The Word of the Lord

The Word of the Lord

Passage: Acts 13
Service Type:

Vacationing in Hawaii, two priests decide to wear casual clothes so they won’t be identified as clergy.

They buy Hawaiian shirts and sandals, and soon hit the beach. They notice a gorgeous blonde in a tiny bikini.

"Good afternoon, Fathers," she says as she strolls by.

The men are stunned. How does she know they’re clergy? Later they buy even wilder attire: surfer shorts, tie-dyed T-shirts, and dark glasses.

The next day, they return to the beach. The same fabulous blonde, now wearing a string bikini, passes by, nods politely at them, and says, "Good morning, Fathers."

"Just a minute, young lady," says one of the priests. "We are priests and proud of it, but how in the world did you know?"

"Don’t you recognize me? I’m Sister Kathryn from the convent."

2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. 4 The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. 5 When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper.

“When you fast, pray, and give…” 

…for the 100 fold return, all 3 must be present in the life of believers. 

Matthew 6

“So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do…” (v.2)

“And when you pray, do not be like the hypocrites… (v.5)

When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do… (v.16)

1st missionary Journey

They were sent off, then they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, who was an attendant of the proconsul..

They spoke the word of God while Bar-Jesus was trying to stop them until Paul called him out and struck him blind, ultimately leading to the salvation of the Proconsul.

They moved to Antioch

15 After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the leaders of the synagogue sent word to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have a word of exhortation for the people, please speak.”

16 Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: “Fellow Israelites and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me!

God has always been with his people… in different forms:

Personal appearance to Abraham.

Moses and Joshua lead them out of Egypt into Canaan.

Judges ruled until Samuel.

Saul then David were appointed as kings as the people asked.

God sent the prophets up until John the Baptist

Eventually, God sent Jesus to die for and lead the people even though they resisted and killed him. 

1. God’s greatest gift to his people is himself.

The old is gone. The new has come. God never changes, but the way he relates to his people does.

Application: Do we still believe that 'God is with us’?

26 “Fellow children of Abraham and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent. 27 The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. 28 Though they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed. 

29 When they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the cross and laid him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people. 32 “We tell you the good news: What God promised our ancestors 33 he has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus.

Prophecy in Scripture comes true. God keep his promises

Paul points out that Jesus did indeed come and salvation is available to all. 

44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They began to contradict what Paul was saying and heaped abuse on him.

“What you think about God is the most important thing about you.”

~ A.W. Tozer

2. Belief about God determines the course of life.

46 Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. 47 For this is what the Lord has commanded us:

“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

Are you worthy of eternal life?

“Since you REJECT it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life…” 

Why wouldn’t someone consider themselves worthy? Low self-esteem?

But Jesus can forgive and fix that. 

Why else?

Accepting eternal life means submitting to God.

Rebellion submits to no one. 

Subscribing to Atheism and Evolution mean the individual get to be god.

And in a sense, they do.

3. The only disqualifier for eternal life is rebellion.

Finally, it is objected that the ultimate loss of a single soul means the defeat of omnipotence. And so it does. In creating beings with free will, omnipotence from the outset submit’s to the possibility of such defeat. What you call defeat, I call miracle: for to make things which are not Itself, and thus to become, in a sense, capable of being resisted by it’s own handiwork, is the most astonishing and unimaginable of all the feats we attribute to the Deity. 

I willingly believe that the damned are, in one sense, successful, rebels to the end; that the doors of hell are locked on the inside. I do not mean that the ghosts may not wish to come out of hell, in the vague fashion wherein an envious man ‘wishes’ to be happy: but they certainly do not will even the first preliminary stages of that self-abandonment through which alone the soul can reach any good. They enjoy forever the horrible freedom they have demanded, and are therefore self-enslaved: just as the blessed, forever submitting to obedience, become through all eternity more and more free.

~ C.S.Lewis

Both freedom and enslavement tend to be progressive.

Example: People have as many boundaries as they need. 

48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed.

49 The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. 50 But the Jewish leaders incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. 51 So they shook the dust off their feet as a warning to them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

Of course this is the application of Jesus’ words in…

If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet.

Matthew 10:14

4. The Lord is available to everyone who wants him.

You get what you put in.

The same choice given to those who rejected Jesus back then is given to us today. You get as much of God as you want.

Others, like seed sown on good soil, HEAR THE WORD, ACCEPT IT, AND PRODUCE A CROP—some thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times what was sown.”

Mark 4:20

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