Summary: The people of Lystra are held captive by not only false belief, but also by the spirit of darkness that they serve.
Common Lies that plague our lives:
The check is in the mail.
(Well, internet banking has made that one less popular)
I’ll start my diet tomorrow.
We service what we sell.
(I won’t mention any of the places you are thinking about right now)
Give me your number and the doctor will call you right back.
(Right back, meaning, this evening or later this week)
Money cheerfully refunded.
(With lots and lots of paperwork, with the original receipt only, original box, with all tags still on the merchandise, with a 10% restocking fee, and with three forms of valid ID - for your protection)
One size fits all.
(Fits all what?)
This offer limited to the first 100 people who call in.
(Whew! I always seem to make it right under the wire)
Your luggage isn’t lost, it’s only misplaced.
(Its on its way to Hawaii)
Leave your resume and we’ll keep it on file.
(File 86, that is)
I just need five minutes of your time.
(Its LONG five minutes though)
Your table will be ready in a few minutes.
(Now, watch me while I text my girlfriends without notifying anyone about you)
Let’s have lunch sometime.
(These people, must never eat lunch)
It’s not the money, it’s the principle.
(And, the principle thing is - money)
And, finally, my favorite: The paint will dry by noon tomorrow.
(Noon is such an amazing hour of the day, isn’t it?)
There are little lies, that annoy us, lies that make life more….complicated, and then there are big lies. These are lies that we assume are truth, these are lies that we believe as true, and as such, these lies can stop us from seeing the truth.
Here in our Scripture this morning, the people of Lystra have lived with a lie that they believe is absolutely true. This lie is so true to them that when the truth is presented right before their eyes - they see it for something else, it is as if they are blind to what it actually is.
There is a lie that plagued the people of Lystra: The lie is that they have a false view of how the spiritual world works. Could it be that these men and women’s pagan view of how the spiritual works stops them from seeing the true God when His works were right in front of them? There is more to this than meets the eye, for the situation we are dealing with here this morning isn’t only about a few lies small or large, there is a spiritual element behind the events we read about in our Scripture today.
These people of Lystra cannot see the true God, is it cultural, is linguistic, it is moral, or is it something deeper? Why can’t these people see the evidence right in front of their faces? Let’s take this passage apart and see why they cannot see.
What a difference location makes. Earlier we saw in Acts chapter 3. Peter speaks to a man who was clearly lame, and tells him to rise and walk in the name of Jesus Christ the man does and a multitude of people believe in Jesus Christ. Yet here in Lystra, Paul does essentially the same thing. A man lame from birth, he tells to rise up and walk, the man does, but instead of belief in Jesus, the people believe even more in their pagan ways.
They see the true God in action, but this only reinforces what they already believe.
Paul and Barnabas has traveled from Pisidian Antioch to the city of Lystra, approximately 100 miles apart. It is not known how the city of Lystra began, but it is known that in 6 BC Caesar Augustus made the city of Lystra into a Roman colony. Augustus brought veterans of the Roman army along with their families to the city along with his decree. These veterans represent the ruling class in the city with the commerce and education overseen by Greeks living there. The vast majority of the population is local Antonian people. These people are not the Barbarian Gauls we saw Pisidian Antioch, they are local people from Asia minor. These are local people who we see having the strong reaction to the miraculous healing of the lame man.
It is apparent that there was a very small Jewish population in Lystra, but there were not enough families to start a synagogue. Since the Jewish population is so small, it does not have much influence upon the city - if any at all. We see Paul does not go to the synagogue first as he had done previously, because there is no synagogue. This is the first city in which, for all practical purposes, the population is completely pagan - the worldview of the OT, for the society at large, is completely absent.