Category Archives: Acts

Acts 14:8-28 | Turn From These Worthless Things to The Living God

Download Text

TURN FROM THESE WORTHLESS THINGS TO THE LIVING GOD

Acts 14:8-28
Key Verse: 14:15

“Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them.”

On their missionary journeys to evangelize the Gentiles, it’s curious why Paul and Barnabas seemed to first visit the Jewish synagogues to deliver the gospel message. We spent a lot of time talking about that last Sunday, and it’s all good and true. But I think it also had a lot to do with how exclusive the Jewish people had become as a race and as a religious sect among the people of the world whom God had also creation. A very long time ago God chose them as his own “Treasured possession … a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Exodus 19:5-6). Yes, God called them to be special— to be his priests. Yes priests are special, because priests are called to minister to people, to serve them with loving kindness, to pray for them and to patiently shepherd them back to God! And yes, God called them to be holy, because holiness is the first rule of priesthood, where anyone associated with God set themselves apart from as an example for those who look to them and are trying to learn the ways of God, so that they can return to him. Of course, God called the Jews to be different, to be a “Light for the Gentiles [nations]” so that the people of the world may share God’s promise of salvation with the Jews. (13:47) God never called them to set themselves so high up above all other people so as to despise, judge and condemn them. Now they were so exclusive that it was hard for them to even recognize their own promised Messiah or to embrace his vision for the world.

And what was the Messiah’s vision for the world which these Jewish elitists denounced as worthy of nothing but damnation? We can probably fill books with the Savior’s— our Lord’s— vision for the lost Gentile world. But these few words say it beautifully, and compassionately: “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” the Savior Shepherd says in the hearing of his disciples who will one day carry his gospel message to the world. (John 10:16) Paul and Barnabas understood the heart of the Good Shepherd and saw his vision with the eyes of their mind. On their missionary journeys to evangelize the Gentiles, they would make it a point to visit the synagogues for a good reason. They would do so to honor the Good Shepherd, Jesus’ vision. And what a vision! One Shepherd! One flock! The Good Shepherd sacrificed his life to fulfill God’s promise to the world— the promise to deliver from sin and to offer life everlasting. Yes, the promise came through the Jewish nation. But it included the Gentile outcasts too. And as The Good Shepherd sacrificed himself to fulfill this promise, so also would Paul and Barnabas do as well as all who share the Good Shepherd’s vision. They too would sacrifice all to broadcast and to fulfill the Good Shepherd’s vision of one Shepherd and one flock. They would do so even if it meant hardship, even if it meant persecution, even if it means death— because the exclusive Jewish people resisted and abhorred that vision. But we as a community must learn to embrace the Savior’s vision and make it our own, otherwise there is always the danger of becoming exclusive like the Jews.

The upcoming events after those of Iconium (1-7) reveal the extent these two missionaries endured in order to honor the Savior’s vision for the world. For example the gospel message they give the idol worshipers of Lystra (15-17) doesn’t only shed light on God’s long suffering patience with the wayward and seemingly worthless Gentiles, but it also exemplifies the Savior’s saving grace to them. Another example is the amazing One Word these missionaries planted in the hearts of the disciples they made in the cities they pioneered— in cities where these disciples witnessed Paul’s and Barnabas’ suffering at the hands of both Jews and Gentiles. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God, they said.” (22) In every generation, this One Word has become a bastion for countless men and women of God on their pilgrimage to the kingdom of God. With this word they strengthened and encouraged their sheep to remain true to the faith they planted in them at the cost of much suffering. It was all borne out of the Savior’s holy vision that was burning in their hearts. They had something to die for, so they had something to live for! [If you don’t have something to die for, you don’t have something to live for— and that’s the truth. These people had the Savior’s vision to die for, and so they lived for it.]

Here’s what the Bible says: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18 KJV) And it’s true. When young men grow up without a noble vision to guide their lives, whole communities of peoples fall into despair and nations perish. When young men grow up with a false vision, it sustains them for a while, but they’re soon disillusioned and depressed. It’s no mystery why so many of today’s youth seem lost, even when they have money and college degrees, they still have no bearing and no inner strength. They’re fragile; even their women despise their weakness. Questions like “What vision do you have for your life?” stymie and confuse them since they’re clueless to what you mean. They’re existing! Yet they’re visionless. But when a vision burns in the heart of a youth, he or she has a strength that defies convention. No child of God should exist without a vision in their heart. A child of God without a vision is spiritless who needs the Spirit, and an abomination who needs to repent. One of the best gifts of the resurrection age is the baptism of the Holy Spirit to those whose faith rests on Christ. And with the Holy Spirit also comes endless wonders of God’s blessings. One of them is vision— especially the vision for youth so that they too might see with their spirit what their eyes could never see when they were mired in sin— before Christ rescued them and crossed them over to the realm of life. Before, sin robbed them of vision. But now the Spirit shares with them the Good Shepherd’s own vision. He shares with them his broken heart for the lost. He impresses on their hearts the Shepherd’s vision to go after the lost flock until the whole of God’s broken and lost family is reunited with the Father. And so with this vision burning in their hearts the youth cannot rest. It drives them with a passion to share the Shepherd’s vision. Like Paul and Barnabas they are ready to give their lives driven by the Shepherd’s vision for their lives.

We dealt with many issues in verses 1-7. But today we mainly focused again on another reason why Paul and Barnabas visited the Jewish synagogues first on their missionary journeys to evangelize the Gentiles. They just had to share the Good Shepherd’s vision with the exclusive Jewish community to help them understand God’s shepherd heart for the whole Gentile world. And so after the abuse and persecution that was expected to happen in the city of Iconium, these two missionaries Paul and Barnabas were ready to move on to the cities of Lystra and Derbe, where we are now. As I said last time, these are cities that were found in what we know today to be the country of Turkey. And so, it was in Lystra that again a most unusual event took place. Please read 8-20.

Here’s another unfortunate man who was crippled in his feet from birth was healed through the power of God’s word and the exercise of his own faith. If we remember an earlier story, much similar to this one, where Peter healed another similarly crippled man from birth in the name of Jesus (Acts 3). That man used to sit at the temple gate called beautiful begging. Now Paul was in somewhat similar circumstances standing in some public place and addressing the crowds who were either passing by or crowding to listen to him. Then there was this cripple who was immobile unable to move and also listening to all that the apostle was saying. Luke tells us that Paul had been speaking! Most probably what he spoke about was related to the gospel story— that is, Christ, his earthly ministry, his death and resurrection, and especially his forgiveness to all who believe. And as Paul spoke the life giving words, this cripple was listening— and as he listened to these life giving words, his heart was slowly coming alive with faith in Christ and with hope for healing. Then perhaps at a certain point his new found faith in Christ made him reach out in his heart for Christ and ask God for mercy. Who knows that he might have suddenly began to hate all the sins he had committed in his life and to long for forgiveness. Maybe every word that Paul has spoken about Christ and his loving grace melted whatever bitterness or anger or sarcasm or even arrogance he may have had towards life and society. Then, Paul through the working of the Holy Spirit in him saw that this cripple among all who were there had the faith to receive God’s blessing and his healing. So he called out to him to stand up on his feet! He jumps up and begins to walk.

Among many other things that we can learn from this remarkable story, it’s another awesome demonstration of the Shepherd’s authority to forgive our sins; and by forgiving our sins, to also rescue and deliver even the worst case of crippled-ness among us from the sin that chains us to this world. Crippling diseases really reflect the terrible effects of sin on the soul. So healings not only reflect God’s mercy but also reveal the freedom the Messiah wants to deliver us from the chains of sin that cripple us in the same way making us helpless and useless to God. This man was paralyzed from birth. But his real crippled-ness was the sin that enslaved him and kept him from seeing the light of God. When you’re depressed and struggling most of your life, it’s hard to see God anywhere or any time. That’s how effective the chains of sin are. It’s the same with all people. Whether they’re physically fit or not, as long as they are chained down by sin, they can’t see the light of God, and remain chained in the dark. They cannot see what’s on the other side. But as soon as this cripple heard the gospel message— and believed it— the light of hope and of faith began to flicker in his heart— and the chains of sin loosened and then broke! When the message offered the hope of freedom, what did he do? He exercised his faith. And it was the Shepherd’s authority that forgave his sins and restored even a most crippled man among us to the freedom of God. This is a truth none of us dare ignore or put aside, because within it is a wealth of graces to bless our lives and ministry. We have to know that the gospel message offers freedom to the most crippled of souls. And at times we have to extend a challenge to those who would exercise their faith if only we paid attention to them as Paul did to this nameless cripple.

Then what happened next was bizarre! It was as if the whole town became crazy, and they shouted something like “the gods have come down to us”. They were calling Paul Hermes and Barnabas they were calling Zeus. And there was no stopping them especially when the priests of these counterfeit deities were bringing animal sacrifices to sacrifices in honor of these two avatars— Paul and Barnabas. All of a sudden, these people turned super religious and came out by droves to sacrifice to their gods, putting on their best clothes. Now, they’re on their best behavior. Now they’re sacrificing expensive bulls; and not just one but many bulls to these two gods who have come down to them in human form. Now they’re marching in the streets, maybe now singing now yelling praises to them. I wonder what’s going on here? But it’s not very hard to understand them. Often a culture or a people who’s superficially religious, when they experiences the genuine work of God, or when they come face to face with the real and living word of God, or sometimes if they face a national disaster, they suddenly turn on their own religious ways and practices rather than to carefully listen to God and to his word. Perhaps only one time in his life, the king of Israel Saul was inspired by God and his Word. After that he became a superficial worshiper. In the end, he did things in his own way. When Samuel rebuked him that he had disobeyed God, that he had NOT obeyed the Lord, Saul couldn’t even understand what Samuel was talking about. Saul really thought he was genuine in what he was doing when he thought he was obeying God, especially when it came to in sacrificing to him. He said: “But I did obey the Lord.” (1 Samuel15:20) I’m quoting from this story because Saul seems to be as foolish and clueless as these people about God. After 911, the people of our nation began to flood the churches and to overcrowd them. They made so many offerings in the name of God. Then a few months later, the churches were once again empty, and professing Christians are once again an absolute minority in this nation being reviled and persecuted for their faith like never before. Why is that? For the same reason! Because often when superficially religious people are inspired, mostly they follow their own way, rather than listen to God and to his word. When these people were inspired by the genuine work of God in this cripple, they understood God in their own way. They celebrated God in their own way. They sacrificed to God in their own way. If they were Christians today they too would arrogantly say: “But I did obey the Lord.” While the cripple carefully listened and his soul healed, these people went about blaspheming God and grieving Paul and Barnabas who couldn’t stop this mob from acting out the foolishness and ignorance of their own proud and darkened hearts.

Finally Paul was able to speak to them. And he gave them a wonderful message designed exclusively for Gentiles who know nothing about the Old Testament. Verses 15-18 give us the gist of his message. It was a simple Genesis message regarding the One True Living God, Creator of all things— The very God who hasn’t left himself without a testimony for those who would seek him and find him. He is the same God who provides all that we need and fills our hearts with the joys of life. Paul helped them see that what they were worshiping was worthless. Their ways of worship were worthless. All that they had devoted their lives to was worthless. Only Christ who died and rose again and ascended to take his eternal throne is worthy to be worshiped and worthy of our lives and worship. Paul’s message to them was simple and should have penetrated their hearts and brought them to repentance and faith in Christ. But it looks like the crowds had a hard time accepting this message. It was convicting and they were not ready to repent and put aside their lives’ investment to embrace the Shepherd God and Messiah. They had too much to lose in this world. That’s what most people see, what they would lose in this world, if they embrace the Shepherd Messiah. Because the Lord’s kingdom is not of this world, and anyone who receives it must renounce this world and set his or her heart on the Savior’s kingdom. In the end look what happened when people didn’t accept the gospel. Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and turned this fickle crowd against Paul. So the same crowd that was sacrificing to him as a god, now stoned him until he appeared dead, they dragged him outside the city and left him for dead. So the next day Paul and Barnabas left for Derbe.

Look at verses 21-28. Paul’s and Barnabas’ journey now take them back to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch. Along the way, they visit the disciples and strengthen and encourage them to remain true to the faith, saying “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” After this they return to their home city and home church to share with them a testimony of all that God has done in and through them, and they stay there for a long time before they go on their next journey. I pray that God would give each of us to share in the Good Shepherd’s vision and bring all his lost sheep back into his fold that there may be one flock under that Great and Wondrous Shepherd. Amen.

DOWNLOAD TEXT

 

Acts 14:8-28
Key Verse: 14:15

“Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you. Wb   e ringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them.”

On their missionary journeys to evangelize the Gentiles, it’s curious why Paul and Barnabas seemed to first visit the Jewish synagogues to deliver the gospel message. We spent a lot of time talking about that last Sunday, and it’s all good and true. But I think it also had a lot to do with how exclusive the Jewish people had become as a race and as a religious sect among the people of the world whom God had also creation. A very long time ago God chose them as his own “Treasured possession … a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.” (Exodus 19:5-6). Yes, God called them to be special— to be his priests. Yes priests are special, because priests are called to minister to people, to serve them with loving kindness, to pray for them and to patiently shepherd them back to God! And yes, God called them to be holy, because holiness is the first rule of priesthood, where anyone associated with God set themselves apart from as an example for those who look to them and are trying to learn the ways of God, so that they can return to him. Of course, God called the Jews to be different, to be a “Light for the Gentiles [nations]” so that the people of the world may share God’s promise of salvation with the Jews. (13:47) God never called them to set themselves so high up above all other people so as to despise, judge and condemn them. Now they were so exclusive that it was hard for them to even recognize their own promised Messiah or to embrace his vision for the world.

And what was the Messiah’s vision for the world which these Jewish elitists denounced as worthy of nothing but damnation? We can probably fill books with the Savior’s— our Lord’s— vision for the lost Gentile world. But these few words say it beautifully, and compassionately: “I have other sheep that are not of this sheep pen. I must bring them also. They too will listen to my voice, and there shall be one flock and one shepherd.” the Savior Shepherd says in the hearing of his disciples who will one day carry his gospel message to the world. (John 10:16) Paul and Barnabas understood the heart of the Good Shepherd and saw his vision with the eyes of their mind. On their missionary journeys to evangelize the Gentiles, they would make it a point to visit the synagogues for a good reason. They would do so to honor the Good Shepherd, Jesus’ vision. And what a vision! One Shepherd! One flock! The Good Shepherd sacrificed his life to fulfill God’s promise to the world— the promise to deliver from sin and to offer life everlasting. Yes, the promise came through the Jewish nation. But it included the Gentile outcasts too. And as The Good Shepherd sacrificed himself to fulfill this promise, so also would Paul and Barnabas do as well as all who share the Good Shepherd’s vision. They too would sacrifice all to broadcast and to fulfill the Good Shepherd’s vision of one Shepherd and one flock. They would do so even if it meant hardship, even if it meant persecution, even if it means death— because the exclusive Jewish people resisted and abhorred that vision. But we as a community must learn to embrace the Savior’s vision and make it our own, otherwise there is always the danger of becoming exclusive like the Jews.

The upcoming events after those of Iconium (1-7) reveal the extent these two missionaries endured in order to honor the Savior’s vision for the world. For example the gospel message they give the idol worshipers of Lystra (15-17) doesn’t only shed light on God’s long suffering patience with the wayward and seemingly worthless Gentiles, but it also exemplifies the Savior’s saving grace to them. Another example is the amazing One Word these missionaries planted in the hearts of the disciples they made in the cities they pioneered— in cities where these disciples witnessed Paul’s and Barnabas’ suffering at the hands of both Jews and Gentiles. “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God, they said.” (22) In every generation, this One Word has become a bastion for countless men and women of God on their pilgrimage to the kingdom of God. With this word they strengthened and encouraged their sheep to remain true to the faith they planted in them at the cost of much suffering. It was all borne out of the Savior’s holy vision that was burning in their hearts. They had something to die for, so they had something to live for! [If you don’t have something to die for, you don’t have something to live for— and that’s the truth. These people had the Savior’s vision to die for, and so they lived for it.]

Here’s what the Bible says: “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” (Proverbs 29:18 KJV) And it’s true. When young men grow up without a noble vision to guide their lives, whole communities of peoples fall into despair and nations perish. When young men grow up with a false vision, it sustains them for a while, but they’re soon disillusioned and depressed. It’s no mystery why so many of today’s youth seem lost, even when they have money and college degrees, they still have no bearing and no inner strength. They’re fragile; even their women despise their weakness. Questions like “What vision do you have for your life?” stymie and confuse them since they’re clueless to what you mean. They’re existing! Yet they’re visionless. But when a vision burns in the heart of a youth, he or she has a strength that defies convention. No child of God should exist without a vision in their heart. A child of God without a vision is spiritless who needs the Spirit, and an abomination who needs to repent. One of the best gifts of the resurrection age is the baptism of the Holy Spirit to those whose faith rests on Christ. And with the Holy Spirit also comes endless wonders of God’s blessings. One of them is vision— especially the vision for youth so that they too might see with their spirit what their eyes could never see when they were mired in sin— before Christ rescued them and crossed them over to the realm of life. Before, sin robbed them of vision. But now the Spirit shares with them the Good Shepherd’s own vision. He shares with them his broken heart for the lost. He impresses on their hearts the Shepherd’s vision to go after the lost flock until the whole of God’s broken and lost family is reunited with the Father. And so with this vision burning in their hearts the youth cannot rest. It drives them with a passion to share the Shepherd’s vision. Like Paul and Barnabas they are ready to give their lives driven by the Shepherd’s vision for their lives.

We dealt with many issues in verses 1-7. But today we mainly focused again on another reason why Paul and Barnabas visited the Jewish synagogues first on their missionary journeys to evangelize the Gentiles. They just had to share the Good Shepherd’s vision with the exclusive Jewish community to help them understand God’s shepherd heart for the whole Gentile world. And so after the abuse and persecution that was expected to happen in the city of Iconium, these two missionaries Paul and Barnabas were ready to move on to the cities of Lystra and Derbe, where we are now. As I said last time, these are cities that were found in what we know today to be the country of Turkey. And so, it was in Lystra that again a most unusual event took place. Please read 8-20.

Here’s another unfortunate man who was crippled in his feet from birth was healed through the power of God’s word and the exercise of his own faith. If we remember an earlier story, much similar to this one, where Peter healed another similarly crippled man from birth in the name of Jesus (Acts 3). That man used to sit at the temple gate called beautiful begging. Now Paul was in somewhat similar circumstances standing in some public place and addressing the crowds who were either passing by or crowding to listen to him. Then there was this cripple who was immobile unable to move and also listening to all that the apostle was saying. Luke tells us that Paul had been speaking! Most probably what he spoke about was related to the gospel story— that is, Christ, his earthly ministry, his death and resurrection, and especially his forgiveness to all who believe. And as Paul spoke the life giving words, this cripple was listening— and as he listened to these life giving words, his heart was slowly coming alive with faith in Christ and with hope for healing. Then perhaps at a certain point his new found faith in Christ made him reach out in his heart for Christ and ask God for mercy. Who knows that he might have suddenly began to hate all the sins he had committed in his life and to long for forgiveness. Maybe every word that Paul has spoken about Christ and his loving grace melted whatever bitterness or anger or sarcasm or even arrogance he may have had towards life and society. Then, Paul through the working of the Holy Spirit in him saw that this cripple among all who were there had the faith to receive God’s blessing and his healing. So he called out to him to stand up on his feet! He jumps up and begins to walk.

Among many other things that we can learn from this remarkable story, it’s another awesome demonstration of the Shepherd’s authority to forgive our sins; and by forgiving our sins, to also rescue and deliver even the worst case of crippled-ness among us from the sin that chains us to this world. Crippling diseases really reflect the terrible effects of sin on the soul. So healings not only reflect God’s mercy but also reveal the freedom the Messiah wants to deliver us from the chains of sin that cripple us in the same way making us helpless and useless to God. This man was paralyzed from birth. But his real crippled-ness was the sin that enslaved him and kept him from seeing the light of God. When you’re depressed and struggling most of your life, it’s hard to see God anywhere or any time. That’s how effective the chains of sin are. It’s the same with all people. Whether they’re physically fit or not, as long as they are chained down by sin, they can’t see the light of God, and remain chained in the dark. They cannot see what’s on the other side. But as soon as this cripple heard the gospel message— and believed it— the light of hope and of faith began to flicker in his heart— and the chains of sin loosened and then broke! When the message offered the hope of freedom, what did he do? He exercised his faith. And it was the Shepherd’s authority that forgave his sins and restored even a most crippled man among us to the freedom of God. This is a truth none of us dare ignore or put aside, because within it is a wealth of graces to bless our lives and ministry. We have to know that the gospel message offers freedom to the most crippled of souls. And at times we have to extend a challenge to those who would exercise their faith if only we paid attention to them as Paul did to this nameless cripple.

Then what happened next was bizarre! It was as if the whole town became crazy, and they shouted something like “the gods have come down to us”. They were calling Paul Hermes and Barnabas they were calling Zeus. And there was no stopping them especially when the priests of these counterfeit deities were bringing animal sacrifices to sacrifices in honor of these two avatars— Paul and Barnabas. All of a sudden, these people turned super religious and came out by droves to sacrifice to their gods, putting on their best clothes. Now, they’re on their best behavior. Now they’re sacrificing expensive bulls; and not just one but many bulls to these two gods who have come down to them in human form. Now they’re marching in the streets, maybe now singing now yelling praises to them. I wonder what’s going on here? But it’s not very hard to understand them. Often a culture or a people who’s superficially religious, when they experiences the genuine work of God, or when they come face to face with the real and living word of God, or sometimes if they face a national disaster, they suddenly turn on their own religious ways and practices rather than to carefully listen to God and to his word. Perhaps only one time in his life, the king of Israel Saul was inspired by God and his Word. After that he became a superficial worshiper. In the end, he did things in his own way. When Samuel rebuked him that he had disobeyed God, that he had NOT obeyed the Lord, Saul couldn’t even understand what Samuel was talking about. Saul really thought he was genuine in what he was doing when he thought he was obeying God, especially when it came to in sacrificing to him. He said: “But I did obey the Lord.” (1 Samuel15:20) I’m quoting from this story because Saul seems to be as foolish and clueless as these people about God. After 911, the people of our nation began to flood the churches and to overcrowd them. They made so many offerings in the name of God. Then a few months later, the churches were once again empty, and professing Christians are once again an absolute minority in this nation being reviled and persecuted for their faith like never before. Why is that? For the same reason! Because often when superficially religious people are inspired, mostly they follow their own way, rather than listen to God and to his word. When these people were inspired by the genuine work of God in this cripple, they understood God in their own way. They celebrated God in their own way. They sacrificed to God in their own way. If they were Christians today they too would arrogantly say: “But I did obey the Lord.” While the cripple carefully listened and his soul healed, these people went about blaspheming God and grieving Paul and Barnabas who couldn’t stop this mob from acting out the foolishness and ignorance of their own proud and darkened hearts.

Finally Paul was able to speak to them. And he gave them a wonderful message designed exclusively for Gentiles who know nothing about the Old Testament. Verses 15-18 give us the gist of his message. It was a simple Genesis message regarding the One True Living God, Creator of all things— The very God who hasn’t left himself without a testimony for those who would seek him and find him. He is the same God who provides all that we need and fills our hearts with the joys of life. Paul helped them see that what they were worshiping was worthless. Their ways of worship were worthless. All that they had devoted their lives to was worthless. Only Christ who died and rose again and ascended to take his eternal throne is worthy to be worshiped and worthy of our lives and worship. Paul’s message to them was simple and should have penetrated their hearts and brought them to repentance and faith in Christ. But it looks like the crowds had a hard time accepting this message. It was convicting and they were not ready to repent and put aside their lives’ investment to embrace the Shepherd God and Messiah. They had too much to lose in this world. That’s what most people see, what they would lose in this world, if they embrace the Shepherd Messiah. Because the Lord’s kingdom is not of this world, and anyone who receives it must renounce this world and set his or her heart on the Savior’s kingdom. In the end look what happened when people didn’t accept the gospel. Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and turned this fickle crowd against Paul. So the same crowd that was sacrificing to him as a god, now stoned him until he appeared dead, they dragged him outside the city and left him for dead. So the next day Paul and Barnabas left for Derbe.

Look at verses 21-28. Paul’s and Barnabas’ journey now take them back to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch. Along the way, they visit the disciples and strengthen and encourage them to remain true to the faith, saying “We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God.” After this they return to their home city and home church to share with them a testimony of all that God has done in and through them, and they stay there for a long time before they go on their next journey. I pray that God would give each of us to share in the Good Shepherd’s vision and bring all his lost sheep back into his fold that there may be one flock under that Great and Wondrous Shepherd. Amen.