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ACTS CHAPTER 14

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1 In Iconium they entered the synagogue of the Jews together, and spoke in such a manner that a large number of people believed, both of Jews and of Greeks.

 

Act 14,1-21

(143d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> The public >> Paul ministered publicly

Act 14,1-7

(100b) Thy kingdom come >> Perseverance >> Persevere in preaching the gospel -- These verses go with verses 19&20

(149d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Compel them to come in >> Forceful persuasion – Evangelism may be the most spiritual act we can do in this life. However, there must be many things in place before evangelism can be effective, beginning with the evangelist himself and extending all the way back to the Church. We can’t have a broken-down church where the evangelist sends the converts, because they won’t be properly fed and they will fall away from the faith. At the same time, a healthy church is wasting its time sending evangelists who are ill-prepared for the ministry. Therefore, much order must be in the Church before people can be saved. As it is, people are out of place; they’re not fulfilling their ministry; whole bricks are missing making gaping holes in the wall, and the bricks present are haphazardly placed atop each other, and there is no mortar between them; the anointing is missing. God intends to fix all these problems before He returns. He will do it in His way and in His time, which will accompany great glory and profound achievement, so millions of people will be saved. We could never squeeze them through the door of the current Church, and nobody could have ever predicted it or even imagined it until it happens. A Great Endtime Revival is coming that will restore God's people, starting with their doctrines.

(242k) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Persecuting the kingdom >> Reacting to persecution >> Enduring persecution >> Hated by the world – Perhaps a minor reason for God allowing persecution was that Saul once persecuted the Church just as the Jews were persecuting him. In fact he persecuted the Church at a time when no one else dared, because they saw that God was protecting His people, such as bailing out Peter from jail, performing miracles and humiliating and perplexing their enemies. Although Saul knew the scriptures well enough, yet in his mind Christianity could not possibly be of God, but he was wrong. His misguided confidence led him to persecute the Church. The bigger reason God allowed Saul and the Jews to persecute the Church was that God had given man a will, and people can do what they want; they can even persecute His gospel. This is how much God respects our will; He respects us more than we respect ourselves, being partly how He defines us as being made in His image. His gospel will go forth knowing that all forms of resistance will not amount to a drop in a bucket against His gospel and kingdom going forward. The Jews may have been hindering Paul and his ministry, but their net effect was negligible within the span of 2000 years.

Act 14,1-4

(24i) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Jews are envious of the gospel

Act 14,1-3

(20m) Sin >> Disobedience >> Demonstrating unbelief in the validity of God’s word

(111h) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Kingdom of God revealed >> Word plus signs and wonders -- These verses go with verses 8-10. Almost everyone has met somebody who said something like this: ‘If I see a miracle, then I will believe in God.’ Actually, what Paul and Barnabas were doing was miraculous, speaking by the power of the Holy Spirit with a charisma that was undeniable. They had such a persuasive influence that their hearers could hardly deny themselves the faith they were presenting to them. Not just what they said, but the way they spoke was actually more convincing than any miracle. The word of God, the Bible we hold in our hand, is a miracle. With so many forces against it Satan should have disposed of it centuries ago, but he couldn’t defeat the hedge of protection that God placed around His word. Therefore, the words themselves that Paul and Barnabas spoke to the crowd were miraculous, but they also spoke by a Spirit that many of them had no choice but to believe. Con artists and telemarketers hone their skills to a fine edge to relieve people of their wealth. They get a thrill from talking people out of their money, and in a similar way the motive of Paul and Barnabas was to win souls to the Kingdom of God, and they too got a thrill from leading people to Jesus, being pleasing to God, the Holy Spirit confirming that the angels were rejoicing in heaven over those who were being saved.

(117d) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Rest in Jesus (Sabbath) >> Let Jesus do the work >> Let Him work on your circumstances

(123a) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Boldness to speak the word by the Spirit – "Faith" is a gift that we receive from God, whereas confidence is an expression of that gift that is linked to boldness. The difference between them is, for example, the con artist tries to finesse people into a lie, whereas boldness believes in Jesus with a belligerent confidence, showing our enemies that nothing will ever dissuade us from our faith, holding the connotation of tenacity that those who don’t believe are exposed as unbelievers in their own beliefs. Boldness tends to bowl over its opponents and conveys to them that no matter what they do, they will have no effect on our faith or our efforts to spread the gospel of Christ, and that their unbelief is intrinsically wrong.

(240i) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Hindering the kingdom >> Taking away the key of knowledge >> Hindering people from entering the kingdom

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

Act 14-1

(121l) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Confidence >> Confidence in God >> Confidence in God as you fulfill your ministry – Paul and Barnabas could fill an auditorium and convince the majority to believe in Jesus. It says they believed; that is, they didn’t have an altar call, nor did they sing any songs or lower their voices and get somber to set the mood; they just preached Jesus and many believed the message. He spoke to them with a confidence that the people had never heard. Their confidence came from an anointing that convinced people of the gospel by the truth and by their manner of speech.

(139g) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> We build the temple through Christ – The synagogue was like a store, and the people were raw materials, bricks of the temple that God would assemble to make the Church of Iconium. Preaching Jesus to them and educating them in the ways of God is the process of organizing the bricks, smearing mortar on them, representative of the anointing to form the temple. Evangelism is the transport company that drives to a certain location and picks up a load of bricks and hauls them to the construction site. Before the truck comes, the shipment must be arranged by the logistics officer, the Holy Spirit, and paid in advance by the blood of Christ, so when the truck arrives, the driver’s only job is to back to the dock and offload his bricks. The Father orchestrated Paul and Barnabas to come to the synagogue and preach Jesus to a large audience, and many were saved. Paul said in Col 1-13,14, “For He rescued us from the domain of darkness, and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Unity shines through His people who were once constituents of the world, until they were transformed into bricks, designated for a certain place in His temple. Paul and Barnabas physically stepped into the synagogue and preached Jesus to the people, being the work of men, who anticipated doing the work of God.

(210j) Salvation >> Jews and gentiles are being saved >> Gentiles included >> Fellow heirs with Israel (Spiritual Jew) >> God welcomes the Gentiles to the promise of Israel -- This verse goes with verse 14

(238b) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Transferring the kingdom >> The kingdom is transferred to the Church >> Born again >> Born of the Spirit by the will of man – The way Scripture speaks, those who believed were spiritually transformed so they were no longer the same people. They didn’t just change their minds but were converted. This is what it means to believe in Jesus: there is both an immediate internal transformation and there is a life-long external transformation that attempts to mimic the changes that happen internally. The hearers of the gospel don’t just believe; they also receive the indwelling Holy Spirit, and by that became new people. They are now people in possession of eternal life, and that change will transform them from the inside-out. This transformation will never end until their temporal life ends and they are taken to heaven, and their transformation will be complete at the First Resurrection.


2 But the Jews who disbelieved stirred up the minds of the Gentiles and embittered them against the brethren.

 

Act 14,2-7

(232a) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Seeking the kingdom >> Count the cost >> Don’t look back >> Don’t look back to the past -- These verses go with verses 19-21

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

Act 14,2-6

(163f) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Used by Satan to destroy the word of God >> Used to destroy the mouthpiece of God -- These verses go with verse 19

Act 14-2,3

(7e) Responsibility >> Protecting the gospel >> God defends His own word – These verses go with verses 19-21

(146k) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Purpose of Miracles, Signs And Wonders >> Get peoples’ attention to hear the word – The apostles and leaders of the Church didn't go around performing miracles at will, but God granted them, suggesting there were other times when they didn't perform miracles. God always has His reasons for performing miracles, who always seeks to glorify Himself by spreading the gospel of Christ that more may be saved. Healing the person is secondary; if He will not receive glory for the miracles, He simply will not grant them, trusting that Paul and Barnabas would use the miracles to point people's attention to Christ and not to themselves. God cared about the people who lived in the regions of Iconium and Lystra; He wanted them to believe the message of the gospel and receive Christ, so He allowed these miracles to furnish proof that Paul and Barnabas were telling them the truth that people can be forgiven their sin, receive eternal life and live with God forever in heaven.

Act 14-2

(18i) Sin >> Twisted thinking >> Unable to distinguish between good and evil >> God’s purpose is evil – The previous chapter spoke about the unbelieving Jews persecuting the gospel from jealousy. It is virtually impossible to persecute something they didn't believe; they knew the gospel was true but refused to believe it, condemning their own hearts, and since they rejected it, they didn't want the gentiles to have it either. They were in denial, refusing to accept the fact that these things were written in their Old Testament manuscripts that they read every week and claimed to believe with all their hearts. They made decisions for people, hindering some and persecuting others, yet God did little to stop them. They compartmentalized their mind, partitioning the truth from their consciousness, placing themselves in a closet and closing and locking the door behind them with key in hand, essentially placing themselves under house arrest just to avoid the truth. We know they knew the truth, because they persecuted Paul for preaching it. Offbeat beliefs, ideas and sects often emerged from Judaism, but they didn't get this excited over them, but they hated Christianity because they knew it was of God, and they figured they had already turned down the wrong road when they crucified the Lord, not knowing God would still forgive them if they just humbled their pride, and they could be cleansed of their sin, but they just couldn't believe it. Therefore, they rejected Christ and persecuted the Church based on guilt.


3-7 Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with reliance upon the Lord, who was testifying to the word of His grace, granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands. 4 But the people of the city were divided; and some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles. 5 And when an attempt was made by both the Gentiles and the Jews with their rulers, to mistreat and to stone them, 6 they became aware of it and fled to the cities of Lycaonia, Lystra and Derbe, and the surrounding region; 7 and there they continued to preach the gospel.

 

Act 14-3,4

(219g) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> The elect >> God chooses us as we choose ourselves >> God chooses us as we fulfill His calling – The people were seeing signs and wonders performed in their midst, yet they were divided. It seems that seeing a miracle would end every dispute and cause people to line up to be saved, but it doesn’t work that way. They were more convinced about their own thoughts than they were about any supporting evidence to the contrary. They were incredulous and suspicious and lived by the saying, 'I'll believe it when I see it,' yet when they saw it they still didn't believe. There are many things they believed that they had never seen, which proved their faith was capricious, like picking an assortment of ideas from a basket, but for those who believe in Jesus it is not something they have chosen on their own, but they believe in Him according to the will of God. He prepares certain people to believe in Him and the rest are hardened. On the one hand man uses his will to believe, and on the other, God has chosen them to believe, and both must happen for salvation to occur. Jesus said in Mat 22-14, "Many are called but few are chosen," so God calls many to believe but not everyone He calls will answer the call, only those whom He has chosen to respond to the word that He planted in good soil. Paul wrote to Timothy that God desires all to believe in Him, but He is not about to violate the will of man to see that happen; He isn't interested in having robots for worshippers. So, there seems to be a gap between God's will for all to believe and His choice of the elect, and for some this seeming conflict is hopelessly incompatible, while others wait for an explanation that they can understand, even if they must wait for heaven. This is faith.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

Act 14-3

(32b) Gift of God >> God is our Father >> Grace >> Word of His grace – We wonder why we rarely see signs and wonders, but if we preached the gospel the way the apostles did, we would see them again, especially if people were getting saved. Signs and wonders do not cause people to get saved, but disclosing the word of God by the demonstration of the Spirit, witnessed by faithful people who were designated by God to receive the gift of eternal life are the conditions for signs and wonders to occur. When people quit believing, God will not throw His pearls before swine. In the first century many people were getting saved, and God was happy to perform signs and wonders through the apostles to prove what they were preaching, but this generation is far more ready to receive a gospel that the Bible doesn’t teach if they believe anything at all. They mock God and complain that he never performs signs and wonders for them, but He is unwilling to reveal Himself to those who do not believe in Him.

(115g) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Working the grace of God >> Laying on of hands >> Seeing signs, wonders and miracles – Paul and Barnabas went to Iconium and there preached Jesus in the synagogue of the Jews, and many of them resisted and blasphemed, speaking evil against the way, knowing they were lying, yet people were being saved in spite of the opposition. If the gospel had no success, they would have allowed Paul and Barnabas to spout until they got tired and went home, but many were being saved, and the message of the gospel was spreading like wildfire. The Jews interpreted the message of the gospel to be against the Jews in that they rejected their own Messiah, yet God was ready to forgive them for this and receive the Jews even before the gentiles, but they found the gospel impossible to believe. The devil was at work bringing confusion, and Paul was trying to untangle the mess, and he would have succeeded had the Jews listened to him, but not enough did, so he gave up on them and turned to the gentiles, and discovered a great harvest of souls, and many thousands were saved in the first century.

(144h) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Witnesses of Jesus >> Trinity bears witness of Jesus >> Word of God bears witness to Jesus – It was an uphill climb for Paul throughout his ministry, which was mostly based on suffering. Signs and wonders are given to evangelists to help spread the word of God, so they can enter spiritually ignorant places with the gospel among people who have never heard about God's mercy in Christ Jesus and be saved. God demonstrated His grace toward them through signs and wonders after the Jews resisted him, who followed Paul wherever he went and tried to undermine his ministry. God has an uncanny ability to use just about anything for His purposes. Paul asked God to remove these people and their evil influence from his ministry, and God’s answer was, “My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness” (2Cor 12-9). God used these Jewish reprobates to assail Paul, forcing him back to God to seek His grace to rise above these forces in his life. Paul was the same kind of person as these Jews prior to his conversion to Christianity, only he was worse. Once Paul received God’s strength to rise above his enemies, he then used that same grace to perform signs and wonders that God granted him to preach the gospel in power.

(147e) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Divine works of God >> Signs and wonders – We wonder why signs and wonders are rarely seen today. God always places His signature on divine movements with signs and wonders, and we haven’t seen a divine movement in a while. Signs and wonders are for the sake of unbelievers that they might see them and believe in Jesus and be saved. However, if people saw divine works from God today, it is questionable anyone would not repent because people are rebellious, but a day is coming when everything will be turned on its head in a moment’s notice, and God will initiate a divine movement and reintroduce signs and wonders as a seal of His works, proving that those who carry the gospel belong to Him, that they are speaking His word and that people should listen to them and be saved.

(227e) Dependence On Jesus (Key verse)

(227i) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> God working in you >> Dependence on Jesus >> Depending on Jesus to impart His gifts into us >> He gives us what we give to the world – God accompanied His gospel with signs and wonders, and the people saw them and believed in Jesus. It offered a new way of life, one that people could live in peace with one another. If enough people believed, they could initiate a time of peace in the world that was sustainable. Some say that all wars fought since the first century stemmed from religion, insinuating that Christianity caused them, but those responsible for war have no part in the Kingdom of Heaven. True believers in Jesus were essentially hidden from history, unseen and unknown, yet they remained the salt of the earth, incognito, and were able to change history with a simple faith.

Act 14-4

(65e) Paradox >> Anomalies >> Jesus brings division instead of peace

Act 14,5-7

(81h) Thy kingdom come >> Pray without ceasing >> Preach the gospel through continuous prayer

(92c) Thy kingdom come >> The narrow way >> Trail of good works >> Practice walking a straight line -- These verses go with verses 19-22

Act 14-5,6

(25c) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Murder >> Persecution to the death >> Murdering for prestige -- These verses go with verses 19&20

(89f) Thy kingdom come >> Fear of God is the beginning of wisdom >> Deeds of wisdom – Before Paul and Barnabas went to Iconium they were at Antioch, having made many converts there, but there were some who disbelieved, both Jews and gentiles, who stirred up the crowd and agitated a persecution against the evangelists. Instead of staying there and trying to defend themselves or picking up swords and clubs and warring with their enemies, they were wise and ran, after they shook the dust off their feet and went to Iconium, Lystra and Derbe, and there the same thing happened. Warring with our enemies is not the direction God wants us to go. In the old covenant God raised up the nation of Israel and brought them to the land of plenty (Canaan) and commanded them to annihilate its inhabitants, because they were polluting the world with their sin. It would have eventually ended in the destruction of the whole world in repeat of Noah’s day, and so God was merciful and sent Israel to destroy them to preserve the rest of mankind. The hope was that the world would learn the ways of Israel and model after them; instead, Israel learned the ways of the world and modeled after it. Then he created a new covenant in the blood of Christ, and instead of going to war with his enemies, he inaugurated a gospel through His own blood and went to war against His spiritual enemy, the devil, whom Jesus defeated on the cross. No longer are we to fight against our fellow man for the cause of Christ, but we are to fight the good fight of faith, which is a spiritual war against demons that hold the human race in slavery to sin. It was wise for Paul and Barnabas to flee and keep the war centered on satanic forces of wickedness with the goal of saving souls and not digress their vengeance on flesh and blood. The goal is not to save every person on earth but to save only those whom God has chosen. We don’t know whom God has chosen, but He does, and He will choose them from the world through the preaching of the gospel of Christ.

(179d) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Wolves >> Stir up the crowd >> Stir up the crowd through jealousy -- These verses go with verse 19. There is a travesty in the world that has existed since the beginning of time: the few ruin it for the rest. In this example, a handful of people who rejected the gospel instigated a persecution against Paul and Barnabas and drove them from their region to keep those from hearing the gospel who desired to be saved. Instead of God being angry, He was satisfied with the number of people who were saved, and the Church grew very quickly, and God was able to use the persecution to His own advantage. The people were strong in the faith and realized they were being persecuted for believing the truth, and so the persecution actually added to their faith and promotion of God’s kingdom, but this does not excuse the few ruining it for the many.

(180f) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Wolves >> Wolves steal, kill and destroy >> Killing the sheep -- These verses go with verses 19&20


8-10 At Lystra a man was sitting who had no strength in his feet, lame from his mother's womb, who had never walked. 9 This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who, when he had fixed his gaze on him and had seen that he had faith to be made well, 10 said with a loud voice, "Stand upright on your feet." And he leaped up and began to walk.

 

Act 14,8-18

(77f) Thy kingdom come >> Humility >> Refusing the glory of man >> Rejecting the worship of men

(177j) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Presumption (Hinduism) >> Misunderstanding the circumstances

Act 14,8-10

(107a) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Hearing from God >> Word creates faith >> Receiving unction from God

(111h) Thy kingdom come >> Faith >> Spirit and the word >> Kingdom of God revealed >> Word plus signs and wonders -- These verses go with verses 1-3. This man was lame from his mother's womb, making it a very persuasive miracle. He lived in his community all his life and everyone knew him, so nobody could deny that an authentic miracle had taken place. It was not a trick that Paul performed, not somebody he and Barnabas planted and told to walk on crutches until Paul gave the signal to throw them aside and be healed by the Oral Roberts method. If anybody would be this fraudulent, his version of the gospel would be just as fraudulent. We know these things were not part of Paul's ministry; rather, he performed a genuine miracle through the power of God; he didn't need to deceive people into believing in Jesus.

(121g) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Hope >> Expectation >> Expecting good things based on God’s character >> Expectation based on His word

(145d) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Healing >> Jesus heals through the Church – Note that Paul never used the name of Jesus when he performed this amazing miracle of healing. Rather, he said, "Stand upright on your feet," and the man was made well. He didn't say, 'In the name of Jesus;' He didn't make any mention of God at all; rather, God received the glory through Paul's administration of the gospel. In other words, it is not the name of Jesus that performs the miracle but the person of Christ. Heb 1-3 says, "[Jesus] is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature, and upholds all things by the word of his power." "The word of His power," not 'the power of His word,' this is key to understanding the power of God; it is not contained in His word (or in His name); rather His word only speaks of his power and His name only refers to the person in possession of it. The power is in God Himself who has given all power and authority to His Son, who in turn has given all power and authority to us. We don't know the location of heaven. We don't know if it is a million miles away or a billion miles or if it is outside the universe. Maybe heaven is in another dimension, maybe right here, but being in another dimension it might as well be at the end of the universe. The Bible says that Jesus sent the Holy Spirit in His place, and He is the one who performs the works of God, so it was the Holy Spirit who healed the lame man. When we speak the name of Jesus, we are attributing the miracle to Him, so that God rightly gets the glory.

Act 14-9

(97f) Thy kingdom come >> Attention >> Facing in the direction of the Lord >> Focusing your mind on God – Paul said to the man in all confidence, “Stand upright on your feet” and he was made well. Before Paul did this he saw that the man had faith to be healed. Prior to that, Paul was preaching Jesus to the people speaking the word of God, and it filled the man full of faith. So in the man’s mind it was not out of the question that God could heal him, though Paul’s discourse was probably not on the subject of healing. We know that Jesus healed a lot of people throughout His 3½-year ministry, but He didn’t start healing people. He started preaching the gospel of the kingdom, no doubt looking like just another leader of a sect, but as He spoke to the people about God’s love, they began to believe what He was saying, so when Jesus laid His hands on the sick and healed them, He demonstrated God's love, but He first had to create faith in them. In other words, He healed them through their faith (Mat 9-22). However, this doesn’t mean that people who are not healed don’t believe. Many things are involved in faith; it happened that in Jesus’ ministry all the variables were in place, and the same was true about Paul and the other apostles, but we don’t see many miracles these days for two reasons: (1) the Church is not unified; everybody believes something different; people are not collectively in agreement with God, except possibly for this one statement, “Jesus came to save sinners.” Beyond that, people diverge from each other with their own interpretation of the Bible. One believes this, another believes that, while the truth is standing unattended waiting for someone to notice it. (2) Jesus started a movement, and the apostles perpetuated it, and now 2000 years later that movement has fragmented. When God starts a new movement, such as the Great Endtime Revival, miracles, signs and wonders will return, and people will once again come into agreement with God and with His Truth.

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

11&12 When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they raised their voice, saying in the Lycaonian language, "The gods have become like men and have come down to us." 12 And they began calling Barnabas, Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.

 

Act 14,11-21

(176j) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> False doctrine >> Extremes >> Truth is never found in your conduct on either extreme of any circumstance

Act 14,11-20

(18e) Sin >> False Judgment lacks evidence >> Presumptuous speculation

Act 14,11-18

(19l) Sin >> Worshiping idols will twist your mind – The Bible teaches that we are sinners, that if we are not continually renewing our mind in the word of God and prayer, we are doomed to follow the ways of the world, the flesh and the devil, but God has made a way to rise above these worldly forces. To do so we must submit our evil proclivities to God. Paul and Barnabas poured out their hearts to the people of Lystra trying to help them understand the gospel, yet they made it look very difficult to believe, though many young children around the world believe in Jesus without a hitch. Adults find the gospel hard to believe, because they have had many years of mental training in the ways of the world, which is contrary to God and have created ruts in their thinking, so if they are not careful they will fall back into their old ways. With the people of Lystra, when they tried to worship Paul and Barnabas, the evangelists could barely stop them. Behind every false deity is a demon, and demons will never ask us to sacrifice our sinful passions and desires. This is how we know we are worshipping the God of heaven, when we offer Him the idols of our flesh in exchange for the freedom of Christ.

(171c) Works of the devil >> Manifestations of the devil >> Outward appearance >> Vanity >> Vain experience >> Things you do in the absence of God – In these verses we see people not listening but doing just the opposite of what Paul and Barnabas were teaching them. The people of Lystra had a long legacy of superstition, which is the basis of worshipping idols, so they were merely following their natural instincts, but the fact that virtually everybody worships idols in one form or another, unless of course they are worshippers of God, makes their behavior native to this world. It is the natural recourse of the flesh to want to offer sacrifice to a god and worship a deity other than the God of creation, because Jesus does not appeal to our flesh. In Romans chapter 12 it talks about offering an acceptable sacrifice to the true God of heaven, Paul elucidating the evil passions of our fleshly nature as our sin offering, which is just the opposite of what our flesh wants. The fleshly nature pretty much controls most people, wanting to expand its freedom to continue sinning, whereas God wants to expand our freedom to continue practicing righteousness.

(173f) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Catholicism >> Unholy sacrifice >> Offering sacrifice without God’s approval >> Sacrifice against the word of God

(177k) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Presumption (Hinduism) >> Presuming the will of God >> Man’s knowledge of God is based on presumption – Idol worshippers go from god to god. They believe in one god, and then the land has a drought, so they worship another god to deliver them from the drought, and whatever god they happen to be worshipping at the time of the first rain is their god for a season, until the next tragedy hits, and then it's on to another god if the one they are serving doesn't immediately deliver them. This is the height of superstition. Their god didn't fail them; sometimes it rains and sometimes it doesn't. We have all met people who claimed to have tried Christianity and it didn't work for them, so they dropped their faith in Jesus; this is the epitome of superstition and idol worship.

(195f) Denying Christ >> Man exercises his will against God >> Idolatry >> Worshipping men >> Idolizing men – Paul and Barnabas were trying to tell them that God lived in heaven, and that Jesus is the Son of God, visited us and died for our sins, and His Father raised Him from the dead, ascended to the right hand of God and has sent His Holy Spirit in His place, who performed the miracle they witnessed. Paul and Barnabas simply believed in God, and this was the part they didn't understand. Although they believed in gods too, they didn't understand how the specifics of their faith could give a person the ability to perform miracles. Their minds went immediately to the idea that the flesh of Paul and Barnabas were the essence of a god, and they sought to worship them, offering sacrifice to their flesh. They struggled with the people of Lystra, because they didn't want to worship according to the pattern shown them in the apostles. Most people find the gospel unappealing, because they are used to catering to their flesh. Some people don't feel the need to serve Him, because their flesh is their god, so when they worship a false god, they are really worshipping themselves. We either worship God or we worship demons, which is tantamount to worshipping self. We attribute our self-worship to an idol of one kind or another, so as to give the appearance of worshipping something greater than ourselves, but we are just fooling ourselves.

Act 14-11

(195a) Idolatry (Key verse)

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

13-18 The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. 14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their robes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out 15 and saying, "Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, WHO MADE THE HEAVEN AND THE EARTH AND THE SEA AND ALL THAT IS IN THEM. 16 "In the generations gone by He permitted all the nations to go their own ways; 17 and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness." 18 Even saying these things, with difficulty they restrained the crowds from offering sacrifice to them.

 

Act 14,13-15

(58c) Paradox >> Opposites >> From being worshipped to being stoned -- These verses go with verse 19. Paul and Barnabas did everything they could to keep the people of Lystra from offering sacrifice to them. In one day Paul went from being worshipped to being stoned to death, typifying the capricious nature of man. One minute they love you, and the next minute they hate you; rich and famous people constantly experience this roller coaster ride of hot and cold emotions by their fans. Paul’s name was becoming known and he was being treated like a celebrity in some ways, loved by the Church and hated by the world. We can’t trust the world when they love us, because the next minute they will hate us. This is not the kind of love that God has for His people, and He wants us to be like Him and love at all times. God is pushing for consistency in the Christian’s life, but the world will never be consistent. Part of the reason for this is that they don’t know the truth, though they think they do, which makes them hate us when we contradict their truth. Most dedicated Christians are not liked by anybody; they are either loved or hated with very little in-between.

(173m) Works of the devil >> The religion of witchcraft >> Man’s Religion >> Resisting the Kingdom of God – Paul and Barnabas were trying to disclose the gospel to the people of Lystra, and it was obvious they were not even close to comprehending what they were saying to them. This is the negative power of religion. To be able to break through a person’s religion is one of the hardest things to do. Christians are capable of understanding just about any religion, but not everybody can understand Christianity. Is this because Christianity is so complicated? Does it have the complexity of astrophysics or microbiology or organic chemistry? No, the gospel is not difficult at all; so why can’t people grasp it? It is because we live in a spiritual world, and there are demons afoot that work against mankind to keep people from understanding the gospel. Satan is called the prince of the power of the air in that he fills the sky with clouds from horizon to horizon and blinds “the minds of the unbelieving so that they might not see the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God” (2Cor 4-4). Jesus called Satan the ruler of the world (Jn 14-30), and Paul talked about principalities and powers in high places (Eph 6-12). These spiritual forces of wickedness are active in the world and keep people from understanding the gospel and getting saved.

Act 14,15-17

(151i) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> Witnesses of the father >> Creation is evidence of God >> No other source but God can explain the creation

(212a) Sovereignty >> God is infinite >> He is the creator >> The creation glorifies God >> The creation exemplifies God’s sovereignty

Act 14-15

(193d) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Repent >> Turn from your evil ways >> Turn from sin to God

Act 14-16,17

(201h) Man’s Will Over God (Key verse)

(201j) Denying Christ >> Man chooses his own destiny apart from God >> Running from God >> Man’s will over God >> God permits man to go his own way

Act 14-18,19

(54e) Paradox >> Opposites >> Worshipping the flesh

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

19&20 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having won over the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. 20 But while the disciples stood around him, he got up and entered the city. The next day he went away with Barnabas to Derbe. 

 

Act 14,19-28

(148j) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Works of the Church bear witness to Jesus >> Evangelism >> Obligation to preach the gospel >> Preach even if it hurts – Paul was well on his way with his ministry to the gentiles, but he found that preaching the gospel to them enraged the Jews and made them jealous, so there was much pain and suffering that accompanied his gentile ministry. There was a changing of the guard that was transpiring from the Jews to the gentiles, who were being obedient to the faith while the Jews became less faithful to the gospel until over time they closed their minds almost completely to the word of God, not only to the New Testament but also to their Old Testament teachings. Essentially, the Jews have lost their way during the age of grace; they could find no way to reconcile the gospel with their old covenant rituals and traditions, for if they misinterpreted the old covenant, how could they expect to properly interpret the new covenant? However, the gentiles are going the way of the Jews, being difficult to find anyone who has a sincere faith in God anymore. The Jews are waiting for God just like they did in Egypt when they were in bondage to the Egyptians, only in their present distress they have enslaved themselves in their own disobedience through unbelief, which they would have seen had they been faithful to the old covenant; then they would have accepted the the gospel and managed its doctrines and direction, and the Catholic Church would have never been born, which from its onset was the scourge of the earth and it still is to today. The Jews, however, considered themselves better than the gentiles, considering them dogs. This they perceived through their old covenant doctrines, which they perverted over the centuries, just like the Church is doing to its doctrines in the last days upon whom have fallen the sins of all mankind since Jesus was crucified.

Act 14,19-23

(82c) Thy kingdom come >> Three elements of prayer >> Direction (Attitude) >> Who to pray for

Act 14,19-22

(92c) Thy kingdom come >> The narrow way >> Trail of good works >> Practice walking a straight line -- These verses go with verses 5-7. Miracles are not difficult to perform because we are not the ones doing them. We don't need to strain; rather, we must subject our flesh to the will of God to keep ourselves from getting in the way, which in some ways is a miracle in itself. When God performs miracles and people see us sinning, they might think they can sin too and we don't want to communicate the wrong message.

(242b) Kingdom of God >> Opposition toward the Kingdom of God >> Persecuting the kingdom >> Persecution to the death >> Martyrs

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

Act 14,19-21

(7e) Responsibility >> Protecting the gospel >> God defends His own word – These verses go with verses 2,3. Paul was a slippery fellow, but they finally got him. It's not just a matter of picking up a stone and hurling it at somebody; they had to set the stage so they were not the bad guys for stoning him; first they had to defame his character. To assume that he was dead highly suggests that Paul was in really bad shape. They must have repeatedly hit him in the head and possibly caved in his skull with blood gushing everywhere. He was in fact dead and God resurrected him without a prayer. It says his friends were standing over him, mourning, but there was no mention of anyone praying that God would resurrect him. Normally God involves someone's faith in whatever He is doing, but not in this case. God had a contract with Paul, a predestined agreement that he would work for the Lord for a certain length of time and his time had not expired, so He raised him from the dead and sent him back on his way to complete his mission.

(38e) Judgment >> Jesus defeated death (Satan) >> Resurrection anointing

(40n) Judgment >> God is glorified >> God defends His truth through judgment

(154e) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> God bears witness against the world >> Witness that the world is godless >> Witness that the world hates God

(162b) Works of the devil >> Essential characteristics >> Satan’s attitude determines our direction >> Carried Away >> Carried away bodily

(189h) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Martyr >> Dying to self through persecution

(231c) Kingdom of God >> God’s kingdom is a living organism >> Mystery of godliness >> God’s grace is the mystery of godliness >> God working in you is a mystery

(232a) Kingdom of God >> Pursuing the kingdom >> Seeking the kingdom >> Count the cost >> Don’t look back >> Don’t look back to the past -- These verses go with verses 2-7

Act 14-19,20

(25c) Sin >> Poverty (Forms of fear) >> Murder >> Persecution to the death >> Murdering for prestige -- These verses go with verses 5&6

(29c) Gift of God >> God is our advocate >> Delivered from death – It was during the time that he lay there dead that Paul wrote about his experience in 2Cor 12,2-4, "I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago--whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows--such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man--whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows--was caught up into paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak." It was impossible for him to relate or describe the things he heard in heaven, being the most amazing aspect of his experience. He heard words that a man was not permitted to speak, because they referred to things that were beyond us. There will be a day when we go to heaven and hear these words for ourselves and they will become part of us and fill our souls. Paul saw Jesus Christ on the road to Damascus and asked him, "Why are you persecuting me?" This experience changed his life forever, and now he has entered into heaven itself and brought back word that it is glorious beyond description; he didn't even try to describe it. We know this experience changed his life, though it doesn't say he underwent a transformation like he did after his first encounter on the road to Damascus, because that transformation pertained to going from death to life, a transformation that is common to us all who are born of God. Once a person's nature has been changed, there is nothing bigger to change about him, suggesting that when we get to heaven, much of our change will be in our bodies, which will change us from the outside-in, but in this life God's efforts are to change us from the inside-out.

(99f) Thy kingdom come >> Endurance (Thorn in the flesh) >> Enduring our circumstances Caused by other people

(100b) Thy kingdom come >> Perseverance >> Persevere in preaching the gospel -- These verses go with verses 1-7

(122k) Thy kingdom come >> Manifestations of faith >> Boldness in adverse circumstances >> Go in places of adversity

(147g) Witness >> Validity of Jesus Christ >> Jesus’ works bear witness of Himself >> Raising the dead

(152c) Witness >> Validity of the Father >> Witnesses of the father >> Apostles >> Investment of their lives proves apostleship – The Jews stoned Paul to death and then dragged him out of the city, possibly dragging him for miles on the ground. His clothes would have worn off his back after the first block, and after that it would have been bare skin on the ground all the way to bone. He would have bled to death or contracted every known bacterial infection and died if he wasn't already dead, yet Paul stood to his feet and entered the city. How is that possible? It wasn’t possible; it was a miracle from God. The body was mutilated; nobody had a prayer for him; they were mourning their loss of him when he came back to life and started moving. It was not an answer to prayer that Paul revived but the sovereign work of God that He should remain alive. Paul was completely dedicated to His mission of bringing salvation to the door of every home in the known world before his time ended in this life. Paul was a great prophet; he said in Act 20-29, “I know that after my departure savage wolves will come in among you,” so he knew that this had to be done in his lifetime or else it wouldn’t be done at all. That is not to say great things didn’t happen after his death; many strong believers lived throughout the age of grace, who will be recognized in heaven for their great faith and dedication to the cause and purpose of the gospel.

(180f) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Wolves >> Wolves steal, kill and destroy >> Killing the sheep -- These verses go with verses 5&6

(216c) Sovereignty >> God overrides the will of man >> God’s will over man >> Compelled by the Spirit >> God takes advantage of your love for Him >> He forces you by your desire for His calling

(243k) Kingdom of God >> The eternal kingdom >> The indestructible kingdom >> The head of the body is indestructible >> The word of God is indestructible – The Jews thought they defeated Paul and the disciples. They thought they would teach them a lesson who was in control, but after they saw Paul alive a short time after they killed him, it must have been very discouraging and belittling to his murderers. He didn't preach the gospel upon reentering the town; his very life was a testimony who saw Him that to become a Christian was a move in the direction of divine power. He went into homes and encouraged the brethren to remain true to the Lord. This man had a zeal for evangelism to fulfill God's predestined purpose and mission that far outweighed any man before or since him, except Jesus Christ Himself. The Bible teaches that 144,000 Jewish witnesses will grace this earth with their presence in the last days, and they will all be zealous like Paul. Imagine the changes they will make to this world!

Act 14-19

(58c) Paradox >> Opposites >> From being worshipped to being stoned -- This verse goes with verses 13-15

(163f) Works of the devil >> Being a slave to the devil (Addictions) >> Used by Satan to destroy the word of God >> Used to destroy the mouthpiece of God -- This verse goes with verses 2-6. Paul wrote about this experience in 2Cor 12,2-4, “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago -whether in the body I do not know, or out of the body I do not know, God knows -such a man was caught up to the third heaven. And I know how such a man -whether in the body or apart from the body I do not know, God knows - was caught up into Paradise and heard inexpressible words, which a man is not permitted to speak.” Paul wasn’t on the verge of death; he actually died, and God brought him back to life, but while he was dead, he saw heaven and was able to come back with a report. The media is flooded with accounts of movies and books telling people’s near-death stories how they went to heaven for a couple minutes, what they saw and heard. People clamor to them, but what about Paul’s recollection; is anyone interested in his account? Paul was a man of God, a writer of the Bible, who had the utmost reputation for knowing God. He would be the most competent witness of such an event, and what did he say about heaven? He spoke only about what he heard, but even that he was “not permitted to speak.” He was able to understand the meaning of what he heard well enough, but he could not convey the message itself, because it was on a spiritual plane that required experience to comprehend, knowledge too high to grasp. When he tried to convey his experience, his words were empty.

(179d) Works of the devil >> Practicing witchcraft >> Wolves >> Stir up the crowd >> Stir up the crowd through jealousy -- This verse goes with verses 5,6

KJV    NAS  /  Navigation Bar

21-28 After they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying, "Through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God." 23 When they had appointed elders for them in every church, having prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed. 24 They passed through Pisidia and came into Pamphylia. 25 When they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia. 26 From there they sailed to Antioch, from which they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had accomplished. 27 When they had arrived and gathered the church together, they began to report all things that God had done with them and how He had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 And they spent a long time with the disciples.

 

Act 14-21,22

(9h) Responsibility >> Strengthened by the sword of His Spirit >> Through His word – Saying, “Through many tribulations we must enter the Kingdom of God,” is like saying, ‘Cheer-up, it is going to get worse!’ What kind of encouragement is that? Before we enter the Kingdom of God we need joy to endure our earthly trials. Christianity is cause for joy, and joy in suffering accompanies confidence in God that we can endure our circumstances for His sake. Everybody suffers, but added to Christian suffering is persecution due to our faith. Jesus guaranteed tribulation in this life (Jn 16-33), but He also promised His peace through it all. There is even joy in tribulation, for it has a way of proving our faith, lucidly revealing the Bible as truth. Someone could argue that people persecute us because we make them feel guilty, but guilt is just more proof that Christianity is true. Didn’t Jesus say the world is guilty of sin? People think guilt is not real, but a person doesn’t feel guilty for nothing. Tribulation, difficulties and persecution come to us as signposts of our faithfulness toward God. Victoriously passing through our fiery circumstances proves that we believe in God, and it will lead us to a deeper understanding of the truth, forcing us to seek Him all the more for endurance.

(139a) Encouragement (Key verse) – Encouragement is necessary in the manner that Christians relate to each other in spiritual fellowship. God has given us the awesome opportunity and responsibility of building the temple of God, for we are the bricks of the temple. Encouragement is the primary means of placing each brick in its proper place within the temple and then mortaring them in place through the word of God and prayer. However, it shouldn't surprise anyone that the Church does a lot of just the opposite (division) as orchestrated by the devil who has the most to gain from keeping us off balance. If the Church ever stood on its feet and grew in the likeness of her Master, Satan’s rule would come to an abrupt end.

(139d) Temple >> Building the temple (with hands) >> Encouragement >> Encouragement strengthens our faith

Act 14-22

(98j) Thy kingdom come >> Endurance (Thorn in the flesh) >> (Faith à Suffering [Circumstances] à Glory [Victory]) – These verses depict a three-part principle of Scripture that features: faith > suffering > glory in that order. We repeatedly see this in the Bible, and it suggests that we are willing to suffer in order to obtain our goal of eternal life. In the first and second century, the Church was united, and this afforded them an ability to suffer. They could come together and heal each other in body and spirit, but without unity we suffer alone as a Christian in this world with nobody seeming to notice or even care. Although this passage speaks of suffering and it sounds difficult to us, since nobody particularly enjoys suffering, yet for the first couple of centuries it was a way of life with rampant persecution and martyrdom, people stealing their grain harvests or else setting their fields on fire. It wasn’t easy and it wasn’t fun to accept those circumstances, yet they all agreed that heaven was worth any amount of suffering they would be called to endure.

(209d) Salvation >> The salvation of God >> Righteous saved with difficulty >> Righteous saved with hardship >> Righteous saved with adversity – Paul can attest to entering the Kingdom of God through many tribulations; he was just stoned to death and was raised from the dead. His ministry wasn't over yet. God looked on His schedule and said, 'Looks like Paul's got more work to do; what's he doing laying down there dead? I'm going to wake him up and tell him to get busy.' 

Act 14-23

(72k) Authority >> Hierarchy of authority >> Authority makes you accountable >> You are accountable to the one who gave it to you

(189j) Die to self (Process of substitution) >> Separation from the old man >> Masochism (Self-made martyr) >> Fasting >> Fasting simulates dying to self

Act 14-27

(210j) Salvation >> Jews and gentiles are being saved >> Gentiles included >> Fellow heirs with Israel (Spiritual Jew) >> God welcomes the Gentiles to the promise of Israel -- this verse goes with verse 1

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