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Prepare to Turn the World Upside Down

Acts: Christ Builds His Church  •  Sermon  •  Submitted
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INTRO:

INTRO:
AG: In Charles Schultz’s cartoon, “Peanuts,” Lucy is seen saying that if she was in charge of the world, she’d change everything. Charlie says, “That wouldn’t be easy. Where would you start?” Lucy looks directly at him, and without hesitation, points her finger at him and says, “I’d start with you!”
TS: When Christianity came on the scene, it turned the world upside down:
Christianity was strong
It conquered every idea and every culture that it contacted
Cities and nations were turned upside down
People were willing to give all they had, even their lives
By the 300’s, it had grown so much that Emperor Constatine named Christianity as the official state religion of the Empire.
In our text this morning, we find Paul and company arrive and begin to plant a church in Thessalonica.
Thessalonica
Thessalonica was one of the wealthiest and most influential cities in Macedonia, with a population of over 200,000.
The most important Roman highway (the Egnatian Way)—extending from Rome all the way to the Orient—went through Thessalonica.
This highway, along with the city’s bustling seaport, made Thessalonica one of the wealthiest trade centers in the Roman Empire.
With its international flow of goods and people, came many pagan religions and cultural influences that challenged the faith of the young Christians there.(Barton 533).
While in Thessalonica, Paul and co. receive a backhanded compliment
They were accused of being the ones who had, “Turned the world upside down.”
RS: Today unfortunately that isn’t the case
More nones than anything
90-95% of churches are plateaued or declining.
The American culture has become “post-Christian”
Teaching of truth from God’s Word is not tolerated (in fact it is about the ONLY thing not tolerated)
Instead of turning the world upside down, I fear many Christians have allowed the world to turn them upside down.
We MUST get back to turning the world upside down.
IL: To accomplish anything of importance in this life it is going to take preparation.
A. Musician
C. Engineer
D. Doctor
E. Lawyer
This is especially true in our spiritual lives if we want to turn the world upside down.
Acts 17:1–9 ESV
Now when they had passed through Amphipolis and Apollonia, they came to Thessalonica, where there was a synagogue of the Jews. And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.” And some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a great many of the devout Greeks and not a few of the leading women. But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd. And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” And the people and the city authorities were disturbed when they heard these things. And when they had taken money as security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.
.

I. Have a Plan

EX: Paul followed his plan.
Same pattern over and over
Synaguge (or Jewish gathering if none), and then turn to the genitles.
IL: Have you ever heard the old pearl of wisdom, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”
Paul had a plan and consistently followed it.
Even more than where to begin, he followed a consistent pattern as he witnessed.
He proclaimed the Scriptures
Acts 17:2–3 ESV
And Paul went in, as was his custom, and on three Sabbath days he reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving that it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead, and saying, “This Jesus, whom I proclaim to you, is the Christ.”
He started with OT Law and Prophets and demonstrated how they pointed to Jesus as Messiah.
He reasoned with them and made the case for all of the message:
Death, burial, and resurrection
A common theme for Paul was that he was still a good Pharisee because he proclaimed the hope of the resurrection
Therefore, "this Jesus" truly is "the Christ," the Messiah, God's anointed Prophet, Priest, and King (Horton, 291).
It took preparation to do that!
Paul’s training at the feet of Gamiel was still being used by God!
AP: We must have a plan!
Prepare to be and effective witness through
There is no substitute for Bible Training
Be ready to open His word and share it!
Illustration: George Muller, who established many orphanages throughout England in the 1800’s, once said... "I believe that the one chief reason that I have been kept in happy useful service is that I have been a lover of Holy Scripture. It has been my habit to read the Bible through four times a year; in a prayerful spirit, to apply it to my heart, and practice what I find there. I have been for sixty-nine years a happy man; happy, happy, happy."
God’s word must first be a part of us if we are to apply it to others
IL: teacher who doesn’t know their subject- You can clearly tell when they get out of their lane!
2 Timothy 2:15 ESV
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.
We should never say, “I don’t know what to say!” as an excuse to not witness
We should never say, “I don’t know what to say!” as an excuse to not witness
Study the word and like Paul, you will know!
Transition: Another important thing is...

II. Prepare For Opposition (5-9).

Acts 17:5–9 ESV
But the Jews were jealous, and taking some wicked men of the rabble, they formed a mob, set the city in an uproar, and attacked the house of Jason, seeking to bring them out to the crowd. And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, “These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.” And the people and the city authorities were disturbed when they heard these things. And when they had taken money as security from Jason and the rest, they let them go.
Whenever you are successful someone is going to be jealous. Nowhere is that truer that when it comes to bringing someone to Christ.
v. 5
The main motivation for their opposition wasn’t doctrinal, but rather it was jealousy
They Jews rejected what God was doing and even forbade Paul from talking to Gentiles about their salvation..
In order to regain the limelight, the started a riot.
They got professional agitators “rounded up bad characters”
Stirred up the crowd.
This through the city into panic mode
"In search of Paul and Silas," they then "rushed to [Gk. epistantes, "assaulted"] Jason's house."
Unable to find Paul, “they dragged out Jason and some of the other believers instead and took them before the city council.
The trouble makers who were burning the world had come to town!
Since Jason had welcomed them into his home, he was guilty too.
They are all guilty of treason against Caesar, for they profess allegiance to another king, named Jesus.”
It is probable, also, that the believers who were "prominent women" (v. 4) included wives of some of these city officials (Horton, 293).
Apparently the city officials did not take the charges seriously enough to punish Jason and the others.
However, to satisfy the crowd, they "made Jason and the others post bond" (Gk. hikanon, "security").
AP: WE need to expect opposition
Illustration: Young William Wilberforce was discouraged one night in the early 1790s after another defeat in his 10 year battle against the slave trade in England. Tired and frustrated, he opened his Bible and began to leaf through it. A small piece of paper fell out and fluttered to the floor. It was a letter written by John Wesley shortly before his death. Wilberforce read it again:
"Unless the divine power has raised you up... I see not how you can go through your glorious enterprise in opposing that (abominable practice of slavery), which is the scandal of religion, of England, and of human nature. Unless God has raised you up for this very thing, you will be worn out by the opposition of men and devils. But if God be for you, who can be against you? Are all of them together stronger than God? Oh, be not weary of well-doing. Go on in the name of God, and in the power of His might."
1. Remember that Jesus promised us opposition.
John 15:20 ESV
Remember the word that I said to you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will also keep yours.
2. He promised that He would be with us.
Romans 8:31 ESV
What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?
Be prepared for it, but know that God will get you through it.
Conclusion
1. To accomplish anything of importance in this life it is going to take preparation.
2. This is especially true in our spiritual lives. It will take preparation to...
A. Witness
B. Deal With Opposition
3. Are you doing what you need to do to be prepared
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