The Living God

Paul and Barnabas were sent by the Holy Spirit to take the gospel to the Gentiles, but they were just men. They did though, have the power of God’s word and the power of the Holy Spirit working with them. The Lord was working with them to confirm his word with signs and wonders. As they went, people often had a wrong concept of who God is, but that is the power of the gospel, God reveals himself to those that believe. One of the greatest miracles though, was that Paul and Barnabas established church elders in Acts 14:23 “they prayed and fasted and entrusted them to the Lord”. They had faith in God to raise up his children.

Speaking Boldly For the Lord

Acts 14:1-7 

He Leaped Up and Began Walking

Acts 14:8-13
Paul and Barnabas were sent by the Holy Spirit to take the gospel to the Gentiles. In this, called Paul’s first missionary journey, “(AD 46–47) took Paul and Barnabas through the island province of Cyprus in the northeastern tip of the Mediterranean Sea and into the province of Galatia, where churches were established in … (Antioch of Pisidia, Iconium, Lystra, Derbe) … Those cities, important colonial outposts for the Romans, contained mixed populations, including large Jewish communities. It was in the synagogues of those communities that Paul launched his missionary efforts, almost always meeting with considerable opposition (Acts 13; 14).”1

And the reason for the opposition is that their message is not that people should become Jewish proselytes, keeping the law of Moses. Their message is that the kingdom of God has come near, and salvation, forgiveness of sin and right standing with God is only through faith in Jesus Christ. Paul is bold in speaking, but if this were only about Paul’s skill as an orator, there were others that could easily debate him and would take great pleasure in the arguing.

But, Paul and Barnabas are sent by the Holy Spirit with the anointing of the Holy Spirit and the Lord is confirming their words with signs and wonders in

Acts 14:8-10 And in Lystra a certain man was sitting powerless in his feet, lame from birth, who had never walked. 9 This man listened while Paul was speaking. Paul, looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be healed, 10 said with a loud voice, “Stand upright on your feet!” And he leaped up and began walking.

This was a notable miracle, something people had never seen before. In their pagan religion, they believed that only the gods could do this and “the Greek gods were frequently represented as taking on human appearances and intervening directly in human affairs. Unlike the true God, Zeus and his consorts were often viewed as capriciously bestowing favor or disfavor.”2

Acts 14:11 And when the crowds saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices in the Lycaonian language, saying, “The gods have become like men and have come down to us!”

The crowd was right that this miracle could not be performed by men, it was the power of God. And they were right that God had come down to walk among men, but it was Jesus Christ that walked with us. 

The Living God

Acts 14:14-20
Paul and Barnabas quickly spoke to the crowd in

Acts 14:15 “We also are men with the same nature as you, proclaiming the good news that you should turn from these worthless things to the living God”

These people had some concepts about God, but they also had some misconceptions about God and the world around them:

  • There is a God
  • God is spirit
  • God is interested in the affairs of man
  • God is for the righteous and against those that are not
  • There are other spirits, some malevolent
  • These other spirits are also involved in the lives of man
  • These spirits have a designated authority in the earth

What Paul is saying to them in Acts 14:15 is “turn from these worthless things” because we are “proclaiming the good news” that you can turn “to the living God, who made heaven and earth and all the things that are in them”. There is no malevolence in God. 

They Entrusted Them to the Lord

Acts 14:21-28
Paul and Barnabas went out, and then reversed their route returning to many of the same cities where they now “appointed elders” in

Acts 14:23 And when they had appointed elders for them in every church, after praying with fasting, they entrusted them to the Lord, in whom they had believed.

The interesting point here is that this journey may have been two years in total. We don’t know the timing, but they only would have had a few months in each city. Paul and Barnabas had spent a whole year raising the church in Antioch. So how is it that Barnabas and Paul were able to find elders that were qualified? They did something that we could certainly learn from them, in Acts 14:23 “they prayed and fasted and entrusted them to the Lord”. Do we have the faith to pray? Do we have the discipline to fast? Can we trust people to the Lord?

Sadly, many Christians are under the control of an authority abuser, Jesus described these people who invoke the word of God, but do not do it. These do not have any faith in God to raise up his children. Instead, they are bound by gold, the gift you can give, how can you help them in

Matthew 23:1–36 Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, 2 saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees sit on the seat of Moses. 3 Therefore do and observe everything that they tell you, but do not do as they do, for they tell others to do something and do not do it themselves.

or as Simon did with Peter and John in

Acts 8:18 Now Simon, when he saw that the Spirit was given through the laying on of the apostles’ hands, offered them money.

There Was No Little Strife and Debate

Acts 15:1-9

Why Are You Putting God to the Test?

Acts 15:10-21

Some From Among Us Have Thrown You Into Confusion

Acts 15: 22-29

Study Verses

Today’s Reading

  • Acts 14:1-28
  • Acts 15:1-29


  • 1. Brauch, M. T. (1988). Acts of the Apostles, Book of The. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 1, p. 21). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.
  • 2. Elwell, W. A., & Beitzel, B. J. (1988). Zeus. In Baker encyclopedia of the Bible (Vol. 2, p. 2197). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Book House.