Wednesday 20 July, 2016
42 Paul and Barnabas started to leave the synagogue. The people invited them to say more about these things on the next Sabbath day. 43 The people were told they could leave the service. Many Jews followed Paul and Barnabas. Many Gentiles who faithfully worshiped the God of the Jews did the same. Paul and Barnabas talked with them. They tried to get them to keep living in God’s grace. 44 On the next Sabbath day, almost the whole city gathered. They gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 When the Jews saw the crowds, they became very jealous. They began to disagree with what Paul was saying. They said evil things against him. 46 Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly. “We had to speak God’s word to you first,” they said. “But you don’t accept it. You don’t think you are good enough for eternal life. So now we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 This is what the Lord has commanded us to do. He said, “ ‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles. You will bring salvation to the whole earth.’ ” (Isaiah 49:6) 48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad. They honored the word of the Lord. All who were appointed for eternal life believed. 49 The word of the Lord spread through the whole area. 50 But the Jewish leaders stirred up the important women who worshiped God. They also stirred up the men who were leaders in the city. The Jewish leaders tried to get the women and men to attack Paul and Barnabas. They threw Paul and Barnabas out of that area. 51 Paul and Barnabas shook the dust off their feet. This was a warning to the people who had opposed them. Then Paul and Barnabas went on to Iconium. 52 The believers were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
Wow – the book of Acts is an exciting account of the power of God changing lives in the midst of opposition. Here we are told “almost the whole town turned out to hear Paul and Barnabas preach”. This is evidence of a message that people want to hear about. The chatter about what they are saying and doing is capturing the people’s attention. The result, despite the religious people’s opposition, is that the Gentiles are turning to Christ in their droves. The Holy Spirit is igniting faith in the hearts of people who have long been “left out” of the picture. Information alone does not do this – revelation and transformation are what ignite people’s curiosity, imagination and response.
Oh God, what is my chatter doing? What am I talking about to the people around me that will bring them from being “left out” to “belonging”? What is evident in my life that they can see? Am I praying for them to get a “revelation” from you?
2 Corinthians 4:4 “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. They don’t understand this message about the glory of Christ, who is the exact likeness of God.”
Lord- may the people in my town turn out in droves to find out about You because of the things You are saying and doing through Your church – and through me.
Written by Ps. Linda Quinn
Thanks Linda. That people will turn out in droves to find out about You! As we all see the increasing volumes of people coming into our community through all the real estate development that is occurring, I am encouraged that our church is taking steps to make space for more people to come to hear the word of God amongst us. The second service for Sunday mornings is an avenue by which we are making space for these extra people. Let us pray that people will come in droves, not to build our church, but to build His Kingdom.
You just gave me an analogy. That the “Gentiles” = those people in my world who don’t yet know Jesus and do not participate in our cultural Christianity.
I agree with you. As in the story, I would love to see them come in droves.
And I hope that when they did, those already in the “club” would not feel threatened or superior or resistant to the Holy Spirit.
I wonder why the church in Acts 13:42 did?
And I pray that we as a church will never repel new believers.