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March 16, 2018

Please read today’s Scriptures and use the comment section on this page to share your insights from today’s reading. You can also just mention a verse that impacted you or post a question!

Read (and Hear) the Bible in One Year

Text: Joshua 19 – Joshua 21
Audio: Joshua 19 – Joshua 21

You can use the audio Bible as a guide to help “set the pace” as you read along.

Memory Verse of the Week

“And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.”
(Acts 13:52 ESV)

Acts 14 (ESV)

Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands. But the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews and some with the apostles. When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them, they learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country, and there they continued to preach the gospel.

Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked. He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, 10 said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking. 11 And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!” 12 Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker. 13 And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds. 14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, 15 “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16 In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.” 18 Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them.

19 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead. 20 But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe. 21 When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. 23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.

24 Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia. 25 And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia, 26 and from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled. 27 And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 And they remained no little time with the disciples.

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Next: Acts 15

Back: Acts 13

This Post Has 9 Comments
  1. Acts 14:21-22 "When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God."

    I find these verses very encouraging this morning. But what is the context of this encouragement?

    Paul was "persuading the crowds" with the gospel and the Jews came and stoned him and dragged him out of the city (supposing he was dead)!

    Did Paul retreat? Did Paul stop preaching? Did Paul go nurse his wounds?

    No. "When the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe" (Acts 14:20). 

    That is Acts 14:21-22 in context.

    Can you imagine what Paul looked like physically after being stoned nearly to death? Can you imagine hearing someone tell you that "through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God" and then invite you to this very tribulation? 

    This reflects the cost of discipleship. Sadly, it's what is missing in this modern, narcissistic, American brand of "christianity" (lower case "c") that is marketed to people who have no interest in being inconvenienced for the sake of the gospel let alone risk their lives for it. The modern gospel sounds more like a commercial for the latest pharmaceutical discovery aimed at fixing whatever ails you (minus any side effects). 

    Knowing Jesus has a side effect. Preaching the gospel has a side effect. Living for Christ has a side effect. For Paul, it was painfully obvious wasn't it? To the New Testament church it was painfully obvious. Jesus told His disciples that they were not above Him and they would suffer. 

    Are you not willing to suffer for Christ?

    Would you rather enjoy your "christianity" from the couch?

    Christianity and comfort are incompatible unless our comfort is found in Christ. 

    Ligonier Ministries posted this quote from Miguel Núñez yesterday, "Latin America needs to be re-evangelized because it has been inoculated with the wrong message, therefore people have developed “antibodies” to the real gospel."

    What is the "gospel" you're used to hearing? 

    What is the "gospel message" you give when you make disciples? 

    Are YOU making disciples?

    The Great Commission is not the Great Suggestion!

    Matthew 28:18-20 “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.'”

    If we are “going” and “making disciples”, teaching people to obey ALL that Jesus commanded, we do so knowing that He is with us – even to the end of the age.

    For those fulfilling the Great Commission (a command for all believers), that is comforting because we will face persecution. It may not be public stoning but persecution will come. If we not facing persecution, we have to ask ourselves if the message we’re bringing to people is different than Jesus’ message to the world.

    1 Corinthians 1:18 says, “For the word of the cross is folly to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”

    If we share the biblical Jesus and teach people all that He said in the Bible, we will certainly face criticism and ridicule – even by those who profess to “love Jesus” and follow Him.

    Why? Because it’s easier to follow a Jesus made up in your mind than follow the biblical Christ and face persecution or the loss of your life.

    I pray for boldness in the Holy Spirit to bring the gospel, the real gospel to those around us.

  2. This chapter is the one that shook me to the core when I was examining the claims of Christ and His disciples. I remember being at the kitchen table, reading the book of Acts, and seeing Paul dragged out of the city and stoned, left for dead by those who hated everything he was saying and teaching. I saw him lying there, battered and bloody, barely breathing. I saw him put his hand to his head in great pain, checking his wounds.

    Then I saw him get UP…stumble…then turn and go back INTO the city where his enemies were. 

    WHAT?! WHY?! For the gospel? For a message? Why didn't he kick the dust off his feet and move on? What would compel a man to suffer like that for a "message" that was going to get him killed? 

    And I heard his voice echoing across time to me…"I implore you on behalf of Christ! Be reconciled to God!" (2 Corinthians 5:20)

    Paul's courage in the face of such a horrible death was the catalyst that set my feet on the road to faith in Christ. This learned man, this Pharisee, this Jewish leader who had forsaken everything to follow Jesus –even to death — put my final doubts to shame. This was no political or religious conspiracy to overthrow the Roman government. This was not a crazy cult. This was not some wacky new religion. 

    This was love.

    Love for God and even his enemies compelled Paul…the way love compelled Jesus. 

    Does love compel me to follow Jesus? Or is it all about me and what I can get? My joy, my comfort, my peace, my deliverance from bondage to sin, my eternal life, my abundant life, my provision…these things are all true. But they're still all about me. 

    Do I love my neighbor? Do I love those who hate me? Do I love the lost? Do I love my brothers and sisters in Christ? Am I willing to suffer? To lay down my life? To give up my comfort? To follow Jesus? 

    "Then Jesus said to His disciples, 'If anyone wishes to come after Me, he must deny himself, and take up his cross and follow Me.'" Matthew 16:24

    "…and anyone who does not take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me." Matthew 10:38

    "And whoever does not carry his cross and follow Me cannot be My disciple." Luke 14:27

    "Jesus said this to indicate the kind of death by which Peter would glorify God. And after He had said this, He told him, 'Follow Me.'" John 21:19

    "For what credit is it if, when you sin and are beaten for it, you endure? But if when you do good and suffer for it you endure, this is a gracious thing in the sight of God. For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls." 1 Peter 2:20-25

     

  3. Its funny in this world today most people dont acknowledge there is a God until something bad, terrible, tragic happen then they ask why would God let this happen.  Then they seem to acknowledge Him.  

    Its hard for them to grasp there might be that He exists but dont research into it further.  They just go about their lives clueless.

  4. Acts 14 begins with a simple statement "a great number of both Jews and Greeks (Gentiles) believed." Acts 14:1

    Why did they believe? Was it due to some great church program? What compelled belief? 
    Well, simply they told the story of Jesus.

    Sometimes we think that in order to lead others to Christ we have to be great debaters, great philosophers. But the irony of this thinking is that philosophy and articulate debaters do not result in Christian conversion (big 'C'). Rather Paul, Barnabas, and any others with them kept the message simple. They taught about Jesus, how He, the Son of God, was born, was crucified, and risen again. They taught that man is sinful and needs a savior. 

    The message we preach to the lost and dying does not need to be clever. Keep it simple. Jesus came. Jesus was crucified, buried and rose on the third day according to the scriptures. Man is sinful and in need of a savior. 

    Keep the message simple, let the power of the Holy Spirit take control and amp up that message to life changing conversion! 

    1. Amen, Dan! And it’s comforting to remember that the Holy Spirit is right there with us. I think of all the times Christians shared the gospel with me and I didn’t “hear” it. I hope they weren’t discouraged!

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