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#3 We Must Make Sure to Always Give God the Glory (Acts 14:11-15)
God is the source of all life and giving Him glory is a must
Key verse: 14 “But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments…”
In the book of Acts we see many great times of challenge and triumph for the followers of Christ. There is one particular case where the Apostle Paul and Barnabas were used of God to minister to a man who was crippled, which was healed and could walk again. The people of Lystra (Modern-day Turkey), proclaimed both Paul and Barnabas to be “gods” who have come to be among the people. The local citizens began to offer sacrifices to them and they in return “…tore their garments” as a way to indicate they are humans not deserving of worship as one would worship God.
The mindsets of many people today are that of being self centered and having a deep longing to being worshiped by others, through various forms and fashions. Popular culture is known for making “gods” out of ordinary humans which appear to be larger than life. Many followers of Christ fall prey to this deception and with time turn from their focus on Christ and may find themselves the product of scandals, addictions, and a range of adulterous behaviors. Paul and Barnabas knew their humanity and were fully dependent upon the Holy Spirit to guide their steps. They knew without Him, they would be of no effectiveness to the world they were called to proclaim the Gospel.
Where has culture enticed you to desire things which take the credit from God and place the glory upon you? What can you learn from Paul and Barnabas and how they reacted when they were tempted this way?
Today’s Prayer: "Father, show me the error of my perception that I may know when I am allowing others to worship me and my works in place of You. Help me to be humble in your sight as I serve you this day in Jesus name, Amen."
People of Lystra declaring Paul to be a God
Lystra of Lycaonia, was a town that had no synagogue and was likely to have no Jews in it. It was simply not a commercially viable city. The city was full of uneducated individuals who had a very superstitious nature. There seems to have not been many educated Greeks or Romans there for the most part, but rather a native -like audience. As we read further, we see the evidence they had Cults that had been there for generations. Knowing that they compared them to Barnabas and Zeus, was emphasized in the Scriptures to give a correlation to that of Moses and Aaron going before Pharaoh’s court. Where according to Exodus 7:1, we see the Lord made Moses, “ …like God to Pharaoh.” The local community’s belief of Paul being Hermes, showed they thought Paul was Barnabas’s messenger, since they compared Barnabas to Zeus. There is a good chance Paul and Barnabas would not have understood their discussions, since the Lycaonian’s were likely to be speaking their native language. Some scholars have taken the time to argue there was a local legend that the gods Hermes and Zeus, once appeared before the time of Paul and Barnabas in that region in human form.
Lystra During the Time of the Book of Acts
This situation would have definitely been a challenge for both Paul and Barnabas. They were not dealing with Jews, or typical Greco-Roman worshipers of a higher educated class. This was a group of very religious peasants who’s culture was heavily influenced by devout superstition. We see in verses 8 and 10, the community acknowledged the miracle. But they gave no credit to God, nor even of Satan. They simply assumed Paul and Barnabas were actually gods themselves. Paul’s response was to make clear God was truly the source of this miracle they had witnessed. He continued on explaining why he should not get the credit for this miracle, and why they should be giving God the glory and turn to Him.
Modern Map of Former Lycaonia
Paul's Three Missionary Journeys
Paul's first missionary journey
Paul second missionary journey
Paul's third missionary journey
© 2017 Steven Michael Harris