Summary: God wants us to keep moving forward for Jesus Christ. Here's how to do it: 1. Recognize the magnitude of our mission (vs. 19-21). 2. Help strengthen the souls of the disciples (vs. 21-22). 3. Be on the lookout for new leaders (vs. 23).
Keep Moving Forward for Christ!
The Book of Acts - Part 47
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - June 29, 2014
*It's hard to say goodbye to people we love in the church. About 25 years ago, Mary and I were serving at McClendon up in West Monroe. Gary and Linda Richardson were one of the finest young couples in our church. But then out of the blue, God called them to go to Nashville, where Gary went to work for the Gideons. They were such good folks and we hated to lose them, but God was in it and He has greatly blessed them there.
*Gary went on to become one of the top administrators for the Gideons. God was on the move in His world, and He is still moving today. God is on the move, and He wants us to move with Him. He wants us to keep moving forward for Jesus Christ. And in this Scripture, God's Word helps us see how to do it.
1. First, we need to remember the magnitude of our mission.
*The Apostle Paul helps us in vs. 19-21. Here Paul's team was still on their first missionary journey, and the Word of God says:
19. Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead.
20. However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.
21. And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch,
*What would make Paul willing to be stoned? What would make him willing to go back to the same place where they tried to kill Him? What drove him to keep telling people about Jesus? It was the cross! It was the good news of salvation for all who trust in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
*As Paul said in Rom 5:6-10:
6. . . when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.
7. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die.
8. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
9. Much more then, having now been justified by His blood, we shall be saved from wrath through Him.
10. For if when we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.
*We have a great gospel! That's why Jesus gave us the Great Commission. In Matthew 28:18-20, our risen Lord said:
18. "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
19. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world."
*Jesus Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for us. And He has commanded us to tell the world. How important then is the Great Commission? Can you think of anything that could possibly be more important?
*Paul Rader once made a visit to the Coliseum in Rome. There in ancient times, many thousands went to watch Christians get torn apart by wild animals. Paul Rader was greatly moved by his visit to the Coliseum, and later wrote:
*"I stood uncovered to the heavens above, where He sits for whom they gladly died, and asked myself, "Would I, could I, die for Him tonight to get this gospel to the ends of the earth?'" I prayed most fervently in that Roman arena for the spirit of a martyr, and for the working of the Holy Spirit in my heart, as He worked in Paul's heart when He brought him on his handcuffed way to Rome."
*Reflecting on those words, Todd Coget wrote, "Those early Christians 'lived on the threshold of heaven, within a heartbeat of home, no possessions to hold them back.' If so many have been willing to give their lives for the sake of the gospel, isn't there a greater commitment that we should make?" (1)
*Of course the answer is yes. We must recognize the magnitude of our mission. But the amazing truth is that sometimes a small effort on our part can make an eternal difference. At the VBS fellowship Friday night, Karen reeled off the names of 5 or 6 people who invited her to church last week. God used that to really get her attention. She saw His Hand at work in all of those invitations, so she committed to be here this morning, and she was here this morning!