On a Roll: Acts 13 (5)
Pray Psalm 148.1-4.
Praise the LORD!
Praise the LORD from the heavens;
Praise Him in the heights!
Praise Him, all His angels;
Praise Him, all His hosts!
Praise Him, sun and moon;
Praise Him, all you stars of light!
Praise Him, you heavens of heavens,
And you waters above the heavens!
Sing Psalm 148.1-4.
(Hendon: Take My Life and Let It Be)
Praise the Lord, from heaven praise! To the heights His goodness raise!
Angels, all you heav’nly hosts, let of Him be all your boasts,
let of Him be all your boasts!
Praise Him, sun, moon, shining lights, brilliant stars that light the nights!
Praise Him, heav’ns for all His love, and you waters far above,
and you waters far above
Read Acts 13.1-48; meditate on verses 42-48.
1. What did certain Jews do when they saw the multitudes?
2. To what did Paul and Barnabas turn?
The Spirit of God was on a roll, reaping a harvest among Jews and Gentiles as Paul and his team proclaimed the Good News of Jesus (vv. 42, 43). Those who had come to believe in Antioch of Pisidia, and were continuing in the grace of God, must have talked with their neighbors, because the next week the whole town showed up for preaching (v. 44). Now the religious leaders had a problem (v. 45). Previously they’d looked at Paul as a nice “shot in the arm” for their little congregation. Now he was stealing all the sheep,
Oppose. Contradict. Defame. The opponents to God’s truth haven’t changed much, and we don’t have to sweat them today any more than Paul did in his day. The Spirit, Who is in charge of this ongoing work of Christ, will show us where to go next in seeking and advancing the Kingdom of God.
Paul says “Good-bye!” to the Jews who opposed the Gospel, but, of course, he’s not giving up on them. Not now, not ever (Rom. 9.1-5). But the focus of his ministry will change as he says “Hello” to the Gentiles and aims more consistently at reaching them with the Good News.
Nothing can stop the spread of the Good News. Not, as we’ve seen, buffoonish kings, not scheming false prophets, not intelligent magistrates. Not jealous religious leaders, either. Nothing. Try to stamp it out here, it spreads like a splashed oil fire to there and there and there. The power of the Gospel accompanies the preaching of Jesus. When Jesus is set forth against the backdrop of any unbelieving worldview, and as the hope of the world and fulfillment of all our aspirations, people will believe.
Treasures Old and New: Matthew 13.52; Psalm 119.162
When the Jewish religious leaders saw the multitudes of people that were flocking to hear the word of God, “they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul” (Acts 13.45). “The green-eyed monster”, that Shakespeare wrote about, showed up.
The Bible is equally explicit about it: “A sound heart is life to the body, but envy is rottenness to the bones” (Prov. 14.30). “For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness. All these evil things, come from within and defile a man” (Mk. 7.21-23).
Envy and jealousy led these people to contradict the truth, blaspheme God, and outright oppose the Gospel. An exciting moment for the burgeoning Church was disrupted by the religious leaders.
Paul and Barnabas did not sit idly by and let them continue. They were not meek and mild in the face of evil opposition. No. They got out their best words, given them by the Holy Spirit, and let them have a double dose of the truth! “It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles” (Acts 13.46). Ouch!
The Gentiles must have greatly appreciated that Paul and Barnabas went to bat for them. They did not allow the sinful disposition of the opposition to keep them from hearing the words they longed to hear about Jesus.
And consequently, when they heard this Good News, “they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as were appointed to eternal life believed” (Acts 13.48).
We must be diligent, like Paul and Barnabas, in the face of opposition, to preach the word boldly. People’s lives depend upon it. We must face down the green-eyed monsters of this world, whether they emerge from within the Church or without.
“Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching” (2 Tim.4.2).
“People will believe.”
1. What fears can keep us from fulfilling our calling as witnesses for the Lord? How can we overcome those fears?
2. Paul and Barnabas did not waste time arguing with those who opposed them. They simply moved on to more fruitful fields. Is there a principle here for working our Personal Mission Fields?
3. How should you prepare now for any witnessing opportunities you may have today?
What light, what power, what a treasure does this gospel bring with it! How excellent are its truths, its precepts, its promises! Those came to Christ whom the Father drew, and to whom the Spirit made the gospel call effectual, Romans 8:30. As many as were disposed to eternal life, as many as had concern about their eternal state, and aimed to make sure of eternal life, believed in Christ, in whom God has treasured up that life, and who is the only Way to it; and it was the grace of God that wrought it in them.Matthew Henry (1662-1714), Commentary on Acts 13.42-52
Pray Psalm 148.11-14.
Pray for the missions efforts of your church. Pray for missionaries around the world, that God would give them strength and boldness in bearing witness to Jesus, and that many might come to know and serve Him through their work.
Sing Psalm 148.11-14.
(Hendon: Take My Life and Let It Be)
Kings of earth and peoples all, young men, maidens, on Him call!
Old men, children, princes, kings, bring to God your offerings.
Bring to God your offerings.
For His people He has raised His salvation: God be praised!
All whom Jesus Christ brings near praise their Savior, ever dear,
praise their Savior, ever dear!
T. M. and Susie Moore
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Except as indicated, all Scriptures are taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved. For sources of all quotations, see the weekly PDF of this study. All psalms for singing are from The Ailbe Psalter (Williston: Waxed Tablet Publications, 2006), available by clicking here.