Sermons

Summary: This message explores the extreme and radical commitment required of believers to accomplish God's will

INTRODUCTION

* X-Games / Extreme Sports: term for certain activities perceived as having a high level of inherent danger and that are counter-cultural (give examples...)

* The need for “extreme” with the Gospel

- high level of danger involved: both for the carrier and the receiver (souls are at stake)

- the counter-cultural nature of the Gospel

* Extreme situations demand extreme actions

* An extreme situation in Acts 19: Paul at Ephesus

- Ephesus became Paul’s base of operation during his third missionary journey

- Ephesus was the home of the Temple of Artemis (false worship was occurring)

- Ephesus was the leading city of the province of Asia and was approaching its zenith during Paul’s time there

* The situation we face today is extreme

- we’re closer to the end than ever before

- opposition to Christianity is growing; apathy is increasing among the church

- conservative estimate (calculating the world’s death rate and percentage of believers): every year 49.7 million die and go to hell = that’s 136,111 per day, 5,671 per hour, 95 per minute

* We must get extreme in living a life that fulfills the purpose of God

* Acts 19 = several examples of how intense/extreme God and his people get; the example is set for us

1. We need to practice extreme obedience (v. 1-7)

* The people had not heard that the Holy Spirit had been/was being given (v. 2); they obedience was shown in receiving John’s baptism (v. 3)

* We’ve settled for “simple obedience” (i.e., church attendance; giving), but God wants extreme obedience (beyond explanation)

- Luke 9:59-60

- Matthew 16:24

* Must be willing to lay it all on the line in obedience, even if it costs us.

* Verse 6: what happened as a result of their obedience

2. We need to engage in extreme proclamation (v. 8-10)

* Paul’s desire was to proclaim the Gospel, and he did so in an “extreme” manner...

- HOW he proclaimed: boldly (v. 8)

- WHAT he proclaimed: the kingdom of God/rule of Christ (v. 8)

- HOW LONG he proclaimed: continually (v. 9)

* The result of his extreme proclamation: saturation (v. 10)

- During this time three churches were established; some believe the seven churches of Revelation (chapters 2-3) were also planted by Paul during this time of extreme proclamation

* Our great need to engage in extreme population = Romans 10:13-15

3. We need to experience extreme power (v. 11-16)

* Text reveals that God’s hand of blessing was on Paul (v. 11-12): the handkerchiefs and aprons were tangible symbols of God’s power through Paul (miracles confirmed the work of the apostles)

* Verses 13-16 = the power of God gets noticed and people of God who experienced extreme power posed a threat to hell itself

* Extreme power was needed because of the extreme situation in Ephesus; the extreme situation in our world today needs to be faced with extreme power

* The power that is needed today comes only from God and the Gospel...

- Matthew 28:18

- Romans 1:16

* Our task is to not rely on what we can do, but to plug in to God’s power and allow him to work in and through us (see John 15:5)

4. We need to offer extreme repentance (v. 17-20)

* The result of seeing God’s power was to repent

* The repentance was extreme because it was biblical...it resulted in changed actions (v. 18-19)

* Today we need to repent of our apathy, our attitude before God, of making God our servant instead of our Lord, of our complacency

* Repentance begins with the people of God, the church!

* While repentance isn’t “fun,” it is a very fruitful experience = see verse 20

5. We need to be prepared for extreme opposition (v. 21-41)

* The real opposition was not Demetrius (he was the pawn), but Satan (he opposed the continuation of the Gospel)

* If we desire to see God move in our lives, our churches, and our communities, we must be prepared for extreme opposition (both in and out of the church)

* If we face no opposition it likely means that we pose no threat to the enemy

* Paul was prepared for any opposition he faced by being completely committed to the Gospel and the Christ it proclaimed

* If we are not prepared, we are prone to give up (see 1 Cor. 15:58)

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