This is what the American 21st Century modern day church is missing. We have more education, we have the best communication tools, beautiful meeting places but yet we are not as effective as the early church. The main reason, I believe, for this deficiency is our preaching is not as effective as the early church because the early church preached with POWER and conviction. They preached with and under the power of the Holy Spirit because they spent quality time in His presence and lived Holy lives for Him to flow through. They also had a total dependency on the Holy Spirit because they did not have all the knowledge available to us today; in fact they didn’t have a New Testament at this time but the power of the Holy Spirit transformed lives when they preached.
2 Some of the Jews, however, spurned God's message and poisoned the minds of the Gentiles against Paul and Barnabas.
Remember the Jews at this time were stuck in their past, stuck in the OT because they thought Jesus was not the Messiah and they hated the message the Holy Spirit was preaching through the disciples. They thought they were helping Father God out but they were really opposing what the Holy Spirit was doing. We must never get stuck in our religious traditions that we hinder what the Holy Spirit wants to do in our lives today. The Jewish leaders tried to keep everyone from believing the truth Paul was preaching because it didn’t line up with their thinking. Today I’m thankful we have God’s Word (Bible) to test our thinking to determine what real truth is.
3 But the apostles stayed there a long time, preaching boldly about the grace of the Lord. And the Lord proved their message was true by giving them power to do miraculous signs and wonders.
The apostles did not back up on preaching on the grace and the truths about Jesus being the Messiah. They kept proclaiming the wonderful news of Jesus coming, Jesus living a sinless life, Jesus dying a cruel death and Jesus resurrecting on the third day and because of these great truths everyone can enter into the Kingdom of God by faith. Now it’s by grace through faith that we are saved not by works. Now the Jews and Gentiles are become one spiritually by the powerful blood of Jesus. The Jews did not like these truths and did everything they could to stop their preaching but I love the last part of this verse which declares that Father God gave them divine power to heal, deliver and to set the captive free. Friends, when we preach the gospel, the Holy Spirit shows up with power. As we obey Mark 16, the great commission; miracles, signs and wonders will take place.
4 But the people of the town were divided in their opinion about them. Some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles.
The problem with false doctrine is this; some will reject truth to believe an untruth. Paul was preaching a gospel that would set them free but some still chose to believe a lie that kept them bound. For every truth there is a false truth and we must be very discerning and studied up in His Word to apply the truth. The truth always draws a line in the sand, dividing sheep from goats.
5 Then a mob of Gentiles and Jews, along with their leaders, decided to attack and stone them. 6 When the apostles learned of it, they fled to the region of Lycaonia—to the towns of Lystra and Derbe and the surrounding area. 7 And there they preached the Good News.
It’s amazing how mean people with a false religious spirit can be. They now decided since they couldn’t stop the gospel from being preached, they would just attack and stone them. The Holy Spirit could have protected them but instead informed them and they went to another region and preached. Never forget it’s still happening today, seemingly those who preach the truth are being stoned more than ever, not with physical stones but with stones of words. Words of criticism, words of hatred, words of complaining, words of tearing down, words of negativity, words which destroy or discredit a ministry but we must continue the course and build the kingdom. I pray the enemy never uses my words to destroy but rather to encourage.
Friends, we must be careful with our words because we will have to give an account one day about every idle word that comes out of our mouth. We need to speak words of blessing over our family, friends and enemies. By our fruit we will be known and fruit is known by what comes out of it and the world knows what is in us by our words that come out of us. Let’s use our words for good not bad, for encouragement not to discourage, to build up not tear down.
Prayer Points: Father God in Jesus name, help me to use every word to build your kingdom not tear it down, to raise people up not beat them down. I also cancel the assignment of any negative word spoken against me, my family or my church family in Jesus Name. I release your word over us now!