Acts 13

Day 13, Acts 13.

This is the start of what is called Paul’s first missionary. I think this is really the start of Paul’s first evangelism trip.  Paul had already been a missionary in Antioch and in taking money to the elders in Jerusalem. But now Paul was going with Barnabas to share the gospel.

Notice that the men involved were fasting and praying. Fasting is a spiritual discipline most of the modern church have forgotten. We have not been taught the need to give up something and use that time sacrifice to focus upon the Lord. Yet here we see this was something the apostles did.

We see two models of evangelism in this chapter.

First we see Paul sharing with a governmental ruler -the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence. Paul was opposed in his efforts to share the gospel by a magician, a false prophet. In response, Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, called the magician what he was and blinded him. The response?

12 Then the proconsul believed when he saw what had happened, being amazed at the teaching of the Lord.

I would have thought he would be amazed at the miracle of blindness. But scripture called it the teaching of the Lord. Would this be an example of God using blindness to teach? I think so. Sometimes we are in a place where we will not hear what God has to say. God has said He hands us over to our depraved mind because we refuse to acknowledge Him (Romans 1:28). Sometimes we are blessed with the opportunity to learn from someone else’s mistakes and problems. This is what happened here, with the result that someone came to faith.

The second model of evangelism we see is where Paul went into the synagogue and used  scripture to speak of who God is, what God has done, what God wants from us and for us. He told of the coming of Christ.

23 From the descendants of this man, according to promise, God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus

We see Paul speaking about how the message of salvation came to Abraham’s family and to those who fear God. We see Paul speaking of how Jesus was condemned, innocent, put to death, buried, and raised from the dead.

26 “Brethren, sons of Abraham’s family, and those among you who fear God, to us the message of this salvation has been sent. 27 For those who live in Jerusalem, and their rulers, recognizing neither Him nor the utterances of the prophets which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled these by condemning Him28 And though they found no ground for putting Him to death, they asked Pilate that He be executed. 29 When they had carried out all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the cross andlaid Him in a tomb. 30 But God raised Him from the dead; 31 and for many days He appeared to those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, the very ones who are now His witnesses to the people.

The finished the message with the face that forgiveness of sins and freedom can be had for anyone who believes.

38 Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.

At first the Jewish people were excited and loved it, asking them to return the next week so they could hear more. But then human frailty and satanic jealousy raised its ugly head, and the Jews spoke out against the disciples and what they were teaching.

The disciples’ response?

46 Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first; since you repudiate it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles

The Jews got madder – so much so that the disciples were driven out of the area.

On the other hand,  the Gentiles were tickled pink. :)

And finally we see, despite undergoing persecution and problems,

52 And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

 

Note: This is a sermon from Acts 13: Paul and Evangelism (Acts 13:16-52): Who is God and Why do we need him?
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