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Faithlife

Acts Ch14

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Acts 14 ESV
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. 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. 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, said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking. 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!” Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 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. But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, “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. In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. 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.” Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them. 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. 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. When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 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. 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. Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia, and from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled. And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. And they remained no little time with the disciples.

Proposition Statement

Perseverance & success in ministry through trials is made possible by staying captivated by the gospel.

Introduction

Quick Recap:
Paul’s first mission trip
The church has grown in maturity - recognized their calling () - intentional witnessing
At first God had to nudge them out by persecution
Now they are taking the initiative
The mature church is not a church that has been around for a long time - but one that recognizes they are on mission
(there are few things more awkward than seeing an adult behave like a 3 yr old)
That shift in mindset sees the church in Antioch send Paul and Barnabas on their first trip
Seleuca —> Cyprus —> Perga —> Pisidian Antioch
So far we have seen certain common features that continue into the 2nd half of the trip:
Always preached in the synagogues first, then to Gentiles
Mixed responses
some followed
others persecuted them
Persecution, difficulty and suffering are a common thread throughout the trip
The Jews stirred up the crowds against them in Pisidian Antioch
Wasn’t long before the same thing was happening in Iconium
It led to Paul being stoned
“The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” ............. And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”
Luke 9:22-
Luke 9:22–24 ESV
saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.
Luke 9 ESV
And he called the twelve together and gave them power and authority over all demons and to cure diseases, and he sent them out to proclaim the kingdom of God and to heal. And he said to them, “Take nothing for your journey, no staff, nor bag, nor bread, nor money; and do not have two tunics. And whatever house you enter, stay there, and from there depart. And wherever they do not receive you, when you leave that town shake off the dust from your feet as a testimony against them.” And they departed and went through the villages, preaching the gospel and healing everywhere. Now Herod the tetrarch heard about all that was happening, and he was perplexed, because it was said by some that John had been raised from the dead, by some that Elijah had appeared, and by others that one of the prophets of old had risen. Herod said, “John I beheaded, but who is this about whom I hear such things?” And he sought to see him. On their return the apostles told him all that they had done. And he took them and withdrew apart to a town called Bethsaida. When the crowds learned it, they followed him, and he welcomed them and spoke to them of the kingdom of God and cured those who had need of healing. Now the day began to wear away, and the twelve came and said to him, “Send the crowd away to go into the surrounding villages and countryside to find lodging and get provisions, for we are here in a desolate place.” But he said to them, “You give them something to eat.” They said, “We have no more than five loaves and two fish—unless we are to go and buy food for all these people.” For there were about five thousand men. And he said to his disciples, “Have them sit down in groups of about fifty each.” And they did so, and had them all sit down. And taking the five loaves and the two fish, he looked up to heaven and said a blessing over them. Then he broke the loaves and gave them to the disciples to set before the crowd. And they all ate and were satisfied. And what was left over was picked up, twelve baskets of broken pieces. Now it happened that as he was praying alone, the disciples were with him. And he asked them, “Who do the crowds say that I am?” And they answered, “John the Baptist. But others say, Elijah, and others, that one of the prophets of old has risen.” Then he said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” And Peter answered, “The Christ of God.” And he strictly charged and commanded them to tell this to no one, saying, “The Son of Man must suffer many things and be rejected by the elders and chief priests and scribes, and be killed, and on the third day be raised.” And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself? For whoever is ashamed of me and of my words, of him will the Son of Man be ashamed when he comes in his glory and the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. But I tell you truly, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see the kingdom of God.” Now about eight days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. And as he was praying, the appearance of his face was altered, and his clothing became dazzling white. And behold, two men were talking with him, Moses and Elijah, who appeared in glory and spoke of his departure, which he was about to accomplish at Jerusalem. Now Peter and those who were with him were heavy with sleep, but when they became fully awake they saw his glory and the two men who stood with him. And as the men were parting from him, Peter said to Jesus, “Master, it is good that we are here. Let us make three tents, one for you and one for Moses and one for Elijah”—not knowing what he said. As he was saying these things, a cloud came and overshadowed them, and they were afraid as they entered the cloud. And a voice came out of the cloud, saying, “This is my Son, my Chosen One; listen to him!” And when the voice had spoken, Jesus was found alone. And they kept silent and told no one in those days anything of what they had seen. On the next day, when they had come down from the mountain, a great crowd met him. And behold, a man from the crowd cried out, “Teacher, I beg you to look at my son, for he is my only child. And behold, a spirit seizes him, and he suddenly cries out. It convulses him so that he foams at the mouth, and shatters him, and will hardly leave him. And I begged your disciples to cast it out, but they could not.” Jesus answered, “O faithless and twisted generation, how long am I to be with you and bear with you? Bring your son here.” While he was coming, the demon threw him to the ground and convulsed him. But Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit and healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. And all were astonished at the majesty of God. But while they were all marveling at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, “Let these words sink into your ears: The Son of Man is about to be delivered into the hands of men.” But they did not understand this saying, and it was concealed from them, so that they might not perceive it. And they were afraid to ask him about this saying. An argument arose among them as to which of them was the greatest. But Jesus, knowing the reasoning of their hearts, took a child and put him by his side and said to them, “Whoever receives this child in my name receives me, and whoever receives me receives him who sent me. For he who is least among you all is the one who is great.” John answered, “Master, we saw someone casting out demons in your name, and we tried to stop him, because he does not follow with us.” But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him, for the one who is not against you is for you.” When the days drew near for him to be taken up, he set his face to go to Jerusalem. And he sent messengers ahead of him, who went and entered a village of the Samaritans, to make preparations for him. But the people did not receive him, because his face was set toward Jerusalem. And when his disciples James and John saw it, they said, “Lord, do you want us to tell fire to come down from heaven and consume them?” But he turned and rebuked them. And they went on to another village. As they were going along the road, someone said to him, “I will follow you wherever you go.” And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” To another he said, “Follow me.” But he said, “Lord, let me first go and bury my father.” And Jesus said to him, “Leave the dead to bury their own dead. But as for you, go and proclaim the kingdom of God.” Yet another said, “I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home.” Jesus said to him, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.”
You can’t have a crown if you are not willing to take up your cross.
No cross, no crown!
This part of Paul’s mission trip is no different from the first - he knows he must face more trials - but he perseveres.
He persists with a dogged determination to see his mission through, come what may
As I think of all the trials and difficulty we are facing as a church, I can’t help but ask how does Paul maintain such a strong determination to persevere when things are so difficult?
We don’t have it as bad as Paul..... but
We are up against it
without a full time pastor
helpers in ministries are few
preachers are few
helpers for ministries are few
Those who are working in ministries are tired and stretched
Because of all this it feels like this church is in real trouble
and whats worse… opportunities for witnessing in our community and for discipleship are going begging
When it feels like our backs are against the wall, how can we find the motivation to keep going....
.... to keep daily taking up our cross and persevering with a dogged determination, against the tide, uphill and into the wind (so to speak)?
Let’s pick up the story with Paul and Barnabas entering Iconium

1. Trouble in Iconium

;
Paul and Barnabas have just entered Iconium after being banished from the region of Pisidian Antioch
Here we see they follow the same strategy as before - the first thing they do is go and speak in the synagogue
And there’s immediate success...
“they 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.
You can take it as a guarantee - wherever the mission goes and wherever the fields are white for harvest… Satan will be there at work to oppose all our work
Christ’s mission is to save for himself a people of every tribe, language, people and nation.
That is the whole theme of Acts - it is the continuing Acts of Jesus in this world to fulfill His purposes
And we are privileged to be included and involved by Him in His mission - we get to take part
But Satan has made it his mission to oppose Christ and his church at every opportunity
We have seen it all already in Acts
the martyrdom of Stephen
the subsequent persecution of the Christians in Jerusalem
Persecution of the apostles and opposition to their message by Jews from the synagogues
even false prophets like the magician in Cyprus in
But what else have we seen?
In spite of every attack, every blow, every attempt to stop the mission - the gospel continues to spread… the church continues to grow
Jesus is building His church
“And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.”
So what do Paul and Barnabas do when they are faced with this opposition? Do they run?
Matthew 16:18 ESV
And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
Do they fold when the going gets tough?
Now that they’ve once again been pulled out of their comfort zone, and danger is knocking down the door, do they high tail it out of there?
Verse 3 “So they remained for a long time...”
Are Paul and Barnabas just dumb?
Suckers for punishment?
Are they just extraordinarily resilient and thick skinned?
Do they just not have any fear? Do they have some sort of special courage that we lack?
This is one of the top reasons people give for why they aren’t serving in the mission field or witnessing for Christ...
“I just don’t have the kind of courage that others have”
“I’m not that bold”
“I’m too sensitive and thin skinned to be able to deal with rejection”
Do you not think that Paul and Barnabas had similar emotions?
They had been beaten and persecuted already
Don’t you think they would have felt fear and anxiety when the population started to turn against them?
They weren’t gods - they were human beings
But you see - the Jews weren’t only poisoning everyone’s minds against Paul and Barnabas… but (verse 2) against the brothers.
Against all the Christians -
In the face of fierce opposition and threat, Paul and Barnabas stay for the sake of the Christians - especially those brand new believers Luke mentions in verse 1
The new Christians needed them.
Their church brothers and sisters needed them
So for their sake and for the sake of the Church, Paul and Barnabas pick up their cross, and stay...
… tenacious and persistent, persevering through trial and difficulty....
… speaking boldly for the Lord....
… who… verse 3 says...
“… bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.”
God granted signs and miracles to be performed in order to confirm that the message that the apostles were teaching was true - and that is the word of His grace
That is what was making the Jews so angry
The Jews maintained a religion that was void of grace
It was all rules and rituals … works and qualifications
You want to go to paradise, you had to earn it!
You had to qualify!
To the self-righteous person who sees himself as already good and qualified… the message of grace to sinners is so scandalous and radical that they hate it
…make the sacrifices...
… observe all the laws
They can’t bear the thought that God would give mercy and grace to a sinner - even a Gentile sinner - its an outrage
So the whole city was divided - some were siding with the Jews, and some were siding with the apostles
Are you
That’s what the gospel does. The gospel divides.
And those who were on the Jews side were so angry with the apostles, that even though God was performing miracles among them....
… they still didn’t believe the message of good news...
It draws a
… and were prepared to risk being punished by the Roman authorities themselves in order to put a stop to it
They tried to stone the apostles - the primary Jewish method of punishing a blasphemer...
… even though this is a Roman province under Roman rule and this kind of public violence would not have been tolerated by the authorities.
What do the disciples do?
Stay and face the stoning, come what may?
No - they’re persistent, but they’re not stupid.
They flee - they leave Iconium and go to the cities of Lystra and Derbe
Does that mean they gave up?
When we’ve suffered, or been hurt, or threatened, or rejected, we might feel tempted to quit...
Man
… to say that maybe this is not my calling, I’m just not cut out for this
but the apostles don’t use this threat of stoning as an excuse to give up on their mission....
With wisdom in the circumstances they decided it was best to live to preach another day and they withdrew to surrounding cities...
but they didn’t give up...
verse 7… they continued to preach

2. Trouble in Lystra

Now we come to Lystra and we see that God is still confirming the truth of the gospel message that Paul is preaching by performing miracles
Acts 14:3 ESV
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.
Paul is preaching and he notices a crippled man listening very attentively to him
Something about this man convinced Paul that he believed what he was preaching and had faith...
… so Paul tells him to get up and walk
And the man sprang up and walked
A vivid illustration of the gospel of grace that Paul was preaching and that the Jews hated
Why was the man healed?
Was it because of some virtue that he had that others didn’t have?
Did he do something to earn or to qualify for healing?
There’s only one reason given for his healing - verse 9 - he had faith to be made well
And this is the message of good news that Paul is preaching to the Gentiles...
…you cannot earn your way into paradise and there is nobody who can qualify out of their own righteousness or works...
but only faith alone in Jesus Christ can make you well
When this man… who everyone knows has been cripple from birth, jumps up and walks...
… the crowds start going nuts.
They start shouting that the gods have come to visit in the form of men...
They believe that Barnabas, being the more physically impressive of the 2, is Zeus
… and they believe that Barnabas, being the more physically impressive of the 2, is Zeus
.. and Paul, being the chief speaker, is Hermes.
In Roman and Greek mythology, the god Hermes was said to accompany Zeus on his journeys
And a well known story in these parts was a story of a time when Zeus and Hermes had apparently visited this town, but nobody would give them shelter
Only one old couple took them into their house for the night
Because nobody would take them in, the gods destroyed every house in the city except for the house of the old couple.
So out of fear of what happened before, the crowds are eager to worship Zeus and Hermes...
…and the priest of Zeus organises some animals to be sacrificed to Paul and Barnabas who they think are the gods.
Luke mentions that they were shouting in Lycaonian, a language that Paul and Barnabas didn’t understand - which explains why at first Paul and Barnabas don’t know what is going on
But… verse 14… when Paul and Barnabas realise whats up… they tear their clothes (a common reaction to blasphemy) and rush to put a stop to it
Verse 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”
Acts 14:14
We didn’t come here to be worshipped - we are not gods but men like you!
Acts 14:15 ESV
“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.
We came to bring you GOOD NEWS
You don’t have to perform all these rituals and sacrifices
You don’t have to do all these works and things that are all in vain
You don’t have to spend your life trying to qualify for God to like you...
… or to keep God in a good mood
In fact you cannot qualify
Paul then begins to tell them the Good News and he does so by including two points that absolutely must feature in every gospel presentation...
… whether trying to get 1st century Greeks to stop their idolatry in worshipping false gods,.....
....or trying to convince 21st century men and women to turn from their idolatry and worship of everything from money, to sex, fame, and selfies
And those two things are:
Repentance and faith
“turn from these vain things” —> that’s repentance
“turn to the living God” —> that’s faith
Those are the two truths that must be part of our gospel invitation - if you leave one out, you have not preached the gospel
Faith in God without repentance is not saving faith
In , James says so what if you say you believe in God - the demons believe in God too.
But genuine faith requires a genuine repentance - a remorse over sin, a turning away from sin and vanity and a desire to instead live in and grow in holiness
But genuine faith requires a genuine repentance - a turning away from
At the same time, repentance without someone to put your faith in is just as deadly and useless
You can feel as much remorse over your sin as you want...
but unless you believe that Jesus Christ died and rose again so that whoever believes in Him shall have eternal life, you are still in very real trouble
There are many religions that preach repentance from doing evil… but none can give any hope of salvation
There are some fire and brimstone preachers out there who are very thorough at convincing people that they are evil and deserve God’s judgement...
… and that they need to repent - turn or burn!
but until you’ve given them the good news of what Jesus Christ achieved on the cross for all who believe, you haven’t preached the gospel.
The gospel is not a threat, its GOOD NEWS
You gotta tell them the good news about who God is and what He has done
And that is what Paul does now
Having called them to repent and to turn to God in faith, he gives them 4 qualities of God:
He is the LIVING God
He is not some myth you heard about or some figment of your imagination
He is a real, living God
He is alive and active in the world
He is the Creator
He made everything in the heavens and on the earth and in the sea and everything in them
Paul could have pointed back to the Old Testament here and the fulfillment of what the prophets taught...
…but these are Gentiles who have never heard of the Old Testament prophets
So instead Paul points to something that everybody knows and can see -
he points to creation and says God is the one who created it all
He is sovereign
In past generations (that is, before Jesus), He allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways
In God’s perfect wisdom and in love He chose Israel to be His chosen people and He allowed the other nations to live as they pleased...
… BUT, verse 17, yet he holds them accountable - because he didn’t leave himself without a witness
there is enough evidence of God and His power and authority in creation and nature so that nobody has an excuse
not only that but...
God is benevolent - He is kind and good to all people
doing good to all by giving to all rain...
fruitful seasons,
satisfying hearts with food and gladness
Paul is trying to convince these people to turn from their vain idolatry and to turn to the living God who is all powerful and good,
.... who is able and willing to save and give everlasting joy
But… even after everything Paul says… he was hardly able to stop them from offering sacrifice to him and Barnabas

3. Stoning in Lystra

But just then, those Jews who had banished Paul from Pisidian Antioch, as well as the Jews who tried to stone him in Iconium, rocked up on the scene
They managed to persuade the crowds and turn them against Paul
What a fickle crowd
The same Greeks who had just offered sacrifices to Paul and Barnabas in worship, now pick up rocks to stone Paul to death
A mission trip that started out with joy from Antioch, now seemingly ends with Paul lying in a pool of blood, left for dead outside of the city
Here is fulfillment in part of what Jesus said in when he told Annanias that Paul...
Sometimes working in ministry can be like that
“...is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”
Acts 9:15–16 ESV
But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen instrument of mine to carry my name before the Gentiles and kings and the children of Israel. For I will show him how much he must suffer for the sake of my name.”
This event is also likely what Paul refers to in when he lists all of his sufferings and stoning was one of them
Some days it feels like everything is going great and you’ve got everyone’s support
And it is what he refers to in where he says ...
“You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra”
2 Timothy 3:10–11 ESV
You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me.
This was Paul’s cross
This was just the beginning of it. He would go on to suffer many things
beatings
imprisonment
danger from natural causes, from robbers, from false brothers
hardship
hunger
thirst
cold
exposure
This was Paul’s cross
Now he is lying nearly dead outside the city of Lystra
And then he does something strange...
verse 20 - "he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 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.”
Acts 14:20–22 ESV
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. When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 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.
Acts
What incredible courage!
What determination and persistence!
Acts
Many of us would struggle to show up at all after a little argument or disagreement with someone over some secondary, unimportant issue
We are so quick to give up when the going gets tough
To stay in our comfort zones where everything is easy and we won’t have to give up time that we could have spent watching TV
But Paul has just been stoned almost to death, and on the same day he gets back up and goes back into the city
and the very next day he is in Derbe, preaching and making disciples
and then on to Lystra again and Iconium and to Antioch - all places where he could lose his life…
can you handle it… to strengthen and encourage the other Christians there to continue in the faith
HOW????
How can Paul be so persistent in the face of such violent persecution?
How does he stay so determined to see his mission and his calling through… even when everywhere he is opposed and has to endure hardship upon hardship?
How can we, like Paul, take up our cross and persist and persevere through vast difficulties in ministry?
How can we have the same kind of determination to fight through the hardships and see our mission through?
Is it just self-discipline?
Is it just a determination to succeed that some have and some don’t?
Is it just a case of forcing yourself to put your head down and get on with it?
Is that all I can send you away with today? Just get on with it?
How does Paul stay so focused and persistent in fulfilling his mission?
The answer to that question is woven through the whole chapter - I wonder if you saw it?
Verse 7 - they continued to preach....what? ....to preach the gospel
Verse 15 - we bring you good news
“If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it.”
You can’t have a crown if you are not willing to take up your cross.
No cross, no crown!
Verse 21 - they preached the gospel
What is it that drove Paul and motivated him to persevere through every trial and hardship?
It was the gospel!
Paul was captivated by the gospel - both by what it meant for him, AND what it meant for others
After having had that encounter with Jesus on the Damascus road, Paul could never be the same again
He now knew who Jesus is - He is the Lord!
And he knew what Jesus had done for him - he died for the forgiveness of his sins and was raised to life for his justification and salvation
Believing these things to be true, Paul knew that Jesus saved him from the wrath that he deserved
That changed everything for Paul, and he was never the same again
Paul was then so captivated with affection and love for God that he was driven by it to persevere against all odds in order to bring this message of good news to others
the next its like everyone’s working against you
The gospel is his motivation
Nothing else could have sustained him through all those hardships and motivated him to keep standing back up and marching forward
And then look at the results....
Having been stoned in Lystra and left for dead outside the city… who is it that picks him up?
Verse 20 - “But the disciples gathered him...”
These were converts!
Paul’s ministry was bearing fruit
The mission is accomplished through great cost
Among those converts?
A lady named Lois, her daughter Unis, and her grandson.... Timothy
A young man who would become Paul’s closest companion in the gospel mission
Jesus’ suffering on the cross was the cost of their salvation. Paul’s suffering was the cost of proclaiming it.
Are you still captivated by the gospel?
If the work of mission and reaching the lost seems too costly...
or if we are too easily ready to quit when the going gets tough...
it is because our affections for Jesus have grown cold...
… and affections for other things have taken preference.
Endurance in ministry and persistence in the mission we have all been called to is the result of being constantly captivated by the gospel
That is why week after week all I want to give you is the gospel
I could give you any one of a million commandments to follow each sunday, but won’t do you any good
You need the gospel - you need to hear it every day - you need to be captivated by it every day
I don’t want this church to be family centered...
people centered...
children centered...
youth centered...
music centered...
theology centered...
baptist centered...
We need to be a gospel centered church
We need to have a preoccupation with the gospel -
because a preoccupation with anything else will just distract us from our mission!
And it will hold us back from experiencing joy
In closing...
Look, we as a church, just like almost every other church… have a tough task ahead of us
Mission is always costly

Outline

But you can’t have a crown if you are not willing to take up your cross.
Intro
If I were to ask each of you individually to describe what your cross looks like, and what the mission is costing you, could you tell me?
Or have your affections for Jesus and the gospel grown cold?
The Son of Man must suffer many things...
The church all over the world is suffering for the sake of the mission - more so in some places than others...
whoever loses their life for me will save it
no cross no crown
Distinguishing feature of the first intentional missionary movement?
Persistence by prudent determination
Paul and Barnabas banished from region in ch13
Now in Iconium - same strategy
Immediate success…but the Jews
counter evangelism
Do they run?… they would have still felt nervous... “So they remained for a long time”
The new Christians need them (the brothers- verse 2)
Tenacious, speaking boldly for the Lord
The word of his grace - this is why the Jews are angry
the idea that we must qualify
Grace is so radical - either love or hate it
stop at nothing to get rid of it
Verse 4 - they were divided
The gospel divides - if the gospel is uniting lost and found together, youve lost the gospel
hate so much prepared to face potential punishment for their actions
Paul and Barnabas hear of it - they go - persistent but prudent
But… they dont use it as an excuse to give up - verse 7 - they continued to preach
Heading 2
in fear frm what happened before, they try to worship Zeus
we bring good news - no more works
two aspects that must be in the gospel:
repentance (turn from… verse 15)
faith (turn to)
turn to the LIVING GOD
Living God
not myth, not a figment of imagination
But we take up our cross for no other reason than that we already have the promise of a crown
That promise is what motivates us to keep picking up that cross
Stay captivated by the gospel. Keep your eyes fixed on Jesus!
Are you fixing your eyes on Jesus?
because that is the only way to persist against all trials and see our mission through
Creator
Sovereign
he allowed nations to walk in the same way
v17 yet they holds them accountable - none have an excuse - he did not leave himself without witness
Kindness & goodness
rain, food, seasons
Turn from all this worthless stuff and turn to this God
Heading 3
v20 - there were converts!
among them Lois, daughter Unis, grandson Timothy
Paul’s suffering was the price of proclaiming , the cost of mission
Mission is only achieved by immitating Jesus’ suffering
The courage of Paul and Barnabas in going back
Left the next day
Persists by prudent determination
how? just determination?
v7 - they continued to preach...............the gospel
v15 we are bringing you good news
v21 they preached the gospel
Paul was captivated by the gospel!!!!!!! and everything it means
We stop or don’t start because our affections for Jesus become cold
Affections for other things have taken over
endurance is the byproduct of affection
Be preoccupied rather with the gospel
Joy being derived from the gospel , not camping, music, etc
not in ministry because how it blesses me - but for the gospel
Keep yurself captivated by the gospel, and you will persist!
I
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