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Theme: First Missionary Journey of Paul

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1 Theme: First Missionary Journey of Paul
Book of Acts Chapter 14 Now in chapter 14 Paul and Barnabas face the almost impenetrable paganism of Galatia. I personally believe that the Galatian field was the hardest mission field that Paul ever entered. You need only to read the Epistle to the Galatians to discover that. Galatians was the harshest epistle that Paul wrote. He wrote it to a group of people who had a spiritual bent in the wrong direction. They were constantly going off the track. He visited those churches more than any others. The people were blond orientals. These Gallic Celts had much of the same temperament and characteristics of the majority of the American population, which came out of that same stock in Europe and the British Isles. Caesar had this to say of them: “The infirmity of the Gauls is that they are fickle in their resolves, fond of change, and not to be trusted.” All of this should make this section especially interesting to us. Martin Luther used the Epistle to the Galatians for the Reformation because it was written to folk who are like we are. Theme: First Missionary Journey of Paul

2 Acts 14 Map If you follow the journey on a map, you will notice that they crossed over the length of the island of Cyprus, and then sailed to Perga in Pamphylia. Then they traveled up into the country of Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe. These are the cities of Galatia. So they are now in the heartland of Asia Minor.

3 Acts 14:1 And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed. “A great multitude believed”: Luke gives us fruits only from here on... Spoke with such power and demonstration of the Spirit that many Jews and Gentiles became Christians (1 Cor. 2:1-4). The same thing happened in Iconium as in Pisidian Antioch (see 13:46); it became a pattern. Paul and Barnabas preach in the synagogue, winning Jews and Gentiles to Yeshua. This brings about opposition from unbelieving Jews, who stir up the unbelieving Gentiles. So long as the challenge is nonviolent, Sha’ul and Bar-Nabba stay on to meet it, and the Holy Spirit confirms the Word with signs following (v. 3, Mk 16:20). They show themselves brave (v. 3), prudent (vv. 5–6) and singleminded in spreading the Good News (v. 7); while the division among the people of the city proves good for the Gospel (v. 4, Yn 7:43N).

4 Acts 14 Map Iconium

5 Acts 14:2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren. [evil affected against the brethren] Embittered or poisoned the unbelievers against the Christians. Irritated, or exasperated them. Against the brethren. One of the common appellations by which Christians were known. It is not that they just disliked them, they would stir up others against them, we often see this in our society today.

6 Acts 14:3 Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands. When they encountered resistance they spent MORE time there. Possibly in Iconium 6 months. God confirmed the Word by the signs and wonders to convince the heathen that He was backing these preachers. We may wish we could perform a miraculous act that would convince everyone once and for all that Jesus is the Lord. But we see here that even if we could perform a miracle, it wouldn’t convince everyone. God gave these men power to do great wonders as confirmation of the message of grace, but people were still divided.

7 Acts 14:4 But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles. Gospel is intended to be divisive (Mt 10:34). Matthew 10: Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. 35For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter in law against her mother in law. 36And a man’s foes shall be they of his own household. 37He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. Both Paul and Barnabas are referred to as apostles. The word (Gk. apostolos) carries the general meaning of “one who is sent” but it is often used throughout the NT in a more technical term for someone specifically chosen and commissioned by Christ for the proclamation of the gospel, as in the case of the original 12 apostles.

8 Acts 14:5-7 5And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them, 6They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about: 7And there they preached the gospel. They were informed of the plot to stone them so they fled, not from fear, but to live to continue the work (Matthew 10:23). Wherever they went, they were always employed in their Master’s work. Spurgeon: 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 Savior's love.

9 Acts 14 Map Lystra Derbe Lystra: 20 miles to the South.
Derbe: miles to the East of Iconium. Lycaonia - a wide district of Asia Minor, lying between Phrygia, Cilicia, and Cappadocia.

10 Acts 14:8-10 8And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked: 9The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, 10Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked. There dwelt, Matthew 9:1-6, Acts 18:11. (Margin.) The word sat, however, indicates his usual posture; his helpless condition. Such persons commonly sat at the wayside, or in some public place, to ask for alms, Mark 10:46. Who never had walked. The miracle, therefore, would be more remarkable, as the man would be well known, and there could be no argument that there was a show or fake healing. Paul’s healing of this infirm man closely parallels Peter’s healing in chapter 3. In each case the cripple was lame from birth (3:2; 14:8); both Peter and Paul gazed at the one to be healed (3:4; 14:9); and both healed men responded by jumping and walking (3:8; 14:10). This shows Paul was equal to Peter in his apostleship .

11 Acts 14:8-10 Physical, emotional or spiritually lame: You are held in bondage until you begin to obey the Word of God about it. What were the Apostles credentials? How could they prove their message was from God? The sign gifts were their credentials—they needed them. Today we have the entire Bible, and what people need today is to study this Bible and to learn what it has to say. If only we could get people to do that!

12 Acts 14:11-12 11And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. 12And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker. This was not the Greek language. What kind it was is not known to us today. “The Lycaonian language” may refer to their local dialect. Zeus and Hermes (also known as Jupiter and Mercury) were two popular gods in the Roman world. People from Lystra claimed that these gods had once visited their city. According to legend, no one offered them hospitality except an old couple, so Zeus and Hermes killed the rest of the people and rewarded the old couple. When the citizens of Lystra saw the miracles of Paul and Barnabas, they assumed that the gods were revisiting them. Remembering the story of what had happened to the previous citizens, they immediately honored Paul and Barnabas and showered them with gifts. The word “gods” properly is not capitalized here.

13 Acts 14:13 Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people. Many cities were put under the protection of a particular deity; and the image of that deity placed at the entrance, to signify that he was the guardian and protector. Paul is the leader of the team, the chief speaker, and the people want to make them gods. They bring garlands and sacrifice and are ready to worship them. Fickle! Does it remind you of someone else? In America it is a baseball player one year, then a politician, then a football star, then another politician. By the following year they are all forgotten, and it is someone else new.

14 Acts 14:14-15 14Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, 15And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: “Tore their clothes” - classic Jewish way of showing grief, or upset. Paul’s 2 points: 1) creation = one “living God...” 2) free choice = allows evil... turn from these vanities—That is, from these idols and false gods. Often false gods and idolatry are termed vanity in the Scriptures. Paul and Barnabas are not only startled and amazed that these people want to worship them, but they are completely shocked. They rush in among them, shouting, “We are human beings like you are!” You will remember that Peter had to say the same thing to Cornelius when Cornelius bowed down to him to worship him.

15 Acts 14:16-18 16Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. 17Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. 18And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people, that they had not done sacrifice unto them. Rain is very scarce in Lycanoia. Paul tells these Gentiles who had no knowledge of the Jewish Scriptures that their regular harvests, the food they eat every day, and the gladness they experience in the ordinary activities of life are all a witness from God of his existence, wisdom, and goodness. They should not think that these things “just happen” or that they are the work of some local deities, for they are from the one true God “who made the heaven and the earth” (v. 15).

16 Acts 14:19-20 19And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. 20Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. They did not leave stoning him till they had the fullest evidence that he was dead; and so, most probably, he was. I think he was dead. Later Paul writes of the experience he had: “I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter” (2 Cor. 12:2–4). Why would God permit this stoning? Galatians 6:7 tells us: “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” Paul reaped what he had sowed. He had ordered the stoning of Stephen. Maybe someone will object that now he is converted. Yes, but even after conversion we will reap whatsoever we have sown. This is a law of nature as well as a law operating in our lives. We shall reap whatever we sow. Because Saul took part in the stoning of Stephen, years later the same thing happened to him. Spurgeon: This is popularity--a god yesterday, and a criminal today; garlands first, stones afterwards. How fickle is man!

17 Acts 14:21-22 21And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, 22Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. The account is brief, noting only that Paul made a number of converts there. From that city (Derbe) Paul could have continued on south to his starting point of Syrian Antioch on foot, a much easier journey than backtracking through Lystra, Iconium, and Pisidian Antioch. The decision to take this longer route shows the importance Paul attached to maintaining contact with his churches and establishing local elders. It also shows tremendous courage that he would return to the cities from which he had been driven by such violent opposition.

18 Acts 14:23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed. The idea is that of electing people to be elders. This was done by the local church. There seems to be a model in the scripture that church officials and people who work in the church should be indigenous. Elders had always governed and judged in towns and villages in the Old Testament (and in much of the rest of the Mediterranean world as well), [had prayed with fasting] This is the way elders were ordained.

19 Acts 14:24-25 24And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. 25And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia: The two apostles had been committed by the church at Antioch to God’s grace (cf. Acts 15:40) and they saw His grace at work (cf. “grace” in 13:43; 14:3). Probably Paul wrote the Book of Galatians from Antioch shortly after his first missionary journey and before the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15).

20 Acts 14 Map Perga Attalia

21 Acts 14:26-28 26And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled. 27And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles. 28And there they abode long time with the disciples. [No numbers: Gentile converts are never counted!?] (2:41 and 4:4 = 3000, 5000: Jewish only are numbered.) Mystery: Fullness of the Gentiles - Rom 11:25. [rehearsed all that God had done with them] A report of three to four years' of missionary work. How long the apostles tarried here we cannot tell; but we hear no more of them till the council of Jerusalem, mentioned in the following chapter, which is generally supposed to have been held in the year 51 of our Lord; and, if the transactions of this chapter took place in a.d. 46, as chronologers think, then there are five whole years of Paul’s ministry, and that of other apostles, which Luke passes by in perfect silence.

22 Acts 14 Map Antioch Thus ends the first missionary journey which lasted between two and three years and in which Paul and Barnabas traversed more than 700 miles by land and 500 miles by sea. But more than that, it demolished the wall between Jews and Gentiles (cf. Eph. 2:14-16). Luke carefully ties together the end of the journey with its beginning at 13:1–4. Note the model of order for responsible persons entrusted with tasks by a local congregation: (1) they are prompt, (2) they report to the congregation the details of what happened (in this case they also take on themselves the responsibility of assembling the congregation), (3) they give God the glory for it, and (4) they interpret the significance of what happened, emphasizing what is most important—in this case, that God … had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles—thus building understanding and therefore unity in pursuit of common goals.

23 End Acts Chapter 14

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