Summary: 1. Miracles will be multiplied (vs. 4-7). 2. Joy will be justified (vs. 8). 3. Deceit will be defeated (vs. 9-12). 4. Souls will be saved (vs. 12).
What Happens When We Help Spread the Gospel?
Sermon by Rick Crandall
Grayson Baptist Church - Nov. 10, 2013
*What is our most important mission as a church? In Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus put it this way:
19. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
20. Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
*David Guinn once said that the most important mission of the church is: "Bringing people to Christ, building them up in Christ, and sending them out for Christ." At McClendon Baptist Church, we boiled it down to 7 words: "Connecting people with the love of Jesus."
*That's what is going on here in the Word of God, and it was a very big deal here in Acts 8, because there had been bitter hatred between Jews and Samaritans for over 500 years. But God was beginning to break down those ancient barriers in a dramatic way.
*William Barclay explained: "The fact that Philip preached there, and that the message of Jesus was given to these people shows the Church taking one of the most important steps in history, and discovering that Christ is for all the world." (1)
*Church: Jesus Christ is still for all the world! And God wants us to do everything we can to spread the Good News. What happens when we do? What happens when we help spread the gospel? Tonight's Scripture shows us.
1. And first: Miracles will be multiplied.
*Miraculous things can happen when we spread the gospel of Jesus Christ. We can begin to see God at work, much like we see Him working in vs. 4-7:
4. Therefore those who were scattered went everywhere preaching the word.
5. Then Philip went down to the city of Samaria and preached Christ to them.
6. And the multitudes with one accord heeded the things spoken by Philip, hearing and seeing the miracles which he did.
7. For unclean spirits, crying with a loud voice, came out of many who were possessed; and many who were paralyzed and lame were healed.
*Now obviously, that was a different day. It was the apostolic age, and God sent a super abundance of miracles to confirm the truth of the gospel. But God also performs miracles today. Many of us could give testimonies of how things that couldn't happen did happen by the grace and power of God. And those things happened, usually in answer to prayer.
*Dan and Patti Burnett gave an example that involved animals. They were members of the Search and Rescue Team in Summit County, Colorado, and one night they got a call about a lost 16-year-old named Ryan. While hunting with his dad, Ryan had gotten lost in the high wilderness area of the Rocky Mountains. Strong wind, fog, sleet, and snow had set in that night. But Ryan was only wearing jeans and a light shirt. There was no way he could survive the night.
*As Patti urgently searched for Ryan, she began to ask God, "Please help us, and please keep Ryan warm." Hours passed and searchers began to lose hope, but shortly after dawn, they found Ryan. And he was perfectly fine.
*When Ryan had laid down the night before, he was already shaking uncontrollably in the first stages of hypothermia. Ryan should have frozen to death. But he woke up in the middle of the night warm and comfortable. Two female elk had lain down on either side, keeping him warm and comfortable.
*The experts said that elk don't just do that. It was a miracle. And God still does physical miracles today. But even when He doesn't, we can see spiritual miracles, and they happen when we try to spread the good news!
*Souls are saved. Lives are changed. Families are helped. And broken hearts are healed. Also remember this: Physical miracles in this world are temporary. Spiritual miracles last forever.
*I love how the Lord worked in my grandmother's life. She got saved in 1978 at the age of 82! That was a miracle! How did it happen? Well, you have to go 60 years, when my aunt and uncle were living in a tiny apartment with four children.
*Billy Graham was coming to town, and the lady across the hall invited my aunt Helen to go to the Crusade. My aunt didn't want to go, so she lied to the lady. She said, "I would like to go, but I don't have a baby sitter."
*Aunt Helen couldn't believe it when the neighbor replied, "I'll be glad to stay here with your children, so you and your husband can go." Helen was trapped by her lie, so she did go, and she got saved!