By His grace, God promised His chosen people to send a Savior.
Okay right so this is based on Acts 13: 16-25. 😉 (Please get comfy because this is a lot longer than it was meant to be).
Paul begins by addressing both the Jews and the God-fearing Gentiles in the congregation. He starts with facts that every Jew would have known and agreed with: God chose the patriarchs; He delivered their descendants from Egypt; He gave them the land of Canaan; and, He chose David as their king.
Acts 13:17-22: “The God of this nation of Israel chose our ancestors and made them multiply and grow strong during their stay in Egypt. Then with a powerful arm he led them out of their slavery. 18 He put up with them through forty years of wandering in the wilderness. 19 Then he destroyed seven nations in Canaan and gave their land to Israel as an inheritance. 20 All this took about 450 years. “After that, God gave them judges to rule until the time of Samuel the prophet. 21 Then the people begged for a king, and God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, who reigned for forty years. 22 But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.’
In all of this ‘rehearsal’ of Israel’s history, Paul’s very words are almost taken directly from the Old Testament. Up to verse 22, every head in the synagogue would have been nodding in agreement with Paul. *Cough* Maybe some nodding off to sleep thinking ‘Yeah, Yeah heard all this before’!
Then Paul drops a bomb on them, he completely jumps over the rest of Israel’s history and skips a thousand years! From David, to David’s descendant, Jesus, proclaiming Him to be the fulfillment of God’s promise of a Savior
Acts 13 vs 23: And it is one of King David’s descendants, Jesus, who is God’s promised Savior of Israel!
Pretty cool right?! I’m just sitting here imagining Paul standing in the front of a congregation and he’s like “Oh yeah I thought you might like to hear about this; That guy I was talking about, King Dave? Yeah well one of his little people… What are they called? Oh yeah that’s right ‘Descendants’ is going to be God’s promised Savior of Israel!” (Perhaps a ripple of shock runs around the room) “Yeah! I know right Pretty cool!” (everyone is too shocked to answer).
Okay he probably talked more seriously but who cares! Maybe at this point a ripple of shock did sweep through the room, we don’t know but it would pretty big news.
Paul goes back in time (again?! Gosh he really is a ‘time traveler’ ;P ). Anyway, so he goes back to John the Baptist, the forerunner of whom Malachi prophesied. Since John was highly regarded in most Jewish circles, Paul shows that John did not regard himself as Messiah, but rather affirmed that he was not worthy to untie the sandals of the one coming after him. (Jesus)
Paul’s sermon centers on God and His sovereignty over all of history, especially the history of salvation. God began the process by choosing Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It was not their choice of God, but God’s choice of them, that is significant. Then, God made the people great during their stay in Egypt. God led them out of Egypt with an uplifted arm (emphasizing God’s power). God put up with them in the wilderness for 40 years. “God carried them in His arms as a nurse in the wilderness.” God put up with Israel’s sin, they would probably have grumble HEAPS, for instance they complained about wanting something new to eat, and the ground opened up and ate some of them. Happy stories!
But really, I mean who really wants to walk around a desert for 40 years?! Then again He still held them gently, (AKA: He put up with them), in His strong and loving arms in spite of their sin.
Paul mentions that God destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan:
Deuteronomy 7 vs 1: When the Lord your God brings you into the land you are about to enter and occupy, he will clear away many nations ahead of you: the Hittites, Girgashites, Amorites, Canaanites, Perizzites, Hivites, and Jebusites. These seven nations are greater and more numerous than you.
Israel didn’t conquer the land by her own strength. God distributed their land as an inheritance. The 450 years refers to the 400 years of captivity in Egypt, the 40 years in the wilderness, and ten years of conquering most of Canaan. Then God gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. In response to their request to be like the other nations and having a king, God gave them King Saul. It was God who removed Saul (as well as putting him there) and God who raised up David. It was God who brought to Israel his promise a Savior in the person of Jesus.
God’s grace is seen in His sovereign choice of the patriarchs. Why did He chose Abraham? when God in sovereign grace revealed Himself to Abraham and called him to move to Canaan there was nothing super great in Abraham to make him the recipient of such grace.
God’s grace is further illustrated in the Exodus and the time in the wilderness. Israel didn’t even want to be delivered from Egypt, and more than once after they were delivered, they wanted to go back. But God graciously brought them into the land and destroyed the nations that were living there. In spite of the wickedness of His people, God graciously gave them judges and then sent His word through Samuel the prophet. While they were wrong to ask for a king, God graciously both granted their request and chastened them by giving them Saul. Then He graciously raised up David. Although over the course of his life, David was a man after God’s heart, we all know of the sins he had committed that were written down. His sins, which are just as bad as ours are today, Were over looked through all of that… Unholiness God still sent Jesus to be Davids descendant. We have pretty cool God!
God’s sovereign grace means that we are saved in spite of not because of, anything in ourselves. God gave us JESUS, this all turns back to Jesus because without him, (who God graciously gave) we would all be going to hell… There isn’t really a soft way to put that.
All of the New Testament centers on the person and work of Jesus Christ. As the Book of Revelation makes clear, God is moving history toward the grand climax of Christ’s defeat of Satan (on the cross) and His eternal reign, in heaven.
Thus Paul’s first point is that God graciously promised;
God promised HIS chosen people to send a Savior, and that Jesus, the son of David, is that promised Savior. Next Paul Shows us the fulfillment of God’s promise in Jesus in his second point which will be revealed in Promises Part 2. 🙂