Acts Chapter Fourteen (NIV)
Acts Chapter Fourteen (NASB)
Verses 1-7: Paul and Barnabas preach in Iconium.
Verses 8-18: Paul and Barnabas preach in Lystra.
Verses 19-23: Paul stoned for preaching in Lystra.
Verses 24-28: Paul and Barnabas return to Antioch.
II. KEY PASSAGES
(A) Acts 14:14-15--"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 . . .'" This is the appropriate response when someone tries to worship you. Paul and Barnabas immediately tear their garments (standard Jewish response to blasphemy) and denounce the claim that they are gods. Compare their reaction with that of Jesus, who, as we have seen, was worshiped as a child (Matthew 2:11), during His ministry (Matthew 14:33; John 9:38), and after His resurrection (Matthew 28:17; Luke 24:52). Neither Jesus nor anyone else ever commanded people not to worship Him.
(B) Acts 14:15--Paul says, "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." Paul refers to the religious rituals of the pagans as "vain things." He thus criticized their religious views while proclaiming the truth. This criticism no doubt made it easier for Paul's enemies to stir up the crowd and ultimately stone him. Strangely, there are many Christians today who don't believe in refuting false views.
(C) Acts 14:21-22--"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." It's easy to miss the significance of this passage. Paul had been stoned in Lystra. Presumed dead, he was dragged outside of the city. To the shock of everyone, he returned to the city immediately after the stoning. Paul and Barnabas went on to Derbe. From there, there was a quick route home to Antioch. However, instead of taking the easy route home, they took a longer route and returned to the cities that had just driven them out. But wouldn't this have led to further persecution? Of course. But for Paul, being persecuted was simply a part of being a Christian.