Acts 13: 4-12Written by kathleen on Jul 26, 2015 in - No Comments
The Journey Begins
1.The call is given and received 2.Deception and opposition begin 3. The stronghold of sin is revealed 4.The Hold of sin is broken
4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, 16-20 miles from Antioch 45-50 ad spring shipping lanes open; 20 years after Acts 1:8 and from there they sailed to Cyprus. 5 And when they arrived in Salamis, they preached the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. They also had John as their assistant.
The eastern end of island – capital
The Christians of the church at Antioch sent Saul and Barnabas. But more importantly, it was the Holy Spirit sending them. A group of Christians can send someone, but if the Spirit doesn’t send them, it won’t amount to much effective ministry eternally.
If you are trying to discern God’s will for your life. Look carefully. The text says, “they, being sent forth by the Holy Spirit, departed.” The Holy Spirit pushed them out, but they departed. The Holy Spirit gave direction, but it was up to them to begin the journey. There comes a point when the Lord, makes His will for you clear it’s then He expects you to depart—to take the first step on whatever path He has directed you to walk. (Moses at the red sea)
We aren’t told of any specific ministry taking place in Seleucia, It could be that Saul and Barnabas may have gone there merely because it was the port city near Antioch, but it is hard to imagine them not doing any ministry there.
In this case Cypress was the homeland of Barnabas and it seems the Lord gave the inspiration to go there; but the practical application was worked through Saul and Barnabas as they simply began to move out in a supernaturally natural way partly because it was natural for Barnabas to want to go to Cyprus. Because it was home to Barnabas there were people there he must have cared about and possibly he was well known; along with a great spiritual need.
A large portion of Cyprus were gentiles and there was the worship of Venus, also known as Aphrodite, the love goddess. Living as a family every woman (wife, daughters, grand daughters) on Cyprus were required to serve for a time as a temple prostitute at least once in her life.
If you read the history of Cyprus, you will find records of disease and excessive indulgence in sensual pleasures, and so much tragedy. Even the appearance of the women as recorded by historians was unbelievably sad. It was a sick island in more ways than one! Yet God sends his light into this darkness where it is most needed Turn on the light not beat out the darkness
Sin always takes a toll and kills emotionally as well as physically. James 1:14-15 But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed. 15 Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.
If only we would see more of the trouble sin gets people into, we might speak more into those situations and run after the things of God a little harder!
There seemed to be a population of Jews with the mention of multiple synagogues; and with the custom of open synagogue which invited any learned man to speak to the congregation on the Sabbath would give Barnabas and Saul many opportunities to preach as they worked their way through the area.
Also mentioned is John Mark and according to 1 Peter 5:13, seems he was converted by Peter and later discipled by his cousin Barnabas
He grew up in Jerusalem, and was an eyewitness of many of the events in the life of Jesus and could relate them with special power to Barnabas and Saul, and to others whom they were preaching to which would have been a valuable companion for Barnabas and Saul. This is the same Mark who will later write the Gospel that bears his name.
Deception and opposition 6 Now when they had gone through the island to Paphos they found a certain sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew whose name was Bar-Jesus.
As they worked their way across the island , 90 miles in distance it was the same combination of immorality that is always connected with spiritual darkness and along the way they encountered a guy named Bar-Jesus who’s name means literally “Son of Jesus” but he was a false Jewish prophet, a sorcerer, and a wizard. Bar-Jesus had established a relationship with very influential man
7 who was with the proconsul Sergius Paulus an intelligent man. This man called for Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God.
Concerning Bar-Jesus this would be like Opra giving spiritual instruction to our president or our congress looking to astrology!
Sergius Paulus, was the Roman-appointed governor of the island, he was intelligent meaning he was characterized by quickness of understanding, with sound thought, or good judgment; having a good understanding or a high mental capacity; he was quick to comprehend.(he was no dummy)
So hearing of two men traveling through his island who were sharing the truth of God’s love and grace, going into the synagogues and presenting Jesus, the representative of the Roman government (the proconsul) said, “I want to hear more.”
Intelligence doesn’t protect you against lies! (spiritual deception)
The Struggle against the mission begins— happens all the time
8 But Elymas the sorcerer (for so his name is translated) withstood them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith.(the faith meaning the truth to be believed)
Paul is opposed by a man now called Elymas who is the Jewish false prophet-named Bar-Jesus.
This Elymas attempts to distract, discredit, and discourage the missionary efforts of Saul and Barnabas with the local Roman leader.
Elymas, the self proclaimed “Enlightened One,” was jealous and worried. For if Sergius Paulus, the Roman governor, got saved, where would that leave him? So Elymas started speaking against Barnabas and Paul as they spoke to Sergius Paulus.
If you ever intend to share the gospel; expect opposition simply because the gospel separates
When you’re claiming Jesus is the only way to heaven. That will make a bunch of people feel uncomfortable and you’re going to have some opposition and even enemies.” It’s inevitable.
If we are the light as we should be, we’re going to cause people who are living in darkness to feel uncomfortable. Jesus says, “There’s going to be some leaving, some tension, and difficulty anytime you’re standing up for Me and living for Me!
Matt 10:34-36 “Do not think that I came to bring peace on earth. I did not come to bring peace but a sword. 35 For I have come to ‘set a man against his father, a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law’; 36 and ‘a man’s enemies will be those of his own household.’
The stronghold of sin is revealed
9 Then Saul, who also is called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him This is where Saul’s name changes to Paul—
10 and said, “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord?
11 And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time. “And immediately a dark mist fell on him, and he went around seeking someone to lead him by the hand.
Paul, using spiritual discernment and operating in the gift of faith, rebukes and pronounces the judgment of God upon Elymas (you shall be blind). What a look this must have been! With eyes of discernment given by the Holy Spirit, Paul saw this man was no good.
Some may say Paul was being too harsh here? Who does he think he is, coming against Elymas this way? Ever want to do that ? Anger of love – be angry sin not (some one harming my child?)
Paul is acting correctly, because the eternal destiny of Sergius Paulus is at stake!
With people like Elymas maybe they should be spoken to with stronger words like: If you want to commit spiritual suicide, that’s one thing. But how dare you bring others down with you? If you want to give up on the things of God and grow bitter in your heart against Him, that’s your choice. But it is a heavy sin to draw anyone else away with you, either with your words or your example.
Even when Paul sounded harsh or strong his heart was always for restoration—even with a guy like Elymas.
Although Paul was not mincing words with Elymas; his heart prayer was not, “Get him, Lord.” It was “Save him Lord”!
So, too, today, people might say to you, “I’m a follower of Jesus. I’m close to Jesus. I speak for Jesus”—but you’ll know in your heart if something’s not right as their actions and lifestyle don’t back up their words.
This is when God’s Holy Spirit will give you discernment on how to respond when you find yourself in a situation as such.
1 Peter 3:15 Quietly trust yourself to Christ your Lord, and if anybody asks why you believe as you do, be ready to tell him, and do it in a gentle and respectful way. TLB
The Hold of sin is broken
12 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had been done, being astonished at the teaching of the Lord.
What was it that the proconsul saw?
He saw the courage of Paul who was a man of conviction, bold in his belief, and willing to make a stand for what he believed.
He saw the result of Elymas’ sin, physical blindness corresponding to his spiritual blindness.
As amazing as the miracle of Elymas’ sudden blindness was, the good news the proconsul heard from Paul was even more amazing.
Sergius Paulus wasn’t astonished at the miracle that took place. He was astonished at the teaching and doctrine of the Lord; as he realized “You mean God loves me?”
He must have wondered in amazement. “You mean He became a Man and died in my place?
You mean I can be forgiven and saved—made right and saved?”
Doesn’t matter what you have done! In the realm of forgiveness
Rom 5:8-11 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him. 10 For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. 11 And not only that, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation.