Summary: Paul and Barnabus didn’t know it, but they had jumped from the frying pan to the fire! They came to Lystra and began preaching the gospel. At first people wanted to sacrifice to them as gods, but then turned on them, stoned Paul, and left him for dead.
Paul and Barnabus didn’t know it, but they had jumped from the frying pan to the fire! They came to Lystra and began preaching the gospel.
Faith to Be Healed
They went to the market place everyday and preached. They were street preachers! There was a man there who was crippled. Notice the extent to which the Bible goes to make sure we understand this man was genuinely crippled.
Paul saw something in his eyes about his faith. I think the Holy Spirit led Paul to do what he did. He looked at that crippled man and said, “Stand up on your feet!” Now of all things you might say to someone in his condition, that would be about the last thing you normally say.
Now, what is implied is that the man began to make an effort to obey. What I want to remind you, is that it is that way in all of our dealings with God. Without faith it is impossible to please God, and obedience is better than sacrifice. This man had both of those ducks in line!
There is something that I realized a couple of years ago. I think I knew it, but I had not really grasped it. God has decreed all sorts of good things for the lives of believers, but most of these things are not automatic. We have to lay hold of them by obedient faith.
Think of it, first of all in the matter of salvation. God has already sent Jesus to pay for our sins, and He has sent out the message telling people how to be saved. People who have faith to be saved, must do just what this crippled man did. They must exercise obedient faith to the extent that they turn their lives to Christ. Many a person has realized the salvation of His soul between the pew and the altar!
But, as you know, conversion is just the beginning of the Christian life. Second Peter 1:3-4 tells us that God has already given us everything we need that pertains to life and godliness. Isn’t that an amazing statement? Then, it says that we partake of these things by laying of hold of His great and precious promises. That is done by purposefully being fully convinced that what God says is true, regardless of the way things might seem, and by living like it is already done.
Fight to Be Fought
The devil doesn’t have any new tricks, but he has a sack full of old ones, and you never know which one he is going to pull out next.
These people, moved by the devil, whether they knew or not, were so impressed with the crippled man’s healing, they wanted to sacrifice animals to Paul and Barnabus as gods. What was the devil trying to do? He was trying to get Paul and Barnabus to take the credit for what God had done, and if that had worked, their ministry would have immediately become ineffective. It didn’t work, but the devil didn’t quit. He never quits.
Verse 19 says that people came from the previous town where Paul and Barnabus had been ,and they persuaded the people in such a way that they stoned Paul.
These are the same people that wanted to put Paul on a throne, now they are perfectly willing to kill him. Isn’t it amazing how quickly people can change? One day they can cry out, “Hosanna, thou son of David,” and the next day they can cry out, “Crucify Him, Crucify Him!”
It cries out from between the lines of the Scripture, that these people Antioch and Iconium went to work behind the scenes, spreading lies. Many faithful servants of God have been the beneficiaries of this kind of attack, but God has a way of overcoming the devil.
Notice what Paul and Barnabus did in the midst of all that the devil was doing. They just kept on preaching the word. That’s the way you fight the devil. You suit up with the armor of God, and you proclaim God’s word. First and foremost, you proclaim it to your own heart.
Your fight might be centered in your own life, more than in the public arena. The devil will attack you any way he can to get you sidelined. Whatever it takes to keep you from being an effective force for God. He’ll tell you that you are a failure, that nothing has worked out right for you, and that God’s hand is just not on you. He’ll have you ready to stone yourself! I’m telling you, suit up with the armor of God and preach God’s word to yourself.
Future to Be Realized
They stoned Paul, drug him out of the city, and supposed him to be dead. Later, in 2 Corinthians 12:2, Paul talks about knowing a man who was caught up to the third heaven, and says I don’t know whether he was in the body or not, but he saw things that I can’t share with you. Commentators commonly agree that Paul was talking about himself, and that he was referring to this event that happened at Lystra.