Summary: Those who want God’s results in their lives, will persist in doing things His way.

Doing Things God’s Way

(Grace Under Fire)

Acts 11:1-18

Intro: Why is it so difficult for men to follow directions? Have you ever bought something that said, “Some assembly required?” What did we do, men? We tear open the package and lay out all the parts and start slapping things together. I don’t know if it’s because we’re so excited to see the finished product, or if we just want to be able to say, “We don’t need no stinking directions!” Maybe we think directions are for sissies who don’t know how to do things the manly way. So maybe it’s pride or ego that drives us to ignore the little booklet or slip of paper that might save us hours of time and a fistful of hair. Sometimes we are successful and we pat ourselves on the back for being so smart or handy. Other times, we may create a disaster, which requires disaster relief in the form of a skilled professional. There are times, however, when we follow the directions the best way we know how for fixing something, but we come to realize that the task is too difficult for us. We find ourselves in over our heads.

-As followers of Jesus, we can often find ourselves in life situations that seem too difficult for us to handle. We try doing things on our own and it just doesn’t work out the way it should. Or maybe we get somebody else’s advice on what to do, but we really don’t consult and try to understand the directions. See, God has given us directions on how to live and most of us have a copy. When we are willing to read the instructions and pattern our lives after them, things go well, because we are doing things God’s way. Most of us are fairly practical people, and we want results that work in our lives. Listen to how simple and practical the main thought of the message is today:

Prop: Those who want God’s results in their lives, will persist in doing things His way.

Interrogative: How can a Christian stay true to God’s way of living? How can we guard against doing things our own way or using somebody else’s way to try to get results?

TS: Well, let me share a few helpful hints from Acts 11 that will help us stay on track with the way God wants things done.

I. Those Who Do Things God’s Way Can Expect Criticism

-When you are doing what God has put in your heart to do, you can expect some opposition- even from other believers you know and trust. This is especially true when God asks you to do something that goes against the accepted social, cultural or religious standards, as He told Peter to do.

-1The apostles and the brothers throughout Judea heard that the Gentiles also had received the word of God. 2 So when Peter went up to Jerusalem, the circumcised believers criticized him 3 and said, "You went into the house of uncircumcised men and ate with them."

-Author Mark Mittelberg tells about a man named Jim who wanted to do things God’s way. Jim had a passion for God, a love for people, and a burden to share the message of God’s forgiveness with people who had not heard. The big question for Jim was, “How can I get unchurched people who are so different from me to see how much God loves them?” Well, he decided to take some risks and really try. So, he went all out! First, he shaved his head right down to the skin- all except for one little patch of hair which he grew out long. He started wearing it in a pigtail and even dyed it a different color, trying to fit in with the customs of the crowd he was trying to reach. Jim changed the way he dressed, what he ate, and even the way he talked so he could communicate God’s love to this group of people. He read the books and literature they read and did everything he could do to establish common ground with them. In fact, he even moved into the same neighborhood and tried making friends with them. Unfortunately, Jim faced outright rejection from the very people he cared so much about; not only from them, but also from his own church family. Instead of getting behind him and encouraging him, they actually started saying bad things about him. Only a few close friends stuck with him and supported his efforts.

-Jim wanted to do things God’s way. Just as Jesus came into this world and became one of us in order to show us God’s love, so Jim tried to do. He faced loneliness, weariness, and discouragement, but he remained faithful to do what God had called him to do. If you’ve ever read about James Hudson Taylor, who ministered in China over a century ago, then you know what kind of criticism and opposition Jim faced. Yet, as a result of Hudson Taylor’s ministry (China Inland Mission), thousands of beautiful Chinese people came to know Jesus.

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