Summary: God’s missionary plan in action. (PowerPoint slides to accompany this talk are available on request - email: firstname.lastname@example.org)
How GOD MOVES PEOPLE
Reading: Acts 13 chapter 13 verses 1-12:
The Guide to Estate Agent Clichés
• “Would suit D-I-Y enthusiast” – MEANS - Would suit demolition
• “Bijou property” – MEANS - Microscopic
• “Convenient for motorway access” – MEANS - Triple-glazing a minimum
• “Efficient use of space” – MEANS - Cramped” doesn’t describe it
• “Incredible potential” – MEANS - Incredible cost to do up
• “Delightfully secluded” – MEANS - A week’s drive to the nearest shop
• “Up-and-coming-area” – MEANS - Expect to be mugged
• “Sought-after location” – MEANS - Flash post-code, inflated price
• “New price” – MEANS - On the market a year; not even a nibble
• “Deceptively spacious”: – MEANS - Guess who’s being deceptive
• People move house for a variety of reasons;
• For some it’s because of a new job.
• For others to be closer to family members.
• Some the need is for more space,
• Some fly the nest or move to a bigger place to accommodate a growing family.
• Or may be for less space as the offspring leave home.
• To some the move is to improve life - a better district, or to escape a tricky situation.
• There are many reasons both good and bad for moving.
Christians can add another key factor regarding moving - God.
• 24 years in the same house (even born there!),
• Then as I entered the ministry I had six different homes in two years.
We see this principle of God moving people:
• Perfectly illustrated in the book of Acts,
• Acts is a book of movement:
• It is a book of shallow tent pegs, as people are travelling here and there,
• Setting off in one direction or another in response to God’s call.
• William Phelps taught English literature at Yale for forty-one years;
• Until his retirement in 1933.
• One year just before Christmas he was marking an examination paper,
• Phelps came across the note: "God only knows the answer to this question. Merry Xmas"
• Phelps returned the paper with this note:
• "God gets an A. You get an F. Happy New Year."
• God alone knows where we might move to in the future,
• Wise people move with God, they do not fight against his will!
• Acts chapter 13 is a great example of;
• When God clearly says it is time to move on!
(1). Behind the Scenes: A Plan
• The book of Acts is one of the few Bible books,
• That first gives us the outline and then gives us the content.
The outline is in Acts chapter 1 verse 8:
“You will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria,
and to the ends of the earth.”
• Jerusalem was where it all started,
• Sadly for many of the first Christians, that where it ended as well!
• That’s as far as God’s people went,
• They put their roots down and were content,
• So God had to send the stones of persecution into their calm waters
• And this persecution sent the Christians rippling outward;
• Into the second phase of God’s plan;
• Judea and Samaria.
• Yet here once again the Christians seem to have got themselves settled,
• They seemed to have forgotten the last part of Jesus’ command:
“And even to the remotest part of the earth”
Certainly, we can understand their desire to stay settled,
• We all like the comforts of home,
• And the need for security that we find there.
• But when God has a plan, that plan must be implemented!
• God knows what He is doing and at times for some of us that may include us moving on.
God’s plan is to get these Christians in Acts chapter 13 back on the road again:
• That is the subject of this passage.
• In Acts 13 and see how the Holy Spirit will move His people into a new territory,
These verses in Acts chapter 13 divide into two sections:
• Verses 1-3: first part.
• Verses 4-12: second part.
PART 1: VERSES 1-3:
(1). Making the Move: A Need
• The first few words of verse 1 provide a backdrop for the action that follows.
• Though his phrasing is simple,
• Luke conveys a wealth of information in his portrait of the situation.
• “In the church at Antioch there were prophets and teachers”
(1). The City (VERSE 1).
• Chapters 13 and 14 describes Paul’s ministry in six different cities,
• Beginning and ending at Antioch.
• Until now, Jerusalem had been the centre of ministry,
• And Peter had been the key apostle.