Summary: The pattern of Paul is established on the First Journey. It involves steps that allow the Spirit to work.
SOP - Christian Patterns
Barnabas, Paul and John Mark leave the Island of Crete which was the first part of the missionary journey commissioned by the Holy Spirit. We don’t hear much about things happening on the island although it was at one time home to Barnabas. They sail from the opposite end and head North and end up in Pisidian Antioch. There they will start the process that I will call SOP, which means standard operating procedure. So let’s figure out what that is….
On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down.
So the first part of the SOP is that on the Sabbath day they go to the synagogue where ever they are for services. They don’t go with any special plan to interrupt the service or to ask to speak. They just go to church and sit down. And wait for the service to start. Going from place to place there are very few parts of the Jewish worship that will be very different.
So far, I would say that most Christians today tend to follow the pattern. That makes the process we are in this morning basically biblical right?
We get up on Sunday and Go to church and when we get there the sit down and expect to Worship God in some way. If we are traveling and on Sunday we went to a Methodist church in Florida or North Carolina or even California we would probably have a good idea of what was happening.
It might not be like home but it would not be completely foreign either.
We expect music, Hymns were a part to they synagogue. We expect to hear someone to read from the Bible, . They expect some one to explain the bible. Our scripture picks up,
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."
Woah, that would be a surprise wouldn’t it. To be visiting a church and the pastor send an usher over to ask you, A visitor if you would like to explain to interpret the scripture.
On the few times that Renee and I have been away on a Sunday, we god to church where ever we are. In the back of my mind, I have a little uneasiness that maybe, just maybe the pastor would ask me to say a few words or offer a prayer. That is especially true when we go to a place that we know the pastor or others in the church.
How about you? If there was a chance that someone would ask you to say a few words would you ever visit another church on vacation or any other reason.
But, it was not so rare in Barnabas and Saul’s day. The sharing of ideas and interpretations form scripture was welcomed. They were not really asking them for a whole sermon.
They were asking for a word of witness…What has God done for you?
If that happened to me, I know what I would do. I would say something, short, sweet and general. I would just hope not to offend or say something stupid right there in public.
Paul accepts the invitation and stands up and motions with his hand to quiet the crowd or just as a welcoming motion and he offers a two part testimony. He directs his comments to Men of Israel and gentiles that worship God.
How about you, what would you do of an usher came over and asked if you wanted to say a few words? Would you run? Would you say something? Would you refuse and decide to never ever to visit another church again?
The request that has come to the visitors is one of honor and respect. Barnabas and Saul (Paul from now own) are probably dressed as Jews. They don’t look like idiots as far as we know. And there are probably not that many Jewish visitors that come through owns this far from Israel.
I skipped over the text of Paul’s first recorded sermon but, I think you should be aware that his words are similar to what was said by Stephen and Peter in their messages. He ties the history of God and Israel from Abraham and David into his wittiness of What God had done. He connects Jesus with the line of King David and explains the message of salvation.
Then he gives testimony as to how Jesus was treated and how that matches the testimony of the prophets, (Keeping it on topic)
As far as we know, Barnabas and Paul never actually planned to speak, but it was not out of the question. When an opportunity came, Paul took it up and gave a quick yet persuasive commentary to this specific group of Jews.