Grace and Fear

Acts 13:13-52

I am not going to be lame-ducking it as your pastor. As a church, I hope you don’t become a lame-duck as you wait to see whom your new pastor will be. The gospel of Jesus Christ is so marvelous, we continue to speak about what God is doing in our life. The Good News of Jesus Christ is so amazing, we continue to tell about Jesus no matter where we are. The grace of Jesus Christ is so beyond compare, we continue to bless others no matter who our pastor is!

There is grace for us as we continue in the gospel of Jesus Christ. Oh, people will try to frighten us. We need not fear other people and their tomfoolery and shenanigans. For as we continue to be the church, the Holy Spirit will fill us. So, there is no reason to be lame-ducking it when it comes to our being followers of Jesus Christ.

I know when the pastor is not in the worship service, some of us lay-out of the church worship service. I think we do that to our own harm. It is a temporary form of being a lame-duck that stifles our faith. When times of persecution come to Christians, then we will see how being lame-ducks might make us dead ducks!

When we are worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit can come to us. When the Holy Spirit comes to us, He can speak to us about setting apart men or women for a work. That is what happened to have Barnabas and Saul set apart for their work. The Holy Spirit told the church in Antioch to set apart Barnabas and Saul. I hope through our fasting and worshipping of the Lord we hear from the Holy Spirit to set apart men and women for a task.

For when men and women are set apart for a task, the good news of Jesus Christ is spread. Barnabas and Saul preached Jesus Christ. They preached in a Jewish synagogue. The pointed out Old Testament passages which spoke of Jesus Christ. Some Jews believed. But other Jews did not believe in Jesus Christ. So, Barnabas and Saul started preaching to the Gentiles. The Gentiles rejoiced as they believed in Jesus Christ and received the Holy Spirit. How did the Gentiles get to the point of rejoicing?

A. There were results from the church praying and fasting (13:1-3)
B. Barnabas and Saul went were they were sent (13:4-12)
C. The Jews listened to Paul, for at least one Sabbath! (13:13-41)
+++1. God has been with his people Israel
+++2. God made promises to Israel (via Abraham and David)
+++3. John the Baptist called Israel to prepare for Christ Jesus
+++4. God raised Jesus from the dead – the promises are being fulfilled!
+++5. It is through believing in Jesus Christ that we have forgiveness of sins!
+++6. There is no other way for us to be freed from our sins
+++7. Will you believe in Jesus today? Will you be free from your sins, today? I hope we are not like some of the Jews.

D. Some of the Jews rejected Paul’s teaching about Jesus (13:42-47)
+++1. In Jerusalem, the some of the Jewish leaders rejected Jesus as the Messiah
+++2. They put him to death
+++3. Here in Antioch of Pisidia, some of the Jews are rejecting the news about Jesus
+++4. Many Jews accepted the word about Jesus being the Christ
+++5. Israel has its chance to believe (the Jews in that city at that time)
+++6. Now, Paul and Barnabas follow the Lord’s command to be “a light to the Gentiles, so that they may bring salvation to the ends of the earth. (Isaiah 42:6). The Gentiles listened to Paul and Barnabas.

E. The Gentiles gladly accepted the news about Jesus Christ!
+++1. It is through belief in Jesus Christ, the Son of God , the Son of David, who was raised from, that we are destined for eternal life
+++2. Instead of being driven by fear because of the persecution, Paul and Barnabas continued in the grace of God
+++3. Because of Paul and Barnabas being obedient to the Holy Spirit, the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit!
+++4. There are even people today who will gladly follow Jesus Christ. We are to be obedient and go where and to whom the Holy Spirit sends us.

This whole trip that Paul and Barnabas went on started while they were worshiping God. It is when we are together with the rest of the church that God speaks to us. It is when we are gathered together to worship that the Holy Spirit will set us apart for a task.

The key to the church’s obedience was that while they were worshiping, they were also fasting. Fasting involves giving up meals so that the time can be spent in prayer. Getting closer to God through prayer and fasting is part of our lives as followers of Jesus.

Before Lent started, I asked this church to fast one day a week during Lent. Because of some medical reasons some of us might be able to fast one meal. Others of us could fast for two or more meals. All the while we were praying for whom God would be speaking to among us. We were asking God about whom He is going to be set apart for a task.

In the 1950’s, four men were called from Gladeville to be preachers.
Just in the past 5 years, two young women have been called from Mt. Olivet to be missionaries.

Who else is God directing us to set apart for a task? There are surely people in this world who will follow Jesus when they hear about the promises God fulfills in Jesus. There just might be someone here in this church who is be set apart for this task. Is it you who will go in the grace of God, without fear of anything or anyone?

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