Summary: Say certain things and you will hit people's "hot button" causing them to quickly react emotionally! Preachers in the Bible had a habit of hitting people's hot buttons. When they did, they were presented with a choice between God's way or man's way.
January 21, 2018
NOTE: A PowerPoint presentation is available for this sermon by request at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TEXT: Acts 22:17-24 - "And it came to pass, that, when I was come again to Jerusalem, even while I prayed in the temple, I was in a trance; 18 And saw him saying unto me, Make haste, and get thee quickly out of Jerusalem: for they will not receive thy testimony concerning me. 19 And I said, Lord, they know that I imprisoned and beat in every synagogue them that believed on thee: 20 And when the blood of thy martyr Stephen was shed, I also was standing by, and consenting unto his death, and kept the raiment of them that slew him. 21 And he said unto me, Depart: for I will send thee far hence unto the Gentiles. 22 And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live. 23 And as they cried out, and cast off their clothes, and threw dust into the air, 24 The chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade that he should be examined by scourging; that he might know wherefore they cried so against him."
The last time we were in the book of Acts, we saw that Paul was in a heap of trouble! After a misunderstanding while coming out of the Temple, he manages to cause a riot, get himself beaten by an angry mob, be rescued by a Roman guard, whose captain mistakes him for a notorious criminal, leading to his arrest. All in a day's work for Paul. But before being led away to prison, Paul was granted permission to address the crowd, which gave him the opportunity to tell the story of how God saved him They gave him a respectful hearing on the first part, but when he got to a certain point in his sermon, the crowd went berserk!
Paul had pushed what I call a "hot button." You know you've pushed hot button in a conversation or a sermon when you make a certain statement, and all of a sudden, the listener throws up his defenses, closes his mind to you, and dismisses anything else you have to say.
It's interesting that there are several instances in the Bible in which preachers pressed hot buttons and people got turned off or angry, and each of them is instructive for us. Let's look at three of them today, one in our text and see what we learn.
I. FIRST WAS WHEN JESUS PRESSED THE HOT BUTTON OF GENUINE FAITH AND TOTAL COMMITMENT.
Up until John 6, Jesus had performed several stunning miracles:
* In chapter 2 He turned the water into wine.
* In chapter 4 He healed the nobleman's son.
* In chapter 5 He healed the invalid man by the pool of Bethesda.
* And in the first part of chapter 6 Jesus fed the 5,000.
Then in the rest of chapter 6, Jesus taught the crowd who He really was and the true nature of salvation.
But in verse 66, after He had taught these things, we read these sad words: "From that time many of his disciples went back, and walked no more with him."
So long as there were parables to hear, and loaves and fishes to be divided and miracles to be wondered at, there was no turning away of many in the multitude. But when the Lord became intensely SPIRITUAL in His teaching (as in the verses prior to verse 66), they left Him.
We don't have time to look at his teaching in John 6, but essentially He called them out for their preoccupation with how He could feed them and heal them and perform miracles and then He said, "Look, following me is not about that stuff; it's not about what you get out of it: following me is about being drawn to God; and recognizing that I am the bread of life; and believing that the way to God is through me."
You know what folks?-When you get off the fluff and get down to the real business of solid Bible teaching and God's demands upon our lives, you'll start hitting some people's hot buttons and they'll turn you off like a water tap.
We're often told, "Just preach like Jesus, and the people will hear you gladly." Well that's not true-because they didn't hear HIM gladly.
John 1:11 says, "He came unto his own, and his own received him not."
The truth is that the moment Jesus got down to business and came to deal with the real and eternal purpose of His life and teachings-many people left Him.