And saying, Sirs, why do you these things? We also are men of like passions with you…
I. THE SUBLIMITY OF CHRISTIANITY. This is seen —
1. In the spirit it generates. It is the characteristic of mean-natured men that they seek homage from their fellows. Many of the heathen emperors put themselves up as gods; and there are those now in every circle who are craving to be the idols of their sphere. But here you have two men to whom the highest honours were unanimously and enthusiastically offered — repudiating them with a holy indignation. What gave them this spirit? Christianity! The man who has this spirit is too great, not only to seek, but to receive the honours which worldly men covet.
2. In the God it reveals.
(1) The absolutely living One — "the living God"; not like their gods, dead idols. His life is the life of the universe.
(2) The universal Creator.
(3) The patient Governor of men. Their conduct was offensive to Him, and opposed to His requirements; but He allowed them full scope for the play of their intellect, genius, and passions.
(4) The constant Worker in the universe. The operations of nature were only His power in action. He works everywhere in nature, always doing good, and all His works are "witnesses" of Himself. This discourse of the apostles shows how they adapted their subject to their hearers. When they address Jews, they deal with the Hebrew Scriptures; when they address heathens, they expound the Bible of nature.
3. In the revolutions it effects. The work of Christianity is to turn souls from the false to the true, from the shadowy to the real, from the creature to the Creator. The gods of men are vanities, whether Jupiter or Mercurius, or worldliness, fashion, pleasure, or pride. What a grand thing, then, is Christianity! All the systems of men to it are as tapers to the sun.
II. THE WORTHLESSNESS OF HUMAN POPULARITY. How long did this public desire to worship the apostles continue at Lystra? It had a very brief existence (ver. 19). What a rapid reaction! The enthusiastic adorers are transformed to malignant foes; the men who are honoured as gods one hour, are treated the next as wretched criminals deserving death. This is popularity. "Hosanna" today, "Crucify" tomorrow. What a worthless thing! How much beneath the man to value, still less to court. He who worships popularity worships —
1. A corrupt god. So long as the world is depraved, the popular thing must be wrong.
2. A capricious god. It approves today what it denounces tomorrow. Little men go after popularity, and their little souls adore it; great men are followed by popularity, and their great, natures care. nothing for it.
(D. Thomas, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And saying, Sirs, why do ye these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and preach unto you that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein:
WEB: "Men, why are you doing these things? We also are men of like passions with you, and bring you good news, that you should turn from these vain things to the living God, who made the sky and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them;