Summary: What caused the early church to turn their world upside down
Why Did The Early Church Turn The Word Upside Down?
Acts 17:6 “These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also.”
What a tribute to Paul and Silas! Wherever Paul went, things happened. Souls were saved, people took sides, feelings were stirred, decisions were made, and lines were dawn. Paul did not slip into town, hold a few quiet meeting, enjoy some good home cooking, pick up a generous honorarium, and slip back out of town again without anyone knowing or caring that he had been in town.
How did the early disciples turn the world upside down? What was the secret to their success?
I. They turned the world upside down through the power they possessed.
A. He did not rely on persuasive arguments
"excellency of speech or of wisdom" - refers to human rhetoric or of human wisdom. He did not come with eloquent language. He did not come as a Christian salesman. He did not come with clever sale pitches to get them to make a profession. He had determined that he was not going to use gimmicks.
We do not need to be clever in our presentation.
B. He did not rely on personal ability
"I was with you in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling"
Paul was a man who had several physical weaknesses. He knew when he attempted to reach others that he was physically limited. When he considered on one hand his supreme weakness and limitations and on the other hand the importance of the message, he recognized it would take God to do it through him. There was a fear in the face of the task that had been committed to his trust.
See verse 4. It was not Paul’s ability but the Holy Spirit’s ability. Paul did not trust on his own natural talents (see 2 Corinthians 3:5).
It is the Holy Spirit that must convict, convince, and convert the sinner. Paul was the proclaimer, the Holy Spirit was the persuader. Paul recognized the Holy Spirit’s power.
Paul’s preaching had carried conviction because of the power of the Holy Spirit.
Organization will not turn the world upside down; personality will not turn the world upside down; money will not turn the world upside down.
Ordinary men and women filled with the power of the Spirit of God will do it.
The Holy Spirit is present in every believer, prominent in some believers, but He was pre-eminent in the early believers of the church.
II. They turned the world upside down through the praying they practiced.
Satan might wall them up, but He could not roof them in.
There was a black preacher who had just finished preaching his candidate sermon and closed out the services of the Lord’s day pleading with God of the things that he thought the Lord should grant. After the services a deacon approached the janitor and asked him what he thought of that prayer.
"Why that man asked de Laud for things that the other preacher did not even know de Laud had."
All too often we pray when we there is nothing else to we can do, but Jesus want us to pray before we do anything at all. Prayer does not fit us for the greater works: prayer is the greater work.
Prayer is not an escape from responsibility, but rather it is our response to God’s ability.
A. The early church brought to God their frustrations in prayer
B. The early church brought to God their feelings in prayer
C. The early church brought to God their foes in prayer
D. The early church brought to God their friends in prayer
F. The early church brought to God their failures in prayer
G. The early church brought to God their future in prayer
III. They turned the world upside down through the person they preached
The all consuming desire of the early church was to introduce others to the Jesus Christ of the cross. They were absolutely unconcerned about everything in the world but one thing, and that was teaching and preaching Jesus Christ.
a. They expounded the person of the cross
B. They expounded the purchase of the cross
C. They expounded the power of the cross
D. They expounded the pardon of the cross
Getting the message of the cross out is the TRUST of the church, the TASK of the church, and the TEST of the church.
IV. They turned the world upside down through the price they paid.
Many of the early church were martyr for their service of Christ. They rejoiced that were counted worthy to suffer for the cause of Christ.