Worship: the False and the True
Acts 14:8-18
And there sat a certain man at Lystra, weak in his feet, being a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked:…

I. MAN WORSHIP. Look at —

1. The great miracle.

(1) The cripple. His condition was, humanly speaking, hopeless. So the sinner (Romans 7:18; Psalm 51:5).

(2) The cure. Look at the steps.

(a) "The same heard Paul speaking." The gospel came with healing to the soul before healing was given to his body.

(b) Perceiving how undoubting was the man's faith in Christ as a Saviour, Paul saw that he would have just as much faith in Him as a healer.

(c) "Stand upright on thy feet." To that clarion call all the energies of the lame man's being responded. The sense of impotence gave place to a sense of power. There was a second miracle in the leaping and walking; for with man walking and leaping are the result of many trials and failures.

2. The great mistake. The miracle set the people reasoning. By no mere human power could such a wonder be performed; therefore these men must be gods. Even the priest of Jupiter himself came to do priestly homage.

II. TRUE WORSHIP. Some would have let the people suppose for a time that their surmise was true. It would give them influence, and gradually, they could turn attention away from themselves to Christ, etc. But the false never can represent the true. How did Paul and Barnabas act?

1. Self-worship rejected.

(1) The apostles' horror. Evidently no such temptation had appealed to them.

(2) The apostle's declaration. "We also are men," etc. Capable of suffering, and hence unlike gods.

(3) The apostles' mission. "Bring you good tidings, that ye should turn from these vain things unto the living God." The worship of the living God is the only one that brings returns. All other worship is empty of results — a waste of time, of means, of energy — an eternal disappointment.

2. True worship enjoined. The sermon of the apostles is short, but it presents God —

(1) As Creator. "Who made the heaven," etc. God was "living," while their gods were of stone, or of their own imagination. He was self-existent — their gods were "vanities."(2) As Father.

(a) Indulgent. "Who suffered all nations to walk in their own ways." He would not compel their adoration, but left it to themselves to find out that evil was hurtful, idolatry nothing but vanity, and that the wages of sin is death,

(b) Faithful. "Yet He left Himself not without witness, in that He did good." The apostacy of the nations did not cause God to turn away from them. With infinite patience, born of infinite love, He continued to treat them as though they were His children.

(c) Provident. "And gave you from heaven rain," etc. With wonderful kindness our Father "maketh His sun to rise on the evil and the good," etc. His love and goodness continually plead with men to repent. "And with these sayings scarce retained they," etc. The heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil. It is as hard sometimes to turn them as it is to turn the course of a river.

(M. C. Hazard.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: And there sat a certain man at Lystra, impotent in his feet, being a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked:

WEB: At Lystra a certain man sat, impotent in his feet, a cripple from his mother's womb, who never had walked.

Three Instances of Faith
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