Acts chapter 14

This chapter tells us a lot about Paul and Barnabbas and about being Christians in a non Christian world. The Christian message is both received and rejected. These men were both treated like gods and threatened with death. They had to convince some people that they were not gods. It didn’t take long for the same people to turn against them.

Paul and Barnabbas returned to several places they had been on their way back to Antioch. They wanted to encourage the new believers and appoint elders to lead those churches.

We should expect the same kind of treatment in our secular society. We should also make sure we have faithful leaders in our churches today.

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Acts chapter 13 … First

Paul and Barnabbas were chosen and sent on the first mission trip to bring the Gospel message to the Gentiles. They first went to the Jews because they were chosen to be the line of the Savior. But when many of the Jews refused to believe and receive the gift of forgiveness in Jesus Christ, Paul and Barnabbas turned to the Gentiles. God’s love and forgiveness are for everyone.

Trouble … Acts chapter 12

Jesus had warned the Disciples that they would face trouble for following Him, and they did. James, one of Jesus three closest Disciples, was martyred by Herod Agrippa, one of the sons of Herod the Great.

After that Herod Agrippa arrested Peter, but God sent an angel to rescue him. Even though Christians were praying for his safety, they didn’t believe Peter was actually free and knocking on the door. Peter told the people who were praying for him to tell Jesus’s brother James what had happened.

Herod Agrippa was struck down with a painful disease when he accepted praise for having the voice of a god. The Christian Church continued to grow in the face of persecution.

Acts chapter 11 … Christian

Two things jump out to me from this chapter. First the recognition and acceptance of the truth that the Gospel is for all people. I may have the opportunity to tell the good news of God’s love for them to some of the people who come to the funeral at Peace today.

The second thing is that Jesus followers were first called Christians in Antioch. The word Christian means Little Christ. Christians are to be like Christ.

Acts chapter 9 … A Complete Turn Around

Jesus has the power to change lives. When Jesus met Saul on the road to Damascus, he was going there to arrest Christians and bring them back to Jerusalem in chains. Meeting Jesus changed everything for Saul who became a follower of Jesus.

Most of us know Saul as the Apostle Paul who spread the Gospel message to people in Asia and Europe. He brought the Gospel to the Gentiles, people who are not Jewish.

What kind of change has Jesus made in your life?

Acts chapter 8 … Turning Point

The Christians were staying together around Jerusalem until Stephen was martyred. When Saul began to hunt Christians down to arrest them, they left Jerusalem and took the Gospel message with them to Judea and Samaria.

They were fulfilling Jesus’s promise recorded in Acts chapter 1 verse 8. When the Gospel message was heard, the Judeans and Samaritans believed. Philip told a man from Ethiopia about Jesus. He believed and was baptized.

This was a turning point in the spread of Christianity. Do we need a new push in Christianity in America to bring the Gospel message to the people around us? I think we do!

The First Christian Martyr … Acts chapter 7

Stephen was the first Christian to die for his faith, the first martyr. A martyr is a witness. In his response to those who accused him, Stephen told the history of God calling and caring for the people of Israel. This is sometimes referred to as salvation history.

When he got to the part of the story about the condemnation and execution of Jesus, the accusers turn on Stephen. While they were throwing stones at him to kill Him, Stephan looked into heaven and asked God to forgive them. God wants us to forgive our enemies too.

That Ripple Effect … Acts chapters 3 and 4

When Peter and John healed the crippled man in the name of Jesus, they set off a ripple effect. The man jumped up, ran around the temple praising God and many people saw him. Then Peter and John were able to tell them about Jesus and the number of Jesus followers grew.

This got the religious leaders upset enough to have Peter and John locked up over night. But the leaders couldn’t do anything to harm Peter and John because too many people were witnesses to the miracle they did in Jesus’ name.

Before releasing them, the authorities told Peter and John to stop talking about Jesus. They refused to do that. They chose to obey God. When all the Disciples were together again, The Holy Spirit filled them with joy and power.

If or when people try to silence us, we should follow the example of Peter and John and obey God not the authorities.