Jody continues into Chapter 16, the first twelve verses. The notes and workbook are available at the “Notes” tab at www.tween2worlds.us.
A continuation of the study of Acts 15. Notes and workbook are available at the notes tab at tween2worlds.us.
It had been a little before 1:00 A.M. when Larry Carson, the captain of the volunteer fire department, had called the Reverend Turley with the—news. By the time the fire truck had-reached the church the roof was already burned through. The crew had tried heroically, some even said foolishly, to save the furnishings, but all they had been able to salvage was the communion table. Four of them had wrestled the heavy table from the platform and out the back door minutes before the joists in the ceiling let loose releasing an avalanche of flame into the sanctuary. Searing heat belched through the back door, windows exploded from their frames and the fire gulped the night air. The fire fighters left the table where it was and drew back to watch helplessly as the ravenous blaze fed on the aged pews. In a matter of 15 minutes the roof caved in and within half an hour the last wall toppled over in a swirling cloud of orange sparks. “That’s the way it is with old buildings,” Carson had said. “They burn fast, hot and don’t leave much behind.”
Reverend Turley stood quiet and alone before rubble that had been his church. There was not so much as a wisp of smoke. The charcoal skeleton was cold . . . dead. Beyond that blackened desert the communion table sat on a little grassy hill. The side facing the building was badly scorched, the carved words, “IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME,” were stark against the blistered varnish.
News of the fire had traveled fast. One by one church members and curious townspeople began to gather. There were no suits and ties this morning, no clean dresses, no white gloves and polished shoes. People milled about talking in low tones, astonished at the devastation, wondering what would become of the congregation.
It was Ed Van Slyke that reminded Reverend Turley that it was communion Sunday. Ed was the head usher. It was he who made sure that bread and grape juice were available for communion and so, he said to the pastor, it made sense to him that as long as all the supplies were bought and he’d polished the altar cup—everything was in grocery bag in the back seat of his car—they may as well take communion. Anyway, the table was all they had left.
Starting with Paul’s first recorded sermon we take a trip back to the defining moment of the Jewish nation.
I. Summary verses: Acts 13.14-23.
A. To the Jew, first… (v. 14).
1. Jesus’ message first delivered to Israel (Matthew 10.5, 15.24; Acts 3.26).
2. Paul’s pattern is consistent with this. (Romans 1.16;2.9)
B. This is the first detailed description of Paul’s preaching.
1. Follows the spiritual “apostolic anointing” at Paphos.
2. Resembles the preaching outline of Stephen in Acts 7.
(a) Paul (Saul) was present then as an antagonist to the gospel.
(b) Might have been deeply impacted by the message of Stephen.
C. Paul and Barnabas recognized as teachers (v. 15-16).
1. First century synagogues would include readings from the law and prophets.
2. Invited to speak based on what credentials? We don’t know.
3. Paul would have risen and taken a seat (or stood) in front of the gathering.
D. Paul’s message (v. 16-41):
1. Audience includes Jews and “God fearers” i.e., believing Gentiles.
2. Begins the message with the defining moment of Jewish history.
(a) Everyone there would have been familiar with the Exodus story.
(b) Uses the story to establish common ground
(c) Uses history to point to Jesus as the fulfillment of the Jewish experience.
3. Paul’s thesis: the law and the prophets point to Jesus.
II. God uses events as signposts to the fulfillment of His redemptive plan (review).
A. God’s promise of restoration (the seed) appears in Genesis 3.15.
B. Definitive statement of the reason Jesus came is 1 John 3.8
® The reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.
C. Everything in scripture historical, redemptive, and prophetic is toward that end.
D. This is why we are going to be taking lengthy side trips from Acts.
1. Acts is the story of humanity’s re-entry into submission to God.
2. The experiences of the church in Acts are the consequence being reborn into the fallen world.
III. Redemption and Israel’s defining moment (v. 17).
A. Why did God choose the children of Abraham?
1. Not because of their superior qualifications (Deuteronomy 7.7-8).
(a) They weren’t impressive in quantity or quality.
(b) Abraham believed God and it was reckoned to him as righteousness.
2. Because He had to choose a people to carry the oracles of God (Romans 3.2).
B. Choosing to be chosen in Egypt (Exodus 6).
1. God declares how to be chosen. Choose between a blessing or a curse (Deuteronomy 11.26).
2. In Egypt, God defines how to be chosen: blood on the doorway.
(a) They didn’t have to follow directions, but apparently they did.
(b) The issue was obedience.
Two important events in Acts shape the future expansion of the church. Agape love.
Outline notes coming soon.