Summary: We can’t continue our half-hearted, part-time Christianity and expect dynamic N.T. results. Rather, we must attempt to adopt Bible devotion, practices, and obedience – then we can expect to have Bible results!
DOING THINGS WE’VE NEVER DONE TO GET THINGS WE’VE NEVER GOTTEN
A. HUMOR: HE LOVED DRIVING TRAINS
1. In the early days of Texas, there was a man who drove trains for a living. He loved his job, but he was too reckless and caused a crash. He lived, but a one person died. He was found guilty, and was sentenced to death by electrocution.
2. As his last meal he requested a single banana. Then he was strapped into the electric chair, “Old Sparky.” The switch was flown, sparks flew and smoke filled the air- but nothing happened. The man was perfectly fine.
3. An obscure old Texas law said that if an execution failed, it was a sign of divine intervention, so the man was to go free. Somehow, the man got a job again driving trains, had an accident, this time killing two people.
4. Again he was sentenced to execution. For his final meal, the man requested two bananas. After eating the bananas, he was strapped into the electric chair. The switch was thrown, sparks flew, but nothing happened!
5. Well, this of course meant that he was free to go. It all happened a third time – wreck, 3 deaths, sentenced to execution. This time at his last meal he requested 3 bananas.
6. "No," said the executioner. "I've had it with you walking out of here unharmed. No bananas!” The man was strapped into the electric chair, the switch was pulled, sparks flew, smoke filled the room- but the man was still unharmed. The executioner was speechless.
7. The man looked at the executioner and said "Oh, the bananas had nothing to do with it. I'm just a bad conductor."
AT JERUSALEM: 32 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. 33 With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all 34 that there were no needy persons among them. For from time to time those who owned land or houses sold them, brought the money from the sales 35 and put it at the apostles’ feet…” Acts 4:32-35.
EPHESUS: 10 This went on for two years, so that all the Jews and Greeks who lived in the province of Asia heard the word of the Lord. 11 God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, 12 so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them. Acts 19:10-12.
C. COMPARISON, THEN & TODAY
1. The Bible describes a Christianity that was so strong that it conquered every idea and every culture that it contacted. Cities and nations were turned upside down. People were willing to die the most gruesome deaths for it, or to lose their property and possessions.
2. A supernatural power was loose among them that healed the sick, drove out demons, twice blinded its opponents and made hypocrites fall dead on the spot. Within one generation, only by word of mouth, everyone within the known limits of civilization was reached with the Gospel! Incredible!
3. What a contrast with the Christianity of today, which in the U.S.A. seems to struggle to be heard and its adherents constantly vacillate between devotion to Christ and devotion to the world! It knows little or no miracles, and since 2007, the number of people calling themselves Christians has dropped nearly 10%.
4. What’s wrong with this picture? Obviously something about early Christianity was different from modern Christianity. The power of Jesus Christ was much stronger in the early Believer than the Believer of today.
5. Now, we can be satisfied with our lack, or we can find out what they had that we don’t and lay hold of it.
1. ONE THING WE CAN’T DO: KEEP DOING THE SAME THINGS AND EXPECT A DIFFERENT RESULT! Albert Einstein said (or James Jensen); “The definition of ‘insanity’ is “Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result.”
2. This, applied to spiritual things, means that we can’t continue our half-hearted, part-time Christianity and expect dynamic N.T. results. Rather, we must attempt to adopt Bible devotion, practices, and obedience – then we can expect to have Bible results!
3. This message is entitled, “Doing Things You’ve Never Done to Get Things You’ve Never Gotten.” We’re going to look at 3 things Bible people did that seemed to have made a great difference in their lives.
I. FASTING & PRAYER
1. In Daniel 2:14-19, the King of Babylon was going to put all the wise men to death because they couldn’t interpret his dream.