Paul and Barnabas at Antioch in Pisidia
 Now Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia. And John left them and returned to Jerusalem,  but they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. And on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down.  After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent a message to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, say it.”  So Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said:
“Men of Israel and you who fear God, listen.  The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it.  And for about forty years he put up with them in the wilderness.  And after destroying seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance.  All this took about 450 years. And after that he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet.  Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years.  And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’  Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised.  Before his coming, John had proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.  And as John was finishing his course, he said, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but behold, after me one is coming, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.’
 “Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation.  For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him.  And though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed.  And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb.  But God raised him from the dead,  and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people.  And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers,  this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm,
“‘You are my Son,
today I have begotten you.’
 And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way,
“‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’
 Therefore he says also in another psalm,
“‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’
 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption,  but he whom God raised up did not see corruption.  Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you,  and by him everyone who believes is freed from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses.  Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the Prophets should come about:
 “‘Look, you scoffers,
be astounded and perish;
for I am doing a work in your days,
a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.’”
 As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath.  And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.
 The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord.  But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him.  And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles.  For so the Lord has commanded us, saying,
“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”
 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed.  And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region.  But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district.  But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium.  And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. (ESV)
- Stephen’s seminary
This text is primarily made up of a sermon that Paul delivered on the Sabbath. He began with the calling of Abraham and followed the story of God through Egypt, King David, and the prophets, claiming that the entire story was about Jesus. Where did Paul learn to preach Christ from the Old Testament in this way? Paul heard a very similar sermon from the lips of Stephen whose death Paul condoned (Acts 7). It is impossible not to hear Stephen’s voice in Paul’s sermon. Though Paul approved of Stephen’s death, Stephen’s sermon would continue to bear Gospel fruit in the ministry of a radically changed Paul.
- Getting the Gospel right
Gospel confusion is not uncommon, but Gospel clarity is everywhere in Acts. Whenever the Gospel is preached, it always entails the announcement that Jesus is Lord over all and that there is forgiveness of sins in his name alone. You won’t find much about how Jesus meets and fulfills all of our felt psychological and emotional needs. You won’t find anything about how Jesus will take away all of your sadness. But you will find plenty about the need for repentance, the coming judgment, and the salvation that Jesus offers to all.
- Conflict and conversion
Nobody is indifferent to the announcement that Jesus is Lord. Neutrality is a myth. When the Gospel is proclaimed, some respond in repentance and faith to the good news that Jesus is Lord. Others respond with anger, hatred, and judgment because the Gospel threatens their sense of autonomy. The Gospel always produces conflict and conversion.
- Stephen’s teaching clearly had a profound impact on Paul. What Christian teachers or pastors have had a profound impact on your understanding of the Gospel?
- Take a moment to go back and read the sermons in Acts 2:14-36, 7:1-53, 13:16-41. How would you summarize these sermons? What is the Gospel according to them? Is it different from what you tend to think the Gospel is?
- Conflict and rejection are normal responses to the Gospel in Acts. How might this encourage or challenge you in personal evangelism?
Call to Worship
Blessed Is Everyone Who Fears the LORD
A Song of Ascents.
 Blessed is everyone who fears the LORD,
who walks in his ways!
 You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands;
you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you.
 Your wife will be like a fruitful vine
within your house;
your children will be like olive shoots
around your table.
 Behold, thus shall the man be blessed
who fears the LORD.
 The LORD bless you from Zion!
May you see the prosperity of Jerusalem
all the days of your life!
 May you see your children’s children!
Peace be upon Israel! (ESV)
Prayer of Confession
Almighty God, who does freely pardon all who repent and turn to Him, now fulfill in every contrite heart the promise of redeeming grace; forgiving all our sins, and cleansing us from an evil conscience; through the perfect sacrifice of Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.
Family Discipleship Weekly Resources
Family Discipleship Weekly Resources are tools for families to use to help connect Sunday’s sermon to the rest of your week, fostering conversations and habits of worship.