Summary: Encourages the church to put God’s purpose at the forefront of it’s decision making. UK statistics on church attendance included.
David Served the Purpose of God in his generation (text)
Paul the apostle has sailed into a place called Antioch in Pisidia. He’s preaching to those in the synagogue at Antioch. As part of a visiting group of Jews, the local synagogue give him half a chance and he’s away! Telling people in terms that they will relate to the good news of Jesus Christ.
Paul establishes common ground with them, in vs 16 he calls the audience ‘Men of Israel, and you who fear God.’ Then he goes through the Old Testament with them, picks out a few highlights like the slavery in Egypt (boo!) the Exodus (hurrah!), the forty years in the wilderness (Boo!), the period of the Judges (boo!), Samuel the prophet (hurray), Saul the King who failed (boo!), David the king who was a man after God’s own heart (hurray!).
They are on safe ground they think. The whole synagogue is thinking, “This man’s just someone who’s going to tell us the old old story, he looks too serious to give us any decent jokes, but there’ll be some things we can discuss a little when he’s gone, but our world will stay just the same.”
Then Paul lets them have it: He’s just been telling them about King David, and then in verse 23 he says something that I guarantee made them widen their eyes, scratch their beards and shake their heads: “From this man (David’s) seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Saviour- Jesus!”
Pauls’ saying ‘God’s doing a new thing. He has done a new thing! The new thing has strong links to the past, but God’s not locked into the past- he’s a today God. Don’t think God hasn’t got plans, don’t think everything will always stay the same! You might want that, but God has done a new thing!’
Vs 26, “Men and brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to YOU the word of salvation has been sent.” So what are you going to do with it? Like it or not, you invited the speaker to speak, and he’s spoken. He’s said ‘God’s doing a new thing.’ What will your response be to that? Will you accept it or reject it?
Paul says ‘Lots of people rejected Jesus when he came- they even crucified him. But God raised him from the dead!’ (Huuuuuuh!) He was seen for many days by those who came up with him from Galilee! (Huuuuuuuuh!). We are witnesses! (Huuuuh!) “This is good news!” says Paul. The promise of yesterday being fulfilled today! It’s in line with the Bible’s promises, God is fulfilling them!
Then he talks again about King David. Paul says ‘Remember Psalm 16? David said ‘You will not allow your holy one to see corruption?” David was not talking about himself! He was looking forward prophetically and saw Jesus being raised from the dead. Jesus fulfils that old prophecy, made hundreds of years ago- and it’s good news for you today!
That brings me to my text today: (Pause & smile!) Pray!
For when had David served God’s Purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep, he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed. Acts 13:36
1. DAVID SERVED
"Servant" here is from the Greek doulos (bondslave). It talks about someone who is no longer at their own disposal, no longer putting their own needs first, but as their master’s purchased property serves. Serves him, serves others. Puts them first. Having been bought to serve the master’s needs, Being at his beck and call every moment, following orders. Christian service means, first and foremost, living out a submitted relationship to Jesus- the Servant King.
What work does Christ set his servants to do? The way that they serve him, he tells them, is by becoming the slaves of their fellow-servants and being willing to do literally anything, however costly or undignified, to help them. This is what love means, as he himself showed at the Last supper when he took the slave’s job and washed the disciples’ feet. The King, Jesus Christ, has stooped to serve us. And David the King served. He served God, he served others. He was not too proud to be thought of as a servant by others. (What do you think I am- your servant?!).
In 1878, when William Booth’s Salvation Army was beginning to make its mark, men and women from all over the world began to enlist. One man, who had once dreamed of becoming a bishop, crossed the Atlantic from America to England to enlist. Samuel Brengle left a big church ministry to join Booth’s Army. But Booth accepted his services reluctantly and grudgingly. He said to Brengle, "You’ve been your own boss too long." In order to instil humility in Brengle, he set him to work cleaning the boots of other trainees. Brengle said to himself, "Have I followed my own fancy across the Atlantic in order to black boots?" And then, as he was doing the job, he had a vision. He saw Jesus bending over the feet of his disciples. "Lord," he whispered, "you washed their feet; I will black their shoes."