2018-10-03 – Acts 13:42-52 – The Sting of Jealousy
Bible Text: Acts 13:42-52 | Preacher: Pastor Jerry Higdon | Series: Acts
2018-10-03 – Acts 13:42-52 – The Sting of Jealousy
Good morning everyone. It is so nice to be able to spend some time with you all in fellowship with the Lord. Thank you and God bless you for being with us.
I read a story about two men who were in the hospital with severe back injuries. They were sharing a room together for weeks as they were healing up. Neither of them were allowed to even sit-up in their beds, however the one closest to the window could see out, and he would describe in great detail to the other man the activities and the beauty of what he could see. Being the other man couldn’t move yet, he looked so forward to the daily description from his room-mate about what he saw. But after a while he got jealous of the other room mate, even to the point of not talking to him any longer. One day the roommate finally left the room as he was allowed to go home again. Whereupon, the other roommate was allowed to move to the bed by the window, only to find the scenic view was not a scenic view at all, but just a bleak view of an adjacent building right next to them. Later when he talked to the nurse about it, she told him that his old roommate made-up those stories to be a relief for his roommate friend. That day he felt The Sting of Jealousy, and that is the title of our message today. We are going to witness in scripture envy and jealously lived out, and we are going to discuss the repercussions of such.
Please turn to Acts 13:42, page 980 in your pew Bibles, which is the Inspired, Infallible and Living Word of God. But first let us pray..
In last week’s message we read where Paul had given his full length sermon at the synagogue in Antioch in Syria. He told them a condensed version of the Old Testament history, and then an introduction of the Gospels, how Jesus the Christ was the Messiah Savior that the Jews had been long waiting for. Paul told them that by accepting Jesus as their Messiah, they could be saved, and they could go to Heaven. Paul’s sermon was well received by most of the folks present that day. Now continuing in verse 42, it says:
42 As they were leaving, the people urged them to speak about these matters [again] the following Sabbath. 43 After the synagogue had been dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who were speaking with them and urging them to continue in the grace of God.
Wouldn’t it be great to actually hear Paul give his sermon that day? It must have been excellent, as people were asking, even urging him to speak again.
Positive feedback given to anyone is a blessing. There is an interesting symbiotic relationship between the messenger and the receiver. The more encouragement we get, the more excited we are about bringing the message. The better the message, the more people enjoy and give positive feedback. Amen? J
But if you go back and read the sermon that Paul gave that day, you will find that it was not all filled with sugarplums and glad tidings. What Paul gave them that day was the truth. Wise people appreciate the truth when they hear it. Wise people are even sometimes turned off by showmanship. Sometimes when I see speakers dressed in thousand dollar flashy suits, and they are over boisterous in their manner, I actually get turned off of their message. I don’t care much about the pomp and circumstance. I want to hear the truth. The people in that synagogue appreciated so much Paul’s truthful message they even invited them back for a second week.
44 The following Sabbath almost the whole town assembled to hear the word of the Lord. 45 But when the Jews saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what Paul was saying, insulting him.
Wouldn’t it be great if our whole town assembled to hear the word of the Lord?
I can’t imagine how that would even work. I guess we could meet in the park. Has that ever happened here in Orion? According to the 2010 Census, Orion’s population was 1,861. Just think if all of them gathered together one day to hear God’s word. That would be wonderful wouldn’t it.
But in our history lesson here, the Jews were jealous. You see, up to this point the Jews thought they had the corner of the market in regards to the privilege of worshiping Jehovah God. And now the whole town was invited to participate. For thousands of years the Jews thought they were special, and now Paul was making God available to the masses. They didn’t like that at all, and they were jealous.
46 Paul and Barnabas boldly replied, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken to you first. Since you reject it and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we are turning to the Gentiles. For this is what the Lord has commanded us:
“I have made you a light for the Gentiles
to bring salvation to the end of the earth.”
Paul is quoting here the Prophet Isaiah, Chapter 42. Where the prophet wrote:
5 This is what God the Lord says—the Creator of the heavens, who stretches them out, who spreads out the earth with all that springs from it, who gives breath to its people, and life to those who walk on it:
6 “I, the Lord, have called you in righteousness; I will take hold of your hand. I will keep you and will make you to be a covenant for the people and a light for the Gentiles, 7 to open eyes that are blind, to free captives from prison and to release from the dungeon those who sit in darkness.”
So a thousand years before Jesus was born, Isaiah prophesized (told the future) about Jesus. And Paul is now educating the self-righteous Jews about their own history as it was written. Again keep in mind that the whole town was there when he was saying this. So no doubt, not only were the Jews jealous, but they were probably very angry as well. Paul was calling them out and they didn’t like it.
48 When the Gentiles heard this, they rejoiced and honored the word of the Lord, and all who had been appointed to eternal life believed. 49 The word of the Lord spread through the whole region.
A couple small points I think would be profitable for us to expound upon here.
First, this verse refers to the Gentiles rejoicing and honoring the word of the Lord. “The word of the Lord,” is a phrase that appears over two hundred times in the Old Testament. It refers to God’s instructions and teachings, as well as when He spoke to the prophets.
Moses commanded the people of Israel according to the word of the LORD. When David arose in the morning, the word of the LORD came to him.
The word of the LORD came to Ezekiel the priest and the prophet Zechariah.
And throughout the New Testament, reference is made to Jesus’ teachings as the word of the Lord. Peter and John, as well as Paul and Barnabas went about teaching and preaching the word of the Lord. So like we often use the phrase “God’s Word”, Jesus’ teachings are also called the word of the Lord.
Secondly, this verse says that “all who had been appointed to eternal life believed”. Being “appointed” and the action of “believing” would seem to be in opposition to one another. And I got to tell you that this issue is what divides denominations. Are we, appointed by God to be His children, or is our salvation dependent upon us believing? I have studied this question for many years, and I can answer you equivocally, Yes. Based upon all of scripture, our salvation, our ability to get into heaven when we die, is based upon God. Having said that, He has always given us choice, and thus “those who believe” are going to heaven. But God lives inside and outside our space and time. He knows what your decisions is going to be. Your name, according to the bible, is written in the book of life, before the foundation of the earth. Before time ever began. So are we elected, or do we choose? Again, I believe the answer to both is simply, Yes.
We will talk about this more in the future, but I can tell you this is one of those topics that is beyond our ability to comprehend fully, and I am okay with that, and I hope you are as well. Our chapter 13 ends now at verse 50:
50 But the Jews incited the prominent God-fearing women and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas and expelled them from their district. 51 But Paul and Barnabas shook the dust off their feet against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit.
Paul was rejected again by the Jews. Jesus said this would happen, and Christians then and now still are rejected as they present the Good News Gospel to the people. As written in Luke 10:10, Jesus said:
“Whenever you enter a town and they do not receive you, go into its streets and say, “Even the dust of your town that clings to our feet we wipe off against you. Nevertheless know this, that the kingdom of God has come near.”
Jesus was making the point that people who rejected the message of the disciples were responsible for their own decisions. These Jews made an unfortunate eternal decision that day based upon jealousy. Jealousy or envy is an awful thing.
I have seen family’s destroyed by Jealousy and envy. I have seen businesses torn apart because of Jealousy and envy. I would dare say that everyone here has at one time been negatively affected by Jealousy and envy. That is not God’s design. Satan introduced sin into the world, and the very first sin recorded in the Bible is the devil’s jealousy of God our Father.
1 Corinthians 3:3 and Galatians 5:26 says, “Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”
The Bible tells us that we are to have the perfect kind of love that God has for us. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.” (1 Corinthians 13). The more we focus on ourselves and our own desires, the less we are able to focus on God and others. When we harden our hearts to the truth, we don’t turn to Jesus and allow Him to heal us (Matthew 13:15). But when we allow the Holy Spirit to control us, He will produce in us the fruit of our salvation, which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5).
Being jealous indicates that we are not satisfied with what God has given us. The Bible tells us we should be content with what we have, for God will never fail us or forsake us (Hebrews 13).
In order to combat jealousy, we need to become more like Jesus. We should get to know Him more through Bible study, prayer, and fellowship with mature believers. As we learn how to serve others instead of ourselves, our hearts will begin to change. Romans 12:2 says, “Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will”.
The Jewish folks in our message today were fueled by jealousy to do awful things to Paul and Barnabas. They kicked them out of town, and refused to accept Jesus as their Savior. Sadly, they are probably suffering in hell as a final result of their jealousy. Don’t let jealousy cause you to do things that you will later regret.
Stay in God’s word and confess your sins to one another, so your life will be blessed, your family will be blessed and your Father in Heaven will be pleased.
James 3:16. For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.
1Corinthians 13:4. Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it his not arrogant.
James 3:13-16. If you are wise and understand God’s ways, prove it by living an honorable life, doing good works with the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you are bitterly jealous and there is selfish ambition in your heart, don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. 15 For jealousy and selfishness are not God’s kind of wisdom. Such things are earthly, unspiritual, and demonic. 16 For wherever there is jealousy and selfish ambition, there you will find disorder and evil of every kind.
When all has been said and done, jealousy never brings satisfaction. The best way to find contentment is to find it in Jesus Christ. The Bible tells us that God is our provider, our healer and comforter. He is our source of peace, joy and satisfaction, and there is nothing in this world that can satisfy us like Jesus.
Finally, The story about the men in the hospital I started with this morning is a sad one. Jealousy frequently causes unintentional casualties. Today, ask the Lord to examine your heart and help you realize where you are at in your relationship with Him and His will for your life. God loves you so, I hope you realize that.
Would you please stand with me now, as we close with an invitation, followed by the Lord’s Supper communion.