Scripture reading for April 22nd: Acts 13
Key Scriptures: Acts 13:1-4 “Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. So being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When the arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the Word of God in the synagogues of the Jews.”
The Book of Acts switches here from the ministry of Peter to the ministry of Paul and his missionary calling to the Gentiles. In this passage, we have the leaders of the church in Antioch worshiping the Lord and fasting when, through one of the prophets present, a word of wisdom from the Holy Spirit came forth. We note that this was a word of confirmation, not initial direction. The Holy Spirit had already spoken the Barnabas and Saul about their ministry personally. It was now confirmed through the prophesy given during worship. The leaders were obedient and laid hands on Saul and Barnabas and sent them off. As they went on their way, it is emphasized that they were sent off by the Holy Spirit and they preached the gospel in the synagogues of the Jews first, as God’s chosen people to bring Jesus into the world. They hardened their hearts and Paul and Barnabas turned to reach the Gentiles, also God’s plan!
Acts 13:44-46 “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.””
Faith confession and prayer: Lord Jesus, thank You for the message of eternal life and forgiveness of sins through Jesus Christ. Thank You for the gift of prophecy in Your church. Fill me with Your Holy Spirit and use me to speak Your Word boldly to those in need of confirmation and salvation.
Acts 13:48 “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.”
Scripture reading for May 9th: 2nd Kings 13-16, Acts 4
Key Scriptures: Acts 4:27-29 “. . for truly in this city there were gathered together against your holy servant Jesus, whom you anointed, both Herod and Pontius Pilate, along with the Gentiles and the peoples of Israel, to do whatever Your hand and Your plan had predestined to take place. And now, Lord, look upon their threats and grant to Your servants to continue to speak Your Word with all boldness. . .”
The disciples had been threatened by the Jewish council after the great miracle of healing for the lame beggar. They joined together and prayed a powerful prayer, recognizing the opposition that Jesus Christ had Himself endured from those He appointed to authority. They asked to speak boldly God’s Word!
2nd Kings 16:2-3 “Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem. And he did not do what was right in the eyes of the Lord his God, as his father David had done, but he walked in the way of the kings of Israel. He even burned his son as an offering, according to the despicable practices of the nations. . .”
Prayer: Lord, reveal any compromise in my life. Help me to do right in Your eyes and speak boldly Your Word to Your people as well as the lost. Amen.