Summary: How can we do take a stand for the cause of Christ? 1. Defend each other (Acts 16:35-39). 2. Develop each other (Acts 16:40). 3. Depart to serve the Lord (Acts 16:40-17:1). 4. Deliver the Good News (Acts 17:1-9).
Take a Stand for the Cause of Christ!
The Book of Acts - Part 56
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - August 31, 2014
"Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross;
Lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer loss.
From victory unto victory His army shall He lead,
Till every foe is vanquished, and Christ is Lord indeed."
*We've sung that great hymn many times. The words were inspired by the life and death of a young a preacher who stood up for the Lord with all his heart. His name was Dudley Tyng.
*Dudley preached boldly at his church and at the YMCA. On March 30, 1858, over 5,000 came out to a meeting. There, Dudley preached on these words from Exodus 10:11: "Ye that are men, go and serve the Lord!" Over 1,000 men were saved that day.
*A couple of weeks later, on April 13, 1858, Dudley was maimed when his sleeve got caught in the cogs of a corn thrasher. Four days later, his arm had to be amputated. The shock of it all was so great that Dudley passed away two days later. In his final minutes, Dudley took his father's hand and said, "Stand up for Jesus, Father, stand up for Jesus, and tell my brethren wherever you meet them, to stand up for Jesus." Those were his final words.
*The next Sunday morning, Dudley’s friend, Rev. George Duffield preached from Ephesians 6:14, "Stand, therefore, having your loins girt about with truth." In closing, he read the poem he had written in honor of Dudley’s life.
*That's where we got the words "Stand up, stand up for Jesus, ye soldiers of the cross; Lift high His royal banner, it must not suffer loss. (1)
*"Stand up, stand up for Jesus!" That call to action has never been more needed than now. We must take a stand while we can. And tonight's Scripture shows us some of the most important ways we can stand up for Jesus.
1. First: We must defend each other.
*As Christians, we must defend each other. That's what Paul was trying to do in vs. 35-39. Remember that Paul and Silas had been severely beaten. Verse 23 tells us that the officers had "laid many stripes on them."
*But now in vs. 35, 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 on 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 helpful insight when he said that: "Paul could stand on his status as a Roman citizen. At times he claimed his rights, and to scourge a Roman citizen was a crime punishable by death. But Paul was not standing on his status for his own sake. He was standing up for the sake of the Christians he was leaving behind in Philippi. Paul wanted it to be seen that they were not without influential friends." (2)
*Paul was doing whatever he could do to defend the believers he was leaving behind. That included the new Christians at the jailer's house and the new believers at Lydia's house in vs. 40. Be sure that God wants us to defend each other. It's one of the most important things we can do to stand up for Jesus.
*Also know for sure that our enemy is on the attack. He is certainly attacking our families. And every day, he is attacking the cause of Christ in the public square. It's gotten so bad that the American Family Association puts out a newsletter on the Anti-Christian bigotry stories of the week.
*Just yesterday, I read a story about how California is trying to force Catholic universities to provide abortion as part of their health insurance plans. Thankfully, there are godly lawyers fighting against travesties like that. "One News Now" reported that Dana Cody of the Life Legal Defense Foundation and the Alliance Defending Freedom group wrote a joint letter to state officials on this issue.