Bowie Apostolic Church
Acts 14: The Power of Perseverance and Consistency
by From the Pastor's Desk on February 14th, 2013

Never Give Up. Never Surrender.

Acts 14:1 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. 2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. 3 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. 4 But the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews and some with the apostles. 5 When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them, 6 they learned of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country, 7 and there they continued to preach the gospel. 
Let’s just do a recap of Paul’s life up to this point.

Paul did not start out a follower of Jesus Christ, just like many of us. He didn’t even like the followers of Jesus Christ. When he came into contact with Jesus Christ it was totally unplanned. In his mind, Jesus was dead and would not be returning. The plan was to go to Damascus and persecute Christians. He’s riding along on his beast of burden as if he is in control. As if his perspective on the situation was truth. As if he was justified in what he was doing. Even justified by God. He was passionate about it. He was consistent with it. But in an instant, God turned his heart around. In an instant, Paul got a reality check. In an instant God knocked Paul off of his high horse and let him know in a very emphatic way, “Paul, you are not in control.”

He began to preach the Gospel. He went from city to city and seemed to make some degree of success in every city he travelled. We are now seeing the early days of his ministry. The experience seems the same wherever he goes. Beginning with the last chapter, we are starting to see a pattern in his attempts to advance the Kingdom of God. He preaches the gospel, wins a few souls and either winds up threatened or in prison. In today’s chapter, he preaches the gospel, wins a few souls and gets stoned, dragged and left for dead. The religious establishment of each city made sure he did not stay long with the message he had. The longer he stayed the more people he would undoubtedly win. 

There was so much opposition in his early ministry, until it would easily make the modern day preacher rethink the risk of opening up our mouths. We could easily use our logic and ponder “If this was really God, it wouldn’t be this hard. Am I doing something wrong?” Paul persevered and was unwavering in his devotion to the Gospel. I believe he knew the risks going into every city. However, in reading 1 Corinthians 9:16 it occurs to me that something compelled him to this conclusion: “Do you really think it will help me to keep my mouth shut? Woe unto me if I don’t preach the gospel. Woe unto me if I keep my mouth shut.”

As we continue through the book of Acts, I want you to pay especially close attention to Paul’s ministry. Just as it was when he persecuted the Church, we see in Paul there is a perseverance for Jesus Christ. A consistency. A Drive. A passion. There as a marching forward to a breaking point. These days of hardship are going to prove him for what is coming next. The impact of this life will be tremendous. 

We must ask this question: What does this teach us? It has always taught me that no matter how things look today, when there is an appointed time and an appointed ministry, keep driving forward until you reach your personal breaking point in ministry. First, there will be at least one breaking point in you, personally. This is the most uncomfortable part. Then there will be a breaking point in your ministry. Prayer is a major part of this drive.

The end of Acts 14 shows the end of Paul and Barnabas’ first (and last) missionary journey together. God takes them around a circuit of destinations and they land back in Antioch where they received their commission. In this chapter, we see that the persecution and the obstacles from the previous cities they visited actually followed them to this city. The Jews from Antioch and Iconium came and stoned Paul and left him for dead. Just as Paul hunted Christians down from city to city, now we see that his own ministry is being hunted.

Also during this time, we still see that God is doing mighty things through Paul. There was even a miracle similar to that of Peter and John with the lame man at the Beautiful Gate. Paul didn’t pray for the man. He never laid hands on the man. He just spoke the words according to the gift of faith that was working in him and the man stood up. This caused the locals in Asia Minor (Lystra, Derbe and Lycaonia are all in Asia Minor) to regard them as gods. They even tried to sacrifice live animals to them. Unlike Herod, in chapter 12 (who the bible says was immediately stricken with illness and died) the apostles revered God too much to accept the praise of any god. They stopped the people from giving them praise. May we all have the presence of mind to realize that our recognition is not the point. All glory belongs to God.


Posted in Acts, Bible 2013    Tagged with perseverance, consistency, Paul, ministry


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