Sunday, July 29, 2012

From Acts to Revelation Part 38 – Return to Antioch in Syria

From Acts to Revelation
Part 38 – Return to Antioch in Syria
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |


Today, we will look at how nothing should stand in the way of us sharing the Gospel of Salvation with others.

In fact, the Apostles Paul and Barnabas teach, that “...we must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God...”

It is not the cake-walk some teach it to be.

We will see how after Paul was left for dead, the next day, he continued to travel, preaching the gospel, establishing churches, and ordaining Elders, despite Satan's attempt to stop the Word of God.

During this time, they meet with persecution, trials and tribulations, yet, nothing can stop what God has put into motion.

We will also see how Salvation has two parts to it. The Preaching which brings about Salvation, and the Teaching, which causes us to grow Spiritually.

We are instructed to Grow Spiritually after we are saved!

Today's scripture should cause us to examine ourselves, and our lives and ask the all important questions...

1)     Have I allowed tribulation to stop my work for the Lord?

2)     Am I continuing my Spiritual Growth as I am instructed to?


Acts 14:21-28 Return to Antioch in Syria
21 They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God,” they said. 23 Paul and Barnabas appointed elders[a] for them in each church and, with prayer and fasting, committed them to the Lord, in whom they had put their trust. 24 After going through Pisidia, they came into Pamphylia,25 and when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia.
26 From Attalia they sailed back to Antioch, where they had been committed to the grace of God for the work they had now completed. 27 On arriving there, they gathered the church together and reported all that God had done through them and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.28 And they stayed there a long time with the disciples.

a.      Paul was left for dead after being stoned in verse 19
i.       Jews who had followed Paul and Barnabas from Antioch and Iconium, persuaded the people, who then dragged Paul outside the city and stoned him, leaving him for dead.

ii.    Why did they stone Paul and not Barnabas? Because they saw Paul as the leader.

iii. The Disciples gathered around Paul, who stood and went back intot he city for the night.

b.     The next day, Paul and Barnabas left for Derbe, lead by the Holy Spirit
i.       Approximately a 40 mile journey

c.      Verse 21 tells us that once there, they preached and taught many
i.       The two steps in relationship with the Lord

ii.    Preaching is for Salvation
a.      Romans 10:14-15 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

b.     This is repeating Isaiah 52:7 “How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”

iii. Teaching is for Spiritual Growth and Maturity
a.      Matthew 28:19-20a19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you...”

b.     Through Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, we see “Jesus began teaching...” of some form of this, multiple times. Teaching is a command by Jesus.

a.      Afterwords they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch

b.     Lead again by the Holy Spirit

c.      There, they confirmed the new converts
i.       Confirmation in the scripture, is simply making sure that the new converts have an understanding of Christ, Salvation and what they are to do next, which is listen to teachings and obey them.

ii.    After this confirmation, it was clear they had a true understanding of Salvation, and were ready for teaching. This was to be done by the elders of the Elders were recognized, and anointed for service in every church. Without Elders/Pastors, the congregation may receive Salvation, but will never grow Spiritually, and may even lose what they once had by walking away from God.

iii. We know that no one can “take” you from the hand of God. Once you are saved, you have salvation, and you do not have to keep "getting" saved...however, the scriptures also warn us, that we can "walk away from" that salvation, essentially turning our back on God.

a.      John 10:28 “And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand.”

b.     The scriptures also warn us, that believers, brothers, can stray, or turn away from God, and when they do, their soul is in danger.

1.      Hebrews 3:12 “See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God.”

2.      James 5:19-20My brothers, if one of you should wander from the truth and someone should bring him back, 20 remember this: Whoever turns a sinner from the error of his way will save his soul from death, and shall hide a multitude of sins.”

iv.   So we see it is essential that teaching take place after salvation, just as Jesus tells us in Matthew 28, so that those who have found the Lord, may stay with the Lord, not falling into sin, and turning away from the living God.     

d.     We see Paul and Barnabas taught again, in Verse 22, “...we must through much tribulation enter the Kingdom of God...”
i.       This is different than most preach today.

ii.    Living for the Lord, brings trials, tribulations and hardships.

iii. However, the scriptures here tell us, that the way to enter the Kingdom of God is through much tribulation.

a.      They then ordained Elders/Pastors in each church
i.       Ordination by man (the Apostles in this case), does not “make” someone an Elder/Pastor, rather, it is a recognition, and acknowledgment by someone who is already ordained, that a certain individual has been educated and is prepared for a calling by God to fulfill their Spiritual Gift as an Elder/Pastor.

ii.    Man cannot “give” Spiritual Gifts, only the Holy Spirit

b.     Paul and Barnabas ordained Elders/Pastors in every church

c.       Then they (Elders/Pastors) were commended to God (for God's blessing on them)

a.      When they returned to the church in Antioch, they shared with the church how God had made a way for the gentiles.

b.     They stayed for approximately two years with this church.

We saw how the path to the Kingdom of God is full of tribulation.

However, we also saw that nothing can stop what God has put into motion.

We saw how Salvation has two parts to it. The Preaching which brings about Salvation, and the Teaching, which causes us to grow Spiritually.

We are instructed to Grow Spiritually after we are saved!

Today's scripture should cause us to examine ourselves, and our lives and ask the all important questions...

1)     Have I allowed tribulation to stop my work (or progress) for the Lord? Has it slowed, or even put a stop to my ministry?

2)     Am I continuing my Spiritual Growth as I am instructed to by hearing the teaching of God's word, and studying His word?

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!

From Acts to Revelation Part 37 – ICONIUM

From Acts to Revelation
Part 37 – ICONIUM
Pastor Bruce A. Shields
House of Faith Church | |


After their first missionary trip to Antioch, Barnabas and Paul head towards Iconium, and then to Lystra and Derbe.

They are met with many Jews and Greeks (Gentiles) who believe the message of Christ, but also in every synagogue, they are also met with opposition from the Jewish leaders.

As long as they are led by the Holy Spirit, they continue to go from town to town preaching the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

As long as they continue to do so, many are saved.

In sharing the Gospel, it can sometimes be like the old western, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly.

The Good – Many are saved and added to the number of the Church.

The Bad – Those who were once in positions of authority, the Jewish leaders, lose their positions, and out of Jealousy, blame the Apostles for the message of Christ.

The Ugly – Time and time again, the jealousy in the Jewish leaders turns to outward sin, and they try to plot and kill the Apostles, just as they did Jesus Christ.


Acts 14:1-20 Iconium
14 At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed. But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the other Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to perform signs and wonders. The people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, others with the apostles. There was a plot afoot among both Gentiles and Jews,together with their leaders, to mistreat them and stone them. But they found out about it and fledto the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding country, where they continued to preach the gospel.

In Lystra and Derbe

In Lystra there sat a man who was lame. He had been that way from birth and had never walked.He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed 10 and called out, “Stand up on your feet!” At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.
11 When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. 13 The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them.
14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: 15 “Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them. 16 In the past, he let all nations go their own way. 17 Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy.” 18 Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them.
19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. 20 But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.


a.      Paul & Barnabas would enter a new town
i.       Then preach at the local Synagogue
ii.    Speaking with both Jew and Gentile

b.     Many believed and were added to the number of the Church
i.       Which is not a building, rather the Body of Christ (Believers)

c.      Sometimes the Apostles would have to show signs and wonders
i.       God allowed the Apostles to do this to prove to the people they were authorized by God to give this message.

ii.    These signs and wonders could not be duplicated

iii. Proving God approved of this message and messengers

d.     The Jewish leaders would then become jealous
i.       With Christ's sacrifice, and the debt of man paid, the Jewish leaders could no longer lord over the people, holding them captive to their debt.

ii.    With Jesus becoming the High Priest, the Jewish leaders were no longer needed, because sacrifice for forgiveness was no longer needed.

iii. This almost always caused jealousy instead of celebration, as it should have been.

e.      The leaders would then plot against the Apostles
i.       The Apostles would discover the plots and have to leave the town

ii.    Going to the next town, where they would repeat the process of preaching the Gospel.

a.      While in Lystra, Paul heals a man who has never walked.

b.     Witnesses believe that Paul and Barnabas are the Greek gods, Zues and Hermes.

c.      The people then gather to offer sacrifices to the Apostles

d.     When the Apostles hear this, they tear their clothes.
i.       This was traditionally, one of the ways to express great agitation
ii.    They were so distraught that they tore their garments

e.      Paul immediately went to the people to reason with them.
i.       Unlike false prophets and teachers who allow the followers to deify them.

a.      Paul goes to the people and tries to reason with them

b.     Jews, who had followed Paul and Barnabas from Antioch, showed up, and won the crowd over

c.      The crowd, in turn, stoned Paul
i.       Thinking he was dead, they dragged his body outside the city.
ii.    But the Disciples gathered around him, and he got up and returned to the city.

d.     The next day, Paul and Barnabas left Lystra for Derbe.

Following the instruction of Jesus, to “go into all the world”, meaning to teach the Gospel message to ALL PEOPLE, regardless of race, color or creed, “baptizing in the Name of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit”, and finally “Teaching them to obey all that I (Christ) commanded you.”, the Apostles were living in obedience to Christ.

Regardless of the treatment they received, they continued to go from town to town sharing the Gospel of Christ with all they met.

Want to learn more about Salvation and Getting Saved?    CLICK HERE!