by Pastor Ola Joseph Kolawole
The Audacity of Two Missionaries… and YOU
Acts 14 tells the story of the other cities Paul and Barnabas visited on their first missionary journey and the challenges they faced — and the triumphs they recorded.
This will be a short review, really, since the chapter is primarily historical. I will be pointing out three observations, viz:
1. You will notice that Paul’s presentation of the gospel in Lystra is totally different from how he preached in Antioch of Pisidia (in Chapter 13) — but the principle is the same. In Antioch where there was a predominantly Jewish audience, they took their listeners back to the Old Testament and traced the gospel message from there to their current reality. In preaching to the predominantly pagan audience at Lystra, however, he had to start with the witness of God in creation (see Acts 17:22ff.). His starting point was different, but his finishing point was the same: faith in the Lord Jesus Christ.*
2. They were careful not to allow themselves to be worshipped — the glory for what they are doing belongs to God alone. You may have heard of the ‘5 Solas of The Reformation’ — the cardinal pillars of salvation message as preached by the reformers (Martin Luther, John Calvin and the likes). These five statements sum up what lies at the heart of Protestant belief — that Salvation is:
A. by Grace alone (Sola Gratia)
B. through Faith alone (Sola Fide)
C. in Christ alone (Solus Christus)
D. according to Scripture alone (Sola Scriptura)
E. for God’s Glory alone (Soli Deo Gloria)
My emphasis here, being the last one — ‘for God’s glory alone.’ Whatever we are able to accomplish in God’s mission is only because God Himself achieved it, and we must always acknowledge that.
3. Reading through this chapter, a twenty-first-century believer should wonder how Paul and his associates were able to do all of these things WITHOUT the modern means of transportation and communication that we possess today. If they could have done so much with so little, what excuse do we have, seeing we have so much today which they never had?
That’s how I want to wrap this up as I conclude my part in reflecting on the Book of Acts. Thank God for the Acts of (the Holy Spirit through) Peter and Paul — and these very many other apostles and believers mentioned in the Book of Acts. However, what Acts shall be said of you, too?
Of this one thing, I am persuaded: God has given each of us something to use as a tool via which we can be engaged in God’s mission. It could be your social media following, or your gift/talent or your ability to make friends easily, or your ability to persuade people to attend events, or even your life’s story (or fractions of it). God has not left either of us without a means to participate in God’s mission. How are you ACTING on that which God has equipped you for in His mission on earth?
May God continue to empower us for even greater exploits in Jesus Name.