The Door of Faith is Now Fully Open to Everyone
July 17, 2022
Pastor Craig Ledbetter
Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland
I. Background (Ephesians 3:6-8)
A. We are now about halfway through the book of Acts
1. There is so much we have learned
2. (It is all online by the way on youtube and the church website)
3. Christianity is fully in motion. It is truly on the go!
4. And it shows no sign of slowing down!
B. Paul and Barnabas are on what we know as the first missionary journey. They will go on several more missionary journeys.
C. But this is a special journey, because they will discover that “the door of faith”, which had only been slightly opened to the Gentiles, has been swung wide open now!
D. Ephesians 3:6 That the Gentiles should be fellowheirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel: Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power. Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
A. Iconium (Acts 14:1-6)
1. Right Back into a Synagogue (Acts 14:1)
a. After being kicked out of the town of Antioch Pisida
b. They go right back into a synagogue – they just can’t ignore the Jewish people
1) Acts 14:1 And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed.
2) Paul will continue to engage every Jewish community he finds until the end of his life
c. He preached again!
1) He never got tired of preaching the gospel! The good news!
2) Notice that he always preached it with joy.
d. A great multitude believed! Jew and gentile
e. Believed WHAT?
1) That the religious, the political, and the common people had ALL rejected and crucified the Messiah
2) And that Jesus had defeated death and sin, and rose again
3) And would forgive them IF THEY REPENTED and just believed His promise to save them!
2. Constant Confrontation (Acts 14:2-5)
a. Not everyone believed (Acts 14:2) But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren.
b. People got upset!
1) This Book upsets a lot of people – especially religiously devout people
2) The gospel message is not Barney's message… “I love you, you love me, we're a happy family...”
3) The unbelieving Jews stirred up riots in the city
4) The city was divided (Acts 14:4) But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews, and part with the apostles.
c. But Paul and Barnabas stayed faithful (Acts 14:3) Long time therefore abode they speaking boldly in the Lord, which gave testimony unto the word of his grace, and granted signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
d. And then Paul and Barnabas were physically assaulted (Acts 14:5) And when there was an assault made both of the Gentiles, and also of the Jews with their rulers, to use them despitefully, and to stone them,
3. It was Time to Escape (Acts 14:6)
a. There is a time to stay and stand, and there is a time to run
b. Acts 14:6 They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about:
B. On to Lystra and Derbe, and Lycaonia (Acts 14:7-20)
1. There They Preached the Gospel (Acts 14:7)
a. Acts 14:7 And there they preached the gospel.
b. Oh for that goal – that everywhere Christian men are, the Gospel is preached!
1) THAT is how the world heard the Gospel in the First century!
2) THAT is how it can hear it again in the 21st century!
2. Paul heals a Crippled Man (Acts 14:8-10)
a. Acts 14:8-10 And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked: The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.
b. Healing was so easy back then. It does NOT happen now – so don’t be duped
c. This man heard the gospel
d. He believed it – to the saving of his SOUL
e. But he also believed that since Jesus was alive, He would heal his body!
f. And that was when Paul simply said “Stand Up!”
g. And he leaped up and walked miraculously healed
h. It shouldn't be possible
i. But it proved that the gospel was there and was true and works on healing the soul
3. Religious Confusion (Acts 14:11-18)
a. There is a lot of it, in every culture
b. Acts 14:11,12 And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker.
c. All the people of that area began to believe that the gods had come down to them!
d. They called Barnabas Jupiter and they called Paul Mercury
e. They thought Barnabas was the God of sky and Thunder because he was so big in commanding in stature
f. They thought Paul was the chief speaker of the gods because of his energy and his passion in his preaching
g. And if that weren't bad enough, the priests started to prepare a sacrifice to get everyone to worship Paul and Barnabas!
1) Acts 14:13 Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people.
h. That freaks out Barnabas and Paul
1) They ran to the center of the crowd where the priests were
2) And then they ripped their very clothes! You don't normally do that because no one had lots of different clothes
a) Acts 14:14 Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out,
3) It got the attention of everyone
4) And that's when they announced that they were only men, the very same as all other men with the same passions and flaws. They were not gods
a) Acts 14:15 And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you…
5) Paul began to preach that everyone in that crowd should
a) Repent of these vain sacrifices
b) And turn to the only living God, the one God that made everything
i. Acts 14:15 And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:
c) And then they tried to explain that God has allowed all Gentiles to do their own thing for so much of history
i. Acts 14:16 Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.
ii. Acts 14:17 Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness.
iii. But God always gave them a witness
iv. He gave them good things, and kindnesses like rain, and harvests, and food, and gladness
6) But it barely stopped the priests and the people from worshipping Paul and Barnabas
a) Acts 14:18 And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people, that they had not done sacrifice unto them.
7) Old religious habits are hard to die! Don’t want to accept the simplicity of faith in Jesus alone!
4. Persecution Turns Deadly (Acts 14:19-20)
a. Paul is stoned – WOW!
b. Acts 14:19 And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.
c. By his own people
d. This is probably when Paul got to experience heaven briefly, but recovered
1) 2Corinthians 12:2 I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven.
2) 2Corinthians 12:3 And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;)
3) 2Corinthians 12:4 How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.
4) 2Corinthians 12:5 Of such an one will I glory: yet of myself I will not glory, but in mine infirmities.
5) 2Corinthians 12:6 For though I would desire to glory, I shall not be a fool; for I will say the truth: but now I forbear, lest any man should think of me above that which he seeth me to be, or that he heareth of me.
6) 2Corinthians 12:7 And lest I should be exalted above measure through the abundance of the revelations, there was given to me a thorn in the flesh, the messenger of Satan to buffet me, lest I should be exalted above measure.
e. But then he got up, and went BACK into the city!
1) Acts 14:20 Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.
2) Paul is Driven – couldn’t stop
3) Stoning was something he had a painful memory of – at the stoning of Stephen
4) Didn’t know there was a young man named Timothy watching him, who would on Paul’s next trip through the area (Acts 16:1), join with him and become a great pastor!
C. Time to Head Back Home (Acts 14:21-25)
1. Went to one more town - Derbe (before turning around)
a. Preaching the same Gospel – never changing it
b. Answering questions, teaching the Bible
2. Went Back the Way They Came! Back through every city and town they had preached and won people to faith in Jesus Christ: Lystra, Iconium, Antioch Pisidia (Acts 14:21) And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch,
3. Confirming souls
a. Acts 14:22 Confirming the souls of the disciples, and exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
b. To make firm, strong, strengthen – like a tent rope
c. Encouraging them
d. Making sure they were really saved – not just playing along
e. Exhorting them to continue by faith
1) Don’t switch off faith when you are heading to work
2) Don’t switch off faith when you are on holiday
3) We will all experience hardships, troubles, tribulations when we strive to live in the Kingdom of God – get all the way in
4) They were experiencing tribulations, but not THE Tribulation
5) The kingdom of God is a way of life
a) Gentiles have a much harder time learning the Bible than the Jews
b) They have their various wicked cultures to get out from
4. And Establishing Churches
a. Acts 14:23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.
b. Ordaining mature godly men as elders and pastors in every church
c. I wish I could preach on this for a week or two
d. I am looking for godly men and faithful men, and mature men to be part of the leadership of this church
e. That is what every church needs!
f. Not just a pastor, but mature godly men!
g. Men who love prayer, and fasting, and church!
h. Paul and Barnabas put them into God's care
i. These churches were not under the care of denominations or foreign cities like Rome or London or Salt Lake City or YouTube!
5. THAT was what they / we were called to do!
6. They traveled through Perga, then Attalia, and then to Antioch of Syria where they started from - Preaching some more along the way (Acts 14:24,25) And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia:
D. Time for a Rest (Acts 14:26-28)
1. Back to Antioch
a. Where believers had been first called Christians, and where the Holy Spirit had called these two men to go on such a long, dangerous, but successful Gospel Mission!
b. Acts 14:26 And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled.
c. Notice the words… “they fulfilled their work!”
d. The military call it a tour of duty
2. A big gathering of the church
a. Acts 14:27 And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles.
b. Paul and Barnabas rehearsed all that God had done - not what they had done
c. And the thing they couldn't stop talking about was that God had opened the door of faith wide to everyone in the world
3. And then Paul and Barnabas rested for a while (Acts 14:28) And there they abode long time with the disciples.
a. Again, the military call it a furlough
b. Spring break, summer break
4. But they we're not finished!
A. Paul and Barnabas just finished their first missionary journey
1. A 1,500 mile trip
2. Taking about 2 months, start to finish
3. Preached the Gospel everyone and to everyone
4. And loads of Jews and gentiles got born again
5. But there was also troubles – stoning, and throwing them out of towns
B. What a story they could tell
1. Not religious
2. But lives saved, and changed and a great awakening spreading across Asia Minor
3. And they were still just starting!
C. The Door of Faith is Now Fully Open to Everyone – including YOU and ME!
1. It didn’t used to be
2. Us Gentiles were left to ourselves – we weren’t interested in God, and it showed!
3. But Jesus said get going! Don’t just sit around Jerusalem, waiting to go to heaven!
4. Get EVERYBODY saved
5. The door is wide open now
D. Has it affected YOU yet?
1. I stand here today, preaching the very same Gospel that thrilled and upset everyone so much way back then!
2. What are YOU going to do with the news that Jesus died for YOUR sins, was buried, and then arose again after three days in the grave?
3. What are you going to do when you face God and try and say you were a pretty good person, only to hear, “depart from me. I never knew you!” Simply because you refused the only doorway to God – Jesus
4. John 14:6 Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.