Daily Bible Studies & Sermon Notes

Acts 13:51-14:7
Pastor Steve Schell
Sunday: Acts 13:51
v51: “But shaking the dust from their feet upon them, they came to Iconium” (literal). This symbolic gesture meant “I don’t want even the dust from this place clinging to my sandals because God’s judgment against this place will be so severe.” In doing this Paul and Barnabas were not merely expressing frustration at being rejected by the city, they were obeying a specific command of the Lord. Jesus had told His disciples to use this visible act to warn cities which refused to listen to their message. He said, “Whatever city you enter and they receive you, eat what is set before you, and heal those in it who are sick and say to them, ‘The kingdom of God has come near to you.’ But whatever city you enter and they do not receive you, go out into its streets and say ‘Even the dust of your city which clings to our feet we wipe off… against you, yet be sure of this, that the kingdom has come near.’” (Lk 10:8-11).

Monday: Acts 13:51
v51 (continued): After explaining when and how to present this prophetic warning, Jesus also explained to His disciples why judgment would be so severe toward those who rejected their message: “I say to you, it will be more tolerable in that day for Sodom than for that city… For if the miracles had been performed in Tyre and Sidon which occurred in you, they would have repented long ago sitting in sackcloth and ashes. But it will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon in the judgment than for you.” (Lk 10:12-14). We should note that Jesus expected that healing the sick would accompany the preaching of the gospel. People would not only hear the truth, they would also see God’s power at work confirming that Jesus’ messengers were preaching the truth.

Tuesday: Acts 13:51
v51 (continued): Jesus made it clear that this warning needed to be delivered in a fashion people wouldn’t forget. The gospel presents a person with an opportunity to receive God’s grace, but if rejected, it leaves that person guilty of having deliberately refused to repent. So it brings with it not only the opportunity for salvation, but the potential for greater condemnation. This is because when it is proclaimed faithfully it is accompanied by the presence of the Holy Spirit, who confirms its truth by such miracles as healing and deliverance (Lk 10:16-20) and, even more important, by removing the “veil” of deception which blinds the human mind to God’s truth so that an individual is able to understand the message they are hearing, and to repent and believe (2Co 4:4-6; 2Ti 2:25, 26). So, when Paul and Barnabas arrived in a city, the Holy Spirit “arrived” with them. As they proclaimed the truth, He bore witness to that truth. Under those circumstances, refusing to believe left a person in willful defiance of God’s invitation (Mt 27:1-7; Lk 14:16-24).

Wednesday: Acts 13:52
v52: The fact that the new believers in Pisidian Antioch continued to be “filled with joy and the Holy Spirit,” even after Paul and Barnabas were gone, is amazing. It is evident something truly profound happened to them. Their apostles had been suddenly ejected from the city, apparently leaving them without appointed eldership (Ac 14:21-23), and the church continued to be persecuted (Ac 14:22). Luke doesn’t tell us what topic the apostles taught during the few weeks or months they stayed in the city, but if we look at Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians we can discover what he taught to a church facing a similar situation and we find he definitely prepared that church to expect persecution. They too “received the word in much tribulation with the joy of the Holy Spirit…” (1Th 1:6).

Thursday: Acts 13:52
v52 (continued): Paul reminded them, “For indeed when we were with you, we kept telling you in advance that we were going to suffer affliction, and so it came to pass as you know” (1Th 3:4). And he was careful to put their persecution into perspective, explaining that persecution is a necessary part of a believer’s life during this season of human history. But, he also assured them that such suffering would end at the return of Jesus Christ. And he taught them that their suffering had meaning, that they were enduring affliction for the sake of the kingdom of God, and that God Himself saw their perseverance and considered them worthy citizens of His kingdom (2Th 1:4, 5). He said, God would justly judge those who afflicted them (2Th 1:6-10). If we realize that Paul almost certainly taught these same truths to the church in Pisidian Antioch, and that even after the apostles left the Holy Spirit continued to be powerfully at work in the believers, we can better understand how they joyfully endured affliction.

Friday: Acts 14:1-3
vs1-2: Just as they had done in Pisidian Antioch, Paul and Barnabas began in Iconium by attending synagogue on the Sabbath and speaking about Jesus Christ. And again, just as had happened in Pisidian Antioch, a large number of Jews and God-fearing Greeks believed their message. And again, those synagogue leaders who refused to be persuaded by what they heard worked aggressively to stir up anger and to “abuse the souls” of the Gentiles in that city toward the “brothers.” v3: Yet, rather than flee this growing danger, Paul and Barnabas chose to remain in the city long enough to lay a good foundation of understanding for these disciples, and they continued to speak out boldly. To be able to do this, Luke says they relied on the Lord who was witnessing to the word of His grace, working signs and wonders through their hands.

Saturday: Acts 14:4-7
vs4-5: The population of the city was split in two (Lk 12:51-53), some sided with the Jewish leaders and others with the apostles. Tension between the groups grew until a mob formed, made up of both Gentiles and Jews, including their synagogue leaders. At some point the angry crowd began sweeping across the city intent on publicly humiliating Paul and Barnabas, and then stoning them. vs6-7: At that moment, rather than die needlessly, they fled the city, travelling eastward into another part of that same region called Lycaonia. They first fled to Lystra which was about 20 miles south of Iconium, and later they would flee from Lystra to Derbe which was about 80 miles east of Lystra. Luke mentions they evangelized some of the rural areas surrounding those cities as well.

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