Summary: This sermon describes the revolution that occurs when God’s people are inspired by the Holy Spirit and break out to be fruitful in God’s service.
Introduction: Several months ago I was reading the words of a college football expert. In this article he said he anticipated certain players, whom he named, to have break out seasons. He described a break out season. A player having a break out season is one who moves to a new level of performance. Such players move toward being stars. Even so, God wants believers to break out. This is not to imply that we should be stars or even that we should perform for God. However, God wants us to rise above the ordinary and become successful in service to him. He wants us to break the yoke of Satan and be successful and happy in our service to Him.
We find an example of this in Acts 8:4. “Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.” The young believers in Jerusalem were not reaching the potential God intended for them. They were confined to Jerusalem. They were not venturing out to share the gospel in other areas. This could be compared to the huddle in a football game. People do not pay good money to watch a football team stay in the huddle. People want to see the action of the game. The church in Jerusalem was staying in the huddle. We know that God ordained that the gospel begin with the Jews. However, at a point in time God desired to scatter the gospel seed throughout the world. God intervened in the lives of those early believers and helped them break out to do His work. He wants to do the same for you. He wants you to become productive. He wants you to be successful in the Christian life. He wants you to break out. How does this happen?
1. The first requirement needed for a break out is to recognize your dependence on God. Living a victorious Christian life is not dependent on you. It is dependent on Him. Many times we pile guilt and pressure on ourselves in living the Christian life. We tell ourselves if we do not fulfill certain functions we are failures. We need to understand, success in the Christian life is not dependent on us, it is dependent on Jesus. Jesus taught Simon Peter this truth in a graphic way. After the resurrection Jesus sought to instill confidence in His disciples. On one occasion Peter gave up, as a disciple, and went fishing. Jesus observed this fishing trip from the bank. After fishing all night Peter came home with an empty boat. Jesus knew Peter had caught no fish. However, he asked him about his fishing trip. Jesus wanted Peter to admit that he had failed. Jesus instructed Peter to go back and fish; however, one thing was different. Peter followed Jesus instructions. Whenever Peter followed Jesus and depended on Him he succeeded. A productive believer is not victorious because of self. He is victorious because of Jesus. A productive believer is a believer who has been changed by Jesus Christ and is dependent on Him. It is not personal motivation. It is not intelligence. It is not Bible knowledge. In fact, a person with an 8th Grade education may accomplish more for God than a college graduate. Why? The school drop out depends on God. The college graduate depends on education.
Illustration: I saw a marvelous illustration of this concept. Someone wrote a hypothetical story about the donkey that carried Jesus into Jerusalem on His royal entry. They imagined the donkeys thoughts, had he been able to define them.
The donkey awakened, his mind still savoring the afterglow of the most exciting day of his life. Never before had he felt such a rush of pleasure and pride.
He walked into town and found a group of people by the well. "I’ll show myself to them," he thought.
But they didn’t notice him. They went on drawing their water and paid him no mind.
"Throw your garments down," he said crossly. "Don’t you know who I am?"
They just looked at him in amazement. Someone slapped him across the tail and ordered him to move.
"Miserable heathens!" he muttered to himself. "I’ll just go to the market where the good people are. They will remember me."
But the same thing happened. No one paid any attention to the donkey as he strutted down the main street in front of the market place.
"The palm branches! Where are the palm branches!" he shouted. "Yesterday, you threw palm branches!"
Hurt and confused, the donkey returned home to his mother.
"Foolish child," she said gently. "Don’t you realize that without Him, you are just an ordinary donkey?"
(SOURCE: Edited from Hot Illustrations for Youth Talks by Wayne Rice. Copyright 1994 by Youth Specialties, Inc. Contributed by: SermonCentral)
2. A second requirement needed for a break out is to trust God to help you overcome barriers. Until the time recorded in Acts 8:4, believers were huddled in Jerusalem. They were not venturing out to share their faith. They were not venturing out on mission endeavors. The end result of the persecution (found in Acts 8:1-3) is that believers were scattered and went everywhere sharing their faith. God used trials to strengthen and build them. John Macarthur said “Satan’s attempt to stamp out the church’s fire merely scattered the embers and started new fires around the world.” (Commentary on Acts)