Chapter Fourteen — Part One: The Book of ActsBy: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne
Publish date: 02/20/2022Foundation Scriptures:
1. Ministry in Iconium.
a. Acts 14:1 NKJV — Now it happened in Iconium that they went together to the synagogue of the Jews, and so spoke that a great multitude both of the Jews and of the Greeks believed.
b. They “so spoke,” meaning that they spoke convincingly, and with power and demonstration.
c. Therefore, a great number, hundreds, even thousands, of both Jews and the Gentiles became Christians.
d. Acts 14:2 NKJV — But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren.
e. The unbelieving (also translated as “disobedient”) Jews looked for a way to prevent the Gospel, so they stirred up the Gentiles with false accusations against Paul and Barnabas.
f. Under normal circumstances, there was enmity between the Jews and Gentiles.
g. Jews had no real respect or regard for these Gentiles, whatsoever, but used them as a means to an end.
h. They lied and manipulated them, poisoning and embittering their minds against the apostles and brethren.
i. When a root of bitterness is allowed to spring up it causes trouble, and many are contaminated and defiled by (Heb. 12:15).
j. Whenever people are in disobedience and rebellion against God, they are working with and for the devil, whether they realize it or not.
k. Ultimately, Satan is behind all strife and opposition to the Gospel, and the will of God, in every area of life.
l. Sadly, rebellious people are not content to leave others alone to believe and do what they choose.
m. In their own disobedience, they seek to corrupt the hearts and minds of others as well.
n. Proverbs 29:10 AMPC — The bloodthirsty hate the blameless man, but the upright care for and seek [to save] his life.
2. Preaching, Signs, and Wonders.
a. Acts 14:3 NKJV — Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
b. Despite the persecution being stirred up by the Jews, Paul and Barnabas remained there a long time, preaching boldly under the unction and anointing of the Holy Spirit.
c. They were preaching on the grace of God—that He welcomes and receives ALL who come to Him in faith, believing on Jesus.
d. The Lord confirmed the Word that was preached, with signs and wonders.
e. (Mk. 16:17-20; Acts 4:30; 19:11; Rom. 15:18-29).
f. Notice, when they speak of what they did and what was done, they always give the credit, honor, and glory to the Lord.
g. We, like them, should always live our lives, and fulfill our ministry, with a keen awareness that we are dependent solely and absolutely upon Him.
h. The more we honor Him, the more powerfully He moves.
3. City Divided.
a. Acts 14:4 NKJV — But the multitude of the city was divided: part sided with the Jews, and part with the apostles.
b. It seems that most of the city had heard the Gospel preached and were either for or against it.
c. The disobedient Jews had succeeded in dividing a portion of the population against the apostles.
d. The dissenting Jews and the Gentiles had their own reasons for opposing the Gospel.
e. Acts 14:5-6a NKJV — 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…
f. By now, the leadership of both camps were involved and made a move to take the apostles by force and murder them.
g. They decided it was time to move on.
h. Acts 14:6b-7 NKJV — …and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region. 7 And they were preaching the gospel there.
i. They never did stop preaching the Gospel, they just found a new city in which to preach.
a. Iconium, being the capital city, was inhabited by Greeks, Roman officials, high ranking Jews, as well as natives.
b. Lystra was inhabited by mainly heathen and idolatrous natives.
c. Acts 14:8 NKJV — And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked.
d. What we know about this man, was that he was crippled from birth, had no strength in his feet, and had never taken a step in his life.
e. Acts 14:9 NKJV — This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed,
f. This man did not merely hear Paul, but he understood and believed what he said and faith arose in his heart.
g. Paul perceived/discerned that he had faith to be healed.
h. Acts 14:10 NKJV — …[Paul] said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked.
i. The man was instantly healed—standing, leaping, and walking.
a. Acts 14:11 NKJV — 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!”
b. In their ignorance and idolatry, they decided, and in their own local language, began to claim that Paul and Barnabas were their gods come down to them looking like men.
c. Acts 14:12 NKJV — And Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.
d. Zeus (father of helps) was the national god of the Greeks; known as Jupiter to the Romans.
e. Hermes was the messenger of the gods; known as Mercury/Mercurius to the Romans.
f. Acts 14:13 NKJV — 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.
g. Not only did they call them gods, but now they prepared to make a sacrifice to them in their temple before their idols.