Evening Bible Study
The next two Thursdays we will be having movie nights (the movie is so long
we will split it into two nights). Play The Lion, the Witch, and the
On the day of Pentecost, the church was born. It began with the Holy Spirit
filling the believers. As the apostles preached about Jesus, the church began
By chapter seven, the church was beginning to experience persecution.
Stephen was the first one to die for his faith. With the persecution, the
church began to scatter, and the message of the gospel actually increased as
more people heard about Jesus.
One of the main men behind the persecution was a man named Saul. But when
Saul headed for the city of Damascus to pursue the Christians there, he was
knocked off his horse by a bright light and he met Jesus.
Starting in chapter 10, the gospel began to reach even the Gentiles.
The city of Antioch in Syria, far to the north began to experience a great
work of the Spirit among the Gentiles. Barnabas
and Saul spent a year teaching these new believers, then
they took a trip to Jerusalem to bring financial aid. They are now back in
and Saul sent
:1 Now in the church that was at Antioch there
were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger,
Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and
This list is apparently the leaders in Antioch. Note the variety of backgrounds in the
He was a Jew from the island of Cyprus.
:1 Simeon who was called Niger
Simeon’s name is also Jewish.
“Niger” is a Latin name, showing he moved in Roman circles. He may have been dark skinned (“Niger” means
:1 Lucius of Cyrene
This too is a Latin name.
We saw that the church in Antioch was started when believers from Cyprus
and Cyrene came and shared the gospel (Acts 11:20)
Perhaps Lucius was one of these early church planters.
It is possible that Lucius was a Gentile convert. Some of the men from Cyrene may have been
Gentiles who converted to Judaism, and then converted to Christianity (Acts
:1 Manaen who had been brought up with
Herod the tetrarch
Herod the tetrarch is also known as “Herod Antipas”. He was the one who had beheaded John the
Baptist and who had sat in judgment of Jesus before His crucifixion.
Apparently Manaen had grown up with Herod.
This was a guy who had been acquainted with privileged people.
The Herod family members were not Jews by birth, but Edomites (Idumean).
A Jew trained in Rabbinical schools. We know him as “Paul”.
:2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the
Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I
have called them.”
:2 ministered – leitourgeo – to do a service, perform a work; of priests and Levites who were
busied with the sacred rites in the tabernacle or the temple
This is a word that can be properly translated “worship” (NAS, Rom. 12:1),
but in the sense of offering praise to God as a priest might in his regular duties.
When we “worship”, God “speaks”.
:2 the Holy Spirit said
How did the Holy Spirit speak? Through
the “prophets” (vs. 1)
:2 separate to Me – aphoridzo (“horizon”) – to mark off from others
by boundaries, to limit, to appoint, set apart for some purpose
To me, the word paints a picture of drawing up a map and sketching out
property lines. Barnabas and Saul had
been placed in a specific category or “place” by the Lord, a ministry of
preaching the gospel to foreign lands.
It’s not the specific foreign lands that are marked off on a map, but the
ministry of going and preaching that it marked off.
It’s like creating an “org chart” of the church, and creating a new
ministry, that of going out, preaching, and planting churches.
:2 to the work … I have called them
To your work
Does God have a “work” for you too?
God says “yes”.
(Eph 2:10 NKJV) For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works,
which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.
I think that one of the jobs of the church is to help people find that
“good work” that God has designed them for.
Some stay and do ministry in the local church.
Others go out to the mission field.
:3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands
on them, they sent them away.
13:4-12 First Mission Trip:
:4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they
went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus.
:5 And when they arrived in Salamis, they preached
the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. They also had John as their
Play Antioch to Paphos map clip
Barnabas and Saul are going to start out in Antioch in Syria, then move to
the coastal town of Seleucia where they catch a ship to the island of Cyprus,
135 miles away. They will land on the
eastern side of Cyprus and make their way across the island until they
eventually get to the western city of Paphos, 90 miles west of Salamis.
:5 They also had John as their
This is John Mark, the author of the gospel of Mark. He is Barnabas’ cousin, and they picked up
Mark when they made their trip to Jerusalem.
Keep in mind, Barnabas is from Cyprus.
John Mark may be too.
:6 Now when they had gone through the island to
Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was
:6 sorcerer – magos – a magus; the name given by the Babylonians and others, to the
wise men, teachers, priests, physicians, astrologers, sorcerers etc.
This is the word used to describe the “wise men” who visited Joseph and
Mary after the birth of Jesus.
:6 false prophet
Unlike the “magi” of Christmas, this fellow is not a good guy.
:6 a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus
This fellow is Jewish.
His name means “son of Jesus”. It’s
possible he’s trying to claim to be either a son or a follower of our Jesus.
:7 who was with the proconsul, Sergius
Paulus, an intelligent man. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to
hear the word of God.
:7 with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus
The proconsul was the Roman governor over the island.
This sorcerer was apparently some sort of counselor to this political
:8 But Elymas the
sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the
proconsul away from the faith.
– Elumas – “wise man”
:8 withstood them
It’s not about you
It would seem that this Bar-Jesus didn’t like Barnabas and Saul getting too
close to his “man”, Sergius Paulus.
Sometimes I’m a little like Elymas. I get insecure when I see someone doing
something I like to do, and it seems they do it better.
When you are serving the Lord, it doesn’t matter whether or not someone is
“better” than you. All that counts is
that you are being faithful to what you are supposed to be doing.
When Paul was imprisoned later in life, he will be told about others who
are preaching the gospel while he is stuck in prison. Perhaps people were concerned that Paul’s
feelings might be hurt.
(Php 1:15–18 NKJV) —15 Some
indeed preach Christ even from envy and strife, and some also from goodwill: 16 The former
preach Christ from selfish ambition, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction
to my chains; 17
but the latter out of love, knowing that I am appointed for the
defense of the gospel. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether
in pretense or in truth, Christ is preached; and in this I rejoice, yes, and
If my goal is to truly preach the gospel (Elymas wasn’t on board with that), then I will be happy
with anyone who is sharing Christ, even if they are better at it than I am.
:9 Then Saul, who also is called Paul,
filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him
:9 Saul, who also is called Paul
From here on out, Saul is going to be known as Paul.
Paul – Paulos – “small or little”
This is a Latin/Roman name
Could it be that Saul now takes the name of “Sergius
Paulus” (vs. 7) for some reason? It is
the exact same name.
Jerome held that Saul adopted the name “Paul” because of the conversion of Sergius Paulus, though to some this seems a bit prideful.
Augustine held that Saul adopts the name because of its meaning, “little”,
perhaps out of humility.
Some suggest that “Paulus” was always his “surname”, but it’s just that
from here out he chooses to use that name.
Paul was from the city of Tarsus, a Roman city, and this name would give
him a more distinct Roman connection, a connection he will find helpful several
times in his missionary journeys (ie Philippi and
:10 and said, “O full of all deceit and all fraud,
you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you
not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord?
:11 And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is
upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.” And
immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead
him by the hand.
:11 immediately a dark mist fell on him
This proud man goes blind while the proconsul is standing by and watching.
Elymas may have tried to claim a relationship
with Jesus, but he is simply a deceiver.
Paul has harsh words for him.
:12 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what
had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord.
:12 the proconsul believed
It’s the message
We might have been impressed by seeing God’s power blinding Elymas, but Luke records that it was the “teaching” that
astonished Sergius Paulus.
(Ro 1:16 NKJV) For I am
not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation
for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also
for the Greek.
Do you know what the message is? I like
to think of it in three parts:
There’s a problem - sin (our sin
has separated us from God)
There’s a solution – Jesus paid for
our sins on the cross (God has paid for your sins through Jesus’ death on
There’s an action – you must believe
(we need to believe and receive God’s payment for our sins, we need to ask
Him to be Lord of our lives)
13:13-41 Antioch in Pisidia
:13 Now when Paul and his party set sail from
Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia; and John, departing from them, returned
:14 But when they departed from Perga, they came
to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and sat
:14 Antioch in Pisidia
There is another city named “Antioch”.
This is not the one they came from.
Play Paphos to Antioch Pisidia map clip.
It’s about 160 miles from Paphos on Cyprus to the port city of Perga. This is where Mark departs from the group. From there they go about 90 miles north to
the city of Antioch in Pisidia.
:12 John, departing from them
John Mark decides he doesn’t like mission trips. He decides he wants to go
home. This becomes the incident that
Paul and Barnabas eventually split over.
Paul felt that this showed that John Mark was qualified, not dependable.
Quitting too soon
I wonder if Mark didn’t make a mistake in his life here. Later on, Paul certainly seemed to think he
The Bible talks about how important it is to be dependable, faithful.
a faithful messenger to those who send him,For he refreshes the soul of his masters.
(Pr 25:19 NKJV) Confidence
in an unfaithful man in time of trouble Is like a bad
tooth and a foot out of joint.
Certainly there are going to be times when it is simply time to leave.
But sometimes we would do ourselves a greater service to learning to persevere.
Over the years I’ve heard quite a few stories about some of our favorite
Calvary Chapel pastors and how they were tempted to quit. I’ve heard Skip Heitzig
tell the story. I’ve heard Bob Coy in Ft. Lauderdale
tell the story. It is the same
story. It goes something like this. The pastor has taken his family to a place to
start a church. It is difficult. He doesn’t see very much fruit. He wants to quit. He would call Pastor Chuck. Chuck would say, “Just stick it out six more
months”. He does. Things change. The rest is history.
The Bible tells us that difficult times act as a sort of “refining process”
in our lives.
(1 Pe 1:6–7 NKJV) —6 In this
you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been
grieved by various trials, 7 that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious
than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise,
honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ,
The “testing” by fire is the refining process. Gold is refined, purified, through fire. The goldsmith will take the raw ore and heat
it until it becomes liquid. As the fire
continues, the impurities begin to rise to the surface. The goldsmith skims this “dross” off the top
and continues to heat the gold. The
goldsmith knows his gold is pure enough when he can see his own reflection in
If you and I are the “gold” being refined by the fire,
then why do we want to short circuit the process by jumping out of the fire.
Stay in the fire just a little longer. Let God do His work.
:14 went into the synagogue
This would be the general rule Barnabas and Paul would follow when coming
into a new city. If there was a Jewish synagogue, you start
your outreach there. The gospel goes out
to the Jew first, then the Gentiles. (Rom. 1:16)
:15 And after the reading of the Law and the
Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying, “Men and
brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say on.”
It was not uncommon if a visiting Rabbi was in your synagogue that you
would give him a chance to speak. Paul
will be the one to respond.
:16 Then Paul stood up, and motioning with his
hand said, “Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen:
:16 Paul stood up …
It’s pretty cool that we have this message written out, an example of
Paul’s preaching. If you want to title
his message, it would be: “Jesus the
:16 and you who fear God
There are not just Jews present, but believing Gentiles (“God fearers”,
like Cornelius) as well.
:17 The God of this people Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people
when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm He
brought them out of it.
Paul starts his message with Moses bringing Israel out of Egypt.
:18 Now for a time of about forty years He put up
with their ways in the wilderness.
:19 And when He had destroyed seven nations in the
land of Canaan, He distributed their land to them by allotment.
It was under Joshua that the Israelites conquered the land of Canaan.
:20 “After that He gave them judges for
about four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet.
:21 And afterward they asked for a king; so God
gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty
It is interesting to note that Paul is also from the tribe of Benjamin, and
his name was also Saul.
:22 And when He had removed him, He raised up for
them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, ‘I have found
David the son of Jesse, a man after My own heart, who
will do all My will.’
:22 David the son of Jesse
Paul takes the people to David, the recognized King.
Paul is also making Old Testament references, quoting passages from Psalm
89, 1Sam. 13.
With My holy oil I have anointed him,
But now your kingdom shall not continue. The Lord has sought for Himself a man after
His own heart, and the Lord has
commanded him to be commander over His people, because you have not kept
what the Lord commanded you.”
:23 From this man’s seed, according to the
promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior—Jesus—
:23 From this man’s seed
There were many prophecies stating that the Messiah would be a descendant
of David. (2Sam. 7:11; Is. 11:1; Ps. 132:11; Ps. 89:3, 4, 33; 110:4)
:24 after John had first preached, before His
coming, the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel.
:24 John had first preached
The way Paul is speaking, you kind of get the idea that John the Baptist
was a well-known guy. It seems that
people were familiar with his ministry.
:25 And as John was finishing his course, he said,
‘Who do you think I am? I am not He. But behold, there comes One after me, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to
:26 “Men and brethren, sons of the family
of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to you the word of this salvation
has been sent.
:27 For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their
rulers, because they did not know Him, nor even the voices of the Prophets
which are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled them in condemning Him.
:27 have fulfilled them
There were prophecies concerning the Messiah that He would be rejected.
(Is 53:3 NKJV) He is
despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we
hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not
:28 And though they found no cause for death in
Him, they asked Pilate that He should be put to death.
:29 Now when they had fulfilled all that was
written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him
in a tomb.
:30 But God raised Him from the dead.
Imagine what these people must be thinking to hear that God raised someone
from the dead!
:31 He was seen for many days by those who came up
with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people.
:32 And we declare to you glad tidings—that
promise which was made to the fathers.
:33 God has fulfilled this for us their children,
in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm: ‘You
are My Son, Today I have begotten You.’
:33 in the second Psalm
Paul is now going to mention some specific Scripture references concerning
what he’s said so far. Here, Paul quotes
from Psalm 2:7, which talks about God’s Son.
‘You are My Son,
Share the Word.
His message isn’t just based on the experiences of certain people, but it’s
based on God’s Word.
There is even a sense in which the unbeliever isn’t going to understand
because they are an unbeliever.
Describing spiritual things to a person who is spiritually “dead” is
like describing colors to a person who was born blind…
The one powerful tool we have to use is God’s Word.
Sharing God’s Word with people is what adds power to the message.
(Heb 4:12 NKJV) For the
word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged
sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and
marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
It can break through, even to blind people.
:34 And that He raised Him from the dead, no more
to return to corruption, He has spoken thus: ‘I will give you the sure mercies
:34 the sure mercies of David
Now Paul is quoting Is. 55:3.
:35 Therefore He also says in another Psalm:
‘You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.’
:35 He also says in another Psalm
Here Paul quotes Psalm 16:
(Ps 16:10 NKJV) For You will not leave my soul in Sheol, Nor will
You allow Your Holy One to see corruption.
The resurrection was prophesied in scripture.
:36 “For David, after he had served his own
generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and
:36 David … saw corruption
David didn’t fulfill Psalm 16, he is still dead
:37 but He whom God raised up saw no corruption.
:38 Therefore let it be known to you, brethren,
that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins;
:39 and by Him everyone who believes is justified
from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.
:38 the forgiveness of sins
This is the central promise of the gospel, the forgiveness of sins.
This is what God offers to you. This
is what you need to be able to know God.
:40 Beware therefore, lest what has been spoken in
the prophets come upon you:
:41 ‘Behold, you despisers, Marvel
and perish! For I work a work in your days, A work which you will by no means
believe, Though one were to declare it to you.’ ”
:41 I work a work in your days …
Now Paul quotes from Habbakuk 1:5! (Do you even
know where it is?)
Despise or believe?
This is Paul’s challenge to his hearers.
Will they despise this good news of forgiveness that he brings?
Or will they believe?
When you share the gospel, it’s good to encourage the person you’re sharing
with to make a choice.
In God’s kingdom there is no place for the “undecided”.
It’s like taking an elevator. You
are either going “up” or “down”. There
is no undecided.
13:42-52 Blessing and Conflict
:42 So when the Jews went out of the synagogue,
the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next
:43 Now when the congregation had broken up, many
of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to
them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.
:43 many … followed
There was a good response to the message.
:43 persuaded them to continue
Both Jews and Gentiles are responding and Paul and Barnabas encourage them
to “continue” in the grace of God.
We are saved by grace.
We continue by grace.
:44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came
together to hear the word of God.
:45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they
were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the
things spoken by Paul.
:45 they were filled with envy
Note the reason for the persecution that’s going to come. It was nothing more than simple envy.
We can sometimes think that people argue with each other because of issues
of doctrine, but here it’s simply envy.
:46 Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, “It
was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you
reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn
to the Gentiles.
:46 judge yourselves unworthy
It wasn’t Paul that was judging them unworthy of eternal life, he’s telling
them that they are judging themselves, by the way they are responding.
It’s their choice.
I think that sometimes I put a little too much emphasis in my mind on how
well I’m doing at presenting the
If someone doesn’t accept Christ, I tend to put the blame on myself, that
perhaps I didn't make the message clear enough.
Don’t misunderstand me, I do believe that it’s important that we
understand the gospel message, and that we strive to make it clear to others.
And yet God holds people responsible to what they do with the gospel
There is enough in the message to make a person accountable.
The one who hears the message that bears the responsibility of whether or
not they receive or reject the message.
:47 For so the Lord has commanded us: ‘I have set
you as a light to the Gentiles, That you should be for salvation to the ends
of the earth.’ ”
:47 I have set you as a light
Now he’s quoting Is. 42:6; 49:6
:48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were
glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to
eternal life believed.
:49 And the word of the Lord was being spread
throughout all the region.
:50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and prominent
women and the chief men of the city, raised up persecution against Paul and
Barnabas, and expelled them from their region.
:51 But they shook off the dust from their feet
against them, and came to Iconium.
:52 And the disciples were filled with joy and
with the Holy Spirit.
:51 came to Iconium
Play Antioch to Iconium map clip
Iconium is about 75 miles southeast of Antioch.
It would be a walk through mountains and valleys.
Paul is now in the area known as Galatia. The churches here would be the ones Paul is
writing to when he writes his letter to the Galatians, which we believe may
have been one of Paul’s earliest letters.
:51 shook off the dust from their feet
This was a symbol of contempt, as if the person was so unclean that even
their dust was unclean.
This was in obedience to what Jesus had taught.
(Mt 10:14 NKJV) And
whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that
house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.
It’s a way of putting the past behind and moving on.
:52 filled with joy and with the Holy
They are strange characters. They
are being persecuted and yet they seem happy.