Passage: Acts 13
v1-12 - Barnabas and Saul (who after this chapter is referred to by his Greek name, Paul) are sent by the Holy Spirit (v2-4) on a journey to proclaim the gospel. They attract the attention of the local ruler, "an intelligent man" who "wanted to hear the Word of God (v7)." Don't listen to people who claim that a person must abandon reason and logic in order to have faith. The Holy Spirit has used people's intelligence to draw them to Christ since the beginning of the Church.
v13-41 - Paul's methodology from the beginning was to visit local synagogues, thinking that the Jewish people would be eager to hear how the scriptures had been fulfilled in Christ. His message follows a similar formula to Peter's sermons: showing how Israel's history and prophecies all point to Jesus, and how through Christ's death and resurrection people could find true forgiveness for their sin (v38-39).
v42-52 - There are hundreds of books that have been written on how to best grow a church, but Paul shows that the best method is to simply preach the pure gospel. The "entire city gathered to hear the word of the Lord (v44)" the next Sabbath day. Unfortunately, the Jews once again reject the gospel message, and they had enough clout in the city to run Paul & Barnabas out of town. But yet the gospel took root with many Gentiles, and Luke reports that "all who were appointed for eternal life believed (v48)." Although the popularity of the church and attendance at weekly services will ebb and flow over time, we can rest assured that God is always at work accomplishing His sovereign purposes through the preaching of His Word.
Old Testament References - Add even more value to your daily Bible reading by reading a related passage from the Old Testament
Habakkuk 1:1-11 - Paul quotes v5 in his sermon, but looking at the entire context shows how God's sovereignty is often accomplished in surprising ways. Habakkuk asks God the age old question about why He seems to tolerate, evil people.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions. For every comment or reply you post, you will receive an entry for this month's prize.
Is it surprising for you to read that the entire city turned out to hear Paul preach?
What's the root of the rejection of the gospel seen in Bar-Jesus (v7-8) and the Jews in v45?
Follow the AAA Prayer Pattern:
ACKNOWLEDGE WHO GOD IS: Our sovereign and almighty Father, who sends His Word to those He's appointed for salvation (v48)
ALIGN YOUR LIFE WITH GOD'S WILL: Pray that God will protect you from the selfish tendencies displayed in this chapter and keep you focused on His Word.
ASK GOD FOR WHAT YOU NEED: