Spiritual Battle for Souls (Acts 13:44-52)

God Initiates
– brings people together
– brings the desire for His Word
In the battle for winning souls, God is the one who always starts it. He brought these people together — only one synagogue and half the city was there! Every single one was drawn by God. Some to hear and believe, some to hear and revile and be judged by the Word.
Satan Instigates
– jealousy
– stop threat
The rabbis were jealous — never had so many showed up before. And so they began to revile what Paul was preaching. As soon as the devil saw the interest in God’s word, he started instigating and meddling with the desires of the people.
The rabbis were contradicting — what about circumcision, what about the laws of Moses? And this wasn’t an honest discussion, this was reviling in front of a crowd — they acted contrary to every bit of the faith they claimed to have. They rejected God and have judged themselves unworthy of eternal life. Blaspheming? What was more blasphemous than denying Christ?
God Intercedes
– continues to spread the Word
– continues original plan
V 46 — they grew bold! Why is this necessary? Because God told us to! We brought the message to you first, but you rejected it. We want nothing to do with your blasphemy.
Guys, no matter whether the like it or not, God’s eternal plan was always for the whole world (Isaiah 49:6). These gathered Gentiles were not a threat to the people of God — they were to be included in the people of God! This rejection by the Jews does not keep salvation from the Gentiles, but rather brings it to them. God’s plans will not be thwarted.
Satan Interferes
– rallies support
– persecutes
The gossipers stir up the prominent women and the chief men. They go to the right people! And their efforts have payoff. They drive off Paul and Barnabas, but seeds were planted. Truth was spoken.
God Intervenes
– positive spirit
– positive attitude
Others take up the torch and the gospel grows in the city. And Paul and Barnabas shake the dust off their feet and move on to Iconium — and the gospel continues its spread across the world. After the beating and the eviction, they were not depressed or discouraged, they were filled with joy! — because they were also filled, continually being filled with, the Holy Spirit.
God initiates, Satan instigates, God intercedes, Satan interferes, God intervenes. Sound familiar? How about your life?

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