Intro. Paul and Barnabas are in the synagogue on the Sabbath in Antioch in Psidia. Paul has preached to them a powerful message showing that Jesus is the promised Messiah. He shared that through Jesus Christ, they could be forgiven of their sins, and could also be justified through faith in Him. The Gentiles were fascinated by the message and urge them to return on the next Sabbath. Now a week has passed and the buzz throughout the city is of these two men from Jerusalem, and the message of hope that they brought. We read:
I. ON THE NEXT SABBATH ALMOST THE WHOLE CITY GATHERED TO HEAR THE WORD OF GOD.
A. I believe that men are hungry today to hear the word of God.
1. How hard it is to find a church that just teaches the word of God.
2. So many churches are seeking to draw people to see famous stars, be entertained, or to hear pop psychology.
3. They say that if you just teach the Bible, people will not come.
4. I think that the Calvary Chapels have proven that theory wrong.
5. Others object, but we teach the Bible and no one is interested.
a. I think that there is a vast difference between teaching the Bible and teaching about the Bible. Many are teaching about the Bible, but are not teaching the Bible.
b. People, as a general rule, are not interested in the doubts of the higher critics. So many when they teach, are more interested in noting the writing style, or questioning the possible authorship of a book than what the actual message of the book is.
c. Paul was just teaching the scriptures and showing how they had been fulfilled in the person of Jesus.
B. Note, they gathered to hear the word of God.
1. For what other purpose does the church exist?
2. God did not intend that it be a social center for the community to gather for pot lucks and play bingo.
3. Paul said that God has given to the church gifted men such as apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastor teachers for the perfecting of the saints for the work of the ministry, for the building up of the Body of Christ, that we might come to the unity of the faith in the knowledge of God into full maturity, that we are no longer as babes who are tossed to and fro with every wind of doctrine, and slight cunning of men who lie in wait to deceive.
4. The church is to be as a Bible college.
II. "BUT WHEN THE JEWS SAW THE MULTITUDE, THEY WERE FILLED WITH ENVY."
A. This is often the response to a genuine work of God. People rather than rejoice, become envious.
1. When the work of God is successful, there are always those who will be envious because they are not in control.
2. They will often begin to fight against that work.
a. It is amazing what people will say and do to discredit the work of God.
b. There was a local pastor who several years ago, when he found out that a young couple from his church were beginning to attend Calvary, told them that it was too bad that I had a drinking problem.
c. I have never had an alcoholic drink in my entire life.
d. My only drinking problem was with milk, I love to drink milk, but have gone to skim milk to keep the fat level down.
e. There were other stories about my bay front home and large yacht.
f. Still others were saying that we served cokes and hot dogs for communion to the hippies.
3. It is sad that people cannot see the whole body of Christ, and realize that we are members of one body and when one is exalted, all are exalted.
4. I would be very careful about putting my hand against the work of God. David would not take revenge against Saul, because he had once been anointed by God, even though Saul had long been rejected by God.
B. It is amazing how many people want things to be done under their banner.
1. When I was still with a denominational church, I was moving to a church that was not very far from a church that I had previously pastored in that denomination. The supervisor called me in to tell me that I was not to try to solicit people from the church that I had previously pastored to come to my new pastorate. I assured him that I had no intention of doing so, that there were those who were very faithful and close to us who when we left started going to the Nazarene church, and we were not going to try to get them to come to our new pastorate. He said, "Well, if they are going to another denomination, that would be all right."
C. Envy is a terrible thing, it will cause you to even come against the work of God.
1. We are told that the reason the high priest delivered Jesus to Pilate was he was envious of Jesus, and Pilate knew it.
2. The second persecution against the church recorded in Acts 5:18
was motivated by jealousy.
Then the high priest rose up, and all they that were with him, (which is the sect of the Sadducees,) and were filled with indignation, (the Greek word zelos, translated indignation is the same word that is translated envy in our text.)
3. The Jews, because they were envious began to speak against the teaching of Paul.
4. They were contradicting the teachings of Paul and blaspheming;
i.e., they were contradicting the things that Paul had been saying about Jesus, and blaspheming the name of Jesus.
III. THEN PAUL AND BARNABAS WAXED BOLD.
A. They had been presenting the gospel in a soft and friendly way to the Jews and Gentiles. Now that the Jews are rejecting the message of Jesus Christ, Paul and Barnabas arise to the occasion, and boldly proclaim that the gospel had to be presented to the Jews.
1. To the Romans Paul wrote, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ for it is the power of God unto salvation, to the Jew first, also to the Greek.
2. Jesus said that the Holy Spirit would give them the power to be His witnesses beginning in Jerusalem.
3. Again Paul wrote to the Romans that the natural branch was cut off that we Gentiles might be grafted in contrary to nature.
4. That blindness had happened to Israel in part, until the fullness of Gentiles had come in.
5. Jesus had foreseen this day.
Hear another parable: There was a certain householder, which planted a vineyard, and hedged it round about, and digged a winepress in it, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen, and went into a far country:
And when the time of the fruit drew near, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits of it.
And the husbandmen took his servants, and beat one, and killed another, and stoned another.
Again, he sent other servants more than the first: and they did unto them likewise.
But last of all he sent unto them his son, saying, They will reverence my son.
But when the husbandmen saw the son, they said among themselves, This is the heir; come, let us kill him, and let us seize on his inheritance.
And they caught him, and cast [him] out of the vineyard, and slew [him].
When the lord therefore of the vineyard cometh, what will he do unto those husbandmen?
They say unto him, He will miserably destroy those wicked men, and will let out [his] vineyard unto other husbandmen, which shall render him the fruits in their seasons.
Jesus saith unto them, Did ye never read in the scriptures, The stone which the builders rejected, the same is become the head of the corner: this is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes?
Therefore say I unto you, The kingdom of God shall be taken from you, and given to a nation bringing forth the fruits thereof.
And whosoever shall fall on this stone shall be broken: but on whomsoever it shall fall, it will grind him to powder.
And when the chief priests and Pharisees had heard his parables, they perceived that he spake of them.
B. Speaking to the Jews Paul said: "Seeing you have put it from you, and you judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we turn to the Gentiles."
1. You judge yourselves. How is it that they judged themselves?
a. They had made their choice.
b. We judge ourselves by the choices that we make.
c. God holds me responsible for my choices.
d. I can choose to reject the good news that Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah.
e. In so doing, I judge myself, and keep myself from eternal life.
f. If you end up in hell, you will have no one to blame but yourself.
2. They choose to reject the clear, plain teaching of the scriptures.