Acts 14

Verses 1-7 The Gospel preached at Iconium

Paul and Barnabas went into the synagogue.

They spoke with such power that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed.

The unbelieving Jews stirred up the unbelieving Gentiles against the believers.

In the Acts unbelieving Jews were the instigation of much of the persecution against the apostles.

They were masters at persuading the Gentiles to carry out their wicked schemes. Crucifixion—Early persecution.

Though trouble was brewing, the apostles continued a long time speaking baldly for the Lord.

The Lord gave His approval, He empowered the message by performing signs and wonders though the apostles.

Signs and wonders are two different words for miracles.

The word “sign” simply means that the miracle conveys a lesson.

The word “wonder” suggests that the miracle creates a sense of awe.

As tension built up, sides were taken—the city was divided. Some took the part of the Jews—some the apostles.

Finally the unbelieving Jews and Gentiles rushed upon the apostles. To escape stoning they fled to Lystra and Derbe.

There they continued to preach the Gospel.

Verses 6-13 The healing of the cripple.

This man was cripple from his birth. Chapter 3

Verse 9 This man had faith to believe that Paul could heal him. Paul by the Spirit recognized this faith.

Verse 10 He commanded the man to “stand on his feet.” The man leaped and walked.

Verses 11-13 The result of this was that the people thought they were their gods come to visit them.

They then prepared sacrifices for them.

Verses 14-18 The apostles were shocked at this conduct.

They warned them of this folly.

And at the appropriate time Paul tells them of God.

The message had the desired affect.

Verses 19-20 Paul stoned at Lystra.

The same people who wanted to worship him—stoned him.

Jews from Antioch and Iconium caught up with Paul at Lystra.

They succeeded in turning the people against the apostles.

The same crowd who wanted to worship Paul as a god, now stoned him and dragged him out of the city for dead.

Many believe that this was the incident that Paul spoke of in 2 Corinthians 12, where he was caught up into the third Heaven.

Paul tells us twice that he was not sure whether he was in the body or out of the body—he did not know whether he was dead or alive.

His restoration was a miracle—if he was dead, God raised him.

The same day he rose up and came into the city.

The next day he left the city for Derbe

Acts 14 from Verse 21

This evidently was a critical period in Paul’s life. He mentions it in II Timothy 3:11. Read.

He gives God the glory for his deliverance.

They had to flee from Iconium Verses 1-6a.

Paul was stoned at Lystra by the same people who wanted to worship him. Verses 6b-20.

Next they went to Derbe. Verse 20.

This was the limit of their first missionary journey.

How did they return home? Verse 21

They returned to the place of execution—Lystra.

Possibly Timothy was saved during those visits.

He was undoubtedly one of Paul’s converts for he speaks of him as “his son in the faith.”

When Paul next visited Lystra—Timothy was already a disciple. Chapter 16:1.

Point out the difference between being saved and being a disciple.

When their work at Lystra was completed they revisited Iconium and Antioch. (Assemblies were established).

This is what we call today, “follow-up.”

Stress the importance of follow-up.

When a person is saved—the work really begins.

We should never be satisfied merely to witness and see souls saved. We must nurture their souls and establish them in the faith.

This missionary program had as its aim to establish self-governing—self-sustaining—self-propagating churches.

The exact nature of their follow-up is given in Verses 22 and 23.

1. They confirmed the souls of the disciples.

This means that they established the Christians in the faith by instructing them from the Word of God.

2. They exhorted them to continue in the faith.

This was timely in view of the widespread persecution.

Through severe tribulation some must enter the eternal glory of the kingdom.

Verse 23 “They ordained elders in every church.”

There are several things to notice about these N.T. elders:

1. They were godly men who exercised spiritual leadership in the local church. They are spoken of as bishops, presbyters, and overseers.

2. Elders were not appointed immediately; a period was allowed for those who had been appointed by the Holy Spirit to become manifest.

3. Due to the lack of knowledge of elders’ qualifications among the new believers—the apostles ordained or pointed out the men who met the scriptural requirements.

4. We do not have apostles today who can appoint elders. We do have the requirements of elders in I Timothy 3—Titus 1. Therefore each local church should be able to recognize those men, whom God has raised up, as undershepherds or elders.

Finally Paul and Barnabas prayed and fasted with the brethren, then commended them to the Lord. Verse 23

Verses 21-23 Gives us the apostolic pattern of Christian work.

1. Preaching the gospel.

2. Teaching the converts.

3. Establishing and strengthening churches.

Verses 24-26 Leaving the district of Pisidia they arrived back in Antioch via Pamphylia—Perga—Attalia.

Verse 27 What a joyful occasion it must have been when the church at Antioch gathered to hear the personal account of these two faithful servants.

They reviewed all that God had done through them.

And told how God had opened the door to the Gentiles.

Let us look for a moment or two at the missionary strategy employed in those early days.

A small group of disciples living in an obscure corner of the world were imbued with a glorious vision for the evangelization of the world.

Much of the evangelization was carried on by local believers in connection with their everyday duties.

They gossiped the gospel.

In addition to this the apostles accompanied by others traveled from country to country, preaching the gospel and establishing churches. (Went out by two’s).

Basically there were two methods,

1. personal evangelism, and

2. mass evangelism

These men were very definitely under the control of the Holy Spirit.

This same thing can be done today if we are willing to be used.