HIS SERVANTS' MINISTRY
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The Book of ACTS
THEME: First missionary journey of Paul
We come now to the final major division of the Book of Acts. It is the Lord Jesus Christ at work by the Holy Spirit through the apostles to the uttermost part of the earth. This section includes chapters 13-28.
The key to the Book of Acts is the fact that Jesus said, "Ye shall be witnesses unto me" (Acts 1:8). This was not a command to the church as a corporate body but to you and me individually. This witness was to go out to Jerusalem, then to Judea and Samaria, and then to the uttermost part of the Earth. During the Jerusalem period we saw that the Gospel went to the Jews, and the early church was 100 percent Jewish . . . NO Gentiles. During the next period we saw the Gospel go to the Samaritans and we saw the conversion of some Gentiles. Now the Gospel moves out officially on its way to the ends of the Earth.
On its way to the ends of the Earth the Gospel came to my ancestors and to yours. Today you and I are the beneficiaries of the fact that someone went down the road in this world to bring the Gospel to the ends of the Earth. You and I should be in the business of taking the Gospel to some who have not heard. Do any of us really do this? Do we honestly obey our Lord Jesus?
In the surge of the Gospel we find that Paul becomes the dominant leader and Peter disappears from the scene. God had used him mightily. Now it is Paul who is the main one whom God will use.
Paul begins his journey with Barnabas. The first stop is the island of Cyprus, the home of Barnabas. They cross the island, then set sail from Paphos to go over to Perga in Pamphylia. Then they enter the interior of Asia Minor, which is now Turkey, and go into the Galatian country. They visit Antioch, Iconium, Lystra, and Derbe; then they return through Attalia, and then sail back to Antioch.
Barnabas And Paul Sent Out From Antioch (Acts 13:1-5)
Acts 13:1-2 Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 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. (KJV)
As they begin their ministry it is "Barnabas and Saul." It will not be long before Saul's name is changed to Paul. It will be very soon that Paul becomes the leader and the chief spokesman; then this team is called "Paul and Barnabas."
Acts 13:3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away. (KJV)
Barnabas and Saul . . . are now set aside as missionaries and are sent into the world. It was not the church in Jerusalem. The church in Jerusalem was not a missionary church, it was the church in Antioch that had the missionary vision. They fasted and prayed because of their earnestness and their desire for the will of God.
And laid their hands on them . . . this was not an ordination; for the Apostle Paul was not ordained an apostle by man, but by Christ Jesus Himself; who personally appeared to him, and made and ordained him his minister and apostle. This was a gesture and ceremony used by the Jews, when they wished any blessing or happiness to go with the persons. So when Paul and Barnabas separated from their company, those in the church laid their hands on them, wishing them all prosperity and success.
Acts 13:4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. (KJV)
Seleucia was the seaport closest to Antioch, about 15-18 miles away, and near the mouth of the river Orontes, on the bank of which Antioch is situated. Embarking on a trading vessel, they sailed to the port of Salamis, which is at the eastern end of the island of Cyprus in the Mediterranean Sea.
This was the native island of Barnabas. The Gospel had already been proclaimed here with some success among the Jews, and in the city of Salamis, as we learn there was more than one Jewish synagogue.
The important thing is, that they are sent forth by the Holy Spirit. They will be led by the Holy Spirit of God. IF and when a person is chosen by God to do a job, the Holy Spirit always directs their steps. They went down to the seacoast town of Seleucia and sailed from there.
Acts 13:5 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. (KJV)
They had John Mark with them. From the very beginning Paul adopts a method which he followed through his entire ministry. He always used the Jewish synagogue as the springboard from which he preached the Gospel.
Opposition At Paphos (13:6-13)
Acts 13:6 And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus: (KJV)
It seems that their ministry did not have much success at Salamis. At least no record is given of any fruit from their ministry. They cross over the Isle of Cyprus to the far side of the island. In Paphos they encounter occult opposition, through a sorcerer who had a tremendous influence on the Roman deputy, the governor of that island, Sergius Paulus.
Acts 13:7-8 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. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith. (KJV)
This is satanic opposition, so common in today's churches. This man had the governor under his thumb. Sad to say, there are many rulers today who are under the influence of all kinds of cults which is in opposition to the Word of God and in opposition to the Gospel.
Acts 13:9 Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, (KJV)
Here is where Saul's name is changed to Paul. Why was he called Paul? The name Paul means "small or little." Some think that he took that name as an act of humility, that he no longer wanted to bear the proud name of Saul. When, or why, this change occurred in the name, has been a subject on which commentators do not agree. Maybe Saul took the name of the governor, Sergius Paulus, who was his first convert.
Acts 13:10 And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? (KJV)
Paul, unlike Peter, may have been a mild man in some ways, but when he encountered this kind of evil opposition, he denounced it with all that was in him. He KNEW that it was of Satan, and he denounced it. So sad that is not done like that today. Paul jumped all over the sorcerer with sharp, cutting words. Instead, people flock to Harry Potter movies in groves! Movie stars and politicians seek "advice" from fortune tellers . . . witchcraft!
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. (KJV)
Elymas the sorcerer was already in spiritual darkness . . .but, and now he is put into physical darkness as well.
Acts 13:12 Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord. (KJV)
Remember that Paul had the sign gifts of an apostle. When he went to Paphos, he could not ask them to turn to the New Testament. There was NO New Testament for him to preach from or for them to turn to. He couldn't preach from the Epistle to the Romans because he hadn't written it yet. They couldn't turn to the Gospel of John because John hadn't written it yet. So how will they recognize Paul's authority? By the sign gifts. Today, the New Testament is written. We are now given a different way to recognize authority. "If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed" (2 John 1:10). This doctrine is in the Word of God, in the New Testament.
The sorcerer had probably been doing some fancy tricks by the power of Satan. In that day a false prophet could probably heal and perform other miracles by the power of Satan, just like in the time of Moses (Ex.7:10-13). Satan does have power. Please do NOT fall under his evil spell! It is a BIG mistake!
The apostle Paul's authority was from the Lord Jesus Christ . . . GOD! He absolutely dominates the sorcerer by his message of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. Sergius Paulus comes to the light. He has been in spiritual darkness but now believes and is astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.
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. (KJV)
Luke mildly records the fact of John Mark's departure. We will learn later that John Mark actually deserted. He showed a yellow streak and ran home, probably to his mother. Remember that his mother was a prominent member of the church in Jerusalem and that her home was the place of meeting for the church there. When John Mark reached Perga and got a close-up look into the interior of Asia Minor . . . the paganism and the physical dangers and hardships that were there . . . he decided that he hadn't been called as a missionary. He heads in another direction, and that direction . . . home.
Later, Paul refuses to take John Mark on another missionary journey. In fact, Paul and Barnabas finally separate. Paul went one way and Barnabas went another. Paul was wrong about John Mark. God did not throw him overboard because of his failure. Thank God, He does NOT throw us overboard because of our failure either. He gave John Mark another chance. Later on Paul was big enough to admit he had been wrong, and when he was close to his death, he actually asked for John Mark to come to him. "Only Luke is with me. Take Mark, and bring him with thee: for he is profitable to me for the ministry" (2Tim. 4:11). This is the John Mark who wrote the Gospel of Mark. He ended up good. Thank God, that He gives us a second chance!
BUT . . . we are here at the beginning, and John Mark is a failure. He left them and returned to Jerusalem. Meanwhile Paul and Barnabas go into the interior of Asia Minor.
Paul's Sermon At Antioch (Acts 13:14-52)
Acts 13:14-15 But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down. 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. (KJV)
Paul follows his rule of going first to the synagogue. Jews were scattered throughout the Roman Empire, and they established synagogues in the cities in which they had settled. When visitors would come from Jerusalem, since they would want word from the religious center, they would invite the visitor to say something. This always gave a great chance for the apostle Paul, and he certainly took advantage of it here.
The sermon which Paul preached in Antioch of Pisidia is one of the great sermons, yet it is generally passed by today. It is the first recorded sermon of Paul, preached in the synagogue on the Sabbath Day. When they asked Paul whether he would like to say something, you can be sure that he wanted to say something. That was his whole reason for being there.
Acts 13:16 Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said, Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience. (KJV)
From this introduction, it seems that there were some visitors there . . . probably Gentile proselytes. A proselyte is a person newly converted to a religious faith or sect; a convert, a Gentile converted to Judaism
Acts 13:17-20 The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it. 18 And about the time of forty years suffered he their manners in the wilderness. 19 And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Chanaan, he divided their land to them by lot. 20 And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet. (KJV)
Paul does the same thing that Stephen did before the Sanhedrin. He recounts Israel's history as a nation.
Acts 13:21-23 And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years. 22 And when he had removed him, he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will. 23 Of this man's seed hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus: (KJV)
After Paul recounts their history, he will present to them the Person of the Saviour.
Acts 13:24-26 When John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25 And as John fulfilled his course, he said, Whom think ye that I am? I am not he. But, behold, there cometh one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose. 26 Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent. (KJV)
These people must have heard about John the Baptist. Now Paul will get down to business!
Acts 13:27-28 For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them in condemning him. 28 And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain. (KJV)
When Paul reviewed their history, he points out that all this was done as a fulfillment of prophecy. They were fulfilling the prophets at the very same time they were reading them! They read without understanding what they were reading.
Acts 13:29-31 And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. 30 But God raised him from the dead: 31 And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people. (KJV)
You will notice that the core, the heart of every sermon preached in the New Testament, is the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. That is the message. Simon Peter preached it; now Paul the apostle preaches it. There is not the slightest disagreement in the message of these two men. Don't ever think that these two men disagreed. They did not!
Acts 13:32-33 And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, 33 God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee. (KJV)
This Old Testament reference in Psalm 2:7, does NOT refer to the birth of Christ; it refers to the resurrection of Christ. "This day have I begotten thee" . . . NOT begotten in the virgin birth but actually in the resurrection from the dead.
Acts 13:34-35 And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David. 35 Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. (KJV)
Now no more to return to corruption . . . that is, to the grave where death reigns. Rom. 6:9 Knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him. (KJV)
I will give you the sure mercies of David . . . (Isa 55:3). "Mercies" means the blessedness of them, as understanding the whole of the riches of the new covenant; while the word, "sure" points to the certainty with which they would, through David's Seed (Christ Jesus), one day be proven. John 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth. (KJV)
But HOW do these words prove the resurrection of Christ? An eternal kingdom was promised to David, and the Ruler of this kingdom could NOT remain under the power of death. But to strengthen the indefinite prediction by one more definite, the apostle then adds: Psalms 16:10 For thou wilt not leave my soul in hell; neither wilt thou suffer thine Holy One to see corruption. (KJV)
Peter had given the same explanation in Acts 2:27, 30-31. Both apostles denying any possibility of its right reference to David himself.
Acts 13:36 For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: (KJV)
For David, after he had served his own generation . . . the men of that time in which he lived, the subjects of his kingdom whom he governed with righteous laws, protecting them in their rights and properties, defending them against their enemies, and regulating and promoting the worship of God among them.
By the will of God, fell on sleep. . . he died by the decree and counsel of God, which has set bounds to man's life, and has fixed the time of his death. NO man dies before, or lives longer than the time it is the will of God he should. David lived according to the will of God's command, and he died by the will of his decree. Death is expressed by falling asleep; a common way of speaking with the eastern nations.
And was laid unto his fathers . . . he was buried; his sepulchre is said to be in Mount Zion, where the kings of the house of David were buried; and his sepulchre Peter says in (Acts 2:29) remained till his time.
And saw corruption . . . his body putrefied in the grave, became the food for worms, and was reduced to rottenness and dust. So, the words of (Ps.16:10) could not be speaking of Jesus.
Acts 13:37 But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption. (KJV)
But he, whom God raised again . . . meaning the Lord Jesus Christ, who was raised from the dead by God the Father: and saw no corruption. Christ did not lie long enough in the grave as to corrupt and putrefy, but was raised from the dead the third day. So . . . Psalm 16:10 applies to Him, and is a clear proof that the Messiah was to rise from the dead, just as Jesus did.
Acts 13:38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: (KJV)
Be it known unto you, therefore, men and brethren . . . The apostle Paul having spoken concerning the incarnation of Christ, His death and resurrection, now proceeds to show some particular benefits and blessings of grace that come from Him, which are made known to the sons of men in the everlasting Gospel; such as forgiveness of sins through the Blood of Christ, and justification by his righteousness.
When Christ is called a "man", it must not be thought that he is simply a mere man; He is God as well as Man, for NO mere man can forgive sin by his blood, or through his name, or for his sake. It is because Christ Jesus IS God, that there is great value in His precious Blood to take away sin (1 Pet.1:18-19), and cleanse us completely from it (1 John 1:7). It is only through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins . . . ONLY through this glorious and divine Person, who, though he died as Man, and was buried, yet He saw NO corruption, and is now raised from the dead, and is at the right hand of God (Mark 16:19; Luke 22:69; Acts 2:33; 5:30-31; Rom.8:34, etc)
My friend, if Jesus had died, and had not rose again to life, there could have been NO pardon by His Blood, neither any justification by His righteousness (Rom.4:25; 5:1; 1 Cor.1:30).
Acts 13:39 And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses. (KJV)
And by him all that believe are justified from all things . . . because Christ Jesus IS God, He is not only the justifier of His people, who pronounces them righteous in the sight of God; but His righteousness is imputed to them in the matter of their justification. NO one is justified by the works of the law, or obedience to the Gospel, or by being good, or by heritage . . . the grace of faith, but by His righteousness (1 Cor.1:30). Only Jesus can justify us in the eyes of God (John 14:6; Acts 4:10-12). His justification is complete and perfect, for it is from ALL sin, original and actual, hidden and open, big or little, sins of omission or commission, etc. From all sin we are justified of God, because of our belief and trust in Jesus (John 3:15-18,36)! For it is God that justifies (Rom. 8:33-34), for it against Him and Him alone that we sin (Ps.51:4)!
From which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses . . . we can NEVER be justified by the works of the law, or by obedience to it, because any such obedience is imperfect; so the law cannot justify, discharge or acquit, but instead must curse and condemn.
If righteousness was granted to us by the law . . . the grace of God in justification would be worthless and the death of Christ would be null and void . Boasting would be rampant (Eph.2:8-9) . . . for all these are contrary to the plan of the Gospel (Rom.4:4-5; 11:6; Gal.5:4; Eph.2:8-9)
Are justified . . . are regarded and treated as if they were righteous. They are pardoned, and admitted to the favor of God, and treated as pardoned sinners, as if they had not offended (Rom.1:17; 3:24-25; 4:25; 5:1).
David could NOT be the subject of his own prediction, which would have its proper fulfillment in the resurrection of the uncorrupted Body of the Son of God, emphatically God's "Holy One" (Ps.16:10).
Paul explains the great importance of the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is actually asking them to make a decision to believe on the Lord Jesus and be saved!
Acts 13:40 Beware therefore, lest that come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; (KJV)
He cautions these Jews, so the same thing threatened by the prophets (Isa.28:14; Hab.1:5) to their fathers come also upon them; for sin is just as hateful to God as it ever was, and God is very jealous of His honor, of which sin robs Him.
Beware therefore . . . of rejecting the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and the Truths in it; because forgiveness of sin and justification can be had in NO other way, ONLY in and through Christ (John 14:6; Acts 4:10-12). Take heed therefore, those of you in today's world who believe that there is salvation in every religion! IF yo believe this, you are WRONG!
Acts 13:41 Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you. (KJV)
Ye despisers . . . scorners, despisers, for which cause, in Hab.1:5, they are commanded to consider the heathen, for they had despised His Word.
A work in your days; this work was a work of God's just revenge on them then, by the Chaldeans; but threatened to come on these (without repentance) by the Romans.
Which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you . . . the proud and haughty Jews are there spoke to, who neglected and despised the law; and who were very willing to despise the Gospel. It follows, "and wonder, and perish" . . . Habakkuk, refers to the destruction of the city and temple of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans; and here it is suggested, that in a short time a like work would be done in their days; the city and temple of Jerusalem would be destroyed by the Romans, which when told to the Jews in foreign parts, as here in Pisidia, would not be believed by them, though it should be told them by men of honor and credit.
Beware therefore. The sermon closes with a warning of the danger of rejecting Christ. This goes for today too! Habakkuk 1:5 Behold ye among the heathen, and regard, and wonder marvellously: for I will work a work in your days, which ye will not believe, though it be told you. (KJV) . . . Habakkuk's words referred mainly to the invasion of the Chaldeans, but reached FAR beyond to a much greater punishment for the greater sin of rejecting Christ. Only a few years after Paul quoted this at Antioch “the despisers wondered and perished” in the awful calamity of the Jewish nation, brought on by refusing the Saviour.
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. (KJV)
And when the Jews left the synagogue, the Gentiles asked that the same words might be preached to them the next sabbath. They followed Paul and Barnabas (Acts 12:25; 13:7; 14:14).
Acts 13:43-44 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. (KJV)
There must have been a lot of talk about Paul's message, because the next Sabbath Day almost the entire city was there to hear Paul preach.
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. (KJV)
This time there was a big commotion because the leading religious rulers of the synagogue opposed Paul and Barnabas.
Acts 13:46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles. (KJV)
Waxed bold . . . were not afraid of the reproaches and blasphemies with which they met. They were not at all daunted at the opposition with which they met, but instead grew ever more courageous and bold, speaking out freely, plainly and openly the Truth!
It was necessary . . . there was a need that the Word of God should be first preached to the Jews: #1. Because Christ was promised to the children and heirs of their ancestors. #2. Because that is what Christ commanded (Mat.10:5-6; Luke 24:47; Acts 1:8). and #3. Because Christ Himself did it that way, declaring that He was not sent but to the lost sheep of the house of Israel (Mat.15:24).
And judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life . . . by their contradictions and blasphemy against the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Jews show clearly that they are unworthy of everlasting life . . . just as if a judge had determined so, or passed such a sentence upon them, because they put the Truth far from them with loathing, indignation and contempt.
Lo, we turn to the Gentiles . . . to preach the Gospel to them, so the words of Christ began to be fulfilled (Mat.21:43).
Acts 13:47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth. (KJV)
Because the prophecy in Isaiah 49:6 must be fulfilled, Paul assumes correctly, that they were commanded to preach Christ to the Gentiles; for how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? (Rom.10:14).
I have set thee to be a light . . . all knowledge is ignorance, and all light is darkness, without Christ!
Acts 13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. (KJV)
When the Gentiles heard this they were glad . . . there can be NO true rest or peace in any to whom Christ is not manifested. We can only have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ (Rom.5:1), for the kingdom of God is peace and joy in the Holy Ghost (Rom.14:17).
Glorified the word of the Lord . . . the Gentiles magnified the goodness of God, which they clearly saw in the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
As many as were ordained to eternal life, believed . . . faith is not the cause or condition of eternal life, it is the means . . . faith is a channel from Jesus to a believer, and is a fruit and effect of it, and all that certainly follows. Eternal life graciously works faith in them whom God has appointed to eternal life; and without faith, there is NO hope of eternal life! (1 John 5:11-13).
Acts 13:49 And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region. (KJV)
The Word of the Lord was spread throughout all the region of Pisidia, where Antioch was; not by the Apostles Paul and Barnabas, who seemingly go directly to Iconium, after they were expelled the city and suburbs of Antioch. It was spread by those who were converted under their ministry, and had gifts bestowed on them, qualifying them to preach the Gospel to others, which they must have done with great success. There were several churches planted in this country, and particularly there at Antioch, of which these new converts were the beginning, and which continued.
The recurring pattern from day one . . . the Gospel is preached to the Jews first; they reject it; so they turn to the Gentiles with the good news.
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. (KJV)
The devout . . . are those who had given up idolatry of their country and ancestors, and acknowledged the true God, the Maker of Heaven and Earth.
Honourable women . . . good reputation; women that were earnest in what ever they did, and of good manners. They were persons of distinction, probably wealthy, of good families; whose husbands were the principal men of the city. It was these women that the Jews stirred up . . . so they might work on their husbands.
The chief men of the city . . . in some cities there were just 5, in some 10, in others 20, in whose hands the government of the city was ordinarily put, depending upon the size of the city. These Jewish persecutors knew what an influence their authority had, and tried their best to cause trouble for Paul and Barnabas. Great persecution against Paul and Barnabas was raised by a mob, and expelled them out of their coasts. Paul and Barnabas were run out of town.
Acts 13:51 But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium. (KJV)
But they shook off the dust of their feet against them . . . just as Christ had told His apostles to do (Mat.10:14; Mark 6:11; Luke 9:5). So often is it mentioned, and so great a matter it is for us to consider and dread, the punishment appointed for those who refuse the Gospel, having nothing but contempt for the salvation offered by it. The vilest sinners by God shall be dealt with accordingly. And came unto Iconium . . . a city in Lycaonia (Acts 14:1).
Acts 13:52 And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost. (KJV)
Do you see the condition of those who were converted? They were filled with joy, and they were filled with the Holy Ghost. That is the condition of ALL who believe God (1 John 5:11-13) and trust an accept Christ as their Saviour and Lord (John 1:12-13; 3:1-8,36; 5:24; 8:24).
Book of Acts
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