Acts 16 Part 3–The Adventure at the Philippian Jail

What had started out to be a great day turned nasty quickly.  The team started to see lives changed and even miracles done, then; they were arrested, beaten,  thrown into stocks, and placed into the bowels of the jail.  So, after such a rotten turn of events, Paul and Silas did what any mistreated Roman citizen would, they prayed and worshipped the Lord. Well, that captured the other inmates’ attention. 


That was just the beginning, though.  Next, God sent an earthquake, one violent enough to shake the stocks loose and the jail doors open.  The jailer, who became personally responsible for any escapes, was ready to kill himself. Paul cried out for the jailer to stop; as neither He nor any of the other prisoners had escaped.  The jailer was amazed that they had not escaped, and therefore spared his life.  


From there, the day improved greatly.  Paul and Silas’s wounds were treated, the jailer and his family heard the Gospel and were saved.  They were baptized, and the church was now well on its way.  The Philippian jailer was ordered to release the men. After a discussion, those that had wrongfully imprisoned the Paul and Silas, had to face them, apologize, and politely ask them to leave town.  The team, having successfully established a church in
Philippi, kindly moved on. 

 
The spread of the Gospel was never going to be easy. But God is faithful not to leave His chosen to complete the mission alone.  The Lord’s presence is felt by His missionaries, the people they touch, and many who are just there.  God never leaves us , nor does He ever forsake us.  Like any Father, He cares for us, leads us, and empowers us to complete the mission.  When we face trials, we must never doubt the Lord’s desire to carry us through it.  We must seek God and allow Him to complete the plan He has started.  If we will, the Lord will do great and amazing things in and though us.  All we will have to do is pray and worship.


God Bless You


And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24 Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

The Philippian Jailer Converted

25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them, 26 and suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken. And immediately all the doors were opened, and everyone’s bonds were unfastened. 27 When the jailer woke and saw that the prison doors were open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that the prisoners had escaped. 28 But Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do not harm yourself, for we are all here.” 29 And the jailer[e] called for lights and rushed in, and trembling with fear he fell down before Paul and Silas. 30 Then he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” 31 And they said, “Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 And they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their wounds; and he was baptized at once, he and all his family. 34 Then he brought them up into his house and set food before them. And he rejoiced along with his entire household that he had believed in God.

35 But when it was day, the magistrates sent the police, saying, “Let those men go.” 36 And the jailer reported these words to Paul, saying, “The magistrates have sent to let you go. Therefore come out now and go in peace.” 37 But Paul said to them, “They have beaten us publicly, uncondemned, men who are Roman citizens, and have thrown us into prison; and do they now throw us out secretly? No! Let them come themselves and take us out.” 38 The police reported these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Roman citizens. 39 So they came and apologized to them. And they took them out and asked them to leave the city. 40 So they went out of the prison and visited Lydia. And when they had seen the brothers, they encouraged them and departed.

Acts 16 Part 2–Big Changes, Big Conversions, and Big Battles

So, the Lord called the team to Macedonia. it was a new adventure far from the other cities they had ministered to.  When they landed in Philippi, the adventure continued.  It is interesting to note that this was the first instance where Luke spoke in the voice of first person.  in verse 11 Luke says WE made a direct voyage to Samothrace and in verse 12, WE remained in the city for several days. That is a significant change in perspective.  Luke was watching events unfold rather than reporting information he had gathered from others. 

 
Paul starts the adventure by leading a top businesswoman in the area to the Lord.  This would be a great thing in the days ahead.  Next, Paul freed a demon possessed girl, but in doing so, he cut off her owner’s income stream.  This, of course, caused much anger and retaliation.  Paul and Silas were beaten and jailed.  What was to happen next would be the beginning of a major revival. 

 
God continues to move and build in His way and time.  If we are faithful, we can be a part of what is happening.  Like Luke, we begin to see His plan in person, not just hear of God’s work from others.  With that, however, comes the spiritual battles that accompany spiritual activities. 

Knowing that, we must arm ourselves through prayer and study.  In addition, we must surround ourselves with fellow travelers to support our journey.  It was no coincidence that Dr. Luke accompanied Paul, Silas, and Timothy.  As Jesus told the crowds, “Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and ALL these things will be added to you!” Matthew 6:33.


God Bless You


11 So, setting sail from Troas, we made a direct voyage to Samothrace, and the following day to Neapolis, 12 and from there to Philippi, which is a leading city of the[d] district of Macedonia and a Roman colony. We remained in this city some days. 13 And on the Sabbath day we went outside the gate to the riverside, where we supposed there was a place of prayer, and we sat down and spoke to the women who had come together. 14 One who heard us was a woman named Lydia, from the city of Thyatira, a seller of purple goods, who was a worshiper of God. The Lord opened her heart to pay attention to what was said by Paul. 15 And after she was baptized, and her household as well, she urged us, saying, “If you have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come to my house and stay.” And she prevailed upon us.

Paul and Silas in Prison

16 As we were going to the place of prayer, we were met by a slave girl who had a spirit of divination and brought her owners much gain by fortune-telling. 17 She followed Paul and us, crying out, “These men are servants of the Most High God, who proclaim to you the way of salvation.” 18 And this she kept doing for many days. Paul, having become greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” And it came out that very hour.

19 But when her owners saw that their hope of gain was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged them into the marketplace before the rulers. 20 And when they had brought them to the magistrates, they said, “These men are Jews, and they are disturbing our city. 21 They advocate customs that are not lawful for us as Romans to accept or practice.” 22 The crowd joined in attacking them, and the magistrates tore the garments off them and gave orders to beat them with rods. 23 And when they had inflicted many blows upon them, they threw them into prison, ordering the jailer to keep them safely. 24 Having received this order, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks.

Acts 16 Part 1–New Teammate and New Direction

Paul and Silas were sharing the Gospel boldly.  They came to Derby and Lystra and met Timothy.  Paul was drawn to Timothy and knew He would be a great leader in the Church.  So, Paul brought Timothy onto the team.  Timothy was half Jewish but had never been circumcised.  So, Paul had him circumcised so that he would be more effective in preaching to the Jewish people on their journey. 

It was ironic, since they had just established that circumcision was not a prerequisite to being saved or part of the Church.  Paul knew that it would save a lot of problems within the Jewish communities and give Timothy, a young preacher, one less issue to have to confront as he built up churches.

Paul was also intent to preach the Gospel to the people in Asia.  So far, God said not to preach there.  Every time Paul would start that way, God would stop Paul cold.  Paul was faithful and followed God’s lead. Paul simply preached wherever the Spirit led.  Then one night, Paul had a vision to go to Macedonia.  That vision was like a flag releasing Paul and the mission to expand the Church in a new direction.  Paul took off immediately.  

The Church was growing daily.  The men that God used to spread the Gospel would do whatever it took to lead as many as possible to the Lord. We must have that kind of boldness in our lives as well. We must be willing to make sacrifices, like Timothy, if that will open doors to lead people to Christ.  We must be willing to wait and listen for God’s prompting to move forward; even if we are excited to take on a challenge.  Sometimes, our timing and God’s simply do not align.  His timing, however, is always perfect! We cannot confuse our enthusiasm to help God’s mission with God’s prompting and leadership.  Our time in the word and in prayer will give us clarity and confidence as we move forward to serve Him.

God Bless You


 Paul[a] came also to Derbe and to Lystra. A disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a Jewish woman who was a believer, but his father was a Greek. He was well spoken of by the brothers[b] at Lystra and Iconium. Paul wanted Timothy to accompany him, and he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in those places, for they all knew that his father was a Greek. As they went on their way through the cities, they delivered to them for observance the decisions that had been reached by the apostles and elders who were in Jerusalem. So the churches were strengthened in the faith, and they increased in numbers daily.

The Macedonian Call

And they went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. And when they had come up to Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them. So, passing by Mysia, they went down to Troas. And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, “Come over to Macedonia and help us.” 10 And when Paul[c] had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.

Acts 15 Part 2–Great News and A Parting of Ways

 The Bible has always distinguished itself in literature by being transparent.  It shows the lives of the people that built the people of Israel, and the people that helped to build the Church.  In all cases, the Bible shows these people at their best and at their worst.  Luke just told the story of the Church settling a major dispute by telling the people of the church that Gentiles did not have to be circumcised or follow Jewish tradition to follow the Lord.  That issue was a primary tool for division among believers.  Paul and Barnabus were thrilled to go back and continue their mission of leading people to Christ across the globe.  

Barnabus, the encourager, was ready to join Paul on another round of encouraging and building churches in Asia.  He wanted of course to bring John Mark.  John Mark quit Paul and Barnabus last journey and went home.  The account never says why, but it must have been very disappointing to Paul and Barnabus.  Now as they were headed out for round two, Barnabus, the encourager and mentor, was ready to give John Mark another chance.  After all, if he was willing to go again and Paul and Barnabus now had a handle on the mission, why would they not continue to mentor this disciple of God? 

Paul, on the other hand, had no time to carry men that quit.  He had a mission to lead men to Christ, not to babysit quitters!  It was another game changer. Paul and Barnabus split over the issue.  Paul took Silas and Barnabus continued to mentor John Mark.  While seemingly a sad turn of events, God clearly used it.

Paul and Silas would continue to have a great impact starting and building churches across Asia.  Barnabus and Mark would also build and encourage churches.  What’s more, Mark would write the first version of the Gospel for the churches. One can only speculate what might have happened if Barnabus had given up on John Mark.  The truth is, however, this son of encouragement did not. Conversely, Paul and Silas now were doing the mission and changing lives.  God used the separation to do even greater things.

Interestingly, In Paul’s final letter,  He closes with this request, “Luke alone is with me. Get Mark and bring him with you, for he is very useful to me for ministry.” 2 Timothy 4:11.  Barnabus was right, and Paul wanted his old friend to know it.  It was Paul’s way of admitting his mistake and acknowledging the wonder of Barnabus and his encouragement that changed the face of our faith. It is not hard to imagine Paul remembering that Barnabus mentored him as a young believer and stuck with Paul through many battles and adventures.  It is another time the Lord allows the Word to show real people in real struggles still impacting the world and continuing the mission.  

God Bless You


Then it seemed good to the apostles and the elders, with the whole church, to choose men from among them and send them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. They sent Judas called Barsabbas, and Silas, leading men among the brothers, 23 with the following letter: “The brothers, both the apostles and the elders, to the brothers[c] who are of the Gentiles in Antioch and Syria and Cilicia, greetings. 24 Since we have heard that some persons have gone out from us and troubled you[d] with words, unsettling your minds, although we gave them no instructions, 25 it has seemed good to us, having come to one accord, to choose men and send them to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who themselves will tell you the same things by word of mouth. 28 For it has seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay on you no greater burden than these requirements: 29 that you abstain from what has been sacrificed to idols, and from blood, and from what has been strangled, and from sexual immorality. If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. Farewell.”

30 So when they were sent off, they went down to Antioch, and having gathered the congregation together, they delivered the letter. 31 And when they had read it, they rejoiced because of its encouragement. 32 And Judas and Silas, who were themselves prophets, encouraged and strengthened the brothers with many words. 33 And after they had spent some time, they were sent off in peace by the brothers to those who had sent them.[e] 35 But Paul and Barnabas remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.

Paul and Barnabas Separate

36 And after some days Paul said to Barnabas, “Let us return and visit the brothers in every city where we proclaimed the word of the Lord, and see how they are.” 37 Now Barnabas wanted to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul thought best not to take with them one who had withdrawn from them in Pamphylia and had not gone with them to the work. 39 And there arose a sharp disagreement, so that they separated from each other. Barnabas took Mark with him and sailed away to Cyprus, 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, having been commended by the brothers to the grace of the Lord. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

Acts 15 Part 1–Jewish Law and Tradition Do Not Save US

A decision had to be made.  Clearly, God made the choice to spread the Gospel to both Jews and non-Jews.  Clearly the Holy Spirit was working in people’s lives even when they had not and would not follow Jewish law.,  This was causing an uproar inside the Jewish church and out on the road where Paul and Barnabus were on mission. So, all the leadership gathered and sought the Lord to decide the issue firmly and finally.  As they listened to Peter, Paul and Barnabus, it became clear that God was working in the Gentiles’ lives, without them conforming to Jewish law and tradition.


The decision was made by the Apostles and Elders that Gentiles need not follow Jewish Law to be saved.  They did need to live lives that Honor God–so no sexual sin and no practicing other heathen faith traditions.  But, trying to live up to Jewish law did not work for the Jews, and will not be demanded for the Gentiles.  This is what God made clear to the Church leadership and this is what the church has practiced ever since.


Men always want a to do list to show that their accomplishment somehow affects their holiness and salvation. God sent Christ because, try though they may, Men simply cannot live perfect lives and earn their salvation.  We are incapable of checking enough boxes or living perfect enough to overcome the sin in our lives and our desire to be in control.  God’s gift of salvation was wholly that, a gift.  It had no extra requirements.  Even now, we still try to do things to win favor with God, believing somehow, we will get some preferential treatment.  It is simply not the case.  Paul said it best, in Ephesians 2: 8-9, “For by grace you have been saved through faith and not of yourselves. It is a gift of God, not of works, lest, any man should boast.”


God Bless You


 But some men came down from Judea and were teaching the brothers, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” And after Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and debate with them, Paul and Barnabas and some of the others were appointed to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and the elders about this question. So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through both Phoenicia and Samaria, describing in detail the conversion of the Gentiles, and brought great joy to all the brothers.[a] When they came to Jerusalem, they were welcomed by the church and the apostles and the elders, and they declared all that God had done with them. But some believers who belonged to the party of the Pharisees rose up and said, “It is necessary to circumcise them and to order them to keep the law of Moses.”

The apostles and the elders were gathered together to consider this matter. And after there had been much debate, Peter stood up and said to them, “Brothers, you know that in the early days God made a choice among you, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. And God, who knows the heart, bore witness to them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as he did to us, and he made no distinction between us and them, having cleansed their hearts by faith. 10 Now, therefore, why are you putting God to the test by placing a yoke on the neck of the disciples that neither our fathers nor we have been able to bear? 11 But we believe that we will be saved through the grace of the Lord Jesus, just as they will.”

12 And all the assembly fell silent, and they listened to Barnabas and Paul as they related what signs and wonders God had done through them among the Gentiles. 13 After they finished speaking, James replied, “Brothers, listen to me. 14 Simeon has related how God first visited the Gentiles, to take from them a people for his name. 15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written,

16 “‘After this I will return,
and I will rebuild the tent of David that has fallen;
I will rebuild its ruins,
     and I will restore it,
17 that the remnant[b] of mankind may seek the Lord,
    and all the Gentiles who are called by my name,
     says the Lord, who makes these things 18 known from of old.’

19 Therefore my judgment is that we should not trouble those of the Gentiles who turn to God, 20 but should write to them to abstain from the things polluted by idols, and from sexual immorality, and from what has been strangled, and from blood. 21 For from ancient generations Moses has had in every city those who proclaim him, for he is read every Sabbath in the synagogues.”

Acts 14 Part 2–Rock Star or Heretic, God is Still in Charge

People are fickle.  Paul and Barnabus were literally being treated like gods.  They preached the Gospel, healed the sick, and the crowd loved it…well they did until they didn’t.  Paul and Barnabus told the crowd to cut it out.  They were just normal guys, like the rest of the crowd.  They continued to point back to God not to themselves.  Well, somehow the Jewish leaders in the area used that to stir the crowd up and change their mood from deifying Paul to killing him.  The next thing that we read is that the crowd stone Paul to what seems to be death and dragged him out of the town.  That could not have been pleasant.

The disciples were crushed.  Their leader was dead…or was he? Nope! Paul stood up and went back into town preaching and training leaders for the churches in the area.  Dr. Luke does not share details, but stoning is not a form of execution that one can easily fake.  God healed Paul.  There is no telling the amount of damage their stoning would have done to Paul, but Paul rose, went back into town, and carried on as if nothing had transpired! That was a miracle.

Each time I read one of the amazing stories of healing, I am reminded of 2 things.  First, God does not promise this journey will be easy, pleasant, or painless.  As soldiers in battle, we must expect opposition to take many forms and be in our path.  Sometimes we can easily confront it and move on, but other times, it will seem life altering and overwhelming.  We cannot see any way to get past it.  It is those times when God shows Himself the most amazing.  He promises to prepare, protect, and provide for His own.  What form that may take is often different than we would hope or expect.  When we see God’s handiwork, however, we know without a doubt it was Him all along.

Paul did not gloat or draw attention to himself upon His return.  Instead, he and Barnabus simply continued the work of the Gospel.  No fanfare, no revenge–simply showing grace and love for the people in the churches that the men helped to establish.  As our Lord’s soldiers, we must remember that serving God is simply not about us.  Whether we are being courted as Rock stars or stoned as heretics; we must focus on the Lord and His mission for our lives.  If we will, He will be glorified, and we will be blessed!

God Bless You


14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, 15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16 In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” 18 Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them.

Paul Stoned at Lystra

19 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. 20 But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. 21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. 23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

Acts 14 Part 1–From Serving to Being God???

Paul and Barnabus were on a roll.  People were coming to the Lord from all walks of life .Jews, Greeks were all coming forward and following the Gospel.  The Jewish leaders and Greek religious leaders became angered and built-up resistance and tried to have the men tortured and killed.  No worries, Paul and Barnabus moved on. They went to Lystra and were preaching when Paul connected with a man that had been crippled from birth.  He told the man to stand up and the man did he was marching around healed.  It was great, well it was until the people started worshipping Paul and Barnabus…

The men were doing what they were supposed to do and living like Christ.  They were doing it for God’s glory, and He was blessing it.  Then, as men will, the people quit worshipping God and started worshipping His messengers.  It literally broke Paul and Barnabus’ hearts.  They wanted no recognition or glory, they simply wanted to provide the Gospel to people so that they would worship God.  They pleaded with the people to stop, but they would not hear of it.

This happens so much in our time as well.  Great preachers set out to fulfill their Christ centered mission and are amazingly effective.  Then as their message resonates, they become Rock stars.  They do not set out to become celebrities, it is a simple by product of representing God effectively.  Sadly, more times than not, this causes the preachers and evangelists to lose sight of the mission and begin to believe the HYPE.  When that occurs, not only do they lose their effectiveness, but often they are destroyed. 

The enemy loves the opportunity to set them on their own pedestals only to knock that pedestal out from under them at just the right time.  We need to pray for our pastors and leaders.  We need to help them to be effective but also pray that the enemy not be able to sift them like wheat.  It is our prayers and support that will allow great men of God to be effective and unaffected by a world and church looking for Super heroes.

God Bless You


 Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.[a] So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. But the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews and some with the apostles. When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them, they learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country, and there they continued to preach the gospel.

Paul and Barnabas at Lystra

Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well,[b] 10 said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking. 11 And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds

Acts 13 Part 3–If Anyone is In Christ…

God used Peter to establish His intention to not only restore the Jewish people to a right relationship with God, but to offer salvation to all that would believe.  Cornelius was the poster child for God’s intention to save the entire world.  One need not forget that God set Israel apart not to be a nation of warriors, but to be a nation of priests and ambassadors for Him.  While Paul and Barnabus were preaching the Gospel in the synagogues, many devout Jews were hearing the Gospel and being saved. Still, the religious leaders were not happy and stirred up opposition among the prominent families, to stop Paul and Barnabus from sharing the Gospel with the Jewish people in the area.  During one such event, Paul declared to the crowd that while God was committed to making salvation available to the Jewish nation, He always intended to be available to all people.

  
It is important to know that God truly desires that no one would perish.  The Father sacrificed all that was precious to Him so that we could enjoy a renewed and personal relationship with the Lord.  Paul says in Romans, in Corinthians, In Philippian’s and in Colossians, here there is no Jew or Greek, male or female, Barbarian or Scythian slave or free. The point God wants us to grasp is that if we are in Christ, we are citizens of Heaven.  our earthly origins and nationalities are of no consequence once we join the family of God.  Paul and Barnabus were simply the first of countless men and women that have marched around the globe presenting God’s message of salvation to all that would listen.  We must see the world from God’s perspective to grasp the enormity of the Gospel’s scope and freedom.  The Gospel is divisive because the enemy does not want to admit defeat and will fight against God’s message at each front.  But the message is truly the most unifying message of all time.  It is best said in 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, they are a new creation.  The old is gone and the new has come.” 


God Bless You


 but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. 38 Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and by him everyone who believes is freed[c] from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. 40 Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the Prophets should come about:

41 “‘Look, you scoffers,
    be astounded and perish;
for I am doing a work in your days,
a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.’”

42 As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 43 And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.

44 The next Sabbath almost the whole city gathered to hear the word of the Lord. 45 But when the Jews[d] saw the crowds, they were filled with jealousy and began to contradict what was spoken by Paul, reviling him. 46 And Paul and Barnabas spoke out boldly, saying, “It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold, we are turning to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us, saying,

“‘I have made you a light for the Gentiles,
    that you may bring salvation to the ends of the earth.’”

48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed. 49 And the word of the Lord was spreading throughout the whole region. 50 But the Jews incited the devout women of high standing and the leading men of the city, stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and drove them out of their district. 51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

Acts 13 Part 2–The Men on Mission

So Paul and Barnabus were having an impact.  John Mark went home.  There is not much said about the whys or the significance of John Mark leaving the group but suffice it to say it would become significant to Paul and Barnabus later.  For now, the men continued.  As they were in a different Antioch, they were asked to say a few words…Pauk arose and gave the sermon of His life. Paul explained John the Baptist versus. 

More Precisely, Paul spoke to the difference between prophet and Savior, and Jesus’ relationship to David.  Jesus was clearly the Messiah.  He was no Prophet; He was not just a good man.  No Jesus was God with Us.  He was the one spoken about since Adam and Eve, He healed the sick, raised the dead, was friend to the friendless and called the religious hierarchy out for their hypocrisy.  Mostly, Jesus was the Lamb who was slain.  He is the Savior.  Most folks were willing to listen and as the spirit moved, it changed their lives.

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Like Paul and Barnabus, we must stay on mission.  It is rarely easy; the enemy will do anything to distract or defeat us.  We never know from where the attack will come, but we can be sure that it will indeed come.  We must pray, seek Him, and trust God to carry out our sanctification until He calls us home to be with Him.  Paul gives us a hint, in Ephesians 6.  We must put on God’s full armor to stay in the battle and finish victoriously.  If we will arm ourselves with the helmet of salvation, the breastplate of Righteousness, the belt of truth, shod our feet with the readiness of the Gospel.  Then we grab our shield of faith and the sword of truth and press on to take hold pf that for which Christ took hold of us.  We need not fear.  For God is with us and will give us opportunities to change lives and win battles on His behalf.

  
God Bless You


13 Now Paul and his companions set sail from Paphos and came to Perga in Pamphylia. And John left them and returned to Jerusalem, 14 but they went on from Perga and came to Antioch in Pisidia. And on the Sabbath day they went into the synagogue and sat down. 15 After the reading from the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent a message to them, saying, “Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, say it.” 16 So Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said:

“Men of Israel and you who fear God, listen. 17 The God of this people Israel chose our fathers and made the people great during their stay in the land of Egypt, and with uplifted arm he led them out of it. 18 And for about forty years he put up with[b] them in the wilderness. 19 And after destroying seven nations in the land of Canaan, he gave them their land as an inheritance. 20 All this took about 450 years. And after that he gave them judges until Samuel the prophet. 21 Then they asked for a king, and God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 22 And when he had removed him, he raised up David to be their king, of whom he testified and said, ‘I have found in David the son of Jesse a man after my heart, who will do all my will.’ 23 Of this man’s offspring God has brought to Israel a Savior, Jesus, as he promised. 24 Before his coming, John had proclaimed a baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25 And as John was finishing his course, he said, ‘What do you suppose that I am? I am not he. No, but behold, after me one is coming, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to untie.’

26 “Brothers, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to us has been sent the message of this salvation. 27 For those who live in Jerusalem and their rulers, because they did not recognize him nor understand the utterances of the prophets, which are read every Sabbath, fulfilled them by condemning him. 28 And though they found in him no guilt worthy of death, they asked Pilate to have him executed. 29 And when they had carried out all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree and laid him in a tomb. 30 But God raised him from the dead, 31 and for many days he appeared to those who had come up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are now his witnesses to the people. 32 And we bring you the good news that what God promised to the fathers, 33 this he has fulfilled to us their children by raising Jesus, as also it is written in the second Psalm,

“‘You are my Son,
    today I have begotten you.’

34 And as for the fact that he raised him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, he has spoken in this way,

“‘I will give you the holy and sure blessings of David.’

35 Therefore he says also in another psalm,

“‘You will not let your Holy One see corruption.’

36 For David, after he had served the purpose of God in his own generation, fell asleep and was laid with his fathers and saw corruption, 37 but he whom God raised up did not see corruption. 38 Let it be known to you therefore, brothers, that through this man forgiveness of sins is proclaimed to you, 39 and by him everyone who believes is freed[c] from everything from which you could not be freed by the law of Moses. 40 Beware, therefore, lest what is said in the Prophets should come about:

41 “‘Look, you scoffers,
    be astounded and perish;
for I am doing a work in your days,
    a work that you will not believe, even if one tells it to you.’”

42 As they went out, the people begged that these things might be told them the next Sabbath. 43 And after the meeting of the synagogue broke up, many Jews and devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, who, as they spoke with them, urged them to continue in the grace of God.

Acts 13 Part 1–The Missionary Work Begins

We sometimes forget that Paul and Barnabus did not simply take off on a whim to change the World.  Much preparation and prayer preceded the missionaries launch.  In fact, scripture reminds us that the men were fasting and praying, including Manean a lifelong friend of Herod?  God was at work in the Church.  While they were praying, God told the men to send Paul and Barnabus on their way.  So, they left taking Mark, the Gospel writer, with them.

When they arrived in Cypress, they started preaching in the synagogues.  The leader of the area called for Paul and Barnabus to come and speak to Him about the Lord.  There was a local false prophet that tried to stop them from speaking the truth.  Paul called the false prophet out, and he became blind.   It sent a reverence to the Proconsul and shut the false prophet down for good.  Clearly, God’s spirit was large and in charge.

Nothing has changed.  The Gospel is still being shared throughout the world.  One can be sure that wherever God is having an impact; the enemy is fighting with all guns a blazin’ to shut it down.  As our Lord’s witnesses, we need to speak the truth in Love to all that will listen.  We can never expect that to happen without opposition or trial.  We, like Paul, need to trust God and speak confidently knowing that the spirit will lead, guide, and protect those following His lead.  We must never fear the enemy.  He will come and will attempt to take charge–BUT, we know that greater is He who is within us, than he that is in the world!!!

God Bless You


Now there were in the church at Antioch prophets and teachers, Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger,[a] Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen a lifelong friend of Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Then after fasting and praying they laid their hands on them and sent them off.

Barnabas and Saul on Cyprus

So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them. When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord? 11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.