God’s Word for You
Acts 13:44-46 Third Commandment broken
by Pastor Timothy Smith on Tuesday, June 23, 2020
44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 When the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy. They were blaspheming and contradicting what Paul was saying. 46 Then Paul and Barnabas answered them boldly: “We had to speak the word of God to you first, but since you reject it and consider yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we now turn to the Gentiles.
Once again, although we don’t have the full picture, we have enough to see what was going on. News about Paul and Barnabas spread in the city, carried by the enthusiastic reports from everyone who had been there the week before. Along with them came some jealous Jews. This is Luke’s assessment, but it also comes through the Holy Spirit. Blaspheming against God and trying to contradict what Paul said, they made a nuisance and a spectacle of themselves. Where were they the week before? They raised no objection then; those who had been there were convinced by the way Paul applied the Scriptures to Christ. The blasphemy they uttered would certainly have been against the divinity of Jesus, but what other conclusion can be made about Jesus except that he is the Son of God?
We were talking before about the Third Commandment. What happened now was a negative application of this Commandment. Man is guilty of despising God’s Word when he refuses to hear it. This applies both to the jealous Jews at Antioch and people today who have a First Article sort of faith in God, that is, a faith that doesn’t go beyond the First Article of the children’s (Apostles’) creed. They want to think about God as the creator and maybe as the preserver, but not as the Savior. They would rather save themselves, and their attitude says, “Let his blood be on us and on our children!” (Matthew 27:25).
To continue with the Third Commandment, we also become guilty of despising God’s Word if we let anything in the world crowd it out of our lives. “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world (i.e., more than Christ), the love of the Father is not in him” (1 John 2:15). Also, we are guilty of despising God’s Word if we listen to it but don’t believe it or do what it says. “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like” (James 1:22-24). What God wants is for us to hear his word, learn from it, believe it, obey it, and share it with the world.
Unable to continue with the blaspheming Jews of Antioch, Paul told them: “You consider yourselves unworthy of eternal life? Very well. I will go to the Gentiles.” This is what he had been called to do by the Holy Spirit (Acts 9:15), but that didn’t mean that he would withhold the gospel from the Jews. It only meant that he was also to offer it to the Gentiles. But now the Jews of Antioch rejected Paul’s teaching. They rejected the Word of God. They rejected Christ himself—and therefore they were taking their sins back on their own heads to look for some other Savior, some other Messiah. In the end they will learn their mistake when they rise on the Last Day only to be thrown into everlasting torment and suffering, for that is the fate of everyone who rejects Christ. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him” (John 3:36).
Trust in Jesus. Pore over his word and learn from him. “The unfolding of your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple” (Psalm 119:130). I would rather be the simple man that I am and know Christ than be able to fathom all mysteries and all the knowledge of the world. “Take the world, but give me Jesus.”
Pastor Timothy Smith