Summary: A sermon looking at the hazards and opportunities as we start a building program
“I CAN DO ALL THINGS, EVEN BUILD A CHURCH!”
Some of you might be wondering about the title of this message in relation to the Scripture passage. Normally, a message with this title would be associated with Philippians 4 (quickview) : 13 where at the end of a discussion about financial security and economics, Paul talks about God’s provision that allows him to face things with a steadfast confidence, and this message will eventually make that connection.
This morning we are kicking off our “Together We Build” capital fund raising campaign. The whole purpose of this campaign is to raise the money and build our new worship center, and I won’t sugar coat things one little bit, it won’t be easy. Even though we all know that we are at a point where we must build, it won’t be easy. Even though we all believe that this is the step that God is leading us to take, it won’t be easy! I hope you all understand me here, building a new church building will not be easy! Its going to be a hard task that will stretch us, a lot! But it is not impossible either! In fact, it is well within our ability to do, especially if we go into this understanding the hazards facing us, and being aware of the opportunities before us. That’s why I chose this passage, to identify the hazards that we face and to point out the opportunities that are before us. To help us all come to that point where we realize that we can do all things, even build a church!
Please open your Bibles to the Book of Acts, chapter 16 and lets look at verses 22 to 30. While you’re finding the passage let me give you a little background information to kind of set the scene.
The year was around 52 AD. Paul was on his second missionary journey and the Holy Spirit had called him and those traveling with him to Macedonia, located just East of Italy and North of the Mediterranean. Their travels took them to Philippi, a Roman colony and one of the leading cities of Macedonia. On the Sabbath, Paul, Silas, and Luke were walking by the river outside of the city gates, seeking a place to pray. As they were going on their way, a female slave who was demon possessed and being used by her masters to earn money for them as a fortune-teller, was following them and yelling,
“These men are bond-servants of the Most High God, who are proclaiming to you the way of salvation.”
Verse 18 tells us that she had been following them around, and doing this for many days. Paul had finally had enough of it, and turned and cast the demon out of her.
As a kid did you ever throw a rock at a hornet’s nest? If you did, the reaction was about the same here, because you see if a man’s god is his money and you mess with his money you are really messing with his god, and nothing will make a person madder than messing with what they worship. So they grab ahold of Paul and Silas and drag them before the authorities. Now here is an interesting thing. If you read this chapter carefully you’ll notice that they apparently had gone about in Philippi relatively unnoticed until now. It was because of this incident and the uproar of the merchants that Paul and Silas come to the attention of the authorities, and the end result of this whole thing is that Paul and Silas are beaten, placed in chains and thrown in prison. That brings us to our study text for this morning.