Event(s): Paul’s message at Antioch of Pisidia
Today’s Text: Acts 13:13-52
Tomorrow’s Text: Acts 14:1-7
Having evangelized Barnabas’ homeland, Paul and Barnabas next moved into southern Asia Minor (modern western Turkey). They ended up in Antioch of Pisidia, which is different than the Antioch mentioned in verse 1. Antioch of Pisidia was in the Roman province of Galatia and was the chief military and political center in the southern part of the Galatian province. Here, they were able to reach all different levels of society with the message of the Gospel.
“In bringing the gospel to Pisidian Antioch, Paul and Barnabas were planting Christianity in the communication nerve center and heart of Asia Minor.” – Merrill Unger, Theologian
Acts 13:16 “Then Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said…” There is a striking resemblance between Peter’s address, Stephen’s address and now Paul’s.
“It is now widely accepted that all of the early preaching followed a common pattern that to some extent was based on rabbinic models. These models, no less than the form of preaching based on them, were familiar to Paul, and naturally he adopted this pattern himself.” – David Williams, Bible scholar
The method of delivering the message of the Gospel may change, but the message itself has always been the same. We have been given the message and the ministry of reconciling people to Christ. Though it’s very true that some may reject it, our words should headline the message of grace, which pulls people to Christ – not communicate a message that pushes people away through an undertone of condemnation or rejection. In Paul’s message, we can hear a compelling love, urgency, a fatherly admonition, and a joyful invitation that communicates God’s wide-open arms to all who would receive it. This is a lovely model to follow.
Acts 13:39 “by Him everyone who believes is justified” To justify is to declare one righteous; to bring one into right standing with God. It is a legal term, which means, “declared innocent.” When we put our faith in Jesus, this is exactly what happens. We don’t deserve this verdict because of anything we did or will do. We are pronounced innocent as the righteousness of Jesus is “imputed” or “added to” our account and we stand acquitted and absolved. An easy way to remember this is with a simple play on the word. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we can know that in His eyes, it is just-as-if-i’ed never sinned.
Acts 13:52 “the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” This speaks to a continual filling. The only mention about persecution in this chapter is found in vs 50. And notice that it is bookended on either side with a mention of the joy the disciples experienced (vs 48, 52).
Justification – when we place our faith in Jesus, we are brought into right standing with God and pronounced righteous in His sight. That is mind-blowing! When we really understand and believe this truth, it is one that will bring such freedom and peace to our lives. Our continual transformation then, is the process by which God makes us in reality – what we already are, positionally. And there is nothing we have done, or will do, that will make God change His mind about the way He sees us.
“God knew the worst in us. Nobody can produce new evidence of our depravity that will make God change His mind. For God justified us with His eyes open (so to speak). He knew the worst about us at the time when He accepted us for Jesus’ sake; and the verdict which He passed then was, and is, final.” –J. I. Packer
What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Today, let us take some extra time in worship and praise, remembering that it’s not anything we could have done or will ever be able to do that allows us to stand in this wonderful place, righteous before God.