“Should I Stay or Should I Go?”, Acts 14.1-7, Thames Valley churches of Christ, Malcolm Cox

Link to video here.

“Should I Stay or Should I Go?”, Acts 14.1-7

Introduction, v1a• Modern Konya, 90 miles east of Antioch.   • Abundant water, a genial climate, rich vegetation, and great prosperity. • “Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead.” (Acts 14:19 NIV11)

• “They preached the gospel in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch,” (Acts 14:21 NIV11)

• “The believers at Lystra and Iconium spoke well of him.” (Acts 16:2 NIV11)

• “what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.” (2 Timothy 3:11 NIV11)

Results of effective speaking

1. Enabled by God, vv1b-3
A. Belief

B. Opposition• “refused” – a choice

C. Perseverance• “considerable time” • “boldly” • Message of his grace – wonderful phrase • God with you • God enabling you – ‘didomi’ • How? •

Prayer – “Now, Lord, consider their threats and enable your servants to speak your word with great boldness.” (Acts 4:29 NIV11)

• Suppression of ego: “for the Lord”, v3

• Focussed on preaching a person, not a religion: “for the Lord”

• Preaching a positive message – “his grace”, not negative one

Results of perseverance

2. The results of God’s enablement, vv4-6

A. People make a choice

B. Opposition• More serious this time • Gentiles and Jews – unholy coalition. Reminds us of Pilate and Herod. • Why do they decide to move on?

C. Moving on• How do we decide when to move on?

• Surrounding countryside: Herts, Beds & Bucks

• Cynics – pigs simply devour – ““Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you to pieces.” (Matthew 7:6 NIV

• When other opportunities present themselves – “Jesus replied, “Let us go somewhere else—to the nearby villages—so I can preach there also. That is why I have come.”” (Mark 1:38 NIV11)

Summary

Expect people to choose

Expect the negative people to oppose you

Move on when to stay would prevent the gospel being spread

Conclusion, v7• Unstoppable zeal • Neither poisoning nor plots were enough to deter them • Starts with “as usual” • Ends with “continued to preach” • God: • Confirmed the message of His grace • Empowered his messengers • Affirmed his bold ambassadors

Please add your comments on this week’s topic. We learn best when we learn in community. 

Do you have a question about teaching the Bible? Is it theological, technical, practical? Send me your questions or suggestions. Here’s the email: malcolm@malcolmcox.org.

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“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)

God bless, Malcolm

PS: You might also be interested in my book: “An elephant’s swimming pool”, a devotional look at the Gospel of John