Thursday, September 23, 2010

Shaking off the Dust

In the book of Acts 13 Paul and Barnabas had been sent out on their first missionary journey. They landed in a place called Antioch Pisidia. While there, the Lord opened up a door for the presentation of the gospel. The Gentiles who had listened to the message Paul presented "begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath."vs.42 Paul and Barnabas responded to the invitation, and came back the following week. The crowds had grown since their first meeting as the whole city came out to hear the Word of God. However there was a group of Jews who also showed up, and because they were filled with envy they began to contradict, blaspheme and oppose the ministry of the apostles. At that moment Paul and Barnabas came to the realization they could not reach those who were opposed to them, and therefore Paul declared, "we turn to the Gentiles."vs.46
The Gentiles heard those words and it says a number of things took place.
For one thing they were "glad and glorified the word of the Lord."vs.48 And "the word of the Lord was being spread." People were coming to faith in Christ in spite of the opposition. Yet there was a second round of intense persecution, and Paul and Barnabas were expelled from the region. The Bible records that they "shook of the dust from their feet"vs.51, then they went to the next city resulting in "disciples filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit."vs.51

A couple of lessons surface from this passage of scripture.

1. The Work of the Gospel will always incite opposition.
2. There are those you can minister to, and others you cannot.
3. Sometimes all you can do is shake off the dust and move on.
4. God is faithful to work and get us where He wants us to go even through opposing circumstances.