Sermon Summary from last week (July 12th), “The Call and the Journey!” (Acts 9, 13, 26, Gal 1)
I thought last week was going to be my one shot at the Apostle Paul. Conversations in the parking lot indicated a thirst and a need for more. Therefore, we begin a seven week series, “Paul: His Journeys and His Letters.” After all, Paul was the second most important person in the New Testament; and maybe, just maybe, ever. His 13 letters (13 of 27 books of the NT) bridge from the Oral Tradition (There was no need for written Gospels because most couldn’t read and the church was centered in Jerusalem. If you wanted to know about Jesus, you just asked the Apostles.) Paul, out of necessity began writing his fledgling churches when reports of issues arose. In doing so we first learn about salvation through the Cross of Christ, the resurrection and the hope of ours, the Lord’s supper, and the commandment to love one another long before the Gospels came into existence. Paul was at the same time the most important theologian and the most important evangelist in the church, ever.
In about 49 ad, followers of Jesus were in prayer and worship in Antioch when the Holy Spirit set aside Saul and Barnabas for the ministry to the Gentiles. I wonder if we have the expectation of meeting Christ in worship? As we together lift our voices in prayer and song, as we hear the Scripture read and the Word proclaimed, do we encounter Jesus? Do we hear a call on our live? Will we leave worship changed? Ponder it.
Anyway, led by the Spirit, Paul and Barnabas head for Cyprus and then Asia Minor where they proclaim Jesus as the Messiah who in fact is the Son of God, and whose death on the Cross is for us and for our salvation! A few are converted, Gentiles are ecstatic to know that the Good News is for them too. A few extreme Jews rebel at the news and drive them out of one town after another but not before Paul and Barnabas are able to establish a church in each location. They return to Antioch with great celebration for what the Holy Spirit has done for the Gentiles.
I’m reminded of the popular devotional “My Utmost for His Highest.” That is what Paul did. I wonder what our lives would look like if “utmost” was our byword. I wonder. How about you? Amen.