Opening New Doors

Key Verse: “So hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.”
—Acts 13:47

Selected Scriptures:
Acts 13:14, 15, 42-52

AFTER PAUL AND BARNABAS had returned from Jerusalem to Antioch, they, along with other elders of that church, Simeon, called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, a foster brother of Herod the tetrarch, fasted and prayed with the congregation. The Holy Spirit made it evident that Barnabas and Paul were to seek brethren in other areas. The church laid their hands on them and sponsored their journey for this service.—Acts 13:1-3; 14:25-28

Wherever Paul traveled he always went into a synagogue on the Sabbath day, to preach God’s Word. (Acts 13:15) Paul continued this custom because Israel had God’s Word and Gentiles interested in God’s Word attended the synagogue. In the synagogue in Antioch of Pisidia, it wasn’t long before envy set in among the Jews when they observed the multitudes that came to hear Paul and Barnabas. (Acts 13:44,45) The apostle made it clear that God had at first honored the Jews with his message, but now they had put away his Word, and had become unworthy of being the bearers of salvation. The apostle said he would turn his message to the Gentiles.—Acts 13:46

Paul quoted the words of the Prophet Isaiah, “I the Lord have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles.” (Isaiah 42:6) This prophecy would begin its fulfillment shortly after the death and resurrection of our Lord. It was now time for new doors of endeavor to be opened. The time now was at hand to extend to all, Jew and Gentile alike, God’s message of salvation.

As on every Sabbath, there were Gentiles in the synagogue that day, and when they heard the words of Paul, they rejoiced. Many of them received the Holy Spirit, those who “were ordained to eternal life” and who believed. By their activity, God’s Word was “published throughout all the region.”—Acts 13:48,49

The unbelieving Jews “stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.” Paul and Barnabas “shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.”—Acts. 13:50,51

Persecution is a concomitant of service for the Lord. In his admonition to the Apostles, our Lord said, “Beware of men: for they will deliver you up to the councils, and they will scourge you in their synagogues; And ye shall be brought before governors and kings for my sake, for a testimony against them and the Gentiles.” (Matt. 10:17,18) Again, our Lord said, “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”—Matt. 5:10,16

We are told that the disciples of a new ecclesia formed in Antioch were filled with joy, and the Holy Spirit. When new doors of opportunity to witness are opened to any of the Lord’s people, joy should be shown and glory given to God.—Acts 13:52

Dawn Bible Students Association
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