The Acts of the Apostles – Acts 14:1-7 – Week 22- Rob Covell

The Acts of the Apostles

Acts 14:1-7

Week 22

Rob Covell

Introduction – As we move on in our Acts study, we will begin Acts chapter 14. We will break up this chapter into 2 Sessions. Chapter 14 completes Paul and Barnabas’ first missionary journey and the Church’s first season of co-laboring with God as it began to fulfill the Great Commission.

We have 3 movements in Chapter 14.

1 – Revival in Iconium and the spiritual warfare/persecution that follows the apostolic proclamation of the gospel.

2 – Signs and wonders in Lystra, Derbe and the stoning of Paul.

3 – The appointing of church leaders and their return to Antioch.

Lastly, it is important to note the vast importance of this first missionary trip.

1 – The Church begins to grow in its revelation concerning the gospel.

2 – The Epistle of the Galatians is written to these people.

3 – The Council of Jerusalem and their letter to these believers define the nature of the New Covenant and what is required of believers in terms of morality and freedom in Christ.

Acts 14:1

a) Iconium – Now called Konya in Modern Day Turkey. It was farming area and was part of Roman Galatia. Iconium was a populous city and had an influential Jewish population. It is interesting to note that Tertius, the professional scribe who wrote down the Epistle to the Romans (Romans 16:22), led the Christian community in Iconium, and was martyred in Iconium.

b) Paul and Barnabas follow their usual pattern of starting their proclamation of the gospel in the synagogue. From previous studies we know that Paul and Barnabas reached out to their brothers who understood the history of Israel, the Law and prophets, and the promise of Messiah.

c) The people in this synagogue received the message of Jesus as Messiah along with a great number of Gentiles. This indicates that the Jewish synagogue was entrenched in the culture of Iconium and had influence among the Gentiles.

d) Paul and Barnabas appear to be increasing in anointing because the mass salvations. In Iconium we see supernatural power in speech and in signs and wonders. The Apostolic Gospel is marked by Spirit filled speech and signs and wonders that confirm the message.

Acts 14:2

a) The people who refused to believe that Jesus was their Messiah shifted from children of promise to enemies of the God of Israel. Romans 11:28 – From the standpoint of the gospel they are enemies for your sake, but from the standpoint
of God’s choice they are beloved for the sake of the fathers;

b) The battle for life or death begins in the mind. Notice that the text says “poisoned their minds”. The spiritual warfare that we see in the text most likely followed the pattern found throughout Scripture and the history of the Church. The disbelieving Jews refused to believe in the claims of the New Covenant. Then they took their offense to the Roman authorities and made claims similar to the ones the Sanhedrin made against Pilate. The basic argument is that believers in Messiah were obedient to the One King and Lord of Lords, Jesus Christ and therefore are enemies of Caesar. The Christians became religious heretics and political enemies. See 2 Timothy 3:10-11

c) Notice the term of endearment “brethren”. Greek – ADELPHOS – a brother, whether born of the same two parents or only of the same father or mother, having the same national ancestor, belonging to the same people, or countryman, a fellow believer, united to another by the bond of affection. The believers in Iconium, Jews and Gentiles together were exhibiting the same attitude of the Church in Jerusalem that is described in Acts 4. The health of Christian Communities can be measured by their ability to love one another.

Acts 14:3

a) Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time in Iconium to support the revival that broke out and strengthen them to withstand the persecution.

b) The gospel of the kingdom, or the apostolic gospel can be identified by the following being present. 1 – Boldness in speech – 2 – Message of Grace – 3 – Miraculous signs and wonders.

c) Signs – Greek – SĒMEION – a sign, mark, token, a sign, prodigy, portent, i.e. an unusual occurrence, transcending the common course of nature, of signs portending remarkable events soon to happen, of miracles and wonders by which God authenticates the men sent by him, or by which men prove that the cause they are pleading is God’s.

d) Wonders – Greek – TERAS – a miracle performed by one.

e) These definitions can include any of the supernatural spiritual Gifts of the Holy Spirit. It is important to look at the whole of the text in the book of Acts and draw conclusions based on the whole of the evidence. Paul and Barnabas were moving in prophecy, healing, miracles, baptisms of the Spirit, deliverances and any other ministry of the Holy Spirit. These things confirm our speech.

Acts 14:4-5

a) Again we see social unrest associated with the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the context of their culture the message of Jesus was theologically challenging to Jews because the apostles were preaching the fulfillment of the Old Covenant in Jesus Christ’s ministry, death and resurrection as their Messiah, along with invitation to the New Covenant. The message of Jesus was challenging to the Gentiles and their leaders because of the political implications of another King being proclaimed in Jesus Christ, and the rejection of the Greek and Roman pantheon of Gods. The whole order in Iconium was being challenged by Paul and Barnabas.

b) The plot to stone them tells that it was the Jewish charge of heresy that was being brought against them. After all they were Jews. Paul a Pharisee and Barnabas a Levite. Leviticus 24:16 – ‘Moreover, the one who blasphemes the name of the LORD shall surely be put to death; all the congregation shall certainly stone him. The alien as well as the native, when he blasphemes the Name, shall be put to death. John 16:2 – They will make you outcasts from the synagogue, but an hour is coming for everyone who kills you to think that he is offering service to God.

c) The spirit of religion resists the truth of Jesus Christ, denies the power that witnesses it to be the truth and will always use persecution and death in its attack against the truth of Jesus Christ.

Acts 14:6-7

a) Paul and Barnabas were delivered by the providence of God and fled to Lystra and Derbe. It is written they continued to preach the good news. We do not see one hint of fear, loss of boldness or discouragement from the spiritual attack that Paul and Barnabas endured on this first missionary journey. All believers should have an expectation of boldness, passion and strength when on mission for the Lord


The Acts of the Apostles – Acts 13:32-52 – Week 21 – Rob Covell

The Acts of the Apostles

Acts 13:32-52

Week 21

Rob Covell
Introduction – As we continue in Acts 13, we will begin our third and last session, and complete our indepth review of the Apostolic Gospel recorded for us in Paul’s appeal to the people in Pisidian Antioch. This is a very important sermon because it is the first recording of the Apostolic preaching of Paul we have in the history of the Church. Its content provides us the context of which to understand the history of Israel and the ministry of Jesus Christ. In this we have the keys by which we should understand the message of Jesus Christ.
As Paul preaches to those in Pisidian Antioch we see themes that should guide our understanding of God’s nature and character and the Gospel message. 1 – God is good, He is gracious and He is a Father. 2 – God uses and works through the lives of people and accomplishes His purposes through their destinies. 3 – The Gospel message always testifies to the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is both the penal substitution for sin and restorative justice of God for humanity’s reconciliation with God.

Acts 13:32-37

a) “What God promised” – The Lord promised Israel a Messiah. As Paul continues speaking to those in the synagogue, he reminds them of God’s promise for Messiah to come. The Scriptures prophesy the life, ministry and future of Jesus Christ, and the sheer numbers of fulfilled prophecies of Jesus in the Scriptures is solid proof of their veracity.

b) God always keeps His promises. Joshua 21:45 – Not one of all the LORD’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled. 2 Corinthians 1:20 – For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

c) Paul quotes Psalm 2:7, Isaiah 55:3, & Psalm 16:10 as prophetic proof of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The resurrection was common knowledge in Judea. Even Josephus gives a statement about Jesus in his Antiquities of the Jews 18:3.3 – “About this time there lived Jesus, a wise man, if indeed one ought to call him a man. For he was one who performed surprising deeds and was a teacher of such people as accept the truth gladly. He won over many Jews and many of the Greeks. He was the Messiah. And when, upon the accusation of the principal men among us, Pilate had condemned him to a cross, those who had first come to love him did not cease. He appeared to them spending a third day restored to life, for the prophets of God had foretold these things and a thousand other marvels about him. And the tribe of the Christians, so called after him, has still to this day not disappeared.”

d) Paul points the hearers in the synagogue that King David could not be Messiah
because he died and was buried.

Acts 13:38-39

a) Forgiveness of sin is the focus and the reconciliation to God is the focal point of the Apostolic Gospel. Forgiveness – Greek – APHESIS – release from bondage or imprisonment, forgiveness or pardon, of sins (letting them go as if they had never been committed), remission of the penalty – This is the main message of the New Covenant and is how God is relating to the world today.

b) Everyone who believes is justified – Paul points out that the Law of Moses was not able to completely reconcile the world to God. Only Messiah can reconcile all things to God. Galatians 3:19 – Why, then, was the law given at all? It was added because of transgressions until the Seed to whom the promise referred had come. Hebrews 10:1 – The law is only a shadow of the good things that are coming—not the realities themselves. For this reason it can never, by the same sacrifices repeated endlessly year after year, make perfect those who draw near to worship. Galatians 3:10 – For all who rely on the works of the law are under a curse, as it is written: “Cursed is everyone who does not continue to do everything written in the Book of the Law.”

c) The cross is both Penal Substitution and Restorative Justice.

Acts 13:40-41

a) Paul warns those in the synagogue at Pisidian Antioch to not write off his testimony about Jesus Christ by quoting Habakkuk 1:5. In the context of the culture, Paul and Barnabas are presenting truth based on the statement in the Law in Deuteronomy 19:15 that matter is established by 2 or 3 witnesses.

b) As believers in Jesus Christ, we have a responsibility to those around us to tell them the truth about Jesus Christ. Destinies of life and death accompany our message.

Acts 13:42-43

a) The synagogue invited them back to explain their message in greater detail.

b) Paul and Barnabas had an extended meeting and most likely told them more about Jesus, and probably healed some sick, and proved their message with power.

c) Notice that the gospel of God is called grace – Greek – CHARIS – that which affords joy, pleasure, delight, sweetness, charm, loveliness: grace of speech, of the merciful kindness by which God, exerting his holy influence upon souls, turns them to Christ, keeps, strengthens, increases them in Christian faith, knowledge, affection, and kindles them to the exercise of the Christian virtues, benefit, bounty.

Acts 13:44-45

a) Revival brings the masses. Scripture does not exactly tell us what was happening through Paul and Barnabas, but we would not be doing violence to the text to say that power demonstrations were happening. 1 Corinthians 2:4 – My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but
with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power,

b) The Jewish persecution of the Apostolic Church continued until AD70, when the destruction of Jerusalem by Titus occurred. Revelation 2:9 – know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know about the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. Revelation 3:9 – I will make those who are of the synagogue of Satan, who claim to be Jews though they are not, but are liars—I will make them come and fall down at your feet and acknowledge that I have loved you.

c) Acts shows that not all Israel rejected Jesus Christ. Certainly many in this synagogue believed, and Acts 6:7 says that a large number of priests became obedient to the faith. The Jewish persecution of the Church revolved around Jesus being Messiah, Christians being the Temple, and the end of Sacrifices. Our New Covenant was competing for supremacy over the Old Covenant.

d) The spirit of religion moves in jealousy and always portrays the work of God in a negative light.

Acts 13:46-47

a) Paul and Barnabas quote Isaiah 49:6. It is important to note that the “you” in verse 47 is singular and not plural. This is important because it makes the distinction that “One” is the light to the Gentiles/Nations and not the collective nation of Israel.

b) God desires the world to be reconciled to Him and is extending His goodness and grace to everyone.

Acts 13:48

a) The Gentiles were happy because even as proselytes to Judaism, they were still required to worship from afar. The offer of grace would have brought them near to God, and would give them personal experiential and revelatory access to God.

b) I want to point that the word “appointed” in the Greek is TASSŌ – to place in a certain order, to arrange, to assign a place, to appoint – we should not impute the doctrine of predestination to this verse. All people are predestined with the opportunity to accept or reject Jesus Christ; God does not appoint people for destruction and some for salvation. In His omniscience, He knows who accepts and who rejects because He knows the hearts of people.

Acts 13:49-50

a) We should have an expectation that when the Gospel is preached it will penetrate whole regions. I encourage all of us to begin to believe for widespread revival and the success of the Church. When we preach an Apostolic Gospel, we should expect revival.

b) The spirit of religion increased its persecution of Paul and Barnabas and expelled them form that region. Paul mentions this ministry trip in 2 Timothy 3:11 persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them.

Acts 13:51

a) The actions of Paul and Barnabas shaking the dust off their feet mirror what Jesus said in Mark 6:11 – “And if any place will not welcome you or listen to you, leave that place and shake the dust off your feet as a testimony against them.”

b) We can see that the things that Jesus said and taught were already widespread knowledge in the Church.

Acts 13:52

a) These disciples in Pisidian Antioch were filled with joy and the Holy Spirit. The Greek word means to “fill to the brim or to be filled to the fullest measure possible”.

b) As believers, joy and the Holy Spirit are promised to us. It is our right to receive them as children of God, and manifest joy and the Spirit. Our churches should be the happiest, safest, and most presence filled places in our cities.

Acts of the Apostles – Acts 13:14-32 – Week 20- Rob Covell

The Acts of the Apostles

Acts 13:14-32

Week 20

Rob Covell

Introduction – As we continue in Acts 13, we will begin our second session, and start our in depth review of the Apostolic Gospel recorded for us in Paul’s appeal to the people in Pisidian Antioch. This is a very important sermon because it is the first recording of the Apostolic preaching of Paul we have in the history of the Church. Its content provides us the context of which to understand the history of Israel and the ministry of Jesus Christ. In this we have the keys by which we should understand the message of Jesus Christ.

As Paul preaches to those in Pisidian Antioch we see themes that should guide our understanding of God’s nature and character and the Gospel message.

1 – God is good, He is gracious and He is a Father.

2 – God uses and works through the lives of people and accomplishes His purposes through their destinies.

3 – The Gospel message always testifies to the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is both the penal substitution for sin and restorative justice of God for humanity’s reconciliation with God.

Acts 13:14-15

a) Paul and Barnabas move from the coastal city of Perga, into the interior city of Pisidian Antioch. This area is located in Modern Turkey in an area known as the 7 lakes. This area was home to a large fertile valley where the land was farmed, and livestock were raised. This area boasted a Roman Fort, a Temple to the worship of Man, and many Roman veterans settled there after their tenure as soldiers in the Roman Legions. There was a sizable Jewish population in Pisidian Antioch as well. This area was known as Galatia and it was established from the Celtic invasions coming from Europe around 270BC. These people had settled there and had an established identity as Gauls/Celtic peoples well into the AD 300’s.

b) John Mark abandoned Paul and Barnabas due to fear. The road to the Galatian interior was dangerous due to robbers and raiding parties. The Holy Spirit leading Paul and Barnabas was calling them to penetrate this dark area and bring revival to a people in darkness. Paul mentions this exact trip in 2 Timothy 3:10-11 – “Now you followed my teaching, conduct, purpose, faith, patience, love, perseverance, persecutions, and sufferings, such as happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium and at Lystra; what persecutions I endured, and out of them all the Lord rescued me!”

c) Paul and Barnabas started at the synagogue, as was their pattern, so they would have had an opportunity to lead the Jewish people to faith in their promised Messiah. They were invited to speak because all learned men of the Torah were invited to give a word of encouragement to the synagogue. Paul and Barnabas
would have been very special guests. Paul being a Pharisee and student of Gamaliel and Barnabas being a Levite.

Acts 13:16-19

a) Notice that Paul is leading their mission now. Barnabas shows us what it is like to pastor others into destiny. Barnabas displays the humility that launches others into their calling and service to the Lord. Barnabas contended for Paul over many years and is now enjoying the fruit of his labor and friendship with Paul, in seeing Paul become the Apostle that was prophesied to him by Ananias.

b) As Paul starts his sermon, we will notice that he follows a similar outline that Stephen used in his appeal to the Sanhedrin This sermon is important because it is the first recorded sermon of Paul’s early ministry. We should pay attention to its content because we can gain keys for communicating the truth of God’s salvation narrative through Jesus Christ.

c) Paul starts with identity. The gospel is about identity. The identity of Messiah and the identity of those who believe.

d) Paul keys in on the grace and goodness of God in verse 18. Greek – TROPOPHOREŌ – to bear one’s manner, endure one’s character – This displays the character of God in moving in grace towards our weakness. Some manuscripts say, “and cared for them”; this displays the goodness of God in caring for that which is weak and immature in us. This shows us the Lord relates to us in terms of our destiny (He chose them) and what we will be, and not what we are currently struggling with. Paul is presenting the truth, that God is Father and is Fatherly to all. Paul uses the history of Israel to highlight their destiny as God’s people to bring forth Messiah. Even though they had bad seasons, the Lord gave them grace, treated them well, and brought about His promises for them.

Acts 13:20-22

a) Paul continues using the history of Israel to show them the salvation narrative of God, in providing Jesus to them as Messiah.

b) The period of the Judges. God was using the Judges as His prophetic voice that would communicate His heart to His people. This was a period of struggle for Israel, as they were caught in an obey/disobey cycle that was robbing them of intimacy with God. Samuel was the last Judge and greatest Judge of Israel who transitioned them when they asked for a King.

c) Saul, Israel’s first king was their choice and not God’s. See 1 Samuel 8. The Lord used Saul as a contrast between the type of king they wanted, and the king He wanted for them in the person of David. David reflected God’s heart, bended to His will and received the Messianic promise. See 2 Samuel 7:13-14.

Acts 13:23-25

a) Paul continues and reminds his hearers of the Messianic promise through David. This promise was the promise they were waiting for. Jesus is the fulfillment of the promises of God. All of the promises of God are “Yes” and “Amen” in Jesus Christ.

b) Paul mentions the ministry of John the Baptist. These people may have already been familiar with John’s ministry because many had either travelled to Jerusalem for the celebration of the feasts or had heard from other Jewish people travelling through that area. Apollos is an example of this. Notice that Paul quotes John in a very similar way found in the gospel of Matthew 3:11. It is important to note that salvation narrative of Jesus as Messiah was already established, and the Church at large was quoting from this narrative of Jesus’ life.

Acts 13:26-29

a) Paul again reminds them of their identities in God and encourages to them to believe in Jesus as Messiah.

b) Paul continues and explains the actions of the Sanhedrin in condemning Jesus to death. They were blind to the prophecies in the Scriptures concerning Jesus Christ. The whole testimony of the Torah and the Prophets pointed to Jesus and are fulfilled in Him. See Isaiah 53 and Isaiah 61 as examples.

c) Every presentation of the truth of Jesus includes the crucifixion and resurrection.

Acts 13:30-32

a) Paul testifies about the resurrection of Jesus being the proof of Him being the Messiah. In 1 Corinthians 15:3-8, Paul says there were more than 500 people who encountered the resurrected Jesus Christ.

b) Jesus is good news because He is the reconciliation of all things. See 2 Corinthians 5:19-21.

The Acts of the Apostles – Acts 13:1-13 – Week 19 – Rob Covell

The Acts of the Apostles

Acts 13:1-13

Week 19

Rob Covell
Introduction – In this session we will being Acts Chapter 13. This is a very rich chapter in Acts because we see the completion of the transition from the gospel being a distinctly Jewish movement to salvation being released to the Nations (Gentiles). We see the first ever missionary assignment in Church History, a major power encounter between light and darkness, John Mark deserting Paul and Barnabas, and Paul’s powerful apostolic sermon at Pisidian Antioch.
This chapter will also give us keys as we look at the ministry of the Holy Spirit, the offices of prophet and teacher, and we will be encouraged to see the role supernatural power plays in the Church.
We will break up this chapter into 3 sessions and take our time enjoying the rich revelation of God in Acts 13.

Acts 13:1

a) In Acts 11, we saw the church in Antioch explode with revival with the help and support of the apostles and prophets from Jerusalem. The Acts narrative takes us back to this epicenter of revival as the Lord completes the transition from the Church being distinctly Jewish in the scope of its mission, to being focused on all people. Jesus said in Matthew 28:19, that his disciples were called “to disciple all nations”; and at this point the Church is going to co-labor with Him and begin to fulfill her destiny of releasing salvation to the world in full partnership with the Lord.

b) Antioch – Located in modern day southern Turkey. It was founded by one of Alexander the Great’s generals Seleucus Nicator, l, in the 4th Century BC. It was a very important city in the Roman Empire as a trading route with the east through Persia. We can see the strategy behind the Lord releasing a massive move of revival in Antioch.

c) Prophets and Teachers – We see 2 of the 5-fold apostolic offices functioning in the local church at Antioch. When we look at the 2 offices that are activated in Antioch; Prophet and Teacher we get a glimpse of how they operate today. The 5 fold offices equip, support and lead the Church (i.e. Apostle, Prophet, Evangelist, Pastor and Teacher). As we travel through Acts, we can clearly see that Apostles establish churches, protect the purity of the Gospel/Message, build local leadership, and equip the churches for ministering to others. Acts shows us the function of Prophets as having local and trans-local ministries of encouraging the churches, giving strategies to the Church from the Lord, and releasing vision for the future. In Acts we see Evangelists, like Timothy, supporting the local church effort of expanding the Kingdom by demonstration and proclamation of the Gospel. In Acts we do not see Pastoral ministry directly, but from the Pauline
letters, we see this office as a ground level support function of encouraging the local church. Lastly, we see Teachers who explain the Scriptures with clarity and support the local church in understanding the Christian faith in Scripture. See Ephesians 4:11, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy and Titus.

d) The church in Antioch was multi-cultural. Simeon was African, Barnabas, Manaen, and Saul were Jewish, and Lucius was a Greek. An interesting note about Manaen. He grew up with the same Herod that murdered John the Baptist and mocked Jesus. In contrast, Manaen became a lover of Jesus Christ and Herod rejected God’s plan for His people. Manaen was certainly influential and wealthy, being Jewish nobility. This shows us God is interested in the Church penetrating every area of influence in a society. In this small list of names, we see diversity, and that is an indicator of a healthy local church.

Acts 13:2

a) Worship and Fasting in unity, release revelation from God. Verse 2 shows us that worship and fasting must have been a regular part of their church culture at Antioch. This teaches us that local church leadership is dependent on the Lord for direction, and the way to receive direction from God is adoration/worship and fasting.

b) We should not assume that an audible voice manifested and spoke to them. The text mentions, prophets and teachers in verse 1. We should assume that the direction from the Holy Spirit came from the prophetic people in that gathering. It is important to recognize that the prophetic gift gives the church direction and guides it, as prophets partner with the Holy Spirit.

c) The directive is to set apart Barnabas and Saul for the work God called them to. The Lord reserves specific ministries that are for us (Ephesians 2:10). Saul is about complete his process of being developed by the Lord and enter into the realization of his prophetic destiny. Acts 9:15-16 was the prophetic destiny that the Lord revealed to Paul through Ananias. It took Saul a process of approximately 10 years before he began to actually enter into the season of realizing that destiny. Prophetic destinies are only realized by partnering with God’s process of building us up.

Acts 13:3

a) We see the laying on of hands as the recognition of their call. We can rightly assume that there was a supernatural component to this interaction. 1 Timothy 4:14 – Do not neglect the spiritual gift within you, which was bestowed on you through prophetic utterance with the laying on of hands by the presbytery (elders).

b) The continued fasting and praying shows us the dependence of this church on the Lord, and their desire to be led by Him.

c) This is the first time that the Church partnered with the Lord in sending people out on mission. We see earlier in the book of Acts that many went out as informal missionaries because of persecution. But in this instance we see the Lord using specific strategies to target regions for Kingdom expansion. We should expect to rely on the wisdom of the Lord in directing our ministries and it is our part to co
labor and be led.

Acts 13:4-5

a) Notice that they were sent off by the Church at Antioch and are now being led by the Holy Spirit. We should have an expectation in our lives to be directed by the Holy Spirit. Many times in Paul’s letters, he encourages individuals to be led by Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit is inside us, we are His temple, and His ministry is to us, for us and He empowers us to do our destiny.

b) Barnabas was from Cyprus. Earlier in Acts we learned that Cyprus had a sizable Jewish population and it would make sense that the Lord would have directed them to this island as a spring board to launch into the greater Greek speaking world.

c) Seleucia – This was a port city and naval base for the Roman occupation of the middle east just south of Antioch.

d) Barnabas and Saul target the synagogue for 2 reasons. 1 – The Jewish people were expecting Messiah, it was their destiny as a people to bring forth Messiah, and their prophetic writings pointed to Messiah. The message of Jesus the Messiah, would have been welcome news to many who would believe and see Jesus as the fulfillment of what had been promised to them. 2 – The synagogue was an open meeting. All learned men were able to share after the Rabbi taught. Romans 1:16 – For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.

e) John Mark – John Mark had come to Antioch with Barnabas and Saul. John Mark was Barnabas’ cousin and also an eye witness of Jesus. He would have been a powerful witness that would confirm the things that Barnabas and Saul were teaching.

Acts 13:6-7

a) Paphos is at the west end of Cyprus. Paphos was known for the temple of Venus that was located there. The Early Church Father Athanasius called this place the “deification of lust”. Venus was the Roman goddess of erotic love. The manifestation of True Love is about to displace lust in Paphos.

b) We are introduced to a false prophet named Bar-Jesus, or “son of salvation”. The text says “Jewish sorcerer”, and some translations say “magician”. The Greek word MAGOS is used here. This would be a person who is practicing Babylonian or Persian astrology. It was common in the ancient world for political rulers to seek divine direction to help them rule. In this case, the Proconsul employed this false prophet (Greek – PSEUDOPROPHĒTĒS – one who presents knowledge as being divinely inspired, but in reality is inspired by a source other than God).

c) The lie of astrology is that your destiny is fixed by the movement of stars and seasons. This mocks the very nature and character of God, who appoints destinies through personal love relationships.

d) We see that it is a strategy of the enemy to infiltrate positions of power. How much more would the Lord desire the Church, who is truly divinely inspired, to fulfill this ministry to people in positions of power? Kingdom reformation is only possible when all areas of influence in a society are penetrated with God’s

e) Sergius Paulus – Roman leader of Cyprus who was accountable to Emperor Claudius. He was appointed Proconsul of Cyprus in 47AD. Archeologists have found inscriptions with his name written on them in Cyprus. British Historian Sir. William Ramsey documents inscriptions found in Cyprus documenting Sergius’ conversion to Christianity. Sergius is mentioned as an intelligent man. The intelligent are always in pursuit of truth and the wise find receive it.

Acts 13:8

a) Luke no longer calls Elymas “Bar-Jesus” because that is a mockery to the real Savior Jesus Christ. Elymas in Greek means “wise man”. His name carries with it the implication that he is wise in esoteric knowledge, and not the true knowledge of God.

b) Elymas tried to turn Sergius from faith in Jesus. He was about to lose his employment and position, and satan was about to lose his voice into the leadership of the island of Cyprus. We see a clash of dominion and influence. Jesus declared that all authority was given to Him in heaven and on earth. Our authority as His representatives, empowers us to win all spiritual battles. We are about to witness a power encounter between the dominion of darkness and the kingdom of God between Paul and Elymas.

Acts 13:9

a) Paul – From this point on in Scripture we see Saul being referred to Paul. Saul is his Jewish name, representing the greatness of Saul (tall/exalted) the first king of Israel, and Paul (small) becomes his name now, as it reflects his true nature as the Apostle who serves the church in the power of humility.

b) Paul is now speaking to Elymas by the Holy Spirit. We can expect that Holy Spirit will give us all the words we need to speak, and to speak through us when we need Him. See Matthew 10:19-20.

Acts 13:10-11

a) The harshest judgments of the Lord are reserved for those who stand in the way truth and eternal life. The eternal destiny of Sergius is at stake here. Paul full of the Spirit releases a temporal judgment on Elymas that confirms Paul’s message of Jesus Christ to the Proconsul. The Holy Spirit is the Spirit of truth, and truth can be powerfully corrective and confrontational in the context of spiritual death and life.

b) Power confirms the gospel, and power encounters are necessary to reveal the truth of Jesus Christ. Notice that the judgment on Elymas is temporary, and there is the offer of repentance in the judgment.

c) Elymas’ physical blindness is the revelation of his spiritual blindness.

Acts 13:12

a) The Proconsul “saw” – Sergius saw the power of the gospel on display and saw the judgment of Elymas. When we present the gospel in power, it is releases the proof of our message and is an onramp to salvation. Sergius believed and is now
a believer in Jesus Christ.

Acts 13:13

a) Perga is located in Modern Day Turkey. It is a port city and entry point into the interior to the region of Galatia. We will unpack the significance of this in detail as we move on in Acts, but for now we will move on to focus our attention on John Mark’s departure.

b) No explicit reason is given for John Mark’s leaving Paul and Barnabas. But we can speculate that it was probably fear. John Mark being a young man, just witnessed a major power encounter, and probably was not looking forward to more of them during this trip. He left and went home. Fear will always rob destiny and rob God of glory. John deserting them became a major argument between Barnabas and Paul and even led to their separation. See Acts 15:39-40. They eventually reconciled. But I want to point out that Barnabas contended for the destinies of others and Paul struggled with forgiveness and needed to continue to mature as an Apostle.