God's Aggressive Servants

Acts 13:3-5
Acts 16:6-10

There are some who believe that chapter 13 begins part two of the Acts.

Peter has gradually faded from view and Paul emerges as the new leader.

A new era of missionary enterprise evolves as the Spirit of God launches His servants Paul and Barnabas from the Gentile church at Antioch, into the uttermost parts of the earth.

In this section the missionary journeys of Paul are outlined in capsule form.

    Chapters 13 and 14 describe his first missionary journey.

    Chapters 15:36—18:22 describe his second missionary journey.

    Chapters 18:23—21:24 describe his third missionary journey.

Each journey became more extensive.

This is the beginning of the final phase in the ever-widening scope of the Gospel. The uttermost parts.

From then until now many brave men and women from every strata of society have gone to the four corners of the earth with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

To name a few: William Carey, Livingston, Robert Norrison, John Williams, Mary Slessor, Anthony Norris Groves.

One of the great turning points in this section is found in chapters 13 to 46. Paul and Barnabas said to the Jews, “Since you spurn and reject the Gospel and thus condemn yourselves as unworthy of eternal life, now we turn to the Gentiles.”

When the Gentiles heard this, “They were glad, and thanked God for His message.” Verse 47.

From this point Paul’s message was primarily directed to the Gentiles.

In chapter 14 Paul reached Lystra.

The Holy Spirit began to move in the area. People were being saved. A crippled man was made whole.

Suddenly, all hell let loose on God’s servants. The same crowd that wanted to treat them as gods now stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, thinking he was dead. This stoning, and his many other physical and mental agonies described in 2 Corinthians 11, accounted for his bodily presence being weak. 2 Corinthians 10.

Paul was not pleasing to look at—he probably had a repugnant appearance. His body and face were indelibly scarred by stoning, beatings three times by rods, beatings with the Roman lash five times, and his eyesight was impaired.

His enemies at Corinth also said that his speech was contemptible. Some suggest that he had an impediment. Despite these physical handicaps, God, in His grace, used him mightily.

There are some scholars who link this stoning incident with Paul’s statement of 2 Corinthians 12:2. “I know a man in Christ, who fourteen years ago was caught up into the third heaven.” While there he heard sacred secrets and saw sublime scenes, which human lips could not repeat nor describe.

At this time a veritable miracle took place. As the believers surveyed this unbelievable tragedy, Paul rose up and went into the city, and the next day he left Lystra with Barnabas and traveled to Derbe.

The experiences Paul had in this area remained vividly in his memory. He mentioned them in his last recorded letter to Timothy, chapter 3.

There are several outstanding conversions in the Acts:

1. The conversion of the Ethiopian eunuch. He was black, a descendant of Ham, and a politician. He was saved in his chariot.

2. The conversion of Saul of Tarsus. He was a Jew, a descendant of Shem. He was a religious leader and was saved on the open road.

3. The conversion of the jailer. He was a Gentile, a descendant of Japheth and a Roman. He was saved in prison.

These men had one thing in common, they needed a Savior, and they each accepted Him as such.