Summary: Easter 6(C) - Consider the power of God’s word as it works miracles and as it reveals and explains all truth.
CONSIDER THE POWER OF GOD’S WORD
May 21, 2006 - EASTER 6 - Acts 14:8-18
* * * * * * * * *
Dearest Friends in Christ and Beloved by the Lord:
Today, we are going to consider the absolute power of God’s word. God’s word has already had a powerful effect on us whether we realized it or not. By hearing God’s Word, our faith grows and increases. Today, we heard a miracle, actually more than one. The people saw the miracle. There is more to the power of God’s word than just the outward appearance of any miracle, any healing. There is a power of God’s word that cannot be seen with the naked eye. There is the power of God’s word that takes place in the heart and lives of every believer, the power of God’s word, which we heard, in our first lesson. First, they took the message to the Jews and then to the Gentiles. The people believed. They were called Christians first at Antioch. This is the power of God’s word. God’s word is a power that began everything, for without God’s word we wouldn’t be here. Without God’s word we would be nothing. Without God’s word there wouldn’t be an earth or anything in it. That is God’s powerful word we want to consider this morning. In the book of Hebrews the writer says: "By faith we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command, so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible" (Hebrews 11:3). By his word and by his command God spoke and it was: "Let there be...." Today we are here.
CONSIDER THE POWER OF GOD’S WORD
I. God’s word works two miracles,
II. God’s word reveals and explains all truth.
I. GOD’S WORD WORKS TWO MIRACLES
Paul and Barnabas continue on their journey. (The Antioch that was mentioned in our First Lesson [Acts 11] is a different Antioch. That is the Antioch that is in Syria. The Antioch that we have been looking at last week and the week before is Antioch in Pisidia that is northwest of Cyprus.) We want to remember what happened. Paul and Barnabas preached in Antioch and were well received for a time. Then they were kicked out to go to the next town. Then they went to Iconium and were kicked out. Now we are at another town, Lystra. A couple of different things happen here. "In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth, and had never walked." We don’t find Paul and Barnabas going to the synagogue here. It is not mentioned. It could be that maybe there weren’t even enough Jews in Lystra to have a synagogue. It took ten Jewish men to form a synagogue. This was a Gentile region--Antioch, Iconium and Lystra.
They find a man who could not get up. He is not called a Jew, and more than likely he was a Gentile. So Paul and Barnabas are already taking the bold step to go to the Gentiles with God’s gospel. They are going to the people who are not even in the church. They are outside of the synagogue. Our text continues: "He listened to Paul as he was speaking." He must have listened intently because we are told: "Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed." Paul could tell that he was listening and Paul could tell that God’s word had an effect on his life. The original says he had faith to be healed, a faith to be saved. In other words Paul realized the Holy Spirit worked saving faith in his heart. We don’t know how, since we cannot look into men’s hearts. Somehow Paul saw this cripple had a faith to be healed, a faith to be saved. "Paul called out, ’Stand up on your feet!’ At that the man jumped up and began to walk." There is the physical miracle that everyone sees. It is a physical miracle that everyone notices, because they knew this man, that he could not walk at all. He probably was in the same place day after day, week after week, year after year depending on the charity and the generosity of mankind.
When Paul comes and preaches God’s word and heals him, the crowd is amazed at this physical miracle. But we also want to remember before that took place another miracle occurred. There was the miracle of faith in this man’s heart. And before that took place, what happened? There is a miracle of faith that came to the apostle Paul, and his life was changed by the power of God’s word. Because the people could see this miracle and that the man was healed immediately and jumped up, what happens? "When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, ’The gods have come down to us in human form.’" They looked at Paul and Barnabas and thought they were gods. "Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker." Hermes was the messenger god. Zeus was the patron god of this city. The crowd thought that since Paul and Barnabas had such power that they could heal someone, they certainly had to be gods.