Sovereign Grace Blog

Sermon Summary - Biblical Evangelism - Acts 13:13-41

Sermon Summary - Biblical Evangelism - Acts 13:13-41

In Paul’s first recorded sermon we see his worldview and his gospel which comes with two foundational truths. The first is that God’s sovereignty shines through all human history. The second is that everything that has been written about Israel's history was leading up to the coming of Jesus in order to save sinners through His life and resurrection. There are three major sections in this sermon. He first lays out the promises of God throughout history leading up to the promised coming of the messiah (Acts 13:16-25), then Paul says that Jesus of Nazareth is the fulfillment of those promises (Acts 13:26-37), and in the last section (Acts 13:38-41) he demands a response from the synagogue and from all of us.

Starting with verse 13 (Acts 13:13) Luke sets up the context by recording Paul’s journey to Antioch in Pisidia. They go into a synagogue and were asked to share words of encouragement. In the first section of Paul’s sermon, he worked his way through the Old Testament showing how God actively worked in Israel’s history. He started with the exodus, and continued to the inheritance of the land of Canaan. God gave them judges, and kings, one of them being David whose offspring would be the savior of Israel, Jesus. He continued with John the Baptist who proclaimed a baptism of repentance and spoke of one coming after him. Paul showed how Jesus was the culmination of God’s work in history.

In the second section, Paul explained that Israel rejected Jesus because they did not recognize Him or understand the utterances of the prophets. Their rejection which led up to Jesus’ death did not hinder God’s plan for salvation. Instead, their rejection fulfilled the Old Testament promises. According to eyewitnesses, God raised up Jesus from the dead. Paul supports their testimony by stating OT prophecies that Jesus fulfilled in His resurrection starting with Psalm 2:7, “You are My Son, today I have begotten You.” This psalm is a prediction of the enthronement of the king, of His resurrection and ascension of Jesus to the right hand of God. Paul also quotes Isaiah 55:3 and points his fellow Jews to the blessings God promised was coming to them through a descendant of David. A dead messiah cannot fulfill the promise so he quotes Psalm 16:10 “you will not let your Holy One see corruption” and shows how Jesus’ resurrection would not allow Him to see corruption. He proves to them with scripture and eyewitnesses that Jesus is a descendant of David and the promised messiah.

Paul then leads to the third section which demands a response from the gospel he just spoke of. Will you believe in Jesus and be saved? Or will you scoff and doubt God’s promised? There is nothing in the universe more important that the 2 promises that are offered in the gospel Paul preached; the forgiveness of sins, and justification before God, which comes through Jesus. Paul knew that right standing with God can never be achieved by works, he understood his audience, knowing that he himself practiced the law in order to gain favor with God. Paul made it clear in the sermon that Jesus offered the forgiveness of sins and justification, to be declared righteous before God. This is one of the most fundamental truths about the gospel. We stand before God as if we never sinned, in perfect obedience, because Jesus’ righteousness was imputed to our lives. Paul then quotes Habakkuk 1:5, which, in its context, was a warning of God’s judgment to the nation of Judah that was coming upon them because of their unrepentant heart. Paul was clearly saying that just as God carried out that promise of judgement, so He will bring destruction to the people who scoff, or look away from the promise of salvation through Jesus.

Paul’s sermon gives evidence that God has faithfully kept His gracious promises to send the Savior, the King, the Messiah, the Son of David, who is Jesus, in order to save everyone who believes. Paul’s plea is that you would come to faith in Jesus.


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