What do we need to do to ensure that we win the spiritual “gold medal” when we stand before God?
In Acts 13:13-52, Paul shares with those in the synagogue in Antioch in Pisidia that God’s promise to send a Messiah was fulfilled in Jesus. Through Him “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” (Acts 13:38-39, ESV). Join Pastor Nate McLaurin as he helps us to see that we have freedom in Christ because He has already won the gold medal for us!
1. Old Testament: Paul is unpacking a rich understanding of the Old Testament for this audience of Jews. He is taking texts and themes they were very familiar with and helping them see how they climax in the person of Jesus….How frequently do you engage with the Old Testament Scripture? Why is it important to remember that those passages are signposts that point to Jesus? What OT passages have been especially enlightening to you and helped you get a higher view of Jesus?
2. Law vs. Gospel: In an effort to “free” ourselves from certain sins and rebellious patterns, we will often set up rules/laws for ourselves and stop there. “Do this.” “Quit doing that.” …We can fight against sin without really ever thinking of Jesus or having the gospel enter the equation….How is verse 39 a good corrective for that way of thinking? What would be a wiser strategy for combatting sin?
3. Eagerness to share: When one group of people rejected the gospel, Paul and Barnabas moved on to another. They cast the net wide. They spread the seed broad. How actively are you looking for, and seeking out, new people to share the gospel with?
4. Frustration in Evangelism: When is it appropriate to “shake of the dust of our feet” in response to someone’s outright rejection of the gospel (v. 51)? How ought we deal with temptations to discouragement or anger when people do not listen to the gospel message?
5. “As many as were appointed to eternal life:” If your group has had discussion about “the doctrines of grace,” and you feel comfortable leading conversation about it, you might entertain conversation about the last statement in verse 48. (But realize this is not the main thrust of this passage; nor is it something to have heated conflict about.) Keep conversation oriented around the encouragement/motivation that such an “appointment” ought to give us, or the reality that we only can discern whether someone was “appointed” by how they respond to the gospel message (do they believe it?).
6. Unity: Continue as a group to pray for the unity of our church body as we consider potential significant shifts during this calendar year.