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Sinclair Ferguson (Acts 14) Derek Thomas (Acts 14:1-20 [pages:378-


And it was written for Theophilus probably It was written to enable us to understand that
in order to help him to understand that in in God’s purposes two things always go
God’s purposes for his people two things hand in hand: first, God is keeping Jesus’
always go hand in hand. Number one, that promise that the gospel is to reach the
God is keeping the promise that Jesus made nations of the world. Jesus tells the disciples
that the gospel would extend to the ends of after the resurrection that they will be
the earth and to the end of the ages witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and
Samaria, and ultimately, to end of the earth

And the acts of the apostles which begins The book of Acts comes to a close with the
with the that statement ends with the apostle apostle Paul in Rome, at the capital of the
Paul at the center of the earth in those days, empire… “without hindrance” (Acts 28:31)
the great capital city of the Roman empire,
Rome itself. And the last words of the acts
of the apostles as we’ve sometimes noticed
are ‘without hindrance’ (28:31)

And between these two bookends, Luke is Between these two bookends, Luke is telling
telling his friend Theophilus the story of the his friend Theophilus the way in which the
triumph of the gospel to the ends of the earth gospel has made it to the very heart of the
and to the center of the empire Roman Empire

But the other thing that we’ve noticed In the second place, Luke is also telling the
inevitably that is woven into that story of the story of the trials of the apostles that lie
triumph of the gospel is the story of the behind the greater story of the advance of
trials of the apostles which lie behind and the kingdom of God. He wants us to see that
are so often God’s way of moving forward the gospel moved forward through trials and
the triumph of the gospel. As for Christ no persecutions of the apostles. As it was true
cross, no crown, so for the victory of the for Christ – “no cross, no crown” – so also is
Christian, no cross no crown it true for his disciples (p.379)

But it’s only at the beginning of chapter 13 Only at the beginning of chapter 13 have we
that we’ve seen the church moving from seen something of the church’s willingness
needing persecution or revelation to being to accept its God-given mission to be a
willing to accept the God-given mission of witness for Jesus Christ in the entire world
Jesus Christ to take the gospel not only to
the Jews but also to the Gentiles


As is their custom, we’re told here, they go As was their custom, they went, first of all,
first of all to the Jews (verse 1) to the Jews…

And they preached the same message they Paul and Barnabus preached the same
had preached everywhere message in Iconium that they preached

They spoke of a gospel that was free, a The gospel requires no prior
gospel that required no qualifications, to qualifications…Paul and Barnabus spoke to
people who were used to thinking in terms people who had become used to thinking in
of qualifying for the grace of God terms of qualifying for the blessings of God

You’ll notice how Luke adds the style of Notice the manner of their proclamation.
their preaching, again in verse 3: “they spent They spoke “boldly for the Lord.” The word
a considerable time there speaking boldly translated “boldly” literally means all
for the Lord.” That’s a word that literally speech. It is used in the New Testament to
means “all speech”. And it’s used frequently describe the way in which the Holy Spirit
in the new testament to designate what fills the person who is speaking the Word of
happens when God’s Holy Spirit fills the God wither privately or publicly.
person who is speaking the word of God,
either privately or publicly.

There is such a sense of God’s grace and There is such a sense of God’s power when
power as they speak that they are able to they speak…
speak boldly for the Lord Jesus Christ…

And their message was confirmed by these … Their message was confirmed by
miraculous signs. miraculous signs (p.381).

the word of God had been spoken about the Despite the word of grace and the
grace of God to these people… And in confirmation of the truth by miraculous
addition to the truth of his word, God had signs, they refused to believe. Their hearts
confirmed the truth of the gospel by these were hardened, and nothing would change
miracles. It was that their hearts were them (p.382)
hardened and nothing would change them.

Strange alliances against the word of God Strange alliance of this kind against the
and the gospel of Christ are always the work work of God are always the work of Satan
of Satan…

… those with hardened hearts who will not Those with hardened hearts begin to poison
be alone in the hard hardness now are not the minds of those who have begun to be
content with that but of course they want to drawn to the work of Christ. The enemies of
poison the minds of those who have begun the gospel begin to pour poison into the ears
to be drawn to the gospel. And like of those who show interest
something out of Hamlet, the way in which
to poison the minds of people is to pour the
poison into the ear

…. it’s a story intended to teach Theophilus This teaches us that we cannot be faithful to
and us that we cannot be faithful to the the gospel of Jesus Christ as a fellowship
gospel of Jesus Christ as a fellowship or as without possibly experiencing a measure of
individuals scattered throughout the city opposition
without some of these things beginning to



Now there was a reason they said that, given Paul and Barnabus may well have known
their pagan religion, because there was a the story of the Roman author Ovid…
story, actually recorded a number of years written half a century or so earlier. It was
before this, in the writing of the Roman sent in this same district and told of two
author Ovid on the Gods changing into Greek gods, Jupiter (Zeus) and Mercury
human form. Ovid recorded a story that was (Hermes), who visited the Phrygian hill
told in this very part of Asia Minor of how country disguised as mortal men. They were
the two gods, Zeus and Hermes, had come turned away from a thousand homes where
down to this very vicinity and they had gone they sought lodging, but were finally
around in the disguise of men and they had welcomed into the home of an elderly
been asking if there would be people who couple. The gods turned the house into a
would put them up for a night, and they temple, destroying all the homes that had
went round a thousand homes and nobody rejected them (p.383)
one would put them up until they came to
this home of a poor old pair of bodies who
took them in and made them welcomed

The man jumps up and he begins to walk. Both are said to have leaped up and walked
Now, if you’ve been following the Acts of following their healing. Readers of the Acts
the Apostles you’re bound to think, ‘I think of the Apostles, from Theophilus to the
I’ve heard this before. modern reader, must surely find themselves
saying, “I’ve heard this story before!” What
is going on

That is of course Luke’s point: he’s wanting Luke wanted us to see that Paul and
us to see as he is telling the story of the Barnabus were… standing in the temple of
gospel standing at the gate of the pagan paganism, just as Peter was standing in the
world that the needs of the people and the Jewish temple in Jerusalem.
power of the gospel are just the same here
among pagans as they were there in

That the same power of God that was The same power of God that was present in
present in Peter’s ministry there at the Peter’s healing was present here in Lystra
beginning of the church is present in the among the Greek pantheon…
ministry of Paul and Barnabus as the church
moves out to conquer a Gentile and a pagan

The same grace is evident because the same The same grace was evident because the
basic needs are present. same basic needs were present (p.384)

These people don’t have the bible. And so They did not have the Scriptures… Paul was
he makes his point of contact first of all with teaching them Bible truth without citing the
where they are. And he teaches them truths bible! He found a point of contact…
that are found in the bible without actually
telling them they need to look at the bible…

The way in which God has displayed his Paul employed the truths of cration and
amazing goodness in creation and providence… and talked to them about
providence God’s goodness

God builds his church and works in the lives The triumph of the gospel comes hand in
of every single individual believer that hand with and through the means of
triumph comes hand in hand with and tribulation (p. 388)
through the means of tribulation

…there are fragments of that message that Fragments of this message often pierce our
stick into our lives lives… (p.388)

…so that the trials that we experience as we …Trials are not an indication that those who
seek to be faithful witnesses of Jesus Christ, oppose us are triumphing (p.389)
should never take us by surprise, nor should
they be an indication to us that those who
oppose the gospel are triumphing,

we’re seeing the general fulfilment here of A promise is being fulfilled here, ensuring
Jesus’ promise in Acts 1:8, the gospel has that the gospel perforates the pagan world
now actually begun to penetrate to the pagan (Acts 1:8)
recesses of the Roman province of Asia

But Luke also wants us to see that there is In doing so, God also warned (through
another promise of Jesus that is being Ananias in Damascus): “[Saul] is a chosen
fulfilled here, a promise that he had recorded instrument of mine to carry my name before
was given to Saul of Tarsus, (through the gentiles and kings and the children of
Ananias): ‘go’ the Lord said in Acts 9:15: Israel. For I will show him how much he
‘But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a must suffer for the sake of my name
chosen instrument of mine to carry my
name before the Gentiles and I will show
him how much he must suffer for my
name’s sake.” (Acts 9:15-16).

And as Paul was eventually to realize, In many ways, Paul was a walking
looking back on his life, he began to realize illustration of the principles by which the
Christ had called him to be an enormous Lord Jesus Christ builds his church
illustration of the principles by which God
builds his church



[Quotes: [Quotes:
1. 2 Cor. 4:6-12 1. 2 Cor. 4:6-12
2. Amy Carmichael’s poem, The Sign 2. Amy Carmichael’s poem, The Sign,
(p.394) p. 394)