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Acts 22:1-22

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How to deal with a hostile post Christian World.

Just this past week on the view Joy Behor spoke about our Vice President. She said it is one thing when you talk to Jesus it is another when Jesus talks to you. That is called a mental Illness.
Just this past week on the view Joy Behor spoke about our Vice President. She said it is one thing when you talk to Jesus it is another when Jesus talks to you. That is called a mental Illness.
That is what we are going to see today.
We live in a hostile world toward Gospel of Jesus Christ.
However this is not new. The First Century church and Paul lived in a hostile world and yet the gospel flourished.
So how do we present the Gospel to a hostile world and in hostile times. This is what we are going to see Paul do today.
Let me get you up to speed.
They made some accusations against Him. Spoke against the Jews, brought Gentile into temple
They attack Paul and calls others to attack him.
Drag Paul out of The Temple shut doors
Commander of Regiment comes to the scene with 200 soilders
Some Jews from Asia saw Paul in the temple. They make some accusations. They attack Paul. They call others to attack Paul. They drag him out of the temple into the court of the gentiles. The commander of the regiment comes with 200 soldiers to see what is going on. He can’t figure it out they put Paul in chains and take him back to the barracks. At one point they have to carry him because of the crowd. He has a conversation with the Commander and then ask to speak to the crowd who is saying “Away with Him”
Ask what is going on. Different people tell him different things.
This is a hostile situation. Would you not agree. And in the midst of this hostile situation Paul is going to present the gospel.
Cuff Paul take the Barracks at the steps of Barracks Paul ask the Commander a question.
Commander then lets Paul speak to the crowd and that is where we pick up.
Acts 22:1–2 ESV
1 “Brothers and fathers, hear the defense that I now make before you.” 2 And when they heard that he was addressing them in the Hebrew language, they became even more quiet. And he said:
First: Paul treated them with respect.
Paul is standing there in chains, Bloody the people are chanting “Away with Him”
And he starts after getting the crowd calm by saying “Brothers and fathers”
And Paul addresses the crowd by saying “Brothers and fathers”
He didn’t say listen up you fools. He didn’t say you crazy people. He addressed them with respect.
This is the same introduction that Stephen gave in his sermon before being martyerd in
Notice in Verse 2 he even addressed them in their heart language. Aramic.
The Scripture tells us that they at this point become even more quiet. They listen even more.
If we are going to reach a post Christian society. If we are going to reach a culture that thinks the Christian view is counter-culture. It will only be done if we follow Pauls example.
We will not reach the lost world by calling them names. We will not reach them by getting social media and calling them derogatory names.
We will only reach them by respecting them even if we don’t agree with them. Even if they are hostile toward us. We will only reach them by putting down our Church culture language and talking with them with dignity.
Example: Lady who grew up Westboro Baptist
Acts 22:3–5 ESV
3 “I am a Jew, born in Tarsus in Cilicia, but brought up in this city, educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers, being zealous for God as all of you are this day. 4 I persecuted this Way to the death, binding and delivering to prison both men and women, 5 as the high priest and the whole council of elders can bear me witness. From them I received letters to the brothers, and I journeyed toward Damascus to take those also who were there and bring them in bonds to Jerusalem to be punished.
Second: Paul relates to them.
In verses 3-5 we see that Paul relates to them. He let’s them know that he has been right where they are at.
He tells them in verse 4 He is a Jew,
Born in Tarsus in Cilcia
raised in Jerusalem
Educated by Gamaliel (well respected teacher in the Jewish community)
I have been Zealous for God as you are right now
Persecuted the Way (Christ followers) to death
Maybe referring to Stephen or others
Arrested and put men and women in prison for following Christ
Was even given a letter by High Priest to go to Damasus to bring Christians back to be punished.
Paul had not forgotten who he was before he come to Christ. He could relate to the Jews standing in front of him because he had been one of them and would still be one of them had it not been for God.
Had Jesus not met Paul, Paul would have himself been chanting “Away with Him.”
Many Christ followers today have forgotten who we once where.
We don’t relate to the lost that live around us because we have forgotten we once where their and would still be their had God not called our name.
The way to reach the hostile post Christian world we find ourselves in is not to look down on them and bash them.
The way to reach the hostile world around us is not to look down on them as if we are better than them.
Might I remind us this morning that it is level at the foot of Cross
The way to reach the hostile post Christian socieity we live in is first to say I understand where you are because I have been their myself.
That is what Paul did.
Acts 22:6–11 ESV
6 “As I was on my way and drew near to Damascus, about noon a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. 7 And I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ 8 And I answered, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And he said to me, ‘I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.’ 9 Now those who were with me saw the light but did not understand the voice of the one who was speaking to me. 10 And I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ And the Lord said to me, ‘Rise, and go into Damascus, and there you will be told all that is appointed for you to do.’ 11 And since I could not see because of the brightness of that light, I was led by the hand by those who were with me, and came into Damascus.
Third: Paul presented to the them the Gospel.
Notice next Paul then tells them about the life changing moment for him on the Damascus road.
Notice next Paul then tells them about the life changing moment for him on the Damascus road.
Not only do we need to relate to this hostile post Christian world by letting them know we have been where they are at. We must also let them know about the event that took place in our lives that changed it forever.
We must tell them how we came to Christ
We must present the gospel.
In Verse 6 Paul is like I was on my way to Damasus to find some Christ followers and all of a sudden my life changed.
a great light from heaven suddenly shone around me. And I fell to the ground and voice new my name and called out Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?
I asked who this voice was and the voice say I am Jesus of Nazareth, whom you are persecuting.
Paul was announcing to the crowd of Jews in front of him, that he had heard from Jesus. The one they thought they had killed and done away with.
Paul was announcing to them that Jesus was alive and that he was in Heaven and had come to him.
At that moment in Paul’s life when he heard the call of Jesus everything changed for him.
Do you remember how you where just living your life, trying to just get by and then encountered the risen Savior
I remember the day my life changed forever.
I had a job in the construction world putting in insulation. On the weekends I would hang out with my friends either riding the strip in Whiteville or Myrtle Beach. We would go to the Spanish Gallon every now and then. One Saturday I had been out at the Spanish Gallon got in around 3:00 in the morning. The next Sunday morning while laying in bed about 10:00 the Holy Spirit paid me a visit and called my name In that bed I became remorseful for my sins and I called upon the name of the Lord.
At that moment Jesus changed my life forever.
Has Jesus ever called your name and you responded to him?
I believe right now at this moment the Holy Spirit is calling some of your names?
He is calling. Will you respond?
Maybe you are responding right now Who are you Lord?
The one Calling is Jesus.
Revelation 3:20 ESV
20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.
Jesus is calling your name. Jesus who is the very son of God. Who came to earth. Lived a perfect life. Went to the cross to die in your place paying the price for your sins.
He is the one this morning calling your name.
Like Paul on that road to Damascus will you respond and give your life to him?
Romans 10:13 ESV
13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”
Right now in your seat this moment will you call on the name of the Lord like I did that morning in my bed and like Paul did on the Damascus road and be saved.
Acts 22:12–16 ESV
12 “And one Ananias, a devout man according to the law, well spoken of by all the Jews who lived there, 13 came to me, and standing by me said to me, ‘Brother Saul, receive your sight.’ And at that very hour I received my sight and saw him. 14 And he said, ‘The God of our fathers appointed you to know his will, to see the Righteous One and to hear a voice from his mouth; 15 for you will be a witness for him to everyone of what you have seen and heard. 16 And now why do you wait? Rise and be baptized and wash away your sins, calling on his name.’
Paul then tells about Ananias, He was a man that was another man respected in the Jewish community.
He tells the jews that day how Ananias, came to me and I got my sight back.
Ananias told Saul that God had saved you for a purpose.
Jesus saved you for a purpose
Fourth: Paul lived out God’s purpose for his life in a hostile world.
Then Paul tells this Jewish crowd that Ananias called him to be baptized and that he had a word from God and told me to be his witness to everyone.
We must live out our purpose in a hostile world like Paul.
Jesus saved you for a purpose.
If you have called upon the name of the Lord the next step like Paul is Baptism.
Paul continues to tell the hostile crowd that day about this life changing experience and that not only had Jesus Called his name but Jesus was also calling him to action.
If you have called upon the name of the Lord the next step like Paul is Baptism.
Baptism is you telling everyone that you have given up your life and are now a follower of Christ.
That you have been washed in the blood of the Lamb.
Jesus saved you to:
Jesus saved you for a purpose.
To worship Him in spirit and truth
To be a witness for Him.
If you have called upon the name of the Lord it is a call for you to be a witness to those you live life with.
Jesus didn’t save you for you to sit on a pew. He saved you to be a witness to a lost and dying world.
Ananias ask “What are you waiting on”
That is the question I ask some of you.
What are you waiting on?
Jesus has saved you for a purpose to worship him and tells others about him? And I am asking what are you waiting on?
Example: Football play We call a play in the huddle. You leave the huddle and instead of running the play you go back to the bench and then come back out huddle up and wait for me to call another play.
This is what we do each week. We come in I call you to be witnesses to share the gospel. The play is called and instead of going out and running the play. You go back to your life and then come in Sunday excited to hear another play called.
Do you know how boring football would be if all we saw was them calling plays.
It is time for us to run the play.
Acts 22:17–21 ESV
17 “When I had returned to Jerusalem and was praying in the temple, I fell into a trance 18 and saw him saying to me, ‘Make haste and get out of Jerusalem quickly, because they will not accept your testimony about me.’ 19 And I said, ‘Lord, they themselves know that in one synagogue after another I imprisoned and beat those who believed in you. 20 And when the blood of Stephen your witness was being shed, I myself was standing by and approving and watching over the garments of those who killed him.’ 21 And he said to me, ‘Go, for I will send you far away to the Gentiles.’ ”
Paul after some time returns to Jersualem. He points to this hostile crowd that he was praying in the temple.
God called him to leave Jerusalem, because they won’t accept your life change.
Paul argues with God and is like how can they not accept my story, they know who I once was and they surely have to see the change in me.
A Point to note here. Some people can’t get past who you use to be, to see what Christ has made you in to.
God, calls Paul to Go to the gentiles.
God, calls Paul to Go to the gentiles.
God called Paul to go to a people group the church as a whole was not excited to go to or was on their radar.
It seems like at THBC God is calling us to go to a group that most Christ followers are not comfortable or excited about going to.
God is calling us to go. To not go after Church members who are not happy at there church but to go after the lost.
But not just the lost, but to go after those that are addicted. To go after those who have major issues.
I tell people all the time we are messed up people who have been saved by Gods grace.
If you are messed up then we want to share the gospel with you so that you can experience Gods grace.
Paul is kind to the hostlie crowd, he relates, to the hostile crowd, and then presents the gospel to them.
If this was disney they would come to Christ at this moment and they would live happily every after. But that is not real life.
Next week we will see how they respond in depth.
Acts 22:22 ESV
22 Up to this word they listened to him. Then they raised their voices and said, “Away with such a fellow from the earth! For he should not be allowed to live.”
Not everyone will respond to the Gospel by accepting Jesus as Savior.
Just because you do it the right way. Just because you present the gospel does not mean it will end with everyone bowing the knee and saying a prayer. Sometimes it does not end well.
Our Job is to be faithful.
So will you join me in being faithful this week to the gospel and going and being a witness.
Every head bowed.
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