Summary: What would it have been like to hear the Apostle Paul preach? Let's join those hearers in the synagogue at Pisidian Antioch. Parts: A. A verdict for your faith's joy. B. A verdict that can pass on.
Text: Acts 13:38-48
Theme: In God's Courtroom You're Forgiven through Jesus
A. A verdict for your faith's joy
B. A verdict that can pass on
Season: Epiphany 2a
Date: January 16, 2011
Web page: http://hancocklutheran.org/sermons/In-God_s-Courtroom-You_re-Forgiven-through-Jesus-Acts13_38-48.html
Grace and peace to you from God our Father and our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen. The Word from God through which the Holy Spirit proclaims the Good News of Jesus to us is Acts 13.
"[Paul continues preaching,] "Therefore, let it be known to you, dear brothers, that through this One [Jesus] forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. And in him everyone who believes is justified from all that you are not able to be justified from in the law of Moses.
""Therefore, watch out so that what was said by the prophets does not come about: 'See, you scoffers, and be amazed and destroyed, because I am doing a work in your day. a work that you would never believe, even if someone laid it out in detail for you.'"
"As they were leaving, they were urging that these words bespoken to them on the next Sabbath. When the synagogue gathering broke up, many of the Jews and the god-fearing proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke to them, were appealing to them to remain in God's grace.
"On the coming Sabbath almost all the city gathered to hear he word of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began speaking against what had been said by Paul, blaspheming. Courageously Paul and Barnabas said, "It was necessary for the word of God to be spoken to you first. Since you push it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. For the Lord has so commanded us: 'I have set you as a light for the Gentiles to be salvation unto the ends of the earth.'"
"When the Gentiles heard this, they started to rejoice and glorify the word of the Lord, and they believed, as many as were appointed for eternal life. (Acts 13:38-48)"
Dear friends in Christ, fellow saints washed clean in the blood of our risen Savior:
It was the late 40's. Paul and Barnabas had sailed to Cyprus, sent by the church in Antioch in Syria. In fact, the Holy Spirit himself had said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul [whom we better know as Paul] for the work to which I have called them" (Acts 13:2 NIV-1984). Then after the church "had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off" (Acts 13:4 NIV-1984).
The mission work went well on Cyprus. A Jewish sorcerer by the name of Elymas tried to oppose them. But through Paul the Lord struck him with blindness for all his devilish deceit and trickery. Even the leader of the island, Proconsul Sergius Paulus believed, "for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord" (Acts 13:12 NIV-1984).
From Cyprus they sailed north to what today we call south central Turkey. They landed at the town of Perga, where for some reason their younger helper, John Mark left. No mission work is reported there. Soon they left and headed north to another city by the name of Antioch. Just as we have Alexandria, Minnesota, as well as Alexandria, Virginia, so they had Antioch in Syria, where they had come from, and now Antioch in Pisidia or Pisidian Antioch, where they've just arrived. Let's join Paul and Barnabus there.
A. A verdict for your faith's joy
1. What do you hear Paul preaching in the synagogue at Pisidian Antioch?
Picture yourself as one of the Gentiles, a non-Jew, living in Pisidian Antioch. Although a Gentile, you have begun to know the Lord, the God of Israel. Even though the Jews are a small group in this city, their God attracts you for he is different than the gods of the Greeks and Romans. He upholds a high moral standard. But even more than that he has promised a Messiah to bring salvation. So you regularly join the Jews at their synagogue to hear Moses and the prophets read. Today two traveling rabbis are here as well. After the readings, they are invited to speak. What are they going to say?
They start by reminding everyone of how the Lord rescued the Israelites out of Egypt and brought them safely to Canaan, the promise land. After the time of the judges, he raised up Saul as King, and after Saul, David, a man after the Lord's own heart. Yes, you've heard this history before from your Jewish friends.
But now Paul says something you've never heard before. One of David's descendants, a man by the name of Jesus, is the Savior. And then he goes on to prove it: John the Baptist pointed to him. This Jesus fulfilled the words of Moses and the prophets read every Sabbath. The leaders in Jerusalem had rejected him and asked Pilate to crucify him. But all that too had been prophesied. And then God raised this Jesus from the dead; many people saw him alive and testify to it. Yes, the good news God had promised for so long had been fulfilled just as the Scriptures had foretold. That's what Paul was preaching.