Summary: The gospel is not something inert! There’s pandemonium in Iconium beause this stuff’s PLUTONIUM! We consider the reactions of the 1) Cripple 2) Crowd and those who 3) Came to Christ

Reactions to the gospel Sun 15 Sept 2002 WBC am Acts 14:1-20

From today’s passage we note that

- the gospel

- miracles

… are not something inert, ‘innocuous’

- challenges, disturbs

o causes pandemonium in Iconium because it’s plutonium!

 (modern day Konya. Turkey’s 4th largest)

Maybe WE perceive the gospel as tame because WE’VE become tame

- causes people to react, polarise. “the city was divided”

See the different reactions, here.

- = like parable of the sower, really

o ask ‘which am I?’

the first person is the one who’s

1) crippled

another worst case scenario. From birth

- like Acts 3:2 Beautiful gate. Jn 5 Bethesda (Paul, Jesus)

o now it’s Paul’s turn

o doing the things that ‘mark an apostle’

- notable: even Barnabas gets referred to as one of the apostles in v4… because he’s part of these apostolic things

o signs and wonders confirming the word. Showing authority

Can you imagine the scene? What a hullabaloo

_ Illustr: me: excited about what the Lord was doing (someone shaking?) “when you’ve seen someone get out of a wheelchair…- the place just went berserk!”

But 1st question is “how can God allow this. From birth?”

- like Jn 9. It’s what the disciples asked, and we do, too

- Illustr: Mary. Cerebral Palsy. In special needs care home. Given Bible. Read from cover to cover. Taken away. Tongue damaging the special thin paper. Eventually found faith. One of my friends there when gave testimony in stilted speech. “I believe I can glorify God more with this body than if he’d healed me”. So powerful

- Jesus can bring great things out of situations of need

o Did in jn 9. “neither parents nor his fault: but it happened so the work of God might be displayed in his life”

and it is displayed, here! Today’s his day! When God’s work is done

Apply: you? Hard times? Certain, specific or special needs. Born into difficult scenario, family?

- it doesn’t have to result in bitterness

- the glory of God can be displayed in your life

This guy has special needs. But he has faith, too

- enough to -overcome any situation

- bring God’s power in

Paul sees his faith, written all over his face, as he speaks

- speaks the ‘good news’ (v7), about

o God’s love. God’s meaning for our lives. Your meaningfulness. The way we have marred this relationship with God and so suffered the consequences. How God has made it possible for us to be reconciled- in Jesus

It’s what he’s been waiting for. The ‘word’ produces faith

Illustr: Tony at UKC. Casual invite. A couple of weeks later “this is what I’ve been waiting for all my life”

Maybe it is for you.

I can’t heal a fly

- but Jesus can help you.

- Maybe in some unexpected way. Don’t look at him with faith but cram the WAY he’s able to act into a box

o (the crowd did. Crammed God into their box)

- as you hear the word about Him- let faith rise up within you

o he is able. “You are good, you are good and your love endures”

- Illustr: Film ‘Signs’ on Thurs pm. Won’t spoil it for you- but basically the sub-plot is Mel G (a clergyman) recovering this ‘look of faith’. His journey back to believing, and how things work out because of his faith

o I believe God allows situations that will test/develop this faith… so the end result is something marvellous

- Mel G finds it, again. Because his roots are deep. Good soil

2) The crowd

Now here’s the other extreme. The crowd don’t need to discover this ‘look of faith’. They’re wild, overboard!

- not surprising when you know their context

o = Gentile area of Turkey. Back of beyond. Pagan. Stott describes them as uneducated and illiterate

 (which is neither here not there)

- but they didn’t have the good roots of the Jews

o (mind you. Didn’t stop the crippled man!)

 so, needn’t stop ANYONE! (unless this bloke went on to stone Paul. Can’t believe that)

- = not unlike society today, actually.

o V few, nowadays, have a basic upbringing or understanding wrt God/Jesus

 Illustr: Mum’s church: “look, Jesus Christ!”

Here’s their religious context

about 50 years earlier the Latin poet Ovid had narrated in his ‘metamorphosis’ an ancient local legend. The supreme god Jupiter (Zeus to the Greeks) and his son Mercury (Hermes) once visited this hill country, disguised as mortal men. Incognito, they sought hospitality, but were rebuffed a thousand times. At last they were offered lodging in a tiny cottage by an elderly peasant couple, who entertained them out of their poverty. Later the gods rewarded them, but destroyed by flood the homes which would not take them in

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