3-Week Series: Double Blessing


Summary: verse by verse through Acts

[Living vicariously through reality television illustration.]

You know we have our own form of reality tv right here in church as we study through the book of Acts. The book of Acts is basically the true story of the [2] gospel adventure and how it changed the face of the world by changing lives one at a time.

Now just what is the gospel? The gospel literally means “the good news”. So when we say the gospel adventure we’re taking about how the good news of Jesus Christ has traveled from one person to another throughout history.

The Acts story starts out with Jesus instructing the disciples to reach the world and then He miraculously ascends into the heavens. The disciples go preach and start speaking in tongues and thousands of people get saved right then and there. Amazing! Then you’ve got people being thrown into prison, people being killed, people being healed, people being raised from the dead, exorcisms and all kinds of crazy stuff. The guy who hated the church the most get’s blinded and then saved and then he becomes one of the church’s greatest leaders. The book of Acts is one dramatic account of real life! It is a gospel adventure!

But let me ask you this, did God have this book written just to entertain us or to inspire us? As we read the book of Acts should we just be entertained by the story or should we be inspired by the story? Inspired to be a part of the gospel adventure! So let’s get inspired this morning!

Turn with me to Acts chapter fourteen where we’ll see the church’s first ever missionary journey come to an end. Paul and Barnabas have been on the road for almost two years now and have traveled 700 miles by land and 500 miles by sea. They’ve done ministry in many cities and have seen God do some amazing things.

But it wasn’t always easy. As with any important endeavor, difficulties will arise and Paul and Barnabas have had their share of them. The last time we saw them they had went into the city of Pisidian and a great revival broke out. People’s lives were being transformed left and right. But the Jewish officials, as usual, had them kicked out of their region.

So Paul and Barnabas joyfully moved on the next town. Again, as they preached, many, many people got excited about the reality of Jesus Christ. But the Jewish officials would have none of that and successfully caused division in the city. You see, the [3] gospel adventure will bring division.

[Read Acts 14:1-7.]

Paul and Barnabas stayed as long as they could trying to help people get to know Jesus better. But even though their words were confirmed by their miracles, and even though many people believed and had their lives renewed, the city remained divided over whether Jesus was the Christ or not. The gospel adventure will bring division.

Now I know that in today’s world people want unity more than anything else. And in many arenas we should do everything we can to achieve unity. Unity in our homes, unity in our churches, unity in our country, and even unity in the world with other likeminded nations.

Many times unity is good and achievable.

But when it comes to Jesus Christ, you either believe that He’s the Son of God or you don’t. And that kind of exclusivity can be divisive. And the reason it’s so divisive is because that’s what we build our world view upon. We either believe we’ve encountered God through Jesus Christ and we live accordingly, or we think that Jesus was just another man and we build our world view upon some other set of beliefs. Those are two ways of thinking and living and often division is the outcome.

[Christmas family gathering story.]

The gospel adventure can be divisive. [4] The gospel adventure can also be misunderstood. Paul and Barnabas are now in Lystra where some amazing and even perplexing things happen.

[Read Acts 14:8-18.]

Paul comes upon a cripple in Lystra who had the faith to be healed. So by the power of God he restored his feet and the man got up and walked. But the superstitious people who saw it thought that Greek mythology was coming true right in front of them. So they told the pagan priest and he decided to offer sacrifices for Paul and Barnabas the Greek gods that had come to their city. Well Paul and Barnabas were horrified by what was happening so they did everything they could to show the people that they were men just like them. The gospel adventure will be misunderstood at times.

How many times have you tried to tell someone of a “God-thing” that happened in your life and they tried to turn it into a “human-thing”?

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