2014.09.28 Acts 14:1- 22
Paul and Barnabas shake the Gentile World
Good Morning every one it's great to see you here this morning…. As most of you know.... We go through the Bible verse by verse.... At the moment we are studying the birth of the church in the book of Acts..... The focus of ministry has shifted to the Gentiles and as we continue in Acts... We see mostly the ministry of Paul to the Gentiles..... As we studied the sermon that Paul preached last week..... We witnessed a very strong reaction by those who heard it.... Some repented and believed.... Some refused to repent and became instant enemies of Paul and Barnabas.... Paul and Barnabas shook the dust off of their fett and continued on down the road..... They went to Iconium.... Let's pickup the text ther.. Turn with me to Acts 14...... v1....
Acts 14:1,2 NKJV sch 2000
1 Now it happened in Iconium that they went together to the synagogue of the Jews, and so spoke that a great multitude both of the Jews and of the Greeks believed. 2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren.
1 Und es geschah in Ikonium, daß sie miteinander in die Synagoge der Juden gingen und derart redeten, daß eine große Menge von Juden und Griechen gläubig wurde. 2 Die Juden jedoch, die sich weigerten zu glauben, erregten und erbitterten die Gemüter der Heiden gegen die Brüder.
V1… Here again, Paul and Barnabas continue to proclaim the Good News everywhere they go….. They started in the Jewish synagogue….. The fact that both the Jews and Greeks believed…… shows that Paul preached the same Gospel to both groups…. It´s the same Good News…. Salvation and mercy and forgiveness is available….. The Grace of God has appeared…… Teaching us…. Titus 2:13….. That´s the Good News….. The grace of God has appeared…. His name is Jesus…..
…. A great multitude believed…… This is great to read…. Remember…. Because of persecution….. they had just been kicked out of Antioch in Pisidia…..(Acts 13:50)….
V2…. Persecution begins again…… This is always the outcome of proclaiming the Good News…… The Light of God´s word shines in the hearts of men and women and they are forced to choose….. Turn with me to 2 Cor.. ….ch2….v14…
2 Corinthians 2:14- 17 NLT Neues Leben
14 But thank God! He has made us his captives and continues to lead us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now he uses us to spread the knowledge of Christ everywhere, like a sweet perfume. 15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?
17 You see, we are not like the many hucksters who preach for personal profit. We preach the word of God with sincerity and with Christ’s authority, knowing that God is watching us.
2 Corinthians 2:14- 17 NLT Neues Leben
14 Doch ich danke Gott, der uns, die wir zu Christus gehören, immer in seinem Triumphzug mitführt. Wo immer wir jetzt auch hinkommen, setzt er uns ein, um anderen vom Herrn zu erzählen und die gute Botschaft zu verbreiten wie einen wohlriechenden Duft.
15 Unserem ganzen Leben haftet der Wohlgeruch von Christus an; und damit loben wir Gott. Aber dieser Geruch wird von denen, die gerettet werden, anders wahrgenommen als von denen, die verloren gehen.
16 Für die Menschen, die verloren gehen, sind wir der schreckliche Gestank von Tod und Verdammnis. Doch für die Menschen, die gerettet werden, sind wir ein Leben spendender Duft. Wer kann einer solchen Aufgabe gerecht werden?
17 Ihr seht, dass wir nicht zu den Menschen gehören, die nur predigen, um Geld zu verdienen - und davon gibt es viele. Wir predigen Gottes Wort aufrichtig und mit der Vollmacht von Christus und sind uns bewusst, dass Gott, der uns gesandt hat, uns dabei zusieht.
When the Good News of the Gospel is proclaimed…. Unbelievers must decide what to do with Jesus……. But even as believers…… We are faced with choices every time we open this book…. Will we let the Word of God speak to our hearts? Will we let it judge and cleanse our hearts? Or will we reject the Word and refuse to repent and come to Him…. When unbelievers refuse to repent and believe the Good news…. It becomes unbearable for them…… and so the resistance to Paul and Barnabas appears again…. Those who refused to repent tried to poison the minds of the people against the truth…… We certainly see this today don´t we….. Back to Acts 14….v3…
Acts 14: 3 NKJV sch 2000
3 Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
3 Doch blieben sie längere Zeit dort und lehrten freimütig im Vertrauen auf den Herrn, der dem Wort seiner Gnade Zeugnis gab und Zeichen und Wunder durch ihre Hände geschehen ließ.
V3…. Therefore….. Paul stayed…… Paul was not willing to let these unbelieving Jews…… poison and discourage the new believers….. He did not leave to avoid trouble…. He stayed and taught the people a long time….. speaking boldly……. He was busy making disciples even though it was now becoming dangerous to do so….. He was not afraid…… And the Lord Himself put His big AMEN……. (Yes it is so……) God Himself was bearing witness to the Word of His Grace…..
The gospel is here called the message of his grace because divine grace is the message…… He is by nature a Savior…. Paul and Barnabas preached the word of His grace…. because that is the only we can be saved…..
God bore witness to the preaching of Paul and Barnabas by providing signs and miracles…..
Paul often stayed in a region for an extended period of time…. Strengthening the churches…… and raising up disciples to lead the church when he moved on…..
I think we should see the persecution Paul had in Antioch of Pisidia….. As God's way of moving him on to other places of ministry…….. He was often forced to leave town…. But Paul left only when it was absolutely necessary…..
Acts 14: 4-7 NKJV
4 But the multitude of the city was divided: part sided with the Jews, and part with the apostles. 5 And when a violent attempt was made by both the Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to abuse and stone them, 6 they became aware of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region. 7 And they were preaching the gospel there.
Acts 14: 4-7 sch 2000
4 Aber die Volksmenge der Stadt teilte sich, und die einen hielten es mit den Juden, die anderen mit den Aposteln.
5 Als sich aber ein Ansturm der Heiden und Juden samt ihren Obersten erhob, um sie zu mißhandeln und zu steinigen,
6 da bemerkten sie es und entflohen in die Städte Lykaoniens, Lystra und Derbe1, und in die umliegende Gegend,
7 und sie verkündigten dort das Evangelium.
V4,5…. Now after a long time….. the heat is too high…. They plan to stone them….. This is the penalty for blasphemy……. They were ready to Kill Paul and Barnabas…..
v 6…. Finally when forced to…… Paul and Barnabas leave Iconium and go to Listra which is about 40 Km away…. and then also to Derbe….. This shows us that Paul and Barnabas were not foolish….. They were not trying to become martyrs….. They were only proclaiming the Good News as long as they could for the sake of the churches…. They did what they could to preserve their lives……
v7… And they were preaching the gospel there…. God continued to lead and guide Paul and Barnabas through their circumstances….. Think about this….. God is leading them through their circumstances…… They were forced to get out of town…. Here we see that… God´s leading can even come through hard times…..
God continued to put His approval on them as He continued to do miracles through them…….v8….
Acts 14: 8- 10 NKJV sch 2000
8 And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. 9 This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, 10 said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked.
Acts 14: 8- 10 NKJV sch 2000
8 Und in Lystra saß ein Mann mit gebrechlichen Füßen, der von Geburt an gelähmt war und niemals hatte gehen können.
9 Dieser hörte den Paulus reden; und als der ihn anblickte und sah, daß er Glauben hatte, geheilt zu werden,
10 sprach er mit lauter Stimme: Steh aufrecht auf deine Füße! Und er sprang auf und ging umher.
v8….a cripple from his mother´s womb….. This is very important information here….. The fact that this man was born disabled was to the people a sign of the curse and judgment of God…… They considered this man as a horrible sinner….. They thought of him as being under the judgment and condemnation of God….. Hopelessly lost and doomed….. you see his lostness was clear to see…..
But their sin and rebellion was not as clear to see…..
They judged themselves as better than this man….. But they were just as condemned because of their own sin and rebellion…. This man was chosen by God to reveal the truth of the Gospel and to display the Glory of God….
v9….. This man heard Paul speaking…..The crippled man heard Paul preach about Jesus…... When he heard about Jesus…… He believed…. And he knew that Jesus could touch his life…… He was not some hopeless sinner after all…… He hears and believes…..
A person can hear God's word….. but never come to the place where they receive God's healing and forgiving touch personally…… They were not proclaiming a signs and wonders ministry….. they were not traveling as miracle workers…… Their goal was preaching the GOOD NEWS of the gospel……
v9b…. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed…. How could Paul "see" this man's faith? Clearly…. God gave him the gift of discernment at that moment…. so that He minister to this man…... From Paul's boldness, we can also understand that God gave him the gift of faith, to believe God would heal the man right then and there…..That this lame man had faith was made plain by his ready obedience to Paul's command to stand up." (Bruce)
v10…. Stand up straight on your feet… And he leaped and walked…… Wow! He definitely had faith to be healed….. By the way….. this man´s faith was not a requirement….. There are no formulas for divine healing….. Divine healing is in God´s hands alone…..
You know what…. I think that Paul had listened well when he heard the accounts of the miracles of Jesus…. I can imagine that he knew well the time when Jesus healed a paralyzed man in Matthew ch 9…. I would like to turn there for a minute….. Matt…ch9…v2…
Matthew 9: 2-8 NKJV sch 2000
2 Then behold, they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”
3 And at once some of the scribes said within themselves, “This Man blasphemes!”
4 But Jesus, knowing their thoughts, said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts? 5 For which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven you,’ or to say, ‘Arise and walk’? 6 But that you may know that the Son of Man has power on earth to forgive sins”—then He said to the paralytic, “Arise, take up your bed, and go to your house.” 7 And he arose and departed to his house.
8 Now when the multitudes saw it, they marveled and glorified God, who had given such power to men.
Matthew 9: 2-8 NKJV sch 2000
2 Und siehe, da brachten sie einen Gelähmten zu ihm, der auf einer Liegematte2 lag. Und als Jesus ihren Glauben sah, sprach er zu dem Gelähmten: Sei getrost, mein Sohn, deine Sünden sind dir vergeben!
3 Und siehe, etliche der Schriftgelehrten sprachen bei sich selbst: Dieser lästert!
4 Und da Jesus ihre Gedanken sah, sprach er: Warum denkt ihr Böses in euren Herzen?
5 Was ist denn leichter, zu sagen: Deine Sünden sind dir vergeben! oder zu sagen: Steh auf und geh umher?
6 Damit ihr aber wißt, daß der Sohn des Menschen Vollmacht hat, auf Erden Sünden zu vergeben — sprach er zu dem Gelähmten: Steh auf, nimm deine Liegematte und geh heim!
7 Und er stand auf und ging heim.
8 Als aber die Volksmenge das sah, verwunderte sie sich und pries Gott, der solche Vollmacht den Menschen gegeben hatte.
We know nothing about this man´s faith from these verses…. But Jesus forgave Him …. That´s the greater miracle….. Then to prove His power and authority….. Jesus heals him completely….
This man in our text today also believed that Jesus the Messiah and Savoir….. was not only able to save him but also to make him completely well…. Back to Acts 14….
Acts14: 11- 13 NKJV
11 Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” 12 And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes.
Acts14: 11- 13 sch 2000
11 Als aber die Volksmenge sah, was Paulus getan hatte, erhoben sie ihre Stimme und sprachen auf lykaonisch: Die Götter sind Menschen gleichgeworden und zu uns herabgekommen!
12 Und sie nannten den Barnabas Zeus, den Paulus aber Hermes, weil er das Wort führte.
13 Und der Priester des Zeus, dessen Tempel sich vor ihrer Stadt befand, brachte Stiere und Kränze an die Tore und wollte samt dem Volk opfern.
v11….. The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men! The excited crowd in Lystra declares Paul and Barnabas are Greek gods, visiting the earth….. These people saw an awesome miracle happen before their eyes….. yet their idea of who God is….. has not changed at all….. it seemed logical to them to consider Paul and Barnabas gods…..
Notice that the miracle only attracted attention….. The miracle itself saved no one……
v12… Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker…. In Greek mythology…. it was common for the "gods" to come to earth in human form…. though they did not always do so for the good of man…… the wanted to sacrifice to them out of honor and respect….. They expected these false gods to do something terrible if they were not worshipped…. They were talking in the native language and not greek….. Paul and Barnabas did not know what they were saying or why they were doing these things at first….
v13…. But when Paul and Barnabas saw the priest of Zeus, with oxen and garlands … intending to sacrifice, they knew things had gotten out of hand!... acts 14….v 14…
Acts 14: 14-18 NKJV
14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out 15 and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, 16 who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” 18 And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them.
Acts 14: 14-18 sch 2000
14 Als aber die Apostel Barnabas und Paulus das hörten, zerrissen sie ihre Kleider, und sie eilten zu der Volksmenge, riefen
15 und sprachen: Ihr Männer, was tut ihr da? Auch wir sind Menschen, von gleicher Art wie ihr, und verkündigen euch das Evangelium, daß ihr euch von diesen nichtigen [Götzen] bekehren sollt zu dem lebendigen Gott, der den Himmel und die Erde gemacht hat, das Meer und alles, was darin ist!
16 Er ließ in den vergangenen Generationen alle Heiden ihre eigenen Wege gehen;
17 und doch hat er sich selbst nicht unbezeugt gelassen; er hat uns Gutes getan, uns vom Himmel Regen und fruchtbare Zeiten gegeben und unsere Herzen erfüllt mit Speise und Freude.
18 Obgleich sie dies sagten, konnten sie die Menge kaum davon abbringen, ihnen zu opfern.
V14-18…. Paul and Barnabas run and tear their clothes and cried out….. This was blasphemy…… They would not let the glory for this healing come to them….. That was a great sin….. They cried stop this….. We are only men…… Stop holding on to idols and worship the one true God…. They preached the Gospel to them! It was all that they could do to stop the madness…..
Paul says…. turn from these useless things…..These were strong words from Paul to people who took their pagan worship seriously…… but Paul wasn't afraid to confront this mob with the truth…... And the truth was that their idolatry was wrong…... Paul is preaching to a pagan audience…… and before he can tell them about Jesus and what He has done…… he must turn the hearts of the people from these useless things to the living God…… Jesus just can't be "added" to their pagan ways…….
Forget these idols…. Turn to the living God…. It is He who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them….. Paul calls the Lystrian crowd to turn from idols to the one true God…..
V17…. The things Paul mentions ….. He did good … gave us rain from heaven … and fruitful seasons … filling our hearts with food and gladness) were just the kind of things these people would think that Zeus would give them…... Paul is letting them know these blessings come from the true God who lives in heaven…… not from Zeus…..
God's shows this kindness to all men (in giving rain and fruitful crops) should be seen as a witness of His love and power….. This is what theologians call common grace…...
Back to Acts 14…v.19….
Acts 14: 19,20 NKJV sch 2000
19 Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. 20 However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.
19 Es kamen aber aus Antiochia und Ikonium Juden herbei; die überredeten die Volksmenge und steinigten Paulus und schleiften ihn vor die Stadt hinaus in der Meinung, er sei gestorben.
20 Doch als ihn die Jünger umringten, stand er auf und ging in die Stadt. Und am folgenden Tag zog er mit Barnabas fort nach Derbe.
v19… There was for a while calm and it appears that the news that Paul and Barnabas were in Lystra made it to his enemies in Antioch and Iconium….. the Jewish leaders who hated Jesus and all of his followers pursued Paul and Barnabas…..
v20…. Stoned almost to death….can you imagine the pain…. They thought that he was dead…… I´m sure he looked dead….. so they dragged him out and threw him on the garbage dump to be eaten by the dogs…..
Some of these persecuting Jews from Antioch and Iconium would have traveled more than one hundred miles just to attack Paul and try to shut him up….. Remember…. They had planned to kill Paul and when they found out where he was…. They were filled again with hate and went after him…
v19b…. Having persuaded the multitudes…
They incited the people of Lystra against Paul and Barnabas…. Think about this these rocks are being thrown by some of the the same people who wanted to worship them a short time before!....
How fickle the crowd is…… apparently…. their admiration of the miracle…… and their desire to honor Paul and Barnabas as gods was extremely short-lived……
It is such a dangerous thing for any spiritual leader to cultivate or allow a kind of "hero-worship…..The same people who honor you one day….. will feel terribly betrayed when you show yourself to be only human after all…..
v20a…. However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city…..Paul was miraculously preserved here……
Paul later refers to this stoning in 2 Corinthians 11:25……. When Paul later says I bear in my body the marks of Jesus (Galatians 6:17)….. he may have had in mind the scars from this incident……
Paul must have thought of Stephen when he was being stoned……and how he had been a part of Stephen's stoning (Acts 7:58-8:1).
v20b… He rose up and went into the city….. When Paul was able to get up…. he did not flee the city that stoned him…… Instead he immediately went back into it….. Why….? Where did he go? Maybe he had already seen the hand of God on a certain young man….
In Acts 16:1, we learn of a young Christian in Lystra and his mother - Timothy…… Perhaps Timothy saw all this and was inspired to the high call of the gospel…… I think he saw Paul's courage and power in ministry……
Paul had been driven out of Antioch and Iconium by this traveling mob…..
v20 end….Then on the next day he left for Derbe… Did he go into hiding? His enemies had proven that they will continue to hunt him…… He was not afraid….v21…
Acts 14: 21,22 NKJV sch 2000
21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”
21 Und nachdem sie in dieser Stadt das Evangelium verkündigt und eine schöne Zahl Jünger gewonnen hatten, kehrten sie wieder nach Lystra und Ikonium und Antiochia zurück;
22 dabei stärkten sie die Seelen der Jünger und ermahnten sie, unbeirrt im Glauben zu bleiben, und [sagten ihnen,] daß wir durch viele Bedrängnisse in das Reich Gottes eingehen müssen.
v21… Paul leaves Lystra for the city of Derbe….. where they find more evangelistic success…… They preached the Good News of the Gospel and made many disciples….. many disciples… despite the persecution they found in Lystra….. the work of God continued…… It just continued in a different place….. Derbe….. Once again we see Divine guidance by disaster and difficulties.... But Paul and Barnabas continue their work….preaching the gospel and making disciples…..
then they went back to the places where they had been….
On their way back to Antioch…. they passed through the cities they had visited before…. to strengthen and encourage the Christians in those cities….
Paul and Barnabas wanted to do far more than get conversions….. they had a passion to make disciples an equip leaders…...
How we Christians need strengthening in our faith…. How we need to be exhorted to continue in the faith…. It is no small thing to walk with the Lord, year after year….. trial after trial…… It takes a strong and encouraged faith……
How did Paul and Barnabas strengthen and exhort these disciples? By bringing a simple message….. born of Paul's personal experience…. We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God…. Paul could preach that message because he had lived that message!
Sadly….. for many Christians today…. this is a forgotten message….. They consider any kind of tribulation completely counter-productive to Christian living…… most believers refuse to accept the significant place that suffering has in God's plan for us……..
Turn with me to 2 Timothy ch3....
2 Timothy 3: 10-17 NKJV Sch 2000
10 But you have carefully followed my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, love, perseverance, 11 persecutions, afflictions, which happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra—what persecutions I endured. And out of them all the Lord delivered me. 12 Yes, and all who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution. 13 But evil men and impostors will grow worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived. 14 But you must continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them, 15 and that from childhood you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.
16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, 17 that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3: 10-17 NKJV Sch 2000
10 Du aber bist mir nachgefolgt in der Lehre, in der Lebensführung, im Vorsatz6, im Glauben, in der Langmut, in der Liebe, im standhaften Ausharren7,
11 in den Verfolgungen, in den Leiden, wie sie mir in Antiochia, in Ikonium und Lystra widerfahren sind. Solche Verfolgungen habe ich ertragen, und aus allen hat mich der Herr gerettet!
12 Und alle, die gottesfürchtig leben wollen in Christus Jesus, werden Verfolgung erleiden.
13 Böse Menschen aber und Betrüger werden es immer schlimmer treiben, indem sie verführen und sich verführen lassen.
14 Du aber bleibe in dem, was du gelernt hast und was dir zur Gewißheit geworden ist, da du weißt, von wem du es gelernt hast,
15 und weil du von Kindheit an die heiligen Schriften kennst, welche die Kraft haben, dich weise zu machen zur Errettung durch den Glauben, der in Christus Jesus ist.
16 Alle Schrift ist von Gott eingegeben11 und nützlich zur Belehrung, zur Überführung, zur Zurechtweisung, zur Erziehung in der Gerechtigkeit,
17 damit der Mensch Gottes ganz zubereitet sei, zu jedem guten Werk völlig ausgerüstet.