Paul once attended church service in a synagogue where the LAW was heavily preached! He sat down gently listening to all that the ‘pastor’ was teaching. He never tried to combat what they where teaching. He was in the service the same way every other people were. It was a sabbath day! But the ‘pastors’ of the synagogue made a BIG ‘mistake’!
Acts 13:15 – ‘And after the reading of the LAW and the prophets, the rulers (pastors) of the synagogue sent unto them (Paul and his company) saying: …Ye men and brethen, IF YE HAVE ANY WORD OF EXHORTATION for the people, SAY ON!!!
It’s like a pastor asking Joseph Prince to ‘say something’ in a church where all they teach is the law and how salvation is temporal in nature and dependent on the members works and striving. If these LAW pastors had known that Paul was a ‘radical’ GRACE teacher, they would not have made the mistake of inviting Paul for a ‘short’ sermon. This is because the outcome of Paul’s speech led to a serious revival which stirred up a serious ‘controversy’ between the LAW followers and those who believed in GRACE! (Vs 45)
I guess you are ready to see the full story! Let’s dive straight in. After the synagogue pastors asked Paul to speak, Paul stood up and began his GRACIOUS sermon. He started by taking them through the OLD testament and told them how God dealt with the people of the OLD covenant! (vs 16-23). I’m sure at this point, those LAW pastors were nodding their heads and enjoying the sermon! Oh, I love Paul’s style of teaching GRACE! But in vs 23, Paul entered into the story of how God raised a SAVIOUR called Jesus!
He later continued by saying that the Jews that lived during the time of Jesus…because they knew Him not….they ended up condemning Him even though they found no fault in Him! (Vs 27-28) Paul was wise in the construction of his sermon. He was actually going somewhere with his sermon. Now let’s go to the peak of this sermon.
Acts 13:38 – ‘Be it known therefore men and brethren, that through this MAN (Jesus) is preached to you THE FORGIVENESS OF SINS’
Paul is touching the DELICATE point. He is now saying that forgiveness of sins is only through what Jesus did on the cross and His resurrection! Let’s see the next verse (which is one of my most favorite verses in the Bible)!
Acts 13:39 – ‘And by HIM, ….ALL (how many?) THAT BELIEVE….are JUSTIFIED from ALL THINGS (how many things?)…from which ye could NOT be Justified by the LAW of Moses’!
Did you read that?! Brother Paul has gone toooooo far! Let’s pause for a while. Look at the message Paul taught again! Can you imagine hearing that being taught in your ‘church’ on a Sunday morning!!! I mean YOUR church! Let me show you that verse again.Hmm… ‘And by HIM, ….ALL THAT BELIEVE….are JUSTIFIED from ALL THINGS…from which ye could NOT be Justified by the LAW of Moses’! (Acts 13:39)
Today, if a teacher of the word should teach that, many people will say he is teaching a WRONG doctrine and will lead many to hell. BUT that is the REAL GOSPEL!The real GOSPEL is the Gospel of FORGIVENESS OF SINS BY BELIEVING IN THE FINISHED WORK OF CHRIST. It is not by the Laws of the Old Testament! It is simply BY BELIEVING IN THE FINISHED WORK OF CHRIST.
What was the effect of this serious sermon? Vs 42…. ‘When the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the GENTILES BEGGED that these WORDS might be preached to them again the next Sabbath.
What a Transformation! What a revival! In fact, in the next verse, many of the Jews and proselytes (which means gentiles who had been converted to Judaism) followed Paul and Barnabas and persuaded them to CONTINUE IN THE GRACE (unmerited Favour) OF GOD. That was another way of showing that they too have ‘resigned’ from the ‘Law’ .Wow! I hope you are enjoying this amazing story.
Vs 44 – ‘And the next sabbath day, ALMOST THE WHOLE CITY came to hear the WORD OF GOD’.
Wow! Did the Bible just refer to the Gospel of Grace as the WORD OF GOD? This message has brought a serious revival! People went to call their friends and neighbours not to miss the service next ‘sabbath’ because a GRACE preacher was in town. GREAT REVIVALS … ARE … GRACE REVIVALS!!!
Now, what was the reaction of the ‘Law addicts’ to the message Paul preached? Vs 45…the Jews were filled with envy, and spake against THOSE THINGS (grace) which were spoken by Paul, CONTRADICTING and BLASPHEMING’.
I hope you are seeing this with your Bible too! In today’s Christianity, a preacher is commended for contradicting the Gospel of Grace. If only our eyes would be opened to see that the devil is the one making people to fight the preaching of the message of Grace. In the next verse, Paul waxed BOLD and said to the LAW brethren:
…it was necessary that the WORD OF GOD (grace) should first have been spoken to you: but seeing you put it from you, and JUDGE YOURSELVES UNWORTHY OF EVERLASTING LIFE…lo, we turn to the Gentiles (sinners)!!! vs 46.
Wow. Rejecting the Gospel of Grace is equal to judging yourself unworthy of EVERLASTING LIFE! Can you now see that ‘narrow is the way that leads to LIFE’? Isn’t it really narrow….to believe you are forgiven TOTALLY – past, present and future – simply by believing in that one Man that gave His life for you?
Let us conclude this post. In vs 48, the Gentiles were GLAD and glorified the WORD OF THE LORD: and as many were ordained to eternal life, BELIEVED! Are you also ordained to eternal life? Then you will believe the word of GRACE!!!
The Jews had to stir up the heart of people to raise persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and EXPELLED them out of their coasts! (Vs 50). It was that serious! And the chapter ended thus: ‘…and the disciples were FILLED with joy and with the HOLY GHOST’! (vs 52).
Oh! Filled with the HOLY GHOST? Just by believing that you are justified by faith and not by the works of the Law? GRACE is just so amazing! I hope you had a nice time going through Acts 13 with me. Hallelujah! In conclusion, never forget Acts 13:39.. .’And by HIM (Jesus)….all that believe (including you) are justified from ALL things (including your future faults) …from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses (no matter how you try)!
Therefore, continue in the GRACE of God! Amen.