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Sermons on Acts
Join Pastor Brad Lewter as he concludes our Church(ing) series.
Every Church has influence. The question is whether our influence is positive and helpful for the purposes of Christ. Influence is a matter of stewardship; the Church is accountable to God for how she uses her influence. What needs to happen differently regarding the Church’s influence?
In Acts 28 Paul had a meeting with the leaders of the Jews and others who were curious about what Christianity was all about. We are told in Acts 28:23 that he spoke with them from morning till evening about Jesus being the Messiah and the kingdom of God. To some it all made sense. Others disbelieved. As they began to discuss it with each other, they could not come to agreement. I. Some would believe (Acts 28:24) A. They were persuaded by the word of God B. It all made sense to them II. Listen to what Paul said about the disbelievers A. There had always been people like them (Acts 28:25) B. They were there in the days of Isaiah C. God spoke through Isaiah about their disbelief through the Holy Spirit 1. They hear, but do not understand (Acts 28:26) 2. They see but do not perceive D. Why? (Acts 28:27a) 1. Hearts are dull – from hearing and rejecting over and over again (Romans 1:18-21) 2. Ears hard of hearing 3. Eyes are closed – they have closed them E. Why? (Acts 28:27b) 1. Because (lest they) they don’t want to hear with their ears 2. Because they don’t want to see with their eyes – so they close them 3. They don’t want to understand with their hearts F. Why? 1. Because (lest they) that would mean they would have to turn 2. They would have to admit they are sinful (Romans 3:23) 3. They would have to admit they need healing (Romans 6:23) 4. They would have to repent/receive healing/change from God (Romans 10:9, 10, 13) III. God would send His word to others who would listen (Acts 28:28) A. Salvation of God sent to the Gentiles B. They would hear it C. “God’s People” were turning a deaf ear, blind eye and dull heart to it D. Salvation would spread to others They left there still arguing (Acts 28:29) and Paul just kept on preaching, to anyone he could get to visit him (Acts 28:30, 31). He preached about the kingdom of God and taught about Jesus Christ with all confidence, and no one stopped him
Paul's letters have been used as sermon's and bible study lessons by simply being read aloud since their initial penning. The lessons preach on responsibility, communication and community care, but mentioned in every lesson is the love and joy we have in Christ. The most important lesson for the first church is the same message for the present church: focus on Jesus and love in His name.
The importance of having your heart prepared when the Word of God is preached.
Once Paul was in Rome, it didn’t take long for him to reach out to the Jewish community and try to reason with them about Jesus. Paul was staying in a rented house with a guard chained to him at all times, but people could come and go freely to him. After he had been in Rome three days he invited the leaders of the Jews in Rome to come together to hear his story and to hear about Jesus (Acts 28:17). I. Paul’s preaching agreed with the law and prophets A. He explained that he did not speak against the Jews when he preached B. He explained that he did not speak against the customs of their fathers C. He was delivered as a prisoner unjustly 1. From Jerusalem 2. To the hands of the Romans D. The Romans believed he was innocent (Acts 28:18, 19) 1. They wanted to let him go 2. They saw no cause for putting me to death E. The Jews spoke against me 1. They wanted me put to death; I appealed to Caesar 2. It is not my intention or desire to be in the position of accusing my nations II. Paul was in chains because he believed in the Messiah – the Hope of Israel (Acts 28:20) A. He believed Messiah had come B. He believed this because of fulfilled prophecy; Jesus fulfilled the Old Testament C. All of scripture is His-Story III. The Jews agree to hear more from Paul A. They had not received word from Jerusalem about any of this yet (Acts 28:21) B. They were curious to hear about Paul’s beliefs though (Acts 28:22) 1. We have heard of this sect 2. It is spoken against everywhere and we’d like to hear more C. They set a day and they came to hear what Paul had to say (Acts 28:23) D. Paul used the Bible to teach them 1. He testified of the kingdom of God (Luke 17:20, 21) 2. He persuaded them about Jesus from the Law of Moses and the Prophets 4. He talked with them from morning till evening IV. Just in the Christmas story we see examples of how Jesus fulfilled prophecy A. Matthew 1:18-22 – Can be summed up by this - All took place to fulfill the prophet B. Messiah born of a virgin – Isaiah 7:14/Matthew 1:23 – written 700 earlier C. Messiah would be born in Bethlehem – Micah 5:2/Matthew 2:1-6 D. Messiah would be called out of Egypt – Hosea 11:1/Matthew 2:13-15 E. Loss of children was prophesied and happened - Jeremiah 31:15/ Matthew 2:18 Paul sat with the religious leaders from morning to evening. He expounded/explained the word of God to them. He testified to the kingdom of God. He tried to convince them about Jesus from the Law and Prophets. He took the time necessary. This is a great model for witnessing. He started with what they believed. He used the word of God which has the power to save, and he took the time necessary to explain as much as they would hear.
Paul's example during his first Roman imprisonment should encourage and inspire us to take up our part in God's story and preach the gospel of Jesus to anyone who will listen no matter what our circumstances are.