A big ego is a dangerous attitude to have when it comes to the Word of God, and there is a huge difference between confidence and ego. Have you ever been around someone who condescended to you about the Word of God. I’ve seen new believers, totally fired up and excited, get eaten alive by other Christians with big egos. My goodness I’ve almost been eaten a time or two. Arrogance stunts the growth, stops the excitement and in the end divides people from God. Ego is a very bad idea, especially in Christianity. If there is anyone who could be egotistical it’s God or His Son Jesus Christ. Are they?
Today we’re going to go over the prevailing of Paul’s ministry over the thick-headed egos. How did he handle them and what did he do to keep growing the Word of God and prevailing.
“And he (Paul) went into the synagogue, and spake boldly for the space of three months, disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God.” Acts 19:8
For three months Paul went into the synagogue and preached the Word. When the Word of God prevails it manifests itself in powerful ways. As you learned in the last post, twelve disciples lives changed by that manifestation forever. Then Paul went on to preach the Word from Ephesus and it says later that all of Asia Minor heard the Word of God in the space of two years and three months. That powerful act has never been accomplished again, even since we spend billions of dollars, have radios, internet and tremendous technology at our disposal for missions in the Christian church. This evangelism started with those twelve men in Ephesus, and the disciples including Aquila and Priscilla. Wow!! On his way Paul ran into some egos.
“But when divers (many) were hardened, and believed not, but spake evil of that way before the multitude, he (Paul) departed from them, and separated the disciples, disputing daily in the school of one Tyrannus.” Verse 9
Paul preached the Word in the synagogues for three months. Can you imagine hearing a sermon from Paul himself? That unbelief must have been hardcore! When they refused to believe the Word of God, Paul separated the believers. He said, Those of you who want to believe, come with me. Did Paul divide that group? No, the unbelief did. Who were these unbelievers? Jews and fellow teachers and leaders of the Jewish faith speaking evil against Paul and the Word of God he brought to them. They couldn’t put aside their own egos. Ego says; “I want to do things my way”. Humility says; “God, I’m going to do it your way”.
What did Jesus say?
“Suppose ye that I am come to give peace on earth? I tell you, Nay; but rather division:” Luke 12:51
Does Jesus Christ himself cause the division? Jesus Christ presents a choice and the decision causes division. The choice is to believe or not believe that after he died, God raised him from the dead. There are all kinds of these forks in the road for believers after they believe that truth, because the devil is constantly throwing unbelief into your path. What did Paul do? He separated himself and the little babes in the Word and taught them at the school of Tyrannus. He broke off fellowship with the unbelievers. And what a break that was. Look what happened next!
“And this continued by the space of two years; so that all they which dwelt in Asia heard the word of the Lord Jesus, both Jews and Greeks.” Verse 10
How could the Apostle Paul and a handful of believers have accomplished this in the space of only two years and three months? Either God changed or Paul and these men plugged into something and utilized it to its capacity. Just a side note these men acted boldly after they lambano’d and manifested the gift of holy spirit. When they learned the Word of God they taught it to someone else, who turned around and taught someone else. It spread across the whole territory of Asia Minor in two years. Wow! If we got that excited today! The believers believing got so high, that they knew if Paul would simply touch their things, miracles would occur.
“And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul: So that from his body were brought unto the sick handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them.” Acts 19:11-12
Was it the handkerchiefs that healed them? No. It was the belief that if Paul touched it, God would heal them. Believing is always required by the person with the need. (Except in special cases; like mental derangement, children too young to believe for themselves, or dead people.) Which means that the healing couldn’t happen until the person believed for it. If an apron or hankie raised that believing high enough, so be it. God is not picky! He is the one giving the miracle, not Paul, or the hankie! But how many times do Christians put symbolic believing into an artifact or crucifix or something. Is not God the great surgeon? People, people! Don’t get tricked. If a piece of wood begins crying or bleeding we think it’s a miracle but those kinds of things happen in Buddha temples, witchcraft ceremonies and idols. Do not be fooled. God is a greater power than a carving or clay pot. He doesn’t need those things, He gave us a greater power in the gift of holy spirit.
Who is the ultimate egomaniac?
“How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! [how] art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations! For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.” Isaiah 14:12-14
If that’s not ego, I don’t know what is. When God has done so much for us, how can anyone think that way? In all reality we get tricked into it. We think we know because somehow someone convinced us along the way. Was that someone God? If God so loved that He gave, how could we ever spit in His face or on His precious Word? He spent so much time making His Will available for us. Now it’s our privilege to renew our minds to it and prevail mightily.
God Bless You Today!
Want to catch up on the previous posts.