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Missionary Movement

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The Missionary Movement

Sermon Text:  Acts 13:1-15, 42-52; 14:8-28

Sermon Theme:  We must persevere as we pursue God’s plans.

Children’s Message:  stomp feet - girls stand or sit

                                    Clap hands - boys stand or sit

                                                -try to get the rhythm, standing and sitting

                                    Point:  hard to learn, but gets better - just like missionary trip today


            Tonight’s sermon is going to open our eyes

                        -to the reality of success and failure in God’s Kingdom movement

            The Illusion of Success

                        -is that successful people - have the Midas Touch

                        -anything they touch turns to gold

                        -and it is a constant stream of fantasy-like successes and achieved goal

            For anyone you consider successful

                        -regardless of the field of endeavor: athletics, finances, entertainment

                        -they have not had a straight line of uninterrupted successes

                        -The best athletes - do not win championships every year

                                    -some of the best are stuck on terrible teams

                        -The wealthiest businessmen - have experienced terrible financial failures

                                    -your favorite TV and movie stars have experienced rejection

            You might think - yeah, but people who faithfully follow Jesus

                        -will always experience success

                        -LOGICAL - because God has all power and authority

                        -He reigns over all

                        -He can control

            A new movement

                        -intentionally aggressive movement to advance Gospel of Jesus

                        -God used Paul, Barnabas, forerunners to missionaries today

                        Travel to Cyprus, Pisidian Antioch, Iconium, Lystra


            *Barnabas and Saul were called:

                        *- to a new ministry

                        *- by the Holy Spirit

                        -and they sought God’s will in a time of fasting and praying

            This was a new movement

                        -God doing something new, different

                        -Jewish faith - had welcomed aliens into the fold

                                    -but was not at all aggressive about


            *At each place there was expressed interest in hearing the Gospel.

                        Cyprus - 13:12 - the proconsul of the area believed in Jesus Christ

                        Pisidian Antioch -13:42-43 - people invited them back

                                    -because they wanted to hear the good news of Jesus

                                    -they encouraged them to continue proclaiming God’s grace

                                                -this was a refreshing concept

                                                -not saved by law, but by the grace of God

                                                -had always been true, now emphasized more pointedly

                        Iconium - 14:1 - a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed

                        Lystra  - 14:8-10 - healing of a man who had not been able to walk

            We all look for, and expect success in ministry

                        -we want to see God working in such ways

                        -healing, lives transformed,

                                    -people receptive, at least curious to hear more about God


            *Paul and Barnabas experienced resistance from a variety of sources.

                        Pagan/Demonic- Bar Jesus and the sourcerer

                                    13:8-10 - Elymas the sorcerer

                        From the Jewish community -

                                    13:49-50 - in Pisidian Antioch

                                    -after a successful proclamation, there was persecution

                                    -Jewish leaders, had a reverence for God’s law, respected people

                                    Just because you have a reverence for God

                                                -does not mean you know His will

                                                -these reverent leaders- had not sought God’s will in prayer

                                                -and they took their assumptions

                                                            -and became adversaries to the Gospel

                                    In my life - I am very careful, will be slow to speak against a ministry

                                                -if I have not prayed about it

                                                -IF that ministry is proclaiming Jesus is Lord

                                                            -I might do things differently

                                                            -I might offer private suggestions

                                                                        -but I had not been seeking God’s will

                                                                        -and I must be careful to hold my tongue

                                                                        -if it is a movement of God

                                                Churches criticizing other church ministries

                                                Christians slandering the effectiveness of other servants of Christ

                                                            You should seek God’s will at least as much as those who

                                                                        prayed to have God’s will revealed

                                    I find - I have to check my gut reaction at the door

                                                -when I enter discussions about other ministries

                                                -I am an opinionated person

                                                            -hear of churches and ministries

                                                            -sometimes - immediate praise

                                                                        -other times- questions, critique

                                                                        -and I want to share them

                                    I think of God telling me

                                                “This is my ministry, Bill Sytsma, if you have a problem with it,

                                                you talk to me, before you talk to other people, because the

                                                problem might not be in my Kingdom work, but it might be in your


                        From the gentile community - 14:11-13

                                    -gentiles, in their enthusiasm - extreme of worshipping messenger

                                    -these new believers- were enthusiastic

                                                -but needed to grow in understanding

                                    -Paul and Barnabas were eventually stoned at this place- SUCCESS?


            1.  Prayer- When you believe God is leading you, set aside time to pursue His will

                        -be still in his presence.  Seek Him in prayer

                        -take time to test your thoughts

                        -meditate on the questions

                        -if you must, think of it as daydreaming about God

            2.  Persist - When God calls you to a task, you persist through opposition.

                        -plan on opposition, expect trials from all corners

                        -this is why an initial sense of calling is so important

                                    -on insignificant matters - hardships will make me turn away

                                    -buy a car- credit check, criminal background, medical tests,

                                                the birthdates of my grandparents, revelation of hidden fees

                                                -then I would say, “This car is not worth it.”

                                                -the opposition would make me quit my pursuit

                                    If, however, I have a sense of calling

                                                -I can be confident that the opposition was worthwhile

                                    -Imagine Gideon - without a calling

                                                -so many soldiers left

                                                            -he would have quit, not gone into battle

                                    -Imagine Moses, without a calling

                                                -so many times told “no”

                                                - Israel would be a small nation of slaves in Egypt

                                                            - probably to this very day

                        -v. 22 - We will endure hardships to enter Kingdom of God

                                    -to bring, see the prosperity of God’s Kingdom

                                    -not about getting into Heaven

                                    -but Seeing Christ’s reign established

            3.  Discern - When you are in a position of authority,

                                    allow God to work in ways that you do not understand.

                        -lessons from the leaders of the Jewish synagogues

                                    -they believed the message of Jesus was blasphemy

            4.  Develop a Kingdom Vision, Rather than a temporary Vision

                        -guided by faith

                        -assured by Christ’s power

                        -certain of ultimate success, despite setbacks

                        Are you seeing failures?

                                    -If so, are they ultimate failures

                                    -or setbacks in our eyes

                                    -that God will blow right by in His Kingdom Plan

Conclusion: God’s Kingdom prospers, see the big picture, forest grows as trees may struggle

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