God’s Work, Not Gods!

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Acts 14: 1-18

Acceptance and Opposition

14 In Iconium they entered the synagogue of the Jews together, and spoke in such a manner that a large number of people believed, both of Jews and of Greeks. But the Jews who [a]disbelieved stirred up the [b]minds of the Gentiles and embittered them against the brethren.Therefore they spent a long time there speaking boldly with relianceupon the Lord, who was testifying to the word of His grace, granting that [c]signs and wonders be done by their hands. But the [d]people of the city were divided; and some [e]sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles. And when an attempt was made by both the Gentiles and the Jews with their rulers, to mistreat and to stone them, they became aware of it and fled to the cities of Lycaonia, Lystra and Derbe, and the surrounding region; and there they continued to preach the gospel.

At Lystra a man was sitting who had no strength in his feet, lame from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. This man was listening to Paul as he spoke, who, when he had fixed his gaze on him and had seen that he had faith to be [f]made well, 10 said with a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he leaped up and began to walk. 11 When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they raised their voice, saying in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have become like men and have come down to us.” 12 And they began calling Barnabas, [g]Zeus, and Paul, [h]Hermes, because he was [i]the chief speaker. 13 The priest of Zeus, whose temple was [j]just outside 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 [k]robes and rushed out into the crowd, crying out 15 and saying, “Men, why are you doing these things? We are also men of the same nature as you, and preach the gospel to you that you should turn from these [l]vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them. 16 [m]In the generations gone by He permitted all the [n]nations to go their own ways; 17 and yet He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good and gave you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, [o]satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”18 Even saying these things, with difficulty they restrained the crowds from offering sacrifice to them.

Discussion Questions

June 16th, 2019

1.) Notice that in verses 1-7 we see the typical pattern of Paul & Barnabas' mission work: preaching and teaching followed by conversions and then persecution. Also, verses 5-7 show the mounting persecution in Iconium and the decision of Paul and Barnabas, once the plan of mistreatment and stoning was known, to leave the area. WHEN MINISTERING, WHEN IS IT APPROPRIATE TO MOVE ON FROM A HOSTILE ENVIRONMENT? HOW WOULD YOU RESPOND TO SOMEONE WHO SAID THAT JESUS DIDN'T LEAVE THE CROSS, SO WHY WOULD HIS FOLLOWER LEAVE A PLACE OF DANGER? WHAT TYPE OF PERSECUTION HAVE YOU ENDURED FOR CHRIST'S SAKE?

2.) Verses 8-18 are the account of the people of Lystra, once they saw the lame man healed, trying to treat Paul & Barnabas as gods. Wonderfully, the two missionaries denied this attempt at treating them as gods and focused the attention on the true God. WHAT ARE SOME EXAMPLES OF CHRISTIANS TODAY TREATED "OVER THE TOP" WITH PRAISE, HONOR, ETC.? HOW CAN WE TURN AWAY FROM THIS EVIL AND ENSURE WE GIVE "TO GOD WHAT IS GOD'S" Mark 12:17?