Paul’s sermon to the people in the synagogue at Antioch seems perfect for our July 4th, Independence Day. The leaders there asked him to give them “any word of encouragement for the people,” and Paul preached about freedom.
As with our own liberty in America, his sermon began with a lesson in history. Paul reviewed how God had been faithful to His chosen people, delivering them from bondage in Egypt, teaching (and disciplining) them through the long wilderness journey, and bringing them into the Promised Land.
He reminded them about their most righteous leader, King David, whom God testified was “a man after my heart, who will do all my will,” and about God’s promise concerning him. A savior for Israel (and the world) would come through this David’s lineage. He would be of David’s offspring: Jesus.
Then Paul preached the message of salvation.
Those who lived in Jerusalem, and their rulers, DID NOT RECOGNIZE or UNDERSTAND the words of their own prophets, which they read from every Sabbath. But they “fulfilled” them anyway, by condemning Jesus, and though they found no fault in Him, asked Pilate to execute Him. When He died, they buried Him.
But that was NOT THE END. God raised Jesus from the dead and He appeared to many of those who followed Him, who are now His witnesses.
And now, the CONCLUSION to Paul’s sermon. “We bring you the Good News! (the Gospel)”
1. God’s promise of a Savior was fulfilled in Jesus.
2. Through HIM the forgiveness of sin is proclaimed to you.
3. By HIM everyone who believes IS FREED from everything from which the law couldn’t free you.
“For the law of the Spirit of Life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and death. For God has done what the law could not do. By sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, he condemned sin.” Romans 8:2-3
And Paul’s final warning: “Beware lest what is said in the Prophets should come about… that, as scoffers, you are astounded (by the Gospel) but perish. “I (the Lord) am doing a work in your days, a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.” Instead, believe and receive the Good News. Amen!
“If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” John 8:36
“Give me liberty, or give me death!” ~~~ Patrick Henry (about the fledgling United States of America)