Summary: How to overcome people who misunderstand God’s word, His will and His ways
The Misunderstood Missionaries – Acts 14:1-20
Misunderstanding = Failure to understand people so as to disagree with them. Many misunderstandings lead to quarrels, conflicts or failure to show love to one another.
Illustration:Army Law: An order that can be misunderstood will be misunderstood.
P. Dickson, The Official Rules, p. 5.
The following series of advertisements reportedly appeared in a daily newspaper:
Monday: "The Rev. A.J. Jones has one color TV set for sale. Telephone 626-1313 after 7 p.m. and ask for Mrs. Donnelley who lives with him, cheap."
Tuesday: "We regret any embarrassment caused to Rev. Jones by a typographical error in yesterday’s paper. The ad should have read: ’The Rev. A.J. Jones has one color TV set for sale, cheap...Telephone 626-1313 and ask for Mrs. Donnelley, who lives with him after 7 p.m.’"
1. Aim: To lead the people to know they can overcome people who choose to misunderstand the truth of God’s word.
2. Explanation of the Aim: People and adults struggle to overcome people who choose to misunderstand the truth of God’s message. Paul and Barnabas faithfully preached the gospel but encountered stiff opposition from many of the Jewish religious authority figures.
Instead of becoming discouraged by people who chose to misunderstand God’s truth, Paul and Barnabas endured the suffering and continued to complete God’s will for their lives. There will always be critics who oppose godly people and their ministries. However, Paul and Barnabas give us great examples of how not to be defeated by opposition, but to how to allow God to use trials for God’s greater purposes.
3. The Bible Story – (Acts 14:1-20) People who choose to help move the kingdom of God forward will encounter terrible opposition. Paul and Barnabas showed great faith in refusing to give in to their fear of threats, intimidations and stoning from the opposing religious leaders of their day.
Godly people are willing to take up their cross and follow Christ even if it means suffering greatly for God’s will to be done. Paul and Barnabas learned how to overcome the temptation to give in to pride and persecution in this lesson. Those who expect to be greatly used of God will have to learn how to deal with both success and adversity with graceful dependence on the Holy Spirit.
4. Prepare to Teach: The INTRODUCTION helps the people explore some of the problems of pride and persecution. Ask the people to how success often tempts us to become proud, self-sufficient and boastful of our own accomplishments.
Find out from the people what are some of the reasons why people often surrender to the opposition from people who try to hinder the advancement of the gospel’s ministries. Give examples of how Paul was able to resist the temptations to become too proud or to surrender to fear, during his life as a missionary.
THE BIBLE STORY explains how Paul and Barnabas were able to work through all of the problems of being misunderstood by important religious authorities because of their firm faith in God and His will for their lives.
The MEANING FOR OUR LIVES gives the people an opportunity to decide how they will follow the fine examples of Paul and Barnabas in resisting the temptations to surrender to the pride of success or the sufferings involved with adversity.
What are some of the problems people face in dealing with pride and persecution? Ask the people how success often tempts us to become proud, self-sufficient and boastful of our own accomplishments. You might want to use Saul as an example of how pride went before destruction.
Find out from the people what are some of the reasons why people often surrender to the pressures and opposition from people who try to hinder the advancement of the gospel’s ministries.
You might give an example of how Demas deserted Paul during one of his most grueling missionary journeys. Give examples of how Paul was able to resist the temptation to become too proud or to surrender to fear, during his life as a missionary.
Application: Ask the people how they can be more humble and more persevering when they are talking about Jesus with their friends.
The Bible Story
Our lesson helps us see how the Lord helped Paul and Barnabas through times of success as well as in the horrors of being abused. Godly people need the strength to overcome the temptations to become too proud when the Lord gives them success and the perseverance to press ahead when they are pressured to quit.
Either way people of God need to know how to overcome situations where they are misunderstood. Paul and Barnabas speak boldly about the Lord Jesus in the Jewish synagogue at Iconium and see many place saving faith in Christ.
In addition the Lord allowed the apostles to do miraculous signs and wonders which stirred up the opposition to their ministries. Any time we see success we should expect jealous people to criticize our ministries. God used the persecution to catalyze the advancement of the gospel to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra. The Lord is always able to use all things together for good if we will love, trust and obey Him.