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Acts Chapter 14 

Memory verses for this week:   Eph 3:20  Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Eph 3:21  Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.


Introduction:     In Chapter 13, we studied how that Paul and Barnabas were moved by the Holy Spirit to go on their first missionary journey.  The church at Antioch sponsored the two men as we saw the Lord give us the example of how mission work should be done through His plan.   The Jews in Antioch of Pisidia rejected the gospel, and they turned to the Gentiles who readily believed.  After being driven from this location, we pick up in Iconium where Paul and Barnabas next moved.

 I.                    The Work at Iconium 

Acts 14:1  And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed.

Acts 14:2  But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren.

 We see that after Paul and Barnabas were driven out of Antioch in Pisidia by the Jews the came to Iconium.   Iconium was the chief city of the district  of Lycaonia, sometimes called southern Galatia.  We find this is one of the cities where Paul addressed the Epistle of the Galatians later on.  As before, the men go to God’s chosen nation, Israel first.  But as was the case in most places, the Jews rejected the gospel and they turned even the Gentiles against Paul and Barnabas.   It says in verse one that many of the Jews and the Gentiles believed on Christ, but many of the unbelievers spoke evil of the men.   It is amazing what an effect just a few negative people can have on the work of the Lord.  God help us all to speak positively of other Christians and encourage and exhort one another.  If we are not careful, we can let Satan use our lives to defeat the work of the church, sometimes just by ignorance.  James warns us of using the tongue wrongly and how much strife we can cause by careless words. 

James 3:2  For in many things we offend all. If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body.

James 3:3  Behold, we put bits in the horses' mouths, that they may obey us; and we turn about their whole body.

James 3:4  Behold also the ships, which though they be so great, and are driven of fierce winds, yet are they turned about with a very small helm, whithersoever the governor listeth.

James 3:5  Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth!

James 3:6  And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell.

James 3:7  For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind:

James 3:8  But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.


Acts 14:3  Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.

Acts 14:4  But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles.

Acts 14:5  And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them, 

We see that even though Paul and Barnabas performed miracles and wonders for the people, the problems were so great that the men had to leave the city.   It is amazing how God’s Word divides people.  Those that believe get saved, while the lost that reject the Gospel become bitter and antagonistic against those that spread the Word of the Lord.  These were so bitter that they tried to get the people to stone them. 

Luke 12:51  Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:

Luke 12:52  For from henceforth there shall be five in one house divided, three against two, and two against three.

Luke 12:53  The father shall be divided against the son, and the son against the father; the mother against the daughter, and the daughter against the mother; the mother in law against her daughter in law, and the daughter in law against her mother in law.

 We don’t know how long they stayed, but verse 3 said they were there a long time as they spoke boldly of the things of God.   It says that the city was divided, half standing with the unbelieving Jews and others standing with the apostles. We know God allowed the apostles to perform the signs and wonders for a reason as is recorded over in John 20. 

John 20:30  And many other signs truly did Jesus in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book:

John 20:31  But these are written, that ye might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God; and that believing ye might have life through his name.


II.                  The Work in Derbe and Lystra 

Acts 14:6  They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about:

Acts 14:7  And there they preached the gospel. 

When Paul and Barnabas learned of the persecution planned by the Jews and the Gentiles, they fled to Lystra and Derbe.   And they did something that pleases the Lord very much…  they preached the gospel.  

Acts 14:8  And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked:

Acts 14:9  The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed,

Acts 14:10  Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.


We find that this man in Lystra that they came to was impotent in his feet, having been crippled from a child.   Paul used those special apostolic powers to heal the man.


J. Vernon McGee said in his commentary “Paul and Barnabas had the gifts of an apostle, the sign gifts.  They came into these places without any New Testament with the message of the gospel.  What were their credentials?  How could they prove their message was from God?  The sign gifts were their credentials—they need them.  You and I today have the entire Bible, and what if has to say.


1 Cor 13:8  Charity never faileth: but whether there be prophecies, they shall fail; whether there be tongues, they shall cease; whether there be knowledge, it shall vanish away.

1 Cor 13:9  For we know in part, and we prophesy in part.

1 Cor 13:10  But when that which is perfect is come, then that which is in part shall be done away.

 Acts 14:11  And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. 

We see that the man was healed both immediately and completely.  God does not do things part of the way.  When we are saved, it is Jesus who saves us and Jesus who keeps us until the day of redemption.   We see the man leaped and walked as soon as he was healed, a far cry from our so called television healers of today.  We see the people perceive that Paul and Barnabas were gods that had come down in the likeness of men.


Acts 14:12  And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker.

Acts 14:13  Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people. 

We see that they called Barnabas Jupiter and Paul Mercurius because he was the one that spoke the most..  Jupiter was the national god of the Greeks (the Hellenic race) as well as their perceived supreme ruler of the heathen world.  Mercurius, which they named Paul, was called Hermes, the Greek deity, whom the Romans identified with their Mercury, the god of commerce.  Mercurius was the son of Zeus.  (Jupiter.)  Jupiter had a temple in that city and the priest of Jupiter brought oxens and garlands unto the gates.  If allowed, he would have done sacrifice with the people after hearing of Paul and Barnabas.

   Acts 14:14  Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out,

Acts 14:15  And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:

Acts 14:16  Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.

Acts 14:17  Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.

Acts 14:18  And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people, that they had not done sacrifice unto them.


When Paul and Barnabas heard that the priest of Jupiter intended to offer sacrifices to them, they did the right thing and cried out that they were just men of like passions as they to whom they had preached.  He tells them that the very Gospel that they preached called men to come out of false idol worship and to turn to the Living God.  Paul tells them that the Living God was the one who made heaven, earth, sea, and all things that are therein.   In verse 16, he tells them how that God in the past had allowed all nations to walk in their own ways, but he now desired that all men turn to the true and living God.   


Psa 81:11  But my people would not hearken to my voice; and Israel would none of me.

Psa 81:12  So I gave them up unto their own hearts' lust: and they walked in their own counsels.

Psa 81:13  Oh that my people had hearkened unto me, and Israel had walked in my ways!


Paul tells the people that God did not leave without leaving a witness of himself.  We know that the stars and the handiwork of the heavens declare that there is a God.  And the rain and fruitful seasons bear witness of God. 

 Gen 8:22  While the earth remaineth, seedtime and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.


III.                Paul is Stoned in Lystra

 Acts 14:19  And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.

 We see that certain Jesus came all the way from Antioch and Iconium and stirred up the people in Lystra to stone Paul.  They drew him out of the city and stoned him until they were sure he was dead.  But God was not finished with Paul.  Remember what God had told Ananias to tell Paul right after he was saved. 

Acts 9:13  Then Ananias answered, Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to thy saints at Jerusalem:

Acts 9:14  And here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call on thy name.

Acts 9:15  But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:

Acts 9:16  For I will show him how great things he must suffer for my name's sake.


IV.               Paul goes to Derbe 

Acts 14:20  Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.

Acts 14:21  And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch,

Acts 14:22  Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. 

We see that after being left for dead, Paul rises up and he and Barnabas go to Derbe.  They preached the gospel in that city, and then went back to the very cities where their lives had been threatened.  It said they did this to confirm and exhort the Christians there to go forward for the Lord.  In John Calvin’s commentary on Acts, he states: “This was the principal way to confirm; by encouraging the disciples who had already embraced the Gospel and professed it, they urged them to make progress.  We are far from being as ready and active as we should be, and so our laziness needs spurs, and our coldness must be warmed.  But because God wants his people to be exercised with different sorts of battle, Paul and Barnabas warned the disciples to be ready to suffer hardship.  It is a very necessary warning that if we are to live devoted and holy lives, we have to continue in the warfare in this world.  If the flesh caused us not trouble, if Satan did not scheme against us, if wicked people did not trouble us with stumbling-blocks, there would be nothing troublesome about persevering; but because we are assaulted every moment, on every side, perseverance is rare.  If we are to persist right to the end, we must be prepared for war.”


Paul and Barnabas came not only to exhort these brethren, but also to ordain elders (preachers or pastors) in these churches.  (Verse 23)


V.                 Paul and Barnabas return to home church Antioch

Acts 14:23  And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.

Acts 14:24  And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia.

Acts 14:25  And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia:

Acts 14:26  And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled.

Acts 14:27  And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.

Acts 14:28  And there they abode long time with the disciples.

 We see that the scriptures declare that they fulfilled the work that God had called for them to do.  They return back to the church that had sent them out as missionaries and report all that the Lord had done through their efforts.   As we mentioned earlier, this is the biblical way that God intends for mission work to be carried out.  It worked in those early days, and it will still work today. 


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Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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