Read Acts 14 -- 16
In Today’s Reading:
Paul and Barnabas at Iconium; stoning of Paul at Lystra; his return to Antioch; Paul's secondary missionary journey with Silas; Paul's Macedonian vision; conversion of Lydia; conversion of the Philippian jailer.
Almost everywhere Paul and Barnabas traveled, there was an assault . . . to stone them (Acts 14:5). In Iconium, about 90 miles east of Pisidian Antioch, violent opposition erupted when Paul proclaimed Jesus to be the Messiah (Savior) foretold by the prophets. While Paul was speaking at Lystra, his attention was drawn to a crippled man, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, (Paul) said with a loud voice, Stand upright on your feet. And he leaped and walked (14:9-10). Upon seeing the miraculous healing, the people who worshiped false gods were convinced that the gods have come down to us in the likeness of men (14:11). Paul and Barnabas strongly objected to being made objects of idolatrous worship. Following this event, certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium (who had come to Lystra) . . . persuaded the people (that Paul should be put to death), and, having stoned Paul, they then drew him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. However, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas (14:19-20). Whenever there is a true spiritual awakening and people are being saved, without exception, Satan will seek to disrupt, discourage, and destroy its effect.
Later, Paul made a brief reference to his extreme sufferings, saying: We must through much tribulation enter into the Kingdom of God (14:22). There are "musts" in the life of every Christian; and we too should not be surprised that, following our best efforts to serve the Lord, Satan will seek to discourage us through hardships, suffering, and even disappointments from those from whom we expected encouragement. But never forget, without an exception, that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ (I Peter 1:7).
When Paul returned to the church at Antioch after his first missionary journey, he rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles (Acts 14:27). And certain men came down from Judaea . . . and said, Except you (Gentiles) be circumcised after the manner of Moses, you cannot be saved (15:1). Paul and Barnabas strongly opposed this false teaching and determined to go up to Jerusalem to the apostles and elders about this question. . . . In Jerusalem, they were received by the church (15:2-4). Peter agreed with Paul saying: God . . . put no difference between us and them (the Gentiles), purifying their hearts by faith. Now therefore why tempt . . . God, to put a yoke upon the neck of the disciples, which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved, even as they (Acts 15:8-11).
Thought for Today: Failure to be guided into all Truth is the consequence of not reading all the Truth.
14:2 minds evil affected against = turned them against; 14:8 impotent = helpless, crippled; 15:10 yoke = burden.
For Acts 15:16-17: See Amos 9:11-12.
Government Official: Gov. Benjamin Cayetano (HI) · Pray for the President · Country: Costa Rica (4 million) in Central America · Major languages: Spanish and English · Religious freedom is increasing · 90% Roman Catholic; 6% Protestant · Prayer Suggestion: Bow before the Lord in a godly reverence as you pray and worship (Exodus 34:8).
Memory Verse for the Week: Acts 8:37-39