In these few verses we learn some important lessons in Evangelism.
It all started with fasting and praying and worshiping the Lord.
First three verses speak of Holy Spirit’s involvement and instruction.
Holy Spirit set Barnabas and Paul apart for the ministry in Cyprus and the church obediently ordained them to go.
Thus it became Paul’s first missionary journey.
Barnabas and Paul began proclaiming the word of God in Jewish synagogues in Cyprus.
At Paphos they were introduced to Bar-Jesus or Elymas and Sergius Paulus.
Elymas was a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet – had an attendant job with Proconsul.
Proconsul Sergius Paulus had a desire to hear the word of God and sent for Paul and Barnabas.
Verse 8: But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith.
This Elymas guy had some influence over Paphos for he was close to the Proconsul.
Satan always attempts to discourage the saints by putting hurdles in the way of Gospel message.
Today many act that way creating roadblocks for people to hear the gospel of Lord Jesus.
Some use intelligent arguments, some use political power and influence to put hurdles in evangelism.
In the name of inclusiveness and progressive thinking some churches dilute the message of the cross.
Satan used Elymas, the false prophet during Paul’s days and he can also use nominal Christians to do his dirty work.
In Verses 9-11, Paul confronts Elymas directly and rebukes the evil in him.
God had given him two gifts: Gift of preaching, and gift of discernment.
Not only Paul was able to proclaim the Gospel in simple words but also able to discern the works of Satan through people.
In Verse 10 we get the glimpse of some characteristics of devil working through a person.
Paul says “you belong to the devil – devil is always enemy of what is right.”
Today we see how the right is twisted as wrong every day – what we think right is no more right in the eyes of this world because of the greatest deception of the devil – many are falling prey to such lies every day.
Satan perverts the right ways of the Lord as a twister of the truth.
In Verse 11 Paul pronounces God’s judgment upon such Elymas with temporary blindness.
Verse 12 captures my attention for its unusual response from the proconsul.
He saw what happened to Elymas – Being a Roman and a gentile he believed in the Lord.
Also he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord.
Four things we learn from this episode:
1. In our present world Satan uses people to block the Gospel message.
2. Some people have the gift of discernment- perception through the power of Holy Spirit.
3. Many people are hungry for the word of God.
4. Can I be the instrument of the Holy Spirit to share the Gospel?
Always depend upon the Holy Spirit to anoint and stand side by side in Evangelism.
Always there will be confrontation with the devil who opposes evangelism.
Always teach and preach clearly the simple Gospel message.
Always face the challenges through the power of the Holy Spirit.
Always expect positive response and results trusting God to do HIS part.