Summary: The gospel message like the potential of Plutonium represents enormous power for those who will receive it.

Sermon Notes

“Plutonium at Iconium”

Acts 14:1-7

Kent Simmons

Scripture Passage:

AC 14:1 At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed. [2] But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. [3] So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders. [4] The people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, others with the apostles. [5] There was a plot afoot among the Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, to mistreat them and stone them. [6] But they found out about it and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding country, [7] where they continued to preach the good news.


Plutonium, an artificially created element, contains some of the most powerful capabilities of all the radioactive materials at our disposal. A product of Uranium and scientific intervention, it contains within its properties both immense power to fuel things such as naval vessels and power plants and a destructive ability to kill organic beings or plants up to and including us. In short, it is an element to be treated with great respect and fear.

The introduction of the gospel to the cities of Galatia represented the same kind of respect and fear. Because of the sheer magnitude of the message of Paul and Barnabas, that of Jesus, as the Christ, His life , His ministry, His death, and His resurrection, what they preached was nothing less serious and in fact more so, than if Plutonium had been introduced or released into the lives of those who would listen. For some, the message would bring divine power into their lives-- limitless power; for others, their rejection would become the instrument of their eternal death.

I find in the passage before us this morning three types of people. The first are those who bring the power, the second are those who receive the power, and the third are those who reject the power. Before we are through, we will know who we are.


God of all grace, we thank you this morning for your power. We ask that as we consider your word you would show us your limitless power and unyielding love. In Jesus, our Savior’s name, we pray. Amen.

I. Those Who Bring The Power (Pastors, Teachers, Evangelists)

a. AC 14:1 At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed.

b. ISA 52:7 How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings,

who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion "Your God reigns!”

1. The high calling, a very high standard, and high accountability before God.

a. JAS 3:1 Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.

2. It is a position deserving respect.

a. 1TI 5:17 The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching.

3. It is a position of sacrifice.

a. 2TI 3:10 You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, [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. [12] In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted.

ILLS “Perfect Pastor Found” (Sermon Central)

“Are You The Person Bringing The Power To People’s Lives?”

II. Those Who Receive the Power

a. Vs 1b There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed.

b. On the one hand, Paul and Barnabas have become an excellent conduit for the power of God to flow through them, but on the other hand there were those that the power came into contact with-- those who received the power.

c. Jesus said in his parable of the sower and the seeds that there are essentially 4 types of soil in the heart of man.

d. MK 4:1 Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. [2] He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: [3] "Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. [4] As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. [5] Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. [6] But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. [7] Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. [8] Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times."

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