From Lynda Lindsey
The synagogue leaders in Pisidian Antioch to Paul and his traveling companions:
Brothers, if you have a message of encouragement for the people, please speak. Acts 13:15
For when David had served God’s purpose in his own generation, he fell asleep, he was buried with his fathers and his body decayed. But the one whom God raised from the dead did not see decay. Therefore, my brothers, I want you to know that through Jesus the forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you. Acts 13:36-38
When the congregation was dismissed, many of the Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who talked with them and urged them to continue in the grace of God. Acts 13:43
Who doesn’t need encouragement? Cheering on? Support? A friend to urge us onward? Doubt and skepticism have become part of daily life. It’s almost a full time job not to mirror the cynical attitudes from co-workers or the media. Encouragement strengthens our heart, raises our spirit, and buoy’s us up just as a floating buoy remains upright in the water. Paul’s message of encouragement? The Good News, the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ! Nothing is better than forgiveness of sins. A new beginning. Starting fresh, empowered by God’s Holy Spirit.
Passionately Paul reasons with the worshipers, rehearsing God’s actions from the time of the Abrahamic covenant. Paul recounts God’s promise of a Savior, Jesus, through David’s line and ends with Jesus’ crucification, resurrection from the dead, and the certainty of eternal life through the forgiveness of sins that only Jesus can grant. Paul knew first hand about trials, persecution, and opposition to the Gospel and thus his urgency to encourage believers to continue in God’s grace.
None of us are exempt from the need for continuance in the grace of God. May we be known for strengthening and encouraging the hearts of the saints. May we be known for coming alongside a straggler and entreating them earnestly to continue in God’s grace. May we be known for pressing on in faith, persistently, relentlessly encouraging those we encounter to remain true to the Lord with all their heart. It’s a high and worthy calling...live into it!