Skip to main content

These aren’t the gods you’re looking for: Acts 14

There are times to beat around the bush, give fluffy intros, or tell a quick illustrative humor. Then there are times to come straight to the point.

Today is a straight to the point day. Acts 14 (link) is our next passage going through the whole Bible. We pick up Paul and Barnabas on their missionary endeavors, and find them in Lystra. Through Paul, God heals a man there who had been lame since birth. The witnesses determine that Paul and Barnabas must be “the gods” come down in human form to visit humanity.

Paul and Barnabas then have to put a stop to the people’s attempt to worship the two of them as gods. They are aghast that the people would ascribe to them any of the worship and honor due to God alone.

Without further ado, here are the critical points for us:

1. Worship belongs to God alone. There is no one, nor any being, that deserves any fragment of the worship that God receives.

2. If you are in leadership, there is a consistent pull for people to ascribe to you a respect that goes too far. And it’s incredibly easy to allow it. AND YOU MUST NOT DO SO. While making disciples includes helping people grow in their discernment, as a leader it is your responsibility to not walk into this trap. It’s not set by people, but it is real.

3. If you are someone who considers yourself more a follower than a leader, that is not always a bad thing. However, it is necessary that you learn to not take the worship and honor due God and give it to someone else.

Why does it matter so much?

First of all, it matters because as God’s people we should be concerned about truth. Anything that attempts to deprive God violates the truth. That, on its own, should be adequate.

Second, though, it matters because of human nature. People are born with a sin nature: we are born with a habit of sin, whether we like to admit that or not. Now, how that sinful nature shakes out is a matter of debate and how God counts guilt is also a place of discussion, but the truth remains that people, especially full-grown adult people, have a tendency to do the wrong thing.

That means that when one person acquires more and more power, their capacity to do wrong increases. If you take the power, you increase your temptations. And then bad things happen. Leadership includes putting forth the effort to keep a check on your own weaknesses, your own temptations so as not to put yourself in the midst of a crisis.

Unfortunately, too often we have failed in this regard. It behooves us to push back against that in ourselves. Too push back away from amassing worship that is misguided. It often starts with the best of intentions, but those good intentions then turn into dangerous situations.

Neither can we try and take those mistaken views and use them even for a temporary advantage. Paul and Barnabas could have been sly here and said “Yes, we’re Hermes and Zeus, and we want you to know that Jesus is the way!” Yet we cannot accomplish good ends with wicked means.

In all, we must be very cautious about how we handle leadership within the Christian world. I would argue that we must also be so in the world-at-large. Deifying leaders serves no valid purpose—even doing so just a little.

Today’s Nerd Note: I wonder what we can infer about Paul and Barnabas from the crowds assignment of “Hermes” to Paul and “Zeus” to Barnabas. Certainly we see Luke recount that Paul was doing the talking, and so he was assumed to be the messenger.

However, is there more? Perhaps a bit about relative ages, that Barnabas seemed the older, wiser one?

We cannot go too far, as it is inferring from a brief mention. Yet it does allow the mind to wander.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Book Review: The Heart Mender by @andyandrews (Andy Andrews)

The Heart Mender: A Story of Second ChancesEver read a book that you just kind of wish is true?  That's my take on The Heart Mender by Andy Andrews.  It's a charming story of love and forgiveness, and it's woven into the historical setting of World War II America.  For the narrative alone, the book is worth the read, but the message it contains is well worth absorbing as well.However, let's drop back a minute.  This book was originally published under the title Island of Saints.  I read Island of Saints and enjoyed it greatly.  Now, Andrews has released it under a new title, with a few minor changes.  All of this is explained in the Author's Note at the beginning, but should be noted for purchaser's sake.  If you read Island of Saints, you're rereading when you read The Heart Mender.  Now, go ahead and reread it.  It will not hurt you one bit.Overall, the story is well-paced.  There are points where I'd like more detail, both in the history and the geog…

Book: The Gospel Call and True Conversion

A quick note: This book, The Gospel Call and True Conversion, is currently available on Kindle for $4.99. This is the second in a series of 3, and the first, The Gospel’s Power and Message, is available for $2.99.The Gospel Call and True Conversion. The title of this book alone sounds intimidating, and adding that it’s written by one of the heavyweights of American Reformed Christianity, Paul Washer, does not lessen the intimidation factor. Washer is known to be a straightforward preacher—for good or for ill.What did I find in The Gospel call and True Conversion? I found some things to like:1. Paul Washer is passionate for the truth. He wants to know the truth. He wants to proclaim the truth. He wants the truth heard. He wants you to know the truth. This is good. It is good to see someone not try to base theology on popularity or as a response to modern events, but to base it clearly on truth. 2. There is a strong emphasis on the reality that true conversion (from the title) will resu…

Sermon Recap for July 29 (and 22)

Good Morning!Here is what you'll find: there is an audio player with the sermon audios built-in to it, just click to find the one you want. You'll also find the embedded Youtube videos of each sermon.If you'd like, you can subscribe to the audio feed here: https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/east-end-baptist-church/id387911457?mt=2 for iTunes users. Other audio feeds go here: http://eebcar.libsyn.com/rssThe video is linked on my personal Youtube Page here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJBGluSoaJgYn6PbIklwKaw?view_as=publicSermons are stockpiled here: http://www.doughibbard.com/search/label/SermonsThanks!July 29 AM: (Audio)
July 29 PM: (Audio)
July 22 AM: (Audio)July 22 PM: (Audio)