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Summary: Biblical preaching always leads to DECISION, sometimes to DISTURBANCE, and, as is the case in America today, often to DIVISION. Good applications for not worshiping Man/Pope, etc. Powerpoint at website.

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The Living God

Acts 14:1-19

Powerpoint at:

http://www.gbcdecatur.org/sermons/LivingGod.html

We just celebrated Easter and how one claiming to be God proved it by rising again from the dead. And if John Paul II comes back to life following his death then that will be more evidence than just his historic claim to be equal with God on the earth. Don’t get me wrong, I take no pleasure in the man’s death, and would wish him well, as I should do for any MAN! This message celebrates the true and living God!

Here in Acts, Paul and Barnabas are on their first missionary journey, recognizing God has not only saved them and changed them but that He has left them on earth to accomplish some certain things…

Read vv. 1-7

A few brief comments about Iconium… and then on to Lystra…

There’s a pattern to recognize here…

3 results of gospel preaching:

1. Decision

v. 1 “so spake” = in such a way. What does this mean? That they were eloquent? I don’t think so.

Good illustrations? Funny stories? Alliterated outline? I’m not against these things, we all ought to use any tools and resources at our disposal…but that’s not what gets people saved! Only the power of God can save souls!

It says they “so spake”…I believe it was w/ the power of God!

1 Cor. 2:4

And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power:

You can tell when the Spirit is on a message, and when it is not…now granted, some may sit and quench the spirit, looking for problems, but for the sincere seekers out there, they are looking for something that God has His hand on!

It’s amazing…I can speak to ears but only God can speak to hearts! I had no idea what went on in our wed. nite service…I was on medication, just faking my way thru the service so I could go home and crash! The big storm hit and attendance was way down…I wasn’t a great host to our missionary guests, and when asked what he spoke on I couldn’t answer…but then I heard later in the week what a blessing that service had been to those who were here! That was God!

Sometimes I’ll feel like I just hit a home run w/ my preaching, and this will change the world! I go home and ask, “honey, how many truly great preachers do you think there are in this world?” [fishing] “One less than you think!

Other times I’ll just be sure that I have just laid an egg big enough to hatch twin dinosaurs only to find out God used it in spite of me by His Spirit!

This is why I always pray for God to do what I cannot do…which is speak to hearts!

2nd result:

2. Disturbance

v. 2 “evil” = poisoned their minds against…

When God’s disciples preached it usually resulted either in revival or riot! [sometimes both!]

Paul got to town and didn’t check out the local hotel, but the local jail where he knew he was likely to end up!

Point is: you cannot preach the Bible w/out making some people mad! Sometimes the truth steps on our toes. Bible preaching rubs some people the wrong way.

Ill.—Billy Sunday was told if he preached against alcohol he’d make people mad…they said, “it’s like rubbing the cat’s fur the wrong way!” He replied, “let the cat turn around!”

3. Division

v. 4 It’s impossible to remain neutral about Jesus Christ.

Matthew 12:30

He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

There’s only 2 kinds of people in Decatur as far as God is concerned…those under His love and those under His wrath…those who love Him and those who hate Him…those who have accepted Him and those who thus far are rejecting Him…those in submission to His will and those in rebellion to it!

Our nation is highly divided over politics, Terri Schiavo, morality, etc. And the Bible is behind the division, the disturbance, but is also responsible for helping many make right decisions!

Moving on to the city of Lystra…

v. 8-18 When they arrived in Lystra, they encountered this cripple who had never walked. V. 9 says as Paul preached he sensed this man was w/ him and was being moved to decision. He had faith welling up in his heart, so Paul called to him to rise and walk!

The people had never seen such a demonstration of power, so here’s what they did next: [completely unexpected!] They decided Paul and Barnabus were gods [these people were steeped in greek mythology, they are pagans/polytheists].

Paul probably wasn’t much to look at so they considered Barnabas to be the leader, and said he must be Jupiter [Zeus]. They thought Paul was Mercury [wings on feet!] who was the god of speech.

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