1 And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed. 2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren. 3 Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands. 4 But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles.
5 And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them, 6 They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about: 7 And there they preached the gospel.
Doctrine of Persecution: Certain unbelievers (unbelieving Jews) may stir up those that are trying to learn the truth of the Bible (Gentiles), and try and turn them on those Christians that are trying to witness to them. Eventually, they (Jews and Gentiles) tried to assault the Christians and stone them.
If a Missionary becomes aware of potential danger directed at them, should they flee the area? Here they did. And, this persecution caused the gospel to spread to other regions.
It appears that the apostles stayed here in Iconium a long time despite the internal attacks. A Missionary needs to be careful not to give up if met with a lot of opposition. But, if the danger risk gets to the point of potential murder, then it might be prudent to flee.
8 And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked: 9 The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, 10 Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked. 11 And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. 12 And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker. 13 Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people. 14 Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, 15 And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: 16 Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. 18 And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people, that they had not done sacrifice unto them.
Doctrine of Healings: How did Paul perceive that the crippled man had faith to be healed? What happens if the person did not have faith to be healed? I assume that there was certain excited countenance on the man; a look of hope; a look of trust. I don’t know of any account of healing in the Bible where the healed did not first have faith already present. The healing was not gradual; he immediately leaped and walked. There was no assistant helping them stand or walk… there was not cane or ‘walker’… he didn’t slowly stand up and then shuffle along… his healing was immediate and full.
In application to evangelism, we need to steadfastly behold people to perceive whether or not they have faith to be ‘saved’ (though, we should still preach to them the gospel, regardless).
Doctrine of Paganism: They were ‘polytheistic’; like the Hindus or the New Agers. ‘Aliens have landed’! So many people are so superstitious, but yet won’t believe the clear truths of the Bible; but, they’ll believe about anything else that’s put out on the ‘supernatural’… Here, it took very little time for them to believe that these were ‘gods’.
Where did we get the names for the planets? Apparently, in this time period, each planet was worshipped and had its own priest.
The heathen all have religious practices and beliefs in their individual societies; I believe that there are no cultures where there is not some beliefs present on a god, or gods.
Paul rebuked them and tried to present to them the God of Creation.
19 And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. 20 Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. 21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, 22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God. 23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.
Doctrine of Persecution: Paul must have been in very bad shape physically due to the stoning; he was so badly traumatized that the stoners thought he was dead. I believe that Paul was give miraculous strength to continue on; though, I also believe that he still had physical damage to his body.
These ‘killers’ came from the towns where Paul had already caused an uproar. Amazing; they went from calling them gods, to trying to kill them! It’s scary preacher! You can have a great testimony in your town, and then suddenly there are protests against you and there are legal injunctions against your ‘proseletyzing’ and ‘hate speech’. Also, your flock can be so easily persuaded in just one Sunday: from “we have the best pastor” to “He’s got to go”! Don’t let physical ailments slow you down from what God has called you to be doing!
Do you think that most ‘missionaries’ today would have ‘left the field’ after a stoning like Paul received? Thus, even after an attempted murder upon the missionary, they could still stay and do the Lord’s work…for Paul did.
Does it require much suffering in the flesh before one can be saved and be allowed to enter into Heaven?! ‘This world is not my home’…. For a commited Christian, there is going to be lots of persecution, difficulties, tribulations as you try to do the Lord’s work on this sin-ladened planet…prior to entering into His kingdom.
Doctrine of the Evangelist: What is an evangelist suppose to be doing today?<TOPIC: > Many say they are to be confirming the souls of the members of churches. Paul, the evangelist, went back to these churches, which he started, to make sure they were grounded well; confirmed that they were believing right; had faith. A biblical evangelist will only go around ‘confirming the souls’ of the disciples that are in churches that he personally had been part of.
Doctrine of Church Planting: Can a church be a true church and not have a Pastor? Yes, for that it is what we see here with Paul and his team with these recently evangelized cities near Antioch. How did these churches get started? What is the process for beginning a new church?
Paul and Barnabas had preached the gospel (souls got saved) and then taught them the basic truths of the Bible. They would return to each of these cities and then confirm them (get them solid in the doctrines) and keep them commited to this faith. At this point, after Paul’s followup visit for confirming the souls, the groups of people that had been saved in each location were already churches. The forming of a church had to occur at some point after the initial evangelism and prior to verse 23. I would assume that the organizing of these new believers into a church occurred at the initial evangelism effort; thus, after a certain number had been saved, they officially organized them into a true NT church. Paul, and the others, were commissioned from the church at Antioch to do such. These new converts were undoubtedly baptized very soon after salvation (same day?) (for so was the model set earlier in Acts). Also, these new ‘churches’ were not ‘mission works’; they were authentic NT churches.
Where did they get the ‘elders’ (Pastors) from? The new converts? Probably not. Most likely it was men that were travelling (or had travelled) with Paul and Barnabas. Ordination of a Pastor needs correct authority; here it was men sent from one of the Lord’s churches (Antioch, Acts 13) to evangelize and plant churches.
24 And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. 25 And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia: 26 And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled. 27 And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles. 28 And there they abode long time with the disciples.
Doctrine of Missiology: Are Missionaries suppose to stay members of their sending church? Well, these Missionaries did; but, they had a unique ‘short term’ mission. Their commissioning was to evangelize and then organize churches and then ordain pastors. They had a certain number of cities and regions they would go through and then they would return to their ‘home church’. How is it practiced today with Missionaries? Most don’t do what Paul and Barnabus did; I feel that they should become a member (pastor) of that church that they plant (unless they are simply going to be planting church after church after church, every couple years or so….though, it still seems proper to be a member of the church you are pastoring.) Thus, if a man was going to be a church planter, and simply evangelize an area, organize the converts into a church, and then quickly find a man to be ordained as a pastor over them, then it would be very scriptural for that church planter to remain a member of his sending church and not transfer membership to each church that is organized. But, otherwise, he should transfer membership to the church he is pastoring…for how can be a pastor of one church, and a member of another?!…
Is it important for financially supported Missionaries to ‘report back’ to their supporting churches every 2 to 4 years? No…Why should they? Here, these ‘missionaires’ were reporting back to ‘their sending church’, not other churches. The supporting churches are reported to through the letters. Reporting back (testifying to what God had done) to one’s sending church is done once the mission has been completed.
Should Missionaries have ‘furloughs’? Definitely once they have finished the work which they were sent out to do. This ‘work’ should be a fairly specific ‘mission’, with the region that would be evangelized spelled out. How long should a furlough be? Should they have one every 4 years? 2 years? 1 year? How long should the furlough be? 1 year? 6 months? 3 months? 1 month? This may all vary depending on the situation. I feel that furloughs are often taken prematurely, for too long a time period, and often are taken because of ‘protocol’. Also, Paul wasn’t necessarily taking a furlough here; he finished his assigned work and went back to working hard with that church in Antioch. He didn’t go visit relatives and then go ‘drum up more support’.