Open Door Baptist Church
Acts # 37
The Visit to Lystra and Derbe
8 And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked: 9 The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, 10 Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked. 11 And when the people saw what Paul had done, they lifted up their voices, saying in the speech of Lycaonia, The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men. 12 And they called Barnabas, Jupiter; and Paul, Mercurius, because he was the chief speaker. 13 Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people. 14 Which when the apostles, Barnabas and Paul, heard of, they rent their clothes, and ran in among the people, crying out, 15 And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein: 16 Who in times past suffered all nations to walk in their own ways. 17 Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. 18 And with these sayings scarce restrained they the people, that they had not done sacrifice unto them.
19 And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead. 20 Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.( Acts 14:8-20 ) KJV
Paul is revered as an idol and then makes the ultimate sacrifice, or at least is willing to, but God isn’t done with him yet.
When Paul and Barnabas performed a miracle the people wanted to lift them up as idols, gods or deities. The people of the region were so accustomed to idolatry that they would worship anything or anybody. They think that Paul and Barnabas are people who they can relate to. In their rush to judgment they conclude that Paul and Barnabas fit the template that they want to believe in.
If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you.( John 5:19 ) KJV
Ye adulterers and adulteresses, know ye not that the friendship of the world is enmity with God? whosoever therefore will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God.( James 4:4 ) KJV
Paul is careful to correct their misunderstanding. He makes it clear that he was not the one who had the power to make the miracle happen, the power is that of the God of heaven through the name of Jesus Christ. Now he is going to show them that their idols are worthless.
Remember Stephen? They accused him of trying to oppose Moses. He retaliated by recounting the history of the Jews opposition to Moses.
Then they suborned men, which said, We have heard him speak blasphemous words against Moses, and against God.
For we have heard him say, that this Jesus of Nazareth shall destroy this place, and shall change the customs which Moses delivered us.( Acts 6:11, 14 ) KJV
Stephen gives at least 10 examples of the Jews opposing Moses in a short history of the Children of Israel, then he says:
51 Ye stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears, ye do always resist the Holy Ghost: as your fathers did, so do ye. 52 Which of the prophets have not your fathers persecuted? and they have slain them which shewed before of the coming of the Just One; of whom ye have been now the betrayers and murderers: 53 Who have received the law by the disposition of angels, and have not kept it.( Acts 7:51-53 ) KJV
Paul wasn’t the person that the people wanted him to be. They wanted to worship him as a god, he wanted to point them to a knowledge of the one true God. In their disillusionment it was easy for people to convince then that they should destroy Paul.
Marvel not, my brethren, if the world hate you.( 1 John 3:13 ) KJV
But Paul’s work was not done.
But the Lord said unto him, Go thy way: for he is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel:( Acts 9:15 ) KJV
For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.( Romans 11:29 ) KJV
Being confident of this very thing, that he which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ:( Philippians 1:6 ) KJV
Having God’s call upon our lives doesn’t make us indestructible or immune to the dangers of this world (as Paul found out). However it does mean that it may be a bumpy ride until we get finished.