Introduction: A key idea in the book of Acts is that believers should be witnesses for the Lord, everywhere they go. Today, we hope to discuss the first missionary journey in Cyprus and some Galatian cities.
Body: Reads Acts 13:9-12 2. Events in Cyprus. In this section of the book of Acts Barnabas and Saul ended up at Paphos. There was a sorcerer there trying to stop the ministry.
Saul/Paul was used by God to punish the disruptive sorcerer with blindness. A chief officer, the proconsul, became a believer.
Applications - - Godly discipline. Notice in vss. 9-11 of the book of Acts the godly discipline. There are times when the leader must exercise discipline towards those who oppose the work of God.
On one hand, make sure you are not the one tempting the leader to discipline you. Don’t let the devil have you opposing the work of God. On the other hand, support godly discipline.
Just like one fool on a plane can bring the whole plane down and those on it, a little leaven, leavens the whole loaf, and sometimes purging out the leaven is in order (see I Cor. 5:6-7).
Let’s work on supporting godly discipline. Additionally, discipline should be lifted, when and if the person repents. Pray for the wisdom and courage of the leader to exercise godly discipline.
- The power of sharing God’s word. Notice in vs. 11 that God can handle the devil and advance His program. In this section of the book of Acts the Proconsul believed in Christ, in spite of the drama in the text.
It seems that the Proconsul was attracted to the teaching, which should urge us to put high emphasis on teaching. Let’s work on staying focused on sharing God’s word.
With our faithfulness and God’s grace, souls can be saved and believers nurtured to be disciples of Christ.
Read Acts 13:13-22 3. Events in Galatian Cities. Paul and his company travels from place to place in this section of the book of Acts. John Mark left them in Perga. Paul shared in the synagogues about how God has been working out a plan for His people.
The plan included time in Egypt, time in the wilderness, King Saul, and King David.
Applications – - Assembling with other believers. Notice in vs. 14 of this section of the book of Acts that assembling with other believers should be a normal activity for believers. A believer out of fellowship with a church family is like a baby without a family or a fish without water.
We tend to be rather transit today. No longer is it normal for a person to be born, raised, live, and die in the same city. No longer is it normal for a person to spend all of their Christian life in the same church.
However, in our Baptist Church Covenant, we have agreed to “as soon as possible unite with a church where we can carry out the spirit of our covenant and the principles of God’s word.” Let’s work on regularly attending church, no matter where we are at.
Looking for the word (i.e., Bible based preaching and teaching), work (i.e., ministry), and warmth (i.e., acceptance and fellowship) should be key issues in our looking for a church.
- Words of encouragement. Notice in vs. 15 that there was an invitation to share a word of encouragement. As believers we should have a word of encouragement to share with other believers.
Too often it take too long for believers to share a word of encouragement with the others who have gathered. We may not all have spectacular testimonies, but we can at least read a scripture.
Some can sing a song. And others can pray. Let’s work on carrying a word of encouragement around for the sake of other believers.
- Trusting God’s plan. Notice in vss. 16-20 of this section of the book of Acts that God has been working out a plan for His people.
The plan included God’s choosing a people, providing prosperity, bringing His people through 40 years of hard times, and so much more. We should remember that God has a plan for our lives that includes hills and valleys.
We ought not give up, when we are in the valley. Nor should we worship the hill, when we have a hill top experience. If we don’t give up on God, God will not give up on working things out for the good of His people (see Rom. 8:28). Let’s work on trusting God to work things out for the good of His people.
- God’s use of human leaders. Notice in vss. 20-22 of the book of Acts that God works through human leaders. God sent and used sinful Saul. When God got ready to remove Saul, after 40 years, God moved him.
Instead of being like sinful Saul, we should strive to be a person after God’s own heart. When our hearts are in line with God’s heart, we should obey His word.
At the core of God’s word are the issues making sure we are saved and living lives focused on loving God and others as we love ourselves. In spite of David’s sins, God saw that He would strive to obey the Lord.
Let’s work on trusting God’s ability to use human leaders to carry out His will. An inability to follow human leadership is also an inability to trust and obey God who tells us to obey those who have rule over us (see Heb. 13:17).
Conclusion: Let’s work on being witnesses for the Lord, everywhere we go. God has much for those who obey His will.
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