Acts 13:42 And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.
43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.
44 And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.
45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.
As the apostle Paul boldly preached the word of God, his most receptive audience consisted of the common people. Both Jews and Gentiles were intrigued by his message and desired to hear more. From week to week, the numbers continued to grow. The multitudes simply wanted to hear what this former blasphemer had to say about the faith he had once sought to exterminate. As the fame of Paul’s message increased, so did the opposition from the religious leaders of his day. The success of the gospel message caused many of the Jews to be filled with envy. They began contradicting and blaspheming Paul’s message. When their efforts failed to hinder the message, they stirred up the people in the cities against the truth. These groups began to assault the believers (Acts 17:1-9).
∙ (For children): Daniel still prayed to God although he knew that men, envious of his position, had tricked the king into passing a law which would require that Daniel be cast into a den of lions. (See Daniel chapter 6.)
∙ (For everyone): History is replete with testimonies of believers persecuted because of the envy of political and religious leaders. What are some examples that you can remember?
∙ How could your stand for the truth lead to persecution in the area in which you live? Are you bold enough in your faith to cause others to envy?
∙ Ask God for the boldness like that found in the lives of early believers.
∙ Thank God for giving us a holy faith and a holy cause.
SONG: ABLE TO DELIVER