In the previous chapter, we see that Paul and Barnabas spread the words of God courageously in Pisidian Antioch. Some people received the words happily, but some people rejected them and cast Paul and Barnabas out. After that, they traveled to Iconium, and continued to preach the words of God in Jewish synagogue. Because of the gospel, many people believed in Jesus Christ. However, there are also those who didn’t believe in Jesus, and they stirred up the other Gentiles and persecuted Paul and Barnabas. Yet, both of them, relying on God’s power, kept spreading the gospel with courage. God perform signs and wonders through them in order to confirm the message of His grace. Later, the people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, others with the apostles.
We may be oppressed or rejected when we try to spread the words of God, but if we pluck up our courage, miracles will follow us and prove for us the grace of God. Once the word of God is out, light/darkness, and believers/nonbelievers, will be revealed. Truth may be heavy for us, because our human nature is against God’s Truth. Nevertheless, the Truth will release us and set us free from the control of this world. Therefore, our lives must be connected to the teachings in the Bible; we need to think about how God’s words are related to our daily lives. Only in this way can our Bible-reading be relevant and influential to our lives. Bible-reading, then, will become meaningful and interesting. Stop saying that the Bible is hard to understand; it is Satan’s trick. It is exactly Satan’s wish that all God’s children stop reading the Bible. Remember that when Jesus resisted Satan’s temptation, all He used were God’s words. The Holy Bible is our best weapon to fight the enemy!
God will not give us words we cannot understand. Our God is positive, so we need to hold a positive attitude in receiving God’s words too. Reading the Bible can provide us with accurate understandings of God. If we do not read the Bible, it is as if we are just imagining what God is like through our feelings. The love basing on feelings do not last; Love requires the support of reason as well in order to reach a balanced development. If we depend too much on our feelings, we may think that God loves us just because we have a really good day today; if we encounter difficulties tomorrow, we may think that God doesn’t love us anymore, and we may start to complain, to doubt, and to turn away from God.
Paul and Barnabas healed a man who was lame from birth in Lystra. The Gentiles there are shocked, and they thought Paul and Barnabas were gods; the Gentiles even wanted to offer sacrifices to them. Yet Paul and Barnabas said to the people, “Friends, why are you doing this? We too are only human, like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made the heavens and the earth and the sea and everything in them.” While stopping people from offering sacrifices to them, Paul seized the chance, very wisely, to tell people about the only true God who created all things. Paul was very good at using every opportunity to preach the gospel, and this was because Paul viewed Jesus Christ as precious. Paul considered spreading the gospel the most important mission in his life.
What are the most important things in your life? Fame? Education? Health? Wealth? Even if you have all those things, your life is still worthless, and you are still doomed, if you are still bond by sins. Only through believing in Jesus, and be saved and purified by His precious blood, can we acquire the most important thing in our lives. After we are saved, we can live the rest of our lives for God in joy, because God has already accomplished the most important thing in life for us through His son, Jesus Christ.
Message by Elder Yeh / Summary and response by Jim Lin