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Here It Comes

July 14, 2011

I love watching a rainstorm come across the water.  It’s a captivating experience.  And listen, I don’t want to get too geeked out about it…I’m no storm chaser or anything…but when it happens, and I sit on the beach, or by the lake, or in a boat in the river…and I see the rain drops splashing down closer, and closer, and closer…there is a sense of awe…a sense that I can’t get away…and more importantly, I don’t want to.

 Before you see the text for today…commit to reading it…commit to taking out your Bible and actually reading it for yourself.  So…take a moment and read through Acts 13:13-43.

 As Paul has set out on his first missionary journey, we have reached the point of his first recorded sermon.  He’s proclaimed Jesus in the synagogue before, but this is a legit sermon.  There is something very telling about the fact that the first place they go in their efforts to tell the good news of Jesus Christ is the synagogue.  They went to the local religious facility.  In a real sense…the first place they went with the Gospel was the church.  This isn’t Paul relapsing into his Jewish past…this is strategic.  They went to where the seekers were.  And, in verse 15, Paul is given an opportunity.  You need to get past the fact that Paul ends up penning the majority of the New Testament for a minute.  Because whatever else we may know about this man…this was a genuine opportunity…a chance to share the Gospel…and in verse 16, Paul seizes it.

 As he goes through the history of Israel, the trend is impossible to ignore.  It’s something like this; God does this…we do that.  Seriously, it would be almost comical if it weren’t true.  God delivers His people from captivity…God’s people make a golden calf that they might control Him.  God was their Lord and King…they wanted a human king…so they could be like everyone else.  And then when the promised Messiah comes…the One…the Lamb of God that John proclaimed had come…after we were told that He was here…after we saw evidence of this truth…we killed Him.  And listen…Paul’s not passing the blame…He’s accepting it.

 In the midst of this sermon, there is a verse that stands out to me.  Because after all the failings, and all the foolishness, and all the denial, and the murder of sinless man…a man in whom no fault could be found…verse 30 reminds us of something we must never forget when it says, “But God raised him from the dead.”  So listen…we killed Him…but He didn’t stay that way…God raised Him.  That simple reality is the good news.  That truth changes everything.  And what we see is that the truth of the resurrection of Jesus is what captivates the people.  Despite their lack of faith, and their prejudices, the fact that Jesus is not in a grave is impossible to turn away from.  Like a rainstorm coming across the water…it’s the captivating truth of the Scriptures. 

 When a rainstorm is coming, there are really about three options.  You can run from it…doing your best to go as fast as you can, as far as you can get.  You can take cover…seeking shelter that it might not cover you.  Or, and this is what the believer must realize…you can let it wash over you.  You can stand in the midst of it and be consumed by it.  You can become drenched by the water…covered…saturated…and changed.  I’m not telling you what to do when the rain comes…but when the storm of the Gospel rolls in…be captivated by the reality that as much as we have turned our backs on the Creator…He sent His Son…gave His Son…and in the end, because of His sacrifice for our sin…God raised His Son…for the sake of His people.

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