Summary: God wants us to keep moving forward for Jesus Christ. And as we take another look at Paul’s first missionary journey, we can see how to do it.
Keep Moving Forward for Christ!
Sermon by Rick Crandall
McClendon Baptist Church - May 23, 2007
*God works in mysterious ways. About 20 years ago, out of the blue, God called Gary and Linda to go to Nashville, where he would go to work for the Gideons. They were such good folks and I hated for us to lose them, but I am sure God was in it and He has greatly blessed them there.
*God was on the move in His world, and He is still moving today. Here we are 20 years later, and God has called Alex and Mary to Nashville, where she will serve as an administrator for the Gideons. We hate to see them go too, but God is on the move, and He wants us to be on the move with Him.
*God wants us to keep moving forward for Jesus Christ. And as we take another look at Paul’s first missionary journey, we can see how to do it.
1. First, recognize the magnitude of our mission.
*The Apostle Paul, as always, reminds us of this in vs. 19-21:
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.
*So in Matt 28:18-20, the Risen Savior gave us the Great Commission:
18. . . . saying, 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, where in ancient times, tens of thousands would come to watch Christians be torn apart by wild animals. And Paul said:
-"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.” (1)
*And 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. Steve Sjogren is the founding pastor of a church in Ohio that grew from a handful to 7,500 in just fifteen years, and they did it by small acts of kindness.
-Their motto is: “Small Things Done with Great Love Will Change the World.” Here is a small sample of the things they have done:
*This is what they said about a project they call Dollar Drop: