Intro. In our last study we find that as a result of the healing of the lame man, the people were ready to worship Paul and Barnabas. We read that they were scarcely able to restrain the people from offering a sacrifice to them.
I. THE NEXT VERSE TELLS US THAT CERTAIN JEWS CAME FROM ANTIOCH AND ICONIUM WHO PERSUADED THE PEOPLE.
A. It does not tell us how they persuaded the people or what they persuaded the people of.
B. It is interesting that Paul and Barnabas had fled from Iconium to Lystra and Derbe because of a plot to stone them in Iconium.
1. The result of the persuasion is that they stoned Paul and drug him out of the city as they thought he was dead.
a. It is thought that in 2 Corinthians 12
, that Paul is referring to this very experience when he said, I knew a man in Christ over fourteen years ago, and whether in the body or out of the body, I do not know, but such an one was caught up into the third heaven, and heard things that are unlawful for a man to utter. The second Corinthian letter was written about fourteen years after this event.
b. The abundance of the revelations that were given to him at this time also necessitated that he receive a goad in the flesh lest he be exalted above measure.
c. The phrase in the body or out of the body is saying, I do not know if I was dead or alive.
d. Was I alive and just having a vision, or did I actually die and go to heaven.
e. If Paul himself did not know, how foolish it is for some man to assert that he knows.
f. Evidently Paul did not believe in soul sleep, for if that were a true doctrine, Paul would have no question about whether dead or alive. But would just have known that it was a vision.
g. Paul wrote to the Philippians about his mixed desires. "I desire to depart and be with Christ which is far better, nevertheless I also feel that you still need me here."
h. So for Paul, his thought was when you depart from this body, you are at home with Christ.
i. To the Corinthians he wrote, "For we know that when this earthly tent is dissolved, we have a building of God not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. So then, we who are in these bodies to groan, earnestly desiring to be delivered, not that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon with that body which is from heaven.
2. Paul wrote to the Galatians about not desiring vain glory.
3. Perhaps he was thinking about his personal experience in Galatia when in one verse they have to be restrained from worshipping him, and in the next verse they are stoning him.
II. HOWBEIT AS THE DISCIPLES STOOD AROUND HIM.
A. They were no doubt mourning the loss of this powerful instrument of God. It is interesting that those who stoned him thought he was dead, and it would appear that his friends thought he was dead too. Paul was not sure if he were dead or alive.
1. Perhaps some were wondering why God would allow such a powerful witness be cut off so early in his ministry.
2. Barnabas may have been wondering how he would make the trip back to Jerusalem alone.
3. Whatever their thoughts, suddenly Paul began to move. He rose up and he returned to the city.
4. How do you stop men who are willing to give their lives for their convictions?
a. That is just the problem that we are facing today isn't it?
b. How do you stop these suicide attacks?
c. I am not trying to make a comparison between Paul and the suicide bombers today, there is a world of difference between the two.
d. Paul was not willing to give his life to destroy others, but was willing to give his life to save others.
e. He declared that it was his desire that Christ be magnified in his body, and he really didn't care if it were through life or death.
f. I sometimes feel that it is harder to live for Christ than to die for Christ. If truly living for Christ, I must die to myself. That is not easy.
III. THE NEXT DAY HE DEPARTED WITH BARNABAS TO DERBE.
A. This will be the extreme limit of their first missionary journey.
B. They preached the gospel to that city and taught many. The preaching to win the lost, the teaching to those who had been saved. Both are necessary.
1. Nothing is really told to us of the ministry there, however we know that both Timothy and Gaius who both later became a part of Paul's missionary team were from Derbe.
C. From this point they will start the long journey home to the church in Antioch of Syria.
D. As they retrace their steps, they confirm the ones who had come to believe in Jesus Christ.
1. They were exhorting them to continue in the faith.
2. And that through much tribulation we enter the kingdom of heaven.
3. The people had seen the persecution and tribulation that Paul and Barnabas went through.
4. They are basically telling them that this is par for the course.
IV. THE CHURCH AND PERSECUTION AND TRIBULATION.
A. In John 16:33
, Jesus told His disciples, "In the world ye shall have tribulation."
B. Paul later wrote to Timothy:
But you have fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience,
Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of [them] all the Lord delivered me.
Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution.
C. It is important to note that the tribulation that the church experiences does not originate with God.
1. It actually originates from the world system that is governed by Satan.
2. This is vastly different from the great tribulation that will originate with God and proceed from God.
3. When God is the instrument of judgment, then the Godly are spared.
4. The intercession of Abraham for Sodom.
a. Abraham's whole argument was based on the justice of God. "Would you destroy the righteous with the wicked?"
b. The angels sought to hurry Lot out of the city saying, that they could not destroy it until Lot was safely out.
c. Peter's commentary on this event.
And turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrha into ashes condemned [them] with an overthrow, making [them] an ensample unto those that after should live ungodly;
And delivered just Lot, vexed with the filthy conversation of the wicked:
(For that righteous man dwelling among them, in seeing and hearing, vexed [his] righteous soul from day to day with [their] unlawful deeds;)
The Lord knoweth how to deliver the godly out of temptations, and to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished:
God [is] jealous, and the LORD revengeth; the LORD revengeth, and [is] furious; the LORD will take vengeance on his adversaries, and he reserveth [wrath] for his enemies.