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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Acts 14

Verses 1-28

  1. Intro:
    1. Story - John Kenneth Galbraith, in his autobiography, A Life in Our Times, illustrates the devotion of Emily Gloria Wilson, his family’s housekeeper: It had been a wearying day, and I asked Emily to hold all telephone calls while I had a nap. Shortly thereafter the phone rang. Lyndon Johnson was calling from the White House. “Get me Ken Galbraith. This is Lyndon Johnson.”
      “He is sleeping, Mr. President. He said not to disturb him.” “Well, wake him up. I want to talk to him.” “No, Mr. President. I work for him, not you.” When I called the President back, he could scarcely control his pleasure. “Tell that woman I wanther here in the White House.” [Reader’s Digest, December, 1981]
      1. Paul sure knew who he worked for…God & Him alone!
    2. Recap: Paul & Barnabas were asked to leave Antioch Pisidia. So the dusted their feet off & went to Iconium. (80 mile hike)
  2. MODELING MINISTRY! (1-28)
    1. #1 BOLDNESS WHEN THEY ARE AGAINST YOU! (1-7)
    2. Just like in Antioch jealousy rapidly appeared in all its ugliness.
      1. Jews who disbelieved stirred up the unbelieving Gentiles & poisoned public opinion against Paul & Barnabas.
    3. Boldness is what enables believers to persist in the face of opposition.
      1. Paul was a man on the move, but not a man easily moved because of difficulties!
      2. This is the city where a man named Onesiphorus described Paul this way, “A man small of stature, with a bald head & crooked legs, in a good state of body, with eyebrows meeting & nose somewhat hooked.”
    4. Q: When someone opposes you, do you emit boldness; show a lack of courage; or rely on your own self-assurance?
    5. #2 HUMILITY WHEN THEY ARE FOR YOU! (8-18)
    6. Paul had an opportunity to confirm his message with a miraculous sign.
    7. Along with power & results in service comes the temptation of pride!
    8. The last group wanted to stone them, now this group wants to deify them!
      1. Paul & Barnabas knew where the power came from, & knew that they were only God’s vessels (not a god themselves)!
      2. This is usually the harder of the two temptations. [Sometimes flattery is a greater danger than persecution]
    9. Zeus (Gk name) (aka Jupiter/Latin name) – (Barnabas, leadership)
    10. Hermes (Gk name) (aka Mercury/ Latin name) – (Paul, since he did the speaking)
      1. According to an ancient legend, Zeus & Hermes once came to earth as humans.
      2. Archeologists in 1909 discovered ancient inscriptions in Lystra dedicated to Zeus & Hermes.
    11. Paul didn’t know what they were doing for while because they spoke in their native tongue (11). It probably wouldn’t have gotten so far had he known.
    12. God of nature(15), God of history(16), God of providence(17), God of grace (21-23)
      1. This was a Joshua “Choose this day whom you will serve” preaching.
      2. Some call this an “Allegiance Encounter(challenge to shift their allegiance)
      3. Others need a “Truth Encounter(i.e. Grace verses Law, like in Antioch)
      4. Others need a “Power Encounter(like Elymas the sorcerer [representing Satan’s power] vs. Paul representing God’s power)
    13. Q: Do you have the marks of humility in your life?
    14. Q: Do you find it more difficult dealing with opposition or flattery?
    15. #3 PERSIST WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE QUITTING! (19-21)
    16. Paul became part of a hunting expedition…unfortunately he was the prey!
    17. Some of the new disciples gathered around the fallen body of Paul.
      1. Possibly among them was Timothy as he was from Lystra.
    18. When Paul regained consciousness he arose & courageously entered the city again.
      1. Paul the “Energizer Apostolic Bunny”. Whether verbal or physical abuse, he kept on beating his drum. “Nothing outlasts the Energizer Apostle!”
    19. The very next day he travels to Derbe 40 miles away. (no more Lingering in Lystra)
      1. A 40 mile walk after being stoned to death? He must have been in excruciating pain!
    20. Illustration: The memo from the testing director of MGM, shortly after Fred Astaire’s 1st screen test, read: “Can’t act! Slightly bald! Can dance a little!”
    21. An older “expert” once said of another younger coach, “He possesses minimal football knowledge. Lacks motivation.” He was referring to Vince Lombardi.
    22. Walt Disney was fired by a newspaper editor for “lack of ideas.”
    23. Thomas Edison’s teachers gave up on him. “He’s too stupid to do anything,” was their evaluation.
    24. Before he succeeded, Henry Ford failed and went broke five times. (Charles Swindoll, Kindred Spirit, Vol. 22, No. 3, Autumn, 1998, p. 3.)
    25. Q: Are you known for persisting or quitting?
    26. #4 CARE FOR THOSE YOU MINISTER TO! (21-23)
    27. 1st we saw it with the lame man that was healed; now it is expressed through their care & concern for the new believers.
      1. An effective servant of God knows that the Great Commission is not merely to gain professions of faith, but to nurture that faith to maturity.
    28. Their exhortation was 2-fold:
      1. [1] They encouraged the believers to continue in the faith.
        1. Perseverance is an essential mark of saving faith!
        2. Perseverance is the badge of true saints.
        3. Our motto should be “Excelsior”! (Latin, Higher)
      2. [2] They also helped to organize the new believers.
        1. The appointed elders for them in every church.
        2. [Note: don’t think there was 1 large church in each of these cities, instead many home studies]
    29. Q: Do you care for those you minister to, or do you seek another notch in your evangelistic belt?
    30. We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.
      1. It was never designed by God that we should be an untried people!
      2. We were never called to: worldly peace or earthly joy; freedom from sickness nor the pains of mortality.
      3. None of our predecessors escaped tribulations…why should we?
        1. Job, Noah, Moses, Abraham, David, Daniel, Mary. Patriarchs, prophets, apostles, martyrs.
        2. All were made to pass through the fire of affliction.
      4. Surgeon said, “It is ordained of old that the cross of trouble should be engraved on every vessel of mercy, as the royal mark whereby the King’s vessels of honor are distinguished.”
    31. The best things in life are the result of being wounded.
      1. Wheat must be crushed before becoming bread.
        Incense must be burned in the fire before its fragrance is set free.
        The earth must be broken with a sharp plow before being ready to receive the seed.
      2. Just about anything you do to a Rose simply causes it to give off even more of a perfume sent. [When raindrops fall on it; when the wind blows against it; when it is torn; when it is crushed]
        1. Jesus knows & loves every single petal that has been crushed on behalf of Him!
    32. What is our comfort in that? We have comfort of knowing our Master has crossed this way before us. We have His presence & sympathy to cheer us on. His grace to support us. And His example to teach us how to endure.
      1. And when we reach the Celestial City it will more than make amends, for our many tribulations through which we passed.
    33. #5 COMMITMENT TO YOUR CALL! (24,25)
    34. Exhausted by their travels & hard work in proclaiming the gospel the two missionaries head home.
      1. But when they came to Perga, they stopped to preach the gospel message. (They didn’t preach the 1st time through)
    35. Q: Are you committed to what God has called you personally to?
    36. #6 REVERENCE FOR THE ONE YOU WORK FOR! (26-28)
    37. With there long journey finally over they arrive at the church in Antioch.
      1. This is the 1st missionary meeting in the Christian Church with a report from the field!
      2. Some might have boasted in all they’ve done, the number of churches they planted, number of converts, miracles performed, but not Paul & Barnabas.
      3. They saw themselves as instruments through which God had accomplished His purposes; & all the glory went to Him! 2.37.3.1. This is essential for a servant of the Lord.
    38. (26) Commended – “given into the hands of another”, surrendered!
      1. A surrender that must be definite, unreserved, irrevocable.
      2. We must deposit ourselves with God, & abide there.
      3. 2 Tim 1:12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day.
    39. Q: Do you have & show reverence for your God, or do you seek to steal a little bit of the glory for yourself…through your glory stories?
    40. #7 SPIRITUAL GIFTEDNESS UNDERSTOOD! {i.e. where it came from}
    41. Paul & Barnabas ministered with the gifts the Spirit had given them.
    42. We saw: prophecy; teaching; exhortation; & leadership.
      1. They didn’t leave their new converts to fend for themselves.
    43. Their leadership gifts enabled them to bring structure to the newly formed congregation, & install appropriate leaders.
    44. Q: Have you identified your spiritual gifts? Are you using them for His glory?
    45. End: These are still the qualities today that mark those who walk the path of effective Christian service.
      Q: Do you have the marks of an effective servant?
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Acts 14". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/acts-14.html. 2017.