This would have been easier with a phone call.

Acts 15
And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” 2 Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question.

So a certain group is saying without circumcision you are not saved.
Paul and Barnabas disagree strongly.

The two groups decide to go to Jerusalem to ask for expert opinion.

This seems like such an inconvenience for that day and age. It isn’t like today. If we have a question we can make a phone call, or drive somewhere. They had to make the journey to a different area. They had to stop ministering.

Gather Around

Acts 14
27 Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 So they stayed there a long time with the disciples.

They took time to fellowship and share victories. This is where unity is built. This is where fellowship turns amazing. This is where true relationships built around Christ flourish.

Chapter 14 Additional Thoughts:
So this chapter seems to be about the stories of evangelizing. Paul saw a guy that had faith to be healed, and helped him receive from the Lord in faith. Those people tried to worship him and Barnabas as God’s, then they were persuaded to stone him.  (Where was Barnabas when Paul was dragged out and stoned?)

After this, Paul and Barnabas continued to minister around the area bringing the church together and ministering while having fellowship.

 

Feel free to add your own thoughts about Chapter 14 :)

Preach, Encourage, Disciple

Acts 14
21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” 23 So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

So they preached the gospel and made many disciples. In turn, those new disciples would create their own disciples.

It sounds like they had to give a boost to the Lystra, Iconium and Antioch church disciples. They had to say, let’s keep going! Troubles are going to be here. Power through.

It seems like appointing elders was in direct relation to them having to encourage the disciples. I am wonder what more is there…

Unless You Repent

Luke 13
There were present at that season some who told Him about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had [a]mingled with their sacrifices. 2 And Jesus answered and said to them, “Do you suppose that these Galileans were worse sinners than all other Galileans, because they suffered such things? 3 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish. 4 Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish.”

This is a verse that has been in my spirit over the weekend. Thinking and meditating on how much we need the Lords grace and mercy.
Reading through yesterday, something caught my eye.
The Lord says “unless you repent you will all LIKEWISE perish.”

Does that mean that those who perished in this manner had not repented?

Paul’s Stoning to death?

Acts 14
19 Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. 20 However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.

Scriptures like this should tell us how easy people are to manipulate.

The crowds were saying:
they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!”

Now they stone Paul with a little persuasion. So I guess they don’t believe he is a god anymore.

I also find it weird how the scripture is ambiguous on whether Paul was dead or not, and whether the other apostles prayed for him, or not.

The scripture is not clear on whether he died or not.  Some have even commented that this is what he was referencing later in scripture when he talks about “being caught up in the third heaven 14 years ago.”

What is clear, is that his work was not done. What is clear is that the masses are easy to control. This is why we need to be lead by truth.

A sign of His witness.

Acts 14
13 Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes.

14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out 15 and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, 16 who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.” 18 And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them.

So it was clear that the crowd still wanted to worship Barnabas and Paul.
I do find it interesting that the Lord doing good is considered a witness here. The Lord raining from heaven and fruitful seasons so that our hearts are filled with food and gladness is a sign of the Lord’s witness.

Does that mean the opposite is a sign of the enemy?

Any thoughts?

A Righteous Man

(from Stephanie)

Amplified
Psalm 37:23 The steps of a [good and righteous] man are directed and established by the Lord,
And He delights in his way [and blesses his path].
24 When he falls, he will not be hurled down,
Because the Lord is the One who holds his hand and sustains him.

Falling, could be that we mess up but because God is our righteousness we don’t have to stay there. Or it could be that when we are weary in our walk, God is there to lift us up and carry us with His supernatural strength and rest. Either way we can trust the Father is faithful.
A good and righteous man, someone who is actively seeking the Lord and doing His will. That man will know what direction to take God will reveal it to him.

Zeus and Hermes?

When you emulate God, people make THINK you are God.

Acts 14
10 said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked. 11 Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” 12 And Barnabas they called [d]Zeus, and Paul, [e]Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes.

This is where it is IMPORTANT to give all credit and glory to God! Otherwise you could end up like Herod.
Healing power is not our own. It is from the Lord. We just get to use what He has given us.

Seeing that he had faith….

which means they saw some people that DID NOT have the faith to be healed.

Acts 14
8 And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. 9 This man heard Paul speaking. [c]Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, 10 said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked.

So while Paul was preaching this man was gaining faith.

I would like to note something interesting here. Paul states he could see that this man had faith to be healed.

That would mean some people, DO NOT have the faith to be healed.
I think when some people get sick, saying they have a lack of faith has become a pejorative, when it should be viewed as an area to improve.

Matthew 17:17 was pretty clear.
Jesus said, “You faithless and corrupt people! How long must I be with you? How long must I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.”

Remember who He was talking to when this was spoken, the DISCIPLES.

We need to understand that we are not all at the same walk in life, and with Christ. There are some who spend more time in prayer and fasting, and they will see more results based on their faithfulness to seek Christ and that which He desires. There are some who truly BELIEVE when they first hear. They will see more direct results.

Instead of being angry and indignant if someone says we lack faith, let’s dig in and prove them wrong. Let’s seek God’s face and bring the book of Acts to life. I want to be the one that Paul see’s and says, “He has FAITH to be healed.” I want to be the one that Christ looks at and says “I tell you, I have not found such great faith even in Israel.”

Avoid the hard rock.

Acts 14
4 But the multitude of the city was divided: part sided with the Jews, and part with the apostles. 5 And when a violent attempt was made by both the Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to abuse and stone them, 6 they became aware of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region. 7 And they were preaching the gospel there.

I try to understand persecution like this, but I cannot.
Signs and wonders were manifesting, people were giving their lives to Christ, yet the ministry work had to stop because the enemy drove out the apostles using the hands of willing people.

Let us recognize that their is no hindrance to us preaching and teaching the gospel right now. Lord move in our midst.