Year 2 Day 22
Read - Acts 13v44-52
Message - Scott Woodburn
As a preacher when you are invited back to speak it is a tremendous encouragement and so Paul and Barnabas accepted the invitation to preach again on the next Sabbath day. Amazingly, this time round, almost the whole city gathered to hear Paul preach (v44). Unfortunately this news didn't go down too well with everyone. Out of jealously many Jews began to contradict Paul's preaching and to verbally abuse him (v45).
Paul's response to their antics is powerful. He tells his critics that the Gospel came to them first as "was necessary" (v46a). God had not forgotten the Jewish people. Christ came first to the Jew and so the Gospel was preached among the Jews before it went anywhere else. But the Jews have forcefully pushed the Gospel aside and therefore they have deemed themselves unworthy of salvation. So the Gospel will now go to the Gentiles. The Lord has set Paul apart for this work and Isaiah 49v6 (v47) is fulfilled. Salvation will be brought to the ends of the earth.
The Gentiles rejoice at this news and as many who were appointed to salvation believed (v48). Indeed the Word continued to spread throughout the region (v49) causing great joy among the disciples (v52). The Jews however stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas which resulted in them being driven out of the district (v50). The men respond by shaking the dust off their feet (v51).
What did Paul and Barnabas mean by such an action? To shake the dust off your feet was a sign of judgement. Paul was saying to his critics that no trace of his ministry would be left, even the dust from his feet would be left behind. The Apostle was signifying that his critics had heard the Gospel, they had rejected the Gospel and the responsibility for their condemnation was their own. It has always been this way. To some the Gospel is the sweetest of honey upon the lips. To others it is disgusting, an offense, a disgrace.
It is imperative that we listen well to the Gospel. To repent and believe the Gospel is the required response which will see you rejoice in the heavenly courts for eternity. To hear it and reject it will see you damned to the horrors of hell. So one and all...hear this...Christ died for sin and was raised again to life for our justification. Here is the Gospel. Heed it and believe it, lest you too find yourself with nothing but dust.
Q35 What is sanctification? Sanctification is the work of God’s free grace, whereby we are renewed in the whole man after the image of God, and are enabled more and more to die unto sin, and live unto righteousness.