ACTS – The Acts of God
It happens today to the best of leaders by the people they serve. Leaders give themselves to God’s service, obey His will and fulfill His mission in their lives. Others see their success by what God is doing in them and hold the leaders up as gods, putting them on a pedestal…until the leaders say or do something they don’t agree with, then down they come.
People become disappointed in the humanness of their leaders because they are putting their faith in a man or woman instead of our Perfect, Living God. Why do we do that to our pastors, worship leaders, teachers and others who serve? They are mere men and woman like us. Stay focused on God, not men and women who are fallible.
God leads Paul to heal a lame man and the crowd goes wild, thinking Paul is a god. He sets them straight immediately, “We don’t make God; he makes us”. We are here to give you The Message and point you to God, leaving all other gods behind. This region had many gods for all occasions and situations. Let’s see how Paul and Barnabas handled it….
Acts 14, The Message
Gods or Men?
8-10 There was a man in Lystra who couldn’t walk. He sat there, crippled since the day of his birth. He heard Paul talking, and Paul, looking him in the eye, saw that he was ripe for God’s work, ready to believe. So he said, loud enough for everyone to hear, “Up on your feet!” The man was up in a flash—jumped up and walked around as if he’d been walking all his life.
11-13 When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they went wild, calling out in their Lyconian dialect, “The gods have come down! These men are gods!” They called Barnabas “Zeus” and Paul “Hermes” (since Paul did most of the speaking). The priest of the local Zeus shrine got up a parade—bulls and banners and people lined right up to the gates, ready for the ritual of sacrifice.
14-15 When Barnabas and Paul finally realized what was going on, they stopped them. Waving their arms, they interrupted the parade, calling out, “What do you think you’re doing! We’re not gods! We are men just like you, and we’re here to bring you the Message, to persuade you to abandon these silly god-superstitions and embrace God himself, the living God. We don’t make God; he makes us, and all of this—sky, earth, sea, and everything in them.
16-18 “In the generations before us, God let all the different nations go their own way. But even then he didn’t leave them without a clue, for he made a good creation, poured down rain and gave bumper crops. When your bellies were full and your hearts happy, there was evidence of good beyond your doing.” Talking fast and hard like this, they prevented them from carrying out the sacrifice that would have honored them as gods—but just barely.
19-20 Then some Jews from Antioch and Iconium caught up with them and turned the fickle crowd against them. They beat Paul unconscious, dragged him outside the town and left him for dead. But as the disciples gathered around him, he came to and got up. He went back into town and the next day left with Barnabas for Derbe.
What do we learn?
–He is God and we are not.
–Church is not perfect for it is made up of sinful people.
–Point people to God always.
–Tell people about Jesus and his saving grace. Talk less of your church. Jesus is perfect. Church is not.
–Our lives were created to worship the One and Only God.
What other gods do you rely on? Is our technology, vehicles, homes, other people?
Dear Heavenly Father,
There are many gods who pull for our attention even today. Help us to be alert to putting other gods before You! You are God and we and other things are not. It is Only You. You are our God, the God of creation, the God who made us….to worship You. Continue to get our attention, transform us and save us from ourselves and the world around us.
In Jesus Name, Amen