Paul's First Missionary Journey
Comments for Study 15
Memory Verse: 11
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I. On Cyprus (1-12)
>1. How is the Antioch church (congregation) described? (13:1-2, 6:5, 11:19-27)
* Acts 13:1-2 "In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch) and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them."
* Note: the first three verses are also a part of Study 13. The notes below are a copy of that study comments.
* "Barnabas" -Recognized first and is thus considered the pastor of the congregation. He is a Jew from the tribe of Levi from the island of Cyprus. He is considered older than the rest and perhaps much of what Paul wrote in his letters was perhaps learned from Barnabas or at least agreed upon by him.
* "Simeon called Niger" -Simeon is a Jewish name. Niger is Latin for black.
* "Lucius of Cyrene" -Lucius is a Latin name. Cyrene is the capital of Libya.
* "Manaen..." -In Hebrew its Menahem. He is believed to be the foster brother of Herod Antipas. Herod was not a Jew. He must have been the source of some of the information about Herod.
* "Saul" -Listed last and considered the least important at this time in church history. He is not recognized as Paul until for the first time later in the chapter. (13:9)
* Antioch contained many leaders, able Bible teachers.
* None of the twelve apostles are mentioned. This can be considered the second and third generation of believers.
* The Antioch congregation was a cosmopolitan. Leaders were from all different parts or the world where the gospel was being preached.
* Earlier Luke said there were many. These are the only ones listed at this time.
* They loved the Lord and worshiped him. They were devoted to him.
* They were a praying congregation. Prayer is two way communication with God.
* They were a fasting congregation. Fasting focuses ones thoughts on God.
* They worked together.
* They studied God's word, they did not rely on new prophecy by itself. Jesus is the same yesterday, today and forever. They checked with what the word says too.
* "the Holy Spirit said" -The name of the prophet is not even mentioned.
* "Set apart for me" -Not for the church or anybody else.
* "Barnabas" -If he was indeed the pastor then he was sent off.
* "Saul" -God had plans for Saul, the least teacher in the church. Jesus told of this plan at his conversion eleven years earlier. Acts 9:15-16 records Jesus saying, "Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name."
* "for the work" -We all are assigned work for the Lord. Jesus taught, "For the kingdom of heaven is like a landowner who went out early in the morning to hire men to work in his vineyard." (Matt. 20:1)
* "I have called them" -Not the church or the church leadership.
* Their work and sending was God's leading not man's. They were sanctified by God.
* They obeyed God.
* Everyone knew and consenting that this was from God.
>What's the difference between a prophet and a teacher?
* "Prophets and teachers" -See notes above. For prophets see Duet. 18:18-20; and 2 Peter 1:21, 2:17-18; and 1 Cor. 12:29-32, 14:29-32, Eph. 2:20, 3:5; 4:11; Luke 11:49, Rom. 12:6; and 1 Cor. 12:10. For teachers see Acts 11:26, 15:35, 18:11, 20:20, 28:31; and 1 Cor. 12:28-29; Eph. 4:11.
* "Prophets" -The special gift of inspiration as well as teaching. The prophets are second to the apostles who also display the gifts of prophecy, teaching, miracles, and wonders.
* "Teachers" -Dispenses information that they have learned from others and their own investigations.
>What were they doing?
* Acts 13:3 "So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off."
* "fasted and prayed" -The two always go together. Fasting denies the flesh and concentrates our spirit on God, especially the Holy Spirit's leading. Richard J. Foster wrote in Celebration of Discipline "We simply do not know how to go about exploring the inward life. this has not always been true. In the first century and earlier, it was not necessary to give instruction on how to 'do' the Disciplines of the spiritual life. The Bible called people to such Disciplines as fasting, prayer, worship, and celebration but gave almost no instruction about how to do them. The reason for this is easy to see. Those Disciplines were so frequently practiced and such a part of the general culture that the 'how to' was common knowledge. Fasting, for example, was so common that no one had to ask what to eat before a fast, or how to break a fast, or how to avoid dizziness while fasting - everyone already knew... Prayer catapults us onto the frontier of the spiritual life. Of all the Spiritual disciplines prayer is the most central because it ushers us into perpetual communion with the Father. Meditation introduces us to the inner life, fasting is an accompanying means, study transforms our minds, but it is the Discipline of prayer that brings us into the deepest and highest work of the human spirit. Real prayer is life creating and life changing." Please read this book for more on fasting and prayer.
* "they placed their hands on them" -Not to receive the Holy Spirit because they already had that. Not to be chosen for the Holy Spirit already chose them. Only to be officially recognized. Barnabas and Paul recognized the church and the church recognized their call.
* "sent them off" -A congregation should be ready to let anyone go if God calls them.
>Who spoke to them? Does the Holy Spirit still speak to his people?
* "the Holy Spirit said" -The Holy Spirit spoke through a person. Although God the Father has spoken directly, the Holy Spirit speaks through people.
* The Holy Spirit still speaks through his people. Everyone who witnesses about Jesus and teaches the word of God can be speaking through the Holy Spirit.
* The Holy Spirit can speak through anyone, though commonly he speaks through those who know the word of God, pray, and fast.
* The International Bible Commentary states, "The first missionary journey is the beginning of a systematic apostolic work among the nations, which determines the fulfilment of the last stage of the over-all plan... Paul was the great missionary strategist, to whom God commended His plan for heralding the kerygma to the Gentiles. He saw the need of establishing centres of witness in busy ports and other centers of communication, counting on the gifts that the Holy Spirit would raise up in the new churches -not only for the edification of the believers, but also for the extension of the gospel in surrounding areas. The early visits to local synagogues did more than comply with the established order 'to the Jew first', for they also provided a nucleus of pious converts in each place, already instructed in the Old Testament scriptures. The help of various colleagues made it possible to confirm new churches by visits, and Paul's Letters were also written with this end in view. But Paul never settled permanently in any one area, understanding that God had commissioned him as a spiritual pioneer. By such means a vast area was evangelized, stretching from Palestine to the Adriatic, in little more than a decade, c. A.D. 45-57. (Rom. 15:17-21)"
>2. Where did they go?
* Acts 13:4 "The two of them, sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus."
* "the two of them" -Jesus sent his disciples two-by-two more than once. (Matt. 10:29, Luke 10:1)
* "sent on their way by the Holy Spirit" -again, God's Spirit sends his people.
* "Seleucia" -Antioch's seaport. Antioch was ten miles (16km) inland.
* "Cyprus" -The gospel had been preached there as long as it had at Antioch. A congregation was located there as well as many Jews.
>Why there? (4:36, 11:19-20)
* Acts 4:36 "Joseph, a Levite from Cyprus, whom the apostles called Barnabas (which means Son of Encouragement),"
* Acts 11:19-20 "Now those who had been scattered by the persecution in connection with Stephen traveled as far as Phoenicia, Cyprus and Antioch, telling the message only to Jews. Some of them, however, men from Cyprus and Cyrene, went to Antioch and began to speak to Greeks also, telling them the good news about the Lord Jesus."
* Several reasons:
1) Communication between the churches
2) Barnabas wanted to visit family who were probably believers too
3) To ask if they would support their mission trip
4) To see if any from their congregation had went to where they were going
5) To learn more about the territory that lay ahead including where Jewish synagogues might be
>When they got there what did they do?
* Acts 13:5 "When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper."
* "Salamis" -an town on the east coast of the central plain of the island Cyprus.
* "they proclaimed the word of God" -A missionaries focus in proclaiming the word of God. since Jesus told all his people to go into the world we are to do the same. To proclaim the word of God we need to study it, praying for inspiration.
* "in Jewish synagogues" -Paul almost always when he went to a new town started the proclaim the world of God in Jewish synagogues for several reasons:
1) Jesus instructed the apostles to go to the house of Israel first
2) The synagogue was a local meeting house for Jews, meeting every Saturday (Sabbath)
3) The synagogue was the place to pray and study God's word as a congregation
4) They would be welcomed most amongst their "brothers"
5) These Jews, if accepting their message, could tell their neighbors, friends, and acquaintances
* "John was with them" -John is also called Mark, the author of the gospel and perhaps Luke's friend. John is his Jewish name and Mark is his Gentile (Roman) name. Acts 12:12 records Peter going to his mother's house after the angel let him out of prison. It says, "to the house of Mary the mother of John, also called Mark." Acts 2:12 states after Jesus' ascension the disciples had stayed in an upper room, the same one the Last Supper was in. (Luke 22:9-12) Most scholars believe that this was the home of Mark John's mother too. They must have been wealthy for it had a large upper room and a courtyard (see previous study). They also had at least one servant girl (see previous study). Mark 14:51-52 mentions a young man in the Mount of Olives when Jesus was arrested, unique to Mark's gospel. This seems to have little to do with the account except that this young man was a witness. Colossians 4:10 states that Mark was the cousin of Barnabas, who sold his field which it seems was worth a lot. (4:37) Mark and Barnabas must have been from wealthy families. Mark grew up in a comfortable world.
* "as their helper" -He took care of practical things as well as helping the new converts. Also, he would learn from them, similar to what Jesus did when he called people to be his disciples.
>What does this show us about the relationship between the early churches?
* The common goal that Jesus set, the Holy Spirit, and love bound them.
>3. Who did they meet? (6-8)
* Acts 13:6-8 "They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith."
* "they traveled through the whole island until" -It appears that they did not stop at any other place or that their ministry on the island bore no fruit worth noting. The distance between the two towns was one hundred miles (150km).
* "Paphos" -Paphos is on the western coast of the island Cyprus.
* "Jewish sorcerer and false prophet" -Sorcery is an attempt to contact supernatural powers to determine answers to questions hidden to humans and usually involving the future. Their words do not come from God, but from Satan and his fallen angels who want to keep people from God and the truth. There are still Jewish sorcerers. Christianity also has had many people who profess to give God's words, but do not. Deuteronomy 13:1-3 states, "If a prophet, or one who foretells by dreams, appears among you and announces to you a miraculous sign or wonder, and if the sign or wonder of which he has spoken takes place, and he says, "Let us follow other gods" (gods you have not known) "and let us worship them," you must not listen to the words of that prophet or dreamer. The Lord your God is testing you to find out whether you love him with all your heart and with all your soul." And Deuteronomy 18:21-22 states, "You may say to yourselves, "How can we know when a message has not been spoken by the Lord?" If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the Lord does not take place or come true, that is a message the Lord has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously. Do not be afraid of him."
* "Bar-Jesus" -Bar is Aramaic for "son of" and Jesus is a Greek form of Joshua. It is possible that this man claimed to be a prophet of the Messiah Jesus.
* "an attendant of the proconsul" -A proconsul is a Roman governor. Rulers and leaders often bring people around them to give them advice. Often they end up with demonic advice.
* "sent for Barnabas and Saul" -Word of their ministry must have spread.
* "he wanted to hear the word of God" -The proconsul had heard the false prophets words before and must have considered them to be from god. Now he hears of two other people claiming to give the word of God. The proconsul must have been a truth seeker.
>What did he do? (8)
* "opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith." -The false prophet knew that if the proconsul accepted the truth his position and pay would go away. You can tell who is a false prophet when his wallet is in danger. False prophets do not show faith in God's love and so they are afraid for their well being.
>What did Saul say to him?
* Acts 13:9-11a "Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, "You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun."
* "Saul, who was also called Paul" -Saul is Hebrew and Paul is Greek. Some say his named changed his name because of the proconsul's name, though most likely he just wanted to more acceptable to the Greeks that he was ministering to. Wisdom is found when missionaries adapt the culture and language of those they are ministering to.
* "looked straight at Elymas" -Paul was bold. He was not afraid of the false prophet because the Holy Spirit was with Paul. Paul was not concerned about the demons because Paul had the Holy Spirit in him. Paul wrote, "He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world."
* "child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right" -Sadly, some today would say that this would be a compliment to them. Peter wrote, "First of all, you must understand that in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, "Where is this 'coming' he promised? Ever since our fathers died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation." (2 Peter 3:3-4) Jude wrote, "They said to you, "In the last times there will be scoffers who will follow their own ungodly desires." These are the men who divide you, who follow mere natural instincts and do not have the Spirit." (Jude 1:18-19)
* "full of all kinds of deceit and trickery" -The definition of sorcery and magic.
* "perverting the right ways of the Lord" -Some who claim to be of God, who preach a message, who say they teach from the Bible, who pretend to be full of the Spirit are just like Bar-Jesus. Bar-Jesus is a type of antichrist; that is against Jesus Christ.
* "blind" -He was spiritually blind, and now he would be physically blind.
>What does this tell us about what happens when we do the work of preaching the gospel?
* Among those who come against the disciples of Jesus are people who seem creditable to other people, but are in fact secretly and subversively do evil. They may be convinced they are right, sincere in what they preach. Yet they are of the devil. The devil can appear as an angel of light and a handsome well dressed man while the man of God is dressed like John the Baptist.
* Jesus taught, "Watch out that no one deceives you. For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Christ,' and will deceive many." (Matt. 24:4-5)
* Jesus taught, "At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people." (Matt. 24:10-11)
* Jesus taught, "For false Christs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and miracles to deceive even the elect--if that were possible. See, I have told you ahead of time." (Matt. 24:24-25)
* Jesus taught, "All men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved." (Mark 13:13)
>4. What was the result? (7, 12)
* Acts 11b-12 "Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord."
* "When the proconsul" -This happened in the court of the Roman governor, many witnessed it.
* "he believed" -The word of God that Paul and Barnabas spoke. He believed that Jesus was the Messiah.
* "teaching about the Lord" -The word of God taught by Paul and Barnabas is what the proconsul believed.
* Why doesn't this kind of miracle happen? The New Testament was not written yet. Paul and Barnabas could only quote from the Old Testament, something Bar-Jesus could do to. This miracle was given as a testimony that the Jesus what Paul proclaimed was the true word of God. As we get closer to the end, this type of God's stamp of approval is happening more often. Yet a time is coming, "He who has an ear, let him hear. If anyone is to go into captivity, into captivity he will go. If anyone is to be killed with the sword, with the sword he will be killed. This calls for patient endurance and faithfulness on the part of the saints." (Rev. 13:9-10)
II. Paul Preaches About Jesus In Pisidian Antioch (13-41)
>5. Who left? (5, 13)
* Acts 13:13 "From Paphos, Paul and his companions sailed to Perga in Pamphylia, where John left them to return to Jerusalem."
* "Perga in Pamphylia" -Perga was the capital of Pamphylia. It was a seaport a few miles inland.
* "John left them the return to Jerusalem" -John Mark went home.
* Acts 15:37-38 "Barnabas wanted to take John, also called Mark, with them, but Paul did not think it wise to take him, because he had deserted them in Pamphylia and had not continued with them in the work."
* Mark deserted them. His leaving was not on advice of his leaders, Paul and Barnabas.
>What does this tell us about living for Jesus and the gospel work he has called us to?
* As noted in part one and earlier Acts studies, Mark was from a well to do Jewish family. Life on the road was not easy for the young man (perhaps in his early twenties). Traveling was always been hard on a person, especially in those days. The food and accommodations were always very crude, and they were always on the move. The two sea trips were his first. They were no pleasure cruse; the vessels were small, cramped with cargo and superstitious often crude men. Mark was not use to the rugged life.
* The incident with Bar-Jesus might have startled Mark. Mark was use to seeing Christians being jailed, beaten and even killed. He was witness to Jesus' arrest and crucifixion. Now the power of God is displayed in a way that he was not use to. On the road, the power of God protected the witness of God's people. Something new to Mark.
* In Jerusalem Mark was surrounded by the apostles. They were always there to comfort and direct the flock. Now, there was only three of them. Mark must have felt vulnerable and exposed. It is even possible that he didn't have clear enough discernment to realize how much in error Bar-Jesus was.
* The apparent change in leadership from Barnabas, his uncle to Paul was probably a bit of a shock to Mark too. From now on Paul's name is listed before Barnabas.
* Mark's life should be a comfort to us. He witnesses so much and was willing to venture on a mission journey only to leave early. Yet later Paul asked for him and he was used by God to write one of the four gospels. Our failure to complete a task that we are called to is not the end of our walk with Jesus. Our failures are used by Jesus to help a realize ourselves so that we can change. Jesus does not throw away anyone just because he fails. Rather, Jesus excels at using the weak, cleansing the dirty, perfecting the imperfect, and using mud to make great works of art. Jeremiah 18:1-4 states, "This is the word that came to Jeremiah from the Lord: "Go down to the potter's house, and there I will give you my message." So I went down to the potter's house, and I saw him working at the wheel. But the pot he was shaping from the clay was marred in his hands; so the potter formed it into another pot, shaping it as seemed best to him." And Isaiah 64:8 states, "Yet, O Lord, you are our Father. We are the clay, you are the potter; we are all the work of your hand." And Isaiah 45:9-12 states, "Woe to him who quarrels with his Maker, to him who is but a potsherd among the potsherds on the ground. Does the clay say to the potter, 'What are you making?' Does your work say, 'He has no hands'? Woe to him who says to his father, 'What have you begotten?' or to his mother, 'What have you brought to birth?' "This is what the Lord says-- the Holy One of Israel, and its Maker: Concerning things to come, do you question me about my children, or give me orders about the work of my hands? It is I who made the earth and created mankind upon it. My own hands stretched out the heavens; I marshalled their starry hosts."
>6. What did they do on the Sabbath?
* Acts 13:14 "From Perga they went on to Pisidian Antioch. On the Sabbath they entered the synagogue and sat down."
* "Pisidian Antioch" -Pisidian was a small coastal mountainous Roman providence in Asia Minor, south central modern day Turkey. Antioch was a main city around seventy miles (100km) north of Perga. A 3,600 foot (1,100m) mountain separated the two.
* "sat down" -They did not presume to be to be the speaker. However, since it was custom for out of city guests, especially those from Jerusalem to be asked to give the news Paul and Barnabas could expect to be asked to say something. Up until modern news wires and newspapers churches and synagogues were the source of news.
>What day of the week was this in our calendar? See what Paul wrote to the Roman belivers in Romans 14:5-8.
* Romans 14:5-8 "One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. He who regards one day as special, does so to the Lord. He who eats meat, eats to the Lord, for he gives thanks to God; and he who abstains, does so to the Lord and gives thanks to God. For none of us lives to himself alone and none of us dies to himself alone. If we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord."
* The Sabbath is the day of rest as given to Israel from the LORD through Moses. (Ex. 16:23-26, 20:8-11, 23:10-13, 31:12-18, 35:1-3; Lev. 23:3, 25:1-7, Num. 28:9-10; Duet. 5:12-15) The Sabbath day they were forbidden to work.
* The Sabbath is the modern Gregorian calendar day of Saturday, the last day of the seven day week.
* The Sabbath was given before the tabernacle and the temple. Jesus taught that the Sabbath was made for man and not man for the Sabbath. The Sabbath was a day for man to rest and reflect on God, his word and work. The Sabbath was a time to gather together and praise and worship God as a corporate group of believers. Even after the temple was built Jews who could not travel to Jerusalem established local congregations (synagogues) where they meet together to observe the Sabbath.
* After the exile the Pharisees added to the original law of the Sabbath. By the time of Jesus they had a long list of do and do not do for the Sabbath including; distance to walk, carrying a mat, doing miracles, etc.
* After the exile more and more traditions were added to the Sabbath. The religious leaders did not consider these things laws, they were just things that people did as custom and habits. After the temple was destroyed many more customs and habits were created. The Sabbath was very drenched in Jewish culture.
* As the gospels began to spread to the Gentiles in Antioch and now on Paul's missionary journeys, the new believers started to create customs of their own, especially in light of Jesus' changes to Passover. Many Gentiles did not want to give up their culture for the Jewish culture. Changes and compromises were made to the Sabbath as the gospel spread including the day to Sunday, the first day of the week (by Constantine I). Then as generations went by; new cultures and traditions were made by the next generation, old practices were done away with and new one adapted. Through the years much of the Sabbath's purposes has been lost, regained, and then lost again. Loving and joyful fellowship, sincere prayer, the reading of the word of God, music and singing in worship and praise, and even a short message seem to be the constant elements of the Sabbath through the years, generations, and cultures. Paul's advice in Romans is wise.
* Jesus is the Lord of the Sabbath. (Matt. 12:3-8)
>How is the keeping of the Sabbath described? (15)
* Acts 13:15 "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."
* "message of encouragement for the people" -specific direction on what they were to day by this synagogue's rulers.
>Who were in the room? (16)
* Acts 13:16 "Standing up, Paul motioned with his hand and said: "Men of Israel and you Gentiles who worship God, listen to me!"
* "Standing up, Paul" -Paul is again shown as the leader, not Barnabas. This is the longest recorded message of Paul. Paul's message is similar to Stephen's.
* "motioned with his hand" -Using the hands while speaking adds to the message.
* "Men of Israel" -By this time only the tribes of Judah, Levi, Benjamin, and perhaps Simeon were known to have traced their roots to their tribal ancestors in an acceptable form to join a Jewish synagogue and be considered of Israel.
* "Gentiles who worship God" -People who did not meet the above requirement. They could attend a synagogue and even join one. However, they were given second class membership.
* "listen to me!" Paul had to shout to get their complete attention.
>7. What do you know about the beginning of God's working with Israel? (17-23, 36-37)
* Acts 13:17-23 "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. Then the people asked for a king, and he gave them Saul son of Kish, of the tribe of Benjamin, who ruled forty years. After removing Saul, he made David their king. He testified concerning him: 'I have found David son of Jesse a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.' "From this man's descendants God has brought to Israel the Savior Jesus, as he promised.
* Acts 13:36-37 "For when David had served God's purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep; he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed. But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay."
* Paul stated for the forming of the nation, God's leading out of Egypt. Stephen went back to Abraham and then came to the forming of the nation.
* Paul quickly moves through the time from Joshua to King David.
* Paul stops at David to bring up God's promise to David, which was fulfilled in Jesus. (Luke 1:26-33)
* Jesus had used God's word concerning David to prove that he was the Messiah too. (Matt. 22:21-45; Mark 12:35-40)
* Matthew started his gospel with a genealogy from David to prove Jesus is the Messiah.
* Every Jew knew that the Messiah would be from David's line. (Matt. 9:27, 12:23, 15:22, 20:30, 21:9, 15; John 7:42)
>What other proof did Paul give? (24-25)
* Acts 13:24-25 "Before the coming of Jesus, John preached repentance and baptism to all the people of Israel. As John was completing his work, he said: 'Who do you think I am? I am not that one. No, but he is coming after me, whose sandals I am not worthy to untie.'"
* Paul also brought up the ministry of John the Baptist. News of John's ministry had spread far. Many would have heard of John well beyond Judea. (18:25)
>What word of God also testifies about Jesus?
* Acts 13:26-34 "Brothers, children of Abraham, and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent. The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus, yet in condemning him they fulfilled the words of the prophets that are read every Sabbath. hough they found no proper ground for a death sentence, they asked Pilate to have him executed. hen they had carried out all that was written about him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. ut God raised him from the dead, and for many days he was seen by those who had traveled with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to our people. We tell you the good news: What God promised our fathers e has fulfilled for us, their children, by raising up Jesus. As it is written in the second Psalm: "'You are my Son; today I have become your Father'. The fact that God raised him from the dead, never to decay, is stated in these words: "'I will give you the holy and sure blessings promised to David.'"
* "The people of Jerusalem and their rulers did not recognize Jesus" -Jesus is waiting for the day that they do recognize him and call for him to be their king. When that happens, and it will be soon, Jesus will come again.
* "did not recognize Jesus" -Paul states two reasons; first, they refused to recognize Jesus as the Messiah, and second they did not correctly understand what the Scriptures said about the Messiah.
* "fulfilled the words of the prophets" -The Old Testament foretells of Jesus. Jesus is the center of all the prophets.
* "they found no proper ground for a death sentence" -Paul himself could testify for though he wasn't there (as he here confirms) he came to know those who did this.
* "But God raised him from the death" -The resurrection of Jesus is mentioned in every message in this book so far.
* "We tell you the good news" -Paul just gave the gospel in full. The gospel is a simple and powerful message.
>What is so special about Jesus? (38-39)
* Acts 13:38-39 "Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through him everyone who believes is justified from everything you could not be justified from by the law of Moses."
* "forgiveness of sins" -With sins removed we are pure, and therefore we can go to heaven, where the pure God's dwells. Because Jesus made us holy we are a part of the kingdom of God.
* "Through him everyone who believes" -See Eph. 2:11-3:11 and Col. 1:25-27.
* "is justified from everything" -Just as if we had not sinned.
* "you could not be justified by the law of Moses" -Paul's statement would have been a shocker to the Jews, especially any Pharisees and teachers of the law.
* Paul, Peter, and Stephen's message make it very clear that everything that happened to Jesus through the hands of the Jewish religious leadership and Roman law was to fulfill God's will.
>What happens if we rely on the Law and not Jesus for salvation? (40-41)
* Acts 13:40-41 "Take care that what the prophets have said does not happen to you: 'Look, you scoffers, wonder and perish, for I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe, even if someone told you.'"
* Paul quoted Hab. 1:5. Originally it was for the sinner in the prophets day seeing the ills of the Babylonian invasions. However, the full and deeper meaning refers to rejection of the Messiah, the fulfillment of the word of God.
* "wonder and perish" -Rejecting Jesus as God's chosen Messiah and Lord of all will lead to a person perishing. "Perish" is "aphanizo" in Greek meaning corrupt, vanish away, and disfigure; a rotting corpse comes to mind.
* The option set before them is no different than us today. We either accept Jesus and live, or reject him and perish.
III. Paul's Gospel Mission (42-52)
>8. What was the immediate result of Paul's message? (42-43)
* Acts 13:42-43 "As Paul and Barnabas were leaving the synagogue, the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath. When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God."
* "As Paul and Barnabas were leaving" -Paul's message was short and to the point.
* "the people invited them to speak further about these things on the next Sabbath" -The average attender liked what was said. They accepted it.
* "many of the Jews and devout converts" -Again the average person accepted the message and was eager for more.
* "urged them to continue" -They felt very strongly about this.
>What happened the next Sabbath?
* Acts 13:44-45 "On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and talked abusively against what Paul was saying."
* "On the next Sabbath" -What Paul and Barnabas did all week is not make known. However, the ending of the previous verse indicated that they may have taught some more.
* "almost the whoe city gathered" -I do not know how large the city was, but it had to be more than the synagogue could hold.
>Why would the Jews there be jealous of other Jew's successful ministry?
* "When the Jews" -They synagogue leaders. Both the gospels and acts point to the fact that leaders of people are the ones who reject Jesus as the Messiah.
* "saw the crowds" -Leaders love people's adoration and the power over them it brings. Leaders of politics, business, and religion becomes a magnet to the selfish and weak minded. As the saying goes, "Power corrupts; absolute power corrupts absolutely."
* "filled with jealousy" -They wanted the attention of others. Man is a social being seeking love of others. Since true love is found only in God who is pure and not in mankind who is in need of redemption, admiration becomes the substitution for love.
>What were they afraid of? Why?
* Acts 13:49 "The word of the Lord spread through the whole region."
* "against what Paul was saying" -They feared rightly so because of what they now saw in the crowds great groups of people leaving them and going to leadership from someone else.
* Most leaders desire admiration. Fallen man's desire is to have their self doubts and hidden guilt retorted by other people adoration. Paul wrote, "For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths." (2 Tim. 4:3-4)
>9. What was Paul and Barnabas' response to their fellow Jews' rejection?
* Acts 13:46-47 "Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: "We had to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us: "'I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.'"
* "answered them boldly" -If Paul and Barnabas said anything to the crowd it is not recorded. Instead, they addressed the leaders unkind words.
* "we had to speak to you first" -Jesus said to go to the Jews first because of their ancestors and because of the time I now live in. The modern Jew can not say, "God did not come to us with the news of the freedom in Christ first." And, "God did not keep his promise to our ancestors."
* "to the Gentiles" -In this town. Elsewhere Paul could go to the synagogue first too.
* "to the ends of the earth" -completed in my lifetime.
>Why did the Lord command this?
* Acts 13:51 "So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium."
* Matthew 10:14-16 records Jesus saying, "If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, shake the dust off your feet when you leave that home or town. I tell you the truth, it will be more bearable for Sodom and Gomorrah on the day of judgment than for that town. I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves."
* "Iconium" -City of Asia Minor. Its location is that of the modern Turkish provincial capital Konya. Iconium was mentioned for the first time in the fourth century B.C. by the historian Xenophon. In New Testament times it was considered to be a part of the Roman province of Galatia. Evidently it has had a continuous existence since its founding. (Holman Bible Dictionary)
>10. Who believed and who did not?
* Acts 13:48-50 "When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the word of the Lord; and all who were appointed for eternal life believed. The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. But the Jews incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region."
* The Gentiles and a few common Jews believed.
* Most of the Jews and Jewish leaders did not believe.
* "all who were appointed" -God's sovereign election.
* "incited" -Changed their points of view.
* "the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city" -Gentile political leaders.
* "persecution" -details are not given though below Paul is quoted from 2 Timothy as calling it great.
>What did each do?
* Acts 13:52 "And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit."
* The response is the same as when Peter and John were persecuted.
>How is this still a mark of the gospel work, especially in these last days of the age of preaching of the gospel?
* Paul later told Timothy, "You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings--what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived." (2 Tim. 3:10-13)
>Pray that the Holy Spirit may reveal to you the source of this jealousy and the way it will end.
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