Thursday, October 12, 2006

Acts 29 Daily -- Acts 13


ACTS 13…

In Acts 13 and 14 we have what has been popularly called the 1st missionary journey. It’s a mission trip to carry the Good News into other nations.
1Now there were at Antioch, in the church that was there, prophets and teachers: Barnabas, and Simeon who was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2While they were ministering to the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." 3Then, when they had fasted and prayed and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. 4So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia and from there they sailed toCyprus. 5When they reached Salamis, they began to proclaim the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews; and they also had John as their helper.

Prophets and teachers had different functions. The prophets were “wandering preachers” who had given their lives to listening for the word of God then challenging others to action, based upon this word. They always had a word from God on their hearts. The teachers were in the local churches with the responsibility to continue instructing believers in the faith. It has been pointed out that this list of prophets is symbolic of the universal appeal of the Gospel. Barnabas was a Jew from Cyprus; Lucius came from Cyrene in North Africa; Simeon was also a Jew but his other name Niger is given and, since this is a Roman name, it shows that he must have moved in Roman circles; Manaen was a man with aristocratic connections; and Paul himself was a Jew from Tarsus in Cilicia and a trained rabbi. In this little band of men there is exemplified the unifying influence of Jesus. Men from many lands and many backgrounds had discovered the secret of "togetherness" because they had discovered the secret of Christ.

Paul is speaking in a synagogue at Pisidian Antioch and gets a terrific response. After rehearsing the story of God’s Messiah and zeroing in on Jesus, Paul goes on to say…
29"When they had carried out all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the cross and laid Him in a tomb. 30"But God raised Him from the dead; 31and for many days He appeared to those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, the very ones who are now His witnesses to the people. 32"And we preach to you the good news of the promise made to the fathers, 33that God has fulfilled this promise to our children in that He raised up Jesus, as it is also written in the second Psalm, 'YOU ARE MY SON; TODAY I HAVE BEGOTTEN YOU.' 34"As for the fact that He raised Him up from the dead, no longer to return to decay, He has spoken in this way: 'I WILL GIVE YOU THE HOLY and SURE blessings OF DAVID.' 35"Therefore He also says in another Psalm, 'YOU WILL NOT ALLOW YOUR HOLY ONE TO UNDERGO DECAY.' 36"For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep, and was laid among his fathers and underwent decay; 37but He whom God raised did not undergo decay.
The prophecy saying that the Messiah’s body would not undergo decay. Paul is making his point that King David can’t be the Messiah, because his body was buried and he is still dead (asleep).

Now, Paul sets forth the two most important things Jesus, God’s resurrected Messiah, came to do for us…
38"Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through Him forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39and through Him everyone who believes is freed from all things, from which you could not be freed through the Law of Moses.

I love this and have shared it often with others….

FIRST—Forgiveness…Most religious systems have a plan for dealing with our sins (where we fail and fall short of God’s standard). And, they are all into some sort of performance—do, do, do—in order to fix their problems. Hard-wired in human nature is to pay for what we do wrong. We want to pay for it. So, we may try to compensate by giving gifts or stepping up our behavior a bit. Jesus came to make that payment for us. He is the only one to bring forgiveness to mankind.

I hope you sense how unique forgiveness is…forgiveness is the only way to solve our relational bruises and wreckage. Forgiveness is not natural; it’s a God-thing!

SECOND—Freedom…He says this is freedom from all things from which the Law of Moses could not free you. Ultimately, this is freedom from all of the performance that it takes to find that feeling of penance or payment—what forgiveness can produce most purely. Religious systems offer anything but freedom, but instead weigh you down with whatever their system believes is needed. Again, I say that “religion is man’s best attempt to avoid going to hell.” God wants a relationship and Jesus came in the flesh to demonstrate what that might look like. God wants a relationship…a relationship is when you’ve already been to hell and don’t want to go back. That kind of relationship with Jesus brings FORGIVENESS and FREEDOM from all things!

44The next Sabbath nearly the whole city assembled to hear the word of the Lord….

This message of Jesus bringing forgiveness and freedom is most attractive!

In the name of Jesus,
Tim Timmons