Acts 14:4
The people of the city were divided. Some sided with the Jews, and others with the apostles.
Sermons
Apostolic (Ministerial) ExperienceW. Clarkson Acts 14:1-7
Faithful Service: IconiumR.A. Redford Acts 14:1-7
The Calm Force of the Gospel Amid Many Distractions of MenP.C. Barker Acts 14:1-7
The Gospel At IconiumE. Johnson Acts 14:1-7
At IconiumM. C. Hazard.Acts 14:1-18
Characteristics of Apostolic PreachingG. R. Leavett.Acts 14:1-18
Courage Requisite in ReformersW. H. Beecher.Acts 14:1-18
Effects of Gospel PreachingS. S. TimesActs 14:1-18
God's Testimony to His WordJames Jeffrey.Acts 14:1-18
God's Testimony to the Word of His GraceB. Beddome, M. A.Acts 14:1-18
God's Testimony to the Word of His GraceH. Stowell, M. A.Acts 14:1-18
IconiumLyman Abbott, D. D.Acts 14:1-18
Iconium and LystraT. H. Hanna, D. D.Acts 14:1-18
Mode of Preaching the Gospel Adapted to SuccessE. T. Fitch, D. D.Acts 14:1-18
Perils of Missionary LifeActs 14:1-18
Persecution Turned into InspirationJ. Parker, D. D.Acts 14:1-18
Proper Witness BearingLisco.Acts 14:1-18
Strike, But Hear UsA. Fuller.Acts 14:1-18
The Courage of Devoted ChristiansActs 14:1-18
The Ministry of the Apostles At IconiumD. Thomas, D. D.Acts 14:1-18
Gospel PreachingActs 14:4-7
The Effects of the GospelJ. W. Burn.Acts 14:4-7
The Gospel for AllW. Brock, D. D.Acts 14:4-7
The Gospel MinistryT. Gibson, M. A.Acts 14:4-7
The Insufficient and the EfficaciousHomiletic ReviewActs 14:4-7
The Permitted Flight of the Servant of GodK. Gerok.Acts 14:4-7
The Preaching of the GospelJ. Angell James.Acts 14:4-7
The apostle elsewhere expresses in a sentence what was the common experience of his missionary life. He says (1 Corinthians 16:9), "A great door and effectual is opened unto me, and. there are many adversaries." And we must still accept the fact that, if we will do any special work, or manifest in work any energy or individuality, we shall soon have persons opposing, misrepresenting, and hindering us. Here, in the very outset of St. Paul's missionary career, the influence of the "unbelieving Jews" is indicated, and this fanatical Jewish party persistently followed up the apostle wherever he went, trying to destroy his work and create prejudice against him. It may be said - What great things St. Paul would have accomplished if he had not been checked by these hinderers! But a deeper view of the influence permanently exerted on the Church by St. Paul's life and writings would rather lead us to say - What sublime things St. Paul did accomplish in spite of the hinderers, and even out of the very impulse excited by their opposition; for in this, too, God made "the wrath of man to praise him"! More and more clearly is it now seen that a man's moral nobility is gained, not by silent, unresisted growths, but by the steady, persistent, often imperiling, conflict with adverse influences and open foes. And that which is true in the individual life is true of the composite Church life. We may thank God that he has overruled, for the Church's permanent good, the hinderers, the opposers, the persecutors. We may consider

(1) the sources whence hindrances come, getting illustrations from the older times, and making applications to our own;

(2) the influences which hindrances may have upon the mind and feeling of the workers; and

(3) the influences which they have upon the growth and progress of Christ's Church.

I. THE SOURCES WHENCE COME THE HINDRANCES TO CHRISTIAN WORK, They have always come both from without and from within the Church; but our thought is new chiefly confined to hindrances coming from without. Hinderers are generally:

1. Persons of antagonistic disposition, who always take "the other side," are quick to imagine some evil in everything attempted, see no good in anything with which they are unassociated, and have a sort of natural horror of things that are new.

2. Or persons who have strong religious prejudices, which they feel the fresh thing tends to undermine, and for which they consequently fight as if they were the truth of God.

3. Or persons who cling to doctrinal forms or to ceremonial rites, and fail to see that God may send forth floods of new life, too mighty to be kept within their prescribed riverbanks, and so they vainly try to hold back God's floods.

4. Or persons who have no faith in the future, and cannot trust God to oversee and overrule the future, even as he does the present and has done the past.

5. Or persons whose temporal condition may be injuriously affected by the new enterprise; as illustrated by the shrine-makers of Ephesus. The phases which these hindrances take in modern life need to he carefully observed and thought out.

II. THE INFLUENCES WHICH HINDRANCES MAY HAVE UPON THE MIND AND FEELING OF THE WORKERS. Those influences, of course, differ according to the disposition of the workers. We may divide them into these classes.

1. Hindrances will dishearten and depress some. It is characteristic of some that they are sunshine workers, and give up easily when the least cloud-shadow passes across. These are usually weakly in body and nervously sensitive, and they need encouraging and the frequent kindly word.

2. Hindrances wilt keep up in some a "dogged persistency." This expression is not the most graceful one, but no other so well expresses their condition of feeling. Like Nehemiah, they simply keep on, let other men talk, send messages, or do what they will; and if they say anything to the hinderers, it is only this, "We are doing a great work, therefore we cannot come down."

3. And hindrances arouse some to new and nobler activity. The spirit of the soldier is in them, and the very presence of a foe, and the very difficulties of an enterprise, touch and awaken the noblest within them. Direct application to present-day Church-workers should be made, and the duty of resisting the undue influence of hinderers pressed home.

III. THE INFLUENCES EXERTED BY HINDRANCES ON THE GROWTH AND PROGRESS OF CHRIST'S CHURCH. Apply to:

1. Internal growth in spirituality, in development of doctrine, in practical application of principle to details of life.

2. External progress. Hinderers give publicity to the Christian Church, calling the attention of many who would otherwise not hear of it. Hinderers waken the natural sympathy of men for a resisted and persecuted thing.

3. Hinderers increase the evangelizing and aggressive fervor of the Church, and so, by means of the hinderers, Christ's kingdom steadily advances. Illustrate by the persecutions of the early Church, the history of English Protestantism, and the tale of Christian life in Madagascar. The Church may have "many adversaries," but she learns how to make their very enmity her inspiration. - R.T.







But the multitude of the city was divided.
I. Division. "Behold I come not to cause peace, but division." So said the Master; so felt the disciples.

1. The gospel causes division in —(1) The man himself — between inclination and conviction; interest and conscience; intellect and passion.(2) Families, between parents and children; brothers and sisters, etc.(3) Society. The gospel has often sundered life-long friendships and associations.

2. Why?(1) Because of the incessant vigilance and activity of the great enemy of the gospel, who stirs up opposition to it.(2) Because of the revolutionary power of the gospel. Men do not like to have the old convictions, customs, etc., disturbed. There is no objection per se to the existence of the gospel, if its possessors will only keep quiet. Professing Christians who make no effort to disturb existing arrangements live quietly enough.(3) Because of the intolerance of the gospel. Had Christians in ancient times been content with a place for Christ in the Pantheon there would have been no persecutions; it was because they claimed for Christ the only place, that excited the ire of heathendom. And men of all shades of opinion today would allow Christianity a place as a system of thought or ethics; but it is when she claims for herself absolute and undisputed supremacy in politics, society, business, etc., that the conflict begins.

II. OPPOSITION. Part held with the Jews.

1. Sympathetically. There is an opposition nowadays which does not proceed to active antagonism. Indifference to the gospel is sympathy with its foes. "He that is not for Me is against Me." This form of opposition is the most difficult to deal with. An army would sooner meet its enemy than pass through a country secretly at league with the enemy. What the gospel has to dread is not infidel propaganda, or blatant vice; but mere intangible negativism. This we find not only outside the Churches but within.

2. Actively. This opposition exists in various forms.

(1)Intellectual — controversy.

(2)Political — bad laws.

(3)Moral — vicious influence.

(4)Social — evil customs.

(5)Physical — persecution.

III. ACCEPTANCE. "Part with the apostles." This acceptance is —

1. Secret. There are thousands like Nicodemus, in heathen and Christian lands, whose whole sympathy is with the gospel, but who, for domestic or social reasons, withhold profession. This is not to be commended, but condemned; nevertheless, in estimating the forces for and against the gospel it should be considered. If it shows a heart yet unrenewed, it is evidence of feelings touched, intellect convinced, and perhaps will trembling in the balance. Such should be encouraged to not only hold with the apostles, but to stand boldly by their side.

2. Public. To take part thoroughly with the apostles is —(1) To defend their gospel.(2) To assist them in their work. Something more is required than to listen to their teaching and to attend ordinances at which they preside once a week. Yet how many who profess to be decided Christians do no more. The work of the gospel requires the help of every disciple; as a matter of fact an average congregation yields one worker to ten members.

(J. W. Burn.)

And when there was an assault made...they...fled unto Lystra and Derbe
How it takes place.

I. AFTER THE CONFLICT, as with the apostles here; not before, as with Jonah.

II. IN OBEDIENCE TO THE LORD, and not from fear of man or carnal tenderness.

III. WITH WEAPONS IN THEIR HANDS, as the apostles continue to preach with unbroken courage, not after having cast their weapons away.

IV. TO A NEW FIELD OF CONFLICT (Derbe and Lystra), not to rest.

(K. Gerok.)

And there they preached the gospel.
A new and characteristic incident in the life of that sweet singer of Israel, Miss Havergal, comes to light in the recently published autobiography of her sister. The former was conversing with a minister who was not disposed to press home the gospel message. "Oh, why don't you preach the gospel of Christ?" she exclaimed. "My congregation are well educated and well acquainted with the truths of salvation; if they were Zulus, I should preach differently," was the reply. "Then let me be a Zulu next Sunday," was the rejoinder, "and just preach at me." A real gospel sermon was the result. It might pay a minister now and then to imagine some Zulus among his auditors, and prepare his sermon accordingly.

I. THE NATURE OF THE GOSPEL. In etymology, the term signifies "glad tidings." In theology, the thing signified is the glad tidings of salvation through Christ. The gospel is the new law as distinguished from the old; for there is much gospel in the old, and much law in the new. The gospel is the foundation of a sinner's hope as distinguished from the rule of the creature's conduct. It is called "the gospel of the grace of God," because the whole system originated in the free and unmerited favour of God; "the everlasting gospel," because it occupied the mind of God from eternity, and its blessings extend to the end of time; "the ministration of glory," because it combines the attributes of Jehovah; "gospel of the kingdom," because it is the basis on which the whole empire of the Redeemer rests. It includes in itself our Lord's divinity and atoning sacrifice, the justification of the sinner by faith, the renovation of the heart by the Holy Spirit, the universal invitation to all sinners to avail themselves of its provisions, the promise that all that believe shall be saved.

II. TO PREACH THE GOSPEL IS TO EXHIBIT —

1. The crucifixion of Christ as a fact, in connection with the design of that fact, as connected with the moral government of God.

2. Christ in the divinity of His person. The divinity of Christ is essential to His atonement.

3. The atonement and righteousness of Christ, as the exclusive foundation of the sinner's hope of acceptance before God.

4. The death of Christ as the great means, in the hand of the Spirit, for the sanctification of the sinner's heart.

5. An invitation of mercy co-extensive with the aspect of the atonement, and both as co-extensive with the wretchedness of human guilt and misery.

6. The supreme and ultimate object of the Christian's hope, namely, the second advent of the Lord Jesus Christ, when He shall come without sin unto salvation.

III. THE IMPORTANCE OF PREACHING THE GOSPEL. Consider —

1. The sublimity of its ultimate design — the salvation of the soul. The proudest monuments of genius are not worth a thought, compared with the salvation of one of those children that belong to your Sunday school.

2. Its collateral benefits on the individual and society. I am aware that education is the idol of the day, that knowledge is sounded forth; and let it be sounded forth, for it is not good for the soul of man to be without it; but we are mistaken if we suppose that anything short of a preached gospel will purify society or elevate the human race, and meet the moral necessities of men.

3. Its adaptation to effect these things. Where can we find such a message from God to engage us? Where such power calculated to subdue our hearts? Where such a token of good-will towards the sinner as in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ?

4. Its effects in the world.Conclusion: Learn —

1. The main purpose of a Christian place of worship — the preaching and hearing of the gospel.

2. The great business and duty of the minister of religion to preach Christ.

3. How important it is to private Christians, to feel their obligation to provide places of worship!

4. If it is our obligation to preach the gospel, it is yours to receive it.

(J. Angell James.)

I. THE SUBJECT WHICH THE TEXT PRESENTS TO OUR ATTENTION — "The gospel." If you examine the gospel as it was preached by Christ and His apostles, you will discover that merely to inculcate Christian virtues or to describe a future state, is not preaching the gospel. Every system must have some leading principles which are essential to it, and when these are renounced or overlooked, the system itself is opposed or concealed. Look at the meaning of the word "gospel" — "Glad tidings of great joy," etc. Therefore, to preach the gospel is to imitate the angelic host, to preach Christ. If there be not a full and plain declaration of "Christ and Him crucified," then there is an awful void in the preacher's message. We are as the heralds of mercy, to exhibit the atonement and righteousness of Christ, as the exclusive foundation of the Christian's hope of acceptance before God. Without the doctrine of justification by faith there can be no gospel. Let it only be alleged, or even hinted, that there is something more than the work of Christ necessary for the reconciliation of a sinner to God, and the silver trumpet falls from the lips of the preacher, and, to be a little more particular, we may remark that the Christian minister must proclaim Christ to his hearers as —

1. A suitable Saviour. We are enslaved, and need a Redeemer; diseased, and need a physician; perishing, and require a benefactor; condemned, and want pardon. Christ is our King, Benefactor, Physician, Redeemer, Saviour.

2. An Almighty Saviour. He is the maker and upholder of all things. "It pleased the Father that in Him all fulness should dwell." See whom He has saved! Many of the most guilty of the human race. And this assures us that He can "save to the uttermost all who come unto God by Him."

3. A willing Saviour. His invitations are given to all sinners, without exception.

4. An everlasting Saviour. He "is the Author of eternal salvation"; He gives "a kingdom that cannot be shaken" — "a crown of glory that fadeth not away."

II. THE MANNER IN WHICH THE GOSPEL IS TO BE PROCLAIMED, namely, by preaching. When the Saviour ascended up on high, He "received gifts for men." "And He gave some apostles," etc. But for how long was this to continue? "Until we all come to the unity of the faith," etc. The gospel trumpet is to be blown until its sound shall be succeeded by the voice of the archangel and the trump of God. The office of preaching is not only a wise institution, but one of paramount importance. This will be seen if we appeal to it.

1. The declarations of God. What was to crown, according to Jeremiah, the return of the Jews from the Babylonish captivity into their own land? "I will give them," says God, "pastors after Mine own heart," etc. What does Isaiah consider as a compensation for all the calamities of life? "Though the Lord give you the bread of adversity...yet shall not thy teachers be removed into a corner any more."

2. The adaptation of preaching to extensive usefulness. There is no mode of communicating information that can awaken half the attention, or excite half the interest, that the ordinance of preaching does; it is not only the understanding speaking to the understanding, but the heart speaking to the heart, and the conscience to the conscience. So that by this engine, if rightly used, every power of the mind is effected, and every feeling of the soul is touched and excited.

3. Its design. The profession of a lawyer is important, because it affects our property; and that of a physician, because it concerns our health; but these are nothing, when compared with the soul and eternity; and with these, the ministerial office is peculiarly concerned; and by these, it is infinitely dignified.

III. THE CONDITION OF THOSE PLACES IN WHICH THE GOSPEL HAS BEEN PROCLAIMED.

1. Every such place is peculiarly favoured. In other places there is no heavenly bread, no water of consolation for the support of the soul. Capernaum, a little fishing place, was "exalted to heaven," because there Christ preached the gospel. You should think of this when you change your residence, and when you make excursions for health. On such occasions ask, not only, "Is there a good air? Is there delightful scenery?" but also, "Is the gospel proclaimed there?"

2. Its inhabitants are awfully responsible. If you perish, you will have no cloak for your sin, and no alleviation of your punishment. "It will be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon, at the day of judgment than for you," if you neglect the gospel.

(T. Gibson, M. A.)

"Go into all the world," was our Lord's command to His disciples, "and preach the gospel to every creature." They might have said in objection, that some parts of the world were philosophical and refined; that other parts were uncivilised and rude. Their Master held those objections to be nothing worth. Hence we find them in Jerusalem, for one place; we find them by and by in Ephesus and Athens; and here in what may fairly be called a rural and outlandish place. There, exactly as in other places, they just did what that text declares. "There they preached the gospel." Where? Anywhere.

I. Because IN EVERY PLACE THE GOSPEL IS WANTED. Man may be regarded as addicted to religion. Man has never been found without having as to his intellect the power, and as to his heart the solicitude to use that power, of trusting to some objects which are superior to himself. Hence it is, that we have all manner of religions very generally. The Hottentot has his religion, and the Esquimaux has his. But now, how comes man to be thus affected everywhere? I believe that it is by a necessity of his nature. Men want to have strength found them for their weakness, and light for their darkness, and wisdom for their ignorance, and pardon for their sin. You may find Atheism trying to get that instinct out of man's nature; but you will find humanity revolting from it; and, if it has not got the true religion, it will somehow or other try to content itself with a false. Why is it that men will put up with heavy self-denial and sacrifice of the very best, and sometimes to an unknown God? Here lies the mystery of it all — "they have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." They want to have their relations with their Maker rectified into the position whence sin took them. And unto that position the gospel offers to bring them. Whether a man be a peasant or a prince, whether he be a Pagan or a nominal Christian, the man stands in need of that gospel; let that be preached to him, and he accept it, and the aspirations of his humanity are all met; his troubled heart is tranquillised, and his guilt forgiven. "There they preached the gospel": in the antipodes; here, in some mission room, aye, and by the side of some sick and dying bed, in a London attic, "there they preach the gospel": why? Because nothing but the "glad tidings of great joy" would avail for the misery and spiritual want that are discovered there.

II. Because IN EVERY PLACE UNDER HEAVEN THE GOSPEL MAY BE PROCLAIMED. Different forms of religion to a large extent have arisen out of the circumstances of the particular place, or have got associated almost exclusively with the peculiarities of some time, or apostle. There is, e.g., Hindooism, that needs such a place as Hindostan with its great rivers. The religion of the Caffre is well adapted to all the region of Caffraria. Mahomedanism tells all its votaries that they are not to touch food from sunrise to sunset. Now, how could that be attended to in those lands where the sun never sets and rises for weeks together? A disciple of Vishnu or Brahma could not proclaim his religion here so as to carry into operation all its requirements. It was not made for man, it will not do for man. But this heaven-born gospel of ours, the land does not exist to which you could not take it; the man cannot be found by whom its sacred precepts and doctrines might not be received and followed out. Spiritual ill its nature, and simple in its ritual, it can go anywhere. "There they preached the gospel." There among the luxurious groves of the Asiatic; there among the consolidated snows of Lapland.

III. FOR EVERYWHERE THE GOSPEL IS ADAPTED TO ALL THE CIRCUMSTANCES OF MANKIND, BE THEY WHAT THEY MAY.

1. There are peculiarities touching age and with all those peculiarities there come corresponding necessities. The young man looks forward to his life; everything appears to him bright and auspicious: he is brimful and overrunning with human life. Now the gospel puts before him another medium, and in God's light tells him to see light; tells him to understand that there are difficulties and adversities and vicissitudes, but bids him trust, and not be dismayed, for all that. There is the man of business, and there the gospel stands, not telling him to exchange commercial life for conventional, but to buy, sell, and get gain as seeing God who is invisible. Then there is the mother in the midst of her family, the old man, etc. "There they preached the gospel." To be sure they did; whatever may be the variety of our necessities, the gospel has a word, and has provision for them all.

2. There are the differences of constitutional temperament. Some men are lively, others taciturn; and there are gradations between these two extremes. "There they preached the gospel," because it was not a thing for a great occasion, or for the salvation of the soul only, but in this present evil world to be as a portion in due season. Is impulse required, or restraint, or equanimity? The gospel provides it all. I have seen it take a selfish man and make him generous; take a timid man and make him brave; take a man proud and austere, and make him congenial and kindly.

3. There are peculiarities in intellectual power, and in corresponding intellectual attainment. Now, take the man that is not very intellectual, and the man that is profoundly intellectual; they both want the glad tidings; to both of them are the tidings preached. There was "The Dairyman's Daughter," and there was Sir Isaac Newton. When the one was weary with his intellectual work, and the other with her unintellectual work, where did they go? They sat down by the same Book, read about the same Saviour, and both of them set their seal to it that God is true.

4. There are peculiarities as to guilt and criminality. All men are not alike bad; there is the minimum and there is the maximum of human guilt. The gospel is adapted to the drunkard, to the profane, to the voluptuous, to the outcast of every kind; not that he may go on living in sin that grace may abound; but suited to him, to "bring him up out of the horrible pit and the miry clay."

IV. Because ANYWHERE THE BLESSINGS OF THE GOSPEL MAY BE PROFFERED UNIVERSALLY, AND TO INDIVIDUAL PERSONS. We must not call uncommon what God has called common; we must not restrict what God has left unlimited.

(W. Brock, D. D.)

Homiletic Review.
What will convince and convert men? What will revive and enlarge the Church of God? Many means are useful; one only is efficacious.

1. The voice of God in nature is not sufficient.

2. Miracles do not avail.

3. Zeal, however ardent, comes short.

4. Machinery, perfect though it be — good preaching, a strong Church, all the ordinances of God's house, Sunday schools, etc. — does not convert souls or give life to the people of God.The only efficacious instrument is God's truth, the gospel of the grace of God, the gospel faithfully preached and made efficacious by the agency of the Holy Ghost, as it was at Lystra and at Jerusalem on the day of Pentecost, and as it is now wherever the conditions are faithfully observed.

(Homiletic Review.)

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