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Charles Spurgeon's "Morning & Evening"
Devotional: November 1st
“We preach Christ crucified.”
Acts 13:1-16 , Acts 13:38-42
Here we have the solemn setting apart of the first missionaries. Out of a living and flourishing church the Lord raised up fit men, and their brethren with humble prayer sent them forth.
Here begin the voyages and travels of that greatest of missionaries, Saul of Tarsus, late an enemy of the cross. He chartered the first foreign missionary ship.
John or John Mark
to their minister or attendant
Acts 13:6 , Acts 13:7
Bar-jesus or Son of Jesus
Acts 13:9 , Acts 13:10
He called himself “son of Jesus,” but Paul called him “child of the devil;” he had also taken the name of Elymas, or wise, but he is rightly described as full of all subtilty and mischief.
He who had refused spiritual light, now lost natural light; he tried to lead others astray, and became dependent upon the leading of others’
John Mark deserted the two missionaries, and it would seem from the after history that he did so in an unsatisfactory manner. The toils and dangers of the enterprise were too much for him. If we have put our hand to the plough let us not look back.
Then he went on to describe the rejection of king Saul and the choice of David, and in due order preached to them Jesus and his salvation, and added,
Paul preached free grace and full forgiveness, and contrasted it with the condemning law; this method of preaching is most admirable.
The good news had won their attention, and they were anxious at once to know more of it. How happy are we that every Sabbath brings us the sacred word. Perhaps because it is so common we do not value it as we should.
“His righteousness hath he openly showed in the sight of the heathen.”
These earnest people wished for private conversation upon the gospel. Ministers are always hopeful of such hearers. We must not be backward in speaking to God’s servants concerning our souls.
So that there was much excitement. Those who speak slightingly of the power which draws large congregations should reflect that men cannot learn the gospel if they never hear it. What grand days we should see if almost the whole of our population would come together to hear the word of God.
The gospel dove being driven away from one place found a congenial nest in another. We cannot force men to be saved, and therefore we must carry the gospel to others when those reject it to whom we have presented it; by this means the eternal purposes of God will be fulfilled, and his own elect will be gathered in.
Acts 13:49 , Acts 13:50
These bigots imagined that the coming of new teachers into their city was a reflection upon themselves. Were they not both honourable and devout already? Therefore they joined the malicious Jews and chased Paul and Barnabas away. It is not often that we read in Scripture of women, and devout women too, opposing the gospel, yet it is no uncommon thing for formal self-righteous ladies to be very bitter against those who dare to differ from them.
Acts 14:1 , Acts 14:2
Like the dog in the manger, they would not allow others to feed upon that which they rejected themselves. If they chose to be unbelievers, why need they be persecutors?
However much they are harassed, they keep to their life work: nothing can stop them, not even the fear of a cruel death. Do we in like manner speak of Jesus in every company? If not, we fall short of our duty. Let us amend, and in every place show forth the Saviours love.
Now will I tell to sinners round,
What a dear Saviour I have found;
I’ll point to thy redeeming blood,
And say, “Behold the way to God!”
the First Week of Advent
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