I hope you had an opportunity to see last week’s youth skit and the accompanying messages from Acts chapter 13. The youth and children of the church did a wonderful job of leading us in worship last Sunday. If you missed it, you can still watch it from the church website.
This week we will pick up where the youth left off, on Paul’s first missionary journey. Paul and Barnabas were sent out by the church they nurtured and built up in Antioch, and now have arrived in Iconium in Galatia. We are reminded, by Luke, that it is “the Lord” and “the Holy Spirit” who are at work in the ministry of Paul and Barnabas, yet we can’t help but notice that their success is mixed with bursts of opposition. In fact, we’re told that an entire city is divided by their ministry. We’re quickly left with the realization that the Gospel causes division wherever it pushes back darkness.
On Sunday morning we’re going to take a look at the nature of that division, consider why it’s not too surprising and discover how you and I can respond to it in our own Christian walk.
Don’t forget, we have now changed to summer hours, and so our morning worship will now begin at 9:00 A.M.
The Christian’s hope is not to have one’s best life now. The hope that is within us comes through the good news of Jesus Christ. We find hope in the forgiveness of sins which is available to us through faith is in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. That is the very essence of Christianity. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is God’s plan A for mankind. It is the way that He is restoring us and the world to what He intended us and it to be. And it is the way in which our broken relationship and this broken creation is once again reconciled to and brought into communion with Him.
As wonderful as the hope we have in Jesus is, there are many who will not receive it. There are powers in the world that are intent on opposing it. There is an intense spiritual battle going on and Christians are very much a part of it. There can even be times when we look around and wonder, “Is the battle being lost?” I don’t know what the early church, in Acts chapter 12, was wondering, but I have to imagine there must have been some concern they would be overpowered by all the forces allied against it. The Jews considered them to be virtual atheists and King Herod considered them an expendable political opportunity to win favor with the Jews. The church was growing but, physically, was no match for either of these groups.
Thankfully, our power is not of this world. No opposition, no matter how great or powerful, can triumph over the power of the Gospel. The victory has already been won and the outcome is certain. Many, like Herod, will try to assume God’s place on the throne, but He is firmly established there and will never let another take His glory and our hope.