Faithlife Sermons

Sergius Paulus Converted on Cyprus

Discovering the Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  57:01
0 ratings
· 180 views

Not even the darkness of false prophecy and prophets will imped the Word of God.

Files
Notes
Transcript
Handout
Handout
Sermon Tone Analysis
A
D
F
J
S
Emotion
A
C
T
Language
O
C
E
A
E
Social
View more →

Acts 13:4 ESV
4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus.

Sailing to Cyprus

Acts 13:4 ESV
4 So, being sent out by the Holy Spirit, they went down to Seleucia, and from there they sailed to Cyprus.
ref. ; 11:19-20
What can we discover from this verse?
What can we discover from this verse?
Their destination was Cyprus, some sixty miles distant.
Barnabas was himself a Cypriot by birth (4:36),
Their destination was Cyprus, some sixty miles distant. Barnabas was himself a Cypriot by birth (4:36), the Hellenists had already begun some witness on the island (11:19), and other natives of Cyprus belonged to the Antioch church (11:20).
the Hellenists had already begun some witness on the island (read 11:19),
and other natives of Cyprus belonged to the Antioch church (read 11:20).
Polhill, J. B. (1992). Acts (Vol. 26, p. 291). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
As with the beginning of this missionary journey it is a good starting point with those things familiar to us.
Who is behind this missionary journey? It is the Holy Spirit who is directing this mission.

Proclaiming the Word of God

Acts 13:5 ESV
5 When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the synagogues of the Jews. And they had John to assist them.
ref. Acts 13:5
Barnabas and Paul landed at Salamis, the closest Cypriot port to Seleucia.
Here they began a pattern that Paul would perpetuate throughout his missionary career. Where there were local synagogues, he began his ministry by preaching first in them. There was an extensive Jewish community at Salamis, and evidently several synagogues were there.
Barnabas and Paul landed at Salamis, the closest Cypriot port to Seleucia. Here they began a pattern that Paul would perpetuate throughout his missionary career. Where there were local synagogues, he began his ministry by preaching first in them. There was an extensive Jewish community at Salamis, and evidently several synagogues were there. Only at this point do we learn that John Mark was part of the entourage. He is described as their “helper” (hypēretēs). This term is used in for “servants of the word” and in for the worship leader in the synagogue. Some have seen Mark’s role as that of catechist, or keeper of written documents on Jesus’ life, or even the administrator of baptism. Keeping the more general meaning of the term, which is that of a servant or helper, probably would be wisest. Mark assisted Barnabas and Paul in whatever way they needed him.
Only at this point do we learn that John Mark was part of the entourage. He is described as their “helper” (hypēretēs).
Some have seen Mark’s role as
that of catechist, or keeper of written documents on Jesus’ life,
or even the administrator of baptism.
Polhill, J. B. (1992). Acts (Vol. 26, pp. 291–292). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
What was Paul’s practice when he came to a new place? Paul’s practice was to proclaim the Word of God in the Synagogues

Sought to hear the Word of God

Acts 13:6–7 ESV
6 When they had gone through the whole island as far as Paphos, they came upon a certain magician, a Jewish false prophet named Bar-Jesus. 7 He was with the proconsul, Sergius Paulus, a man of intelligence, who summoned Barnabas and Saul and sought to hear the word of God.
ref. ; ; ; ; ;
13:6–7 From Salamis the three traversed the width of the island, arriving at Paphos some ninety miles to the west.
13:6–7 From Salamis the three traversed the width of the island, arriving at Paphos some ninety miles to the west. It may well be that they evangelized the villages along the way, but Luke did not dwell on this. He rather focused on the high point of the Cyprus experience—the conversion of the proconsul and the defeat of a false prophet’s attempt to thwart their witness to him. Paphos was a fairly new city and the seat of Roman government on the island.11 The proconsul at this time was named Sergius Paulus.
It may well be that they evangelized the villages along the way.
Luke focused on the high point of the Cyprus experience—
the conversion of the proconsul
and the defeat of a false prophet’s attempt to thwart their witness to him.
Polhill, J. B. (1992). Acts (Vol. 26, p. 292). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
What type of prophet does the Bible call Bar-Jesus? The Bible calls Bar-Jesus a false prophet.
What kind of man does the Bible call Sergius Paulus? The Bible describes Sergius Paulus as an intelligent man.
Let us look at God’s opinion of divination; sorcery; astrology; etc.
Deuteronomy 18:9–12 ESV
9 “When you come into the land that the Lord your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominable practices of those nations. 10 There shall not be found among you anyone who burns his son or his daughter as an offering, anyone who practices divination or tells fortunes or interprets omens, or a sorcerer 11 or a charmer or a medium or a necromancer or one who inquires of the dead, 12 for whoever does these things is an abomination to the Lord. And because of these abominations the Lord your God is driving them out before you.
Leviticus 20:6 ESV
6 “If a person turns to mediums and necromancers, whoring after them, I will set my face against that person and will cut him off from among his people.
Revelation 21:8 ESV
8 But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death.”
Is it ok for Christians to consult Diviners such as Witches; Sorcerers; Horoscopres; etc.? No
Galatians 5:19–21 ESV
19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.
Many like to quote that King Saul consulted a medium, so why can’t I?????
1 Chronicles 10:13–14 ESV
13 So Saul died for his breach of faith. He broke faith with the Lord in that he did not keep the command of the Lord, and also consulted a medium, seeking guidance. 14 He did not seek guidance from the Lord. Therefore the Lord put him to death and turned the kingdom over to David the son of Jesse.
Is it ok for Christians to consult Diviners such as Witches; Sorcerers; Horoscopes; etc.? No, it is not ok

Son of the Devil

Acts 13:8–10 ESV
8 But Elymas the magician (for that is the meaning of his name) opposed them, seeking to turn the proconsul away from the faith. 9 But Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked intently at him 10 and said, “You son of the devil, you enemy of all righteousness, full of all deceit and villainy, will you not stop making crooked the straight paths of the Lord?
ref. Acts 13:8-10
Romans put great stock in powers of divination and even had their own sacred oracles.
Charlatans like Bar-Jesus were usually smooth and highly knowledgeable, practicing a sort of pseudoscience. His Jewish credentials did not hurt him either. The Jews had a reputation among the Romans for their antiquity and depth of religious knowledge.
One should not be altogether surprised that a Roman official could be hoodwinked by such a figure. Romans put great stock in powers of divination and even had their own sacred oracles. Charlatans like Bar-Jesus were usually smooth and highly knowledgeable, practicing a sort of pseudoscience. His Jewish credentials did not hurt him either. The Jews had a reputation among the Romans for their antiquity and depth of religious knowledge. Josephus mentioned a number of such Jewish sorcerers who had great successes among the Gentiles. Bar-Jesus probably offered his services to Paulus in terms of divining future events for him. In any event, just as with Simon-Magus (8:9–13, 18f.), the setup was a lucrative one; and Bar-Jesus saw the Christian missionaries as a potential threat. In v. 8 Luke added that the magician also had the name of Elymas and that “is what his name means.” The etymology is anything but clear, but the connection seems to be between “magician” and Elymas, not with “Bar-Jesus.
Josephus mentioned a number of such Jewish sorcerers who had great successes among the Gentiles. Bar-Jesus probably offered his services to Paulus in terms of divining future events for him.
In any event, just as with Simon-Magus (8:9–13, 18f.), the setup was a lucrative one; and Bar-Jesus saw the Christian missionaries as a potential threat. In v. 8 Luke added that the magician also had the name of Elymas and that “is what his name means.”
Polhill, J. B. (1992). Acts (Vol. 26, p. 293). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
Polhill, J. B. (1992). Acts (Vol. 26, p. 293). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
note in verse 9 Before leaving the Cyprus narrative, one small but significant note must be treated. In v. 9 Luke identified Saul by his Roman name, “who was also called Paul.” From this point on in Acts, the name Paul appears, whereas before it had been “Saul.” The only exceptions hereafter are Paul’s recounting his conversion experience when he repeated the call of Jesus to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?”
Why did Luke change the designation at this point?
Some have argued that he did so because of the presence of Sergius Paulus in the narrative, a man of the same name.
Acts 13:11 ESV
11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand.
He almost certainly had both names. Paul was his Roman cognomen, and every Roman citizen had such a name. It would be the name natural to every Greek and Roman who crossed his path—like Sergius Paulus.
Paul also had a Hebrew name, called a signum, an additional name used within his own community. This signum “Saul” was surely that used of him in Jewish circles.
Luke’s switch at this point is thus natural and quite observant of the situation. Moving into Greco-Roman territory, Paul would be the name primarily used to address him.
There is a further subtle dimension. With the change in name, there also came a shift in status.
Heretofore, Barnabas had always been mentioned before Paul.
It was “Barnabas and Saul” (cf. 13:1, 7; 11:30; 12:25).
From here on it was “Paul and Barnabas” (cf. 13:42, 46).
Even more significantly, it was “Paul and his companions” (13:13). Paul was more and more on his own ground as he moved into Greco-Roman territory.
He assumed leadership.
What are some motives of Elymas to turn the Proconsul from the faith? 1. He was Jewish 2. He made money with the Proconsul as adviser and perceived Christianity as a treat

Darkness fell upon him

Acts 13:11 ESV
11 And now, behold, the hand of the Lord is upon you, and you will be blind and unable to see the sun for a time.” Immediately mist and darkness fell upon him, and he went about seeking people to lead him by the hand.
ref. Acts 13:11
13:11 One might have been able to take advantage of a proconsul, but one could not withstand the ways of the Lord with impunity.
13:11 One might have been able to take advantage of a proconsul, but one could not withstand the ways of the Lord with impunity.
13:11 One might have been able to take advantage of a proconsul, but one could not withstand the ways of the Lord with impunity. Sometimes in Acts the inevitable punishment came swiftly, as it did for Ananias and Sapphira (5:1–11). It descended with equal immediacy on Elymas. Paul predicted it: “You are going to be blind, and for a time you will be unable to see the light of the sun” (v. 11). Paul himself had experienced blindness, not, however, as punishment but as a sign of the Lord’s presence in his conversion. One would like to agree with Chrysostom, who argued that Paul inflicted his own blindness on Elymas in the hope that it would lead to his conversion, just as it had been a sign of his own. More likely, however, the blindness was symbolic of Elymas’s own spiritual state of being (cf. ; ).
Sometimes in Acts the inevitable punishment came swiftly, as it did for Ananias and Sapphira (5:1–11). It descended with equal immediacy on Elymas.
Who else had experienced blindness as the result of defying God? Paul himself had experienced blindness.
Paul himself had experienced blindness, not, however, as punishment but as a sign of the Lord’s presence in his conversion.
One would like to agree with Chrysostom, who argued that Paul inflicted his own blindness on Elymas in the hope that it would lead to his conversion, just as it had been a sign of his own.
More likely, however, the blindness was symbolic of Elymas’s own spiritual state of being (cf. ; ).
Polhill, J. B. (1992). Acts (Vol. 26, p. 294). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
13:12 Verse 12 describes the effect of the miracle on the proconsul: he believed. He was not only impressed by the miracle but

The teaching of the Lord

Polhill, J. B. (1992). Acts (Vol. 26, p. 294). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
Acts 13:12 ESV
12 Then the proconsul believed, when he saw what had occurred, for he was astonished at the teaching of the Lord.
ref. Acts 13:12
13:12 Verse 12 describes the effect of the miracle on the proconsul: he believed. He was not only impressed by the miracle but also by the teaching about the Lord.
This familiar pattern already has been illustrated in Acts.
13:12 Verse 12 describes the effect of the miracle on the proconsul: he believed. He was not only impressed by the miracle but also by the teaching about the Lord. This familiar pattern already has been illustrated in Acts. The miracles wrought by the Spirit often provide an opening for faith. It is much as with the lame beggar of chap. 3. The crowds were attracted to the apostles by the healing (3:11). They believed in the Lord as the result of Peter’s preaching the gospel (4:4). So here Paulus was impressed by what had happened to Elymas. He believed as a result of the teaching about the Lord. There is no reason to doubt the reality of his conversion. This has been the main point of the whole Cyprus narrative. No other conversions have been mentioned, though there were surely others as a result of the missionaries’ preaching. Luke left us with one major result of the mission—the conversion of a prominent Roman official.
The miracles wrought by the Spirit often provide an opening for faith.
It is much as with the lame beggar of chap. 3.
The crowds were attracted to the apostles by the healing (3:11).
They believed in the Lord as the result of Peter’s preaching the gospel (4:4).
So here Paulus was impressed by what had happened to Elymas. He believed as a result of the teaching about the Lord.
Polhill, J. B. (1992). Acts (Vol. 26, pp. 294–296). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
What converted the Proconsul to the faith? Was it the miracle or the Word? It was the Word that the Proconsul was astonished at
Polhill, J. B. (1992). Acts (Vol. 26, pp. 294–296). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
Polhill, J. B. (1992). Acts (Vol. 26, pp. 294–296). Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers.
Related Media
Related Sermons