“Lessons from Acts 14”
Acts 14 records the last part of Paul’s first missionary journey. Paul traveled with Barnabas preaching the gospel of Jesus at the following locations: Iconium, Lystra, Derbe, Antioch (Turkey), Pisidia, Pamphylia, Perga, Attalia, and Antioch of Syria. The first journey began in Acts 13:1. By the time Paul completed the journey at the end of chapter 14, he had travelled approximately 1400 miles.
Some key observations:
- Despite intense persecution, Paul and Barnabas continued to preach the gospel and the gospel continued to convert souls to Christ. Paul and Barnabas were forced to flee Iconium due to the risk of stoning (vs.5). Paul was stoned in Lsytra to the verge of death (vs.19). But Paul and Barnabas kept sowing the seed (note vs.7 - they kept preaching) and it kept bearing fruit. People were ready to hear the gospel when it was preached. Paul and Barnabas remained courageous and convicted to share the gospel. No social opposition, no active persecution, no popular opinion will defeat the good news of Jesus Christ.
- Paul and Barnabas performed miracles to confirm the message. Note the extraordinary nature of the signs and wonders (vs.3,10). There was no ambiguity or doubt that miracles had occurred - God’s power was displayed with clarity and certainty. The crowds in Lystra were so astounded by the healing of the lame man that they attempted to offer worship to Paul and Barnabas (vs.11-12). Note the response of Paul and Barnabas in vs.14ff - the glory went to God, the Creator of all things. Beware of preachers who seek glory for themselves - the focus should be the message of the gospel, not the glory of the messenger.
- Paul and Barnabas returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch to strengthen the faith of believers. Note vs.22 - Paul and Barnabas encouraged them to continue in the faith and stand ready to overcome tribulation. This text provides an important insight to the organization of a local congregation - vs.23 states that elders were appointed in the churches Paul and Barnabas visited. This text and other NT references stress the importance of “elders” instead of “elder” - at least two or more men who meet the qualifications (1 Tim.3; Tit.1) to oversee the work of a local congregation.
- Paul and Barnabas returned to Antioch of Syria to provide a full report of the first missionary journey (see 13:1-2). God was given the glory for work performed and the spread of the gospel. -Charlie Ellis