8 While they were at Lystra, Paul and Barnabas came upon a man with crippled feet. He had been that way from birth, so he had never walked. He was sitting 9 and listening as Paul preached. Looking straight at him, Paul realized he had faith to be healed. 10 So Paul called to him in a loud voice, "Stand up!" And the man jumped to his feet and started walking.
What an amazing miracle! A man who was born crippled that never had the joy of walking through a plush meadow, jogging on a sandy beach or walking in the snow; this man had never stood in church, never walked his daughter down the aisle, but rather had to be carried wherever he went but we find him sitting and building his faith as Paul preached. As the crippled man listened to the preaching, his faith began to grow and Paul, through the gift of discernment, knew he had the faith to be healed; notice what did not happen, he did not even lay a hand on the crippled man but rather shouted “Stand Up” and he jumped to his feet and started walking for the first time in his life! I want to see this happen over and over again in this region.
11 When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in their local dialect, "These men are gods in human form!" 12 They decided that Barnabas was the Greek god Zeus and that Paul was Hermes, since he was the chief speaker. 13 Now the temple of Zeus was located just outside the town. So the priest of the temple and the crowd brought bulls and wreaths of flowers to the town gates, and they prepared to offer sacrifices to the apostles.
It’s hard to explain a miracle and these local people, who didn’t have a Bible, didn’t know about Jesus except what Paul was preaching to them, only wanted to honor the men of God but they went about it totally wrong.
14 But when Barnabas and Paul heard what was happening, they tore their clothing in dismay and ran out among the people, shouting,
As you can tell from Paul and Barnabas’ response they did not want to receive any honor or glory because they knew without Father God working through them, they were nothing and then we read what they said:
15 "Friends, why are you doing this? We are merely human beings—just like you! We have come to bring you the Good News that you should turn from these worthless things and turn to the living God, who made heaven and earth, the sea, and everything in them. 16 In the past he permitted all the nations to go their own ways, 17 but he never left them without evidence of himself and his goodness. For instance, he sends you rain and good crops and gives you food and joyful hearts." 18 But even with these words, Paul and Barnabas could scarcely restrain the people from sacrificing to them.
Once again the people were just trying to thank Paul and Barnabas but Father God will not share His Glory.
19 Then some Jews arrived from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowds to their side. They stoned Paul and dragged him out of town, thinking he was dead. 20 But as the believers gathered around him, he got up and went back into the town. The next day he left with Barnabas for Derbe.
This is so amazing! One moment they were wanting to praise and honor them, treating them like little gods and now some false teaching Jews show up and the crowd turns their back on Paul and Barnabus. In fact they stoned Paul on the spot and dragged him out of town to leave him but he was not dead. The fact was he got up, went back into town and left town the next day.
Never accept the praise of man, number one: because only Father God deserves the praise and number two: man can easily turn against you. Whatever you do, do as unto the Lord and not unto man knowing Father God keeps good records and gives our great rewards.
Prayer Points: 1. Father God help us to learn to hear your voice and be as close to you as Paul was. 2. Help us to never get our eyes on the praise of man but focus on pleasing you day by day.
Acts 14:1 The same thing happened in Iconium. Paul and Barnabas went to the Jewish synagogue and preached with such power that a great number of both Jews and Greeks became believers.
This is what the American 21st Century modern day church is missing. We have more education, we have the best communication tools, beautiful meeting places but yet we are not as effective as the early church. The main reason, I believe, for this deficiency is our preaching is not as effective as the early church because the early church preached with POWER and conviction. They preached with and under the power of the Holy Spirit because they spent quality time in His presence and lived Holy lives for Him to flow through. They also had a total dependency on the Holy Spirit because they did not have all the knowledge available to us today; in fact they didn’t have a New Testament at this time but the power of the Holy Spirit transformed lives when they preached.
2 Some of the Jews, however, spurned God's message and poisoned the minds of the Gentiles against Paul and Barnabas.
Remember the Jews at this time were stuck in their past, stuck in the OT because they thought Jesus was not the Messiah and they hated the message the Holy Spirit was preaching through the disciples. They thought they were helping Father God out but they were really opposing what the Holy Spirit was doing. We must never get stuck in our religious traditions that we hinder what the Holy Spirit wants to do in our lives today. The Jewish leaders tried to keep everyone from believing the truth Paul was preaching because it didn’t line up with their thinking. Today I’m thankful we have God’s Word (Bible) to test our thinking to determine what real truth is.
3 But the apostles stayed there a long time, preaching boldly about the grace of the Lord. And the Lord proved their message was true by giving them power to do miraculous signs and wonders.
The apostles did not back up on preaching on the grace and the truths about Jesus being the Messiah. They kept proclaiming the wonderful news of Jesus coming, Jesus living a sinless life, Jesus dying a cruel death and Jesus resurrecting on the third day and because of these great truths everyone can enter into the Kingdom of God by faith. Now it’s by grace through faith that we are saved not by works. Now the Jews and Gentiles are become one spiritually by the powerful blood of Jesus. The Jews did not like these truths and did everything they could to stop their preaching but I love the last part of this verse which declares that Father God gave them divine power to heal, deliver and to set the captive free. Friends, when we preach the gospel, the Holy Spirit shows up with power. As we obey Mark 16, the great commission; miracles, signs and wonders will take place.
4 But the people of the town were divided in their opinion about them. Some sided with the Jews, and some with the apostles.
The problem with false doctrine is this; some will reject truth to believe an untruth. Paul was preaching a gospel that would set them free but some still chose to believe a lie that kept them bound. For every truth there is a false truth and we must be very discerning and studied up in His Word to apply the truth. The truth always draws a line in the sand, dividing sheep from goats.
5 Then a mob of Gentiles and Jews, along with their leaders, decided to attack and stone them. 6 When the apostles learned of it, they fled to the region of Lycaonia—to the towns of Lystra and Derbe and the surrounding area. 7 And there they preached the Good News.
It’s amazing how mean people with a false religious spirit can be. They now decided since they couldn’t stop the gospel from being preached, they would just attack and stone them. The Holy Spirit could have protected them but instead informed them and they went to another region and preached. Never forget it’s still happening today, seemingly those who preach the truth are being stoned more than ever, not with physical stones but with stones of words. Words of criticism, words of hatred, words of complaining, words of tearing down, words of negativity, words which destroy or discredit a ministry but we must continue the course and build the kingdom. I pray the enemy never uses my words to destroy but rather to encourage.
Friends, we must be careful with our words because we will have to give an account one day about every idle word that comes out of our mouth. We need to speak words of blessing over our family, friends and enemies. By our fruit we will be known and fruit is known by what comes out of it and the world knows what is in us by our words that come out of us. Let’s use our words for good not bad, for encouragement not to discourage, to build up not tear down.
Prayer Points: Father God in Jesus name, help me to use every word to build your kingdom not tear it down, to raise people up not beat them down. I also cancel the assignment of any negative word spoken against me, my family or my church family in Jesus Name. I release your word over us now!
Acts 13:13 Paul & his companions then left Paphos by ship for Pamphylia, landing at Perga. John Mark left them & returned to Jerusalem. Paul & Barnabas traveled inland to Antioch of Pisidia. On the Sabbath they went to the synagogue for the services. After the usual readings from the books of Moses & the prophets, those in charge of the service sent them this message: "Brothers, if you have any word of encouragement for the people, come & give it." So Paul stood, lifted his hand to quiet them, started speaking. "Men of Israel," he said, "& you God-fearing Gentiles, listen to me.”The God of this nation of Israel chose our ancestors & made them multiply & grow strong during their stay in Egypt. With a powerful arm he led them out of their slavery. He put up with them through forty years of wandering in the wilderness. He destroyed seven nations in Canaan & gave their land to Israel as an inheritance. All this took about 450 years. "After that, God gave them judges to rule until the time of Samuel the prophet. Then the people begged for a king, & God gave them Saul son of Kish, a man of the tribe of Benjamin, who reigned for forty years. But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, 'I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.' "it is one of King David's descendants, Jesus, who is God's promised Savior of Israel! Before he came, John the Baptist preached that all the people of Israel needed to repent of their sins & turn to God & be baptized. As John was finishing his ministry he asked, 'Do you think I am the Messiah? No, I am not! But he is coming soon— I'm not even worthy to be his slave & untie the sandals on his feet.' "Brothers this message of salvation has been sent to us! The people in Jerusalem & their leaders did not recognize Jesus as the one the prophets had spoken about. Instead, they condemned him, & in doing this they fulfilled the prophets' words that are read every Sabbath. They found no legal reason to execute him, but they asked Pilate to have him killed anyway. "When they had done all that the prophecies said about him, they took him down from the cross and placed him in a tomb. But God raised him from the dead! Over a period of many days he appeared to those who had gone with him from Galilee to Jerusalem. They are now his witnesses to the people of Israel.
"Now we are here to bring you this Good News. The promise was made to our ancestors, God has now fulfilled it for us, their descendants, by raising Jesus. This is what the second psalm says about Jesus: 'You are my Son. Today I have become your Father.' For God had promised to raise him from the dead, not leaving him to rot in the grave. He said, 'I will give you the sacred blessings I promised to David.' Another psalm explains it more fully: 'You will not allow your Holy One to rot in the grave.' This is not a reference to David, for after David had done the will of God in his own generation, he died & was buried with his ancestors, & his body decayed. No, it was a reference to someone else—someone whom God raised and whose body did not decay. "Brothers, listen! We are here to proclaim that through this man Jesus there is forgiveness for your sins. Everyone who believes in him is declared right with God—something the law of Moses could never do. Be careful! Don't let the prophets' words apply to you. For they said, 'Look, you mockers, be amazed & die! For I am doing something in your own day, something you wouldn’t believe even if someone told you about it.’”
Paul and Barnabas left the synagogue that day, the people begged them to speak about these things again the next week. Many Jews & devout converts to Judaism followed Paul and Barnabas, & the two men urged them to continue to rely on the grace of God. The following week almost the entire city turned out to hear them preach the word of the Lord. When some of the Jews saw the crowds, they were jealous; so they slandered Paul & argued against whatever he said. Then Paul & Barnabas spoke out boldly and declared, “It was necessary that we first preach the word of God to you Jews. But since you have rejected it and judged yourselves unworthy of eternal life, we will offer it to the Gentiles. For the Lord gave us this command when he said, ‘I have made you a light to the Gentiles, to bring salvation to the farthest corners of the earth.’ When the Gentiles heard this, they were very glad & thanked the Lord for his message; & all who were chosen for eternal life became believers. So the Lord’s message spread throughout that region. The Jews stirred up the influential religious women & the leaders of the city, & they incited a mob against Paul & Barnabas & ran them out of town. So they shook the dust from their feet as a sign of rejection & went to the town of Iconium. 52 The believers were filled with joy & with the Holy Spirit.
This is the gospel that will change people’s lives. I tried to add some commentary but I felt strongly no words, no interpretation of this chapter was needed, just God’s Word (the most powerful devotion I’ve sent out ever)
Prayer Points: Father help us fall in love with your word & guard ourselves from false doctrine & religious traditions that are not of you
Acts 13:1 Among the prophets and teachers of the church at Antioch of Syria were Barnabas, Simeon (called "the black man"), Lucius (from Cyrene), Manaen (the childhood companion of King Herod Antipas), and Saul.
The early church was growing and thriving even under persecution because of many reasons including: daily prayer, daily communion, fasting and giving. Another secret to their power was the five-fold ministry was being recognized and operational in the early church (apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers, evangelists as described in Eph 4:11). For those who like to research, Simeon is a great man to research. Most scholars believe he was the same as Simon who helped Jesus carry his cross and then his two sons became very instrumental in the early church. Each one of these men listed had great influence in the early church but came from different backgrounds growing up. God wants to use everyone in His Kingdom, there is so much work to be done and a harvest to be brought in.
2 One day as these men were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, "Dedicate Barnabas and Saul for the special work to which I have called them." 3 So after more fasting and prayer, the men laid their hands on them and sent them on their way.
I love the fact that the early church was built on Jesus, and not all the things that people are building a crowd on today during Sunday services. I’m afraid we have gotten away from what church should be about and how His Kingdom should be built. We have just read that as they were praying, fasting and worshipping the Lord, the Holy Spirit (our helper) gave them direction. Even after they heard from the Holy Spirit they prayed and fasted even more before they ordained Saul and Barnabas to go out as missionaries. We are ALL called into ministry and should be doing the work of the ministry to everyone we meet but this was about sending men into full time ministry as missionaries across the known world. Friend, when you step out like this, make sure you have a true call of God on your life. Too many feel a call, which we all have and think it’s a full time ministry, but you must have a Word from the Lord that comes through fasting and prayer or when the storm hits you will have no foundation to stand on.
I remember when the Holy Spirit called us to The Bridge. It was confirmed by men of God in prophesy which gave us a foundation to stand on when all hell broke loose. Because of that Word from the Lord we were able to stand strong in the storm and to God be the glory for all that has happened since.
4 So Barnabas and Saul were sent out by the Holy Spirit. They went down to the seaport of Seleucia and then sailed for the island of Cyprus. 5 There, in the town of Salamis, they went to the Jewish synagogues and preached the word of God. John Mark went with them as their assistant.
Once again notice the wording; they were sent out by the Holy Spirit who is the guide of the church (Body of Christ) today, who is preparing the Church (Body of Christ) for the soon return of Jesus.
6 Afterward they traveled from town to town across the entire island until finally they reached Paphos, where they met a Jewish sorcerer, a false prophet named Bar-Jesus. 7 He had attached himself to the governor, Sergius Paulus, who was an intelligent man. The governor invited Barnabas and Saul to visit him, for he wanted to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas, the sorcerer (as his name means in Greek), interfered and urged the governor to pay no attention to what Barnabas and Saul said. He was trying to keep the governor from believing. 9 Saul, also known as Paul, was filled with the Holy Spirit, and he looked the sorcerer in the eye. 10 Then he said, "You son of the devil, full of every sort of deceit and fraud, and enemy of all that is good! Will you never stop perverting the true ways of the Lord? 11 Watch now, for the Lord has laid his hand of punishment upon you, and you will be struck blind. You will not see the sunlight for some time." Instantly mist and darkness came over the man's eyes, and he began groping around begging for someone to take his hand and lead him. 12 When the governor saw what had happened, he became a believer, for he was astonished at the teaching about the Lord.
We are all called and anointed but you are anointed for the purpose which Father God has ordained. Always stay in the boundary of your created purpose. They were anointed to handle what the enemy would use to stop them, in this case a false prophet and a sorcerer (both bad news). When you are anointed and appointed there is no power of hell that can stop you as long as you remain hungry for more of the Presence of the Lord and humble in the Lord’s sight. We are too dependent on our strength and ability but we must learn to be totally dependent on the Lord and know that through obedience the victory comes.
Prayer Points: 1. Ask the Holy Spirit to confirm the calling He has upon your life and then begin to spend even more time in the Father’s presence waiting for further direction. He is God and He will show us all things.