Sorry that these notes are not properly written up. I'll try to fix that some time, but it's not top of my list.


Dirtiest footballers in the Bible.  Acts 11:3 (NIV), "So after they
had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them

v1-3: Fine Christians gathered together, worshiping, hearing the voice
	of God.  It's a nice setup, like a bible week.
v4-5: Obedient to God, they go.
v6-7: Everything goes their way.
	In their position we would be tempted to congratulate
	ourselves on being "in the will of God", and thinking that
	everything is working out perfectly because of our obedience.
v8: suddenly it all goes wrong: "Elymas the sorcerer ... opposed them
	and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith."

It was probably a jolt to Barnabus and Saul's faith.
How did they interpret this setback?
	- It's a rebuke from God because we got it wrong!
	- It's opposition from Satan!
	- God is testing us!
	- It's just the way the world is, these things happen.

These options apply to every little thing that goes wrong for us, as
well as the big things.  (For example, when intermittent wipe stopped
working on our car's windscreen wipers.)

How we react to a setback determines what value it has for us.
Even if it's a rebuke, opposition, or randomness, it's still a test!
We can always ask: how would God want us to respond.
"What Would Jesus Do?" is not just tacky jewelery.

In this case, Paul believed Elymas' opposition was from Satan.
He addressed it head on, and God intervened.

In other cases when he met setbacks, Paul reacted differently:

- Acts 13:50-51, opposition from Jewish leaders, Paul just left.

- Acts 16:6-10, the vision of the man of Macedonia: Paul and
  companions are prevented (we don't know) from preaching in various
  places, but just keep on trucking until God leads them.

- 2 Corinthians 12:7-9, the "thorn in the flesh" was "a messenger of
  Satan" but also a means of grace: "my power is made perfect in your

Back to the passage:
v9-11a: a very uncompromising rebuke.
	When is this appropriate for us?  Probably VERY rarely.
	Then why was it appropriate for Paul?
	(I only have a question here, not an answer.  From this we can
	learn some humility in our interpretations of the Bible, and
	some honesty about our uncertainty.  God does NOT always do
	what we expect.)
v11b: blindness the same punishment that Saul himself received in Acts
	9 (he too needed to be led away by the hand).  Saul responded
	rightly -- will the sorceror?  We don't know.  Just like Saul
	and Barnabus, Elymas had to decide how to respond to the
v12: the proconsul believed, not because of the sorceror's blindness
	but because "he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord."
	Signs point the way: they are not a destination, just
	something that helps people get to the destination.
As the sorceror's physical eyes were closed, the proconsul's spiritual
	eyes were opened.