CHARACTER STUDY: PAUL 14

KEY SCRIPTURE: Acts 14:20 ” Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city: and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.”

Read Acts 14:19-24

After Paul had been stoned and dragged to the next city, the brethren went and stood around him. What did they do? I believe they prayed for him and this caused the power of God to lift him up.

The bible said he stood up and went into the city and the next day departed with Barnabas to Derbe. Please, is it naturally possible that a man who has been stoned apparently to “death” to stand up without any bones breaking, blood oozing from certain portions and walk all by himself to the city.  This was a miracle. Apostle Paul was committed to the work of God and was living in the perfect will of God. God’s program for his life had not come to an end and so Satan could not terminate his life.

One thing that every child of God must be very aware of is, there is living in the perfect will of God, as against living in the permissive will of God. To live in the perfect will of God is to live according to the leading of the Spirit of God and to be obedient to the word of God. To live in the permissive will is not to allow the Holy Spirit to have absolute dominion over your life. Certain Christians easily break the word of God. They come to church yet live in fornication. They slander and gossip about their fellow believers, Some live in pride and arrogance. Some easily break their marriages and remarry. The Holy Spirit instruct them to stop certain habits and lifestyle yet they continue doing them. They simply live in disobedience. Such a lifestyle is living in the permissive will of God. God is not obligated in any way to protect your interest. Ecclesiastes 10:8 “He that diggeth a pit shall fall into it, and whoso breaketh the hedge a serpent shall bite him”. The hedge is the protection of the Lord. It is abiding in the will of God. God’s will and word is your protection, when you break his word you have broken his protection. Don’t live in sin and expect God’s covering.

The wonderful truth is that righteousness is our nature. We were born into this life with a righteous nature. The power of sin is totally broken over the life of every born-again child of God. Romans 6:14. “For sin shall not have dominion over you, for you are not under the law but under grace”. Under the grace of God, we have received everything that pertain unto life and godliness. We are no more in the flesh. We are in the Spirit and must walk in spirit. Living in obedience is our natural habitat, so please stay in God’s perfect will.

If we live this way we would walk according to the perfect will of God and everything that happens is under his total supervision and control.

 CONFESSION

I live in the perfect will of God. I live to honour the word of God and allow the Spirit to lead me in all I do. I dominate in this life and no devil can mess my life for God’s power is fully at work in me, making me overcome every challenge that rises against me.

FURTHER STUDIES.

Romans 12:2 ” And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God”.

Galatians 5:16 “This I say then, walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.”

CHARACTER STUDY: PAUL 13

KEY SCRIPTURE: Acts 14:19 And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium, who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out of the city, supposing he had been dead.

(Read Acts 14:18-25)

Apostle Paul and Barnabas, after healing the man in Lystra who was born impotent in his legs, were nearly worshipped by the people as gods come in human form. Paul and Barnabas had to do everything to prevent them from doing such an abominable thing. These days some pastors allow their members to treat them as demigods. The way they have presented themselves make them literally worship them. This is rather unfortunate. You are a man and must not allow anyone to do that.

Members should not be too familiar as to disrespect the grace that is upon the man of God, yet be careful when they treat you as God. Let them understand it is the grace of God that has made you what you are and that as a man you are of like passions like them.

On the flip side these people who wanted to worship Paul and Barnabas were convinced by some Jews who came around to turn against them and stoned Paul, almost to death. How could a people who were ready to make sacrifices and worship them become instant enemies and try to kill them. Indeed, the heart of man is deceitful and desperately wicked who can tell? (Jeremiah 17:9). The bible says in John 2:24 that “But Jesus did not commit himself unto them because he knew all men”. Dear man of God, do not yield yourself to men. Do not live for their praises, live only to please God.

Never act against what God says to honour men. “THE ONLY WAY YOU TRULY BLESS MEN IS TO PLEASE GOD ALWAYS”. The Lord Jesus knew what is in men, and so he did not allow men to control Him.

These people stoned Paul and dragged him to the next city. Please picture it, they supposed him to have died. I believe they held him after stoning him and were satisfied that he had died. I believe he died, and they dragged him on the floor to the next city. This should complicate his condition. The scripture said in Acts 14:20 “Howbeit, as the disciples stood round about him, he rose up and came into the city and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.” This man Paul, after such a traumatic experience did not reside to rest awhile but, immediately continued working for the master.

Paul was not living for himself he lived to please Christ. What are you living for.?

 PRAYER

Oh, Father may you open the understanding of all children of God to know that the true essence of living is to live for Jesus.

FURTHER STUDIES.

2 Corinthians 5:14-15  :For the love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then were all dead: And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again.”

Philippians 1:20-21 ” According to my earnest expectation and my hope, that in nothing I shall be ashamed, but that with all boldness, as always, so now also Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life, or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”

CHARACTER STUDY: PAUL 12

KEY SCRIPTURE: Acts 14:13 ” Then the priest of Jupiter, which was before their city, brought oxen and garlands unto the gates, and would have done sacrifice with the people.”

Paul and Barnabas went to Lystra and preached there too. They had been persecuted wherever they went yet they never gave up preaching the word. No challenge must make us stop doing what God has asked us to do.

In Lystra he had an open-air preaching. He saw a man impotent in his feet. This man listened attentively to Paul and he had faith to be healed. Apostle Paul knew by insight that this man had faith to be healed. What did this man hear? I believe Paul was talking about the grace of our Lord Jesus that brings healing to all that are sick. I believe he spoke about the Lord’s atoning work on the cross by carrying away our sicknesses and pains (Isaiah 53:4,5). The man heard and so had faith to be healed. Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God. (Rom 10:17) What does it mean for him to have faith to be healed? It meant out of what he heard he was settled in his heart that the Lord Jesus Christ had taken away his sicknesses and therefore he is healed.

Apostle Paul commanded him to get up. He had received the word of healing but he did not know what to do to experience his healing, so Paul had to tell him. He got up and was well. When you believe any message from God, act on it and you will realise the impact of the word.

From our key scripture when the people saw what Paul had done, they came to them shouting that the gods have come to them in human flesh. Apostle Paul and Barnabas run through the people after tearing their garments and saying, we are men of like passions, so don’t do these things.

These people were right and wrong in a sense. They were right because according to the Bible every child of God is a partaker of the divine nature and has divinity working in him (2nd Peter 1:4) Psalm 82:6 “I have said ye are gods and all of you are children of the Most High”.

Conversely, they were wrong because they thought they were the gods they worshipped who have come in human flesh. They were going to perpetuate their idolatry. They were not in any way going to see this as the glory of God through his son Jesus Christ.

Apostle Paul acted to prevent them from perpetuating any idolatrous activities which would have hidden or drawn the very intention for which they came there. They came to project Christ and not themselves .. We must never seek attention unto ourselves as we preach God’s word. No matter how powerful or glorious God uses us, every glory must always go to Him.

CONFESSION

I am one with Christ. He is alive in me and I can do all things through Christ which strengthens me. It is Christ who does these things through me and all glory belongs to him.

FURTHER STUDIES

2 Peter 1:3-4 ” According as his divine power hath given unto us all things that pertain unto life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that hath called us to glory and virtue:

Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.”

Philippians 4:13 ” I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.”

CHARACTER STUDY: PAUL 11

KEY SCRIPTURE: Acts 14:1 ” And it came to pass in Iconium, that they went both together into the synagogue of the Jews, and so spake, that a great multitude both of the Jews and also of the Greeks believed.”

Apostle Paul and Barnabas maintained their missionary journey. These men were totally committed to the instruction of the Holy Spirit. They spoke with a sense of urgency to satisfy their master. Dear child of God, would you resolve to please Him alone? No wonder they obtained so much positive results. Anytime the Holy Spirit is involved in the work of evangelism, good results are inevitable. Their preaching in Iconium brought salvation to a great multitude, both Jews and Greeks alike.

From Apostle Paul’s experience we see that one’s passion to get the message across is a vital ingredient to make the Holy Spirit confirm the message with great impact. When anyone preaches to the lost as if he or she has been hired to do so, the impact and result will not be encouraging.

In spite of the impact of their work and the success achieved the Jews raised an opposition against Paul and Barnabas. Persecutions normally arise when we obtain success in ministry. Satan would not sit idle when people are getting saved. He would hit back, but don’t yield to his threats, Paul and his team did not stop, they kept ministering the word.

Acts 14:3 says they abode in lconium for a long time and spoke boldly, while the Lord granted signs and wonders to be performed by their hands. One virtue that every Christian needs to be effective and to see signs and wonders happening in his or her life is boldness. Every Christian is a store house of power ready to do just like our master Jesus did. Do you remember the master said, Greater works than he did will we do because He goes to the Father? (John 14:12). The implication of going to the father is the coming of the Holy Spirit. John 16:7b “……but if I depart, I will send him unto you”. Every child of God has the Holy Spirit. Why is everyone not exhibiting the miraculous signs the Lord talked about? The answer is a lack of boldness.

In Acts 4:29 after the disciples had gathered for prayer they said “And now Lord, behold their threatenings; and grant unto thy servants that with all boldness they may speak thy word. BOLDNESS is the vital virtue every child of God needs to do the exploits the Lord talked about. Pray and receive boldness to do His works.

Once again, they were persecuted and so they left Iconium and went to Lystra and Debbie, which were cities of Lycaonia and to the regions that laid about. May the life and experiences of Paul inspire in us a commitment to spread the gospel with all diligence and a stubbornness to any opposition that may show its head. PREACH THE WORD.

 PRAYER

Oh, father fill me with divine boldness so I will do your work, with so much impact in my days.

FURTHER STUDIES.

1 John 4:17 Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.

Proverbs 28:1 ” The wicked flee when no man pursueth: but the righteous are bold as a lion.”

CHARACTER STUDY: PAUL 10

KEY SCRIPTURE: Acts 13:13. Now when Paul and his company loosed from Paphos, they came to Perga in Pamphylia: and John departing from them returned to Jerusalem.

Paul and Barnabas continue on their missionary journey. They left Paphos and came to Perga which was in Pamphylia. John Mark who was their minister or assistance decided to go back to Jerusalem. The Bible did not give any reason for his refusal to continue with the mission. In Acts 15:37 and 38 Barnabas determined to take along John for their mission but Paul refused because he left them at Pamphylia and went not with them to the work. May we always maintain our commitment to the work of God and not to give up as John Mark did. Many church workers run away from difficult moments. Some make pledges only to refuse to pay, because times may be difficult.

Once again, they joined the Jews at the synagogue to fellowship with them. (Note the apostles and the Christians met on the Lords day or the first day of the week. Acts 10:7″And upon the first day of the week when the disciples came together to break bread, Paul preached unto them……” The Christians after the resurrection of Jesus met on Sundays.) Apostle Paul speaking to the Jews used the principle of the known to the unknown. He started from the story of Moses and narrated the history of the Jewish people’ to the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. Apostle Paul made sure that he based what he said about Jesus was in the old testament prophesies. He then majored on the death and resurrection of Jesus. He established that Jesus revealed himself to his disciples after his resurrection. Apostle Paul made them to understand that through Jesus their sins were forgiven and all those who believed are also made righteous, something that the law of Moses could not do for them. This is the good news. We must passionately send it to all men.

In Acts 13:42 the scriptures said after the Jews were gone the gentile also came requesting that the gospel be preached to them on the next sabbath. By the next sabbath the whole city came together to hear the gospel. Dear reader many people in our day are not responding to a lot of preaching, because most of these preaching are not the gospel. The true gospel is about the Grace of God that made Jesus to be a substitute for our sins so we may be justified and become the righteousness of God. Please preach the gospel and not something different. Jesus died for all men and they must be free from the power of sin and the devil. 

CONFESSION.

The gospel is the power of God unto salvation. I am made righteous through believing the gospel and share in the divinity of God.  I am a new creation and I am more than a conqueror because God lives in me

FURTHER STUDIES:

Acts 13:38-39 ” Be it known unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: And by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses”.

2 Corinthians 5:19 ” To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; and hath committed unto us the word of reconciliation”.

CHARACTER STUDY: PAUL 9

KEY SCRIPTURE: Acts 13:8 ” But Elymas the sorcerer (for so is his name by interpretation) withstood them, seeking to turn away the deputy from the faith.”

(Read Acts 13:6-12

Apostle Paul and Barnabas were invited by the deputy governor of Paphos, called Sergius Paulus a prudent or wise man to share the gospel with him.

When they got to him, they found one Bar-Jesus which means son of Jesus (in Hebrew) , a false prophet or a sorcerer with him .This man  opposed the gospel.

Satan has many ways he uses to oppose the gospel. In this instant he used this false prophet who tried to confuse the deputy governor from accepting the message. Satan may oppose the gospel by scandalising about the men who preach the gospel. He may oppose the gospel by raising financial challenges to limit the easiness with which the gospel is propagated. Satan can also do so by raising certain false prophets whose practices become a great hindrance for people to reject the gospel. Another subtle way to oppose the gospel is when he attacks a man advancing the gospel with a kind of deadly disease that makes him or her unable to project the gospel as a strong person would do. He can also use an unrest in the nation to hinder the gospel.

How did Apostle Paul stop this satanic orchestrated plan to hinder the gospel? Acts 13:9 says “Then Saul (who also is called Paul) filled with the Holy Ghost set his eyes on Him”. Paul rebuked him and pronounced God’s judgement on him which happened instantly thereby erasing that negative impact on the proconsul. Elymas or the false prophet became blind instantly.

The bible said Paul was full of the Spirit, out of whom he spoke to stop that opposition. What does it mean to be full of the Holy Spirit? The following scriptures will assist us to know what it is like, to be full of the Spirit. Acts 6:5 speaking about Stephen, describes him as full of faith and full of the Holy Spirit. Acts 11:24 also speaking about Barnabas said, he was full of the Holy Spirit and faith. These scriptures and others reveal a relationship between being full of faith and being full of the Holy Spirit. They always go together. We can say Apostle Paul was full of the Holy Spirit and also full of faith. He silenced the opposition by an act of faith. He spoke in faith against the opposing person or situation. The main answer to various oppositions to the advancement of the gospel is a bold step of FAITH.  It may be applied in various forms; for example, through prevailing prayer Faith is the victory that overcomes the world. (1st John 5:4). To be full of the Holy Spirit is to be full of faith.

It is the fullness of the Holy Spirit in us that makes us overcome. Let the Spirit have you totally by deciding to act on the word of God always. This is what faith is all about. Act in faith and stop Satan’s resistance to the gospel.

 CONFESSION

I am submitted to the word of God. I act on the word which allows the Spirit to have His way in me making me full of Him. I obtain great results by acting on the word.

FURTHER STUDIES.

Hebrews 11:33-34 ” Who through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, Quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens.”

1 John 5:4 ” For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”

CHARACTER STUDY: PAUL 8

KEY SCRIPTURE: Acts 13:4 “So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia; and from thence they sailed to Cyprus.”

Paul and Barnabas were sent by the Holy Spirit from the church in Antioch. They were very influential in raising the church of Antioch, but did not claim they had to sit there and ran the church, but they were yielded to the Holy Spirit, ready to obey His instructions. Dear man of God, it is not what you want that you do but what the Lord says.

   They quickly obeyed the Spirit’s commission. May we all be obedient to our Lord’s commission. Matthew 28:19 reads “Go ye therefore and teach all nations. …..” This is the Lord’s commission to every Christian and we must all religiously obey it.  Many of us do not go out there to share the Gospel because we are not ready to lose our comfort.  Serving God means denying yourself to love the Lord and do that which pleases him.

Matthew 16:24 ” Then said Jesus unto his disciples, if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.”

  They first went to Seleucia a distance of about 41 miles by sea, from there they sailed to Cyprus, an Island in the Mediterranean which is not far from Seleucia. Now note this, the Spirit asked them to go and preach but did not tell them where to go in particular. As we have also been commissioned to go and teach all nations, we do not wait for the Spirit to say go here or go there. We get going and share with whomsoever we meet. (The Holy Spirit in some cases can be specific about where to go)

  They got to Salamis which is a principal city and seaport of Cyprus. It was the custom of the apostles to preach first in the synagogues which were Jewish gathering.

         Acts 13:16 reads “when they went through the Isle………” These men were simply combing through the region and sharing the Gospel to as many who were ready to receive them. We must likewise move everywhere to share the Good News with all men.

       The deputy governor of the country (Paphos) was called Sergius Paulus. He invited Paul to listen to the word of God.  What made a deputy of the Land, call on Paul and Barnabas to listen to the Gospel? I believe what prompted this invitation was the impact of the message.

1.The gospel brings peace to all those who believe it.

2.The gospel brings transformation of the life to all who receive it. Sinners receive power to be free from sin.   

3.The sick are healed when they believe the gospel.

4.People who were filled with hatred, strive and anger begin to express true love to their neighbours, when they receive the gospel.

I believe these are some of the impact of the gospel that caused the proconsul or deputy governor to invite Paul and Barnabas to hear them too.

Dear child of God the gospel or good news is the power of GOD unto salvation to everyone who believes. SHARE IT. The gospel declares our Lord Jesus died for our sins ,and was raised on the third day for our Justification or to make us righteous.(Rom 4:25)

Dear reader if you have not received eternal life, then believe on the Lord Jesus today and admit Him to be the Lord of your life, by confessing Him as your Lord.

    CONFESSION

The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes. I share it wherever I go bringing heavenly blessings to all who receive it. It is indeed a great joy to be partner with the Lord in sharing this good news .

FURTHER STUDIES

2 Corinthians 5:15 ” And that he died for all, that they which live should not henceforth live unto themselves, but unto him which died for them, and rose again”.

John 3:16 ” For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life”.

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