Overview: What do we learn in this chapter?
First, we learn again that opposition to the gospel is to be expected.
Preaching the gospel at Iconium, some believed, some did not, and some actively stirred up opposition. If we expect that everyone will agree with us and like us, we will be disappointed.
The key is to “just keep going,” and speak the truth in love, boldly trust Jesus to be at work.
Second, we learn that even with the best of intentions and the clearest of messages, significant misunderstandings can take place. In Lystra, they began to worship Paul and Barnabas like pagan gods who had come to them in human form. The point being, people have their own “worldview,” and it can be very hard for people to accept new ideas without conforming that new teaching to their preconceived notions. We all tend to reconstruct the message of the gospel to fit our own perception of reality.
Third, Paul and Barnabas not only led people to Christ and planted churches, they also took the time to go back and strengthen and encourage the new believers. (Outreach and Nurture)
Fourth, listen to the encouragement they give, “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” Being on Mission is not about being comfortable. It will be difficult.
Fifth, Paul and Barnabas returned to their local sending church in Antioch and they told stories and they celebrated, and then they rested and were renewed in preparation for their next mission.
Reflecting on this week’s Sermon:
- Any Insights, that made you believe, think or see differently?
- Anything that inspired you or challenged you?
- Any Actions that you were moved to try or do?
- How did you SEE God at work in your life this week?
- How do you usually respond to someone who wants to give you praise or compliment you for something you have done?
- Describe a time when someone was intending to hurt you I some way? How did it feel to know someone disliked you so much? How did you respond to that incident?
Read Acts 14
- What part of the story, or what verse or a phrase caught your attention.
- What do you think prompted the Jews to conspire against Paul and Barnabas?
- What are the “useless or worthless things” Paul is referring to in verse 15?
What are some examples of contemporary “worthless” things?
- What does Paul emphasize about God in his speech? (vs. 15-17)
- (Vs. 8-18). Paul and Barnabas avoided the “cult of personality” and tried to keep people focused on Jesus and not them.
Who are the personalities that people look up to and listen to today?
How do we help each other to be discerning about who we listen to and who we idolize?
Do you know anyone who is so good at something (even if it is only in their own mind, “If you know what I mean”) that they have become arrogant?
How do you react to people like that?
How do you think Paul and Barnabas safeguarded themselves against this?
- The people of Lystra are one moment praising Paul and Barnabas as gods and then they are trying to kill them. The crowds did this to Jesus as well.
Why do you think people in crowds can get “stirred up” and change their minds so easily and so radically?
Have you ever been influenced by people around you to do something you would normally think is wrong but it seemed okay in the moment (Thinking about “Peer Pressure”)?
What can you do to safeguard yourself against this kind of peer pressure?
- (Vs. 19-23). Discuss the importance of doing the right thing even when it is hard?
- (Vs. 24-28). How did Paul and Barnabas help to create a “culture of praise”?
How can we do the same?
Who and what do we celebrate in our culture, in our homes and in our church?
- What part of this chapter speaks to you the most?
- How do you tend to handle opposition or ridicule?
Do you tend to shy away and back off, or do you tend to persist and push through?
- Seeing all the opposition they faced, why do you think Paul and Barnabas considered the journey a success?
- Discuss this Statement:
“When it comes to being the church, what matters most is the people living in the Gospel and experiencing life in the kingdom of God, not the 3 B’s—bigger Buildings, Budgets, or more Bodies. Paul and Barnabas plant churches train up leaders, and then they move on. They’re not interested in building their own organizations, or empires, but simply building God’s kingdom.”
For More Thought
Excuses for NOT “Being a Witness/Being on Mission Every Day—Not Sharing My Faith:
We are so busy and there is no time to develop relationships with non-believers.
We are just private people and don’t see a real need for meeting neighbors.
I really do not sense an urgent need to talk with people about Jesus.
I don’t have a real sense of compassion for the lost, people have to make their own choices.
I don’t know enough, people will ask questions I can’t answer.
I have a pretty significant fear of rejection—or wondering what people with think of me.
I just have a lack of confidence.
I don’t know what to say.
On a scale of 1 – 10 with 1 being No Confidence and 10 being Very Confident.
What number would you give yourself related to your confidence in sharing our faith in Jesus with people? Is it a lack of skill or a lack of confidence? What would you have to do in order to grow in that area of your life?
- How do I normally react to opposition and hardships? What can I learn from Paul and Barnabas to as Pastor Dan said, “Just Faithfully Keep Going?”
- All believers are on their own mission journey. How can you stop focusing on the opposition and start looking for what God is doing through you?
How can we help and support you in PRAYER this week?
Did you SEE someone needing God’s grace, love, forgiveness or hope?