Summary: How can we today, Turn our World Upside Down for the advancement of the Gospel? What people think of God is often based on how we represent Him.
TITLE: LIVING UPRIGHT IN AN UPSIDE DOWN WORLD
SCRIPTURE: ACTS 17:1-7
This passage of Scripture is one of those texts that needs little elaboration or explanation if any at all. It is inspirational just as it is read. The context in which these words are found is both ENCOURAGING and CONVICTING. The Book of Acts tells the INCREDIBLE HISTORY of what happened after Jesus’ death, resurrection and ascension: HIS FOLLOWERS TURNED THE WORLD UPSIDE DOWN. Look with us at the beginning of the Church that Jesus died and filled with the Spirit!
• So on Fire
• So Powerful,
• So Life-changing was this early Church that it literally "turned the world upside down"
• Could perhaps the Lord do the same thing IN and THROUGH us today?
We need some saints ready to shake up our world in the same way that the early believers and Thessalonians shook up theirs.
• Where there was darkness - they brought light
• Where there was hatred - they brought love
• Where there was sadness - they brought laughter
• Where there was bondage - they brought liberation
• Where there was death - they brought life
These new believers took a world that was TIRED – TROUBLED – TANGLED – TIED UP -- TRIPPED UP and they put that world back on its feet. But something has happened the past 2,000 years since Jesus ascension and Paul and the new first century church preached and proclaimed the Good News. It seems that everything has been turned upside down in the world in which we live today. Biblically speaking, it seems that nothing around us is right side up, and certainly that makes it so much harder for those of us as Christians to live as we should.
• Society says that sin should be an acceptable choice, and that we have no right to offer even a gentle word of correction
• Society encourages us to keep our values and our morals to ourselves
• Society says that right may not always be right and that wrong may not always be wrong
• Society wants everyone to come out of the Closet except the Christian
• Society has no problem voting on the definition of marriage. In fact, some even within the Lord’s church are pushing to redefine scriptural marriage
• Even some within the church are working to change worship from God-centered to being man-centered
• Others are working to redefine the distinct roles of men and women in the home and even within the Lord’s church
Can you imagine what it could be like? What would happen if everyone who professed to be a Christian LIVED THE LIFE OF RIGHTEOUSNESS that God has called us? It would be said of us as it was said of them that the changes in the local communities would definitely be attributed to these who have turned the world upside down.
• Communities would change
• Counties would change
• States would change
• Schools would change
• Family structure would change
As we approach the 17th chapter in this book of Acts - the Apostle Paul, along with his friend and co-missionary, SILAS, have just been released from jail in Philippi. Actually, God did the releasing. Shattered the jail by an earthquake. The church in Philippi has been established and bless the Lord a small congregation of believers has now been formed.
The pressure was on. The locals, along with the rulers of Philippi, didn't want Paul and Silas or Timothy around. Or for that matter, they probably didn't want Luke around, though he remained. As we come to Chapter 17, PAUL -- SILAS -- TIMOTHY have left Philippi after a harrowing experience. Paul and Silas having been beaten with rods - bruised and bloodied, had been thrown in a dark inner dungeon. They had gone through all kinds of pain having been placed in the stocks that stretched their limbs and cramped their muscles. Through it all, Jesus Christ had been glorified and consequently they had rejoiced.
• And now, they have left Philippi
• It might be a time when you would assume that maybe they should start thinking about whether or not this Christian journey was worth it
• Perhaps contemplating whether this whole idea of missions could be done some other simpler way and perhaps with less pain
• But we find their mindset stayed on Jesus and on their assignment at hand
As they left Philippi, they went immediately, VS.1 says, "TO THESSALONICA." And here we see, again, this TREMENDOUS UNDAUNTED SPIRIT that characterized Paul. I believe it was David Livingston who said it like this - “I AM PREPARED TO GO ANYWHERE AS LONG AS IT IS FORWARD.” I believe this statement really echoes the sentiments of the Apostle Paul.