“Now it happened in Iconium that they went together to the synagogue of the Jews, and so spoke that a great multitude both of the Jews and of the Greeks believed.”
We read, they spoke in a way that resulted in many believing in Christ; which in turn, results in eternal life. It is worth noting that there is a way to speak which will have an impact upon others for eternity. Their speaking included at least three things:
First, they spoke with boldness. Having experienced persecution in Cyprus and Antioch, Paul and Barnabas refused to cower, but confidently continued to share Christ with the people of Iconium. For some reason, people react to the name of Jesus. Many receive Him gladly and watch as He transforms their lives. Others become angry, even hostile, once the name of Christ is mentioned. Any who have attempted to share Christ, have experienced this hostility in one form or another. If we want to speak in a way that results in people coming to Christ, we must be willing to endure the backlash and persecution.
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake.” Matthew 5:11
Second, they spoke the Gospel. Paul later wrote to the Roman Christians and declared that the Gospel is the power of God that results in salvation (Romans1:16). When people hear the truth (that they are sinners separated from God, but that God loves them, and Jesus died for them), something stirs in their hearts. There is a realization, that although they may have never heard the Gospel before, they know it to be true. Faith is being ignited as a result of hearing the Good News of Christ. Too often, when we are attempting to win someone to Christ, we allow ourselves to get sidetracked. We end up arguing over politics, origins, or the church. If we want to win others with our speech, let’s be sure to share the simplicity of the Gospel.
Finally, their speech was empowered by the Holy Spirit. Paul was a brilliant man. He was well educated, not only in the Scriptures, but in the philosophy of the day. He was also, what the Victorian era referred to as a gentleman. Later, when he spoke in Lystra, they compared him to Hermes, the Greek God of oration. Yet, even with all of these natural abilities, Paul did not rely upon his human wisdom. He wrote to the Corinthian Christians about how to speak when sharing Christ.
“And my speech and my preaching were not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:4-5
When sharing Christ, we can be confident that God will show up and provide us with words that are able to penetrate the heart, stir up faith, and lead a person to decision time.
If we want to speak in a way that leads people to Christ, we must step out in faith, unhindered by the opposition we may receive. We can be sure, sharing the simple truths of the Gospel, and relying on the fact that even if we are not sure what to say, the Holy Spirit will give us what we need.
Until the whole world hears…
Questions for Acts 14
- Iconium, the city that becomes divided. James 1:8 “A double minded man is unstable in all his ways”. Are there things about your beliefs that are confusing or uncertain? Dig into God’s word, call your pastor. God’s word is clear. Are you willing to be obedient to God’s word?
- In Lystra, a man is healed. God does a miracle through Paul and Barnabas, but it is misinterpreted by the people. Why do you think they were confused about this miracle?
- Because of the differences (Jews from Antioch), Paul is stoned, dragged out of the city and left for dead. Doesn’t sound like a wonderful Christian life, does it? Paul rises up and he goes to Derbe with Barnabas. THEN RETURNS to Lystra……..what does he do there?
- Verse 26 says they went back to Antioch. They moaned, groaned and complained about all that had happened to them. NOT…..what did they do? What do we do in our trials of life? May we all learn to speak of the good things in our lives, read Philippians 4:8?