gave witness to the mariners of (V 1:9) ….the LORD, the God of heaven, which hath made the sea and the dry land.” And we learned how the LORD brought this about, not only to let Jonah know that He was in control, but also so that these mariners might believe on Him…

Chapter 2 – swallowed by the whale (great fish),  his lesson learned, and his repentance

Now Jonah is in the water, and the great miracle happens. Jonah 1:17 “Now the LORD had prepared a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.” So much here. The Lord Jesus called this great fish a whale.   This great fish was prepared by the LORD, to be in the right place, at the right time, and the right species so that Jonah would be not chewed up, but swallowed alive and able to exist inside its belly. This is not a myth, or a fable, the three days and three nights were for a specific purpose, not only for Jonah’s sake, but so the Lord Jesus would bear witness to this with regards to his own burial and resurrection. Matthew 12:40 “For as Jonas was three days and three nights in the whale’s belly; so shall the Son of man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.”

We can imagine what Jonah must have felt being inside the blackness of darkness of the belly of the whale. He knew that he was the cause of the storm, he knew he was thrown overboard at his own request, and now he knew that God had preserved his life, though he is helpless inside the belly of the “great fish” Jonah now knows without doubt that he cannot run from the presence of the LORD. Chp 2:1-2″Then Jonah prayed unto the LORD his God out of the fish’s belly, and said I cried by reason of mine affliction unto the LORD and he heard me; out of the belly of hell cried I and thou heardest my voice.” V3 Jonah acknowledges that “thou hadst cast me into the deep, in the midst of the seas; and the floods compassed me about: all thy billows and thy waves passed over me.... V6….yet hast thou brought up my life from corruption, O LORD my God.” Jonah knows that his being in the belly of the great fish is the sovereign will of the LORD. “my God” referring to a personal relationship. Jonah accounts how V7 “when my soul fainted within me I remembered the LORD and my prayer came in unto thee, into thine holy temple” Jonah was sorely tested before he “remembered the LORD”.

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Bible Men: Jonah – Part 1, Chosen by God

Jonah 1:1-16

Jonah is one of my favorite Bible men. Jonah was a prophet, inspired and instructed to announce future events. But Jonah was a reluctant prophet, or at least in this instance he was. Jonah was chosen by God to the city of Ninevah, a great city filled with wickedness. Jonah was not willing to go to this heathen city and this unwillingness set into place a series of events that would show beyond all doubt that God is sovereign, and in control.

Jonah 1:2 the Lord tells Jonah to “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry against it for their wickedness is come up before me.” Jonah does not want to go to Nineveh, and instead he V3 “rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD, and went down to Joppa and he found a ship going down to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the LORD.”  Twice in V3 it says “from the presence of the LORD” but that is impossible, to flee from the presence of the LORD.. “Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence?” (Psalm 139:7)

But V4 the LORD sent out a great wind into the sea, “...and there was a mighty tempest in the sea, so that the ship was like to be broken.” The mariners were very fearful, V5 “and cried every man unto his god, and cast forth the wares that were in the ship into the sea to lighten it of them. But Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay, and was fast asleep.”  Each man cried to his god, but not to the LORD God. They threw things overboard to lighten the ship, trying to save it by their own will, but Jonah went on sleeping. Soon he was awoken by the captain of the ship who told him to V6 “What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not.” I find this statement amazing. This captain, down deep in his heart, knew that the God of Israel had the power to save. And so this journey was in the plan of God not only for Jonah, but to show His power and mercy to the mariners on that ship.

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