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Acts 14_1-20 - Suffering For Christ

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Suffering For Christ

Acts 14:1-20

Introduction

1.       Paul’s powerful message

2.       Powerful use of the scriptures

3.       The rejoicing of the Gentiles

4.       Envy of the unbelieving Jews

5.       Acts 13:49 "And the word of the Lord was published throughout all the region."

6.       Acts 13:50-51 "But the Jews stirred up the devout and honourable women, and the chief men of the city, and raised persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them out of their coasts. But they shook off the dust of their feet against them, and came unto Iconium."

a.       Matthew 10:14-15 "And whosoever shall not receive you, nor hear your words, when ye depart out of that house or city, shake off the dust of your feet. Verily I say unto you, It shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrha in the day of judgment, than for that city."

7.       Despite rejection and opposition: Acts 13:52 "And the disciples were filled with joy, and with the Holy Ghost."

Suffering For Christ

1.     Unity in Christ (1)

a.       Unified effort to preach the gospel

                                                               i.      Power of two witnesses

                                                             ii.      God uses multiple witnesses to verify His testimony.

                                                            iii.      Power of one (Jonah)

b.      Uniformity Of Speech - in their message and  manner – SO SPAKE

                                                               i.      “So” emphasizes the manner in which the message was given.

                                                             ii.      1 Corinthians 2:1-8 "1And I, brethren, when I came to you, came not with excellency of speech or of wisdom, declaring unto you the testimony of God. 2For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified. 3And I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling. 4And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: 5That your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God. 6Howbeit we speak wisdom among them that are perfect: yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world, that come to nought: 7But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8Which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory."

                                                            iii.      What do men come away with when they hear us speak?

                                                           iv.      God’s spirit and power was evident through their boldness (3) in their preaching of the Cross.

                                                             v.      Long time…persistence (3)

                                                           vi.      “the word of his grace”: unmerited favor

1.       Ephesians 2:8-9 "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: Not of works, lest any man should boast."

2.       Romans 11:6 "And if by grace, then is it no more of works: otherwise grace is no more grace. But if it be of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work."

3.       Way of the Master:

a.       Did you quit sinning in order be saved? “Yes”

b.      Have you sinned since you’ve been saved? “Well yes”

c.       Well then you didn’t quit sinning and by your own testimony you’re still lost.

d.      Don’t frustrate the grace of God.

c.       Unity of believers

                                                               i.      Romans 10:11-12 "For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed. For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him."

                                                             ii.      Gospel shatters barriers of race and culture.

2.       Division Among The People (2-5)

a.       Division among the people

                                                               i.      John 7:43 "So there was a division among the people because of him."

                                                             ii.      John 9:16 "Therefore said some of the Pharisees, This man is not of God, because he keepeth not the sabbath day. Others said, How can a man that is a sinner do such miracles? And there was a division among them."

                                                            iii.      John 10:19 "There was a division therefore again among the Jews for these sayings."

b.      The Instigators

                                                               i.      Wood to the fire: Proverbs 26:20 "Where no wood is, there the fire goeth out: so where there is no talebearer, the strife ceaseth."

                                                             ii.      Minds evil affected (interesting verb in this sense): It implies not only an ill disposition aroused toward the brethren, but a injury also done to the minds of those in which the feeling was stirred up.”

                                                            iii.      Satan not only wants to stir up trouble, but to do you bodily injury (5)

c.       Never underestimate what people might do

                                                               i.      They clearly were not in the right.

                                                             ii.      There was no evidence on the side of the opposition (as it was with Christ)

                                                            iii.      They could not defend their position.

                                                           iv.      They damaged and corrupted the minds of the people…filling them with hatred and violence.

                                                             v.      Don’t count on people to what is right. Psalm 118:8-9 "It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man. It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in princes."

d.      Remember there are always good and bad.

                                                               i.      Don’t get the Elijah syndrome.

                                                             ii.      Be thankful for those who believe and side with the right way of the Lord.

3.       Keep On The Move (6-7)

a.       God brings things to our attention…so pay attention.

b.      There is time to flee for your life. Luke 4:24-31 "And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country. But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land; But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow. And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath, And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong. But he passing through the midst of them went his way, And came down to Capernaum, a city of Galilee, and taught them on the sabbath days."

c.       Where ever you go…preach the gospel.

d.      Detoured but not distracted.

e.      Fleeing and yet fighting on. Forward!

4.       Don’t be conformed (8-18)

a.       Comparison of Peter & Paul’s ministries.

                                                               i.      both healed a lame man (3:1–8; 14:8–12)

                                                             ii.      both dealt with Satanic pretenders (8:18–24; 13:4–12)

                                                            iii.      both were released from prison miraculously (12:5–10; 16:25–29)

                                                           iv.      both raised the dead (9:40; 20:12)

                                                             v.      both performed special miracles (5:15–16; 28:8).

b.      Crippled from birth…like the lost sinner.

c.       Conformed: be fashioned like or be similar

                                                               i.      Dress of the young people at the “Faith and Family Night”

                                                             ii.      Music of the main group

                                                            iii.      Young man with drug problem: youth group

                                                           iv.      This world will try to fit you and your message into their mold (one of their templates)

                                                             v.      They will try to force you to do it their way…don’t allow that to happen.

d.      Don’t give too much attention to praise or criticism.

e.      Paul’s powerful witness…creation

                                                               i.      Psalm 19:1 "The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament sheweth his handywork."

                                                             ii.      Romans 1:20 "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:"

                                                            iii.      Witness of creation to his divine working.

5.       Rise again (19-20)

a.       You may get hurt, you may get beat up, you may give your life.

b.      2 Corinthians 4:1-12 "1Therefore seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not; 2But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God. 3But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. 5For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake. 6For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ. 7But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be of God, and not of us. 8We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; 9Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; 10Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our body. 11For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. 12So then death worketh in us, but life in you."

c.       2 Corinthians 12:1-4 "It is not expedient for me doubtless to glory. I will come to visions and revelations of the Lord. I knew a man in Christ above fourteen years ago, (whether in the body, I cannot tell; or whether out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) such an one caught up to the third heaven. And I knew such a man, (whether in the body, or out of the body, I cannot tell: God knoweth;) How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter."

d.      Timothy saved: Paul later writes…2 Timothy 3:10-11 "But thou hast fully known my doctrine, manner of life, purpose, faith, longsuffering, charity, patience, Persecutions, afflictions, which came unto me at Antioch, at Iconium, at Lystra; what persecutions I endured: but out of them all the Lord delivered me."

e.      God is a miracle working God! (3, 19-20)

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