Today we read all about PREACHING the words of God. The definition of preach: Proclaim, teach, spread, propagate, expound. Or Advocate, recommend, advise, urge, teach, counsel. Today we call the person standing on the pulpit a preacher when he or she speaks at length a message based on the words of God (the Christian Holy Bible). The Bible recorded some great sermons by the Apostles. We read below from Acts 13 the preaching of Paul. We note some key success factors of the preaching.
Acts 13:1-4; 13-52 (Quoted from the Holy Bible New Living Translation. Some verses are added boldness by me. My notes are in bold letters and italics.)
First: The preachers are sent out by the Holy Spirit. Fast and pray is a significant prerequisite in the calling, hearing God, and related sending out process.
Acts 13:1-4 Among the prophets and teachers of the church at Antioch of Syria were Barnabas, Simeon (called “the black man”), Lucius (from Cyrene), Manaen (the childhood companion of King Herod Antipas), and Saul. 2 One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Appoint Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them.” 3 So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way.4 So Barnabas and Saul were sent out by the Holy Spirit.
13 Paul and his companions then left Paphos by ship for Pamphylia, landing at the port town of Perga. There John Mark left them and returned to Jerusalem. 14 But Paul and Barnabas traveled inland to Antioch of Pisidia.
Second: The preachers went to the right place at the right time. The Lord opened a way for them to speak. They were invited to speak by the host and authority of the particular venue. (In this case, those in charge of the synagogue service.)
On the Sabbath they went to the synagogue for the services. 15 After the usual readings from the books of Moses and the prophets, those in charge of the service sent them this message: “Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, come and give it.”
Third: The preachers speak to specific audience. In this case Paul addresses the Jews, but he also takes note and makes special mention of the Gentiles. Why? It is a Jewish religious gathering (in the synagogue), so why Paul mentions the Gentiles? Because of two things: First, he is led by the Holy Spirit. He obeys. Secondly, he preaches the Scripture (at that time, the Old Testament). The mention of both races depicts the confirmation of the prophecy of the earlier prophets before Jesus came.
16 So Paul stood, lifted his hand to quiet them, and started speaking. “Men of Israel,” he said, “and you God-fearing Gentiles, listen to me.
Fourth: The preachers focus on God and not man. The entire preaching is God-focused. What God has done. God’s plan. God’s protection. God’s deliverance. God’s salvation. God’s choice. God’s words. God’s promises. God’s resurrection. God’s power. God’s prophecy. God’s will. God’s fullfilment. God’s message. The grace of God. The Good News of God. God The Father. The Son of God. Jesus-The Messiah from God.
17 “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.’
23 “And it is one of King David’s descendants, Jesus, who is God’s promised Savior of Israel! 24 Before he came, John the Baptist preached that all the people of Israel needed to repent of their sins and turn to God and be baptized. 25 As John was finishing his ministry he asked, ‘Do you think I am the Messiah? No, I am not! But he is coming soon—and I’m not even worthy to be his slave and untie the sandals on his feet.’
26 “Brothers—you sons of Abraham, and also you God-fearing Gentiles—this message of salvation has been sent to us! 27 The people in Jerusalem and their leaders did not recognize Jesus as the one the prophets had spoken about. Instead, they condemned him, and in doing this they fulfilled the prophets’ words that are read every Sabbath. 28 They found no legal reason to execute him, but they asked Pilate to have him killed anyway.
29 “When they had done all that the prophecies said about him, they took him down from the cross and placed him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead! 31 And over a period of many days he appeared to those who had gone with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to the people of Israel.
32 “And now we are here to bring you this Good News. The promise was made to our ancestors, 33 and God has now fulfilled it for us, their descendants, by raising Jesus. This is what the second psalm says about Jesus:
‘You are my Son.
Today I have become your Father.’
34 For God had promised to raise him from the dead, not leaving him to rot in the grave. He said, ‘I will give you the sacred blessings I promised to David.’35 Another psalm explains it more fully: ‘You will not allow your Holy One to rot in the grave.’ 36 This is not a reference to David, for after David had done the will of God in his own generation, he died and was buried with his ancestors, and his body decayed. 37 No, it was a reference to someone else—someone whom God raised and whose body did not decay.
38 “Brothers, listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. 39 Everyone who believes in him is made right in God’s sight—something the law of Moses could never do. 40 Be careful! Don’t let the prophets’ words apply to you. For they said,
41 ‘Look, you mockers,
be amazed and die!
For I am doing something in your own day,
something you wouldn’t believe
even if someone told you about it.’”
42 As Paul and Barnabas left the synagogue that day, the people begged them to speak about these things again the next week. 43 Many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, and the two men urged them to continue to rely on the grace of God.
44 The following week almost the entire city turned out to hear them preach the word of the Lord. 45 But when some of the Jews saw the crowds, they were jealous; so they slandered Paul and argued against whatever he said.
46 Then Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly and declared, “It was necessary that we first preach the word of God to you Jews. But since you have rejected it and judged yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we will offer it to the Gentiles. 47 For the Lord gave us this command when he said,
‘I have made you a light to the Gentiles,
to bring salvation to the farthest corners of the earth.’”
48 When the Gentiles heard this, they were very glad and thanked the Lord for his message; and all who were chosen for eternal life became believers. 49 So the Lord’s message spread throughout that region.
50 Then the Jews stirred up the influential religious women and the leaders of the city, and they incited a mob against Paul and Barnabas and ran them out of town.51 So they shook the dust from their feet as a sign of rejection and went to the town of Iconium. 52 And the believers were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.