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Paul’s Preaching: The Promise of Christ, Part II (Acts 13:24-52)

November 12, 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 affirms that when the Gospel is preached rightly, there will be rejection and rejoicing. Pastor Duncanson explains that the goal of every preacher should be to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The focus of this sermon is on the reality of the Gospel message, which is the Death of Christ, the Resurrection of Christ and the Return of Christ.

The Gospel: The Death of Christ

Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation. For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him. And though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed (Acts 13:26-28;ESV).

In this account, Paul is no longer talking about past time events, he brings the Gospel home to his present hearers. Paul’s listeners were well versed in all of the Scriptures, yet he exposes them to their ignorance and blindness in condemning their Savior. They missed Him, their True King, Jesus the Christ by leaning on their own understanding rather than acknowledging the One whom God sent (Proverbs 3:5-7). However, God’s plan was for Jesus to be a suffering, servant King, who would lay His life down for the sins of His people, even though He stood faultless before God and man (Isaiah 48:12-22, 49:1-7, 52:13-15, 53; Matthew 16:21, 26:10-13; John 18:36-37). Therefore, if we do not understand who Christ is, then we cannot properly understand the Gospel.

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The Gospel: The Resurrection of Christ

And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead, and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people. And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus (Acts 13:29-33; ESV).”

Although Christ’s death is remarkable, His resurrection is more glorious. Why is the Resurrection of Christ so glorious? First, the resurrection testifies to God’s faithfulness in providing a perfect sacrifice in the death of His Son to make up for the sins of His people (cf. Genesis 22). Secondly, the resurrection is a promise that all who believe in Christ receive not only forgiveness of sin, but also His righteousness before God (Matthew 3:15, 5:20; Romans 1:17, 3:22-26). Hence, if we do not believe that Christ was raised from the dead, we are most pitiful of all humanity, but since Christ was indeed raised, what does that mean for us (1 Corinthians 15)?

The Gospel: The Return of Christ

Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the Prophets should come about:

Look, you scoffers,

be astounded and perish;

for I am doing a work in your days,

a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you

The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. For so the Lord has commanded us, saying,

I have made you a light for the Gentiles,

that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.

And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed (Acts 13:40-41, 44-48; ESV).”

Pastor Duncanson sums up the Gospel as the death, resurrection, and return of Christ. The Gospel is both a warning and an invitation because this message exposes the sin of humanity before God while also showing the mercy of God to appoint Christ as the Way back to Himself. Faced with their sin, and the reality of Christ’s resurrection, these listeners had one of two responses either reject the Gospel or rejoice in the mercy and grace of God through Christ. The Jews rejected this message as their fathers did throughout history, while the Gentiles thirsted after the righteousness of God in Christ Jesus, receiving the Word with gladness to salvation (cf. Matthew 5:6; John 5:36-47; Romans 5).

Do you believe the Gospel?

Once we recognize that all sin is a treacherous offense to God, we see our desperate need of a Savior, who not only can forgive us but also give us a righteousness that pleases God (Psalm 51; Habakkuk 1:13). Behold the day is coming, when Christ will separate the wheat from the tares (2 Thessalonians 1:7-10). You can flee to Him now and find comfort in this time of grace, or be found naked, full of shame and condemnation, when He comes (Revelation 3:17-18).

Listen to this week’s full sermon for free.

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