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Acts #43 (chapter 13:14-23)
The Book of Acts
Paul Preaches Jesus, Part 1
Acts 13:14-23
In our study of the first 12 chapters of Acts, we've been observing the spread of Christianity in its earliest days.  And just as Jesus said, it began in Jerusalem, spread to Judea and Samaria, and by the time we get to chapter 12, it has made its entrance into the uttermost parts of the earth.
The primary catalyst, humanly speaking, in Jerusalem was a man named Peter who preached a Spirit-filled message of the day of Pentecost.  
And then, in order to get the gospel to Judea and Samaria, the Holy Spirit used the sermon of a Spirit-filled man named Stephen.  Tonight in chapter 13 as the church begins to spread into the rest of the world it is the preaching Paul and Barnabas that God will use. 
It's intriguing to me that down through the centuries, the primary tool God has used to build His church is preaching, and preaching that is still being done in basically the same way it's always been done.  We've added some trinkets and technology, but real preaching is still a Spirit-filled, called man of God who takes the Word of God and delivers a message from God.
And that's what we find in chapter 13 as Paul, and by the way it's here in chapter 13 where the transition in his name occurs (verse 9), preaches in Antioch in Pisidia, not the Antioch in Syria where the church was. This is a different town.
By the way, verse 13 has a lot of information in it. 
verse 13
Here we discover that John Mark left and went to Jerusalem, went home to Momma.  That will become a major fact before very long.

We also see that they traveled to Perga in Pamphylia.  So they got in a boat and crossed the Mediterranean Sea and come to a place that is a part of the Galatian area.  So the letter he wrote to the Galatians would have included this area.
So they're now going to Asia Minor which is where Paul was from.  First they went to Cyprus where Barnabas was from, and then they went to Asia Minor, and narrowing it down, they went to the Galatian section, and narrowing it down even more, they wound up in Pamphylia on the coast.
And it's interesting that Scripture doesn't tell us anything about any preaching that went on in Perga.  They just departed from Perga and went to Antioch.  Some believe it was because he was sick, perhaps suffering from malaria.  He writes about being sick n the letter to the Galatians.  But for whatever reason, he doesn't preach there, but makes his way to a city named Antioch in the region.
And when he arrives, as he often did, he makes his way to the Jewish synagogue. 
verse 14
There he would have a ready-made audience who was interested in religious things.  Since he was so familiar with Judaism and the Old Testament, he could immediately earn their respect.   And besides that, he had a deep burden for his people, the Jews.  
So there he goes with Barnabas, and they sit down in the synagogue on the Sabbath, and wonder of wonders, he is immediately given the opportunity to preach. 
verse 15
It's exciting to me, just to see how the Spirit of God opens the door for the gospel to be preached.  There is no advance warning, no announcements, no PR team.  They just wander in and sit down and all of a sudden, the Spirit of God orchestrates the details so that they ask Paul and Barnabas if they have a word from the Lord.
And before it 's all over, verse 44 tells us that almost the whole town showed up to hear the Word of God the next Sabbath.  In one week's time, God has the whole area's attention.
The Spirit of God had everything in place so that all the pieces fit together to get Paul and Barnabas where he wanted them at the time He wanted them there so He could touch their lives with the gospel.
And beginning at verse 16, Paul preaches to them the resurrected Christ Jesus, but He begins with God.
God and Jesus are the two main characters of His sermon andit appears that God is in the background the Jesus in the forefront, but the sermon is really about God.
For example, in verse 17, God chose, God exalted, God brought out. In verse 18, God bore. Verse 19, God destroyed and God divided. Verse 20, God gave. Verse 21, God gave. Verse 22, God removed, God raised, and God gave testimony. Verse 23, God raised. Verse 30, God raised. Verse 37, God raised. Verse 33, God fulfilled.
No doubt, God is the main character.
The second main character, Jesus, is mentioned only one time by name and that is in verse 23. 
Now  I don't know if they titled messages back then like we do today, but if I were to title Paul's sermon, I would call it, "God Presents Jesus" or "Jesus, as presented by God" or "God's Presentation of Jesus" or something like that. 
Now verse 23 is the key statement that ties the thing together, and we'll be looking at this several times in the weeks to come. "Of this man's seed...that's David he's talking about...hath God, according to His promise, raised unto Israel a Savior, Jesus." It is God presenting Jesus. That's the scene. That's the sermon.
Now, the sermon falls into three parts.  He talks to them about Jesus in three ways, and we'll look at one tonight and spread the others over the next studies.  He lifts up Jesus from God's perspective as
the culmination of history, the fulfillment of prophecy, and the justifier of sinners.
First of all,
1.  Jesus is the Culmination of History
One the great questions humans have always wrestled with is "where are we going?"  Where is history moving?   Are we just here and live and die and that's it or are we a part of something bigger?
Certainly the atheists and skeptics like to weigh in on that, but God's people know the truth.  And the Jews did also. Every Jew in that synagogue that day when Paul spoke, knew where history was going. All of time and history and heaven and earth were moving toward their culmination in the coming of Messiah.  
Every Jew knew God's plan for the ages.  History was moving toward the time when Messiah would come and everything would be set right.  So watch how Paul brings their attention to Jesus by reviewing their history as Jews.
verses 16-23
Now Paul's a smart guy and he's very quick to read his audience and determine the direction he needs to go.  He doesn't go into the Jewish synagogue and say, "The topic of my message is Jesus is Messiah." That wouldn't have been the most subtle of approaches.  "You know that guy your leaders killed?  Well that was your Messiah!"
Instead, he begins with the thing that every Jew wanted most to hear, and that was the sweet music of the history of God's special care for His people.  So he starts there and doesn't even mention Jesus until verse 23.
In verse 17, he reviews at the beginning of Jewish history and mentions "The God of this people Israel chose our fathers."  History started for the Jew with the selection of the fathers. That was Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and Joseph. God handpicked our  fathers.   And He was looking after them when they were in Egypt.  In fact, He exalted them.  He honored them and lifted them up, even when they were slaves.
And He just walks them through their history, how God brought them out of bondage and parted the Red Sea.  And he's just reminding them that God is running history.  These are just random events with no design. 
And he points out that God is not only powerful, but he's caring.  He loves them.  Even in the forty years of wandering in the wilderness, God continued to care for them by provided everything they needed to survive. 
And then He talks about the homeland in verse 19 and how God fought their battles and destroyed nations in order to give them the land of Israel and divide it among the tribes.
And he reminds them they could look back over the course of time and see how God had been faithful and cared for them and protected them.   He mentions God's power, His care, His faithfulness,
Then in verse 20, he talks about the judges and prophets and eventually a king and how God even responded to their desires in the plan of His history.
And eventually, David came to the throne as we see in
verse 22
And here, Paul slows down a little bit because he wants to drive home the importance and the significance of David. Because if ever a man was loved by his nation, it was David.  And Paul uses all the right phrases and words.  God raised him up.  And God testified he was a man after his own heart.  Really?  With all he did?  
You want to know what a man after God's own heart is? He's not a perfect man. A man after God's own heart is described right there in the text.  He is a man, "who will do all My will." You say, "But David didn't fulfill His will." Yes, he did. You say, "But David sinned." Yes, he did sin, and what's God's will if a man sins? What's he supposed to do? Repent and turn from it; and when David sinned, what did He do? He repented and turned from it. He was a man after God's own heart.
A man after God's own heart isn't a perfect man. It's a man who sees his sin for what it is and repents of it.  Saul didn't do that. Saul didn't even acknowledge his sin, let alone repent.  But as king, David did all the will of God. When he went into a battle, when God told him what to do, he did it. Not Saul. So, from a standpoint of a king, and that is the context for Paul's comment, he was a man after God's own heart.
I believe from a personal standpoint, he was, too. He has a beautiful obituary recorded in the Bible as a man after God's won heart. 
In other words, David was a man who wanted more than anything to do the will of God. So what do we see here?
God's running history. God's power, God's care, God's faithfulness, God's ability to let a man do what he wants to do and still get by, God's choosing of a certain man, God is running history; and all of a sudden, it all grinds down to
verse 23
They knew all about the prophecy given in 2 Samuel 7 that said God's was going to send a Messiah. He'd be the seed of David. They all knew that. Why, according to Micah, he'd even be born in Bethlehem Ephrathah.  That's the home town of David. They knew all of that and how Messiah would come through David's seed.   
And by this time, the people must have been sitting there thinking, "Oh, man, can this guy preach. This is great stuff."   Some of them were probably remembering Psalm 32:11 about how the King would come from David and all of that. 
And then, all of a sudden comes the thunderbolt as Paul identifies the Messiah by name. Wham!  All fo history moves along until it finally culminates in one name and that is the name of Jesus.
And as they are about to discover, there is no point to history if Jesus hadn't come.  He's the culmination of history.
Let's pray.
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