Summary: In one of Paul's most discouraged moments, the Lord Jesus appeared to him and told him to cheer up, giving him several reasons why. We too should be buoyed by the same command and encouragements.
THE COMMAND TO CHEER UP
1. Dear Abby: One of the toughest tasks a church faces is choosing a good minister. A member of an official board had watched the pastor search committee reject applicant after applicant for some fault, alleged or otherwise. It was time for a bit of soul-searching on the part of the committee. So he stood up and read a letter purporting to be from another applicant.
2. “Gentlemen: Understanding your pulpit is vacant, I should like to apply for the position. I have many qualifications. I‘ve been a preacher with much success and also have had some success as a writer. Some say I’m a good organizer. I’ve been a leader most places I’ve been.”
3. “I’m over 50 years of age. I have never preached in one place for more than three years. I’ve had to leave some places after my work caused riots and disturbances. I must admit I have been in jail three or four times, but not because of any real wrongdoing.”
4. “My health is not too good, though I still get a great deal done. I’m not too good at keeping records. I have been known to forget whom I baptized. However, if you can use me, I shall do my best for you.”
5. The board member looked at the Search Committee. “Well, what do you think? Shall we call him?”
6. Members of the Search Committee were aghast. Call an unhealthy, trouble-making, absentminded ex-jailbird? Was the board member crazy? Who signed that application? Who has such colossal nerve?
7. The board member eyed them all keenly before he answered, “It’s signed, ‘The Apostle Paul.’” [12/8/92]
6 But when Paul perceived that one part were Sadducees and the other Pharisees, he cried out in the council, “Men and brethren, I am a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee; concerning the hope and resurrection of the dead I am being judged!” 7 And when he had said this, a dissension arose between the Pharisees and the Sadducees; and the assembly was divided. 8 For Sadducees say that there is no resurrection—and no angel or spirit; but the Pharisees confess both. 9 Then there arose a loud outcry. And the scribes of the Pharisees’ party arose and protested, saying, “We find no evil in this man; but if a spirit or an angel has spoken to him, let us not fight against God.” 10 Now when there arose a great dissension, the commander, fearing lest Paul might be pulled to pieces by them, commanded the soldiers to go down and take him by force from among them, and bring him into the barracks. 11 But the following night the Lord stood by him and said, “Be of good cheer, Paul; for as you have testified for Me in Jerusalem, so you must also bear witness at Rome.” NKJV [The WEB says “Cheer Up!”]
1. In this passage, we find the Apostle Paul, as we often do, starting another riot.
2. But we’re going to see that – just because you’re having troubles and difficulties – it doesn’t mean you’re out of the will of God.
3. We’re also going to hear an unusual command from the voice of Jesus, which is tonight’s title, “The Command to ‘Cheer Up.’”
I. PAUL’S DIFFICULTY Vs. 9
A. IN THE CUSTODY OF THE ROMANS
1. This had started when he was arrested at the Temple. The Jews were trying to kill him. He had to be carried on the shoulders of the soldiers.
2. When they took him into the fortress, it wasn’t for a tea party. They stretched him out on a torture rack to be tortured! Being in Roman custody was a terrifying thing!
3. “Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth them out of them all!” Ps. 34:19. Paul said He has delivered us and will deliver us (2 Cor. 1:10).
B. THE CAUSE OF THE RIOT
1. THE PARTICIPANTS
a. The enemies of Christ.
*This is the same group who voted to put Christ to death. It must have been a weird feeling to stand before the same Body for the same Cause.
*He remembered when he himself had stood in that Body on the opposite side from Christians.
b. The witness of Christ
2. THE OUTCOME
a. Paul divided the Council.
*He knew they would be united against him as a Christian and would not receive his witness of Christ.
*It’s ok to use all lawful means to prevent needless suffering on the part of the Christian. Paul earlier used his Roman citizenship & here used his Pharisaic status as means of delivering himself from danger.
* The Pharisees were sticklers for the Law, yet hypocritical, as Christ pointed out. The Sadducees didn’t believe the Scriptures & were antisupernaturalists. They didn’t believe in an afterlife or hell. Like liberals today.