Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Being bold in the face of those that are Interfering with the Gospel

Put together by Dustin L. Dyer

Acts 13, 6-13
6 Now when they had gone through the island to Paphos, they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus, 7 who was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God. 8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord? 11 And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.”

And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord.

First, lets identify the players in these verses:
Saul who became Paul is none other than the Apostle Paul himself
Barnabas, he was a Christian disciple and ministry partner of Paul
Proconsul Serguis Paulus, he was the ruler of that particular region appointed by the Emperor.
Bar-Jesus, he was a Jew who was a sorcerer and a false prophet who made it his duty to
go against God.

There has always been those who wish to speak out against the word of God. But as believers
we must be bold in the truth. Now I'm not saying we should call down blindness on those who
do not believe, Paul was obviously called to do this and was filled with the Holy Spirit. This Bar-Jesus was opposing the teachings of God and attempted to corrupt the teaching while it is given to a very powerful official of that area. Paul was very bold and very "in your face" in dealing with this guy because he was full of poison and Paul knew that this man had the potential to lead not only the Proconsul down a dark path but the people under his control as well. This had the potential to cause a chain reaction of spiritual and physical death.

As you can see from the above verses, Paul was not forcing his views on the Proconsul, the Proconcul CALLED for him to teach.
This man, Bar-Jesus, whose name ironically enough means, "Son of Jesus"  is depicted as being as far removed from the straight paths of the Lord as any pagan magician or any Jewish opponent to the Christian Way.

God used this act to bring people to Himself and used Paul as His tool to get the job done.

There are many things in our world that would have us to believe that God and the Bible are no longer needed in our world. The U.S. was once a nation that made more of an effort to stand up for the things of God and is now going further away from Him as each day goes by. Today, it is considered "cool" to be an atheist or an agnostic, or even a pagan. It has become trendy within our youth. We have become influenced by our collage professors and those who are labeled intelligent. Today, people are ashamed of the Word of God as if it is something to hide our eyes from. Today, we twist and mangle the Word to fit our own purposes. If we want to practice something and realize it opposes God's Word, we attempt to transform it so that we feel justified and we feel an ease of conscious. There is a common enemy that all of mankind share and just because you choose not to believe in him, that does not make him a myth. Satan's greatest achievement has been convincing the world that he does not exist.

You can see this has been going on for centuries, even Paul dealt with it in his day.

People have gone out of their way to lead others away from God and the truth of God. Most of the time it is an isolated incident that happens to an individual that leaves a bad taste in their mouth. Other times, we just do not want to believe it mostly because we do not understand it. ( I know I've been guilty)  Jesus said in Luke 17:2,
17 Then He said to the disciples, “It is impossible that no offenses should come, but woe to him through whom they do come! 2 It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones. 3 Take heed to yourselves. If your brother sins against you,rebuke him; and if he repents, forgive him.

When Jesus speaks of children in this passage, He just isn't talking about little kids, but are we not ALL children of God no matter our age? So He makes it clear that turning His children away from Him will not result in a pleasant outcome.

If you look around you in this world, the things that God said would happen are happening right before our eyes. If you have trouble understanding the Bible I encourage you to pray, don't just blow it off. God desires for you to love Him but He would never force you to love Him, He takes pleasure when you make that decision for yourself. Yes, He will place people, words, and many different things in your path to encourage you to look up. So, when you feel that nudge, respond to it. Get in a Bible teaching Church don't be concerned with fancy preachers, man-made doctrine, or anything other than solid Bible teaching.

Satan convincing the world that he does not exist isn't just a one time achievement, it continues to happen more and more every day. As we are brainwashed into becoming more dependent on ourselves we further distance ourselves from God. Yet, no matter how hard we try to convince ourselves we don't need God, we will never be at peace with ourselves or the world without Him. We can push it away or ignore it for a long time, but it never goes away. You can pull back in attempted self-preservation and you can pretend that the void isn't there but you can never deny it fully. Its that little nudge in the depths of your heart that tells you "there is more than this". Its that little voice in the back of your conscious that speaks to you even when you try to avoid it... God desires you to come to Him, to love Him as He loves you. He is the only one that knows what is best for you.. Because He is perfect, that makes His plan for you perfect. When you take the first step forward to seek Him out He will open up doors that you never knew were there.

As believers we must become more bold in our faith, we must not lay down and turn our heads to spiritual corruption. We must be examples for the Lord by keeping ourselves close to Him in prayer, in knowledge, and by living as He would have us live. As believers the world is always looking at us under a microscope, looking for us to do something that will make us look like hypocrites. When the world sees us fail, in their minds it proves that God is dead. They must realize, that even as believers, we are imperfect sinners. Don't rely on what people say, many make the claim that they believe in God but do not make an attempt to obey Him.
Jesus says is Luke 6:46, “But why do you call Me ‘Lord, Lord,’ and not do the things which I say?
The Lord knows we will have trials and will at times fail. What matters is our faithfulness to repent and get back up and try again, to stay close to Him and reach out, to not become so "holier than thou" that we start moving in reverse.

God is love and He desires us to love Him and each other, Jesus said Himself that Love was the greatest commandment of all. Once you do this, everything else falls into place.