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Summary: Saul of Tarsus transforms into the apostle Paul whil preaching the true gospel and facing a false prophet: what the 21st century church can learn about confronting false teaching from the 1st cenutry example

SERIES: “LESSONS FROM THE EARLY CHURCH”

TEXT: ACTS 13:1-12

TITLE: “FACING THE FALSE PROPHET”

INTRODUCTION: A. Would you hire this man?

A member of the pulpit committee at a certain church was tired of the process of

trying to choose a new minister. No matter who applied, the committee found some

reason to find the candidate unworthy. He read the following letter to the committee

from a prospective preacher:

Dear First Church,

I have received information that you are looking for a preacher. Thank you for

reviewing my qualifications to preach for your congregation.

I have considerable education and experience as a preacher. Although I move

around a lot, I do have considerable skills which allow me to work outside of the

church to support my ministry.

I must admit that I have never preached in a congregation for more than three

years and that sometimes my preaching has caused contention and strife in the town

which I worked. I even have a prison record because of my preaching (primarily

due to the riots that were started). I am, however, a published author.

One of the committee members jumped to his feet and loudly asked, “Who in the

world would send such a letter of application to our church?” The committee member

who read the letter replied, “This one is signed ‘the apostle Paul.’”

B. We find that now Saul Tarsus has become the apostle Paul

1. Saul of Tarsus converted

2. Saul of Tarsus causing conflict

3. Time of growth

4. Barnabas brings Saul to Antioch.

--They set out on first missionary journey

5. Notice that up until now, it has been Barnabas and Saul

--From this point on, Paul is mentioned first

C. We see a lot of false prophets today

1. They promise much but deliver very little, if anything

2. Let’s take a look at this pivotal point the apostle Paul’s life and see what

happened during the time he faced the false prophet.

I. THE CHURCH CONVICTED

--Acts 13:1-3 – “In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger,

Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. 2While 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." 3So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent

them off.”

A. Last Sunday evening, we looked at the church in Antioch in some depth

--We looked at 9 marks of a great church. Several are mentioned here:

1. Worship – they lifted Christ above everything else and performed works of worship

2. Fasting and prayer – dedicated themselves to learning the Lord’s will and developing a closer

relationship with Christ

3. A deep concern for the lost

a. Jesus claimed that concern as the reason he came to earth

b. He commanded His church to take up that concern

c. The worship, prayer, and fasting led them to take this concern very seriously

B. “Conviction” – “a strong belief; the state of being convinced”

1. Their conviction moved them to action

2. Led by the Holy Spirit, they commissioned Paul and Barnabas as missionaries and sent them out to

fulfill Christ’s commission

3. During this missionary journey, they meet some very interesting people

--Introduced to two of them tonight

II. THE MAGICIAN IS CONFRONTED

--Acts 13:4-12a – “The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed

from there to Cyprus. 5When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish

synagogues. John was with them as their helper. 6They traveled through the whole island until they came

to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, 7who was an attendant of

the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he

wanted to hear the word of God. 8But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them

and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. 9Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy

Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, 10"You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that

is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of

the Lord? 11Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be

unable to see the light of the sun." 12Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about,

seeking someone to lead him by the hand.”

A. They travel from Antioch to Seleucia and then sail to Cyprus

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