google-site-verification: google3e8cc4742c5fd8a2.html The Spirit Explodes 13
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The Spirit Explodes

Part 13 of 22
Mixed receptions
(Acts 13:42–14:28)


by Roger Kirby

What happened next in Pisidian Antioch proved to be a foretaste of what would happen in city after city. With a few variations this was:they arrived, they spoke to the Jews, usually in the synagogue, a few days later those who had heard what they had said before arrived and contradicted them, stirring up a riot and having them thrown out of the synagogue and often the city. All that took a varying length of time, not noted, but probably a few weeks. They then continued on their travels, returning later, when things had quietened down to make sure the believers were meeting in a regular and controlled fashion. It would be a mistake to think they spent just a couple of weeks here and a couple there after the fashion of modern evangelists. Life went much more slowly in those days and they clearly spent long enough, or as long as they could, in each city to establish a viable church. 

 

Read Acts 13:42 – 52.

 

The next Sabbath after Paul’s sermon we are told that there were two very different reactions to what they were saying. Some wanted to hear more but some of the Jews were jealous.

Question 1: Imagine that you were one of the crowd who heard Paul when he preached for the first time. What would he have said that particularly attracted you? What would he have said that you were not so sure about? Would you have been for him, or against him?

 

I can’t really answer that one for you. You will need to look deep into your own heart to know how you would have reacted. You might have thought that what had happened to Jesus was a very new and exciting development in the history of the people of God. Or, you might have been very upset that the things you had believed for so long were being challenged.

 

Question 2:Are you the sort of person who likes to be first to have some new thing that has just come onto the market – like the latest I-Pad or I-Pod? People who rush to buy such things are called the innovators. Or, are you the sort of person who waits cautiously to see if they really work the way the advertisements say before you buy – just before the next new marvel comes on the market.

 

Even less can I answer that question for you! Obviously such things are a result of temperament, personality and background. The next question is going to be the really important one.

 

Question 3: Are you so stuck in your ways that you cannot react as you know you really ought to do to the challenge that the Lord has laid before you through the work of the Holy Spirit?

 

I can imagine our listeners and readers dividing into two distinct groups at this point. These are wonderful things that happened say some, excited by what we are reading. Perhaps something like this will come into my life and I shall never be the same again. What a lot of nonsense say others.  I like things the way they are.

 

I do hope you are one of the excited ones. May the Lord be with you – either way.

 

We must move on. That bit about some of them being appointed for eternal life is something some people find difficult. Think of it this way: as you walk beneath the great arch at the entrance to heaven you will see the words in front of you which say ‘everyone who has chosen to believe in Jesus may come’ but if you should happen to turn and look at the other side of the arch after you have passed through you will see the words ‘appointed by the Lord for eternal life’. You cannot and will not be able to add those two things up but you will learn to rejoice in both of them.


 

Read Acts 14:1 – 7

 

There are, sadly, many cities in our world where Paul and Barnabas would have to flee for their lives. Those who really have it hard are the Christian folk, our brothers and sister, who live in those cities and cannot easily leave. 

We move on to the next city of that ancient world which is now modern Turkey.


Read Acts 14:8 – 20.

 

It is known that there was an ancient myth story about Zeus and Hermes visiting an old couple living in this area. Hence the excitement the apostles caused when they approached the city. Did you notice how differently Paul preached in this pagan environment from the way he spoke in the synagogue in Pisidian Antioch?

 

Question 4: What is the chief difference you noticed as we read it?

 

I hope you realised that Paul was not talking about the history of the people of God this time. Instead he was talking about the Creator God, clearly hoping that this idea would make more sense to the people in the crowd who knew nothing about the story of the Jews and their history. It reminds us that we too when we preach or talk about the good news of Jesus must start from where people are and not where we would like them to be.

 

Read Acts 14:21 – 28.

 

We must admire these people who started to follow Jesus so long ago. They cannot have known very much about what it all meant and what they were doing. They will have had no Bible such as we have. They may have had copies of some of what we call the Old Testament but probably not even all of that since the scrolls will have been very expensive things. They will only have known the very basic facts about their new faith. Jesus had died, he had risen again, therefore showing that in due time all who followed him would also rise again to new life, in a new earth, and that in the mean time they should live in constant expectation of that happening, living good lives in the power of the Holy Spirit.

 

May we ever do the same!



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