Summary: If we want to see God’s will done in our lives, then we must commit ourselves to doing things His way.
Doing It God’s Way
Intro: As we have followed Paul through the past few chapters of Acts, we have witnessed someone who was willing to give up his own way in order to do what God had called him to do. That is not always easy to do because we are too easily convinced that our way is the best way. We tend to naturally assume that danger, difficulty, and pain must be avoided at all costs. However, Paul shows us that God has a bigger plan than just keeping us away from danger. The HS told several people that Paul was going to face difficulties when he went to Jerusalem. Most of these people told Paul that he should not go. However, Paul knew that God had called him to go there, and that He would see him through whatever difficulties he would encounter. That leads us to the main point of the message today.
Prop: If we want to see God’s will done in our lives, then we must commit ourselves to doing things His way.
Interrogative: Our enemy has a plan for our lives too, so how can we survive his attacks and do things God’s way?
TS: Let’s look at both the enemy’s plan and God’s plan for us so we will not miss what God is doing in and through our lives.
I. Our Enemy Will Use False Accusations against Us (Acts 21:27-29)
27 When the seven days were nearly over, some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul at the temple. They stirred up the whole crowd and seized him, 28 shouting, "Men of Israel, help us! This is the man who teaches all men everywhere against our people and our law and this place. And besides, he has brought Greeks into the temple area and defiled this holy place." 29 (They had previously seen Trophimus the Ephesian in the city with Paul and assumed that Paul had brought him into the temple area.)
-False accusations can discourage us, derail us, make us defensive, and cause us to take our eyes off of the Lord. Furthermore, at times, these false accusations can get us in trouble with other people, hindering relationships and eroding people’s trust in us. Paul’s enemies were accusing him of things they had never bothered to check into themselves. They were much more interested in stopping Paul’s ministry efforts than they were in finding the truth.
-Some of us don’t deal so well with false accusations. We would immediately get angry and defensive and set out to prove our innocence and demand justice. What is the proper response to false accusations? Jesus addressed this in His teachings.
Matthew 5:11-12 11 "Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Jesus told His followers that they were blessed when people falsely accused them. He said to rejoice because they would be rewarded in heaven – even if they did not see justice here on earth.
-How else should we deal with false accusations? Paul gives wise counsel to Titus in 2:7-8 7 “In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” In another place we are told to avoid the appearance of evil. Even if something is not necessarily wrong in and of itself, if it looks bad, we should avoid it so there will not be much ammunition for the enemy to use against us.
-Ultimately, we need to be aware that the enemy of our souls will stir up people to say things about us that are not true. And our reaction needs to be one that comes out of trust in God’s ability to turn seemingly bad situations into opportunities to honor Him.
-It helps for us to remember that people are not our enemies. Yes, people will oppose us, but our real enemy is the devil and the dark forces who do his bidding. So don’t allow yourself to hate the people who are slandering you and trying to bring you down. Recognize that they have been trapped and deceived into doing the devil’s dirty work. They need the deliverance and freedom that comes from Christ alone. Pray for them. Matthew 5:44 “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” Romans 12:14 “Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse.”
-TS: Well, perhaps you are aware what the enemy’s plan for our lives is. He wants to do a lot more to you than just tell lies about you. But just in case you aren’t quite sure what he’s up to, let’s take a look at it.