Acts 13:14-43 (web)

Antioch Pisidia I

13:14 But they, passing on from Perga, came to Antioch of Pisidia.
They went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and sat down. 
13:15 After the reading of the law and the prophets,
the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying, 
"Brothers, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, speak." 

Paul's Sermon

I. Historical Overview

Genesis to Joshua

13:16 Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, 
"Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen. 
13:17 The God of this people {TR, NU add "Israel"} chose our fathers,
and exalted the people when they stayed as aliens in the land of Egypt,
and with an uplifted arm, he led them out of it. 
13:18 For period of about forty years he put up with them in the wilderness. 
13:19 When he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan,
he gave them their land for an inheritance, for about four hundred fifty years. 

Judges, Prophets and Kings

13:20 After these things he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. 
13:21 Afterward they asked for a king, and God gave to them Saul the son of Kish, 
a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 
13:22 When he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, to whom he also testified,
'I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my heart, who will do all my will.' 

Jesus the Savior

13:23 From this man's seed, God has brought salvation
{TR, NU read "a Savior, Jesus" instead of "salvation"} to Israel according to his promise, 

II. Affirmations

Affirmation of John the Baptist

13:24 before his coming, when John had first preached the baptism of repentance to Israel.
{TR, NU read "to all the people of Israel" instead of "to Israel"} 
13:25 As John was fulfilling his course, he said, 'What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. 
But behold, one comes after me the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.' 
13:26 Brothers, children of the stock of Abraham, and those among you who fear God,
the word of this salvation is sent out to you. 

Affirmation from his Resurrection

13:27 For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers,
because they didn't know him, nor the voices of the prophets which are read every Sabbath,
fulfilled them by condemning him. 
13:28 Though they found no cause for death, they still asked Pilate to have him killed. 
13:29 When they had fulfilled all things that were written about him,
they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a tomb. 
13:30 But God raised him from the dead, 
13:31 and he was seen for many days by those who came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem,
who are his witnesses to the people. 

Affirmation from the Scriptures

13:32 We bring you good news of the promise made to the fathers, 
13:33 that God has fulfilled the same to us, their children, in that he raised up Jesus. 
As it is also written in the second psalm, 
'You are my Son. Today I have become your father.' (Ps 2:7)
13:34 "Concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, 
he has spoken thus: 'I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.'  (Is 55:3)
13:35 Therefore he says also in another psalm, 
'You will not allow your Holy One to see decay.' (Ps 16:10)
13:36 For David, after he had in his own generation served the counsel of God,
fell asleep, and was laid with his fathers, and saw decay. 
13:37 But he whom God raised up saw no decay. 

III. Application

13:38 Be it known to you therefore, brothers,
that through this man is proclaimed to you remission of sins, 
13:39 and by him everyone who believes is justified from all things, 
from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses. 
13:40 Beware therefore, lest that come on you which is spoken in the prophets: 
13:41 'Behold, you scoffers, and wonder, and perish; 
For I work a work in your days, 
A work which you will in no way believe, if one declares it to you.'

Response

13:42 So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, 
the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. 
13:43 Now when the synagogue broke up, 
many of the Jews and of the devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas
who, speaking to them, urged them to continue in the grace of God. 
 

Comments

vs 15 It is unfortunate that churches today seldom practice what synagogues did in allowing strangers to give a message. In most churches today even those who for many years been regular attenders are not allowed to give messages. And in fact today there are few forums in which Christians are allowed or encouraged to carry on discussions even with other Christians over spiritual matters. Most church programs heavily regulate such "sharing" and by doing so quench the spirit. And besides, ordinary Christians are generally meant to feel incapable of exhorting others, being reckon simply stupid sheep incapable of anything but the most menial of tasks.

vs 16 Very significant is the fact that Paul made sure to recognize the God fearing Gentiles present. For I think by now Paul foresaw that they would be his main target in the future.

Paul's Sermon

Paul's sermon is kind of a combination of Peter's sermon of Acts 2 and Stephen's sermon in Acts 7. 

Similarities to Stephen's Sermon:

  • He gives an overview of the history of Israel
  • He ends with an insulting exhortation
Similarities with Peter's Sermon:
  • He affirms the message with the resurrection
  • He even references the same verse Psalm 16:10 that Peter references in his sermon in Acts 2:27, using the same logic and interpretation as Peter did.
  • He also of course speaks of the forgiveness of sins through faith in Christ
I have the impression that Paul was in the process of developing his own style of presentation, but at this stage simply borrowed from the styles of those he highly respected. He no doubt held Stephen in special regards, as he had been present when Stephen had preached to the Council, and had concurred with his being stoned to death. But before his death Stephen asked the Lord to forgive them, and thus Paul was in his debt, and so imitated him to a degree. And I wonder if Paul with his harsh words hoped to provoke the Jews to stone him to death as well. 

Interesting that he doesn't mention the Law or Moses, but he does start off with part of the history recorded in Genesis and Exodus. Notice also that just prior to this there had been readings from the Law and the Prophets. Paul briefly does an overview of the history of Israel and then shows where Christ fits into that history. In this way he tried to introduce Christianity not as a new idea, but as a fulfilment and continuation of God's plan for Isreal, a plan which will soon be revealed as extending to the whole world.

Principle of Evangelism: Try to get them to see that the gospel is consistent with what they perceive about God. (Note also when we come to Acts 17 how Paul changes his style  in which he preaches to the Athenian philosophers so as to accommodate their culture in accordance with this principle)

Affirmations

It is interesting to note that frequently when the gospel is shared in the New Testament that it is not simply a "Four Spiritual Laws" type of presentation in which only God's plan is shared. But rather a significant part of the presentation is often the affirmation of these truths.
Principle of Evangelism: Don't think your job of sharing the gospel is complete if you haven't also included affirmations in your presentation. Don't tell people simply what they should believe. Give people reasons why they should believe it.
vs 24-26 Next he tries to affirm the message first by the testimony of a man well respected in the Jewish community, John the Baptist, who acknowledged Jesus as the Messiah.
 Principle of Evangelism: Affirm the message by sharing testimonies of people they respect. Perhaps some famous historical figures.
vs 27-31 In 1Cor 15:3,4 Paul says, "For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures", and he continues on affirming these facts by witnesses. Here in Acts we see him also mentions these most important facts of Christ's death, burial, and resurrection. It was these things and not simply Christ's teachings which were central to the gospel. Historical events - the miracle of the resurrection - is central to the gospel, and not simply Christ's moral teachings. The prophets predicted Christ's death - such as in Psalm 22 and Isaiah 53
Principle of Evangelism: In your presentation make sure to include the historical facts of Christ's death, burial and resurrection, affirming the resurrection by witnesses.
vs 32-37 Paul next goes to the Word of God to affirm the message. This was particularly potent for the Jews and God fearing Gentiles who held the Scriptures in great regard. 
Principle of Evangelism: Many today respect the Bible, but are ignorant of its content, or the meaning and application of its content. In sharing the message make sure to use the Bible, or to quote from it. For it is written: 
Isaiah 55:10,11 "As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it."

Application

vs 38-41 If there's no application, then there is no relevance to the message. So you gave them all this information. Now what do you want them to do with it? Application is where the rubber meets the road and that's where you run into the most friction. Thus this can be the most difficult and emotionally charged part of the presentation of the gospel, and as such many may try to avoid it. But how to make this appeal? After he presented the gospel it is written of Peter in Acts 2:40 that with many other words he warned them; and he pleaded with them, "Save yourselves from this corrupt generation." But here Paul chose more of Stephen's style, which was more of a warning and rebuke - an attempt to humiliate - rather than an appeal, probably because he preceived these Jews to be at a stage similar to himself when he refused to listened to Stephen in Acts 7, having him stoned to death. What he needed was humilation in order to humble him. And that was the grace given to him when God blinded him and rebuked him. These Jews also needed humilation in order to develop the degree of humility necessary to receive the gospel properly. 

vs 39 This verse implies that there are some sins of which one could be forgiven under the Law of Moses. There are many sins for which the Law of Moses offers no forgiveness. Many of these end in a death penalty or excommunication. The sins that are allowed to be forgiven under the Law of Moses are namely those committed unintentionally or in ignorance. These are of course very limited. Today many don't even consider such things to be sinful. Furthermore the Law doesn't deal with every kind of sin. Thus one has little hope of being justified under the Law of Moses. 
 




The Berean Christian Bible Study Resources Jul 29,2015