Acts 14.19-22 And there came thither [certain] Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew [him] out of the city, supposing he had been dead. Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe. And when they had preached the gospel to that city, and had taught many, they returned again to Lystra, and [to] Iconium, and Antioch, Confirming the souls of the disciples, [and] exhorting them to continue in the faith, and that we must through much tribulation enter into the kingdom of God.
Have you ever been knocked down as a Christian? If not physically, verbally? Mocked? Ridiculed? Belittled? If so, you are in good company, for that is exactly what happened to Paul. No matter how hard you try to walk in the love of God, inevitably, there is going to be opposition, for darkness and light are incompatible. But we learn something from Paul here that I trust will encourage you, challenge you, and inspire you this morning.
When Paul was believed to be stoned to death, the other disciples stood around him. My dear brothers and sisters in Jesus, how important it is for us in the body of Christ to stand around one another and for one another in the proclamation of the gospel. That is a “picture” that’s easy to draw here from this incident. Amazingly, after Paul shakes off the bruises of the physical, mental and emotional attack of the enemy, what does he do? He and Barnabas go into the next city and preach the same word that got them into trouble in the first place. They knew that the rocks and words of opposition could only affect their bodies and mind, but not touch their souls. They were faithful and fearless.
Oh for the grace of God to be faithful and fearless in preaching the gospel and sharing the Word of God for The Lord Jesus today. Also note that it was through the teaching of God’s Word that the disciples were confirmed and exhorted in their faith in Jesus. They were also reminded of the fact that there will be difficulty and opposition in this life as we seek to follow Jesus and be faithful to Him and His truth. How would you like this call into the ministry that Jesus gave to the 12 apostles? “These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service. These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.”
Beloved, be faithful and fearless today in The Lord. Do justly, love mercy and walk humbly with thy God. When and if you are knocked down by the enemy, get back up and keep testifying of the grace and kingdom of God.