Summary: I would like to thank Pastor Jerry Shirley for sharing this series on Acts. It has been a blessing as well as a great help. I have used these for our church, as I spend my days caring for my dying father.
Upside Down is Right Side Up! Part1 Acts 17:1-6
A man was shoveling snow in his driveway when 2 boys came along with shovels. “Hey Mister, can we shovel your driveway? It will only cost $2.” He said, “Can’t you boys see I’m already doing that?” “Yes sir, that’s why we asked…we get most of our business from people who are halfway thru and feel like quitting!”
Unfortunately Satan gets most of his business from people who have made it half way and fill like quitting on God.
Now I don’t know about you but after being delivered from an earthquake and from prison at Philippi, with all that happened to Paul, I might have thoughts of going back home, at least for a while. But Paul and Silas continued preaching the gospel. The Apostle Paul never quit and never gave up.
As we move on to chapter 17, Paul and Silas move on to Thessalonica, Berea, and Athens. And each city responded differently.
In Thessalonica they resisted the Word, in Berea they received the Word, and in Athens they ridiculed the Word.
We can expect these same responses, today, when we share Jesus.
Thessalonica was a prime location, located on the main highway that connected the eastern and western portions of the Roman Empire.
Paul knew that if he could reach this city his reach would be endless. His vision was far reaching and that’s what I want our church to have more than just a local vision. I want us to be a church with a vision for the world.
We should be reaching our city and county but also the other parts of this state, the entire country and the world!
Let me tell you a little secret. Paul was only in Thessalonica for 3 weeks and during that time, he founded a great NT church. He started with a handful of believers, which is proof that it doesn’t take years, it just takes a handful of dedicated believers, willing to make a difference.
The church at Thessalonica actually started out of a riot. I don’t know if you’ve noticed but when you preach the gospel, there will always be those who aren’t going to like it. The enemy of the gospel is constantly battling a Bible-preaching church and his attacks will come from outside the church as well as from within and sometimes both! Satan doesn’t yield an inch without putting up a fight.
In the case of the church at Thessalonica, it was the unbelieving Jews who were used to do the devil’s dirty work. I have said, in the past, that we give Satan too much credit but understand that he works through people the same way that God works but for different results.
Look at verses 4-5. The devil uses people to do his dirty work and we must be aware that he will use any of us, even unknowingly, to do some of his dirty work. The Bible said for us not to be ignorant of the fact that he works that way. He can use me just as easily as he can you and he seeks to do so on a regular basis. That’s why it’s so important that you pray for me as I pray for you!
Whatever you do, don’t let the devil use you to become a troublemaker in EBC!
He will use you to turn others against the ministry or against each other.
Leaders, you/I are at the top of his “hit list”, because you are influential so watch out!
This passage says the troublemakers gathered together.
See they knew who to go to in order to get help and agreement.
The truth is that it’s always been that way and it will always be that way because troublemakers gravitate toward their own kind. Those who have an axe to grind always attract others who have an axe that seems to need sharpening. They’re always looking for those who will lend a sympathetic ear!
You can believe it or let it alone but they’ll quickly jump on board when the garbage truck of gossip, grumbling, criticism rolls by.
It takes determination for Christians to say, I don’t want to even accidentally be used of the devil to be a hindrance to God’s work. What I want is to be used of God to move the gospel forward! I don’t want to be a DIScourager, but an ENcourager! I don’t want to be the one causing others to stumbling. I want to be the one clearing the way!
Notice what was said about Paul and his party, in verse 6.
So which way is up? Were they correct in what they were saying?
This is an upside-down world. Nothing is the way it’s supposed to be. The world is in chaos and confusion, and todays America is as upside down as she can get. We know the world has been that way ever since the fall of man when sin entered the garden but that wasn’t Paul’s or Silas’ fault. The world was upside down long before either of these men were born.