In this post, we are going to look at an issue that the Apostles encounter in the Book of Acts. There are many important takeaways from this problem they encountered, along with an example of how to deal with problems as they arise in the church today. No matter what, no church is going to be totally perfect. We need to look to the Word of God and look at the best examples to help us deal with issues when they arise. The most important aspect of being a Spirit-Filled believer is being filled with the wisdom and revelation that is within the Word of God.
Lame Man Healed
If you followed my previous teaching in my series on the Book of Acts, you will see that the Apostles went to Lystra. We see in Acts 14:8-10, while they were in Lystra they saw a man, who was lame since birth. Paul perceived that this man had faith to be healed and told him to stand up and walk, and the man was made well through the power of Jesus Christ. Now one thing to keep in mind is that many of the signs done in the New Testament are to be a sign to unbelievers and show us the sovereignty of God.
Idolatry in Lystra
Continuing in Acts 14:11-13 we see something strange taking place. We see the people in this area who noticed the miracle take place begin to praise false gods. The people in this area mistaken Barnabas for the false god Zeus, and Paul as Hermes. This was a cultural issue in the area from local folklore roots. There are many articles written about this, but I am not going to get into the extra details. As the people started praising their false gods, the Priest of Zeus lead the people in worship. I could not imagine being the Apostles during this ordeal! One similarity I see with the church today in this manner is with the healing ministries that go on. Sadly, many people only go to healing ministries and don’t even have a home church. Too many people only focus on the signs and forget to get to know Him! Don’t get me wrong when healings happen it is a great thing, but we cannot get carried away and only seek God just for healing or breakthrough. We need to be seeking Him because without Him we would be going to hell! Many people who do get genuinely healed might say ‘that Pastor healed me’. Well, that is incorrect, when people are genuinely healed it is through the power of Jesus Christ. God certainly will use certain people as vessels. But we must keep in mind that no pastor or minister is above God, and we should not view them in that way.
We see that Paul and Barnabas do not tolerate this form of idolatry at all in Acts 14:14-18. We see that they speak up about it. They tell the people to turn away from what they are doing because it is vanity and useless. These people in this area of Lystra were unrighteous people, who participated in wickedness. They did not worship the true living God. In Romans 1:17-32 we are told that the realness of God is revealed through creation. Just think to yourself how everything in the world we live in is formed. Our bodies are so well designed and programmed, you would have to be a fool to say we evolved from apes or all of this is an accident. God gives people who fail to realize His realness and live in unrighteousness over to reprobate minds. People with reprobate minds are unprincipled people. Some synonyms for the word reprobate are good-for-nothing, villain, wrongdoer, and evildoer. I don’t know about you, but I would not want to be any of those! However, we must be mindful that we will encounter people like this when we witness the Gospel to others.
As we continue, we will see in Acts 14:19-20 that some unbelieving Jews come from Antioch to stone Paul. They then convinced the people of Lystra that Paul is dead. However, we find out that Paul was not dead, and he does recover. Regardless of the persecution that took place, they moved on to Derbe. The Apostles could have easily given up, but they did not. When we are faced with temptation or persecution, we should not give up either we should continue! Psalm 119:28 (KJV) tells us, “My soul melteth for heaviness: strengthen thou me according unto thy word.”. The Lord is our strength and we need to put our full trust in him when difficulties come our way!
Not ‘Your Best Life Now’
In Acts 14:21-23 we will see that the Apostles were in Debre and then returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch. I find it inspiring that they returned to areas where there was persecution. The Apostles set for us a high standard in terms of persecution, temptation, and tribulation. We also see that more disciples were added and that they ordained elders of the churches. Also, we see that the Apostles told these new disciples that they “must go through much tribulation to enter into the Kingdom of God”. So, this Christian walk is not easy. This lifestyle is not meant to be ‘Your Best Life Now’.
Share Your Testimony
Lastly in Acts 14:24-28 we see that the Apostles continue to travel as they were led by God. Every place they traveled to; they shared their testimony as to how God was faithful to them. When we minister to others, we need to share our personal testimony. It is often our testimony that will be a sign to the unbeliever.
I would like to encourage you to reflect on how you deal with persecution, tribulation, and temptation. Where are you weak at? Where are you strong at? Where can you improve? This Christian walk is not easy in this dark world. But by leaning on God, all things are possible because He is our strength and salvation. I encourage you to go back through Acts chapter fourteen and look at how the Apostles set an example for us in dealing with persecution, temptation, and tribulation. In my next post, I will continue in Acts chapter fifteen and we will see a bit of a transitional period within the Book of Acts, so be sure to subscribe to this blog!