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My First Sermon

Acts 13:14-23

 

Paul and Barnabus begin their 1st missionary journey.  They have felt God’s call to carry the gospel around the world, and the 3rd city they come to is Antioch in Pisidia, a different “Antioch” than earlier in Acts.  This Antioch is 100 miles north, 3600 ft. elevation, and it’s a strategic location from which they can reach the surrounding area.

 

When these guys would go to plant a church, they’d start by preaching in the synagogue, where people were hungry for the Word of God…and we should go where people are seeking, and are hungry.  Jesus said he came to call sinners to repentance, not the righteous [think they’re righteous].  “They that are whole…”

 

v. 14-15   Never open up the floor for comments when there’s a Baptist preacher in the crowd! 

 

v. 16        He preached his 1st sermon.  [this is not me!]  And it was a lot better than my first one, or even my last one!  The subject was a great one… “salvation thru Jesus Christ”.  But this message will be rejected.

 

v. 46        “ye…judge yourselves unworthy.  Interesting.  If I were to ask you if YOU were worthy, you’d say no, no one is worthy…I don’t deserve everlasting life.  But that’s where the good news of the gospel comes in…those of us who are unworthy are MADE worthy thru what Jesus Christ did for us!

 

Paul’s 1st sermon tells how we can be made worthy of everlasting life. 

 

v. 16, v. 26, v. 38

 

1.     Salvation is Provided

v. 16-25           Paul reviews the history of Israel in 4 different locations.

 

Egypt:

v. 17        9 plagues and Pharaoh still wouldn’t let Israel go.  So then came the 10th…the death angel will pass, and your firstborn will die, unless you take a lamb w/out blemish and sprinkle it’s blood on the doorposts.  “When I see the blood, I will ‘pass over’ you!”

        Paul preached that salvation is provided thru the blood of another.

The lamb is a picture of Christ and His blood.

Adam & Eve sinned, God killed animals, shed their blood, to clothe them [innocent died for the guilty!]

 

Why is salvation thru the blood of another?  The life of the flesh is in the blood, but in our blood runs the sin nature, so the blood of the innocent is required.

 

Ill.—s.s. teacher talking about omnipresence of God asked class, “is there anywhere God cannot go?”  No!  “Is there anything God cannot see?”  No! [except for 1 little boy who raised his hand and said, sir, God can’t see my sin when it’s covered by the blood of Jesus!]  He got it right!

 

2nd location- The Wilderness:

v. 18        Paul preached that salvation is provided thru the bruising of another.

Numbers 21:5-9

    And the people spake against God, and against Moses, Wherefore have ye brought us up out of Egypt to die in the wilderness? for there is no bread, neither is there any water; and our soul loatheth this light bread. [6] And the Lord sent fiery serpents among the people, and they bit the people; and much people of Israel died.

    [7] Therefore the people came to Moses, and said, We have sinned, for we have spoken against the Lord, and against thee; pray unto the Lord, that he take away the serpents from us. And Moses prayed for the people. [8] And the Lord said unto Moses, Make thee a fiery serpent, and set it upon a pole: and it shall come to pass, that every one that is bitten, when he looketh upon it, shall live. [9] And Moses made a serpent of brass, and put it upon a pole, and it came to pass, that if a serpent had bitten any man, when he beheld the serpent of brass, he lived.

 

I grew up w/ a bunch of snakes in NM…no, not lawyers, real snakes!  I can easily imagine this scene…I’ve been struck at, and I’ve seen people struck!

God sent these serpents as a judgment on their complaining, but also for a higher reason.  You see, each of us have been bitten by the serpent Satan, and injected into our very veins is the poison of sin.  Coursing thru our bodies is the sin nature, and the wages of sin is death!

 

So, God told Moses to take a piece of brass [symbol of judgment] and form it into the likeness of the VERY THING that had brought about the death, put it on a pole and hold it up high, and tell the people that whoever looks upon that brass serpent will be instantly cured and healed! 

        That’s a picture of the Lord Jesus Christ lifted up high on Calvary.

John 3:14-15

    And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: [15] That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

“look and live!”

Why would Jesus be pictured by a serpent?  Because on the cross Jesus BECAME our sin!  The very thing which has brought us spiritual death is sin, and He who knew no sin was made sin for us!

 

God has made a way for this sin-sick world to be healed…the cross of Christ is high and lifted up, and they need only look and live!  [some don’t want to watch “The Passion”, but God says to look!]

 

God made a way…salvation is of the Lord, not of us.  Jesus cried out, “It is Finished!”  So, salvation is not by trying, it’s by trusting!  It’s not based on what we DO, but on what Christ has already DONE!

 

It’s thru the blood/bruising of another…He was wounded for our transgressions…He was bruised for our iniquity!

        The cross is the only place in the world that sin has been completely judged.  So we must cling to Christ’s cross as our hope of salvation.  Standing before God, if you’re not standing in Christ, then your sin must be judged separately.  But if you are standing in Christ, at the foot of the cross, then your sin has already been judged.  God says, I see that, I see the blood, and now I pass over you!

 

That makes you worthy of everlasting life!  You’ve been justified = “just as if I’d never sinned.”

 

Ill.—family being chased in their wagon by a prairie fire/dad set fire ahead of them/wind blew it ahead, they moved into the burnt area/fire cannot consume where fire has already consumed!

 

If you’ve been saved, your judgment is in the past, if not, your judgment is yet future!

Life in Christ is an endless hope…life outside of Christ is a hopeless end!

 

Egypt, wilderness…

 

3.     Land of Canaan:

v. 19

 

Remember how Israel moved into the land God promised them?  They looked over the Jordan River at the great walled city of Jericho…doubled walls…2 layers thick…1st wall was 6 ft. thick, and the 2nd wall 12 ft!  Joshua surveyed the situation.  As the military brains of the outfit, he was probably thinking of what kind of ladders they would need to build, and the battering rams they would need to knock in the gates.  But while scoping the situation, an unusual man w/ a drawn sword appeared unto him.  Joshua asked, are you for us or our enemies?

        The man answered, I haven’t come to take sides, I’ve come to take over!  It was the Lord!  Joshua didn’t recognize Him, but this was a pre-incarnate appearance of Christ Himself!

 

Paraphrasing:  he said, “you’re not gonna need ladders, battering rams, arrows or dynamite…all you need to do is march around the city once a day for 6 days, then 7 x’s the 7th day, then blow your trumpets and the walls will fall down flat!  And they did!

 

Paul preached his 3rd point, that salvation is provided thru the battling of another. 

Listen:  there’s 1 final enemy that we all must face…death

Hebrews 9:27

    And as it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment:

 

In spite of all medical science has come up with, the death rate is still “1 per person!”  None of us are getting out alive. 

 

Job asked God, “if a man die, shall he live again?”  Good question!  Science says he might, let’s freeze him cryogenically!  Philosophy says he hopes to live again, or come back as something else!  Ethics says he ought to live again.  Atheism says, no, he’ll never live again.  But Jesus says, he shall live again!  Then He proved it as the 1st fruits of the resurrection!  He won that battle…and now we too can conquer death thru the battling of another!

1 Cor. 15:54-55

    Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

        He’s taunting death, like Mohammad Ali did his opponents!

Ill.—my kids are terrified of wasps and bees…and when we get a bee in the van it’s like a Chinese fire drill trying to get it out.  A story is told about a family like ours who got a bee in their car, and their little boy began screaming, so the dad reached out and grabbed the bee.  He held it a few moments, then let it go…the little boy couldn’t believe it, he was even more horrified.  “Settle down, son” he said, and showed him a spot on the palm of his hand and said, “see, he stung me, and he only has 1 stinger…my hand took the stinger out of the bee…now he’s as harmless as a housefly!”

        And Jesus took the sting out of death, and if you need proof just look at the palms of His hands!

Psalm 23:4  Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.

 

Salvation is thru the blood, the bruising, the battling of another…

Egypt, wilderness, Canaan…

4.     The Kingdom

It’s the time of the Judges…

v. 20-23           Paul preached that salvation is provided thru the birth of another.  He’s helping them to see that Jesus is the way, truth, and life.

 

We must be perfect to go to heaven, and we’re not perfect, and we all have the wrong blood type, because our father gave it to us…but God found a way to bypass this problem and salvation came thru the birth of another, Jesus, who, like us, got His blood from His Father, and then was born perfect, lived perfect, and on the cross gave us a spiritual blood

transfusion, His blood flowed to us, and our sinful blood to Him…He became sin, shame, and spiritual nakedness like the first couple in Eden, and gave to us robes of pure white, and paradise!  Are you worthy to wear white?  No matter what you’ve done, you can be!

 

His birth, His blood, His bruising, His battling…our salvation…don’t we have a wonderful salvation.  God thought it, Jesus bought it, the Holy Spirit wrought it, the devil fought it, but praise God, I caught it!

 

We’re unworthy, but He makes us worthy!  Not bad for Paul’s 1st sermon!

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