Paul and Barnabas at Iconium
 Now at Iconium they entered together into the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed.  But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers.  So they remained for a long time, speaking boldly for the Lord, who bore witness to the word of his grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.  But the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews and some with the apostles.  When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them,  they learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country,  and there they continued to preach the gospel.
Paul and Barnabas at Lystra
 Now at Lystra there was a man sitting who could not use his feet. He was crippled from birth and had never walked.  He listened to Paul speaking. And Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well,  said in a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking.  And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in Lycaonian, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!”  Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the chief speaker.  And the priest of Zeus, whose temple was at the entrance to the city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates and wanted to offer sacrifice with the crowds.  But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out,  “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God, who made the heaven and the earth and the sea and all that is in them.  In past generations he allowed all the nations to walk in their own ways.  Yet he did not leave himself without witness, for he did good by giving you rains from heaven and fruitful seasons, satisfying your hearts with food and gladness.”  Even with these words they scarcely restrained the people from offering sacrifice to them.
Paul Stoned at Lystra
 But Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and having persuaded the crowds, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing that he was dead.  But when the disciples gathered about him, he rose up and entered the city, and on the next day he went on with Barnabas to Derbe.  When they had preached the gospel to that city and had made many disciples, they returned to Lystra and to Iconium and to Antioch,  strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.  And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, with prayer and fasting they committed them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
Paul and Barnabas Return to Antioch in Syria
 Then they passed through Pisidia and came to Pamphylia.  And when they had spoken the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia,  and from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work that they had fulfilled.  And when they arrived and gathered the church together, they declared all that God had done with them, and how he had opened a door of faith to the Gentiles.  And they remained no little time with the disciples. (ESV)
- A divided city
A cycle of controversy seems to continually follow the missionary work of the Church in Acts. Missionaries are sent. The Gospel is preached. The city erupts in conflict and division. Christians are beat up and/or threatened. Repeat. These stories in Acts question many of the assumptions we have regarding mission, evangelism, and Church life. We must remember that Jesus himself told us that he did not come to bring peace but division on earth (Luke 12:51). This is because the peace that Jesus offers is a peace the world does not want.
- Holy Fear
When Paul and Barnabas preach the Gospel and perform miracles, the people of Lystra confuse them for mythological gods and offer them worship. Imagine the power and financial gain Paul and Barnabas would have possessed had they not corrected the people of Lystra. Rather than taking advantage of the people, Paul and Barnabas cried out, corrected the people, and continued to teach the Gospel and point them to Jesus. Only a holy fear of God can protect our hearts from such temptations.
- The mission must go on
Paul was stoned and left for dead outside the city gates. The preacher lay there lifeless, bloodied, and abandoned. This is how the crowds responded to Paul’s Gospel preaching. But Paul wasn’t dead, and he certainly wasn’t done. Instead of abandoning the mission, Paul got up and went back to work preaching and teaching the Gospel. The world can’t stop beating up preachers, and preachers can’t stop preaching the Gospel.
- How do you tend to respond to conflict with others over issues of the Gospel? Are you intimidated and filled with fear? What expectations do you have? In what ways does this text encourage or challenge you?
- In one city, the people wanted to worship Paul. In the next, they wanted to kill him. How can we avoid the temptation to accept false peace and the temptation to avoid righteous suffering?
- In what ways has false peace or righteous suffering kept you from sharing your faith with others?
Call to Worship
They Have Afflicted Me from My Youth
A Song of Ascents.
 “Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth”—
let Israel now say—
 “Greatly have they afflicted me from my youth,
yet they have not prevailed against me.
 The plowers plowed upon my back;
they made long their furrows.”
 The LORD is righteous;
he has cut the cords of the wicked.
 May all who hate Zion
be put to shame and turned backward!
 Let them be like the grass on the housetops,
which withers before it grows up,
 with which the reaper does not fill his hand
nor the binder of sheaves his arms,
 nor do those who pass by say,
“The blessing of the LORD be upon you!
We bless you in the name of the LORD!” (ESV)
Prayer of Confession
All: Hear our words and our groanings, O Lord. Give attention to our cry for mercy.
Leader: You are not a God who delights in wickedness; evil may not dwell with You. The boastful shall not stand before Your eyes; You hate all evildoers. You destroy those who speak lies; You abhor the bloodthirsty and deceitful.
All: But, O Lord, we are evildoers. We are boastful, deceitful and bloodthirsty.
Leader: By Your mercy alone, by the abundance of Your steadfast love may we enter Your house.
All: Because of Your Son, O Lord, let us find refuge in You. Take away our sins and let us sing for joy. Cover us with Your favor as with a shield. For the sake of our Savior, Jesus Christ. Amen.
Family Discipleship Weekly Resources
Family Discipleship Weekly Resources are tools for families to use to help connect Sunday’s sermon to the rest of your week, fostering conversations and habits of worship.