And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand. Then the deputy, when he saw what was done, believed, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord. ~Acts 13:11-12
Have you ever played tug of war? This is a competitive event where two groups of people are holding opposite ends of a rope, and pull with all their strength. The side that is able to pull the other side over a marked line is the winner. In the spiritual realm, there is a tug of war going on for the souls of men. This morning, let us see the competitive edge that God gives us in this tug of war for the souls of men.
We see an individual PROSPECT.
Saul and Barnabas were on their first missions and church-planting trip on the island of Cyprus, in an area named Paphos. As they were preaching the gospel and witnessing to people, a man named Sergius Paulus heard them. He was a man of dignity and office. He was so impressed with the gospel that he desired to hear more. He was a vital prospect for the gospel message. Saul and Barnabas were focusing their attention on this man with the intent of seeing him place his faith in Christ as Saviour. Let us be stirred this morning to constantly engage in developing prospects for the gospel message.
We see an interfering PROBLEM.
This man was not only hearing the gospel, but he was also being pursued by a false teacher who went by the name “Barjesus.” This false teacher called himself the son of Jesus when in fact, he was a child and agent of the devil. This false teacher sought to turn away Sergius Paulus from the faith. Sergius Paulus was being pulled in two directions. A tug of war now ensued for this man’s soul. The devil hates it when we try to get people saved. The devil will interfere and do everything up his sleeve to keep people from being saved. He will deceive, disparage, disconnect, disappoint, and distract any prospect we develop from getting saved.
We see an influential PREACHER.
It is at this critical juncture that we see a paradigm shift in the life and ministry of Saul. It is at this moment that his name was changed from Saul to Paul. What stands out most about him is that he was described as being filled with the Holy Ghost, and that he set his eyes on Barjesus. The greatest things we must be conscious of and work at is being filled with the Holy Ghost, and not becoming placid about souls. The filling of the Holy Spirit is a must for every servant of God. The filling of the Spirit is our primary source of power and the game-changer. Paul was a man who was marked by his power and pursuit of the sinner.
We see an invincible POWER.
“And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon thee, and thou shalt be blind, not seeing the sun for a season. And immediately there fell on him a mist and a darkness; and he went about seeking some to lead him by the hand.” Paul said, “The hand of the Lord is upon thee,” to Barjesus. In other words, you will realize God is more powerful than Satan. This false teacher who sought to blind Sergius Paulus from the faith was himself blinded by the power of God. The result was that Sergius Paulus believed on Christ as his Saviour, being astonished at the doctrine of the Lord. What a powerful statement! The doctrine of the Lord speaks so wonderfully of the fact that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life. The tug of war for Sergius Paulus’ soul was decided by the filling of the Spirit in Paul’s life.
We cannot win a tug of war by logic, human reasoning, or individual persuasion. The only way we can be victorious against Satan is through the Spirit’s power. Let us pull down God’s power so that we can pull more sinners into the kingdom of heaven!
Have a Spirit-endued God Morning!
Bible Reading Schedule: Deuteronomy 11-13