Chapter Fourteen — Part Three: The Book of ActsBy: Pastors Rodney & Adonica Howard-Browne
Publish date: 03/06/2022Foundation Scriptures:
1. Thorns in the Flesh.
a. Acts 14:19a AMPC — But some Jews arrived there from Antioch and Iconium…
b. The news of what was happening in Lystra obviously made its way back to Antioch and Iconium.
c. Certain Jews took it upon themselves to travel there to eliminate Paul, and his message, inciting a mob to unlawfully stone him.
d. These people, and others like them, are the “thorns in the flesh,” the “messengers of Satan,” that Paul mentions in 2 Corinthians 12:7.
e. 2 Corinthians 12:7-10 NKJV — And lest I should be exalted above measure by the abundance of the revelations, a thorn in the flesh was given to me, a messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I be exalted above measure. 8 Concerning this thing I pleaded with the Lord three times that it might depart from me. 9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 10 Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.
f. Messenger (Greek angelos) — an angel or a messenger.
g. This messenger was a demon from hell, sent by Satan to try to harass and hinder Paul.
h. Paul did not have a sickness or a disease or infirmity in his flesh.
i. We know this because he never mentioned any personal trial of sickness or disease.
j. However, he does mention all the hardships he had to endure for the sake of the Gospel (2 Cor. 11:23-28).
k. Extensive and abundant labors; multiple imprisonments, and severe beatings; frequently left at the point of death; shipwrecked, spending a day and a night adrift on the deep.
l. In perils from: rivers; bandits; the Jews; the Gentiles; in the city; in the desert; in the sea; false brethren.
m. In toil and hardship; sleepless nights; hunger and thirst; cold and exposure; lack of adequate clothing; and the daily pressure, care, and anxiety for all the churches.
n. Through it all, he never gave up nor quit, because when he relied completely on the Lord, the grace of God was ever-present to sustain him.
2. Idolaters Persuaded.
a. Acts 14:19b AMPC — …and having persuaded the people and won them over…
b. These Jews broke all their own laws—to scheme to take an innocent life and encouraging these ignorant and rebellious heathens in their idolatry (Ex. 20:3-5; 13).
c. Generally, people are terribly fickle—one minute they are worshiping you, and the next, they want to stone you!
d. Just as they did to Jesus—one day crying, “Hosanna,” the next, “Crucify Him.”
e. One day they sacrifice to you; the next, they try to sacrifice you.
3. Stoned and Left for Dead.
a. Acts 14:19c AMPC — …they stoned Paul and [afterward] dragged him out of the town, thinking that he was dead.
b. After you have taken a number of rocks to the body, particularly the head, it is likely you will die right there, or within a short time.
c. Acts 14:20 AMPC — But the disciples formed a circle about him, and he got up and went back into the town; and on the morrow he went on with Barnabas to Derbe.
d. The disciples surrounded him, no doubt praying fervently, and he was raised up.
e. Rose up (Greek anistēmiI) — arise; rise; rise up; rise again; raise up; stand up; raise up again.
f. Used 112 times in the New Testament—forty times in reference to resurrection from the dead.
g. This goes a long way to prove that Paul was indeed dead—and he was not just healed, he was resurrected by the power of God!
h. This is the only explanation of his miraculous recovery—raised up and restored—walking back into town on his own and travelling to Derbe the very next day.
i. He was raised up by the grace of God, the working of miracles, and by the faith and prayers of the disciples.
4. Making Disciples.
a. Acts 14:21 AMPC — When they had preached the good news (Gospel) to that town and made disciples of many of the people, they went back to Lystra and Iconium and Antioch,
b. This was Antioch in Syria.
c. They returned to water the seeds they had sown and to further strengthen the fledgling Church in those cities.
d. Taught (in KJV) (Greek mathēteuō) — teach; instruct; make a disciple.
e. They preached the Gospel and taught (made disciples of) many.
f. Acts 14:22a AMPC — Establishing and strengthening the souls and the hearts of the disciples…
g. Confirm (in KJV) (Greek epistērizō) — establish; strengthen (more); to give one something to lean on; confirm; to establish besides; to render more firm; to support further, or reestablish.
h. Acts 14:22b AMPC — …urging and warning and encouraging them to stand firm in the faith…
i. Exhorting (in KJV) (Greek parakaleō) — urge; warn; encourage; beseech; comfort; exhort; entreat; beg; strengthen; instruct.
j. Continue (in KJV) (Greek emmenō) — to stand firm; to remain in; continue in; to stay in the same place; persevere; to hold fast; to be true to; abide by; keep.
k. Those who are converted, need to be confirmed and strengthened in the faith.
l. Those who are planted, need to become rooted and grounded.
m. Acts 14:22c AMPC — …and [telling them] that it is through many hardships and tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.
n. When we follow Christ, hardships and tribulations are not required, but they are inevitable.
o. Jesus instructed us to follow Him with all of our heart, to obey Him in all things, and to expect persecution.
p. John 15:20a NKJV — Remember the word that I said to you, ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you.’
q. Not that we go looking for persecution, but we prepare ourselves to face and endure it by the grace of God.
r. We can take encouragement from Paul and the apostles, who were, “…persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed…” (2 Cor. 4:9).