Summary: 1- God is at work in preaching 2- God is at work in refuting error 3- God is at work in judgment
INTRO.- ILL.- Little Ricky was spending the weekend with his grandmother after a particularly trying week in kindergarten.
His grandmother decided to take him to the park on Saturday. It had been snowing all night and everything was beautiful. His grandmother remarked, "Doesn't it look like an artist painted this scenery? Did you know God painted this just for you?"
Ricky said, "Yes, God did it, and he did it left handed."
This confused his grandmother a bit, and she asked him, "What makes you say God did this with his left hand?"
"Well," said Ricky," we learned at Sunday School last week that Jesus sits on God's right hand!
Kids get a little confused at times. Of course, we who teach children need to make ourselves very clear! We always need to make ourselves clear when talking about God and Christ! And to all people.
God has indeed painted some very pretty scenes in America and around the world and during all seasons. Even though I haven't done much traveling and haven't seen much scenery I still appreciate God's handiwork right here in Arkansas and in other places where I've lived.
God is a worker! He spoke and said, "Let there be light and there was light." He spoke again and instantly dry land appeared on planet earth, then plant and animal life. He spoke again and the starry universe came into existence! He spoke and man and woman came to life! (not necessarily in that order, but God knew the correct order in which to make them!) But how did God do that? That's the multi-million dollar question that will never be answered by man!
John 5:17 "Jesus said to them, "My Father is always at his work to this very day, and I, too, am working."
God is a worker and He's still at work. Is that right? Is God still at work? If so, what is He doing?
Proverbs 15:3 "The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good."
God isn't just watching over people, He is at work in the lives of His people! He does things at times that we can't begin to even imagine. He does good for His people and at the same time, throws a wrench in the works when it comes to some evil people. BUT BE ASSURED GOD IS STILL AT WORK IN THIS WORLD!
PROP.- In this text about Paul's past, we see how God is at work in the world and in people's lives.
1- God is at work in preaching
2- God is at work in refuting error
3- God is at work in judgment
I. GOD IS AT WORK IN PREACHING
1Fourteen years later I went up again to Jerusalem, this time with Barnabas. I took Titus along also. 2I went in response to a revelation and set before them the gospel that I preach among the Gentiles. But I did this privately to those who seemed to be leaders, for fear that I was running or had run my race in vain.
I went and set before them the gospel. God was the one who sent Paul to preach. God was at work in Paul's preaching.
ILL.- Alexander Maclaren (Baptist in England) was one of the greatest preachers of the nineteenth century. Robertson Nicoll said of him: “A man who reads one of Alexander Maclaren’s sermons must either take his outline—or take another text.”
What did that man mean by those words? I'm not exactly sure but I did get the impression that Maclaren worked hard to prepare his sermons.
It was said that through hard work, disciplined study, and concentration Maclaren did one important thing - he preached the Word. He turned down most speaking and social invitations. He stayed home, did his work, and built a great church.
“I began my ministry,” he told a group of young preachers, “with the determination of concentrating all my available strength on the work, the proper work of the Christian ministry, the pulpit.... I have tried to make my ministry a ministry of exposition of Scripture.”
To Alexander Maclaren, preparing messages was hard work. He often said he could never prepare sermons while wearing his house slippers; he always wore his outdoor boots. He was known to devote sixty hours to the preparation of a single sermon. Wow!
I don't think I spend 60 hours on every sermon but I do spend a lot of time: thinking, reading, researching, praying, writing, and re-writing.
Right now I have probably 16 to 18 sermons on my desk. I wrote to my college professor/preacher, Bob Stacy, who is 75 years old and is the Sr. Minister of the Spring Hill Church of Christ in Middletown, OH. And I told Bob that I had about 18 sermons already prepared. He wrote back and said, "I never heard of any preacher doing that!" Meaning, he didn't think any preacher would do it or perhaps would have the time to do it.