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Scriptures: Acts 13: 1-11 1. Now in the church at Antioch, there were prophets and teachers: Barnabas, Simeon called Niger, Lucius of Cyrene, Manaen (who had been brought up with Herod, the tetrarch) and Saul. 2. While they were worshiping the Lord and fasting, the Holy Spirit said, “Set apart for me, Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” 3. So after they had fasted and prayed, they placed their hands on them and sent them off. 4. The two of them sent on their way by the Holy Spirit, went down to Seleucia and sailed from there to Cyprus. 5. When they arrived at Salamis, they proclaimed the word of God in the Jewish synagogues. John was with them as their helper. 6. They traveled through the whole island until they came to Paphos. There they met a Jewish sorcerer and false prophet named Bar-Jesus, 7. who was an attendant of the proconsul, Sergius Paulus. The proconsul, an intelligent man, sent for Barnabas and Saul because he wanted to hear the word of God. 8. But Elymas the sorcerer (for that is what his name means) opposed them and tried to turn the proconsul from the faith. 9. Then Saul, who was also called Paul, filled with the Holy Spirit, looked straight at Elymas and said, 10. “You are a child of the devil and an enemy of everything that is right! You are full of all kinds of deceit and trickery. Will you never stop perverting the right ways of the Lord? 11. Now the hand of the Lord is against you. You are going to be blind for a time, not even able to see the light of the sun.” Immediately mist and darkness came over him, and he groped about, seeking someone to lead him by the hand. 12. When the proconsul saw what had happened, he believed, for he was amazed at the teaching about the Lord. Title: (The Inconvenient Truth) Proposition: When you let God have His way, you won't get blinded by the truth. Antithesis: We are living in a time where the truth is only relevant to one’s perspective or position. As such, society has come to a point where the truth is easily manipulated by alternative facts and justified by personal opinion. The truth is only as good as one’s position or perspective, it supports. The bottom line is we are living in a time where people have become experts at hiding the truth. We hide the truth because it has become inconvenient to acknowledge its existence. An Inconvenient Truth is a film on climate change by Al Gore. The aim was to alert the public to an increasing "planetary emergency" due to global warming and showed re-enacted incidents from his life story, which influenced his concerns about environmental issues. He began making these presentations by greeting an audience with his famous line about his campaign in 2000: "I am Al Gore; I used to be the next President of the United States. He tells a story of the difficulty he has had in awakening public concern concerning global warming and other environmental changes: He says, "I've been trying to tell this story for a long time and I feel as if I've failed to get the message across." This documentary put a wedge between the people and corporate profits. It put a wedge between grace and greed. It put a wedge between the haves and the have nots. To handle this truth required a different way of thinking. It requires a different way of living. Most of all, it would require the dismantling of corporate profits and power over the care and concerns of the people. The Truth to corporate America is money meant more than dealing with mental health. So, universal healthcare is a privilege and not a right. I’m not trying to be antisemitic nor am I try to challenge the military industrial complex inside the beltway. It is not my intent to use the pulpit as a platform to launch political propaganda, but when we are concerned with producing more bullets than growing beans in the richest country in the civilized world, yet 1.2 million families are food insecure, and 1-4 black children go to bed hungry every night, we are refusing to deal with the inconvenient truth. Corporations are more eager to peddle their poison than take a reduction in profit. This sentiment is the results of what happens when we developed an apathetic attitude towards the truth. Apathetic because the truth is not convenient to our political position, personal profits, or power. Thesis: However, Martin Luther King, Jr. said, “I refuse to accept the view that mankind is so tragically bound to the starless midnight of racism and war that the bright daybreak of peace and brotherhood can never become a reality... I believe that unarmed truth and unconditional love will have the final word”. Friedrich Nietzsche said, “Sometimes people don't want to hear the truth because they don't want their illusions destroyed.” Avoiding the truth “feels” easier than facing it head-on. This idea may appear to be correct, but it’s actually the more difficult path. It is the path that keeps us from experiencing genuine fulfillment, joy, growth, and love. In our scriptures this morning, we find the magician who did not want the deputy governor to hear the truth. Can I go psychoanalytical with you for a moment? Psychology would suggest that the magician knew the truth and understood the impact that it would have. Therefore, he did not want the governor to hear the truth. My brothers and sisters, I believe it is safe to say that we avoid allowing people to hear stuff if it does not work out in our favor. This magician, this self-proclaimed prophet of God, did not want the governor to listen to the truth. The truth represented an inconvenience to his current situation. Paul and Barnabas came to preach the truth to Sergius Paulus (the proconsuls), but Elymas attempted to stand in the way of the governor hearing the word of God. God has sent these two apostles on a mission, and the governor was part of their mission, but the magician wanted to stand in the way of them doing what God (Through the Holy Spirit) called them to do and the governor receiving his blessing from God. This magician had established who he was by who he had a connection to. If the truth broke that connection, then he would cease to be who he thought of himself to be. His position put within a place of prominence. His position put him in a place of power. He was living his best life; it did not matter if it was a lie. He would instead be engaged in creative relativism and rationalize why the truth is irrelevant to his current position. He did not want the governor to change. Because a change in him would cause a change in his status. He was employed as personal counsel to the governor. If that changed, then the governor would seek counsel from someone besides him. The truth was an inconvenience to him. The truth meant a loss of power and vacation of his current position. When we don’t accept the truth, there is a chance we might find ourselves blinded by selfish ambition. We might find the paths of righteousness hidden from us. Our sunny days become filled with darkness. Relevant Question: How get to the truth and live in it? 1. Recognize there will always be someone that doesn’t want to hear the truth. In other words, they don’t want you to live a better life because your reality might negatively impact them. If they can keep you where they are, then you will never be greater than them. If I put it plainly, misery loves company. 2. The truth will cause you to cut some people out of your life. The truth will stop you from going some of the places you used to go to. The truth will prevent you from doing some of the things you used to do. 3. The truth will help you see some things that you could not see nor understand before. When you accept the truth, you will see why God did get you that job you wanted when the company files for bankruptcy. You will see why momma said to leave that girl alone, and you should not marry that man. The truth will open your eyes to a better way of living. The truth will open your heart to a better idea of love. It will open eyes to experience eternal joy, everlasting peace, and immeasurable grace. The Truth requires us to: Commitment Avoiding the truth will keep us from the deep knowing that we are ultimately the only one responsible for what we are experiencing. When we commit to facing the truth, we clearly can see that there is nobody left to point the finger at and nobody left to blame. Changes We avoid facing the truth because deep down, we hold the knowledge that truth can create permanent change. Even though we may know on some level that it will result in positive change, we are resistant to this because any kind of change takes us out of our comfort zone. The Ego Facing the truth can shatter everything we have ever believed about who we thought we were. This means we must have the willingness and the courage to go within and redefine and recreate who we are from the inside out. This can be deathly frightening to the Ego Letting Go Facing the truth often requires letting go of everything that keeps us limited and the idea of letting go can feel extremely scary because we don’t know what is waiting on the other side (This is where we must trust that what’s waiting for us is always for our highest good). Synthesis: Well, what is the truth? The truth is we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. The truth is the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life. The truth is whosoever call upon the name of God shall be saved. The truth is if I will confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in the heart that God has raised him from the dead, you shall be saved. God so loved the world that he sent his only begotten son that whosoever believe in him should not perish but have everlasting life. The truth is Jesus said, I am the way the truth and the life no man cometh unto the father except by me. Who is this Jesus? I heard he is Mary’s baby, Jesus is God’s son, he is the Lillian Valley he is a bright and morning star, he is the Rose of Sharon he is the way out of no way he is the beginning and in he is the Alpha and Omega He is the one that picked me up and turned my life around. He is the one that delivered me when I was fit to live, but my soul wasn't prepared to die. He loves me, He saved me! What he did for me he will do for you. I don’t know what you are going through right now. But the Lord can remove every obstacle, bind every demon, cast down every stronghold.
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