Shelby G. Floyd
Paul and Barnabas entered the Jewish synagogue at Iconium and so spoke that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed. Our attitude and reception of the word of God is what produces faith (Romans 10:17). “But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers” (Acts 14:1-2 NIV). Unbelievers who reject the gospel often will try to “stir up” (epegeiro) and excite potential believers so they will also be unbelievers. Then when they have whipped the people up into a state of excitement they negatively affect or “poison” (kakoo) their minds. This is exactly what the Jews did in Antioch of Pisidia: “But the Jews incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region” (Acts 13:50). We see this sort of action take place domestically, politically and religiously. All such wickedness must be exposed to the light of day.
Misrepresenting Men and Their Message
How do unbelievers go about trying to poison and prejudice people’s minds? They poisoned their minds by misrepresenting these men and their message. This is exactly what Bar-Jesus tried to do to the Roman proconsul—Sergius Paulus on the island of Cyrus:
“They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith” (Acts 13: 6-8).
But Paul would not allow him to deceive the deputy and rebuked him severely: “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord” (Acts 13: 10)?
Mind the Things Above
To make sure no one poisons our mind, let us not mind earthly things (Philippians 3:19), but let us set our minds on the things above where Christ sits at the right hand of God (Colossians 3:1-4).
Copyright © 2014 Shelby Floyd All Rights Reserved
Shelby G. Floyd
Heartland Church of Christ
1693 West Main Street
Greenwood, Indiana 46142