NTB-5-ACTS-4 - The Gospel to the World (part 1)
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“Acts: Lesson 4”
Introduction by narrator accompanied by a cappella singing:
THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST. Spreading the soul-saving message of Jesus. And now,
“What must I do to be saved?” Acts 16:30
It is this compelling question and the biblical answer that follows that
we'll address in our study of Acts 13 through 16 today.
Get your Bible handy as we're going to study the word of God
In Acts chapter 13 the apostle Paul is now going to begin some of
what we know of as his missionary tours or journeys to preach the gospel.
In these initial first verses in Acts 13, God now separates these workers
from the world to do the work of God. Notice Acts 13:2. The Scripture
records, “As they minister to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said ‘Now
separate to me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I've called them.’”
These men are specially selected by God to do that work. They're
separated from the world to do the work of Almighty God.
Isn't that a perfect example for us as well? Aren't we separated to do
the work of God? What are we separated from? We're separated from the
world and its lust, and its desire, and its passion by the Holy Spirit's word to
do God's work. That's what Christians are all about. The Bible says in 1
Corinthians 15:58 “Be steadfast, immovable always abounding in the work
of the Lord knowing that your labor is not in vain.” Our mission, our work is
to be separate, come out from among them, and ‘be ye separate’ says the
Lord, 2 Corinthians 6:17-20. Jesus said it this way in John 9:4 “I must work
the works of Him who sent me while it is day, for night comes when no man
works.” People work during the day- that's the idea. Jesus likened day until
now to now an opportunity. We got to work while we can, because there's a
time coming when we won't. The work that we do for God, how wonderful
that is! Revelation 14:13 “Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord. Yes
says the spirit that they may rest from their labors and their works do follow
them.” Let's be like these men. Let's separate ourselves with the mission to
do the work of God and to put our trust in the Almighty.
Now as Paul continues in Acts chapter 13, he's going to go into the
area of Antioch, which is a well-known mentioned area often in the Bible,
and there he's going to preach the message of Jesus unto these people. It
is a people who need to hear about the power of Christ, and the gospel,
and that it's not the old law that we're living under. Notice the words of Acts
13:38-39 the apostle Paul says “Therefore let it be known to you brethren
that through this man, through Jesus, is preached to you the forgiveness of
sins. By Him everyone who believes is justified from all things which you
could not be justified by the Law of Moses.” This is the clarity of the
message of the gospel “By Him, by Jesus, you can be forgiven of all things
that Moses law could not forgive you of.”
A couple of powerful points that he drives home: Jesus is the Savior
of the world. “You shall call His name Jesus. He'll save His people from
their sins,” Matthew 1:19-21.He has the power to forgive and to take away
the sins of the world. 1 Peter 2:24 “He Himself bore our sins in His own
body upon the tree that we having died to sin might live for righteousness
by whose stripes we are healed.” It's through His blood that we're saved.
A second a very important powerful principle is driven home: You can
be justified through Jesus. Listen now, “By all things from which you could
not be justified by the Law of Moses.” Could the Law of Moses forgive,
remove sin? Hebrews 10:3-4 says “The blood of bulls and goats could
never take away sin.” Thus the multitude of sacrifices, the multitude of
animals that died the multitude of things that were done, all pointed toward
and looked forward to Jesus. Now without the shedding of blood, there is
no forgiveness of sins. We hear these words in Hebrews 10:12 and
contrast to all those Old Testament, sacrifices that could never take away
sin. We hear these words, “But this man, Jesus, after He'd offered one
sacrifice for sin forever sat down at the right hand of God.” One sacrifice,
one time for everybody.
Contrast that with the multitude of sacrifices that could never take
away sin. Jesus and the New Testament is God's way. Don't get me wrong,
the Law of Moses was a Good Law according to Romans 7:12. It was a law
designed to help the people. It's a law designed to point us to Christ. The
Law of Moses is not a law all that can save. It's not the law that we're living
under today. That law has died. I want you to listen to Hebrews chapter 8. I
want you to notice this passage the Bible says these words in Hebrews
8:13 the Scripture says, “In that He,” that's God “says a new covenant.”
He's made the first obsolete. Now what? “Is becoming obsolete and
growing old is ready to vanish away.” This is one of the clearest pictures to
show that the Old Testament is not what Christians are living under today
in that God said, “New covenant.” Jeremiah 31:31-34, He made the first
Now I want you to think about that idea of obsolete. If you were to
think of things that are obsolete, outdated, no longer useful, things that
really are way in the past, what would you think of? Well here are some
things I would think of: can you imagine now today using an old typewriter
and the white out paper used to have the white out tape you have to use?
How obsolete is that compared to a computer and the delete button on a on
a keyboard? It's obsolete! Can you imagine today using an old rotary
phone? Using the very first cell phone you had, or maybe think about this
the very first computer you ever bought? Is that obsolete? Compared to
ones today, it's a dinosaur! Compared to those today, you wouldn't dare try
to use that!
Christianity is the way. The Old Testament is obsolete. Imagine riding
around in a buggy pulled by horses today, or imagine going down to the
creek and washing clothes on a washboard. Those things are obsolete.
They're no longer useful. They're outdated. In that He said “A new
covenant,” God made the first, the Old Testament, obsolete. We are not
living under, we cannot be saved by, and the new covenant is what
Christians are under today. I'm not under the 10 Commandments. I cannot
keep nor break the 10 Commandments, because they're not given to me,
Deuteronomy 5:1-5. So what a powerful lesson that we learn from God's
word and from the gospel!
Here now as Paul preaches this, how we need more people like the
Gentiles who responded properly to that message. Notice Acts 13:42-44
the Bible says “So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles
begged that the these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath.
Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout
proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who speaking to them persuaded
them to continue in the grace of God. On the next Sabbath almost the
whole city came together to hear the word of God.” What a powerful impact
the preaching of the gospel made on those people! How we've got to put
our trust and hope in the word of God! If the gospel is God's power to save,
and it is Romans 1:16, if God says preach the word 2 Timothy 4:2, and if
that word is still living and powerful- then friend hearts that are receptive to
it will obey and submit to the will of God. Our responsibility is simply to
preach the truth in love, Ephesians 4:15.
As we turn to Acts chapter 14, Paul is now going to go to the regions
of Iconium and Lystra. In about the first 18 verses this is a very idolatrous
city, and Paul is going to go when to this idolatrous place. He's going to
preach repentance from idolatry. He's going to preach about God being the
creator of all things, and how God has truly given evidence of Himself that
He is the one true and living God. How does he do that?
Look in Acts chapter 14, and I want you to notice what the Scripture
says in verse number 17. Preaching to these idolaters about God he says,
“Nevertheless He, God, did not leave Himself without witness in that He did
good.” What did He do? “Gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons
filling our hearts with food and gladness.” Who takes care of the rain? Who
takes care of the trees producing fruit? Who is it that gives us water and
gives us food? God. The land that produces, the creeks that flow, the rivers
that flowed with water, where does all that come from? You? Are you, are
we making that? Are we making that happen? Of course not! Who did that?
God! Therefore He's the creator of all things. These idols that you've got
set up, they're not making it rain. They're not making the trees produce
fruit. They're not providing for you and your family. And they knew those
idols weren't doing anything. “But the true, living God did not leave Himself
without witness.” The creator and His creation show He is the designer of
all things. When the Gentiles heard this, they loved the message. The
Jews, they didn't want anything to do with it. In fact they're going to take
Paul out of the city, and they're ultimately going to stone him for that
message and for preaching the gospel. In fact I want you to know with
notice what the Scripture says in Acts chapter 14 about Paul being stoned.
When he is left outside the city for dead, and how that he arises to go in
and preach the gospel. The Scripture says in verse 19 “Then Jews from
Antioch and Iconium came there and having persuaded the multitudes,
they stoned Paul, dragged him out of the city supposing he was dead and
Paul rises up.” We hear in verse 22 Paul said these words “We must
through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”
Paul suffered; he was beaten .Yet he got up and continued to preach
the gospel! Can you imagine that scene? This multitude, stoning Paul
bloody and bruised and lying there looking dead? Why did he do all that?
The power of the gospel had to be preached, and Paul really committed
himself to following Jesus- no matter what.
Now as Paul does rise up, he goes on to preach the gospel. In one of
the unique things that he does is found in Acts 14:23. The Bible records
that ‘Paul went around and appointed elders in every city.’ Let's think about
the church of the Lord Jesus Christ for a moment, and let's think about how
God designed it. In the church we do not find a one person leadership. For
example we don't find pastor, one pastor leading it. We don't find the Pope.
We don't find someone else in authority doing that.
How did God design the church in the local organization and work of
it? Well here's how: there were elders to be appointed, Titus 1:5, 1 Timothy
3:1 following they were to appoint elders in every city not only were that
elders there is a plurality of them. Not one elder, but more than one a
plurality to work together for a check and balance system. Then under
elders there deacons, 1 Timothy 3:12 following you've got deacons being
mentioned and their qualifications. We have elders who are overseers in a
1 Timothy 3:1 that's clearly mentioned as well as Acts 20:28 following, and
then we have deacons who are designed to help with that work. And of
course, all members work together-that's the design and organization of the
church. But again, we don't see one person running the show. We don't
see a pat one pastor. You never find a pastor in the Bible running
What does it mean to believe in Christ? Friend belief in the Bible is
never just accepting a fact mentally. Belief is always an action. You read
Hebrews chapter 11 “By faith the walls of Jericho fell down after they'd
encircled.” Every time “by faith” occurs there is an action word that shows
their faith or belief in God. The same is true in the Bible. Belief is never just
mental assent alone; belief means we're willing to do the things that God
has told us to do to be saved.
And so that great question is asked, “Sirs what must I do to be
saved?” As we think about the power of that question and the need to
answer it correctly, let's realize this-listen very carefully now-the most
important thing that you have right now is your soul. One day you're going
to leave this old body behind, but your soul is going to live on forever. It's
going to return to God who gave it, and God according those who've
obeyed the gospel or not will separate them into eternal righteousness or
eternal glory or into eternal torment. Jesus said it this way in Mark 8:36-37
“What will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses his own
soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”
We ask you today to consider seriously, are you making your soul
your number one priority? If you gained everything in the world and went to
hell, what good would that be on the Day of Judgment? If you say to the
Lord ‘You know maybe I really didn't live right, but I've got all this stuff right
here.’ Can't give anything in exchange for your soul. Let's realize the
importance of our soul friend.
If you haven't had your spirit, your soul cleansed by the blood of
Jesus, we're begging you to do that today. Won't you do what they did? In
every account of conversion in the book of Acts, didn’t they hear the
powerful message? Jesus is Lord and Christ. He's the Savior of the world.
Salvation cannot be had outside His name. They believe that. They commit
to it with all their heart. “If you believe with all your heart you may,” Acts
Are you willing to repent and turn again that your sins may be blotted
out, Acts 3:19? Would you stop doing the wrong in your life, turn to God,
and start doing the right? Would you confess Jesus as your Lord and
Savior? The Ethiopian eunuch said it this way “I believe Jesus is the Christ
the Son of the living God.”
If you believe that friend, would you to get into Christ and have every
sin and wrong washed away? Be immersed into His name for the
forgiveness of sins. Listen to the first gospel sermon and the response to it.
Acts 2:37 says they're cut to the heart; and they cried out ‘Men and
brethren what shall we do?’
The answer was this “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the
name of Jesus for the remission of sins.” If you've never obeyed the gospel
friend, more than anything we're pleading with you today. Won't you
become a Christian and answer that question ‘What must I do to be
saved?’ just like they did in the New Testament? That's our hope, and
that's our plea.
Please continue this study with us as we think more about the book of
Acts next time.
Study Questions for: “Acts: Lesson 4”
1. What question is asked in Acts 16:30?
2. According to Acts 13:2, who selected the men?
3. According to 1 Corinthians 15:58, what must we do? Why?
4. When should we “work” according to John 9:4?
5. What does Revelation 14:13 say of the ones who die in the Lord?
6. According to Acts 13:38-39, how was this different from Moses’ Law?
7. According to Matthew 1:19-21, what will He do for His people?
8. According to Hebrews 8:13, what did He make obsolete?
9. In Acts 14:23 what did Paul appoint in the cities?
10. According to Ephesians 5:11, what must be exposed?