Summary: Great expectations for God's Church: 1. Expect new strength (vs. 32). 2. Expect new support (vs. 33-34). 3. Expect new service (vs. 35-36; 39-41). 4. Expect new starts (vs. 37-39). 5. Expect new struggles (vs. 37-40). 6. Expect new success (vs. 37-41).

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Great Expectations for God's Church

The Book of Acts - Part 51

Acts 15:32-41

Sermon by Rick Crandall

Grayson Baptist Church - August 3, 2014

"Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God." You've probably heard that quote before. It's one of my favorites. Mary cross-stitched it for me years ago, and it's hanging on the wall in my office.

"Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God." William Carey said that in a sermon in Nottingham, England on May 31st, 1792. Then he lived it for over 40 years as the father of modern missions in India.

*What are you expecting for our church? What should we expect the Lord to do here? Let's look at the early church to find some great expectations for our church.

1. First of all, expect new strength.

*Church, we can find new strength! We can find the kind of strength we see in vs. 32, where the prophets Judas and Silas "exhorted the brethren with many words and strengthened them."

*The KJV says they "confirmed" them. Some Protestant churches offer formal "confirmation classes" to children when they turn 12. I went through classes like in the Presbyterian Church we attended back in Georgia. But the word "confirmed" in vs. 32 isn't talking about anything like that. The original word here simply means "support, establish, strengthen."

*It reminds us that God will give us all the strength we need! And we need it! David White compared us to weightlifters and said, "The weight lifter who regularly picks up 500 pounds cannot pick up his own 250 pounds. You cannot lift yourself. That's true both physically and spiritually." (1)

*We need strength from above. And there is a lifetime supply of strength for us here in the Word of God. But we have to seek His strength. Most every Christian knows this but knowing it is not enough. We actually have to do it. We have to seek God's strength.

*James Wilson put it this way: "If you ask the young children in our Sunday School, 'How can I be a better Christian?' They are likely to respond, 'Go to church, read your Bible, and pray.' Even the youngest among us know the value of doing these things." Yet, he says, "Every week there are empty pews at the church, and dusty, unread Bibles in our homes." (2)

*There is a lifetime supply of new strength for us in the Word of God. And when we seek it, we can expect new strength.

2. We can also expect new support.

*In vs. 32-34, Silas stayed in Antioch to give more support to the church:

32. Now Judas and Silas, themselves being prophets also, exhorted the brethren with many words and strengthened them.

33. And after they had stayed there for a time, they were sent back with greetings from the brethren to the apostles.

34. However, it seemed good to Silas to remain there.

*Silas was a great guy. Back in vs. 22, the Jerusalem church sent Silas to Antioch. They trusted him to help clear up the terrible confusion about salvation that the legalists had created. Those false teachers claimed that you had to be circumcised and keep the Old Testament religious laws in order to be saved.

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