Holy Ghost Boldness
14:1-2 The same thing happened in Iconium when Paul and Barnabas went into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a large group of both Jews and Greeks believed. But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.
On arriving at Iconium according to their custom, they first preached with power in the synagogue where many Jews and Gentiles believed and were saved. Again the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles against the apostles.
14:3 So they stayed there for a considerable time, speaking out courageously for the Lord, who testified to the message of his grace, granting miraculous signs and wonders to be performed through their hands.
This only served to stimulate Paul and Barnabus to remain a long time in the city fearlessly preaching the Gospel message. As they bore witness to the saving power of Christ by the Word of grace signs and wonders followed.
14:4-7 But the population of the city was divided; some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles. When both the Gentiles and the Jews (together with their rulers) made an attempt to mistreat them and stone them, Paul and Barnabas learned about it and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and the surrounding region. There they continued to proclaim the good news.
The townspeople were divide into two camps, those for the Jews and those for the apostles. A plan to stone Paul and Barnabus was made known to them so they fled to Lycaonia and preached the Gospel there.
Giving God the Glory
14:8-10 In Lystra sat a man who could not use his feet, lame from birth, who had never walked. This man was listening to Paul as he was speaking. When Paul stared intently at him and saw he had faith to be healed, he said with a loud voice, "Stand upright on your feet." And the man leaped up and began walking.
At Lystra there was a man who had been lame from birth who listened and received as Paul was preaching. Paul perceiving that the man had faith to be healed cried out to him in the power of the Holy Spirit "Stand up on your feet" and the man immediately jumped up and walked.
14:11-12 So when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, "The gods have come down to us in human form!" They began to call Barnabas Zeus and Paul Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.
The response of these pagan people was to believe that two of their so called gods had come to visited them in human form. Barnabus being Zeus - the king of the gods and Paul, Hermis - the messenger of the gods because he did the talking.
14:13-14 The priest of the temple of Zeus, located just outside the city, brought bulls and garlands to the city gates; he and the crowds wanted to offer sacrifices to them. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard about it, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting,
The priests of the temple of Zeus in the town brought bulls to sacrifice to them. When the apostles heard about this they immediately took steps to stop them.
14:15-17 "Men, why are you doing these things? We too are men, with human natures just like you! We are proclaiming the good news to you, so that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything that is in them. In past generations he allowed all the nations to go their own ways, yet he did not leave himself without a witness by doing good, by giving you rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying you with food and your hearts with joy."
Paul's approach to these heathen was to appeal to them from the basis of things they were familiar with, i.e. creation of the Creator.
1. Paul and Barnabus were no different to them - human, sinners needing a Saviour.
2. They brought the good news, the Gospel of Christ.
3. Exhorted them to turn from the vain and foolish things they were trusting in and believed.
4. Turn to the living God who made all things.
5. The universality of sin (Rom. 3: 23)
6. God gave man up to the degrading power of sin (Rom. 1: 24 &26).
7. However God by His grace and mercy did not leave man without a witness but clearly showed His love and kindness in creation (Rom. 1: 20).
14:18 Even by saying these things, they scarcely persuaded the crowds not to offer sacrifice to them.
Even though Paul told them these things they still found it difficult to stop them making a sacrifice.
14:19-20 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and after winning the crowds over, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, presuming him to be dead. But after the disciples had surrounded him, he got up and went back into the city. On the next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.
At this point Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium. They had most probably followed them in order to arouse hostility against the Gospel message and the apostles. They persuaded enough people to join them and took Paul and stones him dragging him outside the city thinking he was dead. The disciples formed a circle around him. It doesn't say that they prayed or did anything, they just stood there. Paul recovered got up and went back into the town. The following day he and Barnabus left for Derbe.
Consolidating the Church
14:21-23 After they had proclaimed the good news in that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, to Iconium, and to Antioch. They strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue in the faith, saying, "We must enter the kingdom of God through many persecutions." When they had appointed elders for them in the various churches, with prayer and fasting they entrusted them to the protection of the Lord in whom they had believed.
After preaching the Gospel in Derbe and many received Jesus Christ as their Saviour they made the return journey to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch. Their purpose for doing this was in order to strengthen the believers in the Faith, encouraging them to stand firm, warning them of the persecution (torture and torment), hardship and trouble they would have. Paul never once taught that the Christian life was a bed of roses, neither did Jesus Christ (John 16: 33, John 15: 20). Furthermore they appointed elders in the churches and prayed for them with fasting committing over to the Lord to whom they had put their trust in.
14:24-25 Then they passed through Pisidia and came into Pamphylia, and when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia.
Then they traveled back through Pisidia to Pamphylia, preached again in Perga and went on to Attalia.
14:26-28 From there they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work they had now completed. When they arrived and gathered the church together, they reported all the things God had done with them, and that he had opened a door of faith for the Gentiles. So they spent considerable time with the disciples.
Finally they return by ship to Antioch from where they had been sent out by the church having completed the work that the Holy Spirit had called them to do. On arriving their they called all the church together and testifying how God had opened effectual doors for them to witness to the Gentiles and of the many souls that had been saved. They remained with the church at Antioch for some time.
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