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To Make A Long Story Short

Have you ever wondered, if you were presenting the Christian message to a group of people for the first time, how you would sum up everything? In Acts 13:16-41, Paul summarizes the Old Testament and Jesus's ministry for a group of people who were not familiar with the Gospel. How does he carry out such an impressive task?

First, he explains what the Gospel is. Paul proclaims that the Old Testament and John the Baptist prepared the way for Jesus's coming. He explains that Jesus was executed on the cross and was raised by God from the dead. In Acts 13:38-39, Paul reveals what this accomplished: "Therefore, my friends, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Through Him everyone who believes is set free from every sin..." This is the Gospel.

Secondly, he makes sure his message applies to his audience. Paul is speaking to both Jews and Gentiles (people not born as Jews). He explains that Jesus is the coming Messiah anticipated by the Jews, but also reveals He is the savior for Gentiles, as well. In verse 26, he states: "Fellow children of Abraham [Jews] and you God-fearing Gentiles, it is to us that this message of salvation has been sent." Paul wants to make very clear that the salvation Jesus died to bring is available to everyone.

Finally, he examines the consequences of unbelief. Paul warns the people not to "wonder and perish" at the Gospel (Acts 13:41). A commitment needs to be made or else, Paul says, we will “perish.” We need to accept Jesus's gift of forgiveness and salvation in order to experience abundant life both now and forever.

Reflect:

  • Have you accepted Jesus to save you from your sins? If so, do you believe that He has covered every sin of yours?
  • Who do you need to share the Gospel with who has not understood it before, does not think it applies to him or her or does not realize how serious its consequences are?

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