Summary: Exposition of Acts 16:1-12 regarding Paul’s kingdom oriented mindset
Text: Acts 16:1-12, Title: Building the Kingdom, Date/Place: NRBC, 9/14/08, AM
A. Opening illustration: Getting budget time again…money requires us to ask “kingdom” questions…ex.
B. Background to passage: Theological controversy settled, personal disagreement aside, off they go over land back to Derbe and Lystra. These two cities were visited the first trip, and now they return to continue making disciples.
C. Main thought: Paul begins his second missionary journey with a kingdom mindset
A. Looking Ahead to Ministry (v. 1-3)
1. The first thing mentioned is the addition and circumcision of Timothy. This was a young man who was probably won to Christ during Paul’s first journey, and well spoken of in that church, and surrounding ones. Good indication of local church cooperation. But Paul was looking further down the line than just this missionary journey. He was looking past his own time to the next generation. And when he saw Timothy, he recognized the potential that he had for kingdom work. He recruited him to travel with the team, then circumcised him. Explain why Paul would do this. Think about what must have been going through Timothy’s, or his mother/grandmother’s mind remembering Paul’s last journey.
2. 1 Tim 4:14, 2 Tim 1:6,
3. Illustration: In most churches, the congregation pays the pastor to preach, win the lost, and build up the saved—while the church members function as cheerleaders (if they are enthusiastic) or spectators. The "converts" are won, baptized, and given the right hand of fellowship, then they join the other spectators. How much faster our churches would grow, and how much stronger and happier our church members would be, if each one were discipling another believer. This is the responsibility of every believer, and not just a small group who have been ’called to go.’" Dr. James Dobson said in his book Parenting lsn’t for Cowards, `Attach a boy to a good man, and he seldom goes wrong." What if you love to hunt and eat what you hunt, but God calls you to reach Buddhists who believe neither in killing of animals, nor eating meat? Could you give up a hobby and become a vegetarian?
4. To the older: Think of all the potential of all those in this room right now! How many pastors might be here? How many missionaries, martyrs, doctors, nurses, teachers for Christ? We must be so kingdom minded that we look ahead to the next generation. Jesus lived his whole ministry like this. We must avoid momma called ministries. But this does not mean that we never recognize potential. The church, and individuals in the church, must confirm and recognize the gifts in its younger generations. And we must also be willing to put those gifts into use in service. To the younger: Be wise about your future life decisions. Value the opinions of certain godly individuals whom God has strategically placed in your life. Also, be willing to sacrifice, and prepare your mind and heart for that by having a loose grip on things and goals in life.
B. Healthy Churches Grow (v. 4-5)
1. The message that Paul and Silas and Timothy proclaimed was the gospel now having been further clarified by the apostles in Jerusalem. And it was this teaching that “strengthened” the churches. The word means more than just to make strong, it means to establish and make firm or immovable. These churches were being entrenched in the gospel by the constant proclamation of the gospel. So what does a healthy church look like? See, very often we get the cart before the horse, and we say if we are growing we must be healthy. This is not always the case, give ex. (Mormons, blessing in spite of ourselves, suburban growth). But I do want you to notice how rapid the growth truly was—daily.
2. The testimony of Acts is a pure, theologically sound, faithful proclaiming, biblically structured church.
3. Illustration: Task Force Question, Read the different qualities—Dever, Dr. White (GBC), Pirkle, Someone has estimated that the average member of the church has heard 6,000 sermons, 8,000 congregational songs and led zero people to Jesus Christ! the church that baptized 120 last week,
4. We must focus ourselves on Christ and being healthy, and the growth will come. Because a church that is worshipping, making much of Jesus, producing fully devoted disciples, planting new churches, actively doing missions, faithfully preaching the word, and theologically (especially ecclesiologically) correct will grow! And to be biblical, evangelism that doesn’t produce disciples is not real evangelism. We must remember that the church is the bride of Jesus, and is worth an infinite price to Him. And so one of our goals must be to properly “do church” so that Christ will be pleased and we will display his glory. And when that happens growth will be a by-product. What if everyone’s goal was to win one this week?