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2009.11.22 使徒の働き14:1~20 [主にあって進退する勇気]

091122_001.mp3

           使徒の働き14:1~20 [主にあって進退する勇気]

序文)パウロたちの第一次伝道旅行は、ガラテヤ州の南の地方に進みました。そしてイコニオム、ルステラ、デルベと伝道が続けられました。この間、福音は大いに進展し、信じる者たちが続出しました。その一方で、パウロは群衆たちから石で撃ち殺されそうになる迫害をうけました。また実際にあって一度は死んだと思われるような目に遭いました。パウロはここで、主のために退く勇気と、進む勇気の二つの態度を示しています。

Ⅰ イコニオムで福音が異邦人社会にもたらした分裂

  パウロたちはピシデヤのアンテオケから福音伝道のために追い出されました。しかし、「彼らはあなた方と戦うであろうが、あなたに勝つことは決してできない」と主が昔の預言者エレミヤに(エレミヤ1:19)に約束されたことばどおりに、神の働き人たちはイコニオムにやってきて、アンテオケと同じように先ず、ユダヤ人の会堂にて、伝道を開始しました。福音のために雄々しく戦う備えが常に彼らにはありました。彼らと主におられた聖霊は、語られたことばをもちい、多くのユダヤ人だけでなく、ギリシャ人をも信仰に導かれました。それにより彼らはますます大胆に伝道を継続していきました。

 ところが福音が前進するところには、主イエスさまがすでにおっしやっているように(マタイ10:34~36)、信じる者と信じない者たちとの間に敵対感情が生じるのです。それは信じる者の背後におられる真の神様への敵意が、信じない者たちによってむきだしに表現されるようになるからです。悪魔の支配下にあった霊的な部分が、それまでは表面的には適当にとりつくろって成り立っていた関係が、一方が神の聖霊の支配を受けて信仰に目覚め、聖霊の交わりの中にはいるために、露わになり害しようとする心が働き、福音の前進を阻止しようとするのです。

 わたしたちは、このことについて主イエスが、この世間や、母、兄弟、姉妹、御親類、友達との間に敵意が生じたとしても、なお、神との間に永遠の不和、敵対関係をつづけるよりは、良いといわれたことに耳を傾けなければなりません(マタイ10:37~39)。

 このような歴史は繰り返されつづけているのです。支持しようとしないユダヤ人たちは、ギリシャ人たちをそそのかして、パウロたちに悪意を抱かせました。そしてギリシャ人たちの中に分裂を引き起こしたのです。これらはついにはユダヤ人につく一派と使徒たちにつく一派を形成したのです。

 使徒たちは、このような騒動になっていることを知っていましたが、すぐに町から逃げ出すことはしないで、かなり長い間踏みとどまり、主によって大胆に語りました。それは信じて間もない兄弟姉妹たちを励まし続ける必要があったことと、なお、信仰に導かれる人々が後を絶たなかったからではないでしょうか。

 相手が暴力に訴えてでもこない限りは、恐れによって後退することなく、勇敢な精神で一心に危険さえも軽く見て語りつづけました。

 しかし、敵対者たちが、その指導者たちと一緒になって、使徒たちを辱めて石打ちにしようと企てたことが分かると、彼らは難を避けるために他の地方に出ました。大胆と決然とした勇気とともに、用心する勇気ももっていたのです。無鉄砲というのではない。主が共におられて福音伝道が進んでいるとの信仰に対して、主はしるしと不思議を表して、みことばの証明をしてくださった。しるしは主のことばの裏付け証明として用いられました。

 

 Ⅱ ルステラでの働き

ルステラでの働きは、この町の人々の移り気な様子がよく分かる出来事が記録されています。ルカオニア地方の人々はもともと、激しやすく、気まぐれな性質をもっていて歴史文書で非難されているといわれています。パウロが後になってガラテヤ人への手紙を書いたときに、この宛先が南ガラテヤだとすると、丁度この地方周辺を含むので、速やかに福音からそれて、他に気を移したことがぴったりと一致します。

ルステラでの伝道も、主の恵みのうちに多くの信じる者たちが生まれたのです。その中にはテモテがいたことが後に書かれています。又、20節にパウロを弟子たちが取り囲んでいます。しかし、ここに記されているのは、そのような弟子たちのことでなく、一人の生まれつき歩いたことがない足に不自由な人の救いについてです。彼がパウロたちによって語られた福音に耳を傾けていた。その熱心な心のそこに潜んでいることをパウロは見てとって、大声で「自分の足でまっすぐに立ちなさい。」といった。すると彼は飛び上がって歩き出した。

問題は、この出来事を見た。ルステラの人々の反応である。パウロとバルナバを自分たちの神々が人間の姿を取って現れてきたと考えた。町中が喜びに溢れ騒動となった。その迷信の故に、ある者たちは、町の門の前にあるルステラの守護神の神殿に走り、ゼウスの神官自身が、ゼウスとヘルメスの到来を歓迎するようにと伝えた。バルナバがゼウスと間違えられたのは、沈黙を守る尊厳な外形のためであり、雄弁なパウロがヘルメスなのは、言語の発明神であり、美しくそれを用いる神だからである。門前にはゼウスの祭壇があり、花飾りをつけた雄牛が引かれて来て、神にされた二人のために犠牲の供え物をささげようとした。

二人は、人々の喜びがこのような方向に発揮されようとは予想できなかった。偶像を破壊し、生きておられるまことの神をのべつつたえるために来たのに、自分たちが偶像に祭り上げられようとは。その驚き、直ちに彼らの中に飛び込んでパウロは語った。「15〜17節」。

先ず、人間を神とする迷信や冒涜をやめさせようと訴えます。人間はどこまで行っても人間で、それを神に祭り上げることはむなしいことです。次に神は創造主であり、生きておられると伝えます。

過ぎ去った時代は、神はあらゆる国の人々が、それぞれ自分の道を歩むことをゆるしておられました。しかし今は違います。神は過ぎ去った時代でも、ご自分のことを表しておられました。歴史を示し、自分を示し、恵みを示す神です。

パウロの説教によってようやく群衆は、生け贄を捧げるのをやめました。そこでとどまりました。信じるには至らなかったのです。ようやくにして神ではなく自分たちは人間だとわからせたにとどまりました。

神とあがめられかかったパウロたちは、次は一介の人間として、瞬く間に石打ちにあって殺されそうになりました。これが群衆です。自分たちの迷信を暴かれて、自分たちの捧げものを受け付けてもらえなかった腹いせに、アンテオケやイコヌオムからパウロ憎しと駆けつけたユダヤ人たちの口車にのせられ気がかわった。ユダヤ人たちがギリシャ人たちを操ったのです。知恵に富み、ローマでさえ征服できなかったギリシャ人でも、しるしを求めるユダヤ人に見事に操られている。福音に敵対する者たちは、だまし騙されながら、ともに滅びに進むのです。パウロは町の外に引き出された。死んだと思って捨てられた。しかしパウロが天に帰る日はまだ来ていなかった。

 

ルステラにいた真の信徒たちはパウロのことを悲しんだ。ほとんど命を落としかけていた。しかしその中で、彼は立ち上がり使命を遂行した。自分を石で撃ち殺そうとした町に戻ってきた。イコニオムでは難を避けるために逃げた彼は、ここでは、舞い戻ってゆく勇気を発揮した。自分が石打ちにされたことは、かつて自分がステパノにした石打ちの刑を思い出させ、そのために後に悔いた日々を思い出させた。今はステパノと同じ福音に仕える身であることを覚え、痛みを励みとして、ステパノの分も福音を伝えようとしたからではないでしょうか。パウロとバルナバはデルベに行きそこで福音を伝えました。パウロは後の日になってこのときのことをテモテに書き送っています。第二テモテ3:11~12。

結び)主イエス・キリストの福音が伝えられる所では、人々の心はあらわになります。信じる心か、逆らう心か、それは隠しおおせる者ではありません。そして信じる心は、主イエスの仲間としての道を歩みます。それがどれほど困難を予想させようとも、十字架を負って進みます。十字架なくして復活なしですから。復活は、主のわざに進む勇気と、主とともに退く勇気を、その戦いの現場で、信じる者たちに与えるのです。

それによって信じる者の心も露わになるのです。それは祝福につながるのです。あなたが、福音を信じている故に受ける敵対者たちの行為やことばに驚かされないで毅然として立ってほしいのです。主は私たちの力であり巌です。


 

2009.11.22 Acts 14:1-20 Courage to advance or retreat with the Lord翻訳者 ビルツダゾ エリック兄弟

Introduction. In Paul and Barnabas’ maiden evangelistic journey they went to the southern regions of the province of Galatia. And they continued to Iconium, Lystra and Derbe. The preaching of the gospel was greatly advanced and more people were brought to faith through their efforts. But during all these, they also became subject to persecution and risked being stoned to death by the mob. In fact it did happen to Paul once where he had been thought of and left as dead. And in this situation Paul showed two kinds of braveness – the courage to retreat and the courage to go on.

I. The division brought about by the gospel among the Gentiles at Iconium

Paul and Barnabas were driven out from Psidian Antioch because of their evangelistic activities. But like what the Lord promised the ancient prophet Jeremiah:“They will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you and will rescue you” (Jeremiah 1:19), the workers of God arrived in Iconium and like what they did in Antioch, they resumed their work of spreading the gospel and preached in the Jewish synagogue. They were always prepared to bravely fight for the gospel. The Holy Spirit who was with them spoke through them and many people, not only Jews but also Greeks, were led to the faith. And as more people were led to Christ, the more they became bolder to preach the gospel.

However, as the preaching of the gospel advanced, the opposition between believers and non-believers also widened, as the Lord Jesus had said in Matthew 10:34-36. This happens because the enmity that the unbelievers have against the true God who is behind the believers is brought to the surface. The spiritual forces under the control of the devil that have been hidden from view until then are roused up to mar and hinder the spiritual awareness towards God when it is awakened among other people and as they are brought to faith under the rule of the Holy Spirit. These evil forces in the hearts of men are stirred up and made known and cause them to act against the advancement of the gospel.

But we must heed what Jesus said about this in Matthew 10:37-39, that even though we may have to go against this world, against our families, relatives and friends, it would be better than staying estranged and in enmity against God forever.

This is something that has repeated throughout history. The Jews who opposed Paul and Barnabas stirred up the Greeks to make them become spiteful against them. They caused division among the Greeks so that some eventually formed a group that followed after Paul while others followed the Jews.

The disciples knew that there was trouble impending yet they did not immediately leave but stayed for a fairly long time in the city and spoke with the boldness of Christ. It was because they knew they had to stay and continue to encourage those who were being brought to faith, and the coming of people to faith continued without end.

Until their enemies came to actually stop them by force, they did not retreat in fear, and oblivious to the dangers they had to face, continued to speak with a courageous spirit.

But when they heard of the plot of their enemies, who have joined forces with their leaders, to mistreat and stone them, they had to flee for their safety to the surrounding country. While they had the courage to be bold and decisive, they were also brave enough to know when to retreat for safety. They were not reckless in their boldness. In response to their faith, the Lord proved with his word and with his wondrous works that his presence was with them as they worked in the spreading of the gospel. God uses signs and wonders to prove his word.

 

II Their ministry in Lystra

We can find here a story about something that happened in Paul and Barnabas’ ministry in Lystra where the people’s fickle nature becomes evident. The people in Lycaonia have been criticized in historical writings for their volatile and capricious nature. If Paul’s letter to the Galatians which he wrote later was written for the people in Southern Galatia then it would correctly refer to these people because they were said to have easily turned from the gospel, something that matches their being easily mutable.

The mission work at Lystra was also blessed by God and there were also many people who were brought to faith. One of them was Timothy who is mentioned later in the letter. And we can also see in verse 20 that there were disciples who gathered around Paul. But the story mentioned here is not about these disciples but it was the story of a certain man who was born lame who was brought to faith. He listened to the message of the gospel that Paul was speaking. Paul saw his faith from his zealousness to listen and commanded him to “Stand up on your feet”, and at that he jumped up and began to walk.

The problem, however, was in the reaction of the people who saw this miracle happen. They believed that their gods appeared to them in the form of Paul and Barnabas. The people rejoiced and the whole town was thrown into a commotion. Because of their superstition, some of them run to temple of the protector god of Lystra, which was at the city gates, to tell the priest that their god Zeus himself ordered them to welcome the arrival of Zeus and Hermes. They called Barnabas as Zeus because of his silent dignified appearance while Paul was called Hermes because he was eloquent and articulate in his words like Hermes. There was a temple for Zeus at the town gate and the people brought bulls and wreaths to offer sacrifices to both of them.

Paul and Barnabas never expected that the people’s joy would be turned into this kind of reaction. They came to preach the living God and for the people to turn away from idols and now they are being worshipped as idols. In his surprise, Paul rushed into the crowed and spoke to them (verses 15-17).

First he appealed to them that they should stop in their superstition and blasphemy of deifying men; that it was pointless for them to do so because men will never become God. And then he told them that God is the creator and that he is a living God.

In the past God had allowed all nations to go their own way, but this time is different. God has showed himself even in the past. He is a God who has revealed history, manifested himself and showed his grace.

Through Paul’s preaching, the people were prevented from offering sacrifices. But they stopped there; they did not go further to believe the gospel that Paul and Barnabas preached. They stopped at having been convinced that Paul and Barnabas were not gods but mere men.

Paul and Barnabas turned from being deified to being looked down as mere humans and in no time became object of the people’s anger and were stoned to be killed. This is how the mob works, when their idolatry was exposed and their offering was rejected, by way of revenge, they let themselves be won over by the Jews who came after Paul from Antioch and Iconium and suddenly turned against Paul and Barnabas. The Jews manipulated the Greeks. The Greeks, who were filled with wisdom and who were not even conquered by the Romans, were single-handedly manipulated by the Jews who were seeking after signs. The enemies of the gospel let themselves be deceived by each other and are together led to their own destruction. Paul was dragged outside the city and was left for dead. But it was not yet Paul’s time to go home to heaven.

The true believers in Lystra were grieved upon seeing Paul. He was dying and was almost lifeless. But he stood from among them to fulfill his duty. He came back to the town where he was stoned to be killed. From Iconium he fled for safety, but here he showed the unusual courage to return to the city. This experience of having been stoned to be killed became for him a reminder of the stoning to death punishment that he meted to Stephen and after that he continued to regret what he did to Stephen. Now he was a servant of the same gospel that Stephen preached and his anguish became an encouragement for him to go on and preach for Stephen’s stead. Paul and Barnabas came to Derbe and preached the gospel there. Paul later wrote about this experience to Timothy (Timothy 3:11-12).

 

Conclusion. The hearts of men will be made known where the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ is preached. No man can escape the unmasking of their hearts – whether they have believing hearts or not. Those who believe will be led into a life as Christ’s companions, and this notwithstanding whatever suffering that may come; they will march on as they carry the cross. Because the resurrection came after the cross and not without it. The resurrection is given to those who believe and have the courage to continue in God’s purposes and the courage to retreat with him if needs be in the battlefield of faith.

In the same way the heart of those who believe will also be made known. But this will lead to blessing. I want you to stand firm and remain unmoved by the wiles and words of those who have become your enemies because you believed the gospel. The Lord is our strength and our rock.

 

 

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