Some of the apostles and leaders gathered at Antioch
Acts 13:1Now there were in the church that was at Antioch certain prophets and teachers; as Barnabas, and Simeon that was called Niger, and Lucius of Cyrene, and Manaen, which had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch [a tetrarch was the ruler of a forth part of Herod the Great’s kingdom], and Saul [Paul].
Barnabas and Saul [Paul] were sent out by God’s inspiration and they immediately responded positively to that “still small voice” which directed them. How many would do so today? How many today are responsive to God’s Spirit? How many who are convicted and feeling ill at ease over buying on Sabbath, just ignore God’s Spirit and go along because “the corporate church leaders say so”?
Brethren, such sin quenches the Spirit of God! You will receive spiritual understanding in direct proportion to your zeal to learn and to keep the Word of God..
13:2 As they ministered [worshiped, prayed] to the Lord, and fasted, the Holy Ghost said, Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them. 13:3 And when they had fasted and prayed, and laid their hands on them, they sent them away.
Barnabas and Saul [Paul] preached in Cyprus
13:4 So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus. 13:5 And when they were at Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews: and they had also John[John Mark] to their minister [their helper].
John Mark assisted Paul and Barnabas on their first journey in Cyprus: Acts 12:25 “And Barnabas and Saul returned from Jerusalem, when they had fulfilled their ministry, and took with them John, whose surname was Mark;” but then returned to Jerusalem.
A popular sorcerer called himself the “Son of the Savior” to deceive, but his name was Elymas meaning sorcerer. In the same way, many call themselves apostles or prophets today when they are no such thing, merely claiming such titles to gain a following for themselves.
13:6 And when they had gone through the isle unto Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Barjesus [son of the savior]: 13:7 Which was with the deputy of the country, Sergius Paulus, a prudent man; who called for Barnabas and Saul, and desired to hear the word of God. 13:8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.
Saul rebukes the sorcerer and strikes him blind for a time
13:9 Then Saul, (who also is called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him. 13:10 And said, O full of all subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness, wilt thou not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord? 13:11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.
The government official seeing this demonstration of the power of God against the false teacher, listened to the preaching of Saul [Paul] and believed.
13:12 Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord.
From Paphos – a port on the west coast of Cyprus – they went to Perga in Pamphylia in modern Turkey, almost directly north of Paphos.
13:13 Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John [John Mark] departing from them returned to Jerusalem. 13:14 But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the sabbath day, and sat down.
They finally returned to Antioch and attended the synagogue where they expounded the Word of God
13:15 And after the reading of the law and the prophets the rulers of the synagogue sent unto them, saying, Ye men and brethren, if ye have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.
Paul preached the gospel of salvation through Jesus Christ as Messiah and the ONLY way to Salvation; the ONLY Mediator between humanity and God the Father.
13:16 Then Paul stood up, and beckoning with his hand said,
This sermon is just as true today as it was in the first century and IS FOR US TODAY!
Men of Israel, and ye that fear God, give audience.
When we lived in sin, God the Father called us out of the spiritual Egypt of slavery to this world’s sins and its god-king Satan. We were delivered by the Mighty Arm of our Deliverer through his perfect sinless life and sacrificial death as OUR PASSOVER LAMB!
13:17 The God of this people of Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an high arm brought he them out of it.
God delivered Israel out of bondage in Egypt, and God delivers his called out from bondage to sin; yet we, like ancient Israel have turned away from our Deliverer.
13:18 And about the time of forty years suffered he their manners in the wilderness.
Only those who overcome and vanquish their bondage to sin by the power of their Mighty One [Jesus Christ], will enter the resurrection to spirit where they will receive their inheritance.
These histories happened and were recorded for OUR EXAMPLE AND INSTRUCTION.
13:19 And when he had destroyed seven nations in the land of Chanaan, he divided their land to them by lot.
The Canaanites were symbolic of the judgment of the unrepentant wicked, who exalt false traditions, false teachings, idols [and idols of men] and corporate entities above the Word of God.
13:20 And after that he gave unto them judges about the space of four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet. 13:21 And afterward they desired a king: and God gave unto them Saul the son of Cis [Kish], a man of the tribe of Benjamin, by the space of forty years.
Then David was raised up; beloved of God, for his zeal for the teachings and commandments of Jesus Christ. David was a man after God’s own heart, because David admitted his sins and quickly wholeheartedly sincerely repented when he became aware of his sins.
If we are to become men after God’s own heart, then we must have an attitude of desiring with all our hearts to be ONE in FULL UNITY with Jesus Christ and God the Father so intensely that we will always quickly and sincerely REPENT like David did when we find ourselves in error or sin.
Some have said that because David sinned we may sin also, for David was a man after God’s own heart. THIS IS IGNORANCE! It is an abominable twisting of scripture to justify sin! Sin is rebellion against God and is NEVER justifiable! David was a man after God’s heart because he REPENTED of sin, in a true humility and contrition of spirit before God!
True godly humility is to love and submit to Jesus Christ and God the Father by obeying the Holy Scriptures.
Asceticism without obedience to God: IS NOT HUMILITY! It is merely a show or appearance without the substance of true godly Davidic contrite sincere repentance from sin and humble obedience to God!
Operating charities, or washing feet, or using humble sounding words; WITHOUT CONTRITE REPENTANCE AND WHOLEHEARTED OBEDIENCE TO GOD, are only put-on’s and frauds; and do NOT constitute godly humility. If there is no zealous obedience of God, mere words or appearances are meaningless deceptions!
13:22 And when he [Christ] had removed him [king Saul], he raised up unto them David to be their king; to whom also he gave their testimony, and said, I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after mine own heart, which shall fulfil all my will.
Why has today’s greater Church of God corporate and independent entities NOT LEARNED from the Judges and Kings that it is NOT our physical organizational systems that matter with God? It is our personal faithfulness to God the Father to live by every Word of God that matters.
The true Ekklesia consists of everyone who is zealously faithful to God the Father and Jesus Christ! There is NO SUCH THING as a corporate Ekklesia; or a corporate true Church of God!
The very name: Church of God when applied to a corporate entity is a fraudulent statement, claiming that such an organization is the Ekklesia when it is NOT! At the very best a corporate entity has some of the Ekklesia within it, mixed with many thorns, thistles and tares.
Jesus [Hebrew: Yeshua] is revealed as the Christ
13:23 Of this man’s seed [David] hath God according to his promise raised unto Israel a Saviour, Jesus: 13:24 When John [Baptist] had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 13:25 And as John [Baptist] fulfilled his course, he said, Whom think ye that I am? I am not he. But, behold, there cometh one after me, whose shoes of his feet I am not worthy to loose.
The Gospel of the Salvation of Christ is taught in the Antioch Synagogue
13:26 Men and brethren, children of the stock of Abraham, and whosoever among you feareth God, to you is the word of this salvation sent. 13:27 For they that dwell at Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they knew him not, nor yet the voices of the prophets which are read every sabbath day, they have fulfilled them [the scriptures] in condemning him. 13:28 And though they found no cause of death in him, yet desired they Pilate that he should be slain.
The resurrection of Christ was witnessed by many
13:29 And when they had fulfilled all that was written of him, they took him down from the tree, and laid him in a sepulchre. 13:30 But God raised him from the dead: 13:31 And he was seen many days of them which came up with him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are his witnesses unto the people.
13:32 And we declare unto you glad tidings, how that the promise which was made unto the fathers, 13:33 God hath fulfilled the same unto us their children, in that he hath raised up Jesus again; as it is also written in the second psalm, [God the Father said] Thou art my Son, this day have I begotten thee.
The resurrected Christ has been given eternal life, he will never again see death in a physical body.
13:34 And as concerning that he raised him up from the dead, now no more to return to corruption, he said on this wise, I will give you the sure mercies of David. 13:35 Wherefore he saith also in another psalm, Thou shalt not suffer thine Holy One to see corruption.
The body of David is turned to dust, but Jesus Christ has been resurrected into a spirit body of eternal life.
13:36 For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep, and was laid unto his fathers, and saw corruption: 13:37 But he, whom God raised again, saw no corruption.
Salvation comes from belief and obedience to God the Father and Jesus Christ
13:38 Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: 13:39 And by him all that believe [and act on that belief, marrying faith with the works of faith which is obedience to God] are justified from all things, [The law cannot justify our PAST sins, it can only keep us from wickedness in the future; and if we obey the law, repenting and going forward sinning no more our past sins once repented of, will be justified by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. This does NOT justify remaining in sin.] from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses.
Jesus Christ will NOT apply his sacrifice and justify the unrepentant sinner. He will NOT overlook willful sin.
Romans 2:13 (For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified [by Christ].
Acts 13:40 Beware therefore, lest that [judgment of destruction for sin] come upon you, which is spoken of in the prophets; 13:41 Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye [the wicked] shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you.
The fame of this teaching of the Gospel of Salvation was spread throughout the whole city
13:42 And when the Jews were gone out of the synagogue, the Gentiles besought that these words might be preached to them the next sabbath. 13:43 Now when the congregation was broken up, many of the Jews and religious proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas: who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace [repentance bringing forgiveness] of God.
13:44 And the next sabbath day came almost the whole city together to hear the word of God.
The evil monster of jealousy and envy creeps in among the religious leaders who do not want to repent and yet want their positions of honor and leadership. Are we today, really any different?
13:45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy, and spake against those things which were spoken by Paul, contradicting [resisting and fighting against sound doctrine] and blaspheming [through presenting false teachings as if they were from God].
Paul and Barnabas boldly rebuked the envious elders, and left their synagogue to teach the Gentiles and the repentant Jews.
13:46 Then Paul and Barnabas waxed bold, and said, It was necessary that the word of God should first have been spoken to you: but seeing ye put it from you, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, lo, we turn to the Gentiles.
Saul [Paul] then reveals that Jesus Christ is also a light to the Gentiles
13:47 For so hath the Lord commanded us, saying, I have set thee [Jesus Christ] to be a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the ends of the earth.
13:48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed. 13:49 And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region.
The unrepentant Jews resisted and stirred up dissent against Paul and Barnabas, persecuting them and throwing them out of the synagogue and out of the city: Even as many cast the zealous for God out of the assemblies today.
13:50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts.
Far from being discouraged Paul and his helpers only redoubled their efforts and rejoiced before God; going forward and onward to preach the true Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ.
13:51 But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium. 13:52 And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost.
The situation is repeated in Iconium, Paul and his helpers went first to the Jews and then to the Gentiles, when the Jews reject them.
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.
The unrepentant resisted and stirred up the brethren against the truth being presented to them. So it is today.
14:2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and made their minds evil affected against the brethren.
This situation continued for a long time, and the people were divided.
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. 14:4 But the multitude of the city was divided: and part held with the Jews [and unrepentant Gentiles], and a part with the apostles.
The unrepentant Jews and Gentiles then plotted to murder Paul and his helpers.
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,
The men of God escaped and continued their preaching of the Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ, in other cities.
14:6 They were ware of it, and fled unto Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and unto the region that lieth round about: 14:7 And there they preached the gospel.
Paul heals a repentant crippled man; which provides an opportunity for him to preach the Gospel of salvation by Jesus Christ
14:8 And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked: 14:9 The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, 14:10 Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.
The superstitious people thought that some of the gods had come down among them
14:11 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.
14:12 And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker.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.
Paul and Barnabas ran to teach the people about Christ and God the Father; to turn them away from their pantheon of vanities.
14:14 Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, 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: 14:16 Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways.
Very soon now the time of the nations to do as they think right will pass away; as Jesus Christ comes with the armies of his angels and his chosen resurrected elect to take the kingdom’s of the earth and to rule and teach them the righteousness of God.
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. 14:18 And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people, that they had not done sacrifice unto them.
Enemy agents came from Antioch and Iconium to stir up the people in Lystra against Barnabas and Paul. Then those who had so recently considered Paul a god; stoned him and left him for dead.
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 [of Lystra], supposing he had been dead. 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.
Barnabas and Saul [Paul] preached the Gospel of Salvation through Jesus Christ in Derbe and then courageously returned to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch. What a sight for the persecuted in these cities to see such faith and courage in the leading men of the faith!
Truly this way is not easy as Satan works to attack the called out. Yet it is NOT God’s way that is difficult; it is the persecution of Satan which is designed to make God’s way APPEAR difficult; so that some will be enticed to compromise and turn away.
14:21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they [very courageously] returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch, 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.
As they taught and people repented it was expedient to seek out elderly men of wisdom and deep conversion and understanding to help their brethren, so that Paul and Barnabas could move on to other cities. These elders were not ordained for corporate loyalty, or overt talents; they were ordained for their depth of conversion and loyalty to live by every Word of God the Father.
They were not ordained to exalt themselves or to dominate others; they were ordained to set an example, to teach truth and rebuke sin; and to watch over the flock, feeding them strong spiritual meat in season and out of season.
Acts 14:23 And when they had ordained them elders in every church [properly; congregation], and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed.
Continuing their journey they returned to Antioch and told the Assembly [Ekklesia] all the news of their long journey.
14:24 And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. 14:25 And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia: 14:26 And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled. 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. 14:28 And there [in Antioch] they abode long time with the disciples [with the brethren].
Many of the leading apostles remained in Jerusalem and Judea until about 66 A.D. when they fled to Pella and there canonized the New Testament scriptures, while Antioch was the home base of Paul and Barnabas and other apostles traveled to far off nations as God led them.