Summary: Final sermon in the "Being the Church" series, focusing on why bad things happen in our lives and how we can overcome them.
Stephen N. Collins
Millville – 9/28/08
Being the Church
How to Survive Life’s Storms
Scripture: Acts 27
Icebreaker: Good news, bad news for a pastor:
Good News: You baptized seven people today in the river.
Bad News: You lost two of them in the swift current.
Good News: The Women’s Guild voted to send you a get-well card.
Bad News: The vote passed by 31-30.
Good News: The Elder Board accepted your job description the way you wrote it.
Bad News: They were so inspired by it, they also formed a search committee to find somebody capable of filling the position.
Good News: You finally found a choir director who approaches things exactly the same way you do.
Bad News: The choir mutinied.
Good News: Mrs. Jones is wild about your sermons.
Bad News: Mrs. Jones is also wild about the "Gong Show," "Beavis and Butthead" and "Texas Chain Saw Massacre."
Good News: The trustees finally voted to add more church parking.
Bad News: They are going to blacktop the front lawn of your parsonage.
Good News: Church attendance rose dramatically the last three weeks.
Bad News: You were on vacation.
Good News: Your biggest critic just left your church.
Bad News: He has been appointed the Head Bishop of your denomination.
Good News: The youth in your church come to your house for a surprise visit.
Bad News: It’s in the middle of the night and they are armed with toilet paper and shaving cream to "decorate" your house.
Received from MWoneis.
Intro: Recently, the people of Galveston, Texas were devastated by a storm that blew in (Hurricane Ike).
-Bad things happen, even to the best of us. So why do bad things happen to good people? When we’re doing everything we can to live for God and do right, why do things still go wrong? --
-Why do we face storms even when we’re going in the right direction? These are universal questions, because we’ve all faced storms in our lives, even when we were living completely for God. So to close our journey together through the book of Acts, let’s look at 4 possible reasons you may be experiencing a storm and 3 things you can do about it.
(Read Acts 27 and Pray)
4 Possible Reasons for Life’s Storms
1. Satanic Opposition
Illustration: Two 6 year olds struggled with the problem of the existence of the devil. One boy said, "Oh, there isn’t any devil." The other, rather upset, said, "What do you mean, there isn’t any devil? It talks about him all the way through the Bible!" the first replied, "Oh I don’t know. I bet you he’s just like Santa Clause, you know, in the end, it turns out to be your dad."
G. Lewis, Demon Possession, ed. J. Montgomery.
Questions: Now, obviously that’s a cute little joke, but in all seriousness, what’s your perspective on Satan? When you find yourself in a storm, do you ever stop to consider the possibility that you may be under attack from the enemy?
Main Point: I wish I could tell you that Satan doesn’t ever mess with things in our lives. But if I told you that, I’d be lying. Sometimes, Satanic opposition is the reason for the storm we find ourselves in.
“In Paul’s letter to the Romans he said that he had tried many time to go to Rome and had been prevented, hindered. Paul always said it was Satan who had put those hindrances in his path. The enemy did not want Paul in Rome, for that was the strategic center of the empire and also the very headquarters of evil. Satan did not want this mighty apostle, coming in the strength and power of a risen Lord, to move into this city and start breaking down the strongholds of darkness by which Satan held in grip the entire civilized world. So Satan delayed Paul every way he could, fighting every step of the way.”
(Ray Stedman, Triumphs of the Body.)
-So if Paul was susceptible to the enemy’s attacks, couldn’t we be, too? And if you notice, what was the nature of the storm the enemy brought against Paul? It was a storm that tried to prevent him from fulfilling his potential for Christ. Think about what that must have done to Paul. It had to be a storm that discouraged, depressed, and probably angered Paul. If you’re going through a storm that is hindering your walk with God, guess what? It may very well be an attack from the enemy.
“That this world is a playground instead of a battleground had now been accepted in practice by the vast majority…of Christians.”
-Satanic opposition is real. Now, some people are a little overzealous in their notion of Satanic opposition. They seem to believe that any little thing that goes wrong…if they get a flat tire, if they have to wait in a long line at McDonald’s, etc…that it is the work of Satan coming against them. These people can make themselves paranoid with every circumstance they face.