What happened in Acts 14:8-18 has features in it that are mimicked today. My mind quickly goes to certain music artists who gain popularity in ‘Christian circles’ and the crowds go wild when they hold concerts. From tee shirts to memorabilia, the hype is all about the artist, but God is left out.
Paul and Barnabas travel from Iconium to Lystra and there find a man crippled from birth. “Paul looking intently at him and seeing that he had faith to be made well, said in a loud voice, “Stand up on your feet.” And he sprang up and began walking.” At this, the crowd went wild and proclaimed, “the gods have come down to us in the likeness of men! (14:9-11).
Look at the response to this uproar; “when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of it, they tore their garments and rushed out into the crowd, crying out, “Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men, of like nature with you, and we bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to a living God” (Acts 14:14–15).
Notice two things:
1) The apostles clearly and completely reject personal praise and exaltation.
2) They immediately present their reason for being in Lystra and the purpose for healing of the crippled man.
There is a grave danger in any popularity of allowing pride to obscure the reason for ministry and the message of the gospel. Be very careful of this danger in any area of your life.
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