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SERIES: Missionary Journey of Paul
July 19, 2023
    The first missionary journey of Paul is covered in Acts 13-15. The Missionary Team is Sent Forth by God from Antioch.  
     In the city of Caesarea, we learned in Acts 10, that a man in Caesarea, a centurion named Cornelius and other Gentiles had heard the preaching of the Word delivered by Peter, then Cornelius and these other Gentiles believed the message of the Word and were then saved. Then on the next chapter of Acts, chapter 11, in Antioch, there were a great number of Gentiles who believed the gospel of salvation and were then saved (Acts 11:20-21).
Acts 11:20-21 “And some of them were men of Cyprus and Cyrene, which, when they were come to Antioch, spake unto the Grecians, preaching the Lord Jesus. 21 And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.”
     Likewise, it is God wanted that the gospel of salvation must be preached and reached other cities because there are other Gentiles and Jews who desperately need to hear the good news message on how to have eternal salvation. What God wanted for these believers in Antioch, is the same thing what the believers in the city of Antioch wanted. These believers in Antioch wanted to send forth the message of God’s salvation to other people in other places. So, these believers prayed to God and seek the will of God, and while they were worshipping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit set apart two men for the work to God called them. Give the names of these two men: ________  _______ (Acts 13:2)
Acts 13:2 As they ministered to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.”
     These two men had a great work to do as God intended for them.
Read Acts 13:4, and know after these two men set apart for the work He called them, who sent forth these two men on their missionary journey? _______________
Acts 13:4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.”
     Read Matthew 9:38 then complete the missing word in the verse.
Matthew 9:38 “Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.”
     The Lord Jesus once told His disciples to beseech and pray earnestly and ask the Lord of the harvest to sent out laborers (workers) into His harvest. As God responded to their prayer and fasting (Acts 13:2), the Lord sends forth the laborers (workers – Barnabas and Saul) into His harvest field (Acts 13:4).
     Read Acts 13:3, we can see that these believers in Antioch prayed and laid hands on these two men before God sent forth Barnabas and Saul. That is why, the believes in Antioch had an essential part in this missionary great work. Put the word to complete the verse.
Acts 13:3 “And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their __________ on them, they sent them away.”
     The believers laying on of hands, is that they are seemingly saying in prayer “Brother Barnabas and Brother Saul, we are putting our hands on you as we know that God has called you and set you apart for this great missions work, that is why we are identifying with you in this great missionary work of evangelization and we want you to know that we here in Antioch will always be praying for both of you and asking God to bless as God had called you in the ministry that He prepared for you to accomplish.
     Notice, the pattern of the mission church planting of this team. We know that the God sent forth laborers or workers in the mission’s field were Barnabas and Saul, however, there was a helper who came along to assist them in this important missionary work. Read Acts 13:5 to identify the name of the helper ____________and Read Acts 12:25 to know what was the nickname called to this helper_____________.
Acts 13:3 “And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.”
Acts 12:25 “And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark.”
     This man who came along to help Barnabas and Saul to do the missions work was the man who later wrote the gospel of Mark. This man who helps Barnabas and Saul was John Mark. Mark was the cousin of Barnabas (Colossians 4:10).
Colossians 4:10 “Aristarchus my fellowprisoner saluteth you, and Marcus, sister's son to Barnabas, (touching whom ye received commandments: if he come unto you, receive him;)” Most of the translations used the word “cousin”.
Colossians 4:10 “Mark the cousin of Barnabas” ESV                
Colossians 4:10 “Barnabas’s cousin Mark” NASB
     This Paul’s missionary journey lasted for about one year and a half, and these missionaries traveled with a long distance of hundreds of miles by sea and by land.
     If you read Chapters 13 and 14 of the book of Acts you can see the recorded places where Barnabas and Saul went.
     A. Began their mission journey to the island of Cyprus.
     The missionary team boarded a boat and sailed to the large island of Cyprus as a starting point of their missionary journey. Cyprus had been the hometown of Barnabas, so for him it is no longer different because Barnabas knew well this island of Cyprus (Acts 4:36).
Acts 4:36 “And Joses, who by the apostles was surnamed Barnabas, (which is, being interpreted, The son of consolation,) a Levite, and of the country of Cyprus,”
We have learned that Joses or Joseph (ESV; NASB) was also called by the apostles with his surnamed Barnabas which means, the son of consolation or son of encouragement is a Levite of Cyprian birth or a native of Cyprus.
     In Acts 13:5 the missionary team first stop at the city of Salamis and find out what place of the Jews they preached the Word of God?
Acts 13:5 “And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the ______________ of the Jews: and they had also John to their minister.”
The Jews would gather together to pray and read the Scriptures in the place called Synagogue. That is the usual practice that Saul and Barnabas used to do when they entered a city, they stop first at the synagogue in order to preach Christ to the Jews.
     In Acts 13:6-8 we can see that as the missionary team traveled next to the city of Paphos, located at the other end of the island of Cyprus, the missionaries met a Jewish magician or sorcerer named Barjesus or Elymas.
Acts 13:6-8 And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus: Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.”
This man was a Jew who introduced himself publicly as a true prophet of God.
Do you consider Barjesus a true prophet or a false prophet? __________ (v.6)
Do you consider Barjesus a friend or an anemy? __________ (v.10)
Do you consider Barjesus a child of God (believer) or a child of the devil (unsaved)? ---------------- (v.10)
Do you think Barjesus want the deputy of the country Sergius Paulus to hear the Word of God? _______ (v.7-8).

     Every time God does a marvelous work of saving a lost soul, Satan is at its best using all his evil forces to block and stop the work of evangelization and blinded the mind of unbelievers that they may not listen to the glorious light of the gospel.

     In Acts 13:11 gives us information how God’s mighty hand came down and judged this evil magician. Gives us the details what happened to Barjesus, the false prophet and evil magician?
Acts 13:11 “And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.”
     Which of the following is the judgment of God’ hand to this evil magician?
             A (    ) dead     B (    ) deaf     C (   ) delirious ill      D  (    ) Blinded       E (   ) become leper       F (   ) suicide
     Actually, according to the following passages in John 3:19-20; and I John 2:11, this magician and false prophet was already spiritually blind, and because of the judgement of God, the Jewish magician suddenly became physically blind also. So, Barjesus is both spiritually and physically blind.
John 3:19-20 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For every one that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.”
I John 2:11 But he that hateth his brother is in darkness, and walketh in darkness, and knoweth not whither he goeth, because that darkness hath blinded his eyes.”
     In Acts 13:12, this miraculous power of God’s judgment pour to this evil magician Barjesus who now became blind, so what did the deputy Sergius Paulus do as a result of what he saw happened? _____________ (Acts 13:12)
Acts 13:12 “Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.”
     In Acts 13:9, what was the name that was also called to Saul? ________ .
Acts 13:9 “Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him.”
This missionary is always called “Saul before Acts 13:9, and after Acts 13:9 the man Saul is always called “Paul.” So, beginning on these notes we will now call him as Paul.

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     B. Continue their mission journey to the city of Antioch in Pisidia    

Acts 13:13 Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.”

     Notice the phrase “Paul and his company.” This clearly indicates who was in charge of this missionary team. It was Paul, not Barnabas. Although, Barnabas was the one who was sent to Antioch to take charge of what was going on in that city and to supervise the work there. Barnabas also went to Tarsus to find Paul who had returned to Tarsus his hometown for a number of years after Paul’s conversion. We do not know exactly what happened to Paul during these years, but we only have our imagination. Did Paul’s parents disown him? Was Paul excommunicated from the synagogue? Or did God caught Paul up to heaven and given him a glorious vision during these years (2 Corinthians 12:1-7)? We really do not know much about what Paul did during these years in his home town of Tarsus. It was Barnabas who found Paul then enlisted him to come and help Paul in the ministry of the Word at Antioch. Truly, Barnabas was a great, godly spiritual leader, but there was someone greater than Barnabas, and that is no other than Paul. Paul was considered the thirteenth apostle, born out of due time into apostolic ministry. The twelve apostles were still a separate and distinct group of God called men. However, Paul and Barnabas were commissioned and endorsed and honored by God as the Antioch believers prayed and God answered. The Holy Spirit called two men, Saul and Barnabas and the church of Antioch laid their hands on them and the Holy Spirit sent them forth into missionary work. Paul was in charge.

     Notice the words, “loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia”. This missionary team composed of Barnabas, Saul (now Paul), and John Mark, the cousin of Barnabas left the city of Paphos located at the other end of island of Cyprus and arrived at Perga (a city) in Pamphylia (a region), located on the southern tip of what is today Turkey.

     Now, take note that a tragic and disappointing event happened in this place of Perga because John Mark decided to turn his back and left the mission’s team to return to Jerusalem. It says “and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.” So, John Mark decided to abandon the missionary team. We are not told for sure the reason why Mark left. In Paul’s view John Mark was at fault for forsaking the ministry. Whatever the reason for John Mark's premature departure, we will later learn that Paul considered it invalid and an unacceptable abandonment of their mission (Acts 15:36-39). Possibly, John Mark was not fit for the difficulties and persecutions which they encountered on their journey. It was unavoidable to travel the required 100 miles across mountainous territory. beside it was a dangerous journey infested with robbers. John Mark decided to return to him mother home in Jerusalem. Possibly his mother was surprised and asked John Mark, why he returned from missions’ trip and abandoned Paul and Barnabas. Possibly John Mark reasoned out to his mother that she does not understand all the trials and hardships in missions.

Acts 13:13 Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.”
Acts 15:38 But Paul thought not good to take him with them, who departed from them from Pamphylia, and went not with them to the work.”

     What happened to John Mark also happened to many Christian workers who have failed in the ministry. The good news about John Mark is that he was reconciled to Paul later and accepted. Barnabas nurtured Mark to be in good standing of being useful in the Lord’s ministry. John Mark was able to recover from this colossal failure after many years. The truth is all of us to be honest must admit that we have failed the Lord in little or great ways, but the good news is that God does not give up on us. We must be grateful to God for lesson we learned about John Mark story of failure and restoration in the Lord’s service written in the book of Acts. The book of Acts is brutally honest in showing us the flaws of the believers for God does not cover up things just because they are sinful or bad. It gives us the details of how we have to trust the Lord in the midst of real hardship and difficulties in God’s ministry.  From that time on, Paul (formerly Saul) and Barnabas continue the mission’s trip going on from Perga to Antioch in Pisidia without John Mark who departed from them and returned to Jerusalem. Now we move into the mission among Asia Minor. Barnabas’ homeland was evangelized (island of Cyprus), so they move closer to Paul’s homeland (Antioch). Deep into Hellenized territory, we enter the third catalytic movement in the book of Acts (first being Jerusalem, second being Judea and Samaria). After Perga they came or they arrived to the next city which was Antioch in Pisidia. We should not forget that there were two cities called Antioch. Antioch was a well-known city. This city was named Antioch of Pisidia to distinguish it from Antioch of Syria, the home of the community who sent Paul and Barnabas on this journey.

Acts 13:14 “But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.”  

This is an interesting description because Luke gives no record of Paul and Barnabas preaching the Gospel in Perga. Since we know that Paul has a passion for preaching, this is somewhat surprising, but one has to assume the mission’s team was being guided by the Holy Spirit. In addition, a subsequent note by Luke records that when had circled back

from Antioch, Lyconium, Lystra and Derbe, which evidently, they spoke the Word of the Gospel in Perga, (Acts 14:25 “And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia:”) Perga is in modern day Turkey and the missionaries were taking the Gospel there. Pisidian Antioch was an architecturally impressive Roman colony like Philippi and so a free city. Pisidian Antioch literally means “Antioch towards Pisidia” because it was located in the ethnic area of Phrygia (a kingdom in the west central part of Anatolia (now Turkey) The city was founded in the 3rd century BC by either Antiochus I or II, but it only achieved prominence after its refounding as a Roman colony founded by Augustus in 25 BC. and was made the administrative center of south Galatia. It is said to be the most important city in that part of the Asia Minor area. It is also notable that it had a particularly large settlement of Jews. "In bringing the gospel to Pisidian Antioch, Paul and Barnabas were planting Christianity in the communication nerve center and heart of Asia Minor.” (Merrill Unger)

     The missionary team traveled long journey from Perga to Antioch in Pisidia, some 100 miles away, a journey which was difficult and dangerous and presumably on foot with rugged lands along a route that was barren land. Travelers also had to cross the turbulent and the often flooded by swollen mountain streams and Eurymedon rivers. Perga is at sea level going to Pisidian Antioch. Pisidian Antioch stood on a plateau 3,600 feet above sea level which is about 100 miles, a rugged and dangerous journey. To get to it, Paul and Barnabas would have to cross the Taurus range of mountains that were on the right side (Note: these were not just little hills) by one of the hardest roads in Asia Minor, a road which was also known to be a haunt for notorious robbers and brigands.  “Throughout ancient history,” wrote W.M. Calder, “we find the Pisidian mountains described as the home of a turbulent and warlike people, given to robbery and pillage” (page 2400, Vol. IV, International Standard Bible Encyclopedia).

     Once we read and meditate this phrase in verse 14 “they came to Antioch in Pisidia” we could not miss a very important point regarding missions. The point is one needs to be ready for potentially extreme physical challenges and even danger in order to make the Gospel known. We always remember that we would not reach the nations apart from personal sacrifice. When Paul wrote, “I have been on frequent journeys, in dangers from rivers, dangers from robbers”, Paul may well have had this journey in mind. It is very possible that Paul and Barnabas encountered “perils of waters, perils of robbers, perils in the wilderness,” besides “weariness and painfulness,” “hunger and thirst,” and probably even excessive “cold” (2 Corinthians 11:26, 27) as they hiked from the malarial coastlands of Pamphylia to the highlands of Pisidia. Most of the region of Pisidia Roman occupation was strictly military. It was the chief military and political center in the southern part of the Galatian province. There are many inscriptions attest to the presence of armed policemen and soldiers charged with keeping the peace in the area, and there are several reported attacks by highwaymen or rescues from drowning in rivers. Antioch in Pisidia was due north of the coastal city of Perga. It was located on a great trade route between Ephesus to the east and the Cilician Gates to the west. The Cilician Gates (also known as the Gülek Pass) is a pass through the Taurus Mountains which served as a major military and commercial artery for hundreds of years. The Hittites, Greeks, Alexander the Great, the Romans, Byzantines and Sasanians, Mongols, and the Crusaders all traveled this route during their campaigns. Antioch was midway between Ephesus and the Cilician Gates.

     At the city of Antioch in Pisidia, they entered the synagogue of the Jews on Saturday (sabbath day) and sat down with their fellow Jews and with some God-fearing Gentiles who were also in attendance (compare Acts 13:16, 26, 42, 48).

Paul's modus operandi" when arriving in a town was to first go to the Jewish synagogue.

Acts 13:14 “But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.

“There was, of course, a practical matter involved. If they had begun evangelizing among gentiles first, the synagogue would have been closed to them.” (Homer Kent).  At Antioch, Paul established a pattern for ministry by preaching first to Jews and then to Gentiles. Paul followed this strategy in every city with a sizeable Jewish population. In Philippi, according to Acts 16:13, it seems Paul was seeking a "place of prayer," probably for Jewish people. So even in Philippi he sought out Jewish people first (Moody Bible commentary).

     After the reading of the Scriptures, the rulers of the synagogue asked Paul and Barnabas if they had anything they wanted to say to the people.

Acts 13:15 “And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.”

     Reading of the Scriptures was the common custom in the synagogue. It refers to the Scriptures of the Old Testament. First these missionaries have reading of the law (Torah, first five books of Moses, Pentateuch - being divided into fifty-three or fifty-four paraschioth, or sections) then afterwards added special lessons, as they have reading from the prophets. The law was read over once every year, a portion of it every Sabbath: to which was added a lesson known technically as the Haphtaroth taken out of the prophets. After this was over, anyone might speak to the people, on any subject he thought convenient. The rulers of the synagogue were impressed by Paul and Barnabas when they heard them reading the Scriptures, so they gave these missionaries an opportunity to speak. Notice these rulers of the synagogue did not realize that they were asking a man to speak like Paul as will be seen later at Troas, who was capable of speaking all night long, until interrupted by one man falling out of a window to his death (Acts 20:7-9).

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     Notice the words “The rulers of the synagogue sent unto them...”

     The synagogues provided an ideal forum for preaching the gospel. Synagogue officials (archisunagogos from archi - denotes rank or degree + sunagoge - synagogue). The term archisunagōgos (not found in the Septuagint) is virtually equivalent to the Hebrew rō’sh hakkᵉnēseth the “head” or leader or president of the synagogue. Though the name archisunágōgos, is sometimes applied to all elders.  As there were several elders in each synagogue, one of them was chosen, or appointed, ruler or rector of the synagogue. He governed all its affairs, such as preserving order, a lay person who takes care of the physical arrangements for the worship services and selecting and inviting persons to read or speak in the assembly. Usually there was only one official but here clearly there were two (or more) because of the term “rulers”; “officials” NASB.

     Notice the words “Ye men and brethren,” The officials clearly recognized them and addressed them as Jewish brethren, not as brothers in Christ, but that would soon change for some in the audience as Paul preached the Gospel.  Luke recorded that the missionaries had contact with seven different types of people here: synagogue officials, Jews, proselytes, God-fearers, devout women of high standing, Gentiles, and leading men of the city. They reached all levels of society.

     Notice the words “if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.”

     Since it was customary for the synagogue leader to invite visiting rabbis to speak, Paul and Barnabas usually had an open door when they first went to a synagogue. They were asked to speak a word of exhortation. It is interesting that unlike the case with Paul, there is no record of the synagogue official asking the Lord Jesus to give a word of exhortation, when Jesus entered synagogue, stood up and read on the sabbath day (Luke 4:16).

     The invitation says, “say on”.   This is a command in the present imperative which calls for ongoing action. Paul has in effect been given the "pulpit" to present his word of exhortation and little did the Jewish audience realize that his words would be recorded by Luke in the book of Acts as the inspired Word of God. 

     What an open invitation for the gospel! Notice the words of invitation that say, “If you have a message of encouragement, “please speak”. There can be no more encouraging word than the fact that God has come to earth and opened a door to heaven, providing an atonement for sin and offering new life in Jesus Christ. What a word of exhortation Paul would give them as Paul spoke of Jesus, “the word (logos) or God”. When we preach. we must exhort others. When the Word of God is preached. It is not given just for information, but for transformation.

     Now, in Acts 13:16, who stood up from the missionary team and began speaking? ____________
Acts 13:16 “Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience.”

     Notice that it was Paul who stood up, not Barnabas. Paul was the spokesman of their mission’s team (Acts 14:12). Paul began by rehearsing Old Testament history.     

     Notice the phrase “Then Paul stood up,” Luke records a similar description of Jesus in Luke 4:16 "And He came to Nazareth, where He had been brought up; and as was His custom, He entered the synagogue on the Sabbath, and stood up to read." The Jewish custom was to sit while speaking (Luke 4:20), but the Greek and Roman was to stand (Acts 17:22)....Paul is the leader now and the more gifted speaker (Acts 14:12+), so that he responds to the courteous invitation of the rulers. 

     Notice the words “and beckoning with his hand”. “Beckoning” or “motioning” ESV; NASB; NKJV. In Greek “Kataseio” from “kata” which means “down” and “seio” means to move, shake. It means to signal with the hand, to make a sign or gesture, to make rapid motion, wave rapidly. The missionary here rapidly waves his hand to command silence and attention as Paul was about to address the people. By this we recall Peter action and words in Acts 12:17 “But he, beckoning unto them with the hand to hold their peace,”. Imagine the situation as Paul making this gesture to quiet the audience in the synagogue who had no idea regarding the life changing message they were about to hear. The missionary Paul filled with Holy Spirit expounding the Holy Word. Paul the missionary gesticulating throughout the entire message. What a wonderful thing for all pastors to follow this Paul’s pattern of beckoning or motioning to the congregation with their hand, getting the attention of audience.

     Notice Paul begins “Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience.”

Based from recent discussion: the day is the sabbath, the venue is the synagogue, the lessons are from the law and the Prophets, the theme is how the God of Israel has brought to Israel the Saviour Jesus as He fulfilled what He promised in the Scripture, but who are the listeners? Paul addressed the “men of Israel” as well as those who fear God, a reference to God-fearing Gentiles (proselytes) who were present. Luke is evidently anxious to demonstrate that Paul’s message to the Jews was substantially the same as Peter’s message, and Luke later give two samples of Paul sermons to Gentiles, that is, to the pagans of Lystra and the philosophers of Athens. Paul did not turn to the Gentiles until after he had offered the gospel to the Jews and been rejected but Paul in the mission’s field never changed his message of salvation through the gospel of Christ.

     The sermon of Jesus in Luke 4:16 marked the beginning of His ministry in Palestine, in much the same way, Paul's message in this first missionary journey marks the beginning of his mission to the Gentiles even though it was in a Jewish synagogue. The synagogue clearly had God fearing proselytes (verse 16 “ye that fear God.” A "righteous proselyte" is a gentile who has converted to Judaism, is bound to all the doctrines and precepts of the Jewish religion, and is considered a full member of the Jewish people. As we shall see, although many Jews responded, the Gentiles were more responsive to his message.                              

     As we are discussing about Paul’s missionary preaching, let us know first, where is the location of the missionary team first preaching tour? Well, the geographical location of the missionary team first preaching tour namely Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra and Derbe, these were all towns in the region of the Roman province of Galatia. The list of Peter about the Roman provinces included Galatia in (I Peter 1:1 “Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia,”).

     The date of this first preaching tour of Paul and Barnabas missionary team was approximately AD 47-48. This is important to keep in mind because the first recorded letter by Paul was addressed approximately AD 49-50 "to the churches (plural) of Galatia" (Galatians 1:2 “And all the brethren which are with me, unto the churches of Galatia:”).

     In other words, this important letter of Galatians dealing with law and grace was addressed to the churches he is preaching, Acts 13:14 “But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.” through 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.”

     Wait a minute there is something very important to notice here. In Paul’s letter to the Galatian churches Paul made an interesting statement that he has bodily illness when he preached the gospel to them the first time, in Galatians 4:13 “Ye know how through infirmity of the flesh I preached the gospel unto you at the first.” This implies that during Paul’s first missionary journey Paul was not in perfect health as he preached the Gospel and yet we see no hint of complaints recorded by the writer Luke in Acts. Some commentary said that Paul suffered from malaria which he contracted on the lowlands of Perga. But we are not sure whatever exactly the illness of Paul, it is very likely he was not in good health when he ministered in Antioch of Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe.

     Paul started his message which covered about certain things from the Old Testament which were very familiar to the Jews which include the time when Israelites were delivered by God from Egypt, about the Israelite journey in the wilderness, the period of the judges, and about King Saul and King David. Paul also preached Jesus Christ to the audience.

  Paul’s sermon outline contains three parts, each beginning with Paul’s direct address to the congregation:
1. The Promise Given with Historical retrospect and narration (with introduction of his address). – Acts 13:16–25
2. The Promise kept with the Proclamation of the Gospel of Christ. – Acts 13:26-39
3. The Practical appeal and response with the conclusion of the speech with solemn warning – Act 13:38-41   

     I am sure they expected that when Paul started to talk, they were expecting Paul to say, “keep trying to keep the Law and do the best you can and things will be okay.” But that is not what Paul will say. They are about to hear the Gospel of grace.

     Although Paul had preached many messages before, but this is Paul's first and longest recorded missionary sermon of three evangelistic messages recorded by Luke - here in Pisidian Antioch (Acts 13:13-52), in Lystra (Acts 14:15–17), and in Athens (Acts 17:22–31). Most commentators agree that this "longest" message was a summary because it takes less than 60 seconds to read. It is difficult to imagine that Paul given the opportunity of a lifetime would have spoken for less than one minute! It has similarities to the message peter preached in Acts 2:14-40, condemning the rulers in Israel and yet giving the gospel clearly. The Gospel which Paul preached to the Galatians the first time is the same as Peter’s proclamation of the facts of the crucifixion and resurrection of Christ.

     It is also similar to the message Stephen's sermon preached in Acts 7:2-60 in which he gave a long introduction from Old Testament survey of the history of Israel before pointing to the Lord Jesus as the ultimate fulfillment of God’s promise of a Savior. To Stephen the history gives the doctrine of the Messiah, contained in types while to Paul it is the actual preparation for the Messiah’s coming.

     Paul was not a novice preacher. Paul already preached in Damascus immediately after his conversion (Acts 9:20), Paul preached during his 3 years in Arabia (Galatians 1:15-18), Paul preached at Antioch while he serves as a Pastor (Acts 13:1). Truly, Paul’s passion is to preach the Gospel (I Corinthians 9:16). The Lord called Paul for that purpose of preaching the Gospel (Acts 26:15–201 Corinthians 1:1721–232 Corinthians 5:19–20Romans 15:19Ephesians 3:8Colossians 1:25281 Timothy 2:72 Timothy 1:11). Paul reflects the importance of preaching the Gospel of salvation when he wrote to the believers in Rome in Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?” Paul told Timothy the responsibility in II Timothy 4:2 “Preach the Word.” Paul emphasizes that preaching is to be doctrinal and authoritative so he said to Titus in Titus 2:1 But speak thou the things which become sound doctrine:”, Titus 2:15 speak, with all authority.”

     Paul has changed the course of world history by the power of his ministry in the Spirit of Christ by the preaching of the word of truth. It was a very powerful and shattering message. It was preached in a synagogue on a Sabbath day, and it shook a whole city -- so much so that in Acts 13:42-44 of this account we read, "And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. 43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. 44 And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.” This missionary message of Paul is not preached as widely as it needs to be today. It is often somewhat difficult for people to hear the gospel presented as it is given in the Scriptures.

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     The significance of biblical preaching is nonetheless vital to a spiritually strong church. The preacher represents Christ to his people, reinforcing the concept of authority and submission within the body of Christ. Turning the church into a therapy group or entertainment center undermines that authority. Strong biblical preaching also upholds the authority of God’s Word. How strange it is that many who affirm the inerrancy of the Bible fail to preach it expositional. Thank God for fearless preachers of the word of God like Paul who would stand and say “Thus saith the Lord!” The aim of Paul’s preaching is to appeal to the understanding of an audience with a clear exposition of doctrinal Truths of God and then to impress those Truths upon the emotions of his hearers with earnest and forcible exhortations. This is an excellent model for revivalists. They must not give exhortation without Doctrine. It is the Doctrine we preach, the Truth we deliver which God will make a power to bless men. That is why we read in Acts 13:44 “the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the Word of God.” When missionary like Paul preaches the Word of truth, God will bless the mission’s work as Spirit works

     When Paul reached the end of his message, he shares to them how their sins could be forgiven and how they could be justified by believing Christ because they could not be justified by the law of Moses.  

Acts 13:38-39 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: 39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.”

     Therefore, the very clear message of true missionaries sent from God is that God will forgive and will justify not those who believe and are circumcised, not those who believe and keep the law of Moses, and not those who believe and try to live a good life, but God will forgive and will justify all those who repented from their sins and believe Jesus Christ as their personal Savior (who died, buried and risen from the dead – I Corinthians 15:1-4; Romans 10:9).  

I Corinthians 15:1-4 Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures:”

Romans 10:9 “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”

     Notice in Acts 13:38 “Be it known unto you therefore”, the appeal of Paul in the word “therefore” based on all of the Scriptural evidence Paul has just presented, it is time to draw a conclusion. These truths were not given to make the Jews "more righteous" sinners, but to make them truly righteous like the Savior! Not by man’s own righteousness by law but by God’s righteousness through repentance and faith on Jesus Christ, that a sinner will be justified or will be saved.

Isaiah 64:6 “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;”
Romans 3:19-23 Now we know that what things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law: that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. 20 Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin. 21 But now the righteousness of God without the law is manifested, being witnessed by the law and the prophets; 22 Even the righteousness of God which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all and upon all them that believe: for there is no difference: 23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;”
Titus 3:5Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us,”
II Corinthians 5:21 “For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him”
Philippians 3:9 “And be found in him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith:”

     Paul provides them the message of the Gospel, the good news that sin can now once and for all be forgiven. Even with all the Old Testament daily sacrifices and the annual day of Atonement, the only thing the Jews could hope for was that the sin would be covered and not be cleansed. Of course, all of these sacrifices and days were only a faint shadow that pointed to a perfect fulfillment in the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the anointed Lamb of God, through Whom forgiveness would be available. The Old Testament shadows never cleansed one's conscience, because the only complete and total forgiveness can cleanse one's conscience.

     Paul addressed his listeners “brethren”, Paul is sharpening down on the hearts and minds of his Jewish brethren in the synagogue.   

     Paul preaching in Acts 13:38 says “through this man” means through Christ. Jesus is instrumental cause, the effecting Agent, or the efficacious Agent! Not through the blood of bulls and goats (Hebrews 9:12 “Neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us.”), not through the solemn annual Jewish feast of the Day of Atonement, but through the One Who made the final atonement. Prior to this missionary message of Paul in the synagogue, the Jews only knew about the scapegoat, who each year carried their sins into the wilderness (Leviticus 16:7-10 And he shall take the two goats, and present them before the Lord at the door of the tabernacle of the congregation. And Aaron shall cast lots upon the two goats; one lot for the Lord, and the other lot for the scapegoat. And Aaron shall bring the goat upon which the Lord's lot fell, and offer him for a sin offering. 10 But the goat, on which the lot fell to be the scapegoat, shall be presented alive before the Lord, to make an atonement with him, and to let him go for a scapegoat into the wilderness.”), but which was always meant to be "a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ" and His better sacrifice (Colossians 2:17 “Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ.”Hebrews 9:23 “It was therefore necessary that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these; but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these.”). In the Old Testament sins were only temporarily "covered," but here Paul uses a word (aphesis) which means they are sent away forever!

     On the synagogue services, interestingly there are some Gentiles who also attended and listened to the message of Paul. Read Acts 13:42, after Paul finished preaching the gospel of salvation, let us know who wanted Paul to return again in order to preach again on the next Sabbath, is it the Jews or the Gentiles? ____________
Acts 13:42 “And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath.”
     Read Acts 13:44, this is a scene one week later, please find out who returned to hear the preaching of the Word of God? Is it a few people or it is a great crowd? ____________
Acts 13:44 “And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.”

     During the intense and powerful preaching of the Gospel, the Satanic force of evil with a great intensity aim to hinder and to stop the missionaries to deliver the salvation message.

     Read Acts 13:45, 50 we see the great persecution, find out who caused trouble for Paul and Barnabas and forced these missionaries to leave the city of Antioch? ___________
Acts 13:45, 50 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming. 50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.”
     Read Acts 13:51 and compare it to the instruction of Jesus in Matthew 10:14, in order to know the reason why did Paul and Barnabas shake off the dust from their feet? ______
Acts 13:51 “But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium.”
Matthew 10:14 “And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet.”
     Read Acts 13:45 and know what filled the unbelieving Jews when the saw the multitudes listening to Paul? ________
Acts 13:45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting and blaspheming.
     Read Acts 13:52 and know what filled the saved Jews and Gentiles who heard the preaching of the Word? ________    
Acts 13:52 “And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.”

This mean that the Holy Spirit was doing a revival works, evangelizing the unsaved and edifying the saved, as the Spirit works in the hearts of men and women as the missionaries preaching the Gospel truth in city of Antioch in Pisidia.  

     C. Continue their mission trip to Iconium.   

     The first missionary journey continues from Pisidia to Iconium to Lycaonia, Lystra and Derbe (Acts 14:1-7).
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."  

    Notice the opening words “And it come to pass in iconium”. The missionaries have been run out of Antioch because of intense persecution and traveled 80 miles to Iconium on the paved highway or the well-known Roman commercial road known as via Sebaste or Royal Road. The Greek word “Sebaste” in Latin “Augustus” which was a Roman road that extended from Ephesus to the Euphrates. Iconium was at the meeting place of several roads and on the highway from east to west. Paul and Barnabas traveled rolling countryside, then past the snow-capped peaks of the Sultan Mountain range which this trip was obviously tiresome. Iconium's ideal location and climate helped establish its place as a major link in the trade routes between Syria, Ephesus, and Rome. And so, it was an ideal center for missionary activity and church planting, as several great roads intersected one another here. 

     Iconium comes from eikon or ikon, the Greek word for “image.” Even the name of the city “Iconium” was a pagan, a name that speaks of idols, use in Romans 1:23, 25 “And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things. 25 Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.”; also speaks of for image of Antichrist used in Revelation 14:9, 11 “And the third angel followed them, saying with a loud voice, If any man worship the beast and his image, and receive his mark in his forehead, or in his hand, 11 And the smoke of their torment ascendeth up for ever and ever: and they have no rest day nor night, who worship the beast and his image, and whosoever receiveth the mark of his name.”   ; Revelation 15:2 “And I saw as it were a sea of glass mingled with fire: and them that had gotten the victory over the beast, and over his image, and over his mark, and over the number of his name, stand on the sea of glass, having the harps of God.”    , Revelation 16:2 “And the first went, and poured out his vial upon the earth; and there fell a noisome and grievous sore upon the men which had the mark of the beast, and upon them which worshipped his image.”

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     Yet, God's inherently powerful Gospel light proclaimed by these Spirit empowered missionaries (Paul and Barnabas) would shine forth brilliantly even to this dark place and would rescue many transferring them from the domain of darkness to the kingdom of His beloved Son. (Colossians 1:13 “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son:“). Our nation, Philippines is becoming a nation of idolatry and spiritual darkness and yet the Gospel is still the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes (Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek”).  

     Iconium sitting at an altitude of 3,370 feet. It was a culturally mixed city. It was an ancient city of Asia Minor, Iconium was in the central part of what is now the modern-day Konya province in Turkey, a rugged, somewhat isolated location on a plateau in the steppes of central Turkey. It was a ruling center in the region describes the region aptly as cold, bare of trees, with scarcity of water, while the town is well settled. While Rome chose Antioch of Pisidia and Lystra as bastions of its authority in the area, Iconium remained largely Greek in temper and somewhat resistant to Roman influence, though later it became a Roman colony under emperor Hadrian in 130 CE (Common Era. It means the same as Anno Domini and represents the time from year 1 and onward). Iconium was a Greek city-state in the geographic region of Phrygia or was part of the Roman province of Galatia, and later the capital for the Lycaonian district (Acts 14:6,11), inscriptions indicate that the Phrygian language was also in use there.   

     As we have said Iconium, Lystra and Derbe were cities in the province of Galatia. The whole area of Galatia was notorious for its impenetrable paganism. The people who settled in Galatia were Gauls, a Celtic tribe from the same stock which inhabited France. They were a warlike people and in 189 B.C. they were made subjects of the Roman Empire. They were fiercely nationalistic and held on to their customs and language. Caesar said of the Gauls, “The infirmity of the Gauls is that they are fickle in their resolves, fond of change, and not to be trusted.” (Acts 14:1-20). 

     We can find in Acts 14 tells us about the patterns which were set up in first century evangelism. This is a pattern for all Christian witness in any age. These patterns not only include certain methods but also include certain psychological and spiritual patterns which occur when the Gospel is preached. There was always a positive and negative response to the preached Word.  Usually there was some kind of persecution from the Jews or Gentiles who were rejecters of Christ.  Lastly, there was also the devices of Satan to keep the Gospel from spreading. Satan has a pattern to his opposition and he always strikes when the message of Christ is preached with power and when a person least expects it. If this pattern is followed it will always result in the same reactions, accomplishments that you find recorded in this book, throughout its whole history. If it has not followed as a pattern, it is because the pattern has been neglected. This is why it is so important that we pay careful attention to this pattern. 

     Notice in Acts 14:1 “they went both together into the synagogue.”

     Now think about the context for a moment. What had just occurred in Antioch? They had been thrown out of the Synagogue (Acts 13:50 “But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts”). And yet the first place they visit in Iconium is the Synagogue. One would either say they are bold or stupid! Clearly, they were bold, Spirit filled men and they were not about to deviate from the divine plan that had already yielded spiritual fruit among the Jews in Antioch. (Acts 13:43 “Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.”). Have you ever known that you would be opposed for speaking faithfully for Christ in a certain situation and yet did so anyway? The type of courage needed for encounters like that comes from the enabling power of the Spirit (Acts 4:29,31 And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,  31 And when they had prayed, the place was shaken where they were assembled together; and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and they spake the word of God with boldness.”).  

     There are three stages of the missionaries visit in Iconium: (Acts 14:1-7)
1. Paul and Barnabas minister in the synagogue (v.1)                       
2. Paul and Barnabas minister outside the synagogue (v.2-4)
3. Paul and Barnabas flee to the cities of Lycaonia in response to physical threats (v.5-7)

     Synagogue (4864) (sunagoge  from sunágo means to lead together, assemble together) refers to a group of people “going with one another” (sunago) literally describes a bringing together and eventually, sunagoge came to mean the place where the Jews congregated together. The word was used to designate the buildings other than the Jewish Temple (in Jerusalem) where the Jews also congregated for worship. Historically, the Synagogues originated in the Babylonian captivity after the 586 BC destruction of the temple by Nebuchadnezzar and served as places of worship and instruction. 

     Synagogues should have been (and frequently were) a place of teaching and proclamation of the Gospel (Matthew 4:23. Matthew 9:35, Matthew 12:9, Matthew 13:54, Mark 6:2, Luke 4:15, 16, Luke 4:44, Luke 6:6, Luke 13:10, John 6:59, John 18:20).  Paul immediately began to proclaim Jesus. (Acts 9:20 “And straightway he preached Christ in the synagogues). Paul Paul proclaimed the word of God. Acts 13:5 “And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews.”). Paul spoke and where a large number of people believed (Acts 14:1 “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.”). Paul reasoned or disputing with various audiences in synagogues (Acts 17:17 “Therefore disputed he in the synagogue with the Jews, and with the devout persons,”; Acts 18:4 “And he reasoned in the synagogue every sabbath, and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks.”; Acts 18:19 “but he himself entered into the synagogue, and reasoned with the Jews.”; Acts 19:8 “And he went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing).

     Notice the words in Acts 14:1 “synagogue of the Jews.”

     It was necessary that the apostles go to the Jews first for a number of reasons.
First, the coming of the earthly kingdom depended on Israel's response to the coming of Christ (Matt. 23:39; Romans 11:26).
Second, only after Israel rejected the Gospel could Paul devote himself to the Gentiles.
Third, the message of Jesus is fundamentally Jewish in that the Old Testament, the Messiah, and the promises are all Jewish. (On "the Jew first," Romans 1:16 “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek.”).  

     Although Iconium, was a pagan city, a Gentile city, there was a strong colony of Jews who had a synagogue. The plan of evangelism for these early Christians was to go to the Jewish synagogue first because these people were already acquainted with the Old Testament Scriptures and many Gentile proselytes were receptive to the Gospel and valued the truth about God. So, Paul and Barnabas began with the most natural contact that they had. In other words, there is always a contact which will lead into the area you want to talk about. This is where Paul and Barnabas began, even in this pagan city. Notice how the missionaries started with the most natural contact. The principle is that we should witness to those with whom we have natural contacts first -- family, friends, church associations and so forth.   

     Notice again in Acts 14:1 and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed.” The large number of people includes both Jews and Gentiles. The text tends to suggest that the positive response is related to the fact that they were such "effective" speakers. The phrase spoke in such a manner could also suggest that Paul was so eloquent, confident, and convincing that he persuaded the hearers to believe. While he was undoubtedly a gifted speaker, Paul's "secret" came because he preached under the power of the Holy Spirit, so that the message was "anointed" and empowered by the Spirit. The truth is that the Spirit of God was prospering their proclamation of the powerful Gospel. And as God's living and active Word always does, it produced a division of receivers and rejecters. 

     You may not be the most "effective" or eloquent speaker, but do not let that deter you from declaring the Gospel (which itself has inherent power – “dunamis” - Romans 1:16) for it is the Spirit Who will give you boldness and Who will opens doors of opportunity. In Paul and Barnabas natural ability they were not the most eloquent speakers but empowered by the Spirit and speaking forth the inherently powerful Gospel, God used Paul and Barnabas so that "a large number of people believed" both in Jews and Gentiles. The lesson dear shy brother or sister in Christ it that you may not be oratorically eloquent, but it matters not to God. What matters to God is not your ability but your availability! Paul later emphasizes that it was not his ability (I Corinthians 2:1-5 “And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. For I determined not to know anything among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.”). Your job is to be faithful and God’s job is to be fruitful. Are you available? Are you filled with His Spirit and the Word of His Gospel? Then you are ready to speak "in such a manner" as did Paul and Barnabas! 

     Luke delights in portraying the effectiveness of preaching in quantitative terms (Acts 13:43 many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.”   , Acts 13:44 And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.”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,”) and the church in a growth mode (Acts 2:47 the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”Acts 4:4 Howbeit many of them which heard the word believed; and the number of the men was about five thousand.”Acts 5:14 And believers were the more added to the Lord, multitudes both of men and women.”Acts 6:7 And the word of God increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem greatly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith.”Acts 9:31 Then had the churches rest throughout all Judaea and Galilee and Samaria, and were edified; and walking in the fear of the Lord, and in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, were multiplied.”Acts 11:21 And the hand of the Lord was with them: and a great number believed, and turned unto the Lord.”). This is certainly a challenge to church leaders in status quo or declining situations. (Acts 14:1-7). Because of the great result of evangelism many Jews and Gentiles believed. The opposing evil forces arises orchestrated by unbelievers that affected the brethren, which caused divisions. There was even attempted assault by the Gentiles and Jews with the influence of high-ranking rulers to stone the missionaries. But, in spite of these evil opposing attacks, the missionaries speak boldly in the Lord, and gave testimony of the word of God’s grace. And when the missionaries fled unto Lystra, Derbe and Lycaonia, they don’t quit but faithfully preached the Gospel.

Read Acts 14:2, we see that the unbelieving Jews caused trouble for the missionaries Paul and Barnabas.
Acts 14:2 "But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren.”

     Notice the verse begins with the word “But” means term of contrast. Belief is contrasted with disbelief. Believing Jews and Greeks are contrasted with the attitude and actions of the Jews who did not believe the Gospel. Again, we see spiritual opposition, undoubtedly stimulated by Satanic forces in the heavenlies. Satan and his demonic followers specialize in "counter-evangelism!" (Luke 8:11, 12 Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God. 12 Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.”) Satan hates very much the preaching of the Gospel and will never let it go unchallenged! The pattern is virtually identical to that seen in Antioch where the positive response to the Gospel (Acts 13:49 And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.) brought about a negative reaction from those who rejected the Gospel (Acts 13:50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.) The Apostles had faced squarely the subtle opposition.

Satan and his evil armies do not know how to quit. No one knows exactly how the enemy is going to strike back. But God moves unexpectedly too. You cannot anticipate the actions of a wise and powerful God. If you are walking in fellowship with God, depending on His Spirit, and expecting Him to be active, you never know what is going to happen. You never know what sudden turn of events might open a door before you that you had not known existed, so that there is an opportunity for witness that you never heard of, or could not even have thought of before. This is the great advantage of the method of not trying to plan all the strategy ourselves. On the other hand, the devil has a limited bag of tricks from which he can operate. Paul says, II Corinthians 2:11 "We are not ignorant of his devices...". We know what these enemies of darkness are. What we do not know is which one of them he is going to attack on any given time and opportunity.

     Persecution is part of preaching the Gospel, and Satan brings this persecution to discourage Christians in their witness. The Gospel has always been met with great opposition.

     Notice the phrase “the unbelieving Jews” (KJV, ESV) it means it is not the Gentiles who initially opposed the missionaries, but it was the rabid, anti-Gospel Jews.  The word the Jews who “disbelieved” (NASB) is a verb “apeitheo”. Apeitheo from “a” means without, and “peitho” means persuade, which means “to be unwilling or one who refuses to be persuaded or to withhold belief and then also to withhold obedience. In biblical thought the supreme disobedience is not to believe God’s word, in this case the gospel. While “apeitheo” is most often translated “disobedient”, examination of two uses make it very clear that disbelief is also the meaning. For example, in Hebrews 13:8 “disobedient” or believe not and in Hebrews 3:19 “unbelief.” Clearly, disobedient parallels unbelief.

John 3:36 “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.” KJV; John 3:36 “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” ESV; John 3:36 “He who believes in the Son has eternal life; but he who does not obey the Son will not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” NASB; Romans 10:16 “But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Esaias saith, Lord, who hath believed our report?”

     Notice the verb “believeth not” KJV; “does not obey” ESV, NASB in Greek “apeitheo” in present tense. Again, we see “believes” parallel with “does not obey.” Therefore, it is clear that “apeitheo” speaks of disbelief. To disbelieve the word of God is to disobey God. Unbelieving is in contrast with faith. In sum, what is the essence of disobedience to the Gospel? Clearly it is unbelief, without faith no man can be saved (Hebrews 11:6). 

     In biblical thought the supreme disobedience is not to believe God's word, in this case, is not to believe the gospel. It is a key term in the Pauline description of the Jewish rejection of the gospel.

Romans 11:30-32 For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief: 31 Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy. 32 For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.”
Romans 10:21 “But to Israel he saith, All day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.”
Isaiah 65:2 “I have spread out my hands all the day unto a rebellious people, which walketh in a way that was not good, after their own thoughts;”
Luke 1:17 “And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
Acts 19:9 “But when divers were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.”
Romans 2:8 “But unto them that are contentious, and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, indignation and wrath”        

     Notice again in Acts 14:2 the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles,” Literally the Jews cause the minds of Gentiles to think evil. Unbelief likes company to join them. The greater the effectiveness of a ministry, the greater the resistance and opposition.

     The words “stirred up” in Greek “epegeiro” from “epi” means upon and “egeiro” means to raise. Stirred up literally means to wake up, awaken or arouse but is used only figuratively here in Acts 14:2 and Acts 13:50 and means to incite, to provoke, to stir up. ‘Epegeiro” is used widely in the Septuagint where it means to “be aroused against someone” or “rise up or revolt against someone.”

     Notice the phrase in Acts 14:2and made their minds evil” The term “minds” (soul) in Greek “psuche” or “psyche” from “psucho” means to breathe, blow. In Englich, psychology, study of the soul, that is the breath, then that which breathes, the individual, animated creature. The psuche is one of those Greek words that can have several meanings. In the present context “psuche” which can refer to the feeling, emotions, and judgments of a man. It is the idea of how the soul controls the thinking of a person. In other words, not only did the Jews stir up Gentiles against Paul and Barnabas, they so stirred them that they acted out their feelings in persecution.

     The word “affected” KJV; “embittered” NASB; “poisoned” ESV, in Greek “kakoo” from “kakos” bad, evil which means to harm or do evil to. Physically to mistreat (Acts 7:6) or morally to embitter or poison one’s mind causing them to think badly about another (Acts 14:2).

ILLUSTRATION - Almost all poisonous snakes have what we call hematox poison. Hematox poison goes straight to the blood stream and attacks the blood. There is one snake that is different and I believe he is kin to the old serpent Satan. The King Cobra snake has what we call neurotoxin poison. When a King Cobra bites an animal or a person the poison goes to the mind. It poisons the mind and paralyzes the mind. It affects the whole person! Satan used the unbelieving Jews to sting the Gentiles with their venom that poisoned their minds.

     These missionaries (Paul and Barnabas) were not met with the outright, open opposition they had faced in Antioch. Here it is subtle, whispering, deceitful, poisonous propaganda that is spread against them, and it had its effect. Many were turned away. 

     The words in Acts 14:2 against the brethren.” KJV; “against the brethren” NASB; “against the brothers” ESV. This translation with a clear description that the Jews poisoned their (Gentiles) minds against the brothers. Some version interprets the brethren to be Paul and Barnabas, another interprets that the word brethren more likely indicates that the Jewish and Gentile attackers was also poured on the new believers. And this may also help understand why the missionaries spent a long time there (verse 3), for it would have been necessary to instruct the new disciples that now they are "swimming against" the prevailing current of the world system which opposed God.

     Notice in 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.” These missionaries (Paul and Barnabas) stay a long time in this city most likely because that the Jewish and Gentile attackers poured on the new believers (verse 2).

     As we read Luke's description, we can envision the tension rising in the city, and to such an "elevated temperature" (so to speak) which would tend to intimidate most missionaries but which had the opposite, seemingly paradoxical effect of inspiring them rather than intimidating them! This time they did not shake the dust off their sandals but stood their ground, standing firmly on the Word of God.

     The conjunction “therefore”, indicate a response to the opposition. This is a seemingly response of the missionaries to stay a long time rather than turning tail and running. It may indicate also that the opposition was evidence of God’s working in the hearts of the people, thus leading to further preaching of the missionaries.

     Notice how the missionaries spent a “long time”, during this time, despite the subtle propaganda poisoning people's minds against the gospel, there was nevertheless a sweeping proclamation of the gospel going forward and many were turning to Christ. 

     The word used here “Long” in Greek “hikanos” from the root “hik” means to reach (with the hand), to attain, reaching to, attaining to; hence adequate which refers to that which reaches or arrives at a certain standard. The primary meaning of “hikanos” is sufficient, and hence comes to be applied to number and quantity and so means many or enough. In reference to time “hikanos” means long. It is as if the writer Luke wants us not to miss that the missionaries tarried for quite a while.

     The phrase “long time” is possibly 6 months, but the truth is that we really do not know how long. However, the point is still poignant - faced with opposition, they did not draw back, but "dug in", like trenches in the World War that protected the soldiers and allowed them to hold ground in the crucial battle, and not just for a "short" time! While not quantitated, this was surely several weeks and possible several months. Effective ministry takes time...We are to stay where God wants us as long as God wants us. They spent a long time there speaking boldl[with reliance] upon the Lord, "With reliance" is not in the Greek but is implied. Notice that their speaking boldly for a long time follows the Jews stirring up the Gentiles (Acts 14:2). This not the "natural" response to opposition. 

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