Summary: Should the glad tidings be denied? Should the Doctrine which God has given by express Revelation be held up to scorn? Woe to the men who dare provoke God!
Paul, Elymus, and Paul.
Shell Point Baptist Church Sept 4 2011
“Then the proconsul, saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching of the Lord.” Acts 13:12.
We continue our journey in Acts w/Paul’s first missionary trip.
CYPRUS was by no means a reputable island—
• devoted to the goddess Venus and you can imagine what her worship was—
• What fruitful licentiousness came from it.
• It was the native country of Barnabas
As the leader of the missionary party sent by/church Antioch.
• Isn’t it fitting for Barnabas and Saul/begin preaching there.
Landing at one end of the island, the two apostolic men journeyed till they came to Paphos, where the Roman governor resided.
• Paphos was/central city of the worship of Venus and was the
scene of frequent parsimonious processions and repulsive rites.
• You might call it, “the place where Satan’s seat is.”
Athanasius styled its religion “the exaltation of lust.”
Neither men nor women could resort to the shrine of Venus without being defiled in mind and depraved in character.
Yet it was no business of the Apostles to stay away, either from
Cyprus or Paphos, the Holy Spirit had ordained their sending.
There was a special need for them to go there
• To carry the purifying waters of the Gospel.
• The more wicked the locality, more the need for Christian effort in that very spot.
The Holy Spirit had sent the missionaries to Cyprus
• So they safely enter the caverns of dark obscenity
• Proclaiming the word/salvation among the openly abandoned.
• They needed not to fear success, God was with them!
They claimed, Isaiah 41:10, “Fear not for I am with you, do not..
Do we have that absolute assurance in our minds?
Even the vilest people of open sin cannot compare with the heart of the doctrine of the Cross.
Let us not refuse to plow any kind of soil in our path!
• Great harvests come from broken rocks!
• God had prepared/Saul/Barnabas’ way as He prepares the way of all His servants
Whenever God sends you and me to sow, it’s not all fertile..
• part of the land we sow may be rock
• Trampled path or it may be an impossible situation.
• Yet there is always a portion which is plowed for us.
God has a prepared people wherever He sends us.
He does not mock us by sending us on fruitless errands.
Remember God sent Philip to the desert tundra!
• Philip did not find the desert isolation absent of the Spirit!
• Philip found one of the sweetest flowers that ever bloomed in the garden of the Lord! “The Ethiopian Eunuch!”
Hey, how many deserts has God sent you on?
• How many have you recognized? Have seen God move?
So now, when Barnabas and Saul come to Paphos, it’s not to break their hearts over the filthiness and obscenity of its idol worship
• It is to find for the Lord a jewel amid the corruptiveness!
And it was the chief magistrate of the island “Sergius Paul”
• He was candid, studious, prudent man.
• He possessed an intelligent and inquisitive spirit, and was desirous to know all that could be known.
This man was anxious to discover the truth if it could be discovered—he had said with Pilate, but not as Pilate, “What is truth?”
Now here comes the Rocks in the path of the sowers.
A certain Jew who was expert in the dark learning of the East and practiced sorcery had obtained considerable influence
over Sergius Paul.
• He did not teach Sergius the truth, but imparted…
• The mysteries of the Magi, superstitions of sorcery.
• Do you not think the devil had play severing the Lord’s path?
• This sorcerers name was Bar-Jesus.
• His name ironically meaning son of salvation a false prophet.
• His Greek name, “Elymas” vipers/in Satan’s realm.
Now Sergius Paul was dissatisfied with the teaching of Elymas.
• The rocks in the path are crumbling!
• It doesn’t surprise you that they are crumbling?
• God provides the path to His mission.
So Sergius Paul sent for Barnabas and Saul……
• Two men unknown to all….and the governor wants to converse with them? To teach him the Word of God.
• What a door of hope for this prudent man!
• What a splendid opening for the two preachers of Christ!
Now Barnabas and Saul can go to court in the proconsul’s palace with one of the best hearers at the center of their congregation
• For men who are prudent are the most hopeful listeners of the Gospel!
• They are not curdled in sophistication or self-righteousness.
• They are free from prejudices and open to truth.