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Summary: We must take a stand for Jesus Christ while we can. How can we do it?

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Take a Stand for the Cause of Christ!

Acts 16:35-17:9

Sermon by Rick Crandall

McClendon Baptist Church - August 8, 2007

*Age is relative -- Or it seems to be anyway. These past two days I went with Ron to visit some of our homebound members. Yesterday I got called a young man! -- And as we were leaving today, Miss Mabel said, “You boys come back to see me soon.”

*On the other hand, I spoke to someone else yesterday who hadn’t seen me in a few years. She almost fell out of her chair when she realized that the old man walking toward her was me.

*Age may seem relative, but the truth is that time is short for us all. We must take a stand for Jesus Christ while we can. How can we do it?

1. First we must defend each other.

*This is likely what Paul was trying to do in vs. 35-39. Remember that Paul and Silas had been severely beaten. Vs. 23 tells us that the authorities laid many stripes on them, but now morning has come:

35. And when it was day, the magistrates sent the officers, saying, "Let those men go.’’

36. So the keeper of the prison reported these words to Paul, saying, "The magistrates have sent to let you go. Now therefore depart, and go in peace.’’

37. But Paul said to them, "They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out.’’

38. And the officers told these words to the magistrates, and they were afraid when they heard that they were Romans.

39. Then they came and pleaded with them and brought them out, and asked them to depart from the city.

*More than once, Paul stood his legal ground as a Roman citizen -- And we might wonder why. Being a citizen of Rome carried great privilege in that day. Was Paul just trying to throw his weight around?

*William Barclay gave some great insight when he said: “(Paul) could stand on his dignity. He claimed his rights as a Roman citizen. To scourge a Roman citizen was a crime punishable by death. But Paul was not standing on his dignity for his own sake but for the sake of the Christians he was leaving behind in Philippi. He wanted it to be seen that they were not without influential friends.” (1)

*Paul was most probably doing what he could to defend those believers he was leaving behind, especially the new believers he was about to see at Lydia’s house in vs. 40. Be sure that God wants us to defend each other. He wants us to defend the weak. One of the most important things we can do to stand up for Christ is to protect each other from enemy attacks.

*And know for sure that our enemy is on the attack. He is certainly attacking our families, and he is attacking the cause of Christ in the public square. Here are a few examples from Jerry Falwell’s National Liberty Journal:

*In July, the American Civil Liberties Union sued the city of Slidell, LA, over a painting of Jesus that hangs in a courthouse lobby. The Slidell City Court refused to remove the painting showing Jesus holding a copy of the New Testament. An attached message reads: “To Know Peace, Obey These Laws.”

*In June, a lesbian couple filed a civil rights complaint against a Christian ministry after officials rejected the couple’s request to hold a same-sex ceremony at the site. The Ocean Grove (NJ) Camp Ground Association declined hosting the ceremony. In its defense of the decision, the privately-owned ministry, operated by Methodists, points to their official disapproval of same-sex unions.

*A veteran teacher in San Diego was ordered to take down a display of historic documents and celebrated works of art, because some of them included the words “God” and “Creator.”

The teacher, Brad Johnson, who has taught in the Poway Unified School District for more than 30 years, has sought out legal aid from the Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Thomas More Law Center, which has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the district. The lawsuit claims that school officials violated Mr. Johnson’s constitutional rights by ordering him to remove the signs from his classroom walls because, according to officials, the banners promote a “Judeo-Christian” viewpoint. The Law Center says that Mr. Johnson has displayed the documents in his classroom, without complaint, for nearly 25 years. The banners included phrases such as: “In God We Trust,” and “One Nation Under God” (the 1954 amendment to the Pledge of Allegiance).

*In June, the online dating service eHarmony.com was sued by a California woman who says the company discriminates against homosexuals because it does not afford dating options for gays, lesbians and bisexuals. When Linda Carlson could not find a female to date on the site, she complained to eHarmony. But the company refused to alter its policy, according to the lawsuit filed in Los Angeles County Superior Court. The suit alleges that the dating service discriminates on the basis of sexual orientation, a violation of California law.

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