"A PATTERN OF GOSPEL WORK"
(Used by permission)
A new Gospel message brought to you by
The Gospel as found in “The Leather Journal” of Dr. Phil Newton. Phil pastors the South Woods Baptist Church in Memphis, TN. His other sermons can be heard at https://www.southwoodsbc.org/ This is a service of The Invertedchristian.com A ministry of The Duke Consulting Group drrogerdduke.com
“When the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord; and as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed. And the word of the Lord was being spread through the whole region. But the Jews incited the devout women of prominence and the leading men of the city, and instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. But they shook off the dust of their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit” (Acts 13:48–52).
When Paul and Barnabas had preached the gospel with faithfulness among the Jews and God-fearers in Pisidian Antioch, they saw mixed response. The Jews reacted so that they moved their gospel work to focus on the Gentiles. The Gentiles rejoiced at hearing the good news so that all those “appointed to eternal life believed.” Due to this gospel work, the word continued to spread. New believers talked about their faith in Christ as Lord. More came to faith in Christ by this gospel witness.
The Jews, jealous of gospel work, persecuted Paul and Barnabas, driving them out of the city. Rather than hear the good news that had its roots in God’s promises to Abraham and David, they refused to listen, reacting in protest. Paul and Barnabas protested against their false faith and blasphemy against Christ by shaking the dust from their feet against them. But they were not dissuaded by the persecution, and so continued on to Iconium. The new disciples “were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” They were marked by the work of the Holy Spirit gifting and endowing them with joy. This scene offers a clear pattern of gospel work:
· Some, by God’s electing grace (“appointed to eternal life”), hear the gospel and believe.
· The Word of God keeps spreading as new believers chatter the good news to others.
· Some react so strongly against the gospel that they foolishly persecute the gospel messengers, thinking that their persecution can stop what God in mercy and grace is doing. The Lord is pursuing a people whom He will redeem through the faithful, accomplished work of Jesus Christ. These people will be called to faith through the proclamation of the gospel, whether in preaching, writing, personal witness, or other gospel declaration. God is faithful to His gospel!
· The gospel messengers shake the dust from their feet in protest of such folly, identifying and declaring through that act the persecutors remain under the judgment of God unless they repent and believe the same good news they opposed.
· The Holy Spirit, even in the midst of persecution and opposition, marks new disciples with joy and new life by the indwelling Spirit.
Here is a pattern for gospel work that can be seen throughout history and in our day. May the Lord, by His electing grace, call out many new disciples through gospel proclamation, who will be marked by joy and life in the Spirit!