Summary: Learning from Paul how to share the gospel
Acts 13b - 5/21/17 PM
Turn with me to Acts 13. We looked here this morning at the beginning of the chapter and saw how God empowers Paul to take the role of an Apostle. In in Paul’s example, we learn lessons about how to wait on God’s timing. God had told him years before that He was going to use Paul to be this missionary to the Gentiles, but here in chapter 13 we see God supernaturally empowers Paul for the job before him.
Tonight we want to look at the last half of the chapter and see Paul’s first sermon as an apostle. It may not have been his first sermon, but it is the first one we have recorded in scripture. And from this sermon, we want to draw some lessons that we can apply to how God will speak through each of us as well.
As we come to the scripture, let’s pray. PRAY
Read 13:13-52 So here we see Paul continuing the pattern that he starts out with in chapter 13 as he crosses Cyprus. He comes to town and stops off at the Jewish synagogue. Whenever 10 Jewish men came together they could form a synagogue. Paul starts with the Jews, and when they reject him, he goes to the Gentiles. As a visiting rabbi, Paul would be invited to speak at the synagogue. Especially a rabbi as noted as Paul, trained by the legendary rabbi Gamaliel. And so as Paul is invited to speak, he takes the opportunity the share the gospel message with them. So what lessons do we learn? First
• Start with their interests - vs 16-20 - notice how Paul starts out. Men of Israel and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me! The God of the people of Israel chose our fathers; he made the people prosper during their stay in Egypt, with mighty power he led them out of that country, he endured their conduct for about forty years in the desert, he overthrew seven nations in Canaan and gave their land to his people as their inheritance. All this took about 450 years. “After this, God gave them judges until the time of Samuel the prophet.
What is Paul doing? He is appealing to their common story. He is reminding them of how God loved and cared for the nation of Israel. They are Jews, and so is Paul, and Paul wants to tell them a story of how God loved the Jews enough to send them His Messiah. So he starts with a level of common interest.
What does that mean to us? It means when we want to initiate a conversation with someone about the Lord, don’t come up to them and out of the blue say “You’re going to hell without Jesus!” Instead, look for something you have in common with them. If they are struggling with a problem, you can say, Let me tell you how I deal with problems like that. If they have a need, begin with You know, I have seen God bring me through some amazing jams before and provide in some wonderful ways! Look to start with a common interest. Next we see Paul
• Find a bridge (a transition to the gospel) - we see in vs. 21-23 Paul does this. Paul started with a little history of the Jews, and now his bridge to get to share about Jesus is the prophet David. Paul says in vs 23 - “From this man’s descendants God has brought to Israel the Saviour Jesus, as he promised. In the same way, if we start out with an area of common interest or concern, look for a way to transition to the story of Jesus. Because remember, the problem is never the problem, the problem is always that they don’t know Jesus!
After Paul transitions to start talking about Jesus, he focuses on salvation. And that’s what we need to do as well:
• Focus on salvation - Paul does this in vs 26 - “Brothers, children of Abraham, and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent. In the same way, as we talk about how God can help others with their issues and problems, we need to center in on the issue of salvation. God doesn’t want to just help someone with their problems, He wants to build an eternal relationship with them. And notice here in 26 that Paul includes the Gentiles in God’s offer of salvation. Salvation is for everyone. Whosoever will may come. No one is too far gone.
The next example we see in Paul is to
• Use the Scriptures for Support - As Paul wants to deal with the issue of salvation, he doesn’t use his own logic or reasoning, rather he appeals to the scripture. He points out in 27-31 that even though the Jews hear the scriptures read every week, they didn’t recognize Jesus as their messiah. Why is that? They hear the scripture, but did not take it to heart. Many times we see people quote scripture, but don’t know what it is talking about. Donald Trump in a campaign speech said, Even like it says in TWO Corinthians. . .