Monday, September 20, 2010

Acts 15 – Legalism in the Church

Acts 15

Conflict over Circumcision

1 And certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved." 2 Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question.

[So Antioch is a vibrant growing church of Christ followers both Jews and Gentiles being taught by the prophets and teachers including Barnabas and Saul as we saw at the beginning of Acts 13. But others came to Antioch from Judea and claimed that gentiles must follow the Law as a Jew including circumcision in order to be saved. Now these traveling teachers are not named, but I can only suspect that they were heard only because they came from Judea the province including Jerusalem. Because of the Jerusalem and Judean origin of the church, they would enjoy the halo effect of being associated with the original form and intent of Christianity.

The argument goes something like this: Jesus was a Jew who was circumcised and kept the Law his whole life. How can you claim to follow Jesus without keeping the Law, as he did? So being unable to dismiss this new teaching, they decided to take the question to the church at Jerusalem.]

3 So, being sent on their way by the church, they passed through Phoenicia and Samaria, describing the conversion of the Gentiles; and they caused great joy to all the brethren. 4 And when they had come to Jerusalem, they were received by the church and the apostles and the elders; and they reported all things that God had done with them. 5 But some of the sect of the Pharisees who believed rose up, saying, "It is necessary to circumcise them, and to command them to keep the law of Moses."

[I like that even when they had an urgent matter to handle in Jerusalem, they still took the time to encourage all the Christ followers in churches along the way. Finally in Jerusalem they tell the story to the church, of what dispute had occurred in Antioch or Syria, and even in Jerusalem some Pharisees who had trusted Jesus, were please with the idea of gentiles keeping the Law just the same as Jews in the church. It's interesting that at this time (around 50 AD) many still considered followers of the Way of Jesus, to be a sect within Judaism and not a separate religion, but that is mostly in the areas where the church consisted mostly of Jews.]

The Jerusalem Council

6 Now the apostles and elders came together to consider this matter. 7 And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: "Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe. 8 So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them by giving them the Holy Spirit, just as He did to us, 9 and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith. 10 Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear? 11 But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they."

[Some have called this Jerusalem conference and "apostles council", but notice it says apostles and elders came together. This means that just as Jesus said; the apostles did not consider themselves lords over the church, but servants of Jesus and the church. Elders who were not apostles were given an equal voice in governing the church with the apostles. But after much debate, Peter makes these points:

  • God chose me to bring gentiles the gospel.
  • Believing gentiles were confirmed by the Holy Spirit
  • God makes no distinction in how faith is applied to the heart

I love how he concluded "we (the Jews) shall be saved just like them (the gentiles). Not they can be saved like us. But we can be saved like them. Here he gives the spirit of God, supremacy over the flesh of Abraham, and faith in Jesus, supremacy over the Law of Moses. (The Law has no power to save. - Romans 7&8, Galatians 2)]

12 Then all the multitude kept silent and listened to Barnabas and Paul declaring how many miracles and wonders God had worked through them among the Gentiles.

[Paul and Barnabas reinforce Peter's message, but giving examples of all the spiritual gifts, signs, wonders and miracles, they had seen God demonstrate through the gentiles who had trusted Jesus as savior.]

13 And after they had become silent, James answered, saying, "Men and brethren, listen to me: 14 Simon has declared how God at the first visited the Gentiles to take out of them a people for His name. 15 And with this the words of the prophets agree, just as it is written:

16 ' After this I will return And will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, And I will set it up;

17 So that the rest of mankind may seek the LORD, Even all the Gentiles who are called by My name, Says the LORD who does all these things.' (Amos 9:11, 12)

18 "Known to God from eternity are all His works. 19 Therefore I judge that we should not trouble those from among the Gentiles who are turning to God, 20 but that we write to them to abstain from things polluted by idols, from sexual immorality, from things strangled, and from blood. 21 For Moses has had throughout many generations those who preach him in every city, being read in the synagogues every Sabbath."

[You have to wonder here, if Peter is the Pope of the church, why is it James who had the last word? Most people hold that James was the pastor of the church at Jerusalem at this time, and he crafts the decision that all the apostles and elders will confirm. Here is James' argument.

  • God had Amos prophecy that he would make a people for himself from among the Gentiles, so this was always part of the plan.
  • God knew from the beginning, what he was going to do.

He concludes that believing gentiles were free from the circumcision and the Law, but they would give them some minimal requirements. Some say these requirements represent the Law of Noah from Genesis 9, others say this is confirming part of the Law from Leviticus 17-18. I don't think this is confirming either Law as a part of salvation (remember the Holy Spirit had already confirmed them), but rather calling for a Holy lifestyle making a distinction by separating them from the idolatry practiced by unbelieving gentiles.]

The Jerusalem Decree

22 Then it pleased the apostles and elders, with the whole church, to send chosen men of their own company to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas, namely, Judas who was also named Barsabas,[e] and Silas, leading men among the brethren.

23 They wrote this, letter by them:

The apostles, the elders, and the brethren,

To the brethren who are of the Gentiles in Antioch, Syria, and Cilicia:


24 Since we have heard that some who went out from us have troubled you with words, unsettling your souls, saying, "You must be circumcised and keep the law"—to whom we gave no such commandment— 25 it seemed good to us, being assembled with one accord, to send chosen men to you with our beloved Barnabas and Paul, 26 men who have risked their lives for the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. 27 We have therefore sent Judas and Silas, who will also report the same things by word of mouth.

[The decree was from the apostles, elders and brethren (the whole church), not just to Antioch but also the surrounding provinces. They rebuke the unnamed teachers from Judea (we gave no such commandment), and send Judas and Silas from Jerusalem in person (two witnesses) to confirm their decision.]

28 For it seemed good to the Holy Spirit, and to us, to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: 29 that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality (fornication). If you keep yourselves from these, you will do well. - Farewell.

[Don't eat things sacrificed to idols, no blood (the life is in the blood), no strangled birds (cut their heads off and drain out the blood), and be sexually wholesome, these are the minimum standards for personal holiness of a believing gentile.]

Continuing Ministry in Syria

30 So when they were sent off, they came to Antioch; and when they had gathered the multitude together, they delivered the letter. 31 When they had read it, they rejoiced over its encouragement. 32 Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted and strengthened the brethren with many words. 33 And after they had stayed there for a time, they were sent back with greetings from the brethren to the apostles.

34 However, it seemed good to Silas to remain there. (some manuscripts omit 34) 35 Paul and Barnabas also remained in Antioch, teaching and preaching the word of the Lord, with many others also.

[Judas and Silas deliver the message, encourage the brothers, and stay for a while teaching and preaching. Judas leaves for Jerusalem with greetings, but Silas stays to continue the work.]

Division over John Mark

36 Then after some days Paul said to Barnabas, "Let us now go back and visit our brethren in every city where we have preached the word of the Lord, and see how they are doing." 37 Now Barnabas was determined to take with them John called Mark. 38 But Paul insisted that they should not take with them the one who had departed from them in Pamphylia, and had not gone with them to the work. 39 Then the contention became so sharp that they parted from one another. And so Barnabas took Mark and sailed to Cyprus; 40 but Paul chose Silas and departed, being commended by the brethren to the grace of God. 41 And he went through Syria and Cilicia, strengthening the churches.

[Division is not always bad as one missionary team becomes two. Many think Mark was restored by Barnabas and later acknowledged by Paul – 2 Timothy 4:11]

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Acts 14 – Building through tribulation

Acts 14

[God builds his kingdom by moving his people.

As Paul and Barnabas traveled from city to city they would always start at the synagogues where they found crowds of Jews and God fearing gentiles, and there they would preach to them Jesus. Though many believed those who refused quickly made themselves an obstacle to the gospel. Elymas the sorcerer was struck blind for opposing the gospel. Jews in Antioch of Pisidia were given a short time to repent in Acts 13:
46 "Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles."

So great was the opposition in Antioch of Pisidia that when the apostles left "they shook off the dust from their feet against them", the meaning of gesture this is from the words of Jesus:

Matthew 10:14 And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!

Yet in the middle of all that conflict Jesus' disciples "were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit". They kept moving forward taking each opportunity they were given to offer salvation to those who would listen.]

At Iconium

 1 Now it happened in Iconium that they went together to the synagogue of the Jews, and so spoke that a great multitude both of the Jews and of the Greeks believed. 2 But the unbelieving Jews stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brethren. 3 Therefore they stayed there a long time, speaking boldly in the Lord, who was bearing witness to the word of His grace, granting signs and wonders to be done by their hands.

[To the Jews they could effectively argue that Jesus was Messiah using the prophecies, but frequently they would also add supernatural signs like healing that would draw the attention of Jews and gentiles. Their effectiveness is obvious in "a great multitude … believed". Notice that even that even though they said "we turn to the gentiles" in chapter 13, they still preached to Jews wherever they found them. So I take from this that they had intentionally preached in cities with large Jewish populations, but now this would no longer be their focus. Now they would go where they had an open door.]

4 But the multitude of the city was divided: part sided with the Jews, and part with the apostles. 5 And when a violent attempt was made by both the Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to abuse and stone them, 6 they became aware of it and fled to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding region. 7 And they were preaching the gospel there.

[They stayed in Iconium contending for the gospel through opposition. But when opposition turned into a murder conspiracy it was time to leave.]

Idolatry at Lystra

8 And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother's womb, who had never walked. 9
This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, 10 said with a loud voice, "Stand up straight on your feet!" And he leaped and walked. 11 Now when the people saw what Paul had done, they raised their voices, saying in the Lycaonian language, "The gods have come down to us in the likeness of men!"

[In Lystra there is no significant population of Jews where they can preach, so they go to the streets and heal a man crippled from birth. As we saw frequently with Jesus the healing was according to or possible because of the faith of the believer. The Greeks there are clearly impressed with the supernatural healing, so impressed that they see Paul and Barnabas as gods in human form.]


12 And Barnabas they called Zeus (Jupiter), and Paul, Hermes (Mercury), because he was the chief speaker. 13 Then the priest of Zeus, whose temple was in front of their city, brought oxen and garlands to the gates, intending to sacrifice with the multitudes.

[Clearly our missionaries were not expecting this. Pagan priest come out of the temple of Zeus and attempt to sacrifice and worship men instead of God.]

14 But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard this, they tore their clothes and ran in among the multitude, crying out 15 and saying, "Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men with the same nature as you, and preach to you that you should turn from these useless things to the living God, who made the heaven, the earth, the sea, and all things that are in them, 16 who in bygone generations allowed all nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Nevertheless He did not leave Himself without witness, in that He did good, gave us rain from heaven and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness." 18 And with these sayings they could scarcely restrain the multitudes from sacrificing to them.

[So they do all they can to stop the idolatry and persuade them to change from their polytheism, to the living God by faith in Jesus. In Greek mythology there was a story of Zeus and Hermes visiting this region in disguise. In the myth they visit a thousand houses before they find one poor old couple who would welcome them into their home. The gods respond by turning the old couples home into a beautiful temple, then destroying the thousand who would not receive them. This story probably contributed to the enthusiasm of the people and the difficulty of Jesus' disciples.]

Stoning, Escape to Derbe

19 Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. 20 However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.

[Their failure to win converts in the face of this idolatry was compounded when trouble follows them in unbelieving Jews from Antioch and Iconium who find Paul and Barnabas in Lystra. I can only imagine what lies they told to the people of Lystra but they reactivate their murder plot using the Greeks against Paul. They stone Paul then drag his lifeless body out of the city and leave him with trash outside of town. There are some who think Paul did die and was resurrected, while other just see him as severely injured. Either way having been stoned, he would have a fractured skill and several broken bones with internal injuries. The other disciples, Barnabas and the converts in that city, gather around him probably praying for him, and he miraculously gets up, recovered from his wounds, and walks back into Lystra, where they had just stoned him, not leaving for Derbe until the following day.]

Strengthening the Converts

21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, "We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God."

[So they preach in Derbe, making more disciples. Then they go back to all the places they had converts, where they at been chased, threatened, and stoned. They go back because those new converts needed to be encouraged, taught and discipled. I can think of no greater proof that they loved Jesus more than life itself. When Paul later tells the Philippians: "For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain." Those are not idle words; he proved that is true by the way he ministered. One of the things they taught these new disciples is that we serve God in enemy territory, most of the people you meet are enemies of God, but Jesus died for his enemies, and because of that we enter God's kingdom through "many tribulations".]

23 So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed. 24 And after they had passed through Pisidia, they came to Pamphylia. 25 Now when they had preached the word in Perga, they went down to Attalia. 26 From there they sailed to Antioch, where they had been commended to the grace of God for the work which they had completed.

[Again they visit each place where people had turned to Jesus, and they establish churches with elders to guide them, before returning home to Antioch in Syria.]
27 Now when they had come and gathered the church together, they reported all that God had done with them, and that He had
opened the door of faith to the Gentiles. 28 So they stayed there a long time with the disciples.

[They go to their commissioning church and report all that they had seen and what great things God had done. We don't have all the details of their report, but you can tell it included the opposition of the unbelieving Jews, and the faith of the gentiles.

God builds his kingdom by moving his people, even through tribulation.]

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Acts 13 – Sending, Going, Rejecting, Believing

There is a book being released this week called "The Grand Design" by Stephen Hawking. The reviews and articles of the book have generated a lot of buzz because of controversial statements made about creation.

"… the laws of gravity and quantum theory allow universes to appear spontaneously from nothing." – Stephen Hawking

I wanted to give a brief answer to this idea, in case you read or have read any of these articles. First of all this is a mass publication book, not a peer reviewed science journal, it's not about new research or discoveries. This book is about the faith of a theoretical quantum physicist in the theories on which he has spent his professional life. In general he's referring to a dream of theoretical physics to come up with a "theory of everything" or unified model of the universe. This idea is based on the unification of 5 versions of String Theory and how they might all work together. In short this M-Theory is based on the concept that everything is made up of unseen 1 dimensional strings, vibrating through unseen 2 dimensional membranes across 7 unseen dimensions, in addition to the 4 dimensions (length, width, depth, -3 dimensions of space- and time) we normally experience. When you talk about quantum theory, especially regarding unknown dimensions, this is not a physical science or something that can be studied in the usual sense. This is the religion of theoretical science, whose proofs only exist in mathematical models. It takes a lot of blind faith to believe in M-theory especially when there are only about a thousand people in the world who can actually do the math, of these models. How can they believe in unseen strings, unseen membranes, and unseen dimensions, and reject an unseen God? But even if M-Theory were correct, it does not contradict or preclude Biblical Creation. All they would really have discovered would be, as Albert Einstein said, "How God did it". It would be a shame to spend your life studying creation, and miss knowing the Creator!

[As we continue through the book of Acts we will cover a chapter per week, which is too much material to cover well. So I will try and give you an outline and a context to understand the scripture plus a few highlights, and let the Pastor's sermon, the Life Groups, and your personal study, explore the material more completely.]

Acts 13

1 Now in the church that was at Antioch there were certain prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon who was called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen who had been brought up with Herod the tetrarch, and Saul. 2 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, "Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them." 3 Then, having fasted and prayed, and laid hands on them, they sent them away.

[Here we find the diverse elders or leaders of the church at Antioch fasting and praying to the Lord, when the Holy Spirit speaks to them calling Saul and Barnabas to go on a mission, and calling the church, to send them out just as we send missionaries today.]

Preaching in Cyprus

4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 5 And when they arrived in Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. They also had John as their assistant.

[John their assistant is John Mark the cousin of Barnabas, many think is the boy who fled naked from the garden when Jesus was arrested. They leave from Antioch in Syria, go to the port city of Seleucia, take a boat to the island of Cyprus, Salamis is the nearest port town on the east side of the island, and go first to the synagogues and preach Jesus. You will see this pattern over and over as Apostles and ministers travel they always start with God's people, to offer Jesus first to them always fulfilling God's promise to Abraham.]

6 Now when they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus, 7 who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, "O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? 11 And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time."
And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12
Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord.

[Paphos is on the west side of Cyprus so they was crossed the whole island, and there they face satanic opposition in the form of a false prophet, a demon possessed sorcerer named Bar-Jesus or Elymas. Elymas had influence with the Roman official, Sergius Paulus, and his familiar spirit or daemon apparently leads him to oppose the message of Jesus for fear of losing influence with the government controlling the island. Always pray for your political leaders because Satan wants them almost as much as he wants your preachers and missionaries.


Saul led and empowered by being filled with the Holy Spirit, curses Elymas, striking him blind, rendering him powerless and Serguis Paulus believes on Jesus, being amazed by the teaching of Saul and Barnabas, and the power of God. Here is also the transition where Saul becomes commonly known as Paul for the remainder of scripture.]

At Antioch in Pisidia

13 Now when Paul and his party set sail from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia; and John, departing from them, returned to Jerusalem.

[So the leave the Island, back in a boat, sailing northwest up to modern day Turkey, they come to the city of Perga, and they lose their assistant as John Mark leaves. No reason is given for his departure but we know from later in Acts that Paul was really upset that John Mark left, and didn't want him on their next trip.]


14 But when they departed from Perga, they came to Antioch in Pisidia, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day and sat down. 15 And after the reading of the Law and the Prophets, the rulers of the synagogue sent to them, saying, "Men and brethren, if you have any word of exhortation for the people, say on."

[From Perga they go north to Antioch in Pisidia, this is not the Antioch in Syria from which they were first sent. The Syrian King Seleucus named 16 different cities after his father Antiochus. Paul follows the plan going first to the Jews on the Sabbath to preach Jesus.]

16 Then Paul stood up, and motioning with his hand said, "Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen:

[Paul knowing his audience, uses their shared Jewish heritage and several Old Testament quotes to take them up to the time of John the Baptist. For the sake of time I will skip down to verse 26.]


17 The God of this people Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm He brought them out of it. 18 Now for a time of about forty years He put up with their ways in the wilderness. 19 And when He had destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan, He distributed their land to them by allotment.
20 "After that He gave them judges for about four hundred and fifty years, until Samuel the prophet. 21 And afterward they asked for a king; so God gave them Saul the son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, for forty years. 22 And when He had removed him, He raised up for them David as king, to whom also He gave testimony and said, 'I have found David
(Psalm 89:20) the son of Jesse, a man after My
heart, who will do all My will.' (1 Samuel 13:14)

23 From this man's seed, according to the promise, God raised up for Israel a Savior—Jesus— 24 after John had first preached, before His coming, the baptism of repentance to all the people of Israel. 25 And as John was finishing his course, he said, 'Who do you think I am? I am not He. But behold, there comes One after me, the sandals of whose feet I am not worthy to loose.'

[From Abraham to John the Baptist…]

26 "Men and brethren, sons of the family of Abraham, and those among you who fear God, to you the word of this salvation has been sent. 27 For those who dwell in Jerusalem, and their rulers, because they did not know Him, nor even the voices of the Prophets which are read every Sabbath, have fulfilled them in condemning Him.
28 And though they found no cause for death in Him, they asked Pilate that He should be put to death. 29 Now when they had fulfilled all that was written concerning Him, they took Him down from the tree and laid Him in a tomb. 30 But God raised Him from the dead. 31 He was seen for many days by those who came up with Him from Galilee to Jerusalem, who are His witnesses to the people. 32 And we declare to you glad tidings—that promise which was made to the fathers. 33 God has fulfilled this for us their children, in that He has raised up Jesus. As it is also written in the second Psalm:
      ' You are My Son,
      Today I have begotten You.'
(Psalm 2:7)

 34 And that He raised Him from the dead, no more to return to corruption, He has spoken thus:      ' I will give you the sure
mercies of David.'
(Isaiah 55:3)

 35 Therefore He also says in another Psalm:
      ' You will not allow Your Holy One to see corruption.'
(Psalm 16:10)
36 "For David, after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell asleep, was buried with his fathers, and saw corruption; 37 but He whom God raised up saw no corruption. 38 Therefore let it be known to you, brethren, that through this Man is preached to you the forgiveness of sins; 39 and by Him everyone who believes is justified from all things from which you could not be justified by the law of Moses.

[He tells the story of Jesus accused, crucified, resurrected, and complete with Old Testament references to show that this was the work of God keeping his promise to His people giving Messiah because the law cannot save you.]

40 Beware therefore, lest what has been spoken in the prophets come upon you:
' Behold,
you despisers,(scoffers or mockers)
      Marvel and perish!
      For I work a work in your days,
      A work which you will by no means believe,
      Though one were to declare it to you.'"
(Habakkuk 1:5)

[So many people are too impressed with their own wisdom that they fail to see what is right in front of them. God promised, Jesus fulfilled, and don't be the one to miss it. This would really apply to the Stephen Hawking case we opened with.]

Blessing and Conflict at Antioch

42 So when the Jews went out of the synagogue, the Gentiles begged that these words might be preached to them the next Sabbath. 43 Now when the congregation had broken up, many of the Jews and devout proselytes followed Paul and Barnabas, who, speaking to them, persuaded them to continue in the grace of God.

[Though still preaching to the Jews, the gospel of Jesus was filtering through city and we find the gentiles begging to be included in the teaching. Also Jews and converts were following Paul and Barnabas hungry to hear more, so they were encouraged or taught further.]

44 On the next Sabbath almost the whole city came together to hear the word of God. 45 But when the Jews saw the multitudes, they were filled with envy; and contradicting and blaspheming, they opposed the things spoken by Paul. 46 Then Paul and Barnabas grew bold and said, "It was necessary that the word of God should be spoken to you first; but since you reject it, and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, behold, we turn to the Gentiles. 47 For so the Lord has commanded us:
      ' I have set you as a light to the Gentiles,
      That you should be for salvation to the ends of the earth.'"
(Isaiah 49:6)
[Again we see opposition to the gospel from those who rejected it. Paul was true to the plan of starting with the Jews as the ones expecting a messiah, but once everyone had a chance to believe, they would take the believers and turn their preaching to the gentiles, just as the prophecy foretold.]

48 Now when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and glorified the word of the Lord. And as many as had been appointed to eternal life believed.
49 And the word of the Lord was being spread throughout all the region.

[We see the call of God finding Jews and Gentiles willing to repent. They received Jesus with gladness, and the gospel spread building the kingdom of God with Gods people first, then converting those who were not God's people, and adopting them into His family.]

50 But the Jews stirred up the devout and prominent women and the chief men of the city, raised up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. 51 But they shook off the dust from their feet against them, and came to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.

[The Jews who rejected Christ were jealous, so they again stir up the prominent people to drive away the missionaries, but in doing so brought a curse upon themselves.

Matthew 10:14 And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet. 15 Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!

Still so many had turned to Christ that the disciples were filled with joy, and the Holy Spirit.]