Chapter Thirteen — Part Five: The Book of Acts

By: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne

Publish date: 02/13/2022

Foundation Scriptures:
Acts 13:45-52

1. Envy and Jealousy.
a. Acts 13:45a NKJV — But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy…
b. They were filled with jealousy—fierce indignation.
c. They could not bear to know that the Gentiles could be equal with them in Christ.
d. (1 Cor. 12:13; Gal. 3:28; Col. 3:11).
e. One of the main reasons people oppose the preaching of the Gospel is politics and spiritual pride—pure jealousy over the favor on the life of another person.
f. The Jews would not receive the Gospel message themselves, and they were indignant over the great multitude who did.
g. This was the same spirit that was in the Pharisees who opposed Jesus.
h. In the parable of the prodigal (or lost) son, a certain man had a son who took his inheritance and squandered it (Luke 15:11-31).
i. When he was in dire straits, he decided to return to his father in repentance, hoping to be received back and fed, even if only as a servant.
j. However, his father, who had been expecting his return, welcomed him back eagerly and generously, as a son.
k. He put his best robe on him, a ring, and shoes, and killed the chosen and choicest calf for the welcome home party.
l. Unfortunately, this made the elder brother angry and resentful.
m. The Jews who refused the Gospel, were like this elder brother.
n. They would not come in to partake of the inheritance set aside for them, and they also resented anyone else having any share in it.
o. Especially those they looked down upon as undeserving.

2. Contradicting and Blaspheming.
a. Acts 13:45b NKJV — …and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul.
b. The Jews pretended to oppose Paul based on his doctrine, but it was really because of their jealousy concerning his popularity and influence.
c. They contradicted and spoke against what Paul said, talking abusively about him, reviling and slandering him.
d. They blasphemed Jesus and His Gospel message—reviling, vilifying, defaming, railing on, and speaking evil of it.
e. Blasphemy is to speak evil of that which is good and has its origins in God; and also to claim that the work and the operation of the Holy Spirit is of the devil.
f. Jesus declared that blasphemy against Himself would be forgiven, but blasphemy against the Holy Spirit would never be forgiven, on earth nor in eternity (Mat. 12:31-32; Lk. 12:10).

3. Grace Rejected.
a. Acts 13:46a AMPC — And Paul and Barnabas spoke out plainly and boldly, saying, It was necessary that God’s message [concerning salvation through Christ] should be spoken to you first.
b. They started off preaching in such way as to hopefully win the Jews over, but when the Jews attacked them, they did not back off but got bolder and more outspoken.
c. They had the anointing of the Holy Spirit, and the Truth and uncontestable facts on their side.
d. Jesus commanded—therefore it was necessary—that the Gospel should be offered first to the Jews, and then to the Gentiles.
e. (Acts 1:8; Rom. 1:16; Mt. 10:6; Lk. 24:47).
f. As covenant people, the Jews were given the first right of refusal!
g. Acts 13:46b AMPC — But since you thrust it from you, you pass this judgment on yourselves that you are unworthy of eternal life and out of your own mouth you will be judged. [Now] behold, we turn to the Gentiles (the heathen).
h. Each of us is offered God’s grace, and we bring judgment upon ourselves when we refuse that grace.
i. They declared to the Jews, “Since you don’t want to receive this eternal life that is offered to you, we will take it to the Gentiles instead.”
j. The Gentiles cheerfully received and embraced what the Jews scornfully rejected.

4. A Light to the Gentiles.
a. Acts 13:47 NKJV — For so the Lord has commanded us: “I have set you as a light to the Gentiles, That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.”
b. This quote is from Isaiah 49:6.
c. Acts 13:48 NKJV — Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.
d. They were ordained, or appointed, to eternal life—meaning that God has appointed and provided salvation for ALL those who would believe.
e. (Jn. 3:15-20; Rom. 1:16; 10:9-10; 1Tim. 2:4; 2 Pet. 3:9; Rev. 22:17).
f. Acts 13:49 NKJV — And the word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region.
g. The Word of the Lord was being published, spread (by all the new converts) throughout the region.
h. Acts 13:50 NKJV — But the Jews stirred up the devout and prominent women and the chief men of the city, raised up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region.
i. The Jews stirred up men and women, who were honorable and devout (committed worshippers), and the influential, wealthy, and respectable men of the city.
j. You can be devout and respectable and yet also be very wrong.
k. Acts 13:51 NKJV — But they shook off the dust from their feet against them, and came to Iconium.
l. For the Jews to shake the dust of any place off their feet meant they recognized it as rejected by God.
m. Jesus said, “And whoever will not receive you, when you go out of that city, shake off the very dust from your feet as a testimony against them” (Luke 9:5).
n. They shook the dust off their feet as a testimony against those who utterly refused the Gospel (Acts 18:6; Mk. 6:11; Mt. 10:14).
o. Iconium was the capital of Lycaonia.
p. Acts 13:52 NKJV — And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.
q. The disciples—the new converts—had been saved and filled with the Holy Spirit.
r. Now they had joy, boldness, and strength in the middle of persecution (Acts 5:41; Heb. 10:34; Jas. 1:2).
s. The Holy Spirit is essential, once we are born again (Eph. 1:13).
t. And the joy of the Lord is our strength! (Neh. 8:10)