We Need Each Other
Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and 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. And when they had ordained them elders in every church, and had prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord, on whom they believed. And after they had passed throughout Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. And when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down into Attalia: And thence sailed to Antioch, from whence they had been recommended to the grace of God for the work which they fulfilled. And when they were come, and had gathered the church together, they rehearsed all that God had done with them, and how he had opened the door of faith unto the Gentiles. And there they abode long time with the disciples. (Acts 14:20-28 KJV)
On the next morning, Paul and Barnabas left Lystra for Derbe. Derbe was located slightly north and east of Lystra. There they preached the gospel and taught many. It doesn't indicate that there were converts, but we can assume that there were because they were well received. There was no hostility or violence towards them. I'm sure that they were relieved and refreshed to preach in a city where no Jewish group stirred up controversy or the natives tried to harm them. God knows when we need a time of renewal and rejuvenation. When they finished their work there, for which we have no specified amount of time, they returned through the cities they had been previously to fortify the faith of the new believers and to insure that the churches were standing strong and true. In spite of the risk of attack, imprisonment, or even death, they reminded the saints, (the new believers), that trouble will come to the believer in this sinful, hostile world. Following Jesus isn't a walk in the park, but, thank God, it isn't a walk in the dark. In our modern age, particularly in America, we are taught by some that following Jesus makes you immune to sickness, makes you prosper in finance, and allows you to walk in a seeming state of utopia, (ideal conditions), or euphoria, (an absolute sense of well being). Now, I realize, that even in my life, Jesus has made the distinct difference. However, my life has not been ideal or absolutely well in every natural sense. Spiritually, I live in the blessing and favor of Almighty God but, naturally, the struggles have been monumental. The stabilizing factor has been the Lord Jesus Christ. He has reminded me that He is with me, that He is greater than the enemy, (Satan), that He won't fail me, and that the world to come, (Heaven), is the land of Utopia And Euphoria!! (see John 14:1-3). Bless the Holy Name of Jesus!!! Even in John 16:33 we read where Jesus Himself said that He had taught us His Word so that we could find peace in this world because we will have tribulations. 2 Timothy 3:12 says "Yes, and everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will suffer persecution."
Paul and Barnabas certainly did! These men were real men! A real man isn't measured in his natural, brute strength, education, popularity, anatomy, or financial position. Real men love Jesus and are willing to die for Him!!
Paul and Barnabas went to each established body of believers in each city they had been and, after fasting and prayer, ordained elders (spiritual leaders), Pastors. These men were not elected, they were appointed. Someone needed to be appointed to lead these believers in their faith. On their way back through, they stopped at Perga in the region of Pamphylia, and preached the word as well. No converts are recorded, but the seed was sown. We may not always gain an immediate conversion, but we are to sow the seed that, perhaps, when someone else waters it, will come alive.
(see I Corinthians 3:6). When they arrived at Attalia, they sailed from this seaport back to Syria. They came to Antioch of Syria (the church that had sent them out) and rehearsed to them the details of their journey and the grace of God that had been shed on the Gentiles. They, then, stayed for an extended amount of time of fellowship with the saints. Oh, how we need our fellow church family. Life is too tough not to have them at our side.
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Rev. Curtis Norris