Preaching Brings Joy

Bible in a year: Job 30-31, Acts 13:26-52
Today’s Focus – Acts 13:50-52

Observation
After Paul and Barnabas preached the gospel in a synagogue, people begged them to come back on the next Sabbath (Acts 13:42). And both of them went back! Verse 44 tells us that almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of God. Since the population of Antioch was mainly Gentiles, we can assume majority of the crowd were Gentiles.

But… the Jews were unhappy. They were jealous and began to oppose what Paul and Barnabas said.

So verses 50-52 tells us the Jews even incited people to stir up persecution against Paul and Barnabas. How did they respond to the persecution? They simply left and went to Iconium which was 145 km away!

However, please note! They left a positive impact among their hearers. The disciples were filled with joy and filled with the Holy Spirit. The Gentiles believed in the gospel (v. 48).

Interpretation 

  1. Why were the Jews jealous? Reading the text, it is clear that Paul and Barnabas preached a better sermon than their Jewish leaders. People begged them for more of God’s word. Therefore the reason why the Jews were jealous is that Paul and Barnabas have a bigger crowd listening to them. They are more successful in their preaching ministry.
  1. Why were the disciples filled with joy despite seeing Paul and Barnabas persecuted? Of course they are not happy for their persecution. I believe they were glad to see the Gentiles believed in the gospel. I also believe when the gospel is preached, the Holy Spirit filled them and work in their hearts. In other words, the preaching of the gospel brings joy and transformation. What impact!

Application 

  1. Jealousy. It is easy to feel jealous over someone’s else success or blessings. I struggle with this. Today’s scripture reminded me to be aware of my sinful flesh of jealousy. The next time when I see someone is blessed by God (especially in ministry), I ought to rejoice with them and praise the Lord!
  1. What can bring true joy in life? Be engaged in the preaching of God’s word. Am I making time and effort to approach a sermon? What is my attitude when I listen to a sermon? Do I give my undivided attention to the preacher? Do I practice discernment when I listen to a sermon? What is my response when the Holy Spirit speaks to me during a sermon? Do I just walk away as though nothing has happened or said? These are some questions worth asking ourselves for eternality sake whenever we listen to a sermon OR when we read a pastor’s journal like this today.

Prayer 
Dear gracious God, we admit we struggle with jealousy and inattentiveness. I pray we will desire your word. I pray that we will be filled with joy whenever we hear the gospel being preached. I pray that NLC will preach the gospel every Sunday. Indeed the preaching of the gospel has the power to bring true joy and hope to God’s people. May God’s word transform every disciple in NLC. In Christ, Amen!

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