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
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)
• 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
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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