Revival Vs. Religion… Chick Fight!
Acts 14… what an action packed chapter! Who needs Hollywierd when you and the Holy Spirit can grab a cup of Dunkin’ Donuts Coffee (my personal fav) and a bowl of Special Fruit & Yogurt Cereal and watch an action packed movie of the mind. It’s amazing! In the words of a dear friend Sandra Lancaster… “Picture this…” and keep in mind that this is the gospel according to Shari.
Paul had just preached the Word of God in Antioch, he’d torqued off the Jews and stirred up the Gentiles until they wanted to hear part two of his sermon. Evidently they’d never ask the Synagogue staff for part two of theirs because they were very upset! It might have also had something to do with the fact that Paul told the Jews that God had given them the very same word but they didn’t think they were worthy of living forever so they turned it down, and now we’re givin’ your piece of Heaven to the Gentiles.” (Chapter 13, vs. 46, 47). So Paul and Barnabas end up getting thrown out of Antioch and head out to Iconium.
It was there that both the Jew and the Gentile heard and believed the Word of God.
Rejection shuts the door to the Holy Spirit
Paul and Barnabas were no doubt on fire by the time they had reached Iconium. (14:1-5) It was no wonder that many of the Jews and Gentiles heard and believed. They could see the Holy Spirit working in and through the Apostles and Revival had broken out in their community. But those who rejected the Word of God and refused to consider the signs and wonders began stirring up strife in the community until the Revival leaders were forced to leave town. They could see it, but they wanted no part of it.
Responsiveness opens the door to the Holy Spirit
Paul and Barnabas fled to Lystra and Derbe and it was there that a responsive invalid opens the door to faith and revival of the heart. (14:8-10)
And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother’s womb, who never had walked: The same heard Paul speak: who stedfastly beholding him, and perceiving that he had faith to be healed, Said with a loud voice, Stand upright on thy feet. And he leaped and walked.
Did you catch that? Paul could see the man’s faith. The impotent man was believing before the miracle had even happened and he had opened the door to the Holy Spirit which was already evident even before the miracle. He knew something big was about to happen, and when it did, he didn’t grunt and groan and wallow around on the floor trying to get up, he leaped! Don’t you think that didn’t catch some people off guard and cause revival to break out again! It’s the same way in a good church service when someone gets saved. Our teen retreat was good, but not until a few girls minded the Holy Spirit and testified, and then a young man broke down and realized his need for repentance did it become great! It was then that revival broken out in camp last week. It was on!
Religion Doesn’t even know the Holy Spirit
Imagine if at our camp, when the young man got saved, the kids all bowed down to Steve Boggs who had just preached the sermon that pricked the young man’s heart that led to his salvation. Imagine if they gave Steve the glory for saving his soul and wanted to build a statue right then and there to memorialize Steve’s power. That would be crazy, but that’s what happened when the lame man leapt. They didn’t recognize that it was God they recognized man and wanted to worship Paul and Barnabas. Religion is just that… it’s the evidence of man’s abilities and not faith that the Holy Spirit made the entire thing happen through supernatural abilities. When Paul and Barnabas refused to be idolized the crowd (spurred on by Antioch Jews who followed them and Iconium citizens) drew Paul out and stoned him, supposedly to death.
But again, they were looking through the eyes of religion. Paul’s friends the other apostles came and stood around Paul…
And he rose up! Can you see the credits start to roll!!!!
I’d like to thank God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit…
Whew doggy Revival broke out again. Paul left town for a few days to gather his strength but he returned to each city and encouraged those believers to keep on keeping on.
Now that’s the bible according to Shari, but read it for yourself.
Lesson for the day… even in a world that rejects Christ and the Word of God… Revival still happens. Bring it on!!! It starts at Victory at 7 p.m. tonight under an old fashioned tent in the outdoors. If you’re local, bring your chair or use ours and come on out, if you’re too far, please pray for us and we’ll celebrate in Heaven over what the Lord has done.