Those who have been separated to Christ and the Holy Ghost will have the presence of the Holy Ghost with them to strengthen them, carry forward their work and give success to the Word preached. Those thus called may venture upon the stormy sea of persecution for Christ’s sake as if it was a quiet harbor, having great joy in the sowing of the Word and confidence that He will bless it to His own glory.
1 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul.
2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
4 ¶ So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.
5 And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.
6 And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Bar-jesus:
7 Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God.
8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.
9 Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him,
10 And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?
11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.
12 Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.
13 Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.
14 ¶ But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.
15 And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.
16 Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience.
17 The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it.
18 And about the time of forty years suffered he their manners in the wilderness.
19 And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Chanaan, he divided their land to them by lot.
20 And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.
21 And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years.
22 And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.
23 Of this man’s seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus:
24 When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.
25 And as John fulfilled his course, he said, Whom think ye that I am? I am not he. But, behold, there cometh one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose.
26 Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent.
27 For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him.
28 And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain.
29 And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre.
30 But God raised him from the dead:
31 And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people.
32 And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers,
33 God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.
34 And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David.
35 Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
36 For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption:
37 But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.
38 ¶ Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins:
39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
40 Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets;
41 Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.
42 And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.
43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.
44 ¶ And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.
45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.
46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.
47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.
48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.
49 And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.
50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.
51 But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.
52 And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.
Acts 13 Intro – J. Vernon McGee
Acts 13:1-5 – J. Vernon McGee
Acts 13:6-12 – J. Vernon McGee
Acts 13:13-20 – J. Vernon McGee
Acts 13:21-52 – J. Vernon McGee
Acts 13:1-12 – Beginning a Missionary Campaign
This is one of the greatest chapters in the New Testament, making a new departure in the ministry of the gospel, which henceforth begins to pass out to the uttermost part of the earth, Acts 1:8. It is likely that the mother church at Jerusalem was too conservative to lend herself to the pressure of the Holy Spirit, urging to world-wide evangelization, and that he had to employ the more mobile church at Antioch, which was more susceptible to the passion for humanity, since it stood out on the edge of the great heathen world, like a lighthouse on the shore of a desolate sea.
This momentous prayer meeting had apparently been convened to discover the Lord’s will as to further developments. As the names indicate, it was composed largely of Hebrew Christians. Note that the Holy Spirit speaks with authority as Christ’s Vicegerent, Acts 2:33. Modern missions are His work and He selects His own agents. We should ever seek to co-operate with Him in discovering and setting apart chosen men and women for His work. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Acts 13:2—Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.
The Holy Spirit, as the representative of the ascended Lord, is supreme in the Church. It is his sovereign voice that summons his chosen workers to undertake missionary or home enterprise. Dr. Ryland, who at first opposed Carey’s idea of going to India, said afterwards, “I believe God Himself infused into the mind of Carey that solicitude for the salvation of the heathen which cannot be fairly traced to any other source.” And the same is true of all missionaries. The true call is always of the Divine Spirit. Whom He wills to call, He calls. Whom He calls, He separates. Whom He separates, He endows and sends forth.
But, Divine and absolute though the selection is, the Spirit seeks the concurrence of the Church. It was in answer to the Church’s prayer for direction that the Spirit designated Barnabas and Saul for the great work of world-evangelization; and it was when the Church had fasted and prayed, and had offered these two to God as their wave-offering, that they were sent forth by the Holy Ghost. Thus the Spirit and the Bride co-operate.
In determining whether you have been called by the Holy Spirit to be a missionary, you must certainly call in the advice of Christian friends, and specially of the church with which you worship. If the Spirit of God is in you and them, they will ratify the movements of your heart. It is right, too, to consider whether you have been specially gifted and qualified for the work. In this also, the advice of the Church is most valuable. Of course, the Church herself must fast, i.e., be separate from known evil and indulgence, that she may hear God’s voice, and be able to advise her children. —Our Daily Homily
Acts 13:13-24 – The Savior according to Promise
It was very natural that the missionary party should sail for Cyprus, partly because it was the first and nearest outpost of the great heathen world that lay to the west, and partly because Barnabas was a native of the island and had owned land there, which he had sold for the benefit of his poorer brethren in the church, Acts 4:36.
In visiting a new city, it was the custom of the Apostles to go first to the Jewish synagogue, where such was to be found. “To the Jew first, and also to the Gentile”, was the divine order, Romans 2:10. The journey from Cyprus to the mainland was easily made; but the journey up to this inland city of Antioch was very perilous, II Corinthians 11:26.
Acts 13:16 gives us the Apostle’s favorite attitude, Acts 21:40; 26:1. Ye that fear God, referred to the Gentile proselytes. This first address contained the seed-thoughts of the Apostle’s ministry. He loved to show that the gospel was the white flower that grew on the ancient stock of Judaism. Whatever his starting point, he was sure to come, by a direct path, to Jesus Christ. Observe throughout how Paul attributes all of the great events and movements of history to the direction and agency of God. God chose the fathers; God gave Saul; God brought unto Israel a Savior. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Acts 13:25-37 – Condemned by Men but Raised by God
For Paul the Resurrection was always the keystone of faith. He had taken particular care to assure himself of the reality of that foundation fact. In I Corinthians 15 he sets forth at length the testimony culminating in his own experience, on which he rested his belief. He had been allowed to see that blessed One and hear the word from His mouth. He quotes Psalm 2:7, Isaiah 55:3, and Psalm 16:10. He makes unexpected use of the first of these quotations, teaching that it was fulfilled in the Resurrection. This sheds new light on death. It is not death but birth; not an ending but a beginning. Our Lord was the first-born from the dead. We say that a saint has died; angels say that he has been born.
Notice that great word about David, Acts 13:36. He served God’s counsel, or purpose, in his own generation. That should be the supreme objective of our lives. Not to get on, or to make money, or to please ourselves, but to serve the will of God who sent us forth. —Through the Bible Day by Day
Acts 13:38-52 – Jews Reject, Gentiles Accept, the Gospel
The doctrine of justification by faith, so closely associated with the work of Paul, is here stated for the first time. In Jesus there is forgiveness. For those who trust in Him past sins are absolutely put away, never to be named again, never to be brought up at any future judgment day. Our record is as clear as the sand which has been swept smooth by the ocean waves. We are not only forgiven, but justified. We are treated as though we had never sinned, and are justified from all things. It is a present fact. You may not feel justified or forgiven, but if you are trusting in Jesus, you are at this moment as certainly and as fully justified as have been the saints in heaven.
Pride, as well as jealousy of the Gentiles who were crowding into the fold, stirred the Jews to antagonism, but they could not eradicate the seed which had been so profusely scattered. Large numbers believed, and as they experienced salvation in Christ, they discovered that they were in line with an eternal purpose. This is the meaning of ordained in Acts 13:48. If with such slight opportunities, the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit, Acts 13:52, should we not possess the same experience? —Through the Bible Day by Day