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Acts 13





BY: Josh Boles

  This chapter opens to the sending off of Barnabas and Saul and there are some truly amazing things here I would like to discuss. We are about halfway through the book of Acts and we have come a long way from just 120 people in the upper room in Acts 2. It is important to note that the Church is no longer just an assembly of people, but now a strong organization that is equipping leaders and sending off missionaries.

If we go back to Acts 11 we see that the church in Antioch had been actively proclaiming the Gospel to the Gentiles and Paul and Barnabas participated in this as well. Before we get in to the commissioning part of this chapter, I think me must stop and think about this. Paul, and the rest of the “prophets and teachers” (which by the way in the New Testament just implies that they were officers of the church,) are not waiting to be “sent” somewhere before they share the Gospel. They are not waiting for a sign, or grand intervention from the Lord. They are simply being obedient to the Holy Spirit and to Jesus’ words found in Acts 1:8. In verse two because of their obedience, the Lord sets them aside for a grand purpose.

The next portion of this chapter is lengthy but I would encourage you to read it carefully. The bulk of this is describing their missionary journey, but in verse 16 Paul gets up and and gives an interesting speech. He gives a history from Exodus to Jesus in just a few verses. This is so important for us to take in. The promise of salvation had been passed down through generations through the line of Abraham fulfilling the promise given to God’s chosen people. As we read in verse 26 those of us who “fear God’’ have been given the message of salvation.

God’s plan for salvation always was, is, and always will be Jesus. From the calling of Abraham, to the Exodus, Jesus was there and was the model of salvation. This is important for us because the Gospel’s work in our life isn't happenstance or a coincidence. It is a well thought out plan set into motion thousands of years ago worked down through the generations. The amazing thing about all of this is that God chooses to use us to carry this great hope with us wherever we go.

The big take away here is that you don't need to wait on anything or anybody to carry the Gospel to those around you. Just as the church in Antioch was already worshiping, praying, and fasting together. More importantly, they were actively sharing their faith. If you are not involved in an active community of believers, you should be. If you are not constantly praying, and worshiping both privately and corporately, you should be. If you are not actively sharing this message of salvation with others, you not only should be, but it is the very reason you were put on this planet. You don’t need to wait for a sign, or a calling. You have already been called, just go! May we encourage one another and pray for each other for this divine purpose!

Posted by Josh Boles with

Acts 12





This chapter marks another dramatic shift in the narrative of Acts.  Although the apostles had been whipped, beaten, and threatened, and Stephen had been martyred at the hands of an angry Jewish mob, things now take an ominous turn.  James is the first of the apostles who is martyred and he is the first person martyred at the hands of the Roman government.

You might remember that James was the brother of John.  James was also the author of the Book of James that we have in our Bible.  By the way, just a little Bible trivia… the Book of James was probably the first book of the New Testament to be written.

The Herod in this chapter was the grandson of Herod the Great, who ordered all the male babies under 2 to be murdered at the time of Jesus’ birth.  The Herod in this chapter was also the nephew of Herod Antipas who had John the Baptizer beheaded.  In other words, the Herod in this chapter came from a scheming, evil family.  As they used to say in eastern Oklahoma, the nut doesn’t fall very far from the tree.

The Jewish elite didn’t care for this Herod at all.  He knew that.  So, he increased his persecution of the church to win over the Jewish leaders.  Since Gentiles were now openly a part of the church, the Jewish leaders were more than happy that Herod was attacking the church.  The execution of James went so well for Herod, he decided to arrest Peter and execute him.

When you get to verse 5, it is the night before Peter was to be executed.  He was in prison, chained between two Roman soldiers.  There were two other Roman soldiers guarding the door.  That may seem a little overboard but remember Peter had been imprisoned before and he inexplicably escaped.  It seems Herod wasn’t leaving anything to chance this time. But chance was not the issue. 

You probably noticed that Peter was asleep when the rescuing angel arrived.  Peter was so asleep that the angel had to smack him on the side to get him awake.  How is it possible that a condemned man could sleep so soundly on the eve of his execution?  There is only one possibility.  Peter trusted God completely.  If God created another jail break and Peter escaped, he could go on and preach the Gospel.  If God allowed him to be executed, Peter could go on to heaven.  Although we seldom see death as a viable victory, I truly believe Peter was so comfortable with whatever happened that he was sleeping very soundly.

There is another interesting aspect to this story.  It seems there was a group of believers who were praying fervently for Peter’s release.  They were, in fact, praying the night Peter escaped.  But when Peter got to the house where the prayer meeting was being held, no one but a servant girl named Rhoda believed that Peter was actually out of jail.  Can you imagine Peter standing outside of the house waiting to be let in?  But isn’t that just like us?  We pray and ask God to do big things and then when He does big things we are surpised.

The chapter ends with Herod being struck down by an angel of the Lord for not giving God glory.  And then we read where the word of God increased and multiplied.

That should be a great comfort and encouragement to us.  As difficult as circumstances may be, God is still sovereign.  He is still in control.  His Word is not going to return void.  His Word is going to do its holy, salvific work in lives of those who choose to hear.  God’s plan is going to be carried out.

Posted by Joe Ligon with

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