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Get In The Basket

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Acts 9:23–25 NKJV
23 Now after many days were past, the Jews plotted to kill him. 24 But their plot became known to Saul. And they watched the gates day and night, to kill him. 25 Then the disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket.
Joke about the man on the roof in the flood

Get In The Basket

No matter how prepared we think we are, living the Christian life is not easy. We will not always be successful. We will meet resistance. Saul had a contract out on him!
No matter how prepared we think we are, living the Christian life is not easy. We will not always be successful. We will meet resistance.
No matter how prepared we think we are, living the Christian life is not easy. We will not always be successful. We will meet resistance. Saul had a contract out on him!
Even though we know to expect attacks, the enemy's tactics are always changing. We are being watched and studied as we walk and live. Looking for holes in the armor and weaknesses in our defenses.
Saul was accustomed to being in charge and having people obey and fear him. Every task was done with the authority given to him to do it. Now, he had authority from God Himself. How much more would his independence grow!
Saul had a contract out on him! Saul retreated through a window in a basket!
How many times do we go running towards something with all the confidence in the world, only to crash and burn? School, job, relationship. Then wonder why it didn’t work. I’m a Christian, I read my bible, I pray, I go to church, but I’m still tempted, I’m still struggling, why?
How many times do we go running towards something with all the confidence in the world, only to crash and burn? School, job, relationship. Then wonder why it didn’t work. I’m a Christian, I read my bible, I pray, I go to church, but I’m still tempted, I’m still struggling, why?
We must recognize that the same power that rose Jesus from the dead is the same power at work in us. We must also recognize the root of that power. It is not ours to wield, it wields us. We must surrender to it and submit to its authority in order for it to work through us.
Proverbs 15:33 NKJV
33 The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom, And before honor is humility.
The power of God works through us for His glory, not our own. That doesn’t mean that we don’t benefit from it. It means that we must recognize who’s power it is and who’s we are. We must expect resistance, conflict and temptation, but trust that it is God who provides a way to escape it. When things don’t go like we expected them to go, we have to be willing to:
The power of God works through us for His glory, not our own. That doesn’t mean that we don’t benefit from it. It means that we must recognize who’s power it is. We must expect resistance, conflict and temptation, but trust that it is God who provides a way to escape it.
We’ve got to get in the basket.
This must have been so embarrassing and discouraging to Saul. So he went to the only place he knew he would be welcomed with open arms, the church.
Acts 9:26 NKJV
26 And when Saul had come to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples; but they were all afraid of him, and did not believe that he was a disciple.
Acts 9:26
Maybe not.
First, he has to retreat in a basket, now, even the disciples don't want him around. Saul is getting kicked while he is down, by his own people, the church. How defeated must Saul have felt at this time?
Has anyone ever felt kicked or abandoned by the very people who are supposed to build you up? It’s not a good feeling is it? The disciples had a good reason for fearing Saul, but most of the time, you and I respond out of judgment and fear.
Sometimes, its God's own people who become the obstacle for others to know Christ or do His will. We don’t love how we should love, accept how we should accept, show grace how we should show grace, forgive how we should forgive, encourage how we should encourage, build up, shine, live, model, reflect Jesus like we should, and we wonder why no one is responding to our invitations!
Story of former gang member
Being a disciple of Jesus is more than just learning about Him, we must also live like Him. We must live a life that sets us apart from the world.
Being a disciple of Jesus is more than just learning about Him, we must also live like Him. We must live a life that sets us apart from the world. We can’t do that when we have a spirit of independence or an attitude of arrogance in ourselves.
Saul was learning something here, the hard way. He was learning dependence on Jesus and only Jesus. He was now experiencing what it was to be a Christ follower and how necessary it was for him to be humble in his new identity. As dramatic as his salvation was, he still had much to learn.
You will never have true compassion for others until you know what they are going through. Until we experience it ourselves, it is not a priority. It's only real when its happening to you. Saul was learning what it was to be persecuted (what he had been doing to others), and what it was to need and rely on others. Independence is not an option for a follower of Christ! See what happens next.
When we become become followers of Jesus Christ, we don’t automatically lose all the things we struggled with prior to our decision. It’s not a one time event that changes the circumstances in our lives, it’s the very first step in the journey of a lifetime.
He was now experiencing the same persecution he had unleashed on the church before, and he was learning what it was like to live like the people he once hunted.
You will never have true compassion for others until you know what they are going through. Until we experience it ourselves, it is not a priority. It's only real when its happening to you. Saul was learning what it was to be persecuted (what he had been doing to others), and what it was to need and rely on others. Independence is not an option for a follower of Christ!
We’ve got to get in the basket.
See what happens next.
You will never have true compassion for others until you know what they are going through. Until we experience it ourselves, it is not a priority. It's only real when its happening to you. Saul was learning what it was to be persecuted (what he had been doing to others), and what it was to need and rely on others. Independence is not an option for a follower of Christ!
Acts 9:27 NKJV
27 But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. And he declared to them how he had seen the Lord on the road, and that He had spoken to him, and how he had preached boldly at Damascus in the name of Jesus.
Acts 9:27-
Barnabas means, ‘Son of Encouragment’
We all need a Barnabas in our lives. We all need to be a Barnabas to someone else. We must be willing to step out of ourselves for the sake of someone else, even if it is unpopular.
We all need a Barnabas in our lives. We all need to be a Barnabas to someone else. We must be willing to step out of ourselves for the sake of someone else, even if it is unpopular.
We also need to be willing to accept help from others, even if it makes us feel weak or as if we failed.
Giving of ourselves to others and accepting help from others requires us to be humble. Serving requires us to step out of our own lives and step into someone else’s life. Being served requires us to allow someone else into our lives. These are both difficult and scary things for most people. We must put ourselves on the line for the sake of others.
We’ve got to get in the basket.
The 'baskets' in our lives are not moments of embarrassment, but they are moments of teaching and humbling and preparing us for the things we are called to do.
Acts 9:28-
Acts 9:28–30 NKJV
28 So he was with them at Jerusalem, coming in and going out. 29 And he spoke boldly in the name of the Lord Jesus and disputed against the Hellenists, but they attempted to kill him. 30 When the brethren found out, they brought him down to Caesarea and sent him out to Tarsus.
Yet another retreat. If Saul would have come in to Damascus as the person he started out as, he would have entered ceremoniously. He would have been wined and dined by people of power and influence. He would have been heard and cheered for by important people, and he would have left the same way he arrived.
Yet another retreat. If Saul would have come in to Damascus as the person he started out as, he would have entered ceremoniously. He would have been wined and dined by people of power and influence. He would have been heard and cheered for by important people, and he would have left the same way he arrived.
But instead, Jesus happened.
Saul arrived into Damascus blinded, stumbling and led by the hand. He was dependent and at the mercy of people with no public status or popularity. He was argued with and hated. He had a bounty on his head and had to leave under cover of darkness in a basket.
Any momentum he had, any thoughts of greatness, any self righteousness, any entitlement, any illusions Saul had about what his life was gonna be like were all crushed.
Living the Christian life is about surrender, its about dependence. It’s not us who chose God, it is God who chose us. Salvation is a gift, a free gift from God. It is extended to us through Jesus Christ who died on the cross for our sins, to be laid in a borrowed tomb, only to overcome death and rise to the right hand of the Father in heaven. He has prepared a place for us because of who he is. We have no grounds for entitlement or arrogance.
Anyone who bears the name of Christ will suffer
Look at what happens when we live like this.
Acts 9:31 NKJV
31 Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.
The churches were not multiplied because Saul converted everyone in the land. The hunter was now being hunted and had to run away not once, but twice.
The victory is not in how others respond to us, it is in the heart and obedience in which we continue to live. God's will is not dependent on our performance. It is not dependent on us at all. He does not need us. He chooses us to be a part of it, that we may be blessed and depend on Him. The church is not increased because we are victorious. He has already won the battle and is victorious for us. The church is increased because we are faithful, walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit. When we allow God to lead our lives, His fruit will be unmistakable.
But, We’ve got to get in the basket.
When we allow God to lead our lives, His fruit will be unmistakable.
Let’s pray
Where is your basket today? Why aren’t you getting in it? Someone is offering you help, why won’t you take it? Let go of your pride!
husband or wife
son or daughter
family or friend
Is your spirit of independence an obstacle for someone else’s walk with Jesus?
Are you someone’s Barnabas, an encourager? Do you have an encourager?
Be a Barnabas and
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