Apostle Paul in Iconium

Apostle Paul in Iconium
Paul and Barnabas seemed to have a method or practice by locating the Jewish people in cities, establishing a temporary residence in Jewish quarter and visiting the Jewish synagogues in the city. This is where they sought to preach the good news. Even today, many revivals or spiritual awakenings have come through a single assembly.
We read in Acts 14:1-7 that many or a large number of Jews and God fearing Gentiles, even Greeks believed. Today we would call it a revival. The amplified bible says that Paul and Barnabas spoke with such boldness and power that a large number in the city came to Christ. Through the preaching of the word of God with healing and deliverance following “a great multitude both of the Jews and of the Greeks believed.” This outpouring of the Holy Spirit must have happened both in the Jewish synagogues and outside of the synagogues.
Again the missionaries went straight to the synagogues, where they preached the gospel with great power and saw many believe in Christ. Alarmed by the success of this message with power, the Jews in Iconium immediately launched an attack against the messengers who had brought it1. These Jewish people ignored the miracles through the outpouring of the Holy Spirit which is a sign of the New Testament covenant and Gods loving grace through Jesus, the Christ.
How does something like this happen? Paul gives us the answer in 2 Corinthians 4:4, that the god or the fallen angels of this evil age, evil thrones, dominions, principalities, and powers blind the minds of mankind. These are not demons since demons seek to possess people and drive them to sin. These evil fallen angels blind or make people unable or unwilling to see, perceive and understand the gospel of Jesus Christ. The unbelievers become hostile or speak against the movement of the Holy Spirit. Louw-Nida says to be blinded is to remove someone’s understanding. This is why Paul in many cities was physically driven out, even city after city as these persecutors followed. I too suffered harassment as I was sent to cast out demons and heal the sick in the heart of Texas.
What we learn from Paul and Barnabas’ experience is when the gospel is preached and healing, deliverance and miracles follow, it ignites a very highly structured and well organized kingdom with descending orders of authorities and different rulers and sub rulers responsible for different areas of authority. What is the answer to sustain a move of God like Paul and Barnabas experienced? Prayer and worship 24/7 that leads to combat is the answer. Eventually, God will have them judged and so the Church asks for a trail, judgment, and punishment over that territorial fallen angel and those who rule under him.
As had been the case everywhere they had gone, God confirmed the message of his grace by enabling Paul and Barnabas to do miraculous signs and wonders—probably healing the sick and casting out demons. These kinds of miracles had also been present in the ministry of the apostles (3:1-11; 5:12-16). Paul would later refer back to the miracles that God did on this mission as validation of God’s working among them (Galatians 3:5)2.
In 1 Timothy 2:4 Paul tells Timothy it is the will of God that all mankind be saved and come to the knowledge and recognition of divine truth. As the message of the gospel is spoken, whether mankind realizes it or not, the Spirit of God would quicken them if mankind chose to turn their hearts and minds to the gospel message demonstrated with power and so come out from under the rule of territorial spirits.
We also find out from the bible that mankind has limited and or incomplete free will. We are in need of Christ Jesus as savior and all that is in His redemption. Without the power of the Holy Spirit and the message Paul and Barnabas preached, they would have never been driven out of Iconium by the Jews and city leaders. So what breaks the back of the fallen angels who give assignments to demons? Paul tells us in Roman 1:16, that the gospel is the power of God for salvation. Just remember, salvation comes to each of us in three stages, so the kingdom of God will manifest in our lives in three stages.
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all,
Bruce Hines - Sr. Pastor of Church In One Accord
1. Life Application Bible Commentary - Life Application Bible Commentary – Acts.2. Life Application Bible Commentary - Life Application Bible Commentary – Acts.