Summary: We should always keep a positive attitude in preaching the gospel.
Text: Acts 13:44-52
1. Illustration: As most of you know, in addition to my ministry here at the church I also sell insurance. I work for a company known as Aflac. One of the seasoned veteran agents that I work once gave me some good advice. He said not to take it personally when people tell you no they're not interested. He said when that happens you just have to say, "Next!"
2. The advice that this agent gave me also applies to evangelism. We need to be realistic and realize that no matter how hard we try or how much we do there will always be hard hearted people who will reject the message of the gospel.
3. The reality is...
A. Some People Just Won't Listen
B. Go To Those Who Will Listen
C. Sometimes We Have To Just Say "Next!"
4. Let's all stand together as we read Acts 13:44-52.
Proposition: We should always keep a positive attitude in preaching the gospel.
Transition: The reality of evangelism is this...
I. Some People Just Won't Listen (44-45).
A. They Were Jealous
1. In the 37 years that I have been a Christian, and the 18 years that I have been a Pastor, I've seen many people come to know the Lord. Unfortunately I have also seen many people who have not.
2. Sometimes no matter what you say, or how well you live out a life of faith in front of people, some people are just too stubborn and hardhearted to respond in a positive way.
3. But don't feel bad if that has happened to you because you're in good company. This reality of ministry is lived out in the life of Paul.
4. After a promising time of ministry at the synagogue in Antioch, Paul and Barnabas return the following week and "almost the entire city turned out to hear them preach the word of the Lord. 45 But when some of the Jews saw the crowds, they were jealous; so they slandered Paul and argued against whatever he said."
A. Since the population of Antioch was mainly Gentile, almost the whole city indicates that the majority who showed up were Gentiles (Lane, ESV Study Bible).
B. The sight of the crowd filled the unconverted Jews with jealousy (quite a contrast to the believers who were filled with the Spirit and joy), and they "slandered Paul and argued against whatever he said."
C. This implies they were afraid of losing their influence over those Gentiles who had been looking to them for teaching.
D. It may also imply that they had a zeal for a Judaism that had no room for blessing Gentiles who did not first become Jews (Horton, Acts: A Logion Press Commentary, 247).
5. It was the hardness of their hearts and they're own sinful attitudes that caused them to reject the gospel that Paul and Barnabas were preaching to them. They allowed self-centeredness and vain ambition to stand in the way of accepting Christ.
B. Hard Hearts
1. Illustration: In his [Barna’s] new volume he flatly states that moral anarchy has arrived and rules our culture today. Moreover, Barna takes the argument farther and suggests that the United States is now in a state of spiritual anarchy as well. He mentioned that millions of people’s faith activity is no longer affected by parameters such as church loyalty, respect for clergy, acceptance of absolutes, tolerance of Christianity, reverence for God, a desire to strive for personal holiness, sensitivity to theological heresy, and appreciation of tradition. The rejection of these elements has created a void that has been filled by the customized spirituality that lacks biblical moorings.
2. We live in a culture that has hardened their hearts against God and His church.
A. 2 Timothy 3:1-5 (NLT)
You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. 2 For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. 3 They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. 4 They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. 5 They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
B. We live in a society that has abandoned God.
C. We have rejected the truth and embraced a lie instead.
D. We believe not only that we don't need God but rather that He doesn't exist.
E. But we know that our God is not dead, but alive.
F. We know that Jesus still reigns at the right hand of the Father in heaven.