And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27
Be sure to view the video introducing our study of Acts 14 and 15 (Lesson 13) by clicking here.
Read and meditate on Acts 14.19-23.
We know Paul is no fool, so he must have been absolutely fearless. That’s because he’s completely faith-full. As the excitement continued to rise in Lystra – bordering, no doubt, on hysteria – our friends the enemies of the Gospel arrived and “persuaded” the people to stone Paul. Which they did.
1. I doubt much in the way of real argument was involved in inciting this mob, like, “Let me give you five good reasons why this man deserves to die.” Just clamoring, shouting, urging on the mob, pushing and shoving, pointing fingers, and letting the chips fall where they may. Are Christians today in danger of such irrational and passion-filled responses? Explain.
2. And Paul? Stoned and looking for all the world like he was dead, he lay silent and motionless before those who believed, who must have been absolutely stunned. Then, getting up, he headed back into the city! Hit me again, man! What does it mean for you to turn the other cheek to someone who lashes out at you because of your witness for Christ?
3. Paul knew his work was not finished yet. He was no glutton for punishment, he just wanted to finish what he started, and that meant making sure the believers in Lystra were secure in the faith and properly ordered for ongoing growth. The role of elders is to bring order, truth, and growth to churches. How do the elders in your church do this (cf. Titus 1.5-16)?
4. Then Paul and Barnabas headed eastward to Derbe, still preaching and making disciples. After many more believed, Paul and Barnabas determined that was enough for this first trip. Now they retraced their steps, back from Derbe to Lystra to Icomium, and to Antioch of Pisidia, “strengthening the souls of the disciples” at each stop. They were checking to make sure the fruit remained. They also appointed elders in every church – mostly “house” churches, I suspect. Remember, many of these men who had come to faith would have been Jews, perhaps even elders in their synagogue. So they would have had solid Biblical grounding and would quickly have come to adjust their understanding of the Scriptures to the new Kingdom- and Christ-centered understanding brought by Paul and Barnabas. They were already shepherds in their community. Now they were appointed to be shepherds under the Good Shepherd Himself. What does it mean for elders to do the work of shepherding?
5. Jesus’ mandate is not simply to make converts, but to make disciples (Matt. 28.18-20). Responsible church leaders will undertake whatever efforts and risks are necessary to make sure the people they serve are secure in their faith and growing under the care of properly-ordained shepherds. No church is in order that does not have such a structure for disciple-making (cf. Titus 1.5). Are your church’s leaders committed to making all the members of your church true disciples of the Lord? Talk with some of them about this question.
No one ever said the work of evangelizing the lost, starting churches, and making disciples was easy. It’s hard work, and requires firm commitment, not only from church leaders but from all members of the believing community. In too many churches, 20% of the people do 80% of the work, while the rest see themselves as the objects of church ministry rather than contributors to it. How is it with your church? Are all the members of the Body of Christ using the gifts of the Lord for building-up one another and the church in Him (cf. 1 Cor. 12.7-11; Eph. 4.11-16)? Explain.
But You, O LORD, shall endure forever,
And the remembrance of Your name to all generations.
You will arise and have mercy on Zion;
For the time to favor her,
Yes, the set time, has come.
For Your servants take pleasure in her stones,
And show favor to her dust.
So the nations shall fear the name of the LORD,
And all the kings of the earth Your glory.
For the LORD shall build up Zion;
He shall appear in His glory.
T. M. Moore
Each week’s studies in Acts are bound together into a free PDF that you can download for personal or group use (click here). Each week also features a video related to the studies of the week, which you may find helpful as you work through our studies in Acts.
Acts is the record of Christ’s ongoing work as King and Lord. This is the work of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven. Read more about the implications of this work in our new book, The Kingdom Turn (click here).
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