I. "SO THEY BEING SENT AWAY BY THE HOLY SPIRIT."
A. Certainly this is one of the keys of success of the early church. It was directed by the Holy Spirit.
1. Today the churches have missions boards who look over the qualifications of the candidates who desire to go to the mission field to determine if they are qualified to go or not.
2. They have certain minimum requirements as to age, experience, and health that you must meet in order to even be considered.
3. To plea that you feel that the Spirit is calling you will fall on deaf ears.
4. Some of the missionaries who are doing the most fantastic work for the Lord on the mission field have or had been rejected by the mission boards.
B. It is sad that we feel that the wisdom of man is superior to the leading of the Spirit in matters of the church.
C. So we see that it was the Holy Spirit that gave birth to world missions.
1. It is such a thrill to see the commitment of our young people who serve the Lord on the mission field.
2. I love these young people who do not look at serving God on the mission field as a sacrifice but as a blessing.
II. "SO THEY DEPARTED UNTO SELEUCIA."
A. The city of Antioch was 15 miles up the Orentes river from the coast. Seleucia was the port city, so they journeyed to the port city of Seleucia, where they caught a ship to Salamis which is on the island of Cyprus.
1. We read that they preached the word of God in the synagogues there.
a. This was to become their pattern for their ministry.
b. Paul wrote to the Romans that he was not ashamed of the gospel of Jesus Christ for it was the power of God unto salvation, to the Jew first. And Paul made that his pattern, to the Jew first.
c. Having been a Pharisee, and a rabbi, Paul would have an open forum in the synagogues.
d. It was common courtesy to allow a visiting rabbi to expound on the scripture.
2. We know that Barnabas was originally from Cyprus, he probably had contacts there, perhaps even family, so he was anxious to share the gospel of Jesus Christ with them.
3. We read that they took John Mark with them as their minister.
a. The word minister means servant.
b. We have already learned that John Mark was the nephew of Barnabas.
4. The Island of Cyprus was known for its copper mines and its ship building industry.
5. It was a Roman province and sometimes called Makaria which means Happy Isle. It has an almost perfect climate and with an abundance of natural resources, it had everything there to make a person happy.
B. From Salimas they passed through the island to the capital city of Paphos which was on the southwestern end of the Island.
1. Paphos was noted for the worship of Venus, the goddess of love.
2. Here they came across a certain sorcerer who was a false prophet, he was a Jew, named Bar Jesus. Bar is son, so he was the son of Joshua, for Jesus is the Greek name for Joshua.
3. He was a counselor to the deputy of the country.
4. Often the leaders had wizards or fortunetellers or astrologers as their advisors. Today we might call them psychics. It is interesting how that Jean Dixon spoke of how many of the presidents would call her for advise or counsel. And according to reports even Ronald Reagan looked to an astrologer for guidance.
5. The name Elymas means wise one or skilful one.
C. The Roman procounsul Sergius Paulus called for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God.
1. We are told that he was a prudent man. The word in Greek means of sound understanding.
2. Here were two men who were making a stir in the territory over which he ruled, and he wanted to hear for himself just what they were teaching.
D. But this Elymas sought to argue with Barnabas and Saul, and sought to turn the deputy away from the faith.
1. He was really fighting for his job.
2. He realized that if the deputy came to a real faith in Jesus Christ, he would be out of a job.
III. THE SAUL WHO IS CALLED PAUL.
A. This is the first time that he is called Paul. Saul was his Hebrew name, Paul is the Greek name for Saul. This is the last time he is called Saul.
1. God had called him as the Apostle to the Gentiles, so it would seem that from here on he was known by his Gentile name.
B."Filled with the Holy Spirit." How I love those qualifying words.
1. How important that as we minister we be filled with the Holy Spirit.
2. Back in chapter 4, when Peter was standing before the counsel we read that he was filled with the Holy Spirit.
3. We either minister in the Spirit or in the flesh.
4. There is a lot of ministry in the flesh that is passed off as ministry in the Spirit.
5. The purpose of the Holy Spirit is to exalt Jesus Christ. If the ministry is designed to draw you to the person, then it is ministry in the flesh.
6. The reason we have opted for radio ministry rather than TV is that people turn on TV to be entertained. To entertain people you have to put on a show.
C. Paul fastened his eyes on Elymas. The word translated fastened literally gazed intently. He stared at him.
1. It would seem that deputy had believed in the witness that they gave to him of Jesus Christ, and now this Elymas is trying to talk him out of his new found faith.
2. Paul is staring at him. I can imagine that Paul was quite incensed with Elymas.
IV. PAUL'S VILIFYING OF THE MAN.
A. Oh full of all subtlety and mischief.
1. The word subtlety is a word of deceit and fraud. A deliberate conscious effort to deceive.
2. The word mischief is radi or gious. Slight of hand.
3. Fraudulently seeking to trick.
B. Child of the devil. Under his influence, practicing his arts.
1. When the Jews said to Jesus that they were the sons of Abraham, Jesus said, you are of your father the devil.
2. Jesus said to the churches in Revelation, Smyrna:
I know thy works, and tribulation, and poverty, (but thou art rich) and [I know] the blasphemy of them which say they are Jews, and are not, but [are] the synagogue of Satan. Philadelphia:
Behold, I will make them of the synagogue of Satan, which say they are Jews, and are not, but do lie; behold, I will make them to come and worship before thy feet, and to know that I have loved thee.
3. There are those today who object any time we speak negatively of some false prophet.
a. They accuse us of judging.
b. Jesus told us to beware of false prophets. How can you beware of a false prophet without judging a person?
c. How are we to judge them? By their fruit ye shall know them.
4. We are not nearly as forceful in our denouncing as Paul was.
And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
I wrote unto the church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not.
C. Enemy of all righteousness.
1. People who are profiting over evil will always be an enemy of anyone who speaks against that evil.
2. What an apt description of the ACLU organization.
D. Will you not cease to pervert the right ways of the Lord?
V. PAUL'S PRONOUNCEMENT OF GOD'S JUDGMENT UPON HIM.
And now, behold, the hand of the Lord [is] upon thee, and you shall 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.