God Uses Ordinary People,
By Brian Baer
While Paul and Barnabas were ministering in Lystra, they came in contact with a man who was crippled and had never walked. Verse 9 states that Paul looked at the crippled man and perceived that he had the faith to be healed. What an important statement! There are those who believe if you get sick enough, God will heal you out of pity. This is not the case. You must have faith to be healed. The Bible says, “The just shall live by faith” (Romans 1:17). Paul saw faith in the crippled man and it was on that premise Paul commanded the man to do something he could not do. I feel one of the main purposes of ministry is to challenge people to accomplish things that circumstances suggest will never happen. Paul said, “Stand upright on thy feet.” The lame man was healed and began walking. Many of you can testify that God has done extraordinary things in your lives. Some of you are working today because of God. In fact it would be safe to say that you may not understand how you got the job. You realize there are others who may have had better qualifications but you had more of God. Let’s take a closer look at this extraordinary miracle.1. Ordinary People Can Accomplish Extraordinary Feats
It’s one thing to walk and become injured. At least you used to walk. However, this man never walked. I have friends who are physical therapists and I asked their perspective on this Scripture. They both agreed it would be impossible for this man to walk under his own power. Everyday you lay in bed you lose half your strength. In essence, it would take you two days to regain full strength after lying in bed one day. One of the therapists told me that some people require electrolysis to restart their muscles after more than two weeks of complete bed rest. Of course what I have just written only applies to those who COULD walk before their injury. If you have never walked, it would be impossible to learn how to walk because your muscles have no memory of walking. Praise the Lord! I am glad when God moves in an extraordinary way, there is no need for therapy. God does it all in ONE STEP. Some of you knew what it meant to be crippled spiritually and you did not know how you were going to get up. But one day God spoke to you and said, “I know your situation says that you can’t walk, but get up and walk.” Now you can praise Him because you know you are walking by the supernatural power of God.2. Ordinary People Receive Extraordinary Fame
When the people saw this miracle they wanted to make gods out of Paul and Barnabus. Sadly, we live in a society that practices this principle. I think you would agree there is a fine line between honoring people and worshipping people. I heard a preacher give an illustration which explains what I am trying to say. Imagine a young man who learned how to run from fleeing the scene of a crime. We give him an oblong ball and he makes millions of dollars running. Society pressures him and says, “You should teach our children morals because you’re a hero.” In my opinion, the young man should teach kids how to run not how to live.
The people said, “The gods have come down to us in the likeness
of men.” Paul silenced their worship and said, “We also are men of
like passions with you.” Paul insisted on being an ordinary person.
The real miracle in this story is not that the lame man was healed,
it was that God worked through an ordinary person to do it. As long
as you can come to church and look at a few people and say, “They
are special,” it gives you an excuse to sit and say, “Let the
special people handle it.” However, when those special people say,
“I am just like you. If God blessed me, He can bless you.” You have
no excuse. This story does not show us that there are extraordinary
people. The truth of the matter is we are all ordinary people, but
some do not allow their ordinariness to stop them from extraordinary
faith. Then there are some that let their success get to them and
they start believing they are extraordinary. In reality, there are
no extraordinary people just an extraordinary God. If we stay
humble, God will use us to do supernatural things.
Always remember when God works supernaturally the enemy will do his best to stop you. Verse 19 states, “And there came thither certain Jews from Antioch and Iconium….” They did not come to encourage Paul and Barnabus, they came to kill them. We have to realize some things that are sent from the enemy are only meant to kill us. Here is how you can identify the attack. These men stoned Paul. This attack is torture. It comes in steps. Usually the accuser would take a larger stone and hit the victim in the waist area to knock him down. Then one by one, from the youngest to the oldest, the people would throw stones. This attack is brutal because you get hit from every direction. Eventually you have no idea where the stones are coming from and you die a painful death.
However, I am glad the Bible says these men, “drew him out of the city, SUPPOSING he had been dead.” There will be times in your life where Satan will attack and try to kill you. He’ll begin to plan your funeral. He’ll say, “I have got you.” What he does not know is:4. Ordinary People Receive the Extraordinary Favor of God
God stands ready to give you an extraordinary deliverance. The Bible says they drug Paul out of the city and thought he was dead. Surrounded by people, “He rose up and came into the city.” (verse 20). When God decides to raise you up, He will raise you up publicly. He will deliver you right in the midst of your enemies.
It is my belief the same power that raised up Paul is the same power that raised up Jesus. So, if Christ lives within us, it makes sense that He can resurrect us. There have been times when I thought I was dying. Satan had attacked me from every side, but God spoke up and said, “It’s not over. Stop the hearse. Open up the casket. I am getting ready to show him my extraordinary favor.” It is Satan’s occupation to attack. However, if you remember to stay ordinary and let God work, He will come through and show you His supernatural power. As Romans 8:31 says, “What shall we then say to these things? If God be for us, who can be against us?”
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