In this section of Acts 15, we see Paul and Barnabas decide to split up and go different ways over sharp disagreement. What did this disagreement look like? Does it give us reason to break fellowship in light of disagreements? We can look at the character of Paul and Barnabas and the background of this split and what it means, and also what it means for us as believers. We learn that this split in ministry does not mean there was a break in fellowship, and that it doesn’t mean the disagreement was in anger or sin. God used this separation to double the ministry to the church as Mark followed Barnabas and Silas followed Paul. We can learn from this situation things like each believer not being meant for the same ministry, and that we should encourage others and support them in their ministry, so long as it is a biblical ministry.
In Acts 15, the leaders of the early church come together to discuss and address a question that arose within the church: as a Gentile, can you turn directly to Jesus as the savior of the world? Or, must you become a Jew first to turn to Jesus? In this section of scripture, we explore the points that were discussed on why there is no need for Gentiles to become Jews (and therefore require circumcision), and why we can turn directly to Christ in faith, and not relying on any works to earn us salvation.
Today we take a look at Acts 14 and what it means to speak boldly as Paul and Barnabas did in Iconium. We see how Paul left a great example for us by courageously preaching the Word, despite being persecuted, and their commitment to the truth, like we see after Paul being stoned, yet returning to continue to speak the Word. When Paul spoke, he didn’t beat around the bush either as he boldly proclaimed the gospel and taught the truth.
In our last part of studying Acts 13, we get to the first documented sermon by Paul. In his sermon, he talks about God’s faithfulness to Israel, starting with the patriarchs and His faithfulness of taking the people of Israel from Egypt and how God has never abandoned his people. He then goes on to […]
In our continued study of Acts 13, we read on about Paul and Barnabas going into Cyprus, and their encounter with the Proconsul, Sergius Paulus, and Elymas (or Bar-Jesus), who was with the Proconsul. In their encounter with these two men, we see Elymas trying to turn Sergius from the faith followed by Paul’s rebuke. Learning from this encounter, we can also come to see that there are many people out their who may be an “Elymas” to us and try to steer us from the truth. But the teaching of the Lord holds us firm in His hands, and we see the evidence of this in the faith the Proconsul received.
In the beginning of our study of Acts 13, we see the Holy Spirit say to set apart Barnabas and Saul “for the work to which I have called them.” In this sermon, we explore the foundation and path that God laid before Saul and some of what he went through for the sake of the gospel. We can see the faithfulness of God towards Saul in the ministry that he gave to Saul, and through this we can learn to be faithful ourselves, to trust in God for what is to come, and to be content with wherever we are at today
Earlier, Tim preached on why we should study the Old Testament. We see that it is profitable for us as explained in 2 Timothy 3:16, and it is written for our instruction. In Joshua 2, we look at Rahab and the Israelite spies that were sent into the promised land by Joshua. We can see […]
In the study of Acts 12, we see how earnest prayer is made for Peter when he was imprisoned by Herod. Throughout this story, we can start to see more clearly God’s purpose in prayer. Prayer is a way for us to make our desires known to God, and to trust that He will answer it accordingly to His will, which as believers, is in our best interest. When we pray to God for something, we are relying on Him to work, and teaching us to be dependent on Him.
As Martin Lloyd says, “To say it requires prayer is to say that it requires the direct intervention of God.” Growth in our lives depends on God’s work, and that requires prayer.
We now turn to Acts 12 and ponder what happened to both James, the brother of John and Peter. Why was it that James was killed by Herod, but Peter spared and then later rescued? We can know for certain that whatever the outcome may be, even when things don’t make sense, we can know for certain that all things happen to maximize the glory of God. When facing trials, we can ask ourselves “What can I learn from this trial?”, but most importantly we should additionally ask “How can I conduct myself in this trial in the way that brings God the most glory?”
We continue reading on in Acts 11 and get to see what was happening at the church in Antioch as people there turned to the Lord. We see that the hand of the Lord was with those at Antioch and that their salvation was based on his work in those people which brought forth faith and repentance. In his time in Antioch, we can learn from the rights and wrongs that he did there like separating himself from the Gentiles (Galatians 2:13). However, we also see that God’s’ people need encouraging, and that Barnabas’ delight in other believers and commendation is an important part of how we build up the body of Christ.