Remember in verse 2 how God had told the group that Paul and Barnabas were to be set apart for His work for which He was calling them. Now, some time after dealing with the Proconsul and the false prophet who was plaguing him, Paul and Barnabas set off on their journey. They land in Antioch of Pisidia (not to be confused with the other Antioch where the church was first called Christians) and find their way to the synagogue.
I assume that reaching the town, Paul and Barnabas found their lodging and made themselves ready to attend the service. Even though scripture does not tell us, I would assume that they cleaned and dressed themsleves so as not to offend anyone in the synagogue. Paul was looking for an opportunity to preach!
Let’s detour for a bit and talk about preaching and finding the opportunity to preach. Several great preachers have surfaced in the book of Acts thus far. Stephen, Peter, Phillip, and now we see Paul emerge as the ultimate New Testament preacher. We will see that Paul always went to the formal Jewish assembly first. There were probably several reasons for this but chief among them was that, had he gone to the gentiles first, the Jews would not have listened to him at all. Paul followed a sort of protocol. He went to the Jews first. If they listened, great! If not, he continued on to the gentiles.
Also, Paul was not so much interested in receiving the approval or the accolades of the Jews. He was simply finding an avenue in order to preach Jesus as the Messiah. Paul had a singular focus in his evangelistic work. He was an educated and skilled orator. He could match wits with anyone. Notice however that there is no record of his deviating from his central message of salvation in Jesus alone. He did not resort to self-help, pop-psychology, sex talk, marriage improvement, financial counselling, or any other type of felt-need area. He preached about God’s plan for the salvation of mankind…Jesus.
Also note that Paul was a strong preacher. He knew his message to be true because he knew the One whom the message was about. Strong preaching has always been the catalyst behind every move of God. It’s not that we manipulate God into action by preaching but that God uses the preaching of His word to begin a great work. All of the awakenings, reformations, and revivals of history began with strong preaching from the word of God.
If we hope to see God move in our day– a time plagued with false church activities such as Emergent mumbo jumbo, entertainment parties, tatoo & piercings and other such nonsense taking place and being called church– we will submit ourselves to God, learn His word, and preach it!
Join me next time to see how Paul sets up his sermon.
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