As I continue my series on the Book of Acts, I would like us to look at one of Paul’s first public speeches in the Book of Acts. This is also his first recorded missionary speech in the Book of Acts. His speech goes on from Acts 13:14-41, this is one of his longest recorded speeches he did in a Jewish synagogue.
Paul’s First Missionary Teaching
When we look in Acts 13:14-41 he discusses several concepts with the people in the synagogue. He first discusses the Jew’s time in the wilderness, as mentioned in Exodus 16:35 (NKJV) “And the children of Israel ate manna forty years until they came to an inhabited land; they ate manna until they came to the border of the land of Canaan.”. Secondly, he talks about some key people from the Old Testament which are the prophet Samuel, and King David. He then goes on to talk about John the Baptist. He reminds the people that John the Baptist was to fulfilled Old Testament scripture. As we know John the Baptist was the forerunner to Jesus Christ, he was the voice crying int the wilderness. Isaiah 40:3 (NKJV) says, “The voice of one crying in the wilderness: “Prepare the way of the Lord; Make straight in the desert A highway for our God.”. Paul also talks about how John the Baptist taught about the remission of sins and water baptism. Not only does John the Baptists fulfill Old Testament scripture, but Jesus fulfills the Old Testament prophecies of the coming of the Messiah.
Death is Defeated Through Jesus
Paul then talks about how Jesus was raised from the dead and defeated the devil. Praise the Lord! Death no longer has a hold of us if we abide in Jesus Christ. Hebrews 2:14 (NKJV) taught, “Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil,”. Lastly, Paul reminds us that those who truly abide in Christ are counted righteous.
Paul Faces Rejection
In Acts 13:42-43 and 49-50, we will see that when Paul was done speaking many wanted him to come to speak on the next Sabbath. Additionally, many Jews followed Paul and Barnabas. Then in Acts 13:44-45, Paul and Barnabas come again to the synagogue to speak but because of the number of people who came to the Jewish leaders become jealous and expelled them from their region. In Acts 13:46-47, Paul and Barnabas knew they were to bring the Gospel to the Jews first, but since it got rejected, they went to the Gentiles to preach.
Dealing with Rejection in Ministry
In Acts 13:49-50, when the Jews expelled Paul and Barnabas from their synagogue, they both shook off the dust from their feet. This was something Jesus instructed us to do when someone does not accept their message while ministering. Jesus told us in Matthew 10:14 (NKJV), “And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.”. Sometimes when we minister or witness to people we might be rejected. We cannot let it bother us or hinder us from spreading the Gospel. We ought to do as Paul and Barnabas did and continue with what God has called us to do.
Lastly in Acts 13:51-52, we see they travel to Iconium and the people there do accept the Gospel Message and become filled with the Holy Spirit. You know that Paul and Barnabas could have gotten upset when the Jews did not accept their message and could have stopped ministering. But despite the rejection and difficulty, they continued. This is an example for us!
This week I would like to encourage you to start keeping track of the victories you have through God. Keep them in a journal. Then when you face difficult times go back to that journal and look at how faithful God has been to you. Also, journal scriptures of Gods promises as you go through trials, you should confess these over your life! In my next teaching, we will look at what goes on in Iconium.