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Acts 13 v 16 - 52

This is an extremely important passage as it is the only full length report of a sermon by Paul that we have. We have a full length report of Peter's sermon in Acts 2 and when we compare the details we can see that the main elements are the same:

1. Paul declares that the coming of Jesus was the fulfilment and end of history. To make his point clear, he outlines the Jewish national history to demonstrate that it reached its peak in Christ. Christians believe that history is moving forward constantly as the purposes of God unwind.

2. Paul also declares that when God's fulfilment came in Jesus Christ, it was not recognised. People chose not to see it and the misuse of free will does not end in liberty but in ruin.

3. However, whatever people chose to ignore or even fight against His plans, God could not be defeated and the resurrection of Jesus proved that. God never loses His grip!

4. Paul goes on to state that the resurrection of Jesus Christ was the fulfilment of prophecies: promises were made to King David, which were not fulfilled in him, but only in Christ.

5. The coming of Christ is Good News! Many Jews tried to live their lives according to the Law given to Moses, but no one could fulfil the Law completely. Paul knew that personally he was still beset by guilt and failure. However, in Jesus, men and women could find that forgiving power which sets them free from all that condemned them.

6. But this Good News will prove to be bad news for those who reject it. Christ's life, ministry, death and resurrection means that there can be no fence sitters. Everyone is either for Christ or against Him.

We are then given a picture of the response to Paul's message. Antioch in Pisidia was a lively and volatile city with a mixed population and the Jewish residents used this knowledge to rouse the crowds to oppose Paul and Barnabas and they had to leave the city. The Jews were intent on keeping their supposed privileges as God's people for themselves: Christians saw their privileges as something to be shared.

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