But showed first unto them of Damascus - He appears to have preached at Damascus, and in the neighboring parts of Arabia Deserta, for about three years; and afterwards he went up to Jerusalem. See Galatians 1:17, Galatians 1:18; and see the note on Acts 9:23.
That they should repent - Be deeply humbled for their past iniquities, and turn to God as their Judge and Savior, avoiding all idolatry and all sin; and thus do works meet for repentance; that is, show by their conduct that they had contrite hearts, and that they sincerely sought salvation from God alone. For the meaning of the word repentance, see the note on Matthew 3:2.
See Acts 9:20-23. The 20th verse contains a summary of his labors in obedience to the command of the Lord Jesus. His argument is that the Lord Jesus had from heaven commanded him to do this, and that he had done no more than to obey his injunction. The word “then” in this verse is supplied by our translators, and is not necessary to the proper explanation of the passage. It would seem from that word that he had not preached “to the Gentiles” until after he had preached “at Jerusalem and throughout all the coasts of Judea,” whereas, in fact, he had, as we have reason to believe (see the notes on Acts 9:23), before then “preached” to the Gentiles in Arabia. The statement here, in the original, is a general statement that he had preached at Damascus and at Jerusalem, and in all the coasts of Judea, and also to the Gentiles, but without specifying the exact order in which it was done.
As Paul continued to appeal to his astonished hearers to “repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance” (Acts 26:20), he “increased the more in strength, and confounded the Jews which dwelt at Damascus, proving that this is very Christ.” But many hardened their hearts, refusing to respond to his message, and soon their astonishment at his conversion was changed into intense hatred like that which they had shown toward Jesus. AA 125.1
The opposition grew so fierce that Paul was not allowed to continue his labors at Damascus. A messenger from heaven bade him leave for a time, and he “went into Arabia” (Galatians 1:17), where he found a safe retreat. AA 125.2
Here, in the solitude of the desert, Paul had ample opportunity for quiet study and meditation. He calmly reviewed his past experience and made sure work of repentance. He sought God with all his heart, resting not until he knew for a certainty that his repentance was accepted and his sin pardoned. He longed for the assurance that Jesus would be with him in his coming ministry. He emptied his soul of the prejudices and traditions that had hitherto shaped his life, and received instruction from the Source of truth. Jesus communed with him and established him in the faith, bestowing upon him a rich measure of wisdom and grace. AA 125.3Read in context »
On Sabbath afternoon, many hearts were touched, and many souls were fed on the bread that cometh down from heaven. After the discourse we enjoyed a precious social meeting. The Lord came very near, and convicted souls of their great need of His grace and love. We felt the necessity of presenting Christ as a Saviour who was not afar off, but nigh at hand. When the Spirit of God begins to work upon the hearts of men, the fruit is seen in confession of sin and restitution for wrongs. All through the meetings, as the people sought to draw nearer to God, they brought forth works meet for repentance by confessing one to another where they had wronged each other by word or act.... 3SM 181.1Read in context »
If we have a sense of the long-suffering of God toward us, we shall not be found judging or accusing others. When Christ was living on the earth, how surprised His associates would have been, if, after becoming acquainted with Him, they had heard Him speak one word of accusation, of fault-finding, or of impatience. Let us never forget that those who love Him are to represent Him in character. MH 489.1
“Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another.” “Not rendering evil for evil, or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.” Romans 12:10; 1 Peter 3:9. MH 489.2
The Lord Jesus demands our acknowledgment of the rights of every man. Men's social rights, and their rights as Christians, are to be taken into consideration. All are to be treated with refinement and delicacy, as the sons and daughters of God. MH 489.3Read in context »
Paul had appealed to Caesar, and Festus could not do otherwise than send him to Rome. But some time passed before a suitable ship could be found; and as other prisoners were to be sent with Paul, the consideration of their cases also occasioned delay. This gave Paul opportunity to present the reasons of his faith before the principal men of Caesarea, and also before King Agrippa II, the last of the Herods. AA 433.1Read in context »