Acts 14:8 -15
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This phrase appeared twice in the scriptures at least in KJV. I will be looking at those two occasions in two teachings. Let me tell you ahead, next Sunday when I will be concluding this teaching, it will be a special prayer revival meeting. Being the first Sunday in August too, I will be inviting a man of God to join me as we pray fervent prayers, trusting God for speedy response. So, join that live broadcast on 2nd of August, as we call unto him that answers prayers. Details of additional platforms that will be used will get to you soon.
Let me read verse 11-15 of our text:
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:
On the first occasion, Paul was in Lystra after running away from Jews’ agitation in Iconium. Paul and his team started preaching as soon as they got there. In one of their meetings a man that was crippled from womb, meaning he has never walked attended the crusade.
He did not ask to be healed but Paul perceived that he had faith and commanded him to stand up and walk. This led to the town equating Paul and Barnabas as gods based on their own limited understanding.
What a scene? But come to think of it, have they not done beyond what human capacity could do? Somebody born lame, not diseased, not accident but born lame and was commanded to walk for the first time and it happened, if I were part of the people, I will definitely call them god.
God wants to position us as gods in our generation. Like He made Moses a god unto Pharaoh. Jesus himself said, ye are gods according to the scriptures. You must get fired up today, to be god to science, god to education, god to technology system, god to medicine, god to psychology, god to territorial powers and principalities, god in every sphere of influence that God has placed you.
I have come to challenge my generation of people of faith today, that could it be true that blood and water also run through the veins of Paul. I am not going to attempt to x-ray the life of Paul but let us look at some things about him if he was truly a man of the same frailty with us.
The call of Paul – Acts 13:1-4.
I don’t want to talk about the dramatic experience of Paul’s salvation because we may not all have that kind of experience but the instance of his call, in chapter 13, shows that he was not an angel. He was a man given to fasting and prayer. He was commissioned by the laying of hands. But I like the statement in verse 4, “being sent forth by the Holy Ghost…….”. The question is who is sending you? Could it be that because you are not sent that was why you are not seeing the result they had? Remember at a time he was talking about the motive why some people are preaching or are in the ministry in Philp 1:15-18. Some because of their belly, some because of necessity, some to make a name, some to make a living. Were you really sent by the Holy Ghost? Check the underlining factor of your calling and determine if you have the mandate to do it. Be it a calling into the secular or a call into the ministry. The authority that sends a man determines the backing received and the result that follows. Could this be the difference why they are more god than we are? Who sent you?
The Passions of Paul – There were three things I want to bring out as a result of my meditation on what Paul was passionate about:
- To win Israel to Christ – Rom 9:1-3, 10:1-3
- That he may know the Lord along with His sufferings – Philp 3:9-11
- That he might finish his course – Acts 20:22-24
You can see from all his resolves that this man was empty of self, total surrenderness and willingness to finish his assignment. What are your resolves, why are you doing what you are doing? Is it to glorify God or for self image? God has said He will not share his glory with any man. Can this not be responsible for us not having the same result they had. The fact that they are men of like passion has not changed but do we share similar resolve with them?
The Pains and travail of Paul – 2 Cor 4:8-12, 6:4-10, 7: 4-5, 11:22-27
Let me start by saying in a strong appeal, to our living legend of faith world over. It is high time we began to hear your stories of past or present travails and pains. Your great glory in Christ appears to have covered the marks, stripes and scars that made you the generals you are today. The world lauds your greatness and celebrates your placement but what will help the generation behind to be able to get to and surpass the mark you have made and that you are making are your secret labours and the realisation that saints also cry.
The journey of faith is not a bed of roses and our Master did not even promise us that. Some of you like Paul have been through fire and perils of life. Some have lost close and dear ones, some have escaped death on several occasions, some are given to fasting and prayers continuously. Some have submitted to hunger when it was needful. Just like Paul rehearsed in the two passages, we need to hear this story often, especially before some of you leave the stage. Of blessed memory is the recent departure of one the generals of faith Dr Morris Cerullo. Not too long Reinhard Bonke and before then was Billy Graham. The stage of the generals in this rank is getting fewer by the day. We need to hear your pains and travail. A lot of contention on the social media about your wealth, riches, fame and exploits, could it not be that we hear more of that, than the needed mentorship and tutelage through the stories of your pitfalls, trials and temptation? Of which you have many of them in your archive. Paul a man of like passion, he had a lot of pains and travail in the flesh. Don’t paint yourself as unhuman, in the midst of pains there are plenty gains.
The weakness of Paul – 2 Cor 11:16-21,29
Wow, the same our father in the Lord Paul decided to speak foolishly. And he said it clearly this that I am saying, is not from the Lord. He told us he put his flesh under that he might not be a cast away (1 Cor 9:27). He was the one that told us about the works of the flesh in Galatian and yet he decided to glory in the flesh. He was the one that told us to be angry and sin not (Eph 4:26), may be that was why he became so angry in these passages. What a man with his own weaknesses and he does recognise them. Paul is a man in like manner the way we are. Prone to respond to stimulus.
The exploit of Paul – Acts 13, 14, 16, 17, 19, 20, 28
Psalm 103:10,14 KJV
“He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.  For he knoweth our frame; he remembereth that we are dust.”
Despite their weaknesses and frailty, God still found in them men to be used. Paul’s exploits are all over the pages of the book of Acts. His writings form more than half of the New Testament. He woke up the dead, healed the sick, cast out demons, spoke before kings, Governors and high Priest. He was not a mean man at all. No wonder, the people of Lystra wanted to sacrifice to him as god.
We need the power of God to work with us like of old, but He still wants to pass through our weakness to demonstrate His greatness that the excellency of power might be of God. 2 Cor 4:7. “But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us.” He uses the weak things of this world to confound the wise and por Himself in an available and surrendered vessel.
Let me conclude this way as I read the following passages: Eph 2:5-7
5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:
7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
“7 Whereof I was made a minister, according to the gift of the grace of God given unto me by the effectual working of his power.
8 Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ;
9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:
10 To the intent that now unto the principalities and powers in heavenly places might be known by the church the manifold wisdom of God”
Lord, your power we cry for, work on us, work in us and work through us, by the effectual working of your power, that we might be able to turn our world upside down like these men of old. To challenge the rule of the force of darkness around us. They are men and we are men of similar characteristics. Pour grace enough on us that we might diligently be empty of self and glorify our Father who is in heaven.
JESUS SAVES! JESUS SAVES!! JESUS SAVES!!!
The Revd Bamidele Oni
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