Love & Hatred - 31 Days in Acts

This is Day 24 of our 31 Days in Acts.

We have reached chapter 14  having seen at the end of the previous chapter that Barnabas & Paul had to leave Antioch (in Pisidia) because of the harsh opposition of the Jews

50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and prominent women and the chief men of the city, raised up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. 51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them, and came to Iconium.

Hence we start now with the two Apostles having arrived in Iconium.

verses 1 - 7

They again followed their previous pattern of going to the synagogue and here they preached to both Jews and Greeks so new believers came from both the Jews and the Gentiles.
The Bible tells us that signs and wonders were experienced as God worked through Barnabas & Paul.

The other Jews were not happy and they turned the other Gentiles against Barnabas & Paul.

Eventually the city was divided in two; those for the Apostles and those against and when the people got so angry that they wanted to stone them they fled to Lystra & Derbe.

Love from some but hatred from others.

The focus should have been on God but here the devil wanted the focus away from the 
preaching of the Word and unto the Apostles.

The focus should always be on God and the preaching of the Word.

verses 8 - 18

In Lystra they saw a man who had been crippled from birth and could not walk and in a similar situation to that of Peter & John in chapter 3 Day 5  What Happened at the Gate?  and as in that previous time God healed the man.

The outcome of this however was not the same as in chapter 3 because here the people decided that Barnabas & Paul were gods and called them Zeus & Hermes.  This leads to an attempt to make sacrifices to the Apostles which they could not allow to happen.  Attempting to explain that they are men and human like all the rest of the city they also had the opportunity to talk about God as the living God and the creator of the world.  Yet again there is the opportunity and the Word of God is preached.

At this point the people of Lystra seemed to love the Apostles.

verses 19 - 20

Going from being treated as gods we now see that the people wanted to kill Paul. 

They dragged him outside the city, stoned him and left him to die.  
The disciples came and helped him and the next day Paul and Barnabas left Lystra to go to Derbe.

But why would that happen?

Simply because of the influence of people who came to Lystra from Iconium to bring hatred into that city. 

verses 21 - 28

We know they stayed in Derbe for a while because they preached the gospel and made disciples.  These were not just converts but people they would have spent time with teaching them more about God and the Christian life.

Now here is where they differ from most of us.  We probably would have said it was too dangerous to go back to the cities where people wanted to kill us but this chapter ends with Paul & Barnabas doing exactly that going back to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch (Pisidia) and encouraging the disciples there by teaching how they must keep faithful even through hard times.  Then spending time in prayer & fasting (setting a good example) and raising up leadership for the churches in these cities by appointing elders.

They eventually returned to Antioch (Syria) from where they had been sent out in chapter 13 Day 23  A Specific Job for the Kingdom but had not bypassed the dangerous places or the difficult circumstances along the way back.

Always encouragers and good examples to the new believers.

We should always be encouragers and good examples to new believers.

Hatred drove people away and will do the same today.

However Love can still prevail and must do today also because as a people of God we should reflect His love and not the evil or hatred that originates with the devil and never with God.

I'm reading and writing about the Book of Acts so please come back and join me for some more notes & thoughts from other chapters. 

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