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.
Bringing Down the Strongholds of Hell Acts 19:8-27 Part 3
[2Co 10:4 NIV] “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”
Last time we looked at the open door of opportunity, placed in front of Paul. We saw the opposition Paul had to face in order to share the gospel. We looked at 3 types of religion that Paul had to deal with. If you remember, he dealt with insufficient religion, he dealt with artificial religion and he dealt with a religion of idolatry.
I said that as believers, we are the light of the world but the light cannot sit around waiting for the dark to come to it…
This morning I want to look at the final part of this message. I want us to understand that if we are to be successful. If we are to be victorious. If we are to be overcomers, tearing down the strongholds of hell then we must be willing to step out of our comfort zone.
1. Paul overcame and we can be overcomers. Verses 8-9, 23-26
Paul overcame because he was willing to step outside of his comfort zone, which was the Temple or the Synagogue. (His church)
It would have been much easier if Paul had just simply followed the program but he chose to be obedient to God, instead.
So now Paul is teaching in the school of Tyrannus, which is just down from the temple of Diana.
Imagine, if you will, two guys walking down this street and one says; “Do you see that little Baptist church over there? Some guy named Paul is the Pastor of that little church and word is that he’s going to be responsible for bringing down the religion of Diana.” (Remember from last time that Diana’s temple was magnificent and people everywhere worshipped her) The other guy would probably think the first guy was out of his mind and say, “that’ll never happen because one pastor and one little old church can’t do anything like that.” And you would be right. It will never happen, as long as that one pastor and that little old church is not willing to get out of their comfort zone.
But that’s just what Paul and that small group of believers did. They stepped out of their comfort zone and the mighty power of God moved in that wicked city.
Paul and this little group of believers overcame all the obstacles and began bringing people to Jesus. Notice I didn’t say bringing them to church. Unless we bring them to Jesus the church can’t help. They shared Jesus not church Membership, not baptism and those who had a life changing experience with Jesus didn’t need Diana anymore…
But understand that when we decide to move out of our comfort zone there will be struggles.
This guy named Demetrius and his associates had been making a fortune off of selling statues of Diana and other temple trinkets, but all of a sudden sales were falling and they were in danger of going bankrupt.
When I examined this passage I realized that they weren’t worried about losing their religion nor were they concerned about their convictions. They were worried more about losing their money…profits!
The other day, I read this letter from a father to his daughter’s ex-fiancé:
“Dear Tony, I have been unable to sleep since I broke off your engagement to my daughter. Will you forgive and forget?
I was much too sensitive about your Mohawk, tattoos, and pierced nose.
I now realize that motorcycles aren’t that dangerous, and I really shouldn’t have reacted the way I did to the fact that you have no job.
I’m sure that there are many very nice people who live under a bridge in the park.
Sure, she’s only 18, and could go to Harvard on a full scholarship, but she wants to marry you!
I finally realized that you can’t learn everything about life from books alone.
I sometimes forget how backward I can be and admit that I was wrong.
I have finally come to my senses, and you can marry my daughter, with my full blessing.
Sincerely, your future father-in-law.
What changed? What caused this father to surrender his convictions?
P.S.: (Ps is like the BUT WAIT in an infomercial…)
Congratulations on winning this week’s lottery!”
This father had some serious convictions and was willing to take a stand, even standing between his daughter and Tony, this guy who was clearly not right for his daughter, so what changed this Father’s convictions?
The same thing this world revolves around… This father sold out for the almighty dollar. He saw an opportunity to get a share of Tony’s new fortune and was willing to sell his daughter for a portion of the riches.