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What Happens When We Help Spread the Gospel?

The Book of Acts  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented
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1. Miracles will be multiplied (vs. 4-7). 2. Joy will be justified (vs. 8). 3. Deceit will be defeated (vs. 9-12). 4. Souls will be saved (vs. 12).

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What Happens When We Help Spread the Gospel?

Acts 8:4-12

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - Nov. 10, 2013

INTRODUCTION:

*What is our most important mission as a church? In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus put it this way:

19. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:

20. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.

*David Guinn once said that the most important mission of the church is: "Bringing people to Christ, building them up in Christ, and sending them out for Christ." At McClendon Baptist Church, we boiled it down to 7 words: "Connecting people with the love of Jesus."

*That's what is going on here in the Word of God, and it was a very big deal here in Acts 8, because there had been bitter hatred between Jews and Samaritans for over 500 years. But God was beginning to break down those ancient barriers in a dramatic way.

*William Barclay explained: "The fact that Philip preached there, and that the message of Jesus was given to these people shows the Church taking one of the most important steps in history, and discovering that Christ is for all the world." (1)

*Church: Jesus Christ is still for all the world! And God wants us to do everything we can to spread the Good News. What happens when we do? What happens when we help spread the gospel? Tonight's Scripture shows us.

1. And first: Miracles will be multiplied.

*Miraculous things can happen when we spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can begin to see God at work, much like we see Him working in vs. 4-7:

4. Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.

5. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.

6. And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.

7. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed.

*Now obviously, that was a different day. It was the apostolic age, and God sent a super abundance of miracles to confirm the truth of the gospel. But God also performs miracles today. Many of us could give testimonies of how things that couldn't happen did happen by the grace and power of God. And those things happened, usually in answer to prayer.

*Dan and Patti Burnett gave an example that involved animals. They were members of the Search and Rescue Team in Summit County, Colorado, and one night they got a call about a lost 16-year-old named Ryan. While hunting with his dad, Ryan had gotten lost in the high wilderness area of the Rocky Mountains. Strong wind, fog, sleet, and snow had set in that night. But Ryan was only wearing jeans and a light shirt. There was no way he could survive the night.

*As Patti urgently searched for Ryan, she began to ask God, "Please help us, and please keep Ryan warm." Hours passed and searchers began to lose hope, but shortly after dawn, they found Ryan. And he was perfectly fine.

*When Ryan had laid down the night before, he was already shaking uncontrollably in the first stages of hypothermia. Ryan should have frozen to death. But he woke up in the middle of the night warm and comfortable. Two female elk had lain down on either side, keeping him warm and comfortable.

*The experts said that elk don't just do that. It was a miracle. And God still does physical miracles today. But even when He doesn't, we can see spiritual miracles, and they happen when we try to spread the good news!

*Souls are saved. Lives are changed. Families are helped. And broken hearts are healed. Also remember this: Physical miracles in this world are temporary. Spiritual miracles last forever.

*I love how the Lord worked in my grandmother's life. She got saved in 1978 at the age of 82! That was a miracle! How did it happen? Well, you have to go 60 years, when my aunt and uncle were living in a tiny apartment with four children.

*Billy Graham was coming to town, and the lady across the hall invited my aunt Helen to go to the Crusade. My aunt didn't want to go, so she lied to the lady. She said, "I would like to go, but I don't have a baby sitter."

*Aunt Helen couldn't believe it when the neighbor replied, "I'll be glad to stay here with your children, so you and your husband can go." Helen was trapped by her lie, so she did go, and she got saved!

*Then my aunt began to witness to my grandmother and pray for her to get saved. Year after year, she prayed. And it took 25 years, but God intervened. My grandmother gave up trying to earn her way into Heaven. She put her trust in Jesus Christ, and now she is in Heaven today. That was a miracle!

2. When we help spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, miracles will be multiplied. -- And joy will be justified.

*I am talking about the kind of joy we find in vs. 8. This verse tells us "there was great joy in that city." The original word for "great" in vs. 8 is "megas." They had mega-joy in that city. Their joy was exceedingly big and strong. It was splendid and grand. It was joy so great that it had to come from the Hand of God.

*We shouldn't miss the joy of the Lord Jesus Christ, but sadly, we sometimes do. We are tempted to focus on the negative things in life. As Donald Barr once said, "On a beautiful day like today, it's hard to believe anyone can be unhappy. But we'll work on it." (2)

*God doesn't want us to be like that! He wants us overflow with the joy of the Lord. And that's the way it was in Samaria. Something great was happening! And great things will happen when we spread the good news about Jesus Christ.

*Think about the greatest joys in your life. Surely one of those joys is when you got saved. But it's almost greater joy when we see loved ones come to Christ. It's incomparable joy.

3. When we help spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, joy will be justified. -- And deceit will be defeated.

*Most of the world is in the dark about Jesus Christ. They have been deceived by the devil in many different ways, and we see an example of this deceit in vs. 9-12:

9. But there was a certain man called Simon, who previously practiced sorcery in the city and astonished the people of Samaria, claiming that he was someone great,

10. to whom they all gave heed, from the least to the greatest, saying, "This man is the great power of God.''

11. And they heeded him because he had astonished them with his sorceries for a long time.

12. But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized.

*Simon was a false teacher, and there are millions of them in the world today. Maybe Simon had satanic, demonic power, or maybe he was just a good trickster. But somehow, this man had persuaded that whole city that he was the great power of God. What a lie. And much of the world is just as deceived today.

*For the rest of our lives we will be struggling against the deceit of Islam. I don't think a week goes by when it is not somehow in the news. Any fully devoted Muslim believes that Christians are infidels. Here are some of our beliefs that they call heresies:

-That man was born in sin.

-That the one true God exists in three persons: Father, Son and Holy Ghost.

-That God became a man.

-That Jesus died on the cross for our sins.

-And that He rose again from the dead.

*Radical Muslims believe that the surest way to Paradise is to die while killing someone like us. Patrick Poole made a crucial comparison: First he quoted God from the Old Testament. Then he quoted Osama bin Laden.

*Listen to the difference: In Proverbs 8:36, God said: "All those who hate me love death." But in November of 2001, Osama bin Laden said: "We love death. The U.S. loves life. That is the difference between us two. (3)

*People all over the world have been deceived by the devil's lies, not just Muslims, of course, but everyone who has never heard the truth, and everyone who has rejected the truth about Jesus Christ. People all over the world have been deceived, but when we help spread the gospel we get to see people delivered from deceit.

*Rick Mathes, is a well-known leader in prison ministry, and he gave this testimony from 2005: "Last month I attended my annual training session that's required for maintaining my state prison security clearance. During the training session, there was a presentation by three speakers representing the Roman Catholic, Protestant and Muslim faiths who explained their belief systems. I was particularly interested in what the Islamic Imam had to say. The Imam gave a great presentation of the basics of Islam, complete with a video.

*After the presentations, time was provided for questions and answers. When it was my turn, I directed my question to the Imam and asked: 'Please, correct me if I'm wrong, but I understand that most Imams and clerics of Islam have declared a holy jihad [Holy war] against the infidels of the world. And that by killing an infidel, which is a command to all Muslims, they are assured of a place in heaven. If that's the case, can you give me the definition of an infidel?'

*There was no disagreement with my statements and without hesitation he replied, 'Non-believers!' I responded, 'So, let me make sure I have this straight. All followers of Allah have been commanded to kill everyone who is not of your faith so they can go to Heaven. Is that correct?'

*The expression on his face changed from one of authority and command to that of a little boy who had just gotten caught with his hand in the cookie jar. He sheepishly replied, 'Yes.' I then stated, 'Well, sir, I have a real problem trying to imagine Pope John Paul commanding all Catholics to kill those of your faith, or Pat Robertson or Dr. Stanley ordering Protestants to do the same in order to go to Heaven!' The Imam was speechless.

*I continued, 'I also have problem with being your friend when you and your brother clerics are telling your followers to kill me. Let me ask you a question: Would you rather have your Allah who tells you to kill me in order to go to Heaven? -- Or my Jesus who tells me to love you because I am going to Heaven, and He wants you to be with me?'" (4)

*Give us Jesus! Lots of people will take Jesus too! And we can help them do it.

4. When we help spread the gospel of Jesus Christ, deceit will be defeated. -- And souls will be saved.

*Verse 12 says: "But when they believed Philip as he preached the things concerning the kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ, both men and women were baptized."

[1] What did Philip preach? He preached the things concerning the kingdom of God.

*There is so much Philip could have told them about the kingdom of God. He could have told them the first words Jesus preached in Matthew 4:17: "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.''

*Philip also could have quoted the Lord from the Sermon on the Mount:

-In Matthew 5:3, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

-Then, Matthew 5:10, "Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

-And Matthew 6:33, "But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."

*Philip also could have explained some of the Lord's parables to the Samaritans, like Matthew 13:31-32, where the Scripture says:

31. Another parable He put forth to them, saying: "The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed, which a man took and sowed in his field,

32. which indeed is the least of all the seeds; but when it is grown it is greater than the herbs and becomes a tree, so that the birds of the air come and nest in its branches.''

*Or Philip might have preached on Matthew 13:44-46, where Jesus said:

44. "Again, the kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and hid; and for joy over it he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field.

45. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant seeking beautiful pearls,

46. who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had and bought it."

[2] Philip preached the things concerning the kingdom of God. And he also preached the name of Jesus Christ.

*There are a multitude of Old Testament prophecies Philip could have used to preach Jesus to the Samaritans.

*In Psalm 22, David gave this prophecy of Christ's suffering on the cross:

1. My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me? Why are You so far from helping Me, And from the words of My groaning?

7. All those who see Me laugh Me to scorn; They shoot out the lip, they shake the head, saying,

16. For dogs have surrounded Me; The assembly of the wicked has enclosed Me. They pierced My hands and My feet;

17. I can count all My bones. They look and stare at Me.

18. They divide My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.

*Philip also could have told them what Peter said in Acts 4 when he was on trial for the cause of Christ:

9. "If we this day are judged for a good deed done to the helpless man, by what means he has been made well,

10. let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole.

11. This is the 'stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.'

12. Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.''

*And Philip could have told them what Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3:16-18:

16. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.

17. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.

18. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

*These people heard the good news about Jesus, and they were saved! Think about what it means to be saved.

*Walter Wyatt knows. He normally flew from Nassau to Miami in 65 minutes. But one day a thief stole the navigation equipment from Walter's plane. And he tried to make the trip with nothing but a compass and a hand-held radio.

*That was not very smart, and Walter knew it after he flew into a storm. He put out a mayday call, and a Coast Guard search plane took off to lead him to an emergency landing strip. But Walter's plane ran out of gas before they could get to him.

*He survived the crash, but his plane quickly sank, leaving him floating in a leaky life vest. Walter floated on his back, with blood on his forehead, and suddenly he felt a hard bump against his body. A shark had found him. Walter kicked the shark, and wondered if he would survive the night.

*By the grace of God, he managed to stay afloat for the next ten hours! In the morning, Wyatt saw no airplanes, but he did see a fin headed straight for him. He kept kicking as three sharks circled around him.

*Then Walter heard the hum of a plane. The pilot saw him and radioed Coast Guard cutter that got there just in the nick of time. Walter kissed the deck when he got on board. He was saved! Think about it. Nothing else would do. Walter didn't need a lecture on his foolish mistake. He didn't need a new bathing suit. He didn't need swimming lessons. He needed to be saved! (5)

*But how much more do people need to be saved from their sins. There only hope is Jesus. And we can help them find the Savior!

CONCLUSION:

*What happens when we help spread the gospel?

-Miracles will be multiplied.

-Joy will be justified.

-Deceit will be defeated.

-And souls will be saved.

*Let's pray that God would help us to do everything we can to help spread the gospel of Jesus Christ!

(1) Adapted from "BARCLAY'S DAILY BIBLE STUDY SERIES (NT)" by William Barclay, Revised Edition - Copyright 1975 William Barclay - First published by the Saint Andrew Press, Edinburgh, Scotland - The Westminster Press, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania - IN SAMARIA - Acts 8:5-13

(2) Donald Barr quotation - Sermonillustrations.com - Topic: Marriage

(3) The American Thinker - "The Islamist Cult of Death at Work in Iraq" by Patrick Poole - October 3, 2006

(4) SermonCentral Newsletter 08082005 - SOURCE: Rick Mathes - www.missiongateministry.org

(5) Sources:

October 1987 Readers Digest - Source: David Holwick - TO US A SON IS GIVEN - Isaiah 9:1-7 - #1792

SermonCentral illustration contributed by Mark Brunner

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