Summary: How can we be the church God wants us to be? 1. We must make sacrifices for our Savior (vs. 1-3). 2. We must have spiritual strength (vs. 4-5). 3. We must stay in step with God's guidance (vs. 6-10). 4. We must speak about our Savior (vs. 11-15).
The Church God Wants Us to Be
The Book of Acts - Part 52
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - August 10, 2014
*Christians: We are part of the most important organization the world will ever see: The Church of the living God!
*Many of you have heard my favorite description of God's Church. It came from Pastor Russ Blowers when he was speaking to the Rotary Club in Indianapolis, Indiana. Each week, a different member told a little about his job. And this is what Russ said when his turn came up:
*"I'm with a global enterprise. We have branches in every country in the world. We're into motivation and behavior alteration. We run hospitals, feeding stations, crisis pregnancy centers, universities, publishing houses, and nursing homes. We care for our clients from birth to death. We are into life insurance and fire insurance. We perform spiritual heart transplants.
*Our original Organizer owns all the real estate on earth, plus an assortment of galaxies and constellations. He knows everything, and lives everywhere. Our product is free for the asking. (There's not enough money to buy it.)
*Our CEO was born in a hick town, worked as a carpenter, didn't own a home, was misunderstood by his family, hated by enemies, walked on water, was condemned to death without a fair trial, and arose from the dead! I talk with him every day." (1)
*God's Church is the most important organization the world will ever see! Thank God for the Church of Jesus Christ! But how can we be the church God wants us to be? -- The Lord shows in today's Scripture.
1. First: We must make sacrifices for our Savior.
*We must be willing to sacrifice for our Savior, and young Timothy is an excellent example for us in vs. 1-3. Remember that Paul and his mission team have started on their second missionary journey. And vs. 1-3 tell us that:
1. Then he came to Derbe and Lystra. And behold, a certain disciple was there, named Timothy, the son of a certain Jewish woman who believed, but his father was Greek.
2. He was well spoken of by the brethren who were at Lystra and Iconium.
3. Paul wanted to have him go on with him. And he took him and circumcised him because of the Jews who were in that region, for they all knew that his father was Greek.
*Timothy's circumcision was a sacrifice he was willing to make for the cause of Christ. But even before he was circumcised, Timothy was giving himself as a living sacrifice to the Lord. Verse 2 tells us that Timothy was well spoken of by the brethren. They gave a good report on his life.
*And it helps us to know that the original word for "report" here is "martureo." That word means "witness," "testimony," or report." And "martureo" probably sounds familiar to you, because it's where we got our modern word "martyr."
*Timothy must have been doing what Paul asks all Christians to do in Romans 12:1. There Paul said: "I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." Timothy was already presenting himself to the Lord as a living sacrifice. But then he took the further step of being circumcised.
*Now from a legalistic point of view, we know this Jewish religious rite was completely unnecessary. The previous chapter is almost completely devoted to establishing this fact. Acts 15:1-2 tell us that:
1. . . certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren, "Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.''
2. Therefore, when Paul and Barnabas had no small dissension and dispute with them, they determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain others of them should go up to Jerusalem, to the apostles and elders, about this question.
*So, they went up to Jerusalem, and there Peter gave a strong affirmation that we are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Acts 15:7-11 says:
7. And when there had been much dispute, Peter rose up and said to them: "Men and brethren, you know that a good while ago God chose among us, that by my mouth the Gentiles should hear the word of the gospel and believe.
8. So God, who knows the heart, acknowledged them, by giving them the Holy Spirit just as He did to us,
9. and made no distinction between us and them, purifying their hearts by faith.
10. Now therefore, why do you test God by putting a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear?
11. But we believe that through the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ we shall be saved in the same manner as they.''