Summary: I really believe God is able to use us, no matter what our education, or training or even our past involves.
To God Be the Glory!
Do you sometimes feel you are useless, or that your life is not making a difference? I believe these are questions most of us deal with when reflecting upon our lives. We may be asking ourselves, “Is God really able to use me to make a difference in other people’s lives?” I really believe God is able to use us, no matter what our education, or training or even our past involves.
This last week spending time with 498 other pastors also working as chaplains I had chances to hear many life stories. It’s amazing how God can take those the world sometimes gives up on and turn them around and make them usable for Him. God has a way of helping us to be useful in spite of ourselves.
I. To God Be the Glory. He Is. . . Scattering His Disciples. v 1
A. Scattered by . . Persecution. Acts 8:1
B. Scattered for . . Preaching. Acts 8:4
A traveling man came into a hotel to secure a room for the night. Upon being informed that every room in the building had been taken, he was naturally quite perturbed, until a portly gentleman standing nearby kindly offered to share his room with him. The offer was thankfully accepted.
Upon retiring, the portly man knelt and prayed, tenderly mentioning his guest for the night in his petition. In the morning his host informed him that it was his custom to read a portion of the Word of God and pray before taking up the responsibilities of the day. The effect upon the man was moving; a strange feeling came over him; something had been working in his heart all the night. When gently pressed by this stranger to accept the Lord Jesus as his personal Savior, his resistance went down in a heap. A soul had been won for Christ!
But who is this humble ambassador of Christ, who so strikingly resembles a member of President Wilson’s cabinet? When business cards were exchanged before parting, to the guest’s amazement he read, "William Jennings Bryan, Secretary of State."
When we are traveling or scattered. We should tell others about Jesus.
II. To God Be the Glory He Is . . Saving His Disciples. v 2
A. The Salvation of the Disciples is a . . Triune Event
1. The . . Selection of the Father. v 2 a
"Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, . . ."
Ryrie: Foreknowledge. God’s prior knowledge of all things, based on His relation to them, is the basis of our election. More than passive foresight, foreknowledge involves God’s active consciousness of all that is to come to pass. "
The first time we are aware of Jesus seeing Simon He changed his name. Do you see how the Foreknowledge of God fits into the life of the Believer?
But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; (For he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles:)
During the Second World War, a church in Strasbourg was destroyed. After the bombing, the members of this particular church went to see what was left and found that the entire roof had fallen in, leaving a heap of rubble and broken glass. Much to their surprise, however, a statue of Christ with outstretched hands that had been carved centuries before by a great artist was still standing erect. It was virtually unharmed except that both hands had been sheered off by a falling beam.
The people hurried to a sculptor in town and asked if he could replace the hands of the statue. He was willing, and he even offered to do it for nothing. The church officials met to consider the sculptor’s proposition -- and decided not to accept his offer. Why? Because they felt that the statue without hands would be the greatest illusion possible that God’s work is done through His people.
In a very real sense that’s true. Jesus Christ chooses human hands. Sometimes they seem to be the most infirm hands, the least potentially successful hands, or the least qualified hands -- but those are the hands He uses.
2. The . . Sanctification of the Spirit. v 2 b
". . . through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience . . . "
Then said they unto him, What shall we do, that we might work the works of God? Jesus answered and said unto them, This is the work of God, that ye believe on him whom he hath sent.
The term obey would be better expressed by the word use. For instance, a scientist uses the laws of nature; that is, he more than obeys them, he causes them to fulfill their destiny in his work. That is exactly what happens in the saint’s life. He uses the commands of the Lord, and they fulfill God’s destiny in his life. Oswald Chambers (1874-1917)