Summary: God is always at work in our world: 1. Choosing His people (vs.17). 2. Protecting His people (vs. 17). 3. Patiently leading His people (vs. 18-21). 4. Righteously judging all people (vs. 19-22). 5. Passionately seeking for His people (vs. 22).
God Is at Work in Our World - Part 1
Series: The Book of Acts - Part 43
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - May 25, 2014
*Church, we have started to follow the first missionary journey of Barnabas and Paul. And in tonight's Scripture John Mark leaves the team to go back home. We will look into this setback when we get to chapter 15. But tonight, I want to start focusing on the message Paul preached when they got to another city called Antioch. This Antioch was in Pisidia, which is part of Turkey today. And as we read vs. 13-22, think about how God works in our world.
*I like what Paul said in vs. 16, "Men of Israel, and you who fear God, listen!" Larry Sarver told about a 6-year old boy who was struggling to listen to a sermon one Sunday, a long sermon.
*After church, the little boy asked, "Dad, what does the preacher do the rest of the week?" His father replied, "Son, he's a very busy man. He takes care of church business, visits the sick, studies the Bible. And he has to take time to rest up. You see, preaching in public is not an easy job." The little boy thought about that for a moment, and said, "Well, listening ain't so easy either!" (1)
*And sometimes it's not. But Paul wants us to listen here, because he's got some important things to tell us about God. Paul wants us to know that God is at work in our world. So please listen to some of the great things our God has done, and still does in the world today.
1. First, God worked by choosing His people.
*As Paul said in vs. 17: "The God of this people Israel chose our fathers, and exalted the people when they dwelt as strangers in the land of Egypt, and with an uplifted arm He brought them out of it."
*When it says that God chose the people of Israel, it means that He chose them for Himself. Why did God do that? Was it because they were smarter or better looking than other people? -- No. Was it because they had better behavior than other people? Again, the answer is no.
*The reason God chose them was because of His sovereign grace. And Christians, by His grace we are every bit as chosen as they were! In John 15:16, Jesus told His disciples: "You did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in My name He may give you."
*Also remember what Peter said to Christians in 1 Peter 2:9-10:
9. . . You are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;
10. who once were not a people but are now the people of God, who had not obtained mercy but now have obtained mercy.
*And listen to what Paul said about Christians in 1 Corinthians 1:26-31. This is from the NLT:
26. Remember, dear brothers and sisters, that few of you were wise in the world's eyes, or powerful, or wealthy when God called you.
27. Instead, God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful.
28. God chose things despised by the world, things counted as nothing at all, and used them to bring to nothing what the world considers important,
29. so that no one can ever boast in the presence of God.
30. God alone made it possible for you to be in Christ Jesus. For our benefit God made Christ to be wisdom itself. He is the one who made us acceptable to God. He made us pure and holy, and he gave himself to purchase our freedom.
31. As the Scriptures say, "The person who wishes to boast should boast only of what the Lord has done."
*The best way I can understand us being chosen by God is adoption. Speaking to Christians, Ephesians 1:3-5 says:
3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ,
4. just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love,
5. having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will,
*Christians: God chose us to be adopted into the Family of God! Think about the kind of love on display when families choose to adopt children. Kay Strom gave the example of 11-year-old Jeremy. He had been abandoned by his birth mother when he was just a little baby.