- To define perseverance
- To list the events of the last half of Paul’s first missionary journey
- To discuss that the gospel will be accepted by some and not by others
Materials: Inductive Bible Study Form, pictures of Zeus and Hermes
Time Needed: 30-45 minutes
Geography: Israel; Antioch; Jerusalem; Iconium; Lystra; Derbe; Pisidia; Pamphylia; Perga; Attalia
**If you are doing the MAP activity as we go through Acts, please move Paul as he travels to the locations mentioned in this chapter.
Background: After Peter was released from jail, Saul and Barnabas returned to Antioch with John Mark, who was a cousin of Barnabas. They were sent off on the first missionary journey. The Jews would hear the gospel first and then the gentiles, but eventually Paul stated that the Jews had rejected the gospel and that he would preach to the gentiles. When the gentiles heard this they were overjoyed! They glorified the Lord and many were saved. And the word of the Lord continued to spread. As for the Jews, they continued to stir up controversy and they attempted to persecute Paul and Barnabas.
Main Events of Acts 14:
Paul and Barnabas went to Iconium. They went to the synagogue first and many Jews and Greeks believed. But there were a “handful of Jews” who stirred up trouble and poisoned the minds of the people against Paul. But the two men stayed for quite some time teaching, and working signs and wonders. Many people believed, but the town was divided: Jews versus the apostles. Word came to Paul and Barnabas that a violent attempt (stoning) on their lives was going to take place, and they fled to Lystra.
In Lystra, Paul and Barnabas continued to preach the gospel. There was a man who had been crippled since birth. He had been listening to Paul and Paul recognized that this man had the faith to be healed. In a loud voice Paul said, “Stand up to your feet!” The man jumped up and was healed. When the people in town saw this, they thought their gods Zeus and Hermes had come down to earth.
The priests for these idol gods started to bring oxen and garlands because they were going to sacrifice to Paul and Barnabas. When the two men heard this, they tore their garments and ran through the crowds exclaiming that they were just mere men, but that they preach for the Living God who created the world and made the rain. Paul and Barnabas barely restrained them from sacrificing to them.
Then a “handful of Jews” came from Iconium and started to persuade the crowds against Paul. They even stoned him, dragged him outside the city, and left him for dead. When the disciples came to Paul and surrounded him, Paul stood up and went back into the city.
The next day Paul and Barnabas left for Derbe. They preached in this town and made many disciples. THEN Paul and Barnabas went back to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch to strengthen the churches there. He told the people that they would endure many tribulations. They fasted, prayed, appointed elders in the churches, and then traveled on to Pisidia, Paphylia, Perga, Attalia, and then back to Antioch where they originally had started.
The two men reported everything that had happened on their journey and how faith had come to the Gentiles. Paul and Barnabas stayed there for some time.
Application of Acts 14:
Paul believed in the gospel. In fact, he believed THE gospel. He knew that it was the Truth and that God had called him to proclaim the gospel to the ends of the earth. Paul was persistent. He did not give up. In fact, in this story, even a stoning did not persuade him to stop telling the gospel. He, literally, got back up again and went into the town. Usually it was other disciples who urged him to leave and go to the next city. But even then, Paul returned to the previous cities to minister to the disciples and set up the new churches.
How persistent are we? How determined are we to tell the gospel to others? Maybe you’ve told the gospel one time, been made fun of and stopped. Paul was humiliated at times, but he continued on because he knew that eternal souls were at stake. He also understood that some people would accept the gospel and others would reject it, but it was his job to tell the gospel to everyone.
When you look at a person, what do you see? Flesh? Or do you see a soul that will spend eternity either in hell, or in the presence of God?
You might have family or friends who need to hear the gospel. Perhaps you’ve already spoken to them once. Be persistent. Don’t give up. Continue to pray for their salvation and ask God to give you the words to say. He will never let you down!
Modification for Older Children:
Discuss the idea of mythology and research the character traits of the gods Zeus and Hermes. Why did Paul and Barnabas stress to the people that it was the Living God who had created everything, including the rain? (A statue, or a story, is not what created the world, or blesses the fields with rain. It is the Living God, who cares for people, who provides what we need to live. He is the One who should be worshiped.)
Other Resources for Acts 14:
Be sure to check of the FFS Pinterest Page for other New Testament Activities!
Thoughts? Questions? Please leave a comment below.