Intro. At the end of the last study we saw Paul and Barnabas minus John Mark leaving the island of Cyprus and crossing the sea to Perga in Phamphylia. Nothing is mentioned of any attempt to preach in Perga, but they went from there to Antioch of Pisidia. This is to distinguish it from Antioch from Antioch of Syria, from which they began their journey. This city and 16 other cities were built by Seleucus and all named Antioch after his father Antiochus. The trip from Perga to Antioch is up rugged mountain ravines and gorges through which the rivers madly rush toward the sea. It is an area that was filled with robbers who preyed on the travelers. It is possible where Paul speaks of perils of robbers, he was referring to this journey.
I. THEY WENT TO THE SYNAGOGUE ON THE SABBATH DAY.
A. This seemed to be the pattern that they set throughout their missionary journeys. They always began at the synagogue on the Sabbath day. Why do your suppose this was their common practice?
1. They knew that they would find people who had a spiritual thirst. Not only the Jews following their faith, but Gentiles who were interested in Judaism.
2. Being a Rabbi, he would be given an opportunity to expound the scriptures.
3. They felt an obligation to bring the gospel to the Jew first.
4. If they could bring the Jews to the realization that Jesus was the promised Messiah, they had converts who were already schooled in the scriptures, and could immediately understand the meaning of the approach to God through sacrifices, and see that Jesus was the perfect sacrifice to which the other sacrifices all pointed.
B. After the reading of the law and the prophets.
1. This was the common form of worship in the synagogues. The reading of passages from the law, and then reading passages from the prophets.
a. They so read from the law, that every year they would read through the entire books of the law.
2. The law and prophets were generally referred to as the scriptures. It is interesting that none of the books of the Apocrypha were included in the Jewish scriptures read in the synagogues in the days of Christ.
3. It is also interesting that in the vast quoting of the scriptures by Jesus and the New Testament writers, they do not quote from the books of the Apocrypha with perhaps the exception of Jude who makes reference to Enoch the seventh from Adam prophesying. In the published books of the Apocrypha today, there is no proof that the book that is called The Book of Enoch was in existence at the time of Jude. It seems to be of a later origin.
4. The Old Testament scriptures that we use today are the same that Jesus had in His day.
C. The rulers of the Synagogue.
1. These were the men who designated those who should read the scriptures.
2. They were also to keep order in the synagogue, and make sure that the laws were kept.
D. They acknowledged the presence of Paul and Barnabas, calling them brothers, and invited them to speak, if they so desired, any words of exhortation that they might have.
E. Paul stood and beckoned with his hand and addressed them. Men of Israel, you that fear God listen.
II. PAUL'S MESSAGE.
A. He starts off on the common ground of faith in God and identifies with them. "The God of the people of Israel."
1. This immediately demonstrates that he does not represent another God, but is speaking of the God they all believe in.
B."Chose our fathers." Note our fathers further identifying with them.
C. He moves to their common history as revealed in the scriptures.
1. Exalted them when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt.
2. And with His mighty power brought them out of Egypt.
3. This was the birth of the nation.
4. He suffered their manners for the forty years that they were in the wilderness.
a. The Jews were extremely proud of their fathers, as God's chosen people.
b. They were not as pure and righteous as you esteem them to be. "God suffered them." That is, put up with them.
c. They rebelled against God, they murmured against God still God put up with their manners.
5. He went before them and subdued the seven kings in Canaan, then divided the nation to them by the casting of lots.
6. After that he gave them Judges for the space of approximately 450 years up until the time of Samuel, who was the last of the judges. He also was a prophet.
7. It was at this time that the people demanded a king, so God gave them Saul as king for a period of forty years.
8. After God removed Saul, he gave the kingdom to David. God testified of David saying, "I have found David the son of Jesse a man after My Own Heart, who will fulfill all My will."
D. Paul now leaps forward to their present time, approximately 1,000 after David. "Of this man's seed God, according to His promise, has raised to Israel, a Savior who is Jesus."
1. They were all aware that the Messiah was to be the seed of David.
2. Paul is affirming to them that God has kept His promise, and that Jesus is the promised Savior.
The LORD hath sworn [in] truth unto David; he will not turn from it; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of [his] government and peace [there shall be] no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
And in mercy shall the throne be established: and he shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging, and seeking judgment, and hasting righteousness.
For thus saith the LORD; David shall never want a man to sit upon the throne of the house of Israel;
a. When the angel announced to Mary that she was the chosen vessel of God to bring His Son into the world, he said to her:
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
3. Having introduced to them the person of Jesus as the promised Messiah, Paul then told them that before He came, John preached the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.
4. "When John had fulfilled his course."
a. Paul looked at life as running a race.
b. He said, "They that run in a race, run all, however only one receives the prize, so run that you may obtain.
c. He said, "Let us lay aside every weight and sin that does so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith."
d. He said of himself, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith, henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord our righteous judge shall give to me, but not to me only, but to all of those who love His appearing."
e. This is very similar to what he had said of John. "When John had fulfilled his course."
f. God has set us on this earth to accomplish His will. I am firmly convinced, that God will keep me here until I have completed my course. And as soon as that has been accomplished, He will take me to stand before Him the righteous Judge to reward me for the race that I have run. I do not believe that He will leave me here one minute longer than is necessary for me to fulfill my race.
g. We love the relationships that we have here on the earth and sometimes feel reluctant to leave them. Gathered with our family, we feel a little of the joy of heaven. It is such a joy to see the grandkids growing up, we sometimes think that that is heaven. At other times we think that it is hell. We feel that they need us to protect them. God is able to do a better job than we could ever do. God will keep us here as long as it suits His purpose.
h. When John had fulfilled his course, he said to the people, "Who do you think that I am? I am not the Messiah, He is coming after me, and He is mightier than I. I am not worthy to untie his sandals."
E. Paul now comes to the application of his message. "Men and brothers, sons of Abraham, and any of you that fear God, (which would include the Gentiles who were there) To you is this word of salvation sent."
F. Paul is now going to concentrate his message on the person and work of Jesus.