Read 329.) Acts 13:1-15:35. With Acts 13, and Paul’s first missionary journey, we also have, with 13:16-41, a 7th apostolic Gospel presentation. We can clearly see that Jesus is the Savior, v.23. The matter of repentance is proclaimed with v.24. We next learn of the message of salvation, v.26. It revolves around the very specific matters of Christ’s death, v.28, and His resurrection, v.30, 33, 34, and 37. What Jesus accomplished by His death and resurrection is that we may know the forgiveness of our sins, v.38. It is by means of believing this Good News concerning Jesus that a condemned sinner is justified, v.39. Justification is that act of God whereby He declares a condemned sinner to now be righteous. Their sins are forgiven, and God’s own righteousness is credited to their account; and that person is saved, v.47! This results in the possession of eternal life, v.46 and 49. Key to living the Christian life, after one’s conversion is said to be continuing in the grace of God, v.43. Note that within this message, we find 7 of the 10 elements of The Real New Testament Message. They are 4.) Savior, v.23; 6.) Repentance, v.24, The 5.) Gospel, v.28, 30, 33, 34 and 37. Then, there’s the 8.) New Birth, v.38, 39+47; and the necessity to 7.) Believe, v.39. We see Paul spoke to them of the 9.) New Life in Christ with v.43+52. We even see that matter of 10.) Kingdom, with the mention of eternal life in v.46+48. Is this your message? Is this the message of your church? It needs to be. It is the Word of the Lord, v.44, 46+48!
Then, in Acts 14, we read of the remainder of Paul’s first journey, and of the results he experienced. The results of their speaking was that some believed, and were converted, v.1; but that others, being obstinate, refused to believe, v 2. With verse 3, we read of this matter of miraculous signs and wonders, which was pertinent to the Apostles in their time, as II Cor.12:12 and Heb.2:3+4 make so plain. This is not normative for today. We see the necessity, once again, for people to only believe the Good News, so as to be saved, with v.1. An emphasis among those in Lystra was that they repent of their idolatry and turn to the living God! The concept of repentance is little mentioned in many churches and messages today, but needs to be, as most in popular culture have much to turn from, in order to turn to the living God. I think that 14:20+21 is my favorite passage, as I love the irony in it. “…strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. [Saying] ‘We must go through many hardships to enter the Kingdom of God'” That’s encouraging?!?!? And, with 14:26, the first missionary journey of Paul ends.
Now, Acts 15 serves so very well to cement The Real New Testament Message. We see that some insisted on works being added to the Gospel and God’s grace, in order to be saved, v.1+5. This resulted in what has come to be called The Jerusalem Council, for the purpose of resolving the very serious matter. Peter testified first, and went back to all we saw in chapters 10:1-11:18. It was that he preached the message of the Gospel, and they believed, v.7. That was all that God required of them, as He accepted them and gave them the New Birth, v.8+9. Peter concludes that it is by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ anyone is saved! Next Paul and Barnabas gave their testimony, and James, the half-brother of Jesus, gave his conclusion of the matter. People need only turn to God with faith in Jesus Christ, and that no work of any kind need be added to result in anyone’s salvation! It is all of grace!!!
Right at Acts 15:35, it is thought that Paul wrote the first of his epistles, that to the churches of the Roman province of Galatia. We will read Galatians next. It speaks right to the very matter we saw here with 15:1+5. Acts 15 ends with Paul setting out on his second missionary journey. After that, we will learn of the most incredible importance of what took place during that journey… It changed all the world! It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell