Summary: I would like to thank Pastor Jerry Shirley for sharing this series on Acts. It has been a blessing as well as a great help. I have used these for our church, as I spend my days caring for my dying father.
“Lord I can’t do this anymore” Acts 18:1-11
I guess all of us at one time or another get depressed and feel like giving up. In the heat of a moment we may feel like saying: “there’s no use going on because the harder I try, the worse things seem to get. I witness/preach my heart out but no one listens. I’m getting nothing out of church and the daily stresses and problems are all just wearing me down.”
I know this is true because I’ve talked to those who are going thru it and I’ve been there, myself! Pastoring any church, today is hard enough but one of the hardest things to do is to be the pastor of a single staff church. Single staff pastors are expected to make it all work in harmony while referring fights, outing fires that have the potential to destroy the fellowship all started by gossip. And let’s not forget taking out the trash, unstopping the toilets and being ready to preach 2-3 sermons a week.
So this message may very well be more for me than anyone in this place today.
The truth is that sometimes God’s people need a spiritual 2ndwind…
Let me give you some examples:
Moses was the greatest leader in the Bible. He was handpicked by God and had God’s power on his life. Yet in Numbers chapter 11, we read the Israelites began to grumble and complain, because some foreigners who were with them stirred them up. Verse 4 calls them “The Rabble.” They were foreigners who were wicked people.
They were IN the group but not OF the group…Same thing happens to the church by those who are IN the body but not OF the body.
So in [Numbers 11:11-15a NIV] here’s what Moses says to God “11 He asked the LORD, "Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors? 13 Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, 'Give us meat to eat!' 14 I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me--…’”
Moses had all these people to care for and no one to help him. His leaders were practicing absentee leadership or they were right in the middle of the trouble themselves. All this was happening because there was some among the people of God who were out of the will of God, causing trouble for the whole body; Moses felt he’d be better off dead. He was ready to throw in the towel and go home.
Next let’s think about Joshua. He was the greatest General, also handpicked by God to lead Israel into the Promised Land. They had won every battle they faced because the hand of the lord was upon them. They defeated Jericho with nothing more than a parade and a victory shout, but in [Jos 7:7-9 NIV] listen to what Joshua says “7 And Joshua said, "Alas, Sovereign LORD, why did you ever bring this people across the Jordan to deliver us into the hands of the Amorites to destroy us? If only we had been content to stay on the other side of the Jordan!
8 Pardon your servant, Lord. What can I say, now that Israel has been routed by its enemies?
9 The Canaanites and the other people of the country will hear about this and they will surround us and wipe out our name from the earth. What then will you do for your own great name?’”
What Joshua was saying was, “so this is what we get for serving God. This is what happens when we are obedient.”
Joshua said this after a horrible defeat at the hands of a little two camel city called, Ai and he felt like quitting!
Why had the Israelites suddenly gone from a force to be reckoned with to being unable to fight their way out of a wet paper bag?
The change took place because there was sin in the camp!
If we look back one chapter we’ll see God’s instructions. [Jos 6:18 NIV] “But keep away from the devoted things, so that you will not bring about your own destruction by taking any of them. Otherwise you will make the camp of Israel liable to destruction and bring trouble on it.” One bad apple may not spoil the barrel but one person’s deliberate sin can bring down the whole house.