What’s the most valuable thing you own? Your house or car? Your mind, legacy, or time? While these things may certainly hold some sort of value to us in our lives, the Son of God directs our attention to something else. He points us to the most valuable thing we own: the Truth. Our minds, of course, have other ideas. My mind loves distraction. It lives for it. It cannot wait to find some new thing that will pull me away from the only precious gift I’ve been given—the only gift that changes my life completely. When I begin to let go, however, Jesus is there. He’s there in love to rattle me. He’s there to bring me to repentance. He’s there to forgive me. He is there to encourage me. Today, let's stay focused and to hold on to what matters. Stick to the Word!
That's bold! The last time you said that, were you referring to a gutsy move, an offensive statement, or guacamole? The adjective bold covers a lot of ground, doesn't it? The apostle Paul spoke the word of God boldly. While it's interesting to ponder what that meant, it's more meaningful to determine how we will boldly proclaim the good news of Jesus. Through our hearing of the gospel today and receiving of the gospel in the Lord’s Supper, may the Holy Spirit give us boldness to proclaim Christ to each other and to others. That’s why we’re a church.
Aren't facts bothersome? Your doctor, mechanic, or accountant tells you, "This is the way it is." You wish it wasn’t, but you can't deny the fact. We've come to the first of three of Paul's sermons recorded in the Book of Acts, and it deals with facts of Jesus. Some people found the facts very inconvenient, just like some do today. But stay with Paul's sermon and you will hear what the facts mean and how they're fulfilled. Then and now, it's God's message to bring people into his kingdom and keep us there. We’re glad you’re with us today to consider the facts of Jesus and what they mean. We call it worship.
Paul and Barnabas sailed from Antioch (Syria) and to the island of Cyprus, about 100 miles westward into the Mediterranean Sea. Imagine their excitement. But one of the first people they met was an agent of Satan who does his best to discredit the message of Jesus. Now imagine their confusion. Which will win, the agent of Satan or the agent of God? The answer matters because you, too, are an agent of God commissioned to take the gospel to others. You, too, will encounter agents of Satan. We’re so glad you’re here to journey with Paul and Barnabas…and us.
Have you asked your parents why they gave you the name you have? Sometimes a deep meaning emerges, sometimes not. Either way, most of us want to know how we got our names. Do you know how you got the name Christian? The Bible says believers were first called Christians in a city called Antioch in Syria. What they did will help us understand our name better. Welcome to Acts II. You’re with people who bear the same name you have. You'll see the family resemblance.