How did the disciples get such extraordinary results?

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How did the disciples get such extraordinary results?

Post  fennywest on Thu 24 Jun 2010, 8:01 am



In Iconium

1At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed. 2But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers. 3So Paul and Barnabas spent considerable time there, speaking boldly for the Lord, who confirmed the message of his grace by enabling them to do miraculous signs and wonders. 4The people of the city were divided; some sided with the Jews, others with the apostles. 5There was a plot afoot among the Gentiles and Jews, together with their leaders, to mistreat them and stone them. 6But they found out about it and fled to the Lycaonian cities of Lystra and Derbe and to the surrounding country, 7where they continued to preach the good news. In Lystra and Derbe

8In Lystra there sat a man crippled in his feet, who was lame from birth and had never walked. 9He listened to Paul as he was speaking. Paul looked directly at him, saw that he had faith to be healed 10and called out, "Stand up on your feet!" At that, the man jumped up and began to walk.
11When the crowd saw what Paul had done, they shouted in the Lycaonian language, "The gods have come down to us in human form!" 12Barnabas they called Zeus, and Paul they called Hermes because he was the chief speaker. 13The priest of Zeus, whose temple was just outside the city, brought bulls and wreaths to the city gates because he and the crowd wanted to offer sacrifices to them.
14But when the apostles Barnabas and Paul heard of this, they tore their clothes and rushed out into the crowd, shouting: 15"Men, why are you doing this? We too are only men, human like you. We are bringing you good news, telling you to turn from these worthless things to the living God, who made heaven and earth and sea and everything in them. 16In the past, he let all nations go their own way. 17Yet he has not left himself without testimony: He has shown kindness by giving you rain from heaven and crops in their seasons; he provides you with plenty of food and fills your hearts with joy." 18Even with these words, they had difficulty keeping the crowd from sacrificing to them.
19Then some Jews came from Antioch and Iconium and won the crowd over. They stoned Paul and dragged him outside the city, thinking he was dead. 20But after the disciples had gathered around him, he got up and went back into the city. The next day he and Barnabas left for Derbe.
The Return to Antioch in Syria

21They preached the good news in that city and won a large number of disciples. Then they returned to Lystra, Iconium and Antioch, 22strengthening the disciples and encouraging them to remain true to the faith. "We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God," they said.



That is a good question. But the answer is obvious: they went through extraordinary difficulty, took unusual steps, went the extra-mile and God confirmed there efforts with signs following. At a time when Christians hide their light in the bushel, some preachers are compromising the Word, watering it down on issues such as abortion, homosexuality, prosperity, the family, prayer, witnessing what do you expect?




In Acts chapter 3, we find Peter and John going for the hour of prayer’. You mean they went to pray for one hour? Yes they did. You mean people attended a mid-week prayer meeting? You bet they did! Little wonder they had such boldness and authority in the spirit realm and got such extraordinary results.



And notice in that chapter, Peter had told the man ‘silver and gold I do not have, but what I have I give to you.‘ In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, rise up and walk!’ The man kept sitting down, wondering “Are you kidding? I have never taken a step in my life. What do you mean, ‘Rise up and walk.’”

So apart from believing God, putting their faith to the test, risking humiliation, they met a challenge, a resistance and they met it head on. Peter did not just back off when the man stared at him after the command to stand up. He bent down and helped the man up. He refused to take no for an answer. And as he touched the man , going the extra-mile, God assisted him by giving him the added anointing commensurate with his boldness, effort and faith He did not mind being humiliated and God gave him a boon. He did not mind the ridicule and God gave him a miracle. Electricity of the power of the Spirit shot through that man like a bullet and he jumped up, running leaping , praising God.



He even ran into the Church to break the prayer meeting up for a while. You can imagine how packed the next prayer meeting would have been. Miracles attest to the power of God, but they will come only to those who not only believe in miracles but who will go the extra mile, risk being not politically correct, risk ridicule, preach the unadulterated word of God. It will not come to those pussy-footing, trying to please everybody around and preaching only the bits of the Bible they liked or they think would please the sense.

Powerful preaching will bring unusual persecution. It would convict, prick the heart but it will also bring repentance and glorify God. Preachers can be expected to be thrown into prison as is the case in the communist era and even right now in middle eastern countries or in china were the Church is underground. Some preacher will be beheaded as has happened other will be burnt alive or fed to wild animals or thrown into the lion’s den or fiery burning furnace as we have in the Bible. Some disciples will be delivered but some will be martyred.



In this story we see uproar, pandemonium, divided opinion, attacks with stones and possibly sticks. The apostles and disciples fled the place for their lives, but they did not quit preaching. They did not say, ‘Why is this happening to us? After all we are preaching the gospel.’ They left the place and went to other parts and continued preaching. And what was the result? : The crippled were healed with just a command by faith in Jesus’ name. Some people were so flabbergasted that they concluded the gods had come down in the form of men and wanted to sacrifice to Paul as Hermes – the Greek god, and Barnabas as Zeus.

Paul and Barnabas were horrified and had to remind them that they were mere men but for the power of God working through them.



Besides, the persecution was not just once. It was sustained, incessant and repeated elsewhere. For instance a murderous mob stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, apparently dead. But the believers gathered around him, possibly praying until he rose up and went back into the city. Praise The Lord!

The next day he left the city and went to other cities, preaching and making disciples ( not making Christians). And very importantly the word of God declares: they encouraged them to continue in the faith, reminding them that they must enter into the kingdom of God through many tribulations.’ Acts14:22



Unless we too are convinced, know, are persuaded beyond doubt that extra –ordinary anointing does not come cheap, that we must be prepared to take risks, go the extra mile, pray without ceasing preach the word without compromise, we will not see the results they saw.



If you have received Christ and have been baptised with the Holy Spirit, you do not have a counterfeit Spirit but the living dynamic Spirit of the Living God, Who is the same yesterday today and for ever. What He did in the disciples in the early church era, He can do through you and me even in 2010. The question is: Are we prepared to do the extra? Are we prepared to be different for good reasons? Are we prepared to pay the price for the prize?

In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groans that words cannot express rom8:26

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. 1cor12:4



It is written: "I believed; therefore I have spoken." With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, “cor4:13



17Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Rom8:17

11And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you. --:11

8But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Acts1:8

19But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the doors of the jail and brought them out. Acts5:19




Peter's Miraculous Escape From Prison

1It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. 2He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. 3When he saw that this pleased the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Feast of Unleavened Bread. 4After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.
5So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.
6The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. 7Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. "Quick, get up!" he said, and the chains fell off Peter's wrists.
8Then the angel said to him, "Put on your clothes and sandals." And Peter did so. "Wrap your cloak around you and follow me," the angel told him. 9Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.
11Then Peter came to himself and said, "Now I know without a doubt that the Lord sent his angel and rescued me from Herod's clutches and from everything the Jewish people were anticipating."

Paul’s Sufferings No Pain, No Gain

To keep me from becoming conceited because of these surpassingly great revelations, there was given me a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 10That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2Cor12:8-10
22The crowd joined in the attack against Paul and Silas, and the magistrates ordered them to be stripped and beaten. 23After they had been severely flogged, they were thrown into prison, and the jailer was commanded to guard them carefully. 24Upon receiving such orders, he put them in the inner cell and fastened their feet in the stocks.
25About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. 26Suddenly there was such a violent earthquake that the foundations of the prison were shaken. At once all the prison doors flew open, and everybody's chains came loose. 27The jailer woke up, and when he saw the prison doors open, he drew his sword and was about to kill himself because he thought the prisoners had escaped. 28But Paul shouted, "Don't harm yourself! We are all here!"
29The jailer called for lights, rushed in and fell trembling before Paul and Silas. 30He then brought them out and asked, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?"
31They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved—you and your household." 32Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all the others in his house.

Acts16:22-32

We put no stumbling block in anyone's path, so that our ministry will not be discredited. 4Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.2Cor.6:3-10

The Power is Available

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth." Acts1:8

But we must press on and pay the price for the prize.
10I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, 11and so, somehow, to attain to the resurrection from the dead.
Pressing on Toward the Goal

12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already been made perfect, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Phil3:10-14

The bottom line:

"We must go through many hardships to enter the kingdom of God," they said.

If you don’t want the heat, get out of the kitchen!


What is your take on this matter?

fennywest
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