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Summary: Easter 4(C) - Paul proclaims God’s message of salvation which is a message revealing ignorance, disobedience and sin but also a message providing knowledge, forgiveness and life.

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PAUL PROCLAIMS GOD’S MESSAGE OF SALVATION

May 7, 2006 - EASTER 4 - Acts 13:15,16a; 26-33

Dear Friends, Fellow-Redeemed:

Today, once again we are going to hear about the apostle Paul. And who can forget Paul, once called Saul? Last week we heard how the Lord changed his life with a miraculous conversion. We are reminded that we have been changed by the very same kind of miraculous conversion. Every believer has been brought back from death and darkness into life and the light of the knowledge of salvation by the power of God in his word and sacraments. We have seen how Saul’s life was changed from a persecutor of the followers of the Way to become the greatest proclaimer of Christ’s message. Paul gave up everything he had known before. He no longer wanted to live in ignorance and no longer wanted to act in ignorance. Instead, Paul now understood and believed the powerful message of the Gospel now given to him was given to him so that he might share it with others. It is the same with us today.

Paul writes in Philippians: "What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ" (Philippians 3:8). Paul wanted to learn more about Christ. So it is that we find that this text is Paul’s first recorded sermon for us. Paul preached before this, of course; but this was his first recorded sermon as preached in Antioch. Paul proclaims God’s message of salvation. We heard that term in the beginning of our text that he says, "God sent to us this message of salvation."

PAUL PROCLAIMS GOD’S MESSAGE OF SALVATION

I. A message revealing ignorance, disobedience and sin

II. A message providing knowledge, forgiveness and life

I. A MESSAGE REVEALING IGNORANCE, DISOBEDIENCE AND SIN

We first note the similarity as our text begins with the service in the synagogue thousands of years ago and our service today. It says: "After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the synagogue rulers sent word to them, saying, ’Brothers, if you have a message of encouragement for the people, please speak.’" As they had the Law and the Prophets, so they read the message from the first five books of the Bible. The early Christians also had the Psalms, and the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah. They had Scripture readings and then had the sermon. A little bit different is that they would ask those who had come as visitors to get up and speak to them and for them. Of course, they realized Paul and his friends, Barnabas and his companions, had just come from Jerusalem. What better way to find out about the message of reconciliation and salvation, then to ask those who know. They asked Paul to come up and tell them what he knew about the Savior.

"Standing up, Paul got up, he motioned with his hand and said: ’Brothers, children of Abraham and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent.’" Here too, we notice the fact that as he is in the synagogue now, it is no longer just the Jews by themselves, no longer just God’s people who were considered first chosen. Paul addresses both the children of Abraham and God-fearing Gentiles. In the synagogue or congregation there were Jews who believed on the Savior and also Gentiles who believed on the Savior. Paul is going to tell them about this message of salvation. We also want to remember that the early church did not have newspapers or mass communication or telephone and Internet service. They simply relied on the word of mouth brought to them in person.


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