Summary: God invites us to join Him in His passion to reach this world. He wants us in the game, and He promises to give us everything we need to succeed.
Reaching Our World
Text: Acts 18:22-28
Intro: [Play Evan Almighty clip- Change the world- don’t know where to start]
Have you ever been in a situation where you just didn’t quite have what it took to do what needed to be done? I usually think of examples from sports. I think back to times when I couldn’t quite tackle the ball carrier, or couldn’t make it one more yard across the goal line. I couldn’t make the last second half court shot. I couldn’t hit the pitcher’s sliding curve ball to save my life. We all come up short sometimes.
-Well, sometimes we come up short when it comes to doing what God wants us to do. However, He has promised to help us and has provided everything that we will ever need to be effective for Him. He can show us where to start and will help us all along the way. That leads us to the main point of the message.
Prop: God invites us to join Him in His passion to reach this world. He wants us in the game, and He promises to give us everything we need to succeed.
Interrogative: How can we be part of fulfilling the greatest desire of God’s heart – reaching lost people with the good news of forgiveness?
TS: Let’s look at 3 elements of God’s plan to reach this world as found in Acts 18.
I. God Wants to Use the Local Church to Reach Our World (Acts 18:22-23)
22 When he landed at Caesarea, he went up and greeted the church and then went down to Antioch. 23 After spending some time in Antioch, Paul set out from there and traveled from place to place throughout the region of Galatia and Phrygia, strengthening all the disciples.
-Why did the Apostle Paul care so much about churches? He invested his life in establishing and strengthening churches all around the Middle East. Did he build and strengthen churches so they could become a political force to reckon with? Was it so he could boast about how many people were in church each Saturday or Sunday? No! Paul cared about the local church because Jesus cared about it and it belonged to Jesus! Jesus used the illustration of husband and wife to express the relationship between the church and Himself.
-Ephesians 5:25-27 says that husbands should love their wives in the same way that Christ loves the church. “…Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word, 27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.”
-Jesus came up with the idea of the church- not man! It is God’s idea. Furthermore, it is God’s plan through which to get His message of love out to the world, and to provide a place for them to belong and to grow. Acts 2:42-47 tells us what the early church was like, and what resulted from believers being the church together. As they shared their lives and shared their faith, Acts 2:47 says that “the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” Why were they being saved? Because the people who were part of the church were telling others about Jesus, and living a life that verified their words!
-Bill Hybels states that the local church is the hope of mankind.
-If that is so, (and I believe it is) how supportive are we of the local church (and I don’t mean just our church)? Don’t speak ill of another church in town if they are trying to reach people with the good news about Jesus! Applaud them and support them – at least in prayer and in what you say to others about them. They are part of us, and we are part of them.
-How supportive are you of your own church? What are you doing to help make this an Acts 2 church? Acts 2:42 “They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.” There was unity and lots of time spent together. They shared resources as needs arose. There were times of worship, fellowship in each other’s homes, meals together, and lots of love and laughter. What was the result? “The Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”
-Don’t try to bypass the local church if you care about people coming to know Jesus and growing in Him. Well, along the same lines, what does God want us to do as individuals? Where do we begin?
II. God Wants Us to Use What We Have to Reach Our World (Acts 18:24-26a)