Intro. Paul and Barnabas are in Antioch of Psidia, or modern day Turkey, almost in the heart of the country. They went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day and showed from the scriptures that prophecy declared that the Messiah was going to be rejected and put to death, but would rise from the dead, and that Jesus was the Messiah. This caused a great discussion among the people who asked them to return to the synagogue the next Sabbath. The next Sabbath almost the whole city had gathered to the synagogue which caused the Jews to be jealous, and they began to contradict the things that Paul had said, and began to blaspheme Jesus. At this point Paul and Barnabas announced their intention to take the gospel to the Gentiles, quoting the scripture:
I. I HAVE SET THEE TO BE A LIGHT UNTO THE GENTILES.
And he said, It is a light thing that you should be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that you may be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
A. From the beginning God had intended that the Jews should bring the truth of God to the world.
1. He purposed that by their keeping of His law, and thus receiving the blessings and benefits that they would be a visible witness to the world of the blessings that will come to a nation or people whose God is Yaweh, and who keep His commandments, and walk in His ways.
2. The Jews misinterpreted God's goodness to them, and felt that God favored them above all nations, and that salvation was exclusively for them, and that He created the Gentiles to fuel the fires of hell.
3. As it turned out, they continually turned from the commandments of God and began to worship and serve other gods which practices brought into bondage. Thus, their witness to the world was lost.
B. The Jews felt that salvation was for the Jews only, and the only way to salvation was to become a Jew.
1. This idea was carried over into the church by Jews who had been converted to Jesus, and was the cause for the calling of the first church council as we will see in Chapter 15.
2. Here in Antioch we see the Jews becoming jealous because of the number of Gentiles who had come to hear the gospel.
II. When the Gentiles heard this they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord.
A. To know that God has provided salvation for us through Jesus Christ is cause for rejoicing.
B. With the history of Christianity among the Gentiles, it is hard for us today to imagine the impact that this had on the Gentiles of that day, to discover that God has provided salvation for the Gentiles.
C. They had been taught that as a Gentile, the gospel was not for them.
III. AND AS MANY AS WERE ORDAINED TO ETERNAL LIFE BELIEVED.
A. This is a controversial statement and has divided great scholars into two camps.
1. Those who are of the reformed persuasion use this to prove their position.
a. They teach that only those who were ordained to eternal life could believe.
b. That there are those who are preordained to eternal life, and those who are preordained to eternal damnation.
2. I personally have somewhat of a problem with this.
a. As Abraham said: "Shall not the judge of all the earth do right?
b. It does not seem right to me that God would create a man to be damned without having any chance at all to be saved.
c. Why would God command us to choose whom we will serve, and then reject those who might choose to serve Him?
d. Why would God say, "And whosoever will, let Him come and drink freely of the fountain of life, and then say that certain of them who came could not drink?
3. I can accept that God knows all of those who are going to believe. That He has always known those who are going to believe. But I do not believe that God's foreknowledge precludes a man from believing and being saved. I believe that the choice is up to man.
B. Those who hold to the other view that the gospel is open to all who will believe say that the crux of the matter lies in the meaning of the word protagmenoi which is here translated ordained.
1. This Greek word is used eight times in the New Testament and has been translated: Set 1; appointed 3; ordained 2; determined 1; addicted 1.
2. Adam Clark in his commentary suggests to translate it disposed. "As many as were disposed to eternal life believed."
3. This leaves man the choice. If you were disposed to believe the scriptures you believed. Thus many of the Gentiles were disposed, to believe the scriptures and the teaching of Paul in contrast the Jews were disposed against the things Paul was teaching and the contradicted and blasphemed.
4. You find great theologians lined up on both sides of the argument and which position they take is dependant upon their predisposed position.
C. I believe that we were chosen by God, called by God and elected by by God to salvation.
D. I also believe that God is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. I believe that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
1. I believe that Christ died for the sins of the world.
2. I believe that whosoever shall come unto Him, He will in no wise cast out.
E. You may object saying how can you reconcile what appears to be contradicting ideas? I can't in my mind reconcile. So because I have only really quoted scriptures, I by faith believe that God's word is true, and that I am not called to reconcile, only believe.
VI. THE RESULT WAS THAT THE WORD OF THE LORD WAS PUBLISHED IN ALL THE REGION.
A. Like a pebble tossed into a pond, the ripples go out in every direction.
V. "BUT THE JEWS STIRRED UP DEVOUT AND HONORABLE WOMEN."
A. In the pagan society the women were without rights. Husbands were not expected to be faithful.
1. Many of the prominent Gentile women were attracted to Judaism because of the honor that the religion gave to women, and the purity of life that it required. These women were attracted to the synagogue.
2. It could very well be that their husbands were prominent men in the community and they enlisted their husbands to banish Paul and Barnabas from their community.
B. It is naive to think that you can see a powerful work of God in which many people are drawn to Jesus Christ and the Word of God, without Satan trying to interfere.
1. Satan is certain to try to hinder every great move of God.
2. What is often surprising and disappointing is the instruments he employs to accomplish his purpose of stopping God's work.
3. David said:
For [it was] not an enemy [that] reproached me; then I could have borne [it]: neither [was it] he that hated me [that] did magnify [himself] against me; then I would have hid myself from him:
But [it was] you, a man mine equal, my guide, and mine acquaintance.
We took sweet counsel together, [and] walked unto the house of God in company.
4. Jesus said: And a man's foes [shall be] they of his own household.
C. So Paul and Barnabas were expelled from their coasts.
D. We read that they shook the dust off of their feet.
1. In this they were following the command of Jesus, He said:
And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear you, when ye depart thence, shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city.
E. They departed from Psidia, and they came to Iconium.
1. Psidia was the furthest point of the first missionary journey. They are now headed back toward home.
VI. AND THE DISCIPLES WERE FILLED WITH JOY AND WITH THE HOLY SPIRIT.
A. This is no doubt a reference to the new disciples in Psidia.
1. When Philip was preaching the gospel in Samaria, we read that there was great joy in that city.
B. Being filled with joy and the Holy Spirit go together.
1. The fruit of the Spirit is love, of which joy is the first defining word to describe what this agape love is.
2. Paul said that the kingdom of God was not meat or drink, but righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.
C. This could also refer to Paul and Barnabas for Jesus said:
Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you [from their company], and shall reproach [you], and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.
Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward [is] great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.