Faithlife Sermons

Know Who You Follow

The Book of Acts  •  Sermon  •  Submitted   •  Presented   •  24:05
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In life, we all face trials, challenges, storms. We need to know who we are following in these times. Are we following God, who we can trust, or someone or something else?

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1 2 IN 1969, IN A TOWN CALLED PASS CHRISTIAN, MISSISSIPPI • A GROUP OF PEOPLE WERE PREPARING TO HAVE • A "HURRICANE PARTY" AT THE RICHELIEU APARTMENTS • THE APARTMENTS WERE LESS THAN 250 FEET FROM THE SURF 3 • THE POLICE CHIEF PULLED UP SOMETIME AFTER DARK. • A MAN CAME OUT TO THE SECONDFLOOR BALCONY AND WAVED. • THE CHIEF YELLED, "YOU ALL NEED TO CLEAR OUT OF HERE • THE STORM'S GETTING WORSE." 4 • OTHERS CAME OUT ON THE BALCONY, • THEY LAUGHED AT THE ORDER TO LEAVE. • A RATHER INTOXICATED FELLOW YELLED AT THE OFFICER • "THIS IS MY LAND, IF YOU WANT ME OFF, YOU'LL HAVE TO ARREST ME.” • THE OTHERS AT THE PARTY FOLLOWED HIM BACK INSIDE LAUGHING • IT WAS 10:15 P.M. WHEN THE STORM CAME ASHORE. • WIND SPEED WERE CLOCKED AT MORE THAN 205 MPH 5 6 • RAINDROPS HIT WITH THE FORCE OF BULLETS, • AND WAVES OFF THE GULF COAST CRESTED AT 28 FEET HIGH. • THE WORST DAMAGE CAME AT PASS CHRISTIAN, MISSISSIPPI, 7 • SOME TWENTY PEOPLE WERE KILLED • AT THE RICHELIEU APARTMENTS • NOTHING WAS LEFT OF BUT THE FOUNDATION 8 • THESE PEOPLE CHOSE TO REJECT THE INSTRUCTION OF THE POLICE • IN THEIR PRIDE AND ARROGANCE THEY THOUGHT THEY KNEW BETTER • PRIDE AND ARROGANCE CAN PUT US RIGHT IN THE PATH • OF MORE DANGER THAN JUST ABOUT ANYTHING ELSE • IN LIFE WE NEED TO BE AWARE OF WHAT WE ARE FOLLOWING • ARE WE FOLLOWING PRIDE AND ARROGANCE? • MAYBE OUR OWN PRIDE AND ARROGANCE 9 • MAYBE SOMEONE ELSE’S PRIDE AND ARROGANCE (PAUSE) • WE NEED TO BE HUMBLE ENOUGH TO LOOK AT WHAT WE ARE FOLLOWING • ACCEPT CORRECTION WHEN WE ARE FOLLOWING SOMETHING OTHER THAN GOD 10 11 • AND BE WILLING TO EMBRACE AND ENCOURAGE OTHERS WHO DO THE SAME • TODAY WE ARE GOING TO LOOK AT AN ARROGANT MAN • A PRIDEFUL MAN WHO HAD LED OTHERS BY DECEPTION AND LIES • WE ARE GOING TO SEE HOW HE RESPONDED • WHEN THE WORD OF GOD CAME INTO HIS LIFE (PAUSE) • TURN TO ACTS 8:9 • SAUL AND OTHERS HAD BEGUN PERSECUTING CHRISTIANS IN JERUSALEM 12 13 • THE CHRISTIANS HAD BEEN SCATTERED AROUND JUDEA AND SAMARIA • PHILIP, ONE OF THE DEACONS WHO SERVED WITH STEPHEN • HAD COME TO A TOWN IN SAMARIA AND PREACHED THE WORD • SIGNS AND WONDERS HAD ACCOMPANIED HIS PREACHING • AND THE CITY HAD REJOICED • LUKE CONTINUES, SAYING 14 ACTS 8:9–13 15 NOW THERE WAS A MAN NAMED SIMON, WHO FORMERLY WAS PRACTICING MAGIC IN THE CITY AND ASTONISHING THE PEOPLE OF SAMARIA, CLAIMING TO BE SOMEONE GREAT; AND THEY ALL, FROM SMALLEST TO GREATEST, 16 WERE GIVING ATTENTION TO HIM, SAYING, “THIS MAN IS WHAT IS CALLED THE GREAT POWER OF GOD.” AND THEY WERE GIVING HIM ATTENTION BECAUSE HE HAD FOR A LONG TIME ASTONISHED THEM WITH HIS MAGIC ARTS. 17 BUT WHEN THEY BELIEVED PHILIP PREACHING THE GOOD NEWS ABOUT THE KINGDOM OF GOD AND THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST, THEY WERE BEING BAPTIZED, MEN AND WOMEN ALIKE. 18 EVEN SIMON HIMSELF BELIEVED; AND AFTER BEING BAPTIZED, HE CONTINUED ON WITH PHILIP, AND AS HE OBSERVED SIGNS AND GREAT MIRACLES TAKING PLACE, HE WAS CONSTANTLY AMAZED 19 WTSIC KNOW WHAT YOU FOLLOW • “THEY ALL, FROM SMALLEST TO GREATEST, WERE GIVING ATTENTION TO HIM” • ALL THE PEOPLE OF THIS SAMARIAN TOWN HAD BEEN FOLLOWING SIMON • GIVING ATTENTION MEANS THEY WERE FOLLOWING HIM • THEY DID THIS BECAUSE HE WAS PRACTICING MAGIC • HE MAY HAVE DONE MIRACULOUS THINGS • OR PREDICTIONS OR HE MAY HAVE EVEN HEALED PEOPLE • ALL THESE THINGS WERE PART OF “PRACTICING MAGIC” 20 21 • WE NEED UNDERSTAND WHO WE ARE FOLLOWING (PAUSE) • WHEN WE FOLLOW SOMEONE • WE ARE TRUSTING IN WHAT THEY SAY • THAT THEY ARE WHO THEY SAY THEY ARE • THAT THEY CAN DO WHAT THEY SAY THEY CAN DO • THE RESULT THEY SAY WILL HAPPEN WILL IN FACT HAPPEN • I DON’T KNOW ABOUT YOU BUT • THE ONLY ONE I CAN TRUST ON THOSE THINGS • IS JESUS CHRIST. (PAUSE) 22 23 A FAMILY WAS ON A VACATION TRIP DAD WAS DRIVING • THE GPS TOLD HIM TO MAKE A RIGHT • BUT THE LARGE SIGN SAID; “ROAD CLOSED. DO NOT ENTER.” • THE MAN PROCEEDED AROUND THE SIGN 24 • HE WAS CONFIDENT IN HIS GPS, HE WOULD SAVE SOME TIME • HIS WIFE WAS NOT SO SURE • AFTER A FEW MILES • HE BEGAN TO BOAST ABOUT HIS NAVIGATION SKILLS • HIS PROUD SMILE WAS QUICKLY REPLACED WITH HUMBLE SWEAT • THE ROAD LED TO A WASHED-OUT BRIDGE • HE TURNED THE CAR AND WENT BACK TO THE MAIN ROAD • WHEN THEY ARRIVED AT THE ORIGINAL WARNING SIGN 25 26 • HE WAS GREETED BY LARGE LETTERS ON THE BACK OF THE SIGN • “WELCOME BACK, STUPID!” (PAUSE) • SOMETIMES WE CAN HAVE UTMOST CONFIDENCE IN THE WRONG THING 27 • OUR GPS, OUR OWN INTELLIGENCE, OUR SKILLS • CONFIDENCE IS ONLY AS GOOD AS WHAT IT’S PLACED IN • THE WISE PERSON PLACES THEIR CONFIDENCE IN • AN UNCHANGING, ALL-POWERFUL GOD. (PAUSE) WTSIC ONLY FOLLOW GOD 28 • THESE PEOPLE WHO HAD FOLLOWED SIMON • HEARD PHILIP PREACH THE GOSPEL AND THEY BELIEVED • NOTICE WHAT PHILIP PREACHED • THE KINGDOM OF GOD & THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST 29 • TO PREACH THE KINGDOM IS TO PREACH OF THE COMING JUDGMENT • A JUDGMENT WITH ONLY TWO POSSIBLE OUTCOMES • YOU ARE EITHER IN THE KINGDOM OR YOU ARE NOT • TO PREACH THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST • MEANS TO TEACH ABOUT JESUS • WHO HE SAID HE WAS, GOD • WHAT HE SAID HE WOULD DO, DIE TO PAY FOR SINS • WHAT THE RESULT OF TRUSTING HIM WOULD BE, ETERNAL LIFE 30 31 • THIS IS THE GOOD NEWS PHILIP PREACHED (PAUSE) • IF YOU JUST TEACH THE KINGDOM WITHOUT PREACHING CHRIST • IT IS NOT GOOD NEWS, CAUSE YOU WILL FACE JUDGMENT ALONE 32 • IF YOU JUST PREACH CHRIST WITHOUT PREACHING THE KINGDOM • IT IS NOT GOOD NEWS, CAUSE YOU WILL NOT KNOW WHY YOU NEED CHRIST • WHEN WE UNDERSTAND THE GOSPEL MESSAGE • WE WILL SEE WHY WE MUST ONLY FOLLOW GOD • FOLLOWING ANYTHING ELSE ONLY LEADS TO ETERNAL DAMNATION (PAUSE) 33 ACTS 4:12 34 “AND THERE IS SALVATION IN NO ONE ELSE; FOR THERE IS NO OTHER NAME UNDER HEAVEN THAT HAS BEEN GIVEN AMONG MEN BY WHICH WE MUST BE SAVED.” • THE CONSEQUENCES OF FOLLOWING THE WRONG THING ARE ETERNAL • THIS IS WHY WE MUST ONLY FOLLOW GOD 35 36 WTSIC HELP OTHERS FOLLOW GOD • SOME PEOPLE MIGHT HAVE BEEN UNCOMFORTABLE • HANGING OUT WITH SIMON • SURE HE, BELIEVED AND WAS BAPTIZED 37 • BUT HE HAD “PRACTICED MAGIC” • AND LED PEOPLE ASTRAY, HE WAS A BAD GUY • BUT DID YOU SEE HOW PHILIP HANDLED THIS • LUKE SAYS: “HE CONTINUED ON WITH PHILIP”, 38 • THIS MEANS HE WENT EVERY WHERE WITH HIM • PHILIP KEPT THIS FORMER SORCERER AND MAGICIAN CLOSE BY • AND SIMON: “OBSERVED SIGNS AND GREAT MIRACLES TAKING PLACE” • IF PHILIP HAD TOLD SIMON TO GET LOST 39 • SIMON WOULD NOT HAVE SEEN THESE THINGS • HE WOULD NOT HAVE BEEN “CONSTANTLY AMAZED.” • WE NEED TO DO THIS • WHEN SOMEONE TRUSTS IN CHRIST 40 • EVEN IF THEY ARE A MAGICIAN, SORCERER, • DRUNK, DRUG ADDICT, HARD PARTYING, TROUBLE MAKER • WE NEED TO EMBRACE THEM, BRING THEM IN 41 • HANG OUT WITH THEM • HELP THEM SEE SIGNS AND GREAT WONDERS TAKING PLACE • IN OUR LIVES AND IN THE LIVES OF THOSE AROUND US • WE NEED HELP THEM FOLLOW GOD ACTS 8:14–17 42 NOW WHEN THE APOSTLES IN JERUSALEM HEARD THAT SAMARIA HAD RECEIVED THE WORD OF GOD, THEY SENT THEM PETER AND JOHN, WHO CAME DOWN AND PRAYED FOR THEM THAT THEY MIGHT RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT. 43 FOR HE HAD NOT YET FALLEN UPON ANY OF THEM; THEY HAD SIMPLY BEEN BAPTIZED IN THE NAME OF THE LORD JESUS. THEN THEY BEGAN LAYING THEIR HANDS ON THEM, AND THEY WERE RECEIVING THE HOLY SPIRIT. 44 WTSIC WELCOME ALL IN CHRIST • SO THE APOSTLES STAYED IN JERUSALEM • AND SAUL WAS PERSECUTING PEOPLE • AND WHEN THE APOSTLES HEAR ABOUT SAMARIA 45 • RECEIVING GOD’S WORD THEY WERE LIKE • SORRY WE GOT BIGGER PROBLEMS • WE ARE DEALING WITH THIS PERSECUTION • NO, THEY DID NOT DO THAT • THEY SENT PETER AND JOHN • THEY DID NOT DO THIS BECAUSE PHILIP MESSED UP 46 • THIS WAS TO SHOW SUPPORT, TO BE ENCOURAGING • TO WELCOME SAMARIA TO THE CHURCH • NOW REMEMBER THE JEWS DID NOT LIKE SAMARIA • WHEN A SAMARIAN VILLAGE HAD NOT RECEIVED JESUS 47 • JOHN HAD RESPONDED; • “LORD, DO YOU WANT US TO COMMAND FIRE TO COME DOWN FROM HEAVEN AND CONSUME THEM?” • AND YET HERE GO PETER AND JOHN OFF TO SAMARIA • NO MATTER HOW WE GET ALONG WITH SOMEONE 48 • IF THEY COME TO CHRIST WE NEED TO EMBRACE THEM • WE NEED TO BE THERE FOR THEM • AS THEY START TO WALK IN THE LORD • ENCOURAGING THEM (PAUSE) 1 THESSALONIANS 5:11 49 THEREFORE ENCOURAGE ONE ANOTHER AND BUILD UP ONE ANOTHER, JUST AS YOU ALSO ARE DOING. ALEXANDER SOLZHENITSYN WAS A PRISONER IN A SOVIET PRISON IN SIBERIA • HE BECAME SO WEAK AND DISCOURAGED THAT HE WISHED HE WOULD DIE • THE GUARDS WOULD BEAT AND USUALLY KILL ANYONE THAT STOPPED WORKING 50 51 • HE DECIDED TO STOP WORKING SO THAT THE GUARDS WOULD KILL HIM • AS SOON AS HE STOPPED WORKING • ANOTHER CHRISTIAN DREW A CROSS WHERE ALEXANDER COULD SEE IT • SOLZHENITSYN SAID THAT HE WAS ENCOURAGED 52 • BY REMEMBERING THAT GOD GIVES HOPE AND COURAGE • HE DECIDED TO CONTINUE WORKING • BECAUSE OF A CHRISTIAN WHO CARED TOO MUCH TO LET HIM GIVE UP. • IT IS SO IMPORTANT THAT WE ENCOURAGE OTHERS IN CHRIST 53 • WHEN SOMEONE COMES TO FAITH IN CHRIST • NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE • WE NEED TO BE THERE TO ENCOURAGE THEM • HELP THEM KEEP GOING ON THE JOURNEY OF SERVING GOD • WE CAN DO THIS JUST BY SPENDING TIME WITH THEM • WE DO IT WHEN WE FORGIVE THEM AND ACCEPT THEM • REGARDLESS OF THEIR PAST • WE DO THIS WHEN WE PRAY FOR THEM (PAUSE) 54 WTSIC PRAY 55 • WHEN PETER AND JOHN CAME THEY; • “PRAYED FOR THEM THAT THEY MIGHT RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT.” • NORMALLY THE HOLY SPIRIT BAPTIZES • INDWELLS, AND SEALS AT THE MOMENT OF FAITH • BUT IN THIS CASE THE DELAY SERVED A PURPOSE • THROUGH PETER AND JOHN’S PARTICIPATION • THE SAMARIAN MISSION WAS GIVEN THE STAMP OF • APPROVAL BY THE CHURCH IN JERUSALEM 56 57 • THIS AIDED GREATLY IN FURTHERING SPREAD OF THE GOSPEL • IMAGINE HOW THIS EVENT AFFECTED THE PEOPLE OF SAMARIA • PEOPLE THAT HAD HATED THEIR COUNTRY • CAME AND PRAYED FOR THEM, LAID HANDS ON THEM • AND THE HOLY SPIRIT HAD COME UPON THEM • IT SURE HAD AN AFFECT ON SIMON (PAUSE) 58 ACTS 8:18–24 59 NOW WHEN SIMON SAW THAT THE SPIRIT WAS BESTOWED THROUGH THE LAYING ON OF THE APOSTLES’ HANDS, HE OFFERED THEM MONEY, SAYING, “GIVE THIS AUTHORITY TO ME AS WELL, SO THAT EVERYONE ON WHOM I LAY MY HANDS MAY RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT.” 60 BUT PETER SAID TO HIM, “MAY YOUR SILVER PERISH WITH YOU, BECAUSE YOU THOUGHT YOU COULD OBTAIN THE GIFT OF GOD WITH MONEY! “YOU HAVE NO PART OR PORTION IN THIS MATTER, FOR YOUR HEART IS NOT RIGHT BEFORE GOD. 61 “THEREFORE REPENT OF THIS WICKEDNESS OF YOURS, AND PRAY THE LORD THAT, IF POSSIBLE, THE INTENTION OF YOUR HEART MAY BE FORGIVEN YOU. “FOR I SEE THAT YOU ARE IN THE GALL OF BITTERNESS AND IN THE BONDAGE OF INIQUITY.” WTSIC SEEK GOD’S WILL 62 • SOME FOLKS SAY SIMON WAS NOT SAVED • LUKE DOES SAY HE BELIEVED AND WAS BAPTIZED • MOST PLACES THESE WORDS MEAN SAVED • MAYBE PEOPLE SAY SIMON WAS NOT SAVED • BECAUSE HE SAID SOMETHING STUPID • IF THAT MEANS YOU ARE NOT SAVED • I AM IN A LOTTA TROUBLE • SIMON OFFERS TO PAY THE APOSTLES, SO HE CAN 63 • LAY HANDS ON PEOPLE AND THEY WILL RECEIVE • THE HOLY SPIRIT. • SIMON IS A REALLY NEW CHRISTIAN • IN HIS OLD JOB (MAGICIAN) IT WAS STANDARD • PRACTICE TO OFFER TO BUY A MIRACLE 64 • MAYBE HE GENUINELY WANTED • TO HELP PEOPLE RECEIVE THE HOLY SPIRIT • MORE LIKELY FROM PETER’S RESPONSE 65 • HE WAS GOING TO USE THIS ABILITY TO SCAM PEOPLE • EITHER WAY HE WAS GOING OUTSIDE GOD’S WILL • AND PETER CORRECTS HIS THINKING (PAUSE) 66 WTSIC LISTEN TO CORRECTION 67 • “MAY YOUR SILVER PERISH WITH YOU, BECAUSE YOU THOUGHT YOU COULD OBTAIN THE GIFT OF GOD WITH MONEY! • THIS MAY SOUND A LITTLE HARSH • BUT IT MAY HAVE BEEN WHAT SIMON NEEDED TO HEAR • IT CAN BE HARD TO LISTEN TO CORRECTION • BUT WE ARE CALLED TO CHANGE • TO CHANGE WE HAVE TO BE WILLING • TO LISTEN WHEN WE ARE CORRECTED • PETER CONTINUES SAYING; 68 69 • “YOU HAVE NO PART OR PORTION IN THIS MATTER, FOR YOUR HEART IS NOT RIGHT BEFORE GOD.” • NOW HIS HEART NOT BEING RIGHT BEFORE GOD • MAY MEAN HE HAS NOT TRUSTED IN CHRIST • BUT IT COULD ALSO MEAN HE IS A BELIEVER • WHO IS NOT WALKING LIKE ONE • THAT COULD BE ANY OF US • SO, WHAT DOES PETER TELL HIM TO DO ABOUT THIS 70 WTSIC REPENT 71 • “THEREFORE, REPENT OF THIS WICKEDNESS OF YOURS,” • TO ME THIS MEANS SIMON MAY BE SAVED • PETER WOULD HAVE TOLD HIM • TO BELIEVE IN CHRIST IF HE WAS NOT SAVED • BUT HE TOLD HIM TO REPENT AND HE DID NOT FOLLOW THAT WITH TRUST CHRIST • THIS IS SIMILAR TO AN INSTRUCTION GIVEN TO US AS BELIEVERS WHEN WE ARE NOT DOING GOD’S WILL • (PAUSE) 72 73 1 JOHN 1:9 IF WE CONFESS OUR SINS, HE IS FAITHFUL AND RIGHTEOUS TO FORGIVE US OUR SINS AND TO CLEANSE US FROM ALL UNRIGHTEOUSNESS. 74 • WHEN PETER SAYS; • “AND PRAY THE LORD THAT, IF POSSIBLE, THE INTENTION OF YOUR HEART MAY BE FORGIVEN YOU.” • HE IS NOT QUESTIONING IF IT IS POSSIBLE FOR GOD TO FORGIVE 75 • HE IS QUESTIONING IF IT IS POSSIBLE FOR SIMON TO REPENT • GOD’S FORGIVENESS IS CERTAIN FOR US WHEN WE DO CONFESS AND REPENT • BUT WE HAVE TO CONFESS AND REPENT (PAUSE) WTSIC HUMBLE UP AND ASK FOR PRAYER 76 • SOME PEOPLE FIND FAULT WITH SIMON’S RESPONSE • I THINK IT IS A PRETTY GOOD RESPONSE • “PRAY TO THE LORD FOR ME YOURSELVES, SO THAT NOTHING OF WHAT YOU HAVE SAID MAY COME UPON ME.” 77 • IT WOULD HAVE BEEN GREAT IF • HE HAD CONFESSED AND REPENTED RIGHT THERE • BUT HE MAY BE SINCERE HERE IN ASKING FOR PRAYER • HE SEEMS TO WANT TO REPENT 78 • AND IS ASKING FOR PRAYERS TO BE ABLE TO DO SO • MANY TIMES, WE STRUGGLE TO CONFESS AND REPENT • MAYBE WE SHOULD ASK OTHERS TO PRAY FOR US TO BE ABLE TO DO IT • I DON’T KNOW IF SIMON WAS SAVED (PAUSE) • BUT I DO KNOW THAT IF WE WANT TO GROW AS CHRISTIANS • WE ARE GONNA NEED TO BE HUMBLE ENOUGH • TO ADMIT WHEN WE DO STUPID THINGS 79 • LISTEN WHEN WE ARE CORRECTED AND • BE HUMBLE ENOUGH TO CONFESS AND REPENT 80 81 LIFE IS FULL OF STORMS • CHALLENGES, TRIALS, DIFFICULTIES • WHEN THE STORM IS COMING • WE CAN EITHER FOLLOW SOME DRUNK GUY • STANDING ON THE BALCONY YELLING AT THE COPS (PAUSE) 82 • OR WE CAN TRUST IN THE ONLY ONE QUALIFIED TO EARN OUR TRUST • JESUS CHRIST (PAUSE) • WE NEED TO KNOW WHO WE ARE FOLLOWING (PAUSE) 83 • IF IT IS SOMEONE OTHER THAN CHRIST (PAUSE) • WE NEED TO BE HUMBLE ENOUGH • TO CONFESS AND REPENT AND START FOLLOWING GOD • IF THERE IS ANYONE HERE FACING STORMS • WHO WANTS TO START FOLLOWING CHRIST • IN A MOMENT… 84 85
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