Acts 14

Jul 27, 2019 // By:Dave // No Comment

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.

Iconium, the capital of Lycaonia, had been transformed by the Greeks into a city-state. Situated in the heart of the high and healthy plateau of south-central Asia Minor, it was surrounded by fertile plains, forests, and mountains. 

basically, Rome didn’t bother much with these inland city/states because they were not worth the trouble !
(Iconium is roughly 120 miles inland and surrounded by mountains)

Rome had more influence in Antioch of Pisidia and Lystra with its authority in the area, Iconium remained largely Greek in temper and somewhat resistant to Roman influence. As a Greek city, it was governed by its assembly of citizens (the Demos). (So while Antioch of Pisidia and Lystra also presented geographical access obstacles to Rome, the political make-up of Iconium added to the “waste of effort” idea from Rome’s viewpoint, and Derbe was even harder to get to.)

This means that while there is no threat of Roman punishment, it also means that there is Less to no protection for Paul as a Roman citizen either. (and likely in Derbe).

 

We do owe a debt to Iconium however; since it offers us the only written description of the Apostle Paul).

Onaciferus, historian of Iconium.  2nd Century work called “The Acts of Paul”

“A man of middling size, and his hair was scanty, and his legs were a little crooked, and his knees were far apart; he had large eyes, and his eyebrows met, and his nose was somewhat long”

i.e.  he was short, balding, bow legged, big eyes, unibrow, big nose

 

Is being good looking a prerequisite for sharing the gospel ? (or for being a servant of God)?

2 Cor. 10:10 “…letters are forceful, but in person he is unimpressive”

1 Sam 16:7  “But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at the height of his stature, because I have rejected him; for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”

God does not call the qualified, He qualifies the called.

Where does that come from ? (is it biblical) ?

1 Cor 1:27-29

27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that no [a]man may boast before God.

  • Jacob was a cheater and deceiver
  • Moses had a speech impediment
  • David was an adulterer and murderer
  • Gideon had a major confidence problem
  • Elijah had crippling emotional ups and down
  • NT
  • Peter had a temper problem and provided poor leadership by example
  • Thomas was a doubter
  • Judas was an embezzler
  • Paul started out as a pharisee, a murderer (plus the description we just read)

We are in good company if we see our weaknesses
We, however, are in the “wrong company” if we let those weaknesses disqualify us from God’s will)

 

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

3 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.

notice how they spoke?

  • boldly
  • reliance upon the Lord
  • Lord 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.

8 At Lystra a man was sitting who had no strength in his feet, lame from his mother’s womb, who had never walked.

This is likely when Timothy got saved (Louise and Eunice, mother and grandmother of Timothy)

2 Tim 1:5 “I am reminded of your sincere faith, a faith that dwelt first in your grandmother Lois and your mother Eunice and now, I am sure, dwells in you as well.”

Acts 16:1 Timothy is described as a disciple in Lystra

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.

11 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.

13 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.

19 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.

21 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.

 

Let’s outline this:

  • Left Antioch
  • sail to Cyprus
  • face opposition
  • sail to mainland 
    • land in Perga
    • Paul likely gets sick
    • Mark deserts them)
  • uphill to Antioch
    • persecution that drives them out
  • over to Iconium
    • more persecution
  • go to Lystra 
  • Derbe
  • works his way all the way back Antioch
    • persecution at each step
    • verse 27 says he shared how God opened a door of faith to the Gentiles

 

God opened a door ?

back to verses 2-3

verse two outlines bitter opposition to their message, ministry, and persons.

therefore, they spent a long time there ?!

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

3 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.

notice how they spoke?

  • boldly
  • reliance upon the Lord
  • Lord was testifying to the Word of His grace
  • granting that signs and wonders be done by their hands

what is  empowering Paul to face constant opposition without giving in (surrendering) ??

(play clip from “Paul, Apostle of Christ”)


About Dave

Browse Archived Articles by Dave

Related

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published.