|Acts 14 |
1 Now at Iconium they went together into the synagogue of the Jews and spoke with such power that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed.
2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles, and poisoned their minds against the brothers.
3 So they stayed a long time there speaking boldly in the Lord, who bore testimony to the word of his grace by granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.
4 But the multitude of the city was divided; some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles.
5 And when there was an attempt made by both the Gentiles and also the Jews with their rulers, to abuse them and stone them,
6 They became aware of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region;
7 And there they preached the gospel.
8 Now at Lystra a man was sitting who had no strength in his feet, being a cripple from his mother's womb, who had never walked.
9 This man listened to Paul speak; and Paul looking intently at him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed,
10 Said with a loud voice, "Stand up on your feet." And he leaped up and walked.
11 And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, "The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men."
12 And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker.
13 Then the priest of Jupiter, who was just outside their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, and would have offered sacrifices with the people.
14 But when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of it, they tore their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out,
15 And saying, "Men, why do you these things? We are men of the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these foolish things to the living God, who made heaven and earth, and the sea and all things that are in it;
16 Who in times past allowed all nations to walk in their own ways.
17 Nevertheless he did not neglect to leave some witness of himself, for he did good and gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness."
18 Yet even saying these things, they were scarcely able to restrained the people from sacrificing to them.
19 Then certain Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium, and having won the people over, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing he was dead.
20 However, as the disciples stood around him, he got up and came back into the city, and the next day he departed to Derbe with Barnabas.
21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and to Iconium, and Antioch,
22 Strengthening the souls of the disciples and warning and exhorting them to stand firm in the faith; saying that it is through many trials and tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.1 [Tribulation is pain and suffering, which destroys sin and works patience. Obtaining purity on earth through crucifixion of the selfish, human nature is not easy; but purity on earth is far less painful than purification in Hell; and the reward for obtaining the kingdom while on earth is to be a king and priest to God with eternal peace, continual joy, and pleasures forevermore. Everyone passes through the fire, in this life or the next. From the Word of the Lord within: "Either pain in this life or the next." The pain of a wound cleanses away evil, so do stripes purge the inward parts [including the heart] of man. Pro 20:30.]
23 And when they had appointed elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they committed them to the Lord, on whom they believed.
24 Then after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia.
25 And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia.
26 So from there they sailed to Antioch, where they had first been committed to the grace of God for the work they had now accomplished.
27 And when they came and had gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith to the Gentiles.
28 And they stayed there with the disciples a long time.2
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1 Paul and Barnabas were warning and exhorting them to stand firm in the faith; saying that it is through many trials and tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God. Note! There is no entering the kingdom of God, unless you have suffered through many trials and tribulations. Peter concurs: Therefore, since Christ suffered in his body, arm yourselves also with the same attitude, because he who has suffered in the flesh is finished with sin. As a result, he does not live the rest of his earthly life for evil human desires, but rather for the will of God. 1 Pet 4:1-2... For to this you were called, because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that you should follow His steps. 1 Pet 2:21 . And Paul again: This is a faithful saying: If we are dead with him, we will also live with him. If we suffer, we will also reign with him; if we deny him, he will also deny us. 2 Tim 2:11-12.
You either make your peace with God here, through the cross and suffering in tribulations, or your make your peace with God through the horrible suffering in Hell. As man continues to live in sin, he fills up his cup with his sins; and when he dies still sinning, he must drink that cup (Hell) without the love of God helping him — God leaves him to suffer without his help and comfort, which is available to a man on the earth through God's conviction, man's repentance, and God then removing the sin from his heart by grace. In Hell man gets the desires of his heart in obsession; he replays every wrong action in his life over and over until he sickens of them, and until his desire is "burned out," one desire at a time. This is the torturous, painful experience of fire and brimstone. God is a consuming fire and he burns those desires away, when man becomes so desperate he would do anything, rather than continue that desire.
Then will they call upon me, but I will not answer; they will seek me early and diligently, but they shall not find me.
Because they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the Lord.
They would accept none of my counsel; they despised all my reproof,
Therefore they shall eat of the fruit of their own way, and be satiated with their own desires.
For the turning away [from my counsel ] of the ignorant shall slay them, and the careless ease of fools will destroy them. Pro 1:28-32
However, all is well that ends well, for all will be reconciled to God: the few who are crucified, purified, and perfected while on earth with great reward; and the many who are purified in Hell. "And, having made peace through the blood of his cross, to reconcile by him [Jesus], all things to himself [the Father]; by him [Jesus], I say, whether they are things on earth, or things in heaven." Col 1:20. "Therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those who believe." 1 Tim 4:10. See the web page, Is there Hope for ALL Men and Women? for further detail.
2 They stayed a long time to teach the disciples the way to the Lord, to exhort them, to encourage them, to correct them when they fell to sin — to be sure they could secure the true hope and promises of salvation. Paul instructed ministers thus: "Those who are sinning rebuke in the presence of all, that the rest also may fear." 1 Tim 5:20. If just "believing" were all that was needed, then there would be no reason to stay a long time. Paul further shows this dedication to helping the believers to attain salvation, by the below:
And how I kept back nothing that was profitable to you, but have shown you, and have taught you publicly, and from house to house, testifying both to the Jews, and also to the Greeks, repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore watch, and remember that for three years I did not cease warning everyone night and day with tears. Acts 20:20-21,31.
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