– 2 weeks ago I preached the beginning of Acts 13, Paul and Barnabas were “separated and sent out” by the Holy Spirit, and “preach the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews.”
– In the verses today, that is exactly what Paul is doing.
– Often when we think of being “sent out” to share the gospel, we picture some far off mission field, but we’re also called to share the gospel in our own backyard. All people need the truth about Jesus.
– You may have heard it said, “The greatest mission field is inside the local church.” Maybe not the “greatest”, but it is vitally important to evangelize those who think they already know the truth too!
– Paul is sharing the Good News about Jesus the Messiah in a Jewish church during their worship service. All of these people know God, and know the scriptures, still Paul is trying to show them what they are not seeing.
- This is what effective evangelism looks like.
– Paul knows his audience. He knows their culture and beliefs, and can speak their language.
– Example: Preaching in Cambodia, Matt 6:26 sermon, used freezing hummingbirds as my example. I should have learned their struggles for provision, their birds, etc… BEFORE I spoke!
– Read Acts 13:14-16. “…Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen.”
– “Synagogue on the Sabbath” is like church on Sunday for us. They read from “the law and prophets” just like we would read scripture from the bible. These are “church people.”
– Paul was trained as a Jewish Pharisee. He knows their traditions and speaks with credibility.
– To establish common ground, Paul shows them how their own history, all points to Jesus.
– Read Acts 13:17-37 (This is long, but listen to his purposeful progression.)
– He starts with Moses, their hero, freeing their ancestors from Egypt, and God sustaining them in the desert. This is a key moment of God saving His people from slavery and death.
– He talks about King David, another hero of theirs, from whom the Messiah would come.
– Verse 23, From this man’s seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior, Jesus.
– Verse 32-33, And we declare to you glad tidings—that promise which was made to the fathers. 33 God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus.
– Many people witnessed his death on the cross, and him raised to life, walking among them.
– By the words of their own prophets, Isaiah and the Psalms, Jesus fulfills the promise of the coming Messiah and Savior of God’s children. They should have seen this coming.
- This is what they are not seeing.
– Acts 13:38-39, Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; 39 and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.
– From the outside they see the Law, but the Law could not save them. Jesus is the life saver inside!
– Matthew 5:17, Jesus said, “Do not think that I came to destroy the Law or the Prophets. I did not come to destroy but to fulfill.”
* EXAMPLE: MCIWS, waterproofing your pack, the key to surviving in the water in full gear.
– You cannot see the difference by looking at the outside of the pack. You must know what is inside. Done wrong and it will drown you (WW2 beach landing). Done correctly and you can float on it like a life preserver.
– They are not seeing that inside that “ruck sack” full of survival supplies, Jesus is the “waterproofing” that makes it life-saving, and keeps it from being a weight that will drown them.
– Matthew 5:20, Jesus also said, “For I say to you, that unless your righteousness exceeds the righteousness of the scribes and Pharisees, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.”
– You are going to have to do more than look like a Christian on the outside. You must have Jesus on the inside!
– Their blind synagogues and our generation’s blind churches are missing the same thing. Jesus!
– The people of that day were going to church, listening to the scriptures, and in fellowship with other “believers”. Some of today’s churches add to that service projects, being an all-inclusive community, and a place to gain self-help strategies for a successful life.
– They are missing that Jesus is the only way of salvation and eternal life. Like John 3:17 says, “Jesus did not come to condemn the world…” Because the world is already condemned!
– They are seeing the outside but neglecting the inside. It’s the difference between sinking and swimming. It’s a life-saver, or a heavy burden strapped to your back that will cause your death.
– The enemy is being successful with a couple strategies that keep people from seeing the truth:
- Redefine what the Bible says and means.
– Someone has a fresh revelation (that no one in the last 2,000 years has figured out.)
– People never “fact check” anything anyways.
– Tell people that the Word is fallible. Humans wrote it so they got some stuff wrong.
– Definition of fallible: It means that something is with error. It descends from the Latin verb “fallere”, which means “to deceive.”
– Some will simply say truth is relative: What is true for you may not be true for me. Believe only the stuff that makes sense to you. Don’t waste time trying to figure out the hard stuff.
– Example: Passing laws in America. We no longer vote on any laws, they are now taken to the Supreme Court to redefine what the current laws really mean. You no longer have a say!
– Prov. 30:5-6, Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him.
6 Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.
– Matthew 7:15-16, “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. 16 You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles?
- Redefine who Jesus is, and why He came.
– There are some large American churches that have said from the pulpit that there is more than one way to heaven, and to disregard the Old Testament, and how can we know absolute truth, etc…
– Jesus being God and the only way of salvation is the foundation of Christianity. If you don’t believe this is true, then by what standard do you consider yourself a Christian?
– If you don’t trust the Bible to define who Jesus really is or why he came, then you are just worshiping a Frankenstein-Jesus of your own creation. You made him of various parts you liked.
– Turning Jesus into just a prophet, or a great teacher who loves you just the way you are, makes him comfortable. A “benevolent wish grantor” will never hold you accountable to your sin. (He can’t be this: He is either liar, lunatic, or Lord.)
– Gal. 1:6-8, I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed.
– The only way to defend against these things is to read your bible.
– If you aren’t reading your bible, it will be difficult to see the fake, because you won’t know what the real looks like.
– Example: spotting counterfeit money. They don’t study the fake money. They focus on knowing what real bills look like, then when the see a fake, is easy to tell.
– It’s is vitally important that the truth is preached, even to those who think they already know it, so they will not live in luke-warm darkness, like E-van-jellyfish. Floating around in the deep, not recognizing that they are drowning.
– 2 Tim 3:16-17, All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
- Don’t sugar coat the truth.
– Acts 13:40-41, Beware therefore, lest what has been spoken in the prophets come upon you: 41 ‘Behold, you despisers, Marvel and perish! For I work a work in your days, A work which you will by no means believe, Though one were to declare it to you.’ ”
– Paul ends here with a warning; there is a consequence for unbelief.
– The world stands condemned to death already. Otherwise why would Jesus need to come at all?
– Hebrews 2:1-3, Therefore we must give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest we drift away. 2 For if the word spoken through angels proved steadfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just reward, 3 how shall we escape if we neglect so great a salvation…
– If Peter, Paul, and Jesus preached the hard stuff, why do we think we must avoid it for people to be saved? People need to hear the whole truth!
– (MCIWS) Sometimes I would have to prove to a Marine that the pack will float, but that was only because they already believed the truth of what would happen if it didn’t.
– Acts 13:42-43, So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. 43 Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.
– They can now see what they previously could not see. Jesus is the Savior.
– Salvation has come to those who thought the already knew what was up.
(Transition to alter call)
– prayer –