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Summary: This sermon deals with Paul and Barnabus in Lystra, where the people thought they were gods in human form.

HFL

APRIL 11, 2010

ACTS 14;11-13

11When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, “The gods have come down to us in human form!” 12Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. 13The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them.

A NUCLEAR WARHEAD IS HEADED FOR THE SAN ANDREAS FAULT. THE ENTIRE WEST COAST OF THE UNITED STATES WILL BE OBLITERATED. AT THE SAME EXACT MOMENT, THE HEROES GIRLFRIEND IS IN A CAR ABOUT TO BE CRUSHED BY TONS OF ROCK. WHAT WE NEED IS A HERO WHO WILL STEP UP AND INTERVENE. FASTER THAN A SPEEDING BULLET, MORE POWERFUL THAN A LOCOMOTIVE, ABLE TO LEAP TALL BUILDINGS IN A SINGLE BOUND, LOOK, UP IN THE SKY, IT’S A BIRD, IT’S A PLANE, IT’S SUPERMAN. HE CAN CHANGE THE COURSE OF MIGHTY RIVERS, BEND STEEL WITH HIS BARE HANDS, DISGUISED AS CLARK KENT, MILD MANNERED REPORTER FOR THE DAILY PLANET, FIGHTS THE NEVER ENDING BATTLE, FOR TRUTH, JUSTICE, AND THE AMERICAN WAY. IF ITS NOT SUPERMAN, THEN ITS BATMAN, OR LUKE SKYWALKER, TRANSFORMERS, OR ANY OF 100 OTHER SUPER HEROES.

EVERY CULTURE HAS THEIR HERO; EVERY GENERATION HAS HAD THEIR HERO. THERE ALWAYS SEEMS TO BE A NEED THAT CAN ONLY BE ANSWERED BY SOME SUPERHUMAN. I AM SURE THAT MANY PEOPLE TODAY, WOULD LOVE TO SEE A SUPERMAN SHOW UP TO RESCUE OUR NATION. PROBABLY, THERE ARE SOME RIGHT HERE, WHO WOULD WELCOME SOMEONE WHO WOULD COME IN RIGHT NOW AND RESCUE THEM FROM FINANCIAL PROBLEMS, CHILD PROBLEMS, RELATIONSHIP ISSUES, AND ANY NUMBER OF OTHER THINGS.

ACTS 14;3 So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders. WE SHOULDN’T BE SURPRISED BY THIS, JESUS HAD TOLD THE APOSTLES IN MARK 16, And these signs will accompany those who believe: In my name they will drive out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18they will pick up snakes with their hands; and when they drink deadly poison, it will not hurt them at all; they will place their hands on sick people, and they will get well.” THE EARLY CHURCH NEEDED THESE SIGNS TO DEMONSTRATE THE POWER OF GOD. GOD WAS GOING TO USE GODLY MEN TO DEMONSTRATE HIS POWER.

PAUL AND BARNABUS WERE WHERE GOD WANTED THEM TO BE, DOING WHAT HE INTENDED THEM TO DO. WHENEVER GOD IS DOING HIS WORK, THERE WILL BE OPPOSITION. THEY FACED IT IN ICONIUM, FROM BOTH JEWS AND GENTILES. WITH THEIR LIVES IN DANGER, THEY FLEE TO LYSTRA.

IMMEDIATELY, THEY FIND A MAN WHO NEEDS A HERO. HE WAS CRIPPLED, HAD BEEN THAT WAY FROM BIRTH. HE HAD NEVER TAKEN A STEP. AS A FATHER, ONE OF MY FAVORITE THINGS TO DO WAS TO HELP MY CHILDREN LEARN TO WALK. TAKE THEIR LITTLE HANDS, AND GIVE THEM BALANCE, LET THEM STRETCH THEIR FEET AND LEGS OUT. THIS MAN HAD NEVER EXPERIENCED THAT. THEY HAD PROBABLY TRIED, BUT HIS FEET AND LEGS DIDN’T WORK. SO, HE SETS. THIS PARTICULAR DAY, PAUL AND BARNABUS SHOW UP.

PAUL WAS SPEAKING. WE DON’T KNOW EXACTLY WHAT HE WAS SAYING, BUT IT WAS PROBABLY THIS; GOD LOVES YOU, HE LOVES YOU SO MUCH THAT HE SENT HIS SON, JESUS TO THIS WORLD TO SAVE YOU. THIS JESUS, WAS PUT TO DEATH, BUT HE CONQUERED DEATH, AND THE GRAVE, AND SIN.

THIS MAN, CRIPPLED FROM BIRTH, HEARD THE MESSAGE THAT PAUL PREACHED. PAUL LOOKED DIRECTLY AT THE MAN, NO SIDEWAYS GLANCES. LOOKING AT HIM, HE CAN TELL THAT THE MAN BELIEVES WHAT PAUL IS SAYING. THE PREACHING OF THE GOOD NEWS HAS LED THIS MAN TO FAITH. BUT HIS FAITH ALONE IS NOT ENOUGH.

EVERY TIME JESUS HEALED SOMEONE, HE CALLED FOR ACTION. TAKE UP YOUR BED AND WALK, HE TOLD THE BLIND MAN TO GO AND WASH, EVEN WHEN HE RAISED LAZARUS FROM THE DEAD, HE SAID TO HIM, LAZARUS COME FORTH.

PAUL, IN THE PATTERN OF JESUS, LOOKS AT THIS MAN, AND HE SAYS, STAND UP ON YOUR FEET. HE IS CALLING FOR ACTION ON HIS PART. THE MAN JUMPED TO HIS FEET, AND WALKED.

THE PEOPLE ALL KNEW THIS MAN, BORN CRIPPLED. NOW HE IS UP ON HIS FEET WALKING. THIS IS WHERE IT GETS REALLY INTERESTING.

WHENEVER YOU SEE SOMETHING THAT APPEARS TO BE MIRACULOUS, THE FIRST THING YOU OUGHT TO DO IS THIS; SEE WHO GETS THE CREDIT.

ARE THEY GIVING THE CREDIT TO GOD, OR THEY TAKING THE CREDIT FOR THEMSELVES? IF THEY ARE NOT FIRST GIVING CREDIT TO GOD, THEN YOU BETTER WATCH OUT.

NOW GOD HEALS THIS MAN. THE PEOPLE SAW WHAT PAUL HAD DONE, AND THEY BEGAN TO SHOUT IN THEIR OWN LANGUAGE. “THE GODS HAVE COME DOWN IN HUMAN FORM”. EVERY CULTURE HAS A SUPERMAN. IN THIS CULTURE, IT WAS ZEUS AND HERMES.

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