Lessons for life from the Bible – Day 9
Deeds speak louder than words
Faith and Actions
A church whose members do not have a heart for mission will not grow. That could not be said for the church of Antioch. It was a hive of activity with prophets, teachers and members who worshipped and fasted. (Acts 13:1-3)
Under inspiration of the Holy Spirit, they set apart Barnabas and Paul for a missionary outreach. It was Paul’s first missionary journey. The excitement must have been great when Paul and Barnabas, with the young John Mark as their assistant, set sail to Cyprus in 46AD. The island of Cyprus was then a Roman colony, governed by a proconsul named Sergius Paulus. After travelling throughout the island proclaiming the Gospel, the missionaries reached Paphos where the proconsul was based.
Sergius Paulus, an intelligent man, wanted to hear the Gospel so he sent for Paul and Barnabas. Serving in his household was a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet, named Bar-Jesus, who had earlier met with Paul and Barnabas.
He was opposed to their visit and tried to dissuade the proconsul from hearing them. However, Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked directly at the sorcerer and denounced him as a child of the devil. He accused him of practising all kinds of deceit and trickery and perverting the right ways of the Lord. Paul told him the Lord would curse him temporarily with blindness. Immediately, Bar-Jesus was blinded. “When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.” (Acts 13:12)
If Paul and Bar-Jesus had merely had a theological debate, that might have been that. But Paul’s deed convinced Sergius Paulus of the sovereignty of God and the genuineness of Paul’s faith.
Point to ponder: How genuine is our faith? As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead. (James 2:26)