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Summary: Society at large and individuals in general despise the idea of facing a God who holds them accountable and whose wrath is incurred.

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Anything Except Facing My Accountability to God

(Acts 14:1-20)

1. Sometimes there is no answer to conflict. It just is.

2. From Reader's Digest: "On his birthday, my husband was stuck driving our six rambunctious children around. As usual, they were yelling, punching, and annoying one another. Joel finally had had enough.

"Kids," he said over the din, "if you would behave and be kind to each other, that would be a very nice birthday present for me."

Our six-year-old shot back: "Too late, I already got you another present."

3. Conflict is often inevitable, and this is especially true regarding the Gospel. We propose it, others attack it or dismiss it as irrelevant. And so it has been for centuries.

Main Idea: Society at large and individuals in general despise the idea of facing a God who holds them accountable and whose wrath is incurred.

I. The EVENTS

A. The SAME story at the Iconium Synagogue (1-7)

1. Received at first

2. Some Jews believe, then gentiles

3. Unbelieving Jews stir up crowd

4. Paul and Barnabas sneak out to avoid being stoned

B. A DIFFERENT experience at Lystra (8-13)

1. Paul heals a man lame from birth

2. What does it mean, that he had faith? Remember, Acts consists of brief summaries; most probably a discussion beforehand.

3. The people think he is Zeus and Barnabas is Apollo

4. The local legend of that community, in The Metamorphoses of Ovid

5. They brought bulls to sacrifice to them

C. Paul had to RESTRAIN this sacrilege (14-18)

1. Tore clothes

2. Only human

3. Uses it as a transition: here to bring Good News

4. The real God, creator, unlike idols

5. Common grace a testimony, though he permitted nations to slide away

6. Even then, it was all they could do to restrain them

D. The opposing Jewish LEADERS from Antioch and Iconium showed up (19-20)

1. Dragged Paul out of the city and stoned him

2. They thought he was dead and left

3. But he surprisingly survived and left with the disciples

Society at large and individuals in general despise the idea of facing a God who holds them accountable and whose wrath is incurred.

II. The Lesson: It Is Human Nature to Take Great Pains to Avoid RESPONSIBILITY for Our Failures Before God

A. Religion is usually an EVASION of accountability

1. False strains of Judaism (evasion)

2. False pagan religions (evasion)

• The Romans conquered and included the gods of those they conquered, some of whom appeared in the Pantheon; but Christianity is not just another religion. It is exclusively true; that offended the Romans, and it offends many fellow Americans.

3. False strains of Christianity (evasion)

4. Paul presents the Gospel, and, despite the passion with which we may or may not preach it, the Gospel is about FACTS; this idea is detestable to the Post Modern mind, which is more interested in discussion than conviction.

5. Rather than change the Gospel to make it appealing to the Post Modern mind, we affirm that the Gospel stays the same and we must accumulate those irresistibly drawn to Jesus Christ and the facts of the Gospel.

6. Paul in Romans: Conscience accusing or excusing (Romans 2:15)

7. To obey is better than sacrifice

8. An "agreed upon" belief system, not based on the clear teaching of the Word. The less we can prove a belief from Scripture, sometimes the more dogmatic we are about it. We quote creeds and confessions rather than verses.

9. The Jewish religious leaders dogged Paul…religion can be dangerous, so can atheism…

B. Failing to face the truth about ourselves can make us FICKLE

1. Popularity can come and go with amazing speed.

2. The emotionally zealous are also the most prone to turn in fickleness.

3. This is why we need the boundaries of solid doctrine, to contain our vacillations.

C. False religious beliefs deafen us to the TRUTH

The pagans could not HEAR because they held onto false religious assumptions

People tend to interpret your words about the things of God in light of their religious assumptions based upon their definitions and beliefs, and therefore may never really hear us.

D. Because of this, telling the truth often brings PERSECUTION

1. Galatians 4:16, "Have I now become your enemy by telling you the truth?"

2. The reward for a good deed can be punishment

E. Part of facing our responsibility is to not GIVE UP (Paul did not)

CONCLUSION

Society at large and individuals in general despise the idea of facing a God who holds them accountable and whose wrath is incurred.

What about you?

• Are you deaf to the Gospel because you have ideas in your head that keep you from understanding? Do you assume you understand, but suspect maybe you really do not?

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