With the New Testament norm being established by what we read in Acts chapter 11 and the summary statement of verse 24 in chapter 12; we now make the stunning discovery that all 10 of The Essential Elements of The Real New Testament Message can be seen within Acts chapter 13! See that the matter or issue is that of #1, righteousness, which comes up with verse 10. We find that its opposite, and man’s problem of #2, sin shows up all over the chapter, but specifically in verses 8 thru 10, 40 and 41, 45 and 50, but most importantly for our study purposes, see verse 38. The concept of #3, divine judgment is seen in what became of Elymas the sorcerer when he opposed the Gospel in verse 11. We know that the expressions, ‘the word of God,’ and ‘the word of the Lord,’ found 7 times in verses 5, 7, 12, 44, 46, 48 and 49 all relate directly to the expression, ‘this message of salvation,’ seen in verse 26. We may rightly ask, “What is this word, this message of salvation?” By now, the answer should be crystal clear. The message is about #4, the Savior Jesus of verse 23, and about the 2 elements of #5, the Gospel; those being Christ’s death found in verse 28, and, of course, His resurrection from the dead seen 4 times in verses 30, 33, 34 and 37.
With that being established, we look for the remaining 5 Essential Elements. Beginning with #6, repentance, expressly mentioned in verse 24. And, the prime requisite of #7, believing upon Jesus and the message of salvation, the Gospel of Christ’s death and resurrection, is stated for us in verses 12, 39 and 48. With God doing for us all that He could thru Christ, and people responding properly toward Him and His Son with faith and repentance, we see God granting #8, the New Birth of salvation to these truly penitent believers by forgiving their sins and declaring them not guilty in verses 38 and 39. This is that salvation spoken of in verse 26; and it is for all people everywhere says verse 47! What’s left, but that these new Christians begin to experience elements of #9, the New Life in Christ, with particular mention of being ‘filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit,’ in the very last verse; but with this truly valuable expression given to them, and to us, to ‘continue in the grace of God’ expressed in verse 43, also?
Finally, what all of this really means for the true believer on Jesus Christ, is that final expression and experience of what Christianity is ultimately all about, and that is; #10, entering into God’s Kingdom to live with Him forever, as we find in verses 46 and 48. These 10 Elements are truly what comprises Real New Testament Christianity for this, our day. Do you see it? It’s what the Book is all about!
Harold F Crowell