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.
In Tim’s mini-series on Joshua 1, we see God’s faithfulness to Joshua and the Israelites as He commissioned Joshua to take charge and lead the Israelites into the Promise Land. God continually told Joshua to be strong and courageous and in obeying the law Moses brought, he would have good success. From this, we see that we can trust in God and His word and that we have nothing to fear if we are in Him.
Today, we took a look at Acts 10 and part of Acts 11 with the visions of Cornelius and Peter, and how these showed the understanding that God shows no partiality and that the Gentiles who fear God are also acceptable to him.
As we wrap up our study in Acts 9, we can look to the examples of Peter and Dorcas (or in Syrian, Tabitha), and how these two portrayed a servant’s heart in serving others, even those who may not seem to be like someone you would find hard to serve. We are told in scripture to put the interests of others above your own, and how we can love those and how we can do so by the power of the gospel.
As we continue in Acts 9, we read about how God used a man named Ananias in His calling of Saul. We can learn from Ananias’ response to God’s command for him to look for Saul and how in this life we are called to obedience to God, and the fact that we will suffer for His sake. But we do have a blessing and reward in Jesus Christ and how we can, knowing this, pursue the specifics of our lives in light of God’s gift to us.