Acts 13:42-52

Sunday Morning Bible Study

March 15, 1998

Introduction

Paul and Barnabas are on their first missionary journey, having been sent out by the church in Antioch of Syria. After having gone first to the island of Cyprus, they north to Asia Minor, modern Turkey. Theyíve now traveled from the coast up into the mountains where they stopped at another city named Antioch, this one Antioch of Pisidia.

On the Sabbath day, they entered the Jewish synagogue, and Paul was given the opportunity to preach about Jesus.

:43 persuaded them to continue in the grace of God

continue - epimeno - to stay at or with, still to abide, to continue

Keep in mind some of the message that Paul had preached -

Acts 13:38-39 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: {39} And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.

The "grace of God" means this, that our right standing with God is not based upon our ability to obey the Law of Moses. Our right standing with God depends instead upon Godís ability to pay for our sins and to forgive us through Jesusí sacrifice for us.

Paul and Barnabas are encouraging these young believers to continue to trust in Godís grace to save them, and not to trust in their own abilities.

A few years later, Paul would write the letter to the Galatians, which would have included these believers in Pisidian Antioch. Itís ironic that he still had to persuade them to continue in Godís grace.

(Gal 3:1-2 KJV) O foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? {2} This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?

Lesson:

Trust in Grace.

Your relationship with God started because of you responding to what Jesus Christ had done for you. We can never get beyond that. Itís always what He does for me that counts.

:45 when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy

It is probably the local rabbis that are filled with envy, after all, there were never great crowds when they spoke in the synagogue.

A.T. Robertson Ė "Envy and jealousy arise between people of the same calling (doctors towards doctors, lawyers towards lawyers, preachers towards preachers)."

Lesson:

Who are we in competition with?

Weíre not in competition with other churches in Fullerton. In fact, coming on Thursday evening, May 7, weíre going to be joining some of the other evangelical Christian churches in Fullerton for the National Day of Prayer. Our first get together will be at E.V. Free Fullerton. Weíre thinking of putting a combined choir from the various churches together with leadership from Eastside Christian Church to lead in worship. The first draft of the service is being planned by Fullerton First Baptist Church. Iím very excited about what God will do in response.

Weíre all on the same side. Our competition isnít from other Christian churches, itís against Satan, the world, and the flesh.

Illustration

Years ago a pastor had joined the Rotary club to meet other men in the community. For one of their meetings, they were going to have a "invite your competition" evening. One of the guys asked the pastor, "Who are you going to invite, the pastor at the Baptist Church, or the Methodist Church?" The pastor responded, "Hey, theyíre not my competition, Iím going to invite the bartender at the local bar!"

:45 spake against Ö contradicting and blaspheming.

spake against Ö contradicting (same word) Ė antilego Ė to speak against, probably debating and arguing.

blaspheming Ė blasphemeo Ė to speak reproachfully, blaspheme, "talked abusively against what Paul was saying." (NIV)

:46 It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you

This was the pattern set out by Jesus, preaching first to the Jews (Mat. 10:5-6).

Before ascending into heaven, Jesus laid out the pattern once more, first to Jews, then to the rest of the world Ė

Ac 1:8 But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judaea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth.

Paul and Barnabas will use this pattern throughout their ministry, preaching first to Godís chosen people the Jews, and then to the Gentiles.

:46 seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life

put it from you Ė apotheomai Ė to thrust away, push away, repel

judge yourselves Ė it wasnít Paul that was judging them unworthy of eternal life, heís telling them that they are judging themselves, by the way they are responding.

Lesson:

Itís their choice.

I think that sometimes I put a little too much emphasis in my mind on how well Iím doing at presenting the gospel.

If someone doesnít accept Christ, I tend to put the blame on myself, that perhaps I didn't make the message clear enough. Donít misunderstand me, I do believe that itís important that we understand the gospel message, and that we strive to make it clear to others.

But the bottom line is that itís the one who hears the message that bears the responsibility of whether or not they receive or reject the message.

:46 we turn to the Gentiles

Lesson:

Donít argue the point.

Drop it and move on.

My good buddy Bob Pharris likes to go out street witnessing, and has done so for probably over thirty years. Heís told me that heís learned over the years not to argue with people who are resistant to the gospel. If theyíre not interested, he moves on to someone who is. You canít argue someone into the kingdom. They have to respond to Godís work in their life.

:47 For so hath the Lord commanded us Ö

Paul is quoting from Ė

Isa 49:6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth

This is a prophecy about the Messiah.

But did you notice that Paul said "the Lord commanded us"?

How could Paul have the audacity to think that God was commanding him and Barnabas through this prophecy in Isaiah?

Lesson:

God speaks to us in His Word.

The Psalmist wrote Ė

(Psa 119:105 NASB) Thy word is a lamp to my feet, And a light to my path.

This is no ordinary book, itís alive.

(Heb 4:12 NASB) For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.

When we spend time daily to read Godís Word, we will find God speaking to us in several ways:

1) General commands

You will find commands that apply to all of Godís people. Including you.

(1 Th 4:3-5 NASB) For this is the will of God, your sanctification; that is, that you abstain from sexual immorality; {4} that each of you know how to possess his own vessel in sanctification and honor, {5} not in lustful passion, like the Gentiles who do not know God;

Is that clear enough? God does not want you to be a part of sex outside the boundaries of marriage. He doesnít want your life to be controlled by lustful passions.

2) Practical principles

It may not be a specific command, but youíll see the example of someone else, and know that you can apply the same principle in your own life.

If youíd been reading the story of David and Goliath, youíd come across this verse Ė

1 Sam 17:33-37 And Saul said to David, Thou art not able to go against this Philistine to fight with him: for thou art but a youth, and he a man of war from his youth. {34} And David said unto Saul, Thy servant kept his father's sheep, and there came a lion, and a bear, and took a lamb out of the flock: {35} And I went out after him, and smote him, and delivered it out of his mouth: and when he arose against me, I caught him by his beard, and smote him, and slew him. {36} Thy servant slew both the lion and the bear: and this uncircumcised Philistine shall be as one of them, seeing he hath defied the armies of the living God. {37} David said moreover, The LORD that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine. And Saul said unto David, Go, and the LORD be with thee.

The principle is that God will give us smaller victories (like over a bear and a lion) that can give us the confidence to go against bigger foes.

If God has given you victory in the past, He can give you victory in the future.

3) Direct revelation

Iím not sure how to explain this to you. When this happens, some people will think youíre crazy, to think that God "speaks to" you. But youíll know when it happens. Youíll know deep down in your heart that God has spoken to you.

Thatís whatís happening here in Paulís life. God spoke through Isaiah concerning the Messiah, that He would be a light to the Gentiles. And yet Paul feels that God has commanded him through this verse!

Illustration

When we bought our current home, we made some impulsive, perhaps foolish mistakes. We put a deposit down on the home before our previous home was sold. At one point, after having our home on the market for a month with no offers, and the escrow on our new home soon to close, I panicked and called up my realtor (Ken Shaffer) and asked him to cancel the deal. I didnít want to get stuck with two mortgage payments. But an hour after I called him up, I had my Quiet Time, where I read (Deu 1:21 KJV) Behold, the LORD thy God hath set the land before thee: go up and possess it, as the LORD God of thy fathers hath said unto thee; fear not, neither be discouraged. God was speaking to me. That was on a Monday. By the following Friday, our home was sold.

Donít play "Bible Roulette", as if Godís Word was no different than reading todayís horoscope. But read through the Bible. Learn to hear Godís voice.

:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad

These people are overjoyed to hear that they can be saved without having to be a Jew.

:48 and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed

ordained Ė tasso Ė to put in order, to appoint, ordain

In the Bible we see clearly both that individuals are given the ability to choose the Lord, as well as the fact that God also chooses us.

How can this be?

Charles Spurgeon, the 19th century preacher in London said that when we get to heaven, there will be a sign across the entrance as we approach it. The sign says, "Whosoever will, come". But once weíve gone through the gate into heaven, if we glance back over our shoulder, weíll see another sign from heavenís side which reads, "Chosen before the foundation of the earth".

From this side of heaven, we have no idea who is chosen, at least until they choose to believe. But when we get to heaven, weíll understand that weíve all been chosen.

Lesson:

Itís not up to you to save them. Itís just up to you to share.

Chuck Smith: "It's not up to us to prove the truth of salvation to people. God ordains those whom He wants to save, so the pressure isn't on us to convince people. We're to present the love and truth of the Gospel to them, and the Holy Spirit does the work in their hearts."

:49 the word of the Lord was published

published Ė diaphero Ė to bear or carry through any place

When people started getting saved, things started to spread from Antioch of Pisidia as people started carrying the message from town to town.

Lesson:

People carry the Word.

We see a picture of this in the Old Testament when the Israelites first began to worship God in the wilderness.

One of the main items in their portable worship tent was the "Ark of the Covenant". This was a gold covered box (an "Ark") that contained the stone copies of the Ten Commandments (the "Covenant"). Whenever the people were to move from place to place, God specifically told them how to move the Ark, by carrying it on the shoulders of the priests (Exo 25:14).

This probably didnít sound like that big of a deal, and by the time that David became king (some 450 years later), when it came time to move the ark, they decided to put it on an oxcart instead of having the priests move it. One man died as a result (1Chron.13). After apparently getting a refresher course in Godís Word, David tried to move the Ark again, but this time Ö

(1 Chr 15:12-15 KJV) And said unto them, Ye are the chief of the fathers of the Levites: sanctify yourselves, both ye and your brethren, that ye may bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel unto the place that I have prepared for it. {13} For because ye did it not at the first, the LORD our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order. {14} So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the LORD God of Israel. {15} And the children of the Levites bare the ark of God upon their shoulders with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded according to the word of the LORD.

The Ark was the symbol of Godís agreement with mankind. It was filled with His Word. And God wanted it to only be carried on the shoulders of His priests.

You and I are now His priests (Rev. 1:6).

God has no other plan to reach people with the message of His salvation, than to put it on your shoulders. Bear the message. Take it everywhere.

:50 and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas

Apparently some of the Jews were getting so enraged at Paul and Barnabas, that they got some of the chief people of the city to throw them out.

Just a few days earlier, they were the talk of the town, drawing huge crowds, and now theyíre thrown out of town.

Lesson:

Persecution is part of the package.

Not everyone is going to be thrilled with what you have to say.

(2 Tim 3:10-12 KJV) But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, {11} Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me. {12} Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.

(2 Tim 3:12 NIV) In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted,

:51 But they shook off the dust of their feet against them

Shaking the dust off your feet was a symbol of contempt, as if the person was so unclean that even their dust was unclean.

This was in obedience to what Jesus had taught.

(Mat 10:14 KJV) And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.

Itís a way of putting the past behind and moving on.

Lesson:

Let it go.

Sometimes we tend to carry grudges against people who have hurt us. We need to let it go. Shake the dust off your feet and move on. Thereís work to be done.

:52 And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.

Lesson:

Joy in persecution.

(1 Pet 4:12-14 NLT) Dear friends, don't be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you. {13} Instead, be very glad--because these trials will make you partners with Christ in his suffering, and afterward you will have the wonderful joy of sharing his glory when it is displayed to all the world. {14} Be happy if you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God will come upon you.