Bowie Apostolic Church
Acts 13: The Emergence of Paul
by From the Pastor's Desk on February 13th, 2013

The Apostle to the Gentiles

Acts 13:1 Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3 Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off. 
In Acts 9 we see these words:

Acts 9:26 And when he had come to Jerusalem, he attempted to join the disciples. And they were all afraid of him, for they did not believe that he was a disciple. 27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles and declared to them how on the road he had seen the Lord, who spoke to him, and how at Damascus he had preached boldly in the name of Jesus. 

Knowing the background of Saul, many were reluctant to commit to him. Even Ananias, whom Jesus told to pray for Paul to receive his sight, had some reservations about even going to see him. Ananias even questioned Jesus (Acts 9:11-14). But Barnabas accepted him as a brother and brought him to the rest of the apostles. This validates Saul as one of them. Sometimes it takes one person to see something special in another. Barnabas saw something in Saul.

In today’s chapter, we see that Saul is still with the leaders in the church at Antioch. We see they are worshipping together. As they were worshipping, the Holy Spirit spoke to all of them that Barnabas and Saul should set apart for what we see becomes a missionary journey. One notable thing is that all of them heard the same thing. There is no record of one person telling another what the Spirit had sad. Just as there is a power of uniting together in prayer, there is a power of worshipping together in unity as well. When God speaks to a united people, it doesn’t bring division. It brings unity. Oh God, speak to us today!

Verse 9 is when we first see Saul referred to as Paul. He is known as Paul for the rest of the New Testament. There are differing opinions on the significance of the name Paul. Since it means ‘little’ some feel that it refers to Paul’s stature. Others feel, as if it was Saul’s choice to call himself Paul, that it refers to his own viewpoint of how significant he wants to be in regard to Christ. Whatever the reasoning, in Christ, Paul was no little man.

As you have read, they went to two cities in their missionary journey in this chapter. Knowing that this Paul was a chosen vessel, there was some opposition in the world that was trying to stop his ministry from the beginning. You will see that in contrast to what the first apostle experienced in Jerusalem, Paul does not see that for a few years. They saw immediate revival. They saw thousands of people at one time on the day of Pentecost. Paul sees a different result. There is something that is trying to kill his ministry in its infancy. Please do not back down just because you do not see immediate results in the ministry. As we will see in the ministry of Paul, the values of consistency, perseverance and dedication are what makes for great success in ministry. In my opinion, Paul was not results oriented. He was ‘will of God’ oriented.

In one of these incidents, we see the will of God being played out. As we saw from the persecution that arose after the death of Stephen, we know that persecution can be the hand of God to achieve a particular end. In this particular case, the Jews cause an uproar because many Gentiles and some members of the synagogue believed. Paul’s response was simple “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles (verse 46).”In this statement we see the Gospel going to the uttermost parts of the earth just as Jesus had promised from the beginning in Acts 1:8. 

We don’t see the beginning of the fulfillment of Acts 1:8 until now, 12 chapters later. Our Eternal God does not feel the need to do things instantaneously. Time is not as significant to Him as it is to us. He has designated His appointed times. Everything in between that becomes less significant. The question for us is simply: Are we in it for the long haul or just the quick fix? As an example to us, Paul was in it for the long haul.

Posted in Acts, Bible 2013    Tagged with Saul, Paul, gentiles, persecution


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