Summary: Life is never going to be easy, so sharing the Gospel will not be easy work! Jesus taught us this, the Disciples knew this as truth, so when it comes to sharing Christ will we submit to Him or still remain focused on ourselves?
Where is our Focus?
The Christian brothers and sisters at Antioch had good reason to rejoice
-- They had been at the center of a great controversy; and stood firm in it
-- The controversy? Answering, “What must we do to be saved?”
Two weeks: We will not ALWAYS agree on EVERTHING – it is impossible
-- Anyone who thinks this way is really one who is out of touch with reality
-- The Disciples were humans and disagreed – and we will experience this as well
LAST WEEK: We are called to have a common purpose in what we do
-- The purpose is to worship, to love, and to celebrate Christ and share Him always
-- That is our challenge, mission, and it is where we find ourselves today
This week we are going to examine the result of properly focusing on God
Several things to see this morning so we are going to take this apart in sections
Read Acts 16:16-24
Point 1 – Persecution is NOT new
Regardless of the date on the calendar, persecution for Christ is NOT new
-- We will always face persecution for standing up for Christ … however …
-- Jesus taught us in John 15:18, “If the world hates you, know that it has hated me before it hated you.”
The enemy has no desire to make friends with you and I; bent on destruction
-- 1 Peter 5:8, “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.”
The enemy knows your weakness; he knows what it takes to get your attention
Notice how he sent a woman to plague Paul and Silas with insults/harassment
-- As men, he sends a woman to harass them and to mock their methods
-- As Roman Citizens this is even a worse insult for Paul and Silas
-- Why? Women were sub-servant to men … this harassment is insulting!
Knowing that this is how the enemy works allows us to gain great insight
-- The devil is the “can’t do it” man – he is the negative voice in everything
-- At no time will he promote unity or Godly things; it’s his nature
APP: If you and I will know this as truth, our place in the battle is simplified
-- God is the one who fights the battle, we are his servants who follow/obey
We notice here that Paul has eventually had enough, and rebukes the spirit
-- Notice that this woman was a slave (v16, v19) and was sent to do this for profit
-- This means that there were others plotting against Paul and Silas
-- APP: Persecution can come from multiple angles, and normally does
Therefore, since the enemy couldn’t annoy/hamper their work – into jail they go
Being tossed in jail is not the worst thing that could/will happen to these men
-- Jesus lost his life, as did most of the early church; persecution NOT new!
BIG APP: Life is never going to be easy, but sharing the Gospel is not easy work
Trans: Let’s continue following these men … Read Acts 16:25-30
Point 2 – Encountering the Gospel promotes Questions
What we see from Paul and Silas is that a bad day isn’t going to stop their mission
-- How many times have we gotten side-tracked because of a bad day?
DEEPER: How many times have you given up b/c things didn’t go your way?
-- APP: Life is NEVER easy; it’s NOT a bowl of roses – but God is still God!
In the midst of a jail cell do you see what Paul and Silas are doing! WORSHIP!
-- They aren’t having a “poor me” party; nor are they complaining about life
-- Their focus is on Christ even when their plans don’t work out!
EXAMINE: What’s God changing in your life today that’s ruining your focus?
-- Maybe it’s a change in jobs, life situation, financial status, etc. …
In the dark, damp, and following a severe beating we see what JOY looks like
-- Paul and Silas are doing more than rejoicing b/c of their circumstances
-- These men are rejoicing b/c of how GOOD their Lord and Savior IS!!
-- Can you say the same? When plans change do you rejoice in Christ?
Paul and Silas are rejoicing b/c of how awesome their God is; will you?
-- 1 Thess 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.”
-- HUGE: What you are going through is what God is bringing you through!
Trans: God can’t use you until you stop focusing on yourself and put your eyes squarely on Him … THIS is what the Gospel forces you to do - EVERYTIME