Sunday, November 4, 2012

Bar-Jesus


Bar-Jesus

 


“O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord?” – Acts 13:10


To what lengths would you go to see God save a soul?  Would you leave comfort and companionship?  Would you travel to a different land without knowing where you were going, but just being led by the Holy Spirit?  Would you stand up to satan himself?  God will go to great lengths to save a single soul, and yet His modern day disciples have grown weak. 
Acts 13 tells of a calling given to Barnabas and Saul (Paul).  They were in the church of Antioch along with other prophets and teachers when God said to them “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” God chose them to do a specific work at a specific time.  They fasted and prayed to prepare themselves. Then they left Antioch without directions as to where to go, but being led away by the Holy Spirit. They submitted their lives completely to God’s will.

But when they got to the island of Paphos, they were where He wanted them to be.  There lived a sorcerer named Bar-Jesus.  Make no mistake, in spite of his name meaning “son of Jesus”, he was the son of the devil.  His interpreted name being Elymas, which means “a wise man”, but 1 Corinthians 3:18 says that if anyone things he is wise, he’s a fool. 
He was the counselor for what Acts 13 says was an intelligent man named Sergius Paulus.  He was a keeper of the banks of the river Tiber, an important man in Rome.  Sergius wanted to hear from Barnabas and Paul about God’s word and Jesus, but Bar-Jesus kept trying to turn him away from faith in Jesus.

Paul, being strong and bold in his faith stood up to Bar-Jesus.  He looked him in the eyes and said “O full of all deceit and all fraud, you son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, will you not cease perverting the straight ways of the Lord?  And now, indeed, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you shall be blind, not seeing the sun for a time.”  Immediately he was in darkness and had to find someone to lead him around. Sergius Paulus, seeing the power they had in the Holy Spirit, believed in Jesus.
Paul called him out!  He referred to him not as the son of Jesus, as his name suggested, but “son of the devil” which is who he was.  He didn’t mind hurting his feelings to deliver the truth.  He didn’t say “Oh, I don’t discuss religion because I don’t want to offend people.”  He didn’t worry that he would lose friends in the new place he was sent to.  The truth of Jesus is offensive to those who don’t believe, and that’s whether you speak up or not.  1 Peter 2:8 says He is a rock of offense” to those that don’t believe.

The early church had many of the same trials we still face today.  As time has gone on, the population of Christians has grown, but satan has not weakened in strength against us.  Today we have allowed him to grow to an ever larger threat to those that are lost.  We encounter people who are wiccan, which means they practice witchcraft, which God’s word says is of satan.  We sit silently and just say “that’s their religion” and “I don’t discuss religion”.  We see people in our own families fall into scientology and hear that they are their own god.  We let those around us put their faith in horoscopes and astrology, taro cards, fortune tellers, mediums, and all sorts of evil.  Friends, if it’s not of God – it’s against God!
Frankly, I think God must be getting tired of the polite and meek way in which His people respond to satan and his children.  If Jesus Christ, who took away your sins, who gives you eternal life and the ability to reign with Him in Heaven isn’t worth your becoming a little uncomfortable to speak out for Him - then what is?  What is the soul that might be saved worth to you? Are you that self-centered to send to hell those that need Him to simply avoid a little conflict or criticism?

Ephesians 6 tell us to arm ourselves against satan with God’s word, salvation, truth, the gospel of peace, faith, and prayer that I may open my mouth boldly to make known the mystery of the gospel”.  Where has our boldness gone?  Why are we not making a stand against the evil that surrounds us?  We were not saved to sit on a pew, strap ourselves in and take a ride to Heaven!  We were not saved to sit in church and drown in God’s word without giving any of it away. 
Ephesians 6:13 says Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to STAND.” He has given you every weapon you need in His Holy Word.  Yet we don’t open it and we don’t study it.  We sit it like a prize on our book shelf for all who walk in to see so they will know, in spite of our actions, that we value God. 

This is a call to action for the church – the Body of Christ. STAND.  SPEAK OUT.  BE BOLD.  Souls die lost every day around you and go to hell.  Their blood is on your hands if you missed the opportunity to deliver them to Christ.  How are we any better than Bar-Jesus if we have the truth and refuse to share it?
 

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