2014.10.05 Acts 14: 23
Paul and Barnabas Strengthen the Saints
Good Morning everyone it's great to see you here this morning…. As most of you know.... We go through the Bible verse by verse.... At the moment we are studying the birth of the church in the book of Acts..... As we studied Acts 14 last week..... We witnessed a very strong reaction by those who heard it.... Some repented and believed.... Some refused to repent and became instant enemies of Paul and Barnabas.... They were determined to shut him up….. They heard that Paul was in Lystra…. and even though it was more than 100 Kilometers away….. They went there and stoned him and threw his body on the garbage pile outside of the city…. As we begin our study this morning…. I want to back up a few verses and review…. Turn with me to Acts 14...... v19…
Acts 14: 19-22 NKJV
19 Then Jews from Antioch and Iconium came there; and having persuaded the multitudes, they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city, supposing him to be dead. 20 However, when the disciples gathered around him, he rose up and went into the city. And the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe.
21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.”
Acts 14: 19-22 Sch 2000
19 Es kamen aber aus Antiochia und Ikonium Juden herbei; die überredeten die Volksmenge und steinigten Paulus und schleiften ihn vor die Stadt hinaus in der Meinung, er sei gestorben.
20 Doch als ihn die Jünger umringten, stand er auf und ging in die Stadt. Und am folgenden Tag zog er mit Barnabas fort nach Derbe.
21 Und nachdem sie in dieser Stadt das Evangelium verkündigt und eine schöne Zahl Jünger gewonnen hatten, kehrten sie wieder nach Lystra und Ikonium und Antiochia zurück;
22 dabei stärkten sie die Seelen der Jünger und ermahnten sie, unbeirrt im Glauben zu bleiben, und [sagten ihnen,] daß wir durch viele Bedrängnisse in das Reich Gottes eingehen müssen.
V19….. Those who refuse to repent and come to the Lord for forgiveness and mercy……. Harden their hearts against the LORD and his people…. In their hatred…. They were ready to kill Paul….. Some of these persecuting Jews from Antioch and Iconium would have traveled more than one hundred miles just to attack Paul….. They were totally committed to stopping him…. They did not succeed…
V20… We see God´s grace and sustaining power at work here…. I think it's a miracle that a guy stoned one day….. is taking a 30-mile hike the next day to proclaim the Good News…… That's a miracle of restoration……
What Persistence……. He was unstoppable…… 1 minute half dead….. the next….. He is up and ready to continue to proclaim the Good News….. Persistence is a fabulous quality……
You know….. it´s easy to become discouraged and to want to give up…… The Christian life is not for weaklings( feiglings)….
We go through hard times…..we suffer loss….. Even in ministry it is easy to become discouraged…. The Word of God is full of examples for us to learn from…… We study the Bible so that we understand our great God…. and so that we can learn to trust Him….. Even in the dark…. Jesus said…..that man ought always to pray and not lose hope…. Luke 18…v1…..
I was reading this week about Robert Morrison of England…. He was a missionary who set his heart on going to China…. He studied Chinese in England and London…… In 1807 he came to New and he tried to get passage on a ship to China…. But because China didn't accept foreigners…… and so…. no one was willing to take him there…. . Finally he got on a ship and landed in China….. But since he was not allowed in the country…… He stayed in a French warehouse in the city of Canton near the docks for six months….. During those six months he learned to cook Chinese food….. and to dress in Chinese clothes….. and he learned to adapt himself to Chinese culture….. and he spent most of his time studying the Cantonese dialect……. Preaching was illegal…… but he gathered a little group of people around him….. And hiding behind closed doors he taught them the Word of God….. Seven years after he landed in Canton he baptized his first convert…… That's persistence……… seven years and only 1 life affected...……
Finally working day and night….. month after month…. he translated the Book of Acts into Cantonese…. and he succeeded in having it printed….. But the authorities found out about it…. and put a stop to his work…. no future printing…. no future preaching….. He was forbidden from everything… What did he do? He persisted….. which is exactly what he should've done….. He stayed on the job because he believed God was in it….. He mastered the language and listen to this…… he translated the entire Bible into Cantonese…… a massive work……
He also wrote a six-volume Chinese/English dictionary so that missionaries would not only have the Bible…… but they'd have a dictionary to help them learn the language…… All of this in the early 1800's….. Before Hudson Taylor ever came to China…. He persisted through 27 years of a loneliness and self-sacrificing persistence….. and he paved the way for missions to the Cantonese speaking people….. Robert Morrison never preached to big crowds….. but he was persistent and faithful…..
and as we see in our text this morning…. Paul was persistent……. He was unwilling to be discouraged…. He was unwilling to give up….
Do you know what the key to persistence is?
The key to persistence is grabbing hold of every opportunity to love and serve the Lord…… It is refusing to be discouraged…. Refusing to give up……..
Turn with me to Colossians ch 4…. Lets look at what Paul said….
Colossians 4: 2- 6 NKJV
2 Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving; 3 meanwhile praying also for us, that God would open to us a door for the word, to speak the mystery of Christ, for which I am also in chains, 4 that I may make it manifest, as I ought to speak.
5 Walk in wisdom toward those who are outside, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.
Colossians 4: 2- 6 sch 2000
2 Seid ausdauernd im Gebet und wacht darin mit Danksagung.
3 Betet zugleich auch für uns, damit Gott uns eine Tür öffne für das Wort, um das Geheimnis des Christus auszusprechen, um dessentwillen ich auch gefesselt bin,
4 damit ich es so offenbar mache, wie ich reden soll.
5 Wandelt in Weisheit denen gegenüber, die außerhalb [der Gemeinde] sind, und kauft die Zeit aus!
6 Euer Wort sei allezeit in Gnade, mit Salz gewürzt, damit ihr wißt, wie ihr jedem einzelnen antworten sollt.
What great advice and exhortation here is these verses….. v2…. Continue to Pray earnestly…. Be vigilant in it with thanksgiving….
v3… pray for us…. That God will open the door for us to proclaim the Good News….v4… so that I can continue to proclaim the Good News as I ought to do…. Then he gives us all very good advice…. v5…. Walk in wisdom toward unbelievers…. Redeem the time…. v6… let you speech always be gracious and salty…. Grace and truth….. He is saving…. Be wise…. Be gracious….. speak the truth in love….
This weekend is Yom Kippur…. The day of Atonement for the Jews….. and it is also the Feast of the sacrifice for Muslims….. We have something to say to these people….. Many of them understand the seriousness of sin…… They understand the need for a substitute…….. But they are lost and without a solution….. They need to hear the Good News that there is hope in Jesus…. He is our substitute and our redeemer…… We have been given the Mission to declare this Good News to a lost and dying generation…. Will we open our mouths…..
What do you do with your time?
Time….. What are we really doing with our´s? How persistent are we for the Lord and the things of God?
How persistent are we at maximizing every moment? This is a real problem for believers…. Even as believers we struggle to set our priorities….. We let our own desires and selfishness tell us how to spend our time….. We set our own priorities…. We donot let the Love of God direct and lead us….. It has always been a problem…. As Paul exhorted and discipled believers….. he wrote and preached about the need to put the Lord first in all that we do…. Turn with me to Romans 13 please….v10….
Romans 13: 10- 14 NKJV sch 2000
10 Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.
11 This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. 13 Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. 14 Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.
Romans 13: 10- 14 NKJV sch 2000
10 Die Liebe fügt niemandem Schaden zu; deshalb ist die Liebe die Erfüllung von Gottes Gesetz.
11 Führt euer Leben auf diese Weise, weil ihr wisst, dass die Zeit begrenzt ist. Wacht auf, denn wir sind unserer Rettung jetzt näher als zu Beginn unseres Glaubens.
12 Die Nacht ist fast vorüber; der Tag der Erlösung kommt bald. Deshalb lebt nicht in der Finsternis mit ihren bösen Taten, sondern greift zu den Waffen des Lichts!
13 Unser Leben soll vorbildlich und ehrlich sein, damit es vor den Augen anderer Anerkennung findet. Wir wollen nicht an ausschweifenden Festen und Trinkgelagen teilnehmen, keinen Ehebruch begehen, nicht in sexueller Zügellosigkeit leben und uns auch nicht auf Streit und Eifersucht einlassen.
14 Haltet euch an Jesus Christus, den Herrn, und lasst euer Leben von ihm bestimmen2. Gebt euren Wünschen nicht so weit nach, dass ihr von euren Leidenschaften beherrscht werdet.
Paul is saying…. V11… wake up!.... look…. the time is short…… Love each other…. V12… Remove your dark deeds….. Take off all the garbage that is clinging to you…. Let's get it together! Let's get going! V13…. Stop wasting your lives…. No more wild parties….. drunkenness.… desire for forbidden beds….. Stop the strife and envy…… It's time to get rid of all that….. He says instead…. Love the lost…. Put on the shining armor of right living!... We must live decent lives for all to see….v14 clothe yourselves with the presence of the Lord Jesus…. Don´t even think about ways to indulge your evil desires….
Paul was racing the clock….. He knew that his time was short…. He knew that our time is short….. He says…. Wake up…. He was totally committed to proclaiming the Good News and to making disciples while he still had time… Some Christians are as good to God asleep as they are awake…… They don't do anything either way…… because they're spiritually asleep…..
We are talking about Persistence…… James said, "What is your life?" It is a Vapor…. Ever seen the vapor rise off the tea glass? That's your life…… Try to grab it….. You cannot do it…. It will soon be gone…. So stop wasting the little time that you have left…. The only way we can avoid wasting our lives is to live for him….. Paul understood this….. And so he refused to be discouraged…. He refused to slow down…… When they tried to kill him….. He got up and immediately went back to serving the Lord….
Paul was effective in his Christian life…. A faithful servant….. He was persistent….. back to Acts 14… v21…
Acts 14: 21-23 NKJV
21 And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, 22 strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” 23 So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.
Acts 14: 21-23 sch 2000
21 Und nachdem sie in dieser Stadt das Evangelium verkündigt und eine schöne Zahl Jünger gewonnen hatten, kehrten sie wieder nach Lystra und Ikonium und Antiochia zurück; 22 dabei stärkten sie die Seelen der Jünger und ermahnten sie, unbeirrt im Glauben zu bleiben, und [sagten ihnen,] daß wir durch viele Bedrängnisse in das Reich Gottes eingehen müssen. 23 Nachdem sie ihnen aber in jeder Gemeinde Älteste bestimmt hatten, befahlen sie sie unter Gebet und Fasten dem Herrn an, an den sie gläubig geworden waren.
Here is another thing that makes for effective Christian service….. It is a commitment to follow up what you begin….. These baby believers needed to be discipled… They could have gone from Derbe straight back to Antioch or Syria….. They went all the way back through every city they'd been in….. Paul was willing to risk his own life….. He was willing to go back into the mouths of the Lions who had tried to kill him……. Because he knew that these young believers were weak and needed to be fed and cared for….. He was willing to give his life to strengthen them…… He would do anything to feed and protect these baby sheep…. Why? Because the Great Commission is not only to make people Christians…..it's to make them genuine Disciples…..
Think about this….. it was dangerous to return…… They had been kicked out of every town they've been in….. They were taking their lives in their hands…. They went back fearlessly because they were serving the LORD Jesus… Yes it was dangerous….. It was dangerous to go back…. but it was more dangerous for those new babes not to have milk….. so that they could grow in grace and in the knowledge of the LORD JESUS….
Paul and Barnabas were willing to do anything to strengthen and feed these baby Christians… we can see four things that they did in these verses…..
1 strengthening the souls of the disciples…
2 exhorting them to continue in the faith…
3 They appointed elders to pastor and shepherd the people after they had gone….
4 commended them to the Lord….
Verse 22…. Strengthened the souls of the disciples."
The word strengthen comes from a Greek word(epistērizō)
It is made up of two parts…. "epi" which means upon…. and "steritzo… which means a prop or a support….. You could say… they went back they went back to prop up the disciples…..
You know a newborn baby can't stand up, right? They just lie there…. and even when you start to teach them to walk you've got to hold them up… and support them…. You hold their little arms help them to get the feel of walking… And that's exactly the way it is as a baby Christian….. They need help and support….. They are wobbly in their Christian walk….. The Lord Jesus put us into the church so that the older stronger believers could prop up and support the new weaker believers….. This word (epistērizō) is used four times in the Book of Acts to talk about propping up new believers…… Acts 15:32, 15:41, 18:23 and here in this text…. So they went back to prop them up…… Literally it means to strengthen them,…..to help them to stand on their own…. to be strong….. and that's the goal of every pastor and elder… isn't it?
The Lord would not have you come here to learn the Word… We are here not only to lead you to Christ….. but to strengthen you and feed you…. and nurture you so you become strong and solid disciples…. Turn with me to Eph…ch4…v.11…
Ephesians 4:11- 16 NKJV
11 And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ;
14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.
Ephesians 4:11- 16 sch 2000
11 Und Er hat etliche als Apostel gegeben, etliche als Propheten, etliche als Evangelisten, etliche als Hirten und Lehrer,
12 zur Zurüstung der Heiligen, für das Werk des Dienstes,4 für die Erbauung des Leibes des Christus,
13 bis wir alle zur Einheit des Glaubens und der Erkenntnis5 des Sohnes Gottes gelangen, zur vollkommenen Mannesreife6, zum Maß der vollen Größe des Christus;
14 damit wir nicht mehr Unmündige seien, hin- und hergeworfen und umhergetrieben von jedem Wind der Lehre durch das betrügerische Spiel der Menschen, durch die Schlauheit, mit der sie zum Irrtum verführen,
15 sondern, wahrhaftig in der Liebe, heranwachsen in allen Stücken zu ihm hin8, der das Haupt ist, der Christus.
16 Von ihm aus vollbringt der ganze Leib, zusammengefügt und verbunden durch alle Gelenke, die einander Handreichung tun nach dem Maß der Leistungsfähigkeit jedes einzelnen Gliedes, das Wachstum des Leibes zur Auferbauung seiner selbst in Liebe.
V11…. He himself gave…. God has put this thing together…. He has put pastors and teachers in the church…… Not to ruin your fun….. Not to shake a stick at you…… No…. He put us here to take care of you…. The shepherd and strengthen you….. To feed you with the pure milk of the Word of God…. To disciple you and to equip you to do the work of the ministry…. That´s your calling….. God has called you to do the work of the ministry….. Our job…. My job is to strengthen you and support you….. just like a father helps his newborn baby learn to walk….. We are here to love and help and protect you…. And as we grow…. We learn to love and help and protect each other….That's what we're supposed to be doing…..
Start here Oct 12th
What is it that we must give people that they may grow? The Word of God…… Turn to 1 peter 2….v…1…
1 Peter 2: 1-3 NKJV
1Therefore, laying aside all malice, all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and all evil speaking, 2 as newborn babes, desire the pure milk of the word, that you may grow thereby, 3 if indeed you have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
1 Peter 2: 1-3 sch 2000
1 So legt nun ab alle Bosheit und allen Betrug und Heuchelei und Neid und alle Verleumdungen,
2 und seid als neugeborene Kindlein begierig nach der unverfälschten Milch des Wortes, damit ihr durch sie heranwachst,
3 wenn ihr wirklich geschmeckt habt, daß der Herr freundlich ist.
Just like a baby…. Desire the Word that you may grow thereby…... If you have tasted that the LORD is gracious….