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Paul’s Preaching: The Promise of Christ, Part I (Acts 13:13-23)

November 6, 2014

Reflecting on the Passage:

Here at East Point Church, we have begun a new sermon series entitled “Acts: The Spirit and the Church in the World“. This week’s sermon unfolds with the testimony of God’s faithfulness throughout history. Pastor Carter exhorts with the goodness of God to His chosen people and the assurance that God’s faithfulness is rooted in His unchangeableness. The focus of this sermon is on the first record of Paul preaching the Gospel, which is the power, patience, provision and promise of God.

The Gospel: The Power of God

After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent a message to them, saying, Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, say it. So Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said: Men of Israel and you who fear God, listen. The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it (Acts 13:15-17;ESV).

Paul realized that the Gospel is the power of God (Romans 1:16-17). He demonstrates this by showing those who were present in the synagogue that the Old Testament vividly displays the power of God throughout the life of His people and His world. More specifically, Pastor Carter describes two important inherent attributes in the power of God. First, the power of God is His ability to choose whenever and whoever, unmoved by any external elements, as He pleases (Deuteronomy 7:6-7; Romans 9:14-23). Secondly, the power of God is His ability change whatever or whomever He chooses, whether that is darkness to light or sinner into the image of Christ (1 Corinthians 15:51-52; 2 Corinthians 3:18).

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The Gospel: The Patience of God

And for about forty years he put up with them in the wilderness (Acts 13:18; ESV).”

The power of God is magnified by the patience of God. Paul reminds his audience that God put up with Israel in the wilderness for forty years (Psalm 95:7-11). Even in their waywardness, He did not abandon them (Deuteronomy 1:31). Why is He so patience even with a stubborn and sinful people? For He is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, and kind to the ungrateful and evil (Exodus 34:6; Luke 6:35).

The Gospel: The Provision of God

And after destroying seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance. All this took about 450 years. And after that he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years (Acts 13:19-21; ESV).”

Subsequently, the patience of God should lead to the realization of His goodness and provision. He not only puts up with His people, but the amazing thing is He graciously gives them gifts that they do not deserve (Matthew 6:25-34; Luke 12:22-34). He gave them land as an inheritance, which was necessary for them to become a people among other nations. He also gave them godly leaders as measure of His grace to lead His people in the ways of God. Nonetheless, the Gospel is not just about God giving land or godly leaders, it is ultimately about Him giving Himself as a loving Savior in the Person of Jesus Christ (John 3:16-21).

The Gospel: The Promise of God

And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will. Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised (Acts 13:22-23; ESV).”

Above all, God is a promise keeper. When God gave them David, He did not just simply provide them a king, He was keeping His promise to His people. Pastor Carter cheerfully proclaims that the promise of God is summed up in five words, “I will be with you” (Genesis 26:24). Scripture testifies that David was a man after God’s own heart, that is, a man who is going to represent God to the people and remind the people that God’s promises are true (1 Samuel 13:14). However, the Jews looked to David as the king, but Paul insists that they look through David to see Jesus – the Son of David, Emmanuel – once again fulfilling the promise that God made to His people (Matthew 1:1, 23).

Do you see clearly the goodness of God?

Think for a moment, the Lord God Almighty brings forth that which is not, He breathes life into the nostrils of one and by the breath of His nostrils He consumes the other (Genesis 2:7; Job 4:9). The Gospel is God giving to us what we need most, namely, Himself in Christ with the promise of salvation, forgiveness and eternal life. God gives because God is good and does good (Romans 2:4).

This is so important, that primary on Satan’s agenda for God’s people, is to get them to believe that God is not good. For this reason, we need the Gospel to remind us that in the midst of whatever is happening, God is good. In the midst of the sacrifice of Christ upon the cross, Him taking our pain and bearing our shame, and His suffering allows us to bear fruit unto salvation and in the end joyfully say, “God is good” (2 Corinthians 4:13-18)!

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John Griffin, Drummer, at Saturday Morning Rehearsal. ©Photo Courtesy of Lee Fowler

Moment of Reflection

This weekend our dear brother and friend, John Griffin, was called into the Presence of Jesus Christ to enjoy Him for all eternity. Although we are weeping the loss of our brother, we acknowledge that the Lord does good, for He is good even in our afflictions, working all things together for His glory and our good (Psalm 119:68; Romans 8:28). Therefore, since we have a hope that surpasses this world, we can comfort one another and make melody in our hearts to the Lord as the day draws near when we too shall be welcomed in His Presence where there is fullness of joy (Psalm 16:11; Ephesians 5:19; 1 Thessalonians 4:14-18).

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too (2 Corinthians 1:3-4).

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free.

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