-The missionary journey continued on now to Iconium, where proclamation was made in a way that brought many to faith in Jesus Christ, both Jews and Greeks. However, the Jews who did not believe stirred up the minds of the Gentiles and they became bitter toward the believers. There was a long period here in Iconium to speak out in the Name of Christ and there was boldness with reliance upon the Lord and His grace. There were also many signs and wonders being done by the disciples as the Holy Spirit gave them power to accomplish His will. In time they were driven out of the city by a plot to mistreat and stone them and they dispersed to Lystra, Derbe, Lycaonia, and the surrounding region.
-In Lystra, a man lame from birth was healed as Paul noticed him and his faith to be made well. *Application* Here is another faith healing in the same dispensation in which we find ourselves living today. Do you believe in the power of God for miracles of this nature? Notice that there was a recognition of faith and a command given which preceded this wonder. Notice that the lame man had the faith to heal his condition. Notice that Paul and Barnabas were quick to give proper recognition to the Lord for this miracle and used it to attempt to lead people to Christ. The glory only belongs to the Lord! He is the One who gives the power to heal!
-Again the crowds were stirred up by Jews that came from Antioch and Iconium and this time Paul was dragged out of the city and stoned, left for dead. But while the disciples stood around him, probably praying, he came back to and got up and re-entered the city. It did not take them long to head for another town in this threatening environment.
-The next day Paul and Barnabas went to Derbe. In this city there was more preaching, believing, and many disciples were made. After these things the missionaries returned to Lysta, Iconium, and Pisidian Antioch strengthening to souls of the disciples and encouraging them to continue in their faith. The message was clear enough, “Through many tribulations we must enter the Kingdom of God (Acts 14:22).” Here in these new places, elders were appointed to oversee the newly established churches and they were commended to the Lord with prayers and fasting. *Application* Here we see the Biblical method of planting churches in new areas. First, there is proclamation and believing by lost people. As they come to Christ and are saved they are to be strengthened and encouraged in the Christian walk. There comes a time when leaders are called and chosen to have oversight in the work of the church for the continuation of it (for more detailed description of qualifications see 1 & 2 Timothy and the book of Titus, these are called the pastoral epistles). These should be appointed after careful consideration with much prayer and fasting by the apostles (church planters). Finally the commendation is given and they are given authority to labor in the field in which the Lord has placed them. There should be a unity, partnership, and accountability in all these matters under the direction of the Lord in whom we have believed (Acts 14:23).
-At this point Barnabas and Paul make their way back toward the southern coast and preach in Perga and Attalia. From there they sailed eastward back to Antioch, where they started from, and reported all that the Lord had done with them in opening the door of faith to the Gentiles. Here they spent a long time with the disciples. *Application* One of the best things in the life of a church is to hear testimonies of what God is doing, particularly after mission trips like what we’ve just read about. Take the time to share the great things God is doing on your adventures into lost and dying areas spiritually speaking. This will encourage those who were not able to go. They many times are the ones who have been the prayer supporters as well as the monetary support to make these trips possible. Share what God has done boldly and joyfully!
Verse to Memorize: Acts 14:22