Summary: Paul and Silas lived their victory in Christ no matter their circumstances
"I can do all things..."
The other day I saw a guy who says he can predict earthquakes.
And he doesn't predict the actual day of the quake, he just looks for indicators that say a quake is likely during a certain period of time.
And he has indicators like the phases of the moon and the depth of the tides.
And he says, when you see these things, it's likely that an earthquake is going to happen.
Well, I can't predict earthquakes, but I can predict something else.
I can predict bad days.
I have a set of indicators myself that will tell you that a bad day is likely, if not a sure thing.
Here they are:
You can be pretty sure it's going to be a bad day when:
1. You call suicide prevention and they put you on hold.
2. You see a 60 minutes news team waiting for you in your office.
3. Your birthday cake collapses from the weight of the candles.
4. You turn on the news and they're showing emergency routes out of the city.
5. Your twin sister forgets your birthday.
6. You wake up to discover that your waterbed has broken...and then realize...you don't have a waterbed!
7. Your horn gets stuck as you follow a group of Hell's Angel's down the freeway.
Now, these are not guarantees that you'll have a bad day, they're just indicators that the chances are pretty good!
Well, if I'd been writing this 2,000 years ago I might have included one more.
"You know it's going to be a bad day when...you're stripped, beaten and thrown in a jail cell."
That's exactly what happened to two men in the 16th chapter of the book of Acts.
Paul & Silas were called by God to take the gospel into the region of Macedonia.
But when they got there, instead of wide open doors, like they might have expected, they ran into opposition!
Big time opposition!
Opposition so powerful that they were able to convince the authorities to treat these men like common criminals.
But before we go to that particular jail cell, allow me a short side-road.
How many in here want to live a godly life in Christ?
If that's a goal of yours raise your hand.
Alright, with that in mind, let me read something Paul wrote to Timothy.
"Everyone..." he didn't say some people. He didn't say first century Christians, or apostles or prophets.
"Everyone...who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus..."
Now, if you raised your hand, that's you. Just as if your name was written right here in the Bible, the Holy Spirit is talking about you when he says, '
"Everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will..."
It doesn't say "might."
It doesn't say "could be."
It says, absolutely, unequivocally, without a doubt,
"will suffer persecution!"
Now, how many here still want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus?
Alright, but at least you go into it knowing about the downside!
You see, I think we've soft-pedalled the gospel sometimes!
I know I have!
I've been guilty of telling people about all the wonderful things that will happen to them when they become a Christian.
And there are some wonderful things, amen?
Let's start with freedom from guilt and freedom from sin and eternal life and peace of mind.
Just a few small things like that!
Those are wonderful things, and there's nothing wrong with telling folks about that, unless...
Unless you leave out the not so wonderful things.
I have a book in my library entitled, "The Unhappy Secrets of the Christian Life."
And I went back and looked at it this week.
Let me read you a couple of lines:
"A dangerous rumor is making the rounds," it says. "It's the notion that problems fade away when you become a Christian."
"The Christian life is not a week at church camp. For every stirring campfire testimony and 'mountaintop experience' there are ten times when we struggle."
Why didn't I write that?!
That's so true it hurts!
I've been guilty of telling people about pie in the sky when you die,
and leaving out the part about pain and suffering here on earth!
"Those who want to live a godly life in Christ Jesus WILL SUFFER PERSECUTION!"
I read this in a church bulletin a while back. It said,
“JESUS NEVER SAID FOLLOWING HIM WOULD BE EASY,
JUST THAT IT WOULD BE WORTH IT!”
He wants us to count the cost.
He wants us to think it through.
He wants us to know it's not a cake-walk, this Christian path.
There's going to be pain, there's going to be suffering, there's going to be more valleys than mountains and then at the end of it, we're going to DIE!