And beginning at Moses and all the Prophets, He expounded to them in all the Scriptures the things concerning Himself. Luke 24.27
Be sure to view the video introducing our study of Acts 14 and 15 (Lesson 13) by clicking here.
Read and meditate on Acts 14.14-18.
I don’t even know what that commercial was trying to sell, but I always chuckled at those lovely old ladies sitting around listening to their friend explain the pictures on her “wall.” One, more savvy than the rest, insists, “This is not the way any of this works!” And she is promptly “unfriended” by the speaker.
1. Every time I would see that commercial I’d think of Paul in Lystra. He and Barnabas were not about to stand around politely while this attempt to accommodate true faith into false went forth. Where might we expect to encounter such misrepresentations of Christian faith? Are we as quick and bold as they were to respond to misrepresentations of our faith in the Lord?
2. Paul and Barnabas insisted they were not gods, tearing their clothes to show they were mere men and as a sign of dismay. Then they were saying, in effect, “This is not the way it works. We’re not trying to endorse or stretch your religion; we’re here to destroy it!” In a secular age such as ours, our message is the same. Explain.
3. Paul and Barnabas could be so forthright because they were bringing Good News of something – Someone – better than the religion of the Lystrans. God had been bearing witness of His goodness and love for centuries – in the rains of creation and the good works of culture the Lystrans practiced continually. All these good things bear witness to the true God, not the capricious, snooty, self-interested deities of the Greco-Roman pantheon. To what might we point an unbelieving friend or co-worker as evidence of the constant goodness of the Lord?
4. But the more Paul and Barnabas insisted on the truth, the more determined the people became to enfold them in their pagan rituals. We have the feeling this situation is about to get out of control. What’s the lesson here about bearing witness for the Lord?
5. We should not overlook the witness of God in creation and culture when we are bearing witness to the Gospel. God is revealing Himself there (Ps. 19.1-4), and that revelation, seen for what it is, can be powerful (Ps. 8.1, 2). But of itself it’s not enough to bring conviction and conversion. For that we need the preaching of the Word and the Gospel. Can you think of some ways to include the witness of creation and culture in your own presentation of the Gospel?
We should expect to have to work hard at making the Gospel clear to people who are blinded by religion, even the religion of secularism. This won’t always be easy, so we need to be patient, considerate, and willing to ask questions and listen carefully to those we’re trying to lead to the Lord. What lessons for your own witness from Christ can you learn from Paul and Barnabas in Lystra?
O God, You have cast us off;
You have broken us down;
You have been displeased;
Oh, restore us again!
You have made the earth tremble;
You have broken it;
Heal its breaches, for it is shaking.
You have shown Your people hard things;
You have made us drink the wine of confusion.
You have given a banner to those who fear You,
That it may be displayed because of the truth. Selah
That Your beloved may be delivered,
Save with Your right hand, and hear me.
T. M. Moore
Each week’s studies in Acts are bound together into a free PDF that you can download for personal or group use (click here). Each week also features a video related to the studies of the week, which you may find helpful as you work through our studies in Acts.
Acts is the record of Christ’s ongoing work as King and Lord. This is the work of bringing the Kingdom of God to earth as it is in heaven. Read more about the implications of this work in our new book, The Kingdom Turn (click here).
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