Encounters of a Spiritual Kind the Third Party-Acts 13:5-12
This is what could be called a spiritual tug of war. With Paul on one end, Elymas on the other and Sergius in the middle. It is also confrontational. The confrontation though is not with Sergius, the object of the witnessing, but with the opponent Elymas. Here Paul must hurl the law at Elymas who is interfering with Sergius who “sought to hear the Word of God.” In a way this reminds one of the Leipzig Debate where Luther was not so much trying to win over his opponent at the opposite podium as to influence those observing the debate.
Sergius was a man of intelligence who truly was interested in Paul and Barnabas’ message. Elymas tried to turn the proconsul away from the faith. We of course do not have apostolic power to do as Paul did. But we do have the law to refute and condemn the modern day Elymas. There are those times when in a very small group of three or so we may have one individual who we are trying to witness to, but are hindered by someone else. Then it is that we must turn to that opponent and direct the Word on what he is saying.
I can remember discussions in college in small groups when I would have to refute a Mormon in the discussion to get through to another listening. The beauty of this encounter of Paul and Sergius is that the proconsul did believe, “astonished at the teaching of the Lord.” It was the Gospel that Paul then preached that won him over after the interference was eliminated.
In the BELC – Pastor Anand Rao of the Chenna Dist. went to be with the Lord in Nov. He had joined us in ‘09. In the NCLC – I have just learned that Pastor Antai’s spirit returned home very recently. This brother was with us from the beginning of our work in Nigeria with Pastor Essien’s group back over 30 years. He was a pharmacist and upon retiring attended our Bible Institute for five years and became pastor in Mbokpu Oduobo where he had started a congregation.
Both of these men whether with us for a long time or a short time we rejoice over, that we could work together for Him. Blessed(happy) are the dead who die in the Lord.