After the Gentiles in Antioch heard and believed the gospel, they glorified the Word (v.48) by believing it (cf.IThes.3:1). And since “glorify” means praise (cf. Ps. 50:23), you glorify and praise the Word when you believe it as we teach it at our church. And since “glorify” also means worship (Ps. 86:9-12), we worship God when we teach doctrine (ct. Mt.15:9).
Before Paul, only Jews were “ordained to eternal life” (Acts 13:48 cf. John 4:22). But now Gentiles were also ordained to it. The dictionary says “ordain” can mean prepare, as it does in Psalm 7:13 and Isaiah 30:33. “Tophet” (v.33) is a name for hell, which was “prepared for the devil” (Mt.25: 41). But if men got saved in the Lord’s day, they could go to another place God prepared (Mt.25:34). But the kingdom was the place God prepared for Jews (I Chron.17:9).
God began to prepare that kingdom for the Jews “from the foundation of the world” (Mt. 25:34). That’s also when He began to tell the Jews about the kingdom (Acts 3:21). Com-pare that to how Paul tells us Gentiles that God “ordained” the mystery for us “before” the world began (ICor.2:7), and didn’t talk about it (Rom. 16:25). That means God having mercy on whom He will (Rom. 9:18-24) means having it on Gentiles as well as Jews, as that passage clearly says.
“Publish” (Acts 13:49) means to make something known that was unknown (Amos 3:7-9). And when God made known the mystery to Paul, these Gentiles published it. But “devout” women opposed it (Acts 13:50). Devout is the noun form of devoted. They were devoted to some god, but not God. So unsaved Jews here were getting unsaved Gentiles to do their dirty work—as they did when they got unsaved Romans to crucify the Lord. But Paul shook their dust off and left (Acts 13:51) as the Lord told the 12 to do (Mt.10:14). And the new “disciples” in the Body of Christ were full of joy and the Spirit (Acts 13:52), i.e., they spoke in tongues (cf. Acts 2:4). God gave Israel’s gifts to members of the Body during the transition from law to grace.
Paul “so spake” that a multitude believed (Acts 14:1). That sounds like they believed because he was a polished speaker, but he wasn’t (cf.IICor.11:6). Those Gentiles believed be-cause God was now offering them salvation, and those Jews believed because Paul wasn’t doing what Peter did. Peter blamed them for the cross, saying, “You did it, now you must repent of it to be saved” (Acts 2:38). Paul told them, “God did it—for you! And now you must believe it to be saved.”
The Jews in Iconium also stirred the Gentiles to oppose Paul (Acts 14:2); “therefore” he spoke boldly (v.3)! The Lord testified to his words with miracles, but He testifies to our words with greater miracles (Col.1:9-11). God’s “glorious” power (Col.1:11) was seen in miracles like the Red Sea crossing (Ex.15:4). Now it’s seen when His glorious power makes us patient (Col.1:9-11). Mere men can overcome the force of nature like God did at the Red Sea. We did it when we reversed the flow of the Chicago River, and built the Hoover Dam. It takes more power to overcome the force of human nature in us. And that miracle testifies to our words!
Because Paul didn’t preach politics, the people weren’t divided over politics (Acts 14:4). He taught grace, so they were divided over grace. It’s okay to divide people. The Lord did (Lu.12:51-53; John 7:43; 9:16; 10:19). When truth divides your family, do what the Lord did and rejoice in your spiritual family (cf. Mt.12:47-50).
“Assault” (Acts 14:5-7) means to throw a punch. It becomes battery when the punch lands. Paul became aware of the as-sault on him the Jews were planning because he was a prophet, and the Lord saved him from it (IITim. 3:11). But today there are no prophets, so God uses members of His Body to warn each other of such attempts. That’s more proof that God now uses us to do things He used to do with miracles!
A video of this sermon is available on YouTube: “Hearing is Believing” Acts 13:48-14:7