I. IN 13:51, WE FIND PAUL AND BARNABAS LEAVING ANTIOCH OF PSIDIA AND GOING TO ICONIUM. THEY LEFT THE DISCIPLES THERE FILLED WITH JOY AND THE HOLY SPIRIT.
A. Those two things seem to go together.
1. The fruit of the Spirit is love, and joy is love's consciousness.
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that ye may abound in hope, through the power of the Holy Ghost.
And ye became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Ghost:
B. We note that they left Antioch under duress, being persecuted by the Jews.
II. WHEN THEY CAME TO ICONIUM, THEY WENT BOTH TOGETHER INTO THE SYNAGOGUE OF THE JEWS.
A. This was their method of operation, to go to the synagogue when they came to a new city.
1. The fact that there were synagogues in each of these places shows us to the extent that the Jews were still scattered throughout the world.
2. In the synagogues they would have a tailor made audience for their message.
a. The Jews knew the scriptures, and were looking for the Messiah.
b. If they could but show from the scriptures that Jesus was the promised Messiah, they had people who already knew the scriptures, and were thus able to immediately go out and share the truths of God with others.
c. In converting a Gentile, it would take much longer before they could go out and teach others, for it would be necessary to first teach them the scriptures that revealed the true and living God, and then show them the prophecies of the Messiah.
B. And so spake, that great multitudes both of Jews and Greeks believed.
1. In writing to the Corinthian's Paul said:
And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God.
For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.
And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling.
And my speech and my preaching [was] not with enticing words of man's wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:
C. Why don't we have this kind of power attending the preaching of the Word today?
1. I really do not know.
2. I am not ready to fault God. I do not believe it is because God no longer wants to demonstrate His power.
3. I have to believe that the fault lies with us.
a. We read concerning Nazareth that Jesus did not many mighty works there because of their unbelief. Mat. 13:58
4. I believe that because of our culture that it is harder to have that kind of a close relationship with God.
5. I believe that our minds are so crowded with other things that God has a hard time getting through to us.
a. Whenever Paul went anywhere he had to walk, whenever we go more than a couple of blocks we usually get in our cars and drive.
b. If you lived more than a mile from the store you would not think of walking.
c. In driving that far, think of how many computations your brain has to make. You cannot drive and meditate, at least should not try.
d. If you had to walk to the store, think of the time you would have to meditate.
e. A missionary in Irian Jaya.
f. We have a myriad of things that come into our lives daily to distract us from the word and fellowship with God.
6. I believe that in our culture it would be difficult to find a man that would use those gifts to glorify God.
a. Men today seek to get glory for themselves.
1. They name their ministries after themselves.
2. They name their schools or universities after themselves.
3. They seem to be more interested in promoting themselves than our Lord.
b. Then they seek to enrich themselves through the use of the gifts that God has given to them.
1. So much of the money is used on high living.
2. They are constantly begging the people for funds they say to promote their ministry, but often they are the ministry they seek to promote.
c. God wants to work, but it seems that He always has difficulty in finding an instrument through which He can work.
d. It would take great commitment not to prostitute the sign gifts and use them for your own glory or wealth.
III. BUT THE UNBELIEVING JEWS STIRRED UP THE GENTILES.
A. Whenever you see God working, you can also see Satan trying to counteract that work of God.
1. It would be naive to think that if God was working mightily through your life that Satan would not try to hinder the work of God.
2. Unfortunately we have seen him destroy so many of God's servants who at one time were used by God in mighty ways.
B. Jesus said to His disciples,
It is impossible for offences not to come: but woe [unto him], through whom they come!
1. Make sure you are not the instrument through which Satan brings his offences.
C. They made their minds evil affected against the brethren.
1. They sought to turn the people against Paul and Barnabas.
2. Satan will use lies and slander or any other means to accomplish his purposes.
D. I have observed an evil in our day, that has it similarities to the evil in Jesus day.
1. Jesus said:
And he said unto them, Full well ye reject the commandment of God, that ye may keep your own tradition.
For Moses said, Honour thy father and thy mother; and, Whoso curseth father or mother, let him die the death:
But ye say, If a man shall say to his father or mother, [It is] Corban, that is to say, a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me; [he shall be free].
And ye suffer him no more to do ought for his father or his mother;
Making the word of God of none effect through your tradition, which ye have delivered: and many such like things you do.
a. People today often preface their cruel cutting remarks against a person by prefacing the remarks by saying I love them. That is supposed to give them a license to say any vicious thing against them.
1. I love them but...
2. They are a wonderful person, but...
3. They are a good friend but...
4. He's a great preacher but...
VI. LONG TIME, THEREFORE THEY REMAINED THERE SPEAKING BOLDLY IN THE LORD.
A. The "therefore" refers us back to the trouble that was stirred up against them.
1. Rather than run from opposition, they remained even longer to combat it.
B. Speaking boldly.
The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.
And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word,
By stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.
And for me, that utterance may be given unto me, that I may open my mouth boldly, to make known the mystery of the gospel,
For which I am an ambassador in bonds: that therein I may speak boldly, as I ought to speak.
But even after that we had suffered before, and were shamefully entreated, as ye know, at Philippi, we were bold in our God to speak unto you the gospel of God with much contention.
C. Who gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
1. To the Romans Paul wrote:
For I will not dare to speak of any of those things which Christ hath not wrought by me, to make the Gentiles obedient, by word and deed,
Through mighty signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God; so that from Jerusalem, and round about unto Illyricum, I have fully preached the gospel of Christ.
2. To the Thessalonians he wrote:
For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance; as ye know what manner of men we were among you for your sake.
3. This is all in keeping with the closing verse of the gospel of Mark.
And they went forth, and preached every where, the Lord working with [them], and confirming the word with signs following. Amen.
4. The book of Hebrews asks:
How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard [him];
God also bearing [them] witness, both with signs and wonders, and with divers miracles, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to his own will? There is a time to stand your ground and a time to move on. We are not to be foolhardy.