Pastors BLOG
June 20, 2018, 1:26 PM

The Adventure Begins 45: Lessons From the Early Church - Acts 13:49 - 14:1,21-22

In the beginning of Acts 13 Paul and Barnabas are commissioned to go on a missions trip during a prayer meeting with the leaders of the Antioch church. This was a three year missions trip, which took them over 1,000 miles.

They began in Antioch and sailed to the isle of Cyprus, ministering there. Then they set sail again toward Perga and then onto another Antioch, Antioch of Pisidia in modern day Turkey. Paul and Barnabas began in the Antioch of Pisidia by preaching in the synagogue to the Jews and the Gentile converts to Judaism who were found there in the city. They had great success there, but they also faced some opposition…

Acts 13:49-52 (NIV)
49 The word of the Lord spread through the whole region.
50 But the Jews incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region.

So among the people who had heard and accepted their teaching there were also people who did not like what they had to say. As followers of Jesus Christ in His mission we are going to experience the same thing. Jesus called us to “Go into all the world and preach the good news and to make disciples…” He did not say that everyone we encounter or that we are led to will accept our words or our tutelage. You are God’s witness to the world, some people will accept you and others will reject you. Success as a witness is not justified by the worlds response to you – it is based on obedience to God alone.

So Paul and Barnabas get kicked out of town…

51 So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium.

52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

They shook the dust from their feet. When Jesus sent the twelve disciples out to minister he instructed them…

Mark 6:10-11 (NIV)
10 Whenever you enter a house, stay there until you leave that town.
11 And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, shake the dust off your feet when you leave, as a testimony against them."

It was a Jewish custom to shake off the dust of their feet when leaving a Gentile town, on the way back to their own land. Paul and Barnabas were turning this custom back on the Jews of this city themselves, just as Jesus had instructed in adopting this custom. Essentially they were saying of these Jews that because you reject the Good News you are not truly part of Israel and are no better than pagans. It was a gesture of disassociation, specifically a disassociation with the effects of their decision. In other words you have been warned, I have done my part now you are responsible for your choices.

You are not responsible for the choices of others to deny the truth, you are merely responsible to share it and live it.

Look at what happened with the people who did accept Paul and Barnabas’s words – they were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit. They had done their part and served their role. It would be wrong for them to miss out on the celebration of what God was doing distracted by the perceived failure of lives unaffected by the gospel.

The reality is that there are others who will accept the gospel…

Acts 14:1-28 (NIV)
1 At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed

You see what happened. They didn’t wallow in the “failure” to convert the few that rejected the gospel but instead they moved on to the next town where they continued to see more fruit. They didn’t allow the failure to keep them from trying again. Sometimes we do this with…

- witnessing

- prayer for the sick

- stepping out in faith

Don’t allow what you perceive to be a failure to stop you from trying again.

Moving on is not giving up on people either. It tells us later in Ch. 14 that…

21 …they returned to…Antioch,
22 strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith.

Paul and Barnabas continued to invest in the new converts in the very towns they got kicked out of – why because they were preparing them to continue to work on the hearts of those in that region that were closed off to the gospel.

Evangelism and Discipleship is a process – you are in process. God is using you to reach others and help them grow in different stages of their lives. Don’t take it personally when your rejected or receive the praise when they accept the truth. It is all a process, and by the way your own process is being developed in these scenarios as well. Paul wrote…

1 Corinthians 3:5-10 (NIV)
5 What, after all, is Apollos? And what is Paul? Only servants, through whom you came to believe--as the Lord has assigned to each his task.
6 I planted the seed, Apollos watered it, but God made it grow.
7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God, who makes things grow.
8 The man who plants and the man who waters have one purpose, and each will be rewarded according to his own labor.
9 For we are God's fellow workers; you are God's field, God's building.
10 By the grace God has given me, I laid a foundation as an expert builder, and someone else is building on it. But each one should be careful how he builds.

This is the process and we all play a vital role. Be obedient and do your part and do not be distracted by the results-- the results are His.

Have you tried and “failed” – try again!

Pastor Carl Friedel


06-20-2018 at 2:06 PM
Keep our eyes focused on Jesus ... when we do, it’s all about Him and His Saving grace and love in our lives and in the lives of others! We are blessed when we see how God makes it all grow ❤️ I love planting seeds!!
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