Summary: To be involved in changing the world for Christ we must have integrity, intensity, and involvement in sharing our faith. (Acts 17:1-9)
Be a world changer
LAST WEEK: We are called to have a common purpose in what we do
-- The purpose is to worship, to love, and to celebrate Christ and share Him always
-- That is our challenge, mission, and it is STILL where we find ourselves today
This week we actually have a two part message which will conclude next week
Most will agree that Paul was a unique man; one who stood apart from others
-- Paul in my opinion is a behemoth of a man; a man on a destined mission
-- He was not swayed by public opinion nor worried about what others thought
APP: Paul understood that Grace was the key to life; for it had been shown to him
What do we know about this man many challenged and listened to?
-- He was Jewish by birth and a roman citizen
-- He lived in the city of Tarsus and parents were well off (re: Paul’s education)
-- His life was dedicated to studying the Law of Abraham
-- Most likely a member of the Sanhedrin and was a chief persecutor
Then, his entire life changed when he met Jesus Christ (Acts Ch 9)
-- God called him out of his life and into that of a missionary
-- This calling forever changed his direction and truly transformed his life
Paul was, without a doubt, a man who changed the world!!
Read Acts 17:1-9
TRANS: What does it take to be a world changer? 3 things needed today …
Point 1 – Integrity
Luke tells us (v.4) that Paul’s preaching was successful in Thessalonica.
-- “Some of the Jews were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, as did a large number of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women.”
These were Gentiles drawn to morality & monotheism (one God) of the faith
-- They could never actually become Jews, but they were Jews from a distance
-- APP: The people of that day were looking for something “real” … just as your family, co-workers, neighbors are!
This world in which Christianity was conceived was a world of total immorality
-- Slavery was a universally accepted system
-- Homosexuality was rampant
-- Sexual permissiveness was the rule of the day
-- Prostitution & all forms of sexual immorality were a major part of religion
-- Human life was cheap & pleasure was primary
-- THEN, into world of immorality Christianity introduced: integrity
No wonder these Christians were causing trouble in their world.
-- They were doing something that had been forgotten in that pagan culture.
-- They were living lives of integrity and people didn’t know how to react to it.
-- 1 Thess. 1:9 tells us that these Christians had “turned to God from idols to serve the living & true God.”
D.L. Moody said that you can tell a person’s character by what they do in the dark
- “The measure of a man’s real character is what he would do if he knew he would never be found out.”
In recent years we’ve seen a lot of examples of suffering from a lack of integrity
-- Coaches have been fired, preachers failed to stand, respected politicians exposed
-- We’ve become a nation that doesn’t know what the word “integrity” means
IMP: When we refuse to live by the truth, then we are not living the kind of life that will be approved by God.
-- We must live lives of integrity so non-Christians will see Who we serve!
Transition: The 2nd key ingredient of the church at Thessalonica was:
Point 2 – Intensity
The accusation hurled at the Thessalonian Christians, & Paul & Silas implies this
Why else would they be accused of causing “trouble all over the world” if they were not intense in their commitment to Christ?
We know that the intensity of the Thessalonian church didn’t die down
-- 1 Thess. 1:8, “For from you sounded out the word of the Lord not only in Macedonia and Achaia, but also in every place your faith to God-ward is spread abroad; so that we need not to speak anything.”
-- These Christians had a faith that was so intense that their reputation was known
We see the same spirit in Peter & John before the Sanhedrin
-- Acts 4:19-20, “But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
-- They preached Christ crucified, & Christ risen, & Christ available to all
We must recover this spirit of intensity in our churches today
-- We have too many members at ease, comfortable; not changed or afflicted
-- Too many preachers w/o a message to proclaim; lukewarm evangelism