Sermon Hightlights: Promise Made, Promise Fulfilled

And so I bring you another post highlighting the wonderful sermon from our pastor’s series on the Acts of the Apostles. This week’s sermon focused on Paul’s sermon to both the Jews and Gentiles in Acts 13.

Acts 13:13-16 provides the background and setting. John Mark had gotten upset and discouraged. He had had an easy life, which quickly reversed after he began following Paul. The prisons and persecution were just not what he had expected. He said, Enough is enough, and went home. This gives some context to Paul’s sermon in the following verses.

To begin his sermon, Paul take the people down memory lane in Acts 13:17-26. God chose their fathers, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He led them out of Egypt. He endured their conduct in the desert. He overthrew nations, and gave the land to the people. He gave them judges and a king. He brought to Israel the Savior, Jesus. Paul reminds them of the promises God had made, how they were fulfilled, and how they all pointed to Jesus.

Some Old Testament promises of Jesus:
Gen. 3:15 – First promise of a Messiah.
Gen. 26:4 – From Abraham’s seed would come the blessed Messiah.
Deut. 18:15 – A prophet would come from their midst.
Acts 3:24-26 – All the prophets foretold of Jesus coming in the seed
of Abraham.
These are just a few of the many promises pointing to Jesus in the Old Testament.

Jesus told his disciples to take the gospel to every nation. He loves the whole world and wants to bless them through the seed of Abraham. Acts 13:26 – To these people the word of salvation had been sent. Paul included himself and his companions in this statement, as well as all the Jews and Gentiles. Rom. 1:16 – Paul claims the same promise here for everyone who believes. God’s promise is not affected by our nationality or background, but is affected by how we respond to it–by whether or not we accept it.  John 1:12 – God’s promise is yours, if you receive what Jesus has to offer.

Not everyone wants to receive it, though. Acts 13:27-29 – Just think about
the courage it took for Paul to speak these words. He’s telling the people that
that God gave them the fulfillment of all the Old Testament promises in Jesus, and that, not only did they reject it, but they also crucified Jesus. Those who were looking for the promise were able to see its fulfillment in Jesus. However, there were those who were only looking out for their own interests, and Jesus was someone who stood in their way.

Take a moment to reflect on your own life. Is there anything causingg you to overlook God’s promise? Or perhaps there is something causing you to overlook God’s promise for your neighbor. If you’ve received His promise, you need to offer the same promise to others.

Easter (even though it’s origin is pagan and we shouldn’t practice all of the traditions surrounding it) is the one time that you hear more talk of Christ than any other time of the year. The world at this time of the year has opened the door in many ways to talk about Jesus. It gives us a chance to share Jesus in a way that others accept, because so many are already talking about it. When the door is open in the world, we need to take advantage of our opportunity. God’s promise was meant to be shared. We’re not to hold it and hoard it, but to accept it for ourselves and share it.

Acts 13:30 – Jesus did not stay in the grave. God raised him, and it was validated by several witnesses. In Acts 1:3 and 1 Cor. 15:3-8, Paul shows that those who followed Jesus saw Him after his resurrection, and became His witnesses to the people. Paul was one of those who saw Jesus. But it’s not just those who saw Jesus that were called to be His witnesses. Those who accepted Him without seeing Him were also out
sharing.

How many of us like to share good news (like a birth announcement, or an engagement, or a milestone in life)? Good news just has to be shared! Let’s make sure we’re connected to God’s purpose of sharing the good news of Jesus with everyone. God’s promise was fulfilled in Jesus as Messiah–Acts 13:32-39. Jesus rose from the grave, and now helps us to rise from the grave of sin and despair. In verses 40 & 41 we see Paul giving a warning (he wouldn’t have been Paul if he hadn’t). He quotes Habakkuk, telling the people that if they reject God’s promise, they reject their hope for forgiveness. God is generous and merciful, but He will also carry out justice. He could just wipe us all out, but He chose to send Jesus to pay our debt. That payment is not yours until you receive it, believe it, and act on it. God’s promise is for all who
believe, and is meant to be shared. Jesus is God’s promise to you. Your life is your promise back to Him.

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