Acts 14: 19-28

left for dead

But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia, and from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled. And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. And they remained no little time with the disciples.

Understanding And Applying the Text

Only a few days earlier the people were ready to declare Paul and Barnabas gods. Now a few Jews from Antioch and Iconium convince the people to kill Paul. Men are more apt to believe superstition than to worship the one true God.

Paul could have lived a soft easy life as Mercury. Everyone would admire him. But he was unwilling to play a god. He served Christ. For that they stoned him.

Their hatred for the Gospel was intense. The Jews traveled to Lystra for the sole purpose of stopping Paul from preaching the Gospel. They convinced the people to end the spread of the Gospel by killing Paul and Barnabas.

It was not hard to convince them to stone Paul. They had thought Paul was a god. But Paul told them otherwise. It is a natural progression from disappointment and embarrassment to anger. Then anger turns to rage. They blamed Paul for their embarrassment. So they stoned him.

The people dragged what they thought was Paul’s lifeless body out of the city to rot. Their hatred was intense. They would not even afford him a burial. they left him for the wild animals.

No one defended Paul. There were godly men there. They did not want to see Paul die. Yet they did nothing to stop or help Paul. The probability is there was nothing they could do. If I stand upon the bank and see a man drowning, but cannot reach him, all I can do is commend him to the Lord. But if there is any hope of helping him, then must I endanger myself. They could not help Paul. They declared their love and care when they stood about him.

God saved Paul. Paul got up and went back into the city. And the next day he set off on another journey to Derbe. Once they had preached the gospel in that city they returned to Lystra as well as Iconium and Antioch. Iconium and Antioch were the towns the Jews had come from to incited the mob to try and kill Paul. Paul and Barnabas confronted evil. They did not avoid it.

All theses cities were cities they had suffered persecution. The purpose of returning was to encourage believers. “Once saved always saved” is a dangerous phrase. While we may rest in the assurance of God preserving grace, it may cause us to be lax in our pursuit of holiness. Paul knew the believers needed encouragement and instruction.

Many false teachers today are teaching if you have enough faith, life will be easy. They teach you can have health. They teach worldly success. They teach you may have wealth. They teach we can overcome anything. The secret is we must faith. That is a lie. Paul taught the truth, “through many tribulations, we must enter the kingdom of God.” (v22b) Paul and Barnabas told the disciples to prepare to suffer tribulation.

The job of the minister is to teach and confirm those taught. He is to prepare them for the cross.

Paul and Barnabas appointed elders. It is not enough to be taught once. We must be taught and re-taught.

They prayed and fasted before committing the men to the ministry. They desired that God would direct them with wisdom and discretion. They wanted to choose the best men. They knew they were incapable on their own. They might be deceived or fooled. They did not trust their own efforts. They knew only by God’s blessing would these men succeed. All their work was worth nothing without God’s blessing.

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