Summary: What to know in order to live a successful life...
How to be right in
the middle of god¡¦s will
Acts Series: ¡§Completely Irreligious, Yet Radically Christian¡¨ Part 16
Pastor Jeff Christopherson
May 4, 2003
WHAT TO KNOW IN ORDER TO LIVE SUCCESSFULLY:
I. THE PLAN:
(Understand God¡¦s Eternal Purpose)
¡§You will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.¡¨ Acts 1:8
God¡¦s plan was to create the most influential follower of Christ out of the most antagonistic persecutor of the church of Christ.
Saul (Paul) before meeting the spiritual team¡K
¡§While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, ¡§Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.¡¨ Then he fell on his knees and cried out, ¡§Lord, do not hold this sin against them.¡¨ When he had said this, he fell asleep. And Saul was there, giving approval to his death.¡¨ Acts 7:59-8:1
¡§Godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him. But Saul began to destroy the church. Going from house to house, he dragged off men and women and put them in prison.¡¨ Acts 8:2-3
¡§Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord¡¦s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem.¡¨ Acts 9:1-2
God¡¦s will for my life has more to do with ¡¥God¡¦s will¡¦ than with ¡¥my life¡¦.
The Wrong Question: ¡§What is God¡¦s will for MY LIFE?¡¨
The Right Question: ¡§What is God¡¦s eternal WILL? How should His purpose affect my purpose?¡¨
NOTE: The accomplishing of God¡¦s purpose is not dependant upon my obedience. The personal blessing I receive in participating with God is dependant upon my obedience. I choose my blessing through my obedience.
II. THE PLAYERS:
(Understand how YOU fit in to God¡¦s eternal purpose)
Key Truth: God uses ordinary people who are available for His purposes to accomplish His redemptive plan.
1. El Shaddai: (Almighty God)
¡§As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, ¡§Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?¡¨ ¡§Who are you, Lord?¡¨ Saul asked. ¡§I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,¡¨ he replied. ¡§Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.¡¨ (9:3-6)
2. People with Passion: (Stephen)
¡§While they were stoning him, Stephen prayed, ¡§Lord Jesus, receive my spirit.¡¨ Then he fell on his knees and cried out, ¡§Lord, do not hold this sin against them.¡¨ When he had said this, he fell asleep.¡¨ (7:59)
3. People of Faith: (Ananias)
¡§In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, ¡§Ananias!¡¨ ¡§Yes, Lord,¡¨ he answered. The Lord told him, ¡§Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.¡¨ ¡§Lord,¡¨ Ananias answered, ¡§I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your saints in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.¡¨ But the Lord said to Ananias, ¡§Go! This man is my chosen instrument to carry my name before the Gentiles and their kings and before the people of Israel.¡¨ (9:10-15)
4. People who Encourage: (Barnabas)
¡§When he came to Jerusalem, he tried to join the disciples, but they were all afraid of him, not believing that he really was a disciple. But Barnabas took him and brought him to the apostles. He told them how Saul on his journey had seen the Lord and that the Lord had spoken to him, and how in Damascus he had preached fearlessly in the name of Jesus.¡¨ (9:26-27)
5. People Experienced with Jesus: (Peter & James)
¡§Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Peter and stayed with him fifteen days. I saw none of the other apostles¡Xonly James, the Lord¡¦s brother.¡¨ Galatians 1:18-19
II. THE CHOICE:
(Admit the facts: we are all as spiritual as we want to be)
Paul¡¦s Choice: Loyalty to Jesus
¡§So then, King Agrippa, I was not disobedient to the vision from heaven. First to those in Damascus, then to those in Jerusalem and in all Judea, and to the Gentiles also, I preached that they should repent and turn to God and prove their repentance by their deeds¡KThen Agrippa said to Paul, ¡§Do you think that in such a short time you can persuade me to be a Christian?¡¨ Paul replied, ¡§Short time or long¡XI pray God that not only you but all who are listening to me today may become what I am, except for these chains.¡¨ Acts 26:19-20, 28-29