And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27
Be sure to view the video introducing our study of Acts 13 (Lesson 12) by clicking here.
Read and meditate on Acts 13.44-48.
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.
1. Self-interest is the natural enemy of the Gospel. You can’t be your own lord when Jesus is Lord of all. Truth is the Gospel’s friend and faithful voice. But self-interest can be so strong, and so blinding (as we’ve seen), that it not only holds the truth at arm’s length, but attacks it by every available means. What warning does this suggest for you as you continue your work as a witness for Christ?
2. Apparently many of those who had come to believe in Antioch of Pisidia, and were continuing in the grace of God, talked with their neighbors, because the next week the whole town showed up for preaching. Now the religious leaders had a problem. Previously they’d looked at Paul as a nice “shot in the arm” for their little congregation. Now he was stealing all the sheep and mixing them in with the goats. How vile! How unacceptable! How do we stop this? Aren’t you glad such attitudes don’t exist between and among churches in our day? Or do they?
3. 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. And He will continue the expansion of Christ’s Kingdom until the knowledge of the glory of the Lord covers the earth – in the praises and lives of those who believe – as the waters cover the seas. Why do you think so many churches today are discouraged from doing the work of evangelism?
4. Paul says “So long!” 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 aims more consistently at reaching Gentiles with the Good News. Some people may tell us they don’t want to hear anything more about Jesus, but does this mean we have to stop being witnesses to them? Explain.
5. Is there a time for “wiping the dust off your feet” with someone you’ve been witnessing to for a while? What, following Paul’s example with the Jews, would that look like in your case?
As the Gospel advances, those who oppose it make themselves known. No surprises there. Jesus promised as much, and we’ve seen it from the beginning of our study of the ongoing work of Christ. But we must not allow opposition to discourage us from our witness. Rather, we simply need to follow the Spirit in whatever next steps of witness-bearing He has for us. How can believers help one another to overcome fear and discouragement in being witnesses for Jesus?
O LORD, how great are Your works!
Your thoughts are very deep.
A senseless man does not know,
Nor does a fool understand this.
When the wicked spring up like grass,
And when all the workers of iniquity flourish,
It is that they may be destroyed forever.
But You, LORD, are on high forevermore.
For behold, Your enemies, O LORD,
For behold, Your enemies shall perish;
All the workers of iniquity shall be scattered.
But my horn You have exalted like a wild ox;
I have been anointed with fresh oil.
My eye also has seen my desire on my enemies;
My ears hear my desire on the wicked
Who rise up against me.
The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree,
He shall grow like a cedar in Lebanon.
Those who are planted in the house of the LORD
Shall flourish in the courts of our God.
They shall still bear fruit in old age;
They shall be fresh and flourishing,
To declare that the LORD is upright;
He is my rock, and there is no unrighteousness in Him.
T. M. Moore
Each week’s studies in Acts are bound together into a free PDF that you can download for personal or group use (click here). Each week also features a video related to the studies of the week, which you may find helpful as you work through our studies in Acts.
Acts is the record of Christ’s ongoing work as King and Lord. This is the work of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven. Read more about the implications of this work in our new book, The Kingdom Turn (click here).
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