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Galatia: Facing Troubles    Acts 14:1-4, 11-15, 18-23    July 20, 2008

Do you remember when God called Paul he told him he would suffer many things for His Name? Included in this lesson we will note some of those experiences. Do you know anyone who has faced a lot of trouble because of his/her stand for Christ? It is not as prominent in most places in America as it is in other parts of the world. In Bible days it was very possible for new believers to face all kinds of trouble. When Christians visit other lands many times they become aware of trouble and suffering because of people standing for their faith.

1. Trouble Through The . . Power Of The Gospel. 14:1-4

A. Trouble Caused By The Power Of The Gospel To . . Convert. 14:1-2
1 The same thing happened in Iconium; they entered the Jewish synagogue and spoke in such a way
that a great number of both Jews and Greeks believed. 2 But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up and
poisoned the minds of the Gentiles against the brothers.

B. Trouble Caused By The Power Of The Gospel To . . Classify. 14:3-4
3 So they stayed there for some time and spoke boldly, in reliance on the Lord, who testified to the
message of His grace by granting that signs and wonders be performed through them. 4 But the people of
the city were divided, some siding with the Jews and some with the apostles.

        In your Christian life have you noted how the change, the gospel makes, might cause trouble? Families can be divided simply because some received the conversion of the gospel message. The clarity of the gospel becomes very clear to some people and they desire to be saved. When that happens it makes a classification and a separation. One may no longer want the lifestyle they practiced before conversion; while the non-Christian will not see the reason for change.

2. Trouble Through The . . Perversion Of The Gospel. 14:11-15a

A. Trouble Caused By The Perverted Desire To . . Sacrifice. 14:11-13
11 When the crowds saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian
language, "The gods have come down to us in the form of men!" 12 And they started to call Barnabas,
Zeus, and Paul, Hermes, because he was the main speaker. 13 Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was
just outside the town, brought oxen and garlands to the gates. He, with the crowds, intended to offer sacrifice.

B. Trouble Caused By The Desire To . . Stop The Perverted Sacrifice. 14:14-15
14 The apostles Barnabas and Paul tore their robes when they heard this and rushed into the crowd,
shouting: 15 "Men! Why are you doing these things? We are men also, with the same nature as you, and
we are proclaiming good news to you, that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God,
who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and everything in them.

        Some people want to elevate ministers far above what God intends for any human. (Some also greatly reduce their significance). The explanation of the wonders from the non-converted placed Paul and Barnabas on a pedestal as gods who became men to dwell among them. They should have paid closer attention to Paul's message and his exaltation of the resurrected Lord. Paul and Barnabas wanted to stop this perversion, and further give praise to the Lord.

3. Trouble Through The . . Persecution From The Gospel. 14:18-20

A. The Contrasting Crowd Dealt With Persecution Through . . Stones. 14:18-19
18 Even though they said these things, they barely stopped the crowds from sacrificing to them.
19 Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and when they had won over the crowds and stoned
Paul, they dragged him out of the city, thinking he was dead.

B. The Converted Crowd Dealt With Persecution Through . . Surrounding. 14:20
20 After the disciples surrounded him, he got up and went into the town. The next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.

        The radicals stirred up the people to stone Paul simply because he proclaimed the gospel. This kind of activity killed many people but God spared him. Miraculously he got up, went into town and preached again, and later even in the same cities. He desired to strengthen the churches, and in doing so he told them
they would face troubles. What significance comes from the surrounding of the righteous and Paul getting up and going into town? I think they prayed asking the
Lord to raise him up, and God did it.

4. Trouble Through The . . Projecting Of The Gospel. 14:21-23

A. Encouragement And . . A Projection Of The Gospel. 14:21-23
21 After they had evangelized that town and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, to Iconium,
and to Antioch, 22 strengthening the hearts of the disciples by encouraging them to continue in the faith,
and by telling them, "It is necessary to pass through many troubles on our way into the kingdom of God."

B. Elders And . . A Projection Of The Gospel. 14:21-23
23 When they had appointed elders in every church and prayed with fasting, they committed them to
the Lord in whom they had believed. HCSB

        What an example of discipline as; Paul, shortly after being stoned, returns to strengthen the churches. He and Barnabas both encouraged the church. In his encouragement he told them to continue in the faith, but also warned them about the trouble they might experience. As they saw Paul and knew of his trouble and suffering I think they were greatly encouraged by his example. Then these men appointed elders in every church. These elders were no doubt strong believers even though many of them would be young in the faith. When we face trouble it is nice to have other people of faith near. Amen? Amen!