|Create Date||September 25, 2018|
|Last Updated||September 25, 2018|
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LESSONS FROM PAUL’S 1st MISSIONARY JOURNEY
Summary of Paul’s first missionary journey.
Wherever Paul and Barnabas travelled their message was received with joy, lives were changed, people believed. But along with the success there was a lot of hardship and great persecution.
- Paul, Barnabas (a native of Cyprus) and John Mark set out from Antioch in 46AD. They sail from Seleucia to Cyprus, where they share the Good News in the synagogues at Salamis. (Acts 13:1-5)
- They walk across Cyprus, preaching at Jewish synagogues until they reach Paphos, where the Roman proconsul believes the Good News about Jesus. (Acts 13:6-12)
It is here that Paul confronts the magician Bar-Jesus, who wanted to turn the proconsul from believing. “...you son of the devil, you enemy of all that is good — ...the hand of the Lord is against you, and you will be blind, ...!” (Acts 13:10-11) When the proconsol saw what had happened he was greatly astounded and believed.
- They sail from Paphos to Perga on the coast of Pamphylia, where John Mark decides to return to Jerusalem. (Acts 13:13)
- From Perga, Paul and Barnabas head inland to Antioch in Pisidia where Paul preaches a long sermon on being put right with God through faith in Jesus Christ. (Acts 13:14-52)
The next week the whole city turns up to hear Paul preach the gospel. The Jews get jealous and begin to contradict Paul and Barnabas and to turn the people against them.
46 Both Paul and Barnabas replied courageously, “It was necessary to speak the word of God to you first. Since you reject it and do not consider yourselves worthy of eternal life, we are turning to the Gentiles.
They get thrown out of the region. They shake the dust off their feet and they proceed to Iconium. (Acts 14:1-4)
- The local Jews expel Paul from Antioch, so he and Barnabas move on to Iconium in Galatia.
- Facing a death threat in Iconium, Paul and Barnabas move on to Lystra in Lycaonia, where they heal a man, crippled since birth and the crowds think they are Greek gods. (Acts 14:5-18) “The gods have come down to us in human form!” They want to offer sacrifices to the apostles.
- v19 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and after winning the crowds over, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, presuming him to be dead. Surrounded by the disciples, Paul revives and goes back into the city! The next day they moves on to Derbe, where many believe the message. (Acts 14:19-21)
- Paul and Barnabas retrace their steps and return to Perga, strengthening the new believers. (Acts 14:21-24)
Acts 14:22 They strengthened the souls of the disciples and encouraged them to continue in the faith, saying, “We must enter the kingdom of God through many persecutions.”
- They sail back to Antioch in Syria from Attalia in 48AD and tell the church all that God has done. (Acts 14:25-28)
What really strikes me when I read through these events and even the many other stories in Acts is this. Wherever they travelled their message was received with joy, lives were changed, people believed. But along with the success there was a lot of hardship and great persecution.
2 Cor 11:24-27
Five times I received from the Jews forty lashes less one. 25 Three times I was beaten with a rod. Once I received a stoning. Three times I suffered shipwreck. A night and a day I spent adrift in the open sea. 26 I have been on journeys many times, in dangers from rivers, in dangers from robbers, in dangers from my own countrymen, in dangers from Gentiles, in dangers in the city, in dangers in the wilderness, in dangers at sea, in dangers from false brothers, 27 in hard work and toil, through many sleepless nights, in hunger and thirst, many times without food, in cold and without enough clothing.
11... for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 13 I can do all things through him who strengthens me.
WHAT ABOUT YOU?
Do you ever feel like throwing in the towel? Giving up. Feel like it just isn’t worth the effort? We all get discouraged from time to time. Perhaps this was the reason John Mark deserted Paul and Barnabas and returned to Jerusalem.
WHAT IS THE KEY?
When Paul confronts the magician, Bar-Jesus it says he was filled with the Holy Spirit. (Acts 13:9) When we at times feel like giving up? Perhaps we are not being filled with the Holy Spirit.
WHAT IT THE NATURE OF THE SPIRIT’S “PRESENCE”?
The Holy Spirit is present in the lives of believers and non-believers but he does not work in everyone in the same way. The truth is, that God the Holy Spirit is personally present in an infinite number of ways - in accordance with God’s purpose.
LOOK AT OLD TESTAMENT EXAMPLES
The Spirit worked in various ways with different people and in many different circumstances. Adam and Eve - Noah - David - even giving talents and abilities to the various craftsmen who were involved in building and decorating the temple.
Throughout the story in Acts the Spirit is present and active but often in unpredictable ways. Think of the preaching of Peter, the judgement on Ananias and Sapphire - Peters encounter with Simon Magus and Paul’s encounter with Bar-Jesus. The visions of John in Revelations. There are many more examples of the ways in which the Spirit works. Look out for them as you read your Bible.
Jesus promised that he, together with the Father would send the Spirit to establish a new presence and ministry. So we can conclude that their is a dynamic, personal, presence and activity of the Spirit. We are told, we must be “born of the Spirit”,
“Indwelt” by the Spirit. There are fruits and gifts of the Spirit. We are warned not to “grieve” the Spirit. Eph 5:18 Be continually filled with the Spirit.
Rom 8:14 and Gal 5:18 Be led by the Spirit.
IF THIS IS HOW THE SPIRIT WORKS - WHERE DOES THAT LEAVE US?
We can either resist the Holy Spirit or co-operate with Him. So we as believers are encouraged to be more responsive to the Holy Spirit. Gary Deddo writes, “The connection even of the believer with the Holy Spirit is personal and dynamic, not fixed, static or mechanical.” “The Spirit is constant and faithful in character and purpose but dynamic in ministry.”
Pg 81 - Clarifying Our Theological Thinking.
Remember, the Holy Spirit is a person. Not a power or entity. He works with each of us in a unique way.
HOW DO WE?
RESIST THE SPIRIT?
- Cares of this life
- Fear of failure
HOW DO WE?
CO-OPERATE WITH THE SPIRIT?
- Read the Bible
- Fellowship with believers
- Do good works
- Rooted in community
- Open to new ideas
- Don’t be afraid to try
The Holy Spirit is always working with every individual, to draw them in one direction - towards God, through Jesus.
As a believer are you facing towards Christ or are you facing away from Christ?
Are you moving towards the Kingdom of God or away from the Kingdom of God.
When we do get down, there is always a way back. How did Paul cope? Why did he not give up? His relationship with the Holy Spirit underpinned all that he did.
Hebrews 12:12-13 NIV
Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. 13 “Make level paths for your feet, so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
Paul was not superhuman. He was just like you and I. How did he manage to keep going? Why did he not give up? His relationship with the Holy Spirit underpinned all that he did.