“Brothers, if you have a word of exhortation for the people, please speak.”
Reflection: Paul’s First Sermon
By John Tillman
Scripture takes many forms. Poems, songs, dialogue, histories, genealogies, visions, and even sermons are recorded in God’s Word. Responding to each as it is intended is a valuable spiritual practice. Whenever you encounter a sermon in Scripture, one way to approach it is to take notes as if you were hearing it along with the listeners.
Today, we encounter Paul’s first recorded sermon and take some notes to reflect on.
Paul’s sermon is in response to a call for exhortation. The word Luke uses, paráklēsis, can imply an entreaty for help and is often translated as “comfort” (Luke 2.25; 6.24; Acts 4.36).
Paul’s message is one of comfort but also a call to action; encouragement but also an energizing challenge.
Paul’s message is for Jews and Gentiles—for all who worship God.
God chose the Jews from among the nations.
- He showed his goodness in blessing them.
- He showed his power in saving them.
- He showed his mercy in bearing with and forgiving their sins and weaknesses.
- He showed his faithfulness in fulfilling his promises to them.
David was chosen from among them.
- He was a man God chose to bless.
- He was a man God used to display his power.
- He was a man to whom God showed mercy for his sins and weaknesses.
- He was a man through whom God chose to fulfill a greater promise.
Jesus came from David.
- As promised by God.
- As prophesied by prophets throughout Israel’s history.
- As proclaimed publically by the prophet, John the Baptist.
Jesus completed God’s promised salvation.
- Through his fulfillment of Scripture.
- Through his submission to death.
- Through his physical resurrection.
Through his fulfillment of Scripture, his submission to death, and his physical resurrection, Jesus has made manifest God’s promises of forgiveness and salvation.
The offer of salvation is real.
- Salvation is a work done by God.
- Salvation can be ignored.
- Salvation can be accepted.
The implications of Paul’s sermon:
- We are chosen by God like Israel, like David, like Paul.
- God has demonstrated his power in us through Christ’s resurrection and our salvation.
- God bears with our weakness and sin, forgiving us.
- God carries his appeal to the world through us.
We, like Paul, are responsible to respond to the world’s need for paráklēsis— for encouragement, comfort, and exhortation.
We must say as Paul did, “Therefore, my friends…the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you.”
Prayer: The Refrain for the Morning Lessons
Know this, the Lord himself is God; he himself has made us, and we are his; we are his people and the sheep of his pasture. — Psalm 100.2
– From The Divine Hours: Prayers for Summertime by Phyllis Tickle.
Judges 9 (Listen – 8:22)
Acts 13 (Listen – 7:36)
Judges 10-11.11 (Listen – 2:18) Acts 14 (Listen – 3:54)
Judges 11.12-40 (Listen – 5:53) Acts 15 (Listen – 5:43)
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Read more about Setting Aside the Scriptures
Considering all of Scripture together without breaking it apart requires patience and a deep familiarity with Scripture.
Read more about When We Fast From The Feast
Our culture has steadily, for decades, been encouraging us to abstain from spiritual disciplines in favor of activities that we are led to believe are more profitable.
It has been so good to hear from many of you about posts for Readers’ Choice, but we still have some room in August for your input.
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Follow the link to fill out the form. Please limit your submissions to posts published this calendar year, between September of 2018 and today.
For any questions contact John Tillman at firstname.lastname@example.org