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Worship God Alone 

Acts 14

Don Ruhl • Savage Street, Grants Pass, Oregon • April 9, In the year of our Lord, 2017

Scripture Reader and Reading: Dominic Meyer – Revelation 4.9–11

Song Leader and Song Suggestions: Phil Joseph


  1. Acts 14.1–3 | Poisoning Minds

    1 Now it happened in Iconium that they went together to the synagogue of the Jews, and so spoke that a great multitude both of the Jews and of the Greeks believed. 2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren. 3 Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.

    1. Iconium
    2. As always, they went to the Jews first,

      16 For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek (Rom 1.16).
    3. Paul and Barnabas spoke in a certain way
      1. that a great multitude of people believed
      2. from both Jews and Greeks.
    4. Again wherever the word of God has success,
      1. you will find someone opposing it.
      2. In Iconium, many people believed the preachers,
        1. which would lead to radical changes in the local culture.
        2. Therefore, of all people, it was the Jews,
          1. people who believed in the one true and living God,
          2. who opposed Paul and Barnabas.
    5. These rejectors of Jesus Christ,
      1. used the ungodly Gentiles by poisoning their minds,
      2. giving them fake news, bearing false witness, to fight the brethren.
    6. Verse 3 should catch our attention.
      1. We have a tendency to do one of two things to such poisoned minds:
        1. Either opposition so frightens us that we cower away in fear, or
        2. we react with an equal ugly spirit.
      2. What did Paul and Barnabas do?
        1. They stayed in Iconium and did not run away.
        2. They stayed as long as they could.
        3. They spoke boldly in the Lord.
          1. The Lord worked with them,
          2. bearing witness to what the preachers taught
            1. by allowing Paul and Barnabas to do signs and wonders.
            2. While we cannot work miracles,
              1. we can do wonderful things for people,
              2. even for those who oppose us.
      3. For example, after our first seminar on Islam,
        1. Burt Jones was going to hold his seminar in another place, and
        2. he told the church there about the persecution we received.
          1. So a brother called me and talked with me about it.
          2. He reassured me they would have no trouble, because
            1. they had plenty of firepower in the congregation.
            2. I said, What?
              1. He said that they had police officers or retired ones.
              2. What were they going to do, shoot protestors?
      4. Here is what we should do,

        18 If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. 19 Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 Therefore

        “If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
        If he is thirsty, give him a drink;
        For in so doing you will heap coals of fire on his head.”

        21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Rom 12.18–21).

  2. Acts 14.4–7 | A Divided City

    4 But the multitude of the city was divided: part sided with the Jews, and part with the apostles. 5 And when a violent attempt was made by both the Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to abuse and stone them, 6 they became aware of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region. 7 And they were preaching the gospel there.

    1. [Map]
    2. The unbelieving Jews divided the city.
      1. The secular left seeks to do the same thing today.
      2. Their target is us.
    3. The enemies of righteousness will always resort to violence, because
      1. their arguments fall down.
      2. As in the case of Stephen,
        1. they cannot resist the words of righteousness that flow from Scripture.
        2. Therefore they use violence to silence those who disagree with them.
          1. Has that not been going on lately in America?
          2. What do radical Muslims do?
    4. Sometimes you have to flee violent persecution.
      1. In Matthew 10, Jesus taught what to do if persecuted,

        23 “When they persecute you in this city, flee to another. For assuredly, I say to you, you will not have gone through the cities of Israel before the Son of Man comes” (Matt 10.23).
      2. Yet, Paul and Barnabas did not give up preaching.
        1. They did not grow discouraged or pessimistic.
        2. They had no expectations that everyone would treat them kindly.
  3. Acts 14.8–13 | You Either Have Satan or You Are a God

    8 And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. 9 This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, 10 said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked. 11 Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” 12 And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes.

    1. Teaching brings you to people who need you for one thing or another.
      1. Here this man had never walked.
      2. The man listened to Paul speak.
        1. Paul noticed the man,
        2. as any preacher does when someone listens with interest.
          1. Paul saw his condition, and
          2. it must have been that Paul spoke of the miracles of Jesus.
            1. Paul saw the look of expectation on this man’s face,
            2. hoping for a healing just as Jesus had healed people like him.
      3. Then, speaking loudly, Paul told him to stand up straight on his feet.
        1. The man with no leg muscles, no coordination, no balance,
        2. leapt to his feet and walked!
    2. The people overreacted and declared Paul and Barnabas to be gods.
      1. One time they are accused of proclaiming false gods, and
      2. another time they are celebrated as gods descended from heaven!
        1. Preachers have those extreme reactions.
          1. You have people who want you to die and
          2. others who would die for you.
        2. These people believed
          1. that Zeus, the chief god, had come down as Barnabas, and
          2. that Hermes had come down as Paul, the chief speaker.
        3. You may have heard me use the word hermeneutics.
          1. That is the science of interpretation.
          2. They called Paul Hermes.
      3. Then the people prepared to sacrifice to Paul and Barnabas.
        1. When we bring people into the church,
        2. they will often have crazy ideas, and
          1. even after we have instructed them,
          2. they may still retain those ideas.
      4. Remember what Paul told Timothy,

        2 Preach the word! Be ready in season and out of season. Convince, rebuke, exhort, with all longsuffering and teaching (2Ti 4.2).
  4. Acts 14.14–18 | We Are All Men

    14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out 15 and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, 16 who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” 18 And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them.

    1. The two men took dramatic actions to stop this false worship, saying:
      1. Why are you doing these things?
      2. We have the same nature as you.
      3. Turn from these useless things.
      4. Turn to the living God,
        1. who made the heaven,
        2. who made the Earth,
        3. who made the sea, and
          1. all things that are in them,
          2. who let past generations walk in their own ways.
        4. He did not leave Himself without witness:
          1. He did good,
          2. gave us rain from heaven,
          3. gave us fruitful seasons,
            1. filling our hearts with food, and
            2. filling our hearts with gladness.
    2. Why then would they worship Paul and Barnabas
      1. who did not even come close
      2. to doing such things,
        1. nor had Zeus and Hermes?
    3. The words of Paul and Barnabas worked.
  5. Acts 14.19–20 | From Being a God to Worthy of Death

    19 Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. 20 However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.

    1. Did you see what happened?
    2. First, Paul is a god,
      1. then the people stone him,
      2. drag him out of the city, and
      3. leave him for dead.
        1. The people he taught gathered around him, but
        2. he rose up and
          1. went right back into the city.
          2. Then he and Barnabas left for Derbe.
  6. Acts 14.21–26 | Strengthening the Souls of the Disciples

    21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” 23 So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed. 24 And after they had passed through Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. 25 Now when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia. 26 From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed.

    1. In Derbe, they did as elsewhere,
      1. they preached the Gospel to the city, and
      2. made many disciples in the process.
    2. They decided to go back through some of the cities
      1. where they had preached and created disciples for Christ.
      2. Then they did something
      3. that I did with you many years ago and elders accompanied me:
        1. They strengthened the souls of the disciples
        2. by exhorting them to continue in the faith,
        3. teaching that through many tribulations we enter the kingdom of God,
        4. they appointed elders in every church,
        5. they prayed with fasting, and
        6. they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
    3. They continued their return home through
      1. Pisidia,
      2. Pamphylia,
      3. Perga (where they preached more),
      4. Attalia, and
      5. finally they arrived in Antioch.
        1. In Antioch, they had been commended to the grace of God
        2. for the work of evangelizing that they had just completed.
  7. VII.Acts 14.27–28 | Reporting on God’s Work

    27 Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 So they stayed there a long time with the disciples.

    1. They needed to come back and report on what they had done, because
      1. their work was elsewhere.
      2. The brethren in Antioch could not see what Paul and Barnabas had done.
    2. The main things they had reported:
      1. God had worked through them,
      2. opening the door of faith to the Gentiles.