Acts 13:14, 43-52
The early Christians had to battle in order to faithfully follow the Gospel. They were not just battling with the powers of sin at work in their own lives, but they also had to combat the hostility of many of those around them. In fact, for the first few centuries, to take on the Gospel as a way of life was tantamount to inviting persecution, first from the Jewish people and then in a far more organized and violent form, from the Roman government of the day; to receive the Sacrament of Baptism was to endanger one’s life and make one’s self a candidate for martyrdom.
14 Paul and Barnabas continued on from Perga and reached Antioch in Pisidia. On the sabbath they entered the synagogue and took their seats. 43 Many Jews and worshipers who were converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who spoke to them and urged them to remain faithful to the grace of God. 44 On the following Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and with violent abuse contradicted what Paul said. 46 Both Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and said, “It was necessary that the Word of God be spoken to you first, but since you reject it and condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, ‘I have made you a light to the Gentiles, that you may be an instrument of salvation to the ends of the earth.’’’ 48 The Gentiles were delighted when they heard this and glorified the word of the Lord. All who were destined for eternal life came to believe, 49 and the Word of the Lord continued to spread through the whole region. 50 The Jews, however, incited the women of prominence who were worshipers and the leading men of the city, stirred up a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their territory. 51 So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. 52 The believers were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.
P S A L M
Psalm 100:1-2, 3, 5
R: We are his people, the sheep of his flock.
1 Sing joyfully to the LORD, all you lands; 2 serve the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful song. (R) 3 Know that the LORD is God; he made us, his we are; his people, the flock he tends. (R) 5 The Lord is good: his kindness endures forever, and his faithfulness, to all generations. (R)
Revelation 7:9, 14-17
Maybe we do not suffer the physical persecution and martyrdom of the Early Church. However, we do suffer the more subtle, and perhaps more dangerous, tendency of compromise and secularism. There is nothing more insipid and disgusting than a supposed witness to the Gospel that has lost its essential character through unwittingly (or otherwise) allowing the secularizing tendencies of materialism and consumerism to rob it of its evangelical character. This is the foremost danger that we have to combat today in western society. Let us pray for the grace of faithfulness to the Gospel Truths, the same grace that sustained the Early Church as it laid the foundations of Christian life a couple of millennia ago.
9 After this I had a vision of a great multitude, which no one could count, from every nation, race, people, and tongue. They stood before the throne and before the Lamb, wearing white robes and holding palm branches in their hands. 14 Then one of the elders said to me, “These are the ones who have survived the time of great distress; they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. 15 For this reason they stand before God’s throne and worship him day and night in his temple. The one who sits on the throne will shelter them. 16 They will not hunger or thirst anymore, nor will the sun or any heat strike them. 17 For the Lamb who is in the center of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to springs of life-giving water, and God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”
G O S P E L
If we commit ourselves to placing the voice of the Lord first in all that we listen to, we are doing the best that we can to remain faithful to him. On the other hand, if we constantly give our ears over to the voices of the world – voices of compromise, despair and mediocrity, we will find that we will depart from the road to eternal life. God’s will may not always seem to be the most attractive option at hand, but that is not the point! The point is, what words are going to lead us along the path to eternal life. Eternity is forever. The best that the world can offer us is a few years of glory and pleasure that will end and ultimately leave us feeling empty!
27 “My sheep hear my voice; I know them, and they follow me. 28 I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish. No one can take them out of My Hand. 29 My Father, who has given them to me, is greater than all, and no one can take them out of the Father’s hand. 30 The Father and I are One.”
think: If we commit ourselves to placing the voice of the Lord first in all that we listen to we are doing the best that we can to remain faithful to him.
God’s special verse/thought for me today________________
T O D A Y ’ S BLESSING LIST
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READ THE BIBLE IN ONE YEAR Nehemiah 8-10
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